Wednesday, March 17, 2010

My Bracket Revealed

First of all, I dont guarantee anything, but here is my thought process on the 2010 March Madness bracket breakdown.

This year's bracket is tricky and it can go several ways, if u ask me. There are so many upset opportunities that it is almost a trap to pick all of them to happen. The way I see it, there are many upset opportunities, but I dont feel many will happen.

I have chalk in the Final Four. This is because Kansas is that good that they can put up with encountering a stacked region; Syracuse matches up well with everyone they play in their region, including Kansas State; Duke has the easiest road to the Final Four, even though I thought they should be a #2 seed; and Kentucky just needs to get past West Virginia to get to Indianapolis, and their freshman play like upper classmen.

Again, I dont guarantee anything, but I have picked the Final Four the last 2 years. But that means nothing, this is the hardest bracket to figure out in a long while and we could easily have 0 #1 seeds in the Final Four when it's all said and done. That is how crazy these next 3 weeks are going to be. Enjoy.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The $10 Million Debacle

Yikes!!! Those were the voices of Oakland A's fans all over the Bay Area after reading the box score of yesterdays 13-5 loss to the Cincinnati Reds. The starting pitcher for the A's yesterday---The Opening Night starter, Ben Sheets.

Sheets, who signed a 1 yr./ $10 Million deal this offseason, was having a rough spring training as it was, but his was the icing on the cake. Sheets faced 10 batters, gave up 8 hits, and let up 9 earned runs in yesterday's spring training game.

Those jeers you hear? Those are from the people who reasoned that giving Sheets $10 Million for one year after a season in which he pitched in 0 games for the Milwaukee Brewers was ridiculous.

One of those jeers was definitely coming from me. Billy Beane is a fantastic GM for the Oaklnd A's, but he sure missed one right here. Signing a guy who did not pitch a game in 2009 for $10 Million is a bold signing. At the time, it was a good pick-up, but as we analyzed it more and more it simply did not make sense.

Finally, it came to fruition on Monday when Sheets bombed in what can only be described as a debacle. Sheets did not get one player out. An A's fan's reasoning would be that it is taking Sheets time to get back into pitching shape and get the kinks out after taking off 2009. But this isn't some low-profile pitcher we have here who is allowed to get kinks out his system, this is a guy who was payed $10 Million this offseason to pitch, and pitch well. And in return, you get 0 outs, and concerned looks over in Oakland.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Upset Alerts in San Jose

I'm not sure how many people you are going to see pack into the HP Pavilion on Thursday at 11:30a.m. In fact, let's hope we see 10,000 people in the arena that holds 17,000. I currently do not know a person who heard the news about New Mexico or Butler playing in San Jose on Thursday afternoon and quickly went out and booked their tickets for the games.

I have my tickets though, I've had them since June, and for a March Madness junkie like myself, I cannot wait for Thursday and Saturday. Not because these are big name teams playing in San Jose that could potentially make it to the Final Four, which they're not. But because all of the teams that are favored are on high upset alert. And isn't that the attraction of March Madness?

4 Vanderbilt vs. 13 Murray State
5 Butler vs. 12 UTEP
6 Marquette vs. 11 Washington
3 New Mexico vs. 14 Montana

I see huge upset possibilities in every one of these games, especially the Vanderbilt vs. Murray State game at 11:30a.m. on Thursday.

So those who have tickets for Thursday in San Jose...Enjoy. Because March Madness gets no more "Madder" (not a word) than at the HP Pavilion.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

And the Madness Begins in the Bay Area

March Madness is upon us. The 2010 NCAA March Madness bracket was revealed on Sunday, and at first glimpse, I would say we are in store for many an upset. There are just so many possiblities, and so many teams with chances of playing the part of Cinderella.

Off the bat, Kansas got screwed. The #1 overall seed should not have to go up against the likes of 2 other possible #1 seeds in Ohio State and Georgetown, not to mention Tennessee, Maryland, and Michigan State are not too shabby either. Bottom line, Kansas has the toughest road to the Final Four of any #1 seed.

The team that got the best of the draw was by far Duke. Their only tough opponent on their way to the Final Four is an overrated Villanova team that may lose before the two teams meet.

