Welcome to another edition of Today’s Sports Update, sports fans! I’m Sebastian Maldonado bringing you all of the latest news in sports. This update is over-flooded with a few signings, NBA showdowns, football playoff predictions, and a BCS wrap-up like no other. Let’s get to it.
The Red Sox are making their own free-agent signings. Boston reached preliminary agreements with pitcher John Smoltz and outfielder Rocco Baldelli for 1-year contracts. Smoltz agreed to a 1-yr, $5.5 million contract with incentives. For example, the pitcher would get $125,000 if he’s on the opening-day roster and $500,000 if he’s on the roster on the final day of the regular season. Baldelli signed on for $500,000. Smoltz was not the only pitcher signed. The Brewers signed future Hall-of-Fame closer & all-time leader in saves Trevor Hoffman. Hoffman agreed to a 1-yr, $6 million deal. For more information on which players are still available, go to http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/features/freeagents?season=2008 for up-to-date info on your free agent signings.
Last week, yours truly took a big hit in the post-season. The record of 0-4 is (I admit) a terrible start in the playoffs. Yet, it only proves that you cannot trust ANYONE in the NFL. So, my advice in picking these games is to choose wisely. Here are my picks with a little analysis:
San Diego Chargers (9-8) vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4): both teams already fought in a close victory for the Steelers. This game should not be different. The Chargers may have momentum, but Pittsburgh has that home-field advantage. The Steelers need to shut down the run, regardless of who is running. They can then focus on hot-shot QB Phillip Rivers. My pick: Steelers
Baltimore Ravens (12-5) vs. Tennessee Titans (13-3): the Titans need this victory to show the football world that they are for real. However, have you seen the Ravens playing the last couple of weeks? The Ravens should avenge their loss against the Titans with their overwhelming defense and running game. My pick: Ravens
Philadelphia Eagles (10-6-1) vs. New York Giants (12-4): both teams have similar styles. They rely on the running game and blitz frenzied defenses to achieve victory. They split the regular season series at 1 victory apiece. The Giants should be able to beat the Eagles, especially the way the Eagles played last week against Minnesota. My pick: Giants
Arizona Cardinals (10-7) vs. Carolina Panthers (12-4): the Panthers are a force to be reckoned with. Their style is similar to the Giants and Eagles, but the difference is on offense: a QB with an arm in Jake Delholme and a dangerous WR in Steve Smith. The Cardinals need a lot to beat Carolina, especially at home. My pick: Panthers (s.o.)
ESPN has two worthy games on tonight. The Celtics might be pushing the panic button already. Ever since the Lakers beat them on Christmas Day, they have not been the same. The Celtics’ record is 29-8, going 2-6 since L.A. They go to Cleveland tonight to take on a team with an 18-0 record at home. LeBron James has become the court leader everyone hoped for. The rivalry has developed to playoff intensity every time these two meet. Who will win this battle of Eastern Conference titans?
The second game is between familiar foes. Dallas and Phoenix have been fighting since Steve Nash joined the Suns. The Mavericks won their last battle earlier in a blowout. Phoenix looks to even things with the Mavericks this time. Check local listings for both games.
Time for the magic man to take over!
I have been following the M-E-S-S, mess, mess, mess that is the New York Jets. The “Mangenius” is gone and now coaching in Cleveland. Brett Favre may be next as he is once again contemplating retirement. It’s time to play the blame game, and it’s time to tell the story like it is.
Yes, some of the blame should go on Brett Favre. His arm did appear tired as the season wore on. However, the majority of the blame should go on Eric Mangini and his coaching staff. If Favre started wearing out, then CHANGE IT UP A BIT. Plus, the defense took a beating when the offense struggled. It did not help when Mangini took over on defense. So, Favre gets the blame? Oh, come on! Yes, he deserves some of the blame. Just put more on Mangini. He deserves it, too. Maybe if some of these so-called “critics/experts” actually saw actual Jets games, then justice would be equally served.
- Steelers LB James Harrison won the AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year Award. Yet, this is history in the NFL. Harrison is the first “undrafted” player in NFL history to win the award.
- Quinton “Rampage” Jackson has decided to own up to his mistakes. The former UFC Light-Heavyweight Champion accepted a plea bargain for a reckless driving case that occurred in July. Jackson could still face jail time and probation, but he will also perform 200 hours of community service. I wish that every athlete that gets in trouble with the law follows Jackson’s behavior.
- Florida is #1 in college football. Despite the sloppy game, the Gators beat Oklahoma for the BCS National Championship 24-14. Tim Tebow led the Gators to the BCS after swearing that they will never be outperformed by any other team. Speaking of the BCS…
It is time to stop talking and start walking. Everyone has come to a consensus that the BCS System is a fine mess. So, let’s shake things up. However, let’s not totally change the system. Here’s my BCS Playoff Proposal:
- The top 10 teams would be in the playoffs. Team seed #s 7-10 would face each other. The winners of those two games would play seeds 1 and 2.
- These playoff games would still be played in Bowl games. For example, the Orange Bowl or the Rose Bowl might have the championship game. Home-field advantage is eliminated with this structure, and the Bowl games would mean so much more.
- The “minor” Bowl games (Capital One, etc.) would still be in effect. It is important for the college athletes to showcase their skills no matter what is on the line.
- The playoffs would have to start in the middle of December to take effect. For the National Championship, a one to two week layover should be good enough for teams to prepare.
That would be my BCS Playoff Proposal.
Well, that’s it for today. Before I go, I would like to thank University of Arizona student and college football fanatic Chris Cruz for helping me with the mess that is the BCS. Thank you for your valuable contribution, Mr. Cruz. It helped big time. If you disagree with anything I say, feel free to email me at email@example.com. I look forward to hearing your opinions and criticism. Until then, that’s it you KNUCKLEHEADS!!!
Copyright © 2007 by Sebastian Maldonado