Friday, February 22, 2008

Fun times at Canseco's pad

Clemens is innocent. I mean, if he wasn't he wouldn't have been OCD enough to keep a 10-year-old golf greens fees receipt, right?

Well, either Clemens has a fake document or he's been using Canseco's private course. A report from the New York Daily News says that "a man" has a photograph of Clemens at the infamous steroid-soaked soiree.

Well, not just any man. A man who was apparently 11 years old at the time and was just taking a few pictures of his favorite hardball heroes.

Okay, so this hasn't suddenly become an open-and-shut case. It is just an innocent kid's memorabilia that just may turn out to be some of the most powerful catalysts in cleaning up a tainted game. Naturally, Brian McNamee's attorney, Richard Emery, is feeling pretty confident:

"We have reason to believe it's reliable evidence," Emery told the Daily News on Thursday. "We believe there's photographic evidence that shows Clemens was at a party he says he wasn't at."

Is there any proof that Clemens and Canseco were talking steroids while they were tossing back a few beers? Of course not. But in the court of public opinion, this just pokes another gaping hole in Clemens' already questionable defense. Andy Pettitte has admitted to taking HGH. As has Fernando Vina and Paul Byrd, and Chuck Knoblauch has all but admitted to it. All three were named in the Mitchell Report. Hell, even Clemens' wife has admitted to taking HGH, although it can be argued (very easily) that the confession was set up to add credibility to Clemens' argument after he ratted her out publicly.

In the court of law, if Clemens was at the party and not out golfing, as he has attested, he has deliberately committed perjury, and, according to the NYDN, a referral fo this matter to the justice department...

"...would satisfy two groups that were vocal critics of the committee's inquest: Those who thought a failure to investigate Clemens' challenges to former Sen. George Mitchell's report on performance-enhancing drugs in baseball, next to the federal indictment issued against Barry Bonds, signified a racist double-standard; and those who thought Congress had no business investigating baseball's drug problem to begin with."

A jump from the current hearings to a Bonds-esque investigation is a huge step, and they've got the evidence to make the move forward. The committee representatives repeatedly pointed out that either Clemens or McNamee was obviously lying under oath, and when combined with Clemens' name in the Mitchell Report, all the people mentioned in the report coming forward with admissions, Pettitte's argument against Clemens (oh, wait, he "misheard" Clemens), is there really much more reason to believe Clemens? And we haven't even seen the results of McNamee's creepy dirty syringe and beer can evidence. Even an 80,000-word report attesting to the benefits of hard work and HGH isn't enough to convince the American public otherwise. He's ratted out his wife, called his best friend a liar and thrown his former trainer under the bus. Does anyone think this guy deserves the "benefit of the doubt" anymore? Apparently not.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Cavs get Ben Wallace

No joke: I was right in the middle of writing that the Cavs were working out a blockbuster deal for Bulls big man Ben Wallace when the magic refresh button sent Cavs fans for a fresh pair of pants. The Cavs are getting Wallace, as well as Wally Szczerbiak from the Sonics, ESPN reports. Larry Hughes, Drew Gooden, Cedric Simmons and Shannon Brown are out.

Could it have gone any better for the Cavs? Everyone has been screaming for LeBron to get some help, and now he has it in the best possible way. Wallace isn't what he was in Detroit, but he can still bring in the boards and play defense. An argument can also be made that his mediocre production this year is the result of his playing on the hapless Bulls. Wallace will undoubtedly produce much more with a supporting cast around him.

As it stands, what the Cavs had to give up was pennies on the dollar. This was a matter of quantity and quality. Name one person the Cavs gave up that could easily be labeled as indispensable. Drew Gooden was productive, but Wallace is a better defender, and he will make Ilgauskas a better player. Wally is a better pure shooter than Larry Hughes. Cleveland is making the leap they needed. Cavs fans should be excited, and, by the looks of things, they are. It's tough to satisfy a fan base at a trade deadline, but Cleveland's done it.

