Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Barry Zito - Outstanding

By Kalen Patrick

First things first, Barry Zito will NEVER EVER live up to the contract, so just throw that thought away. But today's performance (6/28/11 vs Chicago Cubs) was awesome. The guy has all the pressure in the world on him, and every pitch is basically scrutinized. After 2 months on the DL he comes out and pitches 7 innings, giving up 2 ER and only walking 2. Basically did everything he was asked and more. Now if Zito can start putting out consistent quality starts, it will give the Giants a lot of flexibility moving forward this year.


If Zito can rediscover himself, Vogelsong can keep pitching well, then that makes erratic Jonathan Sanchez expendable. You put Sanchez and a decent prospect out there and you may get some teams willing to part with a good bat. I'm definitely not saying up and do that right now, lets see Zito pitch some more, lets see if Vogelsong can stay consistent. The Giants are a team that is built for the playoffs, as 2010 showed, when you have pitching like they have, you can beat ANY team in a 5/7 game series.

Giants are a season high 12 games above .500 and it begs the question; How good would this team be with Buster Posey? Back to Zito, props for a great game tonight and looking forward to seeing him hopefully continue along this path.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Could the 49ers use another Rice?

By Kalen Patrick

We all know the greatest Wide Receiver of all time is and probably always will be Jerry Rice, name every noteworthy receiving record and odds are you will see Jerry Rice's name there. He will always be remembered for his superb superbowl performances, work ethic and being unstoppable once he put on #80. The times sure have changed in San Francisco, but maybe we can see another Rice sporting the Red and Gold. I am talking about Sidney Rice who is a free agent.

Sidney Rice has proven to be a legitimate threat in the West Coast offense up in Minnesota, funny, the 49ers just hired a guy who will be running that offense in Jim Harbaugh, the 49ers starting receivers are Josh Morgan and Michael Crabtree. I do love Crabtree's potential, but I just don't know if or how much he really wants to be in San Francisco. First the obvious long hold out his rookie year, then sitting out the entire pre-season last year and this year he is the last of the notable players to show up for offseason workouts. Again, I love his potential and think he CAN be a superstar player, he just doesn't want to be....in San Francisco. I think you can invest in Sidney Rice, maybe swing a trade to get rid of Crabtree. Does seem a little drastic, and I'm basing this off pure speculation, but it may be what's best for the 49ers.

Lets summarize: He has the experience in a West Coast offense, he has leaping ability far superior to any other 49er receiver and would make for a redzone nightmare for opposing defenses and just by his last name the fans would immediately flock to stores to buy the jersey and would become a fan favorite in no time. It's a perfect match, Kaepernick is gonna need a big target on the edge and Mr. Rice is the right guy for the job.

It will have been a long time since the 49ers will have seen a Wide Receiver sporting a Rice jersey on the field, but to me it would be an excellent fit. Of course Sidney can't wear the #80 but I'm thinking Rice #18 would look pretty darn good. Sidney Rice, Josh Morgan, Vernon Davis, Delanie Walker, Frank Gore in a west coast offense AND add in an extra 2nd round pick for Crabtree? I like that. I like that a lot.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Buffalo Bills New Uniforms

By: Kalen Patrick

Yes, the lockout has lasted so long that I've gotten to the point where I wanna talk about uniforms. Fortunately this is a good uniform change, the Bills uniforms were way too bland and forgettable, the changes they have made are definitely for the better. Bringing back more of an old school-ish type look which is becoming more and more popular among teams (see 49ers, and teams wearing throwback uniforms more and more). I can be pretty harsh and pretty critical when it comes to this sort of stuff, but everything I have seen from these look awesome. Check out these pictures:


One of my favorite touches to the uniforms are the flying bull right above the Name on the back of the jersey. The colors are awesome, the helmets are awesome. I think it is a HUGE improvement over what they have been wearing. Not that I would plan on ever getting a Bills jersey, but it looks cool, and now is a great time to release them as they are playing more in Toronto and are expanding the fanbase.

Now all we need are the Broncos and Buccaneers to go back to these full-time and all would be right with the world.

I know the Bucs old school uniforms get a lot of hate but there is something about it that I love. Let me know what uniforms you think teams should go back to or what your favorite obscure jerseys are. 

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Top 6

Team        Wins
Phillies        48
Yankees      44
Red Sox      44
Braves        44
Giants         43
Rays           43

Here are the top 6 teams by winning percentage. The biggest shock on my part are the San Francisco Giants. YES, I am an avid Giants fan...but, that doesn't mean I can't be equally as surprised by their chance at a repeat playoff run after all of the 2011 injuries. 

Buter Posey
Freddy Sanchez 
Brian Wilson
Cody Ross
Mike Fontenot
Brandon Belt
Barry Zito
Mark De Rossa
Jonathan Sanchez 
Pablo Sandoval
Darren Ford

The team has had its fare deal of injuries the first half of the season, (twice as many as the whole 2010 season) but the Giants are in 1st place in the NL West and have the 5th best winning percentage in all of baseball. 

Pitching and winning in 1 run games is what sets this team apart from the rest and keeps them in competition with all if the injuries. 

Friday, June 24, 2011

Kalens MLB Weekly Power Rankings

By Kalen Patrick

Here we go with another addition of my baseball power rankings, big changes all across the board at the top, while the bottom teams continue to struggle. Also have added a new section called Who's Hot and Who's Not. Lets do this.

Top 5
1 (2) Philadelphia Phillies (47-29) - Phillies have the best winning % in baseball at .618, the bats have been waking up as of late and their pitching has allowed the fewest runs in all of baseball. Hard to top that. NL's team to beat.

2 (1) - Boston Red Sox (44-30) - The Red Sox have the best hitter in Baseball (Adrian Gonzalez), the best pitcher (Josh Beckett), the best record in the AL and the best offense in Baseball. Any questions?

3 (5) - New York Yankees (43-30) - Yeesh I promise I don't work for ESPN and I promise I don't have any kind of East Coast bias, but even I can admit that these are the best 3 teams in Baseball. Yankees have the best run differential in the Majors (+92) and are right in line to fight the Red Sox for the AL East/Wild Card crown.

4 (NR) - Atlanta Braves (43-33) - One of the most underrated and forgotten teams in all of Baseball. The pitching has been outstanding, 2nd in ERA, 1st in WHIP and 1st in BAA. The Braves Jair Jurrjens and Tommy Hanson are #1 and #2 respectively in ERA in the NL. While the offense has been struggling the return of Jayson Heyward should help and they look to be right in the thick of the playoff race.

5 (NR) Arizona Diamondbacks (42-34) - I guess these D-Backs aren't going anywhere, with all the injuries the Giants have suffered, it really has opened up a great opportunity to make some noise and give them a realistic shot at playoffs. While I question whether they can maintain this level of play through the season, right now they are playing very well.

Bottom 5
26 (27) - San Diego Padres (32-44) - The Padres are tied for the fewest runs scored in Baseball and they somehow have an awful home record at 14-26. 3-7 in their last 10 games and thats including the 2 game win streak they are on now. Weird how things have gone so far south compared to last year.

27 (26) - Florida Marlins (33-42) - The Marlins are 1-9 in their last 10 games, Hanley Ramirez looks washed up (at 27?), the coaching change is a major hit or miss move and they suffer from having almost no fans show up to games. Pretty bleak.


