Monday, July 23, 2012

Ichiro, the Yankee

The New York Yankees have traded for Seattle Mariners outfielder Ichiro Suzuki, reports YES’ Jack Curry.

The veteran outfielder will likely play part-time in left field as New York tries to overcome the absence of Brett Gardner, who will miss the rest of the season with an elbow injury. Raul Ibanez and Andrew Jones have played left field in his absence.

Ichiro, the 2001 AL MVP in his first season in America, made 10 straight All-Star teams from 2001 to 2010. He is a free agent after the season.

But Ichiro has struggled this year. He is hitting only .261 with a .288 on-base percentage. It seems likely that he would be part of a platoon in left field. The Yankees may be hoping that playing in New York for a title contender will rejuvenate Ichiro.

NCAA wipes out Penn State

INDIANAPOLIS  >> Penn State football was all but leveled today by an NCAA ruling that wiped away 14 years of coach Joe Paterno's victories and imposed a mountain of fines and penalties, crippling a program whose pedophile assistant coach spent uncounted years molesting children, sometimes on university property.

The sanctions by the governing body of college sports, which capped eight months of turmoil on the central Pennsylvania campus, stopped short of delivering the "death penalty" of shutting down the sport. But the NCAA hit Penn State with $60 million in fines, ordered it out of the postseason for four years, and will cap scholarships at 20 below the normal limit for four years. The school also will be on probation for five years.

Any current or incoming football players are free to immediately transfer and compete at another school.
"Football will never again be placed ahead of educating, nurturing and protecting young people," NCAA President Mark Emmert said as he announced the penalties at a news conference in Indianapolis.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

$100 million for Drew Brees

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Drew Brees and the Saints reached a deal on par with the quarterback's record-setting play, giving New Orleans' fans some news they can celebrate after an offseason rife with turmoil.

The team announced Friday that it had agreed to a five-year contract with Brees. A person familiar with the deal said it's for $100 million, with $60 million guaranteed.

The deal will also pay the quarterback $40 million the first year, the person told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because financial details had not been publicly announced.

Brees posted a note on his Twitter page reading, "Deal is Done! Love you, Who Dat Nation. See you soon!"

Brees skipped the Saints' offseason practices while holding out for his new long-term contract, which now gives him the highest average annual pay ($20 million) in NFL history. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

6th grader receives scholarship offer

Damon Harge first gained national attention here at Prep Rally for blowing up the North Carolina high school hoops scene while still in the sixth grade. Now he's getting noticed by some pretty talented pros and college coaches, one of whom just took the dramatic step of making Harge possibly the first sixth-grader to receive a Division I college basketball scholarship offer.

As first noted on Twitter by Michael Monroe of Hoops Report, and later confirmed by the player himself on the same medium, 12-year-old Damon Harge recently received a scholarship offer from North Carolina Central, despite having yet to enter the seventh grade. The scholarship offer was also directly confirmed with a Prep Rally source by the Harge family.

Harge, a diminutive but nearly unguardable point guard (he stands just 5-foot-4 and 120 pounds), has drawn favorable comparisons with the likes of John Wall in recent years, and now at least one college coach has seen enough to be convinced that he has a future at the next level … even if that level may be six years away.
The budding star received the offer while working out in Raleigh with reining NBA Rookie of the Year Kyrie Irving, fellow pro Nolan Smith, current N.C. State star C.J. Leslie and soon-to-be N.C. State super frosh Rodney Purvis. Despite being the youngest and least experienced player there by a mile, Harge reportedly held his own, convincing N.C. Central coach LaVelle Moton that Harge is the real deal.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

2012 Olympics

7/7/12 - Men's basketball roster finalized
7/12/12 - Blake Griffin suffers knee injury, Anthony Davis summoned
7/12/12 - Griffin to miss Olympics with injured knee
7/12/12 - U.S. defeats Dominican Republic 113-59 in exhibition

7/17/12 - Beginning with preliminary-round women's soccer games on July 25, all 302 events from all 32 sports on the London program will be streamed live online and in a special "NBC Olympics Live Extra" app for smartphones and tablets.

In delivering more than 3,000 hours of live streams, every competition feed made available by the host broadcaster will be utilized – and for some sports, that allows for truly comprehensive coverage:

7/19/12 - United States defeats Great Britain 118-78

7/22/12 - Started to read Outliers, so I wondered about the birth dates of the players on the Olympic basketball team

PG - Chris Paul        May 6, 1985
PG - Deron Williams    June 26, 1984
G  - Russell Westbrook November 12, 1988
SG - Kobe Bryant       August 23, 1978
GF - James Harden      August 26, 1989
FG - Andre Iguodala    January 28, 1984
F  - Kevin Durant      September 29, 1988
F  - LeBron James      December 30, 1984
F  - Carmelo Anthony   May 29, 1984
FC - Kevin Love        September 7, 1988
CF - Anthony Davis     March 11, 1993
C  - Tyson Chandler    October 2, 1982

So let's see, two players born in the first four month of the year.  LeBron born on December 30.  Kobe born in August.  Durant born in September.  I'd say it doesn't apply here.

