We’re Hyped to bring back The Best Sports Blogs of the Year Book for 2012!

Thanks to everyone who contributed to BallHyped.com in 2012, particularly those who shared their best work with us in the Best of 2012 book. For more details about the book and the talented bloggers who contributed to it, visit: http://ballhyped.com/about/best-sports-blogs-2012/ Get Hyped! - Brian Milne Founder, BallHyped.com

Table of Contents
2012 Olympic Games Draw to a Close........................................................................................................ 4 The 46 Faces of Super Bowl XLVI ............................................................................................................... 6 Ball So Hard, But Not Really ....................................................................................................................... 13 Goodbye, Kerry Wood: A Cubs Fan’s Farewell ........................................................................................ 15 Perception & Fantasy Week 11 Starts, Sits, Bluffs .................................................................................. 16 Hey College Football Fans, Leave Recruits Alone .................................................................................. 20 We Don’t Get To Write The Endings .......................................................................................................... 22 Hail or Rail Scale VI: Jadeveon Clowney, Ray Lewis, the Gators and the Lakers ............................. 26 Fantasy Football Auction Draft, Worse Mistakes Ever Made ................................................................. 30 The Steps Are Ordered ................................................................................................................................ 33 Everyone has a Joe Paterno story. Here is mine. .................................................................................... 36 Dickey Deserves Quality Contract .............................................................................................................. 38 Alex Karras July 15, 1935 – October 10, 2012 ......................................................................................... 40 When Sports Takes A Back Seat ............................................................................................................... 41 Reflections on the one-year anniversary of the Thrashers’ relocation.................................................. 43 Featured Interview: A Conversation with Team USA Gymnast Aly Raisman ...................................... 44 Cal Poly escapes Pauley with an unexpected W ..................................................................................... 47 Joe Paterno — Trapped By Legacy ........................................................................................................... 51 The Inherent Risk Of Sports ........................................................................................................................ 54 Why I Like Hockey ........................................................................................................................................ 57 Arkansas Football: 5 Reasons Bret Bielema is a Perfect Fit for Razorbacks ...................................... 59 Dick Vitale, let it go; IU has moved on ....................................................................................................... 61 World Series Game 2: BallHyped Blogging Live from a Kayak in McCovey Cove ............................. 63

2012 Olympic Games Draw to a Close
By Eric Schmidt ThePigskinReport.com Aug. 13, 2012 The 2012 Olympic Games have drawn to a close. In a blink of an eye, 17 days passed and now the world looks towards the 2014 Winter Olympics. This year, as in each Olympic Games, we were treated to some phenomenal athletes, extraordinary performances and we were moved by the stories which we learned about the obstacles that individuals had to overcome in order to reach for their dreams of reaching the greatest athletic stage. Here at Thepigskinreport.com, we discussed covering the Olympics on our site, but eventually came to the conclusion that with the time difference, and the variety of sports which we are not knowledgeable about, we would not cover the games. I’ll sum up the coverage of the last 17 days for you at this point. The United States kicked the world’s ass, taking home the most medals, along with the most gold and silver medals. You won’t find political correctness in this column, I’m very proud of my country. What I am curious about the Olympics is, the opening and closing ceremonies of the games. The opening ceremony was a celebration of socialism in one of the most blatant political statements I’ve ever seen in an Olympic event in my life. England was wonderful when it was an agricultural nation and then the industrial revolution brought greed, enslaved women and workers and socialized medicine is the best thing England has to showcase in the last 100 years. I seriously doubt that. What I found odd about the opening and closing ceremonies of these games was the tribute to the music history of England. Amid the towering smokestacks and the children jumping on illuminated hospital beds in the opening ceremony, a tribute was paid to English music. During the closing ceremony, which resembled a glorified Super Bowl halftime show, more tributes were given to English musicians. Not one song, not even 10 seconds of a song by Elton John was played during the opening or closing of the games. Why? During the closing ceremony, the world was treated to The Pet Shop Boys, Madness, Kaiser Chiefs and DJ FatBoy Slim. I think FatBoy Slim might actually be Colin Cowherd from ESPN, I’m going to have to check in and see if he shows up for work in the morning. Annie Lennox was a feature tonight, and I sincerely enjoy her voice. I also could have gone the rest of my life without a Spice Girls reunion, but there it was, for the world to see. So, hours in the opening and closing ceremonies dedicated to English music and not one single mention of Elton John. It wasn’t a homophobic ceremony, as George Michael performed and a tribute to the band Queen was played. Even a Russel Brand played a set illustrating the “British individuality and Free Spiritedness” as described by Ryan Seacrest. Twenty seconds of an Elton song couldn’t be incorporated into that section of the ceremony? I believe this all comes down to politics. According to the UK Sun newspaper, the band Muse reported this week that they would be performing a song for the closing of the games, claiming that Elton John was the director of music for the Olympics. John has been embroiled in a feud once again in recent weeks with Madonna and most recently has sued The Times newspaper of London, but these events surfaced recently and would have had no effect on his participation in the games ceremonies. There is much more going on behind the scenes than this and I feel bad for Sir Elton John. He is obviously one of my favorite artists, but despite whatever rifts came between him and the organizers of the opening and closing events, at least 20 seconds of one of his dozens of hits could have been incorporated into the show. He is a music legend and will always be a part of the English music landscape. Another example of how politicized the opening and closing ceremonies of these games became.

Thankfully, the 2012 games went off without any major event impeding the games and I am looking forward to the 2016 games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In my protest, I’ll just slip in my Elton John’s Greatest hits CD tonight and listen to a few tracks. ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Eric Schmidt is owner of ThePigskinReport.com, the most Hyped site on BallHyped.com.

The 46 Faces of Super Bowl XLVI
By Kevin Paul TheWifeHatesSports.com Feb. 4, 2012 It’s the television event of the year, so big that even the commercials are ranked by importance and influence. It’s the Super Bowl, and media members and celebrities will flock from all across the country to celebrate the event and root on the two teams participating. With the spotlight set on Super Bowl XLVI, who should be considered to be the faces of this year’s big game? The Wife Hates Sports has the answer – ranking this year’s most influential faces of the Super Bowl – in a three-part series. Chime in on your own personal rankings, and let’s celebrate the New England Patriots, New York Giants and Super Bowl XLVI.

46. Josh McDaniels
McDaniels has been around the block more than most of us, spending time as an offensive coordinator and head coach in the NFL, all by age 35. With Bill O’Brien departing for Penn State soon, McDaniels is back in New England as an offensive assistant. But as NBC sports recently reported, he’s mostly remained out of the spotlight.

45. Jim Irsay
The owner and CEO of the Indianapolis Colts is easily the most open and outspoken owner in the NFL today. Most of his messages are delivered via his Twitter account (@JimIrsay). Included in some of his recent tweets are ways to win Super Bowl tickets (it is his team’s stadium, after all). Irsay has also been trying to iron out all the rumors surrounding his relationship with Peyton Manning.

44. Zoltan Mesko
In a game that’s expected to be close, special teams will become a key part. Mesko had 24 of 57 regular season punts get downed inside the 20. Steve Weatherford, his Super Bowl opponent, managed just 25 inside the 20 over 82 attempts. That, plus Mesko’s unique name can easily get mistaken for Zoltar Speaks, the wishing machine from the movie Big.

43. Kelly Clarkson
The 29-year old pop star, songwriter and winner of the first season of American Idol will be singing the National Anthem during the Super Bowl. Expect a better performance than current Idol judge Steven Tyler could manage during the playoffs a few weeks back. But don’t expect Steve Carell to scream her name as an introduction…

42. Chad Ochocinco
His outlandish ways and unique personality left many fans curious to see how Ochocinco would handle playing in New England, especially if he made it to the Super Bowl. Now, here he is, but no one expects him to make any kind of an impact, especially after the regular season that he had (15 receptions, 276 yards and just 1 TD).

41. Alexa Flutie (Cheerleaders are back!)
Only a handful of NFL franchises do not have cheerleaders, and last year’s Super Bowl between the Packers and Steelers painfully featured none. This year, cheerleaders are back, at least on New England’s sideline. The name many would know is Alexa Flutie, daughter of Doug Flutie. The rest of New England’s squad won’t be anything to complain about, either.

40. Nate Solder
The Giants will send a vicious pass rush at Tom Brady and the Patriots, attempting to force mistakes. In order to fend off New York’s talented defensive front, Nate Solder – a rookie playing in his first Super Bowl – will need to avoid jitters and have a great night.

39. Roger Goodell
Last year during this time, the commissioner had to worry about finding ways to avoid a lockout. This season, he can sit back and enjoy a Super Bowl, further seeking ways to further the growth and health of the National Football League.

38. Ahmad Bradshaw
Bradshaw has battled through injuries, managing just 659 yards on the ground over 12 games during the regular season. Likely to see plenty of work in the Super Bowl, Bradshaw and the New York running game will need to be effective to keep Brady and the New England offense off the field.

37. Danny Woodhead
The 5’8” Woodhead may have seen a dropoff in production this season, but he still is easily one of the more multi-dimensional players playing in this year’s Super Bowl. Don’t be surprised to see him not just heavily involved on special teams, but also during run and pass plays, too.

36. Brandon Jacobs
Like Bradshaw, Brandon Jacobs also missed time during the regular season, posting just 571 rushing yards on the season. But the 6’4”, 264-pounder is a battering ram, and not an easy man to take down, especially once he’s able to gain any momentum.

35. Aaron Hernandez
Often playing second fiddle to Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez has put up some gaudy numbers of his own (79 catches, 910 yards, 7 TD’s in regular season). He’s the second part of New England’s two-headed tight end monster, and one of Tom Brady’s many offensive weapons.

34. Justin Tuck
Tuck is yet another member of the Giants that missed significant time during the season. His regular season numbers (37 tackles, one forced fumble, five sacks) are half of his 2010 production, but Tuck is still a force to be reckoned with in the trenches.

33. Jerod Mayo
Just how good was Mayo on defense this season? He missed a handful of games due to injury, yet still led the Patriots in total tackles, with 95.

32. Corey Webster
Webster led the Giants in interceptions with six on the season. That tally was also good for fourth place in the NFL during the regular season.

31. Sterling Moore
Often overshadowed by others on the New England roster, Sterling Moore made a lasting impression when he knocked the ball out of Lee Evans’ hands during the waning seconds of the AFC Championship game. Moore’s heads-up play, along with Billy Cundiff’s missed field goal, led to a Patriots victory, and a trip to Indianapolis for Super Bowl XLVI.

30. Tiquan Underwood
Tiquan Underwood's haircut has made Super Bowl headlines. Underwood (3 catches for 30 yards during the regular season) didn’t gain any attention with his offensive numbers, but he did during Super Bowl week with his fancy Patriots themed haircut (see right), which he posted to his Twitter account. But the biggest attention getter? The Patriots cut him, just 24 hours before the big game. Brutal!

29. Archie Manning
With one son playing in the Super Bowl and another son being a main reason for the existence of the game’s location, it’s clear that Archie Manning will be heavily entrenched in the spotlight during the big game. Expect a lot of camera shots on the Manning family throughout.

28. Kyle Arrington
Arrington had a great year with the Patriots, accumulating 88 tackles (second most on the team) and seven interceptions during the regular season (tied for most in the NFL).

27. Rodney Harrison
Whether Rodney Harrison wants to talk about it or not, "The Catch" will be mentioned ad nauseum during Super Bowl XLVI. Harrison retired from the NFL more than two years ago, and currently serves as an analyst on NBC Sports’ Football Night in America. But during this Super Bowl, Harrison will be frequently mentioned and highlighted as the player that defended David Tyree during “the catch” play in the Super Bowl matchup between the Patriots and Giants four years ago.

26. Julian Edelman
Edelman is a multi-dimensional player who has great value for the Patriots, not just serving as a wide receiver on offense, but more so recently on special teams and on defense as a member of the secondary.

25. Dan Patrick
Formerly as an anchor on SportsCenter, Dan Patrick left ESPN years ago, and now has arguably the best sports radio show in the country. He also serves as a co-host for NBC Sports’ Football Night in America, and will be handing out the Vince Lombardi Trophy to the winner of Super Bowl XLVI.

24. Osi Umenyiora
Another of New York’s talented defensive linemen, Umenyiorawas fined $20K for bailing on the media during Super Bowl week. He later apologized. With 5 ½ sacks in four January games, don’t expect any more absences from Osi.

23. Anna Burns
Hitting headlines in recent weeks, Burns is now engaged to New England Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker. If the former Miss Hooters (see right) is going to be present at this year’s Super Bowl, then it’s a liklihood that we’ll be seeing a lot of her on camera. At least, we hope so.

22. Hakeem Nicks
At times, Nicks (76 receptions, 1,192 yards and 7 TD’s during regular season) was second fiddle to Victor Cruz in the pass game, but he remains the deep threat in the Giants’ offense and the clear number one receiver on the team.

21. Deion Branch
Branch was targeted 90 times by Tom Brady during the regular season, which was fourth most on the team. While he hasn’t been the clear target in the pass game, Branch brings with him plenty of Super Bowl success, most notably in Super Bowl XXXIX, when he was named MVP of the game after tying a record with 11 receptions.

20. Mark Herzlich
Herzlich’s story is one of the most inspirational stories of the NFL season. After tons of success at Boston College, Herzlich was diagnosed with bone cancer in 2009, at the age of 21. Signed by the Giants as an undrafted free agent, Herzlich made the team and saw some playing time during the regular season.

19. Bill O’Brien
In a few days, Bill O'Brien will be hanging out with the Nittany Lion. O’Brien is serving as the offensive coordinator of the New England Patriots, and weeks back, he agreed to become Penn State’s next head football coach, replacing the late Joe Paterno. Juggling two jobs and facing an uphill climb with the Nittany Lions, O’Brien now finds himself with a chance to leave the NFL on top.

18. Antrel Rolle
Statistically, Antrel Rolle gains plenty of attention, accumulating 96 total tackles during the regular season, the most for the Giants. But he gains even more attention with his mouth, openly telling the media that “we are expecting to win” the Super Bowl. You have to love his confidence, but only as long as his teammates continue to back up his words.

17. Robert Kraft
Bob Kraft could easily be higher up this list for many reasons. By now, many are familiar with the statement made by Colts center Jeff Saturday, who credited Kraft for having a key role in getting the NFL’s CBA issues resolved. In addition, the Patriots as a franchise have clearly flourished with him as owner, winning 12 AFC East division titles, countless playoff games and three Super Bowls. As a family, the Krafts have also donated millions to numerous good causes.

16. Madonna
The Super Bowl halftime show will be performed by Madonna this year, therefore expect plenty of wardrobe, but likely no wardrobe malfunctions. Right, Janet? Clearly, the superstar pop legend is already getting heavily involved in the game itself, most notably during a recent press conference, when she broke out some salsa dance moves, as inspired by New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz. Sorry, “Material Girl”, but Victor wins this round.

15. Vince Wilfork
At 6’2” and 325 pounds, Wilfork is a giant, physical presence that can – and regularly does – take over a game in the trenches. He single-handedly took over both of New England’s playoff games, posting 2 ½ sacks and causing all sorts of problems for opposing quarterbacks Tim Tebow and Joe Flacco. Expect more of the same against the Giants in Super Bowl XLVI.

14. Jason Pierre-Paul
Pierre-Paul has been one of the most dominant defensive linemen in the league this year. His 16 ½ sacks were the fourth most in the NFL and he posted six sacks over the last four regular season games. With the combination of Umenyiora, Tuck and Pierre-Paul, the New England O-line will have its hands full.

13. Wes Welker
Targeted 172 times by Tom Brady during the regular season, Welker ended the year with 122 receptions, 1,569 yards and 9 TD’s. While Gronkowski clearly got most of the pub, Welker is still the steadiest piece on offense. He’ll clearly get his targets in the Super Bowl, and new fiancé Anna Burns (listed in Part 2) will be rooting him on.

