Tag: LeBron James

Joey Votto: His Eventual Trade from the Reds and His Role as the Anti-LeBron

The Cincinnati Reds are going to have to trade Joey Votto in the next six months to two-and-a-half years.

People may think I’m crazy or that what I just said is blasphemous. I think it is reality.

Votto just won the NL MVP award. He just led the Reds to the playoffs for the first time since 1995. He has put up good numbers ever since he broke into the league.

He also lost his father in 2008. He missed time in 2008 and 2009 dealing with depression and anxiety stemming from the loss of his father. He went back up to Canada to be with his mom and three younger brothers. He needed to be the rock of the family.

Depression is a debilitating and horrible disease. Almost everyone knows someone who has been affected by it.

Family means something to Votto. He needed to make sure they were all right while he was battling his own demons. None of us can fault him for that.

Votto just signed a three-year deal for $38 million. That contract covered the rest of his arbitration years that the Reds controlled anyway, but not a single year of free agency. When asked about signing a long-term deal, Votto said the following:

“I don’t know as far as beyond three years. I think that’s a very unfair question to ask. This is not me saying I don’t want to be here. But last year was a difficult year. This year was a better year for me. It’s really hard to think three years ahead, five years ahead, seven years ahead.

“When (Troy) Tulowitzki signed that 10-year contract or whatever it was, I was blown away. I can’t imagine seeing myself 10 years from now and saying: ‘I want to be here.’ It’s an overwhelming thing to ask a young person like myself and say: ‘Here’s a lot of money, be happy with this over 10 years. Deal with it.’ You don’t know where you’re going to be in one, two, three years.”
Over the years I have learned to read between the lines. I grew up a diehard Cleveland everything fan. I saw Jim Thome leave for the Phillies for a few extra bucks. I saw Manny Ramirez leave for a mountain of cash. I also saw LeBron James stab Cleveland fans in the back on national TV during The Decision. Leading up to all of their departures, you read comments and realized they were leaving.

Votto is 27 years old, but he is still searching for happiness. Money can’t buy happiness. He didn’t want to sign a long-term deal and be tied to the Reds for the rest of his career. He wants options.

I also believe he ultimately wants to go home to his family. I think Votto leaves the Reds in three years to sign with the Toronto Blue Jays. He would be 30 years old then, still in his prime and in position to help them contend for the AL East if their young pitching continues to develop.
If that were to happen, who am I describing? This player left the team that drafted him after seven years in the league. This player left after signing a three-year deal. This player has won at least one MVP trophy. This player took a franchise that had been down for quite some time and returned it to glory. This player was the best on his team. This player was the fan favorite.

The correct answer is both Joey Votto and LeBron James.
However, Votto wouldn’t be leaving so he could take his talents to South Beach. Marlins fans can go cry themselves to sleep. LeBron James left Cleveland because he is a coward.

Cleveland is the most downtrodden sports town in America. We haven’t won a title in 47 years and counting. That is unfathomable. Every Cleveland fan feels the pressure season after season. Some of us might die and never get to taste what it feels like to be a winner.

LeBron felt all that pressure as the Chosen One. He was one of our own. Born in northeast Ohio, he understood what it meant to be a Cleveland fan—or at least he should have. Instead he is a Yankees, Cowboys and Bulls fan. Clearly bandwagon to the core. He didn’t have the intestinal fortitude to break the curse that haunts Cleveland sports.

Right before he left LeBron told a friend, “I don’t want to get to 31 with bad knees and no championship.” He is a quitter. He took the easy way out.

He went to the Heat so he could play Robin to Dwyane Wade’s Batman. He didn’t want the pressure of carrying a franchise. He wanted to go party with his friends in South Beach and have Wade and Chris Bosh help carry the load. Things were too tough in Cleveland, and LeBron wanted an easy path to the rings.

He didn’t care that he would no longer be considered the man. That Jordan, Magic, Bird and Kobe would have never left to team up with their main rival. They would have tried to beat their rival’s butt.

LeBron left a team that had the best record in the league back-to-back years and four years ago made the NBA Finals. He had an owner that was willing to go way over the luxury tax. He wasn’t leaving a bad situation. He was leaving for what he thought was an easier situation.
LeBron left for all the wrong reasons. Votto would be leaving for all the right ones. Votto would be going to play for his hometown, not running away from it. Votto would be going to spend time with his younger siblings before they grow up and possibly move away, not going to hang out with his friends.

We would have to respect the decision Votto was making, even if it hurt. If you really love something or someone, you need to let them go. If they come back, they are yours forever, and if not, it wasn’t meant to be.

Kenny Lofton, a borderline Hall of Famer, had three different stints with the Indians. Every time you saw him suit up for someone else, it didn’t feel right. Each time he came back, the fans loved him more then ever before. He represented the glory days and reminded us of why we loved him so much. We appreciated him more after he was gone, and even more so after he came back.

