Monday, January 31, 2011

Kevin Durant Ain't No Punk

The most exciting thing to happen in the sports world this weekend was the post game comments made by Kevin Durant. After the OKC Thunder lost to the Miami Heat on Sunday Kevin addressed an altercation between he and Chris Bosh. He stood up for himself saying he's a nice mild mannered guy, but he's not a punk and won't be intimidated by anyone. He then referred to Chris Bosh as a "fake tough guy" or in other words a paper gangster. In one interview he gave notice to the rest of the league that he's not the guy to test your manhood against. As Kevin continues to evolve into the best player in basketball his stance on the Chris Bosh incident is just another example of what Seattle is missing out on. The bitterness continues. Here are some other weekend observations.

Kobe and Shaq still have quite a bit of animosity towards one another. Contrary to reports that they buried the hatchet and resolved their personal issues their body language on the court Sunday revealed the truth. These two will never get along and one of them ultimately had to leave Tinseltown.

If you tuned in to watch the Farmers Insurance Open over the weekend and didn't know who Tiger Woods was, you'd think he was an average player trying to make his way on the PGA tour. By mid summer you'll be convinced the old Tiger is dead and gone.

The Big East is now the power conference in college basketball. That being said there is a tremendous amount of parody in the league meaning there is no dominant team in the country. Anything can happen in March.

There is no interesting controversial stories heading into the Super Bowl. Media day will be a yawn and unless someone starts to talk trash quickly the storyline of this game will put you to sleep. Where are the New York Jets when you need them?

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Is Li Na The Next Yao Ming?

It's hard to believe that a country with almost 20% of the population has never produced a tennis grand slam finalist. Tennis is not a sport where size and stature are a prerequisite for dominance. Discipline, mental toughness, and repetition are much more important than strength and unique physical attributes. China is known for turning out tremendous figure skaters, gymnasts, and ping pong players, but now that's all changed.

Li Na has burst on the tennis scene with a big personality and a big game to go with it on her road to the Australian Open finals. Her detractors will point to the fact that she advanced to the finals in a year where both Williams sisters were sidelined with injuries, but Li can only play who's in front of her. I'm sure she benefited from not having to play Venus or Serena, but that shouldn't diminish the significance of her accomplishment.

America has embraced Li Na in the same way it embraced Yao Ming when he entered the NBA. Li is an advertisers dream with the potential to capture a HUGE market and capitalize on endorsements. The more she continues to win the more popular she will become. Michelle Wie had the opportunity once upon a time and couldn't cash in on it. Let hope history doesn't repeat itself with Li. Good Luck.

Friday, January 28, 2011

The Sexist World Of ESPN

Can men and women coexist at the ESPN headquarters without sexual harassment being an issue? If you consider past and present altercations the answer is no. Here's a look at some of the incidents that have taken place at the network.

The Women:

Suzy Kolber: Had hall of fame quarterback Joe Namath tell her during a sideline interview that she was pretty and he wanted to kiss her.

Erin Andrews: Had an ESPN camera man videotape her naked in her hotel room then posted the footage on the internet.

Rachel Nichols: Has been repeatedly asked out by current and former players including text messages from Manny Ramirez.

The Men:

Ron Franklin: Had his contract terminated for sexually harassing a female sideline correspondent.

Tony Kornheiser: Suspended by the network for making inappropriate comments about co-worker Hannah Storm's wardrobe.

Sean Salisbury: Fired from the network for sending pictures of his penis to a co-worker.

Steve Phillips: Fired from the network for having an improper sexual relationship with an intern.

Mike Tirico: Suspended for stalking co-workers (plural) and making indecent proposals.

Stuart Scott: Suspended for sending inappropriate sexual text messages to a co-worker.

Harold Reynolds: Fired from the network for improper touching of a co-worker.

It is apparent that the culture surrounding the ESPN headquarters resembles that of an athletic locker room. As we all know the locker room is one of the most un proffesional and politically incorrect work environments there is. As long as former athletes and wanna be jocks work at ESPN the problem will persist. If America is looking for the next big reality show look no further than a behind the scenes glimpse at the total sports network. Beats Housewives of Atlanta any day!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

HTB Statements

It's time for another installment of HTB statements. For those of you not familiar with what HTB means HTB refers to statements that are hard to believe. Here's a few for your reading pleasure.

1. Either New England, Pittsburgh, or Indianapolis has represented the AFC in the Super Bowl 9 of the last 10 years.

2. Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. still don't have a fight scheduled.

3. The top prospect for the NFL draft has returned to school the last 2 seasons.

4. Ohio St. is a legitimate basketball powerhouse.

5. Jimmer Fredette scored 34 of BYU's first 50 points en route to a 78-51 victory over San Diego St.

6. Jake Locker may fall to the Seahawks pick and they may actually take him.

7. Carmelo Anthony is still a Denver Nugget.

8. Spring training is less than 30 days away.

9. Wayne Gretzky is 50 years old.

10. Lance Armstrong is still professing his innocence.

11. Ben Roethlisberger and Michael Vick have gone from the most hated to the most beloved athletes in one season (winning cures all things).

