March 2011

Basketball

The hindsight guide to March Madness bracket building

Three weeks ago you started with hope, certain, like most, that you had just the right bracket. Today however, you’re a shell of your former self, questioning your faith in major college basketball programs and wondering where it all went wrong. If you’re looking for some answers, here are a few possible explanations as to why your bracket was one of the millions to fail miserably throughout the 2011 NCAA Tournament. 1) You’re a rational…

Baseball

Jason Frasor reinvigorated by Blue Jays coaching changes

Toronto Blue Jays relief pitcher Jason Frasor has been around the city of Toronto and the team’s clubhouse long enough to have a pretty good idea of what the franchise has, wants and needs. Now, on the verge of the 2011 campaign – his eighth with the club – an optimistic Frasor is ready to embark on the latest chapter of a quietly productive career, citing a retooled coaching staff as the major reasons why….

Baseball

John McDonald, leadership defined

The concept of leadership in sports is as intangible as it is cliche, plied more often to soft-spoken veterans in the clubhouse than to anyone else for any legitimate reason. If not used to generically describe athletes with acknowledged service time, the oft-misused tag is pinned to players for whom simple statistics and accomplishments don’t do justice. Alternatively, the label can stick for players whose presence on Major League rosters lack obvious justification. Such is…

Baseball

Jeremy Accardo relishing fresh start in Baltimore

When the Baltimore Orioles came calling with a minor league contract offer in December, Jeremy Accardo didn’t have to think twice before accepting it. After all, he had already endured a rollercoaster of a tenure with the Toronto Blue Jays and was anxious for a fresh start. After starting the 2007 season with 21 consecutive scoreless innings, Accardo emerged as the Jays’ closer, replacing Jason Frasor who was filling in for incumbent closer B.J. Ryan,…

Basketball

Detroit Pistons: The Team that Earned America’s Patience

A steam whistle bellows through the Palace of Auburn Hills on a dreary March evening, listlessly celebrating a Chris Wilcox field goal from just inside the free-throw line. With a 25-46 record and a roster long expired, it’s a subtle sign that blood – cold as it may be – still flows through the veins of the once-raucous southeastern Michigan crowd. This isn’t the Detroit Pistons team that sold out 259 consecutive games between 2004…

Hall of Fame

Answering the Matt Cooke question

Is there such thing as a lost cause when it comes to player behavior in the NHL? Is there ever a point in time where the risks associated with a particular individual outweigh the contributions he could even possibly provide the league and the team he represents? The questions beg to be answered. You may not have noticed the urgency of the situation, nor Gary Bettman for that matter, but just because something’s not seen,…

Baseball

Opening Day not possible for Scott Podsednik

Scott Podsednik waited patiently this past offseason for a phone call from a major league team with a job offer. After all, the veteran outfielder was coming off a respectable season split between the Royals and Dodgers where he hit .297/.342/.382 with 40 walks, seven triples, and 35 stolen bases. You might assume that he expected that call early in the offseason, seeing how he had posted decent overall numbers in each of his last…

Baseball

Clearing the air between Andrew McCutchen and Matt Wieters

When the Pittsburgh Pirates visited the Baltimore Orioles for a spring training contest on Monday, there was little excitement following their lopsided 8-2 loss. That was until Pirates’ center fielder Andrew McCutchen had some choice words for Matt Wieters concerning a play at the plate in the top of the fifth inning of Monday’s tilt. “I don’t know what [Wieters] was thinking,” McCutchen said to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review on Tuesday. “It’s spring training. We’re not…

Baseball

Dustin McGowan still hopeful to start for Blue Jays

Earlier this week, Blue Jays manager John Farrell announced that oft-injured right-handed pitcher Dustin McGowan will continue his current rehabilitation with the intent of returning, not as a starter, but a reliever. “We’re going to groom him as a reliever now,” Farrell said. “Medically, that’s the advice we’ve been given top to bottom.” For McGowan, a first-round pick by the Jays in 2000, a return to the Majors in the bullpen makes the most sense…

Baseball

All-Star Twins have eyes set on Toronto

Spring Training is meant to be a time for players to regain whatever shape they may have lost in the offseason. For the Minnesota Twins, nothing could be further from the truth. Right now, three of the biggest Twin names are coming back from various injuries. Joe Mauer had off season surgery on his left knee, Joe Nathan missed all of 2010 after having Tommy John surgery, and Justin Morneau is recovering from a concussion…