Tuesday, June 22, 2010

France Surrenders in the World Cup

France stigma of surrendering appears again this time in the World Cup, the world's biggest sporting stage. The national team was marred into a complete trainwreck disaster of the drama, embarrassment, and more drama that wrecked the entire team. It was so bad their OWN country and sponsors turned on the entire team as well as the president of France and French soccer legend tearing the team a new asshole. France surrendered playing during middle of the World Cup when they were lucky to be in it the first place. The soap opera started when Nicolas Anelka dismissed from the national team after the second game of match play. Anelka was replaced midway through the game after getting into argument with the coach. It led a team mutiny as the players refuse to train with a complete image of fitness coach tossing the stopwatch away. It also led to France team-director quitting on the spot because of the drama. What made it more stupid the entire thing was caught on media cameras. Another bonehead moment was a sheet of paper from team captain Patrice Evra and the team being read in front of the media on why they are not training in support of Anelka. In a few hours of work the players showed their prima donnas solidarity ways completely embarrassing the national team. The media have fun with the drama with commentary poking fun at the team and how they shouldn't be in the World Cup in the first place. Sponsors departed in exodus, French soccer legend Zinedine Zidane and French president Nicolas Sarkozy calling entire situation a disgrace with the French sport minister reducing the team to tears. Many of the citizens decide cheer for South Africa, the opponent they play against in match play. Going against South Africa they need a miracle win and mathematics doing their part to advance to the World Cup. Instead, in fitting fashion the team lost 2-1 to host South Africa leaving their match play record at 0-2-1 with 1 point thus eliminating them from the World Cup. In those three games they only scored total of 1 goal. The drama marked with France coach refusing shake hands with South Africa coach after the end of the game. It ended the dramatic farce the french national team put up in the World Cup as they pretty much surrendered. Sadly the loss and elimination happened on same day Germany forced France to sign armistice deal during World War II. Not a good day for France. It been better if Ireland was in other than France handballing their way in. Instead we got a suppose powerhouse falling from grace to laughing embarrassment.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Red River war spills on to the pros

Texas Longhorns and Oklahoma Sooners football rivalry spills on to the pros. Vince Young (product of Texas Longhorn) was cited for misdemeanor assault after punching man at a strip club when he flashed him upside down "Hook Em Horns" sign. College sports rivalry is serious business.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Blackhawks rise to the Stanley Cup

Chicago Blackhawks finally won the Stanley Cup breaking the current longest championship drought of the NHL. It was impressive rise to the Cup for a team that was left to rot around a decade ago. Best word to describe the Blackhawks in the late 90s and early 2000 seasons was mediocrity. After making the playoffs in 28 straight years they missed the playoffs in 9 out of 10 seasons starting with 97-98 season. They suffered in free agency market with frugality of late team president Bill Wirtz. The Blackhawks dark period was so bad that AHL team Chicago Wolves, playing at Allstate Arena in Rosemont, would outdrew them at games often. Team drafted very poorly between 1998 and 2004 as Brent Seabrook (1st round; 14th overall; 2003) was one of few picks to remain with the team currently. What turned the team around? You have to look at the post 2004-05 NHL lockout. The first seed was planted in 2006 draft when the Blackhawks drafted Jonathan Toews with third overall pick. Another key person was then-GM Dan Tallon, who was hired at the time, made moves signing and trading players to get a few key players of the current team despite some didn't work out. In 2007 the entire team got a makeover. Bill Wirtz passed away leaving his son, Rocky, taking the reigns as team president. He immediately toss away his father's policies and made partnerships and bringing back team legends that refused to do anything when his late father was still alive and running the team. The second seed planted when Blackhawks, with first overall pick, selected Patrick Kane. Immediately both hit it off as 1-2 combo on ice. Their first season (2007-08) together they finished 40-34-8 with 88 points. More seeds planted as the team signed Brian Campbell and Cristobal Huet along bringing coaching legend Scotty Bowman in the front office with Joel Queeneville as scout. Team started 2008-09 season in a struggle that they replaced Denis Savard with Queeneville as coach. Together they became one of best teams in the league that season making the playoffs for first time since 2001-02 season with a record 46-24-12 with 104 points. They made it all the way to NHL Western Conference finals before losing the series to the Red Wings in 5 games. Before the playoffs and near the end of the regular season they signed another goalie who turn out to be key for this season: Antti Niemi. This season continued with more changes as then GM Dan Tallon was demoted/fired after free agent "glitch" as Stan Bowman was promoted to GM. Despite the drama they continue to impress with Kane taking charged along with Toews, Patrick Sharp, Mariana Hossa (who signed a big 12-year contract before the season), and Kris Versteeg on scoring goals. Defensemen Campbell and Duncan Keith doing their job defending against the opponent's offense and assisting goals. Huet and Niemi both impressive in goal and sharing duty. Team finished on top of central division with 52-22-8 with 112 points and the no. 2 seed in the playoffs. They battled past Nashville Predators (4-2), Vancouver Canucks (4-2), and San Jose Sharks (4-0) to reach to the finals taking on no. 7 yet dangerous Philadelphia Flyers who are continued on their momentum including coming back 0-3 to win the series against Boston Bruins. Blackhawks took the first two games of the series at home winning by a goal (6-5; 2-1), but two straight (4-3; 5-3) on the road tying up the series. Back at home, Blackhawks got through and hit both Flyers goalies hard winning 7-4. Now back on the road to Philly the Flyers are on a hot streak winning 20 straight playoff games at home. Both teams battled passed regulation still tied 3-3 going into overtime. Blackhawks end up taking it with a tricky shot at goal from an angle. Guess who scored the goal? It was Patrick Kane, one key young players that sow the seeds of the Blackhawks future. Blackhawks took the series ending the Flyers home playoff winning streak and most importantly Stanley Cup drought who last won it in 1961. What a great way to end the NHL season. Congratulations to the Chicago Blackhawks for the winning the Cup. They deserved it after 49 long years. Somewhere in the northside of Chicago some are crying on the diamond for their 101 years and counting of futility while a team on the southside and the Blackhawks broke their championship drought during this time.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Ken Griffey Jr. calls it a career

