Sunday, June 28, 2015

Podcast-Glen Campbell,Devils Draft and Bradley-Vargas

The latest ThoughtsofRS podcast brought to you by CSA Cards.
We talk about Glen Campbell and his documentary,the Devils draft and Bradley-Vargas.

Bradley defeats Vargas in chaotic ending

Timothy Bradley obtained the vacant WBO welterweight title with a unanimous decision win over Jessie Vargas despite a controversial ending in Carson Ca.

Bradley was far ahead on my card (I had Bradley winning the bout 116-111) when with well under a minute remaining,the light hitting Vargas (just nine KO"s on his career) landed and sent Bradley wobbling around the ring badly hurt.
Vargas moved in,landed a combination before Bradley grabbed on and held on for dear life.

Then the controversy started as referee Pat Russell heard the ten second mat pound and thought that it was the bell instead and ended the fight.
As Vargas climbed the turnbuckle in celebration like Beautiful Bobby Eaton.Russell clearly told officials that he had not stopped the fight,that he had though he heard the bell.
Points for honesty,but the decision cost Vargas eight to ten seconds that he could used to finish Bradley off and could force us to see a rematch.

The fight was better than I thought it would be going in as far as action goes,but I don't really need to see a rematch.
Bradley would have likely held on for those few seconds and Vargas and his lack of power would have likely not have overcome the resilient Bradley,who has skated through rougher waters against bigger bangers than Vargas.
However,considering the dearth of welterweight contenders in the Top Rank stable for Bradley and the title on the line was the WBO,who has more titlists with Top Rank than any other promoter,I'd wager we will get our rematch-no matter how little anyone wants it.
Bradley has always been a proud warrior,if a outgunned one,but when you are rocked that badly by a soft puncher,the line appears to be closer to the end than the beginning for Bradley.
I was on Twitter for much of the bout and I posted that I have the feeling that the end won't be good for Bradley-who has taken a lot of punches and when he finally gives way,it's going to be fast and spectacular.
If I was Bradley and the money was right,I might take the Vargas rematch and avoid any big punchers because he's ripe for the picking....

R.L.Malpica and I each had Bradley winning via unanimous decision,good for two points in the boxing challenge.
I hold an 81-80 lead in the challenge at the halfway point of the year.


Saturday, June 27, 2015

Devils trade for Kyle Palmieri

It will not be official until later today,but the New Jersey Devils have made their first move to bolster a flagging squad under new GM Ray Shero as the Devils traded their second rounder (41) that the team obtained from Florida for Jaromir Jagr and a third rounder in 2016 to the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for right wing (and New Jersey native) Kyle Palmieri.

The former first round pick (2009) is just 24 and will be a restricted free agent at the end of the season,but brings some badly needed speed to the team and being a native,may not be difficult to re-sign to a longer contract assuming the Devils will be willing to lengthen a deal.
Palmieri scored 14 goals in under sixty games last season and added 15 more in 71 games the previous year,so you figure in a full season,Palmieri should be good for 15 to 20 goals.
In addition,he scored five goals on the power play last year for a career high,so the winger may be developing into a power play threat.
At the same time,Palmieri is not huge (5'11),has had some issues staying healthy and has never scored more than 15 goals,which for a first rounder could be looked at as a mild disappointment.

The bigger question is Kyle Palmieri worth a high second rounder and a future third rounder in a organization that is badly in need of a retooling in their farm system?
Honestly,he could be,but if I were writing this right now-which I am,I lean towards no.
The third? Yes,but the high second in what is reported to be a very deep draft hits hard.
It doesn't seem to be a trade that makes me wince in pain and it is a deal that has the potential to be a good one,if Palmieri blossoms further,which he has shown flashes of doing.
However,for now-it seems to be a high price to pay for untapped potential....




Friday, June 26, 2015

Devils select Pavel Zacha with 1st pick

The New Jersey Devils had the bad luck to hold the sixth pick in a draft that possessed five exceptional prospects.
However,the draft is thought to be a deep one and the Devils hope to still have landed a prime player in the selection of center Pavel Zacha.

The 18 year old center is from the Czech Republic,but played last year with the Sarnia Sting in junior hockey.
Zacha is 6'3 and over 200 pounds and scored just under a point a game in his year with the Sting.

I don't claim to be nearly as knowledgeable about the NHL draft,so I won't offer too many opinions on Zacha,so I'll use this scouting report from EliteProspects.com for a few words on Zacha as a prospect.

Pavel Zacha is an offensively dynamic center with the size, speed, and skill to make a significant impact on the game. He can play physical, but is at his best when using his high-end offensive abilities, such as his shot, stickhandling, and footspeed, to generate numbers in the opposition's end of the ice. All-in-all, Zacha is a lethal weapon that can be depended upon to create, and finish, dangerous scoring chances whenever he is on the ice. (Curtis Joe, EP 2015) - See more at: http://www.eliteprospects.com/player.php?player=130786#sthash.7RkbysFf.dpuf

Zacha has a chance to make the Devils next season,but is more likely to return to Sarnia for another term with the Sting....


Cavaliers draft three forwards in the 2015 draft

The Cleveland Cavaliers started the evening with a first and second rounder in the 2015 NBA Draft.
At the end of the night,Cleveland had the rights to three players in the second round and added a second rounder in the 2019 draft as Cleveland traded the rights to their first rounder (thoughts on this on the latest podcast) Duke point guard Tyus Jones to Minnesota for the rights to two Timberwolves second rounders (31 and 35).

With this sudden bounty of second rounders,Cleveland selected a 20 year old from Turkey in Cedi Osman to stash away for the future and a possible bench reinforcement in Syracuse forward Rakeem Christmas before using their second rounder on St.John's forward Sir'Dominic Pointer to complete the draft.

Let's call it straight-this was a salary deal.
NBA first rounders get a guaranteed contract,second rounders do not.
A first rounder on paper would be a million (roughly) guaranteed,but considering the Cleveland salary tax situation,keeping the first rounder could have cost the team four to five times as much for a player that was likely not to play often.
I like the potential of Tyus Jones and I think R.J. Hunter (was available at 23,later picked by Boston) could have been an offensive help off the bench,but both were maybe's for 2015-16 at best and Cleveland needs to have as much money open as possible for July to put their FA contracts in order and hopefully land another piece to the roster and if that means deals like this,then I'm reluctantly O.K.....

Cedi Osman's stats are less than dazzling in Turkey,but is highly regarded on the defensive end and has excellent athletic ability with nice work in transition.
Osman's offensive skills need work according to draft express and looks to be a role player in the league,if he matures as a player.
Osman is reported to want to join the NBA now,which is unlikely unless he is willing to hit the D-League with the Cavaliers team in Canton...

Rakeem Christmas is a 6'10 power forward from Syracuse that stayed all four years and shoots a high percentage with a larger than his size wingspan that enables him to be an excellent shot blocker and rim protector.
The problem? Limited offensive moves,doesn't seem to have the explosiveness that you'd like to and doesn't appear to be anything more than a undersized postup player.
Christmas could make the team as a defensive rebounder off the bench,especially in the absence of Anderson Varejao,which seems to happen every year...

Sir'Dominic Pointer from St.Johns is a 6'6 forward renowned for his defense and for underwhelming shooting.
Pointer looks to have a future in Canton for the next year or two,where with luck and work,he could develop into a athletic defensive specialist against shooting guards or small forwards.
More likely,he'll turn out to be remembered best for a unique name...

Back later with the Devils first overall pick at the six spot in the NHL Draft...

Podcast-Welcome to our new sponsor!

New podcast with a welcome to our new sponsor!
Also Cavaliers draft,U.S.Open and the return of Battlebots....

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Cleaning Out the Inbox

With both the NBA and NHL Drafts coming up with Cavalier and Devil coverage of each,I figured that it was time to dump the old inbox before it got too full....

Before we start,I still have an announcement to make regarding the podcast,but I plan on doing that tonight/tomorrow from the road office,when I do the next podcast.
Some of you know/think you know just what this announcement is,but if you don't,I am not going to spoil it for you.