12. Byron Scott (coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers) hasn't had a nuclear meltdown.

13. The NBA and the NFL could simultaneously lock out its players in 2011.

14. Adrian Peterson and Chris Johnson both failed to make the all pro team.

15. Antonio Cromartie has replaced Shawn Kemp as the poster child for condom use.

16. The SEC has won the national championship 5 years in a row in football.

17. After signing Lebron James the value of the Miami Heat increased 17 percent. After losing Lebron James in free agency the value of the Cleveland Cavaliers decreased 26 percent.

18. The high school player of the year (Kasen Williams) will play for the University of Washington next year.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A Sports Fan's Guide To Retirement

Your average sports fan is an athlete in their own right and just like the pros there comes a time when you have to shut it down. This is what the typical life cycle of a recreational athlete looks like.

18-25: You're fresh out of high school and in the best shape of your life. You routinely play pick up games at the park or a university intramural facility. You can play 12-15 games in a row on a regulation size court and 8-10 softball games in a weekend. You push the younger guys around and you crush the older guys. All you need is a tall glass of orange juice and you can go all day.

25-30: You settle into work and family life, but the competitive fire still burns. You join rec leagues and participate in 3 on 3 tournaments when your schedule permits. The regulation size court looks a little bigger than you remember and that 12-15 games is more like 8-10 games. You feel a slight twinge or pull here and there, but you ignore it because you've never had a problem in the past and you like to feel invincible. On the softball circuit you start platooning with another player and only make half the games.

30-35: For those who can still play regulation courts are off limits unless you want your lungs to collapse and burst into flames. You got 5 games in you at most. The young guys torch you and you realize you have no advantage over the old guys whatsoever. Your brain can't wrap itself around the concept that you are the old guy so you push your body to do things it can't do anymore. Casts, crutches, and knee braces become common place amongst your friends.

35 and beyond: You and your friends exchange war stories about various injuries and you wonder if it's even worth it to get back on the field or court. You watch older players on television (Ray Allen, Derek Fisher, Jim Thome) and you get inspired to give it one more try. Your body goes snap, crackle, pop like a rice krispies commercial and you end up on the sidelines permanently.

The better the athlete, the longer this cycle goes. The better your memory of past glory, the more it will betray you. If this cycle sounds familiar always remember the swimming pool is your friend. Less wear and tear on the body and no ego to bruise.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Young Sam Is On The Run

Young Sam has been forced underground. Due to forces out of my control, mainly Matt Ryan's post season jinx and New England's inability to stop a nose bleed I've been forced into hiding. After the debacle 2 weeks ago the bosses put the word out they wanted to see me IN PERSON! Whenever they say that you know you're in trouble. They've even gone so far as to recruit 2 of my competitors to run the operation. Donny "2 team" Meisistrano from Queens got a call and so did Billy "1/2 point" Parker from Miami. Neither of those guys are as good as me, but this is a results oriented business. The proof is in the cash. I will admit I've been a little gun shy after going 50% 3 weeks in a row. Money doesn't grow on trees and I'm paid to earn. I'm not a businessman, I'm a business, man! There's nothing left to do but lay it all on the line. It's time to get the mattress money out and settle things once and for all. I'm breaking out the wave motion gun to correct this situation! Super Bowl or bust! The big game will pull me out of this funk I'm in, restore my credibility, and the prodigies will be better off for it. Don't wish me luck cause I won't need it. I'm Young Sam Rothstein! Super Bowl picks next Friday. Be sure to heed my words if you want to change your life (for the better). Here's a quick review of the prodigies progress:

Sally: On the straight bets Sally won with Denver and Pitt/Bal over 37 and lost with Atl/GB under 43 1/2. On the 3 team parlays Sally won with Denver and Pitt/Bal over 37 and lost with Denver and Atl/GB under 43 1/2.

Started with: $121
Wagered: $50
Won: $14
New total: 135

Baxter: On the straight bets Baxter won with Denver and Pitt/Bal over 37 and lost with Ne/NY under 44 1/2. Baxter lost a 2 team parlay with Atl/GB under 43 1/2 and Denver and won with Pitt/Bal over 37 and Denver. Baxter lost a 3 team parlay with Denver, NE/NY under 44 1/2, and Pitt/Bal over 37.

Started with: $448
Wagered: $250
Lost: $78
New total: 370

Fast Freddy: On the straight bets Fast Fred won with Denver and Pitt/Bal over 37. On the 2 team parlays Fred won with Denver and Pitt/Bal over 37 and lost with NE/NY under 44 1/2 and Atl/GB under 43 1/2.

Started with: $1,660
Wagered: $800
Won: $60
New Total: $1,720

All 3 of my prodigies will wager everything they have on Super Bowl XLV. Should be exciting!

Monday, January 24, 2011

A Boring Super Bowl

The Super Bowl is set and I have to say I 'm a little disappointed. Let's start with the losers. Give Chicago 3rd string quarterback Caleb Hanie all the credit in the world for stepping into an impossible situation at a moments notice. He responded admirably and almost led the Bears to a come from behind victory. As for the Jets, the inability to stop the run ultimately led to their demise. The culmination of a long season finally took its toll and once again New York ended up 1 game short of their goal. Let's hope Rex Ryan doesn't become the next Andy Reid.