In the other 2 regions, Kentucky's only test will be West Virginia in the Elite 8, and what a test that will be. And in the West region, we will see what Syracuse is made of early, as they do not have many tough opponents, just a few that are extreme upset chances.

But let's keep it in the Bay Area. The two teams, Cal and St. Mary's got draws that they were not anticipating of getting. Those thinking that both teams were going to make it to the 2nd round are currently rethinking their previous statement (me included).

Cal will go up in the 8/9 match-up against an invigorated Louisville team coached by March Madness veteran Rick Pitino. Louisville is riding a high after beating Syracuse in the Big East Tournament, and boy they showed they can shoot the rock in that game. This one could go either way, but I think it comes down to Jamal Boykin of Cal vs. Samardo Samuels of Louisville. Both will be guarding each other during the game, and I think it comes down to those two to decide the game. My Prediction: Samuels over Boykin, and Louisville over Cal.

For St. Mary's, they simply ran into the wrong #7 seed. Any of the other #7 seeds the Gaels would have matched up great with. St. Mary's will play a Richmond team that is everyone's Cinderella team. I dont see it that way, but some describe them as playing a "Big East style of ball," and the Big East is the best conference in the country, so i'll take their word for it. But don't count out the Gaels. They showed Gonzaga they can play with the big boys in the WCC Championship. If Omar Samhan and Mickey McConnell stay consistent and do what they've been doing the whole year, then St. Mary's can create the potential upset, and they are in the upset position. But if they don't and Richmond gets to them, we will see an unhappy St. Mary's team returning to Moraga. My Prediction: Richmond over St. Mary's

-I will post my full NCAA Bracket within the next couple of days.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Seasoning Buster Posey

The anticipation of Buster Posey is almost too much these days. He is making absolute waves in Spring Training so far, and fans' #1 question heading into the regular season is when are we going to see Buster?

It seemed like the organization was sending a clear message to its fan-base a couple months ago when they re-signed Benjie Molina in a crazy turn of events. Could that have been a reaction to Posey's first-time experience in the Majors last season? Probably.

It seems like the Giants are being extremely careful with their "future." And the way it is looking, we will probably see Posey starting the year in AAA-Fresno. This is not bad, of course, they did sign Molina, who, next to Aubrey Huff or Pablo Sandoval is the team's best power hitter, and power is what the Giants have been needing for the past few seasons. Plus, I dont think the plan was to give Molina all that money to play back-up catcher.

But what shoud be done with Posey if he is such a key part in the future of the Giants franchise?

I say be gentle with him, he is fragile. People fail to remember that he played most of last season in Single-A, then was promoted to AAA for just a couple of months. Then they promoted him again to the Majors, and that did not turn out all that well. He is still young and there is a lot of time to get him into Major League Baseball shape, because right now he does not appear to be that way.

If the Giants want this kid to be a Rookie of the Year contender when he gets to the Majors (which is what everyone anticipates him to be), they will season him. Season him "low 'n slow" in AAA-Fresno for half the season, and then when the All-Star break comes, promote him to the Majors as the back-up catcher pending that he does well in AAA. Get him some at-bats here and there in 2010 and work him into the the starting roster come the 2011 season.

For now, keep Eli Whiteside at the back-up catcher position. In order for consistent production out of Molina, Molina will need constant time off, and Whiteside is good enough to share the load until Posey is seasoned.

Do not let this discourage you though, Giants fans. Posey will meet the anticipation, but in time. For now, enjoy the other young, solid players gracing the Giants roster this year, guys like Madison Bumgarner and Dan Runzler. But the Giants know they can keep Posey in their back pocket for now, and when he is ready, he will be the next big thing in baseball.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

March Madness in the Bay Area

March Madness is arguably the best month or so in sports, and it just got better for the Bay Area. The Bay Area will be represented this year in the NCAA Tournament by 2 teams (pending Stanford winning the Pac-10 tournament...not likely). Those two teams are California and St. Mary's.

Cal, who hadn't won the Pac-10 regular season title since 1960, finally got the monkey off their back this year and were far and away the best team in the pitiful Pac-10. They are not a lock just yet to be announced to the 65-team field, but the odds are pretty good that they will receive at-least a bid if they do not win the Pac-10 tournament.

