Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Kris Humphries: Priceless

In honor of Kris Humphries' amazing off season and new contract we made this...

The Heart Exam - Pre-draft Analysis

I've done the following things at least once every year for the past 10 years: blood check, dental clean, and play fantasy basketball. Look, let's not kid ourselves. Fantasy football is fun, and fantasy baseball is a classic, but nothing beats fantasy basketball. With that said, I'm going to do my best to keep this column going for the whole fantasy basketball season. I'm not sure what kind of wisdom I can impart on you but I hope that at least you'll find it entertaining, if not helpful. Since this is draft week for almost everyone, I'm going to cover some of the players that I absolutely love coming into this lockout season.

My only rule coming into this year's draft: Draft young. This is a shortened season so guys that perennially miss 15-20 games a year become studs because of the 66 game season. Bear in mind that these recommendations are for 12-team H2H leagues. Let's take a look at that list today:

1. Kevin Martin - Every year, I try to avoid this guy like a plague because he just can't seem to keep himself on the court. However, this year, he might be unnoticed in your drafts, and he's a steal if you can get him late in the 3rd or later rounds.

2. Gerald Wallace - Remember when this guy was just a leaper on the Kings? It's probably why he kept getting injured early on in his career. And every year since, this guy has gone through injury after injury. The amazing thing is that he keeps producing in fantasy. Big man with good percentages, 17-6, shoots the 3 and a steals artist? Yes please. With Oden gone and Camby another year older, expect his rebounds to go up a notch.

3. Andrew Bynum - I'm targeting this guy in all of my drafts. If this guy is going to breakout, this is the season to do it. Barring a trade to another team, the Lakers need Bynum to produce in bunches to stay competitive. With Odom out, Bynum will be forced to play more than his 27mpg last year. We know about his knee problems but if this guy can give me 50-60 games like he's been doing, I'm a happy man. My modest projections for him are 16-12, 2+ blocks.

4. Andrew Bogut - I see Bogut as a bit higher risk than Bynum. At 27, he's going into his 7th season in the league. Unlike Bynum, Bogut's been playing the big minutes his whole career (32.8mpg career). The production is there even though he only averages about 60 games a season. The risk is that Bogut will now have to play more back-to-back games and have much shorter rest in between games. Could this speed up his injuries?

5. Devin Harris - This guy has been on my don't draft list for the past decade. Yet this year, I think he's worth picking up as a middle of the draft sleeper. Devin averages 60 games player per season for his career which is amazing when we only have 66 games this year. Since coming to Utah, he's no longer the #1 or even #2 option on his team anymore. Though Jerry Sloan is gone, Jerry Sloan's assistant is taking over so expect to see much of the same things. With Millsap, Jefferson, and Favors coming into their primes, Harris will no longer need to put his body on the line to make plays. In fact, expect to see Devin shoot more 3s. (3pta before Utah: 2.0, 3pta after Utah: 4.1)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Knicks Are Back

It has been well over a decade since I have been excited for my beloved NY Knicks. Instead, for the last 10 years, I tried to convince myself that Eddy Curry would finally get and stay in shape, Jamal Crawford could put it together and be more than just a streaky scorer, and somehow Isaiah actually knew something everyone else didn’t when he drafted picks like Balkman and passed up on Rondo. It has been years of players entering the draft to use the Knicks' interest to pump up their draft stock, from Stephen Curry, OJ Mayo, and even Jimmer Ferdette. Instead, the Knicks ended up with Jordan Hill, one of the biggest busts that year, and passed up on nice guards like Eric Gordon and Brandon Jennings. Let’s not forget drafting Michael Sweetney, Channing Frye, and Nene Hilario all in the top ten picks of their respective drafts. Nene turned out to be a solid player, then the Knicks traded him away on draft night with Camby for one-legged Antonio McDyess. Isaiah Thomas continued to bring in bad character guys with overpaid contracts, creating a team that was never bad enough to rebuild in the draft but never good enough to make the playoffs.

With all that said, Knick fans everywhere have survived only by the miracles created by the greatest Knick GM, Donnie Walsh (not much competition for that title). Fans in NY haven't had players to cheer for since the 90's when we had Ewing, Houston, Spreewell, Camby, Larry Johnson, Charles Oakley, and overachieving John Starks. And no, I wouldn’t count the fattest front court of Zach Randolph and Eddy Curry something worthy of fan praise. But now, we finally have the additions of Amare and Melo, who each have more All Star appearances alone than the Knicks did as an organization in the last decade.

Many critics think the Knicks overpaid for their entire front court, and I won’t disagree with them fully. But when you have been so bad for so long, sometimes it’s better to take a risk on proven stars. Plus, for the first time, stars want to come to NY, even if it means taking less money. With a couple of decent draft picks in Iman Shumpert and Josh Harrelson who have shown enough promise to earn some playing time, and glue guys like Fields, Toney Douglas, and Jared Jeffries (can’t believe I’m saying this… see link), and now with the most recent signing of Tyson Chandler, Baron Davis, and Mike Bibby (not really sure about this one), the Knicks look primed to be at least a contender for the NBA Championship.

I am dreaming of the Knicks finally returning to relevancy and creating new rivalries with teams like the Bulls and Heat for the next 4 seasons. I hope to see game 7's like we had in the 90's. The Knicks are finally playing for now and have a team built to win. It hasn't been like this since the Jeff Van Gundy days.

Maybe as a Knick fan, I have my head up in the clouds, but after seeing what I have witnessed the last 12 years, I believe that we are allowed to have this moment. I can picture it now, Baron Davis dropping 3's and dimes left and right, Tyson Chandler swatting shots and dunking alley-oops, and Amare and Melo averaging a combined 60 points every night. As a NY sports fan I know too well, things that look great on paper mean nothing, but until I’m proven wrong, as Amare says, “The Knicks are back!”

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Brett Favre: The deadbeat dad who left after the divorce but I can’t help but still love

As a lifetime Packers fan who never pulled for another quarterback besides Favre until Aaron Rodgers, the past 4 years has been quite painful. It started with leaving for a division rival, which made diehard Packer fans who were loyal to Favre do the unthinkable, going as far as wearing a Favre jersey split into half Green bay Packers and the other half Minnesota Vikings. After that, Favre continued to be a topic of conversation in the press for what seemed to be all the wrong reasons.

I can’t say what came first, my love for the Packers or for Brett Favre. People are quick to judge Favre for his decision making and gun slinging mentality. But honestly, there was never a point where I felt that we lost because of him. It was almost fitting that his last throw as a Packer ended up in the arms of the opposing team. I loved that Favre was a high risk high reward type of player. With him at the helm you never felt out of the game, and I am sure the opposing fans felt the same way. He took the chances fans want to see their QBs take instead of getting sacked for a loss or playing it safe by throwing it away. Many times Brett hit players in double coverage or in windows that didn’t seem to be there. Of course other times he just threw interceptions. Brett played a numbers game and for the most part, he came out on top and won every major award and game in the sport.