Maybe after Votto’s family situation is in a good place, he would come back to the Reds someday. We should welcome him back with open arms.
With all that said, you can’t let Votto leave and be left empty-handed. One option is to keep Votto for all three years and just flat-out go for it all. If you get a ring, great, but if not, you are left holding the bag. Votto leaves, and all you get is draft pick compensation.

However, the Reds have Yonder Alonso waiting in the wings. Previously Reds fans agreed that trading Yonder for some missing pieces was the best plan. Yonder was young and talented and was going to be blocked at 1B by Votto. The Reds could probably keep Yonder down at AAA for one more year tops. Then something has to give.

The best plan may be to trade Votto. The only question is when. A lot of that depends on how the Reds are playing over the next three years. The Cardinals will always be stiff competition, the Brewers have geared up for a big push this year and the Cubs at least have deep pockets, if nothing else.

If the Reds are struggling and the Blue Jays or some other team comes with a Godfather offer, the Reds may have to take it. This opens the door for Yonder at 1B and helps stock the farm system with high-end prospects. Trading a former MVP in his prime may seem crazy, but it might be the best thing for the Reds.

Hopefully I am wrong and Votto signs long-term. At the very least, I hope Votto returns to the Reds someday after he leaves so that we can all reconnect.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Are the Philadelphia Phillies the Miami Heat Of The MLB?

Philadelphia has just acquired another ace in Cliff Lee. The lefty has arguably been one of the best postseason pitchers of all time. Lee will be joining a rotation that already consists of Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels. 

All of these pitchers are guys managers would be confident tossing on the mound in Games 1 or 7 of the World Series. The weakest of the four is Cole Hamels, who was the team’s ace when they won the World Series a few years back. The sports world should no longer be surprised seeing more than one superstar on each team. This past NBA offseason, fans around the league saw LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh “take their talents to South Beach.” 

Are the Phillies the Miami Heat of the MLB

Both teams have undeniable star power. The Phillies have the best rotation the MLB has seen since Glavine, Maddux and Smoltz were together in Atlanta. The Heat compiled three out of the five Eastern Conference all stars from last season. Both teams have enough talent on their rosters to where it’s almost impossible to miss the playoffs, but can both these teams achieve their goals of winning the championships of their respective sports?

Both teams have one very similar problem. The talent around them may not be enough. The Heat this season have been getting very little help outside of their “Big 3”. The bench hasn’t been scoring enough and the role players haven’t been helping out. Sure, the team is hot right now, but they haven’t really been tested since their winning streak has started. The three of these guys might not be enough to bring the championship to Miami…and the Phillies face a similar problem.

The pitching of the Phillies will be incredible this season. There is no denying that. They have the type of rotation where you wouldn’t be surprised to see back to back No Hitters or Perfect Games. Halladay and Lee are capable of doing both those things and they will be pitching on back to back nights. Oswalt and Hamels have both been aces for their teams in the last couple of years as well. The problem is the team around them…can they hit?

The Phils just lost outfielder Jayson Werth to the Nationals via Free Agency. He has been one of their bigger bats the last couple of seasons. The team was the oldest team in baseball last year and adding Lee doesn’t exactly make them younger. Jimmy Rollins has been irrelevant for almost two years now. Utley was injured for a quarter of the season and Ryan Howard experienced a significant decline in his OPS from seasons before. The team is going to struggle to provide run support for their star studded rotation. 

When you look at it closely, the teams are actually very similar. They might be playing different sports, but they both have the same problem. The talent on their rosters might not be enough to get them to the promised land, no matter how many superstars each team has. It certainly will be interesting to see how the Heat finish out the NBA season and playoffs, and how the Phillies fare next season through a grueling 162 game season and playoffs. 

twitter.com/_ZCO … Follow Me!

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Yankees Message To Miami Heat: You Can’t Buy A Championship

“In this fall, this is very tough, in this fall I’m going to take my talents to South Beach and join the Miami Heat.”

With that one sentence, a city that once loved NBA superstar LeBron James began to burn his jerseys, t-shirts and anything else with the number 23 on it.

He had become the second most hated man in the city, second only to Art Modell of course, the former owner of the Cleveland Browns that oversaw the move of the beloved franchise to Baltimore.

Meanwhile, 1,241 miles south of Cleveland, Miami has gone into a frenzy. The Heat have managed to land the three biggest stars of NBA free agency. Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and James have formed a mega team, with the goal of becoming world champions not just for this season, but for years to come.

According to bodog.com, the odds of the Heat winning are at 17/10, by far the best in the league. It would be one of the greatest shock moments in sports if the Heat were to somehow be stopped short of their goal.

It’s a sure thing, or is it?

