A lot of free agent talent has already come off the board early this NBA off season, but there are still some quality players out there that can help your team win next season. Now I’m not talking about players like LeBron James and Marc Gasol who look like they’ll be returning to the teams they played with last season. That would be the Cleveland Cavaliers for James and the Memphis Grizzlies for Gasol. The biggest free agent left appears to be LaMurcus Aldridge. Aldridge has had a couple of meetings with the Los Angeles Lakers; it was reported that the first meeting didn’t go well. Even though Aldridge had those two meetings with the Lakers it seems that the Phoenix Suns and the San Antonio Spurs have the best shot at signing him. Damian Lillard is doing what he can to get Aldridge to resign with the Portland Trailblazers. Aldridge’s decision will have an effect on what a lot of teams do with their cap space. Once Aldridge makes his decision there will be a bit of a drop off in free agent talent, but there will still be some players that can help teams out there. Tobias Harris is a restricted free agent and he averaged 17 points and six rebounds and is only 22 years old. Restricted free agency might be scaring teams away, which means there’s a chance the Orlando Magic retain him for less than expected. Reggie Jackson showed the potential to be a solid starting point guard late last season. Since he’s a restricted free agent it’s very hard to imagine a scenario in which he leaves the Detroit Pistons. Lou Williams is the reigning Sixth Man of the Year, but has not received heavy interest from any team yet, not even the Toronto Raptors a team for which he scored 15 points per game last season. As soon as the big names are off the market, Williams will appear as a solid player for any team looking for some bench scoring. Kosta Koufos is the odd man out in Memphis now that Brandan Wright is in the fold and as one of the few good big men still available, he could get serious money from one of the teams that fails to land Aldridge. He’s a big body who can defend and every team needs one of those. David West has made it clear he wants to play for a contender and his list reportedly includes the Spurs, Golden State Warriors and Washington Wizards. At 34 years of age, he’s still a serviceable player who could help any team he joins but he will likely have to leave a lot of money on the table to land in one of his preferred destinations. Those are just a few of the players who may still be available for teams in free agency once Aldridge signs with a team. While they may not the superstar type of name you’d want your favorite team to sign every team needs those guys to come off the bench, play defense and find other ways to contribute.

Connor McDavid was the #1 overall pick in the NHL draft by the Edmonton Oilers. McDavid has been touted as the next great player and some are calling him the next Sidney Crosby or Wayne Gretzky,. Edmonton and McDavid did agreed to terms on his three-year, entry level contract with the Oilers. McDavid’s contract is worth approximately $11.3 million in total; $925,000 per year plus bonuses; the maximum allowed for an entry-level contract. Like all can’t miss prospects will actually have to wait and see how McDavid does against NHL competition before we know if he’s the talent that people think he’ll be. If McDavid is the next Crosby or Gretzky will he be able to lead the Oilers back into Stanely Cup contention?

I was a little surprised to see the St. Louis Blues, trade forward T.J. Oshie to the Washington Capitals in exchange for forward Troy Brouwer, goaltending prospect Pheonix Copley and a third-round pick in the 2016 draft. I think most casual NHL fans remember Oshie as the hero for the United States during their 3-2 shootout victory over Russia during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, but he has scored at least 50 points in each of his past three full NHL seasons. Oshie arrives with two years left on his current contract, which carries an average annual value of $4.175 million. Brouwer will attempt to fill Oshie’s role with St. Louis. Brouwer has one year remaining on his deal, worth $3,666,666 per season. A veteran, big-bodied winger with 531 career games and 255 career points, including a Stanley Cup with Chicago in 2010, Brouwer leaves Washington after four seasons with the Capitals. He registered 43 points in both 2013-14 and 2014-15.

The Columbus Blue Jackets took a chance last week acquiring Brandon Saad in a 7 player deal with the Stanley Cuo champion Chicago Blackhawks last week. Saad was a restricted free agent at the time of the deal and any other NHL team could’ve signed him to an offer sheet and there was a chance the Blue Jackets would lose him. Columbus solved that problem signing Saad to a 6 year $36 million dollar deal on Friday. The deal, which carries a $6 million salary-cap hit, will pay Saad $4 million this coming season, followed by $5.75 million in 2016-17, $6.25 million in 2017-18, $6.75 million in 2018-19 and 2019-20 and $6.5 million in 2020-21. Saad has played in 208 NHL games, totaling 52 goals and 74 assists. Last season was his best, with 23 goals, 29 assists and 12 penalty minutes, while playing in all 82 games. He had eight goals and three assists in Chicago’s playoff run.

Maybe the Seattle Mariners are looking to shake things up. It’s being reported that they’re sending pitchers  Roenis Elias, Vidal Nuno, and Tom Wilhelmsen to their Triple-A team in Tacoma with  no corresponding moves. yet. It does appear that Hisashi Iwakuma and David Hollins are about to take 2 of those spots on the Mariners roster. Iwakuma is just about ready to come off of the disabled list while Hollins who was a selection by the Mariners in the 2015 Rule 5 Draft. He has been serving an 80-game PED suspension from Major League Baseball but is now ready to make his debut with the team. If the Mariners do not add him to the 25-man roster, the team will lose him to either waivers or the Houston Astros. That leaves 1 open spot on the Mariners roster. Will they use it to add a hitter like Jesus Montero who is putting up good numbers in Triple-A. The Mariners were thought to be contenders in the A.L. West find themselves 6 games under .500 at 37-43 and 10 games behind the 1st place Astros. Getting Iwakuma back will help, but it might be too little too late for Seattle this season.

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Happy 4th of July

The Philadelphia Phillies are 27-53; 17 games out of 1st place in the N.L. East and are on a 3 game losing streak. Their manager (Ryne Sandberg) resigned and they hired Andy MacPhail to take over as President next season, Even though the season didn’t go anywhere close to how Philadelphia were hoping it would they have the biggest trade piece on the market in Cole Hamels. Ruben Amaro Jr. is the Phillies Senior Vice President and General Manager and let’s face it he’s done a poor job. He’ll be in charge of turning Hamels into something the Phillies can start to build on. Now his demands for not only Hamels, but any other Phillies players have been ridiculous and if he’s left holding the Hamels and some of his others players at the end of the season he’ll be considered the worst General Manager in baseball if he’s not there already. Hamels has started 16 games this season and is 5-6 with a 3.22 ERA.  If the Cincinnati Reds decide to put Johnny Cueto on the trading block he would be comparable to Hamels, but Cueto would be a rent a player guy as he’s a free agent at the end of the season while Hamels is signed through 2018 with an option for 2019. Now where might Hamels end up let’s look and see.

Right off the bat I’m eliminating the entire N.L. East as I doubt the Phillies would deal him to a team in their division. Remember you play the other teams in your division 19 times a season and I’m sure they wouldn’t want to face Hamels multiple times during a season.

The Los Angeles Dodgers. There was talk that these 2 teams had talked trade and the Phillies wanted the top 3 prospects in the Dodgers organization; so those talks went nowhere. Now there is a new book coming out about the Dodgers called The Best Team Money Can Buy by Molly Knight. In this book there is quite a bit of talk about how Yasiel Puig’s teammates don’t like or don’t get along with him. While I don’t think Philadelphia would deal Hamels for Puig straight up and I don;t see the Dodgers adding Corey Seager or Julio Urias would Philadelphia take Puig and 2 or 3 other Dodgers prospect in a deal. The Dodgers could easily cover Puig’s lost with Andre Either. Alex Guerrero and Scott Van Slyke. Don’t forget they also have Carl Crawford; who’s injured right now. Could we see a blockbuster All-Star for All-Star deal?

The New York Yankees. When you think Yankees you don’t normally think prospects, but their farm system is better than you think. Would New York be willing to package Luis Severino, Robert Refsnyder and a few other top prospects together to land Hamels. The Yankees might even be willing to include infielder Jose Pirela as part of a Hamels trade. The Yankees find themselves just 1/2 a game out of 1st place in the A.L. East and they could use starting pitching. Hamels salary is nothing for the Yankees to take on and picking him up in a trade could swing a very close division race their way.

