Tuesday, July 31, 2012
The Seattle Sounders have played the Colorado Rapids three times and they beat the Colorado Rapids three times. On Saturday, with the playoff race really heating up in the Western Conference, the Sounders got a big win on the road as they defeated the Colorado Rapids 2-1 at Dicks Sporting Goods Park. With a big month ahead of the Sounders with a home match against the LA Galaxy, an away match at San Jose and of course the U.S. Open Cup final match a week from now against Sporting Kansas City, it was important for the Sounders to get a big win to boost their confidence going into August.
Unfortunately, the lead only lasted a minute because Colorado came right back and equalised. Martin Rivero slid the ball through on the far side to Brian Mullan who sent in a low ball across the face of goal and right there was Drew Moor to slam it home for his third goal of the year and just like that the game was tied at one.
A couple minutes later, Martin Rivero was found on the near side with room to run. Rivero cut inside of Adam Johansson and tried to curl his shot into the far corner but it was beaten away by Gspurning.
In the 24th minute, the Sounders would've gone 2-1 up if it hadn't been for the post. Luis Zapata gave the ball straight away to Mauro Rosales. Rosales made a run to the center of the field which forced Zapata out of his left back position to cover. That gave Eddie Johnson room to create. Rosales played Johnson with a back heel, and EJ took one touch to get around Tyrone Marshall before hitting one low and hard, but the post saved the Rapids.
In the 48th minute, Luis Zapata's cross was intended for Omar Cummings and Patrick Ianni attempted clearance was instead given straight to Conor Casey who tried to bend one from 20 yards away and he came close to doing so, but sometimes close is not good enough.
With 15 minutes remaining in the match, Conor Casey had yet another opportunity to get a goal. Martin Rivero found Casey in the box and Casey looked to slot it home, but he hit it right at goalkeeper Michael Gspurning. Had he not made the save, Patrick Ianni probably would've been there to clear the ball off the line. Casey looked like he was going to hit it with his left foot, but Ozzie Alonso tracked back and cut down the angle which forced Casey to go to his right foot. Colorado continued to push, but they could not come up with the knockout blow and the Sounders were able to hold on to get all three points.
Seattle Sounders FC - Eddie Johnson 9 (Mauro Rosales 7) 2'
Colorado Rapids - Drew Moor 3 (Brian Mullan 6) 3'
Seattle Sounders FC - Osvaldo Alonso 1 (Eddie Johnson 2, Alex Caskey 4) 65'
Seattle Sounders FC - Michael Gspurning; Adam Johansson, Jeff Parke, Patrick Ianni, Leo Gonzalez; Mauro Rosales, Brad Evans (Marc Burch 83'), Osvaldo Alonso, Alex Caskey (Andy Rose 80'); Eddie Johnson, Fredy Montero (Zach Scott 88')
Colorado Rapids - Matt Pickens; Drew Moor, Marvell Wynne, Tyrone Marshall, Luis Zapata; Brian Mullan (Andre Akpan 80'), Joseph Nane (Wells Thompson 62'), Jeff Larentowicz, Martin Rivero; Conor Casey, Omar Cummings (Kamani Hill 62')
Labels: Alex Caskey, Brian Mullan, Colorado Rapids, Eddie Johnson, Major League Soccer(MLS), Mauro Rosales, Michael Gspurning, Osvaldo Alonso, Patrick Ianni, Seattle Sounders, soccer, Tyrone Marshall
That time of year again where the fire sale for the Seattle Mariners begins under Jack Zduriencik. This time Zduriencik traded away former all-star closer Brandon League to the Los Angeles Dodgers for two prospects and traded feel good story reliever Steve Delabar to the Toronto Blue Jays for an outfielder. League was dealt for an outfielder and a reliever as the Mariners continue to try to build their farm system. League had spent two and a half seasons with the Mariners after Zdurienick traded for him from the Toronto Blue Jays for high draft pick Brandon Morrow. League was a setup man in 2010, then became the closer in 2011 where he made the all-star team only to lose his closing job during this season which then made him very expendable. For Delabar he has a great arm and was featured on HBO's Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel. Delabar's problem this season has been the long ball and the Mariners have two young relievers ready to come up so this was two solid trades by Zduriencik.
