The Sports Scoop

My View on the World of Sports

2007 Baseball Predictions/MLB Baseball Message Board

With the 2007 Major League Baseball season nearly upon us, I have decidedmlb.jpg to create a message board dedicated to just that.  This will be a place for baseball lovers to go and talk about anything related to the game.  There are already a few posts related to predictions, but I will be adding posts regularly to hopefully spark conversation and debate.  Feel free to check it out and tell your friends about it so we can get some great baseball talk going.  The site is www.activeboard.com/forum.spark?forumID=106169 .

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February 27, 2007 Posted by | Baseball, MLB, News, Sports | 12 Comments

NFL Combine Weighs Too Much

Every year we see players’ draft stock move up or down based on how they perform at the NFL Combine.  Every little thing these kids do is put under a microscope, especially the big names. Last year, for example, we had the big ordeal over Vince Young’s wonderlic score.  This year, they are already talking about how Dwayne Bowe isn’t performing well after he was praised the 2 weeks before for having a great Senior Bowl. 

It seems to me like the studs have more to lose than to gain at the combine.  Let’s take Bowe, for example.  He was moving up the mock draft boards, many times ahead of even Dwayne Jarrett.  If he chose not to participate in the combine, his stock would have stayed high.  But because he ran, he’s all of the sudden a worse player than everyone thought.  You see it every year with somebody.

On the other hand, players who didn’t get as much publicity during the season have got to love the Combine.  You will always see a guy who was supposed to be a late rounder move up because he was feeling good that day at the Combine and busted out a 4.31 40. 

Supposedly you can learn a ton about a player by watching them broad jump or run around cones without pads on, but I’m not sure that I buy it.  As a fan, I love the Combine.  Watching the mind numbing 40 times and seeing lineman throw around 225 pounds is pure entertainment.  However, you hear all the time about the difference between football speed and track speed.  If I were a scout, I would stick to the game film.

Maybe that’s why I’m not a scout.

February 26, 2007 Posted by | Football, NFL, Sports | 1 Comment

Silence Surrounds the Trade Deadline: Chicago the Real Winner

The NBA trade deadline came and went today with no serious action. dixon.jpg Fred Jones and Juan Dixon changed addresses, while Anthony Johnson packed his bags for Atlanta in exchange for a 2nd round draft.  That was about it. 

The big story in all of this is the lack of big name players moving to contenders.  We have heard about Pau Gasol possibly going to Chicago, Jason Kidd heading to LA, and even Mike Bibby being shipped to help out Cleveland, but none of those deals came to be.  Each of these players was supposed to help put their new team over the edge and make them “serious” contenders.

Am I surprised at the lack of activity? Yeah, a little.  I thought that something big would happen.

Kidd to the Lakers would have been a great trade for the present but probably not for the future.  Kidd would have played the distributor role that Kobe has embraced, so Bryant would have been freed upto drop 35 a night.  The Lakers would have more than likely had to give up Bynum though, which would have hurt when he becomes a stud in a couple of years.

Being a Bulls fan, I’m actually glad that Chicago didn’t make the trade for Pau Gasol.  If the Bulls were going to get a low post presence, go for it all and get KG.  We know that wasn’t going to happen, but settling for Gasol would have been a mistake.  I don’t know what Memphis wanted, but if it included either Ben Gordon or Luol Deng, it was already too much.  They are both young and amazingly talented.  I really like the group of players Chicago has right now.  They don’t have that “go to” guy in the post, but they have so many slashers and shooters that they don’t need one in my opinion.  Chicago already has the pieces to come out of the Eastern Conference, don’t count them out.

February 22, 2007 Posted by | Basketball, NBA, Sports | 2 Comments

Scottie Pippen, NBA Free Agent?

1482007021615460115pippen.jpgScottie Pippen, long time Chicago Bulls player and one of the 50 greatest in NBA history, wants to come out of retirement and play for a contender.  He recently stated that he is in great shape (5% body fat, which, if true, is pretty amazing) and has been training for months.  At age 41, Pippen is looking to play between 10 and 20 minutes a game for the final two months of the season and into the playoffs.

It is hardly uncommon for retired athletes to come out of retirement.  Michael Jordan, Mario Lemieux, and Sugar Ray Leonard are some greats that went back for a second helping in their respective sports.  Each of these players remained productive in their returns as well.  Pippen has undoubtedly seen that players can come out of retirement and compete.

However, Pippen is 41.  Those guys came back when they still had some good years left in them.  It is safe to say that Scottie is long past his prime. 

I’m not sure if a team will give him a chance.  Two of the teams which many analysts say Scottie would fit in at are the Bulls and the Lakers.  Both could use some veteran leadership for their playoffs runs and have ties to Pippen’s past.  Pippen played for 12 years with the Bulls, many of those years under Phil Jackson, the current coach of the Lakers. 

While I would love to see Pippen come back to the league and contribute, I have a hard time seeing it actually happen.  The best parts of his game were his defense and versatility.  He cannot be the same defender he once was, especially considering he was an average defender at best when he left the league the first time.  His versatility might still be there to some extent.  He would be able to bring the ball up and play the point forward roll, but past that he would not be much help.  He is not a great shooter and doesn’t have the explosiveness to blow past people anymore.