12. Victor Cruz
Cruz was one of the biggest surprises in the NFL this season, sending plenty of Fantasy Football owners into a major frenzy. Cruz’s 82 catches, 1,536 yards and 9 TD’s were all team highs – and who could ignore his trademark salsa dance celebration every time he crossed the goal line? Oh, and with his acrobatic catches and similar frame to David Tyree (6’0”, 203 pounds), well, you get the idea.

11. Gisele Bundchen
Fashion model, Victoria’s Secret Angel and one of the most beautiful women on Earth, Bundchen is also married to Tom Brady. During the early portions of Super Bowl week, Gisele hit the headlines when she asked friends and family to prayfor and support her hubby. In the end, she’ll just hit the headlines regularly for the usual reasons – a.k.a. her striking beauty.

10. Chuck Noll
Noll headlines the National Football League history books with four Super Bowl rings, and that’s why he hits the list this season, as New England coach Bill Belichick can tie him with a victory in Super Bowl XLVI. If the Patriots win, a debate on best coach ever would surely follow.

9. Joe Montana
Joe Montana’s appearance on this list is for the same reason as Chuck Noll. Montana currently headlines the NFL history books as a quarterback with four Super Bowl rings. With a win in Super Bowl XLVI, Tom

Brady – who grew up idolizing Montana – would win a fourth ring of his own. As with the two coaches, a debate on the best quarterback ever would be next in line.

8. Rob Gronkowski
Gronkowski hits the news for a variety of reasons. First, he was a history making tight end this season, racking up 90 catches, 1,327 yards and 17 TD’s during the regular season. More importantly, it’s Gronk’s ankle that is stealing the headlines during Super Bowl week. Clearly, Gronkowski is a major piece of New England’s offense, and was recently seen not limping on the eve of the Super Bowl. But cruising around for photos and sprinting on the field are two completely different things, so no one knows just how healthy he’ll be come Sunday.

7. Peyton Manning
Peyton is stealing the majority of the headlines this week, what with his health issues and future with the Colts still in question. He also has an opportunity to watch his little brother play in a Super Bowl on his home turf.

6. David Tyree
How many times will David Tyree's name be mentioned during Super Bowl XLVI? It wouldn’t be a surprise to hear that a number of Super Bowl parties were having drinking games involving the number of times that Tyree’s name gets dropped during the big game. Clearly, “The Catch” is one of the biggest plays in Super Bowl history, and considering that it was the highlight of the last time these two teams met in the Super Bowl, the opportunity to mention it ad nauseum is warranted. Just don’t tell a Patriots fan that – and don’t tell Rodney Harrison, either.

5. Tom Coughlin
Disliked by players, too abrasive, on the hot seat year after year… Tom Coughlin has heard it all over the years. But after another challenging regular season juggling plenty of injuries and question marks on his team, the Giants head coach has found a way to push his squad to another Super Bowl. With another victory on the highest stage, people will never question him again.

4. Bill Belichick
Short answers with the media, a deadpan demeanor and a wardrobe that no one would ever find at Armani, Bill Belichick likely rubs many people the wrong way. But one thing’s clear, he’s one heck of a coach. He may be aggressive bordering on reckless at times, but you can’t argue his track record, especially with the New England Patriots. With one more Super Bowl victory, he’ll tie Chuck Noll for the most all-time.

3. Eli Manning
First, he caught criticism for referring to himself as elite, than he followed that by playing better than most quarterbacks in the league, completing numerous fourth quarter comebacks and once again leading the Giants to the Super Bowl. Now, Eli Manning finds himself with an opportunity to win his second Super Bowl, passing big brother Peyton, who for years, many thought was by far the superior Manning.

2. Tom Brady
New England fans love him while opposing fans loathe him. Women adore him, while men adore his supermodel wife. His track record speaks for itself, with division title after division title, three Super Bowl

rings and so on. With a win in Super Bowl XLVI, Brady will have his fourth Super Bowl victory, which would tie him with Joe Montana for the most in NFL history.

1. The Late Myra Kraft
Myra Kraft, the wife of Patriots owner Robert Kraft, died of cancer last July at the age of 68. The New England Patriots family has mourned her loss, honored her life and dedicated this season to her. The team has worn a patch featuring her initials (MHK) throughout the entire season. Kraft was the glue that kept the Patriots’ family together, and it was clear that the entire group was devastated when she passed. “Absence makes the heart grow fonder”, as the saying goes, and the Patriots will continue to play with heavy hearts, wishing, hoping and striving to win one more for the team’s matriarch.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Kevin Paul is a former freelance contracted writer for FoxSports.com, who now writes as often as he can for his own site, The Wife Hates Sports. Juggling a full-time job (in a completely different industry) and a wife that doesn't share the same passion for sports, he'll likely be that guy that you can relate to - and have a beer with - once you tie the knot (if you haven't already).

Ball So Hard, But Not Really
By Robbie Marbury ProjectShanks.com August 17, 2012 We all knew that Jay-Z was part owner of the Brooklyn Nets, and I think most of us knew that he wasn’t a majority owner. We knew that he only owned a small percent of the team, but until Thursday how many people knew exactly the ownership percentage he had in the Nets? For those of you that still don’t know the answer to that question, the answer is he owns 0.06%. Yep, that’s right, that is not a misprint. Mr. Big Pimpin himself owns a whopping 0.06% of the Brooklyn Nets. Jigga Man, the dude that has sold over 50 million albums worldwide, owns less than one percent of the Nets, actually less than a tenth of one percent. Now, before all the groupies come out of the wood works with the “HATER!!!” comments, I want to say that this is not about hating Jay-Z. I actually like most of his music. I think he is a very talented individual, and he has earned every penny he has made. But, he did name his company after John D. Rockefeller, you know, the first ever billionaire, and Jay only owns 0.06% of an NBA team? Come on. Has Hov never heard of “go big or go home?” Do you think Rockefeller owned 0.06% of anything? No. Do you realize how small of an amount 0.06% is? - If you owned 0.06% of my house, you own the toilet seat. I leave that up most of the time anyway. – If you owned 0.06% of my car, you own the old french fry stuck between my seat and the center console. Have at it, homie. – If you owned 0.06% of my sandwich, you own a crumb of my sandwich. – If you owned 0.06% of my glass of water, I would dip my finger in the glass, pull my finger out, let most of the water dry or fall back in the glass then I would flick the remaining drop at you. Hope you’re not thirsty. – If you owned 0.06% of me, you own my turds. Not even a big turd, you own one of those little ones that look like rabbit turds. – If you owned 0.06% of my bed, you would have to sleep standing on one foot, on the tip of your pinkie toe. – If you owned 0.06% of my day, you own almost 53 seconds of my time. I could hold my breath the whole time you owned me. -If you owned 0.06% of my Bible, you own 573 words. That’s not even one chapter of one book. I think you get the point, 0.06% is almost nothing. The Nets have a new arena, the Barclays Center, that has luxury suites you can purchase for Nets games at around $1,500 per game. You could purchase these luxury seats for every Nets game for the next four years, and you would have spent more than the amount of the Nets that Jay-Z owns. And you know there is some millionaire in the New York area that has already purchased these suites for this season, and I’m sure they will do it again. Why would anyone do this, when you could just buy partial ownership of the team? My house is worth more than what Jay’s ownership is worth, and I’m not rich. This whole situation cracks me up. Jay-Z is one of the richest entertainers of all time. He has more money then I would make in 100 lifetimes, and he owns 0.06% of something. I mean if you are going to own 0.06% of something, go big, like really, really, really big. Buy 0.06% of Earth. Buy 0.06% of the President. Buy 0.06% of the sun or moon. Just do something bigger than 0.06% of a mediocre NBA franchise. And if you own 0.06% of an NBA team, don’t brag about it. Don’t be in songs talking about getting high-fives from players and tripping referees. Don’t talk about if Jeezy’s paying LeBron, then your paying Dwyane Wade. YOU OWN 0.06% OF THE TEAM!!! You can’t even pick the janitor. They won’t let you pick the toilet paper vendor. You can’t even vote on if you carry Coke or Pepsi products. You don’t matter.

The funniest part to me, is that earlier this year Kanye West had a song, ‘Theraflu’ where he suggests that he will have Jay-Z kick Kris Humphries off the Nets team, because Humphries was once married to West’s girlfriend Kim Kardashian. Jay-Z only owns 0.06% of the team, I think that only entitles him to season tickets, a parking pass and some free popcorn. I’m not even sure if Jay-Z is even allowed to talk to the players. Kanye acting like he could get Humprhies kicked off the team would be like me going to McDonald’s, getting a McGang Bang– that’s a McChicken stuffed between the hamburger patties of a McDouble, y’all know the fat guy has food tricks– anyway, that’s like me scarfing down my McGang Bang and then my buddy asking me to fire the cashier. It doesn’t make sense. I know West is out there, but c’mon son. That’s not happening. The worst part for the Net’s fans is that Jay-Z was suppose to make free agents want to play for the Nets, but two of their best three players were traded for, Deron Williams and Joe Johnson, and Brook Lopez was drafted. No one is going to play for the Nets, and the fact that Jay owns 0.06% of the team doesn’t mean jack. All right, I need to stop this, I got things to do. I need to raise my baller status up to Hov’s level. I’m on my way to Finish Line to get some new Nike’s then I’m going to tell everyone I own Nike. ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Follow Robbie on Twitter: @rmarbury.

Goodbye, Kerry Wood: A Cubs Fan’s Farewell
By Bobby Roberts AmericasWhiteboy.blogspot.com May 8, 2012 After this afternoon's Chicago Cubs game against the Chicago White Sox, Kerry Wood officially retired from Major League baseball. He struck out the only batter he faced and went out with a bang.I have been a Cubs fan for all of my life and Wood will always be one of my favorite baseball players. In '07, I had the privilege to see him pitch, but he wasn't the dominant pitcher that once struck out 20 batters in a single game. Injuries derailed his playing career in the mid-2000s and was forced to pitch relief. He had success in that role, but he struggled this season with an ERA of 8.31 and twice as many walks as strikeouts. How will will he be remembered, as a pitcher who once struck out 20 batters in a game or for the mystery of 'what might have been?' It is a shame that we will never know how dominant Wood could have been without his injuries. Wood and Mark Prior were going to be the Cubs version or Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine, but both suffered careerthreatening injuries. Wood was the last relic from the 2003 Chicago Cubs team who were only seven outs from making an improbable World Series appearance. The Bartman play occurred during that series, but most forget that it took place during Game 6 of the NLCS. Wood pitched in Game 7 and even hit a home run. He took the lost the game 9-6 and the Florida Marlins went on to win the World Series. After the '03 NLCS disaster, he was never the same. He had a sub-par '04 season and then suffered injuries that kept him out for the majority of the following three seasons. He returned in late '07, but came out of the bullpen as a precautionary measure. He turned into a capable relief pitcher. He even moved into the closer role in the '08 and '09 seasons, racked up 54 saves. He spent the next two seasons with the Cleveland Indians and New York Yankees, but then returned to Chicago for a hometown discount. Saying goodbye to Wood is a hard thing for me to do. I had to write a similar farewell to Peyton Manning post just two months ago. I am a huge fan of both teams. As a fan, it will be odd to not see either Wood or Manning on my team's sideline. Cubs fans always kept faith that Wood would return and contribute to the team. Prior was not so lucky. The fans lost patience with him much quicker. We all know that Wood will not be inducted into the Hall of Fame or even get his number retired. He will always been mentioned in Cubs folklore as a member of the '03 team and for his amazing rookie season in '98. He holds a special place in the hearts of Cubs fans. You will see him around Chicago. He will be a special assistant in the Cubs organization and he has his foundation in the city. He is a devout Christian and does a lot of great things for the people of Chicago. Wood finishes his career with a 86-75 record and 3.67 ERA. The two-time All-Star also struck out 1581 batters in 1379 innings. He could have been the next Nolan Ryan or Steve Carlton, but he turned out to be the first Kerry Wood. ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Bobby Roberts is most commonly known as "Sweetbob" around the internet. His wit and snark has put him on the map in the world of sports blogging. You can find his work at "America's White Boy" and other sites that aren't embarrassed by him...yet.

Perception & Fantasy Week 11 Starts, Sits, Bluffs
By Jake Ciely RotoExperts.com Dec. 15, 2012

I might be married right now. I could have a wife, some kids, live in a different house, drive a more familyfriendly vehicle (well, I still might have bought my Camaro) and finding ways to juggle sports with birthday parties, family get-togethers and kid duty. It’s all quite possible, but based on my perception of said possible wife, I instead chose to break things off years back and sit here single and living with two guys – which can feel like you have no private space at times. In fact, the friends that knew me back then still joke with me about splitting up with “Danielle.” She was exceptionally attractive, intelligent, funny, had strong family values and even enjoyed sports. However, I was young(er) and it was during a time when I felt a bit superior in comparison to many others. Not that I still don’t feel that way a bit in the sports writing world, but to be fair, you kind of have to in order to succeed. To get one thing out of the way, I’ll admit, I have some trust issues. It goes back to elementary days when my best friend, or so I thought, stabbed me in the back. Okay, he actually kicked me in the stomach out of the blue while playing flag football, and then ran off, never to be seen again. I am still at a loss for the reason behind that one. Maybe he was infuriated about trading me his Mark McGwire rookie card for Jose Cruz? He was an Astros fan – or, maybe just being an Astros fan was enough? I also had my second girlfriend cheat on me. Even though the relationship had become long distance and we were 19 years old, cheating still stings. So, when it comes to trust, it takes a lot to gain mine – here’s looking at you Mike Shanahan, and you sticking with one running back finally! Danielle and I had been together for a few months, and then two things happened within a few days that made me call off the relationship. The first was that she found a leather jacket in the campus library and decided she’d just keep it because “it was the cutest jacket ever.” We actually had an argument over the morality of not attempting to return the jacket. She relented and agreed to try to find the owner, but I feel like she only did so to avoid more arguing. The very next weekend, she went to a party off-campus, while I was off snowboarding with friends. She got drunk. Now, I’m not judging people… I’m not hoity-toity and don’t have a problem with alcohol. I have a problem trusting people and their choices when intoxicated. We argued again – this time about trusting her without me at parties – and in the end, I suggested we go our separate ways. Whether or not their proximity to each other heightened my frustration is uncertain, but these two situations resulted in my being single again. Granted, by choice, but single nonetheless. I’m pretty sure – actually, I’m almost positive – that you’re sitting there thinking, “Wow, Jake. That was a pretty dramatic leap and reaction to two minor problems… IF you can even call them that.” And you know what, you’re probably right. I wiped away months of good times and chemistry for a jacket and a drunken outing. Like I said, we could have continued our relationship and maybe even ended up tying the knot, but now, I’ll never know and will always wonder. Let me ask you this, though, “How is my situation any different to when you ignore or overreact to Fantasy players and their performances?” Thirty-seven percent! That’s the percentage of leagues where Carson Palmer isn’t owned on NFL.com as of November 13. I’m sorry, but why is the QB with the ninth-most Fantasy Points (FP) not owned universally? In

what universe does it make sense for 14 percent of leagues to have Randall Cobb not owned? Meanwhile, lowly Michael Bush has an ownership percentage just nine points under Cobb’s. In what way does any of that make more sense than my ending a relationship over picky issues? I’ll give you another example. I’ve seen many Ryan Mathews owners considering trades and even some asking if Steve Jackson would be a good swap. Excuse me? Look, I know that everyone expected Mathews to be a RB1 and most even drafted him in the first round. However, letting your perspective (what Mathews expected to do) skew your proper valuation of player is a mistake. In two fewer games, Mathews has only 10 fewer FP. In fact, since his second game back, Mathews is averaging 9.2 FPPG, which is more FP per game and more total FP than BenJarvus Green-Ellis in that time frame. How about the numerous Marshawn Lynch owners asking if trades for Willis McGahee, Jamaal Charles or C.J. Spiller would be a good move? Why do they ask? Because they think his schedule is too hard for the playoff run. Really? The same Lynch who torched the 49ers impenetrable run defense late last year and again this season? Let’s go back to Palmer. He’s ahead of QBs like Ben Roethlisberger, Cam Newton, Michael Vick, Tony Romo, Philip Rivers and Eli Manning. Cobb? Oh, he’s only the 13th highest scoring WR after being the third option to start the season. Let’s do a few quick-fire examples to close out and hammer down the point. Player: Josh Freeman: Rank 10 Owned% 86 Started% 19

