Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Tuesday Sports Stuff

OK. Since being back, I haven’t visited the dream of KG. The boys at DallasBasketball.com have been all over this for a while, and now the national scribes are including the Mavs in the mix.

I am having a difficult time seeing the Wolves interest in what the Mavs have to offer. But, I must say that if it can be done without Josh Howard being included (Dirk, too, of course), then I do it at almost all costs. Devin Harris is dripping with potential, and I don’t want to give up on him, however, if its 3 years of KG, then I am in for sure.

I just don’t get why Minnesota would deal him unless they can get a potential comparable stud back (Amare?). But, if they just want to blow it up and free up all sorts of cap room (worse idea ever), then I think we are obligated to take their player, no?

I still list it as a dream, but on July 3rd, we can either do that or focus more on the Rangers….

Charley Rosen’s Mavs mention

The latest entry into the Garnett sweepstakes is the Dallas Mavericks. The Mavs would probably seek to unload most of their trash — Austin Croshere, Erick Dampier, Devean George and Jason Terry, while including bona-fide players such as Devin Harris or Josh Howard. While the Wolves might try to dump flotsam like Ricky Davis, Troy Hudson, Marko Jaric, Mark Blount and Mark Madsen combined with semi-legitimate talents such as Trenton Hassell and Craig Smith. But it's hard to imagine the Wolves accepting any package that fails to include Dirk Nowitzki.

Trouble is that a Nowitzki-Garnett swap would be a lateral move for both teams since both of these guys are high-scoring stars that fail in the clutch.

Nothing would be accomplished in this unlikely scenario except a change of address for a pair of big-name players.

Mark Stein from late last week

Before the draft, Dallas had no shot at getting involved, with no expiring contracts and no good draft picks to peddle. Delete draft picks from the Wolves' equation Mavs have a chance now, primarily because Mark Cuban might be the only owner in this discussion who won't be mortified by the luxury-tax implications of importing Garnett. (Although even that's not a given, with Cuban's wild-spending days well behind him.)

The Mavs would naturally try to involve Austin Croshere and/or Keith Van Horn (yes, they still have Van Horn's Bird rights)) in the same sort of sign-and-trade arrangement described above with P.J. Brown to generate payroll relief for the Wolves. Yet it remains to be seen how the rest of the offer would look when Dirk Nowitzki isn't Dallas' only untouchable these days.

The Mavs, to date, insist that Josh Howard and Devin Harris are as close to untouchable as you can get. But it's difficult to envision Dallas making a legit run at KG without being asked to part with those two.

I suppose that's debatable if a top-shelf suitor like Phoenix pulls itself out of the running -- which hasn't happened yet, Suns folks say -- because of the cost involved. If the field thins, perhaps Dallas can concoct something that enables them to keep one of its young cornerstones.

But the message I keep getting is that Harris, seen in Big D as a long-term defensive counter to Tony Parker, is off-limits unless the Mavs find themselves in the midst of a Kobe trade.

Rashard Lewis is going to Orlando, and more importantly, not to Houston

The NBA's most sought-after free agent is going to the Magic Kingdom.

After being treated to an aggressive 24-hour courtship, Rashard Lewis told the Orlando Magic on Monday that he plans to leave the Seattle SuperSonics to sign a max contract with Orlando on July 11, according to NBA front-office sources.

That's the first day free agents are allowed to officially sign new contracts. Free Agency Season in the NBA began Sunday at 12:01 a.m. and Lewis was in Central Florida by Sunday afternoon to take in Orlando's persuasive recruiting pitch, including lobbying from franchise big man Dwight Howard.

The exact value of a max contract won't be known until the league announces the salary-cap figure in effect next season on July 11, but it's believed to be $75-to-85 million over five seasons.

Ok, on to hockey….
Stars are spinning their week …(Possible Bob mention in bold).

The flurry of free-agent signings that has engulfed the NHL has also created a maelstrom for Stars fans, many who feel the team is missing out on opportunities to sign superstars.

The team was so dizzied by the fans' concerns that it posted a story Monday on its home page explaining its free-agent strategy.

"It's frustrating for us, as well," team president Jim Lites said. "But what concerns me most is some fans and media people seem to think we're a horrible team, that we don't care or aren't trying to get better.

"We could probably use a goal-scoring winger, and that's what we're pursuing," he added. "But even if we didn't get one, I feel confident we could go into next season with this team and be very competitive."

