Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Tuesday Stuff

I bet you thought I would lead with A-Rod, right? Sorry. I think the whole world has that covered.

As for Sean Avery?

Bob McKenzie is on the case this morning

The first thing you should know is the Dallas Stars don't absolutely have to do anything with Sean Avery right now.

They could continue to pay him to not play on their team this season and just wait until the summer buyout period to be rid of him. If the Stars were to do that, you could argue they immediately benefit in terms of the salary cap. as long as Avery is in the minors, he doesn't count against the cap.

If Dallas buys out Avery in the off-season, it will cost them $8 million to do so with a cap hit of $1.2 million for each of the next three years and $1.3 million per year for another three years after that.

If, however, they put Avery on re-entry waivers and he's claimed by the New York Rangers or anyone else, the Stars would immediately have to add half of Avery's remaining salary this year to their cap hit. On top of that, they would have a higher cap hit of $1.9 million for each of the next three seasons, although they would save $2 million in cash. But even in this economy that isn't going to make or break Dallas owner Tom Hicks.

But if the Rangers want to allow Avery to play with their farm team in Hartford of the AHL for a trial run before deciding if they want to pick him up - and Stars' GM Les Jackson and Ranger counterpart Glen Sather are arranging for that to happen on Tuesday - the Stars may play the re-entry card later on just to put this whole thing behind them.

In the meantime, though, Dallas is covering its bases. Stars' team doctors gave Avery a thorough physical on Monday in Dallas because they don't need him showing up in the minors and suddenly discovering he's "injured." Injured players get paid to not play, just like Avery right now, but injured players don't often get picked up on re-entry waivers and injured players cannot be bought out of their contracts.
The bottom line is that Dallas is under no real pressure, financial or otherwise, to make a move unless it suits them.

I agree with everything except his assertion that a savings of $2-3 million isn’t an incentive to get this deal done. I think that is the price of a defenseman, so if they get this done, they may be far more willing to add some money by the March 4 trade deadline…

Just in case you weren’t aware, the Dallas Cowboys rank and file have been doing some interviews (all thanks to DC Fanatic):

Greg Ellis on Doocy

Roy Williams on Newy

Romo on with Babe

I guess Hansen must have had himself on…

Speaking of Roy, Blogging the Boys has this

Never has the importance of impact safeties been more evident than it was on Championship Sunday two weeks ago. Only four teams remained in the hunt for the coveted Lombardi trophy, and each of the four had a safety who was a starter in the Pro Bowl. The Eagles’ Brian Dawkins, the Cardinals’ Adrian Wilson, the Steelers' Troy Polamalu, and the Ravens’ Ed Reed all have a catalytic effect on their respective defensive units. They direct traffic. They make tackles in the backfield. They separate backs and receivers from the football. They pick off passes, and they take them to the house. It was not that long ago that the Dallas Cowboys had a guy like that. The troubling thing is that they still have that guy. The name and the smile are the same, but Roy Williams is no longer the game-changing fire starter he once was.

It is worth reading the whole essay at the link about Roy.

Meanwhile, Peter King bets you a coffee!

I think everyone doing free-agent lists should add one name in pencil: Terrell Owens. I'll bet you a month's worth of lattes he'll be free in six weeks.

The kid from Miami of Ohio sucked it up pretty good. The Super Bowl win standings of the Quarterback Class of 2004: Roethlisberger 2, Eli Manning 1, Philip Rivers, J.P. Losman, Matt Schaub 0. Look at the three draft picks in the first round before Roethlisberger in 2004 -- cornerback DeAngelo Hall, wideout Reggie Williams, cornerback Dunta Robinson. Think Atlanta, Jacksonville and Houston regret those picks?

Mavs continue on without the Jet …I agree with the premise that Josh needs to carry the load….

The broken bone in Jason Terry's hand will keep him out several weeks, although no official timetable has been released. One of the weeks Terry will miss coincides with the All-Star break, when no games are played.

Terry said Sunday that he suffered the injury early in the second quarter Saturday against the Chicago Bulls.

"I got a loose ball and ran into [J.J.] Barea and felt a sharp pain," Terry said.

It was clear the injury was significant later in the half, when a pass hit Terry in the hands and he winced in pain. Terry said he did not know if surgery would be required.

The Mavericks were waiting for Terry to visit a hand specialist to determine what's next.

Regardless, it won't be easy to compensate for Terry's absence.

"We're going to have to piece this thing together without him for a while," coach
Rick Carlisle said. "We've got a lot of good players and enough to win games. We'll figure it out. I've been down this road before."

The Mavericks have to figure out how to make up 20 points per game. But they're losing more than a scorer. Terry is a fan favorite, a spiritual leader and a player who can provide a quick spark off the bench.

Kidd and Dirk Nowitzki know what has to happen over the next few weeks. The Mavericks have two home games left before the All-Star break: Tuesday against Sacramento and Thursday against Boston.

Players such as Barea, Josh Howard, Antoine Wright, Brandon Bass, Erick Dampier and James Singleton have to perk up offensively.

