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Darrent Williams’ Killer Gets The Sentence He Deserves And A Little Bit More. And Then A Whole Lot More

April 30, 2010 1 comment

Justice was served with great authority for the memory of Darrent Williams on Friday

Not often does a sports story make you cry, shock you, make you feel triumphant and laugh heartily.

But then came the sentence of Willie Clark on Friday, the man convicted of killing former Broncos cornerback Darrent Williams on New Year’s Day 2007.

You’ve probably heard or read some of the gut-wrenching testimony given by those who were with Williams that night, including former teammate Brandon Marshall. Marshall was the intended target, Williams was just a peacemaker. But he’s the one who ended up with a bullet in the neck after Clark sprayed his stretch limo with gun fire.

At the sentencing, Clark listened to Williams’ mother, Rosalind, give this statement: “Whenever someone tells me Happy New Year, it hurts. Now, when anybody says Happy Mother’s Day, it hurts because my baby will never be able to tell me Happy Mother’s Day again.”

Clark was rightfully sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. But there’s always room for expansion.

Clark wasn’t convicted of just one murder. Clark was convicted on 16 counts of attempted murder, one for each person in the limo that fateful night, and aggravated assault. He also has two previous felonies on his record. So, as an habitual criminal, Judge Christina M. Habas added on to the sentence.

By 1,152 years.

It’s no Dudley Wayne Kyzer, but it’s a rare occurrence when a millennium can sneak into a criminal sentence. In some parallel universe where death doesn’t exist, Clark wouldn’t get out of prison until 3162. To put it another way, if Clark’s sentence ended today, he would have started serving it around the time gunpowder was invented by the Chinese during the mid-ninth century.

And here’s the kicker: Clark is slated to go on trial later this year for the first-degree murder of Kalonniann Clark, a woman who was set to testify that she was shot at by one of Clark’s associates before she was killed in December 2006.

What can the judge possibly do to Clark in that case? Add on another life sentence? Oh, does that make you feel like a big man??? Go ahead and make it two. Oooo, that’ll sting! Maybe Clark looked up Kyzer’s Guinness World Record for longest sentence and decided his life’s mission is to challenge that number in combined convictions.

In the end, I don’t support the death penalty, so I’m somewhat glad that Clark committed his crimes in Denver instead of Texas. Death is the easy way out. Make him suffer in confinement, even if he’s not worth the air he breathes.

"So, 2010, add 1,152. 3,000 ... 3,100 and ... Whoa-ho-ho! Damn, I'm done.

P.S. It has since been removed, but when the AP edition of this story was posted on ESPN.com, Willie Clark’s name was hyperlinked to the stats page of former Chargers defensive back Willie Clark. It stayed that way for a few hours. Alas, that Clark is not a killer. He is the principal of Palmetto High School in Palmetto, Fla.

Oops.

MLB 2010 — Day 25: D-Train Back On Track For At Least One Day

April 29, 2010 Leave a comment

I love a feel-good sports story. There is a reason why Zack Greinke is my favorite player today and it’s not just because he makes major league hitters want to catch the next bus back to the team hotel immediately. Greinke, the sixth pick in the 2002 draft, basically disappeared from the league in 2006 due to social anxiety disorder and depression. Maybe he would never reach his potential because of his own mind.

Now he’s the reigns as the best pitcher in the American League from 2009.

I’m not a huge fan of Dontrelle Willis, but Thursday gave us a glimpse of the old Dontrelle, before he lost control of every pitch, was getting battered by hitters in the majors and minors and spent many days on the disabled list because of an anxiety disorder.

Six innings, four hits, no runs, two walks, six strikeouts in a win versus the Minnesota Twins*.

I probably shouldn’t rave too much about this outing because Willis turned in something similar last May. By June, his control was back to being AWOL and he had an ERA of more than seven. But so far this season, Willis’ control hasn’t been fantastic, but it’s been better. He has walked three or fewer batters in all five starts, a string that he hasn’t matched since 2007. His delivery has changed. His velocity is up — the six Ks are his most in an appearance since 2007 — and he’s pitching deeper into games. He has made it into the seventh inning three times this year. In 2008 and 2009, he had just two such games in 14 starts.