The Stars continue to pursue winger Slava Kozlov. The 35-year-old left wing is seeking a contract in excess of $4 million per season and is talking to several teams. He had 28 goals among 80 points last season.

But the Stars contend that any acquisition won't be a scoring savior for the team.
"We have talented forwards who can score goals, and we made it a priority to get those players under contract," Stars general manager Doug Armstrong said.

And Jim, I never said “horrible”. I said “not good enough”.

Kozlov to Dallas? If Jim Lites brother is any indication

Slava Kozlov, a 35-year-old forward who had 28 goals and 52 assists for the Atlanta Thrashers last season, is a possible target.

Stars president Jim Lites, whose brother represents Kozlov, said, "Talks have been fruitful. We're doing our best to try and get him."

Kozlov Stats
I think he is a fine offensive player, and may be a good solution to the problems, but it is tough for me to get too excited about another 35 year old. Also, I am suspicious about his numbers compiled in Atlanta. Reminds me of Donald Audette ...

Meanwhile, Mike Heika defends Tom Hicks

I hate to come off as the Pollyanna when it comes to Tom Hicks, but the guy has done nothing but keep the Stars among the highest payroll teams in the league for as long as he has owned them.

Dallas spent to within $800,000 of the cap last season and will probably do the same again this year. Hicks said he will spend money to make this a winning franchise. That's always been his plan.

Now, if you want to criticize his faith in people like Doug Armstrong, that's fine, but realize how and why he makes those decisions. I'm not sure what he does with the Rangers, but Hicks trusts the opinion of Jim Lites and it's Lites who has given Armstrong his support for all of this time. Hicks relies in the chain of command with his hockey team, unless there is a rare instance where he feels he needs to step in.

I understand the desire to criticize the owner and say all he wants is the fans' money, but I just can't fault Hicks for giving Stars management the opportunity to spend as much money as the league will allow. The team has had a ton of success over the past decade -- and a great deal of that is because Hicks has been the owner.

I, of course, disagree with Mike. But, I thought you would enjoy some optional thinking on Tom Hicks.

I would rather cite his diminishing interest in bold strikes that would set the pace for talent accumulation (which the Stars seem to need), and instead, enjoying the free and easy style that contracts of the 1-year variety to Eric Gagne, Kenny Lofton, Eric Lindros, Matt Barnaby, Sammy Sosa, and other has-beens or damaged stars allows. I may also cite his constant public dialogue over profits in a given fiscal year and the intended objectives of the NHL Salary cap as further reasons that he has become an owner that has seemed to have forgotten that winning is not a bad accomplishment, too.

Remember all of the times Jerry Jones has told his fans that the Cowboys were not profitable enough last season?

Hicks statements last week on the intended objectives of the salary cap

The cap right now is acting as a magnet rather than what it was intended to do. There are teams spending to it that shouldn't be. Fewer [teams] will do it this year than last because those who did lost money. The whole idea was for it to be a midpoint, to keep a competitive balance at a high level.

Possible translation: Don’t count on the Stars spending to the cap.

In baseball news, Jerry Narron visits the gallows

The Reds have fired Jerry Narron. Now what?

The sacrificial scapegoating of the manager will appease an angry fan base. For a day or two. It will answer charges that the team is not accountable for its woeful underachievement. For a day or two. It will keep the talk-show freaks from piling on the manager. For an hour or two. Then what?

The Reds are awful. This wasn’t Jerry Narron’s fault, only his problem. Managers traditionally are the first to take it in the neck when a team underperforms. Narron probably deserved his fate. The best a big-league skipper can do these days is create an atmosphere in which his players come to work every day wanting to play hard and with enthusiasm. Narron didn’t do that. The self-proclaimed “baseball guy" could never transfer his love for the game to his players. Narron doesn’t inspire passion in others.

The Reds have no leadership, partly because Narron couldn’t provide it. To survive, managers like Narron need a couple clubhouse lieutenants with forceful personalities. The Reds don’t have any of those. Their best players and biggest clubhouse forces are laid-back, why-are-you-working-so-hard? types.

Narron’s biggest weakness was he liked his players too much. That’s why he could say with a straight face that his everyday guys played hard all the time (when anyone else could see they did not) and that the Reds as a whole weren’t far from being a good team, even as they had the worst record in baseball. It’s why Narron could say David Weathers deserved a spot on the All-Star team.