Other deals

  • The Dallas Morning News has apparently received enough emails complaining about the Jason Kidd trade to overload an inbox, but Tim Cowlishaw writes that the trade can only make the Mavs better. Can't argue with that. After the Lakers' blockbuster for Pau Gasol and Phoenix's surprise trade for Shaq, you knew Mark Cuban was going to do something to show that his team wasn't standing pat, and this was about as good as it was going to get.
  • The Hornets also made a move, getting Bonzie Wells and Mike James from the Rockets for backup point guard Bobby Jackson and two other players. I don't think this was the kind of trade New Orleans wanted or needed. They hold the best record in the West right now, but can you really make the argument that they're better than the Lakers and Suns? I don't think they're as cut out for a battle for the title as the other elites in their conference, best record or not.
  • Vince Carter isn't going least for now. The Nets have left open the possibility of a trade down the road, but the Nets are still adamant about making the playoffs, and without a little charity and divine intervention, that isn't going to happen without Carter.
More NBA trade stuff later tonight when the dust has settled. Plus baseball goodness.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The crime of the Conference-USA

We all know that the big story on campus this weekend is going to be the Bobcats' crucial Bracketbuters showdown with George Mason on Saturday, but in the evening, eyes everywhere will be glued to the biggest regular season showdown to not involve a North Carolina team in a while. No. 1 Memphis faces No. 2 Tennessee for the first 1-2 interstate match-up (excepting North Carolina) since Ohio State and Cincinnati battled for Buckeye State supremacy over 40 years ago.

Just like the rest of the sports world, Memphis head coach John Calipari can't wait, as ESPN's Andy Katz writes, since this is "finally a game that we're allowed to lose," as Calipari puts it.

It's no secret that Memphis plays in a relatively cupcake conference. The Conference-USA is more respectable than in years past, but barring a deep run into the conference tournament (at the very least) by Houston, the C-USA, the No. 9-rated conference by RPI (rated below mid-major powerhouse factory Missouri Valley Conference and the top-heavy, unimpressive Mountain West) is going to get only one tourney bid. You can say all you want about the conference's improvements, but the number-one team in the land should be able to waltz right through that conference schedule unfazed.

But Memphis has proven itself as a very good team. It played the 10th-toughest non-conference schedule, beating Connecticut and Oklahoma by double-digits on a neutral floor and blowing out Georgetown at home. Calipari complains that if the Tigers had lost to UAB following an uncharacteristically poor defensive showing, they would have dropped eight or nine spots. Unless the pollsters are completely backward, there is no way that would have happened. C-USA is weak, but that can't diminish what the Tigers have accomplished so far.

If the Tigers lose on Saturday, they will do so to the hands of a fast-paced Tennessee offense that has scorers like Chris Lofton, JaJuan Smith and Tyler Smith all averaging over 13 points per game. But the Tigers have more balanced players, and they should have enough to hang in with and defeat the Vols. They have the athleticism to keep up on defense, and Calipari's dribble-drive motion offense should be more than enough to crack a flawed Tennessee defense. But if they lose and drop more than four spots in the poll, the Tigers are just an unfortunate victim of circumstance.

Of course, as the Memphis Commercial Appeal's Geoff Calkins writes, none of this matters if Memphis and Tennessee don't take care of their cakewalks on Wednesday.

The duties of a newly-christened professional

Welcome all newcomers! I know (I hope) there will be many of you. I've been commissioned by the Athens Messenger to be their new sports blogger. So this isn't just for kicks anymore. This is my job.

And thus, I'll put a real professional's effort into it. I'll do some real reporting, I'll delve into some analysis. As a fan of Cincinnati sports, there will likely be a little content bias, but I'll do my best to cover all the bases. I'll post the latest news and impressions from around the world of sports, and I'll help keep this sleepy little area in southeast Ohio up to date on what's going on, on the outside.

But I won't neglect the inside, as well. You'll see some news and info about the Bobcats as they make their inevitable run deep into the MAC Tournament. Maybe I'll post a little about Athens area high schools. Who knows?

