Friday, August 17, 2012

Kickoff Awaits, by Casey Mitchell

This is Casey Mitchell guest blogging for ST today. Ranked #5 in the Preseason USA Today Poll, the Ducks are just a couple of weeks away from kickoff against Arkansas St. at Autzen Stadium. Still with the quarterback situation uncertain between Bennett and Mariota, I think it will be hard to go wrong with either player. Bryan Bennett was 2-0 as a starter last season when Thomas went down, but Mariota had a much better performance in the Spring Game. As for the running situation without LaMichael James, it will be up to Kenjon Barner and De'Anthony Thomas to carry the load. We all know about the talent that both of them have, Kenjon being the backup to LaMichael for the last three years and DAT with his breakout freshman year averaging over 10 yards per carry. This year's non-conference games should be an easy 3-0 going into Pac-12 play.
Just when you thought everything was going fantastic for the San Francisco Giants, everything falls apart again. In Pablo Sandoval's first game back from the DL, the Giants finally had a lineup with Melky, Posey, Panda and Pence in the same lineup. That one day was the last time that would happen this season. Just when the offense clicks to compliment the great pitching staff, Melky Cabrera had to follow traditions of great San Fran left fielders. Cabrera is now suspended for 50 games for use of testosterone, when there is only 45 games remaining in the regular season. The Melk Man, a fan favorite by the bay, was hitting .346 this season, second to only Andrew McCutchen who is having a career season of his own. Cabrera who is a free agent at the end of the season, is eligible to come back to the team during the NLCS, but two things are wrong with that. The Giants now have to MAKE the playoffs without their batting leader, and do they really want him back after 50 games without play? Plus, what kind of player will he be without the PEDS.

Thursday, August 16, 2012


So Melke Cabrera is the latest cheater to get caught.  At least he admitted it.  When confronted with the positive test he didn't play the typical no way, not me, gotta be a mistake garbage.  Copped to getting caught.  How sad is it that a cheater is providing a breath of fresh air.  He is the reigning All Star Game MVP.  Nice side note.  I went through the list of regular season MVP's and compiled a list of those I'm sure juiced.  Aroid, Clemens, Bonds, Sosa, Pudge Rodriguez, Miguel Tijada, Jason Giambi, Ryan Braun, Ken Caminiti and Jose Canseco.  Yet the players union seems to fight all progressive efforts to truly clean up the game.  Classy!
Speaking of charm, the agent for Julius Peppers created a website to smear a reporter who blew the lid off the academic scandal at North Carolina, JP's college.  Dan Kane of the Raleigh News and Observer  wrote Carl Carey even taught a class at the Charlotte campus and used that as leverage in pursuit of clients.
I caught the tale end of the Felix Hernandez perfecto.  Yikes.  That's high up my list of the most dominating performance I've caught on the tube.  The Rays hitters had no chance.  They weren't even taking big league hacks.  Felix owned them.  Obviously I'm not a Mariner fan but I jumped out of my seat on that last filthy change to finish the job.  All 12 of his strikeouts came something other than his fastball,which topped out at 96mph yesterday.
I've been a fan of Pac 12 commissioner Larry Scott since he was the CEO of the Women's Tennis Association.  The guy is a mover and a shaker.  I loved his comment about the ridiculous nature of the Coaches Poll.  It was in response to USC coach Lane Kiffin stating he was no longer be voting in that idiotic poll.  If I'm a university administrator paying a coach 3-4 million annually to run the heart and soul program of the athletic department I don't want him wasting one second.  85 scholarship players, a dozen or so walk-ons, his assistants, his staff, all the media and glad handing obligations and more is enough.  He should not be concerned about the possibility that either Michigan State or Arkansas is the 17th best team in America. 

