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Portland Blazes Out

Posted by Michael Kelly on August 11, 2009

The Portland Trail Blazers have committed themselves to the dreaded middle- a team neither good enough to win a title, nor bad enough to garner a game-changing lottery pick.

How? Re-upping Brandon Roy for number one guy money.

By all accounts, Brandon Roy is a good guy who seems to have overcome the knee problems that once ailed him. Good guys don’t win titles though, great players do. And Roy is not one.

By resigning Brandon Roy to such an expensive deal the Blazers have gone from being one of the more intriguing teams in the league to just another run of the mill franchise. The past two years the team has been one of the more well-liked in the league because of all their young talent, bolstered by the selection of the affable Greg Oden and the smooth draft day trade for LaMarcus Aldridge.

Here’s the rub- none of their young talents seems to scream superstar ability. Brandon Roy appears to be a number two guy on a legit title contender, and Aldridge looks like a third wheel at best. Rudy Fernandez, Martell Webster and Travis Outlaw? Role players, at best. Oden? The only way he will stay on the court long enough for us to adequately judge him is if the NBA changes the foul limit rule.

This is the major thing that drives me crazy about the NBA- good teams think they can stay pat and become great teams. This works in the NFL, but not in the NBA. There are literally no champions from the modern era (1991-now) of NBA basketball who built their teams nucleus exclusively through the draft- each champion either made a huge free agent signing or large-scale trade to bolster their fortunes, with the exception of the Spurs (who, to remind you, had the “misfortune” of losing David Robinson for a year and got to add Tim Duncan to an already legitimate title contender for free).

Besides the Spurs, let’s take a look- the Bulls couldn’t win until they shipped out Charles Oakley for Bill Cartwright, the Rockets needed Clyde the Glide to help Hakeem, and the Lakers only became serious after Pau Gasol fell into their laps. Those great Pistons teams that dominated the East for the better part of the decade? With the exception of Tayshaun Prince, they were all mercenaries, hired guns brought in from other teams.

So, why does this matter? Because the Blazers just spent their cap on Brandon Roy, and have doomed themselves to go the way of Drexler’s version of the Blazers- just good enough to lose.

Posted in Basketball, NBA | 1 Comment »

Anderson Silva Shows Why He’s the Best in the World After Destroying Forrest Griffin

Posted by Gene Morris on August 9, 2009

Forrest Griffin emerged from the locker room and strolled towards the ring with cheers and support being rained down upon him by the packed house in the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia.

Anderson Silva slowly strolled down to the cage to his normal “Ain’t No Sunshine” by DMX, bobbing to the beat, forshadowing what was to come.  The crowd booed and jeered Silva, upset over his two pervious lackluster performances while defending his middle weight title against Patrick Cote and Thales Leites.

After the introductions both men danced around the center of the cage, going through the normal feeling out process.

But then Silva flipped the switch.  He dropped his hands, brazenly taunting Griffin to throw his best shot.  No matter how hard Griffin tried, Silva ducked all of Griffin’s shots with his head movement, an unloaded on the former light heavyweight champion after each missed barrage.

It quickly became apparent that Griffin was no match for Silva’s advanced striking, and the Brazillian knocked Griffin down twice, before finally ending the fight with a step back jab that put Griffin to sleep.

The question coming into the fight was whether Silva would show his old skills and engage and destroy like he had in previous fights.  That was quickly answered as Griffin became the 5th opponent in the UFC that Silva has finished in the first round.

As Griffin sprinted from the cage and back to the locker room right after the fight ended, the next question involving Silva emerged.  Who is going to stop him?

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UFC 101 Betting Predictions

Posted by Gene Morris on August 6, 2009

With UFC 101 coming up Saturday night in Philadelphia, I thought it would be interesting to look at the current wagering lines on Bodog Sportsbook and put my predictions down in writing.

Because these will be based on the betting lines, there will obviously be some match ups that I wouldn’t feel comfortable playing. Also, keep in mind that predicting the underdog would result in a much better pay out than just picking the favorites. To keep everything uniform I’ll use 100 units over each event.

BJ Penn (-280) vs. Kenny Florian (+220)

I think Kenny Florian is a great competitor and has improved fight by fight since losing a title match to Sean Sherk back at UFC 64. In his last two fights he’s defeated contenders Joe Stevenson and Roger Huerta, even finishing Stevenson in the first round.

