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Archive for April, 2011

Running Blog Of The 2011 NFL Draft — Round 1

April 28, 2011 2 comments
It’s April 28, 2011, and we have finally reached an NFL event in which the words lockout, appeal or stay (as a noun) are not neccessary. It’s great to see some signs of hope, but tonight, let’s not think about that. This evening is about the future of the NFL, not it’s depressing present. The masses are packed into the Radio City Music Hall. I am parked on my couch in the Long Beach Towers apartment complex. So let’s blog it out, son.
 
4:34 p.m. Pre-draft introductions are underway, with the 2011 Hall of Fame class standing beside the 25 players who will be waiting in the green room tonight (and into tomorrow for some) waiting to hear where they will start their pro career. I can’t wait to see Mark Herzlich on that stage, but I fear he’ll be waiting for quite a while, well into Friday.
 
4:35 p.m. Cam Newton’s name is introduced and since he’s going to be the No. 1 pick, he gets the highest volume of verbal hate from the NYC crowd. Nobody likes a favorite.
 
4:37 p.m. But not often does the comissioner get more boos upon introduction than the soon-to-be top pick. Fans serenade Goodell with chants of “Let them play!” and “We want football!” Unfortunately, the chants were mixed together and not very well in snyc, so we had a few awkward moments of “Let want footplay!” Goodell responds with a “I hear ya.” And that leads into the moment of silence for yesterday’s victims of the tornadoes in Alabama. That’s one way for Goodell to get the crowd off his back.
 
4:42 p.m. I’ll be watching NFL Network’s coverage of the draft tonight, mostly. This is the first draft I’ve watched with NFL Network, so I want to see how they work it. Plus, I’m willing to put up with Michael Irvin’s nonsense as long as I can avoid a night of Chris Berman’s tired, awful puns.
 
4:49 p.m. Watching this interview between Cam Newton and Deion Sanders … Deion says he wears a cologne called confidence every day and he smells the same scent on Newton. It was a pretty cheesy brand of bro love.
 
4:54 p.m. Should Cam Newton really be the No. 1 pick? Probably not. He needs time to learn in the NFL. Unfortunately, Carolina can’t provide that environment. The Panthers need him to start right away, which is probably not for the best for him.
 
4:55 p.m. He’s supremely talented, athletically. He’s exciting and engrossing on the field. He will sell a ton of tickets and has a classic Magic Johnson smile. He’s a good leader and, despite what others say, he is determined to succeed. I don’t get the people who doubt his will to be great. Did they not watch Auburn play last year? The dude is driven. I don’t think NFL money is going to change that.
 
But I do worry about how quickly he will adapt to the NFL. Again, he has to start on day one. Jimmy Clausen can’t keep a seat warm. Still, even with Newton, the Panthers are going to lose plenty in 2011. Does that mean Cam loses that confidence, that swagger? That can be very damaging for a young player.
 
4:57 p.m. Kara Henderson says Denver will take Von Miller with the second pick. Just put the Bills on the clock, why doncha?
 
5:02 p.m. The draft is about to start, and we see Cam Newton on the phone and getting handshakes. It’s obvious what that means: He just saved 15 percent on his car insurance.  Read more…

2011 Long Beach Grand Prix: Once You’ve Seen A Race …

April 20, 2011 Leave a comment

… you’ve seen all of them. That’s my admittedly ignorant viewpoint on auto racing. I just don’t get it. It’s a lot of fast cars going around a track for a couple of hours. But I’m sure that’s as blasphemous to race fans as someone telling me how baseball is long, slow and boring. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Anyway, I wanted to write a long piece about my experience at the 2011 LB Grand Prix, but the fact is it wouldn’t have been much different from anything I wrote about my time last year. I don’t like the sport, I love the event. And the event doesn’t change. At the Long Beach Grand Prix, you are basically given an excuse to get hammered on city streets for three days. When you don’t want to watch cars go by you, you can always watch the women. You meet a lot of drunk people — some of whom you don’t know, some of whom you do know and one of whom is you. I would guess the large majority of those who attended the action from Friday through Sunday were there for everything other than racing.

In this year’s edition, the best event was the celebrity race. Granted, “celebrity” is a generous term for half of the entries and very few of them could drive worth a damn. FOX’s Jillian Barberie had to get towed off the track after just a few laps. I had a good laugh when Kevin Jonas hit the wall. At least three other celebrities I didn’t know didn’t make it out unscathed either. Tito Ortiz crashed during qualifying. Last year’s winner, Brian Austin Green, finished second, I think. And no, I didn’t see Megan Fox. A real actor, William Fichtner, won. But he wasn’t the highlight. No one could top the memory made by True Blood’s Stephen Moyer, who crashed so hard during Friday’s practice, his car did a complete rollover and landed right side up with a shattered windshield.. Um, I don’t think they brought a backup car.

In the main event, the good was Mike Conway, who came in first. The bad was rookie Ana Beatriz, who somehow spun out and saw her No. 24 car stall twice during one of the warm-up laps. That’s not a good start. She finished 19th. Women drivers, I tell ya.

Otherwise, it was a lot like this. And if you assume that I am not writing much about the 2011 LB Grand Prix because a lot of what happened is kind of foggy to me right now, you are partially correct. But only partially. It would be a lot better if I had a computer to upload photos on. That would probably spark my recall ability.

But hey, who cares if I can’t remember much? Isn’t that what racin’ is really all about?

Two-day-old postscript: I forgot to mention one thing — a car that participated in the drifting exhibition after Sunday’s big race was partially sponsored by Yo! MTV Raps. Nostalgia aside, Ed Lover was nowhere to be found.

Anyone Noticing Exactly How Bad Vernon Wells Is This Season?

