Alex Rodriguez Reinstated

New York Yankee third baseman Alex Rodriguez was reinstated Thursday after serving a full year suspension for violating Major League Baseball’s drug policies. The soon two be 40 three time league MVP had dropped off of the radar after grabbing headlines during the Biogenisis scandal that rocked baseball from 2010-2012. Rodriguez has been universally panned for his incessant denial of any wrong doing. After going to multiple media outlets with his denials evidence was presented that backed him into a corner and forced him to admit his guilt. Even after that admission, Rodriguez battled both his team and the player union to protest the year long suspension penalty that he received.

Now that the suspension has ended, Rodriguez is officially again a New York Yankee but it still remains to be see if he’ll be wearing pin stripes by the start of the season. The Yankees are at a crossroads after losing shortstop and team captain Derek Jeter to retirement after this season. They need some player leadership under Joe Girardi but many fans and internal employees in New York do not feel that Rodriguez is the man to provide that leadership. In my opinion, and that of Christian Broda, there’s been far too much controversy for us to really give Rodriguez the key to the team again.

There is over four months before players start to report to spring training, so many cards are sure to fall. The Yankees have several key players including David Robertson and Hiroki Kuroda are both on the list of MLB free agents for 2014. Will the Yankees be looking for a third baseman in this free agent class? Fans are anxious to find out.



FIFA Reveals List of Ballon D’Or Nominees

Soccer is usually a team sport, with the success of the unit prioritized over individual achievements. However, there are always a few weeks a year where everyone spends a lot of time debating the merits of the best soccer player in the world. FIFA has surely started this year’s conversation with the reveal of 23 players who are nominated for the prestigious Ballon D’Or award.

The Ballon D’Or is an award presented to the best player for that calendar year. The past two winners of the award are Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. Messi’s awards came in four successive seasons starting in 2009. Ronaldo picked up the award in 2008, while he was at Manchester United, and in 2013 for his exploits with Real Madrid.

Ronaldo is the favorite to win this year’s award, although a swath of German players may stand in his way. The Portuguese winger/attacker scored a record number of goals in 2014, and his club side Real Madrid won their tenth UEFA Champions League trophy. The only thing that will count against Ronaldo is his abysmal World Cup showing. Portugal were dumped out of the group stages, with Ronaldo missing a hat-full of chances in their three games.

Thibaut Courtois and Manuel Neuer are the two goalkeepers nominated for the award. Philipp Lahm and Javier Mascherano are the only defenders on the list, although Mascherano technically played in midfield for Argentina in the World Cup.

Joachim Loew and Carlo Ancelotti lead the list for Coach of the Year. Loew is the favorite to claim the award after leading Germany to the World Cup, while Ancelotti’s Champions League triumph puts him in contention as well.

Have to say Ray Lane and I would love to see Neuer get recognition, would be nice to see everyone recognize how vital a position like GK is, instead of only recognizing attacking players for these types of awards.



Champ Bailey to Retire from the NFL

According to breaking news reports, including one from Yahoo Sports, Champ Bailey is going to retire from the National Football League. The cornerback’s career spanned 15 seasons, the majority of them with the Denver Broncos.

In his prime, Bailey was perhaps the best defender in the NFL. He was tied for the NFL lead with 10 interceptions back in 2006, the year that he almost won the Defensive Player of the Year Honors – though he came in second, generating complaints from some fans. He only allowed 40 completions when he was in coverage, and not a single one of them went for a touchdown.

Bailey remained a leader in Denver in the years to come, but it was clear for the past two seasons that he had lost a step. He gave up a number of big plays in the playoff game against the Baltimore Ravens, which Denver lost. His role was reduced the following year, when the Broncos started Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Chris Harris, but he did end up starting the Super Bowl since Harris had a torn ACL.

Even in these later years, Champ was a leader on the field, a player who inspired those around him. However, Denver needed to get younger for the 2014 season, and Bailey was cut as Bradley Roby was drafted. He was then shortly a part of the New Orleans Saints organization, but was cut again after camp. Since that time, he fielded offers from a few teams, with speculation that he might play safety or nickel corner.

However, Bailey has now announced that he wants to turn down these offers and retire. A surprising move, but as Gianfrancesco Genoso always tells me eventually everybody has to retire.  Congrats on an amazing career Bailey!