But I still believe BJ Penn’s skill will be to much for him to handle. Penn is a world class fighter whose talent has never been questioned. The only thing holding him back was his lack of desire and conditioning. Apparently BJ has left the comfort of Hawaii to seriously train for this fight in California with trainer Marv Marinovich, and I believe his cardio will be in tip top shape, especially coming back from his loss in January to Georges St-Pierre.

Penn addressed his training situation earlier in the summer when he posted this vlog on Youtube.

No disrespect is meant to Florian, but a dedicated and in shape BJ Penn would beat just about any other 155-lb fighter in the entire world. And Florian is no different.

Prediction: BJ Penn (-280) over Kenny Florian
Bet: Bet 55 to win 20

Anderson Silva (-365) vs. Forrest Griffin (+285)

This fight is going to be a huge test for Silva, who is moving up to the 205-lb weight class for the second time in the UFC after defending his 185-lb belt with two lackluster fights over the last nine months. Silva toyed with Patrick Cote for three rounds before Cote blew out his knee at UFC 90. He had a similar uninspired performance at UFC 97 against Thales Leites, a fight in which Leites refused to engage and Silva won in a decision.

Forrest Griffin is the perfect opponent for Silva coming off those last two fights. Griffin will have no problem engaging, and is known as one of the toughest fighters in the UFC. After defeating Quintin “Rampage” Jackson for the Light Heavyweight Championship at UFC 86, Griffin dropped the belt to Rashad Evans in December at UFC 92.

The original Ultimate Fighter winner is someone else who has greatly improved right before our eyes. His victory over Shogun Rua at UFC 76 put Griffin on the map as a legitimate contender, but it was always known that he would stand and slug with anyone put in front of him.

Silva has the better striking between these two, although Silva is a better striker than just about anyone in the UFC. He hasn’t been tested much on the ground, but Griffin has a solid ground game himself.

Because he’s moving up in weight and fighting a tough as nails competitor in Griffin, I wouldn’t have expected Silva to be such a heavy favorite. Griffin is a massive 205-lb fighter, and I think his size and strength will give Silva problems.

While I wouldn’t be shocked to see Silva fire out of the chute and use his plethora of kicks, punches, knees, and elbows in an early demolition of Griffin, I’m feeling Forrest in an upset. I think he will grind Silva down, and possibly finish him in the third round.

Prediction: Forrest Griffin (+285) over Anderson Silva (-365)
Bet: 20 to win 57

Ricardo Almedia (-160) vs. Kendall Grove (+130)
Bet: Almeida (-160), Bet 15 to win 9

Josh Neer (-250) vs. Kurt Pelligrino (+190)
Bet: Pelligrino (+190), Best 10 to win 19

Final Bets:
BJ Penn (-280), Bet 55 to win 20
Forrest Griffin (+265), Bet 20 to win 57
Ricardo Almeida (-160), Bet 15 to win 9
Kurt Pelligrino (+190), Bet 10 to win 19

Non-betting: Johny Hendricks decision over Amir Sadollah

Posted in MMA | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Prince Fielder is a Big, Angry Man.

Posted by Gene Morris on August 5, 2009

Milwaukee Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder was drilled in the leg by a pitch from the Dodgers Guillermo Mota in the ninth inning of a game in which the Dodgers were ahead 17-4 last night. It was apparently done to retaliate against the Brewers for hitting Dodgers slugger Manny Ramirez earlier in the game.

After the game was over, Fielder was not happy. He tried his hardest to get into the Dodgers clubhouse to confront Mota, but was stopped by security and held back by some teammates. Video of the incident can be seen here.

It’s a good thing for Mota that Fielder couldn’t get to him. Take a look at what he does to his own teammates…

This is not the first time Mota has been involved in an incident like this. Yankee blogger Peter Abraham of the Journal News wrote about an issue former Mets catcher Mike Piazza had with Mota back in 2003.

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Fedor Emelianenko Signs With Strikeforce

Posted by Gene Morris on August 3, 2009

The consensus #1 heavyweight in the world, Fedor Emelianenko signed a deal with Strikeforce this afternoon, spurning the offers of MMA’s top promotion, the UFC.

It had been reported in recent days that the UFC had conceded to nearly everyone of the demands from Fedor’s management team. The one demand that killed negotiations was the demand that M-1 Global be made a co-promoter with any company that signed Fedor.

That was too much for UFC President Dana White, who stated earlier in the week that he did everything possible to bring Fedor to the UFC so he could be matched up against the best fighters in the world.

