20 years ago today….my favorite album ever was born …
March 9, 1987: Irish rock band U2 released "Joshua Tree," the album that would ultimately propel it to superstardom, and would eventually allow lead singer Bono to become a private equity dealmaker.
The album, the band's fifth, is widely considered its best — and often cited as one of the greatest rock albums of all-time. A month after it was released, the band began a worldwide tour that started in U.S. arenas, then transitioned to European arenas and stadiums. As the album received more acclaim — not to mention more airtime on U.S. radio and MTV — U2 was able to add a second U.S. leg to the tour, but this time it sold out stadiums. The success from this record earned the band members a king's fortune. While most rock stars eventually turn to alternate careers, such as acting (or in Ted Nugent's case, wild boar hunting and pig farming), Bono would seek a second career as a private equity magnate.
Joshua Tree's wild success also would lead to dramatic changes in the record industry. In the late 1980s, most mainstream record labels were producing so-called "Big Hair bands" that were known for power ballads, or pop-music acts that featured teenagers like New Kids on the Block and Tiffany. In the years between Joshua Tree's release and U2's next studio album, "Achtung Baby" (1991), major record labels would begin to seek out entirely new forms of rock. In turn, big hair bands and teen pop idols were replaced with so-called grunge bands such as Nirvana and Pearl Jam and rap such as NWA and Public Enemy. Through the 1990s, record labels would continue to take risks on new acts and styles of rock music looking for the next big hit that would pay as handsomely as Island Records' bet on U2.
Cowlishaw again with optimism and roses from Surprise – this time, explaining how the Soriano trade was actually brilliant! …
Even now, general manager Jon Daniels said he is not tempted to dial into talk shows when someone without a clue calls him out on the Alfonso Soriano-for-Brad Wilkerson trade.
But if he wanted to, he would be well within his rights.
Watching the Rangers this spring provides the perfect example of why a trade must be constantly re-evaluated. Initial results sometimes are meaningless.
Daniels' first major trade as a general manager sent Soriano to Washington for Wilkerson and two minor leaguers. Soriano went on to a 40-40 season (46 home runs, 41 stolen bases) with Washington. That netted him a $136 million payday with the Chicago Cubs this winter.
Wilkerson, playing with a damaged shoulder that would require surgery, made it to the plate for only 320 at-bats. A player with a career .365 on-base percentage in the National League had a paltry .306 on-base percentage for Texas.
Not if you're a Rangers fan.
What exactly did Washington get out of Soriano? A lot of home runs and 91 losses for a last-place finish. Now he's gone, and the Nationals get a draft pick for him.
What about Texas?
They have a healthy Wilkerson playing the outfield the way manager Ron Washington remembers him performing in the National League. And the Soriano trade opened second base for Ian Kinsler, whose numbers in his first full season were far better than Michael Young's at 24.
And with less money than they would have had to pay to retain Soriano, the Rangers have Young, the face of their team, locked up through the 2013 season.
That's enough to allow Daniels to gloat, although he politely declined the
Seems flawed to draw two conclusions as Tim did in the last few paragraphs.
#1 – the trade opened up 2B for Kinsler. Couldn’t that have also been accomplished by someone telling him to play in the OF like Washington did? I don’t buy that Soriano/Kinsler was an either/or situation.
#2 – The money from Soriano has been used on Mike Young. That seems to suggest that either the Rangers are on a very fixed income or that there has been a salary cap in baseball that I wasn’t aware of.
Look, I was not expecting Soriano to be re-signed here, nor did I think they should have done it. But to write a column that basically laughs at the idea the Rangers lost that trade seems incredibly naïve.
I expect these flimsy premises from the Rangers themselves, but can’t the media think these things through on their own?
Rangers bullpen projected by Evan Grant …
RHP Eric Gagne: Not sure he'll be ready to pitch on back-to-back days to start the season, but he does appear to be moving forward with no issues.