\Photo Credit;Gene Sanny
We begin with this from UniWatch and one man that has combined his love of painting with electric football to create the World Football League on the vibrating field.The picture shown features my favorite team from the 1974-75 league in game action as the Southern California Sun faces off on the steel gridiron against the (Honolulu) Hawaiians.
Gene Sanny's project saw him hand paint each team with accurate player names and even "dirt" on the uniforms!
Sanny also added a field cover to give the field the look of the old multi-use stadiums or currently in Oakland that had a dirt infield during baseball season.
The electric football community has a strong underground that loves the old game and I loved it too as a kid,although I never was able to use the "triple threat quarterback" to do anything properly!
Super neat to see these types of things and their creativity involved....

The "Madison Square Garden of the South"-Reynolds Coliseum in Raleigh N.C. is undergoing a huge renovation and one of the discoveries was the Tartan floor that the Wolfpack used under Norm Sloan and Jim Valvano in the 70's and 80's.
Tartan was a spongy soft surface that took a lot out of your legs.How do I know?

My junior high was built the year before I started and installed a Tartan surface on our floor.
It really was thick and heavy and it's easy to see how it came out of style like AstroTurf.
The Wolfpack still use Reynolds for the lady Pack and smaller sports along with graduation ceremonies etc and the school attempted to remove the surface during the renovation,but concluded that it would be too difficult to take out and will be covered over by a new hardwood floor after the renovations are finished.
The picture is what the center circle with the old (S) logo for State looks like today...

The baseball Hall of Fame offers a column named "Card Corner" and the latest one was on my favorite player of my youth-Toby Harrah.
A theme was how the Yankees spent years trying to obtain Harrah from the Rangers and never succeeded until after Harrah was past his prime.
Two "what if's" on Harrah.
1) Bucky Dent was often offered in Harrah deals,would that have made the 78 playoff game end differently?
2) Would I have been a Yankee fan following Toby like I did to Cleveland?
or stayed with the Rangers? Or went to Cleveland anyway?
Interesting questions....

WKSU writes about the Cleveland mustard war between Bertman's ballpark and Stadium.
Photo Credit;Mike Lowry
It compares the history,taste,companies and owners for the two products and discusses the war between them as well.
If you'd like a vote in the war,here is a link to a Cleveland.com poll between the two.
Personally,I like them both,but I lean towards Bertman's as did the lovely Cherie and Rachel.
A friend of mine tells me Bertman's can be found in Frederick at Giant Eagle supermarket and Stadium shows up occasionally at Big Lots,so if you see them-give them a try!

The Washington Post writes of one of the world's worst invasive species entering the country and the issues that could be caused by it getting loose.
The New Guinea flatworm can devastate a ecosystem with dining on snails and earthworms,but will eat other foods in their absence.
It is regarded as one of most destructive species in the world in a spot where it has no predators and supposedly it has a really lousy taste to put predators at bay...

Planning for a possible podcast tonight,so we will see!



Tuesday, June 23, 2015

One day at the Diamond

I found it ironic that on a day that Wal-Mart of all places decided to remove anything picturing the Confederate flag on it from their stores,that I was in the former capital of the Confederate States as Doug Hopkins and I went to Richmond for my first ever trip to the Diamond.

The Diamond is the home of the Richmond Flying Squirrels of the AA Eastern League and was previously the home of the Richmond Braves,which for years was the AAA feeder for the Atlanta Braves.
Built in 1985,The Diamond sits in an industrial area and not in your typical shoved into downtown spot as many new parks do.
The Diamond pops out of nowhere like a large spaceship as you near and it reminded me a little of the Scope arena in Norfolk from exterior looks from a distance.
What it reminded me of the most of after I entered the building was the old home of the Atlanta Braves-Fulton County Stadium-If the Fulton County Stadium had stopped halfway through the process.
What I mean by that is,the covered portion of the Diamond stops a little outside the infield,while the "concrete donuts" of the 60's and 70's circled the entire field with their roof.
I didn't do much graphing,I had just a few players left over from my trip to Harrisburg last week and was able to get all of them knocked out with the exception of Joe Biagini,who was starting again after starting against the Senators.
I was able to get Tyler Beede,the Giants top pick in 2014 on a elite insert card and on a baseball among scattered others,so that was a success.
After a trip to the "Squirrels Nest" to pick up a shirt for the lovely Cherie (Giants fan) and nothing for me,Mike and I trudged to the top of the Diamond for the type of walk that one remembers a child to the nosebleed seats at major league parks.
The seats were much like those at other parks-flat metal benches with a surprisingly less than sturdy back,but not totally uncomfortable,but gave a better than expected view as you can see from the pictures.
The concourse was another nostalgia trip to 70's and 80's style parks with a basic crowded concrete space that brought me back to the basic parks of my childhood.
Nothing spectacular,but fun memories.

We left after five innings with New Britain well ahead,Mike and I decided to leave and we just missed Will Clark,who arrived later in the day.
As a long time Clark fan,that is a painful near-miss,but it was still a fun day that brought back long ago memories.
Memories from a time of my childhood when such parks were the cutting edge designs of the time,but aren't fondly remembered by many.

Our meals for the day were Steak and Shake-a long time favorite in Fredericksburg VA and a chicken sub at Wawa,which some of you may remember from a recent cleaning of the inbox for their battle with Sheetz.
Steak and Shake's food was excellent,although the service was less than stellar complete with waiter that sounded like Mumbles from Dick Tracy.
The milkshakes there are terrific and despite not wanting one on a hot day at 10 AM,I still have regrets!
Wawa isn't as large as Sheetz on the interior and didn't have a place to sit down to eat,but their chicken tenders on wheat (see I'm trying) was quite good...

All around-one great day and visit to Richmond.
The Diamond rep was worse than I thought it was and I'd go back under the right conditions.
Thanks to Doug Hopkins for the great time,the laughs and for driving!
Looking forward to our next trip to Binghamton together and for making June 22nd an annual tradition of ours....




Monday, June 22, 2015

Lemieux pounds N'Dam-Boxing Challenge

David Lemieux claimed the vacant IBF Middleweight title with a unanimous decision over Hassan N'Dam in Montreal in a bout that saw N'Dam floored four times.

Lemieux won a wide decision on all cards (Mine was 115-109),but the fight was far closer,if you used the old system of scoring of simply by rounds,the fight could have gone either way.
In the end,N'Dam's chin that had failed him against Peter Quillin (six knockdowns) foiled his chances of victory again against a world class foe.
As for Lemieux,he showed strong power and an aggressive style that is extremely fan friendly that should continue to build fan support.
The fight fan in me would love to see a unification fight with WBA champ Gennady Golovkin,but Golden Boy might be better suited to keep Lemieux away from GGG.
HBO has involvement with both fighters and with a lack of options for either immediately,a fall fight is very possible.
I think Golovkin wins an explosive bout,but Lemieux does have the proverbial punchers chance....

Dierry Jean won a unanimous decision on the undercard over Jerry Belmontes and Rances Barthelemy soundly defeated Antonio DeMarco on a PBC card on Sunday to complete the boxing weekend.
In the Boxing Challenge,both R.L.Malpica and I added five points to our total-2 each for the Jean and Barthelemy wins and one for the Lemieux victory...

The challenge stands at 79-78 in my favor.

Stay tuned for a big announcement later that my Facebook followers already know about.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Porter ends the Broner mystique,Ward chops up Smith-Boxing Challenge

On a night with three significant fights from three different promoters on three different networks AT THE SAME TIME-one things was for sure,the myth that Al Haymon and his PBC had built in anticipation of his venture was punctured for good in Las Vegas as Shawn Porter took a clear cut unanimous decision over Adrien Broner in Las Vegas.

Before I begin,I'm not including the vacant IBF Middleweight title bout between David Lemieux and Hassan N'Dam from Montreal as I have not seen it and (for now) I've been able to dodge the result until later when I can hopefully watch it.

Shawn Porter's unanimous decision over Adrien Broner not only saw a incredibly disliked fighter give the crowd what they hoped for,but it hit the PBC where it hurt-business.
The infant company had hoped to use Broner as their "heel" that people watched to see lose (See Floyd Mayweather for a more talented example) and would be able to build viewership for his bouts.
They may have created the heel side,but the fighter may not have been as talented as thought by many.
Shawn Porter is a good fighter and a former champion,but if Adrien Broner was truly as good as thought-this was a fight that should have been impressively won.
Instead in a somewhat entertaining,if sloppy affair,Broner was exposed as a fighter that truly is a "tweener"-not enough of a boxer to control a bout against the top of a division and not enough of a puncher to keep said fighters off of him.
Broner did score the only knockdown of the fight with a hook to start the final round,but Porter wasn't severely hurt and the fight went to the scorecards,where I wondered aloud (and on Twitter) about how the scores were going to be found for Broner.
To my surprise,two of the cards were close to mine (115-111 Porter) with another that seemed to be way too wide for Porter.
Three quick thoughts on this fight.