As for who the Mariners got in the Brandon League trade from the Dodgers that is more interesting. First Leon Landry who was a third round pick by the Dodgers in 2010 take out of LSU Tigers. Landry this year in high A ball is hitting .328/.358/.559 in 376 PA's. Landry has eight home runs, 51 RBI's, 63 runs scored. He also brings speed to the table as he has hit 15 triples and stolen 20 bases in only 80 games. Landry will turn 23 this late September. Like Thames, Landry also is a left handed hitter who hopefully can keep developing as he is a career .297/.344/.457 hitter in 1,202 PA's with 16 home runs and 30 triples alone with 61 stolen bases in only 262 career games. The other piece the Mariners acquired is Logan Bawcom who was a 17th round pick in the 2010 draft from the University of Texas-Arlington Mavericks(you might recognize them as the Huskies defeated them in the NIT). Bawcom this season starting off in high A ball like Landry. In high A ball Bawcom was 1-1 with seven saves in 14 innings pitched. In those 14 innings he posted a 0.64 ERA, 0.71 WHIP and struck out 24 batters(15.4 K's per 9). He was them promoted to double A where so far he is 3-3 with 13 saves in 34.2 innings ptiched. In those 34.2 innings he has posted a 2.60 ERA, 1.32 WHP and struck out 36 batters(9.3 K's per 9). He'll be 24 years old this November and has always had a great strikeout rate throughout the minor leagues.
The Mariners are once again building through the farm and are hoping that these pieces will continue to prosper for them. Not all the prospects will pan out but take a look at last years Doug Fister trade where the Mariners acquired Casper Wells(hitting .249/.317/.407 in 209 PA's with six home runs) and Charlie Furbush(4-2, 34 games, 37.1 innings, 2.17 ERA, 0.80 WHP, 47 K's, 11.3 K's per 9) you are hoping for a similar result. I don't know about the Delabar deal but with Stephen Pryor and Carter Capps on their way up I doubt the Mariners will miss him. Just like the Mariners aren't going to miss Doug Fister in a few years if now. The League trade has potential to be a good steal for the Mariners as he was good last year but terrible this year. If not for the "proven closer" label I doubt the Dodgers give the Mariners some nice pieces for him. Like I said I think Delabar is better than League and I'm not upset at all about losing League. I'm curious how these three guys do in Seattle and we'll get a chance to see Thames quite a bit this year as he'll be on the big league roster. As for the other two hopefully someday I'll be getting a chance to see them as well. The Mariners aren't done by any chance as they could still be selling as today is the trade deadline.
Monday, July 30, 2012
After a slow first quarter the United States men's basketball team destroyed France 98-71. Team USA outscored the French 56-30 in the second and third quarters to put the game away. Led by rising superstar Kevin Durant who led all scorers with 22 points while also grabbing nine rebounds. Everyone on team USA scored in this contest against a France team led by NBA players such as Tony Parker, Portland Trail Blazers forward Nicolas Batum, Ronny Turiaf and Boris Diaw. They also had former Sonics wing Mickael Gelabale. Team USA despite their lack of size dominated the rebounds 56-40 over France. Lebron James flirted with a triple double scoring nine points, eight assists and five rebounds before not playing at all in the fourth quarter. Kobe Bryant also scored 10 points. Team USA got a nice lift from Kevin Love off the bench as Love was the second leading scorer with 14 points. For team USA this was just business as usual in destroying their competition.
For team USA there was no reason to gloat or celebrate as this was just simply business as usual. For USA you either win gold or it was a failure there is no inbetween. This was a nice dominant win for USA over a very solid France team who matched up well for the U.S. as France strengths are their wings which is what USA is the best in the world at. Should be interesting what team USA does against teams with some size going forward but for now this was a great way to open up the Olympics as USA crushed the team France in this opening game 98-71.
In the end I love the Olympics because I get to see Lebron James, Kevin Durant and Kobe Bryant all be on the court at the same time. We haven't had a trio like this since the 1992 games where you had Jordan, Bird and Magic all top 10 players of all-time. I have a feeling 20 years from now James, Bryant and Durant will be top 10 players of all-time. In fact I'd put Bryant and James in that top 10 right now. Team USA was impressive in their opening win over France and look for them to continue. In 2008 they were only challenged in the gold medal game against Spain. This team will have moments where they are being tested but if they were to lose that would be the biggest upset in international play history. I just don't see a team with James, Durant and Bryant losing. This was a good blowout win over a team that had four current NBA players so look for the United States to keep on blowing out their opponents as the Olympics goes on.
