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Day 1 of the draft was very eventful to say the least. While it still seems like baseball season began just the other day, the draft is in full force. Day 1 came with surprises as well as disappointment, and with the new draft bonus system in place, all of these results played out on center stage for everyone to see. While it’s still too early to grade teams as winners or losers, here is a re-cap of some of the biggest surprises and steals we’ve seen yet.

Surprise #1: Carlos Correa, SS, Puerto Rico Baseball Academy; Taken By: Houston Astros
I don’t think anyone in the baseball world would have imagined Correa going first overall. He has shown off incredible skills in infield practice and batting practice, but seeing how these tools will translate into game-time action will be crucial. The Houston Astros need all the help they can get, and they took the long-term view with this pick; it was a bold move to say the least, and I think Correa will either be a bust or a superstar shortstop.

Surprise #2: Brian Johnson, LHP, Florida; Picked By: Boston Red Sox
Johnson definitely has the ability to be a first-round pick. His fastball is around 90-91 mph, and he knows exactly how to locate his secondary pitches. The surprise here, is that Boston is not usually associated with more conservative picks. Johnson is a fast-moving lefty, and I think this pick will really pay off for the Red Sox.

Steal #1: Mark Appel, RHP, Stanford; Picked by Pittsburgh Pirates
This is where the disappointment and the mystery started to set in. Teams began passing on the right-hander who entered the day as the favorite choice to go to Houston first overall. It seemed a bit strange that Appel slid until the Pirates grabbed him with the eighth overall pick. Appel was never considered a once-in-a-generation phenomenon player like Bryce Harper or Stephen Strasburg, but Pirate fans should welcome this new addition with open arms; Appel will give these fans a big jolt of excitement for seasons to come.

Steal #2: Ty Hensley, RHP, Santa Fe H.S. (Okla.); Picked by New York Yankees
According to late breaking rumors, Hensley was allegedly the second option for the Colorado Rockies with the 10th overall pick. The Yankees picked him at number 30, which says a lot. Hensley is a very strong right-hander with a 92-95 mph fastball. His large frame paired with his powerful fastballs and curve-balls, looks to be a winning formula for the Yankees.

The rest of the MLB draft is sure to bring many more surprises, disappointment, and shock. Stay tuned to see what will happen next!

 

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Yes, we all know the RG3 deed has been done. He is officially with the Redskins, and it’s about time, because we all know they desperately need a franchise quarterback. However, there is a name floating around the football world that many are saying will cause some surprises in Washington. I’m talking about Kirk Cousins, the quarterback from Michigan State, who was drafted by the Redskins in the 4th round.

The Redskins picked Griffin with the no. 2 overall pick to be their franchise QB, and already re-signed veteran QB Rex Grossman as his back-up. So the move to draft Cousins came as a surprise to many, including himself. Cousins said, “I’ll be the first one to say it was a surprising pick to me, as well. My job is to help the Redskins win football games, however that may be, and I’m going to keep an open mind”. Was this pick a huge mistake for the Redskins? Or will it provide some insurance for the team in the years to come?

First off, I think RG3 fanatics can still sleep easy; I don’t see this pick as a bad move, and if RG3 really had an issue with the drafting of Cousins, we’d be hearing about it. Cousins and Griffin will be competing with one another to win games for the Redskins. More importantly, this is insurance for the Redskins at a position they’ve had instability with for some time. Cousins has simply come on board to work on his development as a quarterback for years to come.

Just think back to last year, when some of the most able-bodied QB’s went down with injuries. When Peyton Manning went down, Curtis Painter stepped up (hardly), as did Dan Orlovsky, and finally Kerry Collins. Similar situations also arose when Jay Cutler and Matt Schaub went down. Teams just need to be prepared, and this was really all I concluded from the drafting of Cousins.

