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2009 October | The Sports Report Girl - Part 4

The Road To Pacquiao

October 8, 2009 by AC  
Filed under Boxing/MMA, SRG's Blog

Mayweather’s last bout with Marquez was a clinic. Against all the talk of ring rust, and weight, Mayweather made it rain once again in September. His unparalleled speed, skill and natural talent reduced a good fighter to an average one.

According to Manny Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach, “Floyd needs us- we don’t need him.”

Roach, among his many skills, can foresee the outcome of fights that involve his favorite fighter. Polite manners aside, Roach predicted a knock out on Hatton when the majority believed his boy would go down. If the Mayweather fight happens, the forecast will be hazy. Even for Roach. This is the one guy that may stop Pacquiao’s brilliant reign as a pound for pound favorite.

For many fight fans, we love to hate Mayweather. He’s branded himself as the villain of the sport. It’s not the fact that he backs it up, but underneath the bravado he has heart. As much as Vegas fans booed him for dominating Marquez, most fans like myself, smiled at the outcome. He has yet to partner up with Golden Boy Promotions or Bob Arum. The fact that he held on this long without selling out is very rare in a sport that buys fighters faster than a slot machine in a Reno tourist convention. Besides his storied family history and his cockiness, he’s charming.

Pacquiao is another fighter that has yet to sell out to the mega promoters and may be the most likeable guy in boxing in decades. His humility and honesty touches people. It would be an eyesore to watch him being beaten to the punch. Unlikely, when you remember his last few fights, dismantling a faded Oscar De La Hoya and shutting down the tough Brit from Manchester, Ricky Hatton… But nonetheless, “Money” Mayweather will close the show because….will because, bottom line he always has. Period. Pacquiao’s past legacy of knocking off the best Mexican fighters doesn’t apply to the elusive Mayweather. Although, his speed and footwork, with Freddie Roach in his ear has evolved with every fight, it’s no match for Mayweather’s hand speed and blinding combinations and a newly discovered left jab. Here’s the thing, even with a year and a half of ‘retirement’ he’s smarter.

Speed vs. Speed. Mayweather is two inches taller and with a reach advantage of five inches it’s no contest. It will come down to who has more talent.

It won’t be easy and there is always the chance that Pacquiao will do the unthinkable and administer the first loss to Mayweather. But there’s also a chance I will win the lotto.

Whatever goes down that night, make no mistake, there will be a rematch.

ALDS Preview: Red Sox vs. Angels

October 8, 2009 by Gabe Zaldivar  
Filed under Baseball, MLB, SRG's Blog

Let’s disregard the fact that the Angels have three division series losses to the Red Sox. This is a new year and what’s striking is that these two teams are pretty close images of one another. Take away the ability of both Jon Lester and Josh Beckett to turn into K machines every so often, the Angels and Red Sox are pretty much split down the middle talent wise. The regular season record illustrates this with the Angels taking five of nine.

Both squads have extremely talented hitters throughout. What both lack is a step-up stud of a hitter. Neither has the one guy who pitchers would rather pitch around than put anything near them. This has not deterred either from being extremely potent on offense. Rather, the hits are spread out all over. This is a pick em’ series that should go all five.

To pick the winner of this one I flipped a coin nine times and the Angels won. However I remember that I still can’t stand the Rally Monkey so I switched to the Red Sox. Monkeys should be lauded and laughed at for their comical behavior not invoked to spur on a rally. That’s right the Red Sox win because Angel fans worship monkeys. You heard it here first.

ALDS Preview: Twins vs. Yankees

October 7, 2009 by Gabe Zaldivar  
Filed under Baseball, MLB, SRG's Blog

The Twins were not supposed to make the playoffs this year, just as they weren’t supposed to last year. In fact, since Kent Hrbek retired, any year they do well is pretty much icing. But here they are well into October, keeping baseball in the Metrodome for at least one more game. Unfortunately they are up against the best paid team in baseball – and they still have to play in a marshmallow.

New York’s weakness the past couple of years has come in the arm department. It should also be noted that Yankee players have no actual souls, so that could be a minus as well. This year however, they have a great one-two, Sabathia and Burnett, and plenty of depth in the bullpen. Their greatest strength in that department may be Joba Chamberlain. He can pitch a few innings of long relief if need be or he can be ready at a moment’s notice to pitch to one batter. A guy that versatile in the playoffs is extremely valuable.

The Yankees also benefit from the Twins coming off an extreme high and may still very well be suffering from champagne hangovers. What’s scary, though, is that the Yankees usually have Alex Rodriguez on slump mode right about now. But he’s been heating up every month and just had one of the best games of his career to end the season. It turns out his injury at the beginning of the season was a blessing in disguise. That said, he still has no actual soul to speak of.

