Friday, May 29, 2009

Ask Sports Sturm: All of Nothing

chris-davisAfter Chris Davis' Tuesday performance of the 2-HR, 2-K variety, I was sent this email by Tim in Bedford:

Is Chris Davis the biggest All-or-Nothing guy in Major League Baseball? It seems like it either a HR or a strikeout with this guy, and while I enjoy the good...I do wonder about that bad.


Thanks, Tim. This is a topic I have become interested in with the plight of Chris Davis this season. He is someone I certainly root for, because I enjoy watching him play.

But, the amazing All-or-Nothing discussion is one worth looking at.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Gimmick or No?

manute_bol_n_muggsy_boguesI have another confession to make; I love the sports oddity.

Actually, I am guessing every last one of us does. Who wasn't extra intrigued by Muggsy Bogues at 5'3 and Manute Bol at 7'7 playing on the same Washington Bullets team? How about when Mike Ditka lined the Fridge up at RB for the '85 Bears? Or, who didn't spend a few moments of their childhood interested in the stories about the great Pete Gray who played major league baseball with one arm during World War II and Eddie Gaedel who was a clear gimmick when he drew a walk at 3'7 back in 1951?

Part of being obsessed with sports as a kid with too much time on your hands is searching for the ways to get ahead by utilizing a special player or scenario that is not covered in the rule books. How many times have I been asked why the NHL has not considered putting a sumo wrestler in net to play goalie? Heck, wasn't the NFL career of Renaldo Nehemiah pretty much Bill Walsh thinking outside the box?

Which brings us to the New York Yankees, who today finish their time in Arlington for this year against Derek "Brick" Holland, and the Texas Rangers.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Amazing Is Happening

87746139GE036_LAKERS_NUGGETSFour Days ago, I wrote that the NBA Playoffs have been amazing this spring. Since that was written, we have had four games, won by four different teams. These conference finals are enough to make you forget about most everything else.

And as we ponder the events of the last 7 glorious days of NBA basketball and look ahead to the next 7 that will determine who will be in the NBA Finals, here are some quick thoughts on each team that is still very much in the hunt:


What you have to like:If you are the Nuggets, you have to love a few things about the way this series is headed. First, the idea that the physical nature of the game seems to be working against most of the Lakers. They may not be withering quite to the extent that New Orleans or Dallas did, but the fact seems to be that the Lakers do not appreciate this overly-physical mid-90's Knicks/Heat basketball. But, if you think about it, the Nuggets likely could not win any other way. They have been in prime position to win all 4 games of this series, and although they have given home-court advantage back to the Lakers, there is a chance that this is a series where being at home doesn't matter too much. The combination of Nene, Kenyon, and Birdman seem to be wearing down the Lakers. If this continues, the Nuggets have a great chance to represent the West. By the way, you also have to love that there are no extra days off for Kobe. Games Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday with travel each day in between the rest of the way will not replenish the energy supplies of a guy who is a) carrying his team and b) starting to look gassed.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

UFC 98 - Almost Live Blog

lyoto-machida-rashad-evans-ufc-98Here is the UFC 98 experimental live blog that wasn't really live because I didn't tell anyone it was coming. Perhaps, we will really do a live one for UFC 99. Is that something you might be interested in?

Rashad Evans versus Kyoto Machida; Matt Hughes vs Matt Serra - Live from Vegas, Baby.

9:04 - UFC invites you to text in who you think is going to win because boy, we really want to know who you think is going to win.

9:06 - Rogan points out that Serra has called a name that rhymes with stick about 500 times. Seriously, Serra has a mouth on him. No one has ever doubted his ability to speak quickly - but has he ever really done more than his shocker over GSP? One lucky punch is something that MMA has no answer for. No one is invincible, and no one is useless. 1 punch can put everyone down. Unlike boxing, there is no such thing as invincible.

Friday, May 22, 2009

NBA Playoffs

nbaThere have been years when the NBA Playoffs were not very good.

This would not be one of them.

The last 3 nights have provided some of the best NBA Playoff basketball that we have seen in recent years, and I hope you are watching. The Nuggets vs. Lakers in the West have played 2 instant classics in the first two contests of that series, and the largely anonymous Orlando Magic gave Cleveland its first loss of the post-season on Wednesday in Game 1 of the Eastern Finals.

After 2 rounds of weeding out the weaklings, we are now officially ready to rumble.

UFC 98 Preview

ufc98Here is an actual email from an actual reader/listener:

You know that UFC 98 is coming up....maybe it gets a mention some where in your media empire? Do soccer fans email you about mentions too? I dont know if i like the redirect from BobsBlog to Dmagzine but i am you

Cody the No 1 p1

I get that email about 3 times a week, from good-strong followers who would like me to take my fandom of MMA fighting to my media outlets.