28 (28) - Chicago Cubs (30-44) - This team is the highest paid bunch of losers I have ever seen. Prince Fielder said he would be open to signing with the Cubs in the offseason? Why? (oh yeah the insane money he will get). This is what I wrote last week and nothing has changed.

29 (NR) Kansas City Royals (31-44) - Fewest wins in the AL, 3-7 in their last 10 games, and while the Royals have some promising prospects coming up and playing respectably, this is a team that will be relevant come 2013.

30 (29) - Houston Astros (28-48) - The Astros are already 20 games below .500, have allowed the most runs in Baseball and have the worst run differential at -72. This team is in full rebuild mode, would trading Hunter Pence be the best way to get some promising prospects?

Who's Hot?
Teams that are deserving of honorable mentions here are the Washington Nationals who are 9-1 in their last 10 games and they have beaten some damn good teams lately. This team could be a force in a few years when Strasburg is back, Harper gets to the Majors and other prospects come up. The Oakland A's have stepped their game up, sweeping the Giants and getting a 6 game winning streak going. The Minnesota Twins are 8-2 in their last 10 games and have been just as hot as the Nationals.

Who's Not?
Besides for all the teams in the Bottom 5, the leading teams in the NL Central have been struggling, both the Cardinals (who are now minus Pujols until mid August) and Brewers are 3-7 in their last 10 and have allowed the Reds to get right back in the race despite only playing .500 ball lately.

Check back in next week for another edition of my Weekly Power Rankings and my new section of Who's Hot and Who's Not.

TIMMY'S BACK! Who I Thank May Surprise You..

Tim Lincecum became Tim Lincecum again during Thursday's 2 to 1 victory over the Twins. His 12 strikeout performance through 7 superb innings is more than just an amazing performance on the mound, it's an extreme  confidence boost for the 2 time Cy Young Award  winner who has been, to say the least...less than himself lately. 

Lincecum notes that his success today was due in part from pulling old words of wisdom from his Father and also former man behind the dish, Bengie Molina. While there is no arguing that we need not to challenge whatever pulled him in the right direction again, I have a few ideas of my own.

First and formost, Tim Lincecum is a competitor. When put to the test he is an amazing athlete and more importantly the caption of a World Championship team. The true person i'm thanking for Lincecum's path to Lincecumness is Ryan Volgelsog. With a microscopic ERA, which dropped to a 1.86 against the Twins on Wednesday Volgelsong's pitching is among the best in all of baseball.  And with another start, All Star worthy.

A starting pitching staff works off one another in unison, feeding of one another and wanting to push the staff to the next level. I for one believe that the Ryan Volgelsong story is what is pushing Lincecum back into predatory mode, and for someone with back to back Cy Youngs and a World Championship under their built that's saying something. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Newest Sports Cave Authors

So in addition to me, we will have the previously mentioned Michael write, as well as our newest members Leon and Pat. Leon is an LA native while Pat hails from Philly. Will be cool getting perspectives from fans of teams from outside the Bay Area.

NFL - Crazy Times Ahead

By Kalen
In recent reports from reputable sources like ESPN's Chris Mortensen and SI's Peter King, all indications are the talks between the NFL Owners and Players Association have been very positive. It has been speculated that a deal could be reached and Free Agency could be upon us in mid-July. If this happens, well let the craziness begin!

The Free Agency period is always a crazy time of year, but this year it would be magnified 10 fold. Teams will be scrambling to sign their draft picks, re-signing their own potential free agents, looking in to signing undrafted rookie free agents and then of course bringing in other teams free agents. And for the cherry on top, players and coaches will be extremely busy planning Training Camp practice sessions and in the film room all day. So now I wanna give my thoughts on some of the burning questions many people will have. Lets do this.

Question #1
Which rookies (defense and offense) will have the biggest and most successful impact?
Offense: Julio Jones WR - Atlanta Falcons. Jones basically has everything going for him, he is in by far the best situation to succeed compared to any other rookie. He has a very talented franchise QB throwing to him, the Falcons already have well established veteran weapons in Roddy White, Tony Gonzalez and Michael Jenkins and they have a great Offensive Coordinator in Mike Mularkey. While we can argue how much it cost the Falcons to land Jones, I absolutely envision a big season for the rookie. If I had to guess I'm thinking he has approximately 900-1000 yards and 5+ TD's. Teams won't be able to matchup with the Falcons receivers and I also predict for Matt Ryan to have best season by far as a pro.

Defense: Aldon Smith OLB/DE - San Francisco 49ers - In a recent post, I talked about how initially the pick seemed like a headscratcher, but in fact Aldon looks to be in a perfect situation to succeed. He will be the Demarcus Ware/Clay Matthews of the defense, his responsibility will be to get the QB or go where the ball goes. And I think he will be damn good at it. Of course being a 49er fan my opinion is biased but I don't care, he is not even close to being the focus of an opposing OC, and should be able to make many plays. It's too tough to predict tackle numbers, but I think he shocks the NFL world by attaining 10+ sacks and help the 49ers have one of the top defenses in the league.

Question #2
Where will Nnamdi Asomugha end up?
To answer this question, lets ask ourselves some other questions, what team has an obvious need at CB, has money to spend and is gonna be competitive right now? OK so the team I am going to say is more a team that is projected to be competitive. I'm gonna throw a curveball and say the Detroit Lions make the move to bring in Asomugha. Can you imagine that defense then? Suh, Fairley anchoring the line with arguably the best CB in the backfield. The Lions need help in their secondary, especially at CB. Asomugha is as shutdown as they come and would help tremendously in stopping the pass happy NFC North opponents. The Lions are most peoples surprise team, but if they add Asomugha they won't be sneaking up on anybody. Other possible destinations include: Baltimore, San Francisco, San Diego, Pittsburgh.

Question #3
Where will the following QB's play in 2011; Carson Palmer, Kevin Kolb, Donovan McNabb and Kyle Orton?
Lets take it in the order I posted, if you guys have checked out my older posts, you'd already know my answers to Palmer and Kolb, I will keep it short, Palmer goes to Arizona and Kolb goes to Seattle. Both teams need franchise quality QB's and those QB's fit their potential respective teams perfectly. As for McNabb? I think he ends up in Minnesota. I don't think you wanna throw Ponder to the wolves just yet. McNabb can suffice for most of 2011 and give them a fighting chance. I think Orton probably stays in Denver for this year. It's a big transition year in Denver and while Tebow looked well in his play time in 2011, you can't trade away Orton just yet until the new coaching staff knows and trusts Tebow to be 'the guy'.

These were all the questions I could think of right now, if anyone has any questions just let me know and I will try and give my best answer. It's great hearing some positive news about the NFL and I for one am sooooo ready for some crazy times ahead!

Kalen from the Sports Cave.

New Author!!

By Kalen
So the Sports Cave will now have an extra author, Michael Marino. Bay Area Native, the only guy I know personally who's a bigger Giants fan than me and that's saying something. Super cool dude who knows his stuff, will be cool to get some thoughts from another writer on the blog. Make sure you guys all check back regularly to read what Michael and I have to write. The Sports Cave.


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Trade Idea - Giants Edition

By Kalen
Just been mulling over some ideas for what the Giants could do in terms of what trades they could look to make.

Trade Idea #1 - San Francisco Giants trade SP Barry Zito to the Chicago Cubs for OF Alfonso Soriano, Giants also pay 7 million of Barry Zito's contract in 2012 and 2013.