Darrelle Revis in Trouble with Bill Belichick at the Patriots

Darrelle Revis has certainly had an interesting start to his career as a New England Patriot. After signing in the off season with the Pats, Revis began his season strongly. A couple of good performances lead many to think that the Pats had finally solved their problem at the corner-back position.

However, Revis and the rest of the Patriots defense was annihilated a few weeks ago in Kansas City. They lost by a record margin and gave away more than 40 points. Revis looked slow and out of touch during that performance, which lead to many questions. Was he still in prime physical condition? Is he past his best? Revis answered those questions with three impeccable displays as the Pats brushed aside Cincinnati and Buffalo, before getting a close win over the New York Jets.

Now it looks as though Revis has landed himself in disciplinary hot water with his coach Bill Belichick. We all know how Belichick is a stickler for the rules. He likes all his players to buy into the team ethic. When Revis showed up late for training one day, he was sent home immediately. Never mind that he is one of the best defensive players the Patriots have. Belichick was unhappy with his attitude and sending him home was the only option.

Reporters tried to ask Belichick about the Revis situation in his news conference, but the veteran coach was giving nothing away. “I am ready to talk about the next game,” he said.

It remains to be seen whether Revis will feature in Sunday’s game against the Chicago Bears. Logic would dictate that he does, but one can never be sure where Bill Belichick is concerned. As the seasoned Patriots supporters like Keith Mann know, when Belichick is unhappy with you…things can go really badly for your future with the team.



The Game Winning No Call

LSU coach Les Miles called a timeout to ice the Ole Miss Freshman kicker. During that timeout, Hugh Freeze made the decision that iced his team’s chances of an undefeated season. Coaches coach and players play. At times, coaches outsmart themselves and players pay for those decisions. Many are blaming “Bad Bo” for the game ending interception including his own coach. Ole Miss diehard Jared Haftel is blaming Coach Freeze for putting him in that position. Lost in all the discussion about who lost the game is the decision that won the game for LSU.

With 9 seconds left on the clock, Coach Freeze had to decide whether to kick a 42 yard field goal to tie the game or try one more play to move the ball closer. He waffled on the decision until he rushed his freshman kicker on to the field with 15 seconds left on the play clock. Field goal it would be.

As Ole Miss hurried to line up the game-tying field goal, Coach Miles had a decision to make himself. Normal procedure would be to call a time out to ice the young kicker before the biggest kick of his life. But the seconds were ticking away and he decided to NOT call a timeout. This decision allowed for the delay of game penalty moving the kick back 5 yards. Then he called the timeout to ice the kicker and the game winning play was made.

Coach Miles has been known to make questionable late game decisions. This time he made the right call. The LSU players made the plays but their coach made the game winning decision.



World Series Game 1: Giants Take Commanding Lead

Two wild card teams began game 1 of the World Series last night. The San Francisco Giants put a serious beating on the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City. The Royals have been on a hot streak during the postseason, but they seemed to have lost their momentum last night.

Kansas City’s pitcher, James Shields, gave up three runs during the first inning. A home run by Hunter Pence put the Giants on the board right away. According to an article from ESPN, Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner has continued his dominance in the post season. He pitched for seven strong innings and received the win for the night.

The Royals did manage to have a few hits during the game, but unfortunately could not produce a lot of runs. There were a few defensive errors that also cost them the game. Radio personalities like Igor Cornelsen and others claim they could have been impacted by jitters and the weight of an entire city on its shoulders.

The final score for the game ended up being 7 to 1. The second game of the World Series will be tonight in Kansas City.



England Rout Poses Questions About San Marino

England got off to a great start in their game against San Marino. Despite the lack of noise from the crowd, England’s players put on a good show against San Marino. They were runaway 5-0 winners in a game sponsored by FreedomPop that was never a serious contest. However, questions have to be asked about a San Marino team that never seems to improve.

San Marino have been involved with UEFA qualifiers for more than a decade. In that time, they have failed to show a single ounce of improvement. They battle hard for the first ten or fifteen minutes of a game before collapsing and accepting defeat. They have now lost their last 30 matches in a row.