Sunday, July 29, 2012
The United States in their second group game of the 2012 Olympics completely dominated the entire match from start to finish and come away with a well deserved 3-0 win over Colombia to book their place into the quarterfinal round. The U.S. still have one more group game to go, which takes place on Tuesday at Old Trafford against North Korea. The U.S. would win with at least a draw in that one. I'm not gonna go through the scenarios, we'll just have to wait until the final match to find out who they're playing, when they're playing and where they're playing.
The opening goal didn't come until the 33rd minute for the USA. Colombia failed to get the ball out of their own area and Alex Morgan found Megan Rapinoe out wide. Rapinoe took a couple of small touches and from about 20 yards out, just curls it over the head of goalkeeper Sandra Sepulveda in to the net to put the United States ahead 1-0.
Six minutes later, we had a controversial moment and I got to tell you, Colombia are lucky not to pick up a red card. The United States were on the counter attack and off the ball, Colombian player Lady Andrade threw a forearm right into Abby Wambach's face and the referee somehow didn't see it. After the referee blew the play dead, you could see Wambach's right eye was swelling up. I don't understand how the referee didn't see that or why the assistant referee or fourth official weren't paying any attention to that because that's violent conduct and that should've been a red card. Now, the last thing I heard regarding this was that FIFA was reviewing this play. So by the look of things, Andrade could be banned from international play for a while. I mean that was just stupid and uncalled for.
In the 74th minute, the U.S. doubled their advantage. Abby Wambach, who stayed in the match despite picking up a black eye, worked a brilliant give and go with Tobin Heath as she beat two Colombian defenders to the ball and slots it home to make it 2-0 USA.
Three minutes later, the U.S. would add one more for good measure. Carli Lloyd made a great run down the center and was found by Megan Rapinoe and she slots the ball away with ease for her second goal of the tournament and that was all the United States needed as they defeat Colombia 3-0 and clinches a birth in the Quarterfinals.
United States - Megan Rapinoe 1 (33')
United States - Abby Wambach 2 (74')
United States - Carli Lloyd 2 (77')
Colombia - Sandra Sepulveda; Nataly Arias, Natalia Gaitan, Kelis Peduzine, Yulieht Dominguez; Tatiana Ariza (Liana Salazar 71'), Carmen Rodallega (Ana Montoya 71'), Maria Usme; Ingrid Vidal (Melissa Ortiz 86'), Orianica Velasquez, Lady Andrade
United States - Hope Solo; Heather Mitts, Christie Rampone, Rachel Buehler, Kelley O'Hara; Heather O'Reilly (Tobin Heath 67'), Carli Lloyd, Lauren Cheney, Megan Rapinoe (Amy Rodriguez 81'); Abby Wambach (Sydney Leroux 78'), Alex Morgan
Now I may be a couple days late with this video because I didn't see it until today, but here's a little trailier on the U.S. women's journey to another Olympic Gold Medal...
Saturday, July 28, 2012
The MLS summer transfer window officially closed today and normally during this period the Seattle Sounders would not make any moves, but not this time. Earlier today, the Sounders made a couple of big moves as they signed German midfielder Christian Tiffert to a DP contract. MLS clubs are allowed only three Designated Players and the prior to the deal, Seattle's three DP's were Fredy Montero, Alvaro Fernandez and Mauro Rosales. To free up that last DP slot, the Seattle Sounders traded Alvaro Fernandez to the Chicago Fire for Allocation Money. Remember Fernandez was originally linked with a loan move to Fredy Montero's former Colombian club Deportivo Cali, but that deal eventually fell through. That looked to be the only move they made, but it appears that 22 year old Honduran international Mario Martinez has signed with the Sounders on loan from Real Espana, but that deal hasn't been confirmed yet. Martinez is currently with the Honduran national team in London for the 2012 Olympics.
I think the Sounders front office did a great job today. Tiffert is a guy who brings leadership to this team, much like Mauro Rosales, considering he was the team captain over at 1. FC Kaiserslautern. Fernandez will be missed in Seattle for sure, but with Zakuani close to 100% and the struggles that Fernandez has gone through, I think the move had to be made.
