July 2011

Reviews

The Last Night of the Yankee Dynasty (2004)

Rating: 8.5/10 I never cared about Cal Ripken. Ty Cobb is a name in the record books and Hank Aaron’s a grainy highlight reel of a man running the bases. Pete Rose exists to me only for the controversy, not for the phenomenal athlete he was. I care about Derek Jeter and I cared about his 3,000th hit. Few players, if any, inspire the same reactions that Jeter does: you like him a lot or…

Football

Is Donovan McNabb the new Brett Favre?

The Minnesota Vikings are no strangers to quarterback drama. They’ve been one of the most notable NFL teams on that front over the past few years, first benching Tavaris Jackson for veteran Gus Frerotte midway through the 2008 season, then luring Brett Favre out of retirement before 2009 and doing so again before 2010. Now, they’re back in the headlines again; despite drafting Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder 12th overall this offseason, the Vikings just swung a trade for embattled Washington…

Basketball

Andre Drummond, Shabazz Muhammad and the new CBA

With the expiration of the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement on July 1, and negotiations stalled until August, many issues have been blamed for this lockout. One talking point in particular, however, could impact the careers of high school phenoms Andre Drummond and Shabazz Muhammad. While not the central concern of either side, the age limit which currently rules players ineligible to declare for the NBA Draft until they are one year removed from their high school graduation, is a topic…

Hockey

Leaders of the 2011-12 workhorse rookie class

One of the more prominent story lines heading into NHL training camps each fall is the “rookie factor.” While the top five picks from the most recent draft class are expected year-after-year to dazzle in training camp and potentially make the big team’s roster, there are always a handful of later picks from prior years that make noise in their freshman season. These dark horses pay their dues and are only rewarded when sustained production…

Football

East Carolina and the Ghosts of the Air Raid

The saga of Craig James, Mike Leach and Texas Tech has left its impacts all over the map of college football, but one of the most interesting residues of that era is at a small Conference USA school: East Carolina University. The ECU Pirates have been playing football since 1932 but haven’t found all that much success over time, and are perhaps mostly known to college football fans for having coaches Pat Dye and Skip Holtz pass through on their way to jobs at…

Baseball

The torn tendon: Jake Peavy’s return from an unprecedented injury

Both the life and baseball career of Chicago White Sox pitcher Jake Peavy have been all about finding and claiming new, rare territory. He is one of just 10 pitchers in National League history to win the Cy Young Award with a unanimous vote, one of two players to ever win a Cy Young Award without pitching a complete game, and only the eighth player in the divisional era to win the pitching Triple Crown; leading his…

Hockey

The ever-growing issue of the Hockey Hall of Fame induction process

This November, Ed Belfour, Doug Gilmour, Mark Howe and Joe Nieuwendyk will comprise theHockey Hall of Fame’s class of 2011. All were more than worthy selections, boasting a combined five Stanley Cup rings, over 3,000 career points and multiple individual awards. However, there was one glaring omission: Pat Burns. Burns, who passed away November, 2010 after a lengthy battle with cancer, was snubbed for the second straight year despite an NHL resume that speaks loudly. Burns won a Stanley Cup with the…

Basketball

David Salinas’ suicide and the shady side of the NCAA

There’s a messy, tragic scandal brewing in the quote-unquote world of “amateur” basketball. It involves AAU coach David Salinas, who allegedly ran a Ponzi scheme that cost a number of NCAA basketball coaches millions of dollars, before being found shot dead of an apparent suicide at his Friendsworth, Texas home on July 19. Salinas operated an AAU basketball program in Houston, Texas, where his Houston Select Basketball would develop a number of prospects into future stars in college and the NBA, including this year’s…

Football

The quiet emergence of Brandon Lloyd

If you asked an average NFL fan who led the league in receiving yards last season, they might not be able to tell you. It wasn’t Larry Fitzgerald or Reggie Wayne, Andre Johnson or Roddy White. It was, if the headline of the story didn’t already give it away, Brandon Lloyd of the Denver Broncos. Prior to his 2010 season, Brandon Lloyd was most known for being one of the biggest free-agent busts in recent history. After signing a…

Baseball

Duck, duck, closer! Philadelphia’s relief pitching ensemble

The MLB closer is one of the most volatile positions in all of sports. Although occasionally ninth inning responsibilities change hands as the result of injury, more often than not, poor performance is the main cause for any turnover, the rate of which, between closers on Opening Day and at the end of the season is typically above the 50% mark. This year, several closers have already been relieved of their roles – Frank Francisco, Brandon Lyon…