Friday, December 12, 2008

Big Man, Big City

Before I start, I want to thank everyone who e-mailed me or sent me a message of some sort when I decided to take a break from the blog. It was nice to hear at least a few of you enjoy this little corner of the blogoverse.

As always your comments, positive or negative, are always welcome. So thanks for the support. Now, on with the show...

Big Man, Big City

I can't say that I'm surprised or even disappointed that C.C. Sabathia decided to sign with the New York Yankees. To be honest, it seemed like a foregone conclusion despite the talk that the hefty lefty might take his considerable talent back home to the Bay Area and the San Francisco Giants.

But for a brief moment, despite what Giants' GM Brian Sabean might say, a rotation led by Sabathia and reigning NL Cy Young Tim Lincecum not only seemed possible, it seemed destined to be.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Taking A Break

For the few of you that come to Quick Hits... often, first off, thank you. I truly appreciate anyone who takes a few minutes to check out what I have to say about things.

Unfortunately right now I'm not getting the kind of repsonse that I was hoping for when I started this blog. Because of that I'm going to put my blogging on hold for a few weeks while I come up with a better schedule and a better approach to the whole thing.

This blog is far from dead and I hope that once I toss my hat back in the ring that you guys (and gals) will come back and enjoy it even more.

Thanks again for your support and I'll be back soon, promise.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Under The Weather

Not sure if it's the changing of the seasons or what here in the Upper Midwest, but I am feeling quite terrible today.

Because of my current state I'm going to cancel Monday Musings this week and instead try and write several smaller pieces running down the top stroies of the last week or so.

In the meantime, be sure to vote in the poll and sign up to follow Quick Hits.... Thanks and come back soon.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Monday Musings (The Tuesday Edition)

As promised, here is the Tuesday Edition of Monday Musings...

  • As predicted, USC thoroughly dominated an over-matched Ohio State squad who was without the services of Chris "Beanie" Wells. Of course, given the severity of the beating, it wouldn't have mattered if he had played. I suppose they might have found the end zone, once, but that's it.

    With the Pac-10 laying the biggest conference egg is years, the path seems completely clear for the trojans to run the table and play for the National Championship. Barring season-ending injuries to half the team, I don't believe there is a team in the country that could beat them.

  • The Red Sox finally caught the Tampa Bay Rays for the lead in the AL East on Monday and it's looking more and more like the young Rays will have to win the Wild Card race if they want to remain in the playoff picture.

    With the Twins and others fading however it seems like they will make the playoffs as long as they don't completely collapse down the stretch. A Wild Card berth would mean a meeting with the Angels in the Division Series, a team they hold a 6-3 record against in the regular season.

    Keep in mind that a Wild Card team has reached the World Series every year since 2002when (DAMMIT!!!) the Angels beat the Giants in seven games.

  • Also on Monday the Brewers, tied for the Wild Card lead in the NL, fired manager Ned Yost. Apparently this is something many Brewers fans saw coming and welcomed, to which I say, WTF!

    Is this what we've come to in the age of "what have you done for me lately" sports? Now I understand that the Brewers are in a bit of a slide and they may ultimately miss the playoffs entirely, but this is ridiculous. Here is a guy who helped turn around one of the worst franchises in sports in less than three years and for his efforts he gets fired with the finish line in sight.

    After the season I could see it as Yost has had a tough time getting his young team to turn the corner on their recent success. But the timing of this baffles me and I can think of more than a few teams who should be stumbling over themselves to get Yost into their dugouts.

  • The Ryder Cup starts on Friday without the world's best player, Tiger Woods. Some have intimated that this might be a good thing for the United States and that not being able to lean on Tiger will raise the level of play across the board.

    To that I say, whatever.

  • Watching the Minnesota Vikings this weekend was downright painful and I couldn't help but hearing "Stop Me If You've Heard This One Before" by the Smiths playing in my head. I won't spend much time on this as I plan on devoting an entire piece to what is wrong with the Vikes, but damn I'm glad I'm not a fan of this team.

    Frustrating doesn't even start to describe what took place in the Metrodome on Sunday as the Purple fell to 0-2, which amazingly is the worst two-game start for the Vikings since head coach Brad Childress took over.

  • Cal's head coach Jeff Tedford should be fully ashamed of his team's performance on Saturday after they lost to the University of Maryland. It was clear from the opening kickoff that the Golden Bears were just not prepared to play and that falls squarely on the shoulders of Tedford and his staff.

    Yes, they did travel across the country and played at 9 in the morning on the West Coast, but that doesn't excuse a loss to a team that just a week prior lost to Middle Tennessee State. The Bears are talented, but their youth and inexperience, combined with clearly shotty preparation, cost them big time.

  • Somehow the San Francisco 49ers pulled off a victory on the road in Seattle with J.T. O'Sullivan passing for 321 yards and no interceptions. I'm not willing to call O'Sullivan decent just yet, but he has been much better than I thought he'd ever be.

    Like Jon Kitna in Mike Martz's offense before him, O'Sullivan will probably put up quality numbers through sheer quantity of throws. However of all the QBs that Martz has had (Kitna, Marc Bulger, Kurt Warner) O'Sullivan is by far the least talented and the Niners should be shopping for a young QB come next off-season.

  • Keeping it in the Bay Area, the San Francisco Giants have managed to win 9 of their last 12 thanks in large part to the influx of young players who have infused the team with energy and timely hitting. Both of which have been lacking for the Giants for the better part of three seasons.

    The most impressive of the bunch has been C/1B/3B Pablo Sandoval who has done nothing but hit since he was called up in mid-August. Playing three positions and currently residing in the heart of the order, the 22-year-old Sandoval is hitting .336 with 3 HRs and 15 RBIs in 29 games.

    Chances are that the Giants will struggle again next season, but with so much quality pitching in the big leagues now and in the minor leagues, the future would appear bright for Giants fans everywhere.

  • Last week I mentioned the breakout debut of Philadelphia Eagles' rookie wide receiver and former Cal standout DeSean Jackson. I also let it be known that I think the Niners made a big mistake by not picking him and instead passing over him twice in the 2008 NFL Draft.

    Last night on Monday Night Football Jackson was staring his first professional touchdown square in the face when he proved why his nickname, "MeSean", is totally warranted when he dropped the ball at the one yard line in a rush to start his ridiculous touchdown dance.

    This wouldn't be so bad if this were the first time Jackson had placed himself above the interests of the team, but how can we forget this moment from Jackson's senior year of high school in the U.S. Army All-American game:

  • Aaron Rodgers is a stud, that's all there is to it. Packers fans rejoice.

Monday, September 15, 2008

We'll Be Right Back...