7/22/12 - U.S. holds off Argentina 86-80

7/24/12 - U.S. tops Spain 100-78 in pre-London exhibition

7/29/12 - USA defeats France 98-71 in Olympic opener

7/31/12 - USA defeats Tunisia 110-63

7/31/12 - Michael Phelps out-touched in the 200-meter butterfly, then wins record 19th medal (and 15th gold) in anchoring 200-freestyle relay

8/2/12 - USA dominates Nigeria 156-73

8/2/12 - Michael Phelps holds off Ryan Lochte in 200 individual medley for three-peat and 20th medal

8/3/12 - Phelps three-peats in the 100 fly for his 20th medal and 17th gold.

8/4/12 - Serena outmatches Sharapova to win gold medal

8/4/12 - Double-amputee finishes second in 400m heat

8/4/12 - USA has to rally to beat Lithuania 99-94

8/4/12 - USA wins 4x100 medley to give Phelps 22nd medal and 18th gold

8/5/12 - Usain Bolt repeats at 100m dash setting another Olympic record

8/8/12 - Kobe and LeBron lead USA past Australia 119-86 in quaterfinals

8/9/12 - Usain Bolt repeats in 200m dash too

8/10/12 - USA downs Argentina 109-83 to advance to gold medal game

8/10/12 - Pistorius wins despite no medal

8/11/12 - Jamaica defeats USA in 4x100 and sets a new world record

8/12/12 - USA holds off Spain 107-100 to win gold medal (video)

8/12/12 - One man's memories

8/15/12 - Yes, the 2012 Olympic team will get to play the Dream Team!

8/15/12 - The Dream Team vs. Puerto Rico.  This is the game I always wished I taped for future viewing (not that I ever watch the tapes again).  But I think Wendell called me and I was talking with him.  But I see it's on youtube.  Cool.  That's my new project for the future.  Transfer my videotapes and upload to youtube.

Or maybe it was the Dream Team vs. Cuba since that was actually their debut at the Tournament of the Americas.  Yeah, that was it.  I remember Bird draining that 3-pointer.  Too bad that I only see the edited highlight video and not the complete game.

6/13/15 - hey, the full game has been uploaded!

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Michelle Wie had a good round

KOHLER, Wis. » This is why there was so much hype when she was a kid, why PGA Tour players stopped to watch her swing, why people said Michelle Wie was going to rewrite the history book.

She is capable of making golf look easy. She hasn't done it often this year, or often enough over the years to silence her critics, but she did it in the second round of the 67th U.S. Women's Open on Friday.

Wie made the 6,800-yard Blackwolf Run, lengthened by some 500 yards since 1998, look 500 yards too short.

The willowy 6-footer set up six of her seven birdies with wedge approach shots en route to a 6-under-par 66, her best-ever round at the Women's Open and the lowest score, by two shots, at this championship.

"Obviously, it went well today," Wie said. "It was just fun out there. I just went out and tried to be patient and, you know, when putts start dropping in it makes for a low round."

Halfway through the championship, Wie trailed Suzann Pettersen of Norway by one shot. Pettersen shot a 68 and moved to the top of the leaderboard at 5-under 139.

Wie started on the 10th tee and birdied four of her first six holes, every one with a wedge in her hands. She hit a lob wedge to 15 feet on the par-5 10th, a sand wedge to 4 feet on the par-4 11th, her 52-degree wedge to 10 feet on the par-4 14th and a pitching wedge to 15 feet on the par-4 15th.

"Yesterday, I had a lot of 40-foot putts, 50-foot putts," she said. "Today on the back nine I had a lot of putts within 15 feet. That really helps. It's the difference between lagging them and trying to make them."

On the front nine (her back), Wie birdied Nos. 1, 4 and 6 and bogeyed No. 2.

"I'm pretty stoked to be back in contention and honestly not have to worry about the cut line," she said. "It feels pretty good. I'm looking forward to a good weekend."

Though Wie is only 22, she's been in the public eye for a decade. She was the youngest player to Monday-qualify for an LPGA event at 12 years, 4 months, 14 days and had competed in a handful of PGA Tour events by the time she was 16.

Tom Lehman called Wie's swing "flawless" and Judy Rankin said of her, "I don't know anybody in the game of golf, male or female, that at the age of 14 was a better player than Michelle Wie."

A series of disappointments and questionable career decisions derailed Wie's early momentum, and she was criticized for everything from playing against men to juggling her career and college.

"I didn't really think about it too much," she said. "I'm really grateful for all the opportunities that I have had and all the accomplishments I did when I was younger. But I can't really live in the past.

"What I did is what I did, and I'm really looking forward to what I'm going to do tomorrow and Sunday and in the future."

Wie graduated from Stanford this year but has struggled with her game, having missed the cut in six of her last eight starts. Her best finish in 2012 is a tie for 33rd at the Sybase Match Play Championship.

"Nothing really has changed since the beginning of this year," she said. "I just kind of kept with the same stuff, and I felt like it was coming for the last couple of weeks.

"I have to say it felt pretty good to see my name on that leaderboard. I kind of like that spot up there."
Wie had 13 one-putt greens and needed just 23 putts, one day after taking 35. Pettersen played behind her and had a front-row seat for the fireworks.

