Articles By Patrick Snow

All taxonomy terms: News
Path: /news/ask-athlon-sports-usain-bolt
Body:

Q: How fast was Usain Bolt running in miles per hour at his top speed during his world-record 100-meter dash?

— Curt Whitmire, Rockford, Ill.

A: Bolt’s accomplishments are quickly — pun intended — becoming legendary. He’s a five-time world champion and three-time Olympic gold medalist, and he’s the current world record-holder in the 100m, 200m and 4x100 meter relay (with teammates). Perhaps his greatest personal achievement came at the 2009 World Championships, where Bolt broke his own world record for the 100 meters, re-earning his unofficial title as the World’s Fastest Man, with a blinding time of 9.58 seconds. In taking more than a tenth of a second off his own mark, Bolt posted the largest single improvement in the 100m world record since the advent of electronic timing. As for your question: According to a biometrical analysis of Bolt’s run, he reached an astonishing top speed of 27.45 mph. Just for reference, a white-tailed deer tops out at 30 mph.

— Rob Doster, Senior Editor

Have a question? Email us with any sports-related questions at editor@athlonsports.com
Please include first and last name, plus hometown.
 

Teaser:
<p> Usain Bolt</p>
Post date: Monday, May 28, 2012 - 23:14
All taxonomy terms: MLB
Path: /mlb/ask-athlon-sports-baseball-history
Body:

Q: In baseball, the names of the different positions — catcher, pitcher, first base, second base, etc. — seem to make sense. But what is the origin of the term “shortstop”?

— John Daneluk, Beverly, Mass.

A: There are two theories that appear to have some merit. One is that the player known as the shortstop was positioned there to field batted balls; the other supposes that the player’s primary purpose was to field throws from the outfield.

Considering that most players in the game’s infancy were right-handed hitters, and there were no Nolan Ryan fastball-type pitchers, most balls in play went to the left side of the field. There were players assigned to cover each base, and because most balls were hit toward the left side, players soon discovered that by positioning themselves between second and third they could stop balls short of the outfield. Given the condition of most playing fields, it is easy to assume that most balls that hit the ground were quickly and abruptly slowed by tall, unmanicured grass. Therefore, this position stopped many ground balls short of the outfield.

The other theory is presented well by historian John Thorn as he writes about Daniel Lucas “Doc” Adams, one of the original players for the New York Knickerbockers before 1850. Thorn quotes Adams himself from interviews given when the former player was an advanced age near the end of the century: “I used to play shortstop,” Adams reminisced, “and I believe I was the first one to occupy that place, as it had formerly been left uncovered.”

But when Adams first went out to short, it was not to bolster the infield but to assist in relays from the outfield. The early Knickerbocker ball was so light that it could not be thrown even two hundred feet, thus the need for a short fielder to send the ball in to the pitcher’s point…When the ball was wound tighter, gaining more hardness and resilience, it could be hit farther and, crucially, thrown farther. This permitted the shortstop to come into the infield, which Adams did.

So, there you have it. Did the position and name originate as a fielder or a cut-off man? It’s difficult to disagree with Thorn, one of the foremost historians in baseball, but logically, the other theory makes for a better story to the derivation of the name.

— Charlie Miller, Editorial Director

Have a question? Email us with any sports-related questions at editor@athlonsports.com
Please include first and last name, plus hometown.
 

Teaser:
<p> &nbsp;Baseball History</p>
Post date: Monday, May 28, 2012 - 23:07
All taxonomy terms: MLB
Path: /mlb/ask-athlon-sports-baseball-numbers
Body:

Q: In what year did jersey numbers first appear on major league baseball jerseys? What team was the first one to use jersey numbers? And did Ty Cobb ever wear a jersey number during his playing days?

— Steven Manowitz, Brooklyn, N.Y.

A: Some of the details concerning number usage are a little fuzzy, although the Baseball Hall of Fame exhibit Dressed to the Nines has filled in many of the blanks. The earliest documented instance of jersey numbers in baseball dates to 1907, when the minor league Reading Red Roses gave their players numbers to help fans identify them, although it’s unknown if the players ever wore them on the field.

The barnstorming Cuban Stars provide the earliest photographic evidence of jersey numbers in baseball history; a 1909 Chicago Daily News account included a photo of pitcher Jose Mendez wearing a 12 on his sleeve.

The first MLB team to take the field with jersey numbers was the Cleveland Indians, who wore numbers on their sleeves for the first time on June 26, 1916, although their experiment didn’t last long. In 1923, the Cardinals tried out jersey numbers on their sleeves at the insistence of innovative manager Branch Rickey, but the numbers were soon discarded. As Rickey later said, “Ridicule followed throughout the country, presswise and otherwise. More particularly, the players were subjected to field criticism from the stands and especially from opposing players.”

Numbers came to stay in 1929, when the Yankees and Indians both put numbers on the backs of their jerseys. Although the Yankees often get the credit, their opener was rained out, allowing the Indians to take the field first sporting the national pastime’s new sartorial standard. The Yankees took their famous jersey numbers from the batting order — Babe Ruth wore 3, Lou Gehrig 4, and so on.

You didn’t ask, but names first appeared on jersey backs thanks to another great innovator, White Sox executive Bill Veeck, who saw the value of player ID as the game entered the television age. He added names during spring training in 1960. Interestingly, the tradition-bound Yankees have never followed suit.

As for your final question — Cobb’s career ended in 1928, just before number usage came into fashion. Like many early Hall of Fame legends, the great Cobb never had a number retired, because he never wore one.

— Rob Doster, Senior Editor

Have a question? Email us with any sports-related questions at editor@athlonsports.com
Please include first and last name, plus hometown.
 

Teaser:
<p> Baseball Numbers</p>
Post date: Monday, May 28, 2012 - 23:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, jokes
Path: /college-football/jokes-about-michigan-rivals
Body:

Here are some of our favorite jokes about Michigan's biggest rivals.

• What happens when Urban Meyer takes Viagra?
He gets taller.

• How many Ohio State football players does it take to change a light bulb?
Just one, but he gets four academic credits for it.

• What does the average Ohio State football player get on his SAT?
Drool.

• Did you hear about the new honor system at Ohio State?
Yes, your Honor. No, your Honor.

• Where was O.J. headed in the white Bronco?
Michigan State. He knew that the police would never look there for a Heisman Trophy
winner.

• Why is Michigan State replacing the turf in its stadium with cardboard?
The Spartans always look better on paper.

• Why don’t Michigan State fans eat barbecue beans?
Because they keep falling through the holes in the grill.

• How do you get a Michigan State graduate off your front porch?
You pay for the pizza.

• What do you call 20 Notre Dame fans skydiving from an airplane?
Skeet.

• Things you will never hear an Ohio State fan say:
I have reviewed your application.

Related Michigan Content

Michigan Wolverines 2012 Team Preview
Michigan Wolverines Top 10 Players for 2012

Will Denard Robinson Be a Heisman Finalist in 2012?
Michigan Wolverines Top 10 Players Since 1967

The Greatest Moments in Michigan Football History

Michigan Wolverines Cheerleader Gallery

Michigan Wolverines 2012 Team Predictions

Teaser:
<p> Jokes About Michigan Rivals</p>
Post date: Friday, May 25, 2012 - 02:11
All taxonomy terms: College Football, College Basketball, NFL, NBA, MLB
Path: /college-football/athlon%E2%80%99s-essential-eleven-links-day-1
Body:

This is your daily link roundup of our favorite sports posts on the web for May 25.

Denver Post columnist Mark Kiszla is glad to see the Tim Tebow circus leave town.

• New Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin is ready for the SEC, telling Will Muschamp to worry about his own team after the Florida coach criticized College Station.

• We saw the Cardinals' "Bad Tuxedo Day" last week, and now the Rays have become "Nerds!"

• Veteran NASCAR pit reporter Dick Berggren will retire after next weekend’s race at Dover.

• The Mark Sanchez-Tim Tebow Jets QB dynamic will be crazy enough in New York, and the incumbent’s agent is already stirring the pot.

• Should the ACC follow the Big 12 and form a bowl game with the SEC?

• The controversial Warren Sapp will not be back on Inside the NFL.

• The rumor that Charlie Sheen bought Lawrence Taylor’s Super Bowl ring is apparently not true.

• The Heat won three in a row to close out the Pacers, with play almost as scorching as Dwyane Wade’s pants.

• The red-hot Reds take over first place in the NL Central.

• We are all appreciative of those who have served in the military. On this Memorial Day weekend, we look back at a sports hero who became an American hero — Pat Tillman.

--- Email us with any compelling sports-related links at links@athlonsports.com

---By Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman)
 


May 24

• The New York Daily News has the Big Apple buzzing with the report that the Steinbrenners could sell the Yankees.

• Kellen Winslow Jr. has many critics for his out-of-control ego and “soldier” rant back in the day. Now, the man who was just released by the Buccaneers is being sued for trashing a $9,000-month rental in San Diego that had “a putrid stench of animal waste.”

• Mandatory.com has a great slideshow of the craziest places the Stanley Cup has traveled.