The New York Yankees found out the hard way that building a championship team is about more than spending money and getting all the great talent available. With a payroll of $206,738,389 (yes, you read that correctly) the Yankees should roll through any team in the league.

Friday night, however, their season came to an anti-climactic end. With two outs in the ninth inning, New York’s $33 Million dollar man Alex Rodriguez took a called third strike against the Texas Rangers’ rookie closer Neftali Feliz. How much does Feliz earn a year? How about $402,000?

The Rangers have something money can’t buy: a core of hard working players that play the game in a fundamentally sound way. Their main offensive weapon is Josh Hamilton, a recovering drug addict who can’t even enjoy the champagne celebration for fear of relapse into alcoholism.

They believe in each other and have built up such trust in each other that they truly play as a team. Nobody is a star and everybody contributes. They are the definition of the word team.

So yes, on paper the Heat have the best team with all the superstars, so did the Yankees. Miami will have sold out games and a passionate fanbase, so did the Yankees. The Miami Heat expect to win the whole thing, and so did the Yankees.

When the 2010-2011 NBA basketball season kicks off don’t assume that Wade and company will be victors at the end. They play the games for a reason: just ask the Yankees.  

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

10 Rules For Being a Sports Fan In 2010

Over the weekend I was laying by the pool, taking in some rays and listening to my iPod shuffle, when, after a steady stream of calming, relaxing music, the Colin Cowherd Podcast popped up out of nowhere. So much for relaxing, huh?

I’m sure most of you are familiar with Cowherd’s work, but for those who aren’t, Cowherd definitely knows how to get a debate going. He’s equal parts stubborn and contrarian, but never ends a rant without making you think about something differently than you might have previously.

Even if you want to strangle him sometimes.

The particular debate Colin had on this day was whether or not it’s acceptable for adults to wear team jerseys, and at what age the act goes from “upbeat fan supporting the team,” to “weird old guy who needs to get a life.”

While a consensus was never officially agreed upon, it got me thinking: How have the rules of being a sports fan changed over time, and what are they in 2010?

Here’s my take on 10 of them.

1. Jerseys: Let’s start with jerseys, because it was Cowherd’s rant that planted the seeds for this article. I also think this is one of the most complex aspects of Fandom, with more caveats and loopholes than Lindsay Lohan’s parole agreement.

First off, let me say that I never wear anything but basketball jerseys these days (more on this coming). Just one guy’s personal opinion, but once I discovered girls right around the start of high school, I decided that once and for all, they had to stay in my closet. I figured it’d be kind of hard to lose my virginity while wearing a John Valentin Red Sox jersey. Call me crazy.

But my personal feelings aside, as an adult there is a time and a place to wear a jersey and support your favorite team, and it’s called game day. Wear your jersey to the game, to the bar to watch the game, or around the house if it brings you good luck.

I’m cool with that, but really only that. If you’re wearing your Reggie Bush jersey out to the bar on a Friday night, well I’m sorry, but really, you’re asking to go home by yourself.

Now, as I mentioned, there are a few caveats to jersey wearing. Here are a couple I came up with.

A. As I said, jerseys aren’t really acceptable on non-game days, but one exception I’ll make is for live fantasy drafts. A little weird, sure, but come on, you’re with a bunch of dudes, busting balls, and eating pizza. What are you supposed to wear? A polo and khakis?

Also, nothing quite says “I’m taking home the top prize,” like wearing that Bam Morris jersey you got on your 11th birthday. Nothing.

B. As Cowherd mentioned on his podcast, I think it’s acceptable to wear jerseys on a college campus, as long as you actually go to school there. You’re poor, it might be the most expensive thing in your closet, and if times get tough you may have to put it on eBay for beer money.

So enjoy it while you can. Besides, there’s nothing worse than the kid in your dorm who is indifferent to the team. Honestly, why even go to Syracuse if you don’t like basketball?

C. I mentioned basketball jersey’s are different than football, baseball and hockey jersey’s and here’s why: There’s no better alternative on a nice summer day than wearing a basketball jersey to the beach.

Stylish, without trying too hard. Just please make sure the jersey is up to date. A Tracy McGrady purple Raptors jersey isn’t cool. Believe me.

D. Those t-shirt, jersey thingies that are popular items at ballparks (the one’s with the team’s logo on the front, and a guy’s name and number on the back) are OK.

At first I wasn’t much of a fan, but they’ve grown on me, especially after my buddy Chris bought me an Alexander Ovechkin t-shirt/jersey thingy in Washington, and I’ve gotten a bunch of compliments. Thanks CP.

To me, the t-shirt/jersey is a lot like a mullet: Professional in appearance in the front, much more easy going in the back.

2. Autographs: My stance on autographs is simple: Unless you’re getting one for your kid, there’s never an excuse for anyone who has hit puberty to wait in line for an autograph. Period.