As for the winners, congrats to Pittsburgh and Green Bay for taking care of business. I picked the Cheese Heads and Aaron Rodgers picked apart the Bears defense. He deserves his shot at the brass ring. As for Pittsburgh, the formula still works. Run the ball effectively, make timely plays, and and play solid defense. It's no wonder the Steelers are playing in the Super Bowl for the 3rd time in 5 years. Their style is not pretty, but it's effective.

I won't give a Super Bowl prediction for a few weeks other than to say the outcome will be uneventful. There is no villain for America to rally against. The Packers and the Steelers both have a fanbase that's been in place for generations and everybody loves them. I'm missing the trash talking, overconfident Jets already. They brought a swagger and an attitude to the game that will sorely be missed come media day. I'll watch the Super Bowl because I'm a huge fan of the NFL, but it's so much different to watch the game when I don't really care who wins or loses. It's Big Ben vs. Brett Favre's back up. Who you got?

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Mel Kiper Jr. And Todd McShay

I watch a lot of ESPN and one of my favorite segments is Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay commenting on the upcoming NFL draft. Mel Kiper Jr. is the seasoned vet that's been doing it for 30+ years while Todd is the new kid on the block. For years Mel Kiper Jr. was the resident expert on the subject and the only draft analyst on the network. In 2006 ESPN brought on Todd McShay to give a fresh perspective and a counter balance to Mel Kiper's opinions. When the two personalities clash it's a sight to see.

Mel Kiper fancies himself the all knowing guru when it comes tho the NFL draft and doesn't like to be questioned or second guessed. Anytime Todd McShay disagrees with Mel he becomes enraged and flies off the handle. You can see the veins pop out of his temples and the look on his face is that of a person that wants to cut you up into little pieces and scatter your remains aimlessly across the city. Todd always starts out a little timid and shy then 30 seconds later realizes his opinions have value and merit. He stick to his guns and by the end of the segment Mel Kiper Jr. ends up looking like a bitter old man so stuck in his ways that logic and rational thought can't even dig him out.

Has this happened to you at work? Have you ever had to confront an older co-worker about a difference of opinion and they look at you like they just got done changing your diapers 20 minutes ago? Do what Todd McShay does. Let them vent, stick to your guns, and eventually they will talk themselves silly and validate your position that much more. Try this out and let me know how it works.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Phat Albert's Days In St. Louis Are Numbered

Earlier this week Albert Pujols gave the St. Louis Cardinals till the start of spring training to offer him a contract or he will wait until the end of the season to re-evaluate his situation. Let the speculation begin. It's not as if the Cardinals didn't see this coming. At the end of last year Albert Pujols expressed his desire to remain in St. Louis for his entire career and was confident a deal would get done. 5 months later his confidence is waning.

The more time elapses without a deal in place the more ego and paranoia become a factor in the negotiations. I won't bore you with a page full of statistics, but Albert Pujols is the best player in baseball and at his current pace will retire as one of the 5 greatest baseball players ever. It's only natural for a player of his stature to wonder what more he has to prove, what is taking so long, and if the Cardinals really want him. The Cardinals definitely want him, but there are 3 major obstacles preventing a deal from getting done.

1. Small market syndrome. The Cardinals routinely draw 3 million fans to the ball park, but the team doesn't have enough revenue streams to offset a $200,000,000 contract. There's no billion dollar TV deals or merchandising schemes to generate profits.

2. There's no salary cap. In reality once you achieve a certain level of greatness there's really only 6 or 7 teams that can afford to pay what the market will dictate for your services. There is no limit to what a team can spend on a player and the teams with deep pockets have an unfair advantage.

3. He's too good. Everyone wants a first basemen that hits over .300 with 40+ home runs and 120+ RBI's. Those are video game numbers. At the age of 31 Albert Pujols still has 7 more dominant years left and there's not a team in baseball (including the Yankees) that would turn down that kind of production if they could get it.

In the end I don't think Albert Pujols will play his entire career in a St. Louis Cardinals uniform. The best player in baseball will fetch a pretty penny and the financial obligation will be too much for the Cardinals to handle. He'll wind up in a big market playing for a team that won't appreciate him nearly as much as St. Louis and Phat Albert will be less happy, but the money will be too hard to pass up.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Are The Cavs a Professional Team Anymore?

No offense to my women fans (Nancy, Kirsten, Meagan, etc.) but the Cleveland Cavaliers are playing like some little bitches right now. I blogged on December 21st about the way King James came to Quicken Loans Arena and tore the heart out of Cleveland, but I never imagined they would only win one game between now and then. The Cavs have lost 24 of their last 25 games and have the worst record in basketball (even worse than the Sacramento Kings!). It is an absolute train wreck over there and the Cleveland fans deserve better.

To be fair Cleveland has had their share of injuries including their emotional leader (now that Lebron is gone) Anderson Varejao who is out for the season. To make matters worse the Cavs leading scorer Antawn Jamison is averaging a mere 16 points per game. Lebron James averaged 30 last year. The inferiority complex has taken a hold on this team like I've never seen before in professional sports. It's almost as if the players have forgotten that they get paid millions of dollars to perform at a high level and give it their best effort. Maybe the problem is psychologically they don't believe their best is good enough to get it done.