Eli Manning: 18 98 44 (Pretty sure more Freeman owners won in Week 10 than Eli owners did.) Michael Bush: 36 77 17

Andre Brown: 20 43 12 (Bush saw more starts than Brown? Is anyone noticing that Bush doesn’t have a TD since Week 3 and Brown has seven on the year?) Brandon Lloyd: 41 91 57

Denarius Moore: 19 89 29 (Do owners still believe the Pats offense and/or Tom Brady make Lloyd the better choice?) WRAP-UP TOP PAIR (Guaranteed a Good Week): Matt Ryan, ATL; Adrian Peterson, MIN; Calvin Johnson, DET – Think those “early” fourth and fifth round picks for Ryan are warranted now? Just as a FYI, Ryan has more FP than Tom Brady… Apparently, ADP really isn’t human. How else do we explain what he’s doing after such a gruesome injury last year… and that is why Calvin had an ADP in the first round. RIVER RAT (Surprising Top Performances): Joe Flacco, BAL; The Jacksons (Fred and Steven), BUF/STL; Danario Alexander, SD – That Raiders defense, yea, it stinks. After all, it did let Flacco post only his third 20-plus FP game… FJax was facing the third stingiest defense for RBs and is in a timeshare, while SJax appears to have trouble just getting out of his own way at times. So, 21 and 18 FP outputs seem logical… Apparently, now nicknamed DX, Alexander exploded against Tampa Bay. This week is the true test of whether he is for real. GUT SHOT (Let Everyone Down): Eli Manning, NYG; Michael Turner, ATL; Eric Decker, DEN – I was surprised by three straight weeks for Eli, but now, it’s four! I have never seen a team or QB more in need of a bye… No one was asking Turner for a Top 10 day, but 15 yards on 13 carries?! There are no words… We

couldn’t expect Decker to keep scoring (a TD in each of the five previous games), but we also didn’t expect 15 yards and one FP. Breakdown: Hold ‘Em – start them and/or players I like more than most rankings have them. Fold ‘Em – outright sit them; don’t consider them start-worthy in standard-sized leagues. Bluffs – still start them, but I like them less than most rankings and they will disappoint. HOLD ‘EM QUARTERBACKS Matt Ryan, ATL (ARZ) – My Ranking 5: But he’s facing the Eagles! Three TDs and 23 FP. But it’s the Cowboys? Just 342 passing yards. Stop overrating matchups. Arizona has remained in the Top Five for fewest FP allowed to QBs, but Ryan has been a Top Five Fantasy player… overall. Carson Palmer, OAK (NO) – MR 7: This probably doesn’t come as a surprise, but Trojan maaaan! is a topnotch option against the Saints. Now this is a matchup to value properly, and the Saints have allowed 24 or more FP to QBs in all but two weeks (Matt Cassel and Michael Vick the two low outputs, and Vick managed 17). RUNNING BACKS Reggie Bush, MIA (@IND) – MR 14: You’re ticked, I get it. I’m not saying he is Jamaal Charles, actually, I’m definitely not saying that. But last week, I told owners to give Charles one more chance, and it paid off. I may be pushing my luck, but I’m giving Bush that same chance. After all, he did put up 12 FP just two games back, and no team allows as many FPPG to RBs as Buffalo does (25.4). Even with just 10-15 touches, Bush can put up RB2 numbers against the Bills. Felix Jones, DAL (CLE) – MR 18: Now here, I feel a bit more worried. It seems that just when we’re ready to trust Felix, he kicks us in the stomach (see: cake matchup in first start of 2012 where he scored just seven FP against Carolina). The Browns defense is weak against the run, and Felix managed 25 FP against Atlanta and Philly – both with better run defenses. RECEIVERS Denarius Moore, OAK (NO) – MR 6: Moore has a TD catch in five of his last seven games. The Saints have allowed at least one TD catch to WRs in five of the last six games (Matt Ryan just decided to go to Tony Gonzalez twice and a lineman last week). Moore is also in the Top 10 for all WRs since Week 3, when he fully returned to form. Stevie Johnson, BUF (MIA) – MR 21: So nice, I like him twice (Stevie appeared here last week). Johnson – and Ryan Fitzpatrick – can take advantage of good matchups. No one on the Bills sees more targets, and Tennessee was the first team since Week 2 to not have their WRs combine for at least 18 FP (with Arizona and Indy both hitting 41 FP). DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin, PHI (@WAS) – MR 22/24: Yes, Nick Foles is at QB. Yes, owners are already overrating Foles. On the other hand, we can’t knock DJax and Maclin down too far. Both are rather risk-laden with Foles at QB, but only New Orleans presents a better matchup. Even with the risk, DJax catches enough passes to be the mildly safer play with the higher floor but lower ceiling –is that architecturally descriptive enough for you? TIGHT END Greg Olsen, CAR (TB) – MR 8: It always feels good to have a player you recommended a significant amount show up big like Olsen did last week. While I’m not expecting two TDs again, I am expecting another good game against a Bucs defense that will force Carolina to pass. DEFENSE Cincinnati Bengals (@KC) – MR 6: (Insert defense playing Kansas City here) Seriously, until the Chiefs prove otherwise, why not start a defense against them? Even the pitiful Saints defense managed positive points against KC, and the Chiefs have seen D/ST score 20, 12, 15, 14, 26 and 9 over the past six weeks. FOLD ‘EM QUARTERBACKS Brandon Weeden, CLE (@DAL) – MR 21: No QB has topped 17 FP against Dallas – a team that shuts down opposing WR1s and has allowed just three passing TDs at home. Weeden also has just nine FP over his past two games. RUNNING BACKS Kendall Hunter, SF (CHI) – MR 47: Frank Gore will be lucky to post RB2 numbers, which means Hunter, who has seven games with four FP or less, doesn’t have a prayer at providing value against a defense allowing 9.8 FPPG to RBs. Taiwan Jones, OAK (NO) – MR UR: The Oakland coaching staff just gave us the definition of “coach

speak.” Heading into Week 10, the Raiders coaches were saying they trusted Jones and that he’d get the start. Then the gamed startedand Marcel Reece led the way, while Taiwan saw two carries and heard Dennis Allen say he didn’t trust Jones. If the team doesn’t trust you, how can Fantasy owners? RECEIVERS Laurent Robinson, JAX (@HOU) – MR 49: The only reason the Texans defense doesn’t rank near the top against WRs is because Aaron Rogers went all… well… Aaron Rodgers on them in Week 6. Outside of that game, the Texans haven’t allowed more than one WR TD in a game and have held WRs to 14 FP or less seven times. Even with his 15 catches in two games, LRob has just nine FP to show for it. Greg Little, CLE (@DAL) – MR 53: The team is expressing more confidence in Little since he stopped dropping balls like a horse trying to juggle (you know, because hooves would make that impossible… eh, whatever… you know it’s a funny mental image). That doesn’t mean you should have more confidence in Little as a Fantasy option though. As I mentioned, Dallas shuts down opposing teams’ WR1s. While it’s worth arguing if it’s Little or Josh Gordon in Cleveland, it’s not worth arguing whether Little has value this week. TIGHT END Joel Dreesen, DEN (SD) – MR 21: If only there were no Jacob Tamme in Denver. Actually, you can say the same for Dreesen. If there were just one TE for Peyton Manning, we’d have a TE1 option on our hands. As it stands, neither provides consistent value, and neither has topped 10 FP – even while reaching the end zone. DEFENSE Arizona Cardinals (@ATL) – MR 17: The Cards were a hot D/ST pick, but since Week 3, they haven’t topped nine FP. The Falcons have forced three negative-point outings for opponents, including back-to-back sub-zero efforts for Dallas and New Orleans. BLUFFS QUARTERBACKS Ryan Tannehill, MIA (@BUF) – MR 20: If you didn’t read Given Up, just because a QB has a great matchup doesn’t mean he’s start-worthy. The Titans were a gift matchup, and Tannehill responded with more picks than FP (three to two). Don’t forget his zero-point effort in Week 8. Tannehill may seem like an upside play, but few are riskier. RUNNING BACKS DeAngelo Williams, CAR (TB) – MR 40: Crazy how much difference a year can make. Tampa Bay was the most favorable matchup for RBs last year, and now, they allow over 10 FPPG less at just 14.8 per. Michael Bush, CHI (@SF) – MR 44: Just scroll back up to his comparison with Andre Brown. If Bush can’t score against weak defenses, what prayer does he have against San Fran and their wall-like run D? RECEIVERS Malcom Floyd, SD (@DEN) – MR 33: Floyd may be Philip Rivers’ favorite target, but the Broncos defense tops out as the most difficult matchup for WRs. They even held Drew Brees’ receivers to eight FP. Floyd and Rivers are good, but they aren’t Marques Colston and Brees. Michael Crabtree, SF (CHI) – MR 35: It’s unclear who will be the 49ers QB come Sunday, but it’s crystal clear that this game might see zero offensive touchdowns. TIGHT END Vernon Davis, SF (CHI) – MR 11: Ranking Davis 11th doesn’t put him on most benches, and if I could move him lower, I likely would. It’s just that Davis has more upside than any TE in the teens and lower. However, he also hasn’t scored more than three points since Week 5 and Chicago allows just 5.0 FPPG to TEs. ABOUT THE AUTHOR: In addition to covering the NFL, MLB, NBA, and College Football, Jake “All In” Ciely is a poker enthusiast. Involved with Fantasy Sports since the mid 1990s, Jake went “All In” when he joined RotoExperts in 2010 and was a finalist for the FSWA Newcomer of the Year. As with poker, he rarely loses, and deals you the best odds to win with Fantasy Sports and even sports wagering at TheXLog.com. If you want to come up Aces, get the deal from Jake Ciely by following him on Twitter @allinkid or emailingjakeallinciely@rotoexperts.com

Hey College Football Fans, Leave Recruits Alone
By Joshua Vowles, AKA The Subway Domer SubwayDomer.com Jan. 9, 2012 Over the past several years, social media has critical massed itself 100 times over. Almost everyone you know is either on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, or a wicked cocktail mix of the three. This is the new world that we are living in, where information is everywhere and everyone has their opinion that absolutely MUST be heard. It is within this brand new world where the rules are in a fuzzy shade of gray. Why? Because like most of the internet for the past 15+ years, there are no rules. To be honest, I like having no rules. No rules allows for self-moderation, and self-moderation can lead to an enlightenment of ones own morals, ideas, and personality. Unfortunately, there are thousands upon thousands that are unable to operate within a certain code of conduct within this digital realm that the non-digital world lays out in law and in societal rules. Why are we talking about this? Well, because of that "gray" area, people actually think it's acceptable to interact with recruits via social networks. They think it's OK to try and get involved with some 17 or 18 year old high school student. They think it's OK to try and get involved in the lives of kids. This is definitely not "OK." People, mostly grown men, spend their days trying to contact potential "program changing" high school athletes. Most of these attempts are "harmless" in their minds, but at the root of situation lays the problem. They justify talking to a 17 year old on the internet because they are offering, "wisdom," words of encouragement, and of course advise on where these kids should attend college. It's all innocent and good natured- right? Wrong. Because it is acceptable in their eyes, it is also "acceptable" to chastise, warn, threaten, and downright get nasty with these recruits when someone else's child makes a decision about their life that they don't like. This, of course, is why social media has become a threat to college football- because it is not right to try and get involved in these kids lives. The News Tribune in Tacoma, Washington recently published an article speaking to some of this. A lot of the article had to do with message board posters. As unfortunate as the negative comments and the consequences that they have on these message boards are; they are mostly intended for the "boards" themselves and are not a direct attack upon a particular recruit. That doesn't make it right, but it is what it is because for many years this is what has been accepted. We allow poison in our lives. Now is the time to make the move to strike against this nonsense across the realm of social media. We as fans, bloggers, parents, friends, and members of a more decent society must make the stand against those that would use these platforms to "help" their school/team by chastising kids who may not make the decision for their lives that some grown adults would like. We have long seen people "friend" recruits on Facebook and then leave nasty messages for all to see. We have seen people on Twitter harass recruits on a daily basis for them to "make up their minds" on the biggest decision of these kids lives. What the hell is wrong with these people?

Recently on Twitter, I came across some "fan" of a particular school cuss out a recruit because they "THOUGHT" that the recruit has already chosen a rival school to commit to. It was flat out disturbing. Equally disturbing was "fans" of the same school trying to reach out to the recruit to tell him that this isn't what this particular school was about- blah, blah, blah. They are all, in effect, trying to become recruiters for their institution. This is wrong, and also a NCAA violation. Notre Dame had a decommitment last night. I am not on Facebook all that much, and I certainly did not "friend" this particular recruit, but i am positive that he has already felt the wrath of those wo felt betrayed. This is what our beloved sport has turned in to. A massive cat fight between fans, recruits, and parents of recruits via social networking. It's sad. We need to take this sport back from the lunatics. I am proposing a set of standards:
 

Absolutely NO Facebook. Do not "friend" these recruits or join their "groups." Facebook is much too personal. Even asking to be a friend just to follow what they say is too intrusive. If you are on Twitter, I think it is OK to follow a recruits account. It's basically public information, so seeing what info is out there is no big deal. However... if a recruit's account is protected, I recommend not following. A protected account needs the approval of the user, which is a lot like Facebook friending. Also, DO NOT INTERACT WITH A RECRUIT FOR ANY REASON. It doesn't matter if you are just saying something like, "Congrats man! Eastern Michigan needed you and your decision just made my day!" Or, "Our class is filling up! Still have room at Wyoming for great TE recruits like you. Be a Cowboy and be a LEGEND 4eva!!!" None of this is OK.

That should be simple enough. Basically, don't interact with someone else's kid. Don't become involved. Don't be a factor- whether good or bad. We as fans and bloggers can help clean this up by policing our own. Let's help create a culture void of this type of interaction. I am asking all of you to help spread this message. Become cosigners. Simply; retweet, like, copy and paste, link- whatever. Spread the word that this type of behavior is not acceptable. If you want to help your school ,these recruits, and college footballfollow these guidelines and let others know that they should do the same! ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Joshua Vowles, better known as The Subway Domer, has been the lead writer and editor-in-chief of the website, Subway Domer since he founded it in 2006. He is also the founder and administrator of the Irish Blogger Gathering, a roundtable alliance of Notre dame blogs and websites. He is a proud husband and father of two wonderful kids. Joshua takes pride in the niche that Subway Domer has carved out for itself in the blogosphere over these past 6 years, as THE place to go for that “bar/tavern” conversation about Notre Dame football on the Internet.