RHP Akinori Otsuka: After his brief (and ugly) flirtation with a new delivery,
Otsuka went back to his traditional pause in his delivery and had great results. I expect he'll get about four or five save chances in April as the Rangers are cautious with Gagne.
LHP C.J. Wilson:The lack of control during an outing Tuesday was a little disquieting, but Wilson said he couldn't find a comfortable place to land on the mound. It will take several more disquieting outings to dislodge him from this role.
LHP Ron Mahay: He's retired three of four lefties he faced and in a ``B'' game Wednesday, he got righties Mike Sweeney, Reggie Sanders and Emil Brown.
RHP Wes Littleton: He's been hit around a little so far this spring, but his 2006 performance was so strong, he's going to get the benefit of the doubt.
RHP Scott Feldman: Could change if Frank Francisco's command improves, but Feldman has been the sharpest reliever in camp.
RHP Joaquin Benoit: As a long man, he's really good. Think he will thrive in a well-defined role. He's working quicker, which will make him more popular with teammates.
So that means Francisco heads to the minors, the Rangers are looking for trade partners for Rick Bauer, and Francisco Cruceta and Franklyn German, well, thanks for playing.
Gary Matthews could get his $50 million voided? …
Prosecutors may not be going after users in the ongoing nationwide steroid and HGH sweep, but Major League Baseball is ready to. Los Angeles Angels officials may move ahead with plans to suspend Gary Matthews Jr. or void his five-year, $50 million contract if the outfielder doesn't come clean on his alleged purchase of human growth hormone, according to a major league source who spoke to the Daily News about the standoff.
Matthews, who retained top-flight attorney Robert Shapiro, has deflected questions since he was identified last week as having received drugs from a Mobile, Ala., pharmacy raided by law enforcement agents in August. Albany County district attorney David Soares has led a wide-ranging investigation into a nationwide prescription drug ring in which a dozen people have been indicted in an alleged scheme to traffic steroids and growth hormone over the Internet.
Loved this summary of spring training optimism everywhere …
Spring training comes with many traditions. Prior/Wood injuries. Unbridled optimism from last place teams. Ridiculous promises from players. And, of course, clichés. You know the ones – "best shape of my life," "perfected a new changeup," and so on. We can't help but get our hopes up when hearing these things. Below, I'll survey some of this year's supposed spring improvements.
Alright. I have avoided this topic as long as I can; The Stars are in a bad spot right now …
Dave Tippett's line shuffle lifted a few players from their slumps – most notably Mike Modano – but couldn't spark enough change in the Stars as a whole Thursday night at Scottrade Center.
Despite Modano and new linemates Chris Conner and Loui Eriksson putting together a strong push, the Stars lost, 5-3, to the St. Louis Blues.
It was Dallas' second straight defeat in regulation and fourth consecutive overall (0-2-2), and it sparked more introspection in the form of a brief players-only meeting after the game.
Eric Lindros did not return to the game after a second-period fight, and Mike Ribeiro and Ladislav Nagy each took only one shift in the third period. Tippett tried to ride the Conner-Modano-Eriksson line and also a line he assembled during the game of Stu Barnes-Jeff Halpern-Jere Lehtinen. But it was clear the Stars still are a work in progress.
"The stats show when we have the lead or when we're tied out of the first, we're a good team," Modano said. "When we have to play catch-up, we find ourselves trying to make low-percentage plays. That's been the case lately; slow starts and trying to play catch-up."
Dallas goalie Mike Smith, who Tippett said "was just all right," allowed a goal on the first shot he faced after a couple of defensive breakdowns sprung St. Louis' Eric Brewer. The Stars battled back to 2-1 and 3-2 deficits but could not close the gap despite 5-on-3 situations of 1:25 and 1:19. Philippe Boucher, who tallied his 18th goal in the game's final minute, took plenty of shots, but couldn't find the net on the two-man advantage.
"We talk about being poised making plays, and I wasn't as poised as I needed to be," said Boucher. "You get in that situation, and you have to score on one of the two."