• Ohio State will already not play for the Big Ten title or in a bowl game this season, but are there more NCAA violations on the way?

• CBS’ Tony Barnhart discusses facing SEC defenses with Missouri and Texas A&M coaches.

• Gizmodo says beware of buying these gadgets right now, including the iPhone.

• Arizona football will already change significantly this fall with Rich Rodriguez taking over. But copper helmets?

• It’s amazing how many bobbleheads look nothing like the celebrities they represent. When did the Philles’ Roy Halladay get weird teeth and an Ervin Santana chinstrap beard?

• Clemson’s board of trustees will meet today to discuss conference affiliation. The ACC-Big 12 rumors have taken over the offseason.

• Check out Ben Wallace’s ride, a “T-Rex.”

• I think more people have seen “Uncle Drew” than saw Cavaliers games this season. “Don’t reach young blood” — here’s our Video of the Day…

--- Email us with any compelling sports-related links at links@athlonsports.com

---By Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman)
 


May 23

• Olympic hurdler (and major hottie) Lolo Jones tells HBO’s “Real Sports” that remaining a virgin is much harder than graduating college or training for this summer in London.

• Raiders cornerback Ron Bartell tells the Contra Costa Times that he will not wear the league-mandated knee and thigh pads in 2013.

• To celebrate Robert Moog’s birthday, Google gives us a synthesizer to play.

• Did TCU athletic director confirm the Big 12’s expansion interests?

• Speaking of conference expansion gone wild, could we see a six-day Big East basketball tournament? CBS’ Gary Parrish hopes not.

• Bleacher Report’s Adam Kramer has some humorous ideas for other schools after Stanford renamed its offensive coordinator the “Andrew Luck Director of Offense.”

• Some early NFL win total propositions have been set in Vegas. The Packers and Patriots lead at 12 victories, while the Colts, Jaguars and Browns bring up rear at 5.5.

• CBS’ Mike Freeman has some interesting thoughts from Saints players who feel they are being “railroaded” by the NFL.

• Maybe golf is not the game for certain Redskins like offensive lineman Trent Williams.

•Could longtime Jazz coach Jerry Sloan return to the NBA bench with either the Magic or Bobcats?

• It’s difficult to find Cubs highlights this season (they’re getting an early start on that “Completely Useless By September” thing), but this Tony Campana dive into third base is awesome…

--- Email us with any compelling sports-related links at links@athlonsports.com

---By Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman)
 


May 22

• Mitch Vingle of the Charleston Gazette has a moving piece on the passing of former West Virginia coach Bill Stewart.

• Michael Felder remembers Stewart at his brightest moment, WVU’s convincing 48-28 Fiesta Bowl win over Oklahoma.

• How much of the MLB season will Phillies slugger Ryan Howard miss?

• CBS’ Jeff Goodman has the story of Dick Vitale raising millions of dollars for cancer research.

• John Hoover of the Tulsa World has an interesting column on Eric Dickerson. The star runner says he would have gone to Oklahoma, but his mother did not trust Barry Switzer.

• You may have heard over the weekend that NASCAR is the first professional sports league to partner directly with Twitter. What will trend worldwide first: #shakeandbake, #spidermonkey or #DaleJrWins?

• David Shaw was already the “Bradford M. Freeman Director of Football” at Stanford, and now offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton has changed titles to the “Andrew Luck Director of Offense.”

• Dave Teel of the Daily Press in Virginia details how his state’s ACC athletic directors believe in the stability of the conference despite national rumors.

• Reds’ reliever Aroldis Chapman was arrested for driving 93 MPH and for driving with a suspended license. Don’t the police know that 93 is slow for Chapman?

• Oh to have expensive lawyers on your side. The Jets’ Kenrick Ellis will serve 45 days in jail this summer, but that sentence will be perfectly situated between the team’s minicamp and training camp.

• Being the ball boy at an MLB game seems pretty cool, unless you miss a play and fall victim to a sunflower seed shower from Braves pitcher Livan Hernandez . Here’s our Video of the Day…

--- Email us with any compelling sports-related links at links@athlonsports.com

---By Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman)
 


May 21

• The oldest-known Babe Ruth jersey nets over $4 million at auction, breaking the record for a piece of sports memorabilia.

• Speaking of auctions, Giants defender Osi Umenyiora falls short on Twitter followers and does not buy Lawrence Taylor’s Super Bowl XXV ring.

• Could a Florida State move to the Big 12 cause the ACC and Big East to get poached by the powerful SEC and Big Ten? Clay Travis of Outkick the Coverage thinks so.

• How’s your Facebook stock faring?

• The Angels fired hitting coach Mickey Hatcher, but CBS’ Jon Heyman says that longtime manager Mike Scioscia should not be next.

• Dave Miller of the National Football Post looks at five college football players who had breakout springs and could become stars in the fall.

• Former Bengals runner Pete Johnson guarantees that Ohio State rookie Daniel "Boom" Herron will start at running back in the first game of the season for Cincinnati.

Mandatory.com brings us some awful celebrity tattoos, including the Nuggets’ Chris Andersen and Hall of Famer Reggie Miller.

Pro Football Talk has the latest on Ray Rice and a possible contract extension from the Ravens.

• Could the new SEC-Big 12 bowl agreement affect Notre Dame?

• Perhaps inspired by Will Farrell’s character, Ashley Schaeffer, from Eastbound and Down, Lakers star Pau Gasol gives Oklahoma City’s Serge Ibaka a “love tap” in an interesting place. Here’s our Video of the Day…

--- Email us with any compelling sports-related links at links@athlonsports.com

---By Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman)
 

Teaser:
<p> Sports links from the NFL, College football and basketball, MLB, the NBA and entertainment</p>
Post date: Thursday, May 24, 2012 - 20:54
All taxonomy terms: Tim Tebow, NFL
Path: /nfl/5-questions-surrounding-tebow-0
Body:

There may be no pairing in the history of sports with more explosive potential than New York and Tim Tebow. Not LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. Not T.O. and, well, anybody else. Not even Billy Martin and George Steinbrenner.

Take a team struggling to recover from a disappointing season that featured poor play and late-season drama, add in a new backup quarterback with a rock-star following and pour it all into a 24/7 media cycle in the world’s most supercharged city, and you get the potential for an unparalleled spectacle.

But what does it all mean, really? From the pages of Athlon Sports Monthly, Michael Bradley has the answers to some of the more intriguing questions surrounding the Jets-Tebow marriage.

1. Would Tebow have still been the main man in Denver?

It’s possible that the Broncos would have been able to attract better quarterback talent than Caleb Hanie, Adam Weber and draft choice Brock Osweiler to challenge Tebow, had Peyton Manning not chosen Denver as his landing spot. But it wouldn’t have been easy.

The Broncos could have taken a serious run at former Packer backup Matt Flynn, but even though Flynn was great against the Lions last year, he is unproven. Seattle signed him, but the Seahawks guaranteed Flynn a relatively modest $10 million over the three-year duration of his contract and then showed limited faith in the quarterback by drafting Russell Wilson in the third round. The Dolphins, who desperately needed a passer (and ended up selecting Ryan Tannehill in the first round of the draft), low-balled Flynn, demonstrating that the market for a two-time starter might have been soft.

There is no secret that Denver executive John Elway and head coach John Fox were not staunch Tebow supporters, and judging by some of the comments by Broncos in the wake of Tebow’s move to New York, some of his teammates weren’t too thrilled with him, either. But two factors — besides the lack of available challengers — point to Tebow’s being the 2012 starter in Denver, had he stuck around.

First, he did win in 2011. Denver entered the season as a huge long-shot to sniff the playoffs, and the Broncos not only reached the postseason but also did so as the AFC West winner, which guaranteed a divisional round home game. (Denver beat the Steelers in OT on an 80-yard TD pass from Tebow to Demaryius Thomas.) Say what you want about Tebow’s numbers, but he won, and that is the bottom line in the NFL. He would have entered training camp as the starter and would have competed hard to keep his job.

Second, the city loved him. If the Broncos had pushed him aside for Flynn or some other unproven commodity, there might have been an insurrection. And insurrections cost money. Unless Tebow was horrendous in the preseason, he would have started the Sept. 9 rematch against Pittsburgh.

2. Is Tebow merely an insurance policy in New York, or a legitimate option to start?

Tebow may be spouting all the right things about wanting to help the team and that he’ll do whatever he is asked, but make no mistake about it: He wants to start. That’s the best news the Jets could hear, because it might just force Mark Sanchez to step up and become a reliable producer.

Everybody wants to know why the Jets went after Tebow, when Sanchez signed a three-year extension in March. A closer look reveals that while Sanchez will earn a guaranteed $20.5 million in 2012-13, the next three years come in at a modest $12.5 million, making him easy to trade or cut. In other words, if the Jets want to go with Tebow, they can.