Monday Musings will not be seen in its regularly scheduled time, but be sure to check back tomorrow (Tues. 9/16) for a full recap of all the sports from the past week. And if you don't I'll be forced to sick Rey "Cinco Ocho" Maualuga on you. You don't want that.

Thank you and goodnight.

P.S. Be sure to sign up as a friend of Quick Hits From The Sidelines by clicking on the "follow this blog" link on the right. Thanks for reading.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Monday Musings

I'm back and right on schedule this time with another installment of Monday Musings. Lots to get to, so on with the show...

  • So you want to be an professional football player huh? After the carnage that took place on Sunday I think baseball might see a resurgence in popularity across the country.

    Some of the NFL's best players, including Patriots' QB Tom Brady and Titans' QB Vince Young, suffered injuries in week one. Some, like Young, were able to escape with injuries that will only sideline them for a few weeks. Others, like Brady, are now done for the season.

    It's the unfortunate reality of a sport where the athletes are so big, so strong, so fast that major injuries are going to occur. This weekend should serve as a reminder to all those who think football players are just being greedy when they hold out for more guaranteed money, that in fact they are only doing what is truly in their best interests.

    Few other professions involve the type of sudden, career-ending dangers that football does. It's true that they are getting paid to play a game and in the grand scheme of things they shouldn't be making more than doctors and teachers. However the players should not be held responsible for the market that has been set for them by the owners and by this country's seemingly unquenchable thirst for the game itself.

    If it weren't for how popular the NFL and the other major sports in this country are there wouldn't be billion dollar stadiums and television contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars. In my opinion the players have as much right to a piece of that pie as anyone, and while it seems silly that athletes (or any entertainers for that matter) can make as much money as they do, for football players in particular the ultra-high risk level involved justifies their quest for that one big contract.

  • Serena Williams climbed back to the top of the tennis world on Sunday night with a straight set victory over Jelena Jankovic in the final of the U.S. Open. She did so without dropping a set and the win punctuated why she might be the best female tennis player ever.

    The victory was her ninth Grand Slam title and third U.S. Open and vaulted her into the No. 1 spot in the world rankings. But it was the physical dominance that she showed over her opponents (including sister Venus along the way) that has fans recalling Serena's cat-suit days when no one was even close to being in her class on the court.

    Focus and determination is the name of her game now, and coupled with her devastating power and shot making ability I simply cannot see another player out there right now who can beat her when she plays her best.

    At 23 and in great shape, Serena still has several more years to cement her place in history alongside the greatest the game has ever seen. She served notice last night that she is truly back and there is little that can stand in her way.

  • How about the East Carolina Purple Pirates? All they've done so far in two weeks of play is knock off, not one, but two top-25 opponents in Virginia Tech and West Virginia. The wins earned them a spot in the latest polls, all the way up at No. 14 in the AP poll. The first time they've been ranked in nine years.

    I was so impressed by the way they handled themselves against the Mountaineers Saturday, on both sides of the ball, bottling up Heisman candidate Pat White and controlling the ball with a bruising running game and timely passing attack.

    Head coach Skip Holtz (son of Lou) has done a masterful job preparing his kids to play with a chip on their shoulder and not take things for granted which is more than half the battle when you're dealing with college kids.

    Having passed their two toughest tests it will be up to Holtz to keep them focused and prepared for what should be a fairly easy schedule from here on out. They still have to travel to Virginia and to UCF, but other than those two very winnable games the Pirates could sail (aarrgghhh, a pun matey) right into a berth in a BCS bowl game for the first time in school history.

  • As ECU was taking care of business, another team in purple on the other side of the country was busy getting screwed by the always-sketchy Pac-10 officials.

    If you missed it, the Washington Huskies and quarterback Jake Locker engineered a late-game comeback against No. 15 BYU as Locker scored on a 3-yard run with two seconds left on the clock that would have tied the game with the extra point.

    Locker however was flagged for excessive celebration after he tossed the ball over his head in joy before getting mobbed by his equally joyous teammates. He didn't taunt anyone, he didn't dance a jig, all he did was act like any excited kid would have and celebrated the big play with his team.

    The extra point try was pushed back and the subsequent attempt was blocked, preserving the 28-27 win for the Cougars. There's no way to say that Washington would have won the game or even made the extra point from the regular spot, but to have the officials take away their chance at a major upset was downright criminal.

    The official has tried to defend himself saying it was not a judgment call and by the iron-clad letter of the law they were required to throw the flag. But if that's not the biggest load of crap you've ever heard (outside of everything our current President says) something is wrong with you.

    Even the national coordinator for college football officiating, David Parry, said that all calls are judgment calls and even conceded that, "I think it's safe to say on emotional moments officials might become a little more lenient."

    Every week officials across the country swallow their whistles and let minor celebrations like the one from this game go. So why all of a sudden would an official at the end of a tension-filled, near-classic of a football game decide to penalize an excited kid for this?

    The worst part about it is that the loss may have helped to end the tenure of Washington head coach Tyrone Willingham who could have potentially saved his job with a win against a top-15 opponent. As bad as I feel for the Husky players, I feel equally bad for Willingham, who as always handled the disappointment with grace and class. Too bad the officials couldn't do the same.

  • Colombian superstar Camilo Villegas won his first tournament as a member of the PGA Tour this past weekend when he held off Jim Furyk and fellow rising star Anthony Kim in the BMW Championship. The win vaulted Villegas into second place in the season-ending FedEx Cup Playoff standings.

    As well as Villegas played and as talented as he is, I wouldn't get too excited about this victory in terms of his long-term ability to challenge the Tiger Woods' and Phil Mickelson's of the world.

    Yes he hits it a mile and yes he's very marketable, but I see too many inconsistencies in his game for me to call him the "next big thing". His putter is still too moody and as NBC analyst Johnny Miller pointed out, he still tends to get into a negative frame of mind too quickly.

    There's little doubt he'll win again because he has the talent to do so, but I don't see him winning majors in the foreseeable future. He could however be a formidable opponent for the United States in next year's President's Cup should he make the team.

    His all-or-nothing approach is perfect for the team format and he'd certainly bring an energy and excitement to the International team similar to what Sergio Garcia brings to the European team in the Ryder Cup.

  • Scottish star Andy Murray pulled off the biggest win of his career when he beat the top-ranked player in the world Rafael Nadal in four sets en route to his first ever Grand Slam final. Next up for Murray is a date with former No. 1 Roger Federer who Murray actually holds a 2-1 record against.

    You could tell Nadal was not quite himself after an exhausting season in which he won both the French Open and Wimbledon as he passed Federer as the best player in the world. Murray meanwhile stuck to his guns and used some unreal shot-making to wear down the Spanish superstar and is poised to win the first major for his country since 1936.