The Toronto Blue Jays. Now most of the trade talk between the Blue Jays and the Phillies has focused on Toronto dealing for Jonathan Papelbon, but there’s no reason they couldn’t decide to make a deal for Hamels instead. A couple of the Blue Jays prospects pitcher Daniel Norris and outfielder Dalton Pompey struggled at the start of the season and were sent down. Would the Blue Jays be willing to move these 2 plus a couple of other prospects to add Hamels to their starting rotation. Toronto is just 1 game out in the A.L. East and while they look like they need bulloen help an big upgrade to the starting rotation might be helpful to the bullpen as well.

The Detroit Tigers. The Tigers find themselves in 3rd place in the A.L. Central 6 games behind the Kansas City Royals. I’m sure thus is a position they didn’t think they would find themselves in. Would the Tigers make a deal for Hamels when they still have to find a way to sign David Price; who’s a free agent after the season. Would Detroit package some of their young arms like Buck Farmer, Austin Kubitza and maybe Kyle Lobstein or even Bruce Rondon in a deal for Hamels. Do the Tigers need to add someone like Hamels or is getting Justin Verlander back from injury enough to get them back in the division race.

The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. The Angels find themselves chasing I guess we can still call them surprising Houston Astros in the A.L. West. I’m not sure if the Angels have the top prospects that Philadelphia would be looking for in a deal for Hamels. Would a collection of Andrew Heany, Sean Newcomb and maybe Natanael Delgado be enough to interest the Phillies in a deal. Would the Angels go as far as adding Matt Shoemaker or possibly even Garrett Richards to a deal to land Hamels.

The Texas Rangers. The Rangers have stayed healthy this season compared to last season and find themselves in 3rd place 6 games behind the 1st place Houston Astros. Starting pitching is a need for the Rangers as they have had 9 different pitchers start games for them this season. Would the Rangers use top prospect Joey Gallo as a chip in a deal for Hamels. Gallo played in 25 games for Texas. He hit .218 with 5 home runs and 13 R.B.I.’s. While Gallo is suppose to be a can’t miss type of prospects would the Rangers be able to add enough to a deal to get Philadelphia to trade them Hamels.

The Chicago Cubs. The Cubs are playing better than the front office had planned this season and have a solid shot at a N.L. wild card slot. I’m not sure if even a deal for Hamels would get the Cubs into the race against the St. Louis Cardinals in the N.L. Central. The Cubs have the prospects to make this deal if they want to. If they packaged Kyle Scwarber and Javier Baez along with a couple of arms say Brian Schlitter and Edwin Jackson would the Phillies make this move. The Cubs are another team who would have no trouble with Hamels salary and he could be the difference between them getting into the playoffs or not.

I left the Houston Astros off my list. They’re in 1st place in the A.L. West and while they do have the prospects the Phillies are looking for in a deal for Hamels I don’t think the Astros will make this move. They’ve been committed to their young players and I think they’ll stay with their plan on how to build their team and not deal their prospects even for Hamels.

@burketime
Sports Time Radio

NBA free agency has started and before it got going all I heard was that everyone was signing with the Los Angeles Lakers. Now the Lakers are a storied franchise, but with the shape the team is in right now why would a high profile free agent want to sign with the Lakers instead of a team that is contending for the title. The 3 big names that I heard come up on signing with the Lakers were Chicago Bulls guard, Jimmy Butler, Miami Heat guard Dwayne Wade and Portland Trailblazers center LaMarcus AldridgeButler is a restricted free agent; so the Bulls can and plan to match any offer he receives. Butler has already pushed back some meetings with teams as he negotiates with Chicago. I’m not sure what the reasoning was the Butler was going to the Lakers, but maybe his agent leaked that story to try to get some leverage with the Bulls. The theory behind Wade signing with the Lakers was that his wife (Gabrielle Union) is an actress and she’d like to live in California. This rumor has never been addressed

. Wade is looking to get back some of the money he gave up when the Heat brought in Chris Bosh and LeBron James. If Wade did sign with the Lakers would he and Kobe Bryant ever play a game together with their injury history. Aldridge may be the guy who ends up in a Lakers uniform. Aldridge is one of if not the top big man on the free agent market; so there will be many teams interested including the San Antonio Spurs. While I’m sure Los Angeles is a fantastic city to live in; is that reason enough to sign with the Lakers or do you go to San Antonio and contend for an NBA title?

There were 6 signings as free agency got underway.  Al Jefferson signed with the Charlotte Hornets for 1 year at $13.5 million. Roy Hibbert signed with the Indiana Pacers for 1 year at $15.5 million. Brook Lopez signed with the Brooklyn Nets for 3 years at $60 million. Al-Farouq Aminu signed with the Portland Trailblazers for 4 years at $30 million. Thaddeus Young also signed with Brooklyn for 4 years at $50 million and  Kawhi Leonard signed a 5 year $90 million dollar deal to stay with the San Antonio Spurs. Luol Deng also used his player option to stay with the Miami Heat for next season at $10.1 million. 

Besides Butler, Wade and Aldridge there are a couple of other big men who are free agents that should draw some attention. Kevin Love has said that he’d like to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers, but will LeBron James want him back. Yes I know James is a free agent as well, but he’s looking for the kind of money in a contract that only the Cavaliers can give him. James will pretty much be able to act as the Cavaliers general manager and get them to sign the players he wants until he resigns with them. Then there’s DeAndre Jordan the Los Angeles Clippers have said they’d like him back and have enlisted the help of actor Jamie Foxx to get Jordan to resign there. While the Clippers can give Jordan that extra year and more money than anyone else it still looks like he’ll leave as he wants to be a bigger part of a teams offense. Early in the free agenxy period it looks like the Dallas Mavericks are the front runner to sign Jordan. I don’t know why his name doesn’t come up as much as some of the other free agents is Marc Gasol. Gasol is a true NBA center who can score which is becoming rare in the newer NBA style. You have to think that the Memphis Grizzlies will do everything they can to resign him. You’ll have to keep an eye on the wire as some more free agents will probably come off the board today and we’ll have to see if and when the bigger names sign.

As soon as the Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup the talk started on who would be back with the team next season. It started with the minor move of trading back up goaltender Antti Raanta to the New York Rangers for  Ryan Haggerty. The Blackhawks then signed defenseman David Runblad to a 2 year contract. Yesterday the Blackhawks finally made a bigger trade, but the main player dealt might not of been the player people thought it would be. Brandon Saad was traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets along with Alex Broadhurst and Michael Paliotta. In return the Blackhawks received  Artem Anisimov, Marko Dano, Jeremy Morin and Corey Tropp plus a 2016 fourth-round draft pick. This may be the first of a few moves the Blackhawks may make to work with the NHL’s salary cap. There has been a lot of talk that Patrick Sharp and Bryan Bickell may be dealt this off season as the Stanley Cup champions get set to defend their title.

The Philadelphia Phillies have hired Andy MacPhail as team President. MacPhail will take over the job next season when current team President Pat Gillick retires. Until that happens MacPhail will serve as a special assistant to Gillick. Obviously with Gillick retiring, the Phillies had to hire someone to take his place, but shouldn’t MacPhail’s first move be to relieve general manager Ruben Amaro of his duties. Ryne Sandberg resigned and  Pete Mackanin will manage the team the rest of the season. Who in their right mind would want this job. You have to think that the Phillies will end up with a first time manager in 2016. There have been a few names mentioned and they would all be first time managers; no surprise there. I wonder how the Philadelphia fans would react to Raul Ibanez, Jim Thome or Pat Burrell being named Phillies manager. Ibanez was a finalist to manage the Tampa Bay Rays last year. Thome joined the Chicago White Sox organization in 2013 as a special assistant to the manager and expressed interest in one day becoming a manager. Burrell hasn’t expressed any interest in managing or this job, but he’s a former Phillies player; so you never know. Maybe the best choice would be David Bell. Bell is currently the bench coach for the St. Louis Cardinals and was formerly the manager for the Triple-A Louisville Bats and the former Double-A Carolina Mudcats in the Cincinnati Reds organization. Philadelphia is currently 27-52 and 17 games behind N.L. East leading Washington Nationals. 