What I find most interesting about the draft, is that you can never really tell how successful players will be. In the case of quarterbacks, Boise State QB Kellen Moore (with 50 TD’s) went undrafted. Remember Jamarcus Russell going #1 overall, and Ryan Leaf going #2 overall? Both players ended up being complete busts! Even Mr. Joe Montana was the fourth QB picked at the end of the 3rd round; 82nd overall, and look how far he’s come in his career. When it comes to quarterbacks in the NFL, you can never have too many options, but make no mistake… right now, it’s all about RG3 in our nation’s capital!

 


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The Dodgers, the “Lakeshow”, city of glitz and glamour, beautiful weather. Does Los Angeles sound like heaven on Earth, or what? Now imagine a brand new stadium and NFL team popping up in LA…madness! With the current situation in Minnesota, and uncertainty surrounding a few other NFL cities, it’s only a matter of time before one of these teams begin their search for a fresh start.

A Minnesota Senate committee narrowly approved a public subsidy on Friday to help the Vikings build a new football stadium, revving up the team’s struggling efforts, just hours after NFL commissioner Roger Goodell visited the state Capitol to ignite what had been a stagnant stadium debate. The Senate’s Local Government and Elections Committee passed the bill on an 8-6 vote after a hearing that went on for about four hours. While the stadium bill still faces a long haul, the committee’s vote gave the $975 million stadium proposal some new life.

So are the Vikings staying put, or heading west?

Let’s take at look at which teams are most likely to make the move to the City of Angels:

The Vikings will still play in the Metrodome next season, even though their lease has expired. This window of time allows LA to move in and snatch up the Vikings. While I don’t particularly like the idea of LA getting an NFL team, I think it’s one of the only options that could work out for the Vikings. LA is an open market, and the time to make a new move is now. The team can’t re-locate this year, but 2013 will be here before we know it. What’s crucial in this situation is trying to represent the wishes of Minnesotans and the Vikings fan base.
Likelihood of team moving to LA: 33%

I have a strong feeling the St. Louis Rams will stay put. Although AEG expressed interest in purchasing a majority stake in a franchise, St. Louis would have to be ruled out. The Rams were purchased by billionaire developer Stan Kroenke just a couple of years ago, so for him to sell a majority of the franchise he just purchased seems highly unlikely. Owning a venue is big money, and that should be next on Kroenke’s agenda.
Likelihood of team moving to LA: 24%

The Jacksonville Jaguars are a small-market team, but right off the bat, they seem like a better fit for LA than the Rams. The Jaguars are also at a disadvantage, competing with college football in a state that is truly devoted to the NCAA. The Jaguars don’t seem to have strong traditions or rivalries that a lot of other NFL teams have; sorry to say, but whose really gonna miss the Jaguars? The Los Angeles Jaguars would also allow a realignment in the NFL, maybe switching places with the Rams. This would create and instant L.A.-San Francisco rivalry in the NFC West, and a Tennessee-Indianapolis-St. Louis triangle in the AFC South.
Likelihood of team moving to LA: 40%

The San Diego Chargers are another team on the LA stadium radar; they are the team most commonly linked to the LA move. The Chargers are ultimately hoping to build a new stadium with a retractable roof in downtown San Diego, which would be an expanded part of the convention center. One major issue: the proposal doesn’t have the support of the San Diego Convention Center, which has written its own proposal. The Chargers really need a solid funding plan for a new stadium, or else it could be the end of an era for yet another San Diego franchise moving North up the I-5 freeway to join the LA market.
Likelihood of team moving to LA: 30%

No matter what happens, stay tuned…the LA-Stadium saga is just beginning!


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In truly dramatic fashion, Bubba Watson won the Masters in Augusta over the weekend. Drama in golf? I know what you’re thinking…a Tiger Woods meltdown? Nope. Try a thrilling play-off win against Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa, who made only the fourth double-eagle in the 76-year history of this major!

