Wednesday, November 7, 2007


10 years for $252 million dollars for a baseball player. Ridiculous you say? It's about to be blown out of the water.

The word on the street is that A-Rod's agent Scott Boras told the Yankees that A-Rod wouldn't even come to a meeting in Tampa unless the offer started at $350 million. $350 million?????? That is utterly ridiculous.

I heard on Mike and Mike on ESPN Radio the other day that $350 is worth more than a handful of franchises like Pittsburgh, Florida, and Tampa. That is simply obscene. And then consider this...A-Rod is already 32. So if this is a 10 year contract, and in my opinion, for $350 million it should be a 35 year contract, A-Rod will be 42 in the last year of it. How many ballplayers are worth anything, let alone, $35 million at age 42? Barry Bonds, arguably one of the best baseball players ever, is a shell of himself at 42. Bonds made about $17 million last year and he wasn't worth that. $35 million???? Michael Jordan never even made that and he was the best basketball player of all time, bar none.

I seriously doubt that Boras will get A-Rod $35o million. I doubt the Yankees will even get in on the bidding, if there is bidding. So who needs a third baseman? Maybe Boston if they let Lowell walk away. Think about that...Boston wins the world series and then gets the best player in baseball (at least during the regular season). Oh and by the way, that player used to be on the Yankees. How good would you feel as a Red Sox fan if that happened? I don't know who else needs a third baseman or who could get in on the bidding.

It'll be interesting to see how it plays out.....

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Kobe Bryant

So the NBA season has started and it's time to watch some hoops, right? Well, there's a little distraction in the NBA that is kind of overshadowing the start of the 2007-08 season. Anybody ever heard of Kobe Bryant?

Kobe Bryant is holding the Los Angeles Lakers hostage. Why you ask? Because he can. It's been said that Bryant has the best contract in the NBA. He has a full no-trade clause and can opt out of his contract in 2009. So that gives him a little thing called leverage. He's got the Lakers over a barrel. He's demanded a trade and if the Lakers don't accomodate him, he'll surely opt out of his contract in 2009. And what will the Lakers get then? Bupkus, that's what.

So what can the Lakers do to save face? It looks like the only thing they can do is trade him and try and get something of value for him. But how do you get value when the player has all the chips and everyone knows that the player has all of the chips? That's exactly what Mitch Kupchak is thinking. The Lakers GM knows he's bent over Bryant's barrel. He's got nothing. I guarantee you he's been working the phones trying to get the most he can in return before the situation gets out of hand and he can't get a rack of basketballs for Kobe. Which is quite sad when you think about it - Kupchak wouldn't be able to get a rack of basketballs for arguably the best basketball player on the planet.

So who should Kupchak call to try and save face? Since I live in Chicago, I think this one is easy. And honestly, I can't think of anyone else who has the pieces to make a deal work. I mean, who else in the league has 2 4th year potential all-stars like Ben Gordon and Luol Deng? And a big man like Ben Wallace? And a 5th year guard like Kirk Hinrich? And some younger talent like Tyrus Thomas, Thabo Sefalosha, and Joakim Noah. If John Paxson gives up 3 or 4 of those guys to get Kobe, the Bulls still can be the best on the East. What'snot to like about a team of Kobe Bryant, Kirk Hinrich, Joe Smith, Andres Nocioni and Aaron Gray? All right, that doesn't instill fear in most teams but still, it may be good enough to win the East. And because it doesn't instill fear, Paxson isn't interested in giving up both Deng and Gordon in a deal for Bryant. At least not now. Paxson knows Kupchak is in a horrible position and is trying to get Bryant on the cheap. You can't blame the guy. It's the smart move at this point.