Most likely, Cal is looking at an 8 or 9 seed in the Tournament, which just goes to show how bad the Pac-10 was this year. The conference's best team is probably going to be given an 8 or 9 seed. With Pac-10 Player of the Year, Jerome Randle, and Duke transfer, Jamal Boykin, they could a force in March Madness.

I like Cal to win their 1st round game in the NCAA Tournament, given that they are an 8 or 9 seed, that is. But I don't feel that they will get much farther than that. The Pac-10 just isn't that strong this year, and they will be extremely fortunate to win that 1st round game.

Over in Moraga, CA, St. Mary's is doing big things. They defeated #14 ranked Gonzaga last night to take the WCC crown and clinch a birth to the NCAA Tournament, which was not in the cards before the game. Big Omar Samhan and sharp-shooting Mickey McConnell led the team to a 26-5 overall record this season, with 2 losses coming to Gonzaga who they beat by 19 last night.

As for their NCAA Tournament, it is up in the air as to what seed they will get. Beating Gonzaga by 19 could lift them up to maybe an 8 or 9 seed, but i think they're looking at more of a 10 or 11 seed. Either way, i like them to win their 1st round game. They are a surprise to most teams, and when they are hot from the outside, they are like no other. It just depends if that kind of shooting shows up. But I got a feeling head coach Randy Bennett will have that team ready to go come Tournament time.

I feel that this is a great situation for Bay Area fans. This could have easily been a year when the Bay Area didn't have a team in March Madness. Both these teams are extreme underdogs and if they win, it's an accomplishment for their program.

Look out for St. Mary's though. Their sharp-shooting and big-man play could make them quite a Cinderella team in the NCAA Tournament.

Monday, March 8, 2010

David Carr?...Really?

Yep...really. The San Francisco 49ers signed former Texan and late NY Giants back-up David Carr to a 2-year deal yesterday. After days of whispers about how the 49ers were interested in Carr for some reason, it fianlly happened on Sunday. Carr was selected as the 1st overall pick of the Houston Texans franchise in 2002, and boasts a career record of 23-56.

So what were the 49ers thinking? You might as well call Carr "Alex Smith #2." Except that David Carr is the original Alex Smith. Both were drafted 1st overall in their respective drafts, and both have had horrible, underperforming careers thus far. So let's put them on the same team then!

Why sign Carr to play for the 49ers? The only plausible and acceptable reason is to push Alex Smith. Mike Singletary loves competition and the only hope from his standpoint is that a quarterback competition would fuel Smith into becoming a better quarterback. OR maybe Carr wind the job in training camp. In my eyes, both Carr and Smith are the same person, both busts who were taken out of lesser known football schools and made into NFL quarterbacks. Or were supposed to be NFL quarterbacks, the verdict is still out.

So Singletary and the 49ers front office brought Carr in to create a competition between two less than par quarterbacks. At a time in the offseason when the team is supposed to be filling key weaknesses with bigger name players, they sign David Carr as a back-up quarterback. But maybe that was the 49ers first line of business- Obtain a back-up quarterback. How about obtain a quarterback altogether? Donovan McNabb seems to be on his way out in Philadelphia. Where was the pursuit after him? How about an offensive lineman or a kick returner?

Unfortunately, the Carr signing seems like it's going to be the BIG free agency signing for the 49ers this offseason. I had the hope of the 49ers signing someone big after hearing from GM Scot McCloughan that the 49ers were "free to spend." If this happens to be the biggest signing in offseason free agency, the 49ers and McCloughan will have pressure like no other in the Draft in April.

