August 15, 2009
Welcome back, sports fans! I’m Sebastian Maldonado bringing you all of the latest news in sports. Did you enjoy the All-Star week? This week’s headlines include the race for the playoffs, scandals, and a player returning to the pros.
We start off with the latest news on Michael Vick. Last Monday, his mentor Tony Dungy told ESPN that Vick was “very close” in signing with a team. Vick signed a 1 year deal worth $1.6 million with the Eagles this past Thursday. He also has an option for a second year. It’s an odd move considering Andy Reid’s disdain for the media. It’s also curious as Donovan McNabb is their starting quarterback. Vick will return to a fan base that is known for being “rabid” in support of their team. Vick is suspended indefinitely but might return in Week 6 of this season. The Eagles upgraded their offense but also put their future in question. How will the Eagles use Vick? Is there room for both McNabb and Vick? Both fought each other during the NFC Championship Game in 2005. Can they co-exist?
In other pre-season news, Tom Brady returned to face the Eagles. Brady, recovering from knee surgery, threw two touchdowns and one interception in a 27-25 victory. The Steelers won their pre-season Super Bowl rematch against the Cardinals 20-10. The Steelers look more determined than ever to repeat as champions. Meanwhile, Lions QB Matthew Stafford and Jets QB Mark Sanchez look to win the starting QB jobs from Daunte Culpepper and Kellen Clemens. As every team regains their game composure, it looks like another exciting season is upon us.
Speaking of exciting, MLB is heating up. The Yankees are starting to pull away from the Red Sox with a 6 ½ game lead. More and more teams are falling behind .500 records. The Al Central Division is becoming more competitive in crunch time. The Cardinals are dominating with their 1-2 punch in Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday. The Phillies have a rejuvenated Pedro Martinez to start for them as he won his first game against the Cubs on Wednesday. Many people like their chances to repeat, but the Cardinals are also a clear favorite to win.
The most intriguing race is the Wild Card for both leagues. The American League features a three-way dance between the Red Sox, the Rangers, and the Rays. The Red Sox have a 1½ game lead over the Rangers and a 5 game lead over the Rays. The National League features the San Francisco Giants trailing the Colorado Rockies by 1½ games behind. The Marlins, Braves, and Cubs are also behind the Rockies in that order. Boston looks to pull away the AL Wild Card, but the NL Wild Card shows that everyone is not out yet.
Maybe Quentin Richardson should adopt the “Traveling Man” nickname. He has been traded to four different teams this off-season from the Knicks to the Grizzlies, then the Clippers, then the Wolves, and now the Heat. Let’s hope Richardson is determined to prove four teams wrong in dealing him. New teammate Dywane Wade is not even thinking about leaving the Heat after this season. He’s focused on becoming a champion again in this upcoming season. In other news, the mavericks will not let their MVP Dirk Nowitzki play in the European Championships. Owner Mark Cuban denied Nowitzki’s request while Germany will have to win their tournament without Nowitzki.
Time for the issues to be heard in: The Athlete’s Court!
- Donte Stallworth has been suspended for the entire 2009 season. Stallworth was convicted for DUI manslaughter and sentenced to house arrest. He cannot participate in team activities until after the Super Bowl.
- Louisville coach Rick Pitino is in a nasty extortion case with a former lover. Karen Sypher, whose extortion charge is still pending, says in Friday’s edition of the New York Post that Pitino—a married father of five—engaged her at a Louisville restaurant in 2003, where the sexual encounter is said to have occurred. Pitino came clean about their past, including paying the woman $3,000 for an abortion. Louisville is standing with Pitino in this dilemma.
- Police charged a 21-year-old man with two misdemeanor counts Thursday in a beer-throwing incident that showered Phillies OF Shane Victorino. John Macchione of Bartlett, Illinois, was charged with one count of battery and one count of illegal conduct within a sports facility, according to police. Cubs chairman Crane Kenney apologized to Victorino in person before Thursday’s game.
- Broncos WR Brandon Marshall has been found not guilty of battery by an Atlanta jury. Marshall had faced two counts of battery stemming from a March 4, 2008, argument with then-girlfriend Rasheedah Watley at their shared Atlanta home.
- Michael Phelps was involved in a car accident this past Thursday. The accident Thursday night was not Phelps’ fault and was caused by another driver who ran a red light, police said. Officers did not administer field sobriety tests because Phelps showed no signs of being impaired by alcohol.\
Time for the magic man to take over!
HBO’s Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Cincinnati Bengals features a behind-the-scenes look in their training camp. WR Chad Ochocinco got some advice from an unlikely source: Academy-Award Winner Denzel Washington. First reported by Yahoosports.com, both attended a Lakers game last spring. Washington called him out and saw Ochocinco’s lost 2008 season as a self-inflicted nightmare. Ochocinco took it to heart, and some things have changed. He is no longer making guarantees of a Super Bowl or even the playoffs. He’s still having fun playing, but it’s more “controlled” as opposed to raw emotion. Whether or not Ochocinco becomes a world champion remains to be seen. To read the entire article in its entirety, go to http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/news?slug=ms-trippintuesday072109&prov=yhoo&type=lgns. It is a must-read.
- Earvin “Magic” Johnson celebrated his 50th birthday. The Laker All-Star and living legend never thought he’d see this day as he was diagnosed with HIV nearly 18 years ago. He now does charity work and helps in researching a cure for the AIDS virus.
- Rockies SS Troy Tulowitzki and Orioles OF Felix Pie both hit for the cycle in the same week. Tulowitzki hit his against the Pirates on August 10th, and Pie hit his against the Angels last night. Both of their teams won their games.
Do Twitter and Sports go together? It works for fans as players can get closer to them than ever. Athletes like Shaquille O’Neal have utilized Twitter to its fullest with positive results. Other athletes have abused and violated their team rules for Twitter.
Many football teams have forbidden athletes for using Twitter. The reason is players are using Twitter to talk/complain about training camp. Chargers CB Antonio Cromartie was fined for complaining about the food at training camp. Nuggets F J.R. Smith got in trouble for putting comments that are similar to “gang-related” issues. This brings us back to the issue: are sports and twitter a good team? Yes, it is (despite the many reservations I have for Twitter). It keeps fans closer to the game and increases the team’s/player’s fan-base. Players must use Twitter sparingly, as the comments they write are seen throughout the world. This means players must be extremely careful as personal opinion can now be led to scrutiny.
Before I go, check out tonight’s Strikeforce PPV between Gina Carano and Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos. If you are an MMA fan, then this fight should not disappoint. If you disagree with anything I say, feel free to email me at email@example.com or leave a comment below. I look forward to hearing your opinions and criticism. Until then, that’s it you KNUCKLEHEADS!!!
Copyright © 2007 by Sebastian Maldonado