But will they? It’s unlikely they’ll do it in the short run, unless Sanchez is absolutely awful. New York is recommitting to the ground game in 2012 (the Jets had 443 rushes in 2011, down from 534 in ’10 and 607 in ’09) and will depend less on Sanchez to make plays. It’s clear Sanchez isn’t the type of passer who can throw for 300 yards every week, so asking him to air it out consistently makes no sense.

Tebow comes to New York to fill a Wildcat role, provide some excitement for a team that must contend with a city rival that won the Super Bowl and remind Sanchez that nobody’s job is safe in the NFL. But he is not in Gotham to replace Sanchez.

Yet.

3. Can a two-quarterback system work in the NFL?

Go ahead and recite the list of teams that have thrived in the NFL with a two-quarterback system.

Maybe you remembered Miami’s “WoodStrock” combination of David Woodley and Don Strock that brought the Fish to Super Bowl XVII. But that was 29 years ago.

Teams that try to make it through a season with two quarterbacks are courting disaster. It’s one thing to have a Wildcat package that throws a changeup at defenses and forces them to prepare for something extra, and quite another to succeed every game without a set starter.
Denver’s decision to jettison Tebow was to avoid any controversy at the quarterback position. Even though Manning is a legend, his recent injury problems have made him susceptible to a slow start. Elway and Fox were not interested in having fans chant for Tebow, nor did they want to start a carousel under center.

Going with both Tebow and Sanchez in anything other than a starter/Wildcat format will do more than just go against historical precedent; it could also mess with Sanchez’s delicate psyche, which has been well documented. If Tebow is going to do anything more than take a few snaps a game at quarterback, the Jets are courting disaster.

4. Pardon the interruption, but how will Tebow’s presence affect the dynamic of the Jets’ locker room?

Last season ended for the Jets with wideout Santonio Holmes nearly getting into a scrap with offensive tackle Wayne Hunter during the finale against Miami, and Holmes and Sanchez sniping at one another — and the Jets’ missing the postseason. The defense feuded with the O. And the Rex Ryan Show, which seemed so fun in 2009 and ’10, appeared to have jumped the shark.

Even though Holmes and Sanchez have been offseason BFFs, going to Knicks’ games together (and getting booed) and working out in Orlando, all it will take is a game or two when the passing attack struggles for that conflagration to reignite. Bringing in a divisive character like Tebow, who can segment a locker room in so many ways (performance, religion, celebrity), can’t be a positive. Even if he becomes a great Wildcat weapon in Tony Sparano’s offense, Tebow could well cause big problems simply by being there.

The Jets’ offense ranked 25th in the NFL last season, and the rededication to the run, coupled with Sparano’s Wildcat musings, is supposed to invigorate things. But a splintered locker room, not to mention an impatient fan base that could turn on Sanchez after his first preseason incompletion, could give Ryan a huge headache. And let’s not forget that Sanchez’s feelings are easily bruised; witness the flap last November when Ryan gave backup Mark Brunell some practice reps with the first team.

The decision to trade for Tebow seems to have come from above, not from Ryan’s mind. He can deal with that. If the Jets need a P.R. boost to fight the Giants’ success, so be it. But if this is a nod to Sparano’s presence on the staff and his need to have a top-flight Wildcatter (hello, jump pass), then that could be worse for Ryan, who will now face an assistant with a little too much power. No matter what, Tebow’s arrival will create more commotion, something Ryan definitely does not need.

5. Bright Lights, Big Drama: How will Tebow respond to New York?

It can be safely assumed that half of New York (and New Jersey and Connecticut) will dislike Tebow, simply because he isn’t a Giant. That’s what happens in a two-team town.
But Tebow’s troubles are likely to be less about his green-and-white uniform and more due to the expected media eruption once he starts playing ball. No matter how crazy things were in Denver, Tebow was still somewhat insulated from the real media furor. That won’t happen in New York, where the convergence of local and national outlets will create a daily avalanche. Already, Big Apple newspapers are discussing assigning individual reporters to cover Tebow and only Tebow, much like what ESPN did in 2010-11 with the Miami Heat. His progress will be charted, dissected and analyzed, and any possible controversy will be celebrated.

Thanks to his strong religious roots, it’s unlikely Tebow will crack under the enormous expectations and start hitting the town with a Namath-like vengeance. The impact of the furor will likely be more subtle and could impact his play, as he tries to live up to the high expectations that will arise. Since he’s the backup quarterback, it’s likely he’ll be pretty popular among the fan base, but should he get onto the field as a starter, either due to injury or Sanchez’s poor play, Tebow will be scrutinized heavily, and if he struggles to produce magic, he will feel the full force of an angry fan base and carnivorous media.

Want more Tebow? Check out Athlon Sports’ exclusive slideshow of the QB through the years.

Teaser:
<p> How Will Tim Tebow and New York Get Along?</p>
Post date: Thursday, May 24, 2012 - 20:47
All taxonomy terms: College Football, jokes
Path: /college-football/jokes-about-georgia-rivals
Body:

Here are some of our favorite jokes about Georgia's biggest rivals.

• What's the difference between a Georgia Tech football player and a dollar?
You can get four quarters out of a dollar.

• What's the difference between a litter of puppies and Florida fans?
Eventually puppies grow up and stop whining.

• Did you hear about the new honor system at Florida?
Yes, your Honor. No, your Honor.

• How many Florida freshmen does it take to change a light bulb?
None. That’s a sophomore course.

• Where was O.J. headed in the white Bronco?
Georgia Tech. He knew that the police would never look there for a Heisman Trophy
winner.

• How many Yellow Jacket fans does it take to change a flat tire?
Just one . . . unless it’s a blowout, then they all show up!

• What do you call a beautiful woman on the arm of a Georgia Tech fan?
A tattoo.

• How do you get a Florida graduate off your front porch?
You pay for the pizza.

• The Foo Fighters are playing at Bobby Dodd Stadium this fall.
They're 10-point favorites.

• You know you’re from Florida if:
You’ve ever climbed a water tower with a bucket of paint to defend your sister’s honor.

Teaser:
<p> Jokes About Georgia Rivals</p>
Post date: Thursday, May 24, 2012 - 02:04
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy, MLB, Fantasy
Path: /mlb/fantasy-baseball-weekend-rundown-may-24-0
Body:

Stay tuned each week to Athlon Sports for a 2012 Fantasy Baseball Weekend Waiver Wire every Monday and a Weekend Rundown every Thursday.

Should I stay or should I go?

One of the most difficult decisions that fantasy managers face each season is what to do with a top draft pick who is underperforming. Patience can pay off through a bad April, but sometimes players just never come around. Here are eight tough calls:

Albert Pujols – Los Angeles Angels
Obviously this has been the most talked-about slump in MLB history. You know the pain (.213, 4 HR, .589 OPS) if you own King, Prince, Duke, Dogcatcher Albert, but you also know the past greatness. After 58 games in 2011, he was hitting .265 with nine homers. Pujols hit .320 with 28 long balls the rest of the way. Stay patient.

Mark Teixeira – New York Yankees
Much like Pujols, there is enough past accomplishment to stay with Tex. You knew at draft time that the first four to six weeks would be a grind. His batting average may never go north of .260, but the homers and RBIs should increase for Teixeira as the summer continues. 

Eric Hosmer – Kansas City Royals
It’s probably time (or it was three weeks ago) to give up here unless there are keeper/dynasty factors. Hosmer showed a lot last season with 19 home runs and a .293 average, but there is not enough of a track record to suffer this long with a .191-hitting first baseman. In 1,006 minor-league at-bats, he hit 29 dingers.

Rickie Weeks – Milwaukee Brewers
The hope here is that you dropped him a few weeks ago, but go ahead and get that .155 average out of your lineup. Weeks peaked in 2010 with 29 homers and 83 RBIs, but those numbers are looking more like outliers as time goes on. In only 155 at-bats this season, he has struck out a league-leading 58 times.

Alex Rodriguez – New York Yankees
As last year showed us, A-Rod is just never going to approach his past greatness. But with the rash of injured third basemen (Longoria, Sandoval, Youkilis, Zimmerman, etc.) this season, Rodriguez is still a solid producer at the position. Just get that average season in New York from 2004-10 (.296, 38 HR, 120 RBIs) out of your head.

Ryan Zimmerman – Washington Nationals
He showed major potential in 2009-10 but has been injured and ineffective since. The Nationals ownership obviously feels Zimmerman will turn it around with the franchise-player contract they gave him this offseason, but fantasy owners may not see those 2009 results (or even 550 at-bats) again. There is more bark than bite here.

Jimmy Rollins – Philadelphia Phillies
The Phils’ shortstop looks to be in major decline. The signs have been there for the past few seasons, but his usually-solid power for a SS has disappeared (one home run in 166 ABs). You never expected a high average with Rollins, but .229 with a below-.300 OBP is going to hurt his stolen base totals as well. Find another solution.

Howie Kendrick – Los Angeles Angels
The power tease of last season (18 home runs) has already faded somewhat this year, and the .256 average has fantasy owners frustrated once again. The batting average should come around (.292 career hitter from 2006-11) when the Angels get going as a lineup. You’ve probably heard this with Kendrick before, but stay patient here.
 