1) Shawn Porter has redeemed himself for his loss of his IBF title to Kell Brook with an energetic and unexpected win.
Porter will likely get himself more fights and he has two that I'd like to see happen.
I wouldn't be against a Brook rematch,the first was a competitive fight and a second fight might be worth going after,but the other would be for Keith Thurman and his WBA title.
I've been critical of "one time" for fighting B level fighters and not getting them out with "one shot".
Shawn Porter would be the best fighter that Keith Thurman has ever fought and would go a long way to pulling a 147 pounder to the top on the PBC side....

2) How good does England's IBF champ Kell Brook look now after Porter's win?
Brook has stopped both fighters in his two defenses and none of the PBC fighters appear interested in fighting him including Amir Khan (a massive money fight in the UK) anytime soon.
Brook has work to do,but you certainly have to put him in the mix for the best post-Mayweather welterweight battle.

3) Where does Adrien Broner stand now?
Broner isn't strong enough to beat the best 147 pounders,yet is going to have a rough time staying at 140 pounds to make the weight.
Even at 140,Broner's options are limited with WBC champ Danny Garcia (PBC) moving up to welterweight and the vacant title filled with the winner of Lucas Matthysse-Victor Postol (neither PBC) which makes the WBC title unlikely.
Garcia hasn't officially given up the WBA title,but if he does,their "regular" (don't get me started on this) champ Jessie Vargas will likely to be promoted to full status and Vargas is with Top Rank.
WBO champ Terrence Crawford is with Top Rank,so he's out and the IBF title is vacant,but Broner might not be ranked high enough at 140 for them.
Broner is at a crossroads in his career and PBC might be at a loss for what to do with him.
Wins over John Molina types such as after his loss to Marcos Maidana seem to be a waste of time,yet another big fight loss might ruin him for good.
Difficult times for the PBC and the fighter that they could have been counting on to be their flagship....

Meanwhile out in Oakland,Andre Ward chopped his opponent Paul Smith up as Smith's corner tossed in the towel in  round nine.
The perpetually dull Ward had added inactive to his name over the last four years and selected Smith as the foe to chip the rust off against,but was such a underdog that HBO,who invested time with Ward as a color commentator that lacked color,refused to show the bout and Showtime turned Ward down when he approached them with HBO's permission.
That forced Roc Nation to time buy on BET for the bout to have television at all.
Roc Nation wastes time on air with rappers,hip hop artists and anything else to take away from the fact that they have two fighters in their stable to pay attention to-When one of those is Andre Ward,you have problems.
Ward won every round,but proved little and I'm not sure what Ward has in his future.
Ward talks a lot about fighting top guys,but the facts show that over the last four years,he has three wins-over Jello-jawed Chad Dawson,Edwin Rodriguez and now Paul Smith.
Not exactly Bob Foster,Archie Moore and Michael Spinks there,but with an unwillingness to leave Oakland,which is the only place that he draws and exorbitant pay demands for a fighter with limited drawing power,Ward's future is uncertain.
Ward talks about Gennady Golovkin,but he'll likely price himself out of that fight,doesn't want to go to England for a rematch with Carl Froch,which would be a high demand ticket there but nowhere else and doesn't appear thrilled with a leap to 175 for Sergey Kovalev.
Wouldn't surprise me in the slightest,if we see more fights like last night in Ward's future,

R.L.Malpica and I each earned one point for Ward's win and both missed on Shawn Porter victory,so the boxing challenge stands at 74-73.
Back later as soon as I can watch Lemieux vs N'Dam....

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Boxing Challenge

Interesting weekend in the boxing challenge,but many of the fights are of the squash match variety with only one top notch fight being evenly matched.
All three cards run against each others at the same time,so it will take some juggling and some luck to catch all of these fights...

Adrien Broner against Shawn Porter in another (sigh) catchweight is the marquee matchup,while the talented yet dull super middleweight champ Andre Ward returns for the first time since the Nixon administration against Paul Smith in a light heavyweight bout.
The vacant IBF Middleweight title is on the line in Montreal with David Lemieux,the man that cost me the 2014 boxing challenge against Hassan N'Dam.
The winner could be facing Gennady Golovkin in a title unification bout in the fall.
R.L Malpica and I's selections are very similar for the week as I enter with a 73-72 lead.

Welterweights.12 rds
Adrien Broner vs Shawn Porter
Both:Broner Unanimous Decision

Light Heavyweights.12 rds
Andre Ward vs Paul Smith
Both:Ward Unanimous Decision

Vacant IBF Middleweight title.12 rds
David Lemieux vs Hassan N'Dam
R.L:Lemieux KO 8
TRS:Lemieux KO 11

Lightweights.10 rds
Rances Barthelemy vs Antonio DeMarco
Both;Barthelemy Unanimous Decison

Lightweights.10 rds
Dierry Jean vs Jerry Belmontes
Both:Jean Unanimous Decision


Friday, June 19, 2015

Podcast with guest Shane Shadows

We talk 1980's WWF with my brother Shane Shadows as we meander through many topics...

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Cavaliers season ends and off season thoughts

The Cleveland Cavaliers lost game six last night and lost the NBA Finals to the Golden State Warriors in a game that I didn't watch,but listened to on XM radio.

As I said on Monday's podcast,the lovely Cherie and I already had plans and I wasn't breaking them for what would have been a guaranteed loss had we stayed home to watch the game.

Since I didn't watch the game,I'm not going to do bullet points for the game,but I'll offer a few thoughts on the series and the future of the team...

I thought Golden State was a deserving winner and I'm not saying that a full strength Cleveland team would have won the series,but it sure would have been fun to watch.
Look back at game one and that type of play and compare to the grind it out,slow it down tempo thereafter.
I don't blame Cleveland for doing that,it was their only chance to win,but this could have been such an entertaining series.
We all missed out on that.

I will differ with Andre Iguodala as MVP though.
Jerry West won the 1969 finals MVP in a losing effort,I thought LeBron James was equally as deserving in this series.
I know that fans/media don't like to give the losing player the MVP,but this was a rare time when it was deserved...

Had to laugh at the post-game press conference when Klay Thompson referred to Stephen Curry as "the best player in the world" in a dig at James.
Consider this-trade places and put Curry on the Cavaliers and James on the Warriors.
How long does this series last? GSW in four blowouts.
LeBron James is easy to dislike and frankly,I'm still not 100% a fan,but denying that he is the best player in the world is myopic and allowing your dislike to get the better of you.
Stephen Curry may be the best shooter in the world,but there is more to this game than shooting.
Much more.

Steve Kerr was very classy in his victory as he credited Cleveland with a great season and mentioned the injuries with how things could have been different had they been healthy.
Wish I could have said the same for Alvin Gentry,Warrior assistant that is now headed for New Orleans as their head coach.
Gentry offered this "We just kicked everyone's ass playing the way everyone complained about".
Not at 100% you didn't, Alvin and good luck installing this in New Orleans-considering your coaching record of 2 winning seasons in 12 years and one year with over 40 wins,unless Anthony Davis turns into Galactus,I don't think we'll be worrying about seeing you again anytime soon.

Now we move to the off-season and what could be some shaking up.
The huge question is does Kevin Love return and if not,who replaces him and how much do I link to this article on the gamble of dealing Andrew Wiggins?
Seriously,this is the number one question,Love took longer to jell than expected,but was playing very well when his season ended.
Kevin Love's status needs to be addressed and quickly,so in the event that he does leave,the Cavaliers need to be in a position to add a quality replacement.
Tristan Thompson's contract will have to be improved and a similar decision will have to be made on Iman Shumpert as both players were on qualifying offers as is Matthew Dellavedova.
You could bring back all three,but with Thompson in line for a huge raise,the Cavaliers could be hindered in making additions for a badly needed outside shooter.
J.R.Smith and Mike Miller each have player options for next season.
I'd expect Miller to take his 2.8 million option to stay,but Smith might decide to test the market.
Do the Cavaliers go after him to keep him in the fold? Or do they look at him as too inconsistent and use his over six million number with the Shawn Marion money from his retirement and combine those with the over ten million that the team gets back from Brendan Haywood's deal to add a elite shooter?

