Donnerstag, 31. Mai 2012

Impact Wrestling Live: Roode vs. Sting, Aries vs. Sabin, Bully Ray and More

Bobby Roode vs. Sting: Non-Title Lumberjack Match

Sting picked up the victory when Roode tapped out to the Scorpion Death Lock. This was a very good match that saw some nice back-and-forth action. I thought that the lumberjacks were used perfectly as well.

The faces would throw Roode back in while the heels would try to protect the champion when given the chance. They didn’t get much of a chance to attack Sting despite the Icon spring boarding outside onto them.

This was Sting’s first match since March but he looked good in the ring. I would have much preferred to see Roode win here but it sets up his victory down the line.

The champion sold very well for Sting and performed great as well. These two work well together and it shows.

Post-match, Hulk Hogan made his one of only two appearances on the show and booked Bobby Roode vs. Sting for the title at Slammiversary.

I would have liked to see the King of the Mountain match make a return, but as long as Roode retains the title I’m fine with the match.

Backstage, Madison Rayne was talking about Brooke Hogan and said that they’d get along just fine. This would be the only appearance by any Knockout during this show, which is very disappointing.

The Knockouts are usually the highest rated segments on the show, but for some reason, TNA decided to cut them from the first live show of the summer.

It’s a bad move as far as I’m concerned.

Bully Ray then appeared in the ring. He wanted Joseph Park, who said that he wasn’t a fighter. The bully then called him, his parents and Abyss cowards and that brought the lawyer into the ring.

Park would soon try to leave but Bully Ray changed his plea to “guilty” and Park grabbed him as a result. The bully threatened to sue but Park wanted to fight. Bully Ray said that they can fight at Slammiversary.

This was another great segment from Bully Ray and Joseph Park. Bully Ray continues to be pure gold on the mic and is truly the definition of a bully.

Just like a real bully, Bully Ray backed down as soon as Park stood up to him.

Abyss is really coming into his own as this character. His facial expressions are priceless and his actions in the ring are great!

I like the idea of these two having a match at Slammiversary. I think Abyss will be coming out that night!

A video hyping Crimson was then shown. He then appeared backstage to say that he couldn’t be beaten. The video itself was very good, but I think it would have been better to see Crimson in a match.

At the same time, I understand hyping him up before he makes his live debut in the ring. With his line that he can’t be beat, I think that his next feud will end up being quite the ride.


Austin Aries vs. Chris Sabin: X-Division Championship

The X-Division champion picked up the victory with a rollup after he reversed Sabin’s Cradle Shock finisher. Despite being a bit short, this was a great match! It didn’t slow down for a second and featured a lot of great action.

Austin Aries never disappoints in the ring and this was no exception. He continues to prove why he is the “Greatest Man Who Ever Lived.”

It was really nice seeing Sabin back in singles action. With Alex Shelley’s departure from TNA, fans will be seeing more of Sabin in singles matches.

It’s sad to see Shelley go, but having Sabin back in the X-Division will give it a major boost.

Aries will no doubt be in the main event picture by the end of the year and Sabin could be a good choice to carry the division.

Earlier today, Hulk Hogan was with Taz and it was revealed that the former ECW champion was replacing Ric Flair as a Gut Check judge. I’m happy with this decision. I liked Taz in his Tough Enough days and seeing him and Al Snow interact again should create some entertaining television.

Dixie Carter then made her way to the ring and she thanked the fans for helping TNA make it a decade. She then announced that a TNA Hall of Fame will be instituted and that the first inductee would be revealed at Slammiversary.

The new Knockouts boss, Brooke Hogan, then made her way out and revealed that her deal was between only her and Dixie, but that her father supported it. She admitted to having big shoes to fill and that ended the segment.

I’m quite glad that this was kept short. I was expecting Brooke to come out, make a long speech to the entire Knockouts division and then make a match. Unfortunately we didn’t even get a match!

I’m saddened that the division’s only appearances were a short segment with Madison Rayne and the debut of Brooke Hogan. A match really would have been great!

As for the TNA Hall of Fame, it’s a cool idea. The only problem I see with it is the fact that TNA has only been around for 10 years so a hall of fame really doesn’t make too much sense.

Either way, Jeff Jarrett better be the first inductee. I mean, the man created TNA so if anyone deserves to be in the company hall of fame, it’s him.

Backstage, Christopher Daniels and Kazarian were angry that Dixie skipped over the situation of A.J. Styles. Daniels then revealed that they had more proof and that it would be revealed later. This storyline is intriguing me. I really want to know where this whole thing will eventually go.


Devon vs. Jeff Hardy: Television Championship

The match ended in a no-contest when Robbie E and Robbie T once again interfered in a TV title match. The match was going pretty well as Devon and Hardy went back-and-forth in the ring.

They know each other well from their time in WWE and their familiarity with each other makes for a good match.

I’m getting really bored with Devon’s feud with the Robbie’s. TNA just needs to end it! Either give the title back to Robbie E or move them on to different things!

A video of James Storm was then shown. He talked of being at home with his daughter and how he hated letting people down. It ended with Storm saying that he made a decision. His daughter asked, “Are you going back to wrestling?” Storm responded with telling the cameras to cut.

This was quite the good video. It teased Storm’s return which I liked. I have a feeling that he’ll be making his return at Slammiversary.

After Bobby Roode defeats Sting, Storm will return and take out the champion. At least that’s what I’d like to see. Storm is certainly on his way back to TNA, and that’s a good thing!

It was Gut Check time as Joey Ryan made his way out to be judged by Bruce Pritchard, Al Snow and Taz. After Pritchard and Taz said “no,” Ryan was denied a contract.

After I got over my initial disappointment, I saw a light at the end of the tunnel.

After Taz denied him employment, the two of them went at it verbally. It ended with Taz telling Ryan to come back in a few weeks to impress him enough to change his mind.