My hesitation is based on the idea that although I watch it, I am not positive I fully understand what is going on in an MMA fight. On the other hand, some of you have made that same point about my thoughts on our traditional sports so maybe I should just get over that.

Did the Cowboys get the Right WR?

roy-williams-hookemI haven't touched much on the Dallas Cowboys situation since draft weekend, but I read something a few days ago that got me a bit fired up about what the theme will be moving in 2009 for this team.

The column in question was from The Star Telegram on Sunday where Randy Galloway was writing a very interesting compare/contrast between the Cowboys, Rangers, and Mavericks big trades of the last few years to see how things have worked out.

The premise of it was that the Rangers got the Braves/Teixeira trade totally right (they did), the Mavs got the Kidd trade totally wrong (they did), and the Cowboys sweat out the results of the Roy Williams deal (they do).

In my estimation, (and I am sure he will be glad that a radio guy is estimating anything he wrote) his conclusion is absolutely solid, but my issue is with his last idea on the Cowboys:
But as we await the verdict, a nagging doubt centers on another receiver, Anquan Boldin of the Cardinals. The same first, third and other draft picks, plus the $20 million guaranteed on Roy’s new contract, would have fetched Boldin in a deal.

That’s like asking if you’d rather have Devin/two first-rounders or Kidd.


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Ask Sports Sturm: Elvis, Baron, and Boston

preguntas1We have not done this in a while online, even though we do it every Friday at 12:50pm on the radio (Sportsradio 1310 the Ticket - The Bob and Dan show :)), so let's answer a few sports questions and concerns:

1) - Is Elvis Andrus the Youngest Player in Major League Baseball?

This one has been asked of me plenty in the last six weeks, and sometimes answering your question is as easy as heading to Google and entering "youngest players in MLB 2009". But, until I finish this entry, that search doesn't get you much information. But, as of last Friday morning, when I combed all 30 franchises' 25-man rosters, here are the 6 youngest players in the big leagues (I used 6 because #5 and #6 are seperated by 1 day, and all 6 are 1988 babies).

Date of Birth

Rick Porcello

Elvis Andrus

Clayton Kershaw

Trevor Cahill

Travis Snider

Brett Anderson

Table Tutorial

Inside Corner Stuff

On Tuesday, I did Ask Sports Sturm ...

And, On Monday, it was Machine Gun Monday Time ...

All Sturm Posts Here ...

Monday, May 18, 2009

Machine Gun Monday

machinegunThat is what a baseball town must be like. There are times when you visit other cities and you notice that some of them actually treat the entire summer like the playoffs would be treated here. Take Boston or Chicago or New York, and in those cities, it often appears that the other sports are just existing to keep people amused until the baseball team plays again. Every inning is dissected. Every managerial decision is debated. Having grown up in Packerland, and then having lived in this Cowboys city for 11 baseball seasons, I often look with great curiosity at those types.

I don't mind their kind, I just don't totally understand it.

Here, baseball gets us to Labor Day when another football season engages us.

I would imagine many of you understand that there are generally two types of Rangers fans I have witnessed. Type-1) Those who are hardcore diehards who never leave the tv during the summer (or the Newberg Report, Inside Corner, or Lonestarball) and often grow more quiet by the week as the summer continues, because once again the object of their affection has let them down. or Type-2) Those who enjoy baseball with the same feelings that they enjoy grilling out; It happens every summer, and then the rest of the year, we do something else. If the Rangers do well, they roll with them, but if they are 10 back on June 1, they only watch when there is nothing else to do.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Mavs Achilles Heel Remains

dirk124 hours after the end of the Mavericks season, and I cannot quite move on just yet. I understand why the season ended, but one thing that I don't understand is why the Mavericks have been committed to the same strategy year after year on offense.

They built a team around Dirk. That makes sense on a number of levels, because for all of his flaws, he may just be one of the most unique talents in NBA history. A 7-foot perimeter sniper who can also perform some McHale-like post moves when he is interested.

The problem, to me, comes back to the way they build the rest of the team. If you are going to build around a perimeter shooter, you must vary the rest of your 5. You should have a penetrating guard and you would prefer to find a post presence. If you did, then a Dirk-team would be more dangerous. But building a team is a little more difficult than simply realizing what you need. You have to figure out a way to get it.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Game 5: Nuggets 124, Mavs 110 (4-1)

Game 5 Notes ...

8 preseason games, 82 regular season games and 10 playoff games later - 100 in all - the 2008-09 Dallas Mavericks are nothing but a memory.

59 of those 100 games were wins this year, so you certainly enjoyed some reasonable quality along the way. But, it is now over.

It feels a bit different this year than the previous few. 2006 was a heartbreak that will never heal. 2007 was an ambush to the senses that resembled an assassination. No warning, just quick and lethal - the so called best team in the NBA was not. 2008 was the realization of reality. The team's window might have closed, and Avery Johnson was the one thing that dysfunctional team could agree on: He had to go.

