Tag Archives: Boston Red Sox

Weekly Nickel 9-3-2012

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Adam Jones (pictured above) has been a main reason why the Baltimore Orioles are in contention for their first AL East title since 1997.

By Josh Kramer

Labor Day typically means two things other than a day off of work.  First of all, the dog days of August are over.  Secondly, America’s favorite sport is back.  College football took over this weekend and guess what?  The NFL is right around the corner.  Last week was a whole lot of fun, but this week will be good in its own right.  Here are the events to keep an eye on.

5.  Richmond International Speedway will be the place to be next Saturday in terms of NASCAR.  This is the final race before the Chase for the Cup begins at Chicagoland Speedway on the 16th.  In other words, Richmond is for all of the marbles.  Find a way into the top ten, or pray that you nab one of the two wild card spots.  I am looking at you Jeff Gordon, Kyle Busch, and Carl Edwards.

4.  The dog days are finally over.  Players are smiling from ear to ear due to the dog days finally ending, the expanded rosters, and of course the home stretch to the regular season.  We have learned a few things along the way.  The Baltimore Orioles are the real deal.  Crazy, I know.  Much of this is thanks to their star center fielder Adam Jones. Continue reading

Food for Thought 8-28-2012

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Russell Wilson (pictured above) has shocked the world and been named the starting quarterback in Seattle.

By Josh Kramer

When Pete Carroll left USC, I lost almost all respect for the guy.  The situation he left behind was inexcusable and a definite admission of some sort of guilt.  That’s all in the past though.  Slowly but surely, my respect has returned for the coach that picked up a pair of national titles at USC and is currently running the show in Seattle.

At USC, it seemed as if everything was about the money.  Just ask Reggie Bush.  Since arriving in Seattle, it appears Carroll has had a change of heart.  On Sunday, he named a rookie third-round draft pick the starter at quarterback for Week 1 of the regular season.  As much as I try to ignore it, sports are a business.  Even collegiate ones unfortunately.  Money is what makes the world go round.  Not in Seattle’s quarterback case though.

Matt Flynn recently signed a three-year, $26 million deal, with $10 million guaranteed.  Everyone and their mother expected Flynn to be the starter.  Wilson, a supposedly undersized rookie quarterback is guaranteed just $619,400.  In simple terms, Flynn is guaranteed to make over 16 times the money that Wilson is guaranteed with their current contracts.  Yet, Wilson is the starting quarterback.

Simply based on merit, Wilson has outplayed his higher-paid counterpart, and is therefore deserving of the starting job.  Kudos to Pete Carroll on not being blinded by or influenced by dollar bills this time around.  The perception was that Flynn would be the Seahawks starter up until recently.  Carroll did not let the perception become a reality.  He evaluated the two players competing for the spot strictly on merit and performance.  Russell Wilson appears to have a very bright future ahead.  I do not envision Carroll regretting this decision to start the “undersized” rookie quarterback.  Talk about value in a third-round pick.  I guess height, money, and the perception of the public aren’t everything when it comes to quarterback play. Continue reading

Weekly Nickel 8-27-2012

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Tony Stewart (pictured above) was not a happy camper in Bristol on Saturday night.

By Josh Kramer

Tiger Woods continued to prove that his game remains out in the “woods.”  RGIII and Andrew Luck squared off for the first time in what will hopefully be long and successful careers.  And Japan’s Little League team not only proved that they were the best Little League team on the planet by far, they also brought up the question of whether they could compete against the Houston Astros (just kidding).  Last week was a bundle of fun, but this week will be great in its own right.  Here are the events to keep an eye on.

5.  Bristol was filled with fireworks as is typically the case.  Just ask Tony Stewart.  Denny Hamlin was the man who stood on the podium as the winner in the end though.  There are only two more races until the Chase begins at Chicagoland Speedway on September 16th.  Who will nab the final spots?  We will know a little more after Sunday’s race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Continue reading

Weekly Nickel 8-20-2012

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Dustin Johnson (pictured above) hopes to repeat as champion of The Barclays this weekend.

By Josh Kramer

In terms of preseason football, this week is as real as it gets.  Roger Federer continues to cruise as we gear up for the US Open, while Venus Williams continues to demonstrate some amazing fight.  The dog days of August baseball lead into September meaning manager firings, call ups of hot-shot prospects, and heated pennant races.  Last week was a great one, but this week will be entertaining in its own right.  Here are the events to keep an eye on.

5.  Start your engines folks as we head to Bristol.  After an exciting Sunday on the track at Michigan International Speedway, NASCAR heads to Bristol for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Bristol.  The Chase is right around the corner with just three races remaining before the real party gets started at the Geico 400 on September 16th.

4.  In the golfing world, The Barclays will be the name of the game come Thursday.  After a fun event in Greensboro, the PGA Tour heads to Farmingdale, New York for the The Barclays.  After skipping out on the Wyndham Championship, Dustin Johnson will look to become the first back to back winner at The Barclays since Ernie Els accomplished the feat in 1996 and 1997. Continue reading

Food for Thought 7-31-2012

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Drew Stubbs (pictured above) continues to drive most Reds fans nuts with his high number of strikeouts, but he has played a crucial role in the teams recent surge.

