Monday, December 31, 2007

Deja Vu all over again

Well...for most of us, 2007 will end on a good note.



I can't say the same for the Minnesota Vikings unfortunately.



Last weekend they needed to beat Washington Redskins team who has gone through more emotions than a 14 year old girl at her first NSYNC concert. The Vikings had been on a hot streak and were at home so it seemed simple. Except the Redskins showed up with the memory of their slain friend Sean Taylor and handed the Vikings a crushing blow to their playoff chances.


So because of that poor display of athletic ability by the Vikings, and pretty darn good play by the Redskins, the Vikings went from controlling their own destiny to hoping the Redskins had a meltdown and that the Broncos wouldn't really show up.


The most troubling thing about yesterday was watching guys who were on a 5 game win streak and were talking about how the team had changed so much, come out to Denver with absolutely NO sense of urgency. They were sulking around the sidelines and had no intensity. It was embarassing.


Jackson showed good signs in the last two drives to tie the game but once again, his lack of ball control and general common sense killed the Vikings. Was I the only one wondering what he was planning on doing with the ball as he was getting sacked? How hard is it to tuck that ball? I obviously have never played NFL football...or any football past 5th grade, but when someone is pulling you down usually you just hold on to the ball. Except "Superman" Jackson who thinks that he can do anything with the ball. Either way, it ended up costing the Vikings the game.


So now everyone is looking to the offseason. Many questions have arisen around the sports community. Will Brad Childress around next year? Will the Vikings go find a veteran QB to start next year or just mentor Tarvaris Jackson? Can they go an entire offseason without an arrest? Okay, maybe that last question is all me but regardless it is still a pressing question.


I'll get into answering these questions later down the road. Right now, I think that we all need to take a break from the Vikings and move on.


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Other happenings this weekend :


- Patriots are challenged greatly by the New York Giants but come away as the 4th undefeated team in NFL history and the first to go 16-0 in the regular season. Success seems to follow Randy Moss right? Best part of the whole deal was watching Moss at the postgame news conference telling everyone that he was most excited about breaking Jerry Rice's season touchdown record because it would shut up his critics. The man has done many good things in his life to some mediocre bad things and is one of the best players in the game. I've always been a fan, good for you Randy. Also worht noting, the Pats get the 7th pick in the draft next year because they received it from San Francisco earlier this year. Awesome, 16-0 and they get the 7th pick!? Unreal.


- Redskins defy all emotional odds and make the playoffs with a QB who makes Mark Brunell look like '95 Mark Brunell. It's a touching story and I wouldn't be surprised if they run the table in the NFC and make it to the Superbowl. You watch, it very well could happen.


- Blazers continue their streak to 13 straight games with a win. They are the youngest team in the NBA and aren't playing like it. Travis Outlaw posterizes 76ers Rodney Carney in the Blazers win over the Sixers on a huge dunk and brings pride to the Outlaw family.


- The Wild come back from being down 4-1 to Edmonton and win 5-4 in overtime. It was the biggest comeback in Wild history and put the team back into first place. This team needs to get consistent and start beating the good teams in the West or else they are going to get embarassed in the playoffs again.


That's it for the Monday round-up. Make sure that you catch the "Let's suspend our team's and hope we can still play the game" Bowl today between Kentucky and Florida State. 26 Florida State players will not be playing in the game due to an online test cheating scandal. I did find out today that it was a music test AND it was open book. Wow, congratulations Florida State football players. That could knock you down a few notches in the educational prestige category in next years NCAA football game.


Have a great New Years and we'll see you in 2008!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Open your eyes or else you may miss it


Happy Friday to everyone!




I hope that your Holiday season was a great one and safe as well.


Usually this space is reserved for our Land O’ Links, but I feel a certain calling for today’s entry.



At the beginning of the 2007 NFL season, many people felt that the New England Patriots would be a very good team. They had been quite successful defensively but their offense had been average at best. Then in one off-season, they go from Troy Brown and Jabar Gaffney to Randy Moss, Wes Welker, Donte Stallworth…and Jabar Gaffney. Tom Brady had already won 3 SuperBowls with a mediocre supporting cast and the question had formulated into “What could he do with a superior supporting cast?”




Well, as long as you haven’t been under the proverbial rock for the past 4 months, then you would know that the answer to that question is simple. 15-0, points scored record, passing touchdowns record and a chance at NFL immortality. Unfortunately, there are two things that are keeping most of America from being excited about the Patriots becoming only the second team in NFL history to go undefeated (the first to be 16-0). That would be the “spygate” incident against the Jets earlier this year and America’s infatuation with hating dynasties.




Many people feel that if the Patriots do defeat the Giants on Saturday that their record deserves an asterisk next to it. I am not sure if everyone has gotten caught up in the asterisk-ness of Barry Bonds but this is ludicrous. Am I the only one that is quite confident that without that video camera, the Patriots still would have destroyed the Jets? I mean, this team is currently 15-0 and the Jets are well…the Jets. Video camera or not, the Patriots would have won that game. It is a little harder to tell that had Barry Bonds not used steroids (come on, let’s just be real with it) what his eventual home run total would have been. I find it much easier to understand that the Patriots would have steamrolled the Jets still. So let’s move on from this point. If you are struggling with “spygate” still, I believe that it is time to seek professional help or just suck it up.




Along with this, we in America are incredibly obsessed with the idea of the underdog as well as hating dynasties. People hate the Yankees for their ability to buy good talent and win and who hasn’t despised the Duke BlueDevils at one point or another? The true American story is one of a self-made man and neither theYankees or Duke represent these values to people. Both have been very talented the past couple of years, but people just don’t like them outside of their regional areas.



The New England Patriots have fallen into this category.




Accusations of running up the score, videotaping games and a coach that makes Cruella DeVille look like Mother Theresa have all contributed to these feelings of animosity towards New England. During October, January and May-June, we thrive on the Colorado Rockies and Cleveland Cavaliers of the sports world. They are the feel good stories that keep our attention throughout their sport’s respective playoffs. I enjoy those stories just as much as the next person, but you cannot overlook a great team when it shows up.




Unfortunately, I feel that a large portion of America is missing out on one of the greatest teams to ever grace a field, court or rink. I’ve been lucky enough to catch a few of their games and there is no such thing as running up the score when the other team just cannot stop them. Granted keeping Brady and other starters in the game is not always the best idea, but even the worst team in the NFL still contains some of the best players in the world. So the entire “running up the score” problem bothers me. These guys are professionals and if they cannot stop their opponent from scoring at will then maybe they should not be on the field.



In the last few years I have seen a change in my sports team preferences. I think a large part of it is that as a sports fan, I have grown up. I can sit back and put aside my rival differences and appreciate the escape and entertainment that sports provides us every day. I’ve begun to enjoy watching the Yankees play because they play good baseball. Alex Rodriguez is one of the best hitters in MLB history and Mariano Rivera has been one of the best pitchers in history. You can complain about George/Hank Steinbrenner all that you want, but year in and year out they put a good team on the field. One cannot overlook the Red Sox/Yankees rivalry but outside of New York and Boston, why should it affect people’s lives? There are obviously situations that do allow for this rivalry to be outside of Boston/New York but if you are sitting in Washington state and hate the Yankees because they win every year, it may be time for you to grow up in the sport sense.




Now, I wrote an article earlier on how rivalries make sports go ‘round and I completely agree with it. We need to find a difference between rivalries and general hatred. As a Minnesotan, I was bred to hate the Packers and Bears as well as the Hawkeyes and Badgers. I have grown to the point of still disliking 3 of those 4 teams but not letting it affect my daily functions. Our general infatuations with rivalries and the underdog story are clouding what the Patriots are on the brink of doing. Hate them or love them, they are a good football team. Their coach is a cactus but he knows what he is doing. The Pats do not get caught up in all of the media surrounding them because their coach does not allow it. Their players refrain from getting in trouble (with the exception of Rodney Harrison) and play games almost flawless.



I can hear you now, “wow, so now that you’ve jumped on the bandwagon…” Just because I enjoy what the team is doing and can see that they are talented does not mean that I am jumping on the bandwagon. It just means that as a fan of sports, I can sit back and enjoy what this team is doing.



As a sports fan, I have finally grown up. And it seems that it happened just in time. Try and put aside your prejudices and open yourself up to enjoying a true feat in sports.




Have a great weekend and check back on Monday for our Weekend Run-Down.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Land O' Links

Happy Friday!


Quick note: Bowl season is here! After last year's Boise State/Oklahoma game, I have vowed to not miss any bowl games this year.


2007-08 Bowl season got started with a great game last night between Navy and Utah. Utah was up 35-32 with :48 seconds left and Navy needed to recover an onside kick to have a chance to win the game. They recovered the kick and things looked good for the option offense of Navy. Unfortunately, Navy's quarterback threw an interception when his intended receiver slipped for the 8th time that night and Utah regained possession.


