Get your own blog, and you, too, can lead it with the over-done story about your favorite player in the whole wide world returning to QB a mediocre team to a 3rd or 4th place finish in his division! That’s right: Favre Returns …And yes, I am pleased…Sue me.
The streak will go on.
Barring any unforeseen circumstances before the start of the regular season, Brett Favre will be the Green Bay Packers' starting quarterback for a 15th consecutive season.
The long wait - 113 days since the end of last season to be exact - apparently ended
Tuesday when, according to a source with direct knowledge of the situation, Favre informed Packers general manager Ted Thompson and coach Mike McCarthy that he would return for the 2006 season.
ESPN first reported Tuesday night that Favre made known his intention to play at least one more season to the Packers earlier in the day. Packers public relations director Jeff Blumb said Tuesday night that he could neither confirm nor deny the report, adding that "the only one who could do so is Ted Thompson, who is not available."
However, the source told the Journal Sentinel that Favre did deliver the news to Thompson and had committed to playing the 2006 season. It is unclear whether Favre told Thompson this would be his last season or if he left his future open-ended.
And now, the story that should have been the lead story, Rangers win after Choke-O Cordero does it again … He is horrible right now.
Newberg says it very well this morning …
Cordero seems to have lost his edge, if not his confidence. But his teammates have lost neither, and somehow, despite the way the season started and despite the way Cordero has pitched, Texas is tied for first in the AL West.
After the win, the manager said to the press what you and I have been thinking, with regard to his closer. "He was one pitch away again. He just could not get it done for us. The situation is a concern to our bullpen because we are going to need to get it straightened out if we are going to get to where we want to go this season. If it is not something we can figure out, then we will have to come up with a solution."
The reason Buck Showalter's comments are meaningful is that he made them publicly. Showalter doesn't say things arbitrarily, or accidentally.
A contending team has no problems until it has closer problems, and it's been 10 years since Texas has had serious issues in the ninth inning. I still think Cordero will get straightened out, but what do I know?
It's ugly. Demoralizing. Hard to understand. What will Showalter do, in the short term, and what will Jon Daniels do, in the long term?
Cordero has a club option for 2007. Will Texas exercise it, choosing to pay him $5 million next year (or more, depending on how many games he finishes in 2006), or let him walk?
Here's who I think will be the Rangers' closer in 2007:
Candidate number four: Josh Rupe. Imagine that stuff if he was conditioned to bring it in 15-pitch doses. He's got the head for it, too.
Candidate number three: Frankie Francisco. His rehab is coming along. We should get to see him before the All-Star Break. We'll learn plenty about him in the second half.
Candidate number two: Akinori Otsuka. What an addition he's been.
Candidate number one: Francisco Cordero.
Will Cordero break out of this stunning funk he's in? Sure hope so. Walkoff wins are only possible at home, and even then, you certainly can't count on the offense to step up in the ninth inning as often as it has lately. It's far more practical to expect your closer to step it up.
I still expect that from Cordero, even if it's a leap of faith at the moment. We need to keep giving him the ball to protect ninth-inning leads, and hope that just around the corner are a couple extra ticks on the radar gun, a little lower plane on the fastball and the slider, and a better look in his eye.
Then maybe comments like last night's from the manager, and the uneasy feeling I'm now getting when Cordero marches in from the bullpen, will be distant memories. As will seeing Cordero's name among the league leaders in wins.
Cordero Game by Game log 2006 …
Meanwhile, in the NBA, Mavs play Grizzlies in Game 2 …
Sure, the Griz are down 0-1 in their best-of-seven, first-round series against the Dallas Mavericks. Sure, they have yet to win a playoff game and carry an 0-9 postseason record like a choke collar.
Amid those certainties, here's another: This Grizzlies group possesses the leadership and cohesion like no other, and they aim to prove to doubters that those qualities can translate into a Game 2 win tonight in American Airlines Center.
"I just told the guys that where I'm from a series isn't over until a team wins four times," Jones said, describing his spiel over dinner. "They won one game at home, where you're supposed to win in the playoffs. After one game, you can't be down. You've got to come out the next game and try hard to get one. It's funny to me that people write you off with one bad game. The things we didn't do were so glaring that these are things we can easily correct."
Grizzlies coach Mike Fratello didn't offer up much in terms of specific adjustments.