So as it stands, the 49ers now own the rights to 2 of most underperforming #1 overall draft picks in the last 20 years. I can only think of 3 off the top of my head. And lucky for Bay Area sport fans, all 3 currently reside in the Bay Area.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

49ers Need to Act Now

49ers GM Scot McCloughan came on the radio the other day to talk 49ers free agency in this an uncapped year.
I was surpised to hear McCloughan talk mostly about how free the 49ers are to go out and spend money this free agency period. He described it as being able to spend just as much as any other team out there. Of course, not as much as Jerry Jones and the Cowboys because of their Ultra-Stadium revenue, but you get the point. 49er fans havent heard that in awhile. And the last time they did, Nate Clements came to the Bay Area for a wheel barrow full of cash. And the 49ers have certainly reaped the benefits of that...NOT.
The 49er fans who live in a fantasy world wanted the team to pick up someone like Julius Peppers or Brandon Marshall when there were far too many teams ready to overpay already going after him even before free agency started.
So far, the 49ers have done a poor job in this free agency period. We have not heard about them going after anyone or even a headline saying "49ers in talks with..." to satisfy the fans who actually pay attention.
Here is a deal that I feel should get done right now, no questions asked. There is a player which not many may know of because he plays in St. Louis and has an extraordinarily long name. Oshiomogho Atogwe is a safety for the St. Louis Rams with game the size of his name. He is the pride of that Rams defense, which isnt saying much seeing as the team has the 1st overall pick in the 2010 draft, but he is a stud nonetheless with playmaking abilities, something that the 49ers have lacked in recent years.
Atogwe had 72 tackles last season and 2 interceptions. Those are just about the same stats as new NY Giants safety Antrel Rolle had last season (72 tackles and 4 interceptions), except that Rolle just signed a 5 year/ $37 Million deal yesterday, in which $15 Million is guaranteed, making him the highest paid safety in the game.
The Rams tendered Atogwe last week at the lowest tender possible at $1.226 Million. Almost a smack in the face. Teams now have the option to make offers to Atogwe, which the Rams have 7 days to decide whether or not to match. And with the Rams having to sign the #1 overall pick in April, I would say a legitimate offer would put Atogwe out of the Rams' price range.
Here is why the 49ers may have the best possibility to scoop up a gem like Atogwe. He went to Stanford University and is currently rehabbing from off-season shoulder surgery somewhere in California where he resides in the offseason. Add that to the fact that he is dating Mike Singletary's daughter and the 49ers may have something.
But the 49ers need to act now if they are serious about him. All signs point to the 49ers having a great chance to bag him. All that needs to be done is to pull the trigger.
With the acquisition of Atogwe, the 49ers wont have to move Clements to safety any more, or even think about it. Clements is due for a break-out season at cornerback in 2010 anyway. And wouldn't an Atogwe/ Dashon Goldson combo look good in the pass defense?
In other 49ers free agency news, I think you are going to see David Baas, Ahmad Brooks, Aubrayo Franklin, and Barry Sims stay with the 49ers. While Arnaz Battle, Dre Bly, and Isaac Bruce are looking like they're going to leave.
Time is running out for the 49ers. Teams who were serious about upgrading their team already made their moves. Where are the 49ers?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Back in the Squat

I don't usually get excited from Spring Training games, but I've got to say that the San Francisco Giants spring debut this afternoon got me a little excited about the upcoming season.
The Giants looked good, although I know it's just spring training and the whole deal down in Scottsdale is more about stretching the muscles for the first time since last season, and less about batting averages and homeruns. But they won today in extra innings mind you. They were up 7-3, but ultimately won 8-7 in 10 innings.
But if there was one person who needed to have a good game this afternoon (which there wasn't), it was Aubrey Huff. The Giants' "premiere" power pick-up this offseason hit a homerun on the first pitch he saw as a member of the Giants.
This is a good start, and for all those who think Huff will not contribute much this season, I say think again. Huff's career statistics are not fantastic, but compared to every other clean-up hitter that has held that spot since Barry Bonds, his numbers should look good to a Giants fan. If given a full season, Huff has consistently shown he can put up moderate RBI numbers mixed with a descent batting average. And don't forget, in 2008 he had 108 RBI's and a .304 batting average. If he manufactures anything close to that this season, it will be an accomplishment for Giants management. But possibly moreso for GM Brian Sabean, as the he acquired Huff for $3 Million/year, which is a steal for a guy who is just a year removed from the 2008 Silver Slugger Award.
Just don't underestimate Huff. I predict a descent .270-.280 batting average and between 80-85 RBI's this season from him. That would be the most production Giants fans have seen from the #4 spot in a long time.
For those who tuned in to the Giants game or read the articles about how Tim Lincecem gave up 3 runs and walked several batters today, don't overthink that too much. He's a notorious slow starter in spring training and it takes him a while to get back into pitching shape, mostly because there are so many moving parts in his wind-up it's hard to get that timing back to perfection. He even knows, "My arm was ahead of my body, I wasn't using my legs and my front side was leaking out, and the ball was ridng into the right-handed box." He understands what he's doing wrong and he has these same balance problems every spring. No big deal. It takes a lot of time and work to get a gem like Timmy back into '3rd Cy Young in a row contention' shape.
But the future is now for this ball club. Madison Bumgarner looked clean in his spring training opener giving up no runs in 2 innings of work. And farm system products like Conor Gillaspie (who singled home the game-winning run), Darren Ford, and Roger Kieschnick were all in uniform today.
It seems like we are in for another thrilling season once again in the competitive NL West with these San Francisco Giants. Except this time, we're ready for this one.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Success in Playoffs Rests on Nabby

