Sunday, July 29, 2012

Standing Ovation: Guo Wenjun



After starting off day 1 with 4 gold medals, China picks up where they left off in day 2 by winning the first gold of the day in women's 10m air pistol. I'll admit that I have no idea how this became an olympic sport nor do I have any expertise in gun shooting for that matter. But this event surprised me with the amount of suspense and nail-biting moments from start to finish.  Guo was the favorite to win the event finishing with the highest total in the qualification rounds.  However, she was trailing the whole way in the finals.  With France's Groberville up 0.5 points going into the 10th and final shot, Guo needed a miracle to come back to win it.  When the scoreboard lit up after the final shots, I couldn't believe it. Guo shot a near bullseye (10.8) while Groberville succumbed to the gravity of the moment and misfired an event-wide worst (8.8).  Congrats to Guo for defending her Olympic title and picking up another gold for China!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Post-Game Review: USA vs France




It's here.  Finally.  Yes, I know, the 2012 London Olympics do not officially start until Friday, but the beauty of a full-slate tournament is we get to see great games a couple days early.  So without further ado...


The United States and France started off Group G play, with the winner almost assured to win the group and avoid Japan, who are favored to win Group F, in the knockout stages.  Both teams began the match working out the kinks in their games.

The US had some decent chances brought on by a mix of brilliant passes and not-so-nice ones that France just failed to get to. Within 15 minutes of play, the French scored two brilliant goals from two of their top goal scorers and had the Americans on their heels.  The French are a talented squad, but seriously, how can you be losing to them when you have talent beyond belief?  American midfield and forward play should be running circles around the French.  

Abby Wambach set the tone in minute 18 and scored on yet another scorching header.  Add that to her already growing list of amazing hits and you can basically see that if you lob the ball to your practically six-foot forward who is taller than most of the ladies on the field, you stand to score pretty much at will.   Her fiery demeanor after that goal was evident as she called for the American women to rally and hit back.


Alex Morgan scored twice in between a Carli Lloyd curler, which was definitely the top goal in the game alongside GaĆ«tane Thiney.  Morgan's second goal was icing on the cake.  I wasn't sure exactly if the French defense was just too focused on Abby that they allowed the ball to slip by five players right to Alex's foot, but either way, if you have three defenders marking your best player, you need to capitalize on it.

The game ended 4-2, and with the first game under their belts, I have to say the Americans looked okay.  I'm impressed with the comeback but disappointed in the fact they were down 2-nil to begin with.  Sundhage's switch to a 4-4-2 format really opened up American offensive play and probably just needed some kinks in the beginning to adjust to.  Pairing the two strikers made things easy for Megan Rapinoe, Carli Lloyd, Tobin Heath, and the rest of the American offense to create and wear down the French defense.

No, Sydney is not actually that tall ... both stand at 5'7.  
We even had a Sydney Leroux sighting in the 84th minute.  Sundhage definitely needs to find a way to get her in the game more.  In her second game as a US team member, she scored 5 goals.  Some players don't even do that in their lifetime.  Maybe a switch to a 4-3-3 formation could be in order?  


Photos courtesy of bagofnothing.com, equalizersoccer.com, and bleacherreport.com

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

EPL Power Rankings - Ten Best and Worst EPL Kits for the 12/13 Season


Another EPL season is just around the corner, and while most teams are getting ready in merry old England, a few squads (Aston Villa, Chelsea, Liverpool, Stoke, Swansea, and Tottenham) are doing preseason tours in the US.  The transfer window is still open until the end of August, so there's plenty of time for teams to add some new faces.  But something that won't change between now and the beginning of the season are the new kits that every squad will be sporting!  Teams have been releasing new designs every season (it's a nice way to print money) and changing their kit maker and sponsor.  Here are my ten best and worst kits for the upcoming season (in order): 

Best

1) Swansea City Home - Classic Adidas design, love the gold and white combo and the gold coloring of sponsor, kit, and team logo. Beautiful simplicity.


2) Manchester City Home - Love the black collar / blue Umbro jersey for the league champs. I think the black team badge matches well.


3) Liverpool Home - Newcomer Warrior hits it out of the park with their first EPL kit and the return of the Liver bird!  Almost makes up for the Standard Chartered sponsorship.



4) Everton Home - Switched from Le Coq Sportif (good riddance) to a small Oregon-based manufacturer.  Love this jersey's white collar, white armbanding, team logo, and well, pretty much everything.  The Swoosh did a great job here.



5) Manchester United Away - Wasn't digging the henley style kit at first, but it's growing on me.  Almost priest-like. It's a bold look that pairs well with the black sponsor, kit, and team logos.



6) Everton Away - The only team to get two shirts on the top 10 best list.  Nike delivers a black jersey with gold kit, team, and sponsor logos.  I think Everton has one of the nicest team logos in the league and the best sponsor in the entire EPL, hands down.  We need the alcohol sponsors back (Carlsberg and Holsten)!



7) Wigan Away - Big fan of the black this year, and the Latics jersey is another great one with bright yellow coloration, nice texture, and a team logo that looks skull-like (yes, I know it's a tree).  Intimidating jersey for a team that needs every little advantage.


8) Chelsea Home - Gotta love the use of gold for a team that sneakily won the Champions League this year. But it goes well with Chelsea blue.  Jersey texture adds a good bit of flair to this good-looking shirt.



9) Tottenham Home - Another new US newcomer to the EPL market, Under Armour delivers a clean kit with gray/silver accents for the Spurs.  It almost looks like you can golf in this shirt.  Still hate the Aurasma logo.  


10) West Ham Home - Glad West Ham United is back in the league.  Macron did a great job keeping with tradition while also bringing a very modern collar to the Hammers' home kit.  It's similar to Aston Villa, but I think the styling is better.



Worst

1) Liverpool Third Jersey - A truly terrible shirt.  Tribal print looks awful as a tattoo, but it looks even worse as part of a jersey for an English soccer team.  Maybe they should utilize barbed wire next season.
2) Manchester United Home - Another kit that has been getting blasted in the press.  Is United trying to market to hipsters?  Gingham is cool, but in that red, it really looks like an outdoor tablecloth.  I commend Nike's bold efforts though.



3) Liverpool Away - All of Liverpool's kits made the list!  Sadly, their away jersey is completely unwearable.    It looks more like a wetsuit than a soccer jersey.    

4) Arsenal Away - The Gunners make the list with this wonderful submission.  It's as if the Hamburglar wanted to go to a rave.  Purple, black, and red is not a pretty combo.  

5) Swansea Away -  It's either they wanted to make something for a ugly Christmas sweater party, or they are trying to be like Liverpool.  Either way, not a good look.



