Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Super (Brrr) Bowl

Seriously. Seriously?

The NFL announced today that the 2014 Super Bowl will be held in...New Jersey. Yup. I said it. The NFC and AFC champs will play in the new OPEN AIR Meadowlands Stadium. ESPN: "It will be the first open-air stadium in a cold-weather region to host a Super Bowl."

Today, start your sports conversations with, WHY? Then move onto, WHAT IMPACT WILL THIS HAVE? IS THIS GOOD HISTORY THAT THE NFL IS MAKING? DO YOU WANT TO SEE A SNOW BOWL (not unlike a torrential rain in Miami a few years back when the Colts clobbered the Bears in the Super Bowl.)

(Ahem) Sorry for the shouting. Discuss.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

NBA Lottery, NHL Playoff


Let's cut to the chase. The NBA is holding its draft lottery tonight. That's when teams who missed the playoffs last year participate in a drawing to determine the draft order for the next draft. Without going into too much detail, there's more to it like a weighted system that gives teams with a worst record a greater chance of getting the #1 pick.

Here's what you can chat about:
> Who and what is at stake? Well, University of Kentucky freshman John Wall is widely considered the first pick. Who's considered a close second? Evan Turner from The Ohio State University.

> How have former #1's turned out? Some have been amazing. (see Dwight Howard and LeBron James). Others have been busts (see: Kwame Brown and Michael Olowokandi).

NHL playoffs are back tonight. The Chicago Blackhawks and San Jose Sharks are back on the ice tonight. Chicago slipped by the Sharks on Sunday on foreign ice, snatching home ice advantage. If they can leave San Jose tonight with a lead of 2-0, well, Chicago might stand a chance of being in its first Stanley Cup Final since 1992.


Sunday, May 16, 2010

Ya Gotta Love the Time of Year...

(non) Sports Fans, pay attention. Today's a day that you can add quite a bit to the conversation.

Both the NHL (National Hockey League) and NBA (National Basketball Associations) are beginning the Conference Finals so there's lots to talk about.

NHL first:
> Western Conference: Chicago Blackhawks vs. San Jose Sharks
> Eastern Conference: Philadelphia Flyers vs. Montreal Canadiens
Questions to ask:
> which team is more physical?
> which team is playing better? Are they peaking at the right time?
> which is more nimble and better on skates?
> which is more "puck" oriented?
> which is more important: youth vs. experience?

> Western Conference: Phoenix Suns vs. Los Angeles Lakers
> Eastern Conference: Boston Celtics vs. Orlando Magic
> Each team has superstar(s) on it but what counts here: experience vs. youth?
> The Lakers are the defending champion while the Suns are reasonably new to the conference finals. Do they finally have the energy and defense to get the job done? They'd have to shut down Kobe Bryant and play well in the middle and Steve Nash has to be at the top of his game.
> The Celtics have Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce but their best player has been their point guard, Rajon Rondo. Can they dominate Superman, Dwight Howard, shut down crafty and diminutive guard Jameer Nelson and can Vince Carter rally?

It's a fun day so CHAT. IT. UP.

And, of course, enjoy!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

NFL "Voluntary" MiniCamp


Quick hit today re: "voluntary" NFL MiniCamps. Here's what to talk about:
> The Washington Redskins have shelled out $32M (that's million) in guaranteed money in the last 15 months to defensive tackle (DT) Albert Haynesworth.

> The pro bowl DT is one cornerstone of a franchise that is desperately trying to rebuild. They've brought in Bruce Allen, the new GM, a new coach (2-time Super Bowl winner Mike Shanahan), a veteran QB in Donovan McNabb and drafted an offensive lineman in the first round.

> So, here's what you can spar about: Haynesworth isn't showing up for workouts and voluntary minicamp. Why? Better yet, are these important? What do they do for the team? What does it mean?

> Here are your (possible) replies: He's maybe not showing up because he's: unhappy with the team, wants to play somewhere else and/or he's really working out on his own.

> Are minicamps important? Yup, they are. It's about re-bonding, getting back into the team rhythm, connecting with the new coaching staff, staking your place on the team, being in town so the fans know you're committed, etc. In essence, it's starting the season NOW and realizing that the road to the playoffs begins in April and May.