But what will it take for a deal between the Bulls and Lakers for Kobe? I heard on the radio today that there was a tentative 3 way deal involving the Kings where the Lakers would end up with Ron Artest and Ben Wallace while the Bulls get Kobe. I didn't catch what the Kings would get in this deal but as Mike Greenberg mentioned on ESPN radio this morning, if it goes down, it would be the worst deal ever. Wallace and Artest for Kobe? Are you out of your mind??? It sounds like the Lakers want Deng in any deal and Kobe won't come to Chicago unless Deng is still there. So what's the solution? The Lakers will eventually have to trade Bryant to end this mess because it will hang over the team all season. So if they can get Ben Gordon, Tyrus Thomas, Thabo Sefalosha and at least one first round pick, that might be the best they can get. Gordon is a scoring machine with suspect defense, although his offense is a bit inconsistent. Thomas could be a stud with his athleticism and maybe Phil Jackson can get him to work hard enough to bring out his talent. Sefalosha is a tall guard who can defend and perhaps add some offense.

Is it enough to get perhaps the best player in the world? No, but what is? Michael Jordan's prime years are past him so that wouldn't work. And the Bulls probably wouldn't include him in the deal anyway.....

Thursday, October 18, 2007

NFL after week 6

I think maybe we should just end the season now and give the Lombardi trophy to the Patriots. They are far and away the best team in the NFL. New England has scored 230 points so far this season, an average of 38 points per game, which is 27 points more than the next highest scoring team. And who was that next highest scoring team you might ask? Well that would be the Dallas Cowboys, the team that New England just spanked Sunday night by a score of 48-27. Oh yeah, they were also considered to be the best team in the NFC. The best in the NFC? That's like being the tallest midget -- who cares??? Tell me which other team has a prayer of beating the Patriots?

The 5-1 Packers? Um, no. They aren't that good. True, Brett Favre looks rejuvenated and is playing great football. But their defense I don't think is that great and his receiving core still isn't very good. Donald Driver is a stud but Jennings looks like he's regressed (could be due to his constant injury problems) and James Jones started off well but fumbled a couple times against the Bears and didn't do much the following game against the Skins.

The 4-2 Giants? Yeah, I don't think so. They're 4-0 since and 0-2 start but we've seen this before. I saw a stat the other day that the Giants have started 4-2 the last 4 years and only had one winning year overall. Nice coaching job there Mr. Coughlin. Eli Manning looks like he might finally be coming into his own and Plaxico Burress is starting to earn some of the ridiculous money paid to him. Burress has more than 500 yards and 8 TDs so far this season. The Giants also got Brandon Jacobs back to throw his 260 pounds around. But I'm still not sold on their defense. Strahan is old and while Umenyiora is a horse, he doesn't have many stats outside of the Philly game. Plus I think their corners aren't too good; any team that's keeping RW McQuarters as a corner has issues.

The 4-2 Panthers? Vinny Testaverde - enough said.

The only team that has a chance is in the same conference. The Super Bowl champion Colts are the leagues only other undefeated team through week 6. They still have a fantastic offense as shown two weeks ago against Tampa. With Marvin Harrison and Joseph Addai on the bench with injuries, some guy named Kenton Keith rushed for 121 yards and had 2 TDs while Peyton Manning had three different receivers with 7 catches. Their defense is still suspect and Bob Sanders continues to get injured. Do they have enough defense to hang with the Pats?

What do you think?

Sunday, October 14, 2007

NBA Continued

OK, so now let's look at the NBA's Western Conference.

It looks like it'll be a race between San Antonio, Dallas, and Phoenix again for the Western Conference. But let me thrown in a sleeper pick. The Houston Rockets have made quite a few moves in the offseason and have assembled quite a team to go along with new coach Rick Adelman. The Rockets picked up European star Luis Scola, a 6-9 245 pound forward from Argentina from San Antonio who drafted him five years ago but never could lure him to the States. Scola could be the missing link for the Rockets; a guy who can bang and clean up the boards so Yao can focus on being an offensive force. The Rockets also added Steve Francis and Mike James to the mix as well as rookies Aaron Brooks and Carl Landry. Brooks is an exciting player who can get to the basket or shoot the 3. Landry is a hustle player who led the Boilers in points and boards his senior year. If, and it's a big IF, McGrady can stay healthy, the Rockets should be in the mix in the West.