NLDS Preview: Cardinals vs. Dodgers

October 7, 2009 by Gabe Zaldivar  
Filed under Baseball, MLB, SRG's Blog

With Torre and LaRussa at their respective helms, the Dodgers-Cardinals series will be an interesting exhibition in strategy. And we all know how exciting baseball strategy exhibitions can be.
The Dodgers come in with the best record in the National League but may just be the underdog in this one. Both teams tout a stunning lineup of speed and power. The Cardinals have a lethal combo of Pujols and Holliday. Either of which can turn the game around in one swing. The Dodgers counter with Manny Ramirez whom the Dodgers are confident will turn things around for the series. They also feature one of the best hitting center fielders in Matt Kemp. He is not only adept in the batter’s box but also on the base paths. Oh, I almost forgot the stunning contribution Jim Thome brings to the table for the Dodgers. His ability to fly out in crucial situations may prove vital in the week ahead.
The game changer comes in the form of the starting rotations. St. Louis has two of the best in baseball in Adam Wainwright and Chris Carpenter. The Dodgers have used the entire season to piecemeal a consistent rotation together. With Billingsley unable to throw anything but fastballs down the middle, Joe Torre will call on Randy Wolf to lead the Dodgers in game 1. The only confidence this brings LA fans is that Wolf is left handed and the Cardinals seem befuddled by those types this season. This will be a close series if the Dodgers take game 1. However if they lose home field advantage you can buy tickets for St. Louis in the League Championship series.

NLDS Preview: Rockies vs. Phillies

October 6, 2009 by Gabe Zaldivar  
Filed under Baseball, MLB, SRG's Blog

The Rockies are as enigmatic as the division in which they play in. Touted as a young team on the rise, the Rockies started the season as underachievers.

I would also like to take this time to throw a special shout out to my boy Garrett Atkins whom I drafted in the 7th round of my fantasy league this year. Atkins was supposed to be the slugger the Rockies desperately needed this season. He is now backing up Ian Stewart at third base. Let me put this in perspective for you Garrett, Dexter Fowler is getting more hacks then you right now. Dexter weighs a little more than a fat infant and he is getting the nod over you in crunch time. I hate you. I’m sorry – I just really could have used the power from that position this year.

Anyway, they would hit their low point of 12 games under .500 in the beginning of June. Management felt not enough was being done with the talent on the roster and manager Clint Hurdle was fired. That being said, the Rockies have been the hottest team in baseball since the break. Jim Tracy has brought back a sense of calm to the young dugout. Starters such as Troy Tulowitzki feel at ease knowing that their skipper has faith in them. The players have dutifully rewarded him with solid defense, consistent hitting, and a playoff berth. If Jorge De La Rosa can be fit to pitch in this series Colorado’s chances skyrocket.

Please don’t misconstrue me. The Phillies should win this series. They have a better roster and won it last year. That should be the end of the argument. But what fun would sports be if great teams didn’t have at least one fatal flaw? The problem for Philly is in their bullpen.

While the Rockies are trying to maintain their heat, the Phillies are trying to return to postseason form. Last year Philadelphia had a seasoned and lethal bullpen. They played with a confidence after the seventh inning not many could. Unfortunately for the defending Champions Brad Lidge has gone from a lights out solution in the ninth to a shaky proposition. There is no doubt that Philly touts a better lineup and starting rotation in a short series. They have the power to make short work of the Rockies. The only caveat will come when Hamels, Lee, or Blanton have to surrender the ball to the bully.

Top 10 Worst Quarterbacks in College Football

October 6, 2009 by Dion Rabouin  
Filed under College Football, Football, SRG's Blog

While most other writers are sizing up the Heisman race, putting together lists of the best quarterbacks college football has to offer, I’ve decided to go in the opposite direction. This is the list of 10 guys who, if there were a college fantasy football league, would still be left on the waivers in week 10. These are the kind of QBs that get a coach fired and send the boosters heading for the hills.

Because even fighters that suck are given badass nicknames, I’ve decided to give them each a moniker that I think truly reflects their unique set of skills.

10. Danny “Better than Jack Elway” Sullivan (Arizona State) – A mind-boggling 5.8 yards per attempt and 51 percent completion percentage earn Sullivan a spot on the list. He completed all of 10 passes against Georgia in ASU’s biggest game of the season and has managed to even underwhelm ASU fans who pray for 7-5 seasons.