Without further ado, here are your links for the day:



- December 15th....one of the greatest nights in recent memory. WWE Monday Night Raw celebrated 15 years and many of the greatest wrestlers came back. Stone Cold, Undertaker, Sgt. Slaughter etc. This clip is easily the highlight of the whole night.


- Nothing brings more joy to people than watching others get hurt. This really isn't that bad, but needless to say this kid ATE this big green ball.


- This was the best buzzer beater that I've ever seen. I can only imagine being one of the 15 people attending this game. Why didn't we see this kid on Letterman?


- I probably should say that this was the best buzzer beater that I've ever seen. Unfortunately, I don't really care much for Hopkins (bad sports experiences). On the positive side, the kid who made the shot is now playing for the Gophers and doing quite well actually. He won ESPN play of the year at the ESPY's over Tiger Woods and just about every other guy who is a pro athlete.


- HY-LARIOUS. Best of luck to this child in his most certain psychological recovery. I am glad that I wasn't at this game, because I would certainly be laughing. Don't think for a second that you wouldn't either.


- It is about 3 weeks after the fact, but it still doesn't feel real. If you watched Sean Taylor's pastor talk, I am sure that you were moved. Sean was turning his life around and becoming the mature man that he needed to be. I don't know his true religious status, but I can only hope that he is in a better place. He will be missed dearly. It's a 7 minute video but it's well worth it to watch him smash T.O. repeatedly. Here is his official website as well.


- Am I the only one that wouldn't mind a 4th one?


- There are a lot of things wrong with this article. Mainly the part about "pitchers who can go late into games" and "at the top of my list". Isn't this the same guy who took himself out of a game in the 6th inning because he didn't feel like he had "it"? Congratulations Seattle, you spent $44 million on a 6 innings a game sinker-baller.


- I have a friend who is from Kentucky and is a huge Wildcats fan. He was extremely negative towards Tubby and was SURE that Billy Gillespie would get it done this year. Well, 4 losses in a row later, Kentucky fans are still pointing the finger at Tubby. After watching Kentucky get handled by Houston the other night, it is CLEARLY Gillespie's lack of coaching and the players lack of skill that is keeping Kentucky down.

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Big Vikings game this weekend at the Dome. With a win and a New Orleans loss, the Vikings are in the playoffs. So let's hope the Giants lose to the Bills and the Vikings beat the 'Skins.


Have a great weekend. Check back Monday for the Weekend Wrap-up.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Monday Night hang-over


Wow...




Well, if you are anything like me...you were spending your night in front of the TV wondering where the Vikings went. As well as being a little more exhausted this morning from all the yelling at the TV.



But where was the the team that has beat its last 4 opponents by an average of 20 points and has won 4 in a row?




Last night, excluding the defense, the Vikings weren't the same team. Tarvaris Jackson seemed to go back to his old ways of forcing passes, which turned into 3 INT's, and even rookie sensation Adrian Peterson had his fair share of mix ups.



But they still walked away with the win....how?



Thanks to solid defense and the athleticism of Adrian Peterson, as well as Lovie Smith for starting Kyle "neckbeard" Orton, the Vikings are that much closer to the playoffs at 8-6. They are only a game behind the New York Giants (9-5) for the # 5 seed. Which right now would be great because a match up against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers would be excellent for the Vikings.



Sometimes teams of destiny just have things fall in place for them. If you look around the NFC, the Vikings have the most momentum of any team. The other team that could match that momentum? Their NFC North rivals the Green Bay Packers.



If the Vikings can win out the rest of their season, I see no reason why they couldn't go very far in the playoffs. As of right now, they would match up well against a Seattle/Tampa Bay team and with the Cowboys struggling a little bit...they could do some damage.



Before we get that far, Tarvaris Jackson and the rest of the Vikings offense needs to minimize their mistakes. As good as Peterson is, don't forget that he is still a rookie. He will make mistakes and Jackson will too. They just need to get defensive play and pick up big yards when they need it.



I was a little nervous watching the game last night and remembering that the Vikings are still a young team but sometimes those are the kinds of teams that can run through the playoffs untouched. Could they beat the Patriots? I'd have to say no...but then again...who thought the Red Sox would come back and beat the Yankees 4 games straight and sweep the Cards for the '04 World Series.



Remember...ANYTHING can happen.




Check back later in the week for updates and friday for Land O' Links.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Land O' Links

Happy Friday!


Today marks the return of Land O’ Links! So to honor this return, I have a slew of links for you all to enjoy. Some you may have seen recently and some I would like to assume are my own gems.


Please send us some links if you find something that you would like to share with us here at Court’s Sports. E-mail us at : c-olson@cornellcollege.edu.


Without further ado, here are your batch of links!


This one has a little Holiday spirit. This just brings back great memories of a show that was once the successful black sheep of Saturday late-night TV. Now, it is just depressing. Part of me just laughs at the "I'm holding it for the Easter Bunny" and the other part of me thinks that he has to deal with the effects of global warming on the North Pole.



The Canadian Press is all over Brett Favre this year. Maybe I am just out of the journalism loop, but should the Canadian Press have better stories than ANY of the Wisconsin papers? Maybe Brett feels a little more candid out of the country. Either way, the Packers are playing pretty good football and I hope that Brett announces that he will be coming back shortly. I can’t stand another summer of “Will he?” or “Won’t he?”



After the big unveiling of the storied Mitchell Report yesterday, some big names were included. Some surprising (Brian Roberts, Rondell White) and some not so surprising (Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire). Somewhere in the middle lies Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte. I mean, the guy’s 42 years old and still throwing better than 36% of players under the age of 30?! Well, now his lawyer is releasing a statement based on Clemens being named in the report. As much as I do not like Roger Clemens…well…I’ve got nothing. Let’s take his Cy Young as well as maybe spend some time in jail? That would be a good holiday to me.



A great piece here by Stick and Ball guy rating Major League shortstops. For those of you who maybe think that the Twins wasted a 1-year contract on Adam Everett, check this out. Maybe it will give you some closure or it will give you cramps…not sure.




Kendrick Perkins…don’t let the bed [bugs] bite.



Adrian Peterson embarrassed the Bears. Oh wait, I know what you are thinking. I mean OUR Adrian Peterson. The Bears are looking for redemption and something tells me that they may not get it.



This may have something to do with that premonition. (quick note: this guy is a tank. You may not want him as your quarterback, but good golly…you want him at your party)



My friend Peter sent this to me. Actually, I lost the original link but found this one in slow motion so that you could understand what she is saying. If you have trouble understanding in this clip, imagine what the original is like. This girl needs bootcamp…or Oprah. Not sure yet…



Really? I think these guys should wait until after the Sugar Bowl to do this. Lord knows it worked out real well for the last early birds. (see: Maurice Clarett & Ted Gin Jr.)



Kobe happy? ESPN’s crack reporting includes the groundbreaking news that he is happy while the Lakers have been winning lately. Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s start working towards a cure for those nasty paper cuts and ESPNews shows with different news every hour. Let's see where Kobe is when they start losing.



Even though some of you may disagree with his actions, you’ve got to admit…he’s a heck of a player. Any way you cut it, you’ll miss him. Go ahead, admit it. It doesn’t mean that you condone dog fighting, it means that you enjoy being entertained…we all do. See you in ’09 Mike.



And finally…enjoy this clip of Presidential hopeful Barack Obama at our school on December 5th. Great speech and you can see me the whole time while he talks ( black sweater, glasses…stunning good looks).



Please don’t hesitate to send us some links, comment on our articles or just send an email for fun. We’re here to get a good voice out on the net and continue to grow!




Curl up next to the fire this weekend with some hot cocoa and a copy of the Mitchell report. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Johan update & 23 months of weight lifting


Happy hump day to all!



This is the last full week for us here before we get to go home for the Holiday break. My final is on Monday and my final paper is due on Wednesday. So you know what that means? Tuesday will be spent sleeping (after our 7 am weight session) and possibly playing Guitar Hero until my arm feels like Joel Zumaya's (if you have no idea who he is, check him out on ESPN.com or Wikipedia).



I promised you all a Johan update today and that is what you will get!



Currently, it has been reported that the Twins are still in preliminary talks with several teams but are not any closer than they were during the winter meetings. Although some new tidbits of information have come out and here they are:


- The Twins are leaning more towards the Jacoby Ellsbury, Justin Masterson, Jed Lowrie and a 4th prospect deal from the Red Sox as opposed to the deal that would include Jon Lester.



- The Angels may still be in the running for Johan. The Twins really like Jered Weaver and they may have enough players to make it work. The only thing is if they are willing to spend the money when starting pitching really isn't what they need right now.


- Some consider the Mets to only be involved in the Johan talks to keep their fans happy. The Mets really don't have anything to offer the Twins that is not named Jose Reyes or David Wright. Although many rumors have Johan stating that he wants to go to the NL because he likes hitting. I would also like him to go there so that we don't see him except for every couple of years.


