Mr Quiet Superstar, Michael Young, stole the show last night at that great stadium in Pittsburgh. If the story of the night wasn’t the 2 hour and 33 minute game, it was Young’s 2-out, 2-run triple in the top of the 9th. Well, done.
Mike Young wins the MVP with another clutch performance …
"I'm not gonna lie - this is a pretty big highlight in my baseball career," Young said with a broad grin in the postgame news conference. "I can't wait to get back to my teammates in Texas."
The highlight, Young said, comes a close second among individual accomplishments to the American League batting title he captured last season, which was an entire year in the making. As Young stepped down from the podium, he handed off his wristband to be shipped to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.
Young then walked down the hall to a clubhouse, where a pack of reporters awaited him. It was a stark difference from the media availability Monday afternoon, where Young flew coolly under the radar.
"Like I say, he's underrated," AL manager Ozzie Guillen said. "I talk about it. Nobody talks about this kid, and this kid is one of the best players in baseball right now."
Young won MVP honors despite not playing his regular position. He played second base, though he is a shortstop in Texas. He is the third Ranger to be an All-Star Game MVP, joining Alfonso Soriano (2004) and Julio Franco (1990), both of whom played second base in the game.
From the Pittsburgh Paper …
This is a guy who was booed by Oakland fans in his major-league debut for no other offense than making it on their turf, in the lowly act of pinch-running. This is a guy who, in rookie hazing, was forced to wear a dress by Texas teammates who wisely alerted the media, which captured video of him walking off the plane's, uh, runway. This is a guy who came to Pittsburgh alone, because his wife, Cristina, and son, Mateo, had to stay back home in Texas with summer colds.
"My only regret," this guy was saying near midnight last night inside PNC Park, "is my wife and son are sick and couldn't make it. They had to watch it on TV."
One of the big talking points from last night was the AL owning the NL. Well, the last NL win was in 1996, so Sports Sturm had to go find the 1996 All Star Game boxscore for you to enjoy…
Meanwhile, another free agent gets away from the Mavericks:
James goes to Minnesota …
"Minnesota offered him more money and more years," Mavericks owner Mark Cuban wrote in an e-mail. "That was the most important aspect to Mike. He told me he was going to take the highest offer, and he did."
Duffy told The Associated Press that James will receive the Timberwolves' full mid-level exception, which is worth about $5 million next season.
Lebreton looks at the dollars …and says it all about the cash…
We assume that all athletes want to win a championship. That all employees want to have a good boss. And we reason that all humble souls, having already banked millions, will now be motivated by less mercenary pursuits.
Oh, what fools we NBA followers be.
For a few dollars more, point guard Mike James spurned the NBA runner-up Mavericks and signed with the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday.
The Mavericks won 60 games last season and came within two victories of the NBA championship. Minnesota, meanwhile, won 33 and lost 49.
You can do the math.
That seems harsh, Gil. I understand the cash was different, but let’s not forget the 2nd biggest currency in the NBA, minutes. In Minnesota, he should be able to play the entire game, whereas in Dallas, when you see Harris, Terry, Howard, and Dirk, where is Mike James going to see big minutes? 20 a night versus 40 a night is a big difference, so let’s not make this all out to be cash.
The view from Minnesota …
For several days, free agent guard Mike James had told NBA insiders that he was weighing contract offers from the Timberwolves and two other Western Conference teams, and would make his decision according to strict criteria:
1. The team would have to be committed to chasing a championship now.
2. It would have to really want and trust him, in a central role, as part of its future.
So James carefully broke down his pros and cons, studied the rosters of the Wolves, the Houston Rockets and the Dallas Mavericks ... then chose the team that offered an opt-out clause after the third year, an extra $6.5 million or so in Year 4 and a trade "kicker" worth an extra 15 percent if he is dealt before the deal runs out.
In today’s discussion of the World Cup fallout, what do you say we look at the television numbers? Fellow soccer lover, Jason, sends me the evidence, but to make sure this is not a biased study, he produced multiple sources to report how the World Cup blew up in the USA.