6) Chelsea Away - I don't HATE this kit, but don't like how the sash just sort of stops.  The use of the light blue makes this jersey look childish.



7)  QPR (Both) - First, the Air Asia logo is awful.  Second, these kits are all the same shirt design with different color palettes.  Where's the originality?  If they stick around another season, they need to re-evaluate their kits.  They are in the big leagues now.  



8) Fulham Away - Are we channeling Wolverhamption Wanderers with this doozy of a kit?  I do not get the use of orange here for the Cottagers. Collar is also awful, it's like that bad neckwarmer that Samir Nasri likes to wear.
9) Aston Villa Away - Just not a good jersey kit color.  I guess it would work as a goalie shirt, but for the whole team to be wearing it?  Questionable.  


10) Reading Home - The newly promoted Reading rounds out our worst kits of the year.  It just looks really amateur.  The styling is just too big to be taken seriously.  Also, what's with the red patch?  And what's Waitrose?    



Photos courtesy of footballkitnews.com and kitbag.com

Friday, July 20, 2012

In 140 Words or Less: Suits Review



Suits centers around hot-shot lawyer Harvey and his first-year associate Mike, a brilliant guy who did not, in fact, go to law school. The episodes tend to follow the procedural formula: after struggling for the first 32 minutes and a couple of red herrings, the guys have an “a-ha” moment through a random incident or conversation and outmaneuver their opponent. While the set-up may not sound innovative and reason does need to be suspended a bit (my lawyer friend confirmed that lawyers don’t practice all sorts of law, just like the same doctor doesn’t take out both your appendix and your baby), the sharp writing and fine casting of the leads, particularly Harvey (Gabriel Macht), make it a worthy show to add to your summer lineup.

Photo courtesy of ocscreenwriters.com

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Kelley is too K00l for GCAS


Oh, the Linsanity.  In a stunning, unforeseen development, our very own Kelley Lou has decided to leave Gym Class All Stars to become a CBS correspondent with KHOU Houston.  During her tenure on this website, Kelley was known to arduously quote "Texas forever" (most of the time out of the blue with no context), but unfortunately, she never said "GCAS forever."  We thought she was happy being a member of this team, so you can imagine our shock and dismay when pictures of her surfaced on CBS under her new moniker, "Lin Fan."  This is just further proof that all good things must come to an end, so we wish Kelley the best on her new venture and just ask that next time she at least provide a courtesy two-week notice.  Or any notice at all.




Photo courtesy of Clarissa Wong

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Linsanity Gone In a New York Minute

And the award for most interesting storyline in the NBA goes to...
The dust has finally settled, and Jeremy Lin is officially a Houston Rocket. When I wrote my last post, my emotions were running high -- I was upset with James Dolan, Daryl Morey, Jeremy Lin’s agent, Carmelo Anthony (for commenting), and Jeremy Lin himself.  I am not going to call Jeremy Lin a traitor or say he wasn’t that good. Jeremy Lin is a great offensive player and clearly an above average NBA point guard. I have idolized him for 5 years now and even remember praying that he would make a summer league team and find his way onto an NBA roster. It was like a dream watching Lin versus John Wall part 1.  I was upset when Golden State cut him, excited when Houston signed him, then upset again when he was cut again. I remember the moment I read that the Knicks had signed Lin and when he finally got solid minutes against the Rockets and Nets. Then there was Linsanity! We will never see something like it again; you can’t replicate the stage, the state of the Knicks, and how quickly it all happened. But as a Knicks fan, as painful as it may seem, it might have been the best situation for everyone involved. I am sure some New Yorkers and Houstonians will think my logic is ridiculous, but I am going to say it anyways. 

New York Knicks

The New York Knicks don’t care about money, and as much as people want to believe this was about money, let me tell you Dolan has more money than he will ever need. Also according to ESPN’s Larry Coon, there was a way out of the poison pill contract:
If worse comes to worst, another new rule can help the team out. The "stretch provision" allows a team to waive a player and extend his salary payments over twice the number of remaining seasons, plus one. So if Lin is waived with one season remaining on his contract, he would be paid his salary over three years.

Here's the important part -- teams also may elect to stretch a waived player's salary-cap hit over the same number of years. So if Lin proves to be a disaster over the next two seasons, the Knicks can waive him, stretch the payment of his $14.8 million salary over three years, and reduce his salary-cap amount to about $4.9 million in each season. This would reduce the team's tax bill significantly. If the Knicks are right at the tax line, a $4.9 million salary would translate to a $7.35 million tax bill. This is much more palatable.
If this was about money, the Knicks would have kept Jeremy Lin. MSG stock has already dropped over 100 million, and the TV money in China would be enormous. Jeremy Lin would be a money-making machine in New York. No, for James Dolan it was always about loyalty and feeling betrayed. Some say that the Knicks played their hand wrong by not setting the price for Lin, but Lin’s agent would have asked him to test the market regardless. I agree the Knicks should have never said they would match any offer. Reports say that the Knicks reassured Jeremy Lin they would match the first offer, not expecting Jeremy Lin to renegotiate the terms. Nevertheless, let us assume that the Knicks never opened their mouth, and they matched the 4 year $28.8 million contract. The Knicks would be set with a starting five of Lin, Shumpert, Carmelo, Amare, and Chandler. Knicks would have a bench of JR Smith, Novak, Camby, and Kidd. Although this team has potential, I don’t see championship potential. The New York Knicks are all-in, and when I say all-in, I am talking about trying to win a championship in the next three years. JR Smith just signed a $2.8 million contact.  He clearly took less to stay with a contender, and I am sure he would be lying if he said he wasn’t jealous of Jeremy Lin’s new contract. As much as I want to believe that Melo and Amare loved playing second fiddle to Linsanity, let’s be real -- THEY HATED IT.

Egos run this league, and the Knicks decided to try to win it all with Carmelo Anthony. Whether you like it or not, this team is going to go as far as Carmelo can take us. There are only maybe 10 players in the league that can be your best player and give you a shot at winning a championship. Melo is one of those players, and Jeremy Lin is not. Also the Knicks became hostages to Linsanity, and Woodson would have to start Jeremy Lin no matter how he was performing. Now the Knicks were able to get Raymond Felton at a bargain deal of $9 million over three years.  Felton has never been the same since he left the New York Knicks; I remember being angry that they included him in a trade in the first place. Not only did Denver take Gallo and Wilson Chandler, they took the cute, cubby point guard that had started a budding friendship with our star power forward. Let’s take a closer look at the numbers between Felton vs Lin as the Knicks starter. Felton averaged 17.1 points, 9.0 assists, 3.3 turnovers, 3.6 rebounds, 1.8 steals, and a .423 field goal percentage over a 54 game period. Lin averaged 18.2 points, 7.7 assists, 4.7 turnovers, 3.7 rebounds, 2.0 steals, and a .445 field goal percentage over a 25 game period. Both players did well in the Mike D’Antoni system, so I will not put too much weight into that. The numbers do not lie -- Felton is the better value at 3 years $9 million versus what Lin got in 3 years $25 million. Also in the end it is not about value to the Knicks profit line but the value to the team's salary cap.