To me, that says Joey Ryan will be back! I don’t think he’ll be in a match, though. I think it’ll be more like Ryan runs in and takes a few people out.

I think it’s only a matter of time until the TNA fans see Joey Ryan back in the ring.


A.J. Styles vs. Christopher Daniels

Styles picked up the victory with a flip off the middle turnbuckle into a reverse DDT. This was a good match that featured some nice action. Even though this is probably the 100th time TNA fans have seen these two go at it, they never disappoint and this match was no different.

The upside of Styles and Daniels facing as many times as they have is that they know each other so well in the ring, which translates into a great match.

This is the second week in a row where Styles has been featured in the main event. He’s continuing to prove why he deserves to be there, too.

Daniels is without a doubt one of the most underrated wrestlers in TNA. He consistently has very good matches, and has become a great heel over the past year, but he can’t escape the mid-card and tag-team division. I think he deserves at least one shot in the main event.

Post-match, the tag champions beat down Styles until Kurt Angle made the save. He ended up getting taken out as well which gave the champs a chance to reveal more proof of the Styles/Dixie situation.

They introduced a phone call between the two and it was them talking about them meeting up, being happy to see one another and about her husband being away. Dixie then appeared at the announcer table and ordered the feed be cut, which it was.

Well, things just got more interesting. Dixie has finally addressed the situation; it just took a phone call to finally get her attention.

This does unfortunately mean, though, that Dixie may be on the show more. She just doesn’t have an on-screen presence and she takes valuable time away from matches and good segments.

I do hope that this all ends at Slammiversary, though, as Styles and Daniels really need something to do other than to feud with one another.

Overall I thought TNA Wrestling’s first live episode of the summer was a success. All the matches were good and the in-ring segments were either good or short and to the point.

While there were a few duds, like Brooke Hogan, the ending of the Television Championship match and the lack of a Knockouts match, the pros very much outweighed the cons this week.

If this episode is an indication of what is to come, then I’m very excited for the remainder of the summer.

I’m also quite interested to see how the first live Open Fight Night will go.


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Joe Paterno tribute song is unintentionally funny

Joe Paterno tribute songs have begun to proliferate, but this one by a former member of the Bill Haley and the Comets (“Rock around the clock,” the “Happy Days” theme song) is the best! Or the worst! Depending on your opinion of Joe Paterno, Penn State football and the whole disgusting Jerry Sandusky episode. The [...]


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Former NBA star Jack Twyman dies at 78 (Yahoo! Sports)

CINCINNATI (AP) Basketball Hall of Famer Jack Twyman, one of the NBA's top scorers in the 1950s who became the guardian to a paralyzed teammate, has died. He was 78.


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Video: UK-Indiana talks stall again

Andy Katz with the latest on the Kentucky vs. Indiana series.


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2012 Draft Preview -- Anthony Alford


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Fired Equipment Manager Sues St. Louis Rams for Age Discrimination

Former St. Louis Rams equipment manager Todd Hewitt is suing the team for age discrimination after he was fired in 2011 under previous head coach Steve Spagnuolo.

In a lawsuit filed in the Missouri Circuit Court in St. Louis County earlier this week, Hewitt says he was one of numerous employees of the Rams let go by the team after Spagnuolo became coach in 2009. Hewitt was the team's equipment manager since 1985 and had worked for the Rams for 40 years in Los Angeles and St. Louis.

The lawsuit filed by Hewitt reads:

During the time that Mr. Spagnuolo was the head coach for the Rams, he made statements to Mr. Hewitt about his age including in 2009, when he told him he was too old for his job.

Mr. Spagnuolo also told Mr. Hewitt that his employment was "N F L" which means "Not For Long" employment.

Hewitt goes on in the suit to claim when the team made the decision not to renew his contract in January 2011, it was less than a year short of eligibility for early retirement that begins at age 55. The perk would have also allowed health insurance coverage for Hewitt and his family, according to the suit.

The lawsuit goes on to claim that several employees, including the vice president of operations, head of security, director of player relations, a team photographer and a trainer, were all replaced with people who were significantly younger than their predecessors.

Hewitt became the Rams' ballboy when he was 11 years old in Los Angeles under his father, Don Hewitt, who worked in the team's equipment department. He replaced his father as the equipment manager when the team moved to St. Louis in 1995.

The firing of an equipment manager garnered an unusual amount of attention last year for a position that typically isn't recognized in the highest degree by the public. Several articles were written locally and nationally about the matter, including by NBC Sports, USA Today and the Riverfront Times, among many others.

It also became a rally cry for a significant amount fans on talk radio, comments on stories and message boards against a coach they were ready to see get axed himself.

Hewitt and many other former Rams employees held a party at a St. Louis Buffalo Wild Wings to celebrate after Spagnuolo was fired from the team earlier this year.

There are no specified damages sought in the lawsuit.


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Del Negro to return as Clippers coach next season (Yahoo! Sports)

LOS ANGELES (AP) Vinny Del Negro will be back as coach of the Los Angeles Clippers after guiding them to the highest winning percentage in franchise history during the lockout-shortened season.


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Hornets win draft lottery, will pick No. 1 in NBA (Yahoo! Sports)

FILE - In this Dec. 17, 2011, file photo, New Orleans Hornets head coach Monty Williams talks to reporters during an NBA basketball news conference in New Orleans. The Hornets won the lottery for the league's No. 1 draft pick, Wednesday, May 30, 2012, in New York. (AP Photo/Jonathan Bachman, File)

NEW YORK (AP) After a painful wait for a new owner, the search for a new star was a breeze for the New Orleans Hornets.