From the New York Times …
The quadrennial visit of the World Cup must be viewed as a television success story. Sunday's final attracted 16.9 million viewers, and the star of stars, Zinedine Zidane of France, morphed from magician to the soccer equivalent of Mike Tyson with his overtime head butt of Marco Materazzi.
Those 16.9 million viewers included 11.9 million on ABC and 5 million on Univision, and they represented a 152 percent leap from 2002, when the game in Japan was shown in the morning. The audience was 31 percent better than eight years ago from France, and it was on par with 1994 from Pasadena, Calif.
This year's viewership exceeded by about 4 million the average audience last month for the NBA Finals between Miami and Dallas. It came close to the 17.5 million for Florida's victory over UCLA in the NCAA basketball title game and the 17.1 million average for the White Sox's sweep of the Houston Astros in the World Series.
From Media Life …
If this World Cup proved anything, besides how far behind the rest of the world the U.S. men’s soccer team is, it’s that soccer is no longer a fringe sport in this country.
After a wildly successful month, Sunday’s World Cup final drew 17 million American viewers, more people than watched Tiger Woods’ most recent major win, a non-figure skating night of the Winter Olympics, or the season finale of “The Apprentice.”
The final between France and Italy averaged nearly 12 million viewers on ABC and 5 million on Univision, according to early numbers released yesterday by Nielsen.
Perhaps most telling, of the 50 million people who watched part of a game on Univision over the past month, 21 million were non-Hispanics. That shows that the game is catching on in this country, though it still has a very long way to go before becoming mainstream.
ESPN averaged an impressive 2.3 million viewers for its 20 games, 76 percent above 2002’s average.
The final’s overnight numbers put it not too far behind premier sporting events like this year’s men's NCAA basketball final at 11.2 on CBS and NASCAR's Daytona 500, which averaged an 11.3 this year on Fox Sports.
And even non-U.S. World Cup games were well ahead of ESPN men's college basketball average, OLN's hockey playoffs and final-day ratings for any major professional golf tournaments.
And, The USA Today …
And, just so no one accuses me of not posting links off the sports page recently, here is Eva Longoria without makeup …yikes!
Now, for some email. This first one is a bit lengthy, but it is directed at my brothers in crime up here at the Ticket (The Musers and Dan) about their World Cup comments from Monday. He wanted a rebuttal, and I thought it was well thought-out enough to get posted here for your review:
Yesterday, amid all the other “apples and oranges” reasoning and idiotic commentary, a few of your “points” stood out for their blatant simplemindedness and total lack of originality.
I thought I’d offer the following responses to two of your many empty-headed and sophomoric observations, as well as some final food for thought:
Summarized Ignorant comment #1 - “Michael Jordon would NEVER check out of the biggest game of his life because he was tired, as Thierry Henry did”.
Summarized Ignorant comment #2 – “Why can’t these guys shoot straight? They don’t hit the target enough.”
Now I’ll ask you to consider the following questions about American sports posed in a similarly ignorant fashion.
Ignorant Questions for Ignorant comment #1
Why do the best starting pitchers in baseball get pulled late in a game 7 of the World Series? Can’t they suck it up? I mean, everyone acknowledges they are by far the best pitchers on the team, why would they leave the game?
Why wouldn’t Roger Clemens gut it out and pitch on back-to-back nights if it were game 6 and 7 of the World Series? Will his arm fall off? Can’t he take some Advil, ice it down and fight through it?
Why are starting pitchers given 5 days off each time they play their game? It only requires that they stand on a hill and throw a ball to a guy hunched down 60 feet or so from them about 100 times.
By your “blood and guts” standards, doesn’t it seem odd that a pitcher can come into a game, throw 1 pitch, and then be replaced by another, or be hailed as the BEST closer in the game? Isn’t he a great athlete with steely nerves and concentration? Is that sport so lame that it requires a new pitcher after one pitch? What’s so great about a player who can’t do more for his team than throw the ball 12 times every other day? It’s absurd!
How come in MLB you have two subsets, the American and National League, which play be a slightly different set of rules? Why does a pitcher only hit in the national league? Isn’t that, I don’t know, what might you call it if it were soccer, UNSTABLE?