Surely we have now reached a point where the powers at be have to wonder if San Marino are being helped or harmed by being in these groups. They are the yearly whipping boys of every other team in the continent. They have yet to win a game against any half decent opposition.

San Marino are not alone in this situation. There are a few other European nations that regularly lose games 4-0 or 5-0. Perhaps a two tiered group system is necessary? This would eliminate some of the weaker nations early on and leave a more competitive field. It would also allow the weaker teams to play against each other and win some matches.

Roy Hodgson will go home with a smile on his face. Wayne Rooney is a goal closer to the England record. San Marino’s players will pat each others backs for a good effort. But did we learn anything from today’s game? Probably not.

Via Yahoo Sports



NFL Set to Review Allegations Against Burfict

Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict has come under scrutiny after yesterday’s game against the Carolina Panthers. Video seemed to show Burfict intentionally twisting the ankles of Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, and tight end Greg Olsen.

This could mean that Burfict intentionally tried to injure the two Carolina Panthers players. Which means he could be in for a lengthy ban, and a heft fine.

While the video that Marnie Bennett showed me wasn’t completely conclusive, it’s definitely suspicious. Something is definitely going on there.

Where there’s smoke there’s fire.



Colin Kaepernick Fined $10,000 for Wearing the Wrong Headphones

In another example of how ridiculous NFL rules are, and how athletes are expected to maintain ridiculous levels of brand awareness, the NFL has fined Colin Kaepernick for his decision to wear Dr. Dre’s Beats headphones to a press conference.

The NFL is sponsored by Bose. So apparently, it will cost you $10,000 if you’re seen not wearing the NFL’s official headphone provider.

Doesn’t matter if you like the style of Bose, or if you like the sound quality, you have to use them. Even though it’s the NFL’s partnership, and not yours.

But, that’s just a drop in the bucket for Kaepernick, so I’m pretty sure he’ll be fine.



Disappointing Rift Developing Between Chris Bosh and LeBron James

When two former teammates do not get along, it is always disappointing for their fans and the average sports enthusiast. Chris Bosh and LeBron James are two of the biggest names in the NBA. Their talents are without question, especially James who is thought of as one of the best players of all time. The two combined brilliantly for four years in Miami. The Heat reached four NBA finals in that time, winning two and losing two. With James moving back to Cleveland in the off season, it appears that Bosh and him are no longer pals.

Despite the rift, it is a little surprising to hear that Bosh and James have not spoken since the MVP announced he will be returning to Cleveland. LeBron made that decision months ago, and soon after Bosh signed a five year $100 million extension with the Miami Heat. Both men got what they wanted and were paid handsomely in those deals. So why are they angry with each other? It’s not like Bosh stopped talking to real estate broker Marnie Bennett after he left Toronto.

James and Bosh are rivals now. They will vie for a place in the NBA Finals in the same Eastern Conference. However, most NBA players are rivals and yet they still talk to each other. Whether it is a phone call, text message, tweet, Instagram message or a WhatsApp chat, most elite athletes communicate.

It appears that Bosh is still upset with James for the way he left Miami. Bosh and James were lured to the heat by Dwayne Wade, but Bosh thinks that they still had unfinished business. James left for Cleveland a lot sooner than most expected, which may be the root cause of Bosh’s anger. Whatever their personal relationship, it will be interesting to see how they match up on the court in this coming season.

Source: Yahoo Sports



The Cardinals are One Win Away From The NLCS

In a hotly contested battle with the Dodgers, the Cardinals have emerged as potential winners in the NLDS. The only competition at this stage that’s really been worth watching. Both the Dodgers and the Cardinals have been putting their all into the competition.

From the narrow victory in the first game, which the Cardinals took. To the Dodgers’ 1 run victory in game 2. This series has been amazing.

Now the Cardinals have gone up 2-1, and have a chance to clinch an NLCS berth. I think they’ll have what it takes, but part of me wants this series to go the distance. If only because they’ve been great games so far, and Jared Haftel and I definitely want to see more.