It is easy for everyone to criticize Favre for his fickle nature when it comes to retirement. Even the media is tired of speculating if Favre will try another ridiculous comeback. Let's be honest, walking away when you know you still can perform at a high level is hard to do. Even when we can’t perform at a high level, we still try, like playing pickup basketball at the University gym or flag football with a bunch of high school kids over Thanksgiving break. We might even feel great during the game, but the next morning, you realize, “Dang, I feel like I just got hit by a truck” and it starts to make sense why people pick up golf in their late 20s.

We criticize Favre for how he handled Rodgers when he came into the league, but to be fair, how would you treat someone who you knew was hired to replace you? Favre was threatened because he knew the Packers were very invested when they drafted a talented QB in the first round. Favre was unable to retain control, and it was either retire after 2007 or face the embarrassment of being benched by an unproven player the year after taking his team to the NFC Championship. Favre may never stop being bitter about Rodgers and trying to downplay his success.

Love him or hate him, no one can deny that Favre was one of the most iconic figures in NFL history. Watching Peyton unable to play this season reminds us how amazing Favre's consecutive start streak really is. In a few years, I hope that the only memories of Favre is of him as a Packer, not photo texting as a Jet or banged and bruised up as a Viking.

I hope Favre will slowly recreate his public image and more stories like him mentoring Colt McCoy over the summer become the only reasons why he shows up in the media. Favre owes it to his fans to have the world remember him for his long and successful career and not the rocky ending. 

After the divorce between the Packers and Brett Favre, I picked the Packers. But I have to be clear that Aaron Rodgers will never fully fill the void Brett Favre left behind. I will continue to wait for Favre to return to where he belongs, and that is walking beside Bart Starr in Green Bay.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Top 10 Reasons Houston Rockets Signed Jeremy Lin

1.       They needed to keep up with Minnesota in the race for the most PGs on a NBA roster
2.       If you can’t have Yao Ming at least you can have his mini me
3.       Dallas Mavericks wanted to sign him last year
4.       Without Yao all the Chinese people that fill the nosebleed seats need a reason to show up
5.       Outspoken Christian seems to be working for the Denver Broncos so why not
6.       He went to Harvard
7.       They thought they were going to trade Goran Dragic
8.       Gasol + Jeremy Lin was supposed to be the perfect Yao replacement
9.       Makes videos with Houston native KevJumba
10.   If he doesn't work out as a backup backup backup PG, he can always move to the front office with Daryl Morey. Supposedly, he's good at math.

Thursday, December 1, 2011


I’ve been putting off the idea of writing about Tebow quite a while. As the rest of the world seems to have clearly chosen sides on the most polarizing current player in sports, I find myself flipping back and forth. As one who views himself as a serious Christian, you would think that I would be on this bandwagon from the start, but as a University of Texas student during the Colt McCoy era, I could only view Tebow as annoying and prima-donna like. Colt too was open about his faith. Like Tebow, he went on mission trips in the summer. Colt also won many games on the field. But the media loved Tebow. Maybe it was the fact that he won National Championships and played for a team that was filled with talent at every position. Or it could be the fact that he wore his emotions on his sleeve and gave memorable speeches with big declarations of never giving up and winning every game mixed with crying and screaming in one emotional package.

I became sick of stories about Tebow, sick of him talking about how people passed him up at every stage growing up, sick of him calling out his haters publicly in poorly made energy drink commercials. Lastly, I was sick of how much love he got from people who knew nothing about his sport and how ugly he made the beautiful game of American football look.

America has a hard time accepting perfection, and even though Tebow’s game is far from it, his ability to stand firm in his belief through his word and actions have rubbed people the wrong way. There is a reason why Americans consistently vote to have Batman beat Superman in a cartoon episode over the years. Batman is dark and flawed, something we relate to, while Superman is too good to be true and kryptonite is just a lame made up weakness to make the storyline somewhat interesting. Half of the public including myself is just waiting for Tebow to do something stupid so we can point our fingers at him and say he is no different than Britney Spears or Jessica Simpson.

But as more and more people enter the conversation, one can only be in awe of a young man taking so much abuse and scrutiny. He is criticized when he wins, embarrassed when he loses, and rebuked by both people who love and hate him. Jake Plummer came out and blasted him. In a different way, Kurt Warner did the same. Not only are non-Christians sick of his “To God be the Glory” attitude, devoted Christians are too.

I hate Tebow when I’m with people clearly drunk on Tebow Kool-Aid, but love him when I watch people trash him on ESPN. Tebow represents many traits I dislike in people. He is a teacher's pet, overly confident, and annoyingly always positive. But I can’t help myself from loving what he is doing. Tebow wins in ways only divine intervention can logically explain. His teammates go to war for him on both offense and defense. And he stands up for something he believes in, something that just doesn’t happen in our society. Everyone is so politically correct these days. I am sorry, but the break at the end of the year is for Christmas, but in the corporate world the term is year-end party because we are afraid of connecting anything to religion. It is okay to have freedom of speech in promoting our dislike for our government and the rich, or the need for gay rights, but once a person mentions what God is doing in their life, all hell breaks loose.

Tebow is having a bigger impact that anyone could imagine. How many times have you heard someone go to church because of an athlete or talk about converting if he ever wins the Super Bowl? Because of Tebow, Christianity is relevant again in the public media and helping people feel unafraid to talk about a subject that has been buried for decades.

To be honest, maybe my dislike of Tebow stems from knowing that I wouldn’t be as strong or outspoken if given the same opportunity. Clearly I don’t go around my office proclaiming my faith or praising God for all the blessings I have received. I doubt any of my co-workers even know I am Christian unless they take a detailed look at my Facebook account. American Christians have become so comfortable in how we act, we make excuses like, religion is a personal choice, and no one should be pressured into it. Let’s face it, we are quite pathetic as a group of Christians. We are so afraid of offending people or getting funny looks that we deny who we are. If we really are Christians, we would understand the urgency to speak out. Tebow gets that, and unfortunately, even Kurt Warner does not. Jesus came to make people feel uncomfortable and make us realize something has to change. I hate that about Tebow. I hate how he makes me feel uncomfortable and I am almost embarrassed by how he proclaims the faith I believe in. But that has to do with me, my fears, and my selfishness to be loved and accepted by all.

It’s time that we all realize our hate for Tebow comes from the fact that he makes us feel like we didn’t try hard enough, whether it's on the field playing football or as a Christian sharing the good news of Jesus Christ. So to Tim Tebow, keep doing what you’re doing and maybe more and more people will understand what Tebowing is really all about.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Quest for Perfection

As we witnessed the Green Bay Packers' dominating performance against their rival Minnesota Vikings last night, talks of a perfect season began to heat up. The Packers are now 9-0 and would still need 10 victories to complete something that has never been done before, a perfect 19-0 season. As much as the old Dolphins want to downplay the additional games, 17-0 is not 19-0. Every game comes with added risk. Success has always been counted by championships and the Patriots of 2007 might never get the respect they deserve for being the first team to go 18-0. The Patriots also own the longest win streak of 21 games which spanned from 2003 into the 2004 season. That is more than a season’s worth of wins and included a Super Bowl championship.