The draft is just eight days away,Cleveland picks 24th in the first and has Portland's second rounder at 53.
Could Cleveland use the Haywood space to move up for higher pick?
Could they trade this for a role player (preferably a shooter)?
One would think the team is looking for shooters,but someone with offensive skills at shooting guard would be a nice add off the bench.
Draft Express does their mock draft by talent,not by matching team to player and they have 6'8 Louisville forward Montrezl Harrell as their 24th rated player.
I doubt Harrell would be a match for the Cleveland needs.
Bleacher Report has the Cavaliers taking Justin Anderson at 24.
Anderson is a 6'6 forward from Virginia that Draft Express has rated at 25 overall.
Both players are juniors and are likely more refined than the average one and done.
Speaking of one and done,I really like the skills of UNLV freshman guard Rashad Vaughn,who would be a nice addition shooting wise,but being just 19 might not be the type of player to step in and make an impact.

The Cavaliers put up a gallant effort and I'm proud of my team.
It's easy to say that after a loss,but I truly am.
Wait til next year is a often used cliche',but for the first time in like forever-I believe in it....



Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Cleaning out the inbox-Non-Sports edition

Time for another inbox cleaning this time from the non-sports world...

We start with another note from Joe Plum,who offers this interesting taste test of the so-called "Frankenfish" the Snakehead,which is native to Asia and is suddenly taking the Potomac River by storm.
Kevin Ambrose of the Washington Post compares the taste of the Snakehead to some various popular fish such as Tilapia,Flounder Catfish and Cod.

Ambrose and his taste buds rated the Snakehead surprisingly high against the better known fish and perhaps it will encourage more fisherman to tackle the Snakehead via rod and reel an an attempt battle back against its takeover of the river.....

I recently discussed my dislike for former Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley in a recent podcast and wished for a devastatingly awful result for O'Malley's Presidential campaign (much like he devastated Maryland,but I digress).
Five Thirty Eight nails the title (click here for more) and explains more on why O'Malley and his campaign is On a first class ticket to NOWHERE...


This is an old article from the New York Times that discusses the Pennsylvania convenience store war between Western Pa's Sheetz and Eastern's Wawa.
We are surrounded by Sheetz here locally,but in Frederick,Wawa has begun to dip into Maryland.
For some reason,I think I have written about this before,but I couldn't find anything here,so if it has been mentioned already-I apologize.

Grantland writes about John Cusack,who I consider a favorite actor and his career work.
Cusack plays various roles,is not afraid to try new things and is willing to do some small independent work if he likes the role-All admirable qualities in an actor.
Cusack appears as the Beach Boys Brian Wilson in the upcoming film "Love and Mercy",which not only appears interesting,but hopefully features Wilson's "Love and Mercy" as the movie theme.
I've always considered the title song to be Wilson's best work as a solo artist.



We've written about our Star Trek fandom,Leonard Nimoy and Mr.Spock,but now there is an official asteroid named after the late actor.
Nimoy 4864 is an asteroid that orbits the Sun and is located between Mars and Jupiter.
I doubt you'll be seeing Nimoy 4864 anytime soon,but it's a cool tribute to the Science Fiction icon...

We wrap up with a Grantland article on abandoned amusement parks including the Six Flags one in Louisiana that was closed by Hurricane Katrina and was a host for the filming of Jurassic World.
The article talks about the desolation of such places and the two Disney parks that are closed off to the public.
Interesting if you like Disney or just nature taking things back for itself...

Back tomorrow with either the end of the Cavaliers season or the setup for Game Seven!


Monday, June 15, 2015

Cavaliers falter late in Game five loss

LeBron James finished with 40 points,14 rebounds and 11 assists and it still wasn't enough to lift the Cleveland Cavaliers over the Golden State Warriors in game five of the NBA Finals as Golden State grabbed a 104-91 win after a late fourth quarter run.
LeBron did receive some help from Tristan Thompson with 19 points and 10 rebounds,but little else and that showed...
Game six is in Cleveland Tuesday night as the Cavaliers attempt to fight off elimination...

Swashbucklings

1) A shorter version of this than normal as I discussed some of the game on the podcast,but I would repeat this-If the top criticism you have of LeBron James is that he's a one man team-then you need to learn the game a bit.
This isn't the type of game that James wants to play,it's the type that he has to in order to give Cleveland any chance at all...

2) J.R. Smith started hot in the first half (finished with 15 points),but scored none in the second half.
Must have someone sinking some shots from the outside to free the paint a bit.

3) Timofey Mozgov was a casualty of the small Warrior lineup and played just nine minutes and attempted one shot (a miss).
I understand David Blatt's reasoning in going small and figuring Mozgov couldn't keep up,but I disagree with it a little.
Blatt could have tried (at least a portion of the game) and see if Mozgov couldn't be effective down low,force Steve Kerr into putting Andrew Bogut into the game to effectively change the dynamic.
Not saying that would have worked,but I would have liked to have seen the attempt.

4) I did like the decent few minutes that the team got out of Mike Miller,Miller wasn't terrific,but did hit a three pointer in his only shot and wasn't awful.
In other words-he did all you could have hoped for-some time on the floor that was not a liability.

5) This depleted Cavalier team has fought hard and with honor,but it appears the strain on them has emptied the tank.
A win in Cleveland would not surprise me with a another superhuman game from LeBron,but that even may be too much.
All things considered-Wait til Next Year might not be such a bad thing...

Podcast-Cavaliers,Dusty and Edna

Enjoy the podcast where I talk the NBA Finals,Dusty Rhodes,my late great aunt Edna 10 years after her passing and a little baseball card talk.
I plan on being back with a game five look,but I wanted to do the podcast first...

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Boxing Challenge-Wilder struggles past Molina

A less than explosive night in boxing covered two networks and the boxing challenge on Saturday night as we discovered more questions than answers.

On Showtime,Deontay Wilder was expected to crush Eric Molina early in front of a excited home crowd in Birmingham,Alabama in the first defense of his WBC heavyweight title in boxing's version of a pro wrestling squash match.
Instead,Wilder struggled at times and was rocked in the third round against a fighter that really was not deserving of a title opportunity before stopping Molina in round nine.
Wilder did floor Molina three times,but looked like more Michael Grant than Lennox Lewis and I have a feeling that his chin might not hold up in the long haul.
Wilder will next face Alexander Povetkin in a mandatory defense and should be severely tested.
Povetkin is the second best heavyweight in the world and his right hand could be the litmus test for the chin of Wilder that I question...

Jose Pedraza won the IBF Jr.Lightweight title with a unanimous decision over Andrey Klimov and looked pretty impressive doing it.
Pedraza ripped Klimov to the body and threw a lot of punches.
I'd be interesting in seeing more of Pedraza soon....

In New York on HBO,featherweight Nicholas Walters dropped his WBA title on the scales when he failed to make weight and that advantage helped Walters use his size for a unanimous decision over Miguel Marriaga.
Walters scored a ninth round knockdown in a bout that looked to be a good one on paper turned out to be a bout that lacked fireworks.
Walters was expected to face Vasyl Lomachenko in his next bout,but that is possibly on ice with the questions with Walters being unable to make 126.

Felix Verdejo scored an unanimous decision over brave Ivan Najera with knockdowns in rounds five and seven.
Verdejo injured his left hand,yet dominated the undefeated Najera,who never quit trying,but was in a different class from Puerto Rico's Verdejo,who looks to be a star in the near future..

In the boxing challenge,R.L.Malpica and I each earned six points on the evening.
Two each for the Wilder and Pedraza wins and one each for the Verdejo and Walters victories.
I hold my lead in the challenge at 73-72.