    He'll have to play even better to beat a re-focused Federer, but it's nice to see someone else toss their hat in the ring on the men's side of the sport which has sorely lacked in depth for several years.

    Soon after this was written, Federer quickly dispatched Murray in straight sets to claim his fifth straight U.S. Open title. Still, it was nice to see a player with as much promise as Murray has shown finally break through and reach a Grand Slam final.

  • I hope I didn't jinx them, but the Tampa Bay Rays are slowly but surely losing their grip on the AL East lead and have put themselves in a position to miss the playoffs altogether. Injuries and a shaky back end of the bullpen have been the culprits as the Rays have lost three straight heading into Tuesday and their lead in the division is down to a game and a half over the surging Red Sox.

    They should be getting rookie of the year candidate Evan Longoria back into their everyday lineup soon, which will help. But unless they can get back to doing what got them into this position, namely playing solid defense and shutting the door once they get a lead, they could very easily go from the feel-good story of the summer to also-rans in a hurry.

  • Speaking of teams on the decline, the Minnesota Twins are going to look back on this as a season of missed opportunities if they fail to make it to the post-season. They choked away yet another lead on Sunday, losing for the seventh time in their last ten games.

    The late game collapses from the Twins have been even more troubling as the AL Central leading White Sox have lost six of their last ten games.

    Unfortunately there is really nothing manager Ron Gardenhire can do in this situation has he has plenty of relievers to choose from with the expanded September rosters, they just haven't executed in the big moments.

    You could argue that early season overuse of guys like Matt Guerrier and Jesse Crain has put a strain on the bullpen as a whole, but when All-Star closer Joe Nathan is blowing saves left and right it just comes down to execution more than anything.

    The normally sure-handed Twins defense has been lacking lately as well, contributing in no small way to several of the most recent losses. The Twins are currently tied for 21st in fielding percentage in the major leagues a year after finishing tied for 12th and costly errors have been a common thread for them all season.

    They finish the season with only nine more games at home where they are 47-25 and have to go back out on the road for ten straight games in-between where they are 31-40. Things are not looking good for everyone's favorite small-market club.

  • Kobe Bryant is going to have surgery on a broken pinkie finger that will keep him sidelined for approximately six weeks. The Lakers open their regular season on October 28th, which conveniently enough is right around the time Bryant will be back at full strength.

    You have to hand it to the guy for squeezing as much rest and relaxation time out of his Olympics-shortened off-season as possible. But something tells me he won't receive nearly as much scrutiny for this as he deserves.

    It's obvious he doesn't want to go through training camp or the pre-season, and for a player of Bryant's stature I can't say I blame him. But ask yourself, if this was say, Allen Iverson, wouldn't the media be all over him like a cheap suit for this?

    We're talking about practice here man, practice. What are we talking about? We're talking about practice, man, practice.

    A day after I wrote this Bryant decided to forego the surgery on his finger because he claims the recovery process is too long and would affect his ability to lead the Lakers to a championship.

    This of course sets him up to look like a tough, do-anything-for-the-team kind of guy and will surely help his image, which to this point has been that of a selfish gunner. Nice work Kobe!

  • Former University of California wide receiver DeSean Jackson caught six balls for 106 yards and added a 60-yard punt return in his first game as a pro for the Philadelphia Eagles.

    Good thing the 49ers passed on that guy, twice. No way they could use a productive, talented wideout like that who just happens to be from California and played his college ball 25 minutes (without traffic) from Candlestick Park. What on Earth could offensive guru Mike Martz possibly do with a guy like that?

    Oh by the way, the Niners leading receiver on Sunday in a loss to the Arizona Cardinals was running back Frank Gore who caught four passes for 55 yards, followed closely by tight end Vernon Davis.

  • On a happier note, I got a brand new 40" LCD TV this weekend and it's gorgeous.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

It's About Time

Just a quick update on an item mentioned in yesterday's Monday Musings post.

Cal head football coach Jeff Tedofrd has announced that sophomore quarterback Kevin Riley is still the starter and that there will be no more rotation involving senior Nate Longshore.

This couldn't have happened soon enough as Longshore has consistently been unable to step up in the crucial moments for the Golden Bears while making critical mistakes every step of the way. His two interception performance on Saturday vs. Michigan State was clearly all Tedford could stand and now the job is Riley's alone.

In five games dating back to last season (2 starts) Riley is a combined 53-for-80 (66%) for 765 yards with seven touchdowns and only one interception. He's also rushed for two touchdowns.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Monday Musings (The Tuesday Edition)

Welcome to a special Tuesday Edition of Monday Musings thanks to the Labor Day holiday. I won't bore you with my golfing exploits over the weekend, so on with the show...

  • The college football season started with a bang and picked up right where last season left off with upsets a plenty.

    Three top-25 teams lost to unranked opponents (Tennessee, Virginia Tech, Pittsburgh), another was beaten badly by a lower ranked team (Clemson) and Michigan found a way to lose their second-straight home opener.

    This is why I love college football, because for those five teams it will be virtually impossible for them to win a national championship. Every game counts equally and there is no room for slow starts.

    Oh, and they're OK too.

  • Tennessee head coach Phil Fullmer may never set foot in the state of California again. At least he won’t if he’s smart.

  • Cliff Lee became the major league’s first 20-game winner after he tossed a complete game shutout against the AL Central leading White Sox.

    Lee now has credit for 20 of Cleveland’s 66 wins, which is remarkable. What’s even more impressive is that in seven of his wins the Indians have scored four runs or fewer and he picked up no-decisions in four games in which he gave up two runs or less.

    He hasn’t lost since July 6th and has won six straight decisions giving up eight earned runs and seven walks in 47.2 inning pitched. Dominant doesn’t quite describe what Lee has done this season and he should be a lock to win the AL Cy Young Award.

  • There are reports that the Bengals’ wide receiver formally known as Chad Johnson has legally changed his name to Chad Ocho Cinco. This might be at the same time the dumbest and greatest attempt to market ones self in the history of sports.

    One thing is for certain, if the NFL allows him to put Ocho Cinco on the back of his jersey (and I can’t see how they can stop him now), his will be the most purchased jersey in the league and it won’t be close.

  • Ricky Williams got a one-year contract extension with the Miami Dolphins. I have him on 1,400 yards and 8 touchdowns, no joke.

  • The San Francisco Giants have lost six of their last seven games and Barry Zito got lit up by the Reds on Friday. Order has officially been restored to major league baseball.

  • The Knicks traded for Patrick Ewing Jr. apparently hoping to distract fans from the awfulness that is the New York Knicks. Honestly, it will be pretty cool to see Ewing emblazoned on the back of a Knicks jersey once again, but they still suck. A lot.

  • Tiger Woods and his wife Elin are reportedly expecting their second child sometime this winter. This of course brings into question the story about him injuring his knee while running. You the man Tiger!