Lastly Felton’s defense is a huge improvement over Jeremy Lin’s defense. Jeremy Lin can be a deserving All Star, but his defense resembles that of Steve Nash, and that is never a good thing. My last argument of why the Knicks ended up making the right basketball move is that a team with three defensive liabilities will never make it far in the playoffs. The Knicks need to follow the Dallas Mavericks model and have 3 solid to great defenders on the court at all times. Chandler is a great defender, and Iman is more than solid, but even the two of them could not make up the lack of defense from Amare, Melo , and yes, Jeremy Lin. The Knicks may never win it all, but I do believe they are closer today with Felton as their starter than they were yesterday. The Knicks also will have more financial flexibility to add pieces to their team as limited as it will be. Unless Jeremy Lin becomes Steve Nash in his prime, this looks like the right move was made since money was not the real motivation.

Houston Rockets

Daryl Morey seems to be a hero in Houston, but I want to be clear in saying that if Morey was in Boston, New York, or Los Angeles he would have been fired a year or two ago. I get it, the guy is brilliant -- I am sure he is managing the team very well, and every year is profitable for Houston Rocket management. Moreyball (NBA’s version of Moneyball) can only take you so far.  Most players in the NBA are overvalued, and every contender besides maybe the Spurs has overpaid at some point or another. With that being said, I believe the Rockets could easily turn things around if they get Dwight or Pau Gasol and one of these rookies turns into a stud scorer from the wing.

As a Knick fan, I think Morey personally wanted Lin back to rectify his mistake of cutting him in the first place. Daryl Morey is a man who prides himself in evaluating talent and even openly admitted his regret last season. I am sure when the Knicks came out saying they would match, Morey felt frustrated and thought he would go ahead and make it take much tougher on the Knicks. The time period of July 1st to July 11th is when teams can start talking to free agents but can't officially sign contracts. During this time period, it is expected that all verbal agreements and contracts remain as they are. It is more of a gentleman’s agreement; there are no rules that say you can’t change the term or retract the offer. I know the Toronto Raptors must wish they didn’t have to honor their verbal offer to Landry Fields of $20 million after missing out on Steve Nash, but that is neither here nor there. In the end, Morey may have changed the terms out of spite, since even up till yesterday night, Morey still thought the Knicks were going to match his offer of $25 million in guaranteed dollars.

The truth is Morey has been around for about 5 years, and things seem to be holding steady with his team annually ending up in the 9th seed. Interest in the team last year was at an all-time low, and more Houston fans I know were more interested in how Jeremy Lin was doing than their Houston Rockets. Morey has finally decided to completely gut his team, and if no big trades take place, he should have put his team in a good position for a solid draft pick. In today’s NBA, this may be the only way to build a solid team that is also financially responsible. But Morey doesn’t want to lose fan base while he begins the full-on rebuilding project, and this is where Jeremy Lin fits in. Jeremy Lin will bring more attention to this franchise than any other player in the NBA. Once again the Houston Rockets will become the darlings of China.  (Side note: I think now is the time to bring back the red and yellow jerseys for all home and away games.)  By being China’s team once again, the Rockets will bring in more money than ever before and maybe finally give Morey the flexibility to create a championship level squad. This also gives Morey time to build through the draft, and he will likely have two picks in the lottery next year in addition to his three first-round picks this year.

Jeremy Lin

Throughout this whole process, I felt the most disappointed in Jeremy Lin.  He never made his intentions clear, and as much as people want to blame the Knicks for not making an offer to start, Jeremy never said he really wanted to return to NY in the first place.  His actions actually seem to tell an entirely different story if it's true that he took the Knicks guarantee back to Houston in order to get $5 million more in guarantee money.  So the question I have here is this: what was Jeremy Lin’s motivation to go back to the table with the Houston Rockets?  Was it because he was greedy and actually thought that Marc Stein tweet about the Knicks matching anything up to $1 billion was true?  Or maybe the more likely scenario is that Jeremy Lin was worried that the Knicks would match and needed to get an offer that would make going to Houston possible.  If this is the case, I wonder why Jeremy Lin was so desperate to leave the city that made him and gave him the opportunity of a life time.  So many questions flood my mind when I think about this.  Did Melo and Lin really not get along?  Was there too much jealousy in the locker room over Linsanity?  Was Lin afraid of the pressure and constant press of New York City?  Or is Lin just like most basketball players in the NBA seeking more money and more shots?  Only Jeremy Lin really knows, so I will leave it at that.

If it was really for more money, then this whole situation really is "Linsatiate."  In that case, Jeremy Lin gambled against Dolan and lost.  My feeling is that greed wasn’t the main motivation.  Jeremy Lin is already the most sought-after athlete for endorsing products to sell to the most affluent group in the USA (Asian Americans).  He could have easily made millions more by staying in New York City.  I think it comes down to Jeremy Lin genuinely wanting to leave the bright lights of New York City.  As a current resident of NYC where I work and live (just moved into the city this month), I will agree that the Big Apple can be quite overwhelming at times.  This is a city of comparison, pressure, and status.  The media and residents aren’t always logical in their comments, and many seem to have an attitude of superiority.  That being said I am sure teammate chemistry, Landry Fields leaving, and limited minutes and shots to develop his game all played a part.

Take a bow -- last year was an amazing show!
Do I think this is a smart move for Jeremy Lin?  Of course not, but then again I am a Knick fan, so maybe you shouldn’t take my advice that seriously.  I think Jeremy Lin could be so much more on the grand stage of New York City.  Not because he would become a better basketball player, but he would have a larger platform to do what he was set on this earth to do: to spread the good news of Jesus Christ.  Jeremy used his platform to perfection last season to share his faith and uncover the racism that Asian Americans (especially men) still face today.  I also think Jeremy Lin undervalued the fact of being on a talented and competitive team.  This could change for the Rockets over time, but right now the Rockets look more like a 2011 college team than a championship contender.  In New York he had talent around him he could rely on;  last year when Linsanity began to die down, the Novak show picked up and kept Jeremy Lin out of headlines for his large amount of turnovers.  Now in Houston he will be like Brandon Jennings with the Bucks -- teams will be fully focused on Jeremy Lin and will throw pressure through double teams.  It was just yesterday that Jennings was a future star after he dropped 50 points in one game his rookie season, but the league took notice, and there hasn’t been much to mention about Jennings since.  I hope I am wrong, that Jeremy Lin will prevail and continue to be the pride and joy of every Asian American and underdog around the world.

