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Saturday, June 30, 2007

Dbacks

Where has this month gone? I can't believe it is the last day of June, this month flew by. It was a pretty good month though, in a lot of ways, but i'm focusing on the Dbacks for now. Three months into the season, with three left to go, and the Dbacks are in 2nd in the division, only .5 games back. For the month they were 14-12, with tonight's game yet to go. Not a great month, but not a bad month either considering who we played. The Red Sox might be the best team in baseball; the Yankees, though struggling, are always tough in Yankee Stadium. The Mets are rolling, and then we've played some tough games within our own division.

As for last nights game, that was awesome. We are once again camping so i couldn't watch the game, but listened to it on the radio. I liked the way we jumped to an early lead, then once we lost the lead we fought back to tie it. Livo pitched great last night, going 7+ innings for us, which the bullpen needed. And thanks to a little luck (How do you drop a fly ball Dave Roberts?), followed by another Barry Bonds home run, the Dbacks found themselves in the 10th inning, needing a lift. Enter Miguel Montero, stage right.

With a .226 Batting Average, 20 RBI's, and 5 home runs this year, Montero is not your typical clutch hitter. Bring him to the plate in the 7th inning or later though, and watch out. His BA jumps to .341, he has 11 of his RBI's, and four of his five home runs (three as a pinch-hitter!)when the game is on the line. That, my friends, is clutch.

And so Montero lifted a pitch into the seats, sending the Dbacks onto their 46th win of the year, most in the NL, in dramatic fashion. All that was left was for Jose Valverde to retire the side in the bottom of the 10th, which he did in order, including a ground-out by Barry Bonds to end the game. Game, Set, Match.

The Dback's are back at it again tonight, and have about ten days until a much-deserved break for the All-Star game (which better have some AZ players in it, if not it's ridiculous. We'll find out today). Then the Dbacks will gear up for the homestretch, in the hopes of bringing back the NL West crown to the desert.

Half-way through the season, and .5 game back, not a bad place to be...

Friday, June 29, 2007

Day Off

Como esta, bitches.

I must apologize for my lack of posting yesterday, the first day i haven't posted since i started this site. I was working during the day, and what was supposed to be a leisurely trek up a mountain to go camping turned into a four hour ordeal involving the changing of an RV tire and many, many swear words. In the end, it also resulted in us being stuck in a campground with no wi-fi access, hence the lack of posts. But today, i am back and better than ever. Or just back...

Ahh, the NBA Draft. So many possibilities, so many disappointments. Where was the KG trade? Where was the Amare' trade (thank god they didn't do that), where was the Kurt Thomas for cap space trade? Where was moving up into the top ten? In the end the Suns ended up with Rudy Fernandez with the 24 pick, whom they promptly traded along with James Jones to the Blazers for $3 million and cap relief. They also picked up Alando Tucker with the 29 pick, which i think might be good. I've been watching Tucker absolutely torch my Iowa Hawkeyes the last few years while he was at Wisconsin. What i like about Tucker the most, and what the Suns needed, was the fact that he can get to the rim and he can create his own shot. He could become a valuable contributor off the bench this year.

I do like that the Suns didn't give up Kurt Thomas. But i think the only reason they didn't give him up is because they couldn't pull off a trade to get KG. If KG gets here, Thomas is gone. No offense KT, i still like you. But in the end we kept him, and for all intents and purposes the rest of the team, minus Junior Jones. Who i will also miss, but i don't think it will affect the Suns in any meaningful way.

In other news, the Dbacks laid an egg against the Dodgers in the 4th game of their series, once again falling behind LA and San Diego for 1st in the NL West by a half game. They dropped three of four to LA, which qualifies as a slump. Good thing they have the lifeless Giants coming to town for their next series. While the Dodgers and Padres (hopefully) beat each other up over the weekend, Arizona should be able to sweep the Giants and reclaim their rightful spot atop the standings.

Moving on to the hockey.... ha ha ha, yeah right.

My illustrious brother wrote a fairly lengthy post a couple of days ago, and it was even pretty good for once. Though i wish he would run ideas past me, or even just mention them to me, before he goes posting them on here (Posts on every NFL team? What army of whipping boys do we have doing the research on that?). Also there will soon be another poster on this site, a certified girl. I know, seems a little strange having a girl post about sports, but trust me, she's pretty knowledgeable. Plus, she knows things about other sports and teams neither my brother nor myself give two craps about (See: Nascar, Pitt Panther athletics, Notre Dame).