By Josh Kramer

It is no secret that there are two very hot teams in baseball at the moment. One resides in the American League (Oakland), while the other plays in the National League (Cincinnati).  Today, we focus on the Reds, and more specifically, their highly scrutinized center fielder Drew Stubbs.  Heading into play last evening, Cincinnati were winners of ten straight games, their longest winning streak in well over a decade.  During the amazing stretch, the Reds had outscored their opponents 54 to 27.  Now I am by no means naive.  Cincinnati is of course doing this without their star and arguably the best player in all of baseball Joey Votto, but they have not exactly played against top-tier competition.  During the stretch in which the Reds have won 17 of 19, four of their six opponents sport under .500 records.  I guess that is the beauty of being a member of the National League Central.

I have made it known that I am by no means a fan of Drew Stubbs these days.  I cannot remember a player failing to play to their strengths and wasting their talent more than this guy.  If one were to look up the word “potential” in the dictionary, the face of Drew Stubbs would appear there.  He runs like a gazelle, yet strikes out 1.3 times a game and doesn’t know how to bunt?  How can a guy with that kind of speed not know how to bunt?  During the Reds ten game winning streak, I have been eating my words (which I am happy about).  Stubbs has raised his batting average from .223 to .230, hit three home runs, and drove in ten runs.  He also has struck out 12 times.  But the key is Drew has come up big in the clutch.  As our good friend Paul Daugherty likes to say, Stubbs has been one of many Reds since the All-Star break to demonstrate the “it” factor.  In Votto’s absence, Stubbs was batting .333 with 14 RBIs heading into last evening.

I still admit that Stubbs shortcomings and inability to utilize his strengths does and will continue to drive me nuts.  Drew Stubbs is going to do what Drew Stubbs is going to do though.  That has been made clear over the past 3.5 seasons.  Stubbs is not on the field to please me or you.  He is out there to help his team win. Continue reading

Food for Thought 7-10-2012

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Andy Murray (pictured above) was brought to tears on Sunday. Just call him the “Heartbreak Kid.”

By Josh Kramer

Since the beginning of time, sports have been filled with loveable losers.  Sports are generally a zero-sum game.  There are winners and losers (occasional ties such as the 2002 All-Star Game ten years ago).  It is a part of life.  On Sunday, watching the tears stream down Andy Murray’s face and the heartbreak of an entire country got me thinking about some of the loveable losers in sports.

No I am not going to talk about the 86-year Curse of the Bambino and the rebels out of Beantown.  Also, don’t hold your breath in regards to Wrigleyville’s finest (the 105-year streak isn’t ending any time soon).  Today, is Andy Murray’s day.  God knows if this guy will ever take home a Grand Slam title.  As I have stated many times before, Andy Murray is quickly becoming the “Greatest Of All Time (GOAT)” to never win a Grand Slam.

Andy Murray has won over 375 professional matches.  He has won 22 tournaments.  Murray has been ranked in the top ten in the world for over five years and spent the majority of that time ranked in the top four.  And he has made four appearances in the finals of a Grand Slam tournament (Australian Open twice, Wimbledon, US Open).  If Murray can somehow get over the hump and avoid Rafael Nadal until the finals at Roland Garros next May, he will complete the career Grand Slam.  The career Grand Slam of finishing second that is.  Not exactly as good as the real thing I guess. Continue reading

Food for Thought 6-26-2012

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Kevin Youkilis (pictured above) received a nice curtain call from Red Sox Nation on Sunday. Now he will take the field for baseball’s other Sox (Chicago).

By Josh Kramer

From one Sox to another Sox.  Kevin Youkilis is now a member of the Chicago White Sox.  This is a great transaction for both Sox involved.  Boston rids themselves of a potential ongoing locker room problem (Youkilis/Valentine feud), and gives rising star Will Middlebrooks a chance to spread his wings.  Chicago on the other hand gets a proven All-Star who can provide the team with a 3rd baseman who can indeed bat above the Mendoza line ( Orlando Hudson batting .194 and Brent Morel batting .177).   Youkilis could even potentially bat over .300 (he has done this three times).

After a very successful 8.5 year stint in Boston, where Youkilis helped end the curse and bring Beantown two World Series, it was time to move on.  The great thing  is Boston has a solution in young stud Will Middlebrooks, while Chicago gets a guy who is only 33-years-old.  The White Sox are looking to make a deep playoff run in the present.  As much as Boston would like to be a playoff contender, they currently find themselves near the cellar of the AL East.  It is hard to believe, but with the departure of Youkilis, Big Papi is the only member of the 2004 championship team still left in Beantown.

Chicago’s hitting has been good this year, but not great.  Youkilis has the ability to provide the production out of the 3rd base position needed to help this team reach the next level.  It is no secret that the AL Central is perhaps baseball’s weakest division.  The White Sox have a golden opportunity to make postseason baseball this year.  As we all know, anything can happen in October.  Just ask Youkilis. Continue reading