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28
Feb

Duke Snider: September 19, 1926 – February 27, 2011

By: Mike Asti
R.I.P. Edwind “Duke” Snider
Snider played in the center field shadow of fellow baseball icons, Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays, yet was still a legend in his own right. In an 18 year career Snider accumulated 407 home runs, 1,333 rbi, 2,116 career hits, 1,259 runs scored, a .295 lifetime batting average in 7,161 at bats, and a .985 fielding percentage. He did this while mostly suiting up for one of baseballs marque franchises, the Dodgers. Snider’s first 11 seasons were spent in Brooklyn before the National League darling organization moved out west to Los Angeles. The Duke stayed with the blue for another 5 years in LA. His career ended back in New York with the Mets and then one last campaign in the sun with his rival, Mays, team, the Giants. Snider coupled his regular season success with stellar play in October. He appeared in 6 World Series with the Dodgers, twice on the winning side. The Duke blasted 11 homers, knocked in 26 runs, and posted a .286 clip in his post-season action, making him the driving force for the Dodger “Boys of Summer” days.
The man that was affectionately called the Silver Fox for his cunning yet successful play on the field, died today at the age of 84. Snider passed away of what his family is stating as natural causes. This Dodger great earned a place in Cooperstown, he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1980.
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26
Feb

Alcoholic? Nah….

By: Mike Asti
Detroit Tigers MVP candidate arrives at camp and speaks for the first time since his DUI. Mugel Cabrera is coming off his best big league season yet and has averaged 30 home runs and over 100 rbi ever since coming to the show in 2003. He entered the big stage as a rookie leading the Florida Marlins to their second World Series title. Now at only age 27 Cabrera has become a full fledge super-star and was the only guy in all of baseball to be among the top 5 in every statistical offensive category last season. The only issue have been, he has had several off the field personal stains on his resume, this has included a domestic violence situation a couple years back and now this latest incident also stemming from alcohol.
In this clip he claims to understand he needs to get his life in order and is taking the necessary steps to do so. Usually to over come an addiction the first step is admitting you do in fact have a problem. Unfortunately Miguel is doing and saying all the right things now, except he still refuses to say that all important statement, “hi, I’m Miguel Cabrera and I’m an alcoholic.” If he ever does this then maybe these horrible decisions can finally be put in the past.
Should Jim Leyland, usually a guy who rules with an iron fist, be harsher on his All-Star (he’s not since he is on the hot seat and desperately needs a good Miggy)? Should the Tigers or MLB step in? Hell, I’d even hit up the Rangers on how they dealt with Hamilton’s drinking problems and were able to completely move on positively from that.
25
Feb

The Knicks Are Now Complete

Who needs Chris Paul when you have Jared Jefferies.

25
Feb

Mayweather vs. LeBron

Floyd Mayweather just celebrated his birthday with an over the top cake. Yes a cake. Now the questions is which egotistical athlete had the better birthday cake? I personally think LeBron take the cake, no pun intended.

Mayweather:

LeBron:
24
Feb

NBA Trades

With the trade deadline come and gone its time too look at the winners of the trade deadline.

Celtics: Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic.
This is a great trade for Boston. They gave up Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson and in return get the guy they gave up for Ray Allen. Green is 6-9 and can play inside and out for the Celtics. His numbers are a bit down this season, averaging 15.2 points per game and 5.6 rebounds. Nonetheless Green gives them something for the future as he is only 24 years old. Green and Rondo is a solid combo and Green is certainly an upgrade from Perkins on the offensive end. In return the Celtics also get Nenad Krstic, a former starter in New Jersey. Krstic is averaging 7.6 points per game and 4.4 rebounds. He has the ability to score more though, back in 2006 he dropped 16.4 points per game. When the Celtics only have to give up Nate Robinson and Kendrick Perkins to get Jeff Green and a serviceable big man, you got to love it. This is a great trade for the Celtics, and it came out of left field. Sidenote Boston was also able to dump the corpses of Semih Erden, easily the worst player in the NBA and Luke Harangody, easily the second worst player in the NBA for a second round pick from the Cavs.
Grade: A