The San Jose Sharks will go as far as Evgeni Nabokov takes them. As I was eagerly anticipating the Canada vs. Russia game last week, I couldnt help but go back in history and see how Nabby has faired in big games like this. Of course, Nabby's history in these type of games was not good, considering the Sharks have not made it to the Stanley Cup Finals in the 5+ years that they have been contenders. That's not to mention these last 3 years when some have picked them to win the Cup. And that's definitely not to mention that the Sharks lost in a first round upset to the Anaheim Ducks last season after winning the Presidents Cup during the regular season, although a lack of offense contributed to that debacle.
Nabby went on to allow 6 goals in the game against Canada on his way to being pulled mid-way through the game.
But is this a sign of things to be come playoff time for the Sharks? For Sharks fans sake, let's hope not. They've been through enough with this team already.
History would say that Nabby is a choke-artist when it comes to big games like that against Canada, or come playoff time. Yet, Nabby is a fantastic regular season goalie, and that is what keeps up the hope for these San Jose Sharks year in and year out.
We will see how the Olympics affect this Sharks team. We saw a telling tale of how Nabokov reacts to pressure last week. With 7 players who played in Vancouver, will that make them tired come playoff time? Or just keep them from getting rusty. I say the latter.
It seemed like there was a combination of both in the Sharks first game back from the Olympic break. I saw rust from the players who didnt travel to Vancouver, and tired legs early from the players who did. A great game though with New Jersey jumping out to a 4-0 lead only to give up 3 goals in 3 minutes in the 3rd period. But the Sharks lost, and now we ponder if this was another big game lost by Nabby or just a better team altogether.
No matter how you feel the Sharks will fair in this season's playoffs, the first thing that remains to be seen is Nabokov. The Sharks have offense, and I feel with the experience of the Olympics and the acquisition of Dany Heatley this season, it will show up this playoff-around. But it still rests on Nabby. It seems at times nothing gets past him, but at others it seems like he just cant stop a shot.
The Sharks go as far as Nabby goes, and if he doesnt go at all and we see another early round exit for the Sharks, we will see the Sharks looking for a new netminder next season.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Silver, But Not Disappointed

Quite possibly the Game of the Decade lived up to its high anticipation on Sunday. An overtime goal appropriately scored by Canada's "Chosen Son," Sidney Crosby, struck Gold for the Canadians in Vancouver.
To get that game to overtime, the United States had a series of heart-clenching goals scored late by Vancouver Canuck, Ryan Kesler, and another by New Jersey Devil, Zach Parise with 24 seconds remaining in regulation that can only be described by an American fan as a feeling of euphoria. Had the Americans won the game, that goal would have gone down as one of the greatest plays in American Olympic history. Right next to Mike Eruzione's goal in 1980.
The game had all of the above. It was emotional, nerve-racking, competitive. The players who would be teammates on Monday were not teammates on Sunday, and that was never more evident from the drop of the puck. This was a game between two countries that hate each other. And although the players from both teams will go back to being friends in the NHL, they were enemies for this one game.
But the U.S. should not be disappointed with the loss. Coming into the tournament, most would guess they were the 5th or 6th best team in the Olympics. They were undermanned talent-wise and it was obvious. But for them to show heart and determination despite the undermanned talent shows what the sport of hockey is all about. The U.S. team got out of Vancouver with a medal, which is more than any hockey analyst previously gave them credit for.
But the real winner of these Olympics was the sport of hockey. For one week, the world was a hockey fan, anticipating every shot taken and feeling every emotion possible. Casual fans were able to see the true appeal of the sport of hockey, speed, quickness, and skill. And now names like Ryan Miller and Zach Parise are household names. And although NHL team owners will complain about not obtaining any revenue during this Olympic break, which occured in the middle of the NHL season, hockey acquired a million new fans during this week. This Gold Medal game was just what the sport needed.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Stephen Curry... Rookie of the Year?

