The ridiculous-ity has reached a limit

April 20, 2009

This post will be brief, simply because it is so ridiculous that it warrants very little writing on my part, but a lot of soul searching on a major league baseball skipper’s part.

On Sunday, Washington Nationals outfielder Elijah Dukes was benched and fined by manager Manny Acta for reporting to practice a mere five minutes late. Acta insists rules are rules, and he could not make exceptions, even for a short span of tardiness.

But what was Dukes up to that caused him to be late?

Was he at the strip club? No.

Was he purchasing drugs? Negative.

Perhaps he was involved in a high speed chase with the police?

Strike three.

Dukes, who has had off the field problems throughout his career, was doing charity work with a local little league…on the Nationals behalf.

Instead of being applauded for his efforts to straighten himself out, and in addition gain some much needed good publicity for his team (which as of this writing are 1-10, good enough (by far) for the worst record in MLB), Dukes has become the epicenter of a media field day, due in large part to the asinine antics of Acta.

As if benching Dukes was not enough, Acta has upped the ante, threatening his best player at the moment with a demotion to the minors, and fining him $500.

Ok Manny, I understand that you’re going to be fired any day because you clearly have no right being a major league baseball manager. But to penalize Dukes for trying to earn a place in people’s hearts instead of their punchlines is downright disgusting.

Rarely do I really get this animated about a situation, but this truly struck a nerve with me.

Shame on you Manny Acta, you have no business being at the helm of a professional sports team.

-Haas

Sheffield to the Mets; huh?

April 4, 2009

“The New York Mets sign outfielder Gary Sheffield.”

Those are eight words I never thought I would hear in my lifetime, and they have been slowly eating away at my brain since I first read them this afternoon, as I tried to rationalize the deal.

I was driving on Route 17, heading south towards New York City. My phone rang loudly, signaling an incoming text message. Lo and behold, it was my inside man, A.B. Sack, informing me of, in my opinion, the Mets’ blunder.

Though contingent upon Sheffield passing a physical, all signs point toward him occupying space in rightfield for the Mets, as they begin their inaugural season of play at the newly built Citi Field.

Putting aside Sheffield’s sometimes cantankerous nature, this move makes no sense whatsoever for the Mets, other than to put paying behinds in seats with the hope that Sheffield will soon hit his 500th dinger (which he will certainly do quite soon, I would imagine).

But other than the name recognition, I can’t for the life of me understand this move by GM Omar Minaya.

Yes, Sheffield was once among the greatest players in the name. He’s a nine-time All-Star, and has led the league in batting average and total bases…17 years ago.

The Mets already had two-thirds of a stellar outfield set, with Carlos Beltran patrolling centerfield and the severely underrated Ryan Church assuming duties in right.

More than likely, young Dan Murphy would have played leftfield, and personally, I’m perplexed as to why the Mets would waste the money signing Sheffield, knowing they have a seemingly excellent option already in house.

I’ve seen Murphy play (last season at Double-A Binghamton), and was impressed then, much as I was impressed watching him play at the major league level in 49 games in 2008.

Sure, Sheff is a draw, but at 40 years of age, he’s no longer even close to the same player he once was, which is obvious, since the Detroit Tigers released him only three days ago, citing that they wanted versatility at the DH position.

Translation? Sheff doesn’t have it anymore. And furthermore, if Detroit wanted him to DH, they had obviously deemed that he was not athletic enough to monitor the outfield at Comerica Park.

How can the Mets expect him to attempt to thrive in the National League, where he will actually need to play the field, in very similar dimensions to that of Comerica.

Hopefully, this doesn’t prove to be a huge bust for the Metropolitans.

The old adage has always been “only time will tell.”

Though in fairness, time has told the story on Sheffield, and the final chapter is about to be written.

Fly away Jay Cutler

April 3, 2009

Embittered quarterback Jay Cutler has finally gotten his wish. He’s finally complained enough to warrant the Denver Broncos to cut their losses, and trade him to the Chicago Bears for fellow QB Kyle Orton and two draft picks.

An athlete complaining publicly to get what they want? There’s a shocker.

However, while I don’t condone what Cutler has been doing (issuing statements that he no longer wants to play in Denver, selling his Denver area home, and not answering phone calls from team brass), I can understand it on some level. His ego has taken a huge blow, and he will do anything to pump it back up. Cutler even went out of his way earlier this week to tell Fox Sport’s Jay Glazer that he had never wanted out of Denver. The evidence however, seems to say otherwise.

“I was surprised they decided to trade me this soon,” Cutler told Glazer. “I didn’t want to get traded. This wasn’t me. (The Broncos) had been going back and forth saying things, wanting me to be their quarterback and then they didn’t.”

Cutler then tried to mend fences with his former teammates and the Denver public.

“I really didn’t want this. I love Denver. I really like my teammates. I didn’t want it to get this far.”