Every time a team starts the season with a dominant streak, like the Colts and Saints in 2009, people are quick to say it is better to lose in the regular season so the pressure is off. I am sorry, but as a fan, I think comments like that are pathetic. The Patriots had nothing else to prove and their legacy will be remembered forever. 19-0 or bust, their season was one to be respected and they were probably the most complete team in NFL history. They lost to a team that had to complete three upset wins, all of which could have been easily lost. Patrick Crayton doesn’t let the ball go straight through his hands; Brett Favre doesn’t throw a ball to a receiver he couldn’t really see, and the Patriots pull down Eli instead of letting him spin away from what seemed like a sure sack. But this is the NFL, and any given Sunday, even a 9-7 team can beat a 16-0 team.

Eli will be remembered forever, not because he won a Super Bowl, but because he ruined the closest thing the NFL had to a 19-0 season. Eli is one of 29 quarterbacks who have won a championship. On average, I am sure people can only name 10 to 15 starting quarterbacks with rings. The 2007 Giants are a below average Super Bowl winning team at best, but thanks to what the Patriots accomplished, they became

So back to the Packers, who are now 6 games away from tying the Patriots win streak and 9 wins from tying the most wins in a single season. This team isn’t afraid of talking about going for perfection and refuses to be the pitcher left on the bench in the middle of the 8th inning of a perfect game. They have embraced it; they accept the possibility of the ultimate letdown. Last night, ESPN mentioned that 19 of the 25 offensive players were drafted by the Packers themselves. This team, like the Patriots, was built with patience and with only one major free agent signing, Charles Woodson. There are many tough games ahead including the Bucs, Giants, Bears who have been hot of late, and two against the up and coming Lions. And the Ravens can tell you after losing to Seattle that you can’t take it easy any week, so let’s not overlook the Raiders and Chiefs either.

The Packers are now buzzed about as having one of the most dominating short stretches in history but now is not the time to settle. The quest for perfection isn’t easy. It would be an amazing accomplishment for the 2011 Packers to be the third team in history to complete a perfect regular season and have the opportunity to be the first team to go 19-0.

Always looking for an excuse to post the video below, and since this celebration has been retired after the Pack have gone and claimed their belt. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

It's Time to Refocus, Penn State

One thing I love about my wife is that she puts up with my love for sports. She knows that it's a fundamental aspect of who I am. I grew up playing soccer, baseball, and basketball. I learned to swim and play football at a young age. I have picked up golf after college. I don't think it's too far-fetched to say that many people who know me associate me with sports.

Sometimes I remember what day it is not by looking at a calendar, but by thinking about what sports are on TV that day. It's not so much Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Under normal circumstances, barring an NBA lockout, it's NFL Sunday, Monday Night Football, dead sports day, NBA on ESPN, NBA on TNT, NBA on ESPN, college football, repeat. Like I said, one thing I love about my wife is that she puts up with all of this.

The other day, she asked me why guys love sports. I told her, in simple terms, that it was drama. Anything can happen on that field, and at any given moment, you could witness something that you'll never forget for the rest of your life. But it's more than that. There's a magic to sports that nothing else in the secular world can conjure. After Hurricane Katrina, even though I'm sure we were all weary of hearing every talking head mention it, the city of New Orleans rallied behind their Saints. You could just sense that they needed that Super Bowl victory, that atmosphere, to feel like everything was gonna be alright. That things could be normal again. Sports bring people together like few other things can.

But there still has to be a line. A point where people step back and realize that some things are greater than their beloved teams. A chance to do the right thing.

Only a few people know the full truth about the Penn State scandal, and I'm not pretending to be one of them. All I've done is sit back horrified as I read the Grand Jury report on Jerry Sandusky and his helpless victims. I can't imagine how someone could live with himself after abusing his position of authority to commit such heinous crimes.

But this isn't about Sandusky.

I am still bewildered by how Penn State could have let all of this slide. I hope it wasn't all about sweeping everything under the rug for the success of the college football program, but unfortunately, that wouldn't surprise any of us. Time will tell who is liable and should be held responsible for not contacting the police.

But this isn't about Penn State.

Joe Paterno has been an icon, maybe "the" icon, of college football for decades. The controversy is about whether or not Jo Pa did enough when he learned about Sandusky's actions. He alerted university officials, but he failed to notify the police. I, for one, think Jo Pa should have resigned immediately instead of talking about retiring after the season. The university responded by calling him yesterday and firing him over the phone. I don't have any allegiances to Paterno, but after everything he's done for college football and the university, it was a terrible way to have to exit. People responded to Jo Pa's disposal by rioting. Hundreds showed up outside his house with love-ridden chants and messages to show their outrage at how he was treated.

But this isn't about Joe Paterno.

This is about those nine victims and counting. This is about kids who placed their trust in an organization, The Second Mile, whose motto was "providing children with help and hope" but ended up providing children with abuse and trauma. This is about the sexually abused children who finally have a voice after being silent for so long.

What kind of backwards society do we live in when a tragedy like this happens and people are rioting, not for the victims, but for their football coach? God, help us.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Confessions of a new baseball fan...maybe

I'm not a baseball fan and probably never will be. But after last night's thriller, I just might be willing to give baseball an extra inning. There are many reasons why I never got hooked to "America's past time." The game is slow and methodical, and the MLB season is almost as long as the NHL, NFL, and NBA seasons combined ( 162 v. 180 games ). But my biggest reason is that the game is just not very fun to watch. I grew up in Houston and because my family couldn't afford cable TV, there were only a few channels to watch. And in summer afternoons, the choices were soaps, PBS teaching me how to paint/cook, Springer, or Astros baseball games. Astros would always be my last choice. Why? Because the game just wasn't very accessible to a Chinese 10 year old. ERA, RBI, BB, Slug%, WHIP, HUH? It was stuff that the dictionary wouldn't even tell me its meaning (no internet back then). There was just no excitement in watching baseball and if there's no excitement watching, there was probably no excitement playing.

Fast forward to last night. After getting mocked by a friend recently for never watching a full baseball game in my life, I set out yesterday to give baseball one more at bat and cross something off my bucket list. Needless to say, I got to witness one of the greatest sports game of all-time. And as I sat there with my heart pounding til the last out (or rather HR), I started to notice the little things that made this particular game great. Take away all the drama on the field, the players, fans, etc, and you see that FOX's sports broadcast production is amazing. The announcers rarely speak and when they do, it's one-liners: Strike three! Single to the right! Foul ball! The camera work and timing is impeccable. Whenever there's downtime, the camera cuts to managers' eyes, pitchers' fearless faces, batters' determined stances, and fans holding their breath. It's like watching a western showdown, and at any second, shots will be fired. Only thing missing is a tumbleweed between the mound and home plate. And last night, shots were fired, and sports fans got to witness something truly great. Thanks baseball.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Giving Respect Where It's Due

The Fall Classic is finally upon us! After another long 162-game season and the winding down of great playoff games, Game 1 of the World Series kicks off tonight (8:05 Est on FOX) with the St. Louis Cardinals hosting the Texas Rangers in a best-of-7 series. Both teams have performed beyond expectations this year, but haven't been getting the glory and respect that's due to them. So in light of that, I'm going to give respect where it's due.