What makes me feel the saddest is that I have come to the conclusion that Jeremy Lin wanted out of the New York Circus, I mean, the New York Knicks.  He decided to leave, so I have no right to be upset at the mad king James Dolan or at the wise GM Daryl Morey.  This is what Jeremy Lin wanted, and doesn’t every man deserve that choice to choose where they want to work?  I will always be thankful for what Jeremy Lin has given us over the years. He has given us the most exciting two weeks in sports, an Asian American to rally behind, and hope that anything and everything is possible through God.  Jeremy Lin, you are still the Great Asian American Hope and always will be.


Photos courtesy of Debby Wong/US Presswire, Getty Images, and NY Daily News.

The Huddle: Jeremy Lin


If you haven't heard the news by now, get out from under the rock you're living under, and as soon as your eyes have adjusted to the light, listen to this news: the New York Knicks decided not to match the 3 year $25 million offer for Jeremy Lin, and Linsanity has landed (back) in Houston.  Everybody and their mother (literally) has an opinion about it, so we figured it was time for another Gym Class All Stars huddle.  Feel free to leave your own thoughts about the newest Rocket!


1. When did you become a Jeremy Lin fan?

Norman: I'll admit it. Wasn't a believer until Feb 4, 2012. Was at PVuong's bday bash and was reading ESPN on my phone when he broke out with 25pts against the Nets.

Leu: Had a little liking for him after his breakout game against UCONN in his Harvard days. Followed him here and there and then he showed up John Wall during the summer league a couple years ago, and well, the mancrushing was on!

Mok: I didn't believe in any of the hype til I actually got a chance to see him play a full game versus the Lakers. He still needs to work on his ballhandling, spot-up shooting, and defense, but he's a very heady player who excels at isolation and pick-and-roll plays.

Caleb: When he was playing in Harvard during his Junior year. 

Olivia: Impressed since his senior year of college, when I watched him play against Cornell.

Peter: Knew of him at Harvard but wasn't a fan until he started showing up in KevJumba videos.

Alby: I think he is a nice story. I am not a fan nor do I hate the guy. I hate the media, my friends, Facebook, Twitter, and everything else in between when he's playing. The NBA got much better for me when he went down (not because I wanted him to get injured -- I would never wish that on anyone) because I was finally able to hear/see/read about other players in the NBA.


2. What were the Knicks thinking? 

Norman: They're thinking short-term. Forgot how much more ticket prices jumped after Lin started winning (even after the spike with the Melo trade), how many jerseys sold, and how all Asian moms became Knicks fans overnight asking their husbands, sons, and daughters how basketball works.

Leu: They weren't.

Mok: It's all about the Benjamins, and I guess after Eddy Curry, Steve Francis, Stephon Marbury, etc, James Dolan finally decided he was done dishing it out so freely. I'm just glad I dropped my Madison Square Garden stock at the tail end of Linsanity because it's about to take a bigger hit than the lightpole that Jason Kidd rammed into.

Caleb: As a Knicks fan my whole life, I have learned to stop trying to figure out what the Knicks are thinking.

Olivia: Unclear. But it's too bad that Knicks fans keep on getting Dolan-ed.

Peter: This may be a telling sign of the financial troubles the Knicks/Dolan are in.  Keep a watch on this as the season develops.

Alby: Big mistake. Stupid decision. They weren't thinking. Unfortunately, the front office has held the best franchise in the NBA back for decades now and continues to do so with this shortsighted decision.


3. How many Rockets tickets are you buying for next season?

Norman: 0. Can't root for Houston after 1994.

Leu: None. I don't like the Rockets.

Mok: Sign me up for when the Knicks visit Houston. And the Clippers and Thunder so I can see the envy close-up on CP3's and Westbrook's faces at not starting at the All-Star game.

Caleb: None.

Olivia: I'd probably stop by when the Rockets swing through Boston.

Peter: Going to try to attend 2-3 when I come back to the USA later this year.

Alby: Zero. But I will go to Rockets Play Day and wave my finger in Dikembe's face. Oh, I already did that.


4. Can Jeremy Lin surpass Yao's legacy in Houston?

Norman: Think so... as long as he stays healthy and consistent. Yao was pretty much on the DL for most of his last few years, so not too too hard

Leu: I think he already has even though he'll never win a playoff series with Houston.


Mok: He already has in my book. F Yao.

Caleb: Already has.

Olivia: He's already endeared himself to the Asian-American population more than Yao ever could by virtue of the fact that he is far more relatable (read: not a non-English speaking giant). For the city at large, homeboy just needs to get the Rockets into the second round of the playoffs and he's golden.

Peter: The loss of Yao left a giant-sized hole in the Rockets lineup and marketing strategy. Lin should be more than enough to fill that hole.  In terms of legacy, still too early to crown him.

Alby: Yes. The hype machine is much bigger than it was 10 years ago, and it continues to grow exponentially each year.


5. New town. New team. Come up with a new Jeremy Lin slogan/nickname!

Norman: Texas gonna become the Lin Star State? Can't think of anything creative.

Leu: Jer-Dur.

Mok: Jeremy.

Caleb: Linsatiate.

Olivia: Houst-lin Rockets.

Peter: Linpossible is nothing. Linning is everything.

Alby: Starting point guard of the Houston Rockets.

Photo content courtesy of: postmediacanadadot.com, thedissnba.blogspot.com

Monday, July 16, 2012

The Huddle: 2012 Olympics Preview


We're less than 2 weeks away from the 2012 Olympics! GCAS writers gathered today for a quick huddle to let us know what they're looking forward to. Come back in the following weeks as we're sure to capture all the moments and storylines in another sure-to-be thrilling summer Olympic games!

1. Who is the one Olympian you are rooting for?

Caleb: Ryan Lochte. It's time for a new face in USA swimming. I know Michael Phelps is still here, but he has made it clear this will be his last Olympics. While Phelps wasn't training for a couple of years after the 2008 games, Lochte closed the gap or even surpassed Phelps. Will be fun to watch the two battle it out in the 200 and 400 IM, which was already thrilling in the US trials.

Steven: Justin Gaitlin, disgraced from previous doping, has made it back to the top of the world.  Will be exciting to see him run toe-to-toe with Tyson Gay and Usain Bolt (although Yohan Blake will make things fun).

Norman: Missy Franklin, to prove you can have a normal childhood, be socially integrated, and still win (gold hopefully) medals in the seven events she's qualified for.