We Don’t Get To Write The Endings
By Daniel Shoptaw www.Cardinal70.com Oct. 23, 2012 In almost every form of entertainment, we know what we are going to get. With rare exceptions, we know that the detective in the book or movie or TV show will wind up apprehending the suspect by the end. We know that the guy gets the girl in a romantic comedy (or just a romantic work in general). We know that things will end more or less satisfactorily in whatever kind of media we watch. Even music does this--it's a strange song that doesn't resolve chords or just ends in what seems to be the middle of everything. Sports is the one true venue where you really don't know what's going to happen. It's the only true reality show, not edited or filtered or scripted at all. While you can predict based on the past, based on what has happened to other teams in other situations or what these teams have done before, when you sit down to watch a ball game, you don't know what you are going to feel like on the other side. I think you can forgive Cardinal fans if they've forgotten this aspect of things. Since the new stadium opened, postseason play has almost seemed to be a scripted affair. How else do you get a Game 7 in 2006 in the rain in New York, with a ninth-inning home run from the (at the time) lighthitting catcher, then a bases-loaded strikeout from the rookie closer? After that, seeing their team upset a heavily-favored Tigers squad and being able to win it on their own brand-new field had to seem like it was touched with the Hollywood brush. Then last year, you had a remarkable Game 5 in the NLDS plus the impossible Game 6 in the World Series. You had all the numerical stuff of 11 wins to get to their 11th championship in 2011. And all of that was on top of a September run to just make the postseason that will be written about time and time again and used as a rallying point as long as baseball is played. How could you not think that things were always going to work out the way we wanted? This year was the same thing. Most years they'd have been out of contention by middle of August, but that new-fangled second wild-card seemed like the thing you see in the sequel that gives everything a twist. We got to saw a dramatic infield fly (perhaps the first one of those in baseball history) and the team took that game, then came back from 6-0 against the best team in the division to win in the last inning and move on. There was no doubt that we knew what the endings would be. The post-season had become that show you were excited about seeing return from hiatus every year, wondering what the twists would be but feeling assured that they couldn't kill off the main lead. Then they met San Francisco. Early on, it seemed like the script would hold. The Cards got out to the 3-1 lead and all it took was one more win. One more win. Surely this team could do that? Surely this team of grinders and

scrappers, this team that had made their reputation as a team that you couldn't kill, surely they could take just one more game from these Giants. Except that the writers apparently went on strike. This postseason reminds us that, in the words of the old commercials, you can't script October. We don't get to write the endings. There are a lot of places to put the blame, of course. This was a pretty systemic failure on the part of the Redbirds, which isn't surprising given the lead that they blew. Two things can be singled out, though--the offense didn't hit and the Cardinals couldn't stem the damage from the Giants. It's sad when you only need one win to move on to the World Series and instead you can only muster one run. In the entire series, the Cards plated 19 runs, which is a low number anyway but even more so when six came in Game 1 and eight in Game 4. In their four losses in the series, they scored a grand total of two runs. Even Bob Gibson's not going to win you games with that kind of support. It goes without saying that the Cards were unable to sustain any offensive production. Only once in the series did they have an inning where they scored more than two runs. By comparison, the Giants scored four or more runs in an inning in five of the seven games. Even when the Cards did look good, in Game 4, it was four innings of two runs that got them there. That's fine, as long as you can put together a lot of those innings. For the most part, St. Louis couldn't. While a lot of the credit for that goes to the San Francisco pitching staff, who know what they are doing and are formidable opponents, we've seen this offense beat up on good pitching. They were able to score often on Washington, who even without Stephen Strasburg had an exceptional staff. In this series, though, it seemed like more and more often any rally the Cardinals might have going wound up happening with the eighth and ninth place hitters up. That's the quickest way to turn a no-out or one-out rally into a snuffed out rally. One of the biggest reasons for that was the off series by Allen Craig. Craig only had three hits in the seven games, meaning that often he'd end an inning or bring up Yadier Molina with two outs. It's bad enough when there's a hole anywhere in the lineup, but right in the middle can have the dual effect of ending rallies and making sure that, if a rally comes next inning, you have to rely on Pete Kozma and the pitcher to keep it going. Craig's had a fine year and you can't put the whole thing on him at all, but not having his bat be live was a big factor in the series. Of course, it's not like anyone hit consistently. When Kozma's fifth on the team in average with a .227, there's a problem. The Cardinals hit two home runs in the first game, only one after that. We saw it all season long, when the famine came, it came hard. There was no storing up grain in preparation for it. In Game 1, the Cardinals had a 6-0 lead in the bottom of the fourth. Marco Scutaro led off the inning with a single, but then Pablo Sandoval and Buster Posey got out. With two outs and one on, this should have been a quick inning. Instead, six more men came to the plate. Those six included the eighth place hitter, Brandon Crawford, who doubled in a run. The Cards should have gotten out of that inning well before it got to that point. Neither team scored again and the Cardinals won, but it was a taste of what was to come.

In Game 2, the Cardinals trailed 1-0 in the fourth, with one out and two on and Crawford and the pitcher coming up. This is exactly the kind of situation the Cardinals would be in offensively so often, where rallies would be snuffed. The difference in the series was that San Francisco could do something in these situations. Crawford reached on Chris Carpenter's error, Ryan Voglesong was then able to bunt the runners over, and the lineup turned over. Three runs later, the game is out of reach. In Game 5, similar thing. Tied at 0, two runners on with two outs though the heart of their lineup still up, and Lance Lynn throws the ball away as we all know. You could shake that off and say it's just one run, especially when Brandon Belt pops out. All you have to do is get one out from Gregor Blanco or Crawford, but instead Blanco walks to load the bases and Crawford, who was a pest all series, drives in two. Then Barry Zito drives in a run when he beats out a bunt. It was the bottom of the lineup over and over destroying the Cardinals as they couldn't finish off innings. Game 6 saw an error by Kozma on a Vogelsong grounder that allowed a run and kept the inning going, an inning that saw the Giants score four again. At least in last night's game, the big inning came with no outs, which is at least a bit more understandable. All in all, we as Cardinal fans learned one thing. The next time the Redbirds have a 2-1 lead in a series, let's hope they lose Game 4. This organization has now blown four 3-1 leads and they haven't done it artfully, either. Three of the top 5 biggest Game 7 blowouts are against St. Louis in those series--15-0 in '96, 11-0 in '85 and now 9-0 in '12. Who knows what '68 would have looked like if Gibson wasn't on the mound. Let me say one thing, though. The Giants are a very good team and they earned this series win. There are also some great San Francisco fans that I follow on Twitter, so I know that the fan base is a good one. However, plunking Matt Holliday in the sixth and having their fans cheer? Bush league. The slide in Game 1 might have been some sort of turning point, might have been some sort of rallying cry, but it didn't make a difference. Marco Scutaro won the MVP, for crying out loud! Isn't it always said that the best revenge is beating the other guy? I mean, if Scutaro had been hurt, maybe, but even then, you've won the series. Holliday seemed more affected by the whole thing than Scutaro did! I thought that was a very low class thing for Matt Cain to do and even lower class for the fan base to cheer it. If it HAD been a movie, that'd been the turning point. There are a lot of people I feel sorry for in Cardinal red today. Adam Wainwright missed last year's run and was so close to getting to have his own fun in the Series. Holliday is likely to get a lot of grief, to a level that isn't close to being deserved. However, there's no one that anyone feels more angst for than Carlos Beltran. For the third time in his career, the Cardinals have kept him out of the World Series. Unfortunately this time, he was wearing their colors. How frustrating might it have been for him, knowing that if he'd stayed in San Francisco, he might be getting ready for Detroit right now? (Of course, that's a big if--without Beltran in St. Louis, they don't win the second wild card, which means that the Giants well may have faced Washington and may or may not have moved on.) I feel for him and I hope St. Louis can put together another run for him next season, because he deserves it.

So now what, at least as it relates to this blog? As you know, this isn't necessarily the place for analysis and research projects, dealing more in the day-to-day of the baseball season. Still, it's not going to be a ghost town here. I'll be writing less often, probably, but will weigh in when rumors or situations warrant. The United Cardinal Bloggers will have a number of projects coming up, so you'll see those as well. Who knows, maybe I'll come up with some sort of blogging series to pass the offseason time with as well. Keep checking, because you never know when I'll be here. Congratulations to the 2012 St. Louis Cardinals. You may not have flown as high as your predecessor, but you flew much higher than expected and that championship window is still wide open. Let's win 11 games to get #12 in '13! ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Daniel Shoptaw is a passionate Cardinal fan who has been blogging for five years at his site C70 At The Bat (www.cardinal70.com). Daniel is also the founder and president of the United Cardinal Bloggers as well as the founder and past president of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance. You can hear Daniel regularly on "Gateway To Baseball Heaven", part of the Seamheads National Podcasting Network, "UCB Radio Hour" and his personal podcast, "Conversations With C70".

Hail or Rail Scale VI: Jadeveon Clowney, Ray Lewis, the Gators and the Lakers
By Chris Humpherys sportschump.net January 8, 2013 We haven’t had a good Hail or Rail Scale in a while so here goes nothing…

HAIL
1 point – College Football’s unpredictability In the final moments of this year’s college football season, here’s some food for thought. When was the last time we had an unranked team finish the regular season ranked number one, as well as the pre-season number one team ending up unranked? I’m guessing never in the history of the sport. I’ll let you decide what sort of mockery that makes out of pre-season college football pools. Earlier this season, I asked you all to pick one team to win this year’s national championship. Regardless of the shellacking Alabama laid on them Monday night, not a single person picked Notre Dame as a contender. I guess not many Irish Catholics are reading the Chump. Either way, what the Notre Dame program pulled off this year is the perfect example of why college football is still the best of all sports. Not even the BCS can screw that up. One loss and you’re done, the constant season-long, shuffling of teams atop the rankings with any hopes of a championship dashed with a single mistake. What the masses are convinced is a foregone conclusion one weekend inevitably gets turned on its head for four glorious months, with nothing but emotional ups and downs through the entire ride, or tide in this year’s case. Man, I can’t wait ‘til next August. 2 points – Jadeveon Clowney Speaking of the glory that is college football, be honest, how many times did you see this Clowney hit because if you haven’t, here it comes again. I must have watched post-game highlights of this tackle at least a hundred times and it STILL wasn’t enough. Jadeveon Clowney is only a sophomore at the University of South Carolina but he is clearly a man among boys. He’s slowly becoming a cult figure in Columbia. In fact, I can’t recall a single hit prompting so many people to proclaim a player would be taken number one WHEN HE’S NOT EVEN ELIGIBLE FOR THE DRAFT FOR ANOTHER YEAR. I’ve talked to several people who were at this game, since it was played in Tampa. They told me the stadium erupted when Clowney deflated Vincent Smith. One local radio announcer called it

the hardest hit he had seen in his thirty plus years of watching football. Some people were actually concerned Smith’s head had been detached from his body. It’s okay. Click on the video again. I know you want to. 3 points – Ray Lewis I’m not sure how many of you caught Ray Lewis’ last game in Baltimore on Sunday. I’m guessing the lot of you did considering the NFL playoffs are among us. Immediately prior to this postseason, the seventeen-year veteran told his teammates that he would be retiring at the end of the year, what he referred to as his “last ride.” That afternoon, the Ravens showed up in full force to honor his legacy, besting the hot Indianapolis Colts 24-9. Not surprisingly, Lewis led the team with 13 tackles. Shortly after the clock ticked to zero, an emotional Lewis was brought to tears. Soon afterwards, he was congratulated by teammates, kissed his children on the sidelines then circled the field for a well-deserved victory lap in front of thousands of cheering fans, many of whom bore his jersey. Lewis, the last remaining member of the Ravens team that won the Super Bowl in 2000, redefined the linebacker position. He was as dominant on the field he was motivational off it. He’s a 12-time pro bowler and sits comfortably in the discussion of the greatest defensive players ever. If you didn’t get at least a little choked up watching him wave good-bye to the thousands of fans screaming his name, you’re simply not a fan of the sport and I suggest you take up crochet or something. The game is better for Lewis having played it and his presence will be sorely missed. We’ll see you in Canton in five, Ray.

RAIL
1 point – Los Angeles Lakers I still haven’t grown tired of writing about how bad the Lakers are. I feel like a full-bellied vulture picking at the road-side body of a decaying carcass with a blissful smile on my face. As I mentioned last month, I’m generally not a hater but I am taking particular joy in watching this Lakers team implode. It’s my right as a Magic fan to do so. This Lakers team is so inexplicably bad (how bad are they?) that even the greatest player of the last decade has no answer for their woes. Think about it. This team has a combined 33 All-Star Game appearances in their starting lineup and they are 15-18. That’s like the Beatles suddenly forgetting how to play their instruments. By the way, 15-18 misses the playoffs if they were to begin today.

These Lakers are disturbingly bad. Their badness defies logic. They just lost at home to Denver and Philadelphia and with all due respect to those two teams, the Lakers have no business losing at home to either of them. And now Dwight Howard, always one to open his mouth and say something inept, has told the media that this team doesn’t have to like each other to play well, they just have to go out and do it. As much talent as is on that team, I’m beginning to think that’s no longer possible. They’re like a time warp stuck in a vacuum of absolute defenselessness. They are currently allowing 100.8 points per game which is 26th out of a 30-team league. No Lakers fan has ever walked into the Staples Center with a paper bag over their head (insert Dyan Cannon joke here) but it’s something they might want to consider because this team is an absolute train wreck. 2 points – Blake Griffin’s jump shot Okay, I know the Clippers just rattled off a seventeen-game winning streak, the most in franchise history. I know they hold one of the best records in the NBA. But I am definitely not ready to crown these guys. Not even close. Come the NBA playoffs, in a seven-game series, championship teams have to be able to score in the half-court set. It’s one of the few constants in the sports universe. Yes, Chris Paul is one of the best playmakers in the game but when he kicks the ball out after being triple-teamed to a wide open Blake Griffin who’s standing 15 feet from the basket, I need to know whether he can hit that jump shot consistently. I take that back, I already know. The guy can jump out of the gym. He’s the game’s most dynamic dunker but I’m not convinced he can nail that shot with consistency. Blake, it’s time to take a break from all those Kia, Subway and GameFly commercials and take about 500 daily jumpers from 13-17 feet. Only then will your game become well-rounded and your chances of winning an NBA championship come closer to fruition. 3 points – The Florida Gators I had a bad feeling about the Sugar Bowl this year. Little did I know how bad it would be. The third ranked Florida Gators went up against their former defensive coordinator Charlie Strong and his 21st ranked Louisville Cardinals, a team that was chomping at the bit to prove their worth. The only problem is the Gators forgot to show up. Or at least Louisville made it look that way. Strong’s far, more prepared Cardinals made a mockery out of the Gators in essentially every aspect of the game. The 33-23 final score is no indication of how badly Florida was dominated. The Gators, who at one point this season were poised to play for a national championship, seemed to be going through the motions that evening, while on the opposite sidelines, Strong had his boys ready to go. Perhaps the Gators felt they were just better than Louisville, which they weren’t, at least on that night. Perhaps they felt the game was beneath them, that they could just show up and be handed a victory. Or maybe they had one too many hand grenades on Bourbon Street the night before. Either way, Florida’s performance is something Will Muschamp needs to address this off-season,

for what many thought might be the pre-season favorite to win next year’s national championship showed nothing to make anyone believe they’ll be anywhere close. 4 points -Robert Griffin’s knee One of the most depressing things in sports comes when we don’t get to see how truly great a player can be when they fall to injury. That’s what happened this Sunday. The football gods gave us a gimpy Robert Griffin and it cost the Redskins the game, and their season. That’s not to say the Seattle Seahawks wouldn’t have won the game with a healthy RGIII but it would have been much more highly contested in the end had he been 100%. Why, oh why, did you not allow us to see Robert Griffin at full health in these playoffs? By the time the fourth quarter rolled around, Griffin could barely walk from a knee injury he had sustained a few weeks earlier and aggravated again that afternoon. In the end Seattle’s defense was just too much and Griffin limped off the field defeated. Another rookie quarterback, Russell Wilson advanced in his stead. I guess we’ll have to wait until next season to watch RGIII again. Hopefully he’ll return in full health and we have plenty more years to watch this guy play. It’s just a shame we don’t get to see him any more this season. Now let the questioning of whether he should have even played in that game commence.