The Reasoning - The Cubs wanna cut payroll as they are not a contending team. They save 7 million over the next 2 years, plus their pitching is extremely weak and could use another SP like Zito. The Giants don't need Zito as they have 5 capable starters, they are a contender and could use a bat like Soriano's. You put Soriano on the Giants team right now and he is instantly right there with Sandoval as the best hitter. Then lets take a look at the Giants 2012 lineup:
Torres CF
Sanchez 2B
Sandoval 3B
Posey C
Huff/Belt 1B
Soriano LF
Schierholtz/Ross RF
Crawford/Burriss SS
Pitchers Spot

Not exactly a muderer's row, but nothing to laugh at either. The Giants with their pitching staff in their prime, need to capitalize and be in win now mode. The Giants should also have the money to spend especially when guys like Rowand, Tejada and DeRosa come off the books. They are top 3 in attendance, with playoff and World Series success have made huge sums of money. I'm not saying Soriano is the difference between winning and losing, but it helps to solve a major weakness, and would essentially come at a price of approximately 3 years 21 million (Same as Juan Uribe got from the Dodgers).

Other players who would cost a lot more in terms of trade chips could be: Hunter Pence, Hanley Ramirez, Jose Reyes. While all these guys would help, I just don't imagine the Giants making this drastic a trade.

Kalen from the Sports Cave.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Favorite NFL Players to Watch

By Kalen
So I thought it would be fun to think about who my favorite NFL player to watch is. Now the first and only rule is you cannot choose someone on the team you root for, so for me that means no 49ers. I am going to pick an offensive and defensive player.

Offensive Player
For my offensive player I have to go with a player who should have been a 49er. Recent superbowl winner and QB of the Green Bay Packers Aaron Rodgers. Back in the 2005 NFL Draft I didn't pay particular attention to the prospects, all I knew is we needed a QB, so at the time I would have been happy with either Alex Smith or Aaron Rodgers. Obviously if I could go back in time, it would be Rodgers 100%. My inner die hard 49er part of me says I should hate Rodgers, not only because he should have been ours, but he plays for the Packers, who have thwarted my Niners way too many times in the playoffs. However, I really don't has any hatred or root against him whenever I watch him (and I try to make that as often as possible). The only time I'm ever wishing him to flat out fail is when he does play my 49ers.

There is just something about the guy, he is confident, a little cocky, but the best thing about him is he (like Bret Favre) just looks like he loves playing the game and is not afraid to express that. For the record I do not like Favre at all. Not only does Rodgers play in one of the most exciting offenses in the NFL, but he has charisma through the roof and you never know what's gonna happen. Whether Aaron is doing his famous championship belt celebration, or running around scrambling looking for an open player or making a seemingly impossible pass through 3 defenders hitting the receiver in stride, its all just awesome. And I feel like Aaron is a guy who uses words like 'Awesome' and 'Sick'. There is zero doubt in my mind that if he had become a 49ers (like he should have) he would be far and away my favorite player in the whole League.

In a way I'm glad that he went to Green Bay, in terms of purely watching the guy play, he would have had a much much tougher time in SF, and I don't know if he becomes the player that he is, had the 49ers taken him. Honestly, I've gotten over the fact we don't and never will have him. Rodgers is definitely a top 5 QB in the NFL along with Brady, P.Manning, Brees and Roethlisberger. As great as those other guys are, some are just too business like (Brady and Manning), one is an asshole (Big Ben) and Brees, well I don't have anything bad to say about the guy, just don't relate to him as much as I do Rodgers. I'm looking forward to seeing him play for the next 5-10 years and hope my 49ers can take him down a couple times.

Defensive Player
This one at first was a little bit tougher than the offensive player, but when the player came to mind, I wondered how I didn't think of him within a micro-second. My vote for favorite defensive player has to be Darrelle Revis of the New York Jets. You know when you have a bunch of nicknames that odds are you're a pretty good player "Revis Island" "Revis Christ" for examples. Look I get that typically the Jets are a kind of team where if you aren't a Jets fan, odds are you hate them. But not me, one of my best friends being a Jets fan, makes them my defacto AFC team. Enough about the Jets though and more about Revis. The NFL has made it so difficult for CB's to actually be shutdown players, you breathe on a Wide Receiver and you see the yellow flags being thrown. But Revis is a legit shutdown CB. The only players who I'd throw to with Revis on them would be Larry Fitzgerald, Andre Johnson and Calvin Johnson. Any other times, I'm using my #1 WR as a decoy, because there is almost no point throwing their way with Revis on them.


What impressed me most was his 2009 season, no receiver had over 60 yards on him in any game. That is insane with some of the talent he was locking down (Randy Moss twice when he cared and had Brady throwing him the ball, and most other top flight AFC receivers). Then in week 17 Revis made Chad Ochocinco look useless. A week later in an AFC Wildcard game and repeat of week 17 matchup between the Jets and Bengals. OchoCinco got essentially shut out and made look a fool after Ocho did his usual talking mid week. But Revis made sure he never had a chance. Every time Carson Palmer would look his way and throw it, you saw #24 all over him....all game long. I questioned so may times why they even would throw his way? Made no sense. Even more impressive was that Revis became Ocho's shadow and had few to no penalties called against him. Now I understand Chad is not the greatest receiver in the NFL, but he was a damn good one and looked like PJ Fleck out there (49er fans would get this).

He along with Asomugha are the only 2 legit Corners, who not make but force offensive-coordinators and QB's to question themselves. I got to witness some years of Deion Sanders, Champ Bailey was a shutdown CB for some years, but Revis and Asomugha are the future at CB.

Let me know yours guys' favorite players to watch!

Kalen from the Sports Cave

Friday, June 17, 2011

Aldon Smith - The 'Other' A.Smith

By Kalen
With the 7th pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, the San Francisco 49ers select Aldon Smith, Defensive End Missouri. After Roger Goodell had said the previous words, followed confusion and anger among many 49er fans (including myself). I was 100% positive the 49ers would be taking Prince Amukamara or Blaine Gabbert, but no, the 49ers selected Aldon Smith or as I called him on facebook immediately after, Aldon who?


Already I feel like Aldon Smith has become forgotten, which is so strange for such a high draft pick. Of course the NFL Lockout probably has a lot to do with this, but I still find it strange that the 7th overall pick is getting zero media attention in the Bay Area. Aldon Smith in my opinion has higher potential than 2nd overall pick Von Miller, of course my opinion is biased but even Miller himself kind of agreed with me. Miller was asked who he thought would be Defensive Rookie of the Year, did he say himself? Patrick Peterson? Marcell Dareus? No he said he thought it would be Aldon. Throughout the entire draft preparation process, Miller would have gotten to know the other top Defensive prospects very well, there must have been something about Aldon that thought "Hey, this guy is the real deal". 

While so many draft experts called the pick a 'reach', I say, wait 3 years and then see if the pick was a reach. When I first started watching the draft, I would slam every team that "reached" for a guy, but when I realized that players who were considered steals failed just as often as players who were considered reaches, I came to the conclusion, that every team has their guy. No GM or scouting department is perfect. The draft prep process is so long and detailed, I never buy when "draft experts" say one team panicked when a player got picked, and then reached. That is the biggest load of garbage I have ever heard. These guys have spent months and months, planning out the draft days, you think GM's don't have a Plan B, C, D, E, F? Come on now!

