I am happy for Ian because there were so many games in 2010 that he got the loss or a no-decision that he didn't deserve. Josh Byrnes and the 2010 bullpen cost him so many wins, it seemed like a weekly occurrence. It was nice for him to get a win he didn't deserve on Wednesday. Unfortunately, and there's no doubting this, he didn't deserve this win.
An ace can never be happy with a five-inning outing. It is inexcusable for an ace to walk in a run. However, Kennedy struck out seven. He used his curveball more. He was much more aggressive. He went 2-0 on curves to Freeman that were strikes but not called. Arizona didn't get the results they need or expect from Kennedy, but a scout would say he looked better.
I really want to believe that the NBA owners vetoed the move of the Kings to Seattle because that's in the best interest of the league. When teams relocate, it looks bad for the league as a whole. It exposes a great deal of failure if a team moves. It even reeks of instability like the early days of every league. Owners would have made so much more money if they okayed this move. It appears they put the best interest of the league in front of their own.
I wish I could believe that was the case. The true reason this is happening is because the owners want to stick it to Seattle, stick it to any NBA city with an old arena and stick it to the Maloofs. By keeping the Kings in Sacramento, the NBA can show Seattle they should have listened the first time. By keeping the Kings in Seattle, the NBA can say "Remember the Sonics" to any current city rejecting the idea using tax payer dollars to build an arena. Most importantly to them, the message to the Maloofs is "get out of our league if you're not going to negotiate with us."
The Angels owner gave the dreaded vote of confidence to manager Mike Scioscia. It's over in Anaheim. I completely understand the future firing of Scioscia on one condition: Moreno admits it's his fault.
Scioscia is an outstanding manager. Everyone in baseball knows it. It's not his fault the general manager built a team that doesn't play to his strengths. A situation like this is almost always the GM's fault. This team is the exception. There is no way Jerry Dipoto wanted to spend over $200 million dollars on two players. This is an ownership move clearly designed to keep up with the Dodgers. In order for advertising agencies to buy commercials on television, they want buzz. These signings created buzz which creates ad buys at the beginning of the year. The Angels are the fault of the owner and firing the manager won't fix that.
I think he'll be the next head coach of the Suns. I think the Suns will be mad at me until 2016 when I stop railroading against the hire of Sampson because they will have fired him.
Rolando McClain says he will retire at the ripe old age of 23. The eighth overall pick in the 2011 NFL draft has been arrested three times in the last 11 months. His life is in turmoil and the peace that passes all understanding eludes him.
Every man is responsible for the decisions that he makes in his life. Every man must pay the toll of consequences for the choices he makes. But this one really bothers me. I'm tired of seeing young men throw their life away. And it's happening more and more.
The question is, why? It's a question without an easy answer, impossible to quantify and critique. But theories abound.
Our society teaches young men the real measure of a man can be found in athletic prowess, sexual conquest and financial gain. And if you don't believe it, watch television. And make no mistake, TV is the matrix of pop culture, the tip of the pop culture spear.
It certainly doesn't espouse values and virtues, does it?
How many boys dream about being a fireman, police officer, scientist or teacher? And how many boys grow up dreaming about being a professional football, baseball or basketball player?
As C.S. Lewis said, ""We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We remove the organ and demand the function. We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and then bid the geldings to be fruitful."
And it's only going to get worse unless we start talking to our boys about faith, honor, courage, sacrifice, honesty and love.
It is not uncommon for professional basketball players to be given their own shoe by companies like Nike, Reebok and Adidas.
And for some players, like Michael Jordan, their line continues long after they've retired from the game.
Apparently Charles Barkley has a similar deal.
Nike is releasing the Chuckposite Barkley Posite, and the shoes are adorned with Phoenix Suns colors. Of that, we approve.
Of course, we do not know if this is a shoe for broadcasters or players -- or both -- only that it is purple and orange. And odds are it will be more successful than the Air-Bombay Loafer, but we digress.