Willis will never again win 22 games or complete seven games as he did in 2005. But maybe today’s effort and the changes he has made is a preview of what’s ahead for Dontrelle, who was one of the game’s most exciting pitchers back in his younger days.

* Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau didn’t start today. Mauer came in as a pitch-hitter later on against Joel Zumaya and struck out on three pitches.

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Running Blog Of The 2010 NFL Draft — Round One

April 22, 2010 50 comments

Sam Bradford is pretty much a lock at No. 1. The picks behind him, however, could go a lot of different ways

Are you as sick as I am of all these pre-draft rumors?

Are the Redskins going to try to trade up for Sam Bradford? Or will they take Eric Berry instead of one of the two offensive tackles who would fill a more-pressing team need?

Will the Dolphins trade the No. 12 pick? Or do they care what Jennifer Lopez wants?

Is Jimmy Clausen going to the Vikings?

Are the Giants really that interested in C.J. Spiller? (I hope not)

Is Terrence Cody’s agent hinting that his client will be a Jet?

Which current pros will be traded? Darren McFadden? Albert Haynesworth? Ben Roethlisberger?

And what about Bryant? And McCoy? And Tebow?

AND WHAT THE FUCK ARE THE RAIDERS GOING TO DO?!

Seriously, it makes my ears bleed. Luckily, the NFL is ready to eliminate the questions and give us some answers. Here’s a running blog of tonight’s activity at Radio City Music Hall.

4:15 p.m. Jeez, how much initial pressure does the NFL want to on these kids? The spectacle that is the draft now contains an introduction of some of the NFL’s greatest players … and then they introduce the players who will be sitting in the green room to come stand out with the Hall of Famers? No pressure, guys. We just want you to stand next to Jim Brown, Joe Montana and Lawrence Taylor for a huge photo op. Then, when some of you flame out in five years, we’ll all ask, “What the hell is that scrub doing in there?”

4:18 p.m. And I hate the idea of expanding the crowd of draftees inside Radio City. I understand that ESPN wants to be able to show some players who are actually at the draft on day 2, but for those like Brandon Ghee and Rob Gronkowski, it’s going to be a long night of you just sitting there and hearing a bunch of other names called, players who teams think they are better than you.

4:21 p.m. Drew Brees is on the Madden cover. Stupid superstition, whatever. His fantasy stock just dropped about half a round on my cheat sheet.

4:22 p.m. The one thing I pray for in this draft but I’m sure it won’t come true: Chris Berman, Chris Mortensen and whomever is on that ESPN desk, please don’t drop these obvious hints of who the choice is going to be right before the official announcement. I know you think it’s cute and it makes it look like you can play Nostradamus with such an unpredictable event, but we all know that your sources tell you the pick before Roger Goodell gets the podium, and that ruins the surprise for the viewers. It’s like seeing a highly anticipated movie with someone who saw a screening last week and basically narrates each scene as it happens. It’s freaking annoying.

4:27 p.m. No matter if Sam Bradford still hasn’t heard from the Rams, he’ll be the No. 1 pick without hestiation.

4:28 p.m. As a fan, I am hoping against the odds that Rolando McClain falls to the Giants at 15. I know it’s unlikely, but he would be a tremendous addition to a defense that quit late last season. If not him, I would like to see Derrick Morgan or Mike Iupati go to the Giants.

4:30 p.m. They have been for the past four months, but now the Rams are OFFICIALLY on the clock!

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At The Long Beach Grand Prix: Sun, Women, Alcohol … And Cars If We Have Time

April 18, 2010 1 comment

Watching the screens around the track is probably the best way to watch the races since everything goes by you in hundreths of seconds

It would be a great night to write about baseball.

The Nationals, Blue Jays Pirates have winning records.

The Mets and Cardinals basically played out my baseball wet dream with a near-seven-hour game.

Ubaldo Jimenez made me look smart for once with that no-hitter. I said on this blog and other places that if it wasn’t for Roy Halladay, I would take him to win the Cy Young. He just needs to keep the walks down. Of course, with that being said, A.J. Burnett is not impressed.

But I can’t write about it because I didn’t see any of it. My entire weekend is being taken up by the Long Beach Grand Prix. It’s a weekend that I’ve heard a lot about in the past but have never enjoyed due to college. I’ve never attended any auto racing event, but since my dad has been going to the Grand Prix for the last few years and the festivities take place mere blocks from my apartment, I had to see what the excitement is all about.