Of course the 49ers wanted Patrick Peterson there at 7, but I have no doubt in my mind, that the 49ers had imagined every possible scenario of what could happen, and then took the best player available on their board (Aldon Smith). Trent Baalke mentioned, calling teams to trade down, sure, in a perfect world the 49ers get an extra pick or two and still get Aldon but it takes two to tango and it takes two teams to make a trade work. 49ers tried and didn't get an offer they liked, so they took the guy they had highest rated on the board. After some research into the pick, I love it more and more.

In the 2009 college season Aldon may have been one of the top pass rushers in college, in 2010 he suffered through an injured year, yet played through it (shows toughness and competitiveness), had a productive year all things considered, and is 100% healthy as we speak. He has a variety of moves and has potential through the roof. I know potential is one of those words people tend to hate, but this guy seems to have all the tools to succeed. Not to mention he is going to a defense which will be very aggressive under new Defensive Coordinator Vic Fangio. What Clay Matthews does in Green Bay, is what Aldon will do in San Francisco, only difference is Aldon will have the best MLB in the league beside him in Patrick Willis. 

If I'm 49ers GM Trent Baalke, I'm building the defense around these 2 guys, meaning, you have to give them protection with a good D-Line, and always put them in a position to play to their strengths. Which is why I think the 49ers should do what they can to bring back Aubrayo Franklin, Takeo Spikes and Manny Lawson. These 3 players are very talented, and along with Pro-Bowler Justin Smith, provide enough talent to allow guys like Willis and Aldon to make plays. I think Aldon is in the perfect defense for his skills, I think he will become a star in this league, I think he will be a pro-bowler, and I think the NFL world will soon (if there is football) know the name Aldon Smith, even if most 49er fans don't right now. 

This is Kalen from The Sports Cave. SPREAD THE WORD.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

MLB Weekly Power Rankings

By Kalen
Here we go for another dose of the weekly power rankings in Baseball. The Cleveland Indians have fallen all the way back down to Earth and more, throwing away their big lead in the AL Central. Staying in that division, the Twins are showing signs of life and getting Joe Mauer back soon will be huge. Lets now get to the top 5 and bottom 5 teams in my opinion. The rankings I have are based between both Overall record and how the team has played the last week. Lets do this.

Top 5
1 (2)  Boston Red Sox (40-27) - Hitting has been exceptional, pitching has been superb and this team seems almost unbeatable, hence why the Red Sox are 9-1 in their last 10 games. Adrian Gonzalez is making a case for AL MVP so far and Josh Beckett for AL Cy Young.

2 (NR) Philadelphia Phillies (43-26) - Best record in Baseball, and they are finally getting hot with the bats. The team to beat in the National League for now. With this pitching staff it will be hard to stop them when they can hit too.

3 (5) San Francisco Giants (39-29) - May call this a 'homer' ranking, I will absolutely admit this is not the 3rd most talented roster, but my Giants just keep on winning despite big injuries to notable players at key positions. 7-3 in their last 10 and Aubrey Huff seems to be getting hot.

4 (NR) Milwaukee Brewers (39-30) - The Brewers have snatched the lead in the NL Central from the slumping Cardinals. All round good team, I look for the Brewers to be very active to add a piece or two at the trade deadline as they make a push for the World Series.

5 (NR) New York Yankees (38-28) - Keeping pace with the Red Hot Red Sox, suffered some notable injuries this week (Derek Jeter and Bartolo Colon), this teams depth at pitching will be put to the ultimate test. One stat to note is the Yankees are 37-20 against teams not called the Boston Red Sox.

Bottom 5
26 (NR) Florida Marlins (32-36) - My how things have turned for the worse, lost 6 in a row, 1-9 in their last 10 games and Josh Johnson has been put on the 60 Day DL. They are also 3-17 since the game where Scott Cousins took out Buster Posey (Karma?).

27 (NR) San Diego Padres (30-40) - You know your team is in trouble when your home record is 14-26, yet they are 2 games over .500 on the road? The Padres have the fewest runs scored in the Majors.

28 (29) Chicago Cubs (27-40) - This team is the highest paid bunch of losers I have ever seen. Prince Fielder said he would be open to signing with the Cubs in the offseason? Why? (oh yeah the insane money he will get)

29 (27) Houston Astros (25-44) - Worst win % in Baseball (.362) and they have the worst run differential too (-77). What else is there to be said?

30 (30) Oakland Athletics (29-40) - They don't score runs, their pitching has struggled and they have injuries left right and center. Is it any wonder the A's have to offer $2 Wednesdays just to get people to show up to watch this team?

That's the rankings for this week. Let me know what you guys think, give your thoughts on my rankings and let me know where you'd rank the teams. Kalen from the Sports Cave.


NFL Next Stop - Los Angeles?

By Kalen
The NFL is so popular that it has vaulted to the top of North American sports and all this without the 2nd largest sports market (LA) not even having a team. I go back and forth as to which team or even should there be a team to move to LA. Yes I do think a team should be relocated to Los Angeles, while many will speak about how the NFL is fine the way it is so why mess with what works? While true in some regards I feel the strength of the NFL the last 10 years has been its ability to adapt and change for the better at the right time. I think now is the right time to get serious about putting a team in LA.


This begs the question, which team should move to LA? In a recent report, Tim Leiweke CEO of AEG (the company building the proposed stadium in LA) has contacted 5 potential teams about coming to the city of Angels Story Here . The 5 teams were: the Chargers, Raiders, Rams, Vikings and Jaguars. I look at this list and immediately, I wanna take the Vikings and remove them from this list. Minnesota has had the Vikings for what seems like an eternity, they have too much history there and it would be too big a shame to just up and get rid of the great rivalries they have with the other NFC North teams.

The next team I look at and don't buy may be a little surprising but I really don't think the Raiders will be moved back to LA. They have history in LA obviously, but I feel like the team left under bad circumstances. While a team should be in LA, I feel the Bay Area has proven to be big enough to support both the 49ers and Raiders. Plus the Oakland Raiders just sounds right and I feel they a too big a part of the East Bay community to go without a fight. If given the choice between no team or the Raiders, I'm guessing they would take the Raiders, but I just feel like Leiweke would prefer to go in another direction. Al Davis while probably nearing the end of his ownership, is too unpredictable for LA, he could be there for 5 years and then up and move back to Oakland. Too many question marks with the Raiders.

While the Jaguars seem to be the likely choice to move to LA because they are a newer team, lets not forget that they have been around for some time now, 16 years to be exact. They do have history there, and while I could imagine the Jags relocating in the future, I just don't think it will be all the way over to the West Coast. The NFL doesn't have a history of moving teams that far (Oakland to LA, LA to St. Louis, Houston to Tennessee). If the Jags move I feel it would be to a closer location, especially somewhere in football country like Alabama or Oklahoma.

This leaves us with 2 options then, the Rams and the Chargers. Both would be very good options for LA in my opinion. Between these two teams I feel that it should be the St. Louis Rams that move. The Rams have also received a lukewarm reception in St. Louis besides for the winning seasons with Kurt Warner and the Greatest Show on Turf. Besides for that whenever the 49ers or other teams visit the Edward Dome in St. Louis, I see way too many empty seats and it just feels like St. Louis has always been a Baseball town, with the Rams playing 2nd to the Cardinals and the Blues having big support there too.