@Burketime

On Thursday Jon Lester pitched for the Chicago Cubs against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Lester only lasted 4 innings, but this isn’t about if he’s worth the money the Cubs are paying him. It’s about how the home plate umpire acted during the game. In the 2nd inning A.J. Ellis was at the plate for the Dodgers with a 2 and 2 count. Lester’s next pitch appeared to be right down the middle of the plate. Ellis took what looked like strike 3, but home plate umpire Andy Fletcher called it a ball. When Cubs catcher David Ross threw the ball back to Lester he caught it in disgust and yelled towards home plate. Lester’s next pitch was close, but clearly a ball and Ellis drew a walk. It’s not uncommon to see a pitcher get into a fight with an umpire during a game. It is uncommon to see an umpire charge the pitcher’s mound during one of those arguments, but that’s exactly what Fletcher did. Ross pretty much had to physically restrain Fletcher as he was trying to get to Lester who was o the pitching mound.  Ross did a good enough job distracting Fletcher; to allow Cubs manager Joe Maddon to make his way out to the field. Maddon was able to take Fletcher’s attention away from Lester, and the two retreated to home plate to argue. Amazingly, no member of the Cubs was ejected during the argument. Lester explained the situation after the game this way. “I didn’t say anything directly to him,” Lester said. “I don’t know why he was so upset. I had my head down when I was yelling. Nothing was directed at him … and I don’t know what was going on. It had nothing to do with the umpire’s strike zone. I have to execute better.”  Ross also added “Andy wanted to make sure [Lester’s reaction] wasn’t directed toward him,” Ross said. “I was making sure [Fletcher] would talk to me and not Jon.” To me Fletcher’s reaction was improper and he needs to be disciplined. Players should be allowed to show that they’re upset with a call an umpire makes and as long as the player has his reaction and gets back to baseball it should be over. Too many times in games today, umpires go way over the line to continue these arguments which of course then lead to players or managers being ejected. This is the first time that I remember a home plate umpire charging the mound like he had been hit by a pitch. Ross had to put his hands on Fletcher to stop him from getting to the mound and Lester. I’ve heard this said quite a few times and I’m going to repeat it. I’m not at the game to see the umpire. 

After his near perfect game in his last start. It was Max Scherzer’s turn in the rotation for the Washington nationals as they were playing the Philadelphia Phillies. Scherezer added another 5 1/3rd perfect innings last night retiring the first 16 Phillies he faced until Freddy Galvis doubled on a 1-1 to the right field wall. While Scherezer  couldn’t match Johnny Vander Meer, who threw two straight no-hitters for the Cincinnati Reds in June 1938, Scherezer has taken a no-hitter into the sixth inning in three straight starts. On a side note; the deepest a pitcher has taken a no-hitter after throwing one in the start before was Nolan Ryan in 1973, when he allowed a hit with no outs in the eighth. Scherezer picked up the vicyory in the Nationals 5-2 win to improve his record to 9-5 on the season. Scherezer pitched 8 innings allowing 5 hits, 2 earned runs while striking out 7 hitters. Scherezer even got a base hit and scored one of the Nationals 5 runs.

There was a streak in major league baseball that came to an end this week and I’m not sure many people even noticed.  Atlanta Braves right fielder Nick Markakis saw his record streak of 398 consecutive games without an error end in the first inning of Thursday’s game against the Washington Nationals. Denard Span singled to right field leading off and Markakis bobbled the ball, allowing Span to take second. Markakis, who signed with Atlanta in the offseason, established the all-time MLB record for consecutive errorless games by a non-pitcher on June 18th; breaking the previous mark of 392, set by Darren Lewis from 1990-94. Markakis had not made an error since on Aug. 10, 2012, while with the Baltimore Orioles.

The NBA Draft was held on Thursday with Karl-Anthony Towns being the 1st player selected by the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Los Angeles Lakers took D’Angelo Russell with the 2nd pick and the Philadelphia 76ers took Jahlil Okafor with the 3rd pick. Now most if not all experts had these 3 players being the first 3 players off the draft board in some order. The New York Knicks had the 4th pick in the draft and took Kristaps Porzingis. Now it was reported that Carmelo Anthony didn’t like this pick and was upset with the Knicks and Phil Jackson There was a report that Anthony was telling a close friend “are we supposed to wait two or three years for this guy?”  A Knicks source claims that Anthony called Tim Hardaway Jr. after Hardaway was traded to Atlanta for the draft rights to Jerian Grant to express his displeasure with Jackson’s moves. Stephen A. Smith said on SiriusXM radio that Anthony feels “betrayed” by Jackson, who last summer signed him to a 5-year, $124 million contract. If I could ask Anthony a question I’d love to know who or what he thought the Knicks could do that would make them contenders. Anthony, who turned 31 on May 29, had season ending knee surgery in February and will be ready by the start of training camp.

The NHL Draft started last night, but I’d have to lie to you to tell you anything about the players who were picked last night. As expected Connor McDavid was the 1st overall pick by the Edmonton Oilers and Jack Eichel was taken 2nd by the Buffalo Sabres as expected. For the first time in NHL history and I believe draft history a team had 3 consecutive 1st round picks. The Boston Bruins ended up having the 13th. 14th and 15th pick in the first round. Boston ended up taking defenseman Jakub Zborilleft winger Jake DeBrusk and right winger Zachary Senyshyn. I’m not sure if we’ll see any of these players in the NHL at the start of next season, but it will give you something to keep an eye on. Just so you know when to start looking for these players the NHL season starts October 7th with 4 games on the schedule.

So how was your week?

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Let’s call it Wednesday.

Posted: June 24, 2015 in sports

So the Sacramento Kings fired Tyrone Corbin last season when the team went 7-21 to start the season and replaced him with veteran coach George Karl. The Kings were a little better under Karl going 11-19. Now it’s come out that Karl would like to deal DeMarcus Cousins; who may be the Kings best player. There was a rumor that the Los Angeles Lakers would be willing to give up the #2 pick in Thursday draft for Cousins, but Kings owner Vivek Ranadive has vetoed any trade of Cousins. Karl has been given the power to make draft picks and engineer some trades; just as long as they don’t involved Cousins. When the Kings hired Karl in the spring, there was push back from Cousins’ camp. It had been reported that Cousins and Karl haven’t spoken for months. but Karl’s comments in mid-April that everyone is tradable seemed to confirm what many believe, that Karl wants to move Cousins. In addition to the Lakers the Orlando Magic, Denver Nuggets and Boston Celtics have expressed interest in Cousins. There was a trade rumor going around that Karl is interested in Nuggets point guard Ty Lawson and forward Kenneth Faried. The Kings may still find a way to deal for Lawson as there is talk of them sending Rudy Gay to Denver for Lawson. Cousins did average career highs in points, rebounds, assists, blocks and minutes last season and he’s just 24 years old. The negatives to Cousins seem to be that he’ll pout when he wants the ball on offense and doesn’t get it. He then has a tendency to either take a bad foul or just not play defense a few trips down the floor. Maybe if Sacramento had a veteran or Cousins goes to a team with a veteran presence these traits will disappear.

