Bill Haas is no stranger to the big stage. Bill’s father Jay played on the tour and was a 9 time winner. Being around a pro in his father has apparently instilled a drive to succeed in his blood. Sunday morning Bill was only two shots back of the leaders Keegan Bradley and Phil Mickelson, but by the 17th hole he was in sole possession of the lead all by himself. Finishing up his round Haas hit the driving range because he knew that between Mickelson and Keegan someone was going to step up and force a playoff. He was right, except it was both of them. Both Phil and Keegan nailed their birdie attempts before a packed crowd at the 18th green to force the playoff.
The clear favorite of the group was Mickelson, fresh off his win last week he had all the momentum as well as the crowd behind him. Bradley who shared the lead to start the day would probably have been picked second. Set aside his odd gestures and constant spitting, Bradley worked his was into a crowd favorite as well through the weekend. They all were near perfect on the playoff hole- all making their ‘must’ putts. The next hole to decide was the tricky 10th hole par 4. All three players had less than perfect tee shots this time, and eventually ended up near the green for a birdie attempt. Haas was furthest from the pin and up first, but decided to take what was his as he buried a 43 foot putt from the other side of the green. Mickelson made a good attempt on a must make out of the sand, and Bradley was also close on a fringe putt. In the end however Haas secured the victory with a big time shot and brought an exciting Sunday afternoon to a close in sunny California.
New York has a new mayor in town and his name is Jeremy Lin. The 6′ 3″ 200lb California native has taken the NBA by storm since becoming the starting point guard for the New York Knicks. Lin has sparked the gloomy Knicks to seven straight wins and has made the team relevant yet again. The big question around Lin has been if all his recent successes will last, and the general feeling around the league is that it will. The Harvard graduate definitely is putting his high intelligence to great use on the basketball court. He is making sound basketball decisions and is not afraid of facing a tough opponent or taking the big shot- both evident with a 38 point performance against the Lakers and his game winning shot as time expired against the Raptors.
My question today is where does Lin fall against the NBA’s premier point guards? Since he has become the starter the answer is -very well in fact. My group of premier point guards in the league is comprised of guys who can pass, score, and win. The general feeling is that means Derrick Rose, Steve Nash, Rajon Rondo, Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Russell Westbrook, Ricky Rubio, and Tony Parker. Looking at the numbers- I have compared Lin’s 7 game stretch of starting to these other point guards listed above. Rose is pretty clearly at the top of anyone’s list- he is a reigning MVP, is in the top two among point guards in points, win percentage, and turn over’s per game. Westbrook leads the group in scoring but turns the ball over a bit much at 4.4 per game. Chris Paul is strong with the ball and only turns the ball over 2 times a game (1st among point guards) is 4th in scoring at 18.5 per game and his team is winning 2 out of every 3 games he plays. Steve Nash is the veteran of the group and has always put up solid numbers to go with his MVP awards. Rubio is an up and comer, but has showed a very high ceiling so far. Rondo and Williams are also outstanding in their own right.
When we put Jeremy Lin’s numbers against the league’s best we see that his 24.3 points a game would put him at the top, his 9.1 assists per game would put him 3rd, and his 7 wins out of seven is outstanding. Lin’s weakness so far has been his turnovers. He is averaging over 5 per game which is not good at all. Over the long haul however, Lin will probably take better care of the ball, shoot a bit less, and distribute the ball even better than he already does. He is probably a 15-18 point a night guy who will be just under 10 assists a game. The Knicks will clearly lose again, but the way it looks now it won’t be quite as often if Lin wasn’t at the point. I do think that ‘Lin’ sanity will fade a bit, but probably is not going away for a while.
So the Texas Rangers have signed Japanese right handed pitcher Yu Darvish this off season; have they not been paying attention to the Daisuke Matsusaka saga as of late? In 2006 the Boston Red Sox posted a 51.1 million dollar ‘posting fee’ just to reserve the right to negotiate with him. In other words the Red Sox were negotiating with men wearing ski masks and carrying a gun, and the Rangers have just committed the same stupid mistake. The Texas Rangers ‘donated’ 51.7 million dollars for the same rights to negotiate with Darvish.
What’s amazing is not that somehow the Red Sox got dupped into this ‘posting fee’, but the Rangers were unable to learn from the Red Sox mistakes. The whole idea that a team would spend that type of money just to negotiate with a player is insane. How about this; if you want to play in the United States, get your passport and get to the airport. If you want to play in Japan, then play in Japan. Lets do away with this whole concept of overpaying for unproven players. ‘Dice K’ as he’s called is maybe a number three or four starter for an ok team. Through his career Matsusaka has started 105 games, posting a 49-30 record and a 4.25 ERA. Not terrible right? Well, take the Red Sox high powered offense away and he is at best a .500 pitcher giving up over 4 runs a game- basically a number 4 starter.
The Red Sox front office bought into all the hype back in 2006 just like the Rangers have done this year. Darvish, like Dice K comes with major sucesses in Japan. At 25 years old, Darvish is younger than Matsuzaka was upon coming to the United States. Sure, Darvish could come over and be a star- lock down starter in the bigs, but even if he is, its the system that needs to be changed.