Youthful Exuberance

There is nothing in fantasy baseball like having a stud prospect join your lineup in the middle of the year and produce like an All-Star. Here’s a look at a six-pack of prospects (three currently in the bigs and three in the minors) who could help your club.

Matt Adams – St. Louis Cardinals
With the injuries to Lance Berkman and Allen Craig, the champs have installed the husky Adams at first base. The former Slippery Rock slugger hit .300 or better in all four of his minor-league seasons, while clubbing 32 homers last year and nine in 141 at-bats this season. Adams should produce in a solid lineup and be a crowd favorite.

Will Middlebrooks – Boston Red Sox
The BoSox third baseman has done nothing but produce since Kevin Youkilis went on the DL. Middlebrooks has the stat line of a big-time fantasy starter (.296/.889 with five home runs and 17 RBIs in only 81 at-bats), and Boston would be nuts to take him out of the lineup. Even if that happens with Youk back, hold on to this solid third sacker.

Josh Bell – Arizona Diamondbacks
The former big-time Orioles prospect has seen his expectations fade over the last couple of years. Now in the desert, Bell may just have needed a change of scenery to bring out his potential. In Triple-A Reno, he hit .381 with 30 RBIs in just 26 games. The D-backs are giving him a shot at third, so keep your eyes on his progress.

Trevor Bauer – Arizona Diamondbacks
The third-overall pick in last summer’s draft is on the fast track to the bigs. After dominating Double-A hitters (7-1, 1.68 ERA, 60 Ks in 48.1 IP) to start this season, he has a 1.38 ERA and 16 Ks in 13 IP in his first two Triple-A starts. Arizona may not need him immediately, but Bauer’s talent will have him there soon enough.

Wil Myers – Kansas City Royals
Much like Bauer, Myers began this season by starring in Double-A (.343, 13 HRs, 30 RBIs, 1.146 OPS in 35 games). He’s now moved to Triple-A Omaha and has a .417 average with two home runs in first seven games. With the struggles of the Royals, the 21-year-old could be in K.C. soon.

Anthony Rizzo – Chicago Cubs
He had a rough MLB debut in San Diego last year, but Rizzo is crushing Triple-A pitching again this season. In 44 games at Iowa, Rizzo is hitting .355 with 16 homers, 43 RBIs and an OPS of 1.130. Despite a great April by Bryan LaHair, Rizzo is the Cubs future at first base. Look for him to arrive at the Friendly Confines in June.

Weekend Series to Watch

Tampa Bay at Boston
The Red Sox have been hot lately, and they have won four of six over the Rays this season after struggling against Joe Maddon’s bunch the last two years. The Josh Beckett-David Price matchup on Saturday will be worth the high Fenway admission.

Washington at Atlanta
The Nationals have the only ERA below three (2.90) in all of baseball, while the Braves have scored the second-most runs in the National League. Atlanta had been hot until the trip to Cincinnati this week, while the Nats are still looking for any offense. This will be the first matchup of the season for the NL East rivals.

Philadelphia at St. Louis
This NLDS rematch will see two big-time organizations just looking for some healthy players these days. The Phils have struggled mightily for offense outside of catcher Carlos Ruiz, and the Cards seem to be suffering injuries on a daily basis. The Halladay-Wainwright duel on Sunday should have a postseason feel.
 

Teaser:
<p> Fantasy Baseball Weekend Rundown</p>
Post date: Wednesday, May 23, 2012 - 21:02
All taxonomy terms: College Football, jokes
Path: /college-football/jokes-about-florida-state-rivals
Body:

Here are some of our favorite jokes about Florida State's biggest rivals.

• What happens when Will Muschamp takes Viagra?
He gets taller.

• How many Florida football players does it take to change a light bulb?
Just one, but he gets four academic credits for it.

• What does the average Florida football player get on his SAT?
Drool.

• Did you hear about the new honor system at Florida?
Yes, your Honor. No, your Honor.

• How many Miami fans does it take to change a flat tire?
Just one . . . unless it’s a blowout, then they all show up!

• What do Florida fans use for birth control?
Their personalities.

• Did you hear what happened to the Florida fan when he found out that 90% of all car accidents occur within 5 miles of home?
He moved.

• What do you call 20 Miami fans skydiving from an airplane?
Skeet.

• You know you’re from Gainesville if:
You’ve ever climbed a water tower with a bucket of paint to defend your sister’s honor.

• Things you will never hear a Florida fan say:
I just couldn’t find a thing at Walmart today.

Related Florida State Content

Florida State Seminoles 2012 Team Preview
Florida State Seminoles Top 10 Players for 2012

Florida State Seminoles 2012 Team Predictions

The Top 10 Greatest Florida State Seminoles Since 1967

The Greatest Moments in Florida State Football History

Florida State Seminoles Cheerleader Gallery

Is Florida State Back as an Annual National Title Contender?

Teaser:
<p> Jokes About Florida State Rivals</p>
Post date: Wednesday, May 23, 2012 - 02:58
All taxonomy terms: College Football, jokes
Path: /college-football/jokes-about-south-carolina-rivals
Body:

Here are some of our favorite jokes about South Carolina's biggest rivals.

• What do medical marijuana and Clemson football have in common?
They both get smoked in bowls.

• What's the difference between a Clemson football player and a dollar?
You can get four quarters out of a dollar.

• How many Florida football players does it take to change a light bulb?
Just one, but he gets four academic credits for it.

• Where was O.J. headed in the white Bronco?
Clemson. He knew that the police would never look there for a Heisman Trophy winner.

• What do Florida fans use for birth control?
Their personalities.

• What do you call a beautiful woman on the arm of a Clemson fan?
A tattoo.

• How do you get a Clemson graduate off your front porch?
You pay for the pizza.

• You know you’re from Clemson if:
Someone asks to see your ID and you show them your belt buckle.

• Things you will never hear a Clemson fan say:
I have reviewed your application. 

Teaser:
<p> Jokes About South Carolina Rivals</p>
Post date: Tuesday, May 22, 2012 - 03:30
All taxonomy terms: College Football, jokes
Path: /college-football/jokes-about-texas-rivals
Body:

Here are some of our favorite jokes about Texas' biggest rivals.

• What's the difference between a Texas A&M football player and a dollar?
You can get four quarters out of a dollar.

• A man in a bar leans over to the guy next to him and asks, "Wanna hear an Oklahoma joke?" The guy next to him replies, "Look, fella, I'm six feet tall, 200 pounds, and I'm an Oklahoma grad. The guy next to me is 6-2, 225, and he's an Oklahoma grad. The big dude next to him is 6-5, weighs 250, and he's an Oklahoma grad. You still wanna tell that joke?" The first man replies: "Not if I'm gonna have to explain it three times."

• What do you get when you cross Texas Tech with a groundhog?
Six more weeks of bad football.

• Why do Oklahoma football players like smart women?
Opposites attract.

• How many Oklahoma freshmen does it take to change a light bulb?
None. That’s a sophomore course.

• Did you hear what happened to the Oklahoma fan when he found out that 90% of all car accidents occur within five miles of home?
He moved.

• What do you call a beautiful woman on the arm of a Texas Tech fan?
A tattoo.

• How do you get an Oklahoma graduate off your front porch?
You pay for the pizza.

• What do you call 20 Texas A&M fans skydiving from an airplane?
Skeet.

• Things you will never hear an Oklahoma fan say:
I’ll take Shakespeare for 1000, Alex. 

Related Texas Content

Texas Longhorns 2012 Team Preview
Texas Longhorns Top 10 Players for 2012

Texas Longhorns 2012 Team Predictions
The Top 10 Texas Longhorns Since 1967

The Greatest Moments in Texas Football History

Texas Longhorns Cheerleader Gallery

Has Mack Brown Lost His Edge?

Teaser:
<p> Jokes About Texas Rivals</p>
Post date: Monday, May 21, 2012 - 02:23
All taxonomy terms: Miami Marlins, Ozzie Guillen, MLB, Monthly
Path: /mlb/exclusive-qa-ozzie-guillen
Body:

With a few poorly chosen words, Ozzie Guillen nearly lost his dream job.

Quoted in Time Magazine saying he “loved” Fidel Castro, Guillen set off a firestorm in Miami’s Cuban-American community. Angry protestors and grandstanding local politicians alike called for the Miami Marlins to fire Guillen just a few games into his tenure.

His heartfelt apology broke new ground in a speak-first, think-later career. The resulting five-game team suspension also left him chastened, but not fundamentally changed, bloodied but not defeated.

It also left Guillen $150,000 lighter in the wallet.

Baseball’s first-ever “shock” manager spoke with Mike Berardino, sports columnist at the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, about a variety of topics, including the Castro controversy for Athlon Sports Monthly:

Athlon Sports: Do you feel like this is a fresh start for you after the Fidel Castro comments or are you on probation with your Marlins bosses?
Ozzie Guillen: I put myself on probation. Me. Nobody else. It’s about growing up and being better and being careful. Don’t trust too many people. That was my problem. I put myself in that situation. To be honest with you, I don’t think I want to put myself in that same situation again with the Latino people. Man, I’m Latino. That’s the worst feeling ever. I felt like, ‘Wow.’ That’s not a good feeling. I don’t want to go through that feeling again. That’s why I put myself on that probation.