The Rams have a bright future with their franchise QB in Sam Bradford, and Steven Jackson and Chris Long provide other superstar players. I feel that if the Chargers are moved up to LA that, fans in LA would feel the team still belongs to San Diego and would be more of a Southern California Chargers and not their own team. One thing is for sure, a team will be in LA sooner or later, I think the Rams should be the team to move.
I look forward to hearing your guys opinion on my ideas and would like to hear your own ideas.

Kalen from the Sports Cave, SPREAD THE WORD

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Baseball Realignment - My Thoughts

By Kalen
Personally I like how Baseball is with the number of teams going through, it makes it so the best of the best get in, unlike football where teams like Seattle with a 7-9 record get in or in Basketball where the 1st round tends to be a snoozefest the majority of the time. However, I can and do understand the arguments for adding 2 extra teams to the playoffs. And not only this but maybe realigning the divisions too. Is it really fair to have teams like Baltimore and Toronto have to compete with the likes of Boston and New York year in and year out? I think changes can be made without having to completely alter the game. The beauty of this debate is hearing all the interesting ideas people come up with. Here are my thoughts:

What to do with the Divisions? - I've heard arguments that have just 1 division in the AL and NL, and the top 4 teams go though and so on and so forth. This is an intriguing idea but not one I agree with. One of the beautiful things about baseball are the rivalries and division teams playing each other regularly, Boston vs New York, San Francisco vs LA Dodgers, St. Louis vs Chicago Cubs. Not only this, but having the Mets and the Padres in the same division means so much more travel in an already crazy schedule for the players.
Here is my idea, move 1 of the National League teams to the American League. The easy choice has to be the Houston Astros, they are already a team re-building, a great rivalry can be made with the Rangers and they can be slotted in to the AL West. Thus giving each division 5 teams. I never understood why so many thought it was fair having 6 teams in the NL Central but only 4 in the AL West?


What to do with the Playoffs? - As I said before, I quite like how Baseball is done with the playoffs, but I can't help but think it can be improved. Hear me out on this, 10 teams go through, 5 in the AL and 5 in the NL. The winners of each of the divisions automatically go through to the 2nd round, so in both the AL and NL you have 2 teams play each other. 1 game, and whoever has the better record gets the home field advantage. Can you imagine how exciting this one game would be in each League? Imagine the Phillies, Cardinals and Giants win their respective divisions and then you have the Braves travel to the Brewers to play sudden death. How great of a start to the postseason would that be? What a way to kickstart it.

Minimum Team Salary - First off I want to say that Baseball will never be like the NFL where you can have 1 salary cap figure for every team, its just impossible. What my idea is to implement a minimum team salary that owners must spend. MLB needs to do this on a team by team basis, and the number is based on how much income the team gets. Example, the Yankees make so much more than the Pirates, so the minimum salaries are going to need to be significantly different. I just don't think it's fair or reasonable to fans of say the Pirates to look at their awful team of 18 straight years losing, most owners should wanna spend money to win and therefore make money. In recent years, all the Pirates have done is dump contract after contract and spend so little on the team and they just keep losing. I feel that owners of each team need to be serious about the team and not just in it to make money. This would be good for all the smaller markets like Kansas City, Florida, etc.


All in all I think Baseball is in a great position and with the pending Lockouts of both the NFL and MLB, they can hope to expect a big surge in interest. By possibly implementing my ideas I feel it could vault Baseball to be right there with Football and ahead of Basketball once again. The one issue you can say about Baseball, is the refusal to alter the game for the better. This is something that Football has been great at.

Baseball is my 2nd favorite sport behind......you guessed it Football. Who knows how that will go in the future? Giants are playing great and the 49ers have been tough to watch. I like the direction of the 49ers and the Giants and Bulls are all in great positions going forward. God it's good to be a sports fan.

Kalen from the Sports Cave. Check in tomorrow when I update my weekly MLB Power Rankings.


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The NFL Lockout - Where do you stand?

By Kalen
The most popular sport in the US has been locked out for over 3 months now and while we do hear rumors of progress being made, how much? We really don't know. What makes this Lockout so difficult is that both sides have valid arguments. Now while fans in general tend to agree with the players, there are numerous issues where I do have to side with the owners. I think that, ultimately the game will be better for the fans if the owners come out on the winning side of this (and they most likely will).


Now I don't think they should get everything they want, I do agree with several issues. Such as:

Installing a rookie salary cap - The draft was designed in order to help the bad teams get better, correct? Well the Raiders take Jamarcus Russell #1 overall, and at the time I think most people thought it was a solid choice. That Russell had all the talent, tools etc etc etc. 3 years and a guaranteed $32 million dollars later, Jamarcus is not only out of the NFL but out of sports. There is no such as a sure thing when it comes to the draft, why put teams in a horrible position should the draft pick not work out. It defies the logic of the draft. Also think about this, a lot of the guys coming in to the league are maybe 21 or 22? And they are being guaranteed $30-40 million now? What incentive do they have to put in the work? I know I know, the draft screening process should reveal this, but if so many draft "experts" get it wrong so often then can we really blame teams for this? I think the NBA has it right here, I think there should be a price slot allocated to each draft position and a contract of 3-4 years. Paying crazy money to rookies is already an insult to veterans who are proven, why potentially cripple an entire franchise over 1 selection not working out?

The future ramifications to fans - Should the owners lose out in the new CBA, you know prices for basically everything football related is going to increase significantly. Imagine ticket prices? Jersey prices? That $10 beer suddenly turns in to $15. And the NFL owners know they can do this and get away with it because of the popularity and demand for basically anything football related. Who knows how far owners could take things in order to recuperate the losses made, should the players come out on top.

Salary Cap needs to be reinstated - I'm not 100% sure on how the owners or players feel on this issue. I tend to feel that the owners would be in favor of the Salary Cap. It keeps things fair and keeps every team at a similar competitive level. Do we really want to see the Redskins and Cowboys turn in to the Red Sox and Yankees? I feel if owners are able to budget and know exactly where they stand financially with player contracts, we can expect better prices. Put a decent size Salary Cap in place and I think a minimum amount needs to also be implemented so the NFL does not have a Pittsburgh Pirates on their hands (18 straight losing seasons would never fly in the NFL).

A get out of Contract Clause - I think this should be implemented in most professional sports. What I mean by "get out of contract clause" is that teams should be able to terminate a contract with zero financial consequences under certain circumstances. I feel that a team should be able to put forth 1 contract per year for review by a neutral party (or else a party with an even vote between players association and league representatives). For example, lets say the San Francisco 49ers signed Nnamdi Asomugha and gave him a 7 year $100 million dollar contract. Now if Nnamdi comes in and plays well the Niners will have no problem paying him that. Now lets say if Nnamdi has constant injuries or else his level of play drops dramatically and he comes in to camp out of shape and is basically a huge bust, then the 49ers should be allowed put forth that contract to the 3rd party and from there a verdict can be made on how to restructure or terminate the contract. A good real life example would be Albert Haynesworth in Washington. Now there would have to be a drastic significant decrease in the level of play for a change to be made.

These are just some of the issues that I think I would favor the owners in AND would benefit the League. There are however many issues that I disagree with; such as retirement medical insurance, wanting players to play 2 extra regular season games without improving the current contracts or medical coverage. While 4 preseason games can be torturous, think about this, each team will have maybe 10 fringe players to make the 53 man roster and 8 to make the practice squad. That is 18 per team. We times that by 32 (for all the teams) and we get around 575 players who need all those 4 games to prove themselves to make the team in some capacity. Plus owners keep complaining about their high priced stars getting injured, yet you want more games to put them in harms way? In these cases it clearly can be perceived that the owners care about their wallet and not for the players health and safety.