Texas Rangers

As a Dallas native, you better believe that I'm stoked to see my hometown team in the championship. Since their improbable World Series run last year, many people doubted the Texas Rangers would win back-to-back AL pennants. Cliff Lee, the Rangers' "ace" last year bolted from Arlington to his beloved Philadelphia Phillies because he knew that the Rangers' pitching staff wasn't going to bring him back to the WS every year. Lance Berkman, NL's Comeback Player of the Year, called the Rangers an "average" team without Cliff Lee so he decided to sign with the St. Louis Cardinals even though the Rangers pursued him in the offseason. (He later admitted he was wrong about those comments. Good for him). Many media reporters and analysts tabbed the Rangers to win the West, but not much after that. Just like any other year in baseball, the talk of the town for the majority of the year in the American League belonged to the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox. Shoot, even after the Red Sox's end-of-the-year collapse, team chemistry/character allegations, and management debacle, the Boston Red Sox are STILL getting more media coverage on a daily basis than the Texas Rangers. I'm honestly tired of reading about players drinking in the dugout or eating fried chicken.

But enough of that. The Texas Rangers set a franchise record in wins this year (96) and more importantly, in season attendance (~3 million). In a town that is highly dominated by the Dallas Cowboys and Dallas Mavericks, the Texas Rangers are finally asserting themselves as perennial contenders for years to come to the DFW faithfuls. Ranger fans have only the top executives and management to thank for their recent success. GM Jon Daniels has done a wonderful job laying the foundation for talent and piecing together a great ball club with a promising future. He was the one who took a chance on Josh Hamilton and Alexi Ogando, orchestrated trades for young developing players like Nelson Cruz, Elvis Andrus, Neftali Feliz and somehow managed to keep Michael Young this offseason. Not to mention the handful of acquisitions this year to bolster the bullpen (Adams, Gonzalez, Uehara) and bring in more power (Beltre and Napoli). Throw in revitalizing attitudes and personalities like owner, Nolan Ryan, and manager, Ron Washington, the organization is in very good hands. They have made baseball relevant in the metroplex and for that, I give my respect where it is due.

St. Louis Cardinals

Now let's be honest. I don't follow the St. Louis Cardinals. Like any other sports fan, I can list their big name players and tip my cap to their winning ways over the past decade, but that's about it. In the offseason, I'll go out on a limb and say that no one (besides maybe the St. Louis faithfuls) had the Cardinals winning the National League pennant. The media barely tabbed them to make the playoffs. To make matters worse, Albert Pujols (the face of their franchise and pretty much the city) was in the midst of a contract dispute. Couple that with losing their All-Star pitcher Adam Wainwright to Tommy John surgery and yeah...being left out of the playoffs seemed reasonable. Fast forward to the end of season. The Cardinals make one of the most unpredictable playoff runs (with the help of one of the most unpredictable collapses). One word came to mind on the final day of the season. Resilient. Man, these guys were resilient in finishing the season strong given all offseason adversity. They never stopped believing and never stopped playing. Any fan can respect that. However, I think my thoughts stopped there. The Cardinals were up against the favored Philadelphia Phillies, predicted by many to win the pennant. I think everyone and their moms thought the Phillies would waltz their way into the NLCS. Well...let's bring back the word. Resilient. With confidence in the bullpen and timely hitting, the Cardinals fought off the beloved Phillies in five games with the clincher against arguably the best pitcher in the game in his own stadium. Pretty sweet, huh? The NLCS was no different. Cardinals were the underdogs once again and took it to the Milwaukee Brewers outscoring them 19-7 in the final two games. I'd say that's pretty resilient. I would definitely give mad respect to their manager, Tony La Russa, who kept this ball club together throughout the year. One of great managers of his time, his passion for the game seems limitless. He has great feel for the game and has utilized his talents throughout the playoffs (namely his bullpen).

But with every championship run, there is always an unsung hero. This team is no different. David Freese has got to be one of the great stories in this year's playoffs. After battling a hand injury in his first full year at 3B, Freese has gone from a nobody to a household name for anyone remotely following this postseason. Not to mention that he's the Cardinal's second lowest paid player ($416,000). He has gone on to win the NLCS MVP where he hit .545 with 3 HRs 9 RBIs in 6 games. Last person to do that? Lou Gehrig (thank you SportsCenter). That's pretty good company. And against a Rangers team stacked with left-handed throwers, he's sure to add to his stats since he hits .060 better against lefties on the season. However, it might take him a few at-bats since he hasn't seen any of the Rangers pitchers except Mike Adams where he is 0-2 with 2 strikeouts. But I'll be rooting for you, David Freese. I just hope you don't drive in any winning runs.

Prediction: The only prediction a sports fan wants to see...a good series. Forget the Yankees, Red Sox, and Phillies. I hope this series brings out the greatness of "America's Pastime" from two great mid-market teams. Oh..and I'm hoping for the Rangers in 5 (winning on home turf would be sweet).

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Carson Palmer trades one asylum for another...

Wow, if you are a Bengals fan (that's a big if), you cannot help but smile about this move. I know some Bengal fans and they really hate their owner Mike Brown, but you have to give him and their GM some props for performing this type of alchemy. One first round pick is honestly more than enough for a 31 year old quarterback who's semi-retired and only a shadow of his former self, but also getting a second conditional first round pick!? Ripping off the Raiders should be outlawed. This isn't the first time a team has taken advantage of the black and silver. It really does seem like Al Davis is still running this team from the grave.

If anyone else is looking for 31 year quarterbacks who were former number one picks, the Giants have David Carr. Just saying...

Monday, October 17, 2011

Best/Worst Weekend Oct. 14-17

Dallas takes the top spot despite the Cowboys losing a close one in Foxborough, but to be fair, no one wins a regular season game there against the Patriots for at least the last 3 or so years. The Texas Rangers have made it back to the “ship” for the second year in a row after never being there before. This is no small accomplishment, especially coming from the league with the two highest payrolls and after losing Cliff Lee to free agency. Also, let's not forget that the Dallas Stars had a nice W this weekend.
St. Louis comes in at number 2 despite getting a butt-whipping by the Green Bay Packers, where they only scored 3 points the entire game. But when your team makes the World Series, a city seems to forget how their football team or hockey team (lost as well) is performing. This might be Albert Pujol’s last year in St. Louis, but I think Card fans will be ok if he delivers one more ring.
Tampa Bay had the only real upset over the weekend, unless you count the Bills and Lions as dominant teams in the league, which they clearly aren’t after this past week. The Bucs have proven they belong and have just made a statement that they will be competing with New Orleans and Atlanta for this division.
Detroit had by far the worst weekend as they were eliminated by Texas in humiliating fashion. They gave up a 9-run inning which basically killed their chance of keep the series alive after the 3rd inning. Not only did the Lions get beat at home and for the first time this season, their coach got in a bumping match with the winning coach after he got rubbed the wrong way.
Minnesota continues to start McNabb and continues to lose… even with the best running back in the league and one of the most explosive slot receivers in the league, the Viqueens are unable to score. Just imagine if Tom Brady had these weapons…
Washington DC finishes our top three for worst weekend. Even another win by the Caps can’t make up the smell of having Sexy Rexy (his looks are only sexy compared to how ugly his game is) as your quarterback. Rex had 4 INTs and has finally reminded the Redskins that this is indeed the same awful QB that somehow ended up in the Super Bowl against the Colts. “They are who we thought they were,” yet somehow Rex got to start 5 games this year… I know, it confuses me as well.
Our Weekend
Caleb- It was basically a draw. Packers won 6-0! and I should win both fantasy football matchups, while the Longhorns suffered another loss and Liverpool tied Manchester United. On most days, I would be very happy with a tie, but watching how the game went I was sorely disappointed that Liverpool wasn’t able to walk away with 3 points.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Fantasy Friday

Due to a recent resurgence in this blog, it's a shame to see none of the posts dedicated to the greatest fantasy sports of all-time: NFL football. A year ago, I would of said the NBA but seeing as how we'll most likely have a renegade players league for the years to come -- let's just say basketball is done (for now).

