Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Lynchy This Week

Short but sweet. We got a couple things going on this week from waiver wire deals and first place run to the divorce of a guy named Tiger. With preseason wrapping up over the next couple weeks we wanted to get a couple things off our chest.

Get After It!

He's in his 16th season, he's played over 2,200 games, he's squared off in the batters box over 8,800 times. After winning his second World Series ring last season and spending 8 seasons in the most pressure packed baseball crazed media markets in the country, is it any surprise nearly 37-year old Johnny Damon passed on being sent back to Boston earlier this week? Of course not. Maybe uttering the phrase "I Love Detroit" was a bit overboard, however that's Johnny Damon for you. Damon will bank $8,000,000 this season playing in Detroit and after a 162 game season, missing a postseason won't be that upsetting to the 2x World Champ. As for the Red Sox, don't think the fans don't see what that move meant. We're suckers for sentiment, what Johnny Damon meant to the 2004 curse breaking season, well we'll never forget that. However, you wouldn't deal for a bat at the deadline, a pitcher to help in the pen, and now you want to bring on Damon? Please, don't try to buy us out like this, it's just insulting.

Golf time now right? Now that divorce is in his rear view mirror, along with the 4 missed opportunities to catch major championship #15 in 2010, can Tiger please proceed? Proceed with lurking on Sunday morning as he dawns that red Nike polo sitting just strokes back of the leader. Proceed with at the very least three consecutive days off top notch golf. Proceed with hammering inferior competition, proceed with tormenting golfers whom speak out against him, cough, cough, Rory McIlroy, proceed with exciting every fringe golf fan there is on the globe. I get it folks, I'm on board with getting the kids acclimated, I'm on board with handling your personal life, but 2011 Tiger, you better get after it! I can't handle another Masters won by Phil, listening to how great of a guy he is! I can't handle two forgettable winners in the Open Championships, and I sure as heck cannot handle a PGA Championship remembered more for a bunker than anything! Tiger my man, I don't care what you have to do and now that your not married, no one else will either. We want this golf game back, we want you tearing up courses and making more shots than anyone else, let's starter with the Ryder, given you make it and all.

Cause for concern Brett. Just a week or so after Favre watch has ended, things are not going so well in Minnesota. After Favre and Co. got knocked around by the 49ers last week it's been all bad news. Oft-injured receiver Percy Harvin collapsed just last week as more concerns surround his health. Then this week, receiver Sidney Rice (83 catches, 1,312 in 2009) had hip surgery. On Wednesday morning rather than looking across the huddle at two players who caught more than half his balls a season ago, Brett Favre was staring at 8-year veteran Greg Lewis who caught just 8 passes in 13 games last season. For Vikings fans, these are the exact same things you don't want to be hearing this early in the season. Four of the first six games this season, the Vikings are going to be challenged by Super Bowl caliber teams. Week 1, at the New Orleans Saints. Then a three week stretch for games four, five, and six against the Jets, Cowboys, and Packers, two on the road. If Favre and the Vikes want to duplicate success, 'bout time they get healthy or this is going to snowball.

Taping the Podcast Tommorow Night . . .Audio Lynchy.


Get After It!

Monday, August 23, 2010


354 Career wins. 4,672 Strikeouts. 3.12 Career earned run average. Speak loud enough? 7x Cy Young Award winner. 11x MLB All-Star. 1986 American League MVP. Speak loud enough now? 2x World Series champion. 'Nuff said, right? No.

All the numbers and then some. The two twenty strikeout games, the postseason performances and the hardware to go along with them. Yet on August 19th, the greatest pitcher of the past 30 years was indicted by the Federal Government for failing to tell the truth while giving sworn testimony to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform in February of 2008. As a federal prison sentence hangs in the balance for Roger Clemens, his Hall Of Fame considerations, his records, his mystique, and of course his 24-year Major League Baseball pitching career is taking a back seat. The Rocket is now staring down the Federal Government, the toughest opponent to ever set foot in his batters box. Whether your of the mind that Clemens should suffer the same fate as Marion Jones, who did prison time for committing the same crime as Clemens has been indicted for, or that the government should be aiming their time at other bigger problems in this country, it's time to sort it out.

Lets Get After It . . .