- Yankees pitcher Kei Igawa has been involved in talks with the Twins now. No one really knows how serious the Yankees are anymore. Brian Cashman doesn't want to do a deal and Hank Steinbrenner does? Weird, a Steinbrenner and Cashman disagreement? Some things never change...


- Finally, some circles have mentioned the Rangers as being involved with the Johan talks. People question this because A) Who do the Rangers have to offer? (Maybe Michael Young and Hank Blalock?) and B) Would Johan even go to Texas? It's a hitters park for a pitcher that struggled with giving up home runs last year. This is the least likely destination for Johan if he is indeed traded by the Twins.



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The big news yesterday was the conviction of Michael Vick. He got 23 months in federal prison for his involvement in a national dog fighting ring. The judge was quoted as saying that he would not have made the punishment as severe except for the fact that Vick lied to him and also had marijuana in his system between the time he was arrested and convicted. So basically, he was punished for being an idiot.


Vick has admitted to hanging dogs, drowning them as well as electrocuting them. He was only sentenced to 23 months in prison because he has already served a month. He will be released summer of 2009 unless he is released earlier for good behavior. I expect that he will be released early because according to some reports, all he does is sit in his cell or lift weights or play basketball. Some even have noted that he is in better shape and stronger than he ever was when he wasn't a resident of the state.



Michael Vick made a mistake that a lot of people have made. He got involved in something that a lot of people in the south are involved in and got caught. He should have realized that with his superstar status that he should have distanced himself from anything that would not make him look good in the public eye. It seems to be a running theme among our African-American athletes these days. Many of them want to keep their old friends around because they don't want to "sell out" and those friends are hanging on because of the fact that they immediately are available to someone who can provide things for them.



I have never been and do not imagine I ever will be in this situation, but where does it stop? Just because a man has a family and moves away and seperates himself from a situation that is no longer suitable for his lifestyle he becomes a sell out? Our society needs to celebrate success on all levels as opposed to labeling people sell outs. Bring your immediate family with you and start the new life that you were blessed with.


After watching the funeral of Sean Taylor, his pastor made the effort to show the world that Sean had matured. He had seperated himself from the people and area that he knew was bad for him. He started going to church and caring for his family. It is absolutely tragic the way that his life had to end but if there is a light at the end of the tunnel, it's that he started to turn his life around. Many other athletes should take lessons from Sean Taylor on how to change their lives for the better.


Michael Vick screwed up and now has to pay the price for it. I am not interested in finding out more details about the "Bad Newz Kennelz" or anything else, I am interested in how he changes his life ( or doesn't) when he is released.



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Enjoy your day and come back on Friday for the return of "Land-O-Links"!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Monday Run-Down

The Vikings have found a way to win that doesn’t involve future NFL Rookie of the Year Adrian Peterson. What is that way? It’s Solid quarterback play by Tarvaris Jackson, a revolving door rushing attack and a defense that can even make the old Purple People Eaters smile.



The past few years, we have seen the Vikings struggle on the road against any team. Whether it was the lowly Dolphins or the suddenly talented Texans, the Vikings were never a sure thing on the road. Even at home, the Vikings were not a sure thing. Since the 34-0 thrashing the Packers put on the Vikings in week 10, the Vikings could have imploded like they usually do and ended this season with all of us thinking “Really?...REALLY?” After a while, that gets incredibly frustrating for the fan base as well as the players and coaches. Brad Childress went out of his way to make sure that the team responded positively and even challenged his players to look within themselves to find the resolve to finish the season strong. So far, they have responded greatly.



Since that Packer game, the Vikings are 4-0 and winning their games by an average of 20 points while we may be witnessing the maturation of Tarvaris Jackson into a NFL ready quarterback. We, as Vikings fans, have been quick to judge Brad Childress. The first move he made as head coach was getting rid of the franchise quarterback for…well…no one. We seemed to critique him at every corner. As fans, that is our job but sometimes we fall into the trap of seeking out only the negative things that happen. I believe that now is the time to start paying attention to the good things that are happening with this team.


For the past four games we’ve seen Jackson continually make good decisions (although he needs to work on that time in the pocket to avoid sacks), Chester Taylor has reminded us that we actually DO have two running backs instead of one and the defense has been pressuring quarterbacks into making decisions that would make Lindsey Lohan blush. They have been getting out to quick starts and play at a continuously high level of intensity through the final seconds of the game. If this team continues to play like this, why couldn’t they beat anyone in the league? Let’s take a look at their 6 losses:


Week 2 at Detroit: Jackson throws 4 INT’s and Bollinger fumbles in OT which leads to a Jason Hanson game-winning FG. Bollinger should have never fumbled that ball and the Vikings should have walked away with a W in this game.


Week 3 at Kansas City: Vikings stuff the Chiefs run game and Adrian Peterson breaks out with a 102 yard, 1 td performance. The Vikings offense stalls and the Chiefs are able to squeak out a win. Again, Vikings offense doesn’t stall…they walk away with a win.


Week 4 vs. Green Bay: Favre dominates the Vikings defense but the lack of education of the referee’s hurts the Vikings chances of winning the game. A botched fumble call and a blown Pass Interference call turn the tide of the game. This is right before the bye week and the Vikings record was 1-3. Should have been 4-0 or 3-1 at least.


Week 7 at Dallas:
Vikings are tied 14-14 with 2:52 left in the 3rd quarter before Ryan Longwell’s field goal is blocked by Pat Watkins and returned for 68 yards for a Touchdown. The offense again failed to mobilize and the Cowboys held on for a win. Kevin Williams had a fumble return for a touchdown that was called back for bogus holding. Things again do not go the Vikings way.


Week 8 vs. Philadelphia: Donovan McNabb torches the Vikings secondary for 333 yards and one touchdown while two Vikings quarterbacks struggled to get to 150 yards passing total. Adrian Peterson was held in check and the offense couldn’t get anywhere.


That brings us back full circle to the 34-0 thrashing by the Packers. If you look back through the losses, what is the common theme? You’re right, it was the incompetence of the referees but even more than that it was the inability of the offense to get anything started. They depended too much on Adrian Peterson and Jackson struggled to make smart throws.

Interestingly enough, during their current 4 game win streak, the Vikings have finally been able to move the ball through the air. Jackson is making much better decisions which has opened the field even more for Peterson and Taylor. They had already opened the field for Jackson, he just needed to take advantage of it.


He finally is and the Vikings are starting to look like a serious playoff team.



Next week is another big game at the Dome. A struggling Bears team comes to town to face a defense that is playing at their highest level all year and an offense who is clicking on all cylinders.

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Since the Vikings are the hottest team in Minnesota right now (with exception maybe being the Gopher Men’s Basketball team who is currently 6-1) some of us have forgotten that there are other sports currently playing.


The Timberwolves got a HUGE win on Saturday night at the Target Center. They stymied a Suns team that has been averaging 111.3 points a game and a team that is much better than they are.

The Wolves held the Suns to 93 points and 29% shooting in the 3rd quarter. Al Jefferson became only the second player in Wolves history to score 30 points and have 20 rebounds as well. Who was the other player you ask? The man that Jefferson was traded for this past summer, Kevin Garnett.


This is a young team who has struggled all year to close out games and just plain score. They are 3-15 right now and are at the bottom of the NBA. I went to two games over Thanksgiving break and they did not look good at all. We’ve got to keep this season in perspective though. This is a team that has an average age of 23 and little or no playoff or experience in winning. It is easy to be critical of the team but keep in mind that there are teams right now who started like this and are playing at great levels right now (Orlando, Cleveland, Toronto, Chicago etc.). I ask you to continue to support this team through Antione Walker and Mary Kate Olsen (“thick and thin”…bad joke I know but it had to be said).



Check back mid-week for a Johan Santana update and a look at the upcoming conference play in College basketball.



Have a great Monday!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Working for the Weekend...


Happy Friday to all!



I would like ot announce that we are finally back here at Court's Sports! Well...on a regular basis that is.



Things have been a little hectic down here lately, but due to a lack to editing ability and some other things at our school paper, I can now focus my writing here.




Some big things have been happening...or more like not happening around here:



Johan Santana is still a Twin. I, like many other Twins fans, had already made our peace that we wouldn't see Johan again in a Twins uniform until he was inducted into the Hall of Fame. Instead, Twins GM Bill Smith didn't see a trade that he liked and Johan is still around. I struggle with this because I just think that things would be awkward with it being quite clear that we can't keep him around. If the Twins don't make some serious moves, not involving Santana, and keep him...then they will NOT be competive this next season.



We have a great young outfielder in Delmon Young and a potential good fill in at shortstop...but there are some other serious holes. We don't have a third baseman yet...or a shortstop or a second baseman. I think that the Twins should go after former Tiger Brandon Inge. Rumor has it that the Tigers are willing to pay most of his $18 million dollar deal to get rid of him. He's a great fielder and a good hitter as well. Something that we haven't had at third base for quite a while. I like Brendan Harris at either shortstop or second base. He can hit for good power but there are questions about his fielding. Either way, I think that he's an upgrade from Nick Punto.