Here's a descriptive, yet cruel analogy of the Cavs situation. Cleveland is like the house wife that gets left for a Vegas stripper. They can't believe they got dumped for a superficial fantasy and wonder why they weren't good enough to stay with. They take down all the pictures and memorabilia of the 7 year relationship, but they long for that happiness and security they felt when they were with that person. They know they got a raw deal and everyone tells them to get over it, but it's not that easy. The scars remain, the pain persists, and they go through the motions of life. The Cavs are going through the motions right now. Hopefully there's a prince charming for them on the horizon so they can fell good about themselves again.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Carmelo Anthony Will Change The NBA Forever

It's not unusual for an NBA player to demand a trade. Charles Barkley, Tracy McGrady, and Allen Iverson have all asked for a change of scenery at some point in their careers, but Carmelo Anthony's situation is truly unique. Since the summer it has been well documented that Carmelo Anthony would not play for the Denver Nuggets after the 2011 season and true to his word he has not signed the 3 year $65,000,000 contract extension that is currently on the table. The Nuggets organization understands that they must trade Anthony or lose him for no compensation once the free agency period begins. The issue is not if or why the Nuggets must trade their most prized asset, but rather how the deal must be structured.

Carmelo has made it perfectly clear that his desire is to play in New York and preferably for the Knicks. By forcing the Nuggets to negotiate with only 2 teams it renders them virtually powerless. They have no leverage and are completely at the mercy of what Carmelo wants to do. There have been various trade scenarios that include 3,4, and even 5 team deals, but until Carmelo agrees to sign off on the extension nothing can get done.

This sets a dangerous precedence for the NBA. Not only is a top 10 talent demanding a trade, he is dictating where he will go. Billionaires don't like to be bullied and rest assured this kind of leverage will be addressed in the next collective bargaining agreement. If the players can mandate when and where they will be traded chaos will ensue. This situation is not like Lebron James taking his talents to South Beach or Carlos Boozer joining the Bulls. Carmelo Anthony is under contract and like Kanye West says "no one man should have all that power."

Let us not forget that the NBA (and all major team sports for that matter) is a chess match played by the super rich. If the pieces get to move around the board at their discretion it changes the rules of the game. Owners are not willing to relinquish that kind of control and if the players think they run the asylum because of their immense talent they are in for a rude awakening. This kind of power struggle simply will not be tolerated. Owners need some sort of recourse that benefits them and includes more options. Disgruntled or not the trade me where I want when I want stance is not a viable solution for the future. Congratulations Carmelo, you will be the last NBA player to get his way on his own terms while under contract. the system will be forever different after this whole thing plays itself out.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Superbowl XLV Will Be All Green

It's good to be back after a brief hiatus for the holiday yesterday. The weekend was full of excitement and disappointment. As much as I wanted to see the Seahawks host the NFC championship versus the cheese heads the eventual outcome of the game against Chicago was to be expected. The Seahawks were who we thought they were. I was encouraged by the way the Seahawks kept battling back throughout the game however and they almost gave Vegas a heart attack. The future looks bright (so long as they get a quarterback) and this offseason is when we will get to see the true brilliance of Pete Carroll. Stay tuned.

As for the other playoff games? I was happy to see the trash talking Jets put an end to all that Patriots dynasty talk. If the Patriots are so perfect why will they be watching the AFC championship game at home just like me? I don't like to brag (yes I do), but I did predict the Jets would win the AFC title in this blog on August 24th. Now they only have one HUGE obstacle to get past before reaching the Super Bowl. Let's not kid ourselves, Pittsburgh is not going out without a fight and experience is on their side. I just think it's the Jets time to shine.

So who will the Jets meet in Super Bowl XLV? The Green Bay Packers. After beating the snot piss out of the Falcons in the Georgia Dome they get to face an opponent they know all too well. The Packers/Bears rivalry dates back to the Middle ages and there is no love lost between these two foes. As Young Sam Rothstein would tell you ride the hot hand and follow your hunches. Aaron Rodgers is as hot as Hades right now and much to the chagrin of my family and friends in the 312 I'm STILL not convinced Chicago is a Super Bowl team.

At the end of the day you end up with a New York/Green Bay Super Bowl in Dallas. There will be so many subplots and drama before the big game you'll think you're watching TMZ or the Wendy Williams show. Be prepared. Here are some observations from the weekend:

College basketball isn't that fun to watch anymore. It's still mandatory because there's money to be made and the players are the future stars of the NBA, but when the best players continually go pro after one year it's hard to follow. You basically have to watch the McDonalds All American game to figure out who is who.

The Los Angeles Clippers are the 2nd most exciting team to watch in the NBA. Everyone wants to see what Blake "The Barbarian" Griffin is going to do next and every possession is a potential sportscenter highlight. They won't get close to making the playoffs so savor the remaining 42 games.

Albert Pujols will not remain a St. Louis Cardinal after this season. Albert has given the Cardinals a deadline of spring training (33 more days) to come up with a new contract or he's not talking. There's no doubt the Cardinals would like to retain his services (he's the best player in baseball right now) but in the end they simply won't be able to afford him. Small market syndrome takes effect once again.