I plan on being in Harrisburg today for the Trenton Thunder,but hope to be back for game five of the NBA finals.
If I would stay home,I'll be doing either an On the signing front from the latest autograph news or a Cleaning out the inbox from the non-sports world.
Either way,I'll get those knocked out early  next week!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Boxing Challenge-PBC puts you to sleep

The Boxing Challenge started off with two fights from the PBC on Spike before a weekend that sees HBO and Showtime each offer bouts.

The PBC was about as expected as the chalk had both bouts being predictable endings.
The main event saw Erislandy Lara defend his WBC Jr.Middleweight title with a unanimous decision over Delvin Rodriguez.
Lara won in his typical less than pleasing style,although he did drop the limited Rodriguez once,but didn't press his advantage and Rodriguez lasted the distance.
Artur Beterbiev went longer than four rounds for the first time,but still won every round in a seventh round knockout of Alexander Johnson.
Both bouts were simply world class fighters against b level fighters and proved nothing.

Both R.L.Malpica picked Lara by unanimous decision and Beterbiev by knockout,so both of us earned four points on the evening.
I currently lead the challenge 67-66...

Our picks for tonight

Featherweights,12 rds-Originally for WBA belt,stripped from Walters for not making weight
Nicholas Walters vs Miguel Marriaga
R.L: Walters KO 7
TRS:Walters KO 10

Lightweights.10 rds
Felix Verdejo vs Ivan Najera
R.L:Verdejo KO 5
TRS:Verdejo KO 8

WBC Heavyweight Title.12 rds
Deontay Wilder vs Eric Molina
R.L:Wilder KO 2
TRS:Wilder KO 1

Vacant IBF Jr.Lightweight Title,.12 rds
Jose Pedraza vs Andrey Klimov
Both:Pedraza unanimous decision

Friday, June 12, 2015

Flat Cavaliers rolled by Warriors in Game 4

The Cleveland Cavaliers looked like a tired and flat team,but made a third period run to pull within 3 points of the Golden State Warriors at the Quicken Loans Arena.
Quarter four was all Golden State as the Warriors crushed any hope of a comeback and tied the series at two games each with a resounding 103-82 win.
Timofey Mozgov led Cleveland with a career high 28 points to go with 10 rebounds,while LeBron James finished with 20 points on 7 for 22 shooting.
Game 5 will be Sunday night in Oakland.

Swashbucklings

1) Let's start with about the only good news to come out of last night's game-Timofey Mozgov's 28 points.
Mozgov cannot be expected to put those (or anything approaching) numbers every night,but Mozgov showed an ability to clean up the mess down low and generally dominated the Warrior inside men.
It would be interesting to see if David Blatt runs a few plays for Mozgov Sunday night...

2) LeBron James was not himself (as noted above) and the Cavaliers do not have the luxury of James being anything other than superhuman.
It's not knocking James,everyone has off nights-Cleveland just cannot afford even average games from James at this point.

3) J.R.Smith was just abysmal.
2 of 12 and 0 for 8 from downtown?
That spells abysmal.
If the basket was Lake Erie,Smith would have clanged the shot off the Great Lake Science Center.

4) Not that Iman Shumpert was much better.
Shumpert also hit two whole shots,his off of nine attempts and one went in from beyond the arc.
Whoo Hoo.

5) Tristan Thompson was solid enough with 12 points and 13 rebounds.
I know the playoff cliche' is that Thompson has built value for his next contract,but if Cleveland looks at the film and builds Thompson and Timofey Mozgov with a little more low post action with patterned plays,Cleveland could give LeBron James the help that he's not getting from J.R. Smith...

6) Expecting what the Cavaliers have gotten from Matthew Dellavedova every night is unfair to Dellavedova,but he wasn't very good last night.
I can give him a small pass considering his condition and hospitalization for leg cramping,but....
Too many floating lunges at the rim and desperation tosses made me think that either the Cavalier desperation forced the hand or Delly is starting to think he's an offensive force-Think in the way Ollie suddenly thought he was a player in Hoosiers...

7) I also thought the Cavaliers might have tried a bench player earlier in the fourth quarter as the game was slipping away.
Don't get me wrong-Shawn Marion,Joe Harris,Mike Miller or Kendrick Perkins wouldn't have won this game,but they might have been effective and maybe helped even for just a few minutes to rest some aching players in the final three games.
David Lee worked himself off the Golden State bench in the same situation,perhaps Cleveland could have profited by a similar move..

8) This was a tired bunch of Cavaliers and I have this feeling that the Cavs might have blown their best shot to win this.
Now it's a best of three series with two games in Oakland,so they'll have to steal another game there.
I'm not ruling it out,but the championship took a blow last night.


Thursday, June 11, 2015

Cleaning out the inbox-Sports Version

The inbox is filled-and I mean filled with items,so I'm breaking these into two versions from the sports and non-sports worlds.

We start with this article from Joe Plum,who posted it to the lovely Cherie's facebook page.
Joe remembered that Craig Ehlo was my wife's favorite Cavalier ever and this deals with Ehlo's life after basketball.
Ehlo had issues with pain killers and dealt with other problems,but seems to be currently on track.
Happy that things are better for one of my all time favorite Cavaliers!

The Indians used to have tomato red jerseys in the 1970's.
Every team back then were going brighter and louder and even though the Indians all red unis were less than universally loved,the jerseys had a hard core fan base that lasts to this day.
The Indians recently had a jersey giveaway night with the red jerseys (vs the Reds LOL) and it seemed to be quite popular.
I myself liked the mid-70's hats that I'd love to see make a comeback over the current Indians hat designed by dullsville,but I'll save that for another day.

We talked about the demotion (snicker) of Buckeye troll Mark May on the podcast,but I couldn't help but offer two links on May's (HA HA) drop in the ESPN pecking order.
Eleven Warriors offers this Bon Voyage and Awful Announcing sends a sad goodbye as well.
Looking forward to when May's contract expires and ESPN sends him out the door for good....
HA HA HA

The Houston Astros will be removing Tal's Hill,the huge hill in deep center in Minute Maid Park.
The Hill,which was a tribute to Cincinnati's Crosley Field is being removed for more "communal areas for fans to eat and drink together".
Funny,I thought that's what the other seats are for.
Anyway,I liked Tal's Hill-it was a distinguishing feature from the retractable dome parks,which were generally antiseptic.
Sorry to see it go.....

Grantland may not have Bill Simmons anymore,but they still have quality writing as this article shows on the late runner Steve Prefontaine.
The article deals with Prefontaine's career,but it also looks at the town he grew up in and his college town in a reflection of how things have changed in 40 years.
Even if track and field is not an area of interest,I think you'd still like it as it's about more than just running....

A similar article in the New York Times is about Lewiston,Maine and the small town that somehow landed the Muhammad Ali-Sonny Liston rematch in 1965.
The article discusses Ali's famous one round KO,but also talks to residents about their memories of the fight and their town-then and now..

I still have plenty of "letters" filling the inbox,so look for a new cleaning soon-this time with lots of non-sports items!!!


Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Cavaliers hold off Warrior rally-win Game 3!

The Cleveland Cavaliers won their first ever home game in the NBA Finals and more importantly took a two to one series lead over the Golden State Warriors after a 96-91 at Quicken Loans Arena.
LeBron James led all scorers with 40 points and Matthew Dellavedova added a surprising 20 more to lead Cleveland to the win.

Cleveland dominated the game as they built a 20 point lead in the third quarter,but the Warriors came alive in the fourth period and cut the lead as close as just one point,but could get no closer.
Game 4 takes place back at the Q Thursday night at 9,where the Cavaliers will attempt to hold home court...

Swashbucklings

1) What more can you say about Matthew Dellavedova?
Diving on the floor,hitting some of the ugliest shots that you'll ever see from a pro player and other than some of the fourth quarter,shutting off the high scoring Stephen Curry from being the MVP force that he was in the regular season.

2) The concern for the Cavaliers,who are already injury riddled,is can they continue to keep this together using super glue and duck tape to get two more wins?
Iman Shumpert left the game after seeming to injure the same shoulder that kept him out for six weeks earlier this season and despite his return,one has to be concerned about that and....

3) Matthew Dellavedova left the arena and headed to the hospital with severe cramping in both legs.
Dellavedova has been the surprising breakout star of this series,but how much can his frantic style be cutting into his health?
And could Cleveland get two more wins without him???