His players either liked him or were neutral. Regardless, they didn’t play for him.

Interesting article on the 1-team ball players

Outfielder Garret Anderson is one of only 15 players who are in at least their 10th season and have been with one team their entire major league careers.

That's 15, and there are 750 active players.

It's not that surprising that, out of the 15, six are on two teams, the New York Yankees and Atlanta Braves. Those teams have shown rare (in these days) loyalty to longtime players and aren't afraid to spend the necessary money to keep their stars.
Anderson, who is in his 14th season with the Angels, never thought he would spend his entire career with Los Angeles but, now, wouldn't have it any other way.

"When you're young, you really don't think a lot about [setting team records]," Anderson said. "I didn't even think about getting to the big leagues. The idea seemed too far away."

20 seasons

Craig Biggio, Astros: A probable Hall of Famer, Biggio has 3,007 hits and took the Astros to a World Series. He's also one of the few players to play entire seasons at three positions: catcher, second base and center field. He's in the last year of his contract.

John Smoltz, Braves: He has been as reliable as death and taxes, winning 202 games with a career ERA of 3.26 (entering Monday). He's signed through 2008 with a vesting option for 2009 and a club option for 2010.

14 seasons

Chipper Jones, Braves: Jones played eight games in 1993 and then became a full-time player for the Braves in 1995. He entered Monday with a lifetime average of .305 and 370 home runs, and his drive to win has helped keep him in Atlanta. He's signed through 2008 with a club option for 2009 that could become guaranteed.

Garret Anderson, Angels: One of the most consistent players in the American League, Anderson has a lifetime .296 average and is especially effective in the clutch. He's signed through 2008 with a club option for 2009.

13 seasons

Derek Jeter, Yankees: During his career, he has been arguably the best shortstop in baseball, averaging .318 in 1,758 games. An outstanding fielder, he is possibly the heart of the team. He's signed through 2010.

Jorge Posada, Yankees: Posada became a standout catcher, and age hasn't taken away his edge. He's having his best major league season by far, hitting near the top of the American League at .332. He's in the last year of his contract.

Mariano Rivera, Yankees: Almost guaranteed to be a Hall of Famer, he has been a contributor since his first season, when he was a starter. In his third season, he took over as closer, and nothing has been the same for the American League since. He has 423 saves and a 2.34 ERA. He's in the last year of his contract.

Mike Sweeney, Royals: There's no telling how much praise Sweeney might have received if he played for a more noticeable team. He's a .299 career hitter with 197 home runs. Though he's had only one spectacular season (.333 with 144 RBI in 2000), he's one of the league's most consistent players when healthy. He's in the last year of his contract.

12 seasons

Andruw Jones, Braves: Jones has been, for the most part, a consistent threat at the plate (with 355 home runs entering Monday), and he's one of the top defensive center fielders in baseball history, which has been a big part of Atlanta's run of divisional titles. He's in the last year of his contract.

11 seasons

Todd Helton, Rockies: He has 293 home runs while hitting .332. He has scored, and driven in, over 1,000 runs. He's signed through 2011 with a club option for 2012.
Torii Hunter, Twins: If Andruw Jones isn't baseball's best defensive outfielder, then Hunter might be. He's also a .271 lifetime hitter and has improved with age, hitting a career-best .299 this season with 17 home runs. He's in the last year of his contract.

Jason Varitek, Red Sox: One of Boston's most emotional leaders, Varitek has been a big part of the Red Sox's success, playing 1,081 career games at baseball's toughest position, catcher. He's signed through 2008.

10 seasons

Eric Chavez, A's: He has won six consecutive Gold Gloves at third base, but his average has slipped the past few years due to minor injuries. Still, he has 224 home runs with a career average of .270 (entering Monday). He's signed through 2010 with club option for 2011.

Geoff Jenkins, Brewers: Another one of the Mr. Consistency club, Jenkins has a .279 career average with 203 home runs. He's in the last year of his contract, but the team has an option for next season.

Roy Halladay, Blue Jays: He didn't top eight victories in a season until 2002, but counting that year, he has posted 86 since, recording 41 combined in 2002 and 2003. He's on pace to approach 20 this season to go with a career ERA of 3.66. He's signed through 2010.

Copa America not good for America

Looks as if the U.S. soccer team's trip to Venezuela is going to be a short one.