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
So we all know that the Olympics don't officially start until Friday. However, the only exception to that is Olympic soccer kicked off with the women's tournament today. Six women's matches were played today but the only match I care about is a match that features the United States. Like earlier today at Hampden Park in Glasgow, Scotland, and yes folks this was an official Olympic game. This U.S. came back from two goals down as they scored four unanswered goals to defeat France 4-2. Good way to kick off the 2012 Olympic tournament for the two time Olympic Champions. Despite the result, I wasn't overly impressed with the midfielders. Most the game, they just seem to have a knack on giving the ball away to the opposition and other times, their teammates just fall asleep at the wrong time. Hopefully USA head coach Pia Sundhage can work with her team in that area during practice leading up to their next match on Saturday.
It took only 12 minutes for the deadlock to be broken, unfortunately, it was France who struck early. France's long ball was headed away by Amy LePeilbet but right to Gaetane Thiney and from 20 yards out Thiney strikes the ball brilliantly in to the back of the net to put France ahead 1-0. Hope Solo did get a fingertip to it but not enough.
Two minutes later, the U.S. we're two goals down. Elise Bussaglia took the corner for France on the far side of the pitch. The U.S. fail to clear the ball out of their area and Marie-Laure Delie makes them pay as she rips her shot into the net to put France up 2-0 over the two-time defending Olympic Champions.
World Cup defeat to Japan, I talked a little bit about Alex Morgan and why she should've started and went ahead and stated that she was the future of this U.S. Women's team. Of course she was just making a jump to the international level and she had nine international goals. Now fast forward to July 25, 2012, and the 23 year old has become one of the best in the game. That equalising goal was Alex Morgan's 28th in her international career in her 43rd cap and I'll bet she's gonna reach 100 caps way before the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup.
10 minutes later the U.S. would add a fourth. Once again, Megan Rapinoe was involved in the play as she played the ball long to the far side of the pitch and French defender Corine Franco made a mistake by sliding in to try to break up the play which gave Tobin Heath so much space to run at the French defense. Heath took it toward the end line and squared the ball across which missed Abby Wambach but right there was Alex Morgan at the far post to tap it in for her second of the game to make it 4-2 for the U.S. and that's how it would end.
France - Gaetane Thiney 1 (12')
France - Marie-Laure Delie 1 (14')
United States - Abby Wambach 1 (19')
United States - Alex Morgan 1 (32')
United States - Carli Lloyd 1 (56')
United States - Alex Morgan 2 (66')
United States - Hope Solo; Amy LePeilbet, Rachel Buehler, Christie Rampone, Kelley O'Hara; Megan Rapinoe (Sydney Leroux 84'), Shannon Boxx (Carli Lloyd 17'), Lauren Cheney, Tobin Heath; Abby Wambach, Alex Morgan (Amy Rodriguez 74')
France - Sarah Bouhaddi; Corine Franco, Wendie Renard, Ophelie Meilleroux (Laura Georges 46'), Sonia Bompastor; Camile Abily (Sandrine Soubeyrand 71'), Louisa Necib (Eugenie le Sommer 46'), Elise Bussaglia; Elodie Thomis, Marie-Laure Delie, Gaetane Thiney
Monday, July 23, 2012
Many thought this day would never come but shockingly it has. The Seattle Mariners traded away Ichiro Suzuki to the New York Yankees for two pitching prospects. What the Mariners received at this point doesn't matter what matters is the fact the face of the franchise since 2001 has been traded away. Since 2001 Ichiro has occupied mostly right field and some centerfield while batting leadoff for the Mariners. He had 10 consecutive 200+ hit seasons for the Mariners but his production has dramatically declined in 2011 and this year. Ichiro actually was the one who asked to be traded as he probably would like to win to end his career. Jack Zduriencik didn't receive much in this deal but two b-list pitching prospects. This was a trade that was more about addition by subtraction. This trade was so the Mariners franchise can finally move forward. So the new faces behind Felix Hernandez can finally emerge. Much like the Seahawks last year getting rid of Matt Hasselbeck so the youth can take over this roster the Mariners are doing just that with today's trade. The Mariners franchise led by for better or for worse Howard Lincoln and Chuck Armstrong are showing they are allowing Zduriencik to do what he wants. For that you have to be excited knowing our general manager has no restrictions and most likely never did.