  • Brazilian superstar Robinho signed with Manchester City, favorite club of Oasis front man Noel Gallagher (new album in stores Oct. 6, yay!). This after powerhouse Chelsea thought it had the inside track on the 24-year-old.

    I’m sure no one reading this will care, but anytime a talent like Robinho switches clubs it’s worth mentioning in my book. Thus ends the soccer portion of the program.

  • Vijay Singh won his second straight tournament by demolishing the field at the Deutsche Bank Championship, firing a final round 63 on his way to all but securing the $10 million bonus that goes to the winner of the FedEx Cup.

    At 45, Singh looks as fit as ever and even his often-balky putter seems to be behaving for him.

    I am supremely impressed by Singh who looks like he could play until he’s 55 without losing a step. He still hits it a mile and has the experience and moxy to do some serious damage in the majors next year.

  • Olympic gold medalists Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh lost for the first time in 112 matches when they were beaten by the American team of Elaine Youngs and Nicole Branagh.

    The loss came just over a year after their last defeat, which was also at the hands of Youngs and Branagh.

    Say what you want about beach volleyball being a fringe sport, but you have to be impressed by the total dominance May and Walsh have shown over the last year.

  • Cal beat Michigan State 38-31 on Saturday in spite of senior quarterback Nate Longshore’s two crucial interceptions in limited duty.

    I have no idea why Cal head coach Jeff Tedford continues to run him out there, but here’s hoping Longshore’s terrible effort on Saturday will further tighten sophomore Kevin Riley’s grip on the starting job and decrease the amount of playing time Tedford gives his senior QB.

  • Lastly, the LPGA is trying to pass a rule that requires its members to speak English or face suspension from the tour.

    While it’s true that a growing number of the best players in the world hail from non-English speaking countries, making it mandatory for them to learn the language or lose playing privileges is out of line.

    For a game that markets itself as a global competition the LPGA has clearly over-played its hand in this instance. They could never get this kind of rule passed on the men’s tour, and they are foolish to think they can do it for the women.

    The LPGA needs to be happy about the rise in their popularity as a tour and keep its greatest assets, its players, as happy as possible and this is no way to do it.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A Time To Step Up And Sit Down

Shawne Merriman is a tough guy.

He's so tough that he apparently is willing to risk his career as one of the best defensive players in the NFL, as well as his long-term health, to stand side-by-side with his teammates and try to capture that elusive Super Bowl ring.

Now that sounds noble and certainly proves Merriman's devotion to his teammates. However it also sounds like one of the worst ideas I've ever heard.

Not one, not two, not three, but four different doctors have told Merriman that he's risking career-ending injury by continuing to play on a knee that has tears in both the posterior cruciate and lateral collateral ligaments. That means he's putting himself at risk no matter what direction he tries to cut and run.

Last time I checked, running and cutting was a fairly important part of his job in chasing down quarterbacks and ball-carriers. Even if he is somehow able to move freely and endure the pain that those movements certainly bring him, lets not forget the linemen, tight ends and running backs who I doubt will stop and think about his knee before they try and cut him down on his way to the quarterback.

You can't begin to tell me that with his knee in the condition that it's in he can be anywhere near the caliber of player he expects himself to be. To me, his decision to continue playing is a selfish one in that in trying to prove how tough he is, he's actually hurting the defense as a unit.

There is an unwritten rule among football players that if you're hurt, you play. But if you're injured it's up to you to do what's best for your team. That is clearly something that Merriman will not do.

All that to say, the onus now is on the Chargers to cut Merriman off at the pass here. Beyond what a less-than-100% Merriman means to a defense built on speed and creating turnovers, the Chargers have a responsibility to protect the player from himself.

As far as I know no one is going to stop paying Merriman if he sits out this year. Sure he might lose out on a few bonuses for not making the Pro Bowl as well as other performance benchmarks, but they're not going to cut him.

So for the Chargers this comes down to protecting the health of one of their employees, something every organization in sports as well as business is supposed to do. If the Chargers allow Merriman to take the field this season and he does permanent damage to himself, they will share the blame evenly with Merriman himself for this unbelieveably poor decision.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Bad Break

Just a quick note I wanted to pass along. Former Vikings' WR and friend of Quick Hits..., Jason Carter, was placed in injured reserve today by the Carolina Panthers after he tore his ACL in Saturday night's pre-season game vs. the Redskins.

This is really too bad because JC was pretty much assured of making the Panthers' 53-man roster and was finally going to get his shot in regular game action.

He's a tough guy so I'm sure he'll do everything he can to fight back from this and I suspect we'll see him on an NFL football field again.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Monday Musings

The Olympics are now a distant memory, baseball is headed for the stretch run, college football starts this week and the NFL gets underway next week. It's a great time to be a sports fan.

  • The so-called "Redeem Team" won its gold medal after sweating through a spirited effort from Spain who gave the U.S. all it could handle. It wasn't the prettiest performance of the games for the NBA's brighest, but in the end they got the job done.

    I stayed up late to watch the game live and I couldn't help but think about why the NBA game in my opinion is suffering a bit right now. Despite showcasing some of the biggest stars in the history of the game in Kobe and LeBron, it was disturbing just how fundamentally deficient most of the American players are.

    Outside of point guards Chris Paul and Deron Williams who I thought managed the game well and played under control, the rest of the team did what NBA players do and relied too heavily on their stunning athleticism.

    Too often they got out of position on defense because of poor footwork and it cost them as the Spanish team was able to penetrate at will while the Americans gambled for steals. On the offensive end it was an endless stream of out-of-control dashes to the basket or ill-advised three pointers that nearly got them beat in the one game that mattered most.

    Like I said, a win is a win and bringing home the gold medal is the most important thing. However something needs to change about the way young American basketball players learn the game if we expect to get back to the type of utter dominance we all expect from the best players from the world's premier league.

  • Big props to the little league team from Hawaii who dominated the team from Mexico to take home the state's second Little League World Series title in four years.

    I was really impressed by the team's style and especially pitcher Caleb Duhay's strike zone pounding approach. Too often the 11 and 12 year old players rely on big breaking balls and have a hard time locating any of their pitches because of poor mechanics. But I have to give it up to Duhay and his coaches for stressing the importance of throwing strikes.

    I could have done without the big league home run trots from some of the kids, but hey, they were having fun with it so I can't really hate on that.

  • As it turns out the San Francisco 49ers may have been doomed no matter what when it came time to pick a quarterback in 2005.

    The prevailing thought that year was that if Heisman Trophy winner Matt Leinart had left USC early that he would have been the Niners' #1 pick. As it turned out he stayed in school and they picked Utah's Alex Smith instead.