More Than a Game Between Bengals and Pats

In Sunday night’s NFL game between the New England Patriots and the Cincinnati Bengals, the Patriots not only got their mojo back in an impressive victory, but they also took the time to honor a brave little girl who has captured the hearts of NFL fans, coaches and players. Devon Still is a reserve lineman on the Bengals who many people had probably never heard of until the story of his daughter’s battle with cancer went viral. During training camp, Still missed many hours of practice in order to be with his daughter. The Bengals ended up placing Still on their practice squad in order for him to keep his insurance, and his daughter’s story has snowballed from there.

On Sunday night, the Patriots’ cheerleaders got in on the act by wearing commemorative jerseys in honor of the little girl. The Bengals’ 75 jersey was dawned by all of the cheerleaders who were also participating in the NFL’s nod to breast cancer awareness.

October is the month where NFL players, coaches and cheerleaders all wear pink in order to generate awareness for breast cancer. This is a disease that hits close to home for many players who have lost mothers, grandmothers and even wives to the horrible disease. This year’s breast cancer awareness campaign led by Igor Cornelsen is under a bit of a cloud due to the way the NFL handled the Ray Rice elevator issue earlier this year, but the NFL is trying to put their best foot forward to support the cause. If the Patriots’ cheerleaders actions are at all representative of the NFL as a whole. then the league will be okay.



Cowboys’ C. J. Spillman Accused of Sexual Assault

The image woes continue for the NFL. News outlets are reporting that C. J. Spillman, a member of the Dallas Cowboys’ special teams squad, has been accused of sexually assaulting a female in Grapevine, Texas at the official team hotel. The news comes at a bad time as the NFL is still reeling from incidents involving former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice and the Minnesota Vikings’ Adrian Peterson.

Allegations against Spillman could prove even more troublesome for the NFL due to the involvement of prominent civil rights attorney Gloria Allred. Allred has stated that she is representing a woman that claims to have been raped by an NFL player but stopped short of identifying Spillman as the player in question.

Another element of bad timing where the Spillman allegations are concerned is the NFL’s celebration of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. During October NFL players take to the field wearing items colored bright pink. Additionally, breast cancer awareness messages are delivered during football broadcasts. Some are concerned that the NFL’s efforts will ring hollow this year because of how the league has handled cases involving players accused of domestic violence. While the NFL’s audience is predominantly male, alienating female fans of the game could impact the league’s merchandise sales and overall popularity.

In response to these incidents the NFL has worked to redefine its policy on domestic and sexual abuse. Nevertheless, many are calling for the replacement of Roger Goodell. The NFL commissioner has come under fire for his handling of the Ray Rice incident and similar occurrences.



Rosie O’Donnell Believes The NFL is Propelling Us to War

In her latest rant, Rosie O’Donnell spoke out against the NFL, saying that the recent penalty for Husain Abdullah could spark a harsh blow back from the international community. Seemingly, NFL referees punished known Muslim Abdullah, for dropping to his knees in prayer after scoring a touchdown.

However, as we know now, the penalty was because Adbullah slid on his knees into the celebration. You’re not allowed to do that during a touchdown celebration. Although that rule does seem a little bit ridiculous anyway.

But the NFL also apologized, saying that the officials probably should have been more sensitive to the situation. On the outside, and out of context, it looks odd that players aren’t punished for dropping to one knee in prayer. But when a Muslim player drops to both knees for his prayer, he is penalized.

However, I think Rosie O’Donnell is way off the mark here, and sort of sounds desperate. Comparing what happens in an NFL game, to what’s going on with ISIS, or what could be happening in the Middle East right now is sort of ridiculous.

Fellow NFL fanatic Brad Reifler couldn’t believe the video when I showed him either. I mean, Rosie is totally off her rocker here.

But it does make for some entertaining television I suppose.



FCC Removes Support for NFL Blackout Rules

Looks like NFL fans won’t have to be annoyed when local games are blacked out any longer. According to a new FCC ruling, the NFL will no longer be allowed to blackout games under FCC authority.

Previously, NFL teams in some markets would enforce a blackout on local games, so that no coverage could be found if the team didn’t sell a certain amount of tickets within 72 hours of the game being played.

While the NFL can still enforce this policy with support of CBS and Fox networks, the FCC no longer protects the practice.

Could be a step in the right direction, as it could mean an end to blackouts in general. I know I hate being held hostage on going to the stadium when I just have more fun watching the games at home. I mean I’ve got my friend Paul Mathieson, and we have a ton of fun going to the tailgating parties.