Nets: Deron Williams
The Nets lost out of the Carmelo Anthony sweepstakes, so plan B was apparently Deron Williams. One hell of a plan B I would say. The Nets get a 2 time All Star who is averaging 21.3 points per game and 9.7 assists per game. They gave up Devin Harris, Derick Favors and a first round pick but this is still a good deal for the Nets. They get one of the best point guards in the league for a couple average players. Williams has star power and can attract other big name free agents in, mainly Dwight Howard in 2012. Prokhorov promised to turn around the Nets and make them relevant and yes he struck out on every other big name but he hit a home run here. There is no guarantee that Williams will stay after next season but you have to like that Prokhorov is willing to take the chance.
Grade: B+

Trail Blazers: Gerald Wallace
The Blazers gave up two future first round picks and Joel Przybilla to acquire Wallace. Wallace is having another solid season averaging 15.6 points per game and 8.2 rebounds per game. This trade allows Portland to add another athletic scorer as they wait for Brandon Roy’s knees to fall off. Przybilla’s 1.8 points per game will certainly not be missed by anyone in Rip City. With this trade Portland becomes a tougher out in the playoffs. Aldridge has already shown he can be a star, now he has another capable scorer along for the ride. If only Brandon Roy did not have the knees of a 90 year old man.
Grade: A-

Knicks: Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups
If Isaiah Thomas was behind this trade the grade becomes a D because Thomas will ruin the future of the Knicks, however I’m not entirely sure he was so for now I’ll be more generous. Melo makes the Knicks a contender, not this year but defiantly in the future. The Knicks are still not better than the Heat, Celtics or Bulls. The problem is they have two great scorers who play zero defense. D’antoni system has yet to prove that it can win but now that he has two of the ten best players we will see. Melo brings life back to the Garden and that is a good thing for basketball. The NBA is better when the Knicks are relevant, its just a fact. The big question mark now becomes if Chris Paul will join them in 2012? It is certainly possible, but will the new CBA make it tougher on teams to give that max deal? Either way the Knicks gave up a bunch of average players to get a top eight player. Not only that they got big shot Billups, who will provide them leadership before he bolts in two years.
Grade: A+

Other notable trades:
Hornets acquired Carl Landry for Marcus Thornton. A deal that gives them more size down low and also helps the Kings shred some more money. A good trade for both teams. Grade-B.

Aaron Brooks gets dealt to the Suns for Goran Dragic and a first round pick. Dragic has had a down year shooting just 27 percent from three. Brooks has struggled as well this year shooting just 34 percent from the field and 28 percent from three. With his struggles Brooks was moved to the bench and has been unhappy of late with his role. Both players are similar in style, they shoot well and don’t play much defense. The deal is a wash for both teams with the Rockets getting a first round pick that is a bit better, but it is a down draft. Suns Grade-C, Rockets Grade-C+

The Rockets were not done as they traded Shane Battier to Memphis for Hasheem Thabeet. Battier played his first five seasons with the Grizzlies and should be excited to return. Battier is in the last year of his contract and is only averaging 8.6 points per game. Thabeet on the other hand has been a bust and a half since being taken number 2 in the draft. Memphis Grade- C+, Houston Grade- D

Baron Davis is probably the most missed of person in Cleveland right now. Davis and a first round pick was sent to the Cavs for Mo Williams and Jamario Moon. Davis was having a decent season but that will all change now that he is going to the Cavs. He played for Byron Scott back when he was the Hornets and that did not go so well. Williams and Moon don’t add much at this point other than trimming some payroll for the Clippers. Cavs Grade- C, Clippers Grade- C+