Fantasy Football Auction Draft, Worse Mistakes Ever Made
By Kurt Turner fantasyknuckleheads.com Dec. 19, 2012 My son had the flu this week; it’s pretty much an epidemic here in Mississippi. To make matters worse, my Saints shutting out Tampa was overshadowed by the Falcons shutting out the Giants, really? But worst of all, I failed miserably in our websites fantasy football auction draft, my second fantasy football auction draft to date. I made one massive mistake that I’ve never overlooked in standard snake drafts but, we’ll get to that later. First, Let’s Break Down the Auction Draft Format of the Auction Draft League:     10 Team PPR with 6 points for QB TD + Return Yardage points Auction Draft No waiver budget

Setting the Draft night stage:    Late Drunk Video conference draft via a Google hangout (follow us on G+), watch below.

As you can see, if you skip around in the video above, we’re all slowly decaying as time and alcohol take their toll. Nevertheless, we all had a blast, such a blast that I let loose a bit much and made the biggest auction draft NO- NO of my fantasy football career, we’ll get to that later. Worse Mistake(s) Ever Made + A Couple Full Scale Dirty Tactics Lesson #1 – Don’t be distracted Headed into the draft, my focus was on getting everyone tied into the “hangout” which was being broadcast live, recorded and posted to youtube.com. Also, we had to jump between hosting providers because NFL.com wouldn’t let me pause the draft when several members didn’t show up on time. Lesson #2 – Don’t worry about your Auction Budget After a few players were drafted, it seemed the price was too steep for top tier players. I was concerned about my auction budget, to compensate for a perceived lack of budget I targeted guys I knew would go “cheap” but still had massive potential, guys like Darren McFadden and Demarco

Murray. In doing so, I invested too much stock in potential, bad fantasy mutual fund… you want guaranteed stable work horses at all cost, strategies about this later. Lesson #3 – Don’t think you know it all. While my team is ranked 3rd in points earned, I know I could have drafted a clear point leader if I had prepared. Self perceived “god like” fantasy football drafting expertise really punched me in the nose. The combination of distractions, sleep deprivation and alcohol could have been thwarted with upfront preparation and a good draft cheat sheet. Which I normally prepare for big money leagues, which this was not. A Couple Full Scale Dirty Tactics After the draft, I walked away with a couple theoretical tactics that I believe (especially #1) are bullet proof “loop holes” in auction drafts. #1 Dirty Tactic – Break the bank on 5 top tier players!??! Normally, in standard drafts, you can’t do this. However, by manipulating your auction draft strategy, you can easily draft 5 top tier players, hear me out! Everyone else is planning a budget for all 9 starters plus their bench, that’s conventional wisdom. This will give them 2, maybe 3 top tier players max. But you’re thinking outside of the box! Consider this… your budget is $200… 9 STARTING SLOTS… 1 QB / 2 RB / 2 WR / 1 FLEX / 1 TE / 1 K / 1 DEF. We’re going to draft top tier players for the top 5 scoring slots: 2 RB, 1 QB, 1 FLEX and 1 WR. Your budget hit will be roughly $184 (give or take), leaving you with $16 for the remaining 3 slots excluding your kicker and bench, which you are not concerned about filling during the auction!! More on that later… 1. 2. 3. 4. QB – $40 RB (3x because I like to flex RB) @ $38 each WR – $30 (easily sub for top tier TE) Damage = $184

Now that you have your top 5 slots filled you’d like to fill the remaining starting slots with sleepers, value picks and/or possible steals. 1 WR, 1 Defense and 1 TE is all that you’re focused on and you have $16 dollars!! So easy!! 1. TE – $8 2. WR – $6 3. Defense – $2 (could sub this 2 bucks for TE @ $10) – only pick if great opening kickoff value. Everyone laughs at first; they see your bench and kicker slot empty and your budget money all gone. Then they look at your starters and realize your team is undeniably UNBEATABLE! Once the draft ends you IMMEDIATELY fill your bench with sleepers and other value picks to fill bye weeks. Even if there’s an immediate waiver system in place after the draft (not default), or a waiver

wire budget, you can execute this strategy without concern. You will have optimized your starting lineup and drafted a clearly elite team at the key positions that matters, damn near all of them LMAO! Sure caveats exist, but YOU’RE GOING TO KILL IT, in the majority of 10 to 12 team leagues. #2 Dirty Tactic – Build distractions! Most of us draft online, so hosting a live “video conference” for FREE during the draft serves as a complete distraction to those ill prepared. Places like www.oovoo.com and www.google.com/+/learnmore/hangouts offer free online video conference rooms where you can have 10 to 12 of your buddy’s link up online during the draft and trash talk, video conference style. You just steer clear of the distractions created by the anarchy and you’ll do fine. Oh, and tell everyone to bring beer, building upon your subterfuge! So, what are your fantasy football auction draft strategies? Are mine complete crap? Let me know mofo! Comment below! Kurt Turner (@_knuckleheads) is the founder of fantasyknuckleheads.com, a heavily committed and social active fantasy football blog.

The Steps Are Ordered
By Metstradamus http://www.metstradamusblog.com/ December 17th, 2012 Well it looks like it's finally going down. The trade of R.A. Dickey to Toronto has its supporting cast, and has its extension. Now all it needs is its physical, and our Cy Young award winner is leaving us to go to maple leafier pastures. It's only a matter of time. I have talked on this blog about maximizing value. The Mets haven't been so good at it in the past. The Scott Kazmir trade was the most glaring example. Kazmir had the value of a number one prospect and didn't trade him for a 38-year-old Cy Young award winner. Not even close. Angel Pagan could have gotten dealt for a better haul after 2010 than he did after 2011. This one, they got right. Think about this: the Mets took an Omar Minaya scrap heap signing and turned him into two of the top prospects in all of baseball. Did anybody expect this when they first signed Dickey? Raise your hand if you did. Okay good, now go see a psychologist for your pathological lying. You take the information presented to you, and you do the best you can with the knowledge and the resources (or lack of) that you have for the good of the club that you're entrusted with. The Mets had to be overwhelmed to deal R.A. Dickey. I'd say the top catching prospect in baseball and a guy who supposedly, according to Twitter, has good command of three pitches and flirts with 99 on the gun? I'd say that's pretty overwhelming. No, prospects don't always work out. Travis d'Arnaud could turn out to be a repeat of the last time the Mets traded a 20 game winner to the Blue Jays and turn into Travis d'Kent. Noah Syndergaard, for all we know, could retire to pursue a vaudeville career. Conversely, Dickey could turn into Doc Graham once he crosses the Canadian border. Josh Thole could be forced to retire because of a severe poutine allergy. We all could get hit by trucks tomorrow. Is anything a sure thing? Very few things on this earth can be distilled into pure black and white. Most everything on this earth these days get shoved into one of those columns. I like the return that Dickey brought. I agree with the principle of the thinking. Am I happy that R.A. Dickey is gone? Hell no. I hated that Mets ownership has run this team into the ground so much that a team in the number one market in baseball has to make moves like this? Absolutely. I've said before that the Madoff scandal might very well be a blessing in disguise for this franchise, forcing them to make prudent moves like this to set the franchise up with a more solid foundation for when it is finally ready to spend money again and become an organization that doesn't have to be purely a producer of minor league talent for the rest of the league to poach, nor an acquirer of high priced talent that nobody will want to poach. Hopefully one day this team can produce talent and acquire it too. Black and white. Not black or white. It doesn't make it any easier for me to see the first Mets 20 game winner since Frank Viola take his talents to South Ontario. Seems cold and calculating to let Dickey go once he's reached the top of the mountain. And even though I advocate this trade and understand the reasoning behind it, it doesn't mean I wanted it to come to this. Think of what Dickey has done here in New York between his long and arduous journey, finding himself at the age of 35, and doing it in New York where a lesser man would have wilted for good, even after all of that. I have a friend who has been going to games for years as a fan and as a vendor. And he recently told me that being at Dickey's 20th win was the best game he's ever been to. What does that tell you? You think it's tough to win 20

games for a bad team? Try becoming an all-time fan favorite while pitching for a bad team. That's even harder. Yet Dickey has cemented his place among the greatest love affairs that Mets fans have ever had with individual players. Not an easy thing. And now it's over ... and even though the break up needed to happen for the fruition of long-term goals, it doesn't make it any easier to say good-bye. It wasn't easy to say good-bye to Jose Reyes for many of the same reasons. And yet there's an interesting parallel between those players now that is almost as obvious as the fact that they will be reunited in Toronto ... both vilified on their way out the door. Reyes more by fans, whether it be because of a bunt, his final post-game interview, or the fact that he was driven by dollars (none of which I'll ever understand). Dickey is being vilified, however slightly, by the media. Ken Davidoff of the New York Post wrote a column the other day which, while not calling Dickey an out-and-out piece of garbage, does tell us that there is more to Dickey than what we know about him. He has an "unwieldy personality". He "can be a handful." He has an issue coexisting peacefully in a workplace, apparently. As Mets fans have had a love affair with Dickey, one could understand the outrage when one attacks their partner in this affair. There's the matter of the timing of the article, and here's where I have an issue: If R.A. Dickey really had problems coexisting peacefully in the workplace because he happened to tell a story about former Met and current Twin Mike Pelfrey in his book as Davidoff explained in a further column in which he was less vague than the first (and I give Davidoff credit for expounding a bit on the first column), then I would think that neither Davidoff or anybody else covering that team would have put it in their back pocket until just before he got traded. In New York? The Post??? You think anybody over there, or any New York tabloid would pass up an opportunity to create controversy in the middle of baseball season? (Just ask Paul Lo Duca.) To wait until December? Nope. Doesn't make much sense to me. And that's why I can't help but think that all of this "information" is coming to light now. And if it's coming to light now, would it be possible to believe that it's coming from a source that's inside the organization, yet not necessarily in the clubhouse? Those dots are easy to connect. Yet I don't want to connect too many dots and conclude that the Mets ultimately traded Dickey because he had an "unwieldy personality". (Hell, people probably think the same things about me sometimes.) Or that he was traded because of comments at a holiday party. (If I was a Met, I'd stay clear away from appearing at any future holiday parties. Those things are death to Mets careers ... just ask Kris Benson.) Dickey was traded because there was a market for starting pitching and Sandy Alderson took full advantage of it ... as he should. And I at least appreciate that this team, at the very least, has moved in some sort of direction instead of spinning their wheels as usual. This makes you think whether the article was even necessary. Using a news conference at a holiday party to bring all this up about unwieldy personalities and coexisting in the workplace and implying that a trade all of a sudden became imminent because of it? It's like when the media reports on something like Martin Brodeur having an affair with his sister-in-law. It's scintillating. But does it have context towards his career or what he does on the ice? What context did Dickey's coexisting in the workplace have on this trade? It's almost as if it was brought up for the sake of being brought up. This is why the dots are easy to connect. I don't think the Wilpons or their ilk wanted to necessarily roast then trade Dickey because of his comments, but it does seem like this was another attempt to make Met fans feel better about losing Dickey. And yes, I do think it came from some sort of suit in the organization. For an ownership group so conscious about image, is this really a hard theory to fathom? But this is the thing that neither the Wilpons, nor even some writers really grasp about Met fans: we get it. We understand what trading Dickey means. We understand the reasons ... just as we

understood the reasons why Alderson wouldn't go anywhere near the dollars that the Marlins gave to Reyes. We understood that these were sound business decisions. What we also understand is that these are sound business decisions made necessary by the rampant mishandling of funds by the people with so-called business backgrounds who are supposed to know better. But they obviously didn't. So for now, and hopefully for not too much longer, trading 20-game winners for prospects is where we are as a Met fan species. If I can say something to make anybody who is upset over this feel better it's this: the steps are ordered. With as much as Dickey's done for the Mets, and the good publicity he's given them (and anybody in the Mets organization worried about an "unwieldy personality" should remember that), maybe his time in New York is truly up. What more can he do? He has spread his story here. He has won his games. Perhaps the next step is to captivate an entire country. Imagine if ... long shot as it may be ... Dickey follows up his N.L. Cy Young award with an A.L. Cy Young award? Or if you don't want to go that far fetched, how about Dickey pitching in a World Series game? With what the Blue Jays have done to improve, it's certainly in the realm. When a Canadian team reaches the Stanley Cup Finals, not only does is that city behind them, but large patches of the entire country roots for them, with the pride of an entire country at stake (save for the Flames fans that can't root for the Oilers, or vice versa.) Imagine, with one baseball team north of the border, how much support Dickey and the Jays would have in the World Series. An entire country would be behind them. And perhaps that's the step that is ordered for Dickey. A World Series isn't going to happen here, not while Dickey is still good. For him to be somewhere with a shot at a ring with the adulation of an entire country behind him is something he deserves. (Not to mention the opportunity to stomp on the Yankees with some of those ordered steps on the way there.) Needless to say I'm in his corner, unwielding personality or not. It had to happen this way for him, and for us. Dickey was great for the Mets, and I'd say that most of us, even those who like the trade, would go to war with and for a guy like Dickey 10 times out of 10, and wish he was still here. But Dickey is like that sweet piece of red velvet cake that we might love, but since we need a more balanced diet, he had to be replaced in the fridge with vegetables. Hopefully Travis d'Arnaud and Noah Syndergaard are those cherry tomatoes which will grow up to be large tomatoes to be sliced up and put into a BLT. And who doesn't love BLT's?

Everyone has a Joe Paterno story. Here is mine.
By Kevin McGuire For CrystalBallRun.com January 22, 2012 Everyone will choose to remember Joe Paterno one way or another, especially in light of the sad stories stemming out of State College in November that linked the long time Penn State coaching icon to one of the most horrific series of crimes ever to be linked to any university. He finished his career with 409 wins and more bowl victories, 24, than any other coach in college football history. He was a five time AFCA Coach of the Year, as voted by his peers. Three times a winner of the Walter Camp and Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year awards. Nine additional coach of the year awards and three Big Ten Coach of the Year awards. He took pride in his so-called grand experiment, an idea that making academics a priority and still putting together a solid football program was possible. He proved that it was, regularly seeing his players achieve high marks in the classroom while winning a pair of national championships in the 1980s and being the first to coach his team to a win in the Sugar, Fiesta, Orange, and Rose Bowl (as well as a number of others). Those who played for him have a loyalty, a bond, that many coaches wish they could have with their players years after they played. Right or wrong in doing so, nothing demonstrates how true that may be than the recent string of public appearances and media interviews that former Penn State running back Franco Harris has been on a mission to lead. While Harris may be doing more damage than good for a community that at times struggles to get past the events that took place in November, Harris is just one example of a former player extending his support for his former coach. Harris last played for Penn State in the 1971 season, 40 years ago. But the bond between player and coach spans across generations, and in some cases family trees. It is not wrong to support a man you consider to be a father figure, or in some cases a grandfathertype. In the 1950’s Paterno was nothing but an assistant working under his mentor, Rip Engle. In the 1960’s Paterno was in the infancy of his head-coaching career. At the time nobody knew the Brooklyn native was on his way to becoming a college football icon. In the 1970’s Paterno’s grand experiment started to come together as the program was on its way to becoming a national power. The 1980’s saw a pair of national titles against Heisman Trophy winners. The 1990s saw Penn State once again go undefeated without reward and begin a new era in the Big Ten. Since then Paterno and Penn State have had their ups and downs, but the constant theme had always fallen back to academics, while football saw mixed results on the field from year to year. Many will choose to remember Paterno for the decades of positives he had on Penn State, his players, the community and beyond. Despite his apparent flaws in the Sandusky scandal, and there does appear to be some clear fault given what we know, years from now people will remember the good done by Paterno as well as the bad. That’s the way it is, and everyone will weigh those contrasting facts differently. While I will not tell you how you should remember Paterno, I will share one more story (or two) to add to the Paterno memoriam.