Some say the center of the universe is New York- if this is true this weekends matchup between the Jets and Giants is even bigger than it may seem. In state rivals are one thing, but same city rivals is a whole other ballgame. In a city with plenty of fans, corperate sponserships and room for stars, the Jets and the Giants are both in a constant fight for all three, but who has the advantage?
The Jets have a slighly better record (8-6) than the Giants (7-7), but the Jets are in a weaker division. When we analyze this matchup head to head it’s close as well. The Giants have an advantage in yard per game (385-306) and passing yards a game (299-201). The Jets run the ball more effectively (104 yds/ game-86 yds/ game), allow fewer total yards per game (317-385) and allow fewer points per game (22.5- 26.6). The Giants have a stronger quarterback, but the Jets have better cornerbacks. Both teams have great wide recievers as well. The biggest difference between the teams may be at head coach. Rex Ryan is almost the face of the franchise, while Tom Coughlin likes to remain low key. Both coaches however do a tremendous job at preparing and motivating their teams. A Win on Christmas eve not only is a must for both teams in their playoff push, but also holds bragging rights for their stadium and city they share. It should be close.
Prediction; Jets 23- Giants 20
CP3 is coming to Hollywood! He will play on the big stage at the Staples Center – the home of the L.A Lakers! Oh wait, that deal was vetoed by NBA commissioner David Stern last week. That’s alright because it just happens that the Staples Center is also the home of the L.A Clippers. Chris Paul will not be joining Kobe Bryant, instead he’ll be throwing alley-oops to Blake Griffin. “I’m excited to be here in L.A. with this unbelievable franchise with so much history behind it,” Paul said. – Are the Clippers “the team” in L.A now?
Although Paul has two years left on his current contract, he and Clippers general manager Neil Olshey mentioned that Paul had made a long-term commitment to the team. After the news conference, Clippers officials said no agreement past the current two-year commitment has been made yet.
As the winter meetings kick off in Dallas, the Miami Marlins have decided so far that they needed a new statdium, new uniforms, and some new star players. So far we know this…by all acounts the stadium is a must -vist beautiful facility. Secondly, their logo and uniforms are equally horrific. It is pretty clear that whoever was on the design committe was either colorblind or in kindergarden or both. Lastly they are not messing around with the important part of actually building a solid baseball team. The Marlins shored up a dependable closer in Heath Bell as well as an all- star and pheonom shortstop Jose Reyes.
Reyes who led the league in batting last season for the mets (.337) brings speed, power, and energy to an already young and talented Marlins lineup which hung in the middle of the pack last year in the NL, but boasts a lineup of mostly young and rising talent that was already going to be better this year than last. In Heath Bell the Marlins add a veteran closer who carries with him his 43 saves and 2.44 ERA from last season. Bell is a veteran who looks to mix nicely with a young and talented pitching staff.
Last year the Marlins ranked 24th out of 30 teams in salries; this year with a new stadium, new closer, new star player, and new ugly uniforms -that will all change for sure. So far it looks like the Miami heat are no longer going to be the talk of the town (thank god) but instead the new look Marlins look to continue to add to an already solid team.
Well the NFL season is in it home stretch and it looks like the Packers are the team to beat. Along with being the team to beat, the Packers have the clear MVP front runner in Aaron Rogers. Aside from Lawrence Taylor coming out of retirement and snapping his legs in half he is an obvious MVP choice and may join last year’s winner Tom Brady in making it back to back unanimous decisions.
Looking at other ‘candidates’( since we already know our winner) we have in my opinion a solid group of about 5 other guys who will get some second and third place votes for sure. At the top of the list is last year’s MVP Tom Brady. Mr. Brady has the Pats in the AFC Drivers seat while at the same time torching opposing defenses. He has thrown for 3627 yards to date (330 ypg) along with 28 touchdowns to only 10 coming back the other way. Over in the NFC we have a mirror candidate matching Brady step for step in Drew Brees. Brees continues to amaze; leading the pack in passing at 3689 (335 ypg) to go along with 27 td’s and only 11 interceptions and has his Saints as the best chance of giving the Packers a run for their money. Back to back these two are in my opinion clear second and third place MVP candidates.
The third tier of guys has some interesting names in it for sure that have not been talked about in years past, but should get some votes as well. In Dallas, Tony Romo has his Cowboys on a 4 game win streak and sitting atop a tough NFC East. If the Cowboys can finish strong and make some playoff noise his numbers are good enough (3026/ 21/9) to get him some looks. He has done a great job this year with a team who lost their top wide out and changed running backs mid stride. After Romo, Calvin Johnson is grabbing touchdowns faster than Matthew Stafford can fire them up there. In a league of men, Calvin Johnson is a beast of a man. When the games on the line and your teams in the red zone there is clearly no other target with softer hands and big catch capabilities than megatron. To date, Johnson has visited the end zone 12 times to the tune of 1023 yards- all in the top three of the league.