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20 Sports Hotties Who Could Be Bond Girls

James Bond sits across the table of an interrogation room answering questions with one-word responses. Next thing you know, there are explosions, gun shots, beautiful women, Ralph Fiennes and more explosions. That can only mean one thing—the Skyfall trailer is finally here.

After waiting almost four years, the third installment of the Daniel Craig era doesn't come out until November, but after the teaser trailer was released a few days ago, we are drooling for some more. 

While we await the most anticipated Bond film in 20 years to hit theaters, let's celebrate with a list of sports hotties that we would all love to see in the fourth film, set for 2014.

All the women needed to qualify was a sports background. The list features athletes, WAGs and Kim Kardashians. Enjoy.

Begin Slideshow


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2013 New 5-Star Recruits: Bell, Bigelow, Lawson, Willis and Fuller Are Rising

247Sports upgraded five players to five-star status and J.C. Shurburtt, its national scouting director, joins Full Ride to talk about the freshly minted prospects.

Hear what 247Sports saw in Good Counsel cornerback Kendall Fuller to upgrade him from a four-star prospect and raise his ranking to No. 9 in the country.

USC verbal commit Kenny Bigelow out of Eastern Christian Academy in Ekton, Md., was also awarded his fifth star this week.  USC fans see why you should be getting excited about the 6’4” 297-pound monster defensive tackle.   Bigelow climbed to 14th on 247Sports’ latest rankings.

Who has ascended into the lead for Tempe, Ariz., cornerback Priest Willis?  J.C. breaks down what he is hearing on the recruiting trail about the new five-star prospect.  Willis now checks in at No. 17 on 247Sports’ big board.

Milton High School (Alpharetta, Ga.) weak-side defensive end Carl Lawson also saw his stock rise to No. 17 overall.  Auburn fans, make sure you check out what made 247Sports elevate Lawson.

Rossville, Ga., safety Vonn Bell is the fifth player who gained five-star status, moving up to No. 19 overall in the latest 247Sports rankings.  Watch to learn what makes Bell a special prospect.

Full Ride is Bleacher Report's weekly college football recruiting show that pulls back the curtain to give you the hottest news, analysis, interviews and highlights. 

Subscribe to Full Ride on YouTube and follow Full Ride on Twitter.

Lead image courtesy of 247Sports


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Despite difficulty, the Big 5 rivalries live on

They stopped throwing streamers after the first made basket years ago. The doubleheaders, too, are things of the past. And with the renovations to Saint Joseph’s on-campus arena, as of last season only Penn played its home games at Philadelphia's famed Palestra. But they play. Despite scheduling inconveniences and nonconference sacrifices every year, the five Philly schools still complete their Big 5 round robin. “It’s not easy, but I think for all of us, it’s valuing and understanding the opportunity that was given to us so many years ago and not wanting that tradition to die,’’ Temple coach Fran Dunphy said.


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Can Heat Win a Title with LeBron as Their Closer?

Closers are overrated. I know that sounds nuts, but when you consider that the final possessions are as important as the beginning possessions (though the final ones are higher leverage), then you should probably consider that our attachment to "closing" is more emotional than logical.  

LeBron James has had some great moments in whatever we consider "the clutch" amid some notable struggles. But I think that his handling of these specific situations is less important than his overall game play. 

Let's look to Kobe Bryant, oft known as a "closer," as an example. As Henry Abbott demonstrated in this epic ESPN piece, Bryant's Los Angeles Lakers were nothing special in the clutch, despite the mythology. But, in part due to Kobe's prowess, the Lakers were good enough to win championships with a flagging crunch-time offense. 

So the focus shouldn't be on whether Wade or James gets the last shot. Instead, the biggest question should be, "Are the Heat good enough?" Presently, it seems that Miami isn't close to the Spurs in overall team play. This matters more than how clutch LeBron is or isn't, or what he does as a closer. 


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Mittwoch, 30. Mai 2012

MLB's 20 Most Shocking Hit-by-Pitches

Any time a player steps into the batter's box, they set out to change the game for their team, whether it's getting a clutch hit to drive in a run, getting on base to start a rally, or even, go deep.

But when they step into the box, there's also an inherent danger that's largely out of their control as pitchers can, at any moment, lose control of the ball, sending a 90 mph fastball directly at you.

Sometimes, players are lucky enough to get out of the way, others, they're not.

Here are some of the most shocking hit-by-pitches the game has seen.

Begin Slideshow


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Boston Celtics have sideline reporter Kristine Leahy going for them (photos)

With the Boston Celtics currently in the NBA Eastern Conference Finals, a Kristine Leahy post is long overdue; she is a local product after all. From her bio page: Kristine is currently the Sports Anchor and Reporter for Fox25 in Boston. Prior to joining fox, she served as the in-arena and CelticsTV host/reporter for the [...]


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Toronto Raptors: Why Trading Up in Draft Is Now a Must

The NBA Draft lottery was today, May 30th, 2012. The Raptors were projected to get the eight pick in the draft after losing a coin flip to the Golden State Warriors for the seventh pick. That held to form and the Raptors will pick eighth at the draft on June 28th.

New Orleans obviously won the lottery, and many people say it was rigged and was is a conspiracy theory (by this I mean a team that just lost its superstar wins the lottery, not to mention the Hornets were just recently owned by the NBA).

Now back to Toronto. With the eighth pick, there are many options for the team. They can trade up, trade down or stay with the No. 8 pick.

Now the big question comes from the team needs. Do they bring in a consistent small forward on both the offense and defensive side? Or do they draft a durable point guard who can take the reigns of the team after Jose Calderon's contract expires?

At the eighth pick, players like Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Harrison Barnes and Bradley Beal will most probably be off the board, but a player like Damien Lilliard will likely still be available. He has proven himself as a consistent scorer and during this past collegiate season, he proved that he can be a good passer as well.

