Friday, November 6, 2009

Why Lebron Should Stay in Cleveland

After Lebron walked off the court in Madison Square Garden in New York tonight, victorious in convincing fashion, landing nearly a triple double, it left many to wonder, is this where he will play next year?

In the sports era we live in today, it is very rare that someone finishes what they started on their own. KG went to Boston and won a ring with a trio of superstars. A-Rod goes to NY and wins a World Series with the help of possibly the greatest baseball lineup of all time. But who were the Cavaliers before Lebron came to town?

We see too much of the best players in the game going to the highest bidder then winning a championship. The Red Sox (Beckett, Ramirez) and Yankees(A-Rod, Damon, Teixeira) do it in baseball. The Lakers (Gasol, Odom) and Celtics (Garnett, Allen) do it in basketball. None of the players mentioned save Beckett (on the Marlins) have been a main component on their original team.

Lebron was drafted in 2003 by the Cavs with the first overall pick. The season before his debut the Cavs were 17-65 finishing last in the conference. They hadn't made the playoffs in 4 seasons. It has only been uphill from there. There is still some hill to climb; the summit has yet to be reached. The last #1 draft pick to lead their team to a championship was Tim Duncan, drafted in 97, championship in 99. Duncan has been and probably will be a Spur for life. His legacy is still growing, but he will be known as one of the best power forwards in the history of the NBA.

Lebron can do this. He will win an NBA championship before his career is over. It seems as if he is maybe 1-3 years away. He brought the Cavs from nobodies to certain somebodies. It would be reassuring to see a star as enormous in all realms of the sport (basketball skill, social skill, marketing skill) to stick with what he started, the the same market, with the same fans and beat the rest of the league to be the best. Don't jump ship like so many sports stars do and take the easier path to a championship.  Sure the lights of New York would be nice, the fame of LA, the beaches of Miami.  But thats what everyone does.  Don't be everyone Lebron.  Your legacy will thank you.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

5 reasons it doesn't feel right the Phillies lost

In the wake of watching the New York Yankees celebrate their 27th World Series Championship, something just doesn't feel right about it. It really did seem as if the Phillies were going to repeat this year. Not that the Yankees didn't deserve it, (moral arguments aside) because they clearly played better than the Phillies. But here are 5 reasons why the it felt like the Phils were going to repeat.

1- Philadelphia had the best starting pitcher in the postseason. Cliff Lee went 4-0 with a 1.56 ERA in the postseason. Last year, it was Cole Hamels with similar numbers. It felt as if the Phillies were riding their ace to postseason series victories this year, just like they did last year. If one pitcher gets you two wins the World Series, one would think that team could somehow muster 2 wins in the other 5 games. If you were to be told Cliff Lee would win 2 games in the World Series and C.C. Sabathia would win none, who would you think would have won the series? The Phillies haven't lost to C.C. in both postseasons, last year with Milwaukee and this year with New York. Philadelphia rode Cliff Lee this year like they rode Cole Hamels last year. It just seemed as long as they had the best pitcher in the playoffs, it would be very difficult for them to lose a series. Wrong.

2-NLCS game 4. Last year, it was a clutch 3 run home run by Matt Stairs that capped a wild victory and put the Phillies up 3 games to 1 and all but guaranteed them a World Series birth. But it wasn't only the World Series birth it guaranteed. It also guaranteed that this team would come out of nowhere to win games and their heart would not allow them to lose. This year, Jimmy Rollins 2-out 2 RBI double in game 4 proved exactly the same fate in the NLCS. That hit won the game, put the Phils up insurmountably at 3 games to 1 and all but proved that the same style team was back again this year, ready to win the World Series. There would be no such comebacks in the World Series.

3-Up until the World Series, the Phillies hadn't lost more than 1 game in the past 5 postseason series. This is a well known fact that even minute sports fans would know. Also that they always lost game 2. But looking deeper into this, it seemed the Phillies always had the confidence that there wouldn't be a problem. They seemed to make all the right adjustments to keep themselves out of harms way. Same thing this year. Losing game 2 to the Rockies and losing home field advantage could have hurt them badly. Then they won the next 2. No problem. Losing to the Dodgers game 4 after losing game 2 and potentially losing the recently gained home field advantage looked problematic. Nope, won that game and the next one. 4-1, no problem. Losing game 2 and jumping to an early 3-0 lead against the Yankees in game 3, it felt as if they were going to continue their pattern. But as Cole Hamels was a different pitcher this postseason than last, as was the Phillies World Series results.