I covered the final three seasons of Paterno’s career, including the ultimate and sudden firing that fateful November night. I asked him questions in a press setting but never had the opportunity to have a more individual encounter with him. There was the time he was being carted to the press room in Beaver Stadium and scolded a couple of us on his way in, as we were standing in the way filing in to the room from a separate entrance. “C’mon guys we have to get in there!” he said, looking a little disgruntled with the media. What else was new? As I sit here and look back on Paterno I think all the way back to the spring of 1994. My mother was closing in her nursing degree form Penn State’s Delaware County campus. For her it was the culmination of 12 years of night classes as she was raising two kids and working at the same time. To this day I don’t know many people who have worked that hard for anything in their lives. My father, looking to mark the special occasion and reward my mom for her hard work and dedication wanted to throw a surprise dinner party for her with my family and some friends gathering some time after the graduation ceremony. My dad, who is always looking to pull some tricks from up his sleeve, wrote a couple of letters to a couple of people asking for a short note of congratulations. One was Chris Wheeler, a Philadelphia Phillies broadcaster and Penn State alum. The other was Paterno. Both responded kindly with a short note of congratulations to my mom, which my dad gave as a present. Out of curiosity my dad was wondering if it was really Paterno who wrote the note. He compared it to a book he had signed by Paterno at a book signing previously. Sure enough, the signature matched. Surely Paterno could have had a secretary or someone else write a short note, but this was no doubt about it a short note from Paterno. I imagine Paterno probably wrote a good number of short notes over his career. About the Author: Kevin McGuire (@KevinOnCFB) is a college football journalist and host of the No 2-Minute Warning Podcast. He resides outside of Philadelphia.

Dickey Deserves Quality Contract
By Vic MetsAreBetterThanSex.com June 1, 2012 When Omar Minaya signed a relatively unknown knuckleballer during the winter before the 2010 season, most people were probably making sarcastic remarks about it since that seemed to be the “big addition” of the off-season. I was definitely one of those people, proclaiming that our prayers had finally been answered upon hearing of the signing. Little did I know that R.A. Dickey was indeed heaven-sent. Two and a half years after the inconspicuous signing, Dickey is enjoying an All-Star-caliber season, starting the year 7-1 with a 3.06 ERA. His grasp of the knuckleball seems to get better with every passing day. Although he is 37 years old, this is the prime of Dickey’s career. Knuckleballers, unlike fastballers(?) tend to stick around well into their 40s (see Charlie Hough, Tim Wakefield, Hoyt Wilhelm, and Phil Niekro) so the Mets should feel comfortable offering Dickey a solid 5-year contract like they did for the much less proven Niese. Dickey has been rock-solid since he joined the Mets rotation. You can count on him to go out and give the team a shot to win almost every time he pitches–sort of the Bizzaro Oliver Perez. Since Dickey joined the Mets in 2010, he’s been as consistently good as pretty much anyone in baseball. The percentage of his starts that end up as quality starts is phenomenal. Since 2010, in terms of quality start percentage for pitchers with a minimum 50 starts, he's 6th on the list with (0.735%) behind the following stud pitchers: Jared Weaver (0.808%); Matt Cain (0.763%), Roy Halladay (0.763%); Felix Hernandez (0.756%); and Justin Verlander (0.744%). And ahead of the following pitchers: Clayton Kershaw (0.733%); Cole Hamels (0.716%); Cliff Lee (0.716%); David Price (0.707%); and CC Sabathia (0.701%). Look at the names on that list! If I asked you to name the top 10 pitchers in the game over the last 3 years, I bet you’d come up with almost the same list, minus Dickey. But guess what? Dickey belongs on that list. He’s proving all the doubters wrong, and like Painiac wrote, Dickey’s no fluke. Here’s a look at how Dickey ranks in quality start % in Mets history: Rk Player Quality Start% Games Started 1 Tom Seaver 0.742% 395 2 R.A. Dickey 0.735% 68 3 Johan Santana 0.694% 98 4 Dwight Gooden 0.690% 303 5 Jon Matlack 0.673% 199 6 Jerry Koosman 0.668% 346 7 Ron Darling 0.664% 241 8 Al Leiter 0.657% 213 9 David Cone 0.657% 169 10 Bret Saberhagen 0.649% 74 48 28-31 29 21 .580 524.1 184 77 388 3.16 Provided by Baseball-Reference.com Generated 5/30/2012.

Yes it’s a small sample size, but he’s right on Seaver’s tail. And he’s only getting better. This year, 9 of his 10 starts have been quality, and 21 of his last 22 games dating back to July of 2011 have been quality starts. The guy is a machine. For those who might not know, a quality start is defined as a minimum of 6 innings pitched while allowing 3 or fewer earned runs. A lot of baseball commentators dismiss the quality start as a soft stat, noting that 6 innings and 3 runs works out to a 4.50 ERA. True. But if you look at Dickey’s quality starts, you see that only 5 times out of his 50 quality starts has Dickey only met that minimum threshold of 6 IP & 3 ER, and his ERA in quality starts overall is nowhere near 4.50–it’s a sparkling 2.05. As far as signing a long-term, fair-valued contract, Dickey doesn’t seem to be worried. Nor does he seem eager to squeeze every last dime out of the Mets: I try not to think about it much. I’ve got so much to worry about just getting prepared for games… "I don’t mind being underpaid…and the reason…is twofold. One is, it’s all kinda relative. Underpaid at $4.75 million? It’s hard to fathom… Secondly, it frees the club up to hopefully have the capital to go out and make us better. If you’ve made enough money for your lifetime, and the lifetime of your children…the next step is, how can you win? If that means taking a few extra dollars so we can have a few more to go out and get good guys, then so be it." -R.A. Dickey, talking with Joe & Evan on WFAN, May 23, 2012 I love this guy. How can you not, when we live in an era in which the Scott Borases of the world will do everything in their power to pillage a team of every last dollar, so that they and their client can add another wing to their mansions, all the while ensuring the victimized team has the payroll flexibility of Billy Beane’s Oakland Athletics for the lifetime of the contract (see Barry Zito/San Francisco Giants)? Dickey’s a straight-up good guy–one of the few left in professional sports. And a damn good pitcher. The Mets hold a club option for next season at $5 million. They need to exercise the option and extend his contract long-term. Lock him up Sandy.

Alex Karras July 15, 1935 – October 10, 2012
By Matt Musk http://millennium-sports.blogspot.com Oct. 10, 2012 Alex "Mad Duck" Karras passed away today. Many of you may not know who he was or what he did until you saw the news. I knew that he played football for the Detroit Lions and that he played George Papadapolis on the television show "Webster"...that was it. When I heard the news that he only had a few days to live (kidney failure), I decided to sit down and do some research on the man and was amazed at what I learned. He starred for four years at the University of Iowa and was later drafted by the Lions with the 10th overall pick in 1958, and he was a three-time All-Pro defensive tackle over 12 seasons with the franchise. Before his NFL career began though, Karras was a professional wrestler. He wrestled during the off season before his first year with the Lions. He would return to wrestling in 1963 when he was suspended by NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle for failing to sell his interest in a Detroit bar because of reports of gambling and organized crime (he was reinstated in 1964). During the 1964 season, he refused an official asking him to call the pre game coin toss before a Lions game. He told the official, "I'm sorry sir...I'm not permitted to gamble". His playing career ended in 1971 due to a knee injury. Karras, who had already dabbled in acting a few years before, was able to now do it full time. Apparently, he was up for consideration for the part of Carlo Rizzi in "The Godfather". He had a few smaller roles (including playing Mongo in the cult classic "Blazing Saddles" where he punched a horse...no really, he punched a horse. You can see it by clicking on this link. That same year he began working on "Monday Night Football" alongside Howard Cosell and Don Meredith. Probably Karras's most famous role was that of George Papadapolis on the television series "Webster". That show ran from 1983 - 1989. He hosted Saturday Night Live and even wrote a couple of books (Even Big Guys Cry & Tuesday Night Football). Karras was elected to the Iowa Sports Hall of Fame in 1977 and the College Football Hall of Fame in 1991. He was named to the NFL all decade team for the 1960's. He was a fascinating individual. Both the sports world and the acting world have lost one of the greats...

When Sports Takes A Back Seat
By Eric He GoldenGateSports.com Dec. 14, 2012 I’m proud to be a sports fan. I love turning on the TV, flipping to whatever sports channel I can find, and watching a game for an hour or two. I keep updated with the latest sports news, refreshing ESPN.com or SI.com several times a day. I follow every sports team, from pro to college in the Bay Area region. Yes, I’m a sports nut, and I’m pretty damn proud of it. But there are some days when sports must take a back seat, when we must examine ourselves as a society instead of immersing in box scores and injury updates. Today is one of those days. Sports may be a major part of my life, but today, I couldn’t care less about it. I first saw it this morning on Yahoo news on my iPad: “Shooting at Elementary School in Connecticut.” I tapped on the article, and there was a photo of kids holding on to each other in a single-file line, crying as they were led out of the school. The story continued to develop as the day went along – a gunman had opened fire inside a school in Connecticut and killed 26 people, including 20 children. Twenty children. Think about it. 20 children, who, as President Obama said, “had their entire lives ahead of them — birthdays, graduations, weddings, kids of their own.” Twenty children who will not come home from school tonight. Parents, siblings, and relatives who will grieve the loss of a child, and never got a chance to say goodbye. An entire community that will be changed forever. So how can we go back to sports after a tragic day like this? How can we start discussing the NHL lockout when the second largest school shooting in U.S. history occurred just hours ago? How can we look forward to the Niners vs. Patriots primetime matchup when our nation is faced with yet another tragedy? How can we celebrate the Warriors’ five-game road-winning streak after a psychopath decides to kill 20 children in a school, where kids should supposedly feel safe? The answer is simple: we can’t. When something as tragic and horrifying as the events of today occur, how can we even think about any of the above situations? It goes without saying that I would rather have Gary Bettman cancel the NHL season, have the NFL postpone the Niners’ game on Sunday, and see the Warriors go 0-5 to begin their road trip than read about what happened at an elementary school in Connecticut today. So, my fellow sports fans, I’m not asking you to take ESPN.com off your bookmarks bar, nor am I asking you to call your cable company to cancel your NFL Red Zone package. All I’m saying is that you take some time and think about the tragedy in Connecticut, and all the parents who lost their children today. Think about that for a few seconds.

Now, think about the 49ers’ quarterback controversy, the Oakland Raiders’ six-game losing streak, or whatever issue concerns your favorite team. Doesn’t seem important at all now, huh? As I sit here typing at my laptop, I look out the window, beyond the fence that separates my backyard from the playground of an elementary school. I see and hear kids having fun: going down the slides, shouting “woohoo” on the swing set, and playing a game of tag. I cannot imagine anyone who would be so cold-hearted to fire away ruthlessly at innocent children, and I cannot imagine what I would do and how I would feel if someone decided to go on a rampage like that in my community.

Reflections on the one-year anniversary of the Thrashers’ relocation
By Laura Astorian www.thrashingtheblues.com May 31, 2012 I already wrote some reflections of how I felt, and still feel about the loss of the Thrashers over on Arctic Ice Hockey. It's a better post than what this one will be, probably because I wrote it at 1:00 in the AM and I was all "inspired." Today I'm just sad. I'm not declaring a Twitter moratorium so I don't have to see Jets fans celebrate -- they deserve to. I'm not going to wallow in self-pity here, either. It sucks to lose a team, no pity about it. I don't believe in pity when you know the explicit reasons for relocation, and the reasons are fairly obvious here. Terrible owners, lack of attendance, lack of giving a rip by the NHL... there. Relocation in a nutshell. We can cry about how it "should" have been another team going. We can get upset at Winnipeg fans enjoying our old team. We can hate on Canadian media that never even noticed the squad before last May, but who now think that they're the greatest thing since sliced bread. None of that is bringing the Thrashers back to us. Nothing is. Resignation is a great thing. It allows you to come to terms with the circumstances of the past and cope with whatever the future throws at you. It also gives you some perspective on the good times and not so good times had while the team was in town. Constant frustration, losing top players, terrible ownership, no playoff wins and just one trip. That's the Thrashers. But the other side of the coin? Having a great (but small) fanbase, making friends who share a common bond of watching futile hockey but still loving it... there were some good things, too. I'm thankful for having the chance to watch some of the greatest players ever to play the sport come through Atlanta. I'm thankful for being able to drive 30 minutes and pay $1000 a season to watch NHL hockey. I'm thankful for the friends that I made, the folks that have read my stuff, and the other bloggers I have met on-line. I miss the team, and it's bittersweet to watch them play now. They're not my second-favorite hockey club anymore, and that's fine. That's really how it should be. More time to focus 110% on the Blues is always appreciated, especially with how they have been growing in the past five years or so. But what's also appreciated? The fact that the Thrashers existed to begin with. Sure, it was evident that the ownership group and the league had no concept of what it would take for the team to be successful, but the fans did. Does it help knowing that you're right in the end when there's nothing left to be right about? Probably not, but it's appreciated when people are realizing that you were spot on... even if it did take a year. About the Author: Laura Astorian (@hildymac) covers hockey on Puck Drunk Love as well as St. Louis Game Time, and is the hocke editor at SB Nation St. Louis.

Featured Interview: A Conversation with Team USA Gymnast Aly Raisman
By: Shannon Hovan DoubleGSports.com July 13, 2012 One of the last things Aly Raisman said to me before our conversation ended was that she thinks about the fact that she is an Olympian everyday. So, on a rare day outside the gym, less than a week before she was scheduled to reunite with her teammates in a pre-London camp, the eighteen-year-old Olympic gymnast lent a bit of her free time to fill me in on life, gymnastics and the pursuit of Gold. Shannon Hovan: The past few months have been busy, a rough schedule even, for you and your teammates – You had the Secret Classic, followed by VISA Championships, and finally Olympic Trials. Does it get harder now, or would you say all of that was the hard part and now you are maybe more at ease heading into London? Aly Raisman: That was the most physically exhausting time; getting in numbers and getting in routines. Now it’s less about numbers and more about getting the routines as perfectly as you can. Training is still exhausting, but knowing that I made the Olympic Team makes it a bit easier mentally. SH: So, I watched Day 2 of trials the other night for a second time – After the team was announced, and the five of you – Gabby, Jordyn, Kyla and Mckayla walk out onto the floor, I see you – And girl, you are crying – I can actually make out you saying “I can’t breathe” – Where did all of that emotion come from? AR: I think I just worked so hard. This year, I’ve been so anxious because you work your whole life to make your dream come true. In the gym I’ve been working so hard. Being named to that team was such a sigh of relief. SH: I read recently that *Marta Karolyi referred to you as “sturdy”; which I interpreted to mean that you are a gymnast that can be relied on. Would you say that that is who you are to this team – You can be relied on to give a solid performance in any event, whenever it is needed? AR: I mean I always try to be really consistent. When I’m at the gym I try to do practice my routines and then practice them some more to stay consistent. SH: I’m not an expert, but as I’m watching you, you execute your routines, especially on beam, you seem to be almost waltzing through them. I mean, you just look so composed. Are you really as composed as you look out there? AR: Yea, I think so. I really feel pretty relaxed just because I do my routines so many times everyday. I just try to go out there and enjoy the moment. Also, my coaches are really supportive and give good advice.”

