Monday, June 27, 2011

Sport Quick Hits - KD & Brooklyn Decker? Almost...

Sorry for the delay in getting this posted today. Chizzy is off in New York and I've been swamped with work and other things. Other things being booking a trip to Vegas, getting ready for JM's wedding this weekend, and dusting off the golf clubs for 18 holes on Friday. Now, onto the Quick Hits. With the NBA and NHL Finals and Drafts concluded, there's really not much sports wise to concentrate on other than baseball, so let's start there.

I had time to read through Sports Illustrated while waiting for my car in the shop this past weekend (nothing major, so no worries) and came across an article talking about Derek Jeter and his chase for his 3,000th career hit. Jeter will be come the 3rd youngest player to do it, and he should reach that milestone in the coming week. The article talked about how Jeter has used only one model of bat, and the same stance he's used since high school, throughout his entire career. It really is one of the quirkier swings you'll find, as he keeps his hands extremely tight into his boday. Having been so consistent since 1996, the Yankees are now frustrated at Jeter's propensity for hitting ground balls. Jeter admitted in the article he was pretty frustrated by his contract dispute this past offseason, so I think there's going to be something coming to a head with Jeter - most likely after he gets number 3,000.

Former Reds Manager Davey Johnson just won't go away. Jim Riggleman resigned as manager for the Washington Nationals, and they've hired Davey Johnson to fill in. Johnson hasn't managed in 11 years, and is 68 years old. With Johnson and McKeon now both battling the teams, and age, in the NL East, I'd like to make a notion that if they do indeed realign the divisions, that both the Marlins and Nationals be placed in the Southeast Retirement Home one.

The Los Angeles Dodgers filed for bankruptcy protection in a Delaware court today. This comes just days before the June 30th deadline that had been imposed by Major League Baseball, and now basically ensures a settlement in the Dodgers ownership debate won't come any time soon. Commissioner Bud Selig condemned the move, and it should be known that the Commissioner can terminate the franchise, effectively telling Frank McCourt couldn't own the team. McCourt claims that he's got interim finances to hold the team over without stiffing players and staff. This saga just keeps getting uglier and uglier. Here's the in-depth story.

Updating my story from last week, the NFL and the Players Association will meet yet again this week. Players were given updates on the situation last week on the phones, presumably from DeMaurice Smith, NFLPA attroneys, and player reps, keeping them aware of the situation. Many athletes have hinted on Twitter and through other social media and communication sources, that a deal could happen in 3 weeks time. The Players Association and its attroneys met alone today in Minneapolis in an informational meeting about the situation. From what we've learned, from what little has been leaked out, the following concessions have been made:

- The owners will not include the potential for an 18 game season in this CBA, which I think is a damn good thing. There'd be too much crappy football by expanding the schedule.

- More benefits will go to the retired players pension fund and for medical and player safety studies. Again, another good thing.

- Players with a minimum of 4 years accrued experience will have the option to become an unrestricted free agent, rather than becoming a restricted free agent and having a tender (draft pick compensation) placed on them. It's not yet known what happens to players who've been franchise tagged, but there will be tags in the new CBA. Players who were tendered prior to the lockotu that have 4 years experience will become unrestricted free agents. That's big news for guys like Saints G Carl Nicks, a pair of RBs in Carolina's DeAngelo Williams, and the Giants Ahmad Bradshaw. Perhaps the biggest potential name, Patriots G Logan Mankins, is still an unknown as he was tagged prior to the lockout.

- Both sides are still determining how to splite the $9.3B pie that is NFL yearly revenue. The players' share would be very close to 50%, and the $1B in expense credits that the owners receive off the top (before any money is divided) would disappear. No word on team revenue sharing yet, as the 2006 CBA put in place a plan where the top 15 revenue generating teams (Cowboys, Patriots, Eagles, Redskins, Seahawks, etc.) would pool a percentage of their revenue and give it to the 17 bottom revenue generating teams (Bengals, Jaguars, Raiders, Vikings).

- No fees for the players would come from designated shares, but rather the entire pool of revenue and teams would have a salary cap floor, from which their minimum salary cap must be above. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers ownership, the Glazer family, who partially operates soccer power Manchester United, is $1.7B in debt, and consequently have docked payroll for the Buccaneers. Well, they're going to be forced to spend now, and it's rumored they'll be $70-80M under the cap, but no word on how much they'll have to spend to get to the floor. Either way, that number is staggering. Good luck if you get into a bidding war with them for say, CB Nnamdi Asomugha.