Wasn’t part of the problem your sense of humor and your willingness to make light of most subjects? Is that something you’ll have to rein in now that this has happened?
I don’t think I’m going to change. It’s just, ‘Be careful when you use your humor and who you talk to around you.’ That’s all it is. I made a mistake. I’m paying for it, and I’m here to make it better and to win some games and hopefully that happens.

Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria spent $191 million on three players this offseason, an unprecedented spending spree on his part. How good can this team be?
The product is out there. There’s no doubt, if I was a baseball fan I would pay to watch these guys play. Look at the lineup we have, the pitching staff we have, how we’re going to play the game. Now the fans don’t have an excuse: ‘The ballpark is too far away. It’s raining. It’s hot. It’s humid. It’s the Dolphins’ ballpark.’ Now we are here and hopefully we play good to make sure those people come back and watch the Marlins play.

How has it been managing Hanley Ramirez so far?
Awesome. For some reason, people couldn’t wait for Hanley to be what Hanley was last year. Even his teammates, media, fans, front office. Everyone was watching Hanley like a hawk. This kid has been great. A lot of people credit me. I’m not going to take any credit because I didn’t do anything to him. I just said, ‘Hey, you’ve got two choices: You’re going to play happy or you’re going to play very upset because you’re playing third base. You pick.’ And I thought he was going to test me a little bit this spring about, ‘I only want two at-bats,’ or ‘I don’t want to make this trip,’ or ‘I don’t want to do this new routine.’ He did everything we asked him to do, and a little bit more, too. I pushed him to see how far he’d go. Now he’s Hanley Ramirez the way we want him to be. Very excited. Happy. Got a smile on his face, playing a great third base. I couldn’t be more pleased.

One of those free-agent acquisitions was Mark Buehrle, who helped you win a World Series with the White Sox. What do you hope these other pitchers will learn from watching Buehrle and how smart he is on the mound?
I don’t think Buehrle’s that smart. That’s why he’s so good. I’m serious. Sometimes people think too much: ‘Who’s at the plate?’ They’re thinking, ‘Oh, my God.’ (Forget) it. I’m going to feed you my best stuff. I don’t care who’s at the plate. That’s all I have. That’s how I’m going to pitch. That’s it. I don’t know why pitchers change.

I got that attitude from (Greg) Maddux and (Tom) Glavine. I played behind those guys in Atlanta. I don’t care who’s at the plate. I’m not going to change because of who’s at the plate. If the best pitch I have is a changeup, I’m going to throw a changeup. If he hits a home run, good. You beat me with my best pitch. That’s why pitchers get in trouble a lot because they try to figure it out. They can’t figure it out.

How about the hidden competitive advantages you now have at brand-new Marlins Park? Your players are raving about the huge upgrades in the video room and the HydroWorx underwater treadmill.
I’m an old-school man, bro. I’m very old school. All those things they have there, good for them. Are they going to help? I hope. That’s why they have them there. But I’m an old-school man. That kind of stuff helps the baseball because everybody has it, but I don’t put that much attention on that.

And the home run sculpture out in left-center?
Mr. Loria made it. It’s beautiful. I hope those (mechanical) Marlins, we overuse them. I hope to see those guys moving a lot and diving and a lot of splashing because if that’s moving, that means we’re doing something good. We expect that. We all hope we’re going to use that statue a lot. It’s pretty nice. It’s different. Everything in this ballpark is different. I went to a lot of ballparks in my career. The colors are different. The seats are different. The Jumbotron is different. The suites are a lot different. And it’s all great. This is maybe the best ballpark in baseball right now.

So you’re feeling pretty good about this year.
We got everything to win, but there’s one thing missing: A good manager. That’s the one thing we’re missing.
 

Teaser:
<p> Ozzie Guillen of the Miami Marlins speaks on a variety of topics.</p>
Post date: Saturday, May 19, 2012 - 21:27
All taxonomy terms: Hakeem Olajuwon, NBA, Monthly
Path: /nba/dream-shake-master
Body:

For almost two decades, Hakeem Olajuwon’s “Dream Shake” move made him one of the NBA’s top go-to superstars.

That signature move — a combination of quick upper-body twitches, show-the-ball feints and pump fakes combined with nimble, soccer-influenced footwork — was as fluid as water, and as difficult to stop as a raging flood. Olajuwon used that move and a feathery shooting touch to score almost 27,000 points, lead the Houston Rockets to back-to-back championships in 1994 and ’95, land a spot among the NBA’s 50 Greatest Players and open the doors to the Hall of Fame.

And almost a decade after his retirement, Olajuwon remains a go-to superstar, and the Dream Shake is still the reason.

Players from around the league — from a classic low-post guy like Dwight Howard to perimeter-oriented threats like Kobe Bryant and LeBron James — have made the pilgrimage to Houston, seeking Olajuwon’s insights on how to build or refine a back-to-the-basket game.

“When I watch games on TV, I see so many opportunities where guys are not aware and (not) recognizing the chances their opponents are giving them,” says Olajuwon, who splits his time between Houston and his family home in Amman, Jordan. “I see them try to make a move and it is cut off because there was not an opening. The first thing you always have to do is take what the opponent is giving you. If he keeps giving it, you keep taking it.”

The beauty of Olajuwon’s mastery of footwork is that his move can instantly morph to deliver whatever is needed for any given situation.

“You are trying to get to the most commanding position,” Olajuwon says. “So when I have made the first move, what I am really trying to do is get to the second move. That’s where the real advantage is. That’s how I am trying to get them to think. One move off the previous move is automatic.”

While it may be unpredictable to the defense, the results are very predictable. Perhaps the most dramatic illustration of its effectiveness came in Game 2 the 1995 Western Conference Finals, where the Rockets were facing the Spurs and David Robinson, the newly minted league MVP.
In a play that is probably his most celebrated, Olajuwon crossed over Robinson on the baseline, stopped in the paint, showed the ball, reverse pivoted, showed it again, and when the Admiral finally took the bait and went airborne, reversed once more, ducked under Robinson and gently dropped the ball in off the glass.

“The great shotblockers, guys like David Robinson, they can recover,” Olajuwon explains. “That is when you have to go to three or four moves…Always stay one step ahead.”

Yes, it’s one thing to get posterized by a freight-train dunk, but it’s quite another to get absolutely undressed by such a beautiful combination of skill and finesse.

Plays like that are the fruit not only of instruction, but of intuition and instinct, too. That is why Olajuwon teaches a balance between a physical approach — moves, counter-moves, fakes and spins — and a mental one — sense, intuition and anticipation.

“How do you maneuver? How to you change direction? How do you change speed? Do all the things that give you advantages. They have never even thought about these things before,” Olajuwon says. “Things that to me are all the weapons that you need to execute the offense. You break it down to basics.”

Olajuwon carefully tailors each tutorial to match each pupil’s skill set.

“I am not trying to teach everybody one move,” he says. “I am trying to give you the basics and the understanding. Then it is up to the individual to make it work best for him. With different players I want to examine their weaknesses, but mostly expand their strengths.”

For James, Olajuwon broke down the Dream Shake footwork so it would benefit his unique combination of size, skill, strength and quickness.

“(James) told me that he has been playing outside and he really wanted to establish his post moves,” Olajuwon says. “Almost every night he has an advantage over the guy who is guarding him. So it was about how to turn the outside game into an inside game using all of the same skills and strength. So when I see how he is separating from his guy now, I see easier shots. I see a game all over the floor that is very, very difficult to stop.”

In addition to Howard, Bryant and James, guys like Rashard Lewis, Emeka Okafor, Josh Smith and Hasheem Thabeet have sweated through workouts with Olajuwon.

“The recognition of players reaching out and realizing the importance of the post moves, that’s a huge compliment for me,” Olajuwon says. “And I know also that I can add value to players’ careers. There is no question about that.”

--By Michael Murphy for Athlon Sports Monthly
 

Teaser:
<p> Hakeem Olajuwon passes on wisdom to younger NBA players.</p>
Post date: Saturday, May 19, 2012 - 00:19
Path: /college-football/jokes-about-west-virginia-rivals
Body:

 

Here are some of our favorite jokes about West Virginia's biggest rivals.

• What does a Pittsburgh fan do when the Panthers win the BCS championship?
He turns off the PlayStation.

• What do medical marijuana and Pittsburgh football have in common?
They both get smoked in bowls.

• What do you get when you cross Pittsburgh with a groundhog?
Six more weeks of bad football.

• How many Louisville freshmen does it take to change a light bulb?
None. That’s a sophomore course.

• Why is Pittsburgh replacing the turf in its stadium with cardboard?
The Panthers always look better on paper.

• Did you hear what happened to the Pittsburgh fan when he found out that 90% of all car accidents occur within five miles of home?
He moved.

