Friday, July 29, 2011

Meantime, Over in Baseball...

Whoops, almost published a blank space!

Although if we were just talking about the Royals and trade deadline action, we would indeed have nothing to say, because nothing is happening or happened. Cabrera, Frenchy and all the rest are all still here. Wilson Betemit's trade to Detroit is the only action so far from the Royals who have pitching bits that might intrigue teams more than the position players.

Meantime, the Giants won the Beltran sweepstakes, the Phils grabbed Hunter Pence, the Cards and Jays added to their rosters with multiplayer trades. The trade deadline is Sunday, July 31 at 3 p.m. CT.

Free Agency, Signings and Losses

Wow, this is like a mix master out here with these contracts flying around! You can't hardly keep up, even with the internets!

Players the Chiefs no longer have include Brian Waters, Chris Chambers, Ron Edwards, and possibly Shawn Smith. Good news is that we have signed almost all 2011 draftees, including our first round pick and picked up also Steve Breston. Overall in the league there seems to be much less holding out by first rounders. I am not entirely sure why, but I do like it. Sign and get in there and practice and learn stuff!

For the Giants, they are having trouble with the great defensive lineman Osi Umenyiora and his contract; he is not fully signed and happy. They have put him on the Did Not Report list after he didn't show for camp. They released Tiki Barber, who wants to return to the NFL, from being restricted. Madison Hedgecock was released. They signed excellent Jets punter Steve Weatherford. The Giants better watch out for Philly, who have resolved their QB delemma by trading Kevin Kolb, and signing Vince Young (shoot, this guy has a .600 winning percentage for games he starts in the NFL!), and signed that guy from the Raiders with the long name, the ridiculously good CB who no one throws on.

No big splashes from the Jets yet. They cut Mark Brunnel, who provided Mark Sanchez with strong back up work, and lost Mizzou product Brad Smith to Buffalo. They wanted the aforementioned DB but lost out to the Eagles.

Around the league, many players have been cut that have been staples at their teams. Antwaan Randle-El was cut by Pittsburgh for example. Lots of players with a bit left in the tank will be available to sign as free agents this year, especially if they are willing to take a cut in pay. Going to be a very interesting year.

Monday, July 25, 2011

NFL Lock Out Over

Well, the lock out is over. Agreements and votes were taken and now the season can proceed. "Silly Season" will be condensed greatly, and perhaps a bit less silly. Drafted players need to get signed, get their playbooks and get learning. Free agents signed. Etc.

In this condensed time, we will find out some things...
We'll find out what players managed to stay in the best shape without the OTAs they were used to that helped keep them accountable for their conditioning.
We'll find out what teams have the best scouting for obscure free agents, undrafted college players, and late draft picks, because these players will not have much time to show themselves.
We'll find out which rookies are the quickest studies and able to pick up complex pro play books.

Teams with established quarterbacks and coaches will have an advantage over those who are searching or have just changed.

There are a few teams that should just figure on rebuilding and not winning much this year, and their fans will hate every moment of the 2011-12 season.

Chiefs shopping list: Another wide out (we did draft one, but should look at FAs), nose tackle, offensive line, running back.

Giants shopping list: New accuracy for Eli. Really. The team was OK, but all those turnovers--nightmares!

Jets shopping list: Offensive line, running back, receiver. I seem to remember struggling to score at times.

Fantasy players are thrilled.

Code writers for the video games are frantic...

Friday, July 22, 2011

NFL: Getting Close?

Well the owners liked their plan. The players? Not so much.

More meetings this weekend between owners and players. There is still space for slip ups. One game has been canceled--the Hall of Fame game. Some are optimistic, but I do think they could still strike. It would be a very bad idea. Just saying.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Awesome Fan Catch at Home Run Derby!

Check this out!

What a catch! A little risky, but the other folks were looking out for him. And if you look carefully, he hung on to his drink in his throwing hand as he caught the ball in the glove!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Carlos Beltran to Start as DH--and Something Interesting

I did not know this. Carlos Beltran, the extraordinary 5 tool player the Royals had to let go not too long ago, well, his Topps rookie baseball card was an uncorrected error. I was looking for pics of Beltran as a Royal to put in this post congratulating him on having a nice bounce back year and the honor of starting the All Star game tomorrow when I found this:

I thought the person in the photo looked a little too slender, especially in the face, and the eye brows were too bushy. I've seen Beltran in person and he has a round baby face. (He's good looking, in case you were wondering...)