9. Taylor “Someone had to replace Graham Harrell” Potts (Texas Tech) – With Texas Tech’s freewheeling, throw-the-ball-every-play offense, Potts has managed 7.7 yards per completion. His stats actually aren’t that bad, he’s completing more than 67 percent of his passes, but to watch him is to loathe him. The phrase “couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn” has never been more true. He makes Tech fans long for the days of Kliff Kingsbury.

8. Ryan “Bullet” Lindley (San Diego State) – To truly show how hard San Diego State is working to overcome Lindley’s horrific play at quarterback, I present Exhibit A: Last week against New Mexico State, Lindley was 7-for-27 for 123 yards…and the Aztecs won. Want Exhibit B? Week 1 against UCLA he was 18-for-45 with three interceptions. He is that bad.

7. Juice “Totally not a mistake” Williams (Illinois) – Remember two years ago when Juice Williams and Illinois won the Big 10 and everyone was singing the praises of Ron Zook, Williams and the Illinois spread offense? Then they got destroyed by the Trojans in the Rose Bowl and went 5-7 in 2008. Right now Juice is projected to throw for 1557 yards…for the entire year. Oh wait, word just came out that he’s been benched.

6. Mike “The Punisher” Hartline (Kentucky) – He’s been punishing his coaches, his teammates and Kentucky fans all year for believing in him. In five games, he’s barely passed for 600 yards and he has more interceptions (6) than touchdowns (5). I guess UK used up all their recruiting points getting Andre Woodson, because this guy is terrible.

5. Larry “Supernova” Smith (Vanderbilt) – The word phenom comes to mind. Smith has a staggering 87.02 QB rating this year. To give you an idea of how bad this is, Chris Todd of Auburn, who is terrible, has a QB rating of 160. After a recent resurgence, Smith has the Commodores knocking on the door of the SEC basement again. But let’s be honest, Vandy was never meant to be good at sports.

4. Kyle “On the money” Parker (Clemson) – As the signal caller for Clemson, Parker has not only managed a 102.42 quarterback rating – good for eighth worst in all of FBS – but until last week at Maryland, he’d never managed to complete 50 percent of his passes in a single game. Against Middle Tennessee State in week one, he threw for 159 yards, while completing nine-of-20 passes.

3. Cody “Chip off the old block” Hawkins (Colorado) – I really hate to include him in this list because he’s actually a talented football player and he’s got the skills to be a good quarterback. But my God he’s been abysmal this season. He’s literally in the bottom 15 of every important statistical category for quarterbacks there is. He’s 12th from the bottom in INTs, 13th from the bottom in QB rating, 10th from the bottom in yards per pass attempt, 12th from the bottom in completion percentage and that’s out of 114 quarterbacks. He’s got no line, no receivers and no running game to speak of, but even that’s no excuse for losing 54-38 to Toledo.

2. Marshall “Call me Marino” Lobbestael (Washington State) - Statistically the worst quarterback in all of FBS football. Ranks dead last in QB rating, touchdowns, completion percentage, yards per completion and not sucking percentage. He got his spot taken by a freshman last week and had said freshman not been knocked out of the game, he would still be sitting on the bench. Were the number one quarterback on the list not so cringe-inducingly awful, he would certainly take the cake.

1. Jonathan “Big Air” Crompton (Tennessee) – Probably the worst SEC quarterback I’ve seen in years. He’s a worse passer than Kodi Burns of Auburn and Burns is only allowed to run the ball. Tennessee’s head coach Lane Kiffin has done a great job of putting Crompton in position to not screw things up since his 13-for-26, three interception, zero touchdown, 93 yard performance against UCLA. Against Florida, I don’t think Kiffin even called a play with a receiver further than five yards from the line of scrimmage, even though the Volunteers were behind literally the entire game. In that game, Crompton threw the ball 19 times, again for 93 yards. He followed that up with 222 yards passing against perennial FBS juggernaut University of Ohio (yes, you read that right).

Proving You Can’t Make a Hoe a Housewife

October 3, 2009 by Dion Rabouin  
Filed under College Football, Football, SRG's Blog

There’s a song by Kurupt, a West-coast rapper from Compton, with a chorus that goes something like: “This here is one of them occasions/Where the homie’s not doin it right/So what you found you a hoe that you like/But you can’t make a hoe a housewife.” It’s quite a catchy little diddy and whether you’re comfortable with the terminology involved, Kurupt has a good point: You can’t make someone into something that they are not.