Friday, August 3, 2012

New Toys, by Casey Mitchell

This is Casey Mitchell guest blogging for ST today. To me, one of the most exciting time of the baseball season is the week before and after the trade deadline. All of the hype and rumors before the deadline has everyone worked up wondering who their team is going to get, and once 4 o clock hits everyone stops and focus' their attention back on the season and making the playoffs. Now that the teams have gotten the chance   to play with their new toys, the questions are now focused on performance. Can he make the transition from a hitters park to a pitchers park? Can he pitch in a pennant race? The two biggest acquisitions in my opinion were Zack Greinke to the Angels and Hunter Pence to the Giants. I think with Greinke, the Angels easily have the best rotation in the American League along with CJ Wilson, Dan Haren, and Jered Weaver. When you add that rotation in with their stellar offense, they are now set up for a dogfight with the Rangers in the AL West.
Staying in the West, the pick up of Hunter Pence to the Giants is bigger than the stats show. Pence, a two time all star, is having a sub-par season at the plate. A career .290 hitter, Pence is only hitting .267 with 17 homers and 60 RBI. This is a perfect time for a trade. For the Giants, pitching can only get you so far. I don't care how good you pitch, when you score no runs, you will not win a ballgame. Hunter Pence knows that it will be a task to hit the ball out of AT&T so he won't be hacking at the fences on every swing, thus more base hits are sure to come. What the Gigantes really need is for somebody to get that runner from third to home with less than two outs, and I think that somebody will be Hunter Pence. I know that the Dodgers had a great trading season, so that just makes it even a bigger move to get Pence. Be prepared for quite the fight in the NL West this year.

Thursday, August 2, 2012


The Trailblazers confuse me.  I guess that's an upgrade from recent years when they disgusted me or just failed to interest me.  I thought the hiring of Neil Olshey as GM was a wise move and pointed them in the right direction.  For those new to my act, I'm not a Blazers fan.  They're kind of my adopted Western Conference team.  The key from my chair is Paul Allen pretty much remove himself from final decisions.  He has every right to input, but he's been a failure as an owner.  The teams who made the NBA Finals in 90, West Finals in 91 and League Finals again in 92 were put together by another brain trust.  Save advancing in the 1999 & 2000 playoffs, the team has never made it out of the 1st round with Allen as owner.  He needs to trust the basketball people he hires and back the heck off.  We've seen the movie with him at the helm and it's ended in disaster each time.  This coaching search has been odd.  Now it's apparently down to interim coach Kaleb Canales and Dallas assistant Terry Stotts.  Seems like a decent enough hoops guy and has had 2 different shots at a head gig.  Nearly a decade ago he went 24 & 31 with Atlanta after taking over 27 games in for Lon Kruger but followed with a miserable full year going 28 & 54 before getting canned.  As the Bucks bench boss for the 2005-06 season, he went a respectable 40 & 42 before deteriorating to 23 & 41 the following year, getting the axe prior to the season ending.  Here's my question.  If the franchise was enamored with Stotts, wouldn't he already have the gig?  Their actions dictate otherwise.  I'm thinking why not just tell Canales he gets a full year audition to see what he can do with a non-lockout camp, some nice draft picks plus the fact they kept Nicolas Batum.  If he's not their man, you can conduct an all out national search.
It was 33 years ago today the sports world got hit with one of those tragic moments.  Obviously as a sports nut & Yankees fan living in the shadow of Manhattan it hit my house a little harder.  Catcher & Captain Thurman Munson was flying his Cessna Citation home to Ohio but came up 600 feet short of the runway, crashed and died.  We later learned he never should have operated a plane of that caliber as it was too powerful and he did not have the proper experience.  The whole thing seemed surreal. I was 18 years old, had just graduated college and was working the summer in my uncle's print shop, the 7am-3pm shift.  Was crashed out on the couch in our den when my sister, then 14 woke me up with the news she'd heard on the radio.  Oddly, in another 16 months she'd emerge from her room with the news John Lennon had been shot.  RIP Thurman, the Captain of back to back New York Yankee World Series champs, the 1st two I witnessed.