But here in 2009, it seems different altogether. Perhaps it is because the bar was lowered down to more realistic levels, but given that many didn't expect them to make the playoffs 60 days ago, a season that contained a series win over the hated San Antonio Spurs doesn't seem that painful. Maybe it was the long death of the Nuggets series - one that you kind of knew was coming 9 days ago when Game 2's route was on - but for whatever the reasons, it is hard to imagine too many shed tears last night after Denver finished off Dallas in Game 5. Like a relative dying after a long battle with a disease, we certainly had a chance to come to terms.

Denver was better. And not by just a little bit.

Saving the Bullpen

I am thoroughly amazed at some of the things we are seeing in Arlington this summer, and while my calendar reminds me that we are merely passing the "20% of the season" pole today, it is worth noting our sample size is growing by the week.

With that in mind, the stat that has always been front and center for me is the distribution of innings between your starters (generally, guys you have invested most of your resources into between dollars and assets) and your bullpen (guys you have determined are not great candidates to be starters at this time). Really good pitching staffs actually approach 70% work load being shouldered by the starters, which then leads to a number of good results in many categories. The Rangers in 2008 were at about 60%. While that 10% may not seem like much, perhaps it better explains why people like Nolan Ryan discuss "one more inning" or "one more out" from the starters. Because that 10% is the difference between the best staffs in baseball and the worst.

This morning, the Rangers starting rotation work load percentage stands at 68.5%. Phenomenal on so many levels for this staff to be able to shoulder that much work. Scott Feldman last night kept the beat going, and the bullpen remains rested and ready (Francisco news pending, of course). Their quality will be tested as the summer goes on, but the fact that there are things this far into the season that we are not sure about regarding the bullpen speaks to the improvements. In past summers in recent memory, we knew way TOO much about the Rangers' bullpen by now.

Game 4: Mavs 119, Nuggets 117 (3-1, Denver)

Game 4 notes and observations...

For the second consecutive home game, it was 48 minutes of high tension playoff basketball for the Dallas Mavericks. And, for the second consecutive home game, it came down to the final 30 seconds. And while it was not with any degree of ease, the Mavericks figured out a way to close the deal, get a win, and extend their 2008-09 season for at least another 48 hours and another flight to Denver, Colorado for game 5 on Wednesday.

It was a game that was impossible to feel good about until the very end. The Mavericks could never reel in the Nuggets for the entire game. In fact, for what must have been a dozen times, the Mavs would mount a surge only to be pounded over the head with an answer for Denver. Make no mistake, Denver was trying to drive a dagger. They were ready to relax and let Houston and the Lakers fight it out. But, in a game where it would have been easy to tap out and quit, the Mavs showed some real fight and determination not to let their season end in front of the home fans.

Is it delaying the inevitable? Almost certainly. But, is there ever a bad reason to fight and show pride? I can't think of one in the playoffs.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Game 3: Nuggets 106, Mavs 105 (3-0)

My Full Game 3 Notes Column

That's an ender.

As valiant an effort as it was, the 2008-09 Dallas Mavericks season basically came to a close on Saturday night as the Mavs were trying to take a foul they had to give, but the officials allowed the play to continue and Carmelo made them play by sticking a 3 in the face of Dallas and bringing this series to the brink.

There are a million ways to look at this game, but I suppose the easiest way is to say that when you are up 4 points at 105-101 with :31 to play, you have go to close that deal. The Mavs then went 0-2 on defensive attempts and 0-2 on offensive attempts and that is why you lost. Why the officials did not recognize Antoine Wright's clear foul on Carmelo is certainly worth discussing, but you cannot take a collective 0-4 on possessions in the final 30 seconds and then do anything but take your medicine. The call was blown, but nonetheless, you also have to help yourself.

For the Mavs, that medicine will include a summer that will begin this week.

What a shame. The arena was nuts and Dirk Nowitzki delivered with 33 points and 16 rebounds. But, he would tell you his 0-4 in the final 3 minutes are what matters most, and he would be correct.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Wasting a Day in Your Cubicle

hawaiian In Office Space, Friday was Hawaiian Shirt day. So, if you'd like you may wear a Hawaiian shirt and some jeans. On this blog, I don't care what you wear. But, I feel Friday should have a practical application to the good reader who is trying to get Friday over with as painlessly as possible.

I have been meaning to get several things on the blog recently, and since it is the end of the week, please allow me to put them altogether in some sort of crazy blog casserole and see where it takes us:

Things You can/should listen to:

Rangers Pitching Coach Mike Maddux Visit with BaD Radio from 5/1/09 ...