The Tigers made some serious upgrades and we'll see what the Indians still can do. Right now, the Twins are only the 3rd best team in the AL Central. If they choose to not trade Johan and go for the World Series this year, they've got some serious work left to do.



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Don't even get me started on the Timberwolves. Randy Wittman is not the right coach for this team and after hearing about some of the potential trades that McHale passed up just to do a deal with the Celtics...I might just spend some of my x-mas break picketing outside of the Target Center. On the bright side...we get a pretty good pick in the 2008 NBA draft next year. We'll probably trade it to Miami for Ricky Davis and Jason Williams and then draft an Argentinian point guard who isn't NBA ready for at least 5 years. Sigh...things are tough right now.



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Adrian Peterson...Great




Vikings....Solid




Brad Childress....still balding



Chicago Bears....still bad




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Vikings have a big game against the 49ers at 3:15 this Sunday, so make sure to catch that on Fox. Playoffs are well within the reach of this team, so let's hope that AP can keep running over the competition and the defense can keep stopping everyone who gets in their way.



Enjoy the weekend!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Winds of Change


Can things finally be going our way? I mean, things just haven’t been the same since 1998. We’ve gone through more personnel changes than the Bush administration and consistency is one of those four letter words. It seems that things may be changing with the Minnesota Vikings.
Going into a game where, on paper…and in reality the Vikings were outmatched, they should have folded. Tarvaris Jackson should have thrown 3 INT’s, Chester Taylor should have gotten injured and the defense should have looked like a bad 9th grade team. Instead, Jackson was statistically impressive, Taylor stayed healthy and had a good day on the ground and the defense had 3 touchdowns while making Eli Manning look like…well…Eli Manning.
I was on my way back to school this afternoon, so I had the pleasure of listening to the game from Paul Allen’s perspective. After watching Fox for the last couple weeks and then listening to PA today, I understand why my grandfather always listens to games on the radio while the T.V. is on mute. Advantage: Listening to great and energizing announcing as well as not having to see Tony Siragusa eating a cheddarwurst while explaning why New York has the best pizza and drinking water in the greater northeast region. Disadvantage: Not getting to actually watch the thrashing that the Vikings gave to the Giants today.
The win today instantly means that the Vikings season is worth paying attention to again. The team is 2-0 with rookie sensation Adrian Peterson on the sideline (word has it that he will be playing against Detroit on Sunday at the Dome) and Childress/Bevell have been calling the right plays as of late. They aren’t putting Tarvaris Jackson in “must throw” situations which allows him to throw the ball with limited pressure. Although he had a solid game, Jackson still needs to be able to rid of the ball quickly or get out of the pocket when a rush is on. He’s got an arm (see: Sidney Rice, 60 yard TD pass from T-Jack) and when used wisely he can do some damage. So a big key to the Vikings success in these next 5 games will be how well Childress and Bevell call the game offensively.
The story of today though was the Vikings defense. Defensive Coordinator Les Frazier called a great game yesterday. He had Eli Manning completely baffled and almost every throw was rushed and would result in terrible passes. Dwight Smith and Darren Sharper came up huge with their interception returns and the pass defense that has been a punchline for the last few seasons looked like the old Tampa Bay/Baltimore defenses that have been successful. Since the Vikings will not be facing a quarterback who can beat them by himself for the next 5 weeks, Les Frazier’s defense should be able to continue this momentum. The Vikings face Jon Kitna, Jason Campbell, Rex Grossman, Trent Dilfer (yes…I was just as surprised that he’s still playing as well) and Kurt Warner. With the exception of MAYBE Jason Campbell, none of these quarterbacks are mobile. So as long as Frazier switches up coverage schemes and blitzes, the Vikings defense could look for some big weeks coming up here.
Next week, we get Adrian Peterson back and a Lions team who is reeling from 3 straight losses. The Vikings should have beaten them in week two had Jackson not fumbled the ball in OT. With 3 out of their last 5 games at the Dome, people should get behind this team and help push them into the playoffs. Right now, the Vikings are arguably playing the best out of all the teams involved in the Wild Card race. They just dismantled the WC leader, should beat the WC # 2 next week and take care of the Redskins and Cardinals at home in the ensuing weeks before facing an incredibly inconsistent Broncos team at Invesco field in Denver.
So my question posed at the beginning was “could things finally be going our way?”
…Stay tuned.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Man oh Man


Let's look back to August 16th, 2007.




I was at the Mall of America with Alec and we were on a search. I was just looking around for some hats and shoes (the usual) and he was on a Lord of the Rings type quest for a Joseph Addai jersey.



While having trouble finding the Addai jersey, we stumbled into the big Foot Locker on the 3rd floor. He noticed that they were selling rookie jersey's for $49.99. Included in these jerseys was new Vikings rookie Adrian Peterson. Earlier that week he had romped over the Jets and gave us all a little preview of how this season might go for him. I hadn't really been a die hard Vikings fan because I was tired of cheering for a team who spent more time in jail than in the Red Zone and they didn't really have a superstar.



Alec looked at the jersey and goes, "Dude, he's going to be a stud...and it's only $49.99, buy it". So I gave into peer pressure and bought my first Vikings jersey since Randy Moss was burning the turf (not the way many of you may think, the legal way of course).



In all honesty...who would have known it would have been the smartest jersey buy of my life? Well Alec did.



Yesterday, those of you who got a chance to watch the Vikings/Chargers game may have seen the emergence of the next great thing in the NFL. In a state where the most popular player since Kirby Puckett was traded to Boston and where Kirby's replacement is surely going to another team, Minnesota was in dire need of a superstar. Well, we've got one.



Adrian Peterson, "All Day" dubbed by him and his teammates, ran for an NFL single game record of 296 yards. He would have had well over that had he not been horse collar tackled by a San Diego cornerback. He also had 3 touchdowns to go with that. A 1 yrd, 64 yd and 45 yd. He is carrying this team on his back. He was running so well that even Brooks Bollinger looked like a steady quarterback with his big strike to rookie Sidney Rice.



Yesterday was truly the day of the rookie for the Minnesota Vikings. As much problems coaching that Childress has had and Vikings brass for their incompetence, they drafted pretty dawggone well. They drafted the next Eric Dickerson (maybe better?) as well as a talented receiver who can leap forward about 5 yards.



The Vikings defense shut down a Chargers offense who can score at the drop of a dime. LaDanian Tomlinson looked like the rookie on Sunday. Only having one Touchdown and maybe 45 yards rushing or so. And don't even get me started on Philip Rivers. I think Marshawn Lynch had a better game passing than Rivers did. He made the Giants look great for taking Eli off of the Charger's hands a couple years ago. Give the front line credit as well. Kevin Williams and Pat Williams got amazing pressure on Rivers to force him into those bad throws.



The part that I'm excited about? The schedule gets very favorable from here on out for the Vikings. They are at Green Bay next weekend, then after that they have Oakland, Chicago, Detroit and Washington at home and the New York Giants, San Francisco and Denver away. The Vikings are only 3-5 right now and have yet to get completely blown out in a game. If they can get some consistency at QB and have AP run like he has been, this team could easily see the playoffs. Jeff George did it without an AP and he went 8-2, so anything's possible.



I'm very excited to see where this team can go. There are glaring problems at QB, but like I said, as long as AP runs like that, just hand the ball off Brooks...hand it off.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Timberwolves season predictions

It is currently the middle of the first Wolves game of the year, and I decided that I needed to make some predictions for the next 82 games and subsequent offseason. (Also, I'd like to mention that through 3 quarters, the Wolves have thoroughly outplayed the expected Northwest division winner, the Denver Nuggets)



Prediction 1: Al Jefferson averages a solid double-double. Jefferson will be one of the West leaders in rebounding, and will average upwards of 20 points. I don't expect an average of more than 20 points a game just because the Wolves will be able to spread the ball around a lot, to Foye, McCants, Gomes, Smith, and Walker.
Prediction 2: The Wolves will have no problems with Antoine Walker. Walker reportedly was overweight for the Heat, and had fallen out of favor with Heat coach Pat Riley. I think as a veteran presence on this roster, he will help a lot of the players, and eventually average upwards of 10 points a game once he learns the offense.

Prediction 3: The Wolves will stop talking about KG around the All-Star game, once Jefferson makes it. This is more hopeful than anything. They need to celebrate these new guys, and move on from KG. These new guys look pretty damn good.

Prediction 4: Theo Ratliff will have his best season in 5 years. The guy looks rejuvenated this year, playing hard both on offense and defense. I think he could play his way into a new contract with the Wolves if he does well this season as their starting center, especially after considering their lack of talent there in the past. I think in general they will try to keep this team together for a while.