If they do trade down, which will probably be a rare occurence, they should try to trade around the tenth or eleventh pick in order to draft a small forward like Terrence Jones who is a hard-nosed defender and a decent rebounder for his size.

Trading up is the best option for the Raptors. If they can move up to around the fourth pick, it will be very beneficial for them. As long as they can move ahead of Cleveland any way, it will be positive for the Raptors. Why you might ask. The answer is plain and simple—Bradley Beal.

Brad Beal is the top shooting guard prospect in the draft and unlike Demar DeRozan, the current SG for the Raptors, he is a good shooter. If they can trade picks and draft Beal, along with moving DeRozan to SF which might even be better for him, they will have a great core of young players.

Now I cannot predict the future, but Bryan Colangelo must make a smart decision in order to not only turn things around for the Raptors, but to also keep his spot in management.

Thanks for reading!


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Mittwoch, 9. Mai 2012

New 2012 Illini Football slogan unveiled

Illinois football coach Tim Beckman revealed the 2012 Illinois “Loyal-Tee” shirt design Tuesday in front of Foellinger Auditorium in Champaign.  The winning design, featured on the front of the shirt, was voted on by thousands of Illini fans out of four designs based on the winning fan-submitted slogan, “A New Era BECKons.” Get it? Cuz [...]


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Terrell Owens on Dr. Phil: Sad Fall from Grace Continues for Ex-NFL Star

Let's see—what angle should we take on Terrell Owens' recent appearance on the Dr. Phil show, where three mothers of Owens' children claimed he neglects his offspring and is often late on his child-support payments?

We could go the route of labeling this a "typical athlete" move, throwing about names of other athletes who have fathered multiple children with multiple women over the years. We could act outraged, label this an epidemic among athletes and do a bit of moral hand-wringing over the incident.

Meh, maybe next time. I'm sure someone else will take care of that angle.

You know what might be fun? Piling on to the immense fall from grace the uber-talented but brash and arrogant Owens has endured over the past several years. We could get all snarky, throw in a few IFL jokes and patronize away while we take a closer look at the financial straits TO finds himself in these days.

You know, I think I'll pass. Being a jerk on the Internet is just way too cliche at this point.

We could call his baby-mamas a sad bunch of gold-diggers and have our boy TO's back. I mean, do these four women really need upwards of a combined $50,000 a month for child-support payments?

To be honest, it's really none of my business.

Hey, we could use this as an opportunity to recap all of the moments of Owens' career we didn't particularly like. You know, spiking on the star, and "That's my quarterback, man" and the infamous Tony Romo and Jason Witten pass conspiracy.

But haven't we done this enough already?

You know what we should do?

We should feel bad for his kids. Kids who apparently don't have much of a relationship with their father. Kids who had to watch the personal business of their mother and father aired on a hack television show. Kids who might look back on all of this and feel like a paycheck for their mothers.

That's what sucks about all of this. That's what we should all worry about. That's why Owens has truly fallen from grace.

It's always about the kids, and everything else comes next. So save your snark, save your macho "baby-mama drama" jokes and save your need to feel morally superior to the next athlete that makes the headlines for a negative reason.

There's your angle.


Hit me up on Twitter—my tweets are the mint juleps of the Internet.

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Making Brandon Weeden Compete for Starting Job Is the Best Thing for Him, Browns

Though drafting a quarterback in the first round is generally the equivalent of a team handing him the keys and saying, "Here, it's all yours now," the Cleveland Browns aren't entirely ready to anoint Brandon Weeden their starter just yet.

Speaking on ESPN's Mike and Mike on Wednesday, Browns president Mike Holmgren made it clear that Weeden will be competing for the starting job with Colt McCoy and Seneca Wallace. Holmgren explained his reasoning thusly: 

"I told Weeden, I've never had a player who we were going to draft, as a coach or in my current role, sit in my office prior to the draft and say 'if we pick you, you're the starter.' I've never said that. I don't think it's the right thing to say, because if they're not the starter, then they feel you've lied to them and been dishonest, so I'm not going to do that."

Forget, for a moment, how many times that Holmgren (and general manager Tom Heckert and head coach Pat Shurmur) said in the weeks leading up to the draft that they were banking on McCoy being the starter this year—landing Weeden changes things drastically. But clearly, that doesn't mean that McCoy won't be the guy under center in Week 1, or that Weeden will.

When it comes to the quarterback situation in Cleveland, the most pressing need for the Browns is to get it right. They have three passers on the roster, two of whom have already started in the NFL, and one who hasn't. 

Though Weeden appears to have starting talent, if his body of work at Oklahoma State is any indicator, the Browns utilize a fairly difficult version of the West Coast offense, and it's hard to master. If Weeden doesn't progress as quickly as hoped, then the Browns will have no other choice than to go with McCoy or even Wallace this year, as they already have experience playing in the system.

The important thing with Weeden is to throw conventional wisdom out the window ("First-round picks must always start in their first season,") and allow the Browns to do what is best for both him and the team. If Weeden doesn't win the starting job this year, that doesn't mean he won't in the next, after he's had a full season to learn the nuances of the playbook.

It's about the best man for the job, at the right time. There's no way for Holmgren et al., to figure this out without the three quarterbacks competing against and being directly evaluated against one another. 

Many may argue that there's no sense in keeping Weeden on the bench for a year; he's 28 years old now and turns 29 in October, and the window for him to be an effective quarterback is far smaller than other rookies in his situation.

Holmgren, however, doesn't see this as such a pressing issue, saying, "Because of his age, you kind of think 'okay, (Weeden) can't sit and watch for two or three years, that doesn't make any sense.' But he's got to prove it. He has to prove it like every other player we have and that's how we're approaching it."

There's no reason for Weeden to be the starter this year simply because of his age. There's no reason to panic—he's not an old man at 28, and he won't be at 30.