Lastly, both sides have agreed there will be a rookie wage scale, we just have no idea what the max salary would be. It's been rumored that the NFL will adopt an NBA style "ladder" where each draft picks salary is pre-determined. This means that the number 1 overall pick can earn 'X' amount of dollars and each subsequent pick earns a predetermined amount less than that 1st pick and goes down the line.

Got all that? Good. John Clayton reported on ESPN last week that there could be a meeting July 7th or 8th in which the owners would meet to ratify the proposed new CBA and end the lockout. Here's to hoping!

I missed the first few picks of the NBA Draft, but watched more of it than I ever have. Cavs fans got Kyrie Irving from Duke and Tristan Thompson from Texas with their two picks in the top 5. Good luck winning with those two. Hey, at least they also acquired two future 2nd round picks in a trade with Orlando. There were more foreign-born players drafted in the 1st round than ever before. A case of Dirk Fever perhaps? I think so.

The NBA is also about to head into a lockout. Bummer. I actually enjoyed watching the NBA more this season than I have since Michael Jordan wore the 23 jersey for the Chicago Bulls. The first time around. Here's a trivia question for you. Most people know that Michael Jordan wore his famous 23. He also wore 45 after coming back from baseball. But, did you know that Michael Jordan, for one game, wore another number? His jersey was lost prior to a game in Orlando. Post in the comments section what you think it was and I'll tell you if you're right. There's no prize for Googling it. Here's to hoping the NBA's lockout is no where near as potentially ugly as the NFL's got for a time. Something tells me that David Stern being in charge will make things a little more difficult than DeMaurice Smith has made things in the NFL's labor dispute.

Chizzy posted a great article several weeks ago about franchises abandoning their cities and relocating to new towns. The Winnipeg Jets were one of those franchises. Well, now they're back. Or is it the Atlanta Thrashers moving north? I don't know, but I do know that either way the NHL is planning on a massive realignment in the 2012-13 season. I think the NFL did a pretty good job in 2002 when the Houston Texans came into the league, though some of the divisions are a little mixed up geographically to keep the rivalries going. I mean, you don't think of Indianapolis as a southern city do you?

Anyway, as for the NHL's proposed realignment, the league plans to create 4 divisions; two with eight teams and two with seven teams. Several teams like the Detroit Red Wings, Nashville Predators, and Columbus Blue Jackets are hoping to be moved into what is now the Eastern Conference. The proposed plan is likely to be finalized in this December's Board of Governor's Meeting.

In other news:
Former Florida Gator LB Channing Crowder hinted that he sold all of his Florida Gator jerseys to Jacksonville businessmen during his career in Gainesville. Crowder was drafted by Miami in 2005, and made the comments on his weekly radio show in Miami.

Another former Dolphin and former West Virginia Mountaineer QB Pat White will play football this season for the UFL's Virginia Destroyers. This after White retired from the Kansas City Royals minor league affiliate earlier this year.

Keeping with the college football theme here, Wisconsin RB Zack Brown will be transferring to Pitt. Brown has already graduated from Wisconsin, but only played 3 seasons, so he'll be immediately eligible to play for the Panthers. The Badgers will get a gift though as extremely talented N.C. State QB Russell Wilson will be transferring to Wisconsin. A shortstop who played two season in the Colorado Rockies organization, has given up on baseball, and will be able to play immediately at Wisconsin as he'll be taking graduate classes. He reportedly chose Wisconsin over Auburn, I'm guessing because Auburn gave all of its spending cash to Cecil Newton. Sorry, I had to.

Both Williams sisters knocked out of Wimbeldon already? Serena bowed out today. I honestly can't remember seeing a Wimbeldon not won by one of those two, though I admit, I usually don't watch tennis all that much. However, I did meet Andy Roddick as he came to the restaurant where I worked at during college when he was in Cincinnati for the Western & Southern Open. Unfortunately, he didn't have Brooklyn Decker with him, though I have met Vanessa Minillo...she's not bad either.

Lastly, a bit of news semi-related to Chizzy and I's beloved Dayton Flyers. The University of Dayton, known to some as God's Country, and known to others as the second greatest place on earth behind Disney World, will host the NCAA Tournament's "First Four" in 2012 and 2013. The 2013 Tournament edition will mark the 75th anniversary of the NCAA Tournament. I attended all of the "First Four" games last year (thanks to Kimbo for the cheap tickets and sweet seats) and saw a Final Four team in VCU play. Hey, it was worth the $70 alone to know that there was a rumor Charlie Sheen, a Dayton native and fan of USC was in the house. He wasn't there, and as a result, USC didn't play with Tigerblood.

I'll be back tomorrow with the Chargers Draft Grade.

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