The whole CBA issue is so complex, and there are so many issues which can be looked at so many ways that it's hard to even digest the whole issue. This is why it has and will take a long time to solve. Ultimately all I can ask for is we still have the game we all love back ASAP and not ruined by this whole ordeal.

Let me know what you guys think about my points, let me know what issues of the CBA are on your mind and maybe we can get a discussion going. Thanks for reading (if you made it this far).

This is Kalen from the Sports Cave.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Can the Giants Survive?

By Kalen
Just when things start to look like they will be getting better with the imminent return of Pablo Sandoval, the Giants most consistent hitter Freddy Sanchez goes down with a dislocated shoulder and the prognosis does not look good. The Giants are now missing their 2 most reliable hitters at very key positions, Posey at Catcher and Sanchez at 2B. It is very hard to find much depth at these positions as opposed to finding a new OF or 1B which is what makes these injuries even worse. Do I think the Giants can still make the playoffs? Yes, I think they CAN make the playoffs, and when you get in to the playoffs, anything can happen. Especially when you have pitching like the Giants do (ranking 4th in the Majors in ERA and that with Lincecum struggling his last few times out).

The Giants however do have a lot of work to do, Sandoval is coming back tomorrow and I project the starting lineup to look like:
Andres Torres CF
Emmanuel Burriss 2B
Pablo Sandoval 3B
Aubrey Huff 1B
Cody Ross LF
Nate Schierholtz RF
Brandon Crawford SS
Eli Whiteside C

Now that lineup is not gonna put much fear into any Pitcher, I do think it is scrappy enough to pull out some wins, the Giants will have solid guys off the bench with Rowand, Burrell, Fontenot, Gillaspie, Belt. I expect a nice rotation of players as Bochy looks to fine tune the lineup and see what works best. I do however think the Giants should make 2 moves to help solidify this hitting.

First of all, I cannot believe the Giants haven't already been aggressive in getting Bengie Molina to come back. Molina knows the pitching staff very well, especially Lincecum, Cain, Sanchez and Wilson, he has proven to be an every day catcher, and he can hit some, much better than Whiteside. Molina just 2 years ago ended a season with 20HR's 80RBI and a .265 AVG. Now what's the harm in giving Bengie some money this year and improve the hitting as a critical position and have excellent experience behind the plate being the every day starter. Bengie is not playing right now and I'm sure is in no where near playing condition. But if the Giants get him going now, by the All-Star break he should be good to go full time. I think standing pat so far has been a mistake, and the Giants should not settle for Whiteside and Stewart. When you can improve the productivity from your catchers spot without giving up any prospects then you do it.

The Second move the Giants will need to make is a trade, in or around the All-Star break. I don't expect or think the Giants will make a big splash in the trade market, but I do think they will do something. When you have pitching like the Giants with most in the prime of their careers, you have to take every chance you get to make the playoffs and see what happens. The Giants will have to look at teams that have poor records (Astros, A's etc.) or teams looking to dump contracts and money (Mets) and see what's on offer. Hunter Pence of the Houston Astros would be a very nice addition, but it would most likely require some high valued prospects, he is however playing extremely well and only making $6.9 million and is up for Arbitration the next 2 years. It's extremely difficult to project who will be traded. I do expect the Giants to make a solid addition, most likely at a corner OF spot or else 2B.

Would trading for a guy like Hunter Pence be a wise move for the Giants, given the probable asking price?

With Bengie Molina and another addition would definitely improve the lineup and could be enough to get this team in to the playoffs again. A projected lineup with Molina would look like:

Torres CF
Burriss 2B
Sandoval 3B
Huff 1B
Ross LF
Schierholtz RF
Molina C
Crawford/Tejada SS

I would love to hear your guys' opinion on who the Giants should look to possibly make a trade for, and let me know what you think of bringing back Bengie. Again, when you have a pitching staff like the Giants who are in the prime of their career, you have to make sure you make every season count. Can't just look to next year, the window to compete for a World Series can be very short. I hope the Giants are in win now mode without making a dumb panic trade. I guess in Sabean I trust (something I couldn't have said a year ago).

Updates Coming Tomorrow

Haven't wrote anything these lately, been very busy with work. I am planning on getting 2 posts out tomorrow. Hope that every one will check them out and give thoughts and opinions. and you guys know the drill


Sunday, June 12, 2011

Lebron James - The Chosen One?

Lebron James has a tattoo saying "The Chosen One" across his back, he also wore the same number as Michael Jordan with Cleveland, he also did the whole intro of throwing the powder in the air, another gimmick stolen from Jordan, he declared himself 'King James', so one would be led to believe that he is the best current player in the NBA. In all round talent, he probably is, but there is one thing missing, he doesn't believe in himself. The thing with Lebron is in my opinion he is afraid of failure, whether its not wanting to deal with the media if he does fail, or if its having to deal with it himself. He is afraid, and while understandably he will never admit that, I believe it to be the truth.

I hate to take a great career so far and then pinpoint 2 games to define a player, but the Finals show true character, you're on the biggest stage and there is no hiding who you really are. In the 4th quarters of game 4 and 5, Lebron James has 2 point. No that is not a typo, he has 2 points. But it goes beyond stats. One of my favorite things to do is ask this simple question, "If someone who never watched basketball before, turned on and watched, who would they think are the best players out there?" The answer I feel I would get from this question would be (in this case) Dirk Nowitzki, Dwyane Wade but definitely not Lebron. In fact, I think even first time NBA viewers would say that, hey #6 for Miami, what's his deal? He should be shooting more, or getting to the basket more.

Maybe in Lebron's mind he thinks, if I pass and someone else misses, then it's not my fault. This could be why Lebron went to Miami with Wade and Bosh. He figures I will pass to these guys in crunch time and they should finish. Game 5 is the perfect example of why this is just bad thinking by Lebron. Wade gets hurt, is clearly no where near 100%, it was Lebrons time to shine, and sure he got a triple double, but it may have been the quietest, the most non-impactful triple double I've seen. The only reason why I or anyone else critiques Lebron so much, or has such high expectations, are for 2 reasons; 1) He brought it on himself by doing everything stated in the first paragraph and 2) he has the talent and potential to be that great.

We want the next Jordan, we want to see the greatest player right now, and whether it's fair or not, the pressure of this is on Lebron and will always follow him.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

NBA Off-Season - Golden State Warriors

The Golden State Warriors, where do we start? This team has been one of the most dysfunctional of all the teams in the NBA. Countless trades gone wrong, bad contract after bad contract and worst of all, this is a team which is bad BUT they are just good enough to always put themselves out of position to get a top 3 pick. In recent years the Warriors just seem to always pick between 7th and 11th. Granted they were able to get Point Guard Steph Curry 8th but still. This is a team that in the last 3 years just seems as if its been stuck in transition and just staying in that position.