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Seahawks Can Do It Again

Once you've been exposed to the virus that is Super Bowl fever you know the symptoms. There is a synergy that takes place in town and everyone finds a common bond in rooting for the home team. The experience this time around in Seattle is much different than 2006. In 2006 the Seahawks has the most unstoppable play in football (Shaun Alexander running left) and the best record in the NFC at 13-3. In 2011 the Seahawks barely made the playoffs before shocking the world by beating the defending Super Bowl champs.

The attitude is the same, the city transforms like Voltron into a great ball of energy and enthusiasm to help propel the Seahawks into the big game. The problem is the overwhelming confidence isn't there. By all accounts the Seahawks have overachieved this season. Their roster doesn't have enough talent to believe they can advance deep into the playoffs, but stranger things have happened. Still and yet it's difficult to wholeheartedly endorse the Seahawks against the NFC elite.

It's in your nature to pull for the home team even if you're not sure they can win. At this point I think most fans in Seattle are hoping the Seahawks win rather than thinking they actually will. The thought of hosting the NFC championship game is somehow still a possibility and the city has never fully gotten over the disrespectful outcome of Super Bowl XL. That being said it's unrealistic the Seahawks will beat the Bears, but Seattle fans still have to pull for them on the off chance they do the impossible. Young Sam Rothstein would tell you take Chicago and the points and Cleavie The Greek would tell you Chicago and Atlanta will play for the NFC championship next week, but Cleavie Wonder the Seahawk fan is ready to buy tickets for next week's playoff game at Qwest Field versus the Packers. I'm infected with the virus as you can tell.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Young Sam Rothstein's Sportsbook Adventures

Let's not sugarcoat it boys and girls, Young Sam Rothstein has been a little off the mark the past 2 weeks. 50% simply won't get it done. I had to have a meeting with the bosses yesterday to explain how I'm going to get their money back. They were none too pleased about the outcome of the Auburn game or Philly losing to Green Bay. I explained to them that kickers can ruin your life like strippers and alcohol and that Oregon wasn't ready for the bright lights and the big stage. This calmed their nerves momentarily, but if I don't get back to my winning ways they're going to start digging a hole in the desert for me. in addition my prodigies have turned a deaf ear to my wisdom and prognostication. It's time to get back to my winning ways and silence the critics. Here are my locks for the weekend.

New York/New England under 44 1/2. I'm going to introduce you to the over/under bet today. I predict that these 2 teams will not combine to score more than 44 1/2 points for the whole game. If the Jets have any chance at all they will have to slow the game down and use ball control to stay competitive.

Pittsburgh/Baltimore over 37. Every one's predicting a defensive battle, but Baltimore wants to get on top early and keep Pittsburgh on their heels. 24-20 will be the score for whoever wins this game.

Atlanta/Green Bay under 43 1/2. Atlanta will be nervous in their first big test and Green Bay's defense is superb. Atlanta by a field goal 23-20.

Denver + 1 1/2 over Miami. The Heat just lost a game in LA last night and Lebron's ankle is not 100%. The Western conference is not a walkover like the Eastern conference. My hunch is Miami won't pull it out.

A quick review of the prodigies:

Sally: On the straight bets Sally won with Golden St, pushed with Oregon (the spread went up to +3) and lost with Chicago. On the 2 team parlays she lost with Philly and Chicago and pushed with Golden St. and Oregon.

Started with: $132
Wagered: $50
New total: 121

Baxter: On the straight bets Baxter won with Golden St., pushed with Oregon, and lost with Philly. Baxter lost with Chicago and Philly on a 2 team parlay, pushed with Golden St. and Oregon on a 2 team parlay, and lost a 3 team parlay with Philly, Chicago, and Golden St.

Started with: $542
Wagered: $250
Lost: $94
New total: $448

Fast Freddy won with Golden St. and pushed with Oregon. He pushed on a 2 team parlay with Golden St. and Oregon and lost a 2 team parlay with Chicago and Philly.

Started with $1,680
Wagered: $800
Lost: $20
New total: $1,660

The prodigies will continue on their regular pace, only with better results. Even money is around the corner. Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Should Blake Griffin Be Dunking?

As you all know Blake "The Barbarian" Griffin is my favorite up and coming superstar in the NBA. He is dominating the league as I predicted and is well on his way to becoming the greatest thing since sliced bread. It was announced recently that Blake "The Barbarian" plans to enter the slam dunk contest during all star weekend. At first I was excited about the thought of Blake unveiling his arsenal of spectacular dunks on the world, but then I thought about it for a moment and realized this may not be a good thing.

Blake "The Barbarian" missed an entire season last year with a broken knee cap he injured in the final preseason game on a dunk. Chances are the knee is fully healed and Blake Griffin is only 21 years old, but why take the risk? Isn't this the reason other high profile players such as Lebron James don't participate? There is very little to gain and so much to lose.