• What do you call a beautiful woman on the arm of a Pittsburgh fan?
A Tattoo.

• The Foo Fighters are playing at Joan C. Edwards Stadium this fall.
They're 10-point favorites.

• What do you call 20 Pittsburgh fans skydiving from an airplane?
Skeet.

• You know you’re from Pittsburgh if:
You’ve ever climbed a water tower with a bucket of paint to defend your sister’s honor. 

Related West Virginia Content

West Virginia Mountaineers 2012 Team Preview
West Virginia Mountaineers Top 10 Players for 2012

West Virginia Mountaineers 2012 Team Predictions
West Virginia Mountaineers Top 10 Greatest Players Since 1967

The Greatest Moments in West Virginia Football History

West Virginia Cheerleader Gallery

Is Geno Smith the Big 12's Best Quarterback?

Teaser:
<p> Because sometimes it's good to make fun of the other team.</p>
Post date: Friday, May 18, 2012 - 02:38
All taxonomy terms: College Football, College Basketball, NFL, NBA, MLB
Path: /college-football/athlon%E2%80%99s-essential-eleven-links-day-0
Body:

This is your daily link roundup of our favorite sports posts on the web for May 18.

• Sorry for running late today. I was out day trading my new Facebook shares.

• If the Pacers beat the Heat, would Pat Riley blow up the Big Three?

• There is a new agreement where the champions of the SEC and Big 12 would play in the postseason if neither is in the proposed four-team model to determine the national champion. The SEC champ not in the title game?!

• I’m not one for planning an interesting death, but many around the office think this is a good way to go. Personally, I just can’t see the last three people I talk to being Cinnamon, Jade and Destiny.

• It’s so nice to have Mike Leach — relationship advice, bear hunting, pirate gear, etc. —back in college football.

• The Cardinals lost 7-5 in San Francisco yesterday and made three errors. I think the issue for the World Champions may have been “Bad Tuxedo Day.” Check out these pics.

• Bleacher Report’s Barrett Sallee says that Steve Spurrier’s plan to award SEC division titles based only on division record will not happen.

• The Cubs' Kerry Wood will retire today. It seems like ages (actually, 1998) since his 20-strikeout performance against the Astros.

• The NFL Combine has well over 300 players looking to be drafted somewhere in the 250+ selections. However here are 37 players who were not invited to the Combine but were drafted, including four in the top 100 picks.

• CBS has the latest on the suspension of MLB umpire Bob Davidson.

• With the Champions League final this weekend, we thought it was time to throw soccer fans a rare bone. And when you combine Hank Williams Jr. and European soccer, it means things are getting pretty silly here on a Friday. Here’s our Video of the Day…

--- Email us with any compelling sports-related links at links@athlonsports.com

---By Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman)
 


May 17

• The Saints offseason has been tumultuous enough. The last thing New Orleans needs is an issue with re-signing quarterback Drew Brees.

• Want your own Super Bowl ring? You can join the auction for New York Giants’ legend Lawrence Taylor’s XXV ring right here.

• Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com details the Top 10 players in the league under the age of 25.

• In Chicago, apparently Metta World Peace is known as “Lakers Idiot.”

• ESPN Pac-12 blogger Ted Miller looks at the league’s breakout players during spring ball.

• Delvon Roe’s promising Michigan State basketball career was cut short with knee issues, but now the former Spartan has a new passion — making a romantic drama feature film.

• The Texas Rangers are looking brilliant so far with their high-dollar acquisition of pitcher Yu Darvish, who just keeps winning.

• The Missouri legislature made an SEC-level move by only allowing Show-Me-State schools to be featured on state license plates. For all of the University of Kansas fans in the K.C. area, the rivalry continues.

• Bleacher Report has a slideshow of NFL veterans who could be cut before the season.

• ACC Commissioner John Swofford believes in his league’s stability and says he’s not been affected by the Florida State defection rumors.

Boston fans are a passionate lot, and it’s nice to see a little daughter watching the Celtics game with her father. The salty language is a tad scary, but she’s precious enough to get away with it. Here’s our Video of the Day…

--- Email us with any compelling sports-related links at links@athlonsports.com

---By Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman)


May 16

• Did a former NBA assistant plagiarize his ESPN Insider analysis of the Spurs-Clippers series from a message board? Deadspin has the latest.

• The Angels fired hitting coach Mickey Hatcher with the offense — especially Albert Pujols — struggling. Hatcher had been on Mike Scioscia’s staff since 2000.

• FARK.com led us to this “Drunken Saylor” in Florida. There’s not much more fun around the neighborhood than a 43-year-old, exposed woman with a .194 BAL.

• With the current Florida State rumors not going away, ESPN Big 12 blogger David Ubben details how the Seminoles have fared against current league schools.

• Will the Jets offense have more discipline under new coordinator Tony Sparano?

• With the Knicks out of the playoffs, Amar’e Stoudemire is now attending college — at the University of Miami.

• Neil Hayes of the Chicago Sun-Times looks at the possibility of the Bulls not having Derrick Rose next season.

• Fellas, you may have eyeballed those Skechers commercials with Brooke Burke and Kim Kardashian but hopefully you didn’t buy your significant other any “Shape-Ups.”

• New Penn State coach Bill O’Brien does not want a constant quarterback battle during August.

• Can Colt McCoy still win the Browns starting quarterback job after the team drafted Brandon Weeden?

• In case you missed it, Brett Lawrie of the Blue Jays had an unfortunate reaction to some bad umpiring last night. Here’s our Video of the Day…

--- Email us with any compelling sports-related links at links@athlonsports.com

---By Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman)
 


May 15

• Congratulations to this year’s inductees into the College Football Hall of Fame.

• Bears quarterback Jay Cutler may have some new weapons in Brandon Marshall and rookie Alshon Jeffery, but he’s still concerned about the Chicago offensive line.

• Is Ohio State’s only focus on Michigan this season, especially with no postseason for the Buckeyes?

• If you’re heading out on a Bachelor party weekend soon, Mandatory.com has some no-no’s for your trip. Don’t be that guy.

• Can Connecticut Governor Daniel Malloy rekindle the UConn-Boston College rivalry after all of the conference realignment politics? Big East Coast Bias has the latest.

• ESPN’s Ryan McGee has sits down with NASCAR owner Rick Hendrick after his organization’s 200th victory. I want to go to “Redneck Disney World."

• Nationals phenom Bryce Harper hit his first career home run Monday night, and he wasted no time getting around the bases.

• SB Nation breaks down the Thunder’s blowout of the Lakers in Game 1 of their playoff series.

• Bleacher Report’s Michael Walsh believes the Orioles can stay atop the AL East standings.

• Gizmodo cannot believe these phones are still for sale in 2012.

• With record-breaking BYU quarterback Ty Detmer going into the Hall of Fame, we look back at the day he probably won the Heisman — the Cougars’ 28-21 win over No. 1 Miami in 1990. Here’s our Video of the Day…

--- Email us with any compelling sports-related links at links@athlonsports.com

---By Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman)
 


May 14

• Florida State to the Big 12 is the rumor that will just not go away. Tulsa World columnist John Hoover looks at the league's future, while Ingram Smith of ChuckOliver.net and Bud Elliott of TomahawkNation.com discuss the Seminoles’ future.

• Adam Kramer has a humorous look at the Big 12 footprint if Florida State joined the Texas-controlled league.

• Bleacher Report’s Barrett Sallee speculates on further SEC expansion — Virginia Tech and NC State — if the ACC loses current members.

• Do people really still have MySpace accounts? We offer help.

• Would the Phillies trade Cole Hamels?

• Indianapolis Star columnist Bob Kravitz calls out the Pacers for blaming referees after a 95-86, Game 1 loss to the Heat.

• So Jersey Shore tool “Pauly D” is coming out with a new alcoholic beverage. Does anyone over the age of 21 care?

• Texas A&M’s move to the SEC is already producing wins (as long as Erin Andrews shows up). The Aggies edged out Nebraska to have ESPN’s “College GameDay" shoot a commercial on the A&M campus.

• CBS’ Jon Heyman thinks the Astros roster will be the focus of MLB buyers over the summer.

• Can the Ravens play elite defense without edge rusher Terrell Suggs?

• Matt Kuchar’s two-stroke victory at The Players Championship is impressive on its own. But the fact that he did it playing with the insufferable pre-shot routine of Kevin Na on the final day is remarkable. Here’s our Video of the Day…

--- Email us with any compelling sports-related links at links@athlonsports.com

---By Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman)
 

Teaser:
<p> The web's best stories from the NFL, college football, MLB, NBA, college basketball and entertainment.</p>
Post date: Thursday, May 17, 2012 - 20:33
Path: /college-football/jokes-about-arkansas-rivals
Body:

 

Here are some of our favorite jokes about Arkansas' biggest rivals.

• What happens when Nick Saban takes Viagra?
He gets taller.

• How many LSU football players does it take to change a light bulb?
Just one, but he gets four academic credits for it.

• What does the average Mississippi State football player get on his SAT?
Drool.