Former Olympic sprinter Marion Jones was celebrated at one point as one of the greatest female athletes of all time. After being stripped of her five Olympic medals for admitted performance enhancing drug use during the Sydney Olympic games, Jones was sent to federal prison for lying to two grand juries including lying to federal agents during an open investigation on steroid use. Sentenced to six months in a federal prison, Marion Jones' situation/case should have opened the eyes of every professional athlete, it didn't. Roger Clemens has been as defiant as any in his fight against the federal government, former trainer Brian McNamee, and the court of public opinion. Clemens refuses to take the road of former teammate Andy Pettitte, major leaguer Alex Rodriguez, and current Padre Miguel Tejada, all of whom chose admittance or bargaining to avoid similar fates. So what now? The greatest pitcher of a generation behind bars if convicted? The gamer that was Roger Clemens is going to challenge the federal government for what? The sniff of PED's around him will push back his hopes for a Hall entrance, the court of public opinion has already been decided. His name was mentioned in baseballs Mitchell Report the second most after none other than Jose Canseco. Roger Clemens is like no other, however when it comes to Congress, he's like every other. If the Rocket did ignore the fate that Marion Jones suffered, refused to take a seat next to Oprah or Peter Gammons, and now refuses to strike a deal with the Feds, then Clemens needs to be placed behind bars, exactly what would happen to you and I if we decided to lie to the Federal Government.

Wait, why are we doing this? Why are we wasting the time of Reform Committees on performance enhancing drug use in athletics? Why, when we have oil spills to cleanup, unemployment to correct, a health care system to sort out, and actual criminals walking the streets, are we indicting Roger Clemens? A major league pitcher? Not a murderer, not a rapist, not a thief, a bloated athlete with millions of dollars. Aren't the same people who are indicting him the same who were asking him for his autograph after his waltz through Washington D.C. back in 2008? Why do our tax dollars have to be used to imprison The Rocket after we paid hundreds to see him play, to play in Boston, Toronto, New York, and Houston. After we paid for his jerseys, his posters, his cards, anything he sold us or his name was attached to for 24 seasons. If the people who elected these officials don't care what he's done, why is this allowed to happen? We know what Clemens was, the smoke alone makes us call foul. We lump Clemens into the same category as Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez, and Mark McGwire. We acknowledge what he was doing in his 40's was at the core as unrealistic as it was. I want my tax dollars to be put to much better use than convicting Roger Clemens and putting him in a federal prison. He isn't ENRON, he isn't Madoff, and he isn't a terrorist. So move along please, focus on what we really need in this country.

We'll wait and see the fate that Roger Clemens suffers. We'll see one of the greatest pitchers in the history of this game either go to prison or not. Our opinion can't really change any more than it has, right? The stats, the wins, the mind bending performances, none of it matters at this point. The Indictment of Roger Clemens has become the closing arguement on his career.

Now You Know . . .

Catch more Lynchy on The RightNow Podcast & on Twitter

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Wake Up!

Everything that has taken place thus far in the NFL preseason has got me more ready for this to get going than anything. From the Jets on Hard Knocks to Cowboys and a home Super Bowl looming. From the rookies impressing like New Englands Aaron Hernandez to San Diego's Ryan Mathews. From the return of legend Bret Favre to the emergence of Aaron Rodgers, this NFL season continues to get more and more promising and what better way than to give you our take on the championship possiblities. If you bet on sports it's that time.

Get After It!

The Real Deal Group:

Baltimore Ravens It isn't just hype. Even with the injuries to the Ravens secondary, their defense still has bite and can get after the quarterback. Rookie defensive tackle Terrence Cody has made great strides through one preseason game. Recording five tackles, Cody controlled the middle of the defensive line and gave the Ravens reason to believe he's going to be an impact rookie in this league. However, for the first year in a long time it's the Ravens new high potent offense that should raise eyebrows. Bringing in a veteran playmaker in receiver Anquan Boldin gives the Ravens offense playoff experience and a huge target for 3rd year quarterback Joe Flacco to look for. After five seasons of 1,000+ yards receiving, Boldin is out of the shadow of top flight Arizona wideout Larry Fitzgerald. Throw in a little of 1,300 yard rusher Ray Rice and a splash of veterans Derek Mason and Todd Heap and the Ravens offense is off and running. The Real Deal. Yes I'm a betting man!

Indianapolis Colts Till Peyton Manning walks off into the sunset, the Indianapolis Colts are the real deal. At 33 Manning posted his best statistical year since his record setting season in 2004 en route to grabbing his fourth NFL MVP in 2009. Coming up short in the Super Bowl against the New Orleans Saints the Colts should be returning with an added incentive in 2010. Manning will get another weapon back in his high potent offense this coming season, receiver Anthony Gonzalez who missed all of 2009 due to injury after a productive first two seasons in the league. More important than Gonzalez, the Colts should expect to get the oft-injured, smash hitting safety Bob Sanders back. Sanders will try to return and stay healthy after missing a ton of games in the last couple seasons including 14 last year. Bottom line, the Colts have averaged 13-wins a season for each of the last five seasons, what else do we need to know? The Real Deal.