I'm off to camp some more, but i'll check in later. In the meantime, do us all a favor and post some comments, click on our links, check out our advertising, and generally just spend some time looking around. We'd appreciate it...

D Day, as in a disappointing day!

Well that was a massively crappy day! I will weigh in on both the Suns and Dback’s and several unnecessary topics.

First the Dback’s get drilled, for both the game and the series. The Dodgers were on fire and just simply demolished the home team 9 this week. Normally not a big deal, but considering that LA has beaten us all but 2 times in 9 tries it tends to get a bit alarming. The question remains: are the Dback’s a good team or just one that beats the bad teams and loses to the good teams. They have struggled against any good team since the end of May. The Red Sox, Yankees, and Dodgers all embarrassed Arizona. They have done a nice job of beating up on the bad teams, Baltimore twice and Tampa Bay. So who is this team and how good are they? That is the million dollar question and I will soon try to answer that in a baseball post, but that is for another day.

I might be one of the biggest draftniks in the world. I love the art of the draft, NFL or NBA. Hockey no longer exists and baseball is cool, but only the first several picks. 50 damn rounds in the MLB draft! Wow, how in the hell can I keep up with 1500 players? I am the one guy that looks forward to the NFL draft 364 days of the year. I believe it is one of the top 10 sporting events of the year. I am the one watching all 17 hours of ESPN and NFL Network coverage. I could continue on but why bore all 3 of you!

My thoughts today are with the Suns and what the hell they are doing. They are single handedly ruining the draft for me. I know, I know, they are keeping together a team that is the second best team in the NBA and only slightly behind the Spurs, if at all. You could argue that they were the better team and if not for several ill timed Steve Nash stitches in the nose and several steps away from the bench for Amare' and Diaw, we might be the Champions. But seriously did you have to trade two players (Rudy Fernandez and James Jones) for $3 million bucks? Why not just trade Jr and keep RF, who could go on to become the back up point guard that we need. In the past 4 years we have passed or traded on Luol Deng, Marcus Williams, Rajon Rondo, Sergio Rodriquez and now Rudy Fernandez, and spent $25 million on Marcus F’n Banks. Brilliant. I would have loved to have Luol Deng (or Andre Igoudala) and Tayshaun Prince on the Suns instead of Casey “I love playing for 2 mil in Germany instead of the NBA” Jacobsen. I am a Big Ten guy, so I like Tucker, a hell of a player in college and I wish him the best in the NBA. I understand the rational of keeping this team together and making one last run at the title. But the excitement of the past 3 years draft is equal to watching a Spurs/ Cavs Finals, in other words nonexistent.

Lastly, since I am out camping (TV, cell phone, internet, stove, microwave, gas grill, coolers full of beer and a foam mattress on top of the bed), I did not get to see the US Soccer team play vs. Argentina (only on Telemundo and I cant speak Spanish despite 6 semesters, Spanish Uno, four times). The 4 – 1 loss seems pretty standard. A young team playing against a world power on the road, what did you expect? I just figured it was a crappy way to finish D Day.

That’s all for right now, need to go tend to my beer…, uh I mean cooler, it seems to be getting lighter and I need to make sure everything is alright. Later from Mingus Mountain and highs in the low 80’s. Smitty

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

6/28, the best sports day until football!

Ahh, what a day! Dbacks vs Dodgers for first in the NL West, with Randy vs Randy, Johnson making his return vs Wolf. The bullpens were spent after Tuesday's extra innings game, but Webb and Lowe produced a gem of a pitching match up tonight, with a huge Dbacks win. I am a lover of fundamental baseball, so I was pissed in the eight inning when you get a triple to lead off by O' dog and he never scores, come on! I have several other things that piss me off about the Dbacks but I will wait until they are struggling to bitch my way through another blog, I mean it is hard when they have the best record in the NL.

The NBA draft; is any more drama possible for the Suns? I have heard 7624 trade possibilities. I do not think any of them are coming true, except 29 and Kurt Thomas to the Bobcats for ..... nothing. Uh, I mean 16 million in saving for Sarver (Suns Owner and rich guy). I know for a fact that I am excited as hell to have Sarver sell the best defender we have against Duncan for money in his pocket. This is a crappy move and pisses me off. So many other opportunities to improve this team and yet we get rid of our Duncan kryptonite, brilliant! Can't wait to sit through another NBA draft where the Suns get nothing, sell one pick and then pick a Euro that we will not see for a year or two (maybe). Question, will they bring out Amare' and tell the draft crowd that he is the first round pick for the second straight year? I hope something better happens but I have my doubts at this juncture, 10:30 pm Wednesday night.