With that said, I still think the Spurs are the cream of the crop in the West. While they are a year older, they still have the talent and of course one of the best players in the NBA in Tim Duncan. They added a couple of players in the draft who may or may not help them this year and didn't really do much in the free agent market except keep their own players. But how can you bet against them when their track record shows they are always competitive and near the top of their conference?

The Mavericks thought last year was their year but they were knocked out in the first round. They've added veteran (in this case is it a nice way of saying old man?) Eddie Jones to the mix this year and traded for defensive stalwart Trenton Hassell. The Mavs should definitely be in the mix but they always seem to find a way to lose in the playoffs. Can Avery Johnson get them over the hump?

Latly, the Phoenix Suns have a new GM in Steve Kerr and a new starter in Grant Hill. While I'm not convinced with the Hill acquisition, I really like Steve Kerr at the helm. Kerr had no previous front office experience but he's been around the league for a long time and was part of winning teams in Chicago with the Bulls. He had a nice draft this year with DJ Strawberry and Alando Tucker. Tucker is a bit undersized but he's relentless. He was THE guy at Wisconsin for the last three years, everyone knew it, and still no one could stop him. Strawberry (yes, he's the son of that Strawberry) is a good perimeter defender who supposedly has improved his ballhandling and decision making. And of course the Suns still have Nash who is beyond comparisons, Bell, Stoudemire, and Marion. Marion made some trade demands early in the offseason but they don't seem to be affecting him in the pre-season. Stoudemire had surprise knee surgery in early October but it was supposedly just to clean out a "loose body" in his right knee, which is not the one that had microfracture surgery a few years ago. He's due back around the time the season opens which may set the Suns back a few weeks in their chemistry. But these guys will be exciting to watch and barring injury may push the older Spurs for the Western Conference title.

I'm not so confident in any other team in the West to mention them here. The Lakers did nothing to help Kobe who may now be looking to leave tinseltown (hello GMs around the league, are you listening?). Utah was the other big player in last year's playoffs but even though he didn't do much for them last year, I think it'll hurt them if they lose Andrei Kirilenko. Deron Williams a beast (and of course he's from my alma mater Illinois) but I'm not convinced they have a team that can compare to the others in the West. I really like the Suns if they can get healthy and stay healthy. The Spurs have to get old at some point right but if nobody steps up, I think the Spurs will be there at the end again.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


The NBA pre-season started this past week so who are the favorites for the 2007-08 season?

Let's start in the East where my favorite team, the Bulls, reside. I'll get to the Bulls in a minute.

Will the Celtics be able to capitalize on their new big 3 of Garnett, Pierce, and Allen? I'm not convinced this team will be the best in the East. Garnett is a beast and I think he still has a few good years left even though he has a lot of mileage on his body. He's the real deal so I think he's definitely a good addition. I like Ray Allen's offense but his defense is atrocious. And Paul Pierce is also not known for his defense. Garnett is a great defender but I'm not sure he can make up for Pierce's and Allen's deficiencies. And there's only one basketball so we'll see which of these guys gets pissed off first when he doesn't score enough.

Cleveland went to the finals last year with LeBron and nobody important so can they get over the hump this year and win it all? Not only do I think the answer is no, I think they won't even sniff the finals. I think LeBron is a fantastic player, top 3 in the NBA, but he needs some help. Larry Hughes has never lived up to his potential. Ilgauskas looks good for a few games and then disappears. Drew Gooden is a good defensive player at best. And perhaps their best energy guy, Anderson Varejao, is still unsigned because the Cavs have some salary cap issues. Because of those cap issues, the Cavs didn't help themselves in free agency and I think took a step backwards.