Green Bay Packers That's right, include The Pack. The NFL's second rated defense a season ago is back. Led by linebackers A.J. Hawk, Nick Barnett, and Clay Matthews the Packer defense is something to be reckoned with. With veterans Charles Woodson and Al Harris the Packer defense was tops amongst the league in takeaways a season ago. In his second year at the helm of the Green Bay defense, coordinator Dom Capers has a load of talent to work with including the previously mentioned and second year player nose tackle B.J. Raji. Then there is the offense, bulking up by drafting Iowa's Bryan Bulaga, the Packers will try to improve on the amount of times they let quarterback Aaron Rodgers end up on his back. Between Donald Driver, Greg Jennings and running back Ryan Grant, Rodgers should have plenty of options to turn to again the Packer offense. Last season Rodgers came into his own setting career highs in both touchdown passes and yards passed, all the while dropping his interceptions total nearly in half. Expect huge things from the Packers in 2010.

New Orleans Saints In my humble opinion, the Saints are a tough call. I didn't expect much from them last season and they won the Super Bowl. How do I keep them out of the front runners now? The Super bowl Champs were led by Pro-Bowl Safety Darren Sharper who picked off 9 passes last season and of course All-World quarterback Drew Brees. Brees was picked off only 11 times en route to a 4,388 yard passing season which included 34 touchdown passes. Nothing more impressive than his postseason numbers in which he recorded 8 touchdown passes, an average of 24 completions with nearly 250 yards per game, mistake free. Behind offensive guru and head coach Sean Payton, the Brees/Payton combination has taken flight and rarely looks back. After week 1 against Minnesota, the Saints don't see a 2009 playoff team till week 5 and thats against the new look Cardinals under the direction of Matt Leinart. After week 12 when the Saints square off against the Dallas Cowboys, the defending champs will have seen just two playoff quarterbacks, Favre and Romo. Can you spell repeat?

The I Can See It Group:

New England Patriots Read this, the Patriots are sleeping giants. Go ahead, read it again. The Patriots are sleeping giants. With rookie tight end Aaron Hernandez, the Patriots have gone ahead and added another offensive weapon with tremendous hands to quarterback Tom Brady's arsenal, an arsenal which seems to be getting healthier and healthier every day. With Wes Welker, less than a year removed from knee surgery, and Randy Moss, Brady returns with weapons he is very familiar with and weapons that produce monster numbers when healthy. As for the defense, the Patriots are going to have to see bigger strides from linebacker Jerod Mayo who had a less than stellar sophomore season in 2009 and from second-year defensive lineman Ron Brace, who will have to make noise after the season ending injury to Ty Warren. When I look at the Patriots it comes down to three things; (1) Can Tom Brady stay healthy and show that 2007 form that came us those mind blowing stats. (2) Does the Belichick defense have bark and bite? (3) When the Patriots pass on players of superior talent, do they know what they are doing or are they just outsmarting the room? Can't sleep on the Patriots.

Dallas Cowboys The Cowboys have a ton of pressure on them in 2010. The possibility of a home-game Super Bowl is looming. They've added stud rookie wideout Dez Bryant, for all intents and purposes expects to be great after being handed the number worn by Hall Of Fame receiver Michael Irvin. In 2009 they removed the playoff win monkey from their back and also witnessed one of the greatest seasons of defense by a Cowboy, Demarcus Ware's pummeling season. Returning Jay Ratliff and a powerful Cowboy defensive line, the Cowboys are left with just one gaping hole, the offensive line and the hole left by Flozell Adams. The Cowboys opted not to address their offensive line needs through the draft but more so with Doug Free, the same Doug Free who played well in the absence of Flozell who was out with injuries some of last season. Given the stakes that are set forth in JerryWorld, Tony Romo and the Cowboys offense will be looked at to get better on the offensive side of the ball than what they've put out in the first couple preseason games. Expect the Cowboys to make a ton of noise early and often this season. Just put your questions around what kind of noise that will be.

