Panic in Aggieland – Gillispie to Arkansas? …
A sweetened deal is in the works for Texas A&M basketball coach Billy Gillispie, but if Arkansas has its way, the Aggies' offer might be too little, too late.
As word broke Monday that the A&M Board of Regents prepared an enhanced financial package for Gillispie, scheduled for approval this week, word also quickly spread that Arkansas has Gillispie on its radar.
Arkansas athletic director Frank Broyles fired Stan Heath on Monday afternoon, following back-to-back 20-win seasons that included invitations to the NCAA Tournament.
Upon Heath's firing, speculation turned to Gillispie, whose three-year run with the Aggies has taken the program to new heights, including consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances for the first time in school history.
Some reports had Gillispie meeting in Fayetteville with Arkansas officials Monday, but Gillispie was seen at his office in College Station and around the A&M campus most of the day. Other speculation had Arkansas officials in College Station on the same day they fired Heath.
The Opening Day Lineup for YOUR TEXAS RANGERS! …
New manager Ron Washington hopes the Rangers aren’t the kind of all-hit, no-pitch squad that has been seen too frequently at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, but he doesn’t doubt his offense.
“We’re going to hit,” Washington said. “That’s not going to be a problem.”
--- CF Kenny Lofton
Lofton brings a veteran presence and a winning pedigree to the top of the Rangers’ lineup. At 39, he can still hit (.301 last season for the Dodgers) and run (32 stolen bases in 2006). The Rangers will be content if he plays 130 games in center field.
LF/DH Frank Catalanotto
Though he’ll rarely play against lefties, Catalanotto will be in the lineup as long as he remains a dependable hitter. He’ll play more in the field than anyone would have guessed because of the presence of Sammy Sosa, who will also DH.
SS Michael Young
After signing an $80 million contract extension that made him the face of the franchise for years to come, Young moves into the No. 3 hole after hitting second last season. His RBI total could surge if Lofton and Catalanotto hit well ahead of him. Another 200-hit season from Young is as likely as a 100-degree day in August.
1B Mark Teixeira
Like Young, Teixeira could have his name on the lineup in permanent marker. He has played in 446 consecutive games, the second-longest streak in the majors. Teixeira will try to improve on an ’06 season that started slowly, resulting in a down year — by his standards — for home runs (33) and RBI (110).
DH/RF Sammy Sosa
With his words and his bat, Sosa has made it clear this spring that he is not coming back to baseball to be a platoon DH. He wants to play every day, and a strong camp has earned him that right. But will a successful spring translate into a super summer?
3B Hank Blalock
Coming off postseason shoulder surgery, Blalock needs to show he can still be a
feared hitter. Through Sunday, Blalock had hit .250 this spring, without a home run, but he has begun to find his swing. He has been more patient, with nine walks and seven strikeouts.
RF Nelson Cruz
Manager Ron Washington has decided to give Cruz, 26, a chance to prove himself this season. Doing so would relegate a more experienced outfielder, usually Brad
Wilkerson, to the bench, but Washington wants to see more out of the talented but unpolished Cruz.
C Gerald Laird
Hitting eighth takes some pressure off Laird, who is hoping to spend his first full
season behind the plate as a starter. Laird has power (four home runs this spring) and can take advantage of pitchers who underestimate him.
2B Ian Kinsler
Against lefties, Kinsler will hit second, but Washington will use the second-year player at the bottom of the order against righties. His speed (a team-leading 11 stolen bases last season) allows him to hit near the top; his emerging power (14 HR in 2006) makes him a future candidate for the middle.
Meanwhile, in Cowboys news, the schedule shows the Sunday Night Opener at home …
An early peek at the 2007 NFL schedule shows the Cowboys playing in two nationally televised games: a Sunday night home opener against the Giants and a Thanksgiving contest against the Jets. The rest of the NFL schedule will be released in April.
Sept. 6: New Orleans at Indianapolis, 7:30 p.m. KXAS/Ch. 5
Sept. 9: Chicago at San Diego, 3:15 p.m., KDFW/Ch.4
Sept. 9: NY Giants at Dallas, 7:15 p.m., KXAS/Ch. 5
Sept. 10: Baltimore at Cincinnati, 6 p.m., ESPN
Sept. 10: Arizona at San Francisco, 9:15 p.m., ESPN
Green Bay at Detroit, 11:30 a.m., KDFW/Ch. 4
NY Jets at Dallas, 3:15 p.m., KTVT/Ch. 11
Indianapolis at Atlanta, 7:15 p.m., NFL Network
Ken Hamlin here to protect Roy …
Jones signed Ken Hamlin last week for one reason: to help make Williams an impact player again.