• Did you hear that Ole Miss’ football team doesn't have a website?
The Rebs can't string three "Ws" together.

• Did you hear about the new honor system at Auburn?
Yes, your Honor. No, your Honor.

• What do Alabama fans use for birth control?
Their personalities.

• Why don’t LSU fans eat barbecue beans?
Because they keep falling through the holes in the grill.

• What do you call 20 Alabama fans skydiving from an airplane?
Skeet.

• You know you’re from Alabama if:
Someone asks to see your ID and you show them your belt buckle.

• Things you will never hear an LSU fan say:
I’ll take Shakespeare for 1000, Alex. 

Related Arkansas Content

Arkansas Razorbacks 2012 Team Preview
Arkansas Razorbacks Top 10 Players for 2012

Can Arkansas Win the SEC West Without Bobby Petrino?
The Greatest Moments in Arkansas Football History

Arkansas Razorbacks Top 10 Greatest Players Since 1967

Arkansas Razorbacks Cheerleader Gallery

Arkansas Razorbacks 2012 Team Predictions

Teaser:
<p> Because sometimes it's good to make fun of the other team.</p>
Post date: Thursday, May 17, 2012 - 02:29
Path: /college-football/jokes-about-nebraska-rivals
Body:

 

Here are some of our favorite jokes about Nebraska's biggest rivals.

• What do you call a Golden Gopher in a BCS bowl game?
A referee. 

• What's the difference between an Iowa football player and a dollar? 

You can get four quarters out of a dollar.
 
• What do you get when you cross Minnesota with a groundhog?
Six more weeks of bad football.
 
• Where was O.J. headed in the white Bronco?
Michigan State. He knew that the police would never look there for a Heisman Trophy winner.
 
• Did you hear that Minnesota's football team doesn't have a website?
The Gophers can't string three "Ws" together.
 
• What do Ohio State fans use for birth control?
Their personalities.
 
• Why don’t Minnesota fans eat barbecue beans?
Because they keep falling through the holes in the grill.
 
• You know you’re from Michigan if:
You’ve ever climbed a water tower with a bucket of paint to defend your sister’s honor.
 
• The Foo Fighters are playing at Ryan Field this fall.
They're 10-point favorites.
 
• Things you will never hear an Iowa fan say:
I just couldn’t find a thing at Walmart today.
 
Related Nebraska Content
 
Teaser:
<p> Because sometimes it's good to make fun of the other team.</p>
Post date: Wednesday, May 16, 2012 - 03:20
All taxonomy terms: Clemson Tigers, College Football, jokes
Path: /college-football/jokes-about-clemson-rivals
Body:

 

Here are some of our favorite jokes about Clemson's biggest rivals:

• What does a South Carolina fan do when the Gamecocks win the BCS championship?
He turns off the PlayStation.

• What do you call a Gamecock in a BCS bowl game?
A referee.

• Why do South Carolina football players like smart women?
Opposites attract.

• How many Florida State freshmen does it take to change a light bulb?
None. That’s a sophomore course.

• How many Gamecock fans does it take to change a flat tire?
Just one...unless it’s a blowout, then they all show up!

• Did you hear what happened to the South Carolina fan when he found out that 90% of all car accidents occur within 5 miles of home?
He moved.

• Did you hear about the new honor system at Florida State?
Yes, your Honor. No, your Honor.

• Why don’t South Carolina fans eat barbecue beans?
Because they keep falling through the holes in the grill.

• What do you call 20 South Carolina fans skydiving from an airplane?
Skeet.

• Things you will never hear a South Carolina fan say:
I just couldn’t find a thing at Walmart today. 

Teaser:
<p> Because sometimes it's good to make fun of the other team.</p>
Post date: Tuesday, May 15, 2012 - 02:46
Path: /college-football/jokes-about-virginia-tech-rivals
Body:

 

Here are some of our favorite jokes about Virginia Tech's biggest rivals.

• What does a Virginia fan do when the Cavaliers win the BCS championship?
He turns off the PlayStation.

• A man in a bar leans over to the guy next to him and asks, "Wanna hear a Miami joke?" The guy next to him replies, "Look, fella, I'm six feet tall, 200 pounds, and I'm a Miami grad. The guy next to me is 6-2, 225, and he's a Miami grad. The big dude next to him is 6-5, weighs 250, and he's a Miami grad. You still wanna tell that joke?" The first man replies: "Not if I'm gonna have to explain it three times."

• What do you get when you cross Virginia with a groundhog?
Six more weeks of bad football.

• Did you hear about the new honor system at Miami?
Yes, your Honor. No, your Honor.

• Why do Miami football players like smart women?
Opposites attract.

• How does a Duke fan count to 10?
0-1, 0-2, 0-3, 0-4...

• What do you call a beautiful woman on the arm of a Virginia fan?
A tattoo.

• What do you call 20 Virginia fans skydiving from an airplane?
Skeet.

• Things you will never hear a Miami fan say:
I’ll take Shakespeare for 1000, Alex. 

Related Virginia Tech Content

Virginia Tech Hokies 2012 Team Preview
Virginia Tech Hokies Top 10 Players for 2012

Will Virginia Tech Win the ACC in 2012?
Virginia Tech's Top 10 Greatest Players Since 1967

The Greatest Moments in Virginia Tech Football History

Virginia Tech Hokies Cheerleader Gallery

Jokes About Virginia Tech Rivals

Teaser:
<p> Because sometimes it's good to make fun of the other team.</p>
Post date: Monday, May 14, 2012 - 01:33
All taxonomy terms: College Football, College Basketball, NFL, NBA, MLB
Path: /college-football/athlon%E2%80%99s-essential-eleven-links-day
Body:

This is your daily link roundup of our favorite sports posts on the web for May 11.

• After the Lakers Game 6 loss, Kobe Bryant calls out Andrew Bynum in an interview with Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

• Florida State athletic director Randy Spetman tells the Orlando Sentinel that the Seminoles are committed to the ACC and not looking at the Big 12.

• The Cardinals will retire former manager Tony La Russa’s No. 10 tonight in St. Louis.

• Bud Withers of the Seattle Times has some interesting thoughts on the Pac-12 North.

• Big East Coast Bias recaps a “turbulent” week in Big East news.

• How much does Red Sox pitcher Josh Beckett care about the team?

• Pacers coach Frank Vogel says Miami is the “biggest flopping team in the NBA.”

• The SEC is looking into using wireless communication for its officials this season. The new system would not affect that Alabama is never called for holding.

• Could Boise State stay in the Mountain West instead of leaving for the Big East in 2013?

• Just like we all predicted, the Orioles-Rays series this weekend will be for AL East supremacy.

• As we prepare for Mother’s Day (go get that card now!), check out the intensity of Denver big man Javale McGee’s mom during the Lakers-Nuggets series. She could give George Karl some minutes off the bench. Here’s our Video of the Day…

--- Email us with any compelling sports-related links at links@athlonsports.com

---By Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman)
 


 May 10

• Have you ever typed in “Find Chuck Norris” into Google? Here’s the result.

• Could Tiger Woods hit a golfing low point tomorrow?

• Bob Nightengale of USA Today examines Texas Rangers slugger Josh Hamilton’s potential deal in free agency.

• ESPN Big Ten blogger Brian Bennett is correct in questioning Terrelle Pryor’s credibility after the troubled quarterback’s latest interview.

• Last September it was beer and fried chicken issues for Boston Red Sox hurler Josh Beckett. Now it’s a controversial golf outing.

• Is everyone else freaked out by this week’s Time cover like I am?

• Could former Big 12 boss Dan Beebe be returning to another authoritative post in college football?

• So two West Virginia football players were arrested for allegedly stealing Doritos and Gatorade. Gotta wonder about that offseason training?

• The momentum in Minnesota seems to be heading in the direction of the Vikings getting a new stadium.

• Would Razorbacks fans really want to own Bobby Petrino’s former motorcycle?

• You probably heard about the Heat announcer saying Amar’e Stoudemire was “extinguished” from the game when he fouled out. But check out what the Knicks forward does to Shane Battier in our Video of the Day…

--- Email us with any compelling sports-related links at links@athlonsports.com

---By Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman)
 


May 9

• Bleacher Report has an interesting slideshow ranking all 16 four-home run games in MLB history after Josh Hamilton’s amazing performance on Tuesday night.

• So it looks like Keyshawn Johnson may still be getting fined these days, and it involves the Kardashian sisters.

• CBS’ Bruce Feldman ranks college football’s “freakiest” athletes.

• ESPN’s Elizabeth Merrill details the tragedy-laden story of the 1994 San Diego Chargers.

• It looks like Coby Fleener of the Colts can join the media if the whole “NFL” thing does not work out.

• Vikings great Cris Carter admits to putting bounties on opponents during his NFL career.

• The always-dramatic Osi Umenyiora of the Giants comments on the player safety and the NFL.

• The NCAA is looking into the recruitment of Kentucky signee Nerlins Noel, but his former principal says “they didn’t ask me any investigative-type questions.” 

• The SEC has a scary number of top defensive ends, and Barrett Sallee ranks them.