The Ian Kinsler Show (the in-person at the stadium visit) Part 1 and Part 2 . So much for that BaD Radio Curse, by the way, since we have signed up really good players like Ian, Jason Witten, and EDIT: Brenden (not Brendan) Morrow.

And, then Ted Price, Jamey Newberg, and Adam Morris invited me to join them on their sweet Rangers Podcast in Arlington so find out what happens when really smart baseball minds have to talk more slowly so I can keep up...

So, right there, I have given you about 2 hours of Rangers listening items. But, wait....there is more!

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Game 2: Nuggets 117, Mavericks 105 (2-0)

The Notes for Game 2 ...

Same song, different verse.

Was the big winner of the first round series really the Spurs? If by losing that series you could avoid suffering the public humiliation of being routed in consecutive 4th quarters, you have to wonder.

I am speaking with tongue in cheek, but with regards to Games 1 and 2, I am hearing so many people rationalize these throttlings as "hey we were right there at 82-80 (Game 1) and 86-83 (Game 2)". Andwhile that is true, from where I sat it seemed a lot more like watching an animal play with its food for a while to battle the boredom of the day, and then when the mood struck, it was time to turn up the seriousness of the situation and go in for the kill.

Denver is better. And not just by a little bit like we thought before the series began. And while we can all wonder what difference Josh Howard would have made on 2 ankles, I think it would be terribly optimistic to assume that he could have changed the final outcome of these two games in Denver. Loss, Loss.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Summer of Alex?

pg2_arod_cover_200Based partly on Evan Grant's post yesterday about Alex Rodriguez and the shocking revelations involving toothpaste (seriously), I think I have turned the corner on Alex.

For years, I have remained Switzerland on most issues regarding Alex Rodriguez.

That's right.

I don't foam at the mouth when he rolls through town, nor do I order T-shirts that display the latest evolutions of his nickname.

I guess I just don't get as worked up about him as I might for someone else who has made money for delivering very little in this city.

Hey, we all pick our objects of obsession differently, right?

But, in this week where newstands will sell this new Selena Roberts book where we will soon understand that Alex Rodriguez tipped off pitches to opponents, used steroids in high school, and then no doubt thought about drowning puppies for sport and once considered ripping the tags off of mattresses, I have caught myself almost pulling for the guy to escape from the terrible mob.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Game 1: Nuggets 109, Mavs 95 (1-0)

Notes and Reviews of Game 1 in Denver ...
Welcome to Denver.

You are not playing the Spurs anymore, now are you? The Mavericks are playing a team in the Denver Nuggets that seem to have about as much in common with the Spurs as JJ Barea has in common with Dwight Howard. Not much.

These Nuggets are quite formidable. I do like how they compete. I really like how they defend. And I did not care much for how the Mavericks responded to that "in your jock" defense that Denver rolled out there. In case you are looking for elaboration, here is how Dallas responded to the Nuggets defense: They settled. They shot from further and further out. They passed with hope, but not conviction. They drove looking for fouls, not dunks. And, then they changed their shots because they were concerned about getting their shots blocked.

It is just one game, but we surely saw many of the signs that this is a match-up that will make the Mavericks uncomfortable. And if they respond like they did in previous series over the years where their comfort was in doubt, well, this season will be over in a real hurry.

The NBA is such a league of match-ups. It is not how good you are sometimes, but for many, it is more of a question of who do you get to play. Styles make fights. Well, after playing a series where they seemed to find many match-ups that worked; Erick Dampier looked like he could cause Tim Duncan '09 some issues, Michael Finley was trying to guard Josh Howard, etc - the Nuggets seem to have fewer difficult questions to answer. For instance, despite not having a real great plan for stopping Dirk (although if the Birdman is going to play like that...), the Mavericks are having far greater headaches wondering what they can possibly do to slow down Nene with Dampier and with Carmelo Anthony and JR Smith performing as wings who look to score, the Mavs seem short at least 1 and probably 2 players who can both defend and at least make you consider guarding them on the other end.

And what gives you most pause? Being blown out in the 4th Quarter, and Carmelo and Chauncey were not terribly huge factors. Oh dear.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Mavs-Nuggets Preview

nuggetsThe number we keep hearing is that Denver is 4-0 against Dallas in the regular season. What does that mean? Is it as one-sided as that number indicates?

Yes and No.

Yes, because the Nuggets built leads in most of the games, and figured out ways to win the close games. They beat the Mavs in a game without Carmelo, and they beat the Mavs in a game without Nene.

No, because the Mavericks team we see now has nothing to do with a Mavs team that had Devean George, Gerald Green, and James Singleton all start games in this season series. Josh Howard did not play at all in a 2 of the games, and played hurt in the other 2.

The question in this series is who will help Dirk score. He gets big production in pretty much every game against Denver so this idea that Kenyon is going to give him grief is not really based on past results. Jet will score, too. But beyond that, the Mavs could not count on much. That will have to change.