Minnesota Vikings The Vikings are quickly slipping off my radar screen, especially with the emergence of how enthralled by the Packers I really am. Both the Bears and the Packers are supposed to cause problems for the Vikings in the NFC's Norris Division. As the Vikes look to duplicate their success, almost minutes from the Super Bowl, in 2009, the reality is that things around them are becoming more circus like by the minute, not a characteristic of a Super Bowl team. While they return a very good defense and many good offensive weapons, the recent problems with migraines and receiver Percy Harvin should be more than alarming. Then there is the questions around Brett Favre, head coach Brad Childress, and the Viking locker room. Rumours of coaches being asked to lie about the whereabouts of veterans who went to get Favre in Mississippi, Favre's lack of respect for the offense and head coach Brad Childress, and of course the injury to said quarterback. All that being said, they still retain the services of the NFL's most exciting running back, Adrian Peterson. Last season Peterson ripped off another 1,300 yard season breaking the endzone 18 times. If the Vikings have to rely on the legs of Peterson, they're in good hands errr legs.

San Diego Chargers The Chargers still pull top rank in my books in the AFC West, and my conviction that Philip Rivers is still one of the games most underrated passers even after finishing 3rd in QB rating just last season. The Chargers biggest problem is at left tackle, learning Saturday their insurance policy on holdout Marcus McNeil, (11-year vet Tra Thomas) has decided to retire rather than handle another tough NFL season, has left the Chargers with no blind spot coverage to Philip Rivers. Another problem for the Rivers offense is Vincent Jackson, who has yet to report to camp in the midst of yet another contract holdout. For the Chargers there remains a bright spot, Ryan Mathews. The rookie running back out of Fresno State has impressed very early. His performance from mini camps to the preseason games have left people nodding in agreement that he is the frontrunner in the NFL offensive ROY campaign. Furthermore, Mathews is replacing LaDainian Tomlinson, huge shoes for a rookie but seems to be the right guy to do just that. If the Chargers can get Jackson and McNeil back in camp, expect them to do more than just tread water.

The Slow Your Roll Group:

New York Jets No, no, no. I do not buy this. Rex Ryan is a fun coach, great interview, and fierce competitor, but does it translate? We'll see but I don't buy it yet. 2nd year quarterback Mark Sanchez is going to take a Sophomore dip, that happens, however for the toast of New York his rookie year wasn't all that impressive. Sanchez was sacked 26 times and threw 20 interceptions during the regular season, throwing just 12 touchdown passes. Even with the addition of a LaDainian Tomlinson, Sanchez is still going to have to pick up the pace after losing running back Thomas Jones who has flat out hustled in the past five seasons in the NFL. As the holdout of All-World cornerback Darrelle Revis continues, the Jets should be concerned that question mark Antonio Cromartie is their backup plan. Not all bad though for the Jets, some things I'm on board with. 1st round draft pick Kyle Wilson satisfies my Boise State love. Wilson would have been great under the directon of Revis but still has looked very good in the early goings. Can the Jets do everything they think? Or are they just writing a ton of checks they can't cash? You decide.

The Outside Chance Group:

Atlanta Falcons A playoff team two seasons ago. Two straight seasons of better than .500 ball for the first time in franchise history. Matt Ryan needs to have a bounce back year from his 14-interception performance in 2009. An offense that includes Ryan, Michael Turner, and Tony Gonzalez, they'll be solid, with the Atlanta Falcons it comes down to their defense. Last seasons first round draft pick, defensive tackle Peria Jerry, is healthy after missing his rookie season to injury. Veteran Falcon linebacker Mike Peterson is in his second season in Atlanta and 6th season in Mike Smith's defense. Both Peterson and Jerry will be looked at to improve a defense that ranked 21st in the league last season. Great coaching and good quarterback play combined with a good defensive performance this season, and they've got a chance.

Houston Texans Ask yourself how many times you've included the Texans in the pre-season discussions? Over the past three seasons the Texans finished 9-7(2009), 8-8(2008), and 8-8(2007). Got average anyone? As much as we want to include the high powered Texans passing game, with quarterback Matt Schaub and receiver Andre Johnson, and the bone crushing Texan defense, with Mario Williams, Brian Cushing, and DeMeco Ryans, can we? Till the Houston Texans learn how to close out games like their Week 12 loss to the Indianapolis Colts, a game which saw Indy score 21 in the fourth and come back to win, I don't think so. Till the Houston Texans learn how to beat teams they're supposed to beat, the Jacksonville Jaguars (7-9 in 2009), rather than dropping two to that very opponent, I don't think so. However with all those star players, they have a chance.