    Fast forward to today and both Smith and Leinart have been passed over for starting gigs on their respective teams. Hey, maybe they could swap the signal callers for one another and see what happens.

  • Two of the NFL's fiercest defensive players have been hit with major injuries in the last week as Chargers' defensive end Shawne Merriman found out he has two ligament tears in his left knee, and Giants' end Osi Umenyiora is out for the season with an ACL tear.

    Merriman has yet to make a decision whether or not he'll try to play through the injury, but if I were him I'd take the season off and try to get healthy. It does make you wonder however if his past steroid use has anything to do with the sudden breakdown of a once unbreakable physique.

    For Umenyiora the injury is unfortunate, but reports are that it may have saved us from having to watch Michael Strahan yuck it up on Fox this season as he is considering a comeback.

    Fellow NFC East defensive end Jason Taylor escaped a potentially devastating end to his first season in Washington as he only sprained his right knee against the Panthers Saturday night. He'll be out 10-14 days and may miss the season opener.

    These types of injuries can of course occur at any time in a game as violent as football, but once again it has to call into the question the need for four pre-season games. When you add mini and training camps to the mix it seems to me that most teams would be able to make personnel decisions with just two of the meaningless contests. Of course then the poor NFL might lose out on millions in revenue, so we know that won't happen anytime soon.

  • If you like baseball even a little bit you have to be impressed with what's going on in Tampa Bay this season. Even without their two best players (Carl Crawford and Evan Longoria) the Rays have managed to hang onto a 4.5 game lead in the AL East with no signs of slowing down.

    Last week I wrote that they should be taking a closer look at Barry Bonds as a possible fill-in in the middle of their batting order, but the way they are playing right now makes have to re-think that. Hell, if it weren't for the non-hustle of center fielder B.J. Upton they might have an even bigger lead right now.

  • Cal head football coach Jeff Tedford finally came to his senses (sort of) and named sophomore Kevin Riley the team's starting quarterback after a heated competition this spring between Riley and and senior incumbent Nate Longshore.

    Of course Tedford wouldn't commit all the way to Riley, saying that Longshore would indeed play in the season opener against Michigan State. That of course is exactly what you want to do with a young quarterback, have him looking over his shoulder constantly. Just ask Matt Leinart how that is working out in Arizona.

  • Thanks to NBC's coverage of the Olympics, most of the world missed out on one of the best performances by one of the brightest young golfers on the planet, New Zealand's Danny Lee.

    Lee, who was born in South Korea, became the youngest ever to win the U.S. Amateur, wiping out one of Tiger Woods' myriad of amateur records. At just 18 years (and 1 month) old, Lee is the top-ranked amateur player in the world and he justified that ranking by steamrolling Florida State's Drew Kittleson, 5 and 4.

    Lee was an impressive 11-under par through the 32 holes played on Sunday on the famed and monstrously difficult Pinehurst No. 2. The Golf Channel broadcast every round of the event, but for a tournament that has seen its share of non-descript champions over the last several years, it was really too bad that Lee didn't get the network TV treatment the biggest tournament in amateur golf usually gets.

    Look out for Lee in next year's first two majors, The Masters and the U.S. Open, where he would be teeing it up with the big boys as long as keeps his amateur status. Lee was great to watch with his go-for-it style and Tiger-like ability to extract himself from trouble all over the course.

    When told of his possible pairing with Woods in the 2009 U.S. Open Lee was, lets say, a little excited.

    "Oh, my God. ... Yeah. That's a, oh, that's a special thing for me. ... Wow. I'm going to beat him."

    Good luck with that Danny.

  • The other U.S. Open starts today, begging the question, if a tennis tournament happens and no one hears it, does it make a sound?

  • The San Francisco Giants have won a season-high 5 straight games and Barry Zito has won back-to-back starts. Someone check on Hell to make sure no one down there needs a coat.

  • 7 Miami football players have been suspended for the season opener against Charlston Southern and the sun will rise tomorrow morning. So not much has changed really.

  • Had my first fantasy football draft last night and landed the #1 overall pick. I had to take LaDainian Tomlinson even though he's not who I really wanted. Not sure why exactly, I guess I'm just dreading a decline in his production at some point.

    The rest of my roster includes QBs Drew Brees and Davis Garrard, RBs Darren McFadden, DeAngelo Williams, Jonathan Stewart and Ray Rice, WRs Larry Fitzgerald, Calvin Johnson, Ted Ginn Jr., Nate Burleson and Ronald Curry, TE Vernon Davis and Ks Mason Crosby and Jeff Reed.

    Not bad, but I look at this team and I think I'm either going to win the whole thing or finish dead last. There will be no in between.

  • One last late note from today. Oregon QB Nate Costa will be sidelined for a minimum of 8-10 weeks after he re-injured his surgically repaired left knee. As you'll remember it was another knee injury that torpedoed the Ducks chances at a shot at the title last year when former QB Dennis Dixon was injured.

Friday, August 22, 2008

The Power Of Three: Athletes Turned Sportscasters

Watch any telecast of any sporting event anywhere and 99% of the time right there alongside the host or play-by-play man will be an ex-athlete who has traded his career as an on-field participant for a seat in the broadcast booth.

Generally speaking these ex-athletes provide a nice balance with their usually overly dramatic and sometimes clueless partners, providing insight that only someone with experience in that particular sport can give.

In the best cases the ex-athlete will add that little extra something to a broadcast that can help the average fan at home better understand what it is they're seeing and why the subtle nuances of sport are so important.

Many times however the untrained, vocabulary-less jock-in-a-tie will drag their professionally trained cohort down leaving them to sort out the jumbled mess of a production that, while at times amusing, is usually enough for people to turn off the sound or change the channel altogether.

Here now a quick look at three former players who I think have made an effortless transition from the field to the booth and three that need to go enjoy their millions and leave the rest of us in peace.

Top Three:
  1. Troy Aikman - Far and away the best football player turned broadcaster, it took Aikman just a single season before he had ascended to the top spot as part of the lead broadcast team at Fox alongside Emmy Award winner Joe Buck.

    One of the rare ex-athletes who can at times actually carry a broadcast when the better-suited-for-baseball Buck finds himself without anything interesting to say. Aikman is the one guy I look forward to hearing from every Sunday as he is the perfect blend of quality delivery and deep knowledge base.

  2. Orel Hershiser - Once one of the toughest pitchers in baseball, Hershiser has carried his studied and professional approach on the mound over into the broadcast booth where he currently works as an analyst for ESPN.

    Known during his playing days for always being prepared, Hershiser clearly the brings the same attitude to his work as an announcer as he always seems to have that little nugget of information that the casual fan will undoubtedly learn something from. He's steady, reliable and professional and a treat to listen to whether he's covering the stars in the big leagues or the kids at the Little League World Series.

