Friday, July 06, 2007

Friday, July 6th

Various items to end our little Sports Week together…

Jerry Stackhouse comes back to us …this is not nearly a huge story, but I will assure you it would have been a huge story if he left. This should not be underestimated. The Mavs need him and others like him badly…

The Mavericks wanted Jerry Stackhouse back. And he wanted them.

Thursday, they agreed it was a match made in hoops heaven.

Stackhouse said thetwo sides had reached an agreement in principle on a contract to keep the sixth man with the Mavericks. Sources on both sides said the deal is for three years and the salary will start at more than the mid-level exception, which is expected to be about $6 million. If it starts at $7 million, the deal would be worth nearly $24 million for three seasons.

It was not immediately known if any option years, either for the team or for Stackhouse, were included in the deal.

"The deal is done," Stackhouse said. "I'm happy to be staying put. [Mavs owner] Mark [Cuban] and the organization stepped up for me and I'm really proud of that. Now we need to get a ring."

Stackhouse, 32, has evolved into one of the NBA's best sixth men in his three seasons with the Mavericks and he had said recently he was confident he and his agent, Jeff Schwartz, could reach an agreement with the Mavs.

Apparently, a few details are all that's left to finalize the deal. It could be completed Wednesday, when free agents can officially sign contracts.

The Mavericks have said since the end of the season that retaining Stackhouse was their No. 1 priority in free agency. He provides toughness on the court and a positive vibe in the locker room, not to mention averages of 12 points and 2.8 assists in 67 games last season. He averaged 14.3 points per game in the playoffs.

The Star Telegram looks at Mavs-KG talk, and what the Mavs may look like if it ever happened ….which is precisely why you cannot give Howard and Harris in this deal…

Josh Howard, Devin Harris, DeSagana Diop and Greg Buckner.

That's one trade combination that could land Minnesota's Kevin Garnett in Dallas under the NBA's trade rules. To pluck Garnett, the Mavs would have to ship Minnesota contracts that match within 25 percent of Garnett's $22 million salary -- or $16.5 million.

The longer Garnett sits on the trading block, the more time bloggers and overeager Internet sites have to theorize that deep-pocket Mavs owner Mark Cuban will swoop in and make national headlines by pairing 7-foot MVP Dirk Nowitzki and the 6-11 Garnett, 31 years old and entering his 13th season.

Of course, if Cuban commanded his front office to get a deal done, it would be a U-turn on the team's off-season road map to tweak and not trade key pieces such as Howard. The Mavs deftly drafted the ever-improving swingman late in the first round in 2003 and have developed him into an All-Star.

(And no, Howard's $9 million salary can't be swapped for Jason Terry's $8.3 million in the trade equation because no one wants the weight of Terry's remaining five years and $50 million.)

Harris, picked No. 5 overall in 2004 by Washington and then traded to the Mavs, apparently is set to become coach Avery Johnson's primary point guard. Donnie Nelson, the Mavs' president of basketball operations, is on record as saying Harris will be around here a long, long time.

And just for perspective, an NBA source said the Mavs have had no contact with the T'wolves since draft night, and even that contact was more about draft position than KG.

But whatever, back to the fantasy of KG as a Mavs man.

First off, Timberwolves basketball boss Kevin McHale would have to want the Mavs' offer. The Lakers offered potential center-of-the-future Andrew Bynum ($2.17 million) and veteran power forward Lamar Odom ($13.5 million), plus one or two other low-salary types.

The T'wolves didn't bite.

So how would one potential perennial All-Star (Howard), an unproven point guard (Harris, $3.99 million), a center who averages two points (Diop, $2.16 million) and a reserve utility guard (Buckner, $3.5 million) be received?

McHale, if nothing else, is unpredictable, so say he jumps on it. OK, where then does that leave the Mavs?

For starters, they'd have $38.4 million next season locked into two power forwards who both play more of a perimeter game than a back-to-the-basket game. Because Garnett can opt out after next season, figure the Mavs probably would insist that he sign an extension.

So how's this starting lineup sound for at least the next few seasons: Dirk, KG, Erick Dampier, second-year shooting guard Maurice Ager and Jason Terry running the point?

Sixth man Jerry Stackhouse agreed to a new deal Thursday, and Devean George remains a possibility to return. Add rookie Nick Fazekas, plus a couple of free agents such as aging center P.J. Brown and James Posey or Matt Barnes (the deal for KG eliminates acquiring Gerald Wallace, who would require a sign-and-trade), and are the Mavs really better positioned to beat the Suns and Spurs -- or Warriors?