Four days after being routed by a superior Argentina squad in their Copa America opener, the youthful Americans were humbled even further Monday night in a 3-1 loss to Paraguay that put them on the brink of elimination.

"We gave them too many easy chances," said Kasey Keller, the veteran U.S. goalkeeper. "But this is why we're here, to give these young guys experience. Unfortunately, sometimes you need to make mistakes to learn."

Ricardo Clark's goal in the 40th minute had tied the score 10 minutes after Edgar Barreto put Paraguay ahead.

But then, Jimmy Conrad all but conceded Oscar Cardozo's goal in the 56th minute, which gave Paraguay a 2-1 lead. Salvador Cabanas scored his third goal of the tournament in injury time after the Americans blew chance after chance offensively.

Clark's first international goal in nine appearances was little consolation for the Americans, who lost their second straight after going 10-0-1 to start the year. It all but eliminated the U.S. team from South America's championship. Many of the top U.S. players did not make the trip for this tournament.

"The effort was strong," U.S. coach Bob Bradley said. "Nonetheless, we didn't do very well."

The 13th-ranked United States (0-2) would have to rout No. 31 Colombia in the final group stage game and get lots of help from other teams. Paraguay, ranked 37th, joined Mexico in the quarterfinals.

After beating Mexico for the Gold Cup title with players such as Landon Donovan, DaMarcus Beasley and Carlos Bocanegra, Bradley brought a largely young and untested squad to Copa America. The inexperience showed.

Kobayashi is scared of America

Is Takeru Kobayashi chicken? Which, by the way, he could eat a lot of, and really fast.

It seemed a little suspicious, after all, when the master eater from Japan claimed to have pulled up lame - with a jaw injury - while training to face his upstart, speed-eating challenger, Joey Chestnut of San Jose.

The eating injury came just two weeks after Chestnut shattered Kobayashi's world record for downing Nathan's hot dogs, 59 1/2 frankfurters and buns to Kobayashi's 53, a mark Kobayashi set last July 4 at Coney Island, his sixth straight win at the annual Super Bowl of eating competitions, the Nathan's Famous July 4th International Hot Dog Eating Contest - a 12-minute frank-feeding free-for-all.

The injury report also came two weeks before their upcoming rematch at this year's Nathan's hot dog contest, which is gathering a lot of attention among those who like to see who can eat the most the quickest.

On its Web site, the International Federation of Competitive Eating, which ranks such things, announced that Kobayashi is "day to day," much like an NFL running back with a bad hamstring. Kobayashi, however, has said on his blog that he will compete, even though he makes it sound as though he can barely "say ahh" for a teaspoon of Gerber's applesauce.

"My jaw refused to fight anymore," he said on his Japanese-language blog. "I was continuing my training and bearing with the pain, but finally I destroyed my jaw."

Tom Hicks new purchase: Liverpool’s Fernando Torres

Not our weatherman, but wow.

Fenway Anthem – Disabled young man sings anthem, struggles, and the Fenway crowd picks him up. Pretty cool moment.


Phil K. said...

That Torres video was maybe the gayest thing I've ever seen. Are you kidding me? Highlights of penalty kicks? He better have more going for him than that.

Mark Mathis has been off the radar for a while. This video was around like two years ago. They fired his ass hard.

Anonymous said...

Did anyone else catch Mark Cuban on that NBC sitcom this weekend? I can't remember what it's called, but it's the one about an airline & a young guy working in the office? He was on a flight in a fat suit (to appease the "fat lobby"), and was seated next to Mark Cuban. For a long while, Cubes didn't say anything--he just overacted the "looking" and "reading magazine" role. He had a couple of lines: "You're in, dude" (telling the guy in the fat suit to go plow some broad in the lavatory) and something else along the same line.

There was only one mention of his name, though, when the main character said "you can ask Mark Cuban" or something near the end of the episode.

Strange strange.

So...anyone else see it?

Anonymous said...

Not NBC; Fox. It's called "The Loop."

Brad said...

I don't remember a more desperate off-season feeling in quite a long time. All of the Stars enemies are improving.

I don't care what theur strategy is, I DONT LIKE IT. I'm a season ticket holder, and I'm not getting a good return on my investment.

Oh yeah, sign a 35 year old. Great.

Fire Army...fire him now. Lites too. This is crap. I'm done with them.