While Strikeforce could present Fedor some interesting fights, including heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem and former UFC fighter Fabricio Werdum, none of the possible fights would generate the buzz or financial success of a match up between Fedor and UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar.

Lesnar is most likely to defend his title against the winner of the Shane Carwin-Cain Velasquez fight in October.

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Report: David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez said to be on 2003 Doping List

Posted by Gene Morris on July 30, 2009

David Ortiz and the Red Sox will have a lot of explaining to do after his name has reportedly been confirmed to be on the 2003 MLB Doping List

David Ortiz and the Red Sox will have a lot of explaining to do after his name has reportedly been confirmed to be on the 2003 MLB Doping List

Just saw this on Jon Heyman’s twitter, according to the New York Times, lawyers with close knowledge of that infamous 2003 doping list say that David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez’s name’s are among the 103 listed.

Manny has already been suspended for 50 games this season for failing a drug test, but Ortiz has been been outspoken against steroid users, even telling the AP earlier this year that those who test positive should be banned “for the whole year.”

If this all turns out to be true, it’s not much of a surprise to see Manny on the list. But what about Ortiz? Boston’s folk hero, who apparently just needed a change of scenery to go from a 15-20 home run guy to a perennial 40 home run guy, has been in a terrible slump this season, is hitting only .224 with 13 home runs.

With the way the entire Red Sox lineup is slumping as the team falls further behind the Yankees, it’ll surely be an interesting weekend for the Sox.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Baseball | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

MLB Trade Deadline Heats Up, Phillies Get Cliff Lee, Halladay stays put

Posted by Gene Morris on July 29, 2009

2008 AL Cy Young winner Cliff Lee will be pitching in Philadelphia for the rest of 2009

2008 AL Cy Young winner Cliff Lee will be pitching in Philadelphia for the rest of 2009

After a long flirtation with Toronto Blue Jays ace Roy Halladay, the Philadelphia Phillies acquired reigning American League Cy Young Cliff Lee and outfielder Ben Francisco from the Cleveland Indians this afternoon in exchange for pitchers Carlos Carrasco and Jason Knapp, as well as shortstop Jason Donald and catcher Lou Marson.

This is a huge deal for the Phillies, as they were able to grab another front of the rotation starter without giving up either J.A. Happ or top pitching prospect Kyle Drabek.

The move definitely cements the Phillies as the run away favorite in the NL East, and probably the favorite in the entire National League. But where does this move leave Roy Halladay and the Toronto Blue Jays?

Read the rest of this entry »

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Brett Favre Stays Retired

Posted by Gene Morris on July 29, 2009

Brett Favre told the Minnesota Vikings today that he will not play for them this upcoming season. He told ESPN’s Ed Werder, “It was the hardest decision I’ve ever made.”

Thank god this saga is over. We’ve been over saturated with Brett Favre stories the past few off seasons, and I’m very happy we won’t have to hear about it anymore.

Until he changes his mind again at some point. I’d say at this point the odds are low but I would not put it past him.

Because it’s not like we haven’t see that before.

Posted in Football | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Josh Willingham Joins Exclusive Group With Two Grand Slams In One Game

Posted by Gene Morris on July 28, 2009

Finally some positive news coming out of Washington about the Nationals. Despite being 31-68 and 27 games out in the NL East, Josh Willingham provided some history last night for the Nats.

Willingham became one of just 13 players in major league history to hit two grand slams in one game.

The 12 others…

List of Players who hit two grand slams in one game, via Wikipedia

List of Players who hit two grand slams in one game, via Wikipedia

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Mets Fire Bernazard, Minaya Battles Reporter Adam Rubin

Posted by Gene Morris on July 27, 2009

I’ve obtained exclusive video from an interview of Omar Minaya done by Adam Rubin of the New York Daily News after Rubin’s flap with Mets GM Omar Minaya at today’s press conference announcing Bernazard’s firing.

I could really see Minaya throwing Rubin away and then professing his ideals to Bernazard in the same fashion.

But really, what the hell is wrong with the Mets organization? How bad is it that it’s not that far fetched that the actions between two high level executives looks like a late 1980’s interview of a ‘roided up pro wrestler? Minaya can’t even fire a dysfunctional hot head employee without getting into an embarrassing public spat of his own?

You’d have to think Minaya and Jerry Manuel are the next to have their heads put on the chopping block, and it’s a good thing they have a pretty new stadium in Flushing because these final two months are going to be ugly.

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