Since the fantasy football season is almost at its midway point, this section of the blog will be dedicated to the sick pick-ups/starts this week based on my limited knowledge of the sport.

Must pickups:
Tim Tebow - Last year, he recorded 6 rushing TDs on 7 games played. Out of the 7 games, he only started 3 of them. In his 3 starts, he averaged 20+ fantasy points per game (fppg). Last week, he beat Tom Brady in fantasy points while only playing half the game.

Earnest Graham - Blount is out for a couple of weeks and in a PPR league, Graham's been a good flex in a timeshare. Without Blount, you can get a couple of 20+ fantasy days from him against a bad against the run NO defense and a CHI defense that let Jahvid Best run for a career high/only 100+ yard rushing game of his career.

Darrius Heyward-Bey - When teams put their best corner on Oakland's rookie receiver, Denarius Moore, it gives you an idea of how bad DHB is. Look, I know he's already tied his career season high of 1 TD catch already. And if you're playing the law of averages, this guy is bound for about 2 fppg the rest of the year to match last year's. Regardless, this guy's got some chemistry with Campbell. (Don't worry Painter, you and Garcon's bromance is still #1.)

Jackie Battle - Why does love always feel like a battlefield, battlefield, battlefield.... Who doesn't love this guy? U of H in the house! This guy is a stud. Big, up-the-gut runner, winner of 2011 Peyton Hillis award? If you're not a believer, just watch the clip below. Even his QB loves him.

Bold prediction of the week: Garcon goes for <1 point this week.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

If Eli is so terrible, who would you rather have?

While I was watching this past weekend's Seahawks-Giants game at my friend's apartment, one of the guys there said "Eli is a below-average quarterback". At the time, the Giants were getting pistol-whipped by Charlie Whitehurst and Doug Baldwin, so I didn't say anything, but it got me thinking. If Eli is below-average, which current starting quarterback in the league would I rather have? When the Giants were down 4 late in the 4th quarter, there was no question in my mind that Eli could win the game on a last minute drive (granted, we were playing the Seahawks). We got all the way down to the Seahawks' 6 yard line and it was a fluke slip and interception off the hand of Cruz that ended it. It was an unfortunate play in a game that was riddled with errors from both teams. However, I knew that if we got the ball back and were only down one score, Eli could lead a final drive. I understand that Eli is paid like an elite quarterback and expectations are high, but I think he's more than an average quarterback. He's performed very well in the playoffs and when the game is on the line. If I had to list out current 2011 starting quarterbacks and where I would rank them in comparison to Manning, it would go like this:

1) Tom Brady - Still the gold standard.
2) Aaron Rodgers - Will probably overtake Brady, but still pretty early in his career.
3) Drew Brees - An excellent QB and leader on and off the field.
4) Ben Roethlisberger - Only other person on this list to win multiple SBs, probably a terrible human being, but knows how to win games.
5) Eli - I'm saying I would take Eli over anyone else below.
6) Philip Rivers - If you ask me if I would rather have Rivers, Merriman, and Kaeding (essentially what the Giants gave up to get Eli) or Eli, I would take Manning. Rivers has not taken the Chargers anywhere, even with the number of star players he's had on his team throughout his career. I know he's good statistically, but has he ever won a big game??
7) Michael Vick - Was amazing before going to prison, had a great 1st half last year, but has yet do prove himself in the playoffs.
8) Tony Romo - He's great when the games don't matter. However, it's becoming a pattern for him to find ways to lose games that go beyond coincidence.
9 - 11) Stafford, Newton, Freeman - Could these guys be really good some day? Maybe, but they haven't done enough to say that they more than just one year wonders.
12) Matt Schaub - Decent fantasy quarterback, but I do not feel comfortable with him in a big game situation.
13) Ryan Fitzpatrick - Showing great ability this year and excellent decision making, would love to see the Harvard man play a complete season.
14 - 18) Matt Ryan, Jay Cutler, Joe Flacco, Mark Sanchez, Kevin Kolb - These guys have shown flashes, but there's also been plenty of regression this year. Everyone outside of Kolb plays on a good team with an excellent defense (You can argue the Bears aren't an excellent defense anymore, but whatever). I think someone like Flacco or Sanchez epitomizes "average quarterback"
19 - 24) Rex Grossman, Jason Campbell, Matt Cassel, Alex Smith, Tavaris Jackson, Matt Moore (Chad Henne, same thing) - I think we've seen enough from these guys to know that they aren't going to be stars in the NFL. If Eli was below average, you put him with this group of quarterbacks. I think that's a little harsh.
25 - 26) Donovan McNabb, Matt Hasselbeck - Placeholders on their respective teams, were very capable quarterbacks at one point of their careers.
27 - 32) Sam Bradford, Colt McCoy, Andy Dalton, Blaine Gabbert, Tim Tebow, Curtis Painter - It's probably too early to tell if any of these guys could be amazing, so will withhold judgment for now.

If Eli were "below average", would I really want Schaub or Culter over him? I don't think any Giants fan would. Okay, maybe you could want one of the young guns like Stafford or Newton or even Vick, but you don't have evidence to say they will continue to improve, stay healthy, and play well in the playoffs. No question Vick is a more talented athlete than Manning, but what has he done? Why do I want a guy who plays well in the regular season, but doesn't show up for the playoffs?

I can agree that Eli is not an "elite" quarterback, but there are 3, maybe 4 in the entire NFL. Not even team gets one. I just can't agree that you would rather take some of the guys who are currently starting in the NFL over Eli. Eli has played very well in a tough market, with plenty of criticism, and has risen above it. I just wish people would recognize that.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Best/Worst Weekend Oct. 7-9

Best Weekend

Dallas had a great weekend with two solid wins in baseball if you include last night in an emotional extra inning game. The Texas Rangers are looking more confident in every game since losing game one of the openning series verse the Rays. On top of the success on the diamond Dallas Cowboy fans enjoyed their bye watching both the Giants and Eagles self destruct. Can't argue with this one Dallas had the best sport weekend.
Boston comes in at a close second with a solid win over their rival NY Jets. Jets now have fallen below .500 and should be pretty quiet for some time. Also Boston got to enjoy an entire weekend without the Yankees who didn't make it out of the first round of the playoffs.

Oklahoma is only third becuase their fan base is divided between Oklahoma and Oklahoma State which both had huge wins to remain undefeated. Any time the Sooners get a win verse the Longhorns means its a great weekend.