Prediction 5: The Wolves will contend for the last playoff spot. Yes, I realize this is a big prediction, but I honestly feel that without Blount and Davis, this roster will flourish. These guys will learn to love playing with each other, and it will be like a playground game out there. They don't have the immediate talent of other teams, but these guys are hungry to prove something. I expect them to surpass their 32 wins from last season and be in the hunt for the last spot for a while, and there is a possibility they could win that 8th spot. No one expects it from them, and that almost makes it easier for them, since no one will take them seriously. Honestly, there has never been a team much like them in this or any other professional league, a team with nearly all unproven players. Just because they are unproven, doesn't mean they aren't good.


Well there they are, my season predictions. I won't be the least bit disappointed if they don't make the playoffs, but if they do, you heard it here first. I also want to say that Foye will average over 15 points a game and 5 assists, and McCants will average nearly as many points per game as Foye. Again, just a prediction.

Either way, you need to watch these teams. There is an excitement to these games that hasn't been seen since 2004, and I know that I've been convinced just in these first 3 quarters.

And so it begins...


I am excited....




More excited than I have been in years. And why is that?




Because the Timberwolves start their NBA season today.



Now many of you, I am assuming, are skeptical of how this team will finish this year. Just about everyone and their mom has them finishing 15th in the West (which is actually 6th in the Eastern Conference). Not to mention not even giving this young group of guys a chance in the NBA. My question is, how many times do you see a trade that includes 5 players from the same team going to a team together? It's tough enough to bring a new player into a team that he's never played with before but these guys all played together last year. That's a step up from a lot of other trades in NBA history.



If you'll remember my KG tribute article, you'll know that I am the first person that wishes we still had KG. But if you really want the Timberwolves to have a successful future, KG HAD to go. Taking up so much payroll really hurt their chances of signing a lot of players. Not to mention, he wasn't going to win a title in the West when everyone else was improving so much. So shipping him off to the Deveopmental league of the NBA was the best choice for all parties involved.



Today is not the start of the "Post-KG era"...STOP CALLING IT THAT! There is a guy that is emerging as possibly one of the best old-school post players in the NBA. Today is the start of the "Al Jefferson Era". When did you ever hear KG say, "I really didn't think that I'm worth the max yet". KG let his agents rule what he thought he was worth. Jefferson had a better first two seasons than KG did all around and yet KG was making $121 million just a few years after he had been in the NBA. This kid is the truth. Hard worker and not full of himself? That's like finding a successful WNBA franchise. I'm excited to see him go up against Duncan and see what he can do.



This team has a lot of question marks surrounding it. I am excited to see a bunch of guys, my age mostly, grow into a solid NBA team. It may not happen right away this year, but trust me...It will happen. Don't fall off the Wolves bandwagon just yet. I've fallen into that trap as a Minnesota fan, as the teams suck the ticket prices seem to go up (except for the Twins, thank you) and we decide to stop watching until they are good again. But stick with these guys, for once in my life, I feel like McHale and Taylor did something right. Now, they have the chance to screw it up but they signed their best player to an extension before it became an issue during the season and even traded away the Stacey Patton of the NBA (aka Ricky Davis).



My prediction for the Wolves is that they will surprise people this year. A bunch of young guys with good work ethic and chemistry? That is dangerous in today "me first" NBA society. By saying that, I predict that the Wolves will win between 25-30 games this year. I don't see lottery but if we get there, understand that this team will get much better. Look at the teams who have evolved in the last couple years. The Nuggetts, Bulls, Blazers, Warriors...all teams with young cores who worked their way to respectability.



So watch the Wolves tonight, tomorrow and the rest of the season. Get on that bandwagon tonight so that in a couple years you don't look like a fool when you're standing at the stop while we're speeding off towards the NBA Finals.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Monday Round-up


Happy Monday to all!



I would like to start off by saying congratulations to the Boston Red Sox for beating the 2007 5A Colorado High School champions. It was nice that they won that contest to play in the World Series but I felt bad that those kids probably missed some school this month just to get swept. But I'm sure that it's an experience that they will all remember as they go through college and such.



My only thoughts are, 2 titles within 4 years of each other after waiting 86 years for just one? Either the curse is gone or Babe Ruth went comatose even in the afterlife. Needless to say, the Red Sox are one player signing away from becoming the New York Yankees (See: A-rod opts out of his contract). You know that they are going to try and sign him and why not? He's a great player. Boston has a good group of playoff guys, so A-rod's playoff choking may not even hurt them at all. You must understand that if Boston does sign A-rod, I'm making peace with all my family and friends because of the certain looming of the end times. The vortex of good sports teams has stalled over the Boston Area and shows no signs of leaving any time soon. The Patriots are destroying anything in their way and leaving women and children in their deadly wake, the Celtics might even win more than 20 games this year, Boston College is second in the BCS ( if they win the title, can they play the Pats for fun?) and the Bruins...well...we can't have everything we want.



Anyway, enough with my Boston rant. On to much bigger and not so better things.



I am talking about the Vikings.



(Sigh)....another loss to a Philly team who is definitely not the same team that used to dominate the NFC. They lost to the Bears and the Vikings essentially beat up on the Bears...so statistically that would make us better than the Eagles right? Wrong, because neither of those teams have Brad Childress, Kelly Holcomb/Brooks Bollinger, Bobby Wade as their # 1 receiver. There is something wrong with this team and it's pretty easy to figure out. We have NO pass defense and no Quarterback. It's gotten to the point where I've even had the discussion that involved "Hey, Aaron Brooks is available..." I get lightheaded just thinking about the Vikings putting their trust in Aaron Brooks. The sad thing is that he is an upgrade to our situation. My only question is why do we even have WR's? If our leading receiver has about 3oo yards this year, couldn't we trade those yards for more salary cap money or something? There has to be some compromise with Commissioner Godell on this.


The road only get's harder here on out. The Vikes have the Chargers next Sunday at the dome (a team that scored 35 first half points against the Texans yesterday) and then Green Bay at home. The last time we beat GB at home, Randy Moss made Joe Buck throw up his lunch and go on a 5 minute tirade of why fake mooning the Lambeau faithful was like throwing a puppy in the trash can. Hopefully the Vikings can do something to save this season. If not, it'll be good for the fans I suppose. We wont have to watch for too long in the draft next year to see their pick.



If you haven't already, go see Saw IV. If you've seen the first 3, you'll enjoy this one. If you don't understand the movie after you see it, check out the Wikipedia page on it. Just keep your eyes open during the movie and try to remember some of the past characters because some of them may show up in this movie. It wasn't as gross as the 3rd one but still had some pretty sick (literal meaning and slang meaning) traps. Also, there is a new Alien v. Predator movie to go along with my personal favorite National Treasure 2. Nicolas Cage is just a solid actor (see: Lord of War & Face Off).



As always, leave your feedback and enjoy the day!

Monday, October 15, 2007

The Emergence of a Star


Ladies and Gentlemen…may I present to you the 2007-08 MVP of the National Football League, Adrian Peterson.



Sorry, I might be getting ahead of myself a little bit here. But any of you who caught the Vikings vs. Bears yesterday afternoon saw something special.


You saw the emergence of the next great running back in the NFL not named LaDanian Tomlinson.


I’m tired of hearing that the Bears defense was lacking some of it’s firepower. I must have been watching the wrong game, but I remember seeing Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs, Charles Tillman, Adewale Ogunleye, Adam Archuleta and Alex Brown. But yes, you’re right…the Bears were clearly missing their Defense.


Shenanigans.


Adrian Peterson rushed for 224 yards on 20 carries and even had a 53 yard kick return to set up Ryan Longwell’s 55 yard field goal to beat the Bears as time ran out. The rookie from the University of Oklahoma, also the first running-back taken in the 2007 draft, has arrived in the NFL and he brought the snacks.


"I just got comfortable, more comfortable with the speed of the game, I knew anything was possible," Peterson said


He got comfortable alright. He made himself at home at Soldier Field. Rumor has it that the maintenance crew put up a locker in the Bears locker room with Peterson’s name on it. Since only the home running back is supposed to run like Peterson did.


He broke Chuck Foreman’s team record of 200 yards against the Philadelphia Eagles in 1976 and Ricky Williams’ record of 216 at Soldier Field in 2002. In other words, he had a day.


As for the rest of the team, yes…Adrian Peterson did not play every position today, the Vikings looked like an NFL team. Tarvaris Jackson did not turn over the ball, 9-23 with 136 yds and 1 td to Troy Williamson. The defense shut down the Bears rushing attack and made Brian Griese toss the football 45 times. If Rex Grossman had been starting today, the Vikings might have won this game by 35+.


Coming out of the bye week, the Vikings looked like they were on a mission. They looked crisp and not very sluggish for a team that hadn’t played for a week.


They’ve got another test next week down in Dallas against a Cowboys team that was subsequently crushed by the Patriots today 48-27. Other than that, the Vikings have a favorable schedule ahead of them.