On the flipside Blake "The Barbarian" gets an opportunity to leave an indelible impression on the fans and create a buzz like the great dunkers of the past. With a victory in the slam dunk contest he instantly gets mentioned in the same breath as Dr. J, Kobe Bryant, and Michael Jordan. That's a very distinguished group to be in. His popularity would sky rocket and jersey sales would be through the roof. Perhaps this is just what Blake Griffin needs to get past the psychological hurdle of recovering from injury and the chance to take advantage of the spotlight in LA.

In the end it was a great decision if he competes, has some memorable dunks, walks away with the trophy, and remains injury free. It was a disaster if he comes away from the contest anything less than 100%. Athletes shouldn't go into competition fearing injury, but they also shouldn't take unnecessary risks with their livelihood and career. I'm sure he'll be just fine, but if I was advising him I'd tell him not to do it.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Lame Ass Ducks!

There's nothing worse than rooting for a team you don't really like only to have that team turn around and stab you in the back with an embarrassing loss. Such was the case last night when the lame ass Oregon Ducks got their butts kicked by Cam Newton and the Auburn Tigers.

It was the opportunity of a lifetime and they let it slip right through their fingers. It was an opportunity to show the world the Pac 10 is the best football conference in America. It was a chance to show those elitist SEC snobs that the West coast brand of football is just as good as that Southern ball. Now I have to listen to the media bashing and the bias that comes with losing the national championship. Now everyone will say the SEC has won the national championship 5 years in a row and demolished everyone in their path. This loss has set the Pac 10 back.

It's my fault for thinking I could believe in the Oregon Ducks. After all they are the Oregon Ducks. Even during their recent success it's been hard to respect them as a national powerhouse. The program is flooded with Nike money and that's great, but who has Oregon really produced? Haloti Ngata is a beast and Jonathan Stewart is ok (not fantasy football worthy) but after that there's no one. They are paper champions that got exposed last night for the frauds they are. They single handedly made defensive tackle Nick Fairley at least $10,000,000 richer.

There will be no more rooting for Oregon. Those lame ass Ducks will go back to their status as the dirt on the bottom of my shoe. The Huskies return to dominance will directly result in the demise of that cracker jack program. AND THEY ALMOST COST ME MONEY!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Qwest Field Is No Joke!

You may recall that before Saturday's game some critics questioned whether the Seahawks deserved to be in the playoffs and if the rules needed to be changed to prevent such a travesty from happening in the future. 48 hours later those same experts are singing the praises of the Hawks and wondering if the resilient bunch has another miracle up their sleeve.

Let me take off my homer cap for the moment. Anyone who watched the game knows the stars aligned just right for the Seahawks and their improbable victory over the defending Super Bowl champs. It was a little chilly. The crowd was pumped beyond belief. Marshawn "Beast Mode" Lynch stiff armed defensive backs like he was playing pop warner. Matt Hasselbeck threw 4 TOUCHDOWNS!

Qwest Field is a hostile environment to play in and anything is possible. In a season where the Seahawks were supposed to be rebuilding and evaluating talent for the future, the success of the team has accelerated expectation. Now all the talk is about hosting the NFC championship game if the Packers can beat the Falcons. This is not the way ANYBODY drew it up, but now it's reality and the city of Seattle is buzzing with anticipation. I'll be honest, I didn't think the Seahawks had much of a chance against Atlanta on the road. Chicago is quite a different story. Jay Cutler doesn't scare me and neither do those scrubby receivers the Bears have. If the Seahawks can score more than 25 points they can win. Special teams will decide the outcome of this battle whether it's Devin Hester breaking our hearts or Leon Washington giving us hope. This is when sports gets really fun. Go Hawks!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Is Barry Bonds A First ballot Hall Of Famer?

As you'll recall on Thursday I voiced my displeasure about Roberto Alomar not being a first ballot hall of famer despite his exemplary credentials on the field. I also said I would address the Barry Bonds question today so here it is. Is Barry Bonds a first ballot hall of famer? YOU BET YOUR ASS HE IS! I'm not just saying that because I'm a Barry Bonds fan (Barry is one of my top 5 favorite athletes of all time) I'm saying it because the numbers support it.

Barry Bonds has the all time record for total home runs (762), home runs in a season (73), walks (2,558), and intentional walks (688). He won the MVP award a record 7 times (should've been 9) and 8 gold gloves. He is one of 4 players to ever hit 40 home runs and steal 40 bases in the same season and the only player in major league history to ever hit 500 home runs and steal 500 bases for a career. With numbers like that you don't ask whether he is a first ballot hall of famer, you ask whether he's the greatest baseball player of all time or not.