If he does, then Hamlin will be worth every bit of the one-year, $2.5 million contract he signed last week, and after the season Jerry will open up his checkbook and give him a long-term deal just like he did with Andre Gurode.
If Hamlin doesn't, it means Jerry will have failed Williams, the franchise, the fans and himself again.
See, Williams isn't supposed to be a good player. He's supposed to be great player, which is why the Cowboys made him the eighth player selected in 2002. And that's why Jerry handed him a $12 million signing bonus last summer and a multi-year deal, essentially making him a Cowboy for life.
But he can't be great playing 20 yards from the line of scrimmage in a conservative scheme that uses a lot of Cover 2 principles that illuminate his weaknesses and none of his strengths. In that scheme, Williams can be good a player.
After all, he has been to four consecutive Pro Bowls, but a faction of the league will continue to call him overrated. Consistently place Williams near the line of scrimmage – like Wade Phillips intends to do this season – so he can disrupt running plays with his athleticism and instincts and pressure quarterbacks by blitzing, and he can be an impact player every week.
That didn't happen last year.
Of course, Williams made his share of big plays and occasionally dominated an entire game like he did in a blowout win over Houston, but too many times he didn't tilt the game in the Cowboys' favor.
Hawks compliment your Mavs …
Hawks guard Anthony Johnson knows all about the Mavericks and their precision craftsmanship, having spent the first half of this season on their roster. When Woodson warned his team of the Mavericks' ability to annihilate opponents early with their "clockwork" attitude to the game, Johnson knew exactly what he was talking about. "They're a machine," Johnson said before the Mavericks made their first nine shots and piled up 39 points in the game's first 12 minutes, an opponent season-high. "Everything they do, it's done with a purpose." Woodson said it all stems from the Mavericks' collective experience and the no-nonsense approach of their coach, Avery Johnson, who celebrated his 42nd birthday Sunday. "They treat every game like it's Game 7 of the NBA Finals," Woodson said. "And they do that because they're playing for one thing and one thing only — that's to win a championship."
The American Hope: Jack Johnson signs with the Kings …and mentions marketing opportunities which makes me nervous…
The Kings signed defenseman Jack Johnson on Monday to a three-year entry-level contract that will pay him $850,000 a season, with bonuses that add another $2 million a season, sources familiar with the team said.
Johnson, the third overall pick in the 2005 draft, is expected to be in the lineup Thursday when the Kings play the Vancouver Canucks.
The Kings acquired the rights to Johnson from the Carolina Hurricanes for defenseman Tim Gleason and center Eric Belanger. The Kings also had to take defenseman Oleg Tverdovsky, who has one year left on his contract that will pay him $2.5 million next season.
"The L.A. Kings, that's the spotlight, with all the marketing there, that will be a great opportunity," Johnson said last month. "I've played with a couple of the players there, Patrick O'Sullivan, Dustin Brown. I'm excited about playing there."
The Kings' plan to have veteran Rob Blake mentor Johnson, who doesn't shy away from contact and has top-end skating skills and a heavy shot.
UFC buys Pride …
During a televised statement, UFC heavyweight Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic — 2006 PRIDE FC Open Weight Grand Prix Champion — discussed returning to the Japanase mixed martial arts promotion for another go at Fedor Emelianenko — the top fighter in the world in the division.
What seemed like heresy and a pipe dream just a few days and weeks ago, is now all of a sudden a very real possibility.
Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta — alongside UFC President Dana White — announced the purchase of PRIDE FC from Dream Stage Entertainment (DSE) at a press conference at Roppongi Hills Arena in Tokyo, Japan, earlier today, according to Sherdog.com.
As part of the blockbuster deal, current PRIDE FC President and CEO Nobuyuki Sakaibara confirmed speculation that he will step down after PRIDE 34 on April 8.
According to an Associated Press report in the Boston Herald, the final sale price was a cool — and relatively cheap — $70 million.