Lastly, if you can't tell we are big US Men's National Futbol fans, soccer to most of you schleps. Good luck to a very young team in South America. Playing against some of the best in the world, they are clearly bringing a very young and inexperienced team. The team will need lots of playing time together to create a real threat at the 2010 World Cup. I applaud Bob Bradley for his stance on playing the young players in this tournament and hope that they find lighting in a bottle and play well, learn to play together, and lastly find out who will be ready to play for the USA the next several years. PS- Congratulations on Winning the Gold Cup vs Mexico in a great game and good tourney. The goal by Benny Feilhaber was magnificent, the best goal I have seen in years for the USA.

Damn, only 67 days until the first big weekend in College Football and 72 until NFL. I could talk football 24/7/365, but have to survive the other seasons, NBA and Baseball. Starting in July, Lite and myself will start having blogs for every NFL teams and most major college football teams to get ready for the season. I am already starting to contemplate several of my fantasy football teams. We will be more than ready to give you all of the information that matters. Thanks and please add some comments to rile me up, I love a great debate!

The Dbacks

Normally i'll leave the baseball posts to my brother because he's a little more into it than i am, but seeing as how he's lazy and this article requires some research... well, it's me you get.

I wrote the other day about the Dbacks 'veterans' struggling a bit this year. So we thought we'd take a look at the Batting Average's between last year and this year. 2006 is first average, this year is second.

Eric Byrnes: .267 to .312 (Up)
Conor Jackson: .291 to .276 (Down)
Stephen Drew: .316 to .234 (Dropping Like a F-ing Rock...)
Chad Tracy: .281 to .289 (Up Slightly)
Carlos Quentin: .253 to .213 (Way Down)
Orlando Hudson: .287 to .296 (Up)
Tony Clark: .197 to .240 (Up)
Chris Snyder: .277 to .213 (Way Down)
Chris Young: .243 to .246 (Same)

At first glance, it's 4 up, 4 down, and one the same. But looking closer, the only person that's come up significantly is Tony Clark, who was injured a lot last year. But looking at Drew, Quentin, and Snyder... i mean come on. That's ridiculous. Snyder and Quentin are a few bad games away from the Mendoza Line. Drew has looked better of late, with some hard hit balls for doubles and triples (though nice job getting thrown out at third tonight on a blast to the corner...).

Overall, it's hard to complain about the Dbacks, seeing as how they're ten games over and 1/2 game back of the division lead. But if we can get some of these guys hitting where they're supposed to be, we could be a team to be reckoned with...

UPDATE: The Dbacks took back over 1st in the division with a win against the Dodgers tonight. Not a fantastic pitching effort, but somehow a shut-out nonetheless...

The NBA Draft!

Is anyone else as excited for the next 24 hours as i am? (This is slowly devolving into a Suns blog...). The Suns are rumored to be in about, oh, i don't know, 473 different trade possibilities. Most of them involving KG, and some of those might even be feasible.

The most common theme it seems is the Suns attempts to get into the top ten in the draft. Hence their working out of even more lottery players today (UNC's Brandan Wright and FSU's Al Thornton). Most talks are now centering around Charlotte's number 8 pick, with the Celtic's Danny Ainge saying today they are not dealing their number 5 pick.

That news also kills the the three team trade rumors with the T'Wolves, as Minnesota would most certainly be asking for the 5 pick if they were to give up KG to the Suns. However, as the day has gone on, another three team trade rumor has emerged involving the Hawks again. Once again though the Hawks are asking for Amare', and i still don't think the Suns are willing to part with the young big man.

As for me? Well, i say bring on KG. I would hate to lose Amare', but i think in the short-term you give yourself the best possible chance to win the Championship. Amare' is going to be a great player, but i don't even think you hinder the team too much long-term by trading him. You have KG for probably 5 years, which is plenty of time to draft and develop, or through free agency get another great player.

The goal of every professional sports franchise is to win a championship (Well, except for the Cardinals apparently. Oh, and the Clippers.) By getting KG, the Suns give themselves the best possible chance to achieve that goal.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The Great Suns Debate

In case you didn't notice, we now have two contributors to this illustrious site, yours truly (Smitty Lite) and my older, less intelligent brother (Smitty). I apologize in advance for his lack of writing skills, like i said he isn't as intelligent as myself. Then again, who is...