The last man worthy of joining the conversation is Tebow. Whether your belief in God exists or does not exist, you prefer to put on a cheap suit and walk around neighborhoods selling bibles, or you have accepted Chuck Norris as your almighty savior- Tebow is the greatest thing to visit Denver since Pete Coors set up shop years ago. Although his public displays of religion and lady like throwing motion lead the charge of Tebow talk- no one can discount his pure leadership, competitiveness, and great timing he has displayed. Make no mistake about it the broncos pretty much were horseshit to start the year going 1-4, now PT (post Tebow) they are 5-1 and have surfaced as a team nobody wants to meet in a first round playoff matchup. For some reason the defense has responded to him as well showing hints of the Orange crush defense lurking around Mile High back in the day. It should be interesting to watch how it all plays out in the end.
Today the Red Sox will officially introduce Bobby Valentine as the new manager of the Boston Red Sox, but is this the best fit for them?
The Red Sox suffered an epic collapse late last season that still has Red Sox fans with a bitter taste in their mouth that may not go away until there is another World Series run in Boston. New Englanders have become spoiled through the last decade with various titles in all the major sports, but a collapse by the Red Sox last September still rises to the top of most of their minds. Unfortunately Terry Francona he became the go to reason most of this happened. Reports out of Boston that the clubhouse was lost, and that is never good.
Bobby Valentine was not an immediate choice out of the gate to replace Francona, as new GM Ben Cherrington seemed to like Dale Sveum or Gene Lamont. Rumors echoed later that VP Larry Lucchino petitioned for a Bobby V interview so what do you know here we are; power and position trumped again….must be nice.
In the end the Red Sox got themselves a brilliant baseball mind, vibrant personality, and a man who craves winning. He brings with him over 1,000 career wins, but also 1,000 career losses and a .510 win percentage. He is also a 61 year old man who has been out of a MLB dugout for nearly a decade. He also brings with him big city (Mets 96’-02’) managerial past experience as well as oversees managerial experience (Japan 04’-09’). Will it be a good hire? Only time will tell, but knowing how Red Sox fans overreact both for the positive and the negative we should know the pulse of the nation by valentine’s day right when the pitchers and catchers are ready for their spring return.
Gruesome I know…..but true absolutely! Looking at the odds from Vegas you will see tonight’s Thursday night football game as the Eagles vs. the Seahawks. Eagles are giving only 3 points away to the Seattle Seahawks who are how do we say….The Seattle Seahawks. If this game was handicapped prior to the season the spread would have been 2 touchdowns! What happened to the Philly Dream Team? Put aside the fact that Vince Young cursed them by calling them the Dream Team, they are basically a roster full of highly priced talent who just didn’t translate to wins.
Talent wise the Eagles were super bowl champs from the get go, but after a week one win against the Rams, a four game skid left them in hole to deep to get out of. Wins in three out of the next 5 gave Philly fans a glimmer of hope, but after The Patriots publically undressed them in Foxborough last week all hope has all but moved on to next season.
What happened? It starts at the top with Andy Reid. In a nutshell he just needs to go, he is a great coach who’s just needs a breather then a change of scenery. The shelf life for NFL coaches doesn’t last forever…ask Jack Del Rio. Next, after a great 2010 campaign Deshawn Jackson set the Eagles down the wrong path in training camp- deciding to hold out and set an example of individual over team from the onset…aka a receipt for failure of any team. Since he has returned he looks like he grew alligator arms during his holdout and is afraid to make a big play when his team needs one; all things we never saw from him in 2010. The next major factor is Michael Vick. Vick has not been terrible, but had not been as electric prior to the broken ribs. His explosiveness and accuracy that shocked many after he got out of jail has all but come back to reality. Lastly the Defense headed by their huge off season pickup Asomugha has been less than stellar giving up 30 points or more in 4 of their 7 losses.
Sure the Eagles may win tonight to move to 5-7 but with the hot Cowboys and streaky Giants ahead of them the playoffs are all but a dream for this ‘dream team’. All the dogs in the pet cemetery are celebrating with dog bones and sausage bites this year. Better luck next year Eagles.
Boise St. quaterback Kellen Moore is entering his senior season, but unlike many seniors, he will not be looking at a whole lot of familiarity. Moore will have to adjust to a new set of wide receivers, a new offensive coordinator, and a totally new conference. Youngsters Tyler Shoemaker, Geraldo Boldewijn, Mitch Burroughs, Kirby Moore, and Kyle Efaw will be asked to fill the shoes left by Titus Young and Austin Pettis who left for the NFL this season.
It remains to be seen if Kellen can put up the same types of numbers he did last year, especially in the red zone, where he hit Pettis for 22 TDs over the past 2 seasons alone (an FBS record). If Moore is able to overcome these obstacles, he will be a strong competitor for the Heisman Trophy against Andrew Luck who seems to be the overall favorite according to many sources. Moore does have the statistical advantage, however, boasting the nation’s top passer rating with a 166.7 along with the most wins by a QB with 38. This is certainly going to be an interesting college football season with Luck and Moore along with Oklahoma QB Landry Jones duking it out to become top dog.