4-Comebacks. Game 4 against Colorado. Crazy. Game 4 against LA. Crazy. Game 4 against New close. After being down 2-0, the Phils came back to tie it. After being down 4-2, the Phils game back to tie it with Utley and Feliz home runs, the latter coming in the bottom of the 8th and making it a fresh battle of the bullpens in the 9th. This just seemed as if another great Philadelphia late game victory was in store. Similar to last year against the Rays where the Phils had a 9th inning walk off in game 3 and back and forth battle to score the winning run in the 7th inning in game 5. Game 1 and game 4 against the Dodgers, both come from behind wins. This year in the World Series, it just didn't happen.

5-They weren't supposed to win. Last year Manny and the Dodgers were supposed to be just too much. Last year the Rays had already beaten the best team in the postseason in the Boston Red Sox. The Phillies would be easy. This year the Dodgers were different. They had the best record in the National League. They had a young, potent lineup that walked through St. Louis. Certainly, the Phillies and their bullpen struggles couldn't compete with LA's great bullpen and homefield advantage. That storybook feeling was coming back. No way could they beat the Yankees, the best record in baseball, $423 million dollar offseason, a lineup of all-stars. Then, Philly takes game 1 in dominating fashion. It was happening all over again. Except, it just didn't continue that way.

After all that this team went through this year, from Cole's struggles, to the Ibanez off-season signing and the Lee mid-season signing to the Myers, Hamels, Romero DL stints, it just seemed as if the Phillies and Charlie Manuel were going to find a way to do it again. But this wasn't the same team. Brad Lidge wasn't the same. Their offense sputtered where they thrived last year. Howard didn't show up to the World Series, neither did Rollins or Victorino. Cole Hamels collapsed physically and mentally and with him went any chance of a 2nd dominating pitcher. As real as it felt that a repeat was bound to happen, the team just was not the same as 2008's heroic ballclub.

Monday, November 2, 2009

What's Wrong with the NFL pt 2

For those of you that are not familiar with the English Premier League, here is a quick overview of their ladder system. Keep in mind, there is no excitement of the playoff bracket system, which, in my opinion, hurts the league. The champion is crowned by who is on the top of the ladder at the end of the season, with the most points as a team for wins and ties. Now for the fun part...there is no safety in going, say 0-16 like the Lions. The bottom 3 teams in the Premiership are out of the Premiership at the seasons end. The top 2 teams from the 'B' grade or 2nd tier league and the winner of a playoff from teams 3-6 move up and take the last 3 spots. How cool is that?

It's this cool. We wouldn't have to watch the Rams, Chiefs or Lions this season. (They were the three worst teams last year) By the way, those three teams have a great chance at finishing as the three worst teams again this season. When will this terrible football stop?

The UFL could be considered a "B" league for football. It's purpose is to showcase the future stars of football. I know its a wild idea and will never happen. Right now it just doesn't work financially. But the AFL-NFL merger of 1970 was a pretty wild occurrence. Whats to say the NFL and UFL or any other league for that matter don't merge and form an "A" league and "B" league with teams jockeying for position in the first tier league. At worst, it keeps it interesting for the worst teams in the "A" league. They have to play out every game to win. In my opinion, which is what a blog is in the first place, it will add much more excitement to the NFL. There won't be any more 'scrimmages' as Antonio Pierce put it, with teams walking through inferior teams, pulling their starters early, and padding their record with uncontested games...

I'm just saying, who wants to watch the Rams, Lions, Chiefs, Raiders, or Bucs play another game this year...

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Whats wrong with the NFL???

As the sports day today winds down, there is so much to write about that I find myself asking a simple question. What happened to the NFL?

Larry Johnson forgot how to play football and remembered how to get himself into trouble since signing the highest running back contract in the NFL two years ago. See you in 2 weeks Larry.

Tom Cable got cleared of his allegations. Apparently, his assistant couldn't muster the courage or evidence to properly prosecute. 3 of his ex's aim to prove his violent nature in the near future. Good hire Al Davis. Not that your image is impeccable as is, but you're not even halfway through your dreadful season and here comes some more negative attention.

I glanced at the ticker at the top of the screen during the Giants Eagles game and saw a 10-2 score for the Rams Lions game late in the 3rd quarter. That had to be a great game.

The Bucs are 0-7. The Rams got their first win in 17 games (1-7)...against the Lions (1-6). Those two teams are a combined 3-43 in the last two seasons. That's right...3-43. The Browns are 1-7, the Chiefs are 1-6 and somehow Cable punched out half as many wins as newsworthy battery accusers to show a 2-6 record. The NFC West is just as awesome as last year. And oh yeah, the Patriots beat the Titans 59-0.

If you haven't figured out where I am going with this yet, then we will let Tatum Bell of the UFL's Florida Tuskers do the rest. Bell said that his offense would put up MORE than 24 points and his defense would give up LESS than 14 against the Bucs. This point has been argued through and through by all kinds of analysts, columnists, broadcasters etc. Truth is, we won't ever know. But why not?...

Where am I going with this? Come back tomorrow. Here's a hint...English Premier League