I suggested in July of 2010 but that isn't the point. The point is this franchise is moving forward which should be rewarding to so many fans who have questioned this managements leadership over the years.
This day is a bittersweet day for me. Ichiro for years was my favorite Mariner and if I were going to the Mariners-Yankees game tonight I'd cheer Ichiro as he deserves to be cheered. He has done a lot for this franchise and will be our second first ballot hall of famer. Still his production has fallen and this was a move that had to be made. Hopefully Ichiro can finally taste some team success being in New York and hopefully the Mariners young kids can finally grow to be what we had hoped. Zduriencik didn't receive much for Ichiro and they pretty much released him. That shouldn't be held against Jack Z though as Ichiro is 38 with a big contract and is declining fast. He no longer brings in fans as Mariners attendance has been dwindling for some years now. Ichiro will leave Seattle like Matt Hasselbeck, Ken Griffey Jr, Gary Payton and many other stars before him on awkward terms. Saying goodbye to your superstar is tough to do especially when he still views himself as a superstar when in reality he is no longer that guy. The Mariners had to make this move, this move doesn't hurt or help the Mariners right now and I'll always remember the great run Ichiro gave this franchise. I wish Ichiro luck and more importantly I hope the Mariners can start playing some meaningful games in September something they haven't done since 2003.
Thursday, July 19, 2012
This weekend for the first time in my life I went and saw the Everett AquaSox in person. The reason I saw this short season single A team was the Mariners #3 draft pick overall Mike Zunino was set to make his pro debut. The AquaSox are a short drive for me so I decided to go check out our single A affiliate up in Everett. With the Seattle Mariners struggling and the Tacoma Rainiers probably too far of a drive for me to make consistently I'll probably be attending more AquaSox games which by far as the best mascot I've seen. The atmosphere at these games are fun and for a single A ball park I really enjoyed it. A dream of mine was to have a single A team play in my hometown of Longview, Washington. Since I've moved I'll just enjoy the AquaSox instead. In this particular game the AquaSox were taking on the Tri-City Dust Devils(Colorado Rockies affiliate) in what was going to be Mike Zunino's pro debut set for July 13th, 2012 on a Friday. As is usually the case in this state the weather played a factor for me as the game on Friday night was rained out. It was a shame as I would miss Zunino's pro debut as the tickets for my section were sold out on Saturday. I exchanged my tickets on Sunday for root beer float day instead.
The main reason I went to the AquaSox game in the first place was to see prized prospect Mike Zunino. Zunino who was the third pick overall this past draft in 2012 out of the University of Florida. Zunino the previous day in the double header had a double his first at bat and since this game has homered three times in two games. In this particular game Zunino had a mixed result as he batted 5th and was DH all weekend. The first at-bat he saw just two pitches before grounding out. What I liked what right when he came to the dugout due to my seats I saw him telling the coach what the pitch was and the location showing he knew what it was just missed it. In his second at-bat he led the inning off with a base hit to center which was a rope. He had a good swing on the ball and it was a good solid base hit. His third at bat was a rough one as he struck out on a pitch in the dirt. I don't care if you are the #3 pick overall the draft or drafted in the 40th round you are going to have at-bats that makes you look silly. Overall I liked what little I saw of Zunino and hopefully his future in Seattle someday is very bright. The Mariners haven't had a catcher since Dan Wilson and the hope is Zunino can be that guy.
My experience at the AquaSox game was great. Like I said even though we lost 7-0 the AquaSox are still in first place in the Northwest League. It was nice to see the future of this franchise compete at the minor league league level. More importantly with the Mariners being so down it was nice to go to a baseball game and enjoy myself. I didn't care about the score as I cared more about having fun and just watching some good ole baseball being played. That was the most important part of my trip is that it was a fun game and the future appears bright for our Seattle Mariners. I hope someday to see some of these guys at Safeco Field in the next coming years!
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
The Seattle Sounders looked to pick up where they left off from their Open Cup semifinal victory against Chivas USA during midweek and pick up three points against the New York Red Bulls in their final trip to the east coast this season, but in the end both teams settled for a point. The Sounders didn't get the win, but they did come away with a valuable road point after a 2-2 draw against the New York Red Bulls in Harrison, New Jersey. The Sounders return home this Wednesday for a friendly match against European Champions Chelsea. Their next league game won't be until July 28th when they travel to Dicks Sporting Goods Park to take on the Colorado Rapids.