Worst Weekend

Longhorn Nation (Texas)/Houston both lost but is very different ways. Texans clearly had an oppurtunity to win yet in Texans' fashion they choked at the end of the game. On the other hand the Longhorns were striaght up embarrassed.... it was painful to watch and as a Texas alumni I just wanted the game to be over by halftime. Clearly the young Horns have much to learn and hopefully they build on this lost instead of mentally falling apart.

Philidelphia sports success seems to have ended right after it had started. Just a few months ago we were talking about Dream Team and the best pitching staff ever in MLB playoff history. Now the Philles are done after losing a thrilling game 5 where we saw one of the greatest pitching duels, and the Eagles are 1-4.

New York Giants and Jets lose and the Yankees are playing golf, nothing else to say here.

Mixed Weekend

Detriot/Wisconsin both of this fan bases have 5-0 NFL teams yet both seem to be losing momentum in the MLB playoffs.

Our Weekend

Caleb- Awful... even a solid win by the Packers couldn't make up for the butt kicking my Longhorns suffered, and on top of that lost both of my fantasy football match ups...

Phil- Mixed - Yankees and Phillies got eliminated so I feel like I won the MLB World Series, Giants played like trash on Sunday. Both my fantasy teams are rolling thanks to Pierre Garcon and Jimmy "Graham Reaper".

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Listen Up, Bud Selig

Dear Bud Selig,

Baseball has been dying a slow, painful death for a while now, and my fear is that if I continue witnessing this crime in silence any longer, I might be charged as an accessory. I know you are probably still cleaning up the mess you made from pissing yourself in pure elation at the events on the last day of the regular season, but let's face the facts. As much as it would make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside, you can't rely on the Boston Red Sox and the Atlanta Braves absolutely forgetting how to play baseball in the month of September year in and year out. So, this, Bud, is for you.

1. Don't compete with the NFL.

Just don't. You might think you are just as good a commissioner as Roger Goodell, but you'd be frighteningly wrong. Mr. Goodell is so out of your league that there's a better chance that he knows my name than yours. As things stand now, the baseball postseason is in October, right smack in the middle of the NFL season. The sad thing is, even playoff baseball can't overcome regular season football. So before you utter anything related to "bu-bu-but it's America's favorite pastime," heed my advice and save me the effort of having to slap you back to reality. Instead of starting the baseball season in April, start it in March, when people are still talking about the Super Bowl and just starting to agonize over how they'll survive the NFL offseason. Then, move the MLB postseason from October to August, before the start of the aforementioned NFL season. Yes, I know Reggie Jackson will forever be known as Mr. October, but I haven't been able to reach him for comment on this as he's been trying to engineer a trade for his fantasy football team. No, he hasn't been watching baseball either.

2. 162 games? Seriously?

Imagine if the MLB had just been created, and there was a committee to determine the number of games there should be in the regular season. If I was a member of this committee, and someone yelled out something to the likes of "how about 162 games," everyone would laugh it off as some kind of joke. You want people to go to games thinking that every game matters, and while once in a blue moon, as it did this year, the 162nd game happens to be relevant, baseball would be much better served with a shorter season. Think about it this way -- a shorter season equates to less opportunities for fans to lose interest.

Assuming you accept my suggestion from my 1st bullet point and start the regular season in March, shortening the season to 100 games over 4.5 months (instead of 162 games over 6) would provide people with quality sports year round. Then you can also consider adding two more wild card teams to the postseason and extend the postseason a couple of weeks. Six months of regular season games and 1 month of postseason games makes absolutely no sense. Give the people what they want!

3. Join the rest of us in the 21st century.

What makes someone a good businessman is their ability to adapt with the changing culture. On the contrary, however, baseball is like the crazy hippie still rocking to Simon & Garfunkel on his snazzy 8-track. Now, of course I don't expect you to go completely overboard with video challenge opportunities for every close play at first base, but you should start with something as simple as Youtube. Have you heard of this, Bud? Believe it or not, most kids are probably spending as much, if not more, time on Youtube than they are watching television. And for baseball to really survive, you gotta get the next generation excited for the game.

The NFL and the NBA have keyed in on this already. You can search Youtube for specific game highlights, player highlights, big hits, etc. You know what happens when you search for MLB highlights? You get crappy handheld cellphone footage 100 yards from the action with nothing but the video title and description to let you know what's going on. It's ridiculous. Even David Stern is laughing at you.

Well, Commish, that about wraps things up here. I have been and will always be a baseball fan, but believe me, it's been more than a struggle the past decade to get people excited for any aspect of the MLB season. Please get your people together and fix this league because believe it or not, change isn't always a bad thing.


A Houston Sports Fan

PS I just watched "Catching Hell" on ESPN, and I feel awful for Steve Bartman all over again. Can you do something, anything, to try to remedy his situation? Better late than never. Thanks.

Messing with Texas

This past Saturday, my friend Khoi and I spent the evening at Stout, the local Texas Longhorn bar in NYC, watching Texas completely dominate Iowa State. As we cheered, chanted, and sang, one thing was different than usual. Our fight song didn’t end with the classic “Make them eat sh*t”. Instead, "OU Sucks" chants rang throughout the bar. It was clear OU weekend was just around the corner. I have never been part of a more heated and exciting rivalry since I stopped rooting for the Yankees in 1998. In the past decade, we haven’t seen more consistent programs than Texas and Oklahoma, and with both teams undefeated so far this year, the stakes could not be higher.

But the story has changed from 3 years ago, the last time they entered this legendary weekend with perfect records. Back then, both teams had high profile QBs in Bradford and McCoy with battle-tested defenses. This year, Oklahoma brings an almost identical team to the 2008 version with big names like Landry Jones, Ryan B, and a number one ranking entering the season. Their secondary has a self proclaimed nickname (Sharks) that was broadcasted to the sports world during an ESPN segment. On the other hand, my beloved Longhorns entered the season unranked in some polls and has needed to prove themselves week after week. Looking at the Texas roster, you would get the same reaction reporters got when asking the Oklahoma team how they felt about players like David Ash.  “Who’s that”? Many names like McCoy, Shipley, and Acho might sound familiar. The only problem is that their first names aren’t Colt, Jordan, and Sam.

There is a lot of pressure weighing on Oklahoma to continue winning, but that is no different this week than any other. They need to be perfect to make it to the national championship game and they know that. One might think there is nothing to lose for Texas, but I disagree. If Texas fails to win, the critics will be back. They will lose the credibility they earned from the first 4 wins and could end up losing confidence and nose diving with a tough game against Oklahoma State the following week.

Personally, I am dying to see Case McCoy complete passes to Jaxon Shipley and hopefully replicate the success of their older brothers, who earned 3 wins in 4 years against Oklahoma from 2006-2009. I have become sentimental to the point where I felt a little frustrated when Ash seemed to get more chances to perform than McCoy in the Iowa State game. But in the end, I don’t care how the Longhorns go about scoring or which QB gets the most snaps. I just want a win.

This new group of young Longhorns has much to prove and will need to do it without the help of their older brothers, literally. 
Hook’em Horns!

P.S. It’s 11:30 AM and OU STILL SUCKS!