I do not agree with Charles Barkley often, but he made a pretty good point the other night during the TNT post game show of the Nuggets/Warriors game. Barkley said that Stephen Curry may seem like a good player with the way his stat lines are soaring in his rookie season, especially in the last month or so, but the fact that he is playing on a bad team who scores a lot of points and has a run-n-gun style of play is the reason why his stats perceive him as a Rookie of the Year candidate. Barkley described Curry's game as "someone on that team has to score the points."
The way Barkley described it was not the best for a Warriors fan like myself to hear, but it made a lot of sense. Night in and night out, we see different Warriors' players scoring in high figures, whether it is CJ Watson goin for 40 points or Anthony Tolliver scoring 29. It is just the way the Warriors' offense is run: score a lot of points, and play no defense; the quicker the other team scores, the faster the Warriors can get the ball back and score again. The Warriors lead the league in possessions per game, those possesions usually end with Mnta Ellis or Curry shootng the ball.
So what i am trying to say is don't over think Stephen Curry. Sure, he is a good player and will be one for years to come, but it seems like he found the right team with the right style to show off his skill sets. His stat lines are huge, but that doesn't mean his game is...yet.
I see him as a good #2 option in the future. Of course, since the Warriors do not have a true #1 option, it becomes #1-option-by-committee for that team, and Curry happens to be able to make plays that can put the ball in the hoop.
In the long-run, Curry is the basis for the future Warriors team (if that exists). Just don't over think him. He is a good player with great skills, but he would just be some other rookie putting up average rookie numbers on any other team.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

U.S. Hockey Does It Again

And so it continues. The United States Mens Hockey Team defeated the Swiss team this afternoon on 2 goals by New Jersey Devil, Zach Parise, and yet another outstanding clinic in goal by Buffalo Saber, Ryan Miller.
Miller was terrific between the pipes recording a shut-out, and having only one legitimate scare when a puck got past him in the 3rd period hitting the inside of the far post, yet not breaking the crease to the goal. It seemed extremely lucky at the time as the U.S. was only up 1-0 at that point, but arent those the breaks that every team of destiny has?
Honestly, i had a feeling that the U.S. was going to lose this game, as most people thought deep in the backs of their minds. San Jose Sharks fans know all too well how good Jonas Hiller can be, as did Canada when he forced them to a shoot-out earlier in these Olympics. Hiller has played unbelievable in goal and it seemed for a while that this game was going to be no different. But a goal early in the 3rd and an empty-netter at the end by Zach Parise was hard for the Swiss offense to overcome, as has been the story the entire Olympics for them. They simply could not score enough for Hiller.
But the U.S. are rolling. Theyre not blowing out teams as everyone wants to see from the tournament's #1 seed, but they are getting by comfortably. The U.S. may have the best combination of hot goalie, pesky defense, and timely goals. And that may be the type of recipe needed to take them to the gold medal game.
But above all, this team works. These arent the sexy names we hear playing for Canada. These are the working class, the second-tier NHL players. The guys like Brian Rafalski and Ryan Suter who work hard in the trenches and dont end up on the statline. This is a team full of workhorses and guys who will surprise you by checking that extra man into the boards or laying-out to block that shot.
The U.S. will have another tough game coming up against either the Czech Republic or Finland. If the U.S. prevail against either of them, they will have to face either Canada or surprising Slovakia, as Canada made a mockery of power-house Russia this afternoon.
I expect a ratings bananza of Canada vs. U.S. in the gold medal game. That would be the real test for American hockey. If you want to be on the national map, you will have to take down the best...when they're angry.
Meanwhile, do not overlook the Fin's as they are both hungry and ready to turn the carriage that is the United States into the proverbial pumpkin.
Hopefully the clock doesnt strike midnight on this team that seems hell-bent for the Gold.