But Denver owner Pat Bowlen and new head coach Josh McDaniels obviously found that Cutler could no longer be a part of the Broncos family, and shipped him to Chicago.

Cutler leaves the comfort of an offense that he once ruled, and was very productive while playing for, to head to a team that has no offense to speak of.

Former kickoff returner Devin Hester was the Bears leading receiver last season with 665 yards receiving. His three receiving TDs were third on the team behind tight end Greg Olsen (5) and running back Matt Forte (4). The Cutler/Hester duo seems to be explosive on paper, but only time will tell if that actually proves to be the case.

Forte, who rushed for over 1,000 yards last season and had 12 total TDs, is the lone weapon that the Chicago offense had boasted, and he’s got be thankful that the Bears finally have a competitive signal caller (nothing against Kyle Orton, but he’s no Jay Cutler).

So that leaves Denver with two quarterbacks who had endless potential (Orton and Chris Simms, son of Giants great Phil), but never lived up to it.

The question remains, the Broncos now have two picks in the top 20 (12,18), will they draft a quarterback. And will one of the top two guys in the draft, Stanford’s Matthew Stafford or USC’s Mark Sanchez, still be on the board?

My guess? Yes. Detroit more than likely won’t grab a high risk position player, like a QB, with the top pick. Seattle might take the plunge at pick number four, but that still leaves one or the other on the board for Denver to take a bit later. However, if the Broncos don’t take one of the two, a fantastic option might be Missouri’s Chase Daniel, who according to my good friend, and sports insider A.B. Sack, could very likely still be available in the third round when Denver picks at  79.

Cutler should be fine, he’s got the talent to survive anywhere. But where do the Broncos go from here, having lost their franchise player.

We’ll see, won’t we.

The best game ever?

March 13, 2009

I’ve already heard all the buzz about the Syracuse/UConn game in the Big East tourney being the perhaps the greatest basketball ever played.

Is that justified?

It’s certainly the longest game I’ve ever watched, and it was very exciting to see. However, should it really be referred to a s the greatest game ever played?

No.

For those of you living under a rock, it took six overtimes before the Orange were finally able to put the Huskies away by a score of 127-117. Syracuse sophomore Jonny Flynn led all scorers with 34 points on 9-25 shooting. However, Flynn was 16-16 from the foul line.

Senior guard A.J. Price led the Huskies with 33 points.

Despite the loss, three UConn players (juniors Hasheem Thabeet (19, 16) and Stanley Robinson (28, 14), and senior Jeff Adrien(12, 15)) notched double-doubles (points and rebounds, in this case).

But anyway, in terms of history, this is where it stands:

Trailing only the Dec. 1981 game that went to seven overtimes between Cincinnati and Bradley in length of playing time, this game was full of back and forth action.

I enjoyed the ride, as did basically anyone who watched the game.

If you didn’t, check your pulse, you’re probably dead…or dying.

-Haas

Is Dallas better without TO?

March 10, 2009

I’ve had a few people ask me today if the Cowboys are better off now that Terrell Owens has been cast off, and signed with the Bills.

The simple answer is, no, they’re not.

Owens being released leaves the Cowboys without a marquee receiver (and no, I’m not including Jason Witten, he’s a tight end).

Owens had 1,052 yards receiving, and 10 TDs last season.

Dallas’s roster boasts a group including former first round bust Roy Williams, Miles Austin, and Patrick Crayton.

Combined 2008-09 stats?

1,026 yards receiving, 8 TDs.

As I said, I”m not including Witten, who the team uses primarily as a receiver, and not a prototypical TE. He’s a great player, but can’t carry the team.

TO will be SORELY missed, count on it.

I would bet that less than five minutes into the Cowboys first game (9/7 at Cleveland), fans are screaming that they miss TO. And as much of a clown as he is, the man can flat out play football.

And to a lot of people, that takes precedence over an individual’s character.

How ‘Bout Those Mets

March 9, 2009

Here it is, my long awaited season preview of my beloved New York Mets.

It is upon us, another season of NY Mets baseball. I won’t even begin to complain about last season, it’s an exercise in futility.

Here we go kids.

Catcher:

The Mets have Brian Schneider. I like him.

I also like Ramon Castro. Who should start? Who cares? It makes no difference, you won’t see huge numbers from either guy.

First base:

Carlos Delgado is there again. He’s a big power guy, but let’s face it, a little kid could play better defense. Supposedly, Marlon Anderson will back him up. Personally, I’d love to see Nick Evans penciled into that spot on a regular basis eventually. He won’t give you homers like Delgado will, but he’s a line drive hitter, who is a doubles machine. I saw him last season in AA-Binghamton, and he is a special kind of player, and a class act to boot.

Second base:

Luis Castillo. Enough said.