Is Mark Jackson the right guy to resurrect the Warriors? 
So lets take a look at whats happened this team so far this offseason. They bring in Jerry West (credible NBA guy), they hire Mark Jackson (Boom or Bust type hire) and they get Mike Malone (X's and O's guy to help Jackson). I like bringing in Jerry West, smart move by Joe Lacob to bring some more credibility to the franchise as a whole. I'm not sure how I feel about the Mark Jackson hire, I try to look at the positives: Well known and popular among NBA players which could help bring in potential Free Agents, played the PG position which is essentially the coach on the floor and he has a great Assistant in Mike Malone to help him out with strategy and game planning. This is all good and well, but then I keep coming back to the fact that he has ZERO coaching experience. Nada. Who knows how he will react, if the Warriors are in playoff contention, big game and he has to make big decisions, can he inspire the team? So many question marks. Granted it worked with the Celtics and Doc Rivers, but did you notice Rivers suddenly became a whole lot smarter when they added Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo emerged? Hmmmm.

Andre Iguodalas presence would make perfect sense for a Warriors team severely lacking defense

So lets look at some of the things the Warriors can do this offseason to put themselves in good position going forward. Biggest question is what to do with Monta Ellis? Trade him or keep him? I love Monta, I love watching him play but I just don't think the Warriors can win with Ellis and Curry. It's time for the Warriors become a more conventional team (weird idea right?). Make the trade for Andre Iguodala and you can maybe get a pick or role player on top of Iggy. You add Iggy to drastically improve your defense, he is also decent on the offensive end, now that he realizes he should not take many 3's. That is the main trade that the Warriors do.

Nene would be a 'BIG' addition to GS. See what I did there?
In Free Agency I want the Warriors to make a big splash and the main targets won't be travelling far. I want them to pursue both Aaron Afflalo and Nene from Denver. Afflalo is very good on the offensive end and an underrated defender. Nene along with Marc Gasol are the prized Free Agent Centers. I see ZERO chance of Gasol getting away from Memphis. Nene is an active big body in both the defense an offensive ends. The Warriors current Center Andris Biedrins has become soft to the point that he is afraid of contact because of how bad his free throw shooting is. I do think his career can be salvaged, and I do think the Warriors can and will trade him, even if they will be eating up some of his contract. If Gilbert Arenas, Corey Magette, Hedo Turkoglu and Rashard lewis can get traded, so can Biedrins.

These moves give the Warriors a much more balanced and conventional starting 5, along with having some real nice depth too. Starting 5 of:
PG - Steph Curry
SG - Aaron Afflalo
SF - Andre Iguodala
PF - David Lee
C - Nene

With role players including: Excellent 3-point shooter Dorrell Wright, good young defender in Ekpe Udoh, solid role player in Reggie Williams. Plus the Warriors have the 11th overall pick and can maybe select another big guy to help out on defense. I do think the Western Conference is gonna be weaker in coming years. Spurs are old, Mavs are old, who knows how Lakers do without Phil Jackson. I think the 7th and 8th seeds are absolutely attainable with solid moves including the ones I made in this mock offseason.

Let me know what you guys think and give me feedback and what not. Check back regularly for updates. SPREAD THE WORD

MLB Weekly Power Rankings

Here again is another issue in my weekly MLB Power Rankings. This weeks version will be shorter than previous weeks but will certainly get the job done. In my rankings I take overall record and how well the team has played recently in compiling my Power Rankings. Here goes, starting with the top 5:

Top 5
1 (1) - St. Louis Cardinals (37-26) - What can I say about the Cards, Pujols is back to being Pujols, Matt Holliday coming back from injury soon, pitching has been great. Not much else to say except I'm glad my Giants don't play them again and they are right now, the best team in Baseball.

Gonzalez and Crawford have been red hot for Boston
2 (NR*) - Boston Red Sox (35-26) - Red Sox have won 5 in a row, have beaten the Yanks in New York in back to back games, Carl Crawford has come to his usual form and Adrian Gonzalez has been better than advertised. Also they have the best pitcher in the AL with Josh Beckett.

3 (NR) - Detroit Tigers (33-28)- The hottest team in the Majors. 8-2 over their previous 10 games and have their sights firmly set on taking over the Indians who have come way back down to Earth. This team can hit, and the pitching has improved significantly.

4 (NR) - Texas Rangers (35-28) - They have been getting great pitching recently out of Alexi Ogando, CJ Wilson and Colby Lewis. They have a legit closer in Feliz, and we all know how well this team hits. 7-3 in their last 10. The Rangers are gonna open up a gap at the top of the AL West.

5 (NR) - San Francisco Giants (35-27) - The Giants have been without star catcher Buster Posey for 2 weeks. Giants lost 3 of their first 4 games after the injury, since then they (we) have won 7 of 10 and are eagerly awaiting Pablo Sandovals return to send Tejada to the bench.

Bottom 5
26 (30) Minnesota Twins (23-38) - The Twins have gone 6-2 since last weeks rankings, they are playing better for sure. Hopefully they can get Morneau going and Mauer back soon. Their overall record is what keeps them in the bottom 5. They may not be here next week.

27 (28) Houston Astros (24-38) - They are showing some signs of life, a red hot Cardinals team with Pujols hitting like crazy is tough for any team to stop. Will they trade Hunter Pence in July?

28 (27) Kansas City Royals (26-36) - 3-7 in their last 10 games, a pathetic 6-16 road record. Imagine where they would be without all those walk off wins.

29 (29) Chicago Cubs (24-36) - They have gone 1-5 since last weeks rankings, pitchers can't pitch, problems all over the clubhouse and have such an overrated and overpaid lineup.

30 (NR) Oakland Athletics (27-36) - They have lost 9 in a row, they can't hit and have injuries all over their good pitching staff. Yikes.

         Oakland A's have found Wins hard to come by the last 2 weeks

That concludes this weeks rankings. Be sure to check out the blog daily, give feedback, and tell me what you think of my rankings and where you might make changes. Power Rankings will be back next week. Until then, enjoy the other posts I will be making.


* NR = Not Ranked Top 5 or Bottom 5 last week

Lebron James - Where for art thou?

Tuesday the 7th of June, I get off work and quickly rush home to watch game 4 of the NBA Finals. I tune in with 7 minutes left in the 4th quarter, I see the score is close and am prepared for an excellent finish. As far as I'm concerned, if the game is close, all you need to watch is the final half of the 4th quarter.

So there I am, the game is going back and forth, the Heat stretch out a lead, then Dallas gets it close, all of a sudden there is 2 minutes left in the game. It was great fast paced action, despite both teams playing some sloppy basketball and missing easy shots, the tension is palpable. Then at the 2 minute mark, it dawned on me, I couldn't recall hearing or seeing much of Lebron James. So I make it my business to focus more on Lebron and see what he is doing. What did I notice? Not a whole lot really. I saw a guy who wanted no part of the ball, look I get it, he was having a bad game, his shot was way off and hey, everyone has a bad night, right? Sure, but this is the guy who is meant to be the next Jordan, the guy even Scottie Pippen hailed Lebron as possibly the greatest player of all time. I just don't understand what Lebron was doing, why not take the ball, drive the lane and get a foul call? or kick it out to shooters like D-or Chris Bosh or Mike Miller? Lets face facts here, if Lebron didn't wanna hurt the team by taking shots, and didn't wanna be part of the offense, then why are you out there?

Lebron isn't Jordan, lets get that out of the way, but that isn't the point I'm trying to make. Lebron is a superstar, and he became shy and lacked confidence when so many others thrive in that role. I used to think guys like Skip Bayless were too harsh on Lebron, but now I get it. Lebron James is to Basketball as Marty Schottenheimer was to coaching Football. Lebron will give you a great regular season, and like many of Schottenheimers teams, Lebron just has so much talent that sometimes even when he lacks confidence and becomes conservative he will still get the job done to a certain point, but he just doesn't have the 'it' factor in crunch time. Even his defense in crunch time of game 4 in this series was pathetic.