San Francisco 49ers Impact offensive weapon, (TE, Vernon Davis 78 catches, 965 yards, 13 touchdowns), power running game, (RB, Frank Gore 1,120 yards 10 TD's), dominating defensive player, (LB, Patrick Willis 152 total tackles). To go along with their performance demanding head coach, the legendary Mike Singletary, the 49ers seem to have all the key parts to make some noise. The NFC West is moving on without Kurt Warner in Arizona, a new head coach in Seattle, and the St. Louis Rams who are years away from relevance, all signs pointing to the 'Niners handling that division with ease. However, the only remaining question is the biggest one of all: QB Alex Smith. After winning his position back last year, the former top pick overall managed 18 touchdown passes and turned the ball over through the air only 12 times. If Alex Smith can turn it on this season and connect the only open link for the 49ers, a re-birth of football in the bay is very much alive. They have a chance.

The Darkest Horse Group:

Washington Redskins I'd be remissed if I passed on mentioning the Washington Redskins. For the first time in recent memory, they've got a quarterback who still has bullets left in the chamber, including the passion he'll bring in those 'Skins v. Eagles games. Donovan McNabb brings a
ton to the 'Skins, mainly his leadership and big game preparation. Head coach Mike Shanahan, has made no bones about putting his foot down in Washington very, very early. With last years first round pick Brian Orakpo really coming into his own late last season he's steering into this season looking as the future captain of the 'Skins defense. Behind Shanahan, Orakpo, and of course Donovan McNabb, the Washington Redskins are going to play a major role in determining the winner of the toughest division in football, the NFC East.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Thoughts From Training Camp

Time to get into the NFL. We're just weeks away and I can't contain myself. Preseason games going on all over the place. The Saints and Pats this past week, the prospect of the Cowboys playing a home Super Bowl, Donovan McNabb in a new jersey, Woah! Let's do this.

Now You Know.

There's No Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco, or even Mark Sanchez in 2010. For two straight years we've seen some rookie quarterbacks make noise in their first season in the NFL, going so far as to lead their teams to the postseason. Unfortunately for the crop of quarterbacks in 2010, a similar scenario won't be likely. Where Mark Sanchez inherited a top tier defense and outstanding running game and Matt Ryan joined a team which had also added running back Michael Turner during the same off season, none of the rookie quarterbacks this season are walking to these locker rooms. Colt McCoy joins a Browns team with very little to work with aside from tackle Joe Thomas and return specialist Josh Cribbs. Tim Tebow is in the midst of a quarterback competition in Denver, an offense which traded away a Top 5 NFL receiver this off season. As for top pick Sam Bradford, after Saturday nights preseason game with Minnesota, the Rams better get busy blocking if they want Bradford to survive the preseason schedule. Depending on how good Carolina's Jimmy Clausen proves to be in the coming weeks, with the Panther running game in toe, he may have the best shot at repeating the performances of Flacco, Ryan, and Sanchez. If not, close the velvet rope, those three may have no company at all.

Is Pittsburgh done already? Just one season removed from a Super Bowl championship, the Pittsburgh Steelers have more questions than ever, mainly their quarterback. With an offensive line in need of an overhaul, the Steelers need a quarterback like Roethlisberger now more than ever. Cept they aren't getting him for at least four weeks into the regular season due to suspension. Ugh. (A collective sigh from Steeler nation) As the Steelers plan to move on, throw up the barricades and let the Leftwich v. Dixon competition begin. Needing to win their last three to finish the season at 9-7 in 2009, the Steelers were all in all disappointing. The story of the Steelers can more appropriately be told by what is going on around them. The Bengals were division winners a season ago and added Terrell Owens and another tight end in rookie Jermaine Gresham to improve their offense. The Ravens went out and got Anquan Boldin, a dominating proven weapon in Arizona to add to Joe Flacco's arsenal developing in Baltimore. If I were a betting man and we both know I am, then I'd pass on the Steelers and watch as they get out to a very rough start. Leftwich or Dixon, doesn't matter.

Rumour has it; Ravens v. Cowboys Given the additions of Baltimore and the need for crowd control as 12,000 showed up for Day 1 of Raven camp, it should be safe to say the Ravens are no longer a secret. As for Big D, playoff monkey off their back in 2009, a home game in the Super Bowl looming, and of course one rookie with more hype than DiCaprio's Inception, it is clear the Cowboys are a favorite in the NFC. All that being said, folks these teams have some question marks. The Ravens have already seen injuries to offensive tackle Jared Gaither, corners Fabian Washington and Domonique Foxworth, and of course All-Pro safety and defensive leader, Ed Reed. If Reed doesn't return for a while after having hip surgery this off season, the Ravens defense is without a huge bite. After an early training camp injury to rookie Dez Bryant, the Cowboys played two preseason games against Cincinnati and Oakland, scoring just two field goals with their starting unit. Is this supposed high-powered offense unable to put it in the endzone? Running backs Marion Barber and Felix Jones have ripped off a grand total of 12 yards combined in two preseason games. Tony Romo was sacked three times in the first series against Oakland. These two early season favorites to head to the Big Dance have some concerns, and they're valid.