Phil V: I want to say Hercules, but I don't think he was a true Olympian, so I guess Hephaestus.  He gets no love, and Aphrodite is the worst.  He deserves better!

Leu: South African sprinter, Oscar Pistorius. The double amputee will be the first amputee athlete to ever run at the games. I don't know about you, but whenever there is a first of anything, it is a "must-watch." So yeah, I'll be rooting for him during the 4x400 relays this year. I don't think their team will place, but I'm excited to see how he'll soak in the experience and continue breaking barriers for athletes around the world.

Mok: Any and all Americans. USA all day.

Kelley: John Orozco - the fighter!

Chow: Nastia Liukin.  Just kidding... kind of.  I want to see me some Kevin Love domination.

Joshua: Allyson Felix. She is one of the most talented sprinters of all time and has had to settle for silver twice in her marquee event. It's time for her to win gold in the 200m at the Olympics.

Alby: Andy Roddick (also John Isner, Ryan Harrison, and Donald Young).  He's from Austin, TX. He's representing the red, white, and blue. He's past his prime. But this is his last shot for tennis glory, and he'll be doing it for the greatest country in the world. #USA

Phil L: Liu Xiang. After his devastating forfeit in Beijing, Liu, the first Chinese gold medalist in track and field, looks to reclaim the gold at age 28.

JLau: Holley Mangold - Nick Mangold's younger sister and former high school offensive lineman who came out of nowhere in the last year to be a medal contender in women's weightlifting.


2. Which event are you most excited about?

Caleb: Men's 200 IM for the reasons above.  Also I will enjoy watching basketball between USA and Spain (hopefully both make it to the gold medal game).

Steven: BMX, strangely enough. If this event turns out to be successful, I would like to see more events like this, similar to how the Winter Olympics has embraced snowboarding and slopestyle events

Norman: Men's 4x100 freestyle relay -- will be an awesome rematch between the US (narrowly beat out France with Jason Lezak's amazing final leg), Australia, and possibly France again. Australia beat out a Phelps-anchored team at the 2011 World Championships and have been bragging since.

Phil V: Either ping pong or diving.  It would really make my day if someone did a cannonball or a can opener.

Leu: Swimming 200 IM. I'm excited to see this Phelps vs Lochte batte royale this summer. We all know Phelps. We all know the 2008 Beijing Olympics. I want to know this Ryan Lochte guy. I didn't get to watch the prelims, so these games will be my first glimpse of the two. Let mayhem ensue!

Mok: Gymnastics, men and women. It's a favorite Olympic tradition of mine to get so excited watching gymnastics that I try to do flares in the living room or some front flips on the lawn. Still wildly unsuccessful, but I got too much heart to quit.

Kelley: GYMNASTICS!  ...swimming and diving too.

Chow: USA Basketball and Men's swimming.

Joshua: Men's 400 IM. The Phelps/Lochte rivalry is the biggest thing in Olympic sports right now, and that event has everything, with each one having different strengths in the race.

Alby: Gymnastics, to me, is the cornerstone of the Summer Olympics. I love rooting for little-known athletes who spend their entire lives for just one moment. I love rooting against China and their illegal practices. I love rooting against Russia and their inhumane training techniques. #USA

Phil L: I'm most excited to see if the three Thunder players are going to 'accidentally' injure the King as revenge for his complete domination in the NBA Finals.

JLau: Any of the obscure sports, especially Modern Pentathlon.


3. If you were in the Olympics, which event would you want to compete in?

Caleb: Soccer, also seems easier to qualify for since it's a 23-and-under tournament.

Steven: I would love to participate in Field Hockey.  It's as close to Lacrosse as I'm going to get.

Norman: Shooting. Probably the one sport I'd have any chance at winning a medal.

Phil V: Fencing, even though I was terrible in high school.  I just want to scream really loud and pretend like I got a point.  

Leu: Track and field (hurdles and relays). Brings me back to my middle school days (grades 6-8th for those who didn't have a "middle school")! I miss having all the prerace jitters leading up to the race. The thought of floating on air and the adrenaline flowing through your body is just so unreal. I don't miss those itty bitty shorts though...

Mok: Basketball. Not only is it my favorite sport to play, but I think the team USA jerseys are awesome. Here's a random question: which would you personally value higher, an Olympic gold medal or an NBA championship?

Kelley: Gymnastics (sense a theme?)!

Chow: USA Basketball, cause then I could hang with NBA studs.

Joshua: Decathlon. It would be awesome to compete to be one of the best all-around athletes in the world. 

Alby: They are adding golf in 2016. So, probably golf. There's nothing more exciting than watching the Ryder Cup and seeing American golfers unite together and dominate a game that originated from Europe. I would love to be a part of that from an individual Olympics standpoint. #USA

Phil L: That running event where you have to jump hurdles and run through water; five years in China is more than enough training.

JLau: Speedwalking - the walking motion seems like it matches closely with my high school gym credit-earning experience -- marching band!


4. Add a new event to the Olympics. What would it be?

Caleb: I would personally love to see Lacrosse return to the Olympics (last played in 1908).  With the growth in popularity in the high school and college game, it would be fun to see it done on the world stage.

Steven: Polo, Lacrosse, or American Football ... With the latter two just being more sports for Americans to dominate in.

Norman: Bring back golf! Who wouldn't salivate at the thought of Tiger vs the world? If only Scotland were closer to London, this would make some great sports stories.

Phil V: The log rolling competition from the Great Outdoor Games, so exciting.  OR that event where the doggy leaps into the water because it would be pretty awesome for a dog to be in the Olympics and to be on the podium and to get a little gold medal.

Leu: I don't know... pogo jumping?

Mok: Golf would be very fun to watch. It'd be like the Presidents Cup but with more bling. (And it'll be an Olympic event at Rio '16!)

Kelley: Thumb war?  :)  Some people are wicked talented at it.

Chow: I have absolutely no idea... maybe football?  But USA would destroy everyone.

Joshua: Dodgeball. 'Nuff said.

Alby: Poker would be awesome. Playing cards for your country? Sounds incredible. Have it last for the entire duration of the games, the winner is the one with the most money at the end. Phil Ivey, Scotty Nguyen, let's do this! #USA

Phil L: Dodgeball. I have no idea how this is not an olympic sport yet. They have speed walking, equestrian, and TRAMPOLINE, but not dodgeball? Or competitive eating.

JLau: I was going to say Dodgeball too.  Maybe they can make it a "Playground Games Triathlon" and add in Kickball and Four Square!