SH: How do you channel all of your emotions? AR: I’m pretty used to it. I’ve competed like five or six times this year alone. And, most of them were like a week apart from each other. It’s just less nerve wracking because you get used to it. SH: Obviously, whatever it may look like for me watching, those skills take what, hours of repetition followed by more hours of repetition? I would imagine at some point, it becomes far more mental than physical – Or is it always mental? AR: I don’t think people realize how mental gymnastics is. It’s more of a mental thing than a physical thing because when you are in the gym for seven hours, by the fifth or sixth hour your mind is what keeps your body going. Your body is telling you to stop. SH: At 18-years-old you are the most experienced member of the Olympic Team. As the eldest and the one with the most experience, do you feel yourself falling into a team leadership role? AR: I would hope. I would love to be considered the team leader. I am the oldest and I do have the most experience. But, in other years, I was the youngest one. It’s really special to see how things have changed over the years, because less than a year ago I was the youngest. It would be a huge honor to be considered the team leader, but we’re all best friends and we all work together. SH: I’d like to get back to trials for a minute and talk about a few moments you and Nastia [Liukin] shared. After what may have been her final routine as a competitive gymnast, her beam routine, you were the first to go over and hug her – And you held onto her for quite a bit talking to her. What did you say to her? AR: It was one of those moments where you didn’t have to say anything. We’re really good friends. We text and talk all of the time. I can go to her for anything. She was so helpful this year to me, having been at the Olympics and winning at them. She’s been really supportive. It was more of a “just being there” kind of moment for her than actually saying anything. It was a special bond between us. SH: And, to continue on with the last question, just as competition was ending and the committee was leaving the floor to make their decision, she went over to you, hugged you, and spoke into your ear a bit. What advice or words did she offer you? AR: I was nervous after the competition because everyone did so well and I didn’t know if I’d be on the team. I’m not the kind of person that thinks I’m on every team. So, I was just nervous. She said that she was so proud of me and that I was definitely going to make the team. I just look up to her so much, so it meant a lot to me. SH: This past year, you were part of the team that claimed a gold medal at Worlds in Tokyo. You know the winning feeling – How badly do you want that winning feeling again? AR: We definitely want it again. Everyone wants the gold medal. The last team to win gold was ‘96. The ‘04 and ‘08 teams were so close. I think we just have to stay calm and enjoy it. We have so much fun competing together. If we work hard every day we can come out on top.

SH: Would you say that you are carrying the winning feeling from Worlds around with you as a reminder of what it feels like, and as a way of fueling you going into London? AR: Yea, I mean right now I’m thinking about that feeling of being named to the team, because that moment is most fresh in my mind. I’d love to have those happy tears again in London. SH: When I think about your sport, the word unforgiving comes to mind. So much is asked of you as a gymnast and so much judgement is returned. There’s no way to gain, only to get points deducted. The best you can hope for is to stay at even. I can’t really verbalize how much respect I have for what you do, how you do it, and how you deal with all of the pressure. So, how do you deal with the unforgiving nature of the sport? AR: The coaches always expect the best of me and want me to do my best. It’s so hard, but they also remind me that they want me to do very well. It’s hard everyday to be criticized as much as we are, but it makes me a stronger competitor and person. I want to do so well for my country, so I use that as motivation as well. SH: Let’s talk about London. Do you know what events you’ll be doing over there? AR: We don’t know yet. Almost everyone does the all-around. Hopefully, I’ll be able to do the allaround. SH: Throughout your career, did the accomplishment of participating in the Olympic Games always seem attainable to you? AR: I think that when I was younger I thought I would be able to do it. But, after this year came and I put in all the hard work in the gym I realized I didn’t want to be left off of the team, standing in the other room crying. SH: Many people can call themselves athletes; far fewer can call themselves Olympians. What does it mean to be an Olympian? AR: It means everything to me. All that hard work and dedication. I can’t wait. I think about it every single day. ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Shannon Hovan is the Women's Sports writer for DoubleGSports.com, a NY/NJ sports website.

Cal Poly escapes Pauley with an unexpected W
By Owen Main Fansmanship.com Nov. 26, 2012 I’ve waited almost 24 hours and it still doesn’t seem quite real. In the New Pauley Pavilion last night, the Cal Poly Mustangs overcame a 18-point deficit midway through the second half to upset the storied UCLA Bruins, who had the nation’s top-ranked recruiting class coming into the game. An experience as surreal as this isn’t remembered in my mind as a clear, linear, easy-to-follow script. Instead, to quote Mozart,

“…the whole, though it be long, stands almost complete and finished in my mind, so that I can survey it, like a fine picture or a beautiful statute, at a glance. Nor do I hear in my imagination the parts successively, but I hear them as it were, … all at once.”

Cal Poly tamed the Bruin on Sunday night. By Owen Main

The series of events that led to the San Luis Obispo smiles in Westwood on Friday night can never be summed up completely without re-watching the game. Here are a few clear snapshots from the night: Westwood - I grew up a UCLA fan. For the entirety of my middle school years, I wanted to go there so badly. I lived and died in 1995 with Ed and Charles O’Bannon, George Zidek, Tyus Edney, Toby Bailey, and Cameron Dollar. Even J.R. Henderson and Kris Johnson were staples in my consciousness during the mid-90′s. In high school, other college options looked okay too and, when I got into UCSD instead of UCLA, I went to La Jolla with an I’ll take what I can getmentality. There is always something romantic to me though about UCLA, and walking around campus 3 hours before game time was really fun. I saw a camera crew and some blonde doing some kind of music video shoot, a slough of football players heading to the football facility presumable to watch some Stanford film, and a group of Indian students playing cricket in the quad.

John Wooden’s presence permeates the entire UCLA campus. By Owen Main

Outside Pauley. A student asks an usher who UCLA is playing. The conversation goes something like this: “Who they playin’ tonight?” “Cal Poly. From San Luis Obispo” “Ooooo,” the young man says to his girlfriend. “They gon’ get dey ass kicked.” The two walk away, with no interest in trying to wait for tickets to see Cal Poly “get dey ass kicked.” Two hours before game time. To say I got into Pauley Pavilion early on this day is an understatement. It was me, the cleaning crew, and a few early ushers. The Zen-like peace of a huge arena that is almost deathly quiet is something I’ve only enjoyed a few times. It was all I could do to not try to sneak a few free throws on the hallowed Wooden Court. There was the gold seat. It sits in the second row behind the UCLA bench. It’s where John Wooden, the Wizard of Westwood, used to sit and watch the Bruins. Decades after retirement, his presence was and is still felt throughout not just the building, but the entire campus. Green. There wasn’t much of it, but because I mostly go to Cal Poly home games, I always think the green jerseys look really striking and sharp. There was some green in the stands, but not much of it. Gold. Several UCLA players came out with highlighter-colored shoes. They looked like soccer players who wanted defenders to hate them. The players who wore them looked long, even from high above the southern sideline, it was clear how long and physically gifted every Bruin seemed to be. “From Los Ojos Osos”… Dylan Royer, senior shooting guard for Cal Poly, is introduced. 5:00 into the game. I remember thinking that Cal Poly was holding their own. For now. Chris Eversley and company were matching shots with UCLA, but how long could it really last? 5:00 left in the first half. “Hmmm,” I thought, “Cal Poly is really hanging in there. Coach Callero is probably going to be pleased with this even if the team tanks in the second half.” 12:21 left in the game. UCLA goes up by 18. Cal Poly’s shooting and rhythm have finally failed them. The reporter next to me said something like, “well, they put up a good game.” We start to discuss whether the final difference will be in the teens or 20′s. I guess the 20′s. UCLA is flexing their muscle inside, but they are also making shots, and Cal Poly can’t stick with that talent when those guys are knocking down open 3′s. 11:50 left in the game. Something funny happens. I must have thought it was funny, because I laughed. Down by 18 points, Cal Poly senior Chris O’Brien got a steal. UCLA didn’t really hustle back as a team and freshman center Brian Bennett got an open fast-break dunk to cut the lead to 16. I laughed out loud. The 6’9” Bennett, who was surely tired, looked like he barely got the ball over the rim to throw it down. I honestly had the thought, “that’s cool that he got a dunk in this one. He’ll remember that, even if they continue to get blown out.” Dylan Royer came out of the timeout and made a 3-pointer, cutting the lead to 13 points. 7:47 left in the half. Cal Poly starts their onslaught. Royer and Kyle Odister knock down back-toback 3′s, trimming the UCLA lead to 8 points with 7:08 to play. The tension really starts to build in

the building. UCLA players start to get nervous, offense ceases to be run effectively for the young home team, and Cal Poly can’t seem to miss. Bennett for 2. Odister with a lay-up. Eversley powers one home. I turn to the reporter next to me. “Is this really happening right now?” My question is drowned-out by the groans of the UCLA faithful. 3:23 to play. Dylan Royer’s final points of the game tie it up at 63. The former walk-on from Los Osos buries his fourth of the second half en-route to a career-high six 3-pointers and 18 points. Yes, UCLA is melting down, but can Cal Poly close them out? The answer, as you know is yes. Sure, there was some help from Norman Powell, who committed an unnecessary foul to send Odister to the free throw line for the game-winning shots, but Cal Poly clawed and clawed and fought to give themselves a chance. And UCLA just didn’t have the gumption, experience, or maturity to stop it from happening. Walking downstairs. As I waded through the crowd, down toward the floor, it was not a pretty picture. For a USC fan, it must have sounded like beautiful music. UCLA fans filing out, frowns on their faces, trying to make sense of what they just saw. “I don’t even know if they have an offense,” one fan said. “What the hell is Ben Howland doing?” “How does this happen?” For a guy who loved UCLA growing-up, it was a pretty odd experience. For the Cal Poly faithful it was, simply, the greatest win in program history. ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Owen Main writes for Fansmanship.com. Follow him on Twitter @owenmain.

Joe Paterno — Trapped By Legacy
By: Chris Ross chrisross91.WordPress.com July 12, 2012 Legacy and reputation. So much stock is put into how a public figure will be remembered after he has retired. Because of this reality, most individuals will do as much as they can to ensure they are seen in a good light when all has been said and done. Joe Paterno was duped by this reality. Damning evidence from the Freeh Report came out today concluding that JoePa and other Penn State officials decided to conceal the child sex abuse claims against Jerry Sandusky. The Freeh Report leaves virtually no doubt to Joe Paterno’s involvement, or lack thereof, in the whole Sandusky fiasco. Reputation destroyed. Legacy destroyed. Joe Paterno was beloved not only in the state of Pennslyvania but around the United States by the time 1998 rolled around. He was beloved for the football program he ran. He was beloved for the way he molded teenagers into men. He was beloved for creating an environment that any parent would be happy to send their child to. This was the Penn State way. Then, the allegations surfaced. The Freeh Report states that Joe Paterno and Penn State officials knew about Sandusky’s crimes in 1998 and 2001 but they didn’t do a thing about it. Joe Paterno was selfishly thinking of his reputation, his legacy. Joe Paterno didn’t do the right thing in 1998 because Jerry Sandusky’s shortcomings had the potential to burst the bubble of Penn State’s pristine reputation. Jerry Sandusky rose through the ranks from the very beginning of Joe Paterno’s reign as head coach in 1966. By 1998, Sandusky had been part of Paterno’s program for over 30 years. To nail Sandusky in 1998 would have possibly meant a black mark on Joe Paterno’s aura of greatness. At least, that’s the way Paterno must have seen it. He had worked for over 30 years to create one of the most storied programs in all of College Football. JoePa wasn’t going to let his disturbed, long-time assistant coach get in the way of that so he let him off the hook. Not coincidentally, Sandusky was no longer coaching at Penn State after the 1999 season. Amazingly, it wasn’t until the 2001 allegations that Penn State officials banned Sandusky from bringing children to campus. They still didn’t report him to the child welfare authorities though.

It’s hard to imagine any person with a soul enabling Sanduksy to do the horrible things that he did. However, when reputation and legacy are on the line for a public figure as adored as Joe Paterno, it is a little easier to imagine. Just a little... Sports icons are such an important part of society but too much significance is placed on their legacy and reputation. These icons and heroes want to be thought of and remembered as people who made a positive difference in both the sports and real world. Few had made as big a difference as Paterno had in his years in charge of the Nittany Lions football program. In large part due to the media and fans obsession with the lifetime status, too much emphasis is put on the legacy and reputation of our sports figures. It takes away their focus from the now. It can cloud their judgement. Clearly it did for JoePa. By no means is that a valid excuse for Joe Paterno. As a human being living on earth, it was his duty to report Jerry Sandusky to the proper authorities. But he didn’t do what he should have at the time because he was worried about how he would be perceived in the future. In 2001, when graduate assistant Mike McQueary saw Sandusky in a campus shower with a boy, it was too late. Joe Paterno and Penn State were in too deep. After covering up the Sandusky accusations in 1998, to do anything at that point would have ruined them faster than Bernie Madoff. To report Sandusky would have obviously been the right choice but Joe Paterno was only thinking of himself. He was thinking about how this scandal would reflect on him. Burying the problem and hoping it would go away was the answer if he wanted to maintain his good standing with the public. There may not have been evidence beyond a reasonable doubt to send Roger Clemens to jail. Nevertheless, it appears as though he was willing to lie to congress in order to keep his good reputation. He likely committed a felony simply to uphold his legacy. Roger Clemens couldn’t bear the thought of the public viewing him differently. Brett Favre is often criticized for the way he handled his retirement. In the eyes of many, his legacy is tarnished. But Favre didn’t care about that when he was playing/retiring. He didn’t care and it allowed him to have one of the greatest seasons a quarterback could ever dream of at the tender age of 40. Comparing Favre’s situation to Paterno’s may seem kind of ridiculous. Yes, the magnitude of their circumstances isn’t even on the same scale but there are similar principles. As indecisive as he was, Brett Favre did what he felt was right at the risk of his legacy and was rewarded for it. Joe Paterno swept aside what was right in favour of his legacy. Everyone had Joe Paterno up on a pedestal, including himself. Apparently, the possibility of tainting that image even slightly was enough reason to cover up a child sex abuse scandal. There are still some diehard Penn State fans who are struggling with the undeniable evidence against Joe Paterno. It’s difficult for them. They don’t want their beloved hero to be remembered like this. They don’t want to remember Joe Paterno like this.

It’s the sad truth about the sports world. The importance of legacy and reputation can trump all. No matter the cost. About the Author: Chris Ross (@paintstheblack) is the founder of the sports blog ‘Painting the Black’ (chrisross91.WordPress.com) and was a top 6 finalist on The Score TV network’s Gillette Drafted, which is the search for Canada’s next great sportscaster.

The Inherent Risk Of Sports
Lester A. Wiltfong Jr. WindyCityGridiron.com June 19, 2012 Being a professional athlete is one of the most dangerous jobs in the world. Business Insider named it (technically speaking they named the profession of "Athletes, coaches, umpires, and related workers") the 14th most dangerous job last year, right behind "Grounds maintenance workers" and in front of "Operating engineers and construction equipment operators". Their list only took into account the fatality rate. When you factor in injuries like breaks, strains, pulls, concussions, tears, and the countless other types of harm pro athletes face on a daily basis, it's safe to assume that these employees would rank similarly in a list of most injured professions too. I think the term "employee" is often lost when talking about the dangers athletes face. No one is forcing anyone to play professional sports. It's their job. Many pro athletes come from the college ranks after picking up a degree of some sort, so pro athlete isn't the only career avenue they have. With the recent lawsuit facing the NFL, the continued talk of player safety by commissioner Roger Goodell, and the tragic suicides that have been in the news the last few years, it seems that football is the bugaboo of the sports world. But is there really more danger in football than in hockey? Is basketball safer than baseball? What about figure skating? Wrestling? Skateboarding? NASCAR? I think going into sports the participant has to be aware of the inherent risks involved. No one is blindly jumping in with no fear of injury. At an early age kids quickly understand some pain is involved with sports. Whether it's a kick in the shin playing soccer or getting hit by the baseball in little league, there will be a risk of injury. Some kids take their lumps and continue on, while others find something else to occupy their time. Most parents are aware, but they weigh the benefits of playing a sport against the potential for injury. My wife and I allowed our kids to play sports; basketball, football, cheerleading, wrestling, baseball, and we were lucky to have two of our three oldest kids not suffer anything too serious. Unlucky number three tore his ACL in football, but he made a full recovery and played his senior year. My youngest will be 5 in a few days, and if she shows interest in athletics we'll allow her to play. Those that play sports on a amateur or a recreational level often face greater dangers than the pros. The equipment isn't as advanced, the playing surface isn't always as good, and the technique used by the participants isn't as honed. But every day thousands of people go out and willingly play sports regardless of the risk involved. In 2008 the Pennsylvania Supreme Court heard the case, Craig v. Amateur Softball Association of America (ASAA). The plaintiff wanted the ASAA held responsible when he was struck by the softball and suffered damage to his skull. ...the Pennsylvania Superior Court affirmed and refined the common-law "no duty rule." The "no duty rule" provides generally that a defendant owes no duty of care to warn, protect, or insure against risks that are common, frequent, expected, and inherent in an activity.