  3. Duane Kuiper and Mike Krukow - I'll admit it, this is a homer pick from me, but I don't really care. Known to San Francisco Giants fans simply as "Kruk and Kuip" these two ex-ballplayers form what for my money is the best broadcast team in all of baseball. And it's not even close, meat.

    From Kruk's "Eliminator" to Kuip's now (in)famous home run call, this duo is the total package when it comes to doing baseball. They're funny, insightful, passionate and professional. No over-the-top homerism's or annoying schtick here, just two good baseball men who deliver quality broadcast after quality broadcast. It's a shame more people don't get the chance to listen to them, but to be honest as a Giants fan it's kind of nice to have something this good all to myself.

    Honorable Mention - Tom Jackson (ESPN), Patrick McEnroe (CBS, ESPN), Mark Jackson (ESPN), Daryl Johnston (Fox), Nick Faldo (CBS, Golf Channel, ESPN), Jay Bilas (ESPN), Gary McCord (CBS), David Feherty (CBS)

Bottom Three:
  1. Emmitt Smith - One of the all-time greatest football players and one hell of a dancer, Smith has surprisingly fallen flat on his face as a studio analyst for ESPN's Monday Night Countdown.

    There's no questioning his credentials, but more often than not his analysis is a difficult to understand mish-mash of words that unfortunately at times paint him as unintelligent. While that is certainly not the case, his obvious lack of broadcasting savvy makes him downright difficult to watch.

  2. Eric Young - The Mayor of Souvenir City, Young made his mark in the big leagues as a guy who was dependable and flexible, playing both the infield and outfield at the highest level. These days fans of ESPN's Baseball Tonight are forced to watch him commit error after error on the set of the popular show.

    While I could have picked from several of Baseball Tonight's analysts (Orestes Desdrade, Eduardo Perez, Fernando Vina) it's Young who takes the cake with an uncanny ability to muck up highlight after highlight with his non-existent sense of timing and smoothness.

  3. Bill Walton - Passionate, check. Intelligent, check. Knowledgeable, double-check. Annoying as all get out, oh hell yes. Walton is the rare athlete turned broadcaster who somehow manages to deliver interesting information that would in most cases enhance a broadcast, but instead manages to make me want to pull my nose hairs out one by one.

    No one rambles quite like Walton who routinely forces those brave enough to interview him to cut him off mid-sentence in order to move the show forward. He knows his stuff and his love for the game is astounding, but when I'd rather smash my finger in a car door than listen to someone carry on as Walton does, something is terribly wrong.

    (Dis)Honorable Mention - Keyshawn Johnson (ESPN), Rick Sutcliffe (ESPN), Brian Baldinger (Fox), Mark May (ESPN, ABC), Lanny Wadkins (CBS), Ron Santo (Cubs Radio), Mark Grace (FSN Arizona)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Matchup: Alex Smith vs. J.T. O'Sullivan

Welcome to another of the weekly features I'm rolling out here at Quick Hits... simply called "Matchup". Each week I'll take two opposing figures, teams, issues, etc. and pit them against one another.

This week we start with the hot topic surrounding the San Francisco 49ers these days, the quarterback battle. Former No. 1 overall pick Alex Smith has seemingly lost his job to journeyman J.T. O'Sullivan and on the eve of their third pre-season game we take a closer look at who should be calling the shots in the city by the bay.

Alex Smith - To this point in his career you could call Alex Smith a bona fide bust and another in a long line of quarterbacks taken early who fell flat on his face.

His career quarterback rating of 63.5 is lower than that of fellow first-round flops Cade McNown and Todd Marinovich thanks in large part to a 19-to-31 touchdown-to-interception ratio over his three year career.

Thought to be a cerebral signal caller with the ability to move and make plays on the run, Smith instead has been the picture of confusion on the field. Routinely holding the ball too long and making questionable decisions with the football, Smith has done little to prove his backers right.

To point out just how ineffective he's been in his efforts to put points of the board, in 32 career games he's completed only 11 passes on 40 yards or more and has averaged only 5.8 yards per completion.

However for all his faults, it's impossible to place the blame solely at his feet. Not once in his going on four year career has Smith had the same offensive coordinator from one season to the next. That's like showing up to your 9-to-5 every January 1st only to find out everything you were doing the year before is obsolete and you've been returned to "new guy" status. Not fun.

Add to that a less-than-stellar supporting cast and an untimely injury here and there, and the weight of No. 1 overall expectations become near impossible to carry. To most who know what they're talking about, the verdict on Smith is still out. But has his window of opportunity closed or will he get one last shot to prove himself worthy of his lofty draft status?

J.T. O'Sullivan - When you talk about O'Sullivan you can basically forget tossing out any sort of career numbers. In fact he barely has any to speak of having only appeared in five games and attempting only 26 passes, all of them last year in mop-up duty with the Detroit Lions.

Originally a 6th-round pick of the New Orleans Saints in 2002, O'Sullivan was inactive for his entire first two seasons in the NFL before being waived and then traded to the Green Bay Packers.

O'Sullivan's most notable accomplishments came as a top quarterback in NFL Europa where he led the Frankfurt Galaxy to the World Bowl in 2004 and was named Offensive co-MVP in 2007. Coming off of that MVP performance overseas, O'Sullivan caught the eye of new 49ers offensive coordinator Mike Martz while he was with the Detroit Lions.

That turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to O'Sullivan who, until meeting Martz, had underwhelmed each and every NFL offensive coordinator he had come in contact with. The guy was even cut by the offensively challenged '06 Vikings.

Through two pre-season games with the 49ers, O'Sullivan is 13-for-25 with a touchdown and an interception, which along with his performance on the practice field (and in Martz's heart) has apparently been enough to convince the 49ers coaching staff that O'Sullivan is their guy.

The Verdict - The reports out of San Francisco have head coach Mike Nolan deferring to his offensive coordinator in this case in an effort to save his job. Which to me means Nolan must really want out of San Francisco, bad.

Just the thought of J.T. O'Sullivan as the 49ers opening day quarterback makes me throw up in my mouth just a little. Honestly, can somebody please explain to me what he's done to earn the starting gig here? I bet you can't. Hell, I bet he can't.

I'm not going to sit here and try to convince you that Alex Smith is all of a sudden going to turn into Tom Brady, but he deserves the opportunity to start for a team that is finally starting to come together in all the other facets of the game.

Not only is Smith the more experienced player, but for my money he's the superior talent. He's quicker on his feet, he's got a cleaner delivery of the football (O'Sullivan kind of pushes the ball out) and having seen O'Sullivan up close I can tell you that Smith couldn't possibly be as bad a decision maker as the man poised to take his job.