Detroit re-signed Chauncy Billups and kept all of their other important players. Rip Hamilton is a beast who can cause mismatches with his length and athleticism at the 2 guard. Tayshaun Prince has freakishly long arms (and no neck, what a weird body) and scores in bunches. Chris Webber has not resigned with the team which may be a big loss as C-Webb was huge for them down the stretch and in the playoffs. I think Rasheed Wallace is finally on the decline but even though the guy is a whack job, he seems to get the team to rally around him. They may be the cream of the crop in the East.

And now for the Bulls. I think the Bulls may be the best in the East this year. While they didn't land Garnett (even though it's been reported they offered a better deal than Boston did - hello, Kevin McHale, what the hell are you thinking???) or sign another top flight free agent, the Bulls had a nice draft and have their core players together for the 4th year. Gordon, Hinrich, and Deng should be even more comfortable playing together. Throw in a second year for Ben Wallace and this team should be good on offense and defense. I like their draft this year too. Joakim Noah is a hustle guy who knows how to win. Aaron Gray is a big body that the Bulls haven't had in years. JamesOn Curry was a guy that Paxson liked before the draft and found a way to get him in the second round. Joe Smith should be able to replace PJ Brown both on the court and in the locker room. He should provide some more offense and at least as much defense since Brown wasn't much help last year. I'm really excited about Luol Deng this year. I think he's a freak of nature with his long arms and he's a really smart player. I always thought Deng would be a perfect 2 guard with his length, shooting ability, and slashing to the basket. And Skiles said he'd try him at 2 guard this year so I'm excited to see the results. I think he's an all-star this year. If the Bulls play the way they should, I think they can get over the hump and get to the Eastern Conference finals, if not the NBA finals.

What do you think?

Sunday, October 7, 2007

NFL Football - BEARS!

As I mentioned in my welcome, I'm a huge Bears fan and I've been watching the Bears-Packers game while starting this blog. I'm impressed that they've put a up a good fight against a team that was 4-0. But I'm still not convinced that they're an elite team.

Let me start with the Offense. The offensive line is just awful while the play calling is atrocious. Is it just me or did they replace Fred Miller the right tackle with a turnstyle??? His footwork is terrible and he's letting everybody past him. Tait is out and St. Clair is playing tonight. He hasn't been so bad but why hasn't Angelo addressed his old line in the draft? They kept a 4th round pick from BC but I think he's been inactive all season. Hopefully he can develop. It seems like it doesn't even matter with Ron Turner's play calling. Why have there been so many defenders coming to the QB untouched this year? Is it Turner's play calling or is his line so inept that they're leaving guys unblocked? Grossman took a wicked shot in the first week from an unblocked defender. And in tonight's game, there were a few times where the plays called went right into the defense. Did Griese not notice the play was going right into the defense? Does Turner give him a chance to audible? Would it matter?

Another thing I have an issue with is the Bears receivers. Mushin looks old this year. He's dropped a bunch of balls, although he always did that. Berrian is missing in action. Perhaps the lack of a running game (I'll blame the line although Benson doesn't always look interested) isn't freeing up Berrian for the play action passes he caught last year. I really wish Turner would get Olsen more involved. He looked like a stud tonight. And Des Clark still looks pretty good too. Why not use the tight ends more???

To me, the jury is still out on Cedric Benson. I can't figure him out. He was a stud in college and then got hurt with the Bears. He was never hurt in college so I thought it was a fluke. But as I mentioned earlier, he just doesn't seem interested all the time. He's not very emotional so maybe I'm confusing that with not being interested. I think he can be a very powerful and effective runner but I'd like to see some emotion out of him, just so I know he cares.

Lastly, I'm hopeful the defense will come around. It sucks to lose Brown (again) and Dvorecek, who I thought was on his way to being really good, but they could overcome those losses with their depth. But last week they played without both starting corners, a starting pro bowl linebacker, and the other starting safety. Plus Tommie Harris wasn't 100%. They got Tillman back tonight and he forced two fumbles. Hopefully as they get healthy on Defense, the Bears record will get healthier too.