In this particular case, the “homie” is Oregon coach Chip Kelly and the “hoe” is LaGerrette Blount. You may have heard on Friday that Kelly said he would consider reinstating Blount onto the team as early as November 7th, easing the season-long suspension that the university imposed on him. Kelly is effectively trying to turn Blount into a housewife and it just ain’t happening. While the incident where Blount cold cocked Boise State’s Byron Hout on national television was the most egregious of Blount’s offenses, it’s certainly not his first.

In his first season at Oregon, Blount – who transferred to Oregon from East Mississippi Community College because he didn’t have the grades to get into a single school in the SEC – reportedly clashed with former head coach Mike Bellotti a number of times. The most widely acknowledged was the time Blount was suspended for the first quarter of the team’s 2008 game against Cal for “not following team rules.” He was suspended again by Kelly before the 2009 season started for the exact same unspecified offense (not following the rules). Then, prior to the game, Blount mouthed off to reporters about how the Ducks owed Boise State an “ass whoopin.”

Reports coming out of Eugene were that Blount was skating on thin ice before the team even took the field in Boise, and we all saw how that ended. Kelly is an old-fashioned good guy. Clearly he wants to give the kid, who comes from a rough place and has worked hard, another shot. But Kelly needs to learn that what’s best for a troubled youngster might not be what’s best for his football team, his program, or even himself.

Blount is a hard-head and a thug who hasn’t learned his lesson and probably never will. Had he just thrown the punch, it would have been forgivable. But what (should have) sealed his fate was the fact he was so out of control that he actually tried to go into the stands and fight the opposing team’s fans. That’s not the mark of someone who needs to be on the football field anytime soon… it’s the mark of someone who needs years – literally years – of emotional and psychiatric counseling.

Baseball Bits 10-2-09

October 2, 2009 by Gabe Zaldivar  
Filed under Baseball, MLB, SRG's Blog

And by that we mean “bits of information about baseball.”

We are at that funky time of the season where a lot does not matter. Most teams are locked into early winter breaks or about to make a run at a World Series title. There may be a nice race in Minnesota/Detroit but since neither is representing the American League in late October let’s just ignore them completely:

Kip Wells the Human Pitching Machine
Kip Wells finally got the Cardinals back on track today… Too bad he pitches for the Reds. Both he and reliever Micah Owings combined to give up nine runs in a little over four innings. I don’t know what it takes to be a pitcher in Cincinnati, but I am pretty sure it consists of an ERA above five and a penchant to throw the ball over the plate.

Chris Carpenter chimed in with six RBI’s including a grand slam off of Wells in the 2nd inning. Troy Glaus got into the mix with his first RBI this season. Yes, the Cardinals starting pitcher and ‘fresh off the DL’ third baseman combined for 8 RBI’s today off what the Red’s are calling pitchers now-a-days. I am seriously considering hiring Kip Wells to throw me batting practice when I am having a bad day. I hear he might be available soon.

At least they aren’t the Orioles
The Mets will be damned if they have anyone healthy to end the season. Jose Reyes was threatening to end September with a fully healed hamstring. The Mets staff quickly nipped that in the bud and ran Reyes in practice until he was good and re-injured. He is now out for the remainder of the season… All three games. Most would have opted to sit Reyes down and avoid pesky distractions the off season can bring like surgery on an injured hamstring. Such is not the way of the Mets. This news was followed by the revelation that ticket prices for the Mets will be down 20% next year. I feel this was necessitated by the fact that their best players this year were Angel Pagan and Luis Castillo. You can’t charge big league prices when best and healthiest mean the exact same thing in your organization.

Any day now
I have a sneaking suspicion that the Dodgers believe the National League will clinch itself. Watching Mark Loretta try to field a ball last night, I could come to no other conclusion. Much like Manny running down a routine fly ball in left field, the Dodgers will make clinching their division look as hard as possible. I don’t like Los Angeles’ chances as their rotation has looked surprisingly like the ‘quality staff of arms’ they have over there in Cincinnati.

And The Legend Continues To Grow!

October 2, 2009 by Dion Rabouin  
Filed under College Football, Football, SRG's Blog

As Tim Tebow lay motionless on the field in the third quarter of Saturday’s game against Kentucky, the crowd at Commonwealth Stadium in Lexington, KY, and everyone watching on TV, held their collective breath. The scene – Tebow laying motionless on the field as his teammates attempted to pick his limp body up from the turf – is eerily reminiscent of the iconic “The Death of Superman” comic where Superman is killed by villain Doomsday (if you’re a nerd, you’re no doubt familiar with this comic, if you have a life, however, you’ll want to ask one of your nerd friends about it).