Simply put, if  your voice has changed and you’ve got hair under your arm pits, find something better to do with your time and energy. Even if it is spending six hours a day playing Madden.

After careful observation, I’ve come to the conclusion that adults who ask for autographs are one of two things.

A. Pathetic, in which case, I’m sorry that I had to be the one to break it to you, but you are. On a positive note, I’m sure you’ll find solace from your friends in the World of Warcraft chatroom later tonight.

B. A scumbag, since you’re only getting the autograph so you can put it on eBay later tonight and flip it for a very minimal profit.

Really, this is what your life has come down to? Waiting outside a San Francisco Giants spring training game to get Pablo Sandoval to sign a picture so you can sell it for $12 plus shipping?

Get a life dude. Or better yet, a real job.

3. Face Painting: Listen, I went to UConn. I went to a lot of huge basketball games. Nobody loves the Huskies more than me. Nobody.

But never once did I ever, even for 1/10 of one second, consider painting my face. I pray to God you haven’t either.

You don’t really want to end up like this guy? Do you?

(If you’re enjoying this article, be sure to follow Aaron on Twitter @Aaron_Torres)

4. The Wave: If you’re at a beach volleyball match, I get the wave. If you’re at the Little League World Series, I get the wave. If you’re at a WNBA game, I get the wave (since it’s probably the only thing keeping you from jumping off the second level balcony).

But at any real sporting event, there are very few cases when I’m OK with the wave. Mainly, if it’s late in the game, and your team has a comfortable (some would say insurmountable) lead. Then go nuts, and get the victory celebration going a little early.

If that’s not the case, sit down in your seat and watch the game.

The wave has become especially concerning at some recent Red Sox games I’ve been to. Because for some reason, it’s all of a sudden cool and totally acceptable to break out the wave right around the seventh inning, regardless of score or situation. And I really don’t get it.

Look, family of four from Manchester, N.H., I’m glad you made it down for the game. I really am. But we’re playing the Yankees. It’s a 2-1 game in the 8th inning. Jonathan Papelbon has been more erratic than Ronnie from Jersey Shore lately. And we’re in the middle of a playoff race.

How about you sit down so I can actually see what’s going on? Is that too much to ask?

I don’t know if it’s just Red Sox games, but the wave seems to be taking over sporting events for no rhyme or reason, and I don’t like it.

5. The YMCA: The flamboyant cousin of the Wave. Or is the Wave the flamboyant cousin of the YMCA?

I don’t know, but either way, don’t expect me to do it any time soon.

6. Signage: I’m all for signage, just as long as it’s original, creative or funny. My personal favorite is still from college, when at a UConn basketball game, a friend of a friend held up a picture of Denham Brown dunking a basketball, with the caption, “If it’s Brown, flush it down!”

Now that, my friends, is a funny sign.

I’m also OK with signage if it’ll genuinely rattle the intended target. This usually works best at basketball games, and usually involves childhood nicknames, baby mama’s (in many cases plural) or some not nice words about a guy’s mom.

Hey, anything to give your team the edge, right?

My only beef with signs is if they’re just not creative.

Like if you go to a tennis tournament, please spare yourself the embarrassment of the, “Maria Sharapova: Will You Marry Me,” sign.

Dude, I’m sorry, but poor Maria has been proposed to at every tour stop she’s taken in the past six years. To the best of my knowledge she hasn’t once said yes. And I doubt your pimply face and C+ average really offers her anything more than she’s already got. Unless she’s really into dudes who play XBox on Friday night’s and own four foot bongs.

If that’s the case then go for it. Otherwise, leave the sign at home. Please, you’re only embarrassing yourself.

7. Gambling: Look, we all love to gamble. And thanks to the Internet, it’s not a shady, back-water business, with a bunch of guys wearing top hats, smoking cigars, and betting on the “ponies,” anymore.

And thank goodness, because I really don’t look good in a top hat.

But unless we’re in a bet together, I really don’t want to hear about your bad luck.

I know that you the Clippers +14, they were up heading into the fourth quarter, and got outscored 42-4 down the stretch. And I’m sorry for you. But I just don’t really care.

Besides, why did you bet on the Clippers in the first place?

(Because of length, this is just PART of Aaron’s 10 Rules For Being A Sports Fan. To read the rest, please click here, or visit him at www.aarontorres-sports.com.

Also, for Aaron’s take on all things sports, be sure to add him on Twitter @Aaron_Torres, Facebook.com/AaronTorresSports or by downloading his APP for FREE for your iPhone or Android!!)

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

LeBron James: A Conversation From the Year 2030

LeBron James One Great Season

Here’s a conversation that I suppose will happen between 60-year-old men about 20 years from now, joined en medias res , of course:


Old Man 1: “No way, Mike is still the best ever.”

Old Man 2: “Kobe had just as many titles, but never had a Pippen alongside him.”

