Saturday, May 31, 2008
1. I am really happy Sameer Mishra took home the Scripps National Spelling Bee. He was the kind of kid that actually flashed a little personality during the bee and how could you root against a kid who actually thought he was given the work numbnut to spell.
2. I think this weekend series with the Phillies could be the end of the Marlins great run. It feels to me with the Fish already knocked out of first last night the only way is down. The Rays however just continue to deflect possible slumps and obstacles and after last night it looks like Cliff Floyd may have found his stroke.
3. Lakers-Celtics Wow this matchup gives all you NBA conspiracy theorists plenty of amo, so fire away. Personally, my interest has waned in and out of hoops this year, but these finals are a league and network dream and I will be captivated. Kobe Bryant is at another level right now and I don't think anyone can argue that, at this time, he is the best basketballer on the planet.
4. I am really getting tired of all the talk on whether we should count the Michigan and Florida democratic primary delegates, and I am a Florida voter. In the end, the difference it will make is push things a little closer and increase party devisiveness with six months to a general election.That is all for today.
I will be back with thoughts on the Coral Gables regional, EliteXC, and Stanley Cup Game 4 tommorow. For now, I leave my UCF freinds with a poll on a question I have been pondering. Who would you like to see as the next head baseball coach of the Knights.
Friday, May 30, 2008
1. NCAA Baseball Regionals
I know this may not be the most popular thing going this weekend, but I am quite exited to watch the #1 national seed Miami in action on Saturday. It will be my first trip down to Mark Light Stadium and I know a couple of the Hurricane starters. The NCAA didn't do the #1 team any favors as they stacked the Coral Gables regional with preseason top ten Missouri and Ole Miss along with the team that boasts the national ERA leader in Bethune Cookman's Hiram Burgos. Anyways, for those of you with ESPN U you get the privilege of keeping tabs on this and the Cal State Fullerton regional so enjoy some great college baseball this weekend.
2. NHL Finals, Game 4, Red Wings at Penguins, Saturday 8:00 PM, NBC
The first two games dominating blow out Detroit victories. I don't have anything against Detroit but there was no intrigue. Game 3 was tailor made for NBC, as the Penguins and Sidney Crosby (2 goals) fought to a 3-2 victory at home to get back in the series. If I had to guess, I think we will see more of this in game 4. Sidney can't do it by himself though. Hossa is starting to come alive, but they haven't gotten anything out of Malkin so far during the Cup. Ah it is great to actually have hockey back on a network I can find.
3. College Softball World Series-ESPN all weekend
Has softball always been this interesting? I guess it has been all my good friends over at UCF that have got me into it this year, but I have never really found it that interesting in the past. I have been hooked to ESPN coverage so far and by the end of the weekend the pairing for the World Series will be decided. Oklahoma City is one of those unique corners of the world this weekend where you can find the reasons you like sports in the first place. It's all about hard work, determination, teamwork, and the purity of the sport with these girls. Side note on Softball: Congratulations to Allison Kime, the UCF ace, for inking a deal with Rockford in the NPF. She starts her first game for the Thunder this weekend.
No this will not be another Kimbo Slice bashing routine. Kimbo Slice is pretty irrelevant to the sport of MMA right now. How can a guy be part of the feature fight on the first network broadcast of his sport be irrelevant? The reason is a secondary MMA organization, EliteXC, decided to buy their way on to CBS. What the mass public aren't realizing is that their is an organization called the UFC that is leaps and bounds over EliteXC. Unfortunately, it does more harm to this sport then good. Kimbo becomes the poster child and people's ideas of MMA skew more towards the line of John Mccain's famous "human cockfighting" reference to early MMA instead of seeing the great controlled sport that it has become. The rest of the card is truly sad as well and just looks to please the mass audience with setup stand-up brawls. Actually even though it is not a UFC event, the WEC's featherweight championship between Jens Pulver and Urijah Faber is the bout of the weekend. With Faber being the current titleholder in the WEC and Pulver being the one time lightweight champion of the UFC, this has the potential to be one of the biggest fights in the smaller weight classes of all-time. My MMA experts tell me the rest of the card has some quality bouts as well. Both events start at 9 on different days with EliteXC being on CBS this Saturday and the WEC being on Versus this Sunday. While I admit that even I will probably watch Kimbo's fight, it has to be watched from the right perspective. Watch it for entertainment but not to critique the sport.
An Extra Note: While the Scripps Spelling Bee isn't exactly a sporting event, I will be watching. The kids always make it interesting and with Erin Andrews on the "sidelines" this year, it should only enhance the broadcast.
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Things yet to arrive
1. The pitching prospects
The number one overall pick from last year's draft, David Price has finally arrived to the Rays Minor Leagues. So far the 6-6 lefthander is 2-0 and in two starts he has struck out 13 in 11 innings and has yet to allow a run. Some think he could arrive to St. Pete in the late summer. Wade Davis, Jake Mcgee, and James Houser are three others on the horizon and among the top prospects in all of baseball. Not to mention the Rays have the first pick in the 2008 draft next week.
2. The hitting
How can a team have the best record in baseball and not yet even have the offense that was predicted for the team? I really can't answer this question and it amazes me every day. The only players exceeding their expectations at the plate so far for the Rays are Dioner Navarro and Eric Hinske. The main offensive cogs Carlos Pena, B.J. Upton, and Carl Crawford have not even come close to their ceilings yet.
3. The fans
Much has been made of the attendance issue at Tropicana Field. While the Rays contend the sparse crowds at the "Trop" do nothing to aid their proposal for a new waterfront stadium. There is even a great article in today's St. Pete Times about this issue written by Gary Shelton that I have linked below. My only advice on the fan issue is give it time. Wait till the dawn of summer and if the Rays prove they are competitive the fans will start to arrive. It takes time for a city to warm up to a franchise that has been nothing but a disappointment for 10 years. Fortunately they have never done any franchise killing trade-offs such as their Citrus Series mates, the Marlins. The fans will clamor for success they just need to see it sustained into the summer, and they will make the 20 minute drive from Tampa to St. Pete. Tropicana Field is actually a very good place and fan friendly environment to watch a game in, contrary to popular belief.
So the moral of the story kids is if you are in the Tampa area be sure to catch the tides of change rolling through the St. Petersburg Bay and take yourself out to a Rays game.