It's not as though he's been playing quarterback, taking hit after hit and being worn down like someone who has been under center for the last 10 years. He's got many seasons left in him, and it's better that he becomes the starter when he's ready and not because his age dictates he must go in now.

If Weeden proves to be the best quarterback the Browns have on the roster, he'll be the starter; if not, he won't. The best thing for Weeden is for him to take the field when he's ready to do so, not just because he was a first-round pick.

The only way to find out if he can do the job he was drafted to do is to see how he measures up against the two other quarterbacks on the Browns roster. Whichever way they choose to go will ultimately be the best way; and that works in both Cleveland's and Weeden's favor. 



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LSB's Top 100 Players in MLB -- Voting Open for #38


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Wednesday a.m. Rangers stuff


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NL Worst of the Night: Drew Stubbs' 0-for-5, 3 Strikeouts Lead Reds' Bad Night

Highlighting a bad performance from the previous night in baseball might seem like a harsh way to start the morning, but look at it this way: If you had a rough night or bad day, here's someone who may have had it worse.

The Cincinnati Reds nominated several candidates for NL Worst of the Night honors in Tuesday's 8-3 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers.

Homer Bailey lasted only 3.2 innings, his shortest outing of the season, giving up six runs on six hits and three walks.

Curiously, as's Mark Sheldon reports, Bailey had seven Brewers batters down two strikes with two outs in the inning, yet couldn't put them away. Milwaukee scored each of its six runs against Bailey (and eight overall) with two outs. 

Ryan Ludwick went 0-for-3. Rookie catcher Devin Mesoraco batted 0-for-4. 

We're going to single out Drew Stubbs, however, for his hitless effort Tuesday night. Stubbs went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts, not exactly what the Reds are looking for from their No. 2 hitter.

To be fair, Stubbs has actually hit well recently, since Reds manager Dusty Baker put rookie Zack Cozart in the leadoff role and bumped Stubbs down a spot. In his previous four games, Stubbs was 7-for-16 (.438), pushing his OPS to a season-high .700.

He ran into a wall on Tuesday, however. Stubbs struck out in each of his three at-bats versus Brewers pitcher Yovani Gallardo. The 0-for-5 pushed his OPS back down to a not-so-good .669.

That performance likely isn't going to result in any chances with the Reds' lineup, though. As the Cincinnati Enquirer's Jon Fay writes, Cozart is getting comfortable in the leadoff spot, taking pitches and working counts like a hitter at the top of the order should.

Additionally, Stubbs is thriving in the No. 2 spot. Yes, 13 games and 60 plate appearances is a small sample size, but a .364/.407/.618 slash average with three homers, nine RBI and four stolen bases is some impressive production. 

He just had a bad night on Tuesday, one worth singling out here. Judging from his performance this season, Stubbs could follow this up with another hot streak. 


Follow @iancass on Twitter


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Boston Celtics Daily Links 5/8


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Chicago to have Shoot to Kill No Fly Zone during NATO Summit

Plans to keep residents and dignitaries ‘safe’ during the 2012 NATO Summit Chicago include a no-fly zone, with a shoot-to-kill warning for those who break the ban. As CBS 2 reports, the US government is informing small plane pilots that if they enter the no-fly zone during the summit, they might be shot down. This [...]


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Dienstag, 8. Mai 2012

SBN Dallas does a Q&A with Camden Chat


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Liverpool May Have Hope for Future, But Not With Kenny Dalglish as Reds' Manager

Liverpool's 4-1 demolition of Chelsea on Tuesday painted a picture of hope at Anfield, but just as the Reds' early-season win at Arsenal proved the falsest of dawns, so this was the falsest of sunsets.

Yes, there were standout performances worthy of praise—from the likes of Jordan Henderson, Jonjo Shelvey and Luis Suarez. And yes, Liverpool scored four times at home and won.

But the very fact that there was novelty in what Liverpool achieved against Chelsea says it all.

Carling Cup win aside—and let's be honest, it's a second-tier competition that nobody takes seriously until they get to the final—this has been a season from which everybody concerned with Liverpool Football Club will want to move on.

New players have flopped, old ones underwhelmed and one in particular dragged the club with him through the filthiest of mud. Meanwhile, Liverpool's beloved king, Kenny Dalglish, has proven himself ill-equipped for the task at hand.

Dalglish spoiled The Kop to plentiful riches as a player and then as a player-manager. But he hasn't given them much to cheer about since his much-heralded return as Roy Hodgson's successor in 2011.

Dalglish is an institution at Anfield. But while he's clearly a man the fans and players have deep respect for and he obviously has a long-standing emotional connection to the club, is that really enough to justify keeping him in the manager's chair?

When you consider his costly failures in the transfer market (Henderson, Stewart Downing, Andy Carroll and Charlie Adam, to name but a few) and also that his Liverpool vision is no closer to attaining an identity than when he took over, I'd argue not.

This is a results business after all. Dalglish hasn't delivered them—especially at Anfield.

Liverpool's 24 league goals at home match their record low for the 1903-04 season. They've won just six of 19 games at Anfield, drawing nine and losing four—to Arsenal, Wigan, West Brom and Fulham.

Dalglish's team has taken 27 points from 54 available at Anfield in the Premier League this season. When you consider Manchester City have 52 from 54 at the Etihad, and Manchester United 47 from 54 at Old Trafford, it's little wonder Liverpool are 34 points adrift of the title race.

The best finish Liverpool can hope for is seventh, but they will likely have to settle for eighth—looking up at their spendthrift Merseyside neighbors Everton and wondering where all the money went.

Call that a failure? Dalglish won't have it. Here's what he told BBC Sport after the Chelsea win:

We've got a bit of silverware back in the cupboard after six years; we're back in Europe at the first time of asking.

We were near to winning the FA Cup Final. Not a bad first season.