Monday, February 22, 2010

D-Bruce Leaving Sportsphone

Damon Bruce of Bay Area sports talk radio announced that he will be leaving KNBR 680AM's Sportsphone after just over 4 years of coming across over 50,000 Watts every night.
For those who dont know who he is, Bruce is the host of Sportsphone on KNBR 680AM from 7-10pm on weeknights, where he preaches hard-edged reality to the Bay Area listeners who turn in every night to here him logically shatter their thoughts of their favorite Bay Area sports team.
Bruce IS sports talk radio. For the last 4 years, he has graced the Bay Area listeners with the truth even though no one wants to say it, but are thinking it. It's hard not to like the guy. Most listeners tend to disagree with him at first glance on most issues because he seems to bash Bay Area sports on a consistent level. But it is hard not to agree with the man when he backs up everything he claims with facts, not opinion. He was given a gift, and it's hard to find that in any sports radio host these days because it is more about entertainment (Uncle Gary) rather than hard-core facts and knowledgable opinion.
With punch lines like "No sound effect for Dave Feldhouse" and "Pound It, Pound It, Pound It" cleverly intertwined within a serious sports talk show, it's hard not to like the type of show he puts out over 50,000 Watts.
He will be missed from Sportsphone, but he is not going too far. He is airing on 1050AM from 12-4pm on weekdays and will take with him his dedicated listeners from his late night show on 680AM.
It is about time someone took note of this guy, and i felt a little spoiled listening to him everynight because i knew he was good, too good for local radio. There is no one more deserving to receive the promotion to bigger radio, and i wish him the best of luck. And remember "Sports dont build character, they reveal it."

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Miracle on Ice? Not Quite...

The U.S. hockey team defeated the Canadian Ultra-squad tonight in a thrilling, back-and-forth game in Vancouver, Canada.
But is this anything to compare to the 'Miracle on Ice' in 1980? Kind of. The U.S. didnt send out a bunch of reject college players on the ice, these were professional hockey players from the NHL. But compared to Canada's team, this U.S. roster would seem like a bunch of college scrubs. The U.S. team is a gathering of the NHL's second-tier players with big names like Patrick Kane and Ryan Miller. While Canada's team is the NHL's elite, and possibly the greatest group of hockey players ever assembled with big names like...ummm...'Sid the Kid' Crosby and 'Jumbo' Joe Thornton. In fact, if Canada had won every game on their way to a gold medal in these Olympics, it wouldnt have surprised a single person. After all, hockey is Canada's game. And yet, they lost to the United States whose fans back home might not have been aware they were playing tonight.
Does this put U.S. hockey on the national map? Sure it does, to a certain extent. David has slayed Goliath, and who doesnt love a good underdog story? Canada can still win the gold medal, and woudnt be surprised id they did, but the fact that the U.S. got them one time is all they need to take back home with them.
After this game and the performance that they put on, it wouldnt surprise me to see the U.S. win gold in these Olympics. Of course, the Big Three still remain: Russia, Canada, and Sweden. But maybe add the underdog United States team in there as well. After all, they beat Canada at their own game.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Update: SJ Sharks in Vancouver