OM 1: “Yeah, but Kobe had Shaq in his prime for his first three rings. How ’bout Mike at No. 1 and Kobe 1A?”




+ ESPN: Network Fails To Ask LeBron James The One Tough Question
+ VIDEO: John Mayer Just Got A Little Less Douchey
+ LIFE AFTER LEBRON: Cavaliers Courting Lady Gaga?
+ THE SINGLE LIFE: LeBron James Hopes For Better Sex From Miami
+ LIST: Who Thinks LeBron James Is An Attention Whore?

OM 2: “Looks like we might have to agree to disagree. I think Kobe was just as deadly of an assassin as Mike was. Kobe won his sixth when the talent pool may have been a little deeper across the league.”

OM 1: “Maybe, but one thing we do agree on is that LeBron does not belong in the same zip code as this conversation.”

OM 2: “Yeah, for real. I can’t believe he only won two championships in Miami.”

OM 1: “Remember how everybody thought they were going to win it all that first year? Your boy Kobe certainly had something to say about that. I was never a huge Kobe guy, but I became a fan of his the night LeBron did that ridiculous look-at-me-everybody hour of television on ESPN. I can’t believe he did Cleveland like that so publicly after that city worshiped him for seven years.”

OM 2: “I know. That was disgusting. And thanks to that, now we get it almost every year it seems. Who do these punks think they are?”

OM 1: “Yeah, thank God for guys like Kevin Durant, who could very well be part of this conversation too had he won another couple of rings. I was glad he got two for himself. Same with Wall.”

OM 2: “Yeah, those guys were fun to watch and great for the league. How ’bout when Miami introduced LeBron, D. Wade, and Bosh that weekend and LeBron started counting his future rings? ‘Not one, not two, not three, not four, not five, not six, not seven.’ What an arrogant dickhead. And then they only won two together. Awesome”

OM 2: “Yeah, and when he said, ‘We’re going to show the world that the Heat are back,’ are you kidding me? Back then and still to this day the world could care less about the NBA, especially that asshole. Good luck with that global brand, tough guy.”

OM 1: “I’m not even sure LeBron ever meant anything that came out of his mouth after 2009. I realize athletes get media training and so forth, but it seemed like that buffoon Maverick Carter just advised him wrongly at every turn. LeBron ended up looking, acting and sounding like a complete robot all the time. He made Tiger Woods look charming back then.”

OM 2: “I know. And remember how like a few days later, that Yankees announcer and Steinbrenner both died on the same day or whatever? Jeter was the guy who represented the team and spoke to the crowd before their next game, not A-Rod. As soon as I saw all that go down, that was the best analogy I could think of. The Heat were always going to be Wade’s team, in every way. And LeBron was going to have to stay in the background. And who the hell did Bosh think he was? He wasn’t a top-line player like LeBron or D. Wade.”

OM 1: “Word. Everyone knew from the very first minute there were going to be chemistry problems. I’m almost surprised they won the two they did.”

OM 2: “Yeah, I liked seeing them lose to the Thunder in the 2014 Finals.”

OM 1: “How ’bout when the Wizards got them in the second round the following year?”

OM 2: “I can’t believe Wall kept playing until just last year. That dude was awesome. And he was never an asshole.”

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Top 10 Worst Feelings in the Sports Summer of 2010

What an intense summer of sports we have had so far. June and early July were packed full of great sports stories such as the Stanley Cup, World Cup, and NBA Free Agency.

Now that the MLB All-Star game is over and the ESPYS are on television, you know things are going to start simmering down a bit until the pennant chase heats up in September. Because of this sizzling start to summer, I have composed a list of some of the worst feelings of the sports summer. Enjoy.

10. Hitting out of a bunker at St. Andrews – The British Open begins this week and players better be prepared to be patient. The Old Course is infamous for its’ 112 pot bunkers that have ruined so many rounds that might have been. The Road Hole bunker on 17 and the “Hell Bunker” on the par five 14th are two of the scariest places a golfer can find himself. Hitting backwards is often is the safest option on many of these bunkers, some of which have stairs installed in order to enter and exit these enormous sinkholes of sand.

9. Dropping a 138 game fifth set at Wimbledon – In an 11 hour epic game, that will be remembered long after who won and lost, Nicolas Mahut dropped the fifth and final set of his first round match versus American John Isner 70 games to 68. The match featured triple digit aces by both players and 168 consecutive service games held. After 113 aces in the first round epic, Isner recorded none in his straight set defeat in the second round.

8. Losing $750 million in divorce settlement with Elin – Yep, that’s right. Three quarters of a billion dollars straight out of Tiger’s vault to the Swedish supermodel in the couple’s divorce settlement. Good luck finding a new man Elin.