Many would disagree. The big question is whether John W. Henry, Liverpool's owner and a man who has put up £131 million for new signings since his Fenway Sports Group (FSG) took over at Anfield in 2010, is among them.

It would take a bold man to dethrone Dalglish, but Henry didn't amass his vast fortune by ducking big decisions. 

All we know now is the two parties—FSG and Dalglish—will discuss the future at the end of the season. Whether Liverpool's FA Cup final loss to Chelsea will prove the defining failure of King Kenny's reign remains to be seen.

Liverpool fans will be torn.

Some feel Dalglish deserves time and that nothing good can come of shaking things up again. Others feel their football club is slipping further and further away from where it once was. They feel that something must be done quickly.

Much as I respect Dalglish's achievements at Liverpool, I'm with the latter.

And it will take more than his team hammering a woeful Chelsea, bereft of many of their first-choice players, to convince me otherwise.

Those who see the future emerging from Liverpool's 4-1 win are missing the point. Dalglish's team were superb, but what they produced was a rare exception that demonstrated just how spectacularly they've underachieved this season.

If it's a manager's job to get his best out of a team as often as possible, then Dalglish has to go for hope to be reborn at Anfield.


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SBN Video -- Bryce Harper v. Cole Hamels


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Jazz guard Bell blasts Corbin as 'unprofessional' (Yahoo! Sports)

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) Guard Raja Bell cleaned out his locker Tuesday then pronounced his career with the Utah Jazz over, calling the damage ''irreparable'' and ripping coach Tyrone Corbin as ''unprofessional'' because of a lack of communication.


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Mayweather vs. Cotto Fight: Power Ranking Junito's Opponents After Great Showing

After bringing the fight to Floyd Mayweather on Saturday, May 5, Miguel Cotto looks to avenge the tough loss by making his next fight count with a huge win.

The key will be finding the right opponent to square off with Junito. While the obvious rematch with Mayweather would be the No. 1 match fans want to see, there are other stars that would love to fight the tough brawler.

All of the following warriors would be great battles, but it will be hard to get the stars to align to get any and all of these bouts to work. Let’s just hope Cotto gets another chance to prove his worth.


No. 1: Floyd Mayweather

While Mayweather has a busy few months locked in jail, the rematch between Miguel Cotto could be something the fans are very interested in seeing.

If nothing comes to fruition with Manny Pacquiao, Mayweather will look to get the biggest bang for his buck, and that will be riding the momentum from the previous Cotto fight.

Cotto has proven that his strategy could work if executed just a bit crisper over the course of 12 rounds. Given the extra training time, it's something both men should consider.


No. 2: Canelo Alvarez

After a big win over veteran fighter Shane Mosley, Saul Alvarez will look to make his mark against a bigger name—what better way than fighting Miguel Cotto?

While Cotto would have the clear advantage in the fight, it could be the kind of battle that turns a young fighter like Alvarez into the next great star. Cotto is ready to fight, and this could be an absolute war.

There was talk that Alvarez could be next for Mayweather, but taking that risk this early in his career is not the smart move. As great as the opportunity is, look at what it did for Victor Ortiz.


No. 3: Victor Ortiz vs. Andre Berto II Winner

In what should be an absolute war, if the winner of this match doesn’t fight Floyd Mayweather or Manny Pacquiao, the next best bet is Miguel Cotto. That would be an absolute war.

Both Ortiz and Berto are punchers, which will make their bout amazing, and a potential bout with Cotto would be something to really look forward to.

I think Ortiz will go on to beat Berto and take on the older Cotto in what could be a No. 1 contender bout for Mayweather. Either way, Cotto has serious momentum and will ride it into his next fight.


Check back for more on Boxing as it comes, and check out Bleacher Report’s Boxing Page to get your fill of all things from the squared circle. For more on boxing, check out Ring Rust Radio for all of the hot topics.


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CP3 leads Clips past Grizz in OT to 3-1 lead (Yahoo! Sports)

Los Angeles Clippers' Blake Griffin, right, gets called with a charging foul on  Memphis Grizzlies' Marc Gasol as Zach Randolph looks on  during the first half of a NBA first-round playoff basketball game in Los Angeles, Monday, May 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

LOS ANGELES (AP) One day after Chris Paul's 27th birthday, the All-Star point guard and his Los Angeles Clippers showed they're growing up splendidly together.


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19-10 - Rangers, Brandon Synder Bombard Mobtown


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My All-Time Favourite Premier League XI

The Premier League 20 Seasons Awards brings back nostalgia and names you haven't thought about, let alone uttered, in years. 

The Premier League may not be the most technical league, nor does it have the best players, but I believe it's the most entertaining. 

These are the 11 players which made me love the world game even more. This isn't an all-time greatest XI. It's more so, my all-time favourite Premier League XI. 

Begin Slideshow


Jorge Posada Lance Berkman Reegie Corona Juan Miranda Colin Curtis Kevin Russo

Lakers aiming to close out Nuggets quickly (Yahoo! Sports)

Los Angeles Lakers guard Steve Blake, front, is hugged by forward Pau Gasol, of Spain, after Blake hit a key three-point basket against the Denver Nuggets late in the fourth quarter of the Lakers' 92-88 victory in Game 4 of the teams' first-round NBA  basketball series in Denver on Sunday, May 6, 2012. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP) Kobe Bryant isn't eager to correct a long-standing misconception about his career.


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Clippers Vs. Grizzlies, NBA Playoffs 2012 Game 4: Los Angeles Wins In Overtime, 101-97


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Montag, 7. Mai 2012

3-point shot: Does Atlantic 10 need another?