OK – On to A-Rod.

Sandomir looks at the actual interview

Rodriguez’s people did not reach out to ESPN reporters like T. J. Quinn or Mark Fainaru-Wada, veterans of the steroids beat, or its legal reporter, Lester Munson.
And they certainly weren’t going to reward Sports Illustrated by agreeing to an exclusive with the magazine, even if one of its Web site’s baseball reporters, Jon Heyman, has reported extensively on Rodriguez’s agent, Scott Boras.

Rodriguez has known Gammons for much of his career and felt comfortable with him in a way he would not with reporters who have specialties in steroids and the law. A year ago, Roger Clemens sought out Mike Wallace of CBS’s “60 Minutes,” because of a comfort level derived from previous interviews, to discuss accusations of steroid use.

A candid Rodriguez gave Gammons plenty — the admission to using steroids and the often-repeated self-flagellation that he was stupid and naïve. But Gammons, ESPN’s Hall of Fame baseball writer, did not ask a crucial question: “Alex, how often did you take Primobolan or any other banned substances?”

It is a rare journalist who walks away from a big interview satisfied that every possible question had been asked in such a set period of time. But this was a big omission.

The answer would have given viewers a greater sense of how much Rodriguez felt he needed to experiment in that “loosey-goosey” era of drug use he described, a period that included his three years as a Texas Ranger. What was the frequency, Alex?
Rodriguez was a willing but careful interviewee, although at the start, he searched through elaborate mouth movements to best express himself.

Hiding a secret for six years can be torture, but it would have stayed hidden if not for the Sports Illustrated article that appeared on the magazine’s Web site Saturday morning.

But when asked where he got any of his drugs, Gammons let him take cover behind the answer that “you have nutritionists, you have doctors, you have trainers.” Well, who? (All we know from him is that he got nothing through José Canseco.)

He also let Rodriguez use the camouflage of baseball’s pretesting-program drug culture — a “gray area” where “a lot of people were doing a lot of things” — when asked who introduced him to steroids?

Gammons’s politeness seemed to have prevented him from being overly skeptical or a bit rude to Rodriguez, who invited him to Miami. Maybe he wanted to give Rodriguez lots of rope to perform self-therapy. But even in confessing, Rodriguez was evasive. How often do you interject or correct?

But Gammons needed to ask, “How could you not know what you were putting in your body?” Or, “Why can’t you recall who first gave you an illegal substance?”

Asked by Gammons if Primobolan, an anabolic steroid whose chemical name is methenolone, were accessible even if doctors would not prescribe it, Rodriguez diverted to asking to see the test because he insisted he did not know what he tested positive for. Alex, meet Primobolan.

It may sound picky, but when Rodriguez said it was “pretty accurate” that he had used the banned drugs from 2001 to 2003, I wondered, how close to 100 percent accuracy is “pretty”? Did he sneak a little juice in 2000, too?

To his credit, Gammons got Rodriguez to admit to plenty of regrets and numerous rationales about how his career should be judged and how he will be assessed by Hall of Fame voters for having, he said, played drug-free for all but three seasons.
All that, and the admission that Sports Illustrated was right in reporting that he tested positive, are valuable additions to baseball’s steroids archive that includes Clemens’s fiery denials, Mark McGwire’s sad evasions, Rafael Palmeiro’s finger-pointing, Jason Giambi’s sort-of-admission and Andy Pettitte’s full-fledged confession.

The original story from SI.com

The disturbing list of Rangers who have been caught in the web of PED according to Sherrington

CF Gary Matthews Jr. Mitchell Report
C Pudge Rodriguez Teammate allegation
SS Alex Rodriguez Media report
RF Juan Gonzalez Teammate allegation
1B Rafael Palmeiro Tested positive
3B Ken Caminiti Acknowledged
DH David Segui Acknowledged
2B Randy Velarde Mitchell Report
LF Chad Allen Mitchell Report

I put Jose Canseco in LF, I think, over Chad Allen…

Andruw Jones wants whatever Rudy is serving

Impressed by a Jan. 26 workout with hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo, the Texas Rangers have agreed to terms with free-agent center fielder Andruw Jones on a minor league deal.

An announcement is expected to be made soon, general manager Jon Daniels said. Jones will make $500,000 if he makes the big-league roster and can earn another $1 million in performance bonuses.

Jones is another low-risk, high-reward signing by the Rangers. An overweight Jones hit only .158 with three home runs for the Los Angeles Dodgers last season, and he had knee surgery in May.

But Jones has lost weight, perhaps as much as 25 pounds, and the Rangers hope that Jaramillo can help him find the powerful stroke that produced at least 25 homers for 10 consecutive seasons from 1998-2007.

"Rudy liked what he saw in his swing and thinks he can help him be consistent," manager Ron Washington said Sunday. "He could be an impact. He was an impact for 12 years in Atlanta."