I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard an announcer or an analyst say a good manager can mean 5 to 10 games in the standings for a team. Now this off season the Chicago Cubs fired Rich Renteria when it was beginning to look like Joe Maddon would become available. Maddon did decide to opt out of his contract with the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cubs quickly moved in to hire him as their manager. Now the Cubs are much improved over last season, but does Maddon have that much to do with it or is it the Cubs improved roster that’s accounted for a better record. There is no doubt that Maddon is a great manager and the Rays weren’t going to be able to get another manager on that level. Tampa Bay hired Kevin Cash who had no major league managerial experience. So you would expect the Cubs to be on the upswing with their manager and the Rays to be headed down with their new manager. Oddly the Rays are 41-32 and in 1st place 2 games ahead of the New York Yankees in the A.L. East. The Cubs have a similar record 39-30, but they’re in 3rd place in the N.L. Central 6 1/2 games behind the St. Louis Cardinals. The Cubs are holding on to the 2nd N.L. wild card spot, but it’s a little early to worry about that. In the off season the Cubs big free agent signing was Jon Lester; 6 years at $155 million with an option for a 7th year. Tampa Bay’s big free agent signing was  Asdrubal Cabrera; $7.5 million for 1 year. What makes Tampa Bay’s start even more impressive may be the fact that 4 of their projected starting pitchers are on the disabled list. Alex Cobb was lost for the season after under going Tommy John surgery. Matt Moore is on the 60 day disabled list and has just started a rehab assignment and may be back in July. Jake Ordorizzi is out with a left oblique injury. Drew Smiley is also on the 60 day disabled list with a left labrum tear, but has passed on surgery and is rehabbing with the hope of returning in late July or early August. How many teams would still be in the pennant race let alone in 1st place if they lost 4/5th of the starting rotation. When Maddon moved over to the Cubs he had top prospects Kris Bryant, Jorge Soler and Addison Russell in the pipeline along with 1st baseman Anthony Rizzo who is having and M.V.P. caliber season. You could also add Kyle Schwarber to that prospect list after the way he played in his brief call up last week. Soler is out injured right now, but should be returning soon, but while he was healthy he was playing well as were Bryant and Russell. Tampa Bay doesn’t quite have the prospect pool the Cubs have. They do have Steven Souza Jr. who has 14 home runs, but is hitting .229. The Rays also have 2008 #1 overall pick Tim Beckham on the roster; though he is currently out injured. Beckham has appeared in 37 games with 5 home runs, but is hitting .213. It looks like 2 teams with about that same won/loss record at this point. Who knows were either of these teams will end up at the end of the season. Will we find out what each of these managers are worth to their teams by the end of the season or is it really talent that matters in the end.

Tom Brady had his hearing on Deflategate yesterday. The hearing was held at the NFL offices in New York and was 11 hours long with .10 hours of testimony being heard. Brady apparently didn’t speak or testify at the hearing, but was there until the end of the hearing.  Brady’s side made their case for exoneration, presumably based on the assertion that there was no direct evidence linking Brady to the deflation of footballs.

Commissioner Roger Goodell has the sole power to hear and decide on appeals of player suspensions if he so chooses. The players and owners collectively bargained that into the 2011 CBA. The players association tried to get around that in this case by insisting they’d call Goodell as a witness in Brady’s appeal hearing, but Goodell refused to recuse himself and heard the appeal on Tuesday anyway. All that’s left for Brady to do now is wait. If Brady’s suspension is not reduced or overturned completely, one would expect that he and the NFLPA would then take the case to federal court.

The Big Jack

Looking back at the 2010 NBA Draft

Posted: June 23, 2015 in sports

With the NBA Draft on Thursday I thought we could go back 5 year to 2010 and see how your favorite team did with it’s 1st round pick. The draft set a record with 5 players from the same college (Kentucky) being selected in the 1st round. The Washington Wizards won the draft lottery in May and have the 1st pick.

#1, Washington Wizards; John Wall, Guard, Kentucky.

Wall became the 1st of 5 Kentucky Wildcats to come off the draft board in the 1st round. Wall battled some inuries his first 3 seasons, but he’s been healthy and an All-Star in his last 3 seasons. For his career Wall averages 17.6 points per game and 8.7 assists per game. He did have his career high in assists per game last season averaging 10.0. A good pick for the Wizards at the top of the draft as long as he’s healthy.

#2, Philadelphia 76ers, Evan Turner, Guard, Ohio State.

Turner looked like he was going to turn into the scorer the 76ers thought he’d be in 2013-14 when he was averaging 17.4 points per game, but with the 76ers rebuilding and going young Turner was dealt to the Indiana Pacers to bolster their bench for the playoffs. Turner then signed with the Boston Celtics as a free agent last off season and played in all 82 games averaging 9.5 points per game, 5.5 assists per game and 5.2 rebounds per game while playing a little under 28 minutes a game.

#3, New Jersey Nets, Derrick Favors, Forward, Georgia Tech.

The Nets were still in New Jersey when they drafted Favors, but he only played 56 games with the Nets as a rookie before he was dealt to the Utah Jazz were he’s still playing. For his career Favors averages 10.9 points per game, but last last season he posted his highest scoring average of his career at 16.0. Favors also grabs 7.3 rebounds per game for his career and blocks 1.3 shots per game as well.

#4, Minnesota Timberwolves, Wesley Johnson, Forward, Syracuse.

As a lottery pick Johnson is a bust. He’s on his 3rd team in 5 seasons. He was with Minnesota for his first 2 NBA seasons. The Timberwolves dealt him to the Phoenix Suns were he spent 1 season and the last 2 seasons he’s been with the Los Angeles Lakers. Johnson did post his highest points per game total of 9.9 with the Lakers last season. On his career Johnson averages 8.5 points per game.

#5, Sacramento Kings, DeMarcus Cousins, Center, Kentucky.

While Cousins has a interesting personality he has been able to score in the NBA. Cousins is a double digit scorer for his career and even though he was limited to just 59 games due to injury he averaged a career best 24.1 points per game, 12.7 rebounds per game, 1.7 blocks per game and 3.6 assists per game. Cousins made his 1st All-Star team last season and you have to wonder if he can keep his emotions under control on the floor if his numbers will continue to go up.

#6, Golden State Warriors, Ekpe Udoh, Center, Baylor.

While the Warriors won the NBA Title jut a week ago; 5 years ago they were in the draft lottery. Udoh was only with the Warriors for about a season and a half. They dealt Udoh along with .Kwame Brown and Monta Ellis to the Milwaukee Bucks for Andrew Bogut and Stephen Jackson. Udoh spent 2 1/2 seaons with Milwaukee before signing with the Los Angeles Clippers for the 2014-15 season. He averages 4.0 points per game and plays just under 17 minutes a game.

#7, Detroit Pistons, Greg Monroe, Forward, Georgetown.

Monroe has been a good player for Detroit since they drafted him. In 5 seasons with the Pistons he averages 14.3 points per game and 9.2 rebounds per game. He did just post his highest rebounding per game average last season at 10.2. Monroe did lose some games in injury last season playing in 69 games; he had only missed 3 games in his career before last season. Monroe plays 30 plus minutes a night for Detroit.

#8, Los Angeles Clippers, Al-Farouq Aminu, Forward, Wake Forest.

Aminu only spent 1 season with the Clippers averaging 5.6 points per game. After that 1st season he was dealt  with Eric Gordon, Chris Kaman and a 2012 1st round draft pick (Austin Rivers was later selected) to the New Orleans Hornets for Chris Paul, a 2015 2nd round draft pick and a 2015 2nd round draft pick. Aminu played 3 seasons with New Orleans before signing with the Dallas Mavericks last off season.

#9, Utah Jazz, Gordon Hayward, Forward, Butler.

I remember the expert coming down pretty hard on the Jazz for picking Hayward, but he’s been a good player for Utah. Hayward averaged 19.3 points per game last season which was a career high. For his career Hayward averages 13.5 points per game, 3.3 assists per game. 3.7 rebounds per game and 1.0 steals per game. Hayward has played quite a few minutes the last 2 seasons. He averaged 36.4 minutes a game in 2013-14 and 34.4 minutes a game last season.

#10, Indiana Pacers, Paul George, Forward, Fresno State.

I think we’ve all seen or heard about the horrible leg injury George sustained playing for the USA basketball team. It cost George all but 6 games in the 2014-15 season. George had made back to back All-Star teams before the injury and had also posted his career high in points per game during the 2013-14 season with 21.7. A lot of questions will be answered this season as George should be ready to go come training camp.

#11, New Orleans Hornets, Cole Aldrich, Center, Kansas.

While Aldrich was drafted by New Orleans he was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Aldrich spent 2 seasons with Oklahoma City before playing 30 games with the Houston Rockets and 15 games with the Sacramento Kings in 2012-13 seasons. Aldrich has played the last 2 seasons with the New York Knicks. On his career Aldrich averaged 3.1 points per game and 3.4 rebounds per game.

#12, Memphis Grizzlies, Xavier Henry, Guard, Kansas.