4) LeBron James is doing this with mirrors and deception as James is averaging more than 40 points a game in the finals,but he is doing it with a bizarre stat line with a low shooting percentage such as last night's 14 for 34.
James is playing well and considering the way that this series has to be played,one couldn't logically expect a high shooting percentage-but imagine if you could!

5) What a crowd last night!
I've always told my friends (especially one noted Steeler fan) that it is the Cleveland fan that is the best fan in sports.
We watch some of the worst teams sports has to offer and give us even a playoff team and the town goes nuts!
That arena was rocking last night and the hype before game one about Oracle Arena being so loud (it was and their fans are great as well)-The Q was louder.
What an environment to play in!

6) The fourth quarter was scary though and it makes you wonder just what is waiting tomorrow night.
Stephen Curry finally woke up and hit some unbelievable bombs from sonar range and if that is any indication-this series is far from over and you'll hear no crowing from this corner yet!

7) The vice like defense that the Cavaliers are putting on Golden State is the basketball version of what the Browns hope to be doing-keep the tempo slow,be physical,don't allow Golden State to run the fast break and break the rhythm team's rhythm.
It may not be pretty,but it is the only way Cleveland wins this series...

8) The bench may not have been a huge help,but J.R.Smith and James Jones each knocked down two three pointers and Mike Miller went flying across the floor to keep a loose ball in play.
You take what you can get and I still think for Cleveland to win two more games,J.R.Smith is going to have to have one of those "Vinnie "the Microwave" Johnson type of games like he did against the Hawks...

9) If Iman Shumpert is able to play through the pain of his shoulder,he still will not be 100 percent obviously and could someone fill in for at least a few minutes?
Could this be the time for Shawn Marion to summon up a blast from the past and provide a few key spots?
The aging "Matrix" has been a bit of a disappointment in Cleveland,but he's had a great career and deserves a chance for one last stand...

10) Can the Cavaliers pull this off?
Yes,but in my opinion only with a win Thursday night at the Q.
If Golden State wins and makes this a best of 3 series,then I lean Warriors.
If Cleveland can win and go up 3-1,I doubt that the best player in the world is going to be beaten three games in a row.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Pirates select Kevin Newman

The Pittsburgh Pirates concluded the three teams in a row first round with the selection of Arizona shortstop Kevin Newman.
Newman led the Pac 12 in batting average last season,but did it without hitting a homer.
If you aren't hitting for power with aluminum bats,I doubt that you'll suddenly start doing so with wooden ones,although it is not out of the question that a few adjustments could see a modest increase.

The choice of Newman is the second straight season that the Pirates selected a Arizona shortstop that had power questions.
Cole Tucker was a high schooler that might grow into his lanky body,Newman is pretty much what you are going to get unless someone with the Pirates are able to improve his power as noted above.
Newman also has questions about his long term viability at shortstop and might be a player that is better suited to play second.
Looks to me that the upside to Newman is average starter with good average,downside a light hitting utilityman that bounces from team to team....

The Pirates did have another pick at 32 as compensation for the Royals signed Edinson Volquez.
Pittsburgh grabbed the son of a former Pirate Charlie Hayes (among many teams) in Texas high school third baseman Ke'Bryan Hayes.
Hayes is a Tennessee commitment,but is not expected to be a difficult sign.
The 6'1 Hayes is noted as a line drive hitter more than a power hitter,but could grow into more of a power hitting type.
The question with Hayes is does he stick at third base and if he cannot,can he develop the pop to stick at first.

I like the pick of Hayes more than Newman.
Hayes is a risk with upside,those are part of the game.
Newman doesn't seem to have similar upside and unless this is part of a strategy to save money for riskier and more expensive signs later in the draft-color me unimpressed with this pick...



Giants select Phil Bickford

For the second year in a row,the San Francisco Giants used their first round pick on a pitcher that had previously been a first round pick that the Toronto Blue Jays had failed to sign.

Phil Bickford is a 19 year righthander that spent a year with Cal-State Fullerton before transferring to a Nevada JUCO in order to be eligible for this years draft.
Bickford is reported to sit in the mid-90's and touch as high as 98 according to the scouting reports that I have read.
Bickford is 6'4 and weighs 215 and with the lanky build and long hair,resembles Bronson Arroyo to me in look,if not pitching windup.

Phil Bickford has been rated by some reports ( I don't really scout guys until they hit the minors) as a potential ace with his fastball and top notch potential slider,while other look at his lack of true off pitch and sometimes missing command that makes you feel a bit uneasy and see him as a reliever that has closer potential with some refinement.

The Giants do a better job than almost anyone in developing pitchers and some of the same things were being said last summer about Tyler Beede,who has impressed many in first year in the Giants system.
I'll trust the Giants pitching track record and go on board as a believer in Bickford.

The Giants also had the 31st pick in the first round as compensation for losing Pablo Sandoval and tried to address their constant issues with hitters with the selection of Boston College first baseman Chris Shaw.
Shaw comes with one question-can he make contact enough to make his plus plus lefthanded power play in the bigs?
Shaw is a risk as most college bats are because of the aluminum bat question,but considering the Giants lack of power on both the big league roster and no top notch power hitter close in the minors,the gamble on Shaw is a worthwhile one-especially with a compensation pick.

Two down,one to go as I hope to look at the Pirates first rounder in Kevin Newman and their compensation first rounder for losing Edinson Volquez.



Monday, June 8, 2015

Indians select Brady Aiken

The Cleveland Indians rarely take risks in the first round.
Usually,the Wahoo's idea of a risk is taking a high reward high school player like a Clint Frazier and their normal draft strategy is to take the safest college player available.

So,one would suspect that the Indians would be the last team to consider a gamble on an injured player that enters the draft after not signing a year ago,but that's exactly what Cleveland did in tabbing injured lefthander Brady Aiken with the 17th pick of the first round.

Aiken did not come to terms with Houston after taking a physical that saw the lefty reportedly have elbow issues and the Astros pulled back an offer that would have resulted in an agreement.
Aiken was spoken by some scouts as being a top of the rotation type talent and showing polish from a high school lefty that hasn't been seen in years.

Aiken did wind up injuring himself and undergoing Tommy John surgery,so Aiken won't likely pitch until near the end of the 2016 season,where he could possibly return for the Indians for the Indians Arizona league team or possibly Mahoning Valley.
The 6'4 Aiken was touching 98 before his injury and drew comparisons to Clayton Kershaw before the injury with three plus pitches,so what's the gamble?

Aiken has the chance of not bouncing back to previous form and rumors of either not having or having a small UCL could mean that he is injury prone at best and lacking the ability to return to past form at worst.
Having watching Washington make a similar gamble with Lucas Giolito and Erick Fedde (Fedde has yet to pitch) and seeing the results,I feel that the upside is worth the risk.

It's rare to have a pitcher with the ability of Brady Aiken in your system,its even more rare to get one with a mid-round first rounder.
It's risky,but gamble on greatness has often been a credo of mine and for once,the Indians are gambling on greatness....

I'm getting a bit tired,so the plan is the writeup on the Giants taking Phil Bickford and the Pirates selection of Kevin Newman tomorrow....

Cavaliers snare Game 2 in OT!

Matthew Dellavedova hit two free throws with ten seconds to go in overtime to give the Cleveland Cavaliers a lead that they would hold through two Golden State possessions to earn a 95-93 win and tie the NBA Finals at a game apiece.
LeBron James led the Cavaliers with 39 points,16 rebounds and 11 assists with Timofey Mozgov offering the main support with 17 points and 11 boards.
Game three is Tuesday in Cleveland.

Swashbucklings

1) I can feel better about saying this since the Cavaliers won because a loss would make this read as sour grapes-
This game was officiated terribly.
Just beyond awful.
LeBron James has to be the star player that gets fewer calls than anyone I can remember.
James can get killed on the way to the basket and no foul and yet Michael Jordan in his day could be breathed on from ten feet away and get a call.

2) That is why I think the Cavaliers have a real chance of somehow pulling this series out.
The NBA has to have noticed last night and I would guess that James will get plenty of calls for at least the next 2 games if not more...

3) When the Cavaliers lost Kyrie Irving,it was clear that someone would have to step up and it was Matthew Dellaavedova,who hit some key shots along with the winning free throws,but just as importantly harassed Stephen Curry to a 5 of 23 shooting night.
Can the Australian do this for the rest of the series?
Cleveland will need for him to at least approach the play of game two in order to win,but last night was a great start...