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Best and The Worst Weekend

The Worst:

Dallas fans take the top spot this weekend for having the worst weekend in sports. Not only did the Cowboys once again prove to be the biggest heartbreaker in the league, but Texas A&M, which has a large fan base in Dallas, blew a large lead for the second week in a row. Even though the Texas Rangers did end up tying the series, their Game 1 embarrassment of being blown out by a rookie pitcher in his second career start was unacceptable. At least most of these fans got to enjoy the Longhorn victory.

Philadelphia came in at a strong number 2. The only good news was that Vick wasn't receiving a MRI today. They lost to a team led by Alex Smith... do I really need to say more? I know I don't but I will because clearly this is no dream team and Lebron and Company should feel disrespected for being compared to the Eagles. On top of blowing a large lead, the city of Philadelphia had to see their Phillies lose a game at home to the Cards, which means they will need to win in St. Louis to advance.

Florida rounds out my weekend's worst with the Miami Dolphins staying defeated for the season while the Florida Gators were destroyed Saturday night. The only prize they got after the game was an injured QB.

The Best:

Wisconsin fans take the top spot this week with standout performances in 3 different leagues. The Brewers have proved to be this year's darling of the MLB playoffs with the most personality and a small payroll from a small market team. They are the only team to take a commanding 2-0 lead in this year's MLB playoffs and seem to be getting better every game. The University of Wisconsin gave a warm welcome to Nebraska in the Big 10 by dominating them in every way, while the Packers continue to do what they do with an easy win over Denver (where's Tebow?) with Rodgers throwing 4 TDs and rushing for 2 more.

Detroit had a roller coaster weekend that ended much better than it started. The Tigers lost in Game 1 in a blowout, while the Lions started their game down 27-3. But that's when everything turned around. The Tigers stole Game 2 in the Bronx and the Lions stormed back to win a game that may haunt Romo for the rest of the season. Oh yeah, did I mention that one of the interceptions returned for a TD was by the one and only Bobby Carpenter, a one-time Cowboy who never got much love in Dallas.

Boston bounced back from one of the worst weeks in Boston sports history to having a nice weekend. Yes the Red Sox season is over, but it had to feel good to see the Patriots defense finally show up and seal a win over a team that just ran over their rival NY Jets. Speaking of the Jets, Boston fans also got to revel in the Jets getting embarrassed on Sunday night football and the Yankees losing in the rain.

Our Weekend:

Caleb - Perfect, with wins by the Packers, Longhorns, and Liverpool. Enough said.
Phil - A dirty win by the G-Men over the Cards, coupled with the Cowgirls and Iggles blowing 4th quarter leads, and the Tottenham Hotspur winning the North London Derby over the hated Gooners was a dream weekend for me.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Win or Lose, It’s How You Play the Game

Every day, I walk past Ground Zero on the way to work. It is a far different scene from almost a decade ago. The Freedom Tower is already taller than its surrounding skyscrapers, while the memorial fountains are in the process of being tested daily for the upcoming 10-year anniversary of 9/11. I hope that in the coming days we take time to remember those who fell ten years ago, but also celebrate the freedom we have here in the United States.

Sports has the power to instill emotion in ways nothing else can, as we witnessed in Japan's unlikely run as U.S. Women's World Cup champions. In sports, winning is everything; it’s the difference from making the Hall of Fame, being known as clutch, or even being remembered past your playing career. Winners continue to sell shoes well into their late 40's, light the Olympic opening ceremony torch in their mid 50's, and make national news when they pass away. But in real life, sometimes losing can be just as memorable.

Ten years ago, the New York Yankees captured the minds of a heartbroken city. For seven amazing games, we witnessed one of the greatest World Series. It may have meant more to many Yankee fans than the 27 rings they have won. With two late game comebacks, amazing pitching, and Hall of Famers on both teams, it was a dramatic ending where the most reliable closer in history finally failed to deliver. It was a series of the unpredictable and helped trigger healing from one of the darkest days in our nation’s history.

There is something beautiful in the imperfection of real life. Friday Night Lights, the novel that followed Odessa, TX and their high school football team in the late 80's, is a perfect example. It is a story full of tragedy and perseverance that showed both sides of sports. The desire to win clouded an entire town’s view of young men, but there was beauty in these men leaving it all on the field and walking away from falling short with their heads raised high. In the same way, the movie Cool Runnings didn’t have a happy ending like the rest of the Disney movies. But it was based on a true story. Life isn’t always perfect. Most times it isn’t. A quote from Irv in the movie really stuck with me. “A gold medal is a wonderful thing. But if you're not enough without it, you'll never be enough with it.” We will never feel complete if we can’t feel satisfied with what we have already achieved. That means laying it all down to try to succeed, but what we succeed at does not make us. America loves winners, but it will not forget a loser who never stopped fighting and didn't let one game or one career define them.

During his four years at the University of Texas, Colt McCoy was the winningest college quarterback of all time. He won major bowl games and individual awards, but a pinched nerve in his arm took him out in the first quarter of the BCS Championships. There was something so powerful in his words after the game. He was a humble loser who congratulated the other team and still gave praise to the God he put his faith in. Many men would be devastated to the point where they would be either filled with anger or depression, but Colt didn’t take anything away from Alabama’s victory. He kept his head high and was proud of his team, even after losing the game he had spent his entire life dreaming about. I hope one day Colt has a chance to win the Super Bowl, but if he never does, it is clear that he is a man with no regrets and one we can all look up to.

So on 9/11/11, let's all remember those who lost their lives and those who gave their all to save just one more person that fateful day. America still stands for freedom, liberty, and resilience. We can continue to stand unified and come back from any setback or tragedy. I hope that 9/11 can keep us motivated to build a better tomorrow, one that isn’t only about earning more power and money or winning, but about providing opportunities for all Americans and continuing to defend our freedoms and celebrate the strength of the human spirit.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Gentle Giant: Yao Ming

I still remember the excitement I had when Yao Ming was drafted into the NBA almost a decade ago. As a Chinese American, there really weren’t many athletes to relate to culturally, and although I had never been to China nor did I even have relatives who lived there, I was still filled with anticipation. When the Houston Rockets took Yao first in the 2001 draft, all my past dislike towards the Rockets seemed to disappear. The nightmares created by the “Dream” when he blocked a possible championship-winning three by John Starks, vividly clear in my young mind, seemed to stop mattering. Or at least those Rockets were not Yao Ming’s Rockets.

Yao was finally an Asian who would have impact in the NBA, not just some experiment or a guy that was 7 feet but shot more 3's than dunks and lay-ups. Being in middle school, I don’t think I had anticipated the start of a career like this ever before and maybe never will again. I remember watching his first few games where he looked out of place and overmatched by the speed of the NBA. Was this really the best player the entire continent of Asia had to offer? Then the most anticipated match-up in Yao's first year in the NBA happened vs. Shaq and the Lakers. Shaq turned the game into a joke, making some playful yet racist comments as he made up Chinese-sounding words and noises in a national interview. Yao didn’t say much. Instead, he let his play do the talking, scoring key baskets and eventually having a game-changing block against the Big Aristotle and defending champ Shaquille O’Neil.