7. Getting passed by Danica Patrick – After watching that GoDaddy number seven car fail to win a race in the IndyCar series, do we really want to see that GoDaddy car making its’ way to NASCAR? In Danica’s first Nationwide series race, the driver finished 24th and seemed to be quite pleased with herself. Yeah I know the car handles differently and switching over is a tough thing to do, but Danica needs to learn how to handle her indycar before she tries multi-tasking. Like your commercial says Danica, you’re no Jaun Pablo. Remember that.

6. Scoring an own goal in the World Cup – There were three own goals in this year’s World Cup (Denmark, South Korea, Brazil) but none were more damaging than Felipe Melo’s in Brazil’s quarterfinal loss to Holland. The Brazilian defender collided with goalkeeper Julio Cesar on a Wesley Sneijder free kick early in the second half to deflect the Sneijder kick into the goal for the equalizer. The mistake gave the Dutch the momentum they needed as they went on to exit Brazil with a 2-1 upset victory.

5. Thinking that Lane Kiffin is making you stay at USC – Luckily for blue chip recruit Seantrel Henderson this is no longer a problem. The nations’ 2009 top recruit signed with the Trojans after discussing with coaches the possibility of probation. Obviously, Lane’s staff wasn’t completely honest with the 6’8, 337 pound monster as he signed a letter of intent to play in Los Angeles on March 23. Upon the news of USC’s probation, reports came out that Kiffin was not going to allow Henderson to leave the Trojans but on July 6, Kiffin did the right thing and allowed Henderson to be like LeBron and take his talents to South Beach.

4. Losing a Perfecto on a blown call – The only man in the world sicker than Armando Galarraga is Jim Joyce. How can you not feel for that guy? On June 2nd you blow the biggest call of your career to lose a perfect game for a kid nobody has ever heard of and you take it like a complete man in extraordinary fashion. Not only did Joyce accept full responsibility for the call but he showed up the next day to umpire behind the plate in Detroit after the commissioner’s office gave him a day off.

3. Getting a DUI with red panties between your legs – This is something that usually would have nothing to do with sports. This is also something you would not expect a big time college athletic director to do. Georgia A.D. Damon Evans was pulled over drunk with a 28-year-old girl who was not his wife on the first night of July. When Evans was asked by the officer why he had red panties between his legs, Evans responded saying “She took them off and I held them because I was just trying to get her home”. Im sure the wifey understood Damon.

2. Being a Cleveland sports fan – The fumble, the drive, the shot, Jose Mesa, Art Modell, and now King James. No title in 46 years and the Browns currently have the most impressive roster in the City of Rock. Good luck with the Delhomme era Clevelanders.

1. Playing for team North Korea and Kim Jong Il – All I have to say about this one is be glad North Korea players that none of you were on this list at number six.


Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Home Run Derby 2010: 10 Non-Baseball Athletes That Could Challenge

It’s always fun to imagine the best athletes in the world playing a sport other than their own. Bo Jackson is arguably the greatest athlete to have ever accomplished this feat in two professional leagues.

Even Michael Jordan (pictured) tried his luck with baseball for a couple seasons in the prime of his basketball career.

With the Home Run Derby taking place tonight, there are several star athletes today who could probably compete with baseball’s best.

Here are the top 10 non-baseball athletes who could compete with the likes of Miguel Cabrera and Corey Hart in the Home Run Derby.

Begin Slideshow

Month of July Brings Signs Of Moving Day For Several MLB, NBA Players

Here we are on the first day of July for the year 2010 and as of 12:01am ET this morning, the NBA officially began it’s free agent frenzy.

But July not only marks what could be the biggest free agent period in NBA history, with some of it’s biggest names possibly wearing different uniforms next year, but it also marks the month where Major League Baseball teams gear up for the trade deadline.

We could see the biggest player movement all together than we’ve seen in quite some time.


NBA Free Agency

First, let’s get to the NBA and free agency that began this morning, because that’s what everyone is buzzing about.

LeBron James, as expected, opted out of his final year of his contract with Cleveland that would have paid him $17.1 million in 2010, becoming an unrestricted free agent.

With that being said, there have been several rumors floating around prior to this morning that had LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh ending up on the same team, at the same time, next year.

I don’t see that happening, at all. While other free agents are going to play the “wait and see” game, waiting for LeBron James to sign somewhere and set the tone on free agent contracts, it seems Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade could make their minds up fairly soon.

According to several rumors, both players were already in Miami, but an ESPN report refuted that, saying Chris Bosh had met with someone from the Houston Rockets in Dallas on Thursday morning.

Speaking of Bosh, he posted on Twitter this morning that he’s received presentations from Houston, Toronto, Chicago, and Miami so far today.

Other NBA news that became official this morning was the Cleveland Cavaliers making Byron Scott their new head coach. You know this comes with it’s own set of rumors, right?