BaD Radio’s Wikipedia Page …
The Story behind the 3 stars of the game …
Check out this cool site: Playoff Status.com …
Wanted: College Punter …
With the departure of senior punter Alex Reyes after the 2006 season, the Texas Tech football team had a few players lined up to fill the position. But with some misfortune because of eligibility and injuries, the Red Raiders are hoping to find a punter through tryouts open to the Tech student body.
Tech special teams coach Ruffin McNeill said considering the mishaps with the punters slated to replace Reyes, the Red Raiders are looking for anyone who is willing to work for the job.
"The guys that we had coming in, one didn't come back because of grade problems, one of the punters that we had that would be here in the spring broke his leg during the season and then we signed one who would be here in the fall," McNeill said. "We had a tryout, but (the team is) just looking for some guys who would like to compete for the job."
McNeill said anyone can tryout for the position, and whoever is successful could wind up with a spot on the team this upcoming season.
"It would be good to have some film, if they don't then that's OK," McNeill said. "It could be one, two, three (people); there's no certain number. We try them, and if they are able to kick successfully, then they have a chance to go to the spring with us and maybe even through the fall."
McNeill said there are no specific requirements the team is looking for, but those who tryout need to be willing to work hard.
"No specific criteria on height and weight," he said of a potential punter's requirements. "Just be willing to work, be willing to accept coaching and be willing to compete."
Reyes finished the 2006 season averaging 45.2 yards per punt and six touchbacks.
Anyone wanting to tryout for the team can start today by calling the Texas Tech Athletic Department and ask for Tech graduate assistant Clay McGuire. Tryouts could be held as early as today at the team's practice facility for a chance to be on the roster by Monday.
Bookmark this: Best Fights in Hockey …
Hockey could use some sportsmanship …
Jim Lites is right.
The NHL needs to change its communal mind-set on many issues, and this is one of
The one-for-all, all-for-one, team's-the-thing culture can be -- and often is -- a refreshing contrast to the me-me-me culture of the NBA and other sports. (By the way, this is an aside: If the NHL ever follows the increasingly prevalent NBA practice of encouraging their public-address announcers to be screaming lunatic morons who act as if they believe everyone in the building has an IQ of a roll of adhesive tape, hand me earplugs.) When that team's-the-thing morphs into only-one-team matters policy, as often happens in the NHL -- leading to a frequent refusal to promote opposing stars, great plays or teams -- it's a problem.
TV ratings in the States aren't great? (OK, that's being nice.)
It would be better if fans in Nashville or Miami or Tampa, or even St. Louis and Washington and Denver, were indoctrinated on game nights that, wow, this Ovechkin kid or Marian Gaborik or Pavel Datsyuk all are worth watching on television -- and not only when they're passing through town.
Promote the game.
It's a mind-set and it involves little things.
Mandate that all goals are replayed on the scoreboard screens. Even if the home-team goalie was a sieve on a floater from the point or the young opposing star weaved through four home-team skaters and got the shot off with one hand after being knocked to the ice. Show them all. (For one thing, don't confirm to the guy who spent $122 on the ticket that he might have been better off staying home and watching from the couch, because even the cheerleading home broadcast realizes it can't get away with pretending the other team didn't score.)
Show highlights from around the league.
Salute players reaching milestones.
Stop pressuring local broadcasters, whether they draw paychecks directly from the franchise or otherwise are beholden to the team, to be relentlessly "positive," no matter what happens. Insulting fans is no way to court or keep them.
When a player who did yeoman's service for the local team, but has moved on in an increasingly transient league, returns -- especially for the first time -- at least show him on the scoreboard screens during a media timeout and allow the fans to give him a nice round of acknowledging applause.
Technology is great, so the detailed press notes can be flashed on the scoreboard screens and fans can be told that the left winger has points in 11 of his last 14 games, his dog's name is "Chico" and he had a terrific career for the Chicoutimi Sagueneens before moving to the NHL. But do it for both teams, not just the home guys.
All of that happens in some cities. Good for them.
It should happen everywhere.
It's about class.
The Predators didn't have any last week, but they're not alone.
Video of Dan with Razor …
Video of Bob with Razor …
Ricky Gervais in Africa – watch it all.
NHL makes some great commercials