4) The win was not only the first ever Finals win for the franchise (They were swept in their only other appearance) it was the first in league history for a team to win a game without two of their top three scorers.
That is hard to believe,but not as hard as believing this situation...

5) Timofey Mozgov and Tristan Thompson are controlling the boards in this series.
The pair have combined for 47 rebounds in two games and I've seen little evidence of the Warriors being able to turn that around.

6) Thompson will need to do better than 0 for 5 from close range though in order to give the Cavaliers some dirty baskets around the rim.
Mozgov is doing that well,Thompson needs to add to the total.

7) This was not the Cavaliers team that entered the playoffs.
That run,gun and fun team has left the building,but the team that won last night was a throwback to the shove,walk and bump teams of the 90's.
Ugly Eastern Conference basketball won this night.
It wasn't pretty,but W's often aren't.

8) J.R.Smith scored 13 points off the bench,but he fouled out with several of the fouls being so very dumb.
Smith is key right as a true scorer,he is the second best one on the team right now.
Cleveland needs him on the floor.

I'll try to be back later with a inbox cleaning

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Cotto stops Geale-Boxing Challenge

Miguel Cotto looked sharp in his first bout in a year as he defended his WBC Middleweight title with a 4th round stoppage of former IBF champion Daniel Geale.
Geale looked a little weakened by the 157 weight limit,but take nothing away from Cotto,who concentrated on hurting Geale to the body and curbed the aggressiveness that Geale would have to use to have any chance at victory.

The victory enabled Cotto to look forward to a big dollar match with Canelo Alvarez,which he seemed quite excited about,unlike his answer when asked about Gennady Golovkin of "Uhhhhhhh".
The WBC should step up and force Cotto to face Golovkin next or vacate its title,but they don't want to lose the huge sanctioning fees from Cotto-Alvarez to do the right thing.
Cotto-Alvarez should be an excellent bout and one worth watching,but with a 160 pound limit-not these ridiculous catchweights.
Root for Alvarez,I believe he would take on the challenge of Golovkin.
I don't believe Cotto will ever fight him.
I said it a year ago after his win over Sergio Martinez and I stand by that.

On the PBC side,Robert Guerrero (holder of a Zabbie) was given what seemed to be a soft touch in 19-3 and just four knockouts,Aron Martinez.
The idea was to give Guerrero a showcase to look good and then build him back up for a bigger bout after his entertaining,albeit one-sided loss to Keith Thurman,
Instead after the light punching Martinez dropped Guerrero in round four,never was seriously hurt by Guerrero and gave him all he wanted,we went to the cards where of course some judge put up a ridiculous card and a split decision for the PBC favorite.
I agreed with one judges 95-94 card for Martinez and could see an argument for the others 95-94 for Guerrero,but the final card of 97-92 for Guerrero smacks as another one of those awful cards that was filled out before the fight began.
If I'm PBC,I get Guerrero in the ring with a young fighter that needs a name on his resume' (Errol Spence?) fast because if he's life and death with a Aron Martinez type-he's fading fast....

Minor featherweight champ Jesus Cuellar knocked out Vic Darchinyan in the eighth round in a reasonably entertaining bout that continued to build Cuellar as a future opponent for three guys that rarely seem interesting in fighting good competition,
Gary Russell,Leo Santa Cruz and Abner Mares compose that troika,but Cuellar holds a minor WBA belt,a division that has the hard hitting Nicholas Walters as its main champion.
Walters would be Cuellar's eventual foe,if the WBA followed its own rules,but Walters is a Top Rank fighter,so it's doubtful you'll see that fight.
Cuellar may be stuck in no man's land.
As for Darchinyan,who has now been stopped in his last three fights against top fighters,he still fights in an entertaining style and makes good action fights,but is incapable of winning them because his chin just cannot hold up anymore.
He may need to just hang up the gloves...

As for the boxing challenge-We each earned four points.
Two for the Cuellar win and one each for the Cotto and Guerrero wins.
I hold the lead at 63-62

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Browns obtain Andy Lee from 49ers

This time of year often can be quiet on the NFL front as teams prepare for training camp,but the Cleveland Browns chose this day to upgrade a position that often is only noticed when the position is bad and did so at a nominal cost.

The Browns sent a 2017 seventh round draft pick to the San Francisco 49ers and in return added three time Pro Bowler Andy Lee to punt in Cleveland.
The incumbent booter Spencer Lanning was released to help his chances in catching on with another team,which I thought was a class move.
After all,the Browns didn't trade a draft pick for Lee just to keep Lanning,so a competition isn't needed or apparently desired...

Lee is more noted for his excellent directional punting skills (high hang time to force fair catches and getting balls downed inside the 20) than a huge leg,but still brings a quality player to Cleveland that is under contract through 2018,so the Browns can keep him without concern for four more seasons,which isn't bad for the cost of a seventh rounder.
The Browns have completely revamped their kicking game with the release of long snapper Christian Yount,kicker Garrett Hartley (a late season fill-in) and now cutting Spencer Lanning,so the Browns will have all new players at the three vital spots of the kicking game in 2015.
Andy Lee was the holder for placekicks in San Francisco and it is possible that he could do so for the Browns,which is preferable to me to the chance of injuring a backup quarterback as the holder,despite the increased options when it comes to fake field goals.

The Browns continue to build a team around the basics-run the ball,stop the run and be sound on special teams.
The trade for one of the better punters makes sense for the system and the cost is inexpensive-good work.

Boxing Challenge

The boxing challenge continues today with two fights from the PBC and the fight of the day features Miguel Cotto defending his WBC Middleweight title against Daniel Geale in the first big bout promoted by Jay Z's Roc Nation,
I hold a 59-58 lead over R.L.Malpica in the challenge

Miguel Cotto may have the lineal middleweight title,but his grandstanding over catchweights and dodging of Gennady Golovkin has taken some shine off a career that showed gallantry and up until now-a log that saw him fight anyone and everyone.

Cotto dismantled Sergio Martinez last June to win the championship,but his disinterest in battling Golovkin and his whining about being a small middleweight makes one wonder about his preparation for this bout.
A win means a superfight vs Canelo Alvarez,which will be a great draw and interesting fight,but another reason to not fight Golovkin.
The real answer to all of this would be Cotto being honest enough to admit to not being a real middleweight or the sanctioning body having the guts to demand Cotto fight Golovkin rather than rake in the money from approving the Alvarez fight.
Either way,the middleweight champion will be someone willing to fight at say-middleweight.
Daniel Geale is a live dog in this bout and is very capable of upsetting Cotto and ending this catchweight nonsense.
Geale will come forward,throw lots of punches and if he isn't too weakened by having to meet Cotto's ridiculous weight demands,is the bigger and stronger fighter.
If you put aside Geale's three round demolition at the hands of Golovkin,Geale has proven to be tough and durable and just might give Cotto an unexpectedly tough time...

On the PBC side,the less said the better as Robert Guerrero (a resident Zabbie winner) is set up for a nice performance against clubfighter Aron Martinez in what is planned to be an easy W and minor featherweight beltholder Jesus Cuellar is showcased against the once-formidable,but now faded former champion (at two lower weight divisions) Vic Darchinyan.
These showcase bout will likely end with big wins for the favorites,but Darchinyan makes exciting fights and Martinez's only prayer of winning is to come forward and force the action.
I don't see the underdogs winning either bout,but they should at least should give their best effort before their likely defeat.

WBC Middleweight Title. 12 rds
Miguel Cotto vs Daniel Geale
Both:Cotto unanimous winner

Welterweights.10 rds
Robert Guerrero vs Aron Martinez
R.L:Guerrero unanimous winner
TRS: Guerrero KO 8

Featherweights.12 rds
Jesus Cuellar vs Vic Darchinyan
R.L:Cuellar KO 4
TRS:Cuellar KO 6

Friday, June 5, 2015

Cavaliers lose Game One in OT

The Cleveland Cavaliers had their ups and down in game one of the NBA Finals,but had the ball and a chance to win,but a LeBron James shot went awry and Iman Shumpert's followup just missed and in the extra session,the Golden State Warriors took command and cruised to a 108-100 victory.
LeBron James led Cleveland with 44 points and Kyrie Irving added 23,but only Timofey Mozgov's 16 reached more than double digits among the remainder of the Cavaliers.
Game two will be Sunday back at Oakland's Oracle Arena...