The skeptics will tell you that his accomplishments on the field are a direct result of his involvement with BALCO and performance enhancing drugs and that the numbers are skewed and can't be trusted. The truth is maybe the alleged substances Barry took helped a little, but they weren't illegal at the time according to the major league guidelines. The numbers Barry put up are so gaudy that even if you subtracted 20% of his total numbers (which is WAY too high) and attributed them to PED's he's still a first ballot hall of famer. This is a player steroid or no steroid opposing pitchers wouldn't throw a strike. In 2001 Barry Bonds played a 4 game series against the Houston Astros and saw exactly 5 pitches in the strike zone in over 20 at bats. 5. I don't condone everything Barry Bonds has done in his career and I won't sit here and defend his callous, abrasive, smug, arrogant attitude, but is he a first ballot hall of famer? Without question. Anyone who says different has a personal, moral settle to score or doesn't know baseball. Plain and simple.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Young Sam Rothstein Cools Down

I have to admit going 2 for 4 on Tuesday almost humbled me a little. It's almost as if the sportsbook gods were trying to punish me for my arrogance. No matter, I still have my finger on the pulse of the sports world and my confidence won't waver. As I've said many times the sportsbook is not an exact science. Human performance can drift out of your control. In one of my losses Zach Randolph went for 31 and 16 for Memphis against OKC and in the other loss Wilson Chandler went for 31 and 9 for the Knicks against San Antonio. Both of these performances were an anomaly. The once unbeatable Spurs have lost 2 straight on the road for the first time all season. Follow trends and apply knowledge I always say. Let's see how the prodigies did.


On the 2 straight bets Sally won with Miami and Portland, but lost with OKC. She did however come back to win a 2 team parlay with Miami and Portland.

Started with: $100
Wagered: $40
Won: $32
New total: $132

Baxter: Baxter also won 2 straight bets with Miami and Portland, but lost with San Antonio. He won a 2 team parlay, lost a 2 team parlay, and lost a 3 team parlay.

Started with: $500
Wagered: $250
Won: $42
New total: $542

Freddy: Freddy took a bit of a blow. He split his straight bets winning with Miami and losing with OKC. He won a 2 team parlay and lost a 2 team parlay. The 2 3 team parlays were a disaster.

Started: $2,000
Wagered: $1,200
Lost: $320
New total: $1,680

This game has got valleys and peaks so watch how Fast Freddy turns it around ion the following weeks. Here's my locks for the weekend.

Philadelphia -3 over Green Bay. The big 3 got a chance to rest last week for Philadelphia and Michael Vick got a chance to recharge his battery. Philly by 5.

Oregon +2 1/2 over Auburn. Cam Newton is the real deal, but Oregon's offense is too powerful and Auburn's defense sucks. Take the points.

Chicago -1 over Philadelphia. Chicago misses Joakim Noah, but Carlos Boozer is playing inspired ball. Chicago wins.

Golden St. over Cleveland. This one is a bit of a stretch, but Golden St. is at home and the Cavs don't score enough points typically to keep up with the high flying Warriors. This one could get ugly.

Sally and Baxter will continue with their regular betting pace, but Fast Freddy is going to scale it back a bit. There will be no 3 team parlays for him until he gets back to even money. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Roberto Alomar Deserved Better

Hall of fame voting is a time when sports writers get to pass judgement on some of the greatest players the game has ever known. It is their opportunity to establish a criteria that lives up to their standards. Last year the voters passed on a 12 time all star, 10 time gold glove winner (a record for 2nd base), and a back to back World Series champion. 365 days later the same player got into the hall of fame with 90% of the vote, a 17% increase from last year. Did the player's numbers change? Was his greatness enhanced? Of course not. The only thing that changed was the cynical attitude of the media.

it is clear that the sports writers felt the need to punish the greatest 2nd baseman of his generation for an incident that happened 15 years ago. Umpire John Hirschbeck blew a call in a critical game causing all star Roberto Alomar to come unglued. He inexplicably lost his cool and spit on the umpire. Although Alomar personally apologized to Hirschbeck and the two have become friends since the incident the media continues to hold a grudge. It is irresponsible and childish to overlook an entire body of work for the sake of one incident. I don't condone the actions of Roberto Alomar on that day in 1995, but I won't let it define a 20 year career either. A first ballot hall of famer is a first ballot hall of famer no matter what. Sports writers should be able to put their personal feelings aside and vote based on athletic performance. It should be irrelevant whether you approve or disapprove of an isolated incident. There aren't 3 people in the history of baseball that have ever played the position of 2nd base better than Roberto Alomar. That's a first ballot hall of famer in my book. And what do I think about Barry Bonds as a first ballot hall of famer? Tune in Saturday to hear my thoughts.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Andrew Luck Dilemma

If Andrew Luck declares for the NFL draft in the spring it is a foregone conclusion that the Carolina Panthers will select him with the #1 pick. It's impossible to do better than that and history has shown us there is no guarantee that opportunity will present itself later if he passes on it now. If Andrew Luck stays he will have the chance to cement his legacy as the greatest quarterback to ever play at Stanford and a possible shot at the national championship. There are pros and cons for staying in school for one more season. Let's review them.

The Pros:

1. Andrew Luck gets to stay one more year and enjoy the college experience while perfecting his craft.
2. His father was an NFL quarterback so the family isn't strapped for cash.
3. The Carolina Panthers need more than a quarterback to change their fortunes and there is uncertainty at the head coaching position.
4. The NFL labor negotiations aren't going very well and the possibility of a lock out is very real.
5. There will be a rookie salary cap in the next collective bargaining agreement so the money from one year to the next won't be significantly different.