Talk. It. Up. And Enjoy!

p.s. Let me know if anyone's got THE answer of why Haynesworth isn't showing up.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Trey Hillman: 1st MLB Manager Fired


Trey Hillman has earned an unfortunate moniker this baseball season: the first manager to be fired. Hillman was in his third year with the Kansas City Royals. This is an American League baseball team with a proud history but, in the past several years, has fallen into a deep hole.

Here's what you can chat up:
> Does firing a manager really help a team? Especially with the Royals, Hillman is deeply respected and beloved. Isn't it the players responsibility to perform well and win games?

> You can also take another tact: How firing DOES help a team. For instance, Tony Pena replaced Tony Muser in 2002 and gave KC the push it needed the following year (along with a pitching addition) to end with a 3rd place finish.

> Here's my take: you clearly can't fire or bench every player. At some point, management feels they've got to make a change to shake things up, have someone else bring a new perspective, perhaps new players through trades and juggle line-ups to help spark a team.

Good luck, Royals and chat it up!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Brian Cushing: NFL defensive rookie of the year?

Hello friends,

Plating up some NFL news for you to talk about:
> Brian Cushing, a rookie linebacker for the Houston Texans, won the NFL defensive rookie of the year. But last week, he was suspended for 4 games in the upcoming season because he tested positive for HCG. It's a fertility drug that's on the NFL's banned substance list.

> So, after the suspension, a re-vote for the award was held. Guess what? Cushing won. Again. He won by a smaller margin but he won.

> Here's what you can discuss: does Cushing deserve the award? Should he still be suspended? Is it fair to have a player win an award yet test positive for a banned substance? Why does the NFL allow this? If you were a player, coach or member of the media, how would you vote?

Talk it up.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

LeBron James - Now or Never?

Hello friends,

Let's talk about the reigning NBA MVP, LeBron James. Last night, in Game 5 of the playoff with the Boston Celtics, the Cavaliers lost. At home. By 32 points.

Here's what you can chat about:
> What's wrong with LeBron's game? Is his elbow bothering him more than he's letting on?
> The Celtics lead 3 -2 so the Cavs must win Game 6 in Boston to stay alive. Can they beat Boston on their home floor? You bet. The Celtics have been known for squandering leads this season.
> If the Cavs lose, will LeBron stay in Cleveland? He's a free agent after this season (along with the Miami Heat's Dwyane Wade, Toronto's Chris Bosh and the Suns' Amare Stoudemire among others). What's a likely destination? (Hint: NYC would be a grand stage for him...)


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Celtics vs. Cavaliers

Look for a key match up tonight in the Boston vs. Cleveland NBA playoff game.

Rajon Rondo, the Celtic's point guard, has been on fire. His on court leadership has helped keep the Celts in the series against the Cavs.

Here's what you can chat up:
> LeBron James, the reigning Most Valuable Player in the NBA, is guarding Rondo tonight. What difference will it make?
> James towers over Rondo so it will be interesting to see if Rondo can jitterbug his way around LeBron or if he's shut down by LeBron's height and physicality.
> If LeBron can't shut down Rondo, who can?

That's it. Chat it up!

Starlin Castro and I'm baaaaaack

I plead temporary fatigue. I'll even plead the 5th. I'll also beg for forgiveness for leaving you hanging over the past 3 months. The flame for the KQ Sports BBQ was unexpectedly doused but, thanks to the briquettes and heavy duty lighter fluid, I'm back.

What's with the sudden return? A trip to the Friendly Confines.

I had the great fortune of being invited last night to the Cubs vs. Marlins game. This was the first home game for the Cubs' SS Starlin Castro. He had an impressive start last week, homering in his first major league at bat. A true rookie and just 20 years old, he enthralled fans with his glove, his range and his swing.

Then came last night. Castro not only committed 3 errors, he made a mistake that no ball player should ever make: he stopped working hard. After he botched an 8th-inning ground ball, instead of hustling to where the ball skidded to, he turned his back and slowly walked toward it. Hanley Ramirez caught Castro napping and made it safely to 2nd base.

Don't get me wrong; Castro had a bad night. He should shake it off. I'm just hoping he's not going to be "that" guy. Don't be the player who only hustles when things are going your way, like last week. Do be "the guy" who learns from last night and promises long-suffering Cubs fans that it won't happen again. Be the guy who accepts help, constructive input from his teammates and a manager's scolding and channels it to be a better player.

Starlin's a great player to watch. Especially when he's working his butt off.