23
Feb

Wednesday’s Picks

Notre Dame -4 vs Providence: Notre Dame is coming into this game fresh off a loss at WVU. They were catching four and still found a way to get blown out by 14. That is why I believe they are in store for a bounce back game. Providence is just 3-11 in conference play but have played well at home, going 13-4. The Irish however have dominated this series taken nine of the last ten. In their last ten games overall the irish are 7-3 and have went 6-2 ATS in their last eight. They will need a better game from Tim Abromatis who was held to nine points on 2-9 shooting against WVU. The friars who are just 1-5 ATS in their last six will be led by Marshon Brooks. Brooks leads the Big East in scoring with 24.4 points per game, and is coming off a 27 point outing against Cincinnati.
Pick: Notre Dame

Purdue -5 vs Indiana: An in state rivalry that has been fairly one sided of late will tip off again tonight. The Boilermakers have taken five of the last six and beat the Hoosiers by 14 earlier this year. Purdue enters this game red hot, winners of four in a row and covering in each of those games. In those games they defeated Ohio State and Wisconsin by a combined 21 points. JaJuan Johnson is certainly a candidate for Big Ten Player of the Year, averaging 20.5 points and 7.7 rebounds. E’Twaun Moore is Johnson’s sidekick, and is coming off a 38 point performance against the Buckeyes. Indiana on the other hand has lost four in a row and is 1-3 ATS during that stretch. It is a rivalry game so they will come out fired up, but at the end of the day they can not match up with Purdue’s talent.
Pick: Purdue

Season: 19-17-2

23
Feb

2011 MLB Division Previews: AL East

By: Mike Asti
It’s that time of year once again. The snow goes away, the grass comes out, and most importantly spring is almost here (Phil did see his shadow!). All this hints to gearing up for the 2011 Major League Baseball season. Last year was the year of the pitcher. This was evident by the record number of no hitters, perfect games, even the first ever 28* out perfecto, and all the way through October, as a boring offense ended one of sports longest title droughts thanks the guys on the mound. With all that said, it is meaningless now. I will preview each division taking into account off-season changes and many other factors.
First, the only division the national media even gives a shit about, the American League East. In 2010 the Yanks and Red Sox continued to beat up on each other yet contend, the Rays stayed determined knowing it was the last run with the core, and the rest went as predicted (except no one saw the Bautista 54 home run campaign coming, don’t lie). Since the dust settled a lot has changed. The Rays were pretty much gutted, they lost Crawford, Pena, Garza, and Soriano. The most important part, Crawford, left for Fenway and their All-Star closer, Soriano, joined the Evil Empire to sit and wait for Rivera to retire, he will set up the legend. Not only did the usual suspects make moves, Baltimore finally rejoined the party they left behind last century, they proved they are actually going to make an effort, Toronto..not so much.
With the new outlook of this always entertaining division, I see the hot stove creating some changes in the 2011 standings. Let’s briefly go team by team….
Tampa Bay Rays
I will begin with last seasons division champs, the Tampa Bay Rays. Tampa won the crown by only one game last year thanks to the head to head edge against the historic rival franchises of the north east. They lost most of their core, as stated above, and already seem to be missing the swag they acquired in 2008. The additions of Manny and Damon was mostly just to keep the few fans they have but actually could help on the field as well. I see Manny still having something left in the tank and even though he is a liability in the field and will have to split time at DH with his fellow “idiot”, if healthy could create protection for Longoria. Damon still has been an on base machine the last few years, despite never reclaiming his power. At the press conference Manny poetically stated while looking at Damon “we will play 162, you play 100 and I’ll play 62.” While hilarious, if this is close to what happens this team will be in serious trouble. Pena can be replaced and the offense might actually be improved. Evan will hit (2nd best 3b in baseball), Manny can still rake, and Damon certainly helps, however, offense wont be enough with the star studded lineups in this division. Tampa lost its mojo mostly because they no longer have a premiere starter and the MLB save leader on the roster. Garza’s absence will allow Price to live up to the hype, he’s now THE ace. Despite having confidence in him, I have none in the rest and he will have to win the Cy Young for them to repeat as division winners. Don’t even get me started on who will try to shut the door, the whole pen is full of set-up men. I see Tampa battling it out for third at best.
Key Subtractions                       Key Additions