The Cons:

1. There's nothing to prove in college after leading Stanford to a 12 win season and an Orange Bowl victory.
2. There's a good chance he won't be the #1 pick next year if he comes back for one more season (Locker and Leinart are perfect examples).
3. He unnecessarily risks injury.
4. He may wind up with a team worse than the Carolina Panthers if he stays (Oakland, Cincinnati, Buffalo).
5. The extra time gives the media more opportunity to scrutinize all of his flaws and create unrealistic expectation.
6. Jim Harbaugh will not return as head coach.

In the end I always say leave when you have maximized your value and accomplished all your goals. In my opinion Andrew Luck would be a fool to return to Stanford next year and not take advantage of his current situation. The risk is too great. Stranger things have happened though. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Young Sam Rothstein And His New Prodigies

I made a mistake yesterday. I posted on the blog that I was 3 for 3 on my new years picks last Thursday, but I was actually 4 for 4 (San Antonio, San Diego, Tennessee, and Chicago). Congrats to Alan from Portland for hitting a 3 team parlay, a 2 team parlay, and 3 straight bets. An extra $1,500 gets the new year off to a good start. Another shout out goes to Byron from Huntsville for cashing in on a $300 3 team parlay and a $200 2 team parlay. He's $2,300 closer to getting that jet ski he's always wanted. Ladies and gentlemen, family, friends, fans, and followers school is in session. It's time to show you how to make some money. Picking the winners is one thing, but showing you how to apply the knowledge is quite another. I'll start by introducing my 3 new prodigies.

Sally is a conservative house wife from Amarillo, TX. She stole $100 from her husband while he was sleeping and hopes to use the power of the sportsbook to earn a little spending money to get her nails and hair done.

Baxter is a marketing manager from Redmond, WA. He's trying to save enough money for a vacation to Belize in November. I'll show him how to turn $500 into $2,500 with a little patience and execution.

Freddy is a bartender from Las Vegas, NV. He sees all the high rollers around him and aspires to be one of them. He wants to fly by the seat of his pants and ride the sportsbook roller coaster. Get rich quick or die trying is his motto. He'll start with $2,000. His goal is $15,000 by the end of June.

The motivation and goals of my 3 prodigies is different so the betting philosophy will be different. There is a sliding scale of risk involved. You'll see all 3 of them do well over the course of this experiment. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to express them and contact me whenever you wish. Here are the locks for the day.

Miami -9 1/2 over Milwaukee. Ride the hot hand. Miami has won 18 out of the last 19 games and demolishes sub .500 teams (Milwaukee is 13-18). The spread is probably a point higher than I might like, but I'm riding the South Beach wave.

San Antonio -5 1/2 over New York. New York is without Danilo Gallinari and the Spurs won't let the Knicks run up and down the court like they want. San Antonio shows off in their only trip to the Garden.

OKC -2 over Memphis. Memphis is confident after their big win over LA on Sunday. That will work against them tonight.

Portland +4 1/2 over Dallas. The Mavs have no scoring since Dirk Nowitzki has been hurt and Caron Butler is out of the picture as well. Take the points.

We'll start Sally out with 3 straight bets ($10 a piece) and a 2 team parlay for $10. Baxter will wager $120 on 3 straight bets ($40 a piece) $80 on 2 team parlays ($40 a piece) and $50 on a 3 team parlay. Fast Freddy is going to hit the ground running with 2 straight bets ($200 a piece) 2 2 team parlays ($200 a piece) and 2 3 team parlays ($200 a piece)

Straight bets pay 1 to 1, 2 team parlays pay 2 1/2 to 1, and 3 team parlays pay 6 to 1. We'll tally up the results for you on Friday. Enjoy!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Weekend Observations

The city of Seattle is in perfect bliss after this weekend's events. The Husky football team routed the Nebraska Cornhuskers on national TV 91-7 and along the way ended up signing highly touted defensive lineman Danny Shelton away from the Oregon Ducks. If the Huskies can continue to capitalize on the momentum of the Holiday Bowl win they may be looking at a 9 win season next year. The UW men's basketball team completed the rare LA sweep with a come from behind win against USC and a solid performance against UCLA. The Pac 10 championship is off to a good start. As I have been predicting for weeks now the Seattle Seahawks made the playoffs with an impressive victory over the St. Louis Rams 16-6. South Alaska is the place to be right about now. I won't say I'm clairvoyant, but I definitely have my finger on the pulse of the sports world these days. Young Sam Rothstein went 3 for 3 and the new year will only get better. Here are some observations from the weekend.

The NFL:

I have a hunch that road teams will do better than expected in the playoffs. Look for New York, New Orleans, and Baltimore to make it interesting.

Mike Holmgren will coach the Cleveland Browns next season.

College Football:

The Big 10 is overrated and full of hot air. The Wisconsin debacle in the Rose Bowl exposed the conference as weak and slow. I don't want to hear about Michigan, Michigan St., or Ohio St. anymore.

Jim Harbaugh will coach in the pros next season. There are too many job openings for him to return to Stanford. He's done all he can there.

The NBA:

The Miami Heat followed up their Christmas victory over the Lakers with a win on New Years Day over Golden St., a game in which they trailed by 20 points at one time. It's time to get scared about what they can do.

If the Lakers don't find a 2nd scorer Kobe's legacy could be in jeopardy. It's not time to panic yet, but lets just say the latest Laker woes have caught my attention.