Rexy & The Jets He didn't need his own reality show to make the front pages, but he got it. New York Jets head coach and resident comedian Rex Ryan is now story #1 heading into the NFL season. If the goal was to make his team just that, consider it accomplished. The stars of this years edition of HBO's Hard Knocks, are calling themselves Super Bowl contenders, future Super Bowl champs, and one of the toughest teams in the league. Let's put the clamps down on Rex Ryan real quick. (1) If it wasn't for Indianapolis mailing in their last two games of the season and the Bengals resting on their accomplishments, the Jets wouldn't even have made the postseason last year. (2) If quarterback Mark Sanchez takes a step back as both Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco did in their second years, it's a step back from 12 touchdowns and 20 interceptions. (3) Why wouldn't the Dolphins pay 14-year veteran Jason Taylor? Why couldn't LaDainian Tomlinson, a future hall of famer, get the Chargers to pay him? Why did the Steelers want to rid themselves of former Super Bowl MVP Santonio Holmes? The Jets aren't just smarter than all of these teams. Rex Ryan is a good coach, the Jets got further than people expected a year ago, but let us not forget they lost 1,400 yard rusher Thomas Jones, their workhorse. Oh, and the giant elephant in the room is Darrelle Revis who wants nothing to do with the Jets till they pay him. At the end of this season the stanchions are going to be up, and the Jets will be on the outside looking in at the postseason.

I'm ready to get this thing on.

Audio Lynchy


Get After It!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The 3rd League

They make up baseballs most dominant division. Four of five teams in the American League East would either be leading or in a division championship race if moved to any of the remaining five divisions in baseball. The 5th team has won seven of their last ten since bringing on no-nonsense baseball "guy" Buck Showalter. The Toronto Blue Jays, Boston Red Sox, Tampa Bay Rays, and New York Yankees, run major league baseball. The beasts of the American League East are all business and tearing up the majors this season.

Break Up The East!

Tops In Baseball: As the Yanks and Rays go for a major league leading 70 wins tonight, the 3rd place Sox sit at 65-49, which would currently put them tied for first in three other divisions, and leading the remaining two. All the while the Blue Jays look to hit 60 wins this week.

The Long Ball: A thing of the past in other divisions, the home run is still the winning formula in the A.L. East. The Toronto Blue Jays, led by the surprising Jose Bautista (35) lead the majors with 178 round trippers. Oh, and of course the ever slugging Red Sox (149) and Yanks (133) also have placed themselves amongst the Top 5 in homers.

They Can Hurl: Tampa Bay pitcher David Price is having a phenomenal season. Boasting an ERA south of 3.00, striking out 133 batters, recording 15 wins. Young Boston starters Clay Buchholz and Jon Lester are both putting together break out seasons. Lester with 160 K's and Buchholz with a ERA of 2.66. Then there is Yankees ace C.C. Sabathia eating up over 160 innings winning 14 games and posting an ERA of 3.14.

The New York Yankees The defending champs behind Robinson Cano and Mark Teixeira are out in front in the A.L. East. Cano is having a career year hitting .329 with 21 homers. Teixeira is on a tear as of late with six long balls in his last nine games. Adding players like Kerry Wood, Lance Berkman, and Austin Kerns at the deadline for seemingly not much in exchange, have filled whatever holes remained with the Yanks prior to. After watching the Yanks offense for four straight days this past weekend, it's amazing this offense does anything but score ten runs a game. From top to bottom behind A-Rod, Jeter, Cano, Swisher, Teixeira, Posada, and Granderson, the Yanks are stacked. Ace C.C. Sabathia is in the midst of another fantastic year, With an ERA of 3.14, fourteen wins, and over 130 strikeouts, Sabathia is earning every dime he made last off season. Of any of the teams in the A.L. East, the Yanks are punching their ticket to the postseason before any other bar none. With their comeback victory against the Rangers last night, the Yankees are making a statement.