The KG reality is the Mavs were more concerned with keeping him out of Phoenix than grabbing him themselves. Still, never say never with Cuban in charge. And the longer the T'wolves wait to pull the trigger, the higher the odds that Cuban might not be able to help himself.

But, give up on Howard and Harris now? Don't bet on it.

Tejeda continues to pitch like Tejeda

By most accounts, Robinson Tejeda was better Thursday night.

That shouldn't, however, be confused with an endorsement.

Considering Tejeda's horrid two-month run, simply getting to the sixth inning made it an improvement over recent outings. But after walking consecutive batters in Los Angeles' 5-2 win, he didn't see the end of the inning.

The loss ended the Rangers' stretch of 10 games against Detroit, Boston and Los Angeles – holders of three of the American League's four playoff spots – at 6-4. The Rangers won two of the three series and split the four games at Boston.

Tejeda didn't win any of those games. He hasn't won in a month. He hasn't had a quality start since May 3. He hasn't walked fewer than three batters since that May 3 start. And since this was his last start before the All-Star break, those unseemly streaks are only going to grow by at least a week.

Nevertheless, manager Ron Washington saw improvement.

"I thought he was doing a good job," Washington said. "Up until those back-to-back walks in the sixth inning, I thought he was doing a very good job. He kept us in the game. That's all you can ask."

After where Tejeda's been for the last two months, it was perhaps all the Rangers could ask for Thursday. But as the season moves forward, Tejeda must step forward or risk falling by the wayside.

Since early May, shortly after he complained of some arm fatigue, Tejeda hasn't been the same pitcher. In his last 10 starts, dating to May 9, he is 2-6 with an 8.82 ERA, and he's allowed opponents a .328 batting average.

He has lasted just 49 innings in those starts, an average of less than five innings per outing. In addition, he's walked 35 batters in those 49 innings.

Walks played a key part in the loss Thursday.

He got the first two outs of the first inning without issue, then fell behind Orlando Cabrera 3-0 before walking him on a full-count pitch. That led to trouble, created by the Angels' high-pressure offense.

Cabrera stole second and went to third when the throw went into center field. He scored on Vladimir Guerrero's single.

Tejeda allowed only one base runner over the next three innings, but another lapse against the bottom of the Angels' order in the fifth led to two more runs. Tejeda allowed three consecutive hits to the Nos. 7-9 hitters (Garret Anderson, Maicer Izturis and Jose Molina) to account for one run. Then Reggie Willits drove in a second run with a sacrifice fly.

And in the sixth, after getting the first out and getting ahead of Gary Matthews Jr. 0-and-1, Tejeda threw eight consecutive balls to walk Matthews and Casey Kotchman to force his exit from the game. Matthews was thrown out stealing, but Kotchman scored on a two-run triple by Izturis.

But, tonight, Cy Young, I mean, Kam Loe throws for his 5th straight gem

In 10 starts before the demotion, the 6-foot-7 Loe was 1-6 with a 7.71 ERA. In four starts since then, Loe is 4-0 with a 1.95 ERA. He's scheduled to start tonight against Baltimore coming off wins over potential playoff teams Detroit and Boston.

"It's a complete turnaround," Rangers pitching coach Mark Connor said. "I don't think I've ever seen anybody shipped to Triple A and come back up and have four starts like he had.... He must have done some soul-searching and he got introspective about himself, and, when he came back up here, it was, 'OK, this is what I'm going to do.'"

The Rangers expected Loe to spend weeks, perhaps even a month, in Triple A while he tried to fix the problems that led to a .321 opponents' batting average in his first 10 starts.

Instead, an injury to Brandon McCarthy gave Loe a reprieve. A spot start in Pittsburgh might have been merely a brief trip back to the majors; if Loe had been roughed up, he would have been minor league-bound again before long. Loe threw eight shutout innings, though, and then followed it with three more quality starts.

"I kind of went after [the Pittsburgh start] for myself, like, 'What do I have to lose here?'" Loe said. "I was already prepared to be in Triple A for a little bit."
Theories abound as to what helped Loe reinvent himself, from an arm-angle tweak suggested by Oklahoma pitching coach Andy Hawkins, to better control and increased reliance on off-speed stuff, to getting away from the four-seam fastball and sticking with his sinker.

Our boy, Chris Young, is an all-star …cue sad piano music for the Rangers…

What a day it was for Chris Young, who began a five-game suspension for his part in a brawl, then found out about three hours later that he was an All-Star.

The San Diego Padres' right-hander beat out four other pitchers for the last spot on the NL All-Star team on Thursday in the online Final Vote, which started Sunday night. The 6-foot-10 Young will join teammates Jake Peavy and Trevor Hoffman at Tuesday night's game in San Francisco.

