GENTLEMEN, START YOUR ENGINES!
Oh, wait, that's just the South rubbing off on me. Ok, so no one else may be pumped for the Daytona 500, but I think everyone loves the sweet sound of...
PITCHERS AND CATCHERS REPORT
I don't care how downtrodden the economy is, who or how many people have taken steroids, or what the outlook of your favorite team is. There's something special about pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training. I've actually talked myself into this years Braves team, and have my fingers crossed that they sign Bob Abreu or Adam Dunn on a one year $4 million deal. More on that in a second.
-Here's one man's opinion of the A-Rod situation. I think it's great that he admitted to something, instead of apologizing for nothing (Giambi), denying it (Clemens and Bonds) or some other lame statement. But his whole, "the truth has set me free" and acting like he was coming forward with this info is the biggest steaming pile of crap that I've ever heard. Yo, A-Rod. You got busted! You aren't volunteering this information. You got caught and now you are just trying to cover your ass. Also, his claims that Selena Roberts has been stalking him and breaking into his apartment is apparently completely bogus, if you believe Roberts.
-I'm sick of the Steroids Era. Here's the list of players that I know didn't take steroids:
I'm pretty sure that Greg Maddux was not on the juice, but at this point no one gets the benefit of the doubt. Let's just move on. Bud Selig was practically visiting McGuire and Sosa at their lockers during the summer of '98 and making sure they had taken their daily dose of roids. Hitters on the juice were hitting homeruns off of pitchers on the juice. The fact that Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, and Alex Rodriguez will never get into the Baseball Hall of Fame is a flat out joke. Their careers happened, they were incredible players with or without the roids, and you cannot begin to mention the history of baseball without those three guys. That's my take on that.
-I've talked myself into this Braves team. I like their pitching, whether or not Tom Glavine accepts their $1 million dollar offer. Derek Lowe may have a ridiculous contract, but now that the ink is dry and there is nothing that can be done about it, I like what he brings to the team. Last year, the Braves had far too many games where the starter got knocked out in the 3rd or 4th inning and the bullpen got severely overworked. I REALLY would like to see them take some money that they say they still have to spend and go sign Bob Abreu or Adam Dunn. Right now, the starting outfield is Jeff Francouer (ugh), Josh Anderson or Gregor Blanco in CF (unless Jordan Schafer blows up this spring) and Matt Diaz in left. That is not a contending outfield. That unit will be lucky to hit 30 homerruns combined. Anyway, with the state of the Braves in recent years, I feel like a Royals or Pirates fan heading into spring training. I've talked myself into the offseason moves and if everything breaks right I could see the Braves in contention in August. In reality, they will probably be in 4th place by the All Star Break.
-I just wanted to throw my two cents in on this Irish basketball season. I think the problem has been twofold. One, the system and personnel has gotten stale. Kyle McAlarney has been running off screens for it seems like 5 years. Everyone in the Big East knows that. He has never developed a dribble drive game, and the offense has not really changed at all since Brey has been here. Brey hasn't really introduced any new players in two years. You just can't do that in the Big East. With the emphasis that teams like Louisville, Pitt, Georgetown and UConn place on defense, you have to constantly be reinventing either your system or your personnel. Brey has done neither. The second problem is the talent level. Comparing our roster to the aforementioned teams and even those like Nova and Marquette is a joke. Look, I'm sure that Ayers and Hillesland are tremendous guys and student athletes. But they just aren't good enough to be key pieces on championship caliber teams. They are fine as 6th, 7th or 8th men. Brey has to find a way to upgrade the talent pool. We need guys like Jerel McNeal or Terrence Williams, slashers or guys that hit the boards relentlessly. I think that Brey can still get this thing turned around long term, but he has to get Nash and Scott as many minutes as possible this year. Time to thank Ayers, Hillesland and Zeller for their contributions and give them each about 15-2o minutes a game.
-Lastly, I had to give my thoughts on the Sixers. First, I couldn't have been more wrong about Marreese Speights. The guy is going to be a star. I had heard that he had weight issues and character issues while at Florida. When I went to a game at the O-Dome last March, the locals booed him off the court for lack of hustle and dumb fouls. Everybody was hoping he would go pro so they could be rid of him. But I give him credit. He has been a team player and is in great shape and is producing big time. A core of Speights, Dalembert, Iguoudala, Thad Young and Lou Williams is pretty solid. Unfortunately, there is the huge contract of Elton Brand sitting on the books. He is a square peg in a round hole. Everyone already realizes it's not going to work, but they really can't do to much about it at this point. He is an aging power forward who has now missed most of the last two seasons. Not exactly great trade material.
-If there has been a better performance than LeBron's 52-9-11 in the non-Jordan category in the last 20 years, I'm not aware of it. The fact that he is only 24 is just scary. Is there any doubt that he will be the greatest of all time? Despite the loss to LA, I still think the Cavs win the championship this year.