Perhaps he doesn't need to.
"This is our third playoff opportunity as a franchise," Fratello said, "so at some point eventually we're going to get our win."
Spurs escape with Game 2, needing a 3 pointer from Brent Barry with 4 seconds left …
Report Nash wins MVP again …amazing. Same dude plays the same way in 2 cities. In city one, he is over-rated and ripped nationally for being soft, in city two, he is a back-to-back MVP winner….
In other Mavericks news, Cuban joins Martha Stewart and Howard Stern at Sirius …And I have finally worked Robert Wilonsky into the blog!
Now there’s one more reason to get satellite radio if you’re a Mavs junkie, a technology dork or just have a man crush on Mark Cuban: Starting this summer, Cuban will join Howard Stern and Richard Simmons on Sirius when he begins hosting a weekly show. Plans are for it to air early on Sunday afternoons on channel 102. It will likely resemble his blog, with one difference: Cuban will take your calls, most of which, I assume, will begin like this: “Uh, yeah, hi, Mark. Great show. Big fan. First time, long time. Uh, anyway, I have this great idea, and I was wondering if you’d like take a look at this propo…click.” Just a theory. –Robert Wilonsky
Do the Stars have the guts? We find out at 8:30pm …
Beginning with tonight's Game 3 in Denver, the Stars' last, best hope is to clone Game 2's hit-filled second period for a full 60 minutes or as long as it takes.
Oh, and maybe find a way to hold Colorado to fewer than five goals.
A two-game deficit is daunting, not necessarily a death sentence. Since 1999, four teams have lost the first two at home and won a series.
But a three-game deficit? Forget about it. Only two teams in NHL history – the 1941-42 Toronto Maple Leafs and the 1974-75 NY Islanders – have come back from 3-0.
Heika with an interesting essay on Turco …
Turco is an interesting character study. His first defense mechanism is humor, and that often makes people think he's not serious. But the 30-year-old wants this playoff success as much as anyone. He wants to win, not to shake off the tag of "can't win the big one" or to be a contender for the Conn Smythe Trophy. He wants to win because he loves the feeling of being part of a good team. He wants to win as much for his teammates as he does himself.
When it was suggested that fans wanted him to be more like former Stars goalie Ed Belfour, he nodded, knowing the comparison was always going to be there. And then he answered the question with the kind of depth that shows his personality.
"When the breakthrough happens, you're not going to want it any other way than being yourself," he said. "It's not easy, but there's no better way to do it than being you. You don't want to win on anybody else's terms. You don't want to pretend or be wannabes. We believe in ourselves and I believe in myself, and that's what's going to get it done."
Turco has lost games before under pressure. He has been shelled by the Avalanche in two playoff series. His 4.84 goals-against average and .815 save percentage this season aren't the worst in the league, but they're close.
And yet, Turco is unfazed by that. All that matters, he says, are wins. He said it during the regular season. He has lived it throughout his career. And that's why the late goals are so concerning. The key to being a playoff goalie is not having the best save percentage or the best GAA, it's making the big save at the right time.
So far, Turco hasn't done that.
Edmonton beats Detroit, takes a 2-1 lead over the Wings …
Over the pond, Arsenal advances to the Champions League Final, thanks to the goalkeeper work of Jens Lehmann …
Arsene Wenger felt his team had suffered physically against a Villarreal team who were rested last Saturday and he said the Spanish side were "on top of us physically and tactically" before paying tribute to his own players' "character and resilience".
Looking to the final in his homeland, he said: "You will see a different Arsenal because we can recover a bit physically and no matter what happens we have everything to win now and we will give our best shot. I believe we can do it.
"I'm happy because it was always a big doubt about Arsenal, even when we were dominating the championship. That's why I'm happy that finally we have got there when nobody expected us to go and with a side who had no chance at the start.
"In the end we knocked out Real Madrid, Juventus and Villarreal so we have every right to believe we can win the final. I would say it completes the work of nine-and-a-half years with a lot of effort and rewards all the people who worked with me and my staff."
Villarreal's coach Manuel Pellegrini understandably felt frustrated. "We had four or five chances to score a goal," he said. "We were better tonight, even better than Arsenal were at Highbury. We deserved to be in the final."
Best Link of the Week? The Lady Punch …You decide…