The Padres organization, including Hoffman and Peavy, heavily promoted the online voting that made Young an All-Star for the first time.

"Obviously I don't want to be serving a suspension," Young said. "I don't want to take away from my team. But all in all, I think it's a good day, for the most part. I wish we had won our game."

Because he can't be in the dugout or clubhouse during a game, Young (8-3, 2.00 ERA), watched from the press box as Peavy and the Padres lost 3-2 to the Florida Marlins.

Young had been appealing his suspension for his part in a bench-clearing brawl at Chicago on June 16, which started when Young hit the Cubs' Derrek Lee with a pitch.

Lee, convinced that Young was throwing at him on purpose, had words with the pitcher as he walked to first base, then threw a punch. Young swung back and the benches emptied.

Young will sit out the last four games before the break and the first game after it.

He made his final start before the break on Wednesday night, striking out nine and holding the Marlins to five hits in seven innings of a 1-0 win. He didn't get the decision, but lowered his ERA to 2.00, tying Brad Penny of the Los Angeles Dodgers for the best in the majors.

Hoffman and Peavy were the unofficial campaign managers for Young. The franchise pitched it by promoting the vote, even setting up computers on the concourse at Petco Park so fans could vote.

Hoffman, baseball's all-time saves leader with 506, said he's pretty much computer-illiterate, but was able to vote 50 to 75 times for his teammate.

"It's not an easy process for me," Hoffman said.

"I think it would have been different had C.Y. maybe been a borderline nominee," Hoffman said. "The fact that his numbers stand up against anybody's in the National League warrant him going. I think this sends, really, a stronger message than anybody could say in publicly rallying for him."

Peavy said Young was a better pitcher in the season's first half than the players he beat out -- Chicago's Carlos Zambrano, Arizona's Brandon Webb, Pittsburgh's Tom Gorzelanny and Houston's Roy Oswalt, who was named to replace injured Atlanta pitcher John Smoltz.

"I thought it was big for the city to get behind him," Peavy said. "The whole city should give themselves a pat on the back because we beat out some pretty big-market teams. I know we went hard at it and campaigned hard for him and it was well deserved. I'm proud that this city is going to have another representative with that Padre jersey on."

Young received more than 4.5 million votes. His winning margin wasn't immediately available.

Speaking of friends, Billy Guerin is off to Long Island …Hmmm. For real good money.

The New York Islanders have a new sniper to build their offence around.
Bill Guerin signed a two-year $9 million contract with the team on Thursday, the fourth day of NHL free agency.

After buying out the contract of captain Alexei Yashin, then losing Ryan Smyth to free agency, the Islanders were desperate to land a skilled free agent. They got one of the last top-end forwards available.

Guerin knows how to put the puck in the net. He scored 36 goals and 20 assists with the St. Louis Blues and San Jose Sharks last year. The 36-year-old has 364 goals and 355 assists in 1,026 career games with the New Jersey Devils, Edmonton Oilers, Boston Bruins, Dallas Stars, Blues and Sharks.

Fun with Arbitration for the Stars

Stars forwards Mike Ribeiro and Antti Miettinen filed for arbitration Thursday. Forward Jussi Jokinen did not.

Ribeiro and Miettinen will have their cases heard by a third party between July 20 and Aug. 4. The exact date for each hearing will be released next week. The Stars can then accept the salary decision of the arbitrator or walk away and allow either player to become an unrestricted free agent if the salary award is greater than $1.2 million. Ribeiro received a qualifying offer of $1.9 million, while Miettinen received $495,000.

Each player will continue to negotiate with the Stars and could come to terms on a new contract before the arbitration hearings.

Jokinen, who received a qualifying offer of $605,000, has until July 15 to accept his offer. He has the option of not accepting the offer and trying to negotiate a better deal. Jokinen would then not be a part of the Stars workouts until a new deal was signed.

The great Juan Toja is an all-star starter

Four months ago, Juan Toja was relatively unknown.

FC Dallas coach Steve Morrow was one of the few people who knew of the 22-year-old Colombian midfielder's potential.

Toja will be in the starting lineup when the MLS All-Stars face Scottish Premier League champion Celtic FC on July 19 at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colo.

Toja will play alongside countryman Juan Pablo Angel, who plays for New York. Former FC Dallas striker Eddie Johnson of Kansas City and Houston's Dwayne De Rosario will join them.

"It's really an incredible honor for me," Toja said. "I'm so happy for everything that is happening right now for me here in Dallas."