Carlos Pena (Cubs)                    Manny Ramirez
Matt Garza (Cubs)                     Johnny Damon
Rafael Soriano (Yankees)         Joel Peralta
Carl Crawford (Red Sox)
New York Yankees
Next, the team TB beat out, the New York Yankees. The new Boss may think this team was in celebration mood all last season after their 2009 title, I doubt that. However, the most note worthy portion of their off-season is not adding Soriano it is who decided to not take his talents to the Bronx. The sensation of the last few years, Cliff Lee, returned to Philadelphia, the team New York beat for that world title not to long ago. Lee rejected the Yankee dollars, pressure, and mystique to return to the place he felt most comfortable. This set an interesting tone for the post George era, you can count on one hand the super-star fee agents Mr. Steinbrenner failed to obtain. None the less, this team is still very strong. The Yanks are stacked once again in the lineup, Jeter is back and poised to return to pre-2010 form, A-Rod is in his best shape in years and has already stated he has been slumping for 3 seasons (he has averaged 30 hr, 100 rbi, & 100 runs over that time), and Cano has quickly become the best 2b in the game and perhaps the heart of the order. They now even have a guy who was once on a hall of fame pace on their bench (Andruw Jones), the AL’s best 1b (Teixeira), and the ageless Posada can totally focus on hitting passing the back stop torch to Russell Martin. It is always murders row for the Bronx Bombers, the question will be the pitching staff. Since the inception of the franchise the Yanks have always had fabulous hitters but equally as dominant mound generals. Pettitte is gone and waiting to see if Cooperstown will ever call and Burnett is coming off a miserable season. Of course CC will perform but they will need more in order to take down their hated rival in Boston. With their lineup, CC, and the best set-up/closer combo we have seen in years, this team will contend for not only the division but beyond.
Key Subtractions                          Key Additions

Not landing Lee (Phillies)             Keeping Jeter & Rivera
Andy Pettitte (Retired)                  Russell Martin
                                                      Rafael Soriano
Boston Red Sox

Last years order from top to bottom continues with Boston. Red Sox fans can hardly remember the 86 year long curse days at this point, Boston won the hot stove battle to say the least. Injuries hampered this team in 2010, this year they might even be able to dominate regardless. After bringing Crawford and Adrian Goncalez into the fold, Boston has created immense depth and talent. In recent memory, it seemed the Yankees always had a slight edge on offense, this year that might not be the case any longer. From top to bottom there is no break for opposing pitchers. Crawford is a speedster and one of the best top of the order guys of the last decade, Ellsbury gives them two lead off hitters, Pedroia, if healthy, is a fantasy stud, Gonzalez is made for Fenway and will punish the Green Monster, Youkilis is one of the most underrated players year after year and can finally focus on only one position with Adrian at first every day, and Drew is no slouch by any means. Along with the force, Boston has the arms as well. Lester, Lackey, Beckett, Dice-K, and Buchholz have the potential (hinging on Dice-K’s health) to be the AL’s big 4. Wakefield is one of best number 5’s too. Papelbon is a lock 35+ saves, and the only 8th/9th combo who could argue the Yanks is Bobby Jenks and Paps. Like NY, Boston added a former All-Star closer with playoff experience (World Series experience) to bolster the back end. This team is my early World Series champion pick, enough said.
Key Subtractions                      Key Additions