Anyway, in a surefire tactic to get him riled up and spark another debate between us, i thought i'd talk about the Suns some more, and their apparent recent attempts to move into the top ten in the upcoming NBA Draft.

It seems as though talks with the T-Wolves has cooled as of late, presumably because they want Amare' and Steve Kerr is sticking a giant finger at them (As i would also). As such, the Suns brought in several highly regarded prospects for workouts today in Phoenix, including Corey Brewer, Alando Tucker, Joakim Noah, Jeff Green, and Finland's Petteri Koponen. Also, yesterday Kerr and a couple of other Suns officials travelled to LA for a multi-team workout by China's Yi Jianlian.

All of this fuels much rumor that instead of trading for a top name player, a la Kevin Garnett, the Suns may be looking instead to trade for a high draft pick, possibly in a move to help their salary cap. While in theory this all sounds good, i still think it is a mistake.

The Suns are close, one of two or three teams set to contend for a championship each of the next two to three years. They are one piece, most likely a stud interior defender/scorer, away from being able to hold off San Antonio, and thus dispose of whatever team du jour the LEastern Conference manages to sputter out the next few years.

So why then would they turn to the draft, where in all reality no one is completely ready to play in the NBA, let alone have a major role on a contending team? Why not go after someone of KG's ilk, possibly even Zach Randolph or Jermaine O'Neal, to shore up their one hole? Yes, they may be over the salary cap (by a lot. A LOT). But, a championship more than pays off the taxes we would be forced to pay. Plus, it's a championship! How do you not go after it right now, instead of drafting a rookie and waiting for them to develop?! It makes no sense!

The Suns have gotten basically nothing out of the last two drafts, yet somehow that hasn't seemed to affect them one bit. I am fine getting nothing out of this draft as well, if we can land a big time player to bolster our interior. I think that gives us the best shot at a championship in the next three years.

And isn't that what it's all about? Winning Championships?

Monday, June 25, 2007

John Kruk is a MORON.

My obligatory daily post, even though i was busy all day and wasn't going to post at all. This, however, requires a post...

Watching Baseball Tonight on ESPN, (which, by the way, has Sucked Ass since Harold Reynolds got 'fired'), John Kruk came up with this beauty, parentheses are my own thoughts: 'Even though i picked the Dodgers to win the NL West (currently 1.5 games behind the Dbacks, even though they killed them 8-1 today), with all their injuries i'm now picking the Padres (Also 1.5 games back, and lost today to the Giants, last in the NL West) to win the NL West.

So, Kruky, let me get this straight. The team you originally picked to win the division just kicked the crap out of the division leaders, yet you decide to declare a team that just lost to the division cellar dwellers your new pick to win the division. In the immortal words of the Guinness cartoon characters, Brilliant!

Kruk is another in a long line of ESPN reporters who pick a stance to be controversial, even if that stance has absolutely no basis in truth or fact. Hey ESPN, i can make outlandish claims too, even though i don't believe them. Wanna pay me a half a million bucks?

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Best record in the NL, wow

So the DBack's have the best record in the NL, wow that is very surprising. The east coast bias media, think the Mets, Braves and Philly's are always the better teams, but I think the NL West is very impressive this year. The Dodgers, Padres and the home team 9 are 9, 10 and 12 games over with the best pitching staffs in the NL. LA, SD and Phoenix are fighting for 2 playoff spots, no one in the central has a chance at the wildcard and Phily is only 3 games over while Atlanta is straight up playing .500 ball. 4 games at home against the Dodgers should be a great litmus test, and if the Dback's could win 3 of 4 then we will be buyers at the deadline instead of sellers as in the previous few years.

SO CAN THEY WIN THE WORLD SERIES? Crazy as the last sentence is to utter, they very well could. The AL has much better teams than the NL, but remember that Detroit was unbeatable last year and the Cardinals were horrible, but they were hot with the bats for the best week of the year, late October. 22 games over was the final record of the 2001 World Series Champs, and we currently are 12 over. Just food for thought, jump on the bandwagon now and start buying some tickets to the ball park.

Off Topic: US Men's National Team

That's soccer for you scrubs that don't know.

The US National Men's Team today defended their title as the Champion's of the Gold Cup, the tournament of North and Central America and the Caribbean. By winning the tournament, we are entered into the Confederations Cup in 2009. The ConFed Cup is played by the winner of the six FIFA Regional Tournaments, the World Cup winner, and the host country. The US has finished in third place twice in the ConFed Cup, in 1992 and 1999.