Watson was so deep in the woods Sunday afternoon that he couldn’t even see where he was going. With his golf ball nestled on a bed of pine needles, he hit a gap wedge that shot out toward the fairway and hooked some 40 yards and onto the green. His incredible shot in the play-off sat 10 feet from the hole, simply setting up an easier par for the win. Watson made this win all seem so easy; he even said to reporters, “I got in these trees and hit a crazy shot that I saw in my head, and somehow I’m here talking to you with a green jacket on.” So how did a golfer whose never had a swing coach and rarely hits the ball in a straight line win this legendary tournament?

His style of play is called “Bubba Golf”. When he’s off the course, he’s posting videos of his own stunts on Twitter, and his dream car purchase was the “General Lee 01,” the original car in the TV series “The Dukes of Hazard.” Now he’s the Master’s Champion and it’s time to move up; Watson is now ranked number 4 in the world. What’s astonishing is that this self-described goofball looked more determined than ever to win this tournament. This is coming from a player whose father was the only teacher Watson ever had. He never took many lessons, and his father only showed him how to grip the club and swing it; Bubba figured the rest out himself. It’s a good thing too, because he still doesn’t have a coach.

When one of the most unorthodox players in golf doesn’t want a teacher and wants to keep playing “his way”, you know you’re in for a fun ride.


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The weather is getting warmer, and the smells of summer are lingering in the air…that can only mean one thing: the 2012 MLB season is almost here! This season is sure to bring tons of excitement, especially with some new elements that will re-shape the landscape of MLB. Here are some of the new and refreshing factors roaring to a baseball diamond near you:

New faces in new places: Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder have definitely changed the way we look at a baseball franchise. It’s all about money, money, money! With both players signing contracts worth over $200 million each, the question is, who will have the bigger impact on their new team? I think Pujols is expected to make a bigger impact with the Angels, and you know what? That’s exactly what we’ll see. I think Pujols is going to give the Angels a serious lift; he has a presence about him and he’s ready to play his best baseball we’ve seen yet. Also, with Fielder’s arrival in Detroit, one thing is certain: both the Cardinals and the Brewers are going to be worse off without their two sluggers anchoring their respective teams this season.

October – The wildest month of the season: Now with FOUR wild-card teams in the mix, predicting what’s to come in September/October will never be the same. For one, teams won’t be able to just cruise through September, content to be a wild card.  This new rule makes finishing first seem oh-so refreshing. Also, this won’t help teams who are trying to fix what may be afflicting them at the trade deadline. The most vital part of this new wild-card rule: it is more imperative than ever to win your division this season; simply winning the Wild Card just isn’t good enough anymore.

It’s a “Magical” time in L.A.: Can Magic Johnson run a baseball team? For a cool $2 billion, a group led by Magic Johnson and former Braves/Nationals president Stan Kasten is about to become the proud owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers. I think most people in Southern California will be happy that Frank McCourt is gone. So what does this mean in the short run? Not much, but this will probably mean more in the long run, and we can expect to see money in the baseball budget again. Watch out for the Dodgers to have their eye back in Latin America and scouting for international talent. The Dodgers ranked last in international signings last year, at only $177,000. Expect that to change in the coming years. Also, expect Dodger Stadium to get a huge makeover, since it plummeted to shameful depths under McCourt.

Finally! Expect more than 300 people to attend a Marlins game! No more nightly rain delays, folks. Get ready for Marlins Park; this is a modern, trendy, and tropical ballpark unlike any other; it will even feature a retractable roof — every Floridian’s dream! So what will the new ballpark bring to the Marlins and their fan base? For one, the Marlins think they can average 30,000 fans per game — this would be 11,000 more than it averaged officially last year. The Marlins believe they won’t just sell out on Opening Night, but sell all 36,000 seats multiple times before the end of April. Last year, they sold out ZERO games after the opener. However, whether the roof is open or closed, the success of the Marlins will not be judged on the quality of their brand new stadium, but on the quality of the 2012 team.

So with all these changes. It’s tough to predict exactly what’s going to happen on the baseball diamond this season. But one thing is certain, the 2012 MLB season is going to be a season like no other, and I can’t wait for it to get started!


