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2010 March | The Sports Report Girl - Part 2

Tiger’s Rough Week

March 19, 2010 by SRG  
Filed under Other Sports, SRG's Blog

For Tiger Woods, the week started on such a high note. Considering how things had been going the past few months, it was a welcome relief to be receiving so much positive press. After all, the greatest golfer of our generation had made it official… he was making his tour return at the Masters, the site of his first major victory nearly 13 years ago.

Sure, some sports radio pundits were bashing Tiger for the bold faced lies he told at his news conference last month. He told the world his career would have to take a backseat to repairing his marriage. But that seemed to last all of about two weeks before he was out on the range, training for his eventual return. Most of us, however, have been clamoring for him to get back out on the tour, if only to begin the process of putting this ugly chapter to rest.

But then the week took a turn for the worse. First, one of Tiger’s alleged former mistresses (porn actress Joslyn James) decided the time was right to release hundreds of old text messages she received from Tiger while they were carrying on their affair. Of course she had to wait until she got her own website up and running(sextingjoslynjames.com), but one has to wonder why this wasn’t done months ago. Now it just seems to be the act of a desperate and bitter woman.

If that weren’t bad enough, a line of sex toys bearing Tiger’s name and likeness recently hit the shelves of your local adult video stores. Tiger Sex Dolls, Giant Condoms and other kinky items are being sold by Pipedream Products. Naturally Woods’ attorneys sent Pipedream a letter demanding the products be recalled and destroyed. But that’s a little like trying to put the genie back in the bottle. At this point, the damage is done.

And perhaps not so coincidentally, Elin Nordegren has been M.I.A. from the Woods estate the last few days. I guess she’s not down with being humiliated all over again.

Like the saying goes, “fool me once, shame on… shame on… you………. Fool me, you can’t get fooled again.”
Those are sage words, Mr. President.

Shattering The Glass Ceiling In High School Football

March 15, 2010 by Jennie Cote  
Filed under Football, SRG's Blog

To some degree, James Brown was right when he sang, “This is a man’s world”. Men have always dominated coaching women’s sports, but slowly its time has come. There was a ground breaking decision in the world of high school football last week when 29 year old Natalie Randolph was named head varsity football coach of Washington D.C.’s Calvin Coolidge Senior High.

It is reported that Randolph is currently the only female coaching boys’ varsity high school football in the country. At her press conference on Friday she said, “Head coach is a big job for anybody. The fact that it’s making history, that’s also pretty cool, but I really wanna make sure that I give the best that I can for the kids.”

Randolph has been teaching biology at the school for the last two years, but that’s not her only impressive statistic. She’s had some experience on the field as a player and as a coach. Randolph was a sprinter at the University of Virginia. That led her to 5 seasons as a wide receiver for the women’s professional football team the D.C. Divas. There she helped lead them to the title in 2006.

She then had a 2-year coaching stint as an assistant varsity football coach at another Washington area high school. During that time, Randolph found herself under scrutiny with the coaching staff. She said, “After the first week, I had more apprehension about the other coaches than about the players, it was about proving myself to the other coaches.”

A man’s world indeed it may be, but Randolph was quite impressive by beating out 15 other candidates for the top spot. “Some people say she’s just a woman and she doesn’t know anything. There’s definitely going to be a higher level of scrutiny because it’s a woman in a man’s world,” said Toni Morgan, a referee for the Eastern Board of Officials and a regular official of football games in the D.C. Interscholastic Athletic Association.

One rival high school football coach went on to say, “All I know is, I don’t want to be the first one to lose to her. That’s going to be wild.”

Are The Mavs The New Team To Beat Out West?

So they got whipped in New York. Big deal, that loss snapped the Dallas Mavericks’ 13-game winning streak, which tied an NBA high this season.

And if the playoffs started today, they would be the third seed, which means home court advantage in the first round only. But who’s playing the best ball right now? Who got the biggest facelift since the All-Star break?

Dallas.

Up until February the assumption was that the Western Conference was the Los Angeles Lakers’ possession with the Denver Nuggets as the sole threat.

Not any more.

Not when an already strong team adds two starters, one of them actually being a competent center in Brendan Haywood. The other, Caron Butler, can fill it up any night. But he doesn’t have to, not when your team has a seven footer who can glide to the basket or knock down threes with assassin-like precision.

That’s Dirk Nowitzki, a matchup nightmare for any NBA team.

Nowitzki is still a hungry player. He hasn’t tasted victory in the NBA finals. His general, point guard Jason Kidd, didn’t deliver the elusive title Big D has coveted.

Now the Mavericks may have the talent to compete with the big boys. They defeated the two teams that were in the finals last year, the Lakers and Orlando Magic, during the 13-game streak.