Along with the knowledge that a new Barkley shoe is on the way came the revelation that there is someone who makes YouTube videos dedicated to sneakers, where they are discussed and reviewed.
He came in studio on Tuesday. As you can guess, when an NBA head coach comes in studio to talk basketball, he's a friend of the show. In our conversations during "not-so-beautiful-parts-of-the-program" it was apparent how strong the passion is in this man to coach. Chalk it up to another terrible decision by Michael Jordan if Gentry is not the head coach of the Bobcats.
It never ceases to amaze me how many people try to justify Carmelo Anthony as a basketball player. He is the furthest thing from a championship player. Sure, Syracuse fans will disagree but that's the difference between NCAA and NBA. Melo isn't terrible. He's one of the greatest one-on-one players of all time. Anthony apologists have yet to realize basketball championships are determined by the best collection of 12 players.
Players of Anthony's skill are automatic fixtures as the team's franchise player yet he dooms the franchise to an exciting life and playoff misery. Anthony is a moped player. The ride is fun, but sooner or later you need to grow up and go somewhere.
He said the marshal said he could hit. The marshals are instructed not to talk to the players. So Tiger lied on the course. Next thing you'll know he'll take an illegal drop and claim he didn't know the rule.
Every time I hear him talk, I hear a respectful man. He has nothing against the media, but I hear something else. I hear a man who talks to the media because he completely understands that it comes with the job description of an NFL QB. But he doesn't enjoy it because few in the media talk football. I'm sure Palmer is more complex, but he seems like a guy who cares about football, family and not much else.
If you have low expectations of Palmer, I understand. Past history certainly casts doubt on his ability to be a successful NFL quarterback. However, I think there have been very limited opportunities in Palmer's career where a season wasn't interrupted by a diva uprising, injury or Raider futility. I think Palmer will surprise some people.
By now the Justin Upton trade has been evaluated every which way possible. And unfortunately for Martin Prado, he will always be compared to the former D-backs' top overall pick, and there is not much he can do about it.
But while I am a big believer that in every trade there is a winner and loser, I do think there is an angle to this trade that hasn't been discussed but needs to be. And that is that Prado, while traded for Upton, did not replace him. Prado, in essence, replaced Chris Johnson. It's Cody Ross who actually replaced Upton.
So it's a better indicator to look at how Prado compares to Diamondback third basemen from last year and how Ross compares to Upton. Now Ross missed the first 10 games of the season with a bum calf, but since coming off the disabled list, he is hitting .290 with a homer and 10 RBIs. Not comparable to Upton's 13 homers, 23 runs batted in and .285 average, but numbers that aren't bad.
It's easier to compare player for player when they play the same position, ala Jarrod Parker for Trevor Cahill.
Now history shows that the team that gets the best player almost always wins the trade, so I do expect history when all is said and done will show the Braves got the better of the deal.
But if you compare Prado to D-backs third basemen and Ross to Upton, it's a more fair comparison.
I had the opportunity to watch the Cards Rookie Camp over the weekend. The Cards are transitioning from one system to another and my first glimpse of Bruce Arians' offense filled me with cautious optimism.
Coach Arians likes to throw the ball but he knows in order to throw it better you have to run it better. Play action is going to be a big part of what the Cardinals are going to do and if you want to be effective with play-action you better be able to run the ball effectively.
The tackle zone was prevalent during the practice that I saw and it remains the best form of play-action in the game. Linebackers have to honor the deep mesh-point on the tackle zone action which allows receivers to get down field, behind linebackers, and gives quarterbacks better windows to throw in. But your protection better be solid, including the back making the fake.
Coach Arians told me his favorite drill to run in practice is back-on-backer blitz pickup. This drill is brutal and inherently unfair to the running back. Edge rushers line up on the LOS (line of scrimmage) and rush the back on the snap, 1-on-1, with no pocket or help to either side. As B.A. told me, "You learn a lot about a guy in that drill."