10/21 @ Dallas

10/28 Philadelphia

11/4 San Diego

11/11 @ Green Bay

11/18 Oakland


The Vikings have a chance to win all of those games, but I say they go 3-2 in that stretch. That would bring them to 5-5 and still in the playoff hunt in the wide open NFC.


My interest in the Vikings has been revived. I nearly went hoarse and nearly had an aneurism at the end of that game.


As always, your comments are welcome and have a great Monday!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

A Great 2007 Major League Season

While the 2007 season was a disappointing one for many Twins fans, baseball as a whole experienced one of the greatest years in recent memory. In case you tuned out of baseball after the Twinkies were eliminated from contention, here are just a few things you may have missed: Barry Bonds last game as a San Francisco Giant; the Boston Red Sox finally taking the American League East away from the New York Yankees; the New York Mets losing the N.L. East title to the Philadelphia Phillies and missing the playoffs after leading the division by seven games with seventeen left to play; and finally, the thirteen inning exhilarating Colorado Rockies-San Diego Padres one-game playoff to determine who won the N.L. Wildcard. The Rockies won the aforementioned game to reach the playoffs for the first time in twelve years, and only the second time in the history of the franchise. As one can see, even the final week of the major league season was packed with twists and turns, and that doesn’t even begin to describe the great stories from this year.

This season saw the most historical achievements than any other previous year. Three players, Alex Rodriguez, Frank Thomas, and Jim Thome, joined the 500 home run club, along with slugger Sammy Sosa joing the 600 home run club. Also, the hallowed all-time home run record of 755 home runs, set by Henry Aaron, was eclipsed by Barry Bonds. Other milestones reached this year included a 300 win pitcher (Tom Glavine) and 3,000 hits (Houston second baseman Craig Biggio). Finally, the man who took much of the heat for the San Diego Padres one-game playoff loss, Trevor Hoffman, became the all-time saves leader this season, and currently sits at 524 for his career.

So much happened just in personal milestones, it almost hides the fact that young hitters came up from the minors for one of the best rookie classes since, well, last year. But these past two seasons have produced some of the best rookies in a LONG time, with many either already or on the verge of becoming all-stars (Hanley Ramirez, Prince Fielder, David Wright). Here are my predictions for A.L and N.L. Rookie of the Year:

A.L. Rookie of the Year – Dustin Pedroia (2B, Boston Red Sox): Pedroia held down the second base position the entire season, and finished the season with a .317 batting average, good enough for tenth in the American League. Considering that he also helped Boston to the best record in baseball, Pedroia seems like a lock for the Rookie of the Year award. Other possibilities for this year’s award include Tampa Bay outfielder Delmon Young and Boston Red Sox pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka.

N.L Rookie of the Year– Troy Tulowitzki (SS, Colorado Rockies): Tulowitzki literally won this award at the last possible moment in my mind. Milwaukee Brewers third baseman Ryan Braun had this locked up, but in the end baseball is about offense AND defense. Braun, when called up from the minors, went on to hit 34 home runs with a .324 average, but his defense was terrible. He ended the season with 26 errors, and a .895 fielding percentage, both good enough for worst in the league. Insert Tulowitzki. He finished the season with a .291 average, 24 home runs, and had some spectacular defense down the stretch, leading the Rockies to win 13 of their last 14 games. He also went four for seven in the one game playoff for the wildcard, and scored the game tying run in the bottom of the thirteenth inning. To me, offensive and defensive stats, combined with a team’s performance, are what make a rookie of the year, and Tulowitzki had it all.

With that look at the year’s best rookies, all that is left are the Cy Young and MVP predictions. Two of the four have been decided since midseason, and the other two may have been decided in the last week of the season.

A.L. Cy Young – C.C. Sabathia (SP, Cleveland Indians): Sabathia finished well down the stretch, winning his final five decisions. Throw in the fact that he led the Indians to the playoffs and out dueled 2006 Cy Young winner Johan Santana three times this season, and he is the easy choice for the award.

N.L. Cy Young – Jake Peavy (SP, San Diego Padres): Peavy won the N.L. pitching triple crown (wins, strikeouts, and earned run average), much like Johan Santana last year. Peavy is a shoo-in.

A.L. MVP – Alex Rodriguez (3B, New York Yankees): It seems like A-Rod has had this award since the first day of the season. He has simply been the best offensive threat in the A.L. all season long. Combine the fact that he eclipsed 500 career home runs this year, and A-Rod is also a lock to win the award.

N.L. MVP – Matt Holliday (OF, Colorado Rockies): This award really could go to Holliday or any of the deserving Philadelphia Phillies (Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, or reigning MVP Ryan Howard), but Holliday I feel deserves this award because he is the only MVP candidate on his team. When you have a team like the Phillies that have that many players producing, you expect to win. Holliday took the Rockies on his back, and took them headfirst into the playoffs. Plus, he literally took them into the playoffs by scoring the winning run of their one-game playoff by diving head first into home plate, leaving a nice scrape right on his chin in the process. Holliday deserves this award this year, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it goes elsewhere.

That about does it for the 2007 season recap. Baseball fans across the nation tuned in this year to witness one of the best seasons ever, with seemingly new stories every night. It’s hard to imagine that the season could get any better, but remember this – there are still the playoffs. As Dane Cook puts it SO delicately in those postseason commercials, there is only one October! Go Rockies!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

A much needed break


I am leaving for Kansas City, MO this morning.




I will be headed down to catch a Royals game and get some much needed R& R away from the "exciting" Iowa.



Until then, look for some stuff from Owen and maybe even Alec.




As always, have a safe weekend (when it rolls around) and don't let fantasy football give you a brain hemmorage...as it will do to me soon as the proud owner of Steven Jackson, Peyton Manning, Hines Ward, Cavin Johnson and a 1-2 record.



(and yes, that is Frankie goes to Hollywood in the picture)

Monday, September 24, 2007

Embarassment in Kansas City...and no...I don't mean the Royals


Don't be fooled by the fact that this is a fictional cartoon character...




Homer Simpson was on the sidelines during the Vikings 13-10 loss to the lowly Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday afternoon.



If you remember, in season 9 of the Simpsons, Bart joins a pee-wee football team coached by Ned Flanders (often times confused to be coach Childress, except Flanders coached his team to wins). Homer's taunting of Ned eventually leads to him quitting and giving Homer the coaching job.



Homer is too dumb to keep Nelson in at QB, plays favorites and puts Bart in as QB. The team loses several games and eventually Bart has to sacrifice himself (posing as Nelson when the police show up to arrest Nelson for a crime he committed) in order to save the team's season.



Lesson learned? Sometimes it really isn't the players...it's the coaches.




Brad Childress called about as good of a game as a indigenous tribe member from the Arctic could. First drive? Amazing, Adrian Peterson blows past Ty Law and puts the Vikings up 7-0. After that, the Chiefs somewhat figured out AP and now it was up to journeyman Kelly "I couldn't make it with the Browns or Eagles OR Bills" Holcomb. Even our 3rd string RB had a better arm (see touchdown pass to Shiancoe). It was deemed an incomplete pass by the referees and they were defended by the announcers as saying that maybe they didn't have that angle that we all saw. CAN SOMEONE GET THOSE GUYS A LITTLE TV SO THEY CAN GET THAT DAWGGONE ANGLE?!



Holcomb would later overthrow a wide open Robert Ferguson in the endzone which would have put the Vikes up 17-6. The guy hasn't played in a couple months and was thrown into a game against the Chiefs. Not the greatest team in the world, but it was an away game at a very intimidating stadium and the guy doesn't have the greatest track record. First bad coaching move by Childress.



Second bad move was running on first and second down and then relying on Timmy Twizzler Arm to get a first down. Sure AP had another solid game, but relying on a rookie RB won't really get you W's.



Third bad coaching move? The entire 4th quarter. Run, run, Incomplete pass, punt....Run, run, incomplete pass, punt. Referring back to our Simpsons episode, I can already see Childress with his electric football game saying "Alright Matt, hike the ball to Kelly and Kelly....you run around in a circle and then fall down".



I don't like to think that because I play Madden way too much that I can coach better than Childress...but I think that had he just pressed square (for PS2 users) for the 'Ask Madden' option, Madden would have let him know "Show them that you aren't afraid...run the ball up the middle"....oh wait...maybe he did use the 'Ask Madden'...




Either way, with the way the Green Bay Packers (leading candidates for the "Ringers of the Year" award) are playing right now...the Packers will most likely be 4-0 by 3:15 pm next Sunday and the Vikings will be thinking "who do we take with the number 3 pick?"





As always, leave your feedback and have a great Monday.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Long time, No See...

Good morning!


(I started writing this at 11:40 pm and since it was before midnight, the post says Wednesday...it really is meant for Thursday...but let's get on with it)






It has been a while since our last post here at Court's Sports. Due to unforseen events, mainly me deciding to be a real college student and actually go to class and do homework all the time, it's been pretty busy around these parts.