Henry was the 2nd of back to back Kansas players to come off the board. Henry spent just 1 season in Memphis and Henry was part of a 3-team trade, traded by the Washington Wizards (as a future 2010 1st round draft pick) to the Memphis Grizzlies; the Memphis Grizzlies traded a 2015 2nd round draft pick to the New Orleans Hornets; the Memphis Grizzlies traded Javaris Crittenton to the Washington Wizards; the New Orleans Hornets traded Mike James to the Washington Wizards; and the Washington Wizards traded Antonio Daniels to the New Orleans Hornets. In 2014-15 Henry played just 9 games with the Los Angeles Lakers.

#13, Toronto Raptors, Ed Davis, Forward, North Carolina.

Davis spent 2 1/2 seasons with Toronto and then was  part of a 3-team trade, traded by the Toronto Raptors with Jose Calderon and a 2013 2nd round draft pick (Jamaal Franklin was later selected) to the Memphis Grizzlies; the Detroit Pistons traded Austin Daye and Tayshaun Prince to the Memphis Grizzlies; the Memphis Grizzlies traded Jose Calderon to the Detroit Pistons; and the Memphis Grizzlies traded Rudy Gay and Hamed Haddadi to the Toronto Raptors. Davis spent last season with the Los Angeles Lakers were he averaged 8.3 points per game.

#14, Houston Rockets, Patrick Patterson, Forward, Kentucky.

Patterson played 2 1/2 seasons with the Rockets before they dealt him with Cole Aldrich, Toney Douglas and cash to the Sacramento Kings for Francisco Garcia, Tyler Honeycutt and Thomas Robinson. After just 41 games with the Kings they dealt Patterson with Chuck Hayes, John Salmons and Greivis Vasquez to the Toronto Raptors for Quincy Acy, Rudy Gay and Aaron Gray. In 81 games last season Patterson averaged 8.0 points and 5.3 rebounds per game for the Raptors.

#15, Milwaukee Bucks, Larry Sanders, Center, VCU.

Sanders was a solid player for Milwaukee, but injuries and him just not wanting to play limited him to 233 games in 5 seasons. Milwaukee actually decided to waive Sanders in February of this year. Sanders averaged 6.5 points and 5.8 rebounds per game in his career. It’s unclear if Sanders will ever play in the NBA again.

#16, Minnesota Timberwolves, Luke Babbitt, Forward, Nevada.

Babbitt was drafted by Minnesota, but a draft day trade sent him to the Portland Trailblazers were he played 3 seasons. Babbitt played in 126 games for the Trailblazers before signing as a free agent with the New Orleans Hornets. In 90 games over 2 seasons Babbitt has averaged 4.7 points and 2.2 rebounds per game for New Orleans.

#17, Chicago Bulls,  Kévin Séraphin, Forward, Cholet Basket (France)

Seraphin was the 1st international player taken and was sent to the Wahington Wizards in a draft day trade. The Bulls dealt Seraphin with Kirk Hinrich and cash to the Washington Wizards for Vladimir Veremeenko. Chicago also received a trade exception from Washington. In 5 seasons with the Wizards Seraphim has averaged 6.4 points and 3.7 rebounds per game.

#18, Oklahoma City Thunder, Eric Bledsoe, Guard, Kentucky.

While picked by Oklahoma City Bledsoe was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers for a 2012 1st round draft pick. Bledsoe spent 3 seasons with the Clippers. As part of a 3 team trade Bledsoe landed with the Phoenix Suns were he has showed he can score. In his 2 seasons with Phoenix he’s averaged 17.3 points per game in the Suns three guard system. Bledsoe is also averaging 5.9 assists per game with Phoenix.

#19, Boston Celtics,  Avery Bradley, Guard, Texas.

Bradley has played in 282 games in 5 seasons with Boston. His career scoring average is 10.5, but his last 2 seasons have been better than that; 14.9 in 2013-14 and 13.9 in 2014-15, Bradley made the switch from point guard to shooting guard last season mostly because he was averaging just 1.5 assists per game.

#20, San Antonio Spurs, James Anderson, Guard, Oklahoma State.

Anderson played 2 1/2 seasons with the Sups, but it covered just 87 games. He finished the 2012-13 season with the Houston Rockets before moving on to the Philadelphia 76ers in 2013-14 season. Anderson has a career scoring average of 6.3 points per game. Anderson is currently not on an NBA roster.

#21, Oklahoma City Thunder, Craig Brackins, Forward, Iowa State.

Brackins was drafted by Oklahoma City, but was sent with Quincy Pondexter to the New Orleans Hornets for Cole Aldrich and Morris Peterson as part of a draft day trade. Brackins played just 2 season in the NBA with Philadelphia and it covered just 17 games before he was released. Brackins averaged 1.8 points per game in his NBA career.

#22, Portland Trailblazers, Elliot Williams, Guard, Memphis.

Williams has played for 4 teams since being drafted by the Trailblazers. Williams spent 1 season in Portland. He didn’t play in the 2012-13 season. Williams spent 2013-14 season with the Philadelphia 76ers. Last season Williams played for both the Utah Jazz and New Orleans Pelicans. In 104 career games Williams has averaged 5.1 points per game.

#23, Minnesota Timberwolves, Trevor Booker, Forward, Clemson.

Booker was drafted by the Timberwolves, but was sent with Hamady N’Diaye to the Washington Wizards for Nemanja Bjelica and Lazar Hayward as part of a draft day trade. Booker spent 4 seasons with Washington before signing with the Utah Jazz last season. Booker averages 6.6 points and 5.1 rebounds per game in his career.

#24, Atlanta Hawks, Damion James, Forward, Texas.

Another draft day trade here as Atlanta drafted James and sent him to the New Jersey Nets for Jordan Crawford and Tibor Pleiss. James spent 3 seasons with the Nets, but it covered just 34 games. James played 5 games with the San Antonio Spurs during the 2013-14 season, but is currently not on an NBA roster. James has a career scoring average of 3.8 points per game in his NBA career.

#25, Memphis Grizzlies, Dominique Jones, Guard, USF.

While the Grizzlies drafted Jones at #25 they sold him to the Dallas Mavericks on draft day. Jones was with the Mavericks for 3 seasons playing in 80 games. Jones averaged 3.1 points, 1,8 assists and 1.4 rebounds per game in his career. Jones has been out of the NBA since the end of the 2012-13 season which would lead you to believe that his NBA career is over.

#26, Oklahoma City Thunder, Quincy Pondexter, Forward, Washington.

Oklahoma City had multiple 1st round picks in this draft. Pondexter was part of a deal you may have seen early on the draft board as he went with #21 pick Craig Brackins to the New Orleans Hornets for Cole Aldrich and Morris Peterson. Pondexter spent the 2010-11 season with New Orleans before being dealt to the Memphis Grizzlies. After 3 1/2 seasons in Memphis Pondexter ended up back with New Orleans as part of a 3 team deal. Pondexter has a career scoring average of 5.3 points per game.

#27, New Jersey Nets, Jordan Crawford, Guard, Xavier.

This deal appears earlier as well as Crawford was sent to the Atlanta Hawks with Tibor Pleiss for #24 pick Damion James. Crawford played 1 season with Atlanta, 2 1/2 seasons with the Washington Wizards, 1 season with the Boston Celtics and wrapped up the 2013-14 season playing 42 games with the Golden State Warriors. Crawford has a career scoring average of 12.2 points per game.

#28, Memphis Grizzlies, Greivis Vásquez, Guard, Maryland.

Vasquez spent 1 season with Memphis before being dealt to the New Orleans Hornets. After 2 seasons with New Orleans they traded him to the Sacramento Kings. Vasquez played just 18 games with the Kings before being traded to the Toronto Raptors. Vasquez has found a home with Toronto as a back up at both guard spots. Vasquez averages 9.2 points and 4.6 assists per game in his career.

#29, Orlando Magic, Daniel Orton, Center, Kentucky.

The 5th Kentucky Wildcat player drafted in the 1st round Orton played just 51 games in the NBA. Orton played just 16 games for the Magic in 2011-12. Signed by Oklahoma City for the 2012-13 season Orton played in 13 games. The Philadelphia 76ers signed Orton for the 2013-14 season, but he played in just 22 games that season. Orton averaged 2.8 points and 2.5 rebounds per game in his career.