The Lakers and Nuggets have more household names on their teams. The Mavericks don’t have a Black Mamba or Mr. Big Shot. No one-name players such as Nenê. Or even a player who you can simply mention their first name. Carmelo. Pau.

Well, maybe not Pau. But Gasol does sell jerseys.

What Dallas has going for them is the calendar. It is the team playing the best ball right now. Stack wins toward the end of the season and sprint to the playoffs, that’s the formula to a championship.

The Mavericks’ loss to the Knicks, denying Dallas a would-be league high of 14 in a row, topping Cleveland, was by 34 points. Sure, it looks bad on paper, but what looks good on paper is that the Mavericks trail the Lakers by only three games in the standings.

There is still a good month left of basketball. Maybe not enough time to catch the world champs, but certainly enough time to keep the Maverick sprint going.

Will the Mavericks’ streak go for naught as the Houston Rockets’ was last year? Houston won 22 games in a row and played the Lakers in a rough, seven-game series only to lose.

That Houston team had Ron Artest and a bunch of gritty players that might not start on most teams. This Dallas team is sniffing the Lakers and should have the confidence to beat them as they split the four games they played this season.

WAnd when late May comes around, it’s no longer a given that the Lakers and Nuggets will match up.

Bye Bye Brady

March 15, 2010 by Jayson Pugh  
Filed under Football, NFL Football, SRG's Blog

After just 3 seasons the Cleveland Browns have moved on from the Brady Quinn era. As a player coming out of college, Quinn was supposed to be the quarterback to bring the Browns back into the playoffs. It didn’t go that way.

Quinn was traded to the Denver Broncos for a seldom used fullback (Peyton Hillis), and 2 draft picks (a 6th rounder in 2011 and conditional one in 2012). For a player who was touted as the franchise quarterback, this is a small package.

In Denver Quinn is not automatically a starter. He will be going up against Kyle Orton as the team’s starter. Orton, who took over the job last year, played pretty well in starting all 16 games for the Broncos. He led Denver to a 6-2 record to start the season, then went 2-6 the rest of the way. This leaves the Broncos and Quinn looking for the same thing: consistency.

In his short time with Cleveland, Brady had to learn several systems due to the rotating door on the coaches’ office. Now he can start anew with head coach Josh McDaniels who knows how to groom a quarterback as he did in New England with Tom Brady and Matt Cassel.

Mike Holmgren is making good on his promise to change things in Cleveland. Since becoming the Browns GM he has moved the two former starting quarterbacks (Quinn, and Derek Anderson) and will be moving forward with his newest additions, former Panther QB Jake Delhomme and Seneca Wallace, whom Holmgren coached in Seattle.

The Browns will head into this season with questions surrounding their two new QB’s as well as a severe lack in offensive weapons. Holmgren did a good job putting a quality team together in Seattle, but he didn’t have to deal with a mess like the Browns. It’s going to be a wait and see game, but things still don’t bode well.

As for Quinn, this will hopefully breathe new life into his career. He will be able to learn in a new, more stable environment and possibly reach that potential everyone thought he had. Either that, or he’ll end up as the latest in a long list of quarterback busts.

Should Mark McGwire Be Teaching Kids To Hit?

March 12, 2010 by Jayson Pugh  
Filed under Baseball, MLB, SRG's Blog

There is no doubt that Big Mac could crush a baseball. His shot off of the back wall of Seattle’s King Dome wasn’t a fluke. He was one of the most prolific power hitters the game has ever seen. He was go good at hitting home runs that in a span of 4 years (’96-’99), he hit 245! That’s insane.

That was then. Now with the admission of something we all knew, and Barry Bonds coming along and smashing all of McGwire’s numbers, Big Mac isn’t the legend he once was. I don’t want to get into the whole PED use area but I do have to touch on it briefly. Mark was a power hitter, simple as that. What he did helped with his power. How much extra strength did he get?

No one can really say for sure, but we all know it helped inflate his numbers along with his arm.

What really gets me though, is why the St. Louis Cardinals would bring him in as hitting coach. They want Matt Holliday to be more of a power hitter, but why McGwire? There is obviously the history there, the people he knows, and a certain comfort level that is just right for Mark to return to the game in some form. But should he really be a hitting coach?

McGwire boasts some great power numbers, but he also has more career strikeout than walks. In fact, that same 4 year span in which he hit 245 homers, he also had 577 hits, 512 walks, and struck out 567 times! Pitchers weren’t pitching to him. Either they were too afraid or managers didn’t want them to, so they would pitch around him.