1. Atlantic 10 commissioner Bernadette McGlade echoed the thoughts of the rest of the league over the weekend, saying the conference doesn’t have to replace Charlotte (off to C-USA) just to get to an even number of 14. She said 13 members is still a large conference. If a school applied and is a great fit for the A-10 then the league would give it serious review. I will add that if one of the CAA teams -- VCU, George Mason or Old Dominion – applied then they should be accepted.


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UFC on FOX 3: Nate Diaz vs Anthony Pettis Should Determine Next Title Contender

After a few years of struggling to find consistency in both the lightweight and welterweight division, Nate Diaz proved he now belongs among the elite fighters at 155 pounds.

Diaz earned a dominant victory over Jim Miller this past weekend at UFC on FOX 3 and his third consecutive victory in his last five bouts, leading some fans to believe he is next in line to receive a title shot.

While Diaz's performance was certainly impressive enough to convince fans of his potential in the lightweight division, it was wasn't necessarily enough to earn him a title shot yet.

Diaz is obviously talented and his recent wins over Takanori Gomi, Donald Cerrone and Miller are evident that he can be a threat to either Benson Henderson or Frankie Edgar. However, there is still one challenger left who some feel should deserve a title opportunity especially since he currently owns a victory over the champion: Anthony Pettis.

With Henderson and Edgar expected to meet sometime this fall and Diaz waiting on the winner, it won't be until early-mid 2013 until the Stockton, Calif. native steps back into the Octagon. That would leave Pettis open as a valuable opponent and another top name for either competitor to earn a victory over in order to cement their status as a top contender.

Plus, Pettis is already making his claim as the No. 1 contender at 155 pounds and called out Diaz during the post-fight show on FUEL TV.

Stylistically, this could be one of the most exciting bouts of the year. 

The lightweight division is currently stagnant and a possible bout between Pettis and Diaz would officially determine the next title contender. And with no other significant bout surfacing momentarily, this matchup makes perfect sense and the UFC shouldn't waste any time in booking it. 


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Bordeaux vs. Auxerre: Goal Glut Places Auxerre to Be Threatened by Relegation

With three games left to go in Ligue 1, Girondins de Bordeaux solidified their top mid-table finish, currently placed eighth in the league, after winning a match against AJ Auxerre that had six goals scored. The match ended at 4-2, with Yoan Gouffran, Ludovic Sane and Jaroslav Plasil scoring for Les Girondins. On the other end, Alain Traore and Olivier Kapo scored for Auxerre.

Bordeaux, playing an away fixture, scored almost immediately after the first whistle. Ludovic Obraniak passed the ball to Yoan Gouffran, who was on target, giving Les Girondins the lead in the first minute. 

The Auxerre back four, unsettled from the quick goal, let up another in the fifth minute to the same man. Gouffran put Bordeaux to a 2-0 lead. 

Obraniak provided the assist again for the away side from a corner in the ninth minute. Ludovic Sane scores from a header, putting the game seemingly out of reach for the relegation-threatened Auxerre.

Gouffran had a chance to grab a hat trick, but his finish was lackluster, as it crashed on the crossbar to the relief of Auxerre goalkeeper Olivier Sorin. 

The home side had a chance to get a goal back, but Roy Contout was unable to convert his left-footed shot to a goal. 

Ludovic Obraniak led a charge towards the Auxerra goal, but his finish was poor, leaving the score line at 3-0. 

Auxerre made two changes before halftime to inject some players capable of handling the pace and power of the Bordeaux midfield. Kamel Chafni replaced Cyriaque Rivieryan and Willy Boly with Olivier Kapo. 

Kamel Chafni missed with an attempt on goal in the closing minutes of the first half for Auxerre. 

In the 46th minute, Bordeaux made their first change, with Marc Planus replacing Yoan Gouffran.

The visitors scored their fourth goal from a sweetly-struck Jaroslav Plasil shot that powered into the back of the net from the edge of the box. 

This seemed to break Auxerre's spirits, but in the 67th minute, the home side managed to grab a goal through Alain Traore. From then on, the game steered towards Auxerre's favor, and they were able to take the fight to the Bordeaux half more frequently. In the 80th minute, Auxerre's Olivier Kapo scored, bringing the score to 4-2. 

Fired up from coming within two goals from a four-goal deficit, Auxerre kept on the front foot (17 total shots on goal vs. Bordeaux's 10 total shots on goal), but was unable to break the door down.

The match finished 4-2, Bordeaux at eighth and Auxerre dropping to the relegation zone. 


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Why Manchester United Has Failed Its Fans in 2012

Manchester United has been diabolical this year with a disastrous Champions League campaign and failure in the FA and Carling Cups now overshadowed by throwing away the Premier League title to its so-called "noisy neighbors" Manchester City

Of course, it is still all to play for, and United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has seen some crazy moments during his time in football. With a little help from former striker and now QPR manager Mark Hughes, the title could still find its way to Old Trafford.

This season has been a failure even if United do the unthinkable and retain the title. It will not hide the disappointment of the team's worldwide fanbase.

The one bright spot for fans this season will most likely be United finally ridding itself of Darron Gibson. Although Gibson has found himself rejuvenated at Everton away from the venom of the Red Devils fans who had been baying for his blood.

It is hard to defend the actions of United's fans at times, but surely even they deserve better than the tepid season Ferguson's team served up this year.    

Manchester United has failed its fans, and there is plenty of blame to go around. 


Sir Alex Ferguson

It is difficult to place a lot of blame on United's legendary manager. He cannot, however, be fully exonerated from the team's failure.

Ferguson approached this season with a naivety towards the threat of Manchester City much in the same manner he was dismissive of the threat of Chelsea until the Blues won the title in 2004-05.

The current campaign has seen Ferguson realize City are going to be United's main competition for the foreseeable future.

If the Citizens win the title, Ferguson will have a lot of think about over the summer. He clearly got his tactics wrong in both Manchester derbies.  