My dad had told me that it’s a big three-day party. Yeah, that basically sums it up, but I guess that would be the story for every auto race anywhere.

Here are a few many pictures from my first two days at the LBGP.

You can't go five feet without knocking into a beer stand. And they all sell one brand: Tecate. That's it! I don't drink beer and I'm certainly not going to start with Tecate. Or Tecate Light

Then why are you here? Speaking of shirts, I decided to not to drop $25 on a Helio Castroneves shirt

During Saturday's practice, we claimed a spot on the bridge that overlooks turn No. 1, which is the site of many crashes. It's challenge comes as drivers, such as Marco Andretti, speed at 150+ MPH down the front straightaway and then have to make a sharp left turn. Some make it, some don't.

On this run, Ryan Briscoe's car didn't make it

I feel obligated to show a picture of Danica Patrick's car, even if it is blurry. I didn't see Milka Duno on the track, but I know she was there

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A Post About Baseball From The Previous Day — April 15

April 16, 2010 3 comments

DING-DONG, THE PITCH IS BACK!

WHICH OL’ PITCH? THE SLIDER PITCH!

DING-DONG, THE WICKED PITCH IS BACK!

As much as I will preach about not putting too much stock into early season performances, Thursday’s gem from Francisco Liriano is just too good for me to deny. Seven innings, four hits, zero runs, just two walks and eight strikeouts. Liriano was fairly economical (96 pitches) and faced just three 3-ball counts. He had a little early trouble, but he started trusting his slider more in the later innings and became nearly untouchable, retiring 11 consecutive batters at one point. You can argue that he hasn’t been this dominant since a July 2006 outing against the Devil Rays.

In July 2006, Liriano was pre-surgery and taking the league by storm with that slider. But that pitch put so much stress on his arm. He was sidelined for all of 2007 due to Tommy John surgery. He struggled with his control and efficiency in 2008 and 2009. He then torched winter ball this offseason and showed that his left arm is healthy enough to throw that devastating slider again. It’s the pitch that separates him from the mediocre starters and it’s the pitch he used to get six of his eight strikeouts by my count.

The cynics will point to Liriano’s underwhelming first start (six innings, five walks, three Ks) and the Red Sox’s lineup on Thursday sans Jacoby Ellsbury, Mike Cameron and David Ortiz*. But that still leaves a fairly fearsome starting nine. This is the best Liriano we’ve seen in four years and I’m buying, big time. He’s not going to be Felix Hernandez or Zack Greinke, but I think Liriano can give you 12-15 wins, which really depends on run support, 170 Ks, a sub-3.50 ERA and a sub-1.30 WHIP.

*No Ortiz probably help people validate Liriano’s performance even more . He could have had 10 or 11 strikeouts if grand Papi was in there.

  • I’m sure everyone thought David Huff v. Matt Harrison was going to be a pitcher’s duel. Both were solid Thursday and were as much in their first start. Keep an eye on them. I like Huff’s chances more to be successful this year. Harrison would have had a win if Rangers’ defense didn’t think it would be better to see how much it could screw over the starter.
  • The Houston Astros are ON THE BOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARD, YYYYYES! YES! Still no contributions from Carlos Lee, but at least the bus picked up Bud Norris. His RBI single in the third propelled them to victory. Oh, and he pitched well too.
  • Albert Pujols struck out twice Thursday. He has just 12 multiple-strikeout games since the start of the 2008 season. He struck out twice during the last game of the ’07 season, Sept. 30, 2007. And those were his only two strikeouts for the entire month! You already know he’s the best hitter in the game, but I just wanted to throw that out there. Amazing.

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A Post About Baseball From The Previous Day — April 14

April 15, 2010 Leave a comment

Yankees fans still see 2004 in the 2010 Javier Vazquez.

I like baseball.

I root for the Yankees, but I still become giddy when a Pirates vs. Cubs game hits WGN’s airwaves at 10 a.m. on a Tuesday morning out here on the West Coast. I’ve gone to baseball games since I was two months old, or so I’ve been told. I’ve collected baseball cards since 1994. I have a solid nest egg with those three-inch, glossy pieces of paper. I downloaded this with the full intention of reading it. The only sport I played in my youth was baseball.