5. Share with us your favorite Olympics memory of all-time!

Caleb: Watching Michael Phelps dominate in 2008, and of course the opening ceremony in China (might be the only time I'll give China eprops).

Steven: Favorite moment of Olympics was 1996 watching Hakeem join the US national team and playing in Atlanta.  Or I could say in 2000 when watching Andreaa Raducan perform and later stating she's gonna be a hot sports reporter one day.  Lo and behold, she is with Romanian TV.

Norman: (Repeat) 2008 men's 4x100 free relay. Lezak just out-touched the French team in probably one of the greatest comebacks in swimming from more than a length behind. If you want something different, I'd say watching Kerri Strug in 1996 stick a vault landing with a hurt leg to shock the Russians.

Phil V: The opening ceremonies for the Beijing Games.  Never felt so proud to associate myself with Zhong Guo.  <tear>

Leu: A few pop to mind. The Miracle on Ice at Lake Placid always gives me the chills. Kerri Strug's one-footed vault landing to win the Gold for the US in the '96 Olympics. Shoutout to Dominique Moceanu, who I had the biggest crush on. Finally, Phelps and his eight freaking gold medals in '08 (more shoutout love to Jason Lezak and his final leg of the 4x100M Medley).

Mok: Kerri Strug. Period.

Kelley: Amy Chow winning the silver medal in the uneven bars.  First Chinese American to win an individual medal in gymnastics.  *tears*

Chow: Dream Team and USA relay swimming.  Here's one of my favorite gifs.  Also interesting fact: I have a sister named Amy Chow.

Joshua: This is a real tough one. I think for the Summer Olympics it would be Liu Xiang winning the 2004 110m hurdles, proving that it is possible for someone of Chinese blood to be really fast.  For the Winter Olympics, it would have to be the powerful but bittersweet exhibition performance of Michelle Kwan after she didn't win gold for the second time. Seriously the best skating exhibition performance ever.

Alby: 1996. The entire Olympics. It being held on American soil. The bomb incident. Muhammad Ali carrying the torch. Kerri Strug. Michael Johnson (from Dallas). Dan O'brien. Andre Agassi. Wow, makes me so proud just reminiscing about it. God, I love this country. #USA

Phil L: Chinese-Taipei winning the silver medal in baseball in the 1992 Olympics, their only medal that year.

JLau: Attending the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta with my family... highlight was watching Carl Lewis win his last gold (long jump).  Also, I think we met Mattress Mac who was around promoting the Texas 2008 Olympics bid that never happened.

Photo content courtesy of: 3new.com, golfsliced.com, deadspin.com

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Money in the Bank 2012 Live Blog

Daniel Bryan proposing to AJ right after she proposed to CM Punk and was turned down.
Today's event doesn't have the same excitement surrounding it as WrestleMania 28 did, but it should still be an exciting couple of hours. I will be posting personal reactions and play-by-play with consistent updates throughout the night.

Key matchups:

  • CM Punk vs Daniel Bryan (special ref AJ)
  • Sheamus vs Alberto Del Rio
  • Money in the Bank (WWE Championship)
  • Money in the Bank (World Heavy Weight Championship)
8:00 PM
First thoughts: glad the only pay per view that is ever outdoors is WrestleMania. Will someone cash in the briefcase tonight, and will someone finally fail to claim the belt after winning the Money in the Bank?
8:05 PM
Why would you open with the voice of Vickie Guerrero... SANTINO!!!!! Here we go! I guess it's all downhill from here.
8:08 PM
Tyson Kidd? did Jason Kidd have a secret child? Four no-names in tonight's Money in the Bank (World Heavy Weight Championship).
8:11 PM
Is Tensai even Asian?!??!?! Tensai takes the early lead, which means he most likely won't be walking away with the briefcase tonight.
8:13 PM
Who the heck is this guy in the pink briefs and purple knee pads... not even going to bother to get to know his name. Sin Cara is always entertaining.  Is tonight the night he finally gets his chance for a shot at the belt?
8:16 PM
Tyson Kidd might have made a rookie mistake in teaming up with Christian early, but he's looking pretty good so far. Oh, so much for that, here comes Tensai...
8:18 PM
Looks like we have to take a short break because the wings are here!! I'm hoping that Santino walks away with the upset, but one of my sources (not a real fan) is still pulling for Tensai the Fasian (fake Asian).
8:20 PM
Ever wonder what everyone else is doing when it's just two men in the ring?  That's what I would be watching if i was there live, but I guess they would just be rolling around on the ground.
8:21 PM
Christian tried to do the "Spear," the signature move of his best buddy Edge, yeah... I guess he should just let that move retire along with Edge.
8:22 PM
Here comes Tensai the Fasian as we eat Fasian wings (Asian fusion wings from Wings to Go).
8:23 PM
Santino!!!! With the split! The diving headbutt, then finishes Dolph with the COBRA!!! Can he overcome his fear of heights and bring it home?!?!? I guess... not =(
8:25 PM
Cody Rhodes seemed like a possibility, but of course, Vickie had to get involved... Christian and Dolph Ziggler both seem to be good bets too, but still hoping for an outside miracle for Santino.
8:28 PM
Wow a flurry of action that looked pretty painful... Santino still has a shot!
8:29 PM
Dolph being thrown in the announcer chair at a weird angle looked pretty dangerous... oh down goes Santino again, and it looks like Dolph is going to take it.
8:30 PM
Dolph Ziggler takes the first Money in the Bank! Wow this matchup was pretty action-packed, looks like Ziggler will finally get his first major title after all...
8:40 PM
The Miz has been added to the second Money in the Bank matchup after being away shooting a movie for 2 months.
8:45 PM
Roberto Del Rio comes in driving a nice blue car that sources say is an old school Aston Martin while Sheamus looks as pale as ever.
8:50 PM
Ricardo's distraction works again in Roberto Del Rio's cause. Del Rio continues to target the injured arm of Sheamus.
8:57 PM
Back and forth... just two big guys going blow for blow, and what was Del Rio doing pinching Sheamus' cheeks? What would you call that move? "The Annoying Aunt"?
9:00 PM
Of course this match ends with Roberto Del Rio taking a Brogue Kick to the face as Sheamus retains the World Heavy Weight Championship.
9:04 PM
Del Rio and Ricardo take out Sheamus, and Dolph Ziggler comes in to try to cash in the Money in the Bank but takes a Brogue Kick before the bell rung. Sheamus retains the belt, and Ziggler still has the Money in the Bank.
9:06 PM
Daniel Bryan has clearly lost his mind, but I guess we were taught in 1st grade that girls that like you hit you back.
9:14 PM
This tag team match is AWFUL... I pretty much stopped watching...
9:19 PM
Worst match of the night, and the promoter needs to stop talking... glad his team lost...
9:21 PM
R Truth throws water at the promoter, that was great... and this imaginary Little Jimmy is growing on me.
9:25 PM
CM Punk versus Daniel Bryan! YES YES YES for AJ, this girl is CRAZY...
9:28 PM
I love how the camera pans to a sign Crazy Chick when AJ is introduced, and here comes the YES man Daniel Bryan, when did he become such a tool...
9:31 PM
Here we go, who is going to win the WWE Championship, and who is going to having AJ's heart?
9:34 PM
AJ does not look qualified to ref this match -- she seems to be very passive so far and kind of scared...
9:36 PM
Does he really need to say YES every time he hits CM Punk, loving how the crowd says "no" following every "yes."
9:38 PM
Punk accidentally takes out AJ, could have seen that coming... I guess nothing will happen until AJ returns to the ring. We all know that AJ will have to play a role in the result of this one.
9:42 PM
Was the "we want tables" chant planted? I wonder what else is under the ring today after Punk finds a table and Bryan ends up with a Kendo stick... not even caring about the pins right now till AJ comes back.
9:46 PM
Both men seem to have a pretty good amount of fans in the building, but i think there are still more CM Punk fans... when is AJ coming back?
9:49 PM
Failed yes lock, failed GTS, and now CM Punk finds the Kendo Stick... still waiting for AJ's return.
9:50 PM
Finally AJ's back! With a wicked smile! Looks like she is looking for some revenge.
9:51 PM
AJ has a chair, looks like she wants the see the two of them beat the crap out of each other.
9:53 PM
Both CM Punk and DB make it to the second count, AJ flashes an endearing smile, but that is wiped off after witnessing DB unload on CM Punk. Now Punk has the chair, things are not looking good for DB.
9:54 PM
AJ is starting to dislike the punishment that both men are taking... clearly this girl is confused.
9:56 PM
CM Punk looks to jump off the top rope with DB laying on the chair, but ends up landing on the chair as DB rolls away.
9:57 PM
DB puts Punk in a Yes lock, but somehow gets out and lands a GTS on Daniel Bryan... and by some miracle, DB breaks out after a 2-count.
9:58 PM
CM Punk has brought out the table, prediction time: I think AJ is going through this table, and another ref will come out to finish up the count-out with a CM Punk win...
10:00 PM
I guess not, DB is driven through the table and loses as CM Punk makes the cover while both of them lay on the broken table.
10:01 PM
CM Punk wins.  AJ looks completely stunned. I guess this leaves things open-ended for this random love triangle storyline.
10:05 PM
Another filler match... looks like a wannabe Goldberg versus a couple cavemen (if cavemen wore neon green pants).  I think this match will end within 5 minutes.
10:11 PM
Why is this match still going on... please end now. There we go, it's over, and on a sidenote nice "feed him s'mores" sign.
10:14 PM
I forgot there has to be a Diva fight before we can get to the last main event of the night... hope this is quick. Usually is with so many girls being involved.
10:20 PM
Alright, last Money in the Bank match up.  Many big names in this one; it should be fun, and since it's so late already, it could be quick.
10:25 PM
Kane, Big Show, Miz, Chris Jericho, and John Cena. Let's get it on! Surprised this is John Cena's first Money in the Bank match.
10:29 PM
Miz is the first to set up the ladder while the others are busy fighting outside the ring. Big Show drops a ladder on Jericho. Cena bounces right off of the Big Show, slams Kane, and slaps the Miz. Big Show looks like a rock today and doesn't even budge as Jericho tries ramming a ladder into him.
10:31 PM
Everyone now takes turns taking shots at Big Show with John Cena finishing him off by lifting him and slamming him through the Spanish announcer table. Now everyone is piling ladders on top of the body of Big Show. So far this has been highly entertaining.
10:32 PM
How did Miz end up in the Walls of Jericho?  Miz has fallen off the map these past two years.
10:34 PM
Ladder is up, and Cena is there alone. Now Miz is alone, but Kane throws a ladder at Miz and has a chance to end this match.
10:36 PM
Miz and Jericho stop Kane, and here comes Cena to join the action. I have a feeling Big Show is getting some nice rest under the pile of ladders and will end up winning this Money in the Bank.
10:37 PM
Big Show is in the ring and just broke the ladder that Jericho was standing on. There you have it, a Chris Jericho ladder sandwich... Big Show is now throwing ladders at everyone.
10:40 PM
Big Show still needs to find a ladder that he can use to climb.  He finds it under the table. Now that's one big ladder, looks heavy even for the Big Show.
10:41 PM
This ladder makes Big Show look normal.  Here comes Kane to meet Big Show at the top of the ladder. Kane is knocked off, but here's Cena. Cena is knocked off, and Jericho takes out the Big Show from the back with a chair.
10:43 PM
Cena and Jericho slowly climb to meet at the top, Cena goes for the AA, but Jericho gets Cena in a sleeper hold. Cena seems to still be moving towards the Money in the Bank as he looks like he's going to pass out.
10:46 PM
Cena passes out and falls off the ladder while Jericho and Miz both get their hands on the briefcase, Jericho briefly hangs on to the suitcase while he swings in the air as Big Show climbs up the ladder and take the two smaller men out.
10:47 PM
John Cena comes out of nowhere and uses the case to block punches from Big Show. Using the case as a weapon, John Cena breaks the case off the chain and has won the money in the bank!
10:49 PM
John Cena wins Money in the Bank (WWE Championship).  How boring and predictable...
10:50 PM
Oh well, for the most part, today's Money in the Bank was entertaining.


Winners of tonight's main events:

Dolph Ziggler - Money in the Bank (World Heavy Weight Championship)
Sheamus - World Heavy Weight Championship
CM Punk - WWE Championship
John Cena - Money in the Bank (WWE Championship)


Photos courtesy of examiner.com. 

Why New York Knicks Fans Should Hate the Houston Rockets

(By a bitter Knicks fan)

My first memories of NBA basketball were Knicks versus Pacers in the 1994 NBA Playoffs. I didn’t know too much about the teams or the players, all I knew was that my sister wanted the local New York Knicks to keep on winning. I think I thought Reggie Miller was the greatest NBA player ever after watching that series, but somehow the Knicks won game 6 and 7 to advance to the NBA finals. At this age I didn’t understand the significance of the absence of Jordan and thought getting to the finals wasn’t that difficult. But like every new sports fan, you never forget the first time you heart gets broken by your new favorite team. For me, my enemy number one was the Houston Rockets. I still vividly remember Hakeem Olajuwon delivering the blow in game 6 with his block of John Starks' potential game-winner. I remember despising Robert Horry and the ugly face and head shape of Sam Cassell. Many of the writers on Gym Class All Stars will pick this series as their greatest sports moment, which only reminds me of the pain Houston caused me and my fellow Knicks fans 18 years ago. I hate the fact that Ewing was criticized for being dominated by Olajuwon. Ewing failed to score as much (was out scored 18.9 ppg to 26.9 ppg), but he still did enough to put his team in position to win a championship. People also don’t want to mention that Ewing out-rebounded Olajuwon 12.4 rpg to 9.1 rpg, or the fact that Ewing set a finals record with 30 blocks in the series.