#30, Washington Wizards, Lazar Hayward, Forward, Marquette.

The final pick of the 1st round; Hayward was drafted by Washington, but traded with Nemanja Bjelica to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Trevor Booker and Hamady N’Diaye. Hayward played 42 games for Minnesota in 2010-11. He then played 26 games for the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2011-12. Hayward found his way back to Minnesota and got into 2 games in the 2012-13 season. Hayward averaged 2.9 points for his career.

There you are 5 years ago this is who was picked where in the NBA draft. How did your team do?

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The New York Yankees defeated the Detroit Tigers 7-2 last night in New York. In the bottom of the 1st inning Alex Rodriquez (A-Rod) hit his 13th home run to right center field off of Justin Verlander to give the Yankees a 1-0 lead. It was the 667th home run of Rodriguez’s career, but more importantly on this night it was his 3000th career hit. With his home run Rodriguez became the 29th player in Major League Baseball history to reach the 3000 hit milestone. Rodriguez is also the 3rd player who’s 3000th hit was a home run; the other 2 are Wade Boggs and A-Rod’s former teammate Derek Jeter. Rodriguez, who will turn 40 next month and is the first player to reach 3,000 hits since Derek Jeter did in July 2011. Compared to the celebration four years ago for Jeter’s accomplishment, there was noticeably less buildup for Rodriguez’s chase of 3000 hits. Rodriguez’s previous admissions of performance-enhancing drug use and season-long suspension in 2014 created a much different feeling. Four years ago, the Tampa Bay Rays applauded in unison for Jeter’s homer; on Friday, the Tigers mostly declined to acknowledge the moment, though a few opponents did tip their caps. After the game’s final out, Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera offered Rodriguez a congratulatory hug. Rodriguez joined Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Eddie Murray and Rafael Palmeiro as the only players to log both 3,000 hits and 500 home runs. Rodriguez, who played seven seasons (1994-2000) in Seattle Mariners and three (2001-03) for the Texas Rangers before collecting 1,465 hits and counting with the Yankees.

Zack Hampie is the fan who caught Rodriguez’s 300th hit and he has told the Yankees that he won’t be giving the ball back. On his Twitter account Hampie posted a picture of the baseball mention that he “Got it authenticated by @MLB” and also said :I’m keeping it”. Hampie elaborated further on why he wouldn’t give the baseball back to Ropdriguez to http://www.NJ.com saying “I think that someone like Derek Jeter or Alex Rodriguez, who has made half a billion dollars in his career, doesn’t really need a favor from a normal civilian and a fan like me” Hampie went on to say ” I don’t know right now if I’m going to sell it. I mean, depending on what the Yankees could offer, I would consider giving it back. I’m not giving it back for – I don’t plan to give it back for a chance to meet him and fully autographed bats, because I don’t collect bats, I collect baseballs. Just having this baseball is so meaningful to me. I can’t believe that I got it. If you had caught Rodriguez’s 3000th hit; want would you do with the baseball?

Now that Rodriguez has reached the 3000th hit milestone; who’s next on the hit list. Ichiro Suzuki has 2886 career hits; so it looks like he’ll be the next player to get to 3000 hits. After Ichiro it’s Adrian Beltre with 2657 hits, Albert Pujols with 2587 hits, Tori Hunter with 2386 hits and Carlos Beltran rounds out the list with 2373 hits. I would think we’ll see Beltre and Pujols become members of the 3000 hit club before their careers end, but I’m not sure if we’ll see Hunter or Beltran get to 3000. Including Rodriguez these are the Top 6 players in career hits right now; so those 5 players are the closest to 3000 hits.

How do you feel about Rodriguez joining the 3000 hit club? I consider myself a fan of the Seattle Mariners and used to root for him. The Mariners selected Rodriguez with the 1st pick of the 1993 amateur draft. As I mentioned before Rodriguez did miss all of last season because he was suspended for P.E.D. use. While Rodriguez has won a slew of awards and made countless All-Star teams; he’ll also be coming up on 700 home runs very soon. All of these numbers are tainted for me as I always wonder where he’d be if he hadn’t taken P.E.D.’s.

How much more can the Washington Nationals take? Some how the Nationals are just 1/2 game out of the lead in the National League East behind the New York Mets. I’m not sure if any team has had more injuries to key players than the Nationals have. The Nationals season started with Anthony Rendon missing the first 2 plus months of the season along with Jayson Werth missing some time. Denard Span also missed some games at the start of the season. Werth returned played 27 games and then fractured his left wrist and will be out until at least August. While Span has returned to play full time Rendon suffered a set back working his way back and while he has returned he’s been in only 15 games for Washington. 1st baseman Ryan Zimmerman was placed on the 15-day disabled list last week with left foot plantar fasciitis and there is no timetable for hi return. Nate McLouth was going to be the Nationals 4th outfielder, but he hasn’t played a game this season due to injury. McLouth was just moved to the 60-day disabled list as he felt pain in his shoulder earlier in the month while swinging a bat. The pitching staff hasn’t been immune to the injury bug either. Doug Fister is just returned from his injury on June 18th pitching 5 1/3rd innings against Tampa Bay. Fister struck out 3 gave up 9 hits and 5 runs while taking the loss. Steven Strasburg has a left  trapezius strain and has just started a minor league rehab assignment and the Nationals expect him back in the starting rotation by the end of June. Craig Stammen got off to a great start out as a set up man this season. Stammen got in 5 games covering 4 innings and hadn’t given up a run until he had an issue with his forearm. Stammen ended up needing season ending surgery on that forearm. Aaron Barrett was working out of the Nationals bullpen and has appeared in a team high 30 games this season. Barrett ended up on the disabled list this week with a  right biceps strain. There’s no timetable set for Barrett’s return. Then there’s Bryce Harper. Harper hasn’t been placed on the disabled list, but he did suffer a mild left hamstring strain when he slipped on the outfield grass making a throw home. Now this brought out a lot of talk about how baseball handles rain delays and especially the way they remove the tarp. After seeing replays of Harper’s injury I’m not sure the way they removed the tarp had anything to do with Harper getting hurt; it really just looked like he didn’t get good footing making a throw and injured his leg. Even if you’re not a fan of the Nationals or Bryce Harper with the season he’s having you don;t want to see him get hurt. Now if you are a fan of the Nationals can they handle an injury to Harper were he misses time? Being a baseball fan I understand that teams are going to have to deal with injuries, but a lot of those teams weren’t picked to go to and in some cases win the World Series.Can the Nationals live up to those expectations? and will they suffer any more key injuries this season?

So how was your week?

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On Monday the night the NHL season came to an end as the Chicago Blackhawks defeated the Tampa Bay Lighting 2-0 in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals to win the series 4 games to 2. Then last night the NBA season came to an end as the Golden State Warriors beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 105-97 to win that series 4 games to 2.

Golden State pulled out to a 13 point lead after the 1st quarter 28-15. The Cavaliers cut into the Golden State lead in the 2nd quarter going into halftime down just 2 points; 45-43. Golden State stretched their lead to 12 points by the end of the 3rd quarter; 73-61. The Cavaliers did outscore Golden State in the final quarter 36-32, but it wasn’t enough as the Warriors held on for an 8 point victory and their first NBA title since 1975. Andre Iguodala and Stephen Curry led Golden State in scoring with 25 points apiece. The move of Iguodala into the starting line up by Golden State coach Steve Kerr not only help the Warriors win the NBA title, but Iguodala was named finals MVP Iguodala added 5 rebound, 5 assists and 2 steals in Game 6. Draymond Green scored in double figures with 16 points and had a triple double adding 11 rebounds and 10 assists in Game 6. Festus Ezeli and Shaun Livingston came off of the Golden State bench to score 10 points apiece. LeBron James was led the Cavaliers in scoring with 32 points, rebounds with 18 and assists with 9 missing another triple double by just that 1 assists. J.R. Smith added 19 points. Timofey Mozgov and Tristan Thompson had double, doubles for the Cavaliers. Mozgov had 17 points and 12 rebounds while Thompson cored 15 points and grabbed 13 rebounds. In Game 6 Golden State was the better shooting team from the field making 43.5% of their total shots and hit 38.2% from behind the 3-point line. Cleveland made 39.0% of their total shots and 23.1% from behind the 3-point line. Cleveland was the better free throw shooting team making 27 of 39 (69.2%) of their foul shots while Golden State hit 18 of 29 (62.1%) from the foul line. It was quite surprising that the finals M.V.P. went to Iguodala as James was the best player on the floor even in a losing effort. You have to wonder if James coming out yesterday (Tuesday) saying he didn’t want to be named M.V.P. if the Cavaliers lost the series had an affect on the M.V.P. finals voting. James logged a ton of minute in this finals series and he did everything he could to help the Cavaliers win, but with Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving missing significant time with injuries it proven that one great player couldn’t carry a team to a title.