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The world of the NFL offseason has gone crazy once again…Tim Tebow has been traded to the Jets. The Jets sent two picks — a fourth-rounder and sixth-rounder in 2012 — to the Denver Broncos in exchange for a seventh-round selection. It was expected that Tebow would be sent to the trading block when Peyton waltzed into the Mile High City, signing a five-year, $96 million contract. Some thought Tebow would return to Jacksonville as the hometown hero, surely helping the Jaguars with more ticket sales, but the Jets were really the sleeper team here. The first question that comes to mind is why? Some players didn’t even want Tebow to join the organization in the first place. Antonio Cromartie even posted on his Twitter account, “Y bring Tebow in when we need to bring in more Weapons for @Mark Sanchez let’s build the team around him. We already signed to 3 year ext.”

Tebow will be joining a cast of backups behind Mark Sanchez, and I’m betting we see some big QB controversy here. Tebow will either emerge as a change-of-pace QB who doesn’t threaten Sanchez, while excelling in a role that truly shows off his talents, or he could add another dimension of craziness to the Jets drive. I am more excited to see how Tebow fits in with the Jets and New York. We’ve got an outspoken Christian here, playing in a city known for it’s outrageous nightlife, the bachelor lifestyle of Joe Namath — who made the Jets franchise famous, and a coach known for his outspoken attitude and profane speeches. Tebow seems like a humble guy, so we’ll have to wait and see how he handles everything in New York. Another fascinating prospect of this could be the way Tebow is incorporated into the Jets run-oriented offense, which is now being spearheaded by Tony Sparano.

The bottom line here? Get ready to witness an unorthodox quarterback with a sparkling resume, who is about to join a team that loves it’s time in the media spotlight…oh yeah, and a GQ photo-shoot featuring both Sanchez and Tebow can’t be that far behind either.


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“Vincent Jackson, will you accept this rose?” No, it’s not some new reality television show, It’s NFL free agency time! But, if you think about it, doesn’t it really remind you of an episode of The Bachelor? Teams vying to impress and sweep free agents off their feet, while players are working out trying to find the right team for them. Is it the right connection? Will it be a match made in football heaven? What is really outrageous are the millions of dollars these players will be paid. Whether it’s an extension, long-term contract, or just a one-year deal, does all the money really reflect the performance of these players each Sunday? It really makes you wonder if every match made in football heaven will really go the distance.  With each rose given, teams are wondering if their selection will bloom into a long lasting relationship, or wilt and die like a bad reality television finale.  Let’s take a look at the potential brides-to-be:

Vincent Jackson

San Diego’s beloved VJ just signed a 5 year deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for $55.55 million. We all knew he wouldn’t come cheap, but I won’t forget the inconsistencies he had last season with San Diego. With VJ on my fantasy team, he either gave me 30 points one week, or a measly 3 the next. Make no mistake about it though, Jackson is a beast, and he will absolutely provide a deep threat for Josh Freeman, whose hasn’t ever had one considering his other receivers Mike Williams and Arrelious Benn are more short-range targets.

Final Verdict: Good Move

Marques Colston

Marques Colston has re-signed a 5-year contract with the Saints for $40 million. He was one of the top three free agents that the Saints wanted to try and bring back for the 2012 season. This was an important move, and Colston expressed his feelings about really wanting to stay with the team, and not chase his free agency. Colston accepting the rose from the Saints definitely looks like a match made to last, IF of course, they can finally see the light and sign Drew Brees to a long-term deal. This move was especially essential for the Saints, with Robert Meachem’s recent departure to the Chargers.

Final Verdict: Good Move

Randy Moss

Welcome aboard Randy Moss? Moss fits the profile of the “crazy, mean girl” everyone loves to trash from The Bachelor. It seems laughable that Moss is trying to become Mr. Comeback, but he did something to impress the 49ers, and they signed him to a one-year deal. Will Moss be worth it? This is really something we’ll all need to stay tuned for. Moss is saying he can still bring it and he’s ready for a fresh start, but that’s yet to be seen.  If anyone can keep him in line however, it will be Jim Harbaugh.