The Sounders had control of this match early on and their first real opportunity came in the 11th minute. Brad Evans fed the ball to Eddie Johnson who did very well to get around Rafa Marquez. Evans continued his run and Johnson found him with a great through ball and Evans had a chance to put it away but Bill Gaudette came out and got a hand to it. This is the second time the Sounders faced Gaudette this season. The first time they faced him was when the LA Galaxy traveled to Seattle. Gaudette, who was acquired a couple days ago from the Galaxy, was making his Red Bulls debut in replace of rookie goalkeeper Ryan Meara who was out with a hip injury.
In the 21st minute, the Red Bulls had to make a change defensively. Rafa Marquez, who has been criticised by the media all season, left the game with a hip injury and was replaced by Wilman Conde, Jr. After the sub the Red Bulls changed their tactics offensively with Thierry Henry pushing up top. By the way, that was the only sub the Red Bulls made in the game. That just goes to show that head coach Hans Backe doesn't trust his bench.
Seattle Sounders FC - Alvaro Fernandez 2 (Adam Johansson 1) 16'
New York Red Bulls - Sebastien Le Toux 5 (unassisted) 24'
New York Red Bulls - Joel Lindpere 3 (Brandon Barklage 4) 61'
Seattle Sounders FC - Fredy Montero 5 (Brad Evans 1, Adam Johansson 2) 67'
Seattle Sounders FC - Marc Burch (caution; foul) 44'
New York Red Bulls - Connor Lade (caution; foul) 53'
Seattle Sounders FC - Andy Rose (caution; handball) 66'
New York Red Bulls - Thierry Henry (caution; dissent) 74'
Seattle Sounders FC - Bryan Meredith; Adam Johansson, Jeff Parke, Patrick Ianni, Marc Burch; Brad Evans (Servando Carrasco 85'), Osvaldo Alonso, Andy Rose (Leo Gonzalez 77'), Alvaro Fernandez; Mauro Rosales (Fredy Montero 62'), Eddie Johnson
New York Red Bulls - Bill Gaudette; Brandon Barklage, Markus Holgersson, Rafa Marquez (Wilman Conde 21'), Roy Miller; Joel Lindpere, Dax McCarty, Connor Lade; Sebastien Le Toux, Kenny Cooper, Thierry Henry
Labels: Adam Johansson, Alvaro Fernandez, Brad Evans, Bryan Meredith, Eddie Johnson, Fredy Montero, Kenny Cooper, Major League Soccer(MLS), New York Red Bulls, Rafa Marquez, Seattle Sounders, Sebastien Le Toux, soccer, Thierry Henry
Saturday, July 14, 2012
This past week Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant made the controversial statement that this 2012 U.S. men's olympic basketball team could defeat the vaunted 1992 "Dream Team" which featured 11 NBA hall of famers and became the first team inducted into the basketball hall of fame. That statement of course caused some back lash from the 1992 members in particular Michael Jordan who found the comments laughable and Scottie Pippen who said the 1992 team would defeat this team by 25 points. In this upcoming post I'll break down the teams and give some perspective of how the players were at the time of the games. I actually think this hypothetical game would be a lot closer than many want to believe. What is hurting the 2012 team is the fact the 1992 team was so dominant, has some legendary names, everything in the past is viewed as being better than the present and more importantly injuries. The 2012 team is without Dwight Howard(6-time all-star, 3-time defensive player of the year, 5-time first-team all-nba, 4-time first-team all defensive) , Derrick Rose(NBA MVP, Rookie of the year, 3-time all-star, first-team all NBA), Dwyane Wade(8-time all-star, NBA Finals MVP, all-star game MVP, 2-time first-team all-nba) and Chris Bosh(7-time all-star). Howard, Wade, and Bosh all helped team USA win Olympic gold in 2008 while Rose helped team USA win the World Championships in 2010. If those four were on this current team that would make the game interesting and I'd maybe take the 2012 team to win. Now that we have established those guys aren't on the team we'll still break down both rosters.