On Monday night Duncan Keith scored in the 2nd period to give the Blackhawks a 1-0 lead and it turned out to be the only goal they would need, but Patrick Kane did add another Chicago goal in the 3rd period to give the Blackhawks a 2 goal lead and get to the score the game ended at 2-0. It was the Blackhawks 3rd Stanley Cup victory in 6 season and Keith won the Conn Smythe trophy given to the outstanding player in the playoffs. Keith became the first defenseman since Bobby Orr in 1972 to score the Stanley Cup winning goal and win the Conn Smythe trophy. Orr actually pulled this feat off twice; he did it in 1970 as well. Corey Crawford came up big for the Blackhawks when they needed him as Tampa Bay had some quality scoring chances and Crawford even stopped Steven Stamkos on a breakaway. The victory tied Crawford with Tony Esposito for career playoff wins by a Blackhawks goalie with 45. It seemed to have been a series where experience triumphed over youth. Throughout the series it seemed as Tampa Bay was the better team and was outplaying the Blackhawks. Chicago never seemed to panic and never found themselves down by more than 1 goal at any time in the series. Actually the 2-0 win by the Blackhawks in Game 4 was the only game decided by more than 1 goal. It was a good time for Kane to come through with his 1st goal of the series.

After their Stanley Cup victory there were a few experts debating on if the Blackhawks were a dynasty. Some have pointed out that they’ve never won the Stanley Cup in back to back seasons, but the counter is that even in the seasons were they didn’t win it all they went to the conference finals. The Blackhawks are also the first team to win 3 Stanley Cups in the salary cap era. Remember the salary cap is designed to make the teams even.  The Blackhawks have sustained their success the same way the Montreal Canadiens, Edmonton Oilers, New York Islanders and Detroit Red Wings did: with a stable and special group of players and some of the best coaching in NHL history. If the Blackhawks find a way to win another Stanley Cup or two in the next few seasons; would that make them a dynasty? While there will be some changes in the off season for the Blackhawks their core group of player is intact and young. The Blackhawks have been involved in the Stanley Cup Playoffs every season since 2009.  The Blackhawks have reached the Western Conference Final five times and the Stanley Cup Final three times in those seven seasons. They were within an overtime goal of being a favorite to win the Stanley Cup against the New York Rangers last season; so is another Stanley Cup or two out of their reach. Being a dynasty is subjective to each person, but dynasty or not the Blackhawks are a Cup contender and should be for the foreseeable future.

I’m getting a kick out of the American League All-Star balloting. As of yesterday the Kansas City Royals had 8 players that would start the All-Star if voting ended right now. I’be heard a lot of the experts complaining about this and I actually heard one suggest that if Omar Infante wins the vote at 2nd base he should decline the honor. Infante isn’t having the best season; he’s hitting .221, but it’s fans vote and if that’s who wins the vote he should play in the game. Royals manager Ned Yost was asked about this situation and was told about some of the complaining and he had a great response. Yost told everyone who didn’t like the way the voting was going to “go out and vote”.

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The Golden State Warriors evened the NBA Finals at 2-2 with a decisive 103-82 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday night in Cleveland. Golden State got out to a 7 point lead after the 1st quarter 31-24. They were able to add 5 points to that lead going into halftime by outscoring the Cavaliers 23-18 in the 2nd quarter. Golden State took a 54-42 lead into the locker room at halftime. Cleveland came out and knocked 6 point off of the Warriors lead outscoring Golden State 28-22, but still found themselves trailing 76-70 at the end of the 3rd quarter. The Cavaliers were unable to keep their run going into the 4th quarter and appeared to run out of gas as Golden State pulled away easily adding 15 points to their lead outscoring Cleveland 27-12 in the 4th quarter to get to that 21 point 103=82 victory. Golden State made a change i their tarting line up as Andrew Bogut was removed from the starting line up and Andre Iguodala was inserted into Bogut’s spot. Iguodala  reciprocated by tying for the team lead in points with Stephen Curry. Iguodala and Curry both scored 22 points; Draymond Green scored 17 points and Harrison Barnes also scored in double figures for Golden State with 14 points. Iguodala also tied for the team lead in rebounds with Green and Shaum Livingston. All three players grabbed 8 rebounds in Game 4 while Green tied Curry for the team lead in assists with 6. It ended up being  Timofey Mozgov not LeBron James leading the Cavaliers in scoring with 28 points. James did contribute 20 points, but was 7 of 22 from the field and 5 of 10 from the free throw line while stumbling into a cameraman after being fouled by Bogut. To be fair LeBron was having a bad shooting night before he went tumbling into the first row. Tristan Thompson added 12 points while Matthew Dellavedova scored 10 points, but was a terrible 3 of 14 from the field. Thompson grabbed 13 rebounds to lead the Cavaliers while James added 12 rebounds and Mozgov also had double digit rebounds grabbing 10. James just missed a triple double by 2 assists as he led the Cavaliers with 8 assists. You can add Iman Shumoert and J.R. Smith to the list of Cavaliers who had bad shooting nights in Game 4. Shumpert went 2 of 9 from the field while Smith made just 2 of the 12 shots he took and missed all 8 of the 3-point field goals he attempted The Cavaliers shot 33% from the floor and 14.8% from behind the 3-point line compared to 46.8% from the field and 40% from behind the 3-point line for the Warriors. The series returns to California even at 2 and you have to ask; did the Cavaliers just have a bad shooting night or did the best defensive team (Golden State) in the NBA figure something out?

I mentioned that James went tumbling into the first row of seats under the basket and ran head first into a cameraman. James ended up giving himself a couple of nice cuts on his head which he did bleed from. What I didn’t understand was why wasn’t he removed from the game and tested for a concussion? If an NFL team had left a player on the field who had just hit his head like that the mainstream media would be out with it’s pitchforks and torches calling for everyone involved to be fired. Was it because James is the best player in the game and there was no chance of the Cavaliers making any kind of run with him out of the game. In the post game press conference James mentioned that he didn’t go through the concussion  protocol, but said he had a headache from hitting the camera and cameraman. Now I’m not a doctor or in the medical profession, but I thought that a headache was a  symptom of a concussion. To be honest the entire James tumble looked like a flop until he crashed into the cameraman. I’m thinking that James was trying to get a Flagrant 2 foul called on Bogut and wanted to add a little something to the call and didn’t know were he was on the floor. I doubt James will even show up on any kind of injury report for Game 5.