I would love to spend time catching up on everything that has been happening since last week, but if you read this blog I am going to trust that you haven't been under a rock for a week and know what's going on.






So I would like to focus on the one thing that has been plastered all over ESPN, and every other news outlet during the last few days, and that is OJ Simpson's recent arrest.








This whole situation stinks with confusion. The jist of the story is that someone told OJ that someone else was selling some personal effects and OJ wasn't having it. So he took some people that he met at a wedding reception and Pulp Fictioned his way into jail. One of OJ's new friends apparently had a gun, some say OJ did but it isn't known at this point. 11 felony counts later, OJ is back in jail and has the Goldman family giddy with joy.






With bail set at $125,000, OJ seems to be back in the same situation he was when he was being tried for murder. Is it really a case of "wrong place, wrong time"? Or is OJ really the guy that most of America thinks he is?






I was 8 years old when '85 white Ford Broncos were no longer known as "trucks" but "getaway vehicles". I remember the glove and sitting in front of the TV when he was being acquitted. Was I excited? Sure, but for what reason?






I had heard that he was guilty as all guilty can be. And then he somehow moonwalks his way out of murder charges?! First thought at age 8? "He is the man!"






Forgive me, I was 8, but that's what it looked like to a lot of people. Until this point in American history, if a black man went to trial...there was a good chance that his plans were going to change for the next 15-20 years. And now "Juice" was getting acquitted of murder when it seemed to be a very clear cut trial? Unbeleivable.






You could play the celebrity card of course, but that card was a 2 of a kind to the royal flush that was the race card.






I've never been one to cry race at anything. Sure, I may use it in the comical sense, but people need to deal with their lives regardless of skin color. I've been a part of many situations that dealt with racism, so I know what it's like. But not everything in life is black and white.






Unfortunately, this situation also stinks with the dreaded "P" word..."profiled"






I feel that OJ was very un-intelligent about this situation. First off, who were the guys with him. If I'm at a party with OJ, not only am I nowhere near him, but if I am and I hear about a plan to run into a hotel room with a gun to get his stuff back...I make my way over to my date and do not join in such activities. Second, well knowing his past with the police, why would he go with a gun and a bunch of guys. Like Whoopi Goldberg said on the View the other day, (my mother told me, I'm in class at the time) "Involve the police!"






Now, OJ was quoted as saying that he no longer has faith in the police and that his dealings with them have been less than satisfactory since the '95 trial. Really OJ? The police have been "less than satisfactory"? Surprise. Either way, if he calls them and they refuse to go to the hotel it falls on them for not doing their job to serve and protect.






Unfortunately, when you have the past experiences that OJ has had, then yes, authorities may deal with you differently. To me, this is where the profiling ends.








You, in the next few weeks, may hear "Well if Tom Brady had been in this situation, then he wouldn't have such harsh charges. Maybe, maybe not...we'll never know. Want to know why we'll never know? BECAUSE TOM BRADY WILL NEVER BE IN THIS SITUATION.






I don't often deal in absolutes, but come on. Unless something goes terribly wrong, I don't see the distant Kennedy (check out his pictures online, creepy) doing this ever. Some people just find themselves in stupid situations and OJ is the current league leader in stupid situations.






I would like to leave you with these links though : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/O._J._Simpson_murder_case






http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=hill/070918 (ESPN's Jemele Hill has a great article that goes into great detail about the situation)






Scroll down to the "Jason Simpson Theory" section (on Wikipedia) and read it. Not many have talked about this theory, but something tells me that it makes more sense than OJ actually committing the murders.






This situation is a loaded gun. It screams confusion, racism, profiling and mainly stupidity on OJ Simpsons part.






We here at Court's Sports in no way support OJ Simpson in anything he does unless it involves him in a USC or Buffalo Bills uniform. Nor do we support Wikipedia as a source of great information, just a great way to pass time in class.






Have a great Thursday!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Terry Ryan & Greg Oden...friends?


I ask this question mainly because as of today, neither of these gentlemen will have much to do.



According to ESPN's Buster Olney, and about 70 other sources, Twins GM Terry Ryan has stepped down from his position in the Twins organization.



This comes as a great surprise to many since Ryan has been with the organization for 12 years now and the Twins will be at possibly the most important crossroads in their storied history as they try and find the funds to re-sign their most important players.



Ryan will be replaced by Assistant GM Bill Smith, who according to sources, is a very motivated and competent replacement.



Ryan has been lauded by owners across the league for being able to put competitive teams on the field year in and year out with a very limited budget. He was able to trade AJ Pierzsynski for Boof Bonser, Joe Nathan and Francisco Liriano. That trade is considered by many, one of the most lopsided trades in recent MLB history. Ryan had a great eye for talent and it showed.



As for the other part...




Greg Oden, who elected to have microfracture knee surgery a couple weeks ago, will apparently be out until March and maybe even the entire season.



This is a blow to the TrailBlazers organization who was banking on Oden helping them to the playoffs this year.



The best thing is that since Oden, age wise, is young he could return quicker than thought.



And yes, he still will have to shave every 6 hours.




Friday, September 7, 2007

Peyton's still here...and he's brought friends

The New Orleans Saints really thought that they had a chance to beat the Colts in Indy last night....I'm sure of it.


Well, any of you who watched last night would know that wishes sometimes just don't happen. Sounds sad, but nothing is more sad than coming in with high expectations for your team and having every single person on your team underacheive. Even the water boy spilled Deuce McAllister's Gatorade during the 3rd quarter.


Reggie Bush, considered by many to be one of the most explosive players in the NFL, gained a grand total of 47 yards last night...47 YARDS!? For a player with high expectations, that better be the last time that happens or else Fantasy owners across America will revolt.


Drew Brees threw for about 180 yards and 2 INT's. They weren't tipped INT's, they were the "what were you thinking when you threw that?!" INT's. He looked sharp on the first drive but past that he looked like me in Intramural football last year, erratic and blaming everyone else for my bad passes.


The consolation, as said by Sean Salisbury, is that they are in the NFC. Barring anymore games against the Colts, the Saints could go 15-1 this year. Most likely they won't, but that's what wishes are all about.


Peyton & CO. looked rough on their first drive. 3 and out on the first drive makes it hard to gain momentum for the rest of the game but on the next drive, Peyton found Marvin Harrison on the left side of the field for the first time in 10 years and they continue to build on their NFL record of QB to WR Td's (now sitting at 683).


Reggie Wayne and Joe Addai stole the show last night though. Addai, after getting torn apart by Mike McKenzie (who else was surprised that he actually made a tackle?), went on to rush for over 100 yards and a TD while Wayne had 7 - 125-2 for the night.


The Colts look like nothing has changed and that spells trouble for the rest of the AFC.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Christmas Come Early


Today is the day…


The day that men all across America have been waiting a year for…


Football…


Season…


Is…


HERE!


At 7:30 pm Central Standard time, The Colts and Saints will kick off the 2007-08 NFL season from the hidden gem of the Upper East-Midwest, also known as Indianapolis, IN.

Some interesting storylines surround this game:


Can Peyton Manning repeat his past seasons of QB dominance? As well as, Can the Colts repeat as Super Bowl champs or will they fall prey to the dismal seasons the Buccaneers and Ravens had after they won Super Bowls?


Will Reggie Bush repeat his 1,300 all purpose yardage again for the Saints this year?


Can Joe Addai be the feature back that everyone thinks he can be?


Can Drew Brees, Marques Colston and Devery Henderson have a season like they did last year?



My answers to all of these questions?


Peyton Manning is about as consistent as the sun rising and setting. He not only will have a great year, but he will also be the AFC Offensive player of the year barely beating out LaDanian Tomlinson. The Colts will also be the team to beat in the AFC. Even though Tom Brady got some huge help this offseason, the Colts are still the team to beat. Plus, compare the three teams involved in that question. Colts, Bucs and Ravens? Come on, when was the last time you heard Brad Johnson, Trent Dilfer and Peyton Manning in the same sentence when it didn’t end with, “Are you kidding?”



Not only will Reggie Bush repeat his season numbers from last year, he’ll do better. I imagine Reggie getting near 1,000 yards rushing and 700 receiving. He will be HUGE this year for the Saints. He is my early leader for NFC Offensive player of the year. If that doesn’t sell it for you, remember this : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xwS5x920i8A


Joseph Addai will be good for the Colts this year. One of the most ridiculous things that I ever heard this offseason was, “Hey, the Colts are going to be a running team this year, you watch!” There are a lot of reasons why that is stupid but the main reason is that if anyone remembers that the Colts have one of the best QB’s since…well…ever, WHY WOULD THEY TURN INTO A RUNNING TEAM?! Addai is simply a nice distraction for any defense that faces the Colts. Look for 1,100 yards maybe.