If Scottie wants to help a team, it should be as a coach and not a player.  He has leadership skills, but I can’t imagine he has the basketball skills to match.  In the words of Charles Barkley, “You retire because you can’t play anymore.  You don’t get better sitting at home.  You might feel better, but you don’t get better.”

February 20, 2007 Posted by | Basketball, NBA, Scottie Pippen, Sports | 1 Comment

I Want Real All Star Games

Does anyone else feel like All Star games have lost their luster?  Watching the NFL All Pro game last Saturday, I couldn’t help but feel that they have.  The concept of an All Star game is a sports fan’s dream, to watch the best players go head to head.  However, it seems to me that both fans and players alike are becoming less enthusiastic about these contests.

One obvious reason is that the players do not take All Star games very seriously.  The NBA All Star game is well known for this.  The first three quarters of the game is basically a plug for the And1 Mix Tape Tour, minus the guy screaming “Oh baby!” in the background. 

The NFL All Pro game flows a little more genuinely, if you can get the real stars to play that is.  Many players choose to sit out of this game because they have “injuries.”  Those that do play, especially on defense, tend to take a little more caution leading to poor tackling and choppy gameplay.  I get a sense that all of the players feel they are winners, regardless of the game’s outcome, if they did not get hurt in the game.

Anyone happen to see the number of open seats at the Pro Bowl?  The seats were only half full!  I’m awed by the extreme lack of support from fans.  They play the game in Hawaii, which could account for some of the lack of attendance, but it was still surprising to me.

The MLB All Star game might be the only one that has it right.  They have the game mean something and do an excellent job of promoting it.  Fans love the mid-season classic and rightfully so.  The players support one another and play the game as hard, if not harder, as they would a regular season game. 

Maybe it’s just me, but I wish that all of the All Star games meant something, to fans and players.  It’s a sad day when we have to listen to Tyrus Thomas say that, “I’m just going to go out there and do whatever…I’m out there to collect my paycheck.”

February 14, 2007 Posted by | All Star Game, Baseball, Basketball, Football, MLB, NBA, NFL, Sports | 1 Comment

John Amaechi Announces His Homosexuality

It has been reported that John Amaechi, former NBA journeyman, is going to admit to being gay in an upcoming book.  Amaechi, the first former NBA player to publicly admit to being gay, retired in 2003 after just five NBA seasons.

nba_maninmiddle_195.jpgThe reaction from some current NBA players is what bothers me, mainly Shavlik Randolph of the Philadelphia 76ers.  When asked about how he would feel if he had an openly gay teammate, Randolph said, “As long as you don’t bring your gayness on me I’m fine.” 

This sounds like something I would hear coming from someone in junior high.  Maybe I have overestimated the maturity level of some NBA players. 

Personally, I have no problem with Amaechi coming out if that is what he feels he needs to do.  I do not think it was necessary for him to make public his sexual preference though.  That is personal information that no one needs to know and the media blows out of perportion.  I understand if he is trying to lead the way for other homosexual NBA players to come out, but once again, I do not understand why they would feel obligated to.  Maybe he is just trying to make some money selling a book, who knows.  However, I admitting this takes a lot of courage, so for that I applaud you Mr. Amaechi.

February 8, 2007 Posted by | Basketball, NBA, News, Sports | Leave a comment

Best NBA Slam Dunker of All-Time

ESPN.com had a poll the other day that asked who people thought was the best slam dunker of all-time, if they were all in the prime of their careers.  Some of the options were Dominique Wilkins, Julius Erving, Kobe Bryant, Vince Carter, and Michael Jordan.  I made my selection and was very surprised to see that who I had chosen was not who the majority of the people picked.  Here is why I think Vince Carter is the best slam dunker of all-time.

First of all, I narrowed my choice down by process of elimination.  Wilkins was a power dunker and was able to finish strong in traffic.  He did not have the flair to his dunks that the others do, which is why he is not the best.  That was the easy one to get out of the way.

Kobe and Dr. J both had their fair share of great dunks.  Dr. J could flat out soar while Kobe’s creativity in dunking is up there with the best of them.  However, Erving and Kobe simply are not on the same level as Jordan and Carter in terms of dunking.

This is where the discrepancy takes place.  Fourty-four percent of the people selected Michael Jordan as the best of all-time, while 26% chose Vince Carter.  I am as big of a Micahel Jordan fan as anyone out there, (and yes, he is the greatest player of ever) but there is no way he was a better dunker than Vince Carter.  Jordan was a fantastic all-around player and it is hard not to give him the title of “best ever” for each facet of his game.  In Vince Carter’s athletic prime, he was basically just a dunker, that is what he did.  Carter has more highlight reel dunks than anyone who has played in the NBA.  Whether he was in a Slam Dunk Competition, an NBA game, or jumping over people who stand 7’2″, Carter always found a way to make you say “wow.” 