Now don’t get me wrong, 577 hits is nothing to sneeze at, but having struck only 10 fewer times then he got a hit and considerably more than times walked, yet you want him to tech guys to hit? Really? Do you really want Colby Rasmus or Ryan Ludwick to pick up the same free swinging style McGwire had? I certainly hope not.

Holliday is already a solid hitter. He may not have huge power numbers but he carries a .316 avg with him so he does know how to hit. If I were the Cards I would have pulled for a coach to help him with watching the ball, location, patience. He strikes out a lot as it is, so why have him work with someone who is a free swinger. If anything have him work with Albert Pujols, who is perhaps the best all around hitter in the game today. I think he could certainly help Holiday with more of the fundamentals than McGwire could.

I see where the whole situation is supposed to go in theory. I see that the cards want to make Pujols and Holiday the modern day bash brothers. But to me, this feels like nothing more than a personal image rehab for McGwire than it is about the contributions he can actually make.

Around The Horn 3-12-10

March 12, 2010 by Gabe Zaldivar  
Filed under Baseball, MLB, SRG's Blog

Nomar
No-Mah retired Wednesday. Now I can stop feeling bad. The last few years have been really tough on me, perhaps even on Mr. Garciaparra himself. Everyday I saw him try to hit the ball with power or play first base with seriousness I lost a little of my soul. No-Mah was a Hall of Fame talent with a brittle body. Imagine what he could have done had he taken steroids. He may have hit 8 home runs last year. The world will always wonder.

Baseball Injury
Every year we are treated to a baseball injury. A player might sneeze to hard or dream about spiders and then wham, 15 day disabled list. Now Jose Reyes may miss eight weeks because of elevated Thyroid levels. He may have to cut down on his seafood intake but that’s about it. The great thing is it is not career threatening, not that any baseball injury ever really is.

Duh
Cubs GM Jim Hedry lambasted Milton Bradley this week. His sentiment was basically that Bradley needed to look into the mirror to find all his problems. He then relayed that his signing of Bradley was “a mistake.” The GM’s of the Expos, Indians, Dodgers, A’s, Padres, and Rangers were heard to yell “No, Shit” immediately. Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik was quoted as saying “oops” to the signing of Bradley.

What gets me is how many teams Bradley has touched with his awesome craziness and superhuman ability to deteriorate team morale. Yet he keeps getting passed along to the next sucker. Why not send him to MLB oblivion, or are the Royals all set in the outfield?

SRG’s Bracket Bonanza

March 11, 2010 by SRG  
Filed under Basketball, College Basketball, SRG's Blog

Join the Sports Report Girl and fill out your brackets in her Yahoo Sports Group, SRGs BRACKET BONANZA.
CLICK HERE to go to the sign up page.

Fill out up to five different brackets, and the winner will get something really cool, like a T-Shirt or something. Hope to see you all there!

The Answer Has Many Questions About His Future

Allen Iverson’s career may be wrapped up. At 34, his best years are behind him. Age and injury wear down even the best NBA players, but an even more fearsome obstacle stands in Iverson’s way: gambling and drinking.

Various NBA sources say Iverson’s season is over with the 76ers because of this lifestyle choice, one that ruins many people’s lives. Iverson, nicknamed the Answer, has made plenty of money during his career. Casinos will gladly accept cash from people whether it’s from NBA ballers or Joe Average who lives paycheck to paycheck. But not from Iverson, who has been banned from casinos in Detroit and Atlantic City, N.J..

What is someone doing wrong to get banned by a casino? And what about the drinking? Iverson’s hard-partying ways are no secret. Mentally, Iverson must be having a rough time considering he retired once already this season after lackluster play in Memphis.

The Answer still has plenty of game left. Iverson may not recklessly drive to the basket as often, but he is still a speedster and knocks down clutch jumpers. Life is more important and Iverson must get his in order.

Tawana Iverson, Allen’s wife, filed for divorce last week. They have five children and she’s seeking full custody. Iverson’s daughter, Messiah, has an undisclosed illness. These problems, coupled with the gambling and drinking, mean basketball must take a backseat.

Iverson must overcome his demons and retire on his terms. He shouldn’t be forced to retire because he owes the wrong people money or hits the bottle too hard. It would be difficult for the Answer to find another team to take a chance on him.

A player of Iverson’s talent could fit in with contending teams looking for someone who can score or provide leadership. However, that usually means coming off the bench, something that Iverson said he didn’t want to do last year when he was looking for a team to put his talent to use.

Most people will remember Iverson as the fearless player who led the league in scoring four times and took the 76ers to the Finals in 2001. That year Iverson was a dynamo, winning the regular-season MVP as he led the 76ers to an unlikely win in game 1 of the NBA finals against the Los Angeles Lakers, who hadn’t lost a game in the playoffs up until that point.