Swashbucklings

1) The biggest news was the loss of Kyrie Irving to a knee injury that looked pretty bad as he left the arena on crutches,
That's too bad as the chances of winning this series decreased when Irving left the floor limping badly in the overtime.
Irving was 10 of 22 from the floor,but allowed the Cavaliers the one hope to vary from a LeBron-centric offense.
If Irving is finished for the playoffs (and it looked like that might be the case,at least for a while),
someone is going to have at least come close to the point guard's output and I'm not sure who that will be.

2) Yes,LeBron took 38 shots and yes,normally that's way too many for any one player-no matter the name,but he had to and more often than not,the Warriors had no response for James.
The problem is that because he had to do so much work,he clearly wore down later in the game and that looks to be the Golden State strategy-give James his points and realize he is going to have a lot of them,but try to make him tired in crunch time.

3) The play that may have decided this series came with under two minutes to go when Timofey Mozgov's solid footwork around three Warriors in the paint was not rewarded with two points,but with a traveling call.
Replays showed that Mozgov did not travel and those two points meant the difference in a Cleveland regulation win and a trip to overtime.
That trip to extra sessions led to the Kyrie Irving injury.
It's rare that you truly can circle one bad call as the reason for a lost game,let alone a lost series-you might be able to say that on this occasion.

4) The Cavaliers are going to need more from the bench period,but especially J.R.Smith,who shot an anemic 3 for 13 from the field.
Everyone has bad nights,but with the current situation on the roster-the Cavaliers cannot afford to have too many of those nights from Smith.

5) The difference between these teams is clearly the bench.
Now the Cavaliers missing Kevin Love and others contributes to that,but the Warriors can get quality minutes from 10 players.
Going into next season,the Cavaliers are going to have worry more about adding depth players and less about signing LeBron James's pals.
James Jones didn't score a point in 17 minutes and Shawn Marion along with Mike Miller can't even get off the bench to contribute anything...

6) Tristan Thompson grabbed 15 boards and Timofey Mozgov scored 16 points and eight rebounds,so the Cavaliers weren't totally unsuccessful inside the paint,but the Warriors outrebounded 48-45 and Cleveland is 0-3 in the playoffs when beaten around the rim.
Look for that in game two..

7) David Blatt must have concerns about Matthew Dellavedova's defense matching up against the Warriors as he played just nine minutes and didn't score.
The scrappy Australian doesn't appear to be able to stick with the Stephen Curry's and Klay Thompson's and this looks to be the time that I feared all season-no veteran backup at point guard to bind the Cavaliers through yet another Kyrie Irving injury.

8) I thought Timofey Mozgov needed to bully Andrew Bogut in this series and he did in game one.
Several monster dunks and a 16/8 line against a 4/7 for Bogut.
Win or lose,the trade for Mozgov earlier this year was the key in the Cleveland turnaround..

Back later with a cleaning of the inbox or a boxing challenge for the weekend.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Can Cavaliers break the curse?

The NBA Finals kick off later tonight in Oakland as the Cleveland Cavaliers travel to the Golden State Warriors for game one...

The Cavaliers are certainly hobbled a bit with Kyrie Irving being less than one hundred percent and of course the loss of Kevin Love for the playoffs,but the Warriors aren't at full strength either with Klay Thompson recovering (although he is expected to play) from a concussion.

I originally was planning on a preview,but as I thought about things,I wanted to write about much a Cavaliers victory would mean to me and the fans of Cleveland sports.

The easy answer is a lot.
50 years without a major sports title is enough in itself,but adding in the various manners that the three teams in town have lost chances at trophies and you have a lot of acidic buildup in our collective stomachs!

A championship would mean so much,even if the Cavaliers are the third wheel on the Cleveland sports bicycle,but I think it would have been even better had LeBron James not left town.
However,the return of James to Cleveland adds an element to the story that would add the touch of redemption that several feel good stories have and might provide an even better feeling should the prodigal son return a title.

Should the Cavaliers lose,I won't feel too badly all things considered.
At least,they would have lost to another long suffering fan base (The Warriors last made the finals in 1974 and winning it) that deserves a title since the Warriors will be crossing the bay back to San Francisco in a few years and that the Cavaliers were really a year early in their arrival
Still I want this BAD!!!
Go Cavs!

For more on the Finals,check out last night's podcast with Ramon Malpica!

Devils hire John Hynes as new head coach

The New Jersey Devils have finally hired a permanent head coach as John Hynes was hired from the Pittsburgh Penguins six months after Peter DeBoer was fired.
DeBoer was just hired by San Jose (have fun with that one, Sharks) and replacement Lou Lamoriello finished out the season.

Hynes becomes the youngest head coach in the league at forty years old (doesn't he look much older?) and the Devils job will be his first position in the NHL after six seasons in the AHL with the Scranton/Wilkes Barre Baby Penguins.
Hynes was the head coach in Scranton for five of those six seasons and was noted for a good working relationship with new Devils GM ( and former Pittsburgh GM) Ray Shero.

Now I have to be honest,I know next to nothing about John Hynes.
My knowledge of the AHL pretty much extends to the Devils organization,but I was struck by one thing-Hynes wants the Devils to be an "Attacking" team with plenty of speed.
That would be a radical departure from the traditional basis of the Devils organization and certainly means that Ray Shero and John Hynes will have some interesting moves to make in both the free agent meat market,trade targets and the draft.
The problem with that change of style is this-The Devils don't really have the talent (with a few exceptions) to play that type of game.
That means that it'll take time in order to add the type of players to suit the system that will be installed and that some of the traditional Devils could be on their way out the door.

I'll miss the traditional Devils style,although I'm sure I'll be in the minority on that,but I must admit I am somewhat excited about a new direction.
The game has changed and the Devils have failed to adapt successfully to the "new" league.
This gives the Devils a chance to catch up a bit.
There may be a long adjustment period,but this is what needed to be done,even if hiring a coach that has never played or coached in the league is a bit of a risk.

I'm open minded,so welcome John Hynes to the Devils and good luck,coach-you are going to need it.

Podcast! An hour with R.L.Malpica

We spend an hour with R.L.Malpica talking NBA Finals,Ohio State and Mark May and of course boxing!
We wrap up with a Martin O'Malley rant!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Boxing Challenge

On  a last second whim.I decided to add a few bouts from a strong card from Great Britain to the boxing challenge despite the fights not being televised in the U.S.
I gained three points to R.L,Malpica's two and took a 59-58
lead in the challenge.

The main event proved the point difference as Kell Brook kept busy and kept his IBF Welterweight title with a sixth round stoppage over countryman Frankie Gavin.
I picked Brook via 8th round KO,while R.L picked Brook to win a decision.
Brook continued an interesting run and keeps building towards a big fight of sometime and shows why Amir Khan seems to be uninterested in fighting Brook,who would bring Khan his largest non-Floyd Mayweather purse.

We each added a point for Jorge Linares and his tenth round stoppage win over Kevin Mitchell to retain his WBC Lightweight title in what has been reported to be a tremendous action fight.
Each of us selected Linares to win via decision.

Both of us selected Evgeni Gradovich to retain his IBF Featherweight title over England's Lee Selby by decision,but the home fighter won a technical decision after the eighth round to win the title.
Selby might have gotten himself a nice payday down the road once the Nicholas Walters-Vasyl Lomachenko battle for the best in the division shakes out or Selby could try the junior varsity division with a trip to the PBC against WBC titlist Gary Russell.

The most interesting bout might have been one not in the boxing challenge as Olympic gold medalist Anthony Joshua crushed former title challenger Kevin Johnson in just two rounds.
Johnson is just a journeyman,but one that always goes the distance and did so against Vitali Klitschko and Tyson Fury.
Joshua dropped Johnson twice in round one and only the bell allowed him to return for round two before being dispatched less than halfway through round one.
Joshua looks to be the top prospect in the heavyweight division and it appears its just a matter of time before either WBA/IBF champ Wladimir Klitschko or WBC beltholder Deontay Wilder will be facing Anthony Joshua....