The Tampa Bay Rays While the Rays have been on the receiving end of a no-hitter (Edwin Jackson, Arizona Diamondbacks), a perfect game (Dallas Braden, Oakland A's), and most recently a 17-strikeout performance (Brandon Morrow, Toronto Blue Jays), they've still got a 3.5 game lead on the Wild Card and fourth playoff spot in the American League. In large part to the success of their ace, David Price. Price has already recorded 15 victories this season and has an ERA of 2.84, more so it gives the Rays a pitcher to step toe to toe with the A.L.'s best come playoff time. His 10-K performance against the Red Sox in early July raised a few eyebrows as Price not only struckout ten but went 7 and 2/3 while allowing just four hits and only one walk. If the Tampa offense can find their stroke and stop the bleeding, it's going to be hard to keep them off the Yankees tail and way out in front of the A.L. Wild Card.

The Boston Red Sox The Sox have gone long stretches this season without key players in their lineup due to injury. Outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury has played in just 16 games this season. Second baseman Dustin Pedroia has missed 42 games. Pitcher Josh Beckett has made just 12 starts through four months. With 1st baseman Kevin Youkilis out for the season after tearing a muscle in his thumb, the Sox are trying to piece it together for another postseason run. Behind young horses Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz, the Red Sox are staying alive just sitting five games back of the division lead and three and a half of the Wild Card. While doing it all with a slew of minor leaguers, every-position Bill Hall, and elder statesman Mike Lowell. Behind the big bat of Adrian Beltre and of course the comeback contract year of slugger David Ortiz. After opening the season in a slump, Ortiz has rebounded driving in 73 RBI and smashing 24 home runs. The Red Sox are still alive in this thing and we'll see if they can hold on till the injury bug has played it's way out of their system.

The Toronto Blue Jays The 59-win Jays are more than just a 4th place ball club. After Jays righty Brandon Morrow's performance on Sunday afternoon, striking out 17 Rays over nine innings, people are perking up on Toronto. As previously mentioned, Jose Bautista is leading the majors in home runs with a surprising 35. More noticeably, over the trading deadline Toronto sent 33-year old veteran shortstop Alex Gonzalez to the Braves in exchange for the oft-discussed Yunel Escobar. The Jays and manager Cito Gaston are turning things around in Toronto and refusing to trade their talented players without getting equal or better than equal value at the deadline. If not for the teams looking down on the Jays, they'd be hot in contention in any other division, just the beast that is the American League East.

The Baltimore Orioles Even at the cellar of the East, things are looking good. The O's have won seven of their last ten and after bringing on Buck Showalter, things are looking even better. A former 2x Manager Of The Year, Showwalter brings a hard edge to the Orioles. Baltimore littered with young stars like Adam Jones, Nick Markakis, and Matt Wieters are going to take the direction of Showalter and use it to lead the Orioles in the offensive minded A.L. East. As always, the O's are going to need to address their pitching situation through the offseason an see what happens. Still, this group of young talent won't be an easy out for much longer.

As O's manager Buck Showalter said in his introduction to Baltimore "There is only three leagues they talk about in baseball, the American League, the National League, and the American League EAST."

Catch more LRN @

Audo Lynchy w/ The RightNowCrew

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Then Came Shaquille

The Big Mercenary. What else did you expect after "I got one more ring than Shaq," came out of former O'Neal teammate Kobe Bryant's mouth just moments after winning his 5th NBA Championship this June? He's amassed almost $300 million dollars throughout an 18-year career in this league, and that doesn't even include blockbuster endorsement deals. He's a 4x NBA Champion. He's been an NBA League MVP. He's a 3x NBA Finals MVP. A career average of 24 points and 11 rebounds a game. Shaquille O'Neal is one of the most accomplished players, a future hall of famer, that this game has ever seen. So now what?!?

Just Win Baby!

Shaq's Role Stay healthy for April, May, & June. The Boston Celtics were possibly a Kendrick Perkins injury away from winning their 2nd NBA Title in three seasons. Getting outrebounded by 13 rebounds in game 7 of the NBA Finals against the big Los Angeles Lakers, it was evident, the Celtics needed to get bigger this offseason to prepare for one more run. Enter Shaq. At 38-years old, missing 29 games last season, Shaquille O'Neal has one mission, stay healthy at all costs. The Celtics have prepared for the event that they run into the L.A. Lakers one more time, acquiring the games biggest, baddest, big man there is. A bit long in the tooth, slower down the court, Shaq can still bang and cause problems in the paint with the best of them. O'Neal should expect to play more minutes early on in the absence of Perkins, then get rest as the Celtics prepare for the postseason. The bottom line is, O'Neal's got to stay healthy as the Celtics attempt to lean on his size come playoff time next spring.