After Tebow was taken off the field, carted to an ambulance, held at the hospital overnight and diagnosed with a concussion, Florida Head Coach Urban Meyer attempted to reassure everyone at the press conference that Tebow was just fine. “He asked me ‘Did I hold onto the ball?’ I told him he did and he winked at me and said ‘It’s great to be a Gator.’”

For starters, Meyer’s story is obviously a boldfaced lie. At that moment, Tim Tebow had no idea he was a Gator, let alone it was a great day to be a Gator. But Meyer didn’t tell this whopper of a lie to reassure voters or boosters or pollsters… he told it to reassure all of us that the mighty Superman was alright and that nothing – not a concussion or a tracheal lobotomy – was going to stop him.

Tim Tebow has become more than a person, he has become a myth. He’s bigger than UF football – hell, he’s bigger than football. This season is about more than winning a National Championship, it’s about anointing the Great One.

In addition to his Heisman trophy and the enormous picture that hangs in front of the athletics complex at the University of Florida, Tebow has already been elected to the school’s hall of fame. His pledge to Gator Nation after the loss to Ole Miss last year is literally etched in stone outside the stadium. He’s spawned no less than three nationally renowned sportswriters from large, legitimate news organizations to devote blogs entirely to him. And he’s inspired national television announcers to literally say, on air, “Superman wears Tim Tebow pajamas.” Clearly this is no ordinary man… he has become otherworldly.

It’s as if this were all ordained to further his legend: the hit, the concussion, the ‘great day to be a Gator’ quote, the all-too-convenient bye week for him to recover. For an ordinary man, a mild traumatic brain injury would keep him off the field at least two weeks. But Tim Tebow will play on Saturday, October 10th, against LSU. Because Tim Tebow is not a man, he is Superman, and Superman would never miss a game.

I Feel Your Fantasy Pain!

October 1, 2009 by Jenna Q.  
Filed under Football, NFL Football, SRG's Blog

Is Steve Smith past his glory days or is Jake Delhomme a sad excuse for a quarterback?

Is Randy Moss not trying or is Tom Brady not fully 100%?

Is Larry Fitzgerald overrated or is Kurt Warner an old man?

Whatever the case, all I know is that if someone were to tell me that 3 weeks into the season, the combined touchdowns for three of the top receivers in the league the past few years is 2 (both from Fitzgerald), I would think you’re more senile than Al Davis (but then again, I am a Raider fan. I highly doubt you’re more senile than good ol’ Al).

Granted, there’s still a hell of a lot more games left, and all these guys are getting double and sometimes triple teamed on coverage — understandable. But they’ve had outstanding seasons before, even when they were already established bona fide superstars….so what makes this season any different?

I mean, there’s a lot of differences this season. Firstly, we’re welcomed with a whopping 12 new head coaches. Then, the Cincinnati Bung–ahem–Bengals are 2-1 having beaten two Super Bowl favorites, the Packers and Steelers (in all reality, and I can’t believe I’m saying this, but they really should be 3-0 had it not been for the NFL gods wanting to keep them cursed for one more week against Denver), and finally…FINALLY, the Lions got a win. EUREKA!

So, I get it. The NFL changes from year to year. It couldn’t be more obvious this year. But what blows my mind is that Steve Smith, who was my first pick in my fantasy draft, has less points than Pierre Garcon. WHO!? you ask? No, that’s not a hockey player. He’s a wideout for the Colts, and yes, he has two more touchdowns than the perennial pro bowler.

If you were to tell me that Randy Moss, the same player who had 23 touchdown receptions in 2007 from the same exact quarterback, is now touchdown-less to begin 2009?

If you were to tell me that Larry Fitzgerald, the player who had a monster post-season earlier this year leading the constantly downtrodden Arizona Cardinals to the Super Bowl only to come mere minutes away from a world championship is now seeing his effectiveness waning as his quarterback is slowly (rapidly?) deteriorating?

If you told me any of the aforementioned, I would dismiss you as a n00b who has no football knowledge whatsoever, and I would encourage you to quit your fantasy leagues while you’re at it.

Age is certainly not too much of an issue (Moss is the oldest at 32), nor are injuries, to a certain extent. So, according to my scouting report, I’m inclined to believe these three wide receivers still have some juice left in their game. I think it only leads to one thing: the answer my questions posed at the beginning, and I shall articulate in the most eloquent fashion…

Delhomme sucks, Brady is still hurt, and Warner — is old.

***And here’s my bold advice for the day: Drop all of them from your fantasy team. Yes, even Brady (but then again, why listen to me? I’m 0-3 to start the season.)

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