From then on, Yao Ming never really looked back, being voted into every All-Star game with the support of the largest nation in the world. China hit the internet in record numbers voting for Yao Ming every year as the starter of the Western Conference team. Yao Ming towered over players around the league but had a shooting touch of a guard and one of the smoothest turnaround jump shots on the block. Millions of children in China now dream of one day making the NBA. Yao’s career was far from perfect, as images of Nash crossing him over at the top of the key and players blocking him from behind cross my mind. His slower reactions are just as much a part of his legacy. But Yao was consistent and although his body suffered many injuries, he always gave his best for his NBA team and national team. I will never forget the tears he cried when there was a possibility he would not be able to represent China in the Beijing Olympics after he suffered yet another injuries. And I know Houston fans always think of what could have been if T-Mac and Yao were healthy at the same time since Houston’s only trip with Yao to the second round was without T-Mac and eventually without Yao who in 2009 was injured in that series against the Lakers.

Yao meant way more to this game than his stats and wins. He gave Asians around the world something to cheer for. He did everything the right way. Yao Ming was always humble and never felt that he was entitled to anything, unlike the most recent product in Yi. It pains me to say that he seems more interested in his fame and success in the China media than his desire to make an impact on the NBA and world relations. For Yao, I went out of my way to watch him live, which even meant going to a Nets game in a Rockets jersey, and making a day trip from Austin to Houston to watch Game 2 against the Jazz in the 2007 playoffs. Thank you Yao for an amazing decade. I hope you continue to be a great ambassador of the game. Even more, I really hope your hard work has produced future Asian basketball players who one day can continue to try and fill the large shoes you have left behind.

Monday, July 11, 2011

True Heroines: USA Women Soccer

Abby and Megan!
“USA! USA!” chants filled the stadium Sunday night in Germany as ten Americans tried to do the impossible. Just twelve years ago, the American women captured the imagination of millions with their amazing journey to winning the World Cup. On that day's anniversary, once again our nation was in need of a miracle. This was more than just winning a game against a powerhouse like Brazil or keeping our hopes alive in attaining the most important trophy in women’s sports. No, this represented so much more. It represented the dedication for equality in the United States for both men and women. It represented the dedication of our educational system of Title 9, giving men and women sports equal funding. And once more, it showed our nation that women's sports can be exciting, thrilling, and downright amazing, inspiring millions of American girls to take pride in playing sports like soccer.

In Sunday’s game, we saw a team that represented everything the United States hopes to stand for. These ladies grew stronger when things stopped going their way, then believed more when they lost a player to a red card. There was no sense of self pity or blame when a saved penalty kick was called back because someone entered the box early, leading to the loss of their one goal lead. There was no quitting in their eyes when Martha, the best women’s soccer player in the world put in a stunning goal at the start of extra time. Instead, these heroines kept fighting, and never doubted themselves and their ability to come back with fewer legs on the field but clearly more heart. It was amazing how the mood of the stadium changed when a Brazilian player decided to display poor sportsmanship by faking an injury in an attempt to delay the game and waste precious seconds of time to help Brazil escape with a victory. The mostly German audience suddenly became pro-American and joined the scattered American fans in cheering on the US team. That stunt by Brazil led to 3 minutes of additional time, which made all the difference.

Megan Rapinoe ran down the left side knowing it would be one of the final chances of tying this game. She let a beautiful cross soar towards the back post where a flying Abby Wamback came sailing in, heading the ball right into the back of the net. There truly is no moment in sports like a soccer goal, the anticipation, the build up, and finally the ball in net that sparks a burst of joy around the nation. I was sitting at Jonathan Mok’s house with him and his newlywed wife Ophelia, the day after their wedding day right before Peter drove them to the airport for their honeymoon. Abby tied the game at the 122 minute of the game with only seconds left. This is the moment sports fans live for and it led to us all jumping up, screaming, high fiving, and screaming again. By the way, CONGRATS MOK on a beautiful wedding!

How fitting was it for the United States to once again go to penalty kicks on June 10th. It was clear that the Americans were filled with confidence. There is something Hope Solo clearly has, and that is belief in herself. When the Brazilian goalie was called off the line and was forced to redo the penalty kick, there seemed to be small payback for the call against the United States at the 65th minute, or maybe the ref was just calling a tighter game because of the fake injury in extra time. Either way, America never missed after that, and Hope Solo made an amazing save, first shifting the right way before laying out the block on a well struck penalty that was clearly headed for the left inside netting of the goal. Next up came Megan Rapinoe, who many believed should not have been starting at all this World Cup, but after some injuries and line-up changes found herself as the pivotal kicker after a miss, which is key to keeping the momentum. She finished with ease and broke out into a playful celebration of relief and excitement with her tongue out and head wagging side to side. I'm not going to lie, I think I’m in love with Megan Rapinoe. Nothing against the beautiful Alex Morgan or swagger of Hope Solo, but dang Rapinoe, you just keep amazing me.

The final penalty was scored and although no clothing was removed and no cup was rewarded, this game could be one of the most memorable in United States history, the same way the Miracle on Ice was 31 years ago, which was also not the final game of the tournament. To make this truly special, our heroines must win two more games and become the World Cup winners once again. So good luck girls. You have made a believer in me and the rest of the nation. I guess Nike didn't lie. Pressure really makes them. But for our well-being, please win the next two before the clock strikes 90...

Monday, June 27, 2011

Jordan is Best

Maybe Pippen was high the day he proclaimed Lebron the greatest of all time, or at least he would like us to think that.
 I am sure Ewing would agree that Jordan is the greatest of all time.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Fantasy Fantasies - Thursday June 23rd

I know I know, it's been a long time since I posted. There's been a ton of injuries to some big names, how do you fill the holes? By making these moves! Extra long list of who to pick up today, so the names could get obscure and/or terrible!


Mitch Moreland - Been talking him up for awhile now, but not many better 1B options available out there.
Travis Hafner - Get him while he's still taking a few days off from the disabled list!!
Brandon Beachy - Was good before he got hurt, stellar start yesterday, kid can flat out pitch
Seth Smith - Boring name, needs more PT, but gets it done when he's in the lineup
Alcides Escobar - You could do a lot worse...starting to steal...a lot...
Jason Bay - heating up? Baseball is a marathon, I think he can still hit...I hope
Jason Bourgeois - Needs more playing time, but gets steals
Desmond Jennings - Should get the call anytime now, speculate
Ryan Vogelsong - Don't like to recommend SF pitchers cuz the team can't hit, but he's got decent ratios, no better or worse than guys like Humber, Masterson, Cahill IMHO
Scott Baker - If this guy is somehow available, run, don't walk to the wire
David Freese - Why not? 3B is shallow
Mike Minor - Might get sent to the minors, but he's got some good stuff


Ike - love Ike, but season's over
Matt Joyce - told you to sell high, but if you didn't, you had a nice run
Dillon Gee - If you can sell, do it, next start in Arlington will be ugly
Anthony Rizzo - That didn't turn out well...
Corey Patterson - Seriously, if you got those few weeks, you should be more than happy
Jeff Francoeur - Selling window is closed, if it ever opened, just cut him loose
Madison Bumgarner - Hard luck loser, shows flashes, but just too unpredictable
Geovany Soto - Team's awful too