I think the 2012 starting five can stack up with the 1992 starting five if not be better than the 1992 starting five. The problem is the bench for 2012 isn't very deep at all. The bench consists of forward Carmelo Anthony who made the all-star game this past year and was selected third-team all-nba. He has made five all-star games in his career. Center Tyson Chandler who is actually starting in these games just won the NBA defensive player of the year award and was second-team all defensive this past year. He was also third-team all-NBA. He also won a championship the year prior with the Dallas Mavericks as their starting center. Point guard Deron Williams is coming off of another all-star game appearance and is a three-time all-star. Russell Westbrook was an all-star and named second-team all-NBA this past year in helping lead OKC to the NBA finals. He has made two all-star games so far in his brief career. Teammate guard/forward James Harden also made the team and just won the sixth man of the year award. Andre Iguoudala was just selected to his first all-star game this past season. Recently dropping out was forward Blake Griffin who made the all-star team for the second straight year and was selected second-team all-NBA. He also won the rookie of the year award last season. Taking his spot is #1 pick overall from national champion Kentucky Wildcats Anthony Davis who just won the college basketball player of the year award.
This is where the 1992 team would have the major edge is the bench production as they have some real fire power off the bench. Leading the bench would be Charles Barkley who was selected to the all-star game, was second-team all-nba. Barkley was a six-time all-star, all-star game MVP and four times selected first-team all-nba. Scottie Pippen was also an all-star, was second-team all-nba, first-team all defensive team. Pippen had won two NBA titles with the Bulls and had made two all-star games. At center they also had Patrick Ewing who was selected to the all-star team, was second team all-nba and all defensive team. He also finished fifth in the NBA voting. At forward Larry Bird who was an all-star but had only played in 45 games. Bird was a 12-time all-star, rookie of the year, won three straight MVP awards, two-time finals MVP as he won three titles, all-star game MVP and was selected first-team all-NBA nine times. Forward Chris Mullin had his best season as he was selected to the all-star team and was first-team all-nba finishing sixth in the MVP vote. He was also a four-time all-star in his career. John Stockton was an all-star that year as he was selected second team all-nba and all defense. He was a four-time all-star. The final selection was college star Christian Laettner from Duke who was the college basketball player of the year as he led the Duke Blue Devils to their second straight national championship.
The 1992 team has a deeper roster and the greatest player to have ever played the game in his prime in Michael Jordan. So how does the 2012 team even compete? Well I think the 2012 team has the next three best players in Lebron James, Kevin Durant and Kobe Bryant on their roster. In the case of James and Durant there is nobody who can guard either one as they are freaks of the game. Durant is a 6'10" forward who can bomb three's away from anywhere on the court, while Lebron James is a 6'8" 240 lb guy who averages 7.2 rebounds and 6.9 assists for his career. As for Bryant he is still make first-team all-nba selections and has missed only two all-star games in his career which was his rookie season and 1999 which was cancelled due to a players strike. Under my lineup for now Magic who was retired would have to cover Chris Paul who is quick which always gave Magic problems, Jordan would be able to lock up Bryant but Bryant led the 2008 Olympics in assists so he'd realize that. Drexler who was never known for his defense would be forced to guard Durant which would spell trouble for the 1992 squad while Malone would have to guard James. James is at the point in his career like Jordan was where you can't guard him. Even Robinson would have trouble with Love who is a perimeter center. The 1992 team was never challenged so we never saw their weaknesses but covering this athletic perimeter team of the 2012 squad would give them trouble.
Two things in my life as a sports fan I just barely missed out on due to my age(born in 1985) that I regret. One was the 1991 Washington Huskies national championship team. I would have loved to have enjoyed that season live as it happened. The other is the 1992 Dream Team which changed basketball forever as the world saw first hand the greatness of men's basketball. Due to those games guys like Dirk Nowitzki, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, both Gasol brothers and Serge Ibaka have grown to love the game of basketball. There will never be a dream team in our lifetime ever again as these guys were all all-stars that season. The 1992 team had the star power that this team has as well but it's not the same. If Howard, Wade, Bosh and Rose were healthy then this 2012 team could compete and perhaps even win. Since they don't the 1992 team would win the game. I learned back in 1998 as well never bet against Michael Jordan especially a Jordan in his prime. This 2012 team should start worrying more about Spain and France as there is no guarantee this team will win the gold. While the 1992 team won the gold the minute their plane landed in Barcelona, Spain.