Trust me Lebron, all Miami Heat fans had to facepalm watching your performance in Game 4, only mustering 8 measly points. 

Let me set the scene, 25 seconds left in the game and 19 on the shot clock, Dirk has the ball and is guarded by Udonis Haslem at the top of the key, Dallas up by 1. Dirk makes an amazing play and let me tell you how. Common sense says that Dirk will hold the ball until the final second of the shot clock, based on Dirk's tendency, he will take the ball to the left, and then go for a fade away jumper. What does Dirk do? Catches Haslem napping and takes the ball to his right with 10 seconds left on the SC, gets by Haslem with relative ease. If you look closely at this play, you see Lebron have a chance to make a play, heck even foul him if you have to, but Lebron stands there, watches Dirk go by and looks helpless, while teammate Dwyane Wade seems to dart half way across the baseline to make a great effort to at least try and stop Dirk.
Lets not forget Lebron was only able to come up with 8 points, while Wades lowest scoring output on Basketball's biggest stage is 22.

No way does Jordan shrink in these moments, no way does Jordan disappear for the final 7 minutes of a close 4th quarter game, especially a finals game, no way does Jordan give up an easy lay up. Lebron will never be Jordan, I don't care about size or raw talent, that's only half the battle, Lebron quits on the Cavs in the playoffs against Boston, disappears here. He doesn't belong in the same conversation as Jordan ever.

So I guess I kind of trailed off topic here, I tend to just start writing and see where it takes me. I really just can't wrap my head around Lebron. It will be a shame looking back and have so many "what if" questions. Such a shame.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Input from YOU!

So I'm looking for as much input as I can get with my blog. Feel free to leave suggestions to improve the blog, make it more popular, what I should write about, what polls I should put up and I am closing in on 1000 hits. May even look to give out something to the 1000th visitor. Exciting times here at the Sports Life. You guys know the drill, visit daily, and spread the word!

Whats to Come

So this week I will be updating my blog some more. Some of the things to look forward too include: my latest MLB Power Rankings, my thoughts on the NFL Lockout and updates on the 49ers. Also the impact for the San Francisco Giants getting Pablo Sandoval back and the great play of rookie Brandon Crawford. I also plan to give my thoughts on both the NBA and NHL finals. With my predictions on who is going to win each series and they are both tied 2-2 after 4 games played. Gonna be a fun week. Be sure to check in regularly, leave comments, vote on the polls and spread the word!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Underrated Starting 9 - American League

So I previously wrote on the Underrated Staring 9 in the National League link , now I'm turning my attention to the American League. Again the aim here is to get my readers to find out more about players they don't know or know very little about. The rule I'm using is the player I pick at a position must make most if not all starts at that position. Lets get this started.

Pitcher - Jered Weaver, Los Angeles Angels - Weaver has been in a word 'Dominant' this year, not often a name you hear with the elite pitchers in the AL, but he has been playing that way. Weaver has a 2.14 ERA, 0.95 WHIP and 7 wins already. His ERA and wins are 2nd in the American League only to Josh Beckett and his WHIP is also 2nd. Weaver is right in line for a potential Cy Young this year if he can keep up his already impressive season. At the age of 28 expect Weavers name to be mentioned in Cy Young candidacy for the next 5 years.

      Don't be surprised to see Weaver be in contention for the AL Cy Young.

Catcher - Alex Avila, Detroit Tigers - The young 24 year old is having his coming out party this year, with significantly less at bats than most other hitters, Avila is already hitting 9 Homers, with 32 RBI and a .351 OBP. If you take these numbers and project them for the rest of the season, expect him to hit between 20-25 HR's, 85 - 90 RBI and is currently at a .289 AVG. Russell Martin of the Yankees is having a resurgence, but needs to improve upon that .238 AVG.

1st Base - Paul Konerko, Chicago White Sox - Konerko is one of the most reliable consistent hitters in the game, just one of those guys who's not flashy in any way but always puts up big numbers. This year he is on pace for a 36 HR and 121 RBI season with an impressive batting average floating between .315 and .320. Again I think playing for the White Sox, a mostly non-playoff team in recent years and being one of the most normal, non-flashy guys in baseball is a reason he gets overlooked and underrated so much.

            Paul Konerko has been the one consistent piece of the White Sox team.

2nd Base - Howard Kendrick, Los Angeles Angels - Maybe its the team being stranded in mediocrity and out in Anaheim, maybe its the total East Coast bias of ESPN, but Angels players get so overlooked. Not only Weaver but Kendrick has been having one of the best seasons for a 2nd basemen in the Majors. He has solid power numbers, his RBI numbers should definitely increase, but his main weapons have been his defense and AVG. Can't ask for much more then that.

Short Stop - Jhonny Peralta, Detroit Tigers - Peralta is the best SS you've never heard of. Guys like Tulowitzki and Reyes seem to hog the attention at his position and Miguel Cabrera and Verlander on his team but Peralta is having himself the best year of his career. Right now Peralta is projected to finish with 22 Homers, 86 RBI's and is currently hitting for high average too (.314). With solid defense and these numbers, thats excellent production for your Short Stop.

3rd Base - Wilson Betemit, Kansas City Royals - Overall 3rd Basemen have really disappointed this year in the American League, A-Rod, Youkilis, Beltre and Longoria have all not played up to expectations. This are all the big name underperforming 3rd basemen. Betemit is earning 1/25th of what A-Rod is earning, and keep in mind Betemit plays better defense, hitting for almost 20 points higher in average, and if Betemit played in the Yankee lineup would have just as much RBI.

Left Field - Alex Gordon, Kansas City Royals - Another Royal makes the list here. Was very tempted to go with Corey Patterson who is extremely underrated playing up in Toronto in the shadows of Jose Bautista, but Gordon is just as underrated and is putting up much better numbers:
Patterson: .281 AVG, 5 HR, 28 RBI and .311 OBP
Gordon:   .280 AVG, 7 HR, 31 RBI and .350 OBP

Center Field - Adam Jones, Baltimore Orioles - Cursed with playing for a bottom feeder team that hasn't much chance competing with the likes of Boston and New York, Jones is still a great player. Recently Jones made one of the best defensive plays you will ever see, think Willie Mays and add in being able to brace himself for the wall too. Besides for awesome defense, lets not forget his numbers this season so far, 8 HR's, 32 RBI's and a .301 AVG.

Adam Jones' unforgettable catch, 1st picture during the catch and 2nd picture (with footprints in wall) after

Right Field - Jason Kubel, Minnesota Twins - Most casual baseball fans wouldn't have heard of Kubel (myself included), then you go and check out his stats and they are so much better than you'd expect. Often when people think of the hitters for the Minnesota Twins, the only guys they can come up with are Morneau and Mauer. But Kubel has been just as good as any of those guys. Kubel on one of the worst teams in baseball has a projected statline to finish the season with 14 HR's, 82 RBI's and a .310 AVG. Great numbers for a guy you would never have heard of.

I wanna say that half the players on this list are guys I never heard of, the other half I was shocked when I saw just how good they have been doing. This is my list of the most underrated players in the AL, I intentionally left off the DH. Not a fan of the DH at all.