Now to the nitty-gritty. Through the tournament, the US looked sharp at times and a complete disaster at others. And as typical, the US was once again not sharp at finishing, which has always been our Achilles Heel. But our main problem throughout this tourney was our defensive lapses. I like Bocanegra back there, and Gooch is coming along, but anyone with speed on the wings (See: Mexico) gave us a ton of trouble.

In the Championship game, the US was playing our old rivals Mexico. Pretty much the only real rival the US has, playing against Mexico is always a big game for the US. It is, however, an even bigger game for El Tri (Mexico). So far this decade, the US is 8-0-1 on US soil against our border neighbors to the South. And going into the game Mexico had not scored on the US in 8 games.

However, in this game Mexico struck first, with a fairly easy goal from Guardado, off a pretty good run/cross from Castillo. Castillo, as would be the case most of the afternoon, was running circles around Gooch on the edge. I like Gooch and all, but dude isn't fast. There's a reason he's in the middle of the defense: He's slow and really tall. And he has a pretty big boot. (Stop snickering you perverts, it means he has a strong leg and can kick it real far. Juveniles...)

Early in the 2nd half, Brian Ching was awarded a penalty on a fantastic attempt at a turn-around shot inside the box. Landon Donovan scored on the penalty, coolly slotting it into the right side of the net as the Goalkeeper Sanchez stood frozen. The goal, Donovan's 34th in international play, ties him with Eric Wynalda for 1st all time in goals scored for the American side. Being as Donovan is only 25 years old, and is one the best players the US has ever produced, it's a safe bet he will surpass that amount. And soon.

The 2nd goal, about ten minutes after Donovan's PK, was a spectacular volley from Benny Feilhaber off a failed clearance by El Tri's defense. Feilhaber took a ball that traveled about 15 yards, and was probably 20 yards in the air, and blasted a one-timer into the top corner of the net, past the leaping GK Sanchez. It was one of the best goals i've ever seen made by a US player, and turned the tide of the game. Shortly thereafter, the Mexican goal-scorer Guardado and the US' Johnathan Spector were in a nasty-looking head-to-head collision going for a header. Guardado came back into the game, though afterwards was carted off on a stretcher with a neck brace. Spector looked completely dazed, and could barely walk or stand. I imagine he has a concussion and a pounding headache.

The combination of the second US goal and the Mexican Guardado not being the same after the collision killed any momentum El Tri had going, and in effect took them out of the game. From that point forward, until the last few minutes of the game, when Mexico was desperate for a goal, they looked out of synch and lacked the control and possession they had enjoyed much of the game. During this period, the US missed yet another chance to put away the game on a great counter-attack by Donovan and DaMarcus Beasley. In what was essentially a 2-on-0, with only the goalkeeper standing between them and the goal, Donovan played it perfectly, dribbling deep enough into the box to commit the GK, then slotting a perfect pass to Beasley on the far post from about 8 yards off. Beasley, with an open net, proceeded to clang the ball off the crossbar (A clanging noise heard often in the game from the US, with 3 balls going off posts), and rightfully so the look on his face was half disbelief and half sheepish.

Luckily for the US, the third goal was not necessary. With a 2-1 win, the US once again showed Mexico, and the World, who is the best team in their region. Mexico, for it's part, actually showed a little class and respect for the Americans. Custom after any international match is for players of the opposing teams to shake hands and swap jerseys. However, as is well-documented in the last decade, Mexico has repeatedly refused to take part in these post-game pleasantries with the US. But after the game today, there were a few Mexican players who swapped jersey's with the US, most notably Pavel Pardo swapping with Donovan. There was even, supposedly, one unidentified Mexican player who walked off the field with an American player arm around shoulder, a respect and sportsmanship not seen toward US from El Tri in many years.

Overall, it was a solid but still somehow lacking performance from the Americans. While they won, they still missed opportunities to bury a couple more goals. Tim Howard was once again nearly flawless in goal, the one goal against him was entirely the defense's fault, and not his. And he saved the Americans with a spectacular late save from point-blank range that he punched over the bar.

The US is doing as it should, kicking ass and taking names within its own region. Now they need to take that show abroad, and start showing the teams from South America and Europe that they are no longer a side to look past. While they head to South America this week for the Copa America, they are taking a very young team, with none of the traditional 'known' names in US Soccer like Donovan, Beasley, Bocanegra, Howard, Clint Dempsey, etc. I understand their want to get some rest for their main guys, who just finished winning their own tourney, but i would like to see how our new team stacks up against the likes of Argentina and Brazil.