Cubs '07 dismissal

It's fitting that my first post here should be about the Cubs, right? Chicago's lovable losers, who were cursed by a guy 60 years ago because he couldn't bring his goat into the game (I think that's true -- at least I know the goat part is because you can't get away from hearing about it by the national media).

Now that their season is over, let's take a look at the season that was, 2007. The Cubs finished first in the NL Central with a record of 85-77, 2 games ahead of the Milwaukee Brewers. How did they do it and what does it mean?

I wasn't a big fan of the Lou Piniella hire, but he made a believer out of me. Maybe it's because I'm blinded by the awfulness that was the Dusty Baker regime (a moment of silence for Dusty's regime...thank you), but I think Lou did a great job with this team. They really weren't a very good team and Lou got them into the playoffs...where they promptly laid an egg. While Lou's decision to pull Zambrano after 6 great innings was questionable, he wasn't the one who went 0 for 12 in the series (hello, Aramis Ramirez, are you there?). He did what he could with this team and put his stamp on it. It took him a while but he figured our Cesar Izturis and Michael Barrett both sucked and had Hendry get rid of them. Just a side note...what the hell happened to Izturis? The guy was a Gold Glove shortstop, gets traded for Greg Maddux....and is banished to Pittsburgh? How the hell did that happen???? Piniella also sent Murton down and relegated Scott Eyre (aka Stevie) to mop up duty until he got his arm out of his butt (is that even possible?). The one thing he didn't do this year that I hope he does next year is tell Soriano that he's not the leadoff hitter. I heard someone on the radio say that Soriano's speed is gone because of his two leg injuries but I don't know if that's really true. Even if he still has his legs, he should be hitting in the 5-hole where his bombs can actually drive in runs. Then maybe he'll have some more confidence going in to the post-season and he can raise his .225 career post-season average.

Are there other reasons the Cubs made it to the playoffs besides Lou Piniella? How about Jim Hendry? He's the guy responsible for getting Soriano, Mark DeRosa, Ted Lilly, and Jason Marquis. Before you go off on me for Lilly and Marquis, consider this: those guys won 27 games this year for the Cubs. I thought they way overspent (even in the insane economics of MLB) for Lilly but he was pretty damn good this year. I think he was more consistent than Zambrano. And Marquis was 12-9 which is worth the $7 million he got paid. Hendry's signing of DeRosa raised some eyebrows but he's the kind of guy you want on your team and in the clubhouse. He's a good guy who plays hard and doesn't question the manager, even when he's playing 7 different positions after being told he's be playing one. Another side note....why the hell was it OK to lie to DeRosa about his position but not Soriano? Oh yeah, $136 million....

So that brings us to the future of my Cubbies. Where do they go from here? Well, luckily they're in the worst division in baseball. The division one of my favorite columnists in the Daily Herald calls the "Norris Division", referring of course to the old hockey division where the minor league team known as the Blackhawks resides. And to make matters better for the Cubs, Walt Jocketty quit or resigned or was fired last week. Hopefully LaRussa will go to so that will sink the Cards. Milwaukee has some nice young players but their "ace" Ben Sheets is the modern day Kerry Wood so you can count on him for about 10 starts a year for the next few years until he gets shut down for a year or two and then resurfaces as a setup guy and potential future closer. Wait, that sounds familiar....And the Houston Astros are a shambles, firing their GM and coach during this season. They have Oswalt...and nothing else. So the Cubs need to pay some attention to on base percentage and get either a second baseman who can lead off or at least work a count and get on base or a right fielder who can do the same. How about this...move Soriano back to second and then either get a corner outfielder who can lead off or let Pie lead off and show what he can do. Either way, the Cubs should again win the Central next year. Hopefully it won't be so close but maybe Hendry can swing a great deal like he has in the past. I'm sure he has Pittsburgh on speed dial, maybe he can steal someone else...can you say Nate McLouth???