And this is why the Cardinals brought in Rashard Mendenhall and drafted Stepfan Taylor. These two men will be relied on heavily to hold up in protection in order to use play-action the way Arians wants. They are every down backs that can run the ball and that element of the game should be much improved.
Coach Arians believes that it's not how often you run it but how effectively you run it. B.A. knows his offense must be capable of running the ball well in the red zone, on short-yardage and goal line and during the four-minute drill, when you're trying to close out a game when you have the lead.
This is one of the reasons why Big Red drafted two guards in the top four rounds. The Cardinals play in the NFC West and know they need to become more physical on the LOS in order to run the ball effectively enough to use play-action to the degree Arians would like.
Execution is the elixir of life for any scheme conceived and good players execute schemes but if what I saw on Saturday is any indication of what the Cards offense will look like this season, play-action might be the biggest component of that new scheme.
Suddenly cooling off as the series with the D-backs is approaching. Probably it has more to do with the health of Jason Heyward, but I'm still interested. It doesn't matter whether Upton goes hitless or torches Arizona. I can't wait to see it.
Really? Tiger pulled a club and that caused you to miss a shot?
I thought Garcia was soft. I'm wrong. He's weaker than that.
He's getting ripped by people who are learning the game of baseball for pulling Brandon McCarthy Sunday. It was 100% the right move.
If an established MLB pitcher throws less than 90 pitches and isn't showing signs of weakness in the eighth, he pitches the ninth inning. Here's the catch: McCarthy has established nothing! Statistically, he's the worst pitcher in the National League. McCarthy has done nothing to earn the right to throw the ninth inning. It's not about one game against Philadelphia. This is about re-establishing the confidence of McCarthy.
There's a caveat to the book. Whenever a pitcher gets hit in the head with a line drive and comes back with the worst OPP/BA and BABIP, if they pitch eight innings of shutout baseball with a rested bullpen, you pull him!
It's amazing how evil this man is. What's more amazing to me is he actually made it through high school, college and spent two years in the NFL. How does that happen? How did any educator ever say he's accomplished enough to move on? Why didn't Detroit accept a failed pick and move on much sooner?
It also brings up something else. I wonder how many Americans have NFL talent who are incarcerated or living a shady life. If Titus made it this far, there must be.
It's been eight years since the Arizona Diamondbacks drafted Justin Upton; he spent six seasons in a D-backs uniform, was traded four months ago and will play against his former team for the first time Monday night.
And I still haven't figured him out.
When Upton steps onto that field Monday, is he the hero or the villain?
I was hoping by now for clarity regarding one of the most enigmatic athletes to ever play in Arizona, but as I sit to write this, I realize I have more questions about Upton than I ever did when he was here.
Why were the Diamondbacks so intent on trading him? Or, more to the point, why did they actively put themselves in a position where they had no choice but to trade him?
Will he ever reach this much talked about ceiling or is this who he is? And by "this" I mean a wildly talented player who routinely fluctuates between greatness and just so-so-ness. Some like to point out that he's only 25. I like to counter that he has amassed nearly 2,800 at bats in his major league career.
I don't want to see him fail but I sure as hell don't want to see him kill it either. Why is that?
More than anything though -- this was something Nick Piecoro touched upon in his Upton story this weekend -- how different would this all have turned out if Upton had gone on the DL for his thumb injury a year ago? If he sits and heals and has a second half as dominant as his 2011 season, I can't imagine the Diamondbacks would have moved him. And why didn't he go on the DL? He said he wanted to play through it. Fine. Wasn't it then incumbent on the D-backs to be the grown-ups here and make him get healthy? Guys play through injuries all the time, I get it, but if he can't even grip a bat properly, it sure seems counter-productive to run him out there every day.
The answers aren't likely to come over these next three games. If Upton has a great series but the D-backs win two of three, who won? Who lost?