Yup, this is him. Much better looking guy, bigger neck, more powerful. Very stern look. Did someone forget how to tell him to smile in Spanish? Turns out the names were reversed, and it was never fixed. Anyhow, kudos to Carlos Beltran and congratulations. His next trick? Getting out of New York and helping a contending team win.

MLB All Star Break--12 Thoughts

Well, here we are at the half way point of the baseball season and the analysis has been going full bore. Here are just a few cents worth from this vantage point.

1. American League Wild Card will come out of the East. This division is the best in the league hands down. Boston and New York are playing .600 ball and Tampa Bay is not far behind.

2. AL Central is not very good. Detroit, especially if the pitching holds out, is probably the class of the division. Minnesota, ordinarily very good is struggling, and Cleveland is fading.

3. Expect Texas and Angels of Anaheim to fight it out to the last in the West.

4. Jose Bautista seems to be real.

5. Pittsburgh Pirates over .500. Wow!

6. Offense is generally down. Hard to say if that's because pitching is better, or hitting is worse. No steroids = no power? But I think the game is pretty exciting--I don't have to have a bunch of home runs to enjoy a game. Yesterday's Tigers-Royals tilt with Jeff Francis and Justin Verlander matching each other just about pitch for pitch is a perfect example of a great watchable game that doesn't have a high score.

7. SF Giants in a position to repeat at this point.

8. Boy did that guy eff up the LA Dodgers.

9. Phillies also in a position to return to the playoffs, just quietly going about their business.

10. Can't help but note that the Mets are one game over .500 but still in third place. Can't help but wonder if everyone but Reyes and pitching is trade bait to restock their depleted farm system.

11. NL Central is also a bastion of the only-good. Brewers and Cards tied for first with 49-43 records. Jury still out for Milwaukee fans on Greinke trade. We certainly like that little shortstop you all sent us :)!

12. The Royals. People are getting discouraged with the continued losing and the continued promises of "wait until the youngsters get here." However, the team really does allow for a pinch of optimism: keeping games close, playing smarter baseball, good team chemistry, excellent defense and relief pitching in general. There's a lot wrong--we wouldn't be on a pace to lose 90+ games if all was peaches and cream--the starting pitching, lack of power and consistency in hitting, the mental errors from inexperience are just a few items that reflect the fact that this team needs more talent and experience to contend. Position players are developing well, but pitching is lagging behind, both at the major and minor league levels. As development continues, we may need to consider looking outside for pitching help, via trade and/or free agency to complete our transition from a losing team to a winner.

Meantime, this fan really hates the All-Star break. Whatyamean there's no baseball game tonight or Wednesday night?

Saturday, July 2, 2011

NBA Lock Out: Yawn...

I used to be a bigger pro hoops fan, especially when I lived in New York City. The Knicks were the bomb in the early 1970s and I continued to follow them off and on for years. When I lived in Philly, I followed the Sixers and they are still one of my favorite teams.

As long as I can remember, the NBA regular season has been 82 games. However, play was done in late spring, and the draft in May. Now it seems that the NBA season drones on indefinitely and decides very little, and professional basketball continues deep into May and on into the first part of June. This after starting in October. Include the draft and "silly season," and the NBA seems impossibly diluted, droning on and on, and having no real off season. In addition, NBA players have proven to be impossibly human. Young, frequently clunk headed, one dimensional, tattooed, promiscuous, and for some (not myself--the annoying manage to come in all colors), too Black. Yes, I have to think for some, the NBA's majority Black make up is an issue.

So, we have a lock out by NBA owners who say they cannot afford the players' salary demands. I don't have specific figures but we are talking a substantial separation in the numbers. No where close. Further, there is little agreement on things like salary caps and luxury taxes. Unlike football, there are several franchises on shaky financial ground, and not a few with uncertain ownership. However, unlike football, people are not trampling down the door to buy an NBA franchise.

The NBA has encountered rough times before, but they risk with a long lockout/strike losing the fan base--especially since some fans may already have issues with the way the league has been running these past years. The players especially may need to be careful not to kill the goose with the golden eggs. Meantime, I probably won't miss it.