O'Sullivan will get the start on Thursday night and likely will do the same in the regular season opener against the Arizona Cardinals. For 49ers fans that fact may very well signal an early look ahead to 2009.

Anyone have Brady Quinn's phone number?

Monday, August 18, 2008

Monday Musings

Welcome to an all-new feature here at Quick Hits... that I like to call "Monday Musings". Every Monday I'll take a quick look at the stories that caught my eye from the week prior and share my thoughts on each.

  • What better place to start of course than with Michael Phelps, the man who may have cemented his place as the greatest Olympic athlete of all time with a week-long performance for the ages in which he tallied eight (that's 8!!!) gold medals and surpassed the once thought untouchable record held by the great Mark Spitz

    I've been alive for eight (spooky) Olympic Games and never before have felt the type of palpable heart-thumping nervousness during an Olympic event that I felt each and every time Phelps took to the pool.

    His truly astounding feat of athleticism is something that I feel privileged to have seen and something that I will no doubt be telling my kids about years from now.

  • Another Olympic athlete who grabbed the spotlight and refused to let it go was gymnast Nastia Liukin. Now anyone who knows me knows that I don't particularly care for the non-sport that is gymnastics (we'll save that discussion for later), but I was captivated by the perpetually leggy Liukin and her stunning gold medal performance in the individual all-around competition.

    Perhaps it was the influence of her Olympic champion father, 1988 gold-medalist Valeri Liukin, but the unbelievable focus that Nastia exhibited in the face of a highly-biased crowd as well as some questionable judging was nothing short of extraordinary.

    Phelps had me glued to the television for obvious reasons, but it was Liukin who surprisingly grabbed my attention and became arguably my favorite Olympian in 2008.

  • Staying with the Olympic theme for just a bit longer, I'd be remissed if I didn't mention the disappointments that unfortunately stood out among all the American triumphs in Beijing.

    First would have to be gymnast and team captain Alicia Sacramone, whose two major mistakes during the the team finals will forever be seen as the difference between silver and gold for the American women.

    What was saddest about the situation was that it was clear that Sacramone was the inspirational leader on a team poised to make history. In the face of key injuries, Sacramone could be seen pumping up her less experienced teammates and you could feel the disappointment when she failed to hold up her end of the bargain.

    Impressively, Sacramone refused to pout or make excuses, choosing instead to do what all good leaders do and take responsibility for her missteps.

    The other massive disappointment in my eyes was the non-performance of swimmer Katie Hoff who came into the games as a strong favorite in several events and yet consistently came up short in the biggest moments.

    First she failed to qualify for the event most had her pegged to win pre-race, the 800-meter freestyle, and followed that lackluster performance up with several more down-the-stretch fade jobs.

    While her Olympics weren't a total failure as she managed two bronze medals and one silver, the lasting image of Hoff for me will be the bewildered look she seemed to flash at the end of every race, as if to imply that even she could not believe how poorly she performed overall.

  • Jamaica's Usain Bolt is the fastest man in the world and already I can't wait until someone slaps that stupid grin off his face.

  • Mixed feelings about the San Francisco Giants $6.2 million bonus for their top draft choice, catcher Buster Posey out of Florida State.

    Part of me is excited to get the young man into the fold and happy to see the organization's commitment to scouting and signing big time talent. But I also find myself having to question the notion of any team giving a guy with exactly zero major league at-bats that kind of money guaranteed.

    I can't fault Posey or his agent Scott Boras for seeking the large payday as they clearly were just exploiting the system as it stands. I just hope for the Giants sake that Posey reaches the big leagues quickly and has the kind of impact that many in the know think he can.

    By comparison the number one overall pick, high school shortstop Tim Beckham, received a $6.15 million bonus from the Tampa Bay Rays.

  • Vikings' QB Tarvaris Jackson suffered a sprained MCL in his right knee during the team's second pre-season game on Saturday. An injury that at first was believed to be only a bruise.

    Reports are that Jackson should not miss the Vikings' season opener on Monday Night Football in Green Bay, and may in fact play as early as this Saturday vs. the Steelers. As many people have mentioned, Jackson holds the key to the Vikings' fortunes in 2008. However I hardly see the difference in the offense when Jackson is at the helm and when veteran backup Gus Frerotte is leading the charge.

    Sure Jackson brings the added element of athleticism and escape-ability, but with a nicked up leg you have to wonder just how effective the still unfinished Jackson can be should he be forced to miss the final two pre-season games.

  • That other quarterback who nearly landed in Minneapolis did pretty well in his first action with his new team. Yay. But his name will still never grace this blog.

  • If we have indeed seen the last of Tom Glavine, the sure-fire Hall of Fame pitcher will be remembered as one of the best ever and a true inspiration to me in my younger days as a pitcher.

  • What in the Eastern Hemisphere is going on with all of these B and C-list NBA players defecting overseas? The latest player on the move is former New Orleans Hornet Jannero Pargo who agreed on a one-year deal with Dynamo Moscow worth a reported $3.5 million after taxes.

    Now I've never been one to say a guy shouldn't do something that is clearly in their best interests financially, but this is an alarming and disturbing trend if you're a fan of NBA basketball.

    Along with Pargo, former Magic guard Carlos Arroyo took a three-year deal from Israel's Maccabi Tel-Aviv, former Bobcats guard (and my wife's favorite player) Earl Boykins signed a one-year deal with Italy's Virtus Bologna and former Hawks forward Josh Childress signed a three-year deal with Greek club Olympiacos.

    Now I don't believe for a second that the Kobe Bryant's and LeBron James' of the world would make that kind of jump, but it makes you wonder just what's going on in the NBA when legitimate NBA-caliber talent is choosing to play somewhere other than the best basketball league on Earth.

  • In the same week the AL East leading Tampa Bay Rays lost arguably their two best offensive players to injury, left-fielder Carl Crawford and the game's best rookie, third baseman Evan Longoria.

    Longoria may be back sooner than later, but Crawford will miss the remainder of the regular season and it would be quite impressive if he were ready for the playoffs should the Rays make it that far.

    Of course there is one man out there who by all accounts is in great shape, rearing to go and willing to play for the minimum. He hit 28 home runs in 2007 with an OPS of 1.051 and did it all while playing in only 126 games, the bulk of which he played in one of the best pitcher's ballparks in all of baseball.

    His name of course is Barry Bonds and even the Rays, who have gone from annual cellar-dweller to first place darlings in the course of the last calendar year, will not touch him with a 34-inch/32-oz. maple bat. Did I mention he's willing to play for the league minimum?

    Unfortunately for Bonds and the few of us in the world who long to see him play one more time, there is virtually no chance he will find himself on a big league roster ever again. It's near impossible to prove collusion of course, but I for one firmly believe there is no solid baseball reason why a team in contention and in need of a bat couldn't take on Bonds and his unquestionable talent.