"I know she's been struggling this year, but I must say playing behind her I don't think I've ever seen her make as many putts as she did today," Pettersen said. "She was fist-pumping every putt she looked at.
"Michelle is awfully talented and has a lot of game. I think you should give her a break. She just graduated after four years in college. That's pretty impressive to do that on the sideline of trying to compete out here."
Sixty-five players survived the cut at 5-over 149 and will play on the weekend. Among the notables who won't be around are Natalie Gulbis, two-time Women's Open champion Juli Inkster and Cheyenne Woods, the niece of Tiger Woods.

Wie has been working with coaches Pia Nilsson and Lynn Marriott, mostly on the mental side of the game.
"I don't know if anyone gave up on me or not," she said. "I'm sure some did and some didn't. But I never gave up on myself and today was a good reminder to myself that I can do it and I still have it."


[7/7/12]  And not so good..

Honolulu's Michelle Wie returned to all-too-familiar form today, shooting a 6-over 78 to fall out of contention at the U.S. Women's Open held on the Championship Course of Blackwolf Run in Kohler, Wis.

The Punahou School graduate shot a stunning 66 on Friday to move into a tie for second entering today's third round, but drifted down to a tie for 13th at 2-over 218. She trails third-round leader Na Yeon Choi by 10 shots. The South Korean bettered Wie's second round by one shot. The 65 dropped her to 8-under 208, leaving her six shots clear of countryman Amy Yang, who is in at 2-under 214 after firing a 68 today.

Wie carded back-to-back bogeys to start her round and never recovered. The recent Stanford graduate had only one birdie after making seven on Friday five bogeys and one double at the par-4 11th. Wie's average round this year has been a 75. That's why the 66 on Friday was so shocking. Wie has earned a little less than $20,000 this season on the LPGA Tour. She is currently 40th in the world rankings.

[7/8/12] And even worse..

Honolulu's Michelle Wie continued her downward spiral today at the U.S. Women's Open, closing with an 8-over par 80 that left her tied for 35th at 10-over 298. She was tied for second after a second-round 66, but was 14 over par for the weekend.

As for Wie, she began her day bogeying five of the first seven holes. After five straight pars, she tripled the par-3 13th, bogeyed the par-4 15th and birdied the closing hole, the only red number she had on her card.
Wie has had a disappointing year and has dropped to 40th in the world rankings as a result.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Giants continue to blackout Hawaii

For San Francisco Giants fans in Hawaii, the team's first-place success can be a little bittersweet these days. That's when it isn't just plain head-banging maddening.

While they relish the Giants' standing atop the National League West Division and what it might portend for this season, they say there is the continuing disappointment with not being able to see much of it firsthand.

We're going on four years now of Major League Baseball's curious blackout, one that has Hawaii fans caught in a rundown between the clubs' greed and the inflexibility to work out deals with cable partners.
This notion that Hawaii is "home television territory" for the Giants, some 2,500 miles distant and therefore subject to blackout, would almost be funny if it hadn't been so ham-handedly drawn up and tight-fistedly enforced.

It is one thing to black out Giants' home games in Northern or Central California, where fans are within driving — or rail — distance of AT&T Park. It is quite another to impose it on the 50th State, where the commute is more arduous.

The shakedown works like this: MLB teams are allowed to declare "home television territories" that need not be based on any geographic common sense. Profit motive is enough. Which is why at various times as many as six teams — Giants, A's, Angels, Dodgers, Padres and Mariners — have all staked their claim to these islands.

Not to actually play any games here, you understand, but to strong-arm local fans and their cable operators to sign on and pay up or forgo the opportunity to watch them on a regular basis.
Unless local cable operators come to terms with the team's designated regional sports network, there is a blackout of non-ESPN national games and DirecTV. In this, even subscribers to, MLB Extra Innings and others outlets have found themselves in the dark.

Some clubs, the Mariners and Padres, for instance, have relented and granted so-called "temporary waivers." Others, such as the Dodgers and Angels, have managed to work out deals with Oceanic Time Warner Cable.

Meanwhile, the Giants have dug in the way Willie McCovey once did and aren't budging. Even testimony to the Federal Communications Commission in Washington and a letter from some concerned U. S. senators earlier this year have yet to back the Giants away from the plate.

Which is why fans here didn't get to see Matt Cain's perfect game until the final innings, when ESPN and others finally cut in.

Give KITV's MeTV Hawaii, available on digital cable Ch. 126, credit for bringing in a 12-game package. But that still leaves more than 90 percent of the Giants games up to the whims of the TV market. At least fans can catch their team on the radio on KKEA, 1420-AM.
Giants fan and rail public relations operative Doug Carlson was so enraged he started a blog dedicated to the blackout,

When that didn't work, Carlson took perhaps the ultimate step: He moved to Sacramento. "I can't say the Infamous MLB Blackout of Hawaii was all of the motivation, but it definitely was a sweet part of the transition," Carlson wrote in an email.

Reach Ferd Lewis at

P.S.  Sacramento Kings too.  (Good thing it's not the Lakers or Clippers.)