...the Superior Court held that plaintiff assumed the risk of his injury when he elected to play softball: the risk was so apparent and so integral to softball that playing softball was tantamount to voluntarily encountering a known risk. I'm not citing the ruling as a way to prove the recent lawsuit being brought by former NFL players against the league is baseless, because 1) that suit seems to be more about withholding information and 2) I'm not a lawyer. But the "no duty rule" in my opinion, just points to common sense. There is an inherent risk involved in sports. Since I'm not a lawyer (I only play one on WCG) I spoke with attorney Alicia Jessop who founded the website Ruling Sports, which tackles the sports world's legal issues. I asked her if the above ruling could set any type of precedent for the long list of former players now suing the NFL? "Yes, the inherent risk or "assumption of the risk" theories may be used by the NFL to defend against the concussion lawsuits currently being brought against it. The NFL could assert that concussions are inherent in the game of football, due to the sport's hard-hitting nature. However, it is unclear as to whether the NFL could successfully assert this, because it is likely that the plaintiffs would argue that sustaining the type of head injuries they allegedly did is not a risk that they assumed by playing the sport of football. Rather, they will argue that the head injuries were more serious than what is inherent in the sport of football because of the rougher type of play that the NFL allegedly tried to promote when the plaintiffs allegedly sustained their injuries." The current lawsuit has numerous former players suing the NFL, claiming the league failed to protect it's players from brain injuries and that not enough was done to inform the players about the dangers of concussions. They also allege that not enough is being done to protect them today. I'm a little unsure to what the players are specifically asking for, so I turned to Alicia for her take on the lawsuit. "In the current lawsuit, the players are seeking monetary damages as well as medical monitoring going forward. If they are able to prove their claims, they will not have to file another lawsuit to receive monetary damages." Football is a tough sport. When I'm coaching I tell my team every year that playing football takes a different kind of person. We're asking these kids to hit, get hit, to tackle, and block every single play. None of those things are without danger. On every single football play there is some pain being inflicted. It comes down to love for the game and pain threshold. Pittsburgh Steelers All Pro safety Troy Polamalu spoke on the dangers of his profession; "People are paralyzed on a football field. People die ... You just never know when it's going to be your last moment. I was the kind of guy who would never talk to my wife on game day. Now I'm the guy who's like, 'I love you.' I want my children to know I love them because I don't know what's going to happen out there. I'm not trying to play the martyr here. I love football. It's something we choose to do. We all know how much of a gamble it is to play this game." I do think the NFL should do more for the players that played before the era of the million dollar contract, and all indications look as though that is on the agenda. The latest CBA promised better health benefits for retired players. There are programs being added to assist with retired players, much like the programs that are in place to transition rookies to the NFL lifestyle. The NFL is aware

of possible mental health issues that could affect players post retirement, and they are evaluating ways to help players cope with any problems they may have. I think one way for the NFL to protect themselves in the future would be to add some wording to the standard NFL contract, making the player aware of the risks involved in playing football. It may seem silly to have to tell these athletes that have been playing football all through their youth that they can get hurt in the NFL, but in this litigation happy society it's smart to cover your ass. Alicia agrees that wording could be added to the standard NFL contract and she elaborates even further; "I can definitely see this happening. Going forward, I can also see the NFL and NFLPA negotiating this type of language into collective bargaining agreements to ensure that players are aware of the risks they are assuming by stepping onto the field and also know what type of injuries the NFL will compensate them for." While I can empathize with the former players that are suffering health issues, I have no sympathy for them. They chose a dangerous profession. They knew the risks yet they chose to play the sport professionally, and they were paid very handsomely to do so. But it's not all about the money as there are thousands of out of shape adults that play in rec leagues on a daily basis, and they do so for the love of the game. Playing sports professionally is a dream for a lot of kids, and even if those dreams can't come true, the love of sports is still there. ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lester a. Wiltfong Jr. (@wiltfongjr), has had a consistent online writing presence since 2006, and is currently an Editor for Windy City Gridiron.

Why I Like Hockey
By Deanna Vasso SportsRantz.com September 20th, 2012 I get asked this question a lot. It also comes with an incredulous look so it's more like YOU like hockey? When people say this to me that's how I know they either A) don't know me at all or B) don't listen to a word that comes out of my mouth. I've stated to ask why is it so unbelievable that I like sports? Apparently because I am a girl, which I think is hilarious because of the hockey blogs I've found on Sportsrantz.com most of them are run and written by females. I also spoke to one of my fellow bloggers on Broadstreetbuzz and he essentially said don't listen to people because you know what you're talking about and some of the best sports journalist are women. My point in writing today is to explain why I love the sport of hockey so much. I had to really think about it and I found that essentially it correlates my life growing up. Since the NHL lockout is currently in effect and they have already cancelled all the pre-season games, I thought it was a good idea to talk about what has led me to my current obsession with the sport of hockey. Beware this post is going to be super long. Eric Lindros & The 1997 Philadelphia Flyers Well it started when I was 7 with Lindros & The Flyers. This was my first taste of the sport and my first taste of disappointment. I don't remember much of then I just remember that the Flyers were in the playoffs and everyone was excited about it. I also remember that they lost and to this day it is still the reason that I don't like the Detroit Red Wings. Yeah I'm still bitter about it. The Mighty Ducks Often when people ask me about why I like the sport I credit the Mighty Ducks movie trilogy. This is only partially true. My brother and I watched these movies a million times as kids. I know it's not really a "hockey movie" and it's kind of unrealistic in terms of the flying V formation but those movies put the spark of hockey into my life which never really left. I also think it's one of the few series where the second film is better. NHL Lockout 2004-2005 & The Philadelphia Phantoms As I grew up I still liked hockey, I didn't watch games all the time, but I was always interested. During the 2004-2005 season cancellation I got the chance to go to my first game, but due to the lockout that game was for the Philadelphia Phantoms. When I went to this game it became even clearer to me that this was my sport. Watching the players skate across the ice and the roar of the crowd was like nothing I ever experienced before. I just understood this game better than any other sport, and I had played a few. I also got to see this game in the old Spectrum Stadium before it was knocked down. Due to this it makes that experience more special to me, because it makes me feel like a part of history. Freshman Year of College

So as I went through middle & high school my love of the sport increased but it still wasn't at the level that it is now. I was also working a 20 hour a week part time job on top of school full time while taking an AP Lit class and trying to get into college, so I really did not have that much time to focus on sports. So how did I become quite so obsessed with hockey? Sanderson Hall, Floor 7 of West Chester University. This was the floor I lived on in my freshmen year of college, it is now a parking lot. The people on my floor were very social and very big into sports. This was also the year that the Phillies won the world series, so sports became important to all of us. That's really when I started to actually try to watch Flyers game and it just progressed from then on. In my junior year when I had to write a blog for a class I ended up creating this blog (then it was hosted on blogger) and that's when I realized maybe I should try to be a sports journalist. I'm still not sure if that's ever going to happen, but we'll see. So essentially that is my experience with hockey. Obviously I was bred to be a Flyers fan, as my family roots only for Philadelphia sports. Learning about the history of the Flyers also made me continue to like them and I will always be a fan of the team no matter where I live. Thanks for reading! ABOUT THE AUTHOR: D.M. Vasso is a part-time web content producer for philly.com/sports, and in addition to writing on I Bleed Black and Orange, she also blogs about hockey for Ballhyped.com, and Broadstreetbuzz.com. Follow her on twitter @dmvasso.

Arkansas Football: 5 Reasons Bret Bielema is a Perfect Fit for Razorbacks
By James Brown Bookieblitz.com December 5, 2012 On Tuesday the Arkansas Razorbacks made a major announcement and changed the landscape in the SEC. The Razorbacks hijacked the Big Ten and surprised the Wisconsin Badgers by signing away head coach Bret Bielema. Bielema spent seven years in Madison, amassing 68 victories while leading the Badgers to three Rose Bowl appearances. Bielema will now have the job of resurrecting the Arkansas football program after a tumultuous season. This is a bold move for the Razorbacks and is a perfect fit for a team that is in desperate need of an attitude change.

Headlines for the Right Reason
Athletic Director Jeff Long had his work cut out for him. The Razorbacks needed a head coach that would instantly make an impact on the program. Needless to say, he found his man and stole college football headlines across the nation. The Razorbacks spent the year floundering on and off the field, void of direction and without the appearance of true leadership. The team needed a big name to show the rabid fan base that they were earnest in the search for a game-changing coach. Hiring Bielema is a grand slam and the effect will be felt immediately.

Instant Discipline
Bielema brings discipline to a team that had lost all semblance of respect for authority. This year the Razorbacks made frequent appearances in the local police blotter, which eventually led to many players being dismissed from the team. Bielema has run a clean program and will demand respect from all of his players the first day he walks into the locker room.

If You Can’t Beat Them…
Alabama and LSU have spent years atop the SEC and the college football world by instituting a simple football philosophy. That philosophy is to run the ball and play stout defensively. Bielema will need some time to assemble players that fit this style of play, but can be successful with the right personnel. Bielema brings with him a no-nonsense approach to football and believes the game is won and lost in the trenches. After a short period of time Bielema will be able to field a team that will compete with Alabama and LSU in the talented SEC West.

Not Afraid to Take on the Big Dogs
Bielema is not afraid to take on the big name coaches in college football. This was made very clear when Bielema attacked Ohio State coach Urban Meyer in an interview with The Sporting News.

“I can tell you this, we at the Big Ten don’t want to be like the SEC — in any way, shape or form.”
Bielema was referring to the recruiting tactics of Meyer and was not afraid to let his feelings on the subject be heard. Bielema obviously had a change of heart as he is very happy to be a part of the SEC and ready to make an impact right away. With characters in the SEC like Nick Saban, Les Miles, and Steve Spurrier, Bielema will be ready for the challenge.

Sound Familiar?
Do you know the last coach to leave the Big Ten for the SEC? Nick Saban left Michigan State to coach LSU. Saban’s success is legendary and Arkansas fans will be thrilled if Bielema can elevate this program to a similar status. Although comparing Bielema to Saban may be a reach to some, it is something for Razorbacks fans to get excited about and right now that is exactly what this team and the community needed most. ABOUT THE AUTHOR: James Brown (@jtsneaks) is the founder of Bookieblitz.com, a sports pick and prediction blog where sports fans can gather to share their opinions on sports.

Dick Vitale, let it go; IU has moved on
By P.Pemberton BallHyped.net November 27, 2012 First of all, let me say this: I am not a Dick Vitale hater. The guy’s palpable stoke for college basketball makes me smile every time I hear his selfdepricating, slightly-obnoxious-but-loveable commentary. And I appreciate that the guy is so committed to keeping the memory of Jimmy Valvano alive while supporting Valvano’s organization to fight cancer. But as an Indiana University graduate, I have to say his incessant loyalty to Bob Knight has grown a little old. I don’t know if he’s doing the Indiana-North Carolina game on Tuesday, but if he does, I’ll guarantee you he’ll once again try to get Knight and IU to kiss and make up, as he did during the IU-Georgetown game last week. Then — as Dickie V. does — he’ll insist that IU’s Assembly Hall should be re-named Robert Montgomery Knight Hall. We’re talking about Bob Knight — the got who got fired by IU. The guy caught on video choking one of his players. Robert Montgomery Knight Hall? Get a T.O., baby. You need to re-think that call. Don’t get me wrong. Knight was a great coach (until the mid-90s, anyway.) His three titles with Indiana forever placed the Hoosiers among college basketball’s elite. And — let’s face it — they made my degree a little more prestigious. When I tell people I graduated from Indiana, they don’t ask me about the political science program or the business school.They want to talk about basketball. Bobby Knight. Which is to say they’ve heard of IU because of Knight, and the significance of that can’t be ignored. Because of that, the school gets a better pool of student applicants, they sell more stuff, they attract better professors, build new facilities and so on. Don’t think college sports are important? Don’t be a chump. I never talked to Knight, though he once nodded at me as he walked into a Mexican restaurant with his fishing buddies in little Spencer, Indiana. After he sat in a nearby booth, a friend and I eavesdropped as Knight complained about the latest player to quit the squad. And that was the problem with Knight: It was getting to the point where too many players didn’t want to be on his team. And then too many hot prospects didn’t want to be on his team. Think

about it: Would you rather play for Knight, be berated like the guys from “Full Metal Jacket” and have your pro prospects limited due to Knight’s slow, Indiana-style of play — or would you rather play for a more even tempered guy like Coach K at Duke and have better NBA prospects? That’s why Duke’s stock went up in the 90s, and Indiana’s plummeted as soon as Calbert Cheaney left. And that’s probably why Knight got angrier, bullying his players and then random students on campus. And he remained indignant because his ego had gotten so big, he assumed people would tolerate it. Which they did — until IU started getting knocked out in the first round of the tournament by teams like Kent State. Yes, Knight won three titles. But reputations both build and destroy programs. Knight still thinks he’s the greatest thing to ever grace a basketball court and obviously still carries a grudge. (You could practically hear him gritting his teeth when he called a recent IU game on ESPN.) But could Knight have done what Tom Crean has achieved, taking a team of walk-ons to a #1 ranking in four years? Certainly not the post-1994 Knight. When his teams began to choke, so did he. And for all he achieved, Dick, that’s not something IU wants to be associated with. Fortunately, Crean has fans looking ahead and not behind. And if IU does win another title, that banner will be raised in Assembly Hall, not Robert Montgomery Knight Hall. Because you simply can’t reward bad behavior. About the Author: Pembertonian, originally from the Midwest, prefers stalls to urinals, binges on fudgesicles and thinks the most exciting play in football is a blocked punt. A newspaper/magazine/online journalist for too long -- as his bank account demonstrates -- he now lives on the West Coast.

World Series Game 2: BallHyped Blogging Live from a Kayak in McCovey Cove
BallHyped will be on hand for Game 2 of the World Series on Tuesday in San Francisco. Keep a look out for us in McCovey Cove, where we’ll be live blogging and Tweeting photos from the craziest cove in the country. We’ll be posting our first-hand accounts right here, so check back to this post often. Get Hyped with us by Tweeting us @BallHyped! 3:00 pm: BallHyped is in the house, gearing up for McCovey!

4:00 pm: made it to the cove, ready for gametime

4:45: Was just interviewed for a story in the Detroit Free Press, in McCovey. This is the life, Beau C says. 70 and sunny!

4:50: a girl I already puking into McCovey, before first pitch. Gamer!

5:05: we have our first Detroit fan.

5:15: And we're underway. Hundreds of vessels hoping for a panda bomb.

6:30: no score in the stadium, lots of scoring in the Cove

7:00: hangin' with McCovey Dave

7:10: the SFPD I creepin'

7:30: 1-0 Giants

8 pm: Giants up 2-0. The Cove is going nuts

Giants win, take 2-0 series lead! We're outta here. We have a long paddle back. Here's to baseball on the Pacific!

Thanks to everyone who contributed to the 2012 Sports Blogs of the Year book, published by BallHyped.
For more information on the book or to become a member of BallHyped.com, visit us at:

http://ballhyped.com/about/best-sports-blogs-2012/ Thanks for getting Hyped! - Brian Milne Founder, BallHyped.com

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