Ok, I’ll say more. It’s hard to steal bases when you have no knees. Somehow Castillo does it. I don’t even want to know how. Alex Cora was signed as a back-up. He might see some significant time once Castillo break both legs trying to steal second.

Shortstop:

Jose Reyes is there. And hopefully for Met fans, he will be forever. He does it all. Steals bases, hits for power, smiles a lot. What can’t he do? Well, lead the Mets to a title…but there’s time.

Third base:

David Wright occupies that spot. He’s a special kind of player, and will conservatively hit 30 homers and drive in 120 runs this season.

Yahoo! Sports has Daniel Murphy listed as a third baseman as well. Let me tell you where he will see no time at all this season; third base. Murphy is a guy like Evans, a young guy who I sincerely hope will see a lot of time this season. More than likely though, it will be in left field.  He has a great throwing arm, and an even better bat.

Outfield:

The Mets killed my buzz when they traded human highlight reel Endy Chavez in the JJ Putz deal, as I loved seeing his acrobatics patrolling the Shea Stadium outfield. I looked forward to seeing what he’d do at Citi Field. Oh well, c’est la vie.

Carlos Beltran is a monster, and can do it all. He’ll have a great season. How great? He might just win the MVP award.

Ryan Church exceeded everyone’s expectations last season, but battled a lot of concussion issues. Hopefully he’s 100% healthy this season, and he can make a big impact.

Evans and Murphy could see a decent amount of time in the outfield, along with Angel Pagan and newly acquired Jeremy Reed. Fernando Tatis factors in here too, and may start the season in left if Anderson or Murphy don’t.

Pitchers:

This is where everyone cringes, right? This has been the Achilles’ heel of the Metropolitans game for awhile now.

Pedro’s gone, as is Tommy Glavine. Fine, I’m not worried.

The rotation will probably shape up as follows (in order): Johan Santana (possibly the best pitcher in baseball), John Maine (vastly underrated), Oliver Perez, Mike Pelfrey (who will turn a lot of heads this season), and Tim Redding (an innings eater, if nothing else).

I would expect Redding to give way to rookie Jonathon Niese by midseason, especially if Niese can put together some decent stats out of the bullpen or in AAA.

Now onto the bullpen, and here’s where the tears normally start for most Met fans. However, in the mold of Johnson’s Baby Shampoo, there will be “No More Tears” this season.

Francisco Rodriguez is a good acquisition, but I question his durability. However, if he’s anywhere near the same player he was last season, when he racked up 62 saves for Anaheim, this is a genuis signing by Omar Minaya.

Speaking of Minaya, he made a great move picking up Putz from Seattle. He’s a great closer, and will serve as a setup man for K-Rod, at least until the latter’s arm falls off from trying to throw the ball 400 miles per hour on every pitch, and at that point, Putz will close.

Pedro Feliciano and rookie Eddie Kunz look to be a decent middle of the game reliever unit, and I”ll take that.

Overall, it’s a good time to be a Mets fan. New stadium, new start.

I won’t jinx it and say that this is the year that they win it all, but it looks pretty good from where I’m standing.

-Haas

TO to Buffalo?

March 9, 2009

When I got a text on Saturday from my best buddy, the HHH to my Heartbreak Kid, I expected it to be the usual stuff about the stupidity that we normally talk about. Instead, I was met by words I never thought I’d see: “TO to Buffalo.”

Terrell Owens has duped another team into dealing with his ego, but in this case, I see very little issue.

The Bills were a decent team already, and adding perhaps the best receiver in the game is a huge move for them. It gives them a phenomenal one-two combo at wideout, with TO and Lee Evans. Add in RB Marshawn Lynch, and you’ve got a pretty nice offense.

However, I still feel that the Bills are lacking one essential component, and that is a quarterback.

Trent Edwards and Ryan Fitzpatrick are serviceable guys at best. They both have their strengths, but they both have a myriad of weaknesses as well.

Edwards is a very smart player, he doesn’t fold under pressure, but does at times make bad throws. He also lacks the big arm to hit the lightning quick Evans when he sprints pass the defender.

Fitzpatrick on the other hand, a Harvard boy who scored a 48 out of a possible 50 points on the Wonderlic exam, has one big strength, and that is his running ability (which he obviously needed last season in Cincy, the home of a grade school offensive line).

They don’t call him “Crazy legs for nothing.

My one knock on Fitzpatrick is inconsistency, but that could be attributed to playing for the Bengals, which is only slightly better than playing for the Detroit Lions.

It appears Edwards is the choice to start, but I can’t wait to see how long it is before TO throws him under the bus, and demands a new QB.

Hmm, over/under: three games?

Welcome, Welcome, Welcome

March 9, 2009

Welcome my friends to Haastile Sports!

Normally, I have an opinion about everything sports, and I’m never afraid to tell you about it.

Sit back, read, relax, comment, whatever it is that you’re here for.

-Haas