Check back, and check back often. After all, I pour my soul into this for all of you.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Week 2 Aftermath: Seahawks 21, Bengals 17

There was anger. Then there were a couple phone calls. Now there's only silence. I feel comatose. Please bear with me for now while I regain for my sanity. The doctor says I should be speaking coherently again within 24 hours. For now, however, a few bullet points will have to do:

1. Special teams coach Darrin Simmons needs to be fired immediately. I don't care if you've got a bunch of hacks and practice squad guys out there on kickoffs. Kick the damn ball deep. Anything but telegraphing to the other teams that your coverage squad is so pathetic that you'd rather give them the ball at the 35-yard line than give them the chance of breaking one. I've never seen such blatant cowardice (i.e. stupidity) in the sport in my life--and this is coming from a team that likes to play prevent defense with a three-point lead and six minutes left.

2. Jonathan Joseph has gone from being one of my favorite players on the team to a sacrificial goat. The kid's got athleticism, but he falls asleep on coverage so often I think he should start taking pills for it.

3. What happened to Domata Peko? Something I'm going to look into, but see point 2. I don't think I've seen him in on any more than one play per game this season.

4. The Seahawks are a good team, but by no means were they unbeatable. Or great. Or even better than the Bengals, who have way more aberrations on their record than any above-average team should ever have. We've shot ourselves in the foot so many times that I wonder when we're going to run out of foot to shoot. What if we start shooting ourselves in the hand? Wouldn't we be unable to pull the trigger then? Just a thought.

To answer your question, yes, I'm out of my fucking mind.

I've got some things to take care of. I've got to take care of my fragile psyche right now, but there are probably about 50 pieces of a broken remote control scattered about my apartment right now, and by anal-rententive vacuum-at-three-in-the-morning roommate will probably throw a hissy fit if I don't clean it up before he gets back. Not to mention a faceplate I've got to retrieve from the courtyard after chucking it about as far as Hasselbeck's bomb to Deion Branch.


I think I'm going to be sick.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Josh Hamilton is a gift from God

In case anyone missed it, Josh Hamilton, reigning NL Rookie of the Month, went 4-for-5 against the Rox last night with a triple, a double, two singles, a stolen base, and FOUR RUNS. He was one longball short of the first Reds cycle since Eric Davis did it in 1989. And even when he came up there for his fourth at-bat in the 8th inning, with the possibility that it would be his last of the game, he choked up and pulled a solid single through the hole into right field.

It boggles my mind that this kid had less that 100 official MINOR LEAGUE at-bats before he came up to the majors. Sure, he swings and misses a little too much on the high heat, but he's got a great eye at the plate, knows how to put good wood on the ball, and hustles every time he gets on base. He's the hottest player on the roster right now outside of Griffey, who's turning back the clock for a Comeback Player of the Year Award kind of year.

All this said, answer me this:

Why the hell is he batting SEVENTH?!

Jerry Narron is making me bash my head against the wall every night with one dumb move after another. He has to pull the "bring in the wrong bullpen guy late in the game" card every night, since it's apparently in his contract, but this is unacceptable. Yeah, David Ross will find a way to drive him in. Hamilton's OBP is .394, second on the team, yet Narron is leaving the RBI duties up to a guy who is hitting somewhere below the LaRue Line, couldn't make contact with the ball if he blocked the plate with a riot shield, and has the pitcher hitting behind him.

Am I the only guy in the world who thinks none of this makes any sense?!

Hamilton had better be in the leadoff spot tonight for the finale. If he's hitting anywhere below the five-hole, I will personally pay for an extended vacation for ol' Jerry. In the middle of the Atlantic.

(Woo hoo! A post!)

Sunday, April 29, 2007

So busy...

It's been so much longer than I'd prefer since I've last posted on this blog. I've been swamped with schoolwork, and I've got other responsibilities that take precedent.

To everyone that checks back once in a while to see if I've written anything, I haven't given up on this yet. I love baseball, and I love writing and talking about baseball almost as much. But my other duties have gotten in my way of actually watching most of these Reds games with a keen eye and an analyst's mindset. I don't want to write anything on a game that I couldn't devote my entire focus to. I watch the games regularly, but normally it's just on the TV while I'm reading something for class.

I don't want to give up on the blog after only one month. I'll post something next time I actually get three hours to myself to enjoy a good ballgame. Hopefully, that will be soon, so don't give up on me yet!