Now speculation is, Scott would not have taken the job if he didn’t have some sort of reassurance that LeBron James would return to the Cavaliers. According to Sam Amick of Fanhouse.com , those close to James said he would prefer Scott to Brian Shaw if he were to return to Cleveland. That would be enough for me to take the job.

Speaking of Brian Shaw, on Tuesday it seemed that the Cavs and Shaw were close to a deal, before Shaw backed out saying, “it wasn’t the right timing.” Some seem to think that both Shaw and Scott wanted the Lakers’ job if Phil Jackson was indeed retiring.

If Jackson is leaning towards returning to the team, as some seem to think, it would make sense why Shaw backed out of the Cavs’ job to be back on the bench with Phil.

Aside from LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh being unrestricted free agents, have we forgotten that a few other big names are on that list as well? Boston’s Paul Pierce, Cleveland’s Shaquille O’Neal, and Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki are also free agents and could also be looking for new teams.

I’m not sure how many teams would be willing to take a risk on an over-the-hill Shaq, but I’m sure there are a few that would as other free agents start coming off the board.

There were some that believed Dirk Nowitzki was going to really test the free agent waters and possibly land somewhere else next season. Mavericks’ team president Don Nelson was so dead set against that, that he was about to board a plane for Germany to go sit down with Dirk and get a deal done.

Dirk apparently got wind of Nelson’s trip and, instead, flew back to Dallas to sit down with the Mavericks and discuss the options. Seem Dirk may not test the waters after all.

Speaking of the Mavericks, there are a ton of rumors flying around that Paul Pierce may be a legitimate candidate to land in Dallas. Sports Illustrated’s Ian Thomsen told WEEI Radio in Boston that, though the Mavericks can’t sign Pierce outright, they can do a sign-and-trade with the Celtics.

Thomsen is of the opinion that a deal to send Pierce and Rasheed Wallace to Dallas for possibly Caron Butler and Erik Dampier could work for both sides.

Two problems with that thinking. Celtics head coach Doc Rivers has already said that Wallace is more than likely going to retire and not play next season, the other problem being that Dallas will have a hard time dealing away Caron Butler.

Thomsen did go on to say that he doesn’t see Pierce leaving Boston regardless of Doc River’s future with the team. However, we know now that Rivers is staying as the head coach at least for the 2010-2011 season.


MLB Trade Deadline

With baseball heading downhill towards the July 31st trade deadline, there are already a few moves that have taken place.

Late Wednesday night, the Texas Rangers completed a deal that sent catcher Bengie Molina to Texas from the San Francisco Giants for reliever Chris Ray and a player to be named later.

For the Rangers, it was a deal that had to be made, especially since the two catchers they thought would be gold for them have been anything but. Taylor Teagarden and Jarrod Saltalamacchia are both back in the minor leagues with no real indication that either will be back with the big club anytime soon.

Sure Molina’s run to first base is timed in hours instead of seconds, but he brings a veteran presence behind the plate that may turn around Rich Harden and Scott Feldman’s tough seasons so far. While in the Bay Area, he’s handled some of the best young pitchers in the game with Barry Zito, Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, and Jonathan Sanchez, so who’s to say he can’t make the pitchers in Arlington that much better?

Continuing on the Texas Rangers, the Cliff Lee and Roy Oswalt rumors refuse to die. Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News has a piece out this morning saying that if the Rangers do go after a starter it will be for a guy like Lee or Oswalt. However, the Rangers did have scouts watching Cleveland Indians’ right hander Fausto Carmona during his start against the Blue Jays earlier this week.

The only way the Rangers get a deal done with Oswalt is through the approval of the bankruptcy court. Knowing that the creditors desperately want their money without regard to what’s best for the Rangers as a team, I don’t see this trade going down, especially if the Rangers have to take on salary.

As for Cliff Lee, he’s already expressed the fact that he wants to go into free agency at the end of this year, so are the Rangers really prepared to give up top prospects for what will end up being a two to three month rental? If the answer to the previous question is yes, does Cliff Lee make the Rangers a World Series contender?

While the Rangers made the first move on the trade front, don’t think that the Angels are going to stay quiet at the trade deadline. There’s already word that the team is interested in former Ranger Hank Blalock after he was designated for assignment by the Tampa Bay Rays.

Blalock may not be the only guy they’re interested in, as Adam Dunn’s name has also come up, especially seeing as the Angels need a power hitting first baseman after losing Kendry Morales for the remainder of the season.

Arizona Diamondbacks’ right hander Dan Haren has come up a few times this morning. MLB.com’s Bill Ladson reports that the Washington Nationals could have interest in not only him, but Carlos Quentin as well.

Then, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick, via Twitter , reported that he had heard rumblings about the Phillies being interested in Haren as well. He would definitely go nicely with a rotation that already boasts Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels, and Jamie Moyer.