Why do Hockey and Basketball allow free substitutions? It seems the player is not physically challenging himself when he gets to rest pretty much whenever he or his coach chooses.
Would you not agree that allowing a player to come over to the bench to sit down, drink some Gatorade, and go back in the game makes him weaker than player who has to stick it out, knowing that when he leaves he can’t come back? Or maybe, go in the locker room for half an hour; get a check up from the Doc and X-ray. After you get your clean bill of health, you can come right back out to a hero’s welcome and resume the game. Wow, what tough guys, huh?
Why do NFL teams only play once a week? Why not play more games?
Ignorant Questions for Ignorant comment #2
Why do the best players in major league baseball only hit the ball 3 of 10 times they try? I mean, the ball is thrown directly at the player and no one is interfering with him. He can decide when to step into the box, position himself, and then all that’s left to do is hit the ball. It seems way too simple to only do successfully 3 of 10 times, particularly when you are the best at doing it. What’s more, a .300 batting average is based on at-bats, obviously, and not pitches taken or swung at and missed or fouled off. So, in actuality, when you look at all the pitches that are thrown, it very rare that a player gets a hit; let alone an extra base hit. Seems futile and boring, doesn’t it? Why don’t the make it easier, like in softball when the score lines are 22-8? These guys are clearly not very good because it sure as hell can’t be that hard, right? Or is the sport in dire need of an overall? Bigger bats? Bigger balls?
Why do basketball players only convert about 35% of the three pointers they attempt? That means about 7 of 10 attempts are missed. Often times, it even seems like they are shooting without a defender in their face, but still seem to miss about 70% of them.
Why do the best golfers on the planet - like Mickelson two weeks ago - hit the ball in the rough or out of play as often as they do, particularly when the tourney is on the line?
Why do the very best quarterbacks in the NFL struggle to complete passes 60% of the time?
Why do Football teams get to kick a ball down field after failing three straight times to gain 12 yards, even though they get 30 seconds to think and game-plan in between each down?
Why, on God’s green earth, is it so hard to get one yard on 4th and 1? You should be able to get that 100% of time, but it’s not even close to 100% success rate.
Why on earth in the middle of the season would you get opposing players together to play an exhibition? Seems sort of dumb, don’t you think?
See, it’s that easy to come up with laundry list of dumb ass questions and comments as each of you did, and mine were definitely better. Well done!
The answers I would offer are simple:
1) It makes strategic sense to insert fresh players, even if they are replacing that the best players in the game, because you increase your chance of winning, and, ultimately, that’s what sports are about.
2) Because the human body has limitations and the quality of play and overall standards of the game would drop if you didn’t do the things needed to prevent that from occurring
3) Because there is a great deal more than meets the eye to ALL of these sports and they require an extremely high level of skill, fitness and concentration to perform at a high level, let alone world class level.
4) Each game is different and should be considered on it’s on merit, or at least as much as it is compared to other sports
It’s astonishing to me that three educated and seemingly intelligent sports fans / hosts could not arrive at ANY of the abovementioned conclusions. But clearly, that underscores and further supports the fact that it was never your intention to provide analysis, offer constructive criticism or look for answers to questions you might have. It was only ever your intention to insult the sport with moronic and childish commentary and offend a small group of us that both listen to you and love the game of soccer.
George, you were dead right yesterday when you observed that “we’ve probably pissed a lot of soccer fans off today”. I think you did.
Not to worry, though, Cowboys training camp is not far of.
For a long time we heard that all the bells and whistles Cuban put in the Mavs locker room along with the plane and hotels they stay in would attract free agents. Can you name a free agent they targeted and got? Two names come to mind, Alonzo Mourning and Mike James. Both were reported to be must haves and neither of them came here. What's up with that? Are the facilities overstated? Are the players getting a littler worn out on Cuban?
Cowboys first preseason game is....
one month from today 7/12/06......
The Cowboys first regular season game is.......
two months from last Monday 7/10/06......
And NO I don't have much of a life. And NO these numbers are not to the second, because I do have some life....somewhat!
ALL COWBOYS, ALL THE TIME!