So ive been trying to keep in touch with hockey at the Olympics in Vancouver, but i must just miss the games everytime they are on TV. Fortunately, they replay the games on channels like MSNBC, so ive caught a couple of those and i do not miss Team Canada. They are absolutely stacked.
One reason why they are stacked is the "Sharks line" of Joe Thornton, Dany Heatley, and Patrick Marleau. They are undoubtedly the best line in all of the NHL, and are making a strong case for "best line in the world." They have chemistry because they play on the same regular season team, but goal-wise they are carrying Team Canada in the Olympics. The line has a combined 4 goals and 3 assists, and Heatly leads the entire tournament with 3 goals. Not to mention, defenseman Dan Boyle has 2 assists of his own. Missing from this equation is Joe Thornton who is a key part in the "Sharks line's" chemistry, but not in the stat-line. He has registered 0 goals and 0 assists these Olympics.
Elsewhere, Evgeni Nabokov was supposed the be the make-or-break for Team Russia. Absolutely stacked in the offensive category (Ovechkin, Malkin, Datsyuk, and Kovalchuk), Russia is lack-luster in the defensive. But Nabokov was red-hot coming into the Olympics, until their last game against Slovakia where he only surrendered 1goal in regulation, but lost in the shootout. Russia is 1-1.
As for Joe Pavelski, Thomas Greiss, and Douglas Murray, not much has been said about them. Pavelski has made key contributions to the U.S. team and it will be good to see him go up against his regular season teammates and Team Canada this Sunday. Griess has struggled in net so far for Germany, giving them a record of 0-2, and Murray's Swedish team looks very strong at 2-0 and he seems to be meshing quite well on defense.
The San Jose Sharks' team has been very hyped coming into these Olympics. So far, they havent disappointed.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Reaction to Woods' Apology

Tiger Woods apologized in a prepared statement this morning in front of 40 people, 2 video cameras, and millions of people watching live on almost every major news station on television. He looked pale, stressed, and like a man who has been in rehab for several weeks.
But did you expect anything different? I said in my recent post that the man who was perceived as perfect was in fact not perfect at all, and now he had to make up for making the public believe that. And i believe he did that as best a prepared statement could. Woods has been seen as this flawless person for so many years, so what made you think that this statement he read this morning would be any different? Did you expect anything else? The statement was flawless, his emotions were flawless, and the material he covered was just about the perfect amount of sincerity mixed with trying to better himself in the future. He apologized to everyone possible and did not ask for forgiveness, but for his fans to believe in him again. There were no tears, just ones he tried to hold back.
He needed to apologize to various groups of people, and he did. He needed to clear up what happened that Thanksgiving night, and he somewhat did. He needed to come clean about his extramarital affairs, and he vaguely, but satifyingly did.
But this was a Tiger we had never seen before, a man on the defensive instead of a man in control of the situation. We saw the inferior Tiger, instead of one looking dead at the flagstick or sinking that 15 foot putt in the U.S. Open with no fear.
There were two quotes that will be heard over and over again on Sportscenter re-runs. The first, "I was unfaithful. I had affairs. I cheated," is a quote that showed his sincerity and how serious he is taking this situation. He could have left that quote out or not even gone in that direction, but instead he did.
The second quote might have surprised everyone. Antiipation leading up to this was that Woods would give a certain point of return to golf, instead he gave a timetable, "I do plan to return to golf one day, i just dont know when that day will be. I dont rule out that it will be this year."
So when will he return? He left us in the dark on that one. Im not sure if he actually knows when he will return to golf. I felt he left us short there, and that there needed to be a smaller timetable to his return for the sake of the public and his fans, but i dont event hink he knows.
Yet, Tiger's apologetic speech made Mark McGwire's recent apology for steroid use seem ridiculous. But did you expect anything else from Tiger Woods? He wrote it, or had a part in writing it, thats for sure, and he looked into the camera with a look of sincere apology that was found to be very refreshing, but at some times corny.
Most people's reaction would be to feel sorry for him after hearing the statement. Don't. He brought this upon himself, and although he gave a compelling and sincere statement, im sure he did not mean for the public to feel sorry for him. He just doesnt seem like a man who would want that, but what do we know about him anyway these days anyways?
As for his return, there's no telling when he will come back because it seems like he himself does not know. He has 7 weeks until The Masters. It would seem obvious to come back and play one tournament before Augusta. But no one is sure what to think. I feel that this particular golf season means too much to him for him to sit it out. He has been eyeing 2010 for too long. This year is set-up for Tiger achieving the Grand Slam. At Augusta, he is dominant. At Pebble Beach, he has an amazing track record. At St. Andrews, and any British Open for that matter, he is flawless. And he loves the Whistling Straits course that will host the PGA Championship. Expect him back soon better than ever.

Am i satisfied with his apology? For the most part, yes. Let me know what your reaction is to seeing a different Tiger Woods at the podium today.