As a kid I was set on hating the Rockets forever, but then something happened in 2001, when by some miracle the Rockets got the first pick in the draft. With that pick they took Yao Ming, and all my disdain for Houston disappeared. Looking back now, I realize how foolish I was to let myself support the same franchise that prevented my team from winning it all. I even purchased a Yao Ming Rockets jersey and paid to go to a playoff game in 2007 with Jonathan Mok to watch and cheer for the Houston Rockets. My love and admiration for Yao Ming is well-documented. That love blinded me from seeing the Rockets for who they really are -- a team that has abused the New York Knicks franchise over and over. Knicks always end up overpaying even when they seem to have leverage (I still miss Gallo and Wilson Chandler). Rockets took advantage of the Knicks when New York foolishly thought they had a shot at Lebron James, but instead just wasted a half year watch Tracy McGrady barely being able to stay on the court for a few games. Now we see the Knicks again overpay the Rockets in order to obtain Marcus Camby. In both cases you can make the argument that the Knicks had to pull the trigger, yet it pains me that both times the Rockets ended up milking the Knicks for far more than necessary.

This leads me to the most recent time the Rockets have screwed over the Knicks. Yesterday it was reported that Jeremy Lin signed a different offer sheet with the Houston Rockets than what was reported earlier this week. Instead of the 4-year $29 million contract, the Rockets gave him a 3-year $25 million contract. This puts the third year at $15 million, which would push the Knicks $5 million more over the cap. The estimated cost of having Lin on the team that third year with the additional luxury tax is over $40 million. This clearly was a move out of spite since New York had made it clear they would match any offer. I am sorry the Rockets still feel upset for not keeping Jeremy Lin last season, but this move is pretty childish to change up the terms. Well I guess the Rockets will have to live with giving Jeremy Lin $8 million for the next 3 season. Now the Houston Rockets will be the team that took Linsanity from New York City as well.


I don’t care if the Rockets end up with Jeremy Lin or a roster full of Asian Americans. I don’t even care if the Rockets resign Yao Ming. From this point forward, as a real Knicks fan I will never make the mistake of cheering for the Houston Rockets again. I wish the best for Jeremy Lin, but I could care less if the Rockets ever make the playoffs.

Photos courtesy of Ranker.com

Friday, July 13, 2012

Fantasy Fantasies - Nut Up or Move on


We had a nice break at the Midsummer Classic with the Senior Circuit laying the smackdown on the American Leaguers, but it's time to get back to business.  If you want to make a run in your fantasy league, make some trades, pick up some warm bodies, do something. Even if you are killing your league, it never hurts to look for some improvements or to start thinking ahead to the playoffs.  The cash and trash section will be replaced by some wise words from the great Bob Kraft: "nut up or move on."


"Nut Up" - Here are some buy-low targets or guys who might be available in your league's waiver wire:

Lance Berkman - He was doing fine before the injury, and he can still provide very good stats as a 3/4 OF or Util slot guy.  

Juan Carlos Oviedo aka Leo Nunez - He'll be back from suspension on July 22nd, and with Heath Bell literally pooping the bed every night as the Marlins closer, you could do worse.  Steve Cishek could also see some burn, so monitor this situation.  

Franklin Morales - I don't know, but I just see OG JLau picking this guy up every week for a spot start, and it usually pays off for him.  You could do worse for a 6/7 starter.

Justin Upton - I think he'll have very good 2nd half, only because he can't be much worse.  Offer someone some Aaron Hill and see if you can get away with it.  

Erick Aybar - The Angels are going to be red hot in the 2nd half, and I see Aybar making a bounce-back.  He's been hitting .300 the last 5 games before the break.

Sergio Romo - I really don't trust Casilla, and Romo won't hurt you in any category.

Matt Harvey - It's a METS prospect!  Don't do it...yet.

Brandon Lyon - Myers should be traded by the deadline, so stash some saves.

Ryan Dempster - Could get traded to a NL West team in LA.  A good landing spot.  


"Move On" - These guys either aren't worth the roster spot or are sell-high targets:

Dustin Ackley - Unless you are in a real deep or heavy-MI league, Ackley isn't worth more than a waiver wire pickup like Seager, Aybar, Espinosa, Escobar, Johnson, the list goes on...

Francisco Liriano - Borderline droppable, but if he gets traded, a change in scenery could make a difference.  But more than likely, he'll get blown up just as often as he puts in a quality turn.

Josh Reddick - He's been red-hot, but I would sell right now.

Aaron Hill - Having a monster season.  His value will never be higher.

AJ Pierzynski / Carlos Ruiz - Don't think they keep up their torrid paces the rest of the way.  If someone will give you something valuable for a catcher, it's a good time to sell.

Rafael Furcal - Due for some DL time.

Kyle Lohse - Struggled mightily after the break.  Sell right now if you can.


Photo courtesy of foxboston.com

Party Foul: U.S. Olympic Ceremony Uniforms


Violation: The ugly U.S. Olympic Team opening ceremony uniforms.

Explanation: When I first saw the uniforms earlier this week, I immediately wanted to vomit.  I don't see a shred of American style in these uniforms. The berets are ugly. I didn't like them in 2002 when the team had them for the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics, and they are even more out of place now in the summer, where a beret can only make your head hot and isn't able to block the sun in any way. As much as I didn't like the cowboy hat idea (although that would be truly American), at least it's more of a fitting hat for the summer.

The best part of the story is that all of the uniforms were made in China. In this time of economic downturn, with unemployment high in the U.S., outsourcing our uniform manufacturing to China seems like the least patriotic thing to do. This is not about a company trying to stay afloat and needing to cut costs. They should have had them made in the U.S. so that Americans can feel proud of those uniforms as they are paraded in front of the world.

Punishment: I can see plenty of Chinese people finding this situation absolutely hilarious. China is our number one economic competitor as they try to replace the U.S. as the world's superpower. The Olympics is already a faux battleground to prove supremacy. Why do you think the medal count matters so much? I'm not sure what can be done now, but luckily they only have to wear these ugly things during the opening and closing ceremonies.


Photo courtesy of AP