Toja has been FC Dallas' MVP in the first half of the season. He is tied with Kenny
Cooper for the team lead with four goals and has started every match this season as either a defensive left or attacking central midfielder.

"He very much deserved it," Morrow said, "especially when you consider he has only been in the league for a short time."

Toja, in his first season with FC Dallas, has become a favorite among fans at Pizza Hut Park who wear his jersey and sport wigs that resemble his rock-star hairdo.

However, Toja doubted that he could garner votes on a national level. MLS All-Star voting is conducted by media, fans, players and coaches.

"As a new player in the league, you think your chances are remote, but I always had hope," he said.

FC Dallas' Juan Toja (right) is tied for the team lead with four goals and has started every match this season.

Toja received the fifth-most votes among the starters named to the team Thursday.

On Tuesday, the league will announce the rest of the All-Star team. New England's Steve Nicol, who will manage the squad, will name five players, and commissioner Don Garber will make two selections.

FC Dallas, which leads the Western Conference, expects more of its players to be named to the All-Star team.

"I think it would be fair," Morrow said. "The better teams in the league have to be recognized. We are on top of the standings at the moment. I think a few more of our players certainly deserved recognition."

A few precious email - Please visit this dude's blog today:

Mr Sturm,

I'm a big time P1 and grew up in Coppell listening to the Ticket. I am a graduate of the University of Kentucky, where I studied sports journalism. After graduating, I moved to Florida to live with my dad until I could get settled in with a job, which ended up being in accounting. Long story short, my job sucks (listening to The Ticket is all that keeps me from blowing my brains out everyday), and I am still trying to get into sportswriting or sports radio so I started up a blog,, to try to keep writing and hopefully have something to show when I apply for jobs. I was hoping that you could check it out for a minute (I figured this was my best shot since you are in Wisconsin and I know it has to suck there) and let me know if it is totally gay and if it is even worth keeping up. Would a potential employer even care? Anyway, if you get a chance I'd appreciate your opinion on it - even if it means I'm a total homo for asking you to look at it. Thanks for the help....keep up the good work. Love the show.

Thomas Beisner

Thomas' Blog ...

Bob –

Here is something interesting I put together.

For the different sports (excluding hockey), I tried to compile the dynasties and determine the odds of winning titles by chance.

So if there were 30 teams in a division, the odds of winning the title for 1 year is 1/30, or 3%.

For multiple years, it gets tricky, you have to use a binomial probability to determine what the odds of winning 3 out of 4 years, etc.

For example, if you flip a coin 20 times, the probability of getting 15 heads or more is about 2%.

The odds of this is about 1/0.02 = 50, or about a 1 in 50 chance.

The biggest “dynasty” is the Yankees. Over a 42 yr span, they won 20 championships. Even though there were only 16 teams, the odds of this happening are about 1 in 9.7 trillion!

The biggest “dynasty” in the NCAA-BB is UCLA. Over a 12 yr span, they won 10 championships. I estimated there were 24 “contenders”, and the odds of this happening are about 1 in 1.0 trillion.

The biggest “dynasty” in the NBA is Boston. Over a 13 yr span, they won 11 championships. There were 16 teams, and the odds of this happening are about 1 in 256 billion.

The biggest “dynasty” in the NFL is Pittsburgh. Over a 6 yr span, they won 4 championships. There were 28 teams, and the odds of this happening are about 1 in 44000.

An interesting note, in the MLB, the Atlanta Braves won 15 straight division titles. Currently there are only 5 teams in their division, but there used to be more.
Assuming there were 5 teams in the division throughout (otherwise the math is crazy), the odds of this are about 1 in 30 billion.

For comparison, the Dallas Cowboys won 3 titles in 4 yrs. The odds of this happening are about 1 in 5700.

These are about the same odds of an NFL team not winning a championship for 255 consecutive years! (I put Cleveland in as an example below…)

Anyway – the Spurs 4/9 is technically better than the Cowboys 3 of 4, so I think of them as a dynasty.

Some of my numbers might be off by a small amount, but let me know what you think, or any suggestions you have.

Kris – P1 in Atlanta.

Kris, I could have no suggestions for that. It is part-genius, part-headache…

Battle of Hoth (Lego Style)

David Belle - Cool


MK said...

I guess the Beezers blog didn't cut it.

fickle said...

So it's less likely that Dallas would win 3 championships in 4 years than it is for the Steelers to win 4 in 6 years? There's something rotten in the state of Denmark, and it could be Kris dividing by zero.

andrew said...

some stupid ass is going to think that they're cool and sort of athletic, then they'll try to jump from one roof to another and die.