Speaking of Game 5’s the Chicago Blackhawks and the Tampa Bay Lighting take the ice around 7:00 p.m. for Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals with the series tied 2-2. Since this is the NHL, we never heard what Tampa Bay goaltender Ben Bishop’s injury was or is, but it’s being reported that Bishop is “possible” for Game 5. Bishop did not practice Friday and will be evaluated Saturday morning before a decision is made. Tampa Bay’s coach Jon  Cooper said that Bishop’s absence from practice was planned when the decision was made to remove him from the lineup for Game 4 on Wednesday. Bishop left Game 2 and did not play in Game 4. He stopped 36 of 38 shots in Game 3, but noticeably lacked mobility and did not leave the crease to play the puck with his normal frequency. Rookie Andrei Vasilevskiy replaced Bishop in Game 2 and made five saves in the final 7:41 for his first Stanley Cup Playoffs victory. Vasilevskiy, 20, made 17 saves in a 2-1 loss in Game 4, his first NHL postseason start. Vasilevsky would start in goal for Tampa Bay if Bishop is unable to play in Game 5. Tonight’s game is very important to both teams as the winner of Game 5 should win the Stanley Cup. Neither team has won two games in a row in this series and if that holds to form the winner of Game 5 will win it all. Patrick Kane got his 1st point of the series; an assist in Game 4, but even with his scoring slump he’s still the Blackhawks points leader for the playoffs. Kane is one of the best players in the NHL and knows how to score in the playoffs.  In 114 Stanley Cup Playoff games, he has 112 points, including 47 goals. This postseason, he has 10 goals, tied with Jonathan Toews for the team lead, and 21 points in 21 games. In the Final, he was held without a shot in Game 2, but has had three shots in each of the other three games and has been creating chances despite playing with several different linemates in the four games. Did Game 4;s assist get Kane out of his slump? If it did and he’s ready to break out it could bring the 3rd Stanley Cup in 6 seasons to Chicago.

The Houston Astros had lost 7 games in a row and where coming off of a series were they where swept by the Chicago White Sox. Thing didn’t look like they were going to get any better last night (Friday) as “The King” Felix Hernandez was on the mound as the Astros opened their series against the Seattle Mariners. Not only did the Astros end their losing streak they rocked Hernandez. “The King” lasted just 1/3rd of an inning meaning he only got 1 out. Hernandez gave up 5 hits, 8 runs; they were all earned, he walked 2, struck out 1 and gave up 2 home runs. Luis Valbuena and Jason Castro were the Astros who homered off of Hernandez. Last night looks like the worst start of Hernandez’s career and he saw his ERA jump to 3.38 on the season. After getting 8 runs off of Hernandez the Houston offense slowed down, but they didn’t need any more as they costed to a 10-0 victory over Seattle. Brett Oberholtzer (1-1) got the win for Houston pitching 8 innings. Oberholtzer gave up just 3 hits while walking 2 and striking out 5. The Astros other 2 runs were scored on solo home runs. Carlos Correa hit his 2nd home run of the season and Chris Carter hit his 11th home run of the season. The win improves the Astros record to 35-27 with a 2 1/2 game lead over the Texas Rangers in the A.L. West. The disappointing Mariners fell to 27-34 and are 7 1/2 games behind the 1st place Astros.

So how was your week?

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.

Let’s call it Wednesday

Posted: June 10, 2015 in sports

Last night San Francisco Giants rookie pitcher Chris Heston making his 13th career major league start pitched the 17th no hitter in San Francisco history a 5-0 victory over the New York Mets. Heston struck out the side in the ninth inning to secure the first no-hitter of the 2015 season; he had 11 total strikeouts in the game. It was also the 4th straight season a Giants pitcher has thrown a no hitter. Matt Cain threw a no hitter in 2012 and Tim Lincecum kept the streak going with no hitters in 2013 and 2014. Oddly Heston was  once designated for assignment by the Giants in July 2013, Heston only made the starting rotation because Cain began the season on the disabled list. And he had been inconsistent all season before his no hitter Tuesday night. Heston did not allow a walk along with his 11 strikeouts. Heston’s only blemishes were three hit batters, the first time dating back to 1914 that more than two batters were plunked during a no-hitter. He also became the first rookie to throw a no-hitter since Boston’s Clay Buchholz in 2007. It took Heston 110 pitches to throw his no hitter. Heston improved to 6-4 on the season and also went 2 for 4 at the plate and drove in 2 runs which were his first career RBI’s. With the win San Francisco improved their record to 33-26 and are currently in 2nd place in the National League West a game behind the 1st place Los Angeles Dodgers.

Are you surprised that the Cleveland Cavaliers are up 2 games to 1 in the NBA Finals on the Golden State Warriors. Behind 40 points from LeBron James the Cavaliers took Game 3 96-91 in Cleveland last night. Cleveland got out to a 4 point lead after the 1st quarter 24-20. The Cavaliers were able to add 3 points to their lead going into halftime 44-37. The Cavaliers were really able to pull away in the 3rd quarter outscoring Golden State 28-18 in the quarter and taking a 72-55 lead going into the 4th quarter. Golden State did what it could in the 4th period to get back into the game. Golden State outscored Cleveland by 12 points 36-24, but it wasn’t enough and they lost Game 3 by 5 points 96-91. James was 14-34 from the field last night including 2-6 from behind the 3-point line. He did make 10 of the 12 free throws he shot while scoring his 40 points. Matthew Dellavedova has really stepped up for the Cavaliers in Kyrie Irving’s absence and last night he scored 20 points in Cleveland’s victory. J.R. Smith and Tristan Thompson were the other 2 Cavaliers to score in double figures as they both had 10 points. Thompson also led Cleveland in rebounding with 13 boards while James grabbed 12 rebounds and also led Cleveland in assists with 8. Stephen Curry had a much better shooting night in Game 3 than he did in Game 2. Curry went 10 for 20 from the field and hit 7 of the 13 3-pointers he attempted for a team leading 27 points. Andre Iguodala (15), Klay Thompson (14) and David Lee (11) were the other Warriors who scored in double figures. Curry led the Warriors in assists with 6 while Festus Ezeli and Draymond Green led Golden State in rebounds with 7 boards apiece. Before yesterday’s game the NBA came out and said the officiating crew missed 3 calls down the stretch in Game 2 and you have to wonder if that had any affect on the Game 3 free throw shooting numbers. Cleveland had twice as many free throws as Golden State did in Game 3. The Cavaliers took advantage of the free throw situation going 17-24 (70.8%) while Golden State was 7-12 (58.3%) from the free throw line. The series stays in Cleveland for Game 4 on Thursday night and we’ll have to see if Golden State can even things up before heading home.

I came across some odd pre-game comments and these were earlier in the day not right before the game. If you’ve watched ESPN on the day of an NBA Finals game you’ve realized that it’s really just one big pre-game show. One of the commentators was explaining how the Cavaliers have already won this series and I just couldn’t understand what he was taking about and never really explained his position at all. What made this even more entertaining for me is at the start of the NBA Finals this same commentator picked Golden State to win the series in 6 games. I’m sure if you asked him about that he’d deny that comment or say you were lying. I guess we’re not suppose to remember who these guys pick to win what; so they can go and change things to fit whatever they have going on. I’m not going back on what I picked and I am already wrong. In case you don’t remember I had the Cavaliers in the finals, but I had them losing to the San Antonio Spurs. Oops!

It’s Game 4 of the Stanley Cup finals tonight in Chicago. The Tampa Bay Lighting have a 2 games to 1 lead over the Chicago Blackhawks. Game 3 was not a good game for either goaltender as both Ben Bishop and Corey Crawford allowed goals that they could’ve and should’ve stopped. It worked out for Tampa Bay as Crawford allowed 1 more bad goal than Bishop did and Tampa Bay grabbed a 3-2 win in Game 3. You have to wonder if Blackhawks fans are concerned with the way this series has went so far, but the Blackhawks did win the Stanley Cup a couple of seasons ago after being down by the same 2-1 margin in games. If the Blackhawks are going to repeat that performance they’ll need much better play out of Crawford in goal. What you’ll need to look for in tonight’s game is how the Blackhawks defenseman are playing. There have been a couple of experts who’ve mentioned that they Blackhawks might still be feeling the affects from their Western conference finals series against the Anaheim Ducks. While it does seem that Duncan Keith is on the ice for the entire game I don;t think it’s affected his play. I was interested to know why they think it’s just the Blackhawks that would be tired. Tampa Bay’s Eastern conference finals series against the New York Rangers also went 7 games; so wouldn’t they be feeling the affect of that series. 

On the Sunday morning podcast Mr. Fantasy and I have been picking a fantasy player and pitcher of the week. I believe I’m a couple of weeks behind; so if you haven’t been listening here’s who we picked.

Week 8 Nolan Arrenado (Colorado) and Chad Bettis (Colorado)

Week 9 Freddie Freeman (Atlanta) and Lance McCullers (Houston)

You can follow me on Twitter @Burketime and listen to the Sports Time Radio podcast at http://www.BlogTalkRadio.com