Ferguson should not come out of this season exempt from criticism. Some of his moves both on the pitch and in the transfer market have been questionable.

In reality, United's failure this year has more to do with other factors than Ferguson, and he is the only person who can steady the ship once again.


The Players

Heartless, pathetic and not worthy of the shirt.

These are just a few of the adjectives used to describe the player's performance during the season. United's squad have failed the fans.

They failed the fans in losses to Blackburn, Wigan, Crystal Palace and Basel. They failed the fans by being dominated by Bilbao over two legs in the UEFA Cup. Then there is that to Manchester City.

Too many times, players thought they could show up and simply bowl over the opposition because they were Manchester United.

United were unable to cope when inferior opposition refused to fold. It was embarrassing for the replica kit-clad fanbase from the Stretford End to Hong Kong to California.

This squad is hardly the most talented one to grace Old Trafford, and injuries did impact the team. Ferguson's side have been on the decline for the past few seasons.

This was the first season, however, the players could not stand up and be counted upon when it mattered most.

The players let the fans down. By failing to collect a single piece of silverware this season, they have failed their fans.


The Glazer Family

Dark clouds have ominously been building around Old Trafford since Malcom Glazer took full control of United in 2005.

The club have been winning in spite of ownership. This is arguably Ferguson's weakest team during his tenure at United, and most fans believe that failure is because of their American owner and his sons.

In their defense, the Glazers have been willing to spend but not at the level as some of their rivals. They have now let the power slip away to the blue half of Manchester.

Manchester United has established itself as one of the top clubs in the world over the past 20 years. The Glazer family seemed uninterested in maintaining that.

Their goal is to payoff the massive debt accumulated during the takeover of the club.

This shift in priorities is a failure that will continue to burdened upon United fans until the debt is paid off or the Glazers leave town.

The Glazers have failed the fans the most. They claim they want the club to be one of the most recognizable (that is code for profitable) brands in the world, yet they are only willing to spend enough to make the team competitive.  

Everyone at Old Trafford should apologize to the fans for the torrid season they have had to endure. However, the Glazer family is the primary reason the club has failed its fans this year.


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Tyvon Branch Will Sign Raiders Franchise Tag


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Lukas Podolski: Picking an Arsenal Starting Lineup to Showcase Their New Striker

Sometimes, you just have to go home again. Lukas Podolski started his professional career at FC Cologne in fine form. His prolific scoring rate earned him a transfer to Bayern Munich just after his 21st birthday.

And then he flopped.

Starting only sporadically over three seasons, Podolski scored more often for Germany than he did in the Bundesliga.

During his final season in 2009, then Bayern manager Jurgen Klinsmann questioned Podolski's "fight" as the striker rusted on the bench behind Luca Toni and Miroslav Klose.

That summer, Podolski left Bayern and returned to Cologne as a bust.

Playing regularly once again, the striker rediscovered his goalscoring touch. This season, he's netted 18 times in 29 appearances for his hometown club.

That form has given him the chance to redeem himself at another big club.



When the London club revealed the deal for Podolski at the end of last month, manager Arsene Wenger called him "an important part of (Arsenal's) future."

While he meant it as an homage to the player, he could have also been talking about the role Podolski's early signing will play in convincing Robin van Persie to extend his contract with the Gunners this summer.

By signing Cologne's 18-goal scorer, Wenger is first and foremost trying to keep his own 36-goal scorer.

If Podolski helps to that end, he will be a bargain even if he never manages a single goal for Arsenal.

But he will take the field next season and probably score goals. The question is: Where will Wenger put him, and how will that push the other chess pieces around the board?



Barring an injury or a transfer for Van Persie, the only place Podolski will definitely not play regularly is striker.

His role in that position for Arsenal is to provide cover in case the oft-knocked RVP proves less durable next season than he has this one.

Wenger could get tricky from time to time, shifting to a two-forward formation that allows him to pair his new purchase with Van Persie up top.

He could also drop the Dutchman into an attacking midfield position with Podolski ahead to exploit Van Persie's fine passing ability.

But both those options figure to be more tactical wrinkles than regular features of Wenger's strategy next season.



From time to time, Podolski has lined up as an attacking midfielder for Cologne this season. On those occasions, he generally proved effective rather than brilliant.

But it is an option, especially given Aaron Ramsey's apparent stall in development and Wenger's concerns about Jack Wilshere's fitness to begin next season.

Song will be the deep-lying player in the middle, and Arteta was a revelation for Arsenal this season in his effort to fill Cesc Fabregas' role, but that leaves the third spot in the Gunners' midfield trinity open for debate.

My guess is that Podolski could drop into an attacking midfield role every now and again. But don't expect to see it often.


On the Wings?

This is where you will see Podolski fly most often.

Theo Walcott will man the right unless disaster strikes. And the German international will head out to the left to fill the need that brought first Andrey Arshavin and then Gervinho to London.

Both of those players flamed out or otherwise failed to live up to the hype. Wenger will be hoping Podolski doesn't fall victim to the same curse.


What About Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain?

Of all Arsenal's young players, Podolski's arrival probably most directly impacts Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. He broke into the first team this season, after arriving from Southampton over the summer, and cut quite a figure in several big games.

But he's not the finished product yet, and it won't hurt him to start the season as everybody's backup. He'll get plenty of games filling in left, right and center (literally) and will provide a spark off the substitute's bench week-in and week-out.

And if Podolski gets off to a slow start, he might just find himself watching the 18-year-old play rather than the other way around.


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Too early to give up on the Milwaukee Brewers making the playoffs?

Just a mere seven months ago, the Milwaukee Brewers were the 2011 National League Central Champions and a serious contender for a trip to the World Series. Now, twenty seven games into the 2012 regular season and the Brewers (12-15 record) couldn’t look any further from that team who broke numerous franchise records and captured [...]


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