Hopefully, Iverson will recover from his difficulties and maybe even find a team to take a chance on him to finish out his career. That way the basketball world will remember him as the dynamic ballplayer, not the man who lost control of his life.

Dunleavy Done In La La Land

March 10, 2010 by Jayson Pugh  
Filed under Basketball, NBA Basketball, SRG's Blog

From 2003 to March 2010, there has been a dark cloud of the Los Angeles Clippers….. well, darker than normal. Now there is a time for celebration for Clippers fans all over.

Mike Dunleavy was FINALLY relieved of his duties as the Clippers General Manager.

Just a little over a month after stepping down as coach he was fired (6 years too late), to his surprise.
Clippers owner Donald Sterling made announced his decision through and email, and in Sterling fashion, hadn’t even spoken to Dunleavy Sr. about it. Mike found out about his firing from messages left on his phone while he was out playing golf. He didn’t know what to tell people since it was the first he had even heard of it. Pretty messed up but hey, it’s the Clipps, what do you expect??

As a coach Dunleavy has had an up and down career. He lead the Lakers to 2 straight playoff appearances (‘90-91, ‘91-92 seasons), while winning the Western Conference Championship (’90-91) and losing to the Bulls in the finals. He left the Lakers and went the Milwaukee Bucks where he has a .326 winning percentage. In ’97 he joined the Portland Trailblazers and lead them on a nice run that included one season where they finished 18 games over .500. After his stay with the Trailblazers he came to the Clippers with some hope of turning the cursed franchise around….. he had one winning season, and one playoff appearance and one win from the Western Conference Finals. He leaves the clips with a .397 winning average and the distinction of being the only coach in NBA history to have a sub .400 avg. with 2 teams that he coached 300+ games for. Congrats on that one Mike.

To his credit, he did a good job to secure cap space for the summer, and there were many injuries that went on through his time with L.A., but you can only use that excuse for so long. He wasn’t a terrible GM, but he was far from a great.
I don’t know mike, I’m sure he is a great guy, but after making so many bad calls during games (basketballs version of Andy Reid) and carrying a bad career mark along with the obvious lack of respect players tend to have for him (see: Clippers ’08-’09), I hope he doesn’t find his way onto another bench, but I’m sure he probably will. With any luck we won’t see him on t.v. either. The last thing we need is another Steve Phillips on the air.

So Mike, please, go fishing, take a vacation, travel. Do anything you want, just stay away from a basketball court or a t.v. or radio booth.

The Academy Awards Of College Basketball

In honor of Sunday’s Academy awards I’ve decided to put together my own college hoops themed Oscars. These are the players, coaches and teams who I think deserved to take home the hardware. Also, anything I can do to get Bruce Pearl to make a speech I am all for.

Best Team: Syracuse
The Orange really hurt themselves when they lost to Louisville on Saturday. But even that wasn’t enough to take them out of contention for the Team of the Year Oscar. Like “The Hurt Locker” the Orange haven’t been full of special effects and big name stars, but they’ve done a great job putting it together when it counts and winning when and where it matters.

Best Supporting Player: DeMarcus Cousins
Like Christoph Waltz, Cousins came into this category with a lot of hype and like Waltz he delivered. Cousins has been Cousins all season and even though he’s playing second fiddle to the enormously talented John Wall, rest assured he has been amazing this year.

Best Player: John Wall
Like Jeff Bridges, John Wall has been the favorite coming in. Also like Jeff Bridges, people can root for other guys, but when you see his performance there’s no denying who was the best this year.

Best Coach: Bruce Pearl
Kathryn Bigelow made waves as the first woman to ever win the Oscar for Best Director and Bruce Pearl is doing the same as the very first Jewish coach to win my Best Coach award. Never mind that this is the first year I’ve given the award and no one really cares what I think.

Best Small School Game: Penn over Cornell
This is sort of like Best Foreign Film because you probably didn’t see it when it happened and you probably don’t really care. But even so, this game was probably the biggest upset in Ivy League play in the past 10 years. Penn came into the game with a record of 3-15 against the perinial Ivy League title contenders. Cornell was even ranked at the time. Penn put together an amazing game and somehow came away with the victory. Penn went on to win two games after that game, but they’ll always have that fateful February 12.

Best Game Plan: Bruce Pearl – Tennessee
After having one of his best players kicked off the team and seeing some of his most talented players suspended for various legal indiscretions, Pearl laid out a great game plan that kept the Volunteers competitive this season. Even with all that Tennessee has been one of the best teams in the country this season, with victories over KU (Kansas) and UK (Kentucky).

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