Well, it was T-ball, but I ran the bases … when I still could run the bases. Even though I could walk, Sometimes I would just hit the ball off the tee and then another kid would run from home plate for me. This was necessary since I had a pretty difficult time slowing my momentum at first base and kept face-planting over the bag.

But the point is the first sentence of this post.

Trippy.

Anyway, I’ve wanted to write more on this blog while not caving in to the desire to write posts of less than 300 words. A post for each thought I have about a player or a play or a game each day would give me more hits and make me look busier than I actually am. Maybe I will cave one day soon, but I can’t do it in good faith right now. I still think it’s cheap. So for now I’ll instead be compiling all my thoughts from everything I’ve seen and heard during the day’s baseball in one post.

Yep, absolutely unoriginal in every way. I hope to keep it daily during the week and sometimes on weekends. I also hope to think of a title. Obviously, that thought hasn’t come to me yet.

  • Some fans booed Javier Vazquez because he got off to a rough start Wednesday after an awful 2010 debut on Friday. Some fans booed because they heard the Yankees traded the well-liked Melky Cabrera for him, looked at his 2009 numbers and are upset that he isn’t performing like he did with Atlanta. But I bet most of the boos directed toward Vazquez were influenced by flashbacks of 2004. To Yankees fans, Vazquez is still the pitcher who wet the bed in his first go-around in the Bronx and they will never forget that he gave up the grand slam to Johnny Damon in game 7 of the 2004 ALCS.

In other news, it’s April 14, Yankees fans! The season is not even 5 percent developed and Vazquez is getting the verbal hook in the first inning of his first home start. At least give him until June before getting serious with your “We want Melky!” chants.

  • This will never last. I can’t think of a cute nickname combining their names, so this relationship is pointless.
  • Nelson Cruz and Jorge Cantu set major league records — Cruz became the first player ever to homer in six of his team’s first eight games while Cantu collected one hit and one RBI for the ninth consecutive game to start the season. That’s nice and all, but it just hits on that universal point for players who put up obscene numbers this early in the season: They will even out. Cruz hit five homers in Texas’ first nine games last year. Cantu drove in 23 of his 100 runs last season during April. They are quick starters much like how Mark Teixeira makes his money in the second half.

Sometimes, I just have to be a buzzkill.

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Fantasy Implications From The Brandon Marshall Trade

April 14, 2010 3 comments

I’ve certainly missed a couple of golden opportunities to post here.

I have covered a relatively large amount of space on this blog with fantasy football topics. But I didn’t write anything about the Donovan McNabb trade to the Redskins (McNabb’s value drops, albeit slightly, due to decline in surrounding talent and poor offensive line; Devin Thomas is going to have a huge season in 2010; Jason Campbell becomes expendable; Kevin Kolb is now an extremely popular sleeper, which I guess is contradictory; DeSean Jackson and Brent Celek unaffected and still enticing commodities).

And I didn’t write anything about the Santonio Holmes trade to the Jets (Tough to trust any Jets wide receiver because of the system, but Holmes is the No. 1 in my mind; Jerricho Cotchery may see less playing time initially, but he is still better/easier to trust than Braylon Edwards; Mike Wallace will get to start in Pittsburgh and has tons of ability; Not concerned about the impact of Holmes’ departure on Ben Roethlisberger or Hines Ward).

So, while the window of timeliness is still cracked open, let me say what I think about Wednesday’s Brandon Marshall trade to the Dolphins.

Simply, it’s a grand score for the ‘Phins. When free agency opened last month, many people were wondering why the Seattle Seahawks wouldn’t give up a first-round pick for someone like Marshall. Sure, he’s mercurial, but he also proven NFL star who is entering the prime of his career. The odds of Seattle actually pulling a more productive player than Marshall is about — I don’t have exact statistics — 1 in 46 duodecillion. He has averaged 102 catches and more than 1,200 receiving yards in his past three seasons. But no, go ahead and hold on to that No. 6 pick. Maybe you’ll end up with the very prompt Dez Bryant. He shouldn’t be too much of a headache, right?

Marshall finally gets his wish to get out of Denver. Of course, Marshall’s past attitude problems will make him quite a scandalous topic/target on South Beach. But if the Dolphins think they can keep him happy for at least 16 games per season until 2014, I wish them the best of luck.

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