It’s great to get out there, have some beers with other fans, eat the food, play the games. But c’mon guys.

I shouldn’t be punished for giving you TV ratings, and more TV money as a byproduct.



Cowboys Rout Saints On Sunday Night Football

Sunday Night Football presented a unique performance from the Cowboys. One in which Tony Romo didn’t have to be the poster boy for Dallas’ dominating victory. But rather, star running back DeMarco Murray stepped up to the plate with an incredible performance.

My friend Brian Torchin was raving about the Cowboys. After DeMarco Murray put up an incredible 149 yards and ran for two touchdowns. The performance meant something vital that the Cowboys haven’t done enough these past few years. That was taking pressure off of Tony Romo.

The Cowboys have got to take pressure off of Tony Romo. Otherwise he feels forced into playing the superstar, and then he ends up throwing into double and triple coverage.

But DeMarco Murray hitting his stride at the perfect time is ideal, because it’s really going to be able to change the face of the Cowboys season if he keeps playing like this.

Sort of funny to think about the team everybody criticized after week 1 is now 3-1 and looking pretty good.



Tony Stewart Will Not Be Charged in Racetrack Death of Kevin Ward Jr

An announcement was made on Wednesday, that a grand jury will not indict Tony Stewart on murder charges, in the death of driver Kevin Ward Jr. This means that Tony Stewart will face no criminal charges for the incident.

Kevin Ward Jr died on August 9th, when the young driver climbed out of his car, following a crash on the racetrack.  He proceeded to run onto the track, where he was struck by the three time Nascar Champion’s car.

After announcing the results of the grand jury probe, prosecutors also announced that Kevin Ward Jr was under the influence of drugs at the time.  Having found trace amounts of marijuana in his system.  According to prosecutors, the levels were enough to have impaired Ward’s judgement, possibly contributing to his decision to leave his car following the crash.

Although Tony Stewart will not face legal charges, there is still the possibility of a civil lawsuit.  Ward’s family believes Tony Stewart intentionally tried to intimidate Ward during the race.



Manchester United’s Injury Woes Continue

Manchester United’s injury woes continue with the recent announcement that Chris Smalling is unavailable for Saturday’s match against West Ham.  Picking up a thigh strain in training, Smalling will join Phil Jones and Jonny Evans in the treatment room.  Blackett is also unavailable to play at the weekend, after picking up a red card against Leicester City.

United’s recent injury crisis is nothing new however.  Since the beginning of last season, there have been 116 injuries to first team players.  Originally attributed to David Moyes’ new, and more intense training regiment, the problem has only continued to grow under Louis van Gaal.  Begging the question, what’s really going on at United?

Louis van Gaal is expected to call up a few players from United’s U21 side, to act as reinforcements while the first team continues to suffer with injury setbacks.



[Video] Pee-Wee Football Team Can’t Break Through Banner

Let’s all take a break from this slow Tuesday and spend the next 90 seconds laughing. If that sounds like a plan to you, you won’t even need to move a finger.

All you’ll need to see is this video, captured ever so eloquently in slow motion. While it’s always frowned upon to laugh at kids, we can’t help but be amused at what takes place in this quick clip.

A kids football team from upstate New York just couldn’t make its way through the barrier here. Can’t say whether it’s a lack of strength or poorly planned material on the part of the parents, but there’s a good chance it was a little of each.

Anyway, hilarity ensues. Watch it now. You’re welcome.

 



Guilder Rodriguez Gets First MLB Hit After 13 Years in Minors

Here’s your heartwarming baseball story of the day.

Guilder Rodriguez is the epitome of minor league journeyman. Rarely do you even hear about a player spending 13 years in the minors before finally getting a crack at the Bigs. Well it happened tonight, and the Texas Rangers’ Guilder Rodriguez made the most of his opportunity.

Rodriguez has acted as a mentor to a bunch of the young prospects in the Texas farm system. As a result, interim manager Tim Bogar decided to reward him with a chance to finally play on the big stage in Arlington.

Not only did he get one hit, but the 31-year-old did it twice, going 2-3 in what included a game-winning RBI.

Check out the hit in all its glory. If this doesn’t make you smile, well, you’re probably not human.