The loss drops the Stars to 38-23-5 (81 points) and kept them from making up ground on San Jose and Anaheim in the Pacific Division. Dallas also is now just percentage points ahead of Calgary and Minnesota for the eighth seed in the Western Conference.
Spurs win; Elias says …
The Spurs extended their winning streak to 11 games with a 100-93 victory at Sacramento. But San Antonio has gained only one game on the Mavericks in the Southwest Division race during its winning streak because Dallas has gone 9-0 during that time, stretching its own streak to 16 wins in a row.
This is only the fourth time in NBA history that two teams in the same division -- or the same conference prior to the divisional era -- had concurrent winning streaks longer than 10 games each. The others were the Lakers (19) and Trail Blazers (11) in February 2000; the 76ers (14) and Nets (11) in January 1983; and the Bucks (13) and Bulls (12) in November 1973.
Champions League Draw reveals the 4 Quarterfinal matchups ….awesometown…
Liverpool were handed a plum draw against PSV Eindhoven in the quarter-finals of the Champions League.
Manchester United also avoided the more difficult teams remaining, paired with Serie A side Roma. Both United and Liverpool will play the second leg of their tie at home.
Chelsea were given the most difficult draw of the English sides against Valencia, where they must travel to the Mestalla for the second leg.
AC Milan will host Bayern Munich at the San Siro before a second leg in Bavaria.
Providing they overcome PSV, who conquered Arsenal this week, Liverpool face the winner of Chelsea and Valencia but must play the second leg away from home.
United or Roma take on the winner of Bayern and Milan's clash, playing at home first - meaning a possible trip to Old Trafford for England midfielder Owen Hargreaves.
The quarter-final sees Manchester-born Simone Perrotta face United for Roma, while former Chelsea defender Asier del Horno, now with Valencia, could take on his former club.
The last-eight first legs will be played on April 3 and 4 and the return matches on April 10 and 11. Semi-finals will be played on April 24 and 25 and the second legs on May 1 and 2.
Meanwhile, the FA Cup Quarterfinals are this weekend:
Manchester United at Middlesbrough, 11:30am Sat, PPV
Tottenham at Chelsea, 7:30am Sun, PPV
Manchester City at Blackburn, 11:00am Sun, Fox Soccer Channel
Watford at Plymouth, 1:00pm Sun, Fox Soccer Channel
And Nextel Cup rolls into Vegas Sunday …
On Sunday, ESPN's NASCAR Now at 10 a.m. ET and SPEED's NASCAR RaceDay at noon set the tone for Cup racing. FOX is on the air from Vegas at 4 p.m. ET. Farmer will deliver the invocation at 4:30 p.m., followed by the national anthem, to be sung by Phantom of the Opera star Sierra Boggess. John Byers will give the starting command at 4:38 p.m. ET, with the green flag scheduled for 4:46 p.m.
Lost Reviewed by EW …
Why has the Office been repeats lately? Not sure, but this says there will be no new episodes until 4/12! …
Chaos ensues as the clocks spring ahead early …
Perhaps the worst that will happen to millions of people on the second Monday in March is that caffeine-deprived Americans will wonder why their automatic coffeemakers failed to perk on schedule. In workplaces, employees might miss meetings, overbook conference rooms or misrecord the time or date of important financial transactions.
For the first time in 20 years, daylight-saving time will not start on the first Sunday in April. Instead, it will begin three weeks earlier, at 2 a.m. on the second Sunday in March, the 11th. Congress decided in 2005 to expand daylight-saving time by four weeks, starting this year, in hopes of conserving energy by pushing more human activity into sunlit hours.
Without software updates, airline schedules and digital appointment calendars could be an hour off. Your programmable thermostats could turn up the heat early, and VCRs or digital video recorders may be off, too.
Fortunately, experts say, disruptions are likely to be minimal. Businesses have been scrambling to update software, and most say that's been done successfully. And home computers with the latest versions of Windows and the Apple operating system will automatically update.
Joshua Tree Promo Reel
Will Elisha Cuthbert return to 24?