April 15, 2011 Leave a comment

Angels outfielder Vernon Wells is struggling. I knew it was bad when I heard he was benched for Wednesday’s game. Wells said he was “trying to do too much.” But I didn’t know how bad it had gotten until I went looking for some numbers on Carl Crawford tonight.

I said after the first game of this season it was evident Crawford was pressing at the plate in an effort to impress his new teammates and prove he was worth the massive contract he signed during the winter. He still hasn’t relaxed. Crawford went 0-for-5 on Friday to lower his batting average to .137. But coming into the day, dude was mashing with his .378 OPS and .174 slugging percentage compared to Wells.

To just look at Vernon’s season through figures entering Friday inspires awe. Or awwwwww. For me, it’s laughter. I engage in much more schadenfreude than I really should.

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Pedro Feliciano Won’t Be Able To Face Ike Davis This Season

April 15, 2011 Leave a comment

It looks like Pedro Feliciano’s vow for revenge against the New York Mets will have to wait until next season at the earliest.

The Yankees reliever, who hasn’t pitched all season, underwent an MRI on Wednesday, which revealed a torn capsule in his left shoulder. How bad is that news for Feliciano? It caused Yankees GM Brian Cashman to evoke the name of a former Yankees pitcher who hasn’t seen game action since 2009 for comparison.

“It is a Chien-Ming Wang-like issue,” Cashman said. “And he is still trying to come back with Washington. Some people can come back, but the odds are a lot more difficult.”

Wang is currently on the Washington Nationals’ 60-day disabled list with “right shoulder fatigue.”

So it’s a good news-bad news situation. The good news is for Feliciano. No matter the injury, he got himself paid prior to this season to the tune of $8 million over two seasons. I hope he enjoys it. It’s like what they say: Money for nothing and the chicks for free. Except for the chicks part in this case, I guess.

The bad news is for the Yankees, who may see that money spent on a pitcher who didn’t play in one game while under contract. And that talk from Cashman about how the Mets handled Feliciano in “abusive” ways during the past three seasons turns out to be bulls-eye.

Call me crazy, but I think this kind of motion repeated had a lot to do with this injury. God, pitching is just not right.

Boone Logan remains the only left-handed reliever in the Yankees’ bullpen right now. That’s less than good if you are a Pinstripe fan like me. With the way he’s been pitching in 2011, he may as well have a torn left shoulder capsule.

This Just In: Dodger Stadium Is Still A Fine Place To Watch Baseball

April 15, 2011 Leave a comment

What a week for a guy’s computer to give out. Manny retires; Barry Bonds is found guilty but scores a big legal victory in the process; Kobe Bryant’s different kind of foul; The Masters is won by … some guy. I’ve missed the timeliness boat for those stories, although I still want to talk about Manny being Manny being done. I will do that later.

For now, I’ll talk about last night. Specifically, last night at Dodger Stadium. I was there with all of the police officers on foot, in squad cars, riding horses, bikes and motorcycles.  I took a bunch of photos, none of which I can upload because, again, my PC is dead. But I do appreciate the officers never minding me as I snapped shots of them like an overzealous foreign tourist.

The increase in force was certainly noticeable. But that’s the point, right? Of all the games I’ve been to at Dodger Stadium — and I’ve been to a couple hundred in my time — I don’t remember an occasion when more than one officer was in sight of a ticket gate at the start or finish of a game. Maybe the increased publicity heightened my attention as opposed to those previous nights, but at least three officers were posted outside of every gate that I saw as fans entered. When I left at about 10:30 p.m., I counted 11 men in blue within a quick 180-degree head turn, none of them more than 30 feet away from the stadium. I wondered if some knucklehead would start trouble just to create some personal attention on a night where the police presence overshadowed the actual game. I guess not. I didn’t hear about any scuffles.

I found the scene more odd than comforting. That’s probably because I have never had a problem at Dodger Stadium. I have never felt unsafe or that my well-being was in jeopardy. I felt unsafe while my father driving through Downtown L.A. after a Dodgers game on the night the ’92 riots erupted, but hey, I’m getting off topic.

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Tony LaRussa Spits The Truth

It’s the first week of the season!

That guy’s face at 4:20 is pretty priceless.

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Pedro Feliciano Is Pissed At The Mets. And He Has Something Against Ike Davis, I Guess

April 6, 2011 3 comments

Wipe off that smile, Ike. Pedro Feliciano is coming to get you because ... well ... he just is.

A story about a pro athlete holding a grudge against his former team is nothing novel. New York Yankees relief pitcher Pedro Feliciano is just the latest of the outspoken.

Feliciano’s current anger is being directed at the Mets, the team with which he spent his first eight major league seasons. Specifically, Feliciano is upset with his former pitching coach, Dan Warthen, who responded to Yankees GM Brian Cashman’s accusation that Feliciano was “overworked” during his final three years in Queens with a nod in agreement:

“He volunteered for the baseball every day,” Warthen said of Feliciano. “He was asked whether he was able to pitch. He said ‘yes’ every day — every day — and wanted to pitch more than we even pitched him. … That was part of the reason we decided to not re-sign him — because we knew we had used him 270-some times in the last three years.”

Feliciano’s appearance count in the past three seasons was 86, 88 and 92 games, respectively. The 92 showings in 2010 set a Mets franchise record, and he became the fifth pitcher in MLB history to log 90 or more appearances in a season.

Feliciano said he was “hurt” by Warthen’s comments and he felt the Mets kept him on the mound “with no reason” at times, blah, blah, blah. This is just simple sniping between clubs and players. Par for the course.

But what is Feliciano’s ultimate plan for revenge against Warthen and those evil, evil Metropolitans?

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