February 7, 2007 Posted by | Basketball, NBA, Slam Dunk, Sports | 16 Comments

Federer vs. Tiger…Who is More Dominant?

                      federer.jpg                               tiger.jpg                           

Roger Federer has dominated the tennis world for the past four years.  It is truly amazing to watch him dismantle his opponents.  Just a few weeks ago, Federer took home his 10th Grand Slam title by winning the Australian Open.  Not only did he not lose a single set the entire tournament, but he convincingly beat opponents who claimed to be playing the best tennis of their lives going into their matches.  Andy Roddick, Federer’s semi-finals opponent, looked great the entire tournament until he played Roger.  Federer embarrassed Roddick 6-4, 6-0, 6-2.  In the final, Federer played a scrappy Fernando Gonzalez who was making his first Grand Slam final.  Calm as ever, Federer won the match 7-6, 6-4, 6-4.  The 2007 Australian Open was just the most recent display of how much better than everyone else Federer really is.

Tiger Woods needs no introduction.  We all know him as the best golfer in the past 20 or more years.  He plays fewer tournaments on the PGA tour than most golfers and still leads the tour in earnings every year.  When he really tries his hardest, it seems like no one can beat him.  Currently, he has won 7 consecutive PGA tournament titles.  That is a remarkable statistic considering the overall level of golf that is being played by his opponents.  Tiger shines even brighter when it comes to the majors.  He has been quoted as saying that the only tournaments that matter to him are the majors.  It is scary to think that he can win so many tournaments that really do not matter that much to him.

There really is no right or wrong answer to the question of who is more dominant in their sport.  In my eyes, Federer’s accomplishments are more impressive.  Woods is right there beside Roger, but the fact that Federer has done all that he has in only four years is pretty amazing.  He is still only 25 years old and potentially has another decade to play.  Woods wins a lot of tournaments and will shoot a stroke or two better than his nearest competitor.  Federer plays the best competition available, and they cannot even take a set off of him. 

February 6, 2007 Posted by | Golf, Sports, Tennis | 13 Comments

Brett Favre is Returning

With the sting of last night’s Super Bowl still fresh, I figured I should write this blog so I can attempt to forget about football and move on with my life (for a little while at least). 

 Let’s talk a little about Brett Favre.  Ask most Packers fans what they think about Favre’s return and you’ll likely get a response, “We’re going to the Super Bowl!”  That further cements my claim that Packers fans are the most delusional group of people in sports today.  Don’t get me wrong, they love their Packers, but it is to the point that they lose touch with reality. 

In reality, Favre is not the same quarterback who won the Super Bowl back in 1997.  He’s not even the same guy he was two years ago.  This is a guy that had a worse quarterback rating than the awful Rex Grossman this past season.  Favre is now pretty average.  The stats don’t lie.

Does he still give you a chance to win every Sunday?  Definitely.  Will he make some plays that “only Brett Favre can make?”  No doubt about it.  But when it comes down to it, Favre coming back does anything but make the Packers instant contenders. 

So wake up Packers nation, you are getting the 38 year old version of #4 next season, not the 28 year old version.  I’m not saying the Packers can’t do good things with Favre at the helm, but he is not going to put them on his shoulders and carry them Super Bowl XLII.

February 5, 2007 Posted by | Favre, Football, NFL | 12 Comments

Super Bowl XLI Prediction

To start off with, I have been a Bears fan since birth.  So I am probably biased when I say that I think the Bears will win the Super Bowl this Sunday.  However, I did think they would lose to the Saints two weekends ago, so that just shows how good my predictions are.  Anyways, here are some of the things I am looking at regarding the upcoming game.

1.  I have heard way too many times that it’s going to come down to Rex Grossman vs. Peyton Manning.  The thing people seem to overlook is that Manning is facing the Bears’ defense, not Grossman.  It’s common knowledge that Manning is a better quarterback, but he has to go up against one of the best defenses in the NFL this Sunday.  That’s just a little something I think people need to realize.

2.  Another point I keep hearing, mostly from Packer fans, is that Grossman is going to blow the game.  Ron Turner, the Bears offensive coordinator, is not going to allow that.  He experimented in the regular season with putting the game on Grossman’s shoulders, and that is when we saw Rex at his worst.  With a field position minded, clock-controlling running game, the Bears with keep both the Colts offense off the field and Grossman from having to try and make big plays.

3.  Special teams is going to play a large roll in the Super Bowl.  It does every year and is only talked about after the game.  It’s hard not to give the huge edge to the Bears in this department.  Devin Hester is the best return man in the game, and the Colts are near the bottom of the league in shutting down returns.  On the other side, the Bears are one of the best in the league in covering kicks.  The kicking game is pretty even with the Bears having a better punter in Brad Maynard and the Colts having a proven clutch kicker in Adam Vinatieri.  Bears kicker Robbie Gould is a Pro Bowler in his second season though, so he is reliable as well.

Enough analysis already!  I just cannot wait for this game to be played.  Any way you look at it, it looks like it is going to be a great game.

Final Score: Bears 24, Colts 17    MVP: Thomas Jones

Next Post:  Brett Favre is Returning

February 2, 2007 Posted by | Chicago Bears, Football, NFL, Super Bowl | Leave a comment