Adrian Beltre (Rangers)           Carl Crawford
                                                  Adrian Gonzalez
                                                  Bobby Jenks
Toronto Blue Jays
To the surprise of many, Toronto was an above .500 squad who actually garnered some national attention in 2010. They won 85 games but that still was only good enough for 4th place in this always tough division. The attention came from former utility man, Jose Bautista, blasting 50 home runs and 124 rbi (his previous career high was 16 & 63). Since then not much good has happened north of the border. The Jays were able to lock up Bautista to a big deal, praying he can at least come close to 10′ again. Aside from that their off-season was rather dull. This is not the early 90’s so no big name future hall of famers will be on the Blue Jay roster. Toronto has question marks all over the diamond. The offense does not provide much protection for Jose, his walk total could sky rocket. Despite some descent hitters such as Aaron Hill (every other year), the newly added Juan Rivera, and Rajai Davis making it a full on former Bucco party in Canada, there is not much pop in this lineup overall. The lineup is average at best but appears legendary compared to the pitchers. There is literally no one even close to an ace on the roster and Ricky Romero is quality but best suited as a number 3. Shaun Marcum and Brendan Morrow..eh. Dotel can get you saves, you may have a heart attack while watching them. Idealy he is a set-up guy and instead he is again starting the year as the closer on a struggling team with no support in sight.
Key Subtractions                       Key Additions

Vernon Wells (Angels)               Juan Rivera
John Buck (Marlins)                   Rajai Davis
Lyle Overbay (Pirates)               Octavio Dotel
Mike Jacobs (Rockies)
Baltimore Orioles
Like Toronto this team has not found anything close to the success it had in the 90’s in the new century. However, this off-season Baltimore decided to put some effort forth. The Orioles made some headlines adding a few big boppers to their previously mediocre lineup. Slugger, yet also strike out machine, Mark Reynolds, changes leagues from Arizona to the Orioles and future hall of fame former AL MVP, Vladamir Guerrero embarks on another team in another one year deal. Guerrero got off to a hot start last year but faded at the end and even though he was a key cog on the AL Champion Texas Rangers there was not much interest from either Arlington or the rest of the baseball world. Reynolds is still young and can hit a home run in his sleep, he just needs to add some plate discipline to become elite. Those two join fellow new additions J.J. Hardy and Derek Lee, Brian Roberts, Nick Markakis,  Matt Weiters, and Adam Jones to form a lineup that in any other division would be considered potent. Lee is on the decline but with this protection could have a comeback type season (former batting champ). A veteran laden team with tons of experience never hurts to try to turn things around. Only issue here, of course, the pitching. This lineup is enough to put Toronto deep in the basement, the pitching will prevent Baltimore from truly contending. Similar to the Jays, Baltimore has several number 3’s and no ace. Guthrie has potential but will need more help. Kevin Gregg fell ass backwards into his second career 30+ save season and could do it again. This team responded to Buck when he took over (watch him rebuild yet not be able to see it through) and could very possibly finish third but no way do they get any higher.
Key Subtractions                             Key Additions
Julio Lugo (Free Agent)                   Derek Lee
Ty Wigginton (Rockies)                   Mark Reynolds
Garrett Atkins (Pirates)                    Vladamir Guerrero
                                                         J.J. Hardy
                                                         Kevin Gregg

AL East Prediction:

1. Boston Red Sox
2. New York Yankees (Wild Card)
3. Baltimore Orioles
4. Tampa Bay Rays
5. Toronto Blue Jays
22
Feb

All-Star Weekend Evaluation.

The All-Star festivities have come and gone and now it is time to reflect. I spent All-Star weekend at BDL Headquarters in Morgantown but I was still able to catch most of the action. I will be assigning a grade from A-F for each event.

The Rookie Challenge- Most of the time this game has been a lopsided blow-out by the sophomores. This game was actually a little exciting. We got to see John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins team up and dominate once again, Cousins recorded 33-14 while Wall won the MVP honors dishing out a record 22 assists as we saw a talented young rookie class edge out the sophomores.