Who goes where and what happens next?

We’re going to see a flurry of news over the next 48-72 hours especially with LeBron James wanting to make his decision by either Sunday or Monday.

After that, the other dominoes will begin to fall and we’ll see who’s going to be playing where next season.

As for baseball, their breaking news will continue right up until July 31st, when the trade deadline comes around. There will be rumors, speculation, and the like as we head that direction. Some rumors will come true, others will die off as quickly as they started.

As ESPN’s Trey Wingo says so well, via Twitter , Happy Lebronakkah and Merry Lebronamas. Yeah I know it’s kinda lame but you laughed didn’t you?

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Stephen Strasburg and Sports’ 10 Most Hyped Debuts of the Past Decade

You have been hearing about Stephen Strasburg since he burst onto the scene throwing fireballs at San Diego State.

The hype has been building ever since he was taken first overall in the MLB draft last season by the Washington Nationals.

Well, guess what?

The wait ends tomorrow, when Strasburg is expected to finally make his major-league debut against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The 21-year-old certainly will feel the pressure in front of a sold-out crowd and a full media lineup (over 200 press releases requested).

You will have to tune in tomorrow night to see if he actually lives up to the hype in his first performance, but rare is the athlete who lives up to the enormous expectations that tower over him.

With the ESPN machine running in overdrive these days, there is no shortage of hype for phenom athletes making their debut on the big stage in the past decade.

So where does Strasburg’s debut rank on this list?

Note: These are professional debuts in America, not debuts for a new team (Brett Favre the past two seasons, A-Rod in New York, etc.) or after a long layoff (I’m looking at you, Tiger).

And unfortunately, a lot of deserving hyped players were left of this list. Feel free to let me know who you think belongs here.

Now, let the hype begin.

Begin Slideshow

Arizona Diamondbacks Struggling: Solution—Sign LeBron James?

The Arizona Diamondbacks are bad.

I mean really bad. 

They are 22nd in team batting average, and dead last in team ERA (thanks in large part to the 7.51 ERA of their less-than-outstanding bullpen).

Recently, even Diamondbacks Managing Partner Ken Kendrick apologized for the squad’s lack of productivity. 

“When the team is playing as badly as this team is, and we’ve had a consistent period of questionable performance going back into a full season last year and the second half of the ’08 season,” Kendrick told azcentral.com .

“You really need to look very broadly at everything and try to objectively determine what kind of changes you really want to make. We’re going to go through that process.”

So what can be done to right the ship? 

Probably nothing, aside from building for next year.

But hey, that won’t stop me from offering up a few poignant suggestions. 


1. Bring in Jennie Finch

Like I said before, the D-Backs are dead last in team ERA. 

No team is ever going to win when the pitching staff gives up six runs a game.

Enter Finch.

The University of Arizona softball alumni was a three-time All-American pitcher in college, during which time she threw an astonishing 64 complete game shutouts. 

Finch went on to headline the U.S. national team for a number of years, including a 2-0 record and gold medal finish at the 2004 Summer Olympics. 

I see a move to the big leagues being a relatively easy transition for the superstar, partly because no batter has ever seen anything like her underhand pitching style before (save for maybe Byung-Hyun Kim’s submarine delivery).

If you have read this far and wondered why I haven’t mentioned her ridiculously stunning looks yet, this is my acknowledgment of that blatantly obvious perk to the potential signing.

But really, she has to be better than Chad Qualls. 


2. Hire John Calipari 

It might take $5 million a year, but I think he’s worth it. 

The man who has taken three different schools to the Elite Eight, or further, is the single best recruiter in the country.

Calipari always gets his guy.

Yes, he may not know much about baseball, but really, is managing that hard?

Not to mention, he’d probably lure the best staff of assistants in the game. 

Arizona would immediately become a destination for top-flight free agents, rather than a last resort for aging journeymen. 


3.  Sign LeBron James

Personally, I’d just give King James a blank check and tell him to write whatever number he wants on it. 

Actually, while I were at it, I would sign over the whole state of Arizona to him (it’s in complete debt anyways). 

The publicity and sheer excitement the King would bring to the Grand Canyon State would be overwhelmingly worth every penny.

Rumors have floated around for years that if James really wanted to, he could be a tight end or wide receiver in the NFL.

So, why not baseball too?

He’s certainly athletic enough. 

I’m sure if you stuck him in a batting cage for 10 minutes, he’d be hitting big flies in no time. 

Stick James in center field, and you’ve got a perennial Gold Glover as well.

Plus, no catcher in their right mind would try to block the plate with a 6’8″, 250-pound locomotive barreling down on them.


Follow me on twitter at twitter.com/tyleremerick

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Copyright © 1996-2010 Kuzul. All rights reserved.
iDream theme by Templates Next | Powered by WordPress