Drew Brees and Marques Colston will have great years. When you have a running game that includes Deuce McAllister and Reggie Bush, you can’t help but think, “hey, my job is pretty easy” (Brees and Colston speaking). Devery Henderson was very streaky last year and I wouldn’t expect much from him this year.


Like the “experts” at ESPN and every other media outlet around the world, here are my “expert” picks.


NFC North : Chicago Bears, Minnesota Vikings, Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers

NFC South: Saints, Panthers, Falcons and Bucs. (Falcons and Panthers in second place is a wash in my mind)

NFC East: Giants, Cowboys, Eagles and Redskins (you watch, Eli will come up big this year. If not, well then so be it.)

NFC West : Rams, Seahawks, 49ers and Cardinals (this, for the first time since the Korean War, was incredibly tough. The Rams and Seahawks are very similar in their styles and skill and so are the 49ers and Cards. I can see this going any which way. Now that Denny Green is gone, the Cards have an honest shot at winning more than 6 games.


AFC North : Bengals, Steelers, Ravens, Browns.


AFC South : Colts, Jags, Texans, Titans (this is the “Mid-90’s NL East” of the NFL. One dominant team surrounded by other teams that just fight each other to not look that bad)

AFC East : Patriots, Bills, Dolphins, Jets


AFC West : Chargers, Broncos, Chiefs, Raiders



Superbowl prediction : Bears vs. Colts (Yes, again. I see this turning into the new “Cowboys/Steelers” superbowls of the 90’s. )


A disclaimer on predictions like this should ALWAYS go on websites that put up their predictions. The only thing that separates me from Sean Salisbury right now is a college education and a steady job (your pick on that one). So please, as always, leave your comments on what you think of my predictions and enjoy the game tonight!

Saturday, September 1, 2007

NFL Problems


Well...I knew that this was too good to be true. As soon as I showed an interest in the NFL again, things got pretty heavy again.




Rodney Harrison has been suspended by the NFL for 4 games for admitting that he purchased and consumed Human Growth Hormones. Am I the only one that isn't that surprised about this? Anyone that has watched Rodney Harrison the last couple of years can testify that he is absolutely nuts on the field. Not Ray Lewis' "I need to get my team hyped and I'm stoked to be here" kind of nuts but "Hey, I'm going to kill you if you come over the middle and then date your sister after" sort of nuts. He admitted to taking them the past 2 years to recover from his injuries faster but this comment confused me :



"I want to make it clear," Harrison said, "that never once did I take steroids. I did admit to the commissioner that I took a banned substance."



Isn't HGH a form of steriods!? Maybe instead of Sex Education we need to be teaching our kids about sterioids so that when they get older and maybe get in a situation like this, they don't look like an idiot.



The NFL needs to crack down on this and Roger Goodell has a lot of work to do.




Luckily, College football gets into full swing tomorrow. Go Trojans...Go Gophers...and LSU sucks.





Have a great weekend.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Placing Johan Santana into History


Man its a hot one.

Like seven inches from the midday sun

I hear you whisper and the words melt everyone

But you stay so cool

My mu equita my spanish harlem mona lisa

Your my reason for reason

The step in my groove...

-Smooth (Santana featuring Rob Thomas)



Every superhero has their theme music...Every professional wrestler has their entrance song…and Every baseball player has their song when they bat, pitch or come in from the bullpen.





So why does a collaboration by Rob Thomas and super guitarist Santana have a special meaning to me?





Two reasons…a left arm and charisma that could bring peace to the Middle-East.




Johan Santana.




The Metrodome is a teflon covered toilet. Since 1982, it has brought nightmares to players as well as fans. Balls get lost in the off-white ceiling, hit speakers and ricochet 20 feet away from where it was going to land. None of the seats really face home plate (watch or go to a game sometime and notice how the section by the left field foul pole is ALWAYS empty).



All is forgotten on the special days when Santana pitches…



There is a different feeling when you walk into the dome. A confidence, because Johan won’t let the other team sniff home plate. The song “Smooth” is played during Santana’s warm up pitches before the game starts. It’s like associating a pro-wrestler or superhero with their theme music. You hear it and automatically think of that person before you think of who actually wrote the song.


Now, I may be biased on my thoughts on Johan Santana (being from Minnesota myself) but I feel that he may be one of the most dominant left-handed pitchers in Major League history. This is a big statement when considering other lefties that have graced the dirt mounds across America. These players range from Sandy Koufax to Steve Carlton to Tom Glavine to Randy Johnson and to the man who has the award for “Best Left-Handed pitcher”, Warren Spahn. There is no doubt that Santana is the best lefty pitcher currently but why not go a little further and compare him as one of the best lefties ever to play the game.


Let’s look at three categories : Strikeouts, Wins and ERA as well as comparing where each pitcher was with each category at Santana’s age (28) and years in the league (8). Future projections are based on whether Santana stays healthy and pitches at the same rate continually.


Strikeouts :

Spahn – 2,583 strikeouts

Koufax – 2,936 strikeouts

Carlton – 4,136 strikeouts

Glavine – 2,556 strikeouts (and counting)

Johnson – 4,616 strikeouts (and counting?)

Santana – 1,344 strikeouts (and counting)


Johnson has the most strikeouts for lefty pitchers in MLB history. If we base greatness on strikeouts alone, then Randy Johnson wins. He’s been pitching since 1988 and is getting close to the end of his career. His size alone puts fear into opposing batters, plus his 96 MPH fastball helps as well. Right now, Johnson could arguably be the best lefty pitcher in MLB history. Johnson needs 16 more wins to reach 300 and 484 strikeouts to reach 5,000. Neither of which are within much reach for Johnson unfortunately because of injuries. But let’s compare where Santana is at this point in his career.


By the age of 28, Randy Johnson had 948 career strikeouts after 5 years in the league. If you use age as a comparison, Santana leads Johnson by 396 strike outs. On the other hand, if you use the years in the league as a comparison, Johnson leads by 285 strike outs. If Santana keeps on pace with his strike outs and plays the same length as Johnson (assuming this is his last year) he will accumulate 3,360 strike outs. This, of course, is hypothetical. Injuries, among many other things, can change these numbers. Assuming that Santana stays healthy, he could make a run at Johnson’s numbers, especially with Johnson’s career coming to an end soon.



Wins:


To many, wins probably make the most difference between pitchers. A pitcher could strike out 2,500 batters in his career but what does it say if he only had 96 wins? The true sign of a dominating pitcher comes with how many wins he had in his career.

Spahn – 363 wins, 65 by age 28, 122 by 8 years in the league (gaps in years played due to World War 2)

Koufax – 165 wins, 112 by age 28 and 68 by 8 years. (began at age 19 in the league and didn’t put up big numbers until after age 28)

Carlton – 326 wins, 117 by age 28 and 104 by 8 years in the league

Glavine – 301 wins (and counting), 108 by age 28 and 108 by 8th year in the league (most correlative to Santana by age and numbers at this point)

Johnson – 284 wins (and counting?), 56 by age 28, 106 by 8th year in the league.

Santana – 92 wins (and counting), 92 by age 28 and 92 by 8th year in the league.


Even with World War 2, Spahn destroys the win record for lefties. He won games at such amazing rates that it will be hard for any lefty to ever catch him. Glavine is the closest for active players with his 301 wins but he is also 41 years old. He still is behind Carlton who finished with 326 wins. Who knows how many wins Sandy Koufax would have accumulated had Tommy John surgery been around when he was a player. Johnson is close but his degenerative back problems will most likely keep him from ever reaching that goal. Assuming that Santana pitches at the same rate of wins for the next 12 years, Santana would finish with 273 wins. This would put him in good standing in terms of career wins.


Era:


A pitcher’s Earned Run Average is something that many look at when comparing stats. Typically, a career ERA under 3.50 is considered pretty special. There are few players in MLB history that have been in the league for more than ten minutes that have a career ERA under maybe 3.05. Let’s look at our lefties again :


Spahn : 3.09 for a 21 year career

Koufax : 2.76 for a 12 year career

Carlton : 3.22 for a 24 year career

Glavine : 3.49 (active statistic)

Johnson : 3.22 (active statistic)

Santana : 3.15 (active statistic)


Koufax’s ERA stands out in this group of pitchers. He only pitched for 12 years, but had he not had elbow problems he may have had many more years of low ERA’s. Over the last 5 years of his career, his ERA averaged 2.38. For a pitcher in any era, those numbers are staggering. Santana at this rate would finish 3rd and possibly 2nd in this list of lefties for career ERA. Santana’s ERA has fluctuated the last 4 years but has been under 2.88 each year.


So let’s get a final look at Santana’s career stats as far as Strikeouts, Wins and ERA:


K’s – 3,360 W’s – 273 ERA – 3.10



With stats like that and not being a concrete starter until 2004, Johan Santana has a great shot at not only Cooperstown but a shot at being considered the most dominant lefty to ever play the game.