Grade: B

The Celebrity Game- Justin Bieber won MVP in a game that featured one of the 50 greatest players of all time (Scottie Pippen), enough said.

Grade: F

Three Point Shootout – One of the greatest players of the last decade Paul Pierce, the NBA’s leading scoerer Kevin Durant and the player who just became the all-time leader in three pointers, Ray Allen fell short to Miami Heat 7th man, James Jones.

Grade: D-

Slam Dunk Contest- There were some creative dunks, like Javale McGee’s two hoop dunk and Serge Ibaka’s saving the teddy bear from the hoop dunk, but there was only one true all-star in the drunk contest, Blake Griffin. It was pretty much understood he was going to win, and although the jumping of the car dunk was cool, it was more theatrical than impressive.

Grade: C-

The All-Star Game: Loved the all-star game. Tim Duncan got the start in what very well could be his last All-Star game. The West won but LeBron James recorded the second ever triple-double in A.S. history as he attempted to rally the East and out-duel Kobe Bryant who scored 37 points and won a record 4th A.S.G MVP in front of his home crowd at Staples. Perfect ending.

Grade:  A+

22
Feb

FINALLY, CARMELO HAS COME BACK TO NEW YORK CITY.

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After months and months of trade speculation the deal has been done. The New York Knicks have sold their soul for 4 time all-star, Carmelo Anthony. Denver acquired Wilson ChandlerRaymond FeltonDanilo GallinariTimofey Mozgov, the Knicks’ 2014 first-round draft pick, the Warriors’ 2012 second-round draft pick, the Warriors’ 2013 second-round draft pick and $3 million for, Anthony accompanied by Shelden Williams, Anthony Carter and Renaldo Balkman and former Finals MVP and all-star point guard, Chauncey Billups.


Was it worth it for Denver? Absolutely. They were in all probability going to lose him to free agency anyway, and they got 3 great role players and a bunch of draft picks to build on. Sure none of those players are of equal value to ‘Melo, but hey, it’s better than nothing.


Was it worth it for New York? Probably. Melo makes Gallinari expendable as far as a perimeter threat goes. Raymond Felton was having an outstanding season thanks to D’Antoni. I am interested to see how the aging Billups will do in that system but he’s not their future at point-guard. There’s been speculation that Chris Paul and Derron Williams will be in N.Y. in 2012, but you can’t bank on them. Aaron Brooks is a very talented young point guard and a restricted free agent this summer if they don’t want to wait  for Paul they could sign him and D’Antoni could make him an all-star. Chauncey can keep up till the talented 2012 free agency. However, they can’t count on a big signing in 2 years. They did that with LeBron and we all know how that went. Last summer is exactly why New York went through with the trade. Could they have kept their role players and gotten ‘Melo? Probably, but they were not going to let another superstar swingman slip through their fingers.


This obviously will make the Knicks better, but it does not make them a contender. The trio of Billups, Stoudemire and Anthony will likely be an offensive juggernaut in Mike D’Antoni’s run-and-gun system, this could be the 2000’s Suns all over again. However offense was never the primary concern for the Knicks, it never is for D’Antoni’s teams. They are always top 3 in offense, bottom 3 in defense. You cannot expect to win a championship like that. Anthony and Stoudemire are prototypical D’Antoni players, high octane offense with a silent defense. They will always be in the mix, but the top 3 teams in the East are also the top 3 defensive teams in the league and are just as offensively talented. The Celtics don’t have much time left but that still leaves the Bulls and Heat. Orlando will always be a strong team with Dwight. Unless D’Antonio adjusts his system, he will never win a championship. Well.. if they get Chris Paul or Derron Williams that might just be too much offense for any opposing team to handle, I would love to see what D’Antoni’s offense would do with tremendous talents like that of Paul and Williams at point. Even as a New Englander who was bred to despise any team that calls NYC home, I am excited for this.

21
Feb

Another Damn Trick Shot Video

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