Final Verdict: To Be Determined

Calvin Johnson

Calvin Johnson a.k.a. Megatron just got a record-breaking deal with the Detroit Lions. The Lions signed Johnson to a seven-year contract extension that is the richest deal ever given a wide receiver. The $132 million contract, which will keep Johnson in Detroit through the 2019 season, includes $60 million guaranteed and tops the $120 million deal the Arizona Cardinals gave Larry Fitzgerald last year. Is this too outrageous? Or does Johnson deserve every cent? As long as he plays consistently and doesn’t get injured, Megatron is a nightmare match up for every corner in the league; no one can cover him 1-on-1. This looks like a great move from the Lions, and I think we will see many more career-best seasons from Megatron.

Final Verdict: Great Move

So who will really make it to the end, left standing for that final rose? Which teams and which players will last the test of time? With twists and turns along the way, it’s safe to say that the NFL offseason can be just as exciting as the regular season…or at least as exciting as a popular reality show.

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Headhunting: Acts of violence; the custom of cutting off and preserving the heads of enemies as trophies. But, headhunting in professional football?What has recently been revealed about the New Orleans Saints bounty scandal may not have come as a surprise to many, but I find it extremely disappointing and just plain wrong, in a league where players are already paid millions to assault each other every Sunday. I love watching the Saints; they are an incredible team with exceptional players. And Drew Brees? An amazing quarterback. So why the bounty scandal? It really gives the Saints organization and the NFL a black eye.

This is a huge misstep for the Saints organization. It’s shocking to me, since I cannot believe the amount of money and bonuses NFL players are being paid to lay the pain on unsuspecting victims. Now all of the sudden, after finding out that the bounty program has been going on for three years, some incidents that once seemed like normal football plays, now look a lot more like a mob boss placing a hit on one of his rivals. Here’s a few that come to mind: the 2010 NFC Championship game where Brett Favre took a beating when he was already hurting. It seemed like the Saints were trying to take him down and end his career that night; Favre hasn’t been the same since. However, the biggest incident was the monster hit on Peyton Manning that more than likely precipitated his neck injury, when he played against a Redskins defense coached by Gregg Williams. Think about this for a second: this bounty program could have effectively ended the career of a man who was on pace to break every single quarterback record in the books!

At the center of all this mess lies Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams. Williams has seemingly instituted his bounty rules at every stop he’s made, including his prior stint with the Redskins, until he got caught; he’s presently the Rams Defensive Coordinator. Williams met with the NFL Monday to discuss his side of the story, and things don’t look good. Former and current players under Williams are coming out in droves, even Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma has been associated with the program, to have allegedly offered cash “prizes” to his teammates for executing a bounty. This would take the scandal to a whole new level if both coaches and players are giving out cash for injury-inducing hits. What’s possible now? Anything, it seems, if coaches and players were to continue to get away with incidents such as these.

In a time where the NFL rules have changed and blows to the head are deemed much more dangerous than they used to be, this bounty scandal has taken things too far. We’re now in a time where it’s a distinct and tangible possibility that an NFL player could literally die right there on the field. Players are faster, stronger, and quicker than ever before, and with this new bounty scandal, it may just simply be a matter of time.

So, where does that leave the Saints? They are disheveled right now; they are in the process of signing Drew Brees and have been exposed as not playing football according to the rules of the game. The Saints spent so much time re-building the New Orleans community after Hurricane Katrina, and re-invigorating a once dormant fan-base.  It’s a shame to think all of that progress could be lost because of one man’s decision to take headhunting out of the Amazon, and bring it to professional football.

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USA! USA! USA! Sound familiar? During the 2010 FIFA World Cup, you couldn’t go anywhere without shouts of patriotism being screamed from city streets all across the country.  However, let’s face it; soccer is definitely not on most people’s radars at the moment. Except maybe after a thrilling 1-0 win against Italy, for the first time. The United States is finally building some confidence and momentum after Wednesday night’s win. It was a rare victory over a major soccer power; in fact, it was unprecedented. With Clint Dempsey’s goal in the 55th minute, the Americans’ beat the Azzurri for the first time EVER. That’s 82 years of trying to beat one of the world’s best. Make no mistake about it, this was a huge achievement for the USMNT.