After 22 seasons in the majors Ken Griffey Jr. calls it a career. He finished his career with fifth all-time in homeruns with 630. He came in the league in a huge bang in 1989 and lead the rising of Seattle Mariners franchise to the top of the AL West division. After 11 seasons with the Mariners he was traded to Cincinnati Reds spending 7 1/2 injury plagued seasons before spending half the season with Chicago White Sox in 2008. He signed back with Mariners last year to hit .214 with 19 homeruns and 59 RBIs in 117 games. Instead of retiring he went for another season. But its been a disappointing season hitting .184 with no homeruns and 7 RBIs. A report he took a nap in the clubhouse during a game made waves fueling critics from does he has passion of the game to should he retire. A month later KGJ decide to walk away from the diamond as a player. He is a sure first ballot Hall of Fame and if it wasn't for the injuries with the Reds he could have hit 700 career homeruns. He brought Mariners from the dead to contender in the mid and late 90s as well helping to jump start the rise of Upper Deck company with the most well-known popular rookie card in UD first baseball card set. His likeness was placed on several Nintendo video games on the Super Nintendo and Nintendo 64. Ken Griffey, Jr. will be missed on the field.

D-Train derailed in Detroit; gets chugging to Arizona

It's been a rough 2 and half years in Detroit for Dontrelle Willis. After getting traded from the Florida Marlins and signing three year, $29 million extension he became one of biggest disappointments. Tigers designated him on Saturday and traded him to Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday. A big fall from his phenomenal All-Star rookie season in 2003 to struggling with possibly his pitching career going off the rails. In two half-seasons with the Tigers he played in 24 games, started in 22 of them with a combined 2-10 record with a 7.29 ERA (9.38, 7.49, and 4.99). He battled from control issues resulting him being sent down to the minors, injury, and anxiety disorder which he didn't agree with. In three of his first five starts he slowly showed he was returning back to winning form. Then in his final four starts with the team he went off the rails with mediocre results. It cause the team to cut their loses ending a disaster run. Why did he struggle in Detroit? Was it misfortune or having adjust from NL to AL strike zone having an effect on him? Is it possible his disappointing last season with the Marlins carried on which posted 10-15 record with ERA of 5.17 after three successful seasons in his first four years? Now he's back in the NL with a fresh start in Arizona can he regain control of his pitches along reducing number of hits given as well ability return to winning form? This could be last chance for Dontrelle to pitch on the mound. If it doesn't work out switching from pitching to offense isn't a bad option for him.