Jones, a five-time All-Star and 10-time Gold Glove winner, can opt out of his contract March 20. But he could give the Rangers another big right-handed bat to throw into a lefty-heavy lineup.

He swatted 51 homers for the Braves in 2005 and followed with 41 more in 2006. Jones dipped to only 26 the next season, with a .222 average, but was able to land a two-year, $36 million contract with the Dodgers.

His 2008 season was so poor that fans quickly turned against Jones, who weighed more than 240 pounds throughout the season. He played only 75 games, and the Dodgers agreed to release him last month.

It’s the Rangers’ turn to see if Jones, a 13-year veteran who turns 32 in April, still has enough All-Star ability to work his way into a crowded group of outfielders.

"I’m excited to have him," Washington said. "I think it’s a big challenge for him. We’re looking forward to seeing what he may still have and how he can help us."

Tomorrow we get another crack at the Mexicans

Wednesday night has been marked on the calendars of soccer fans for quite some time. It is a game that appeals to the general sports fan also. It is a tale of neighboring countries that share borders, problems, cultural issues and a growing connection between their soccer cultures.

When the United States takes on Mexico in Columbus, Ohio, much more than just qualifying for World Cup 2010 will be on the minds of players and fans alike.
Nationalistic pride will be at stake and, in the case of Mexico, the confidence of a whole country can gain a boost.

As much as the soccer culture continues to grow closer between the two, the popularity of the sport is on distinctively different levels.

In Mexico, soccer is the No. 1 sport in the minds of its people and that is why when the United States defeats their national team it is painful. Here in the U.S., the soccer culture continues to grow and, despite what many think, soccer or fú tbol is clearly an American game.

Still, the pressure seems firmly on Mexico heading into Wednesday night as it has not beaten the United States on U.S. soil in 10 games. Questions revolve around its coach Sven Goran Eriksson and if the Swede is the right man for the job. Missing due to an injury will be Andres Guardado, arguably Mexico’s top attacking talent. Fans will wonder if their top player Rafa Marquez of Barcelona can live up to being a leader against the U.S. team.

Despite these pertinent questions, one must always remember that when the U.S. and Mexico come together, expect the unexpected.

The last meaningful match in which the U.S. and Mexico squared off was at the Gold Cup Final in Chicago in the summer of 2007 in front of 60,000 fans at Soldier Field.
The match was memorable for a number of reasons, but also had a deep Houston connection.

Not only did the win give the U.S. the right to call itself “King of CONCACAF” but it also was the first time that the United States had come from behind to beat its rivals to the south.

Chelsea sacks big Phil

Well, the most obvious – OK, the most amusing – assumption to make in the light of Luiz Felipe's out-of-the-Blues departure from Stamford Bridge is that Chelsea wanted
to beat Portsmouth to Avram Grant.

Funnily enough, the reasons for Scolari's demise are not entirely dissimilar to the ones that did for Tony Adams. Both took over teams that were on the slide and suffering from the apparent disenchantment of their Russian owners. And both palpably failed to convince some of their biggest players that they could arrest the decline.

In Chelsea's case, of course, the demise has been slower but much sharper. They have fallen from a mighty height – from back-to-back Premier League winners to a position where their ability to reach next season's Champions League seems to depend to a large extent on injuries at Arsenal and even Everton. Scolari's greatest
achievement – winning the 2002 World Cup – was made possible by monumental balls-ups by the main rivals, but relying on such serendipity is a risk Chelsea have clearly decided not to take.

Chelsea's problems pre-date Scolari, of course. It was Jose Mourinho's railing at the initial signs of stagnation that precipitated his departure two years ago and Grant deserves a degree of credit for ensuring morale and performances did not completely unravel last season. Recent events, however, suggest much of the praise for last season's run to the Champions League final and second place in the Premier League should be given to the club's erstwhile assistant, Steve Clarke.


Hey Bob,

You or some P1 may have already done this, but I started looking at the stats of the Cowboys and Raiders since the last time Dallas won a playoff game following the 96 season. I picked Oakland because they are a once-great franchise that has taken a huge slide, mainly because Al Davis continues to meddle in the football operations

In the 12 seasons since, here are the cumulative records:

Dal: 95 & 97 (avg record 8-8)
Oak: 77 & 115 (avg record 6-10)

Advantage Cowboys...but also add in, during that same stretch, that Oakland has the same number of double-digit win seasons as Dallas (3), they've won 4 playoff games and been to a Super Bowl.

I'm not saying that the Cowboys have sunk to the depths that the Raiders have of late. But I really am starting to worry that Jerry is headed down the same path as Crazy Al Davis.

I'm sure Sports Sturm already came up with all of this, but I was bored...

Ty Walker

Hey Ya – Donovan and Me

Hard foul?

1 comment:

MK said...

A-rod says what the playoffs have already proven, he folds under pressure like a cheap suit.

Set the TIVO: Eastbound and Down on HBO on Sunday night starring Danny McBride. I know Step Brothers is on infinite repeat for you right now but mix in The Foot Fist Way for a primer.