Friday, July 13, 2012
The Seattle Seahawks have announced that they have released wide receiver Mike Williams. Once again Pete Carroll is proving the myth that he is loyal to his former USC Trojans is false. Williams who had a decent sized contract and coming off of an unproductive season in 2011 meant he was on the chopping block. For Carroll he has the right attitude that all NFL teams must have which is "what have you done for me lately?" Now Williams who was a big part of the Seahawks winning the 2010 NFC West championship and had a productive playoffs was beaten out by younger guys in 2011. Williams production dropped off big time and he showed up to mini-camps in April fat which is what got him bounced from the NFL the first time around.
I'm sad to see Williams go because he gave the Seahawks a wonderful 2010 season and had appeared he had turned it around. I do like this move because Carroll once again proves that what you did yesterday doesn't matter for today. Williams was an all-american receiver for him at USC and gave him a great comeback season in 2010 then after a bad year Carroll showed him the door. That is how Carroll operates with the Seahawks if a guy isn't being productive or there are younger guys willing to take his spot he'll show them the door regardless of what they have done for this team. The Seahawks although short on big names will be fine at the wide receiver spot. Carroll once again is continuing to clean house and rid this roster of lazy guys who are resting on their past achievements. If you are Marshawn Lynch you know that if you have a bad season there is a chance Carroll shows you the door so you have to come to camp ready to reproduce that season. That is what I love about the Seahawks, Carroll isn't afraid to cut a player who the fan base is attached to. He is simply here to do one job and one job only which is to win. For Mike Williams he helped this franchise win in 2010 but he isn't going to help this team in 2012 which I'm fine with.
Thursday, July 12, 2012
The Seattle Mariners are struggling once again in the Jack Zduriencik regime which shouldn't come as a shock since they have lost 196 games the last two seasons. The Mariners struggles have become so bad that I stopped writing or caring about this team. With the second half of the season approaching this is a critical time for the Mariners young core. Now I'll talk about Dustin Ackley, Kyle Seager and Jesus Montero for a later time. For now I'm going to focus on Texas Rangers former top prospect and current Seattle Mariners first baseman Justin Smoak. Smoak who will be 26 years old in December is having for the third straight year in the major leagues a terrible season. Smoak has actually regressed from last season and his having his worst season of his career so far. With Smoak struggling this really puts the rebuilding into question and more importantly for Jack Z his tenure in Seattle could be ending.
with this thoughtful piece . At the time everyone loved the trade and I'll admit so did I since the Mariners were acquiring Smoak who was the 13th rated prospect in the majors. The Mariners just grabbed a top tier prospect from a division rival for a rental player. Instead what ended up happening was Cliff Lee helped the Rangers reach their first every World Series in 2010. Lee in the ALDS series win over the Tampa Bay Rays was 2-0 with a 1.13 ERA having thrown 16 innings with 21 strikeouts. Then in the ALCS win over the New York Yankees Lee won his game three start going eight shutout innings allowing only two hits with 13 strikeouts. Lee would bolt in the off-season but the Rangers were able to pick up two first round draft picks. The Rangers also became a legitimate franchise with that World Series appearance which allowed them to sign all-star third baseman and former Seattle Mariner Adrian Beltre. That trade actually helped the Rangers more than anyone could have imagined at the time while to date has hurt the Mariners.
The Rangers hustled the Mariners like all good teams do to bad teams. They had the Mariners thinking they were giving up a top prospect for a rental which would hurt their franchise and help the Mariners franchise for a decade. Instead just the opposite happened the Rangers used that trade to land Lee which landed them in the World Series. They then used that momentum to go back to the World Series while the Mariners are on pace to go 67-95 which would be the first this franchise has lost 95 plus games three years in a row since their expansion days when they lost 95 plus their first four years of existence from 1977-1980. Zduriencik was supposed to clean up this mess that Bill Bavasi left him instead he has made this mess even worse. Justin Smoak is the poster boy of why this franchise's hope from 2010 to now has disappeared. Smoak was supposed to be that switch hitting power hitting first baseman that was made for Safeco Field. Instead the Rangers are laughing at the Mariners misery as they are going to win their third straight division title. Yes come to find out Justin Smoak was simply a "Smoak and Mirrors" prospect all along.