Shaq's Attitude Be humble, for the first time in your career. Even with the Young LeBron James leading the way, Shaquille O'Neal still found it hard to be humble. This time, your not playing with any pups. The way both Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen deferred to Celtic captain Paul Pierce, Shaq will have to do them one better coming off the bench come mid-season as Perkins makes his comeback. Shaq has already accepted the veteran minimum to play in Boston, now he'll have to take the extra step and play behind people he may think he's better than. Fortunately, this is exactly how the Boston Celtics operate. Young stud point guard Rajon Rondo has done so, captain Paul Pierce has done so, and of course future hall of famers Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett, the likes who've seen two NBA Finals in the last three seasons. With a championship ring wearing coach in Doc Rivers, and a slew of veteran champions, Shaquille O'Neal will have to be humble in his role as just that, role player.

Shaq's Focus On point, 1 goal, 1 season. Paul Pierce is 32-years old. Ray Allen is 35-years old. Kevin Garnett is 34-years old. Shaquille is 38-years old, and their other off-season acquisition Jermaine O'Neal is 31-years old. You don't keep all these veterans if you have any other goals. The Celtics laid up the regular season last year knowing what they would be able to do come playoff time, when it came they tooik advantage. To win a championship is the only goal these Celtics and head coach Doc Rivers have in mind, it's why they play this game at their age. Now Shaquille O'Neal has to be completely committed to the same thing. The Boston Celtics don't need to be the top seed in the Eastern Conference, they don't need to be the second or third for that matter, on the road or at home they know what the end game is here. Shaquille wasn't hungry for a ring in Phoenix or Cleveland, for that matter in Miami, even though he won another one, in Boston, it has to be different.

Shaq's Destiny The Big Champion. You can't take the four championship trophies he has away. He was a member of the Magic, Lakers, Heat, Suns, and Cavaliers now the Celtics. If Shaquille O'Neal caps off his career with a 5th ring, it'll be hard to deny how dominant he's been. In his prime you could put Shaq on any team in the league and they were an instant contender, now with a reduced role, that isn't exactly who he is. A 5th NBA title no matter what team he's joined would put him in the same category as Kobe and some of the other champions who is name is rarely mentioned amongst. The Big Mercenary takes aim . .

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Audio Lynch @ RightNowPodcast

Now You Know . . .

Sunday, August 1, 2010

This Is Alex

It's been nine days, over 35 at bats, and still Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez sits on 599 career homers. As the 35-year old slugger looks to become the youngest player in the history of the game to hit 600 homers, it is only fitting he's stuck on 599 longer than the six who did it before him. The games most polarizing figure is yet again trying to take another proverbial monkey, off his back. This is Alex Rodriguez. You can call him A-Rod.

Heralded at one point in his career to be the power hitter that would smash his way into the record books and go down as the greatest player we'd ever seen, Alex Rodriguez is now in the same cloud of controversy that surrounded Sammy Sosa and Barry Bonds on their way to this most recent mark, 600. Eight seasons of 40 home runs or more, nine seasons hitting .300 or higher, and now a giant shiny World Series ring wrapped around his finger, Alex Rodriguez still gets no love. Is it his public dalliances, his admitted PED use, his record setting contracts, that make him so unlikeable, so difficult to cheer for? Is it 600, 700, 800 home runs that will get him the adoration we once reserved for his talent? Maybe we never will, maybe we actually can't.

Over Rodriguez' career he has put up some of the most mind boggling stats we've ever seen. A career season average of 21 stolen bases, 42 home runs, .303 batting average, 128 RBI, 188 hits, need more?!? The two-time MVP is in the midst of one of his lower statistical seasons, a season which he's already over 100 hits and driven in 85, and still it goes unnoticed with his recent struggles to reach 600, which every reporter from coast to coast is enjoying, and every non-Yankee fan is secretly grinning watching A-Rod stuck on 599.


There is no precedent for the career of Alex Rodriguez. Coming into the game when the use of performance enhancing drugs was at it's peak, when the coverage and adoration to the earth rattling power numbers was at it's peak, when the money thrown to players who could deliver those same numbers season in and season out was at it's peak, Alex Rodriguez career has been like no other. When the mask was removed from Major League Baseball, sluggers and power pitchers accused of using these PED's and cashing in on their use were on their way out. Bonds, Sosa, Clemens, McGwire, were finishing off their career and Alex Rodriguez was still searching for a World Series ring and polishing off a season which he jacked 54 homers. Playing in the largest media market in the country, Alex Rodriguez is still standing. If Rodriguez can stay healthy he'll approach the records of Bonds, Aaron, and Ruth, so 600 is not the end of the road for A-Rod. While we don't like Alex, you can't tell the story of baseball without him.

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Audio Lynchy