But what does this win really mean?  It will probably garner attention for a few days…maybe even a week. That’s the norm for American soccer fans. It was just a friendly match, and even though this win will give the team a much-needed confidence boost going into world cup qualifying this summer, the big question still remains: Why is there not a huge soccer following in the U.S?

Sure, there are scores of die-hard soccer fans scattered throughout the country, but it’s always football or baseball or basketball that seem to come first for Americans. Soccer seems to be more of a foreign, European/South American sport we don’t know much about and frankly don’t care much about. What are the rules? Why is the game so slow? For true soccer fans, every game is  exciting, whether the score is a 5-4 shootout, or a 0-0 tie. Every game has a story and every game is a beautiful display of athleticism at its finest. Soccer players are incredibly talented athletes. Stamina, agility, quick footwork, these are just some of the things that soccer players excel at that sets them apart from all other athletes; imagine watching a football player try to play a full 90-minute soccer game.

So, I’m sure as the 2014 World Cup in Brazil approaches, more people will begin following soccer, but until then, the reality is most Americans are nothing more than fair-weather fans when it comes to the sport.  Will soccer ever catch on in the U.S.? Does the win against Italy mean anything, or will nothing matter until the World Cup gets here?

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You may or may not know that the NFL combine is currently taking place in Indy right now.  So as an avid football fan, why should you even care about the combine?  With basketball season in full force, and baseball spring training right around the corner, why should a bunch of college football players participating in drills even register on your sports entertainment radar?  Here’s why:

What happens at the combine DRASTICALLY changes the draft strategies of every single NFL team and player. A mere tenth of a second can mean the difference between a bona-fide top 5 pick to a late 3rd rounder. We’re talking millions of dollars lost and won based on a weekend of workouts; this is the drama, and importance of the NFL Combine.  With that said, let’s check out some key players to look for:

Quinton Coples

Height: 6-6, Weight: 285 lbs. North Carolina defensive end Coples may be one of the best defensive end prospects for the 2012 draft. He has the most at stake, but also a lot to gain. After coming off of an outstanding junior season, he dropped off a bit in his senior season. He is one of the top pass rushers in the draft, but if his performance does not stay consistent, people will continue asking why he didn’t have the great senior season he was expected to have. This will be a huge week for Coples and he needs to perform exceptionally well on the combine stage.

Robert Griffin III (RG3)

Height: 6-2, Weight: 220 lbs. The QB spotlight this year will be on Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III. 2011 Heisman Trophy winner, Griffin will likely wait to throw and save his pro day for March 21. In the meantime he’ll be focusing on team interviews, the 40-yard dash, and other drills this week in Indy. He has the speed and agility, like Michael Vick, to move around in the pocket but will need to maintain his strength in order to keep it up. He should be easy to spot working out, wearing those festive socks he loves so dearly.

Janoris Jenkins

Height: 5-10, Weight: 191 lbs. After shining in Florida, then getting dismissed from the Gators for drug-related incidents, Jenkins played his senior season at North Alabama. He was great, and really showed people he has first-round talent. He played well in the Senior Bowl, but must interview well and explain himself at the combine. As long as he shows people his baggage is behind him and he is really trying to mature and focus solely on football, the Detroit Lions may come knocking. They have drafted well over the years and are in need of a cornerback this draft.

Michael Brockers

Height: 6-6, Weight: 306 lbs. We couldn’t forget any LSU players now, could we? Keep an eye out for defensive tackle, Brockers. He is at the top of a talented group of defensive linemen who will be entering the draft. Brockers is a 300-pound monster with cat-like agility, in addition to his strength and mass. He holds a skill-set that virtually no other defensive tackle can match, and if he dominates at the combine, he could find himself in the top 10 draft pick.

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