  • Meanwhile the Arizona Diamondbacks gave up two prospects and a legit big league starter in the form of Micah Owings to acquire Reds' slugger Adam Dunn for the next two months.

    Dunn will hit the open market at season's end and is likely to receive a hefty payday from someone. I watched him all last year and you can't tell me Barry Bonds is any worse in the outfield than Dunn and I'd be willing to bet Bonds wouldn't hit .236.

    OK, I'll stop.

  • The Georgia Bulldogs are the consensus No. 1 team in the country according to the major pre-season college football polls. It's the first time since 1982 that the Dawgs have been ranked that high.

    Good luck fellas. One look at that brutal schedule which includes road games at #15 Arizona State, #7 LSU and #10 Auburn, not to mention games against #24 Alabama, #18 Tennessee and #5 Florida and it's hard to imagine Mark Richt and company maintaining their lofty perch.

  • Tiger Woods should be player of the year on the PGA Tour, period. Four wins including a one-legged U.S. Open win, a 2nd place finish at the Masters and a 5th at the WGC-CA Championship is all the proof you need.

    Apologies to back-to-back major winner Padraig Harrington, but Woods still tops the tour money list by over $1 million with $5.75 million in earnings, and despite not playing since June would enter this week's FedEx Cup Playoff opener as the top seed.

    Aside from a 5th place finish at the Masters, Harrington's best showing in a tournament with Woods in the field was a 17th place finish in the WGC Accenture Match Play tournament.

    I rest his case.

  • As for my beloved San Francisco 49ers, it's looking like journeyman quarterback J.T. O'Sullivan will be the opening day starter for new offensive coordinator Mike Martz.

    This decision baffles me as I had a chance to see first hand just how dreadfully awful O'Sullivan (they're calling him JTO, of course) really is at Vikings training camp in 2006. That team broke camp with Brad Johnson as the starter, Mike McMahon as the backup and a rookie Tarvaris Jackson as the third-stringer. In other words, they just said no to JTO.

    Suddenly the man deemed not worthy enough to hold a clipboard in front of Mike McMahon has seemingly supplanted former No. 1 overall pick Alex Smith. Smith has never really had a chance in my opinion, as Martz is now his fourth different offensive coordinator in his four years as a pro.

    Niner fans have no fear however, we'll soon get to hear these words again:

    With the first pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, the San Francisco 49ers select...

    So that should be fun.

  • Lastly, I feel compelled to mention that former Vikings' practice squad wide receiver Jason Carter is just about assured of making the opening day roster for the Carolina Panthers and thanks to a few key injuries he should see significant playing time right out of the box.

    He was already turning heads at Panthers camp and now it looks like his opportunity has finally arrived. I've long been a fan of the versatile Carter who I'm convinced could have helped the Vikings in the passing game from day one but never got a real shot.

    Stay tuned for an update on his progress and a possible Q&A session with the man himself.

Friday, August 8, 2008

The Reboot

Hello all. As you've probably noticed, the frequency with which I am posting here at Quick Hits... has slowed considerably in the past month or so.

That is going to end soon because I will be rolling out a whole new batch of content on a much more normal basis very soon. Keep an eye out for several new features that, if they seem to be popular, may become weekly ones.

As always, I really enjoy hearing what people have to say about what I write. So I'd ask that as the new stuff starts to come out that you take a quick second to leave me a comment no matter how long or short it may be.

Lastly, you can now subscribe to Quick Hits... by using the handy little widget on the side of the page.

Thanks and come back soon.


Sunday, July 27, 2008

Favre. What More Can You Say?

Don't get me wrong here, I think Brett Favre is one of the best quarterbacks in the history of football and I think even at his age he could help several teams.

But dammit, I am sick and tired of all things #4.

Come back, don't come back, I don't care. Just please, for the love of all things, do something. Word out of Green Bay today is that Favre will apply for reinstatement but not show up at Packers camp where he would be rivaled only by the Ringling Bros. for the kind of circus he would bring to town.

So we know he'll be back, yay. But who knows how long it will be before we know where that will be and even then we'll no doubt be inundated with even more Favre coverage as his new team's current quarterback(s) will surely be miffed. And rightfully so.

Whichever team sees Favre fall into their laps will undoubtedly say all the right things about how thrilled they are to have a soon-to-be Hall of Famer in their midst. But make no mistake, that team better win and win big or else.

I can see it now, Favre-led Team X gets off to a slow start as his teammates fail to hold up their end of the bargain in the Bonds-ian spotlight that will surely shine across their locker room.

Favre openly calls out his new mates and questions publicly whether or not he made the right choice coming back. Team X begins to rot from the inside out and ultimately they limp home and miss the playoffs completely.

Meanwhile Favre, still in playing shape, retires again only to fuel speculation come June 2009 that the fire may still be there and the circus begins again.

Lets be honest here for a second. It won't matter what team he ends up with, that team will not win a Super Bowl. And you know that in his heart of hearts Favre wants nothing more than to pull an Elway and ride off into the sunset the conquering hero, an ending that will not come to pass and we will be forced to live through at least one more year of this.

So if you're like me and you've had you fill of Favre, be sure to come back to Quick Hits... often as you can rest assured that this will be the last time he's mentioned in this space. Promise.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Friday, June 20, 2008

The Goose Is Loose

Retief Goosen is a two-time U.S. Open champion and one of the best golfers in the world. But apprently he's not the brightest golfer in the world.

Goosen claimed he was be "light-hearted" when he accused Tiger Woods of exaggerating his knee injury on his way to the U.S. Open title last week, but I'm not buying it.

When asked if Tiger could have been faking it, Goosen responded, "I think so. It just seemed that when he hit a bad shot his knee was in pain and on his good shots he wasn’t in pain.

“You see when he made the putts and he went down on his knees and was shouting ‘Yeah’ his knee wasn’t sore. Nobody really knows if he was just showing off or if he was really injured. I believe if he was really injured he would not have played.”

OK, I'll give him the benefit of the doubt here in that if you only saw the highlights of Woods' win you might get the impression that only his bad shots were followed by painful grimaces.

Goosen clearly however failed to see Tiger nearly falling over in pain on several drives that split the middle of the fairway or watched him limp around the greens using his putter as a cane.

The fact of the matter is that Woods had multiple stress fractures in his left leg as well as a ruptured ACL. The injuries will cost him the rest of the season, so clearly they are serious.

“No one but Tiger knows how badly hurt he was," said Goosen. "But if he was really badly hurt, he would have withdrawn, wouldn’t he?”

The answer is no Retief. Maybe you would have pulled out, and most likely just about anyone else would have too, but that's why he's Tiger Woods and you're not.