• Andray Blatche of the Wizards has an interesting explanation for teammate James Singleton’s jumper.

So apparently Harvard baseball players like to choreograph their road trips. Just can’t see the Winklevoss twins doing this. Enjoy the Video of the Day…

--- Email us with any compelling sports-related links at links@athlonsports.com

---By Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman)


May 8

• CBS’ Tony Barnhart says any college football playoff should involve the four best teams, regardless of conference.

• ESPN Big East blogger Andrea Adelson thinks the league’s new commissioner should put football first.

• SportsGrid thinks the best attraction at the Floyd Mayweather-Miguel Cotto fight was the champ’s girlfriend.

• It’s always nice when the first hit of your MLB career is a pinch-hit three-run homer off an All-Star closer. Well done, Jordany Valdespin of the Mets.

• T.J Simers of the LA Times looks at the inspiring play of the Clippers’ Chris Paul.

• Jon Heyman states that Andy Pettitte’s contradictory testimony in the Roger Clemens trial will cost him a Hall of Fame vote.

• The Big Lead has photos of Tom Brady and Tim Tebow at the same black-tie function. Can the internet handle this?

• ESPN SEC blogger Edward Aschoff looks at the league’s top defenses.

• Will the Minnesota Vikings get a new stadium?

• Jim Young of ACCSports.com takes a detailed look at the hiring of new Virginia Tech basketball coach James Johnson.

• Every MLB fan wants to catch a home run ball. Unfortunately, things didn’t go so well for this unlucky couple at a Rays game in our Video of the Day…

--- Email us with any compelling sports-related links at links@athlonsports.com


May 7

• CBS’ Brett McMurphy has the latest on the ouster of Big East commissioner John Marinatto and some possible replacements.

• Deadspin has the video and story of a strange woman walking onto the court during the Nuggets-Lakers playoff game.

• Chadd Scott of ChuckOliver.net dispels the Florida State to the Big 12 rumors.

• The New York Daily News summarizes Eli Manning’s performance on Saturday Night Live.

• Check out Notre Dame’s cleats for the season opener in Ireland against Navy.

• Missouri football marketing now has a footprint all over the South.

• Where will the first-place Washington Nationals turn to replace injured right fielder Jayson Werth?

• Ben Buchanan of Over the Monster says the Red Sox have hit a new season-low after losing to the Orioles, 9-6 in 17 innings, with DH Chris Davis getting the pitching victory.

• ESPN Big 12 blogger David Ubben continues his look at the Bedlam Series and its effect on the Big 12.

• The 49ers are working with quarterback Alex Smith to correct mechanical flaws.

• Rookie phenom Bryce Harper of the Nationals becomes the first teenager since 1964 to steal home. ESPN breaks it down in our Video of the Day…

--- Email us with any compelling sports-related links at links@athlonsports.com
 

Teaser:
<p> Sports best links from the NFL, college football, MLB, college basketball and the NBA</p>
Post date: Thursday, May 10, 2012 - 20:09
Path: /mlb/fantasy-baseball-weekend-rundown-may-10
Body:

Stay tuned each week to Athlon Sports for a 2012 Fantasy Baseball Weekend Waiver Wire every Monday and a Weekend Rundown every Thursday.

Forget about the curve ball, Ricky. Give him the heater!

The closing situation around baseball seems to be even more chaotic this season than its usual level of high volatility, especially with the awful news that future Hall of Famer Mariano Rivera will miss the rest of 2012. The Yankees stopper has been a model of consistency for years, and that is a quality that can be pretty tough to find in the ninth inning this year. Injuries (Mo Rivera, Brian Wilson, Ryan Madson, Drew Storen, Joakim Soria, Kyle Farnsworth, Sergio Santos, Andrew Bailey) and ineffectiveness (Jose Valverde, J.J. Putz, John Axford, Alfredo Aceves, Heath Bell and Javy Guerra have ERAs over five) have made saves a tough category, but the game of musical chairs also gives you an opportunity to find a solution. Here are some interesting closing situations currently in flux:

New York Yankees – With Mo out, David Robertson has received the opportunity to close. He got a save against the Rays on Tuesday night, despite giving up two walks and a hit. On Wednesday night, Robertson was awful in allowing four earned runs in 0.2 IP. You have to think Joe Girardi will give the more experienced Rafael Soriano (90 career MLB saves) a chance to be Rivera’s successor. Robertson had a phenomenal 2011 campaign, but Soriano may have the better ninth-inning temperament.

Miami Marlins – Ozzie Guillen’s club has been hot lately, so saves will be available for the replacement to Heath Bell (10.24 ERA, 2.69 WHIP!). Edward Mujica (two saves in the last week) has been solid in May, while Steve Cishek has better numbers (4-0, 1.17 ERA) but blew a save opportunity on Wednesday night. Both pitchers should get ninth-inning work, and Mujica has much more experience. However, Cishek may be the correct pickup with his better strikeout rate and the fact that he has only given up one home run in over 74 career innings.

Chicago White Sox – If you wanted to argue that Pale Hose decision makers are all over the map with their pitching choices, I would have no argument. But with Hector Santiago’s struggles (5.73 ERA, 2.00 WHIP) and Chris Sale’s elbow MRI, there should be an opportunity here for Addison Reed to take finally over the job. Before the season, Reed seemed to be known as San Diego State’s closer when Stephen Strasburg was there. He’s carving out his own identity now, with a 0.00 ERA and 14 Ks in 10 innings pitched this season. Reed is the short- and long-term answer on the South Side.

Cincinnati Reds – Sean Marshall is still the closer for now, but Cuban phenom Aroldis Chapman has been almost unhittable this season. The Reds may want to leave Chapman (0.00 ERA, 27 Ks and five hits allowed in 15.2 IP) in his current role where he is dominating, but Marshall’s numbers (0-2, 4.91 ERA, 1.55 WHIP) are below average this season. If it gets worse, Dusty Baker may have to make the decision to test Chapman in the ninth inning.

Chicago CubsRafael Dolis and maybe James Russell will get opportunities to close with Carlos Marmol off to such a terrible start (5.06 ERA, 2.16 WHIP). Dolis has two saves over the last week, but you have to wonder if he can keep it up with such low strikeout numbers (five Ks, eight BB in 19.1 IP). Russell has been excellent in 2012 (0.73 ERA), but he was pedestrian in 2010-11 and has no professional saves. The inconsistent Marmol may also get another chance. Ride Dolis for now, but don’t be surprised if this situation is all over the map throughout the summer.

 Worth a Look

These hitters are owned in less than half of Yahoo! leagues, and they are definitely worth consideration for your team.

Chris Johnson – Houston
At a weak fantasy position like third base, the Astros may have an answer in Johnson. He’s batted .326 with a 1.032 OPS over the last 13 games, while belting four homeruns and 13 RBIs.

Kyle Seager – Seattle
There was more buzz about his UNC and Mariners teammate Dustin Ackley, but Seager has been solid this season. He’s hit .298 with an .827 OPS this year and has valuable 3B/SS eligibility.

Josh Reddick – Oakland
The A’s outfielder has four homers, 11 RBIs and 11 runs scored in his last 12 games. He’s hitting .306 with a 1.005 OPS during that span.

Jed Lowrie – Houston
The former Boston infielder also has 3B/SS eligibility, and he has been on fire lately. In his last 15 games, Lowrie has four homers and 11 RBIs while batting .345 with a 1.010 OPS.

Jon Jay – St. Louis
The Cardinals offense is stacked this year, and Jay has been important cog for the defending champs. Over the last 11 games, the centerfielder has batted .409 and scored 10 runs.

Scott Van Slyke – Los Angeles (NL)
Andy’s son crushed the ball in the minors in 2011 (.348, 20 HRs, 92 RBIs in AA) and this season (.336, 8 HRs, 25 RBIs in 32 AAA games) as well, and he had an RBI single in his MLB debut this week.

Weekend Series to Watch

Atlanta at St. Louis
Beware Braves pitchers. The Cards lead the National League in runs scored, batting average and home runs. Rafael Furcal, Carlos Beltran and Davis Freese have been excellent this season, while surprise producers like Jon Jay and recently Allen Craig just add to a loaded lineup. The Braves have hit well too, so expect to see some runs in Busch.

Chicago Cubs at Milwaukee
The Brewers are not scoring many runs in May, and they will face both Matt Garza and Jeff Samardzija over the weekend. With the exception of Ryan Braun, the Brewers have been a severe fantasy disappointment this year. The Cubs starters have been solid, but the lineup (outside of Bryan LaHair and Starlin Castro) is still struggling.

Seattle at New York Yankees
The Bronx Bombers face the stellar Felix Hernandez on Friday, but then Hector Noesi (6.30 ERA, 1.40 WHIP) and Blake Beaven (1-3, 4.32 ERA) are scheduled to take the hill over the weekend. Look out. While the Yanks lineup should produce big numbers, the big story will be the return of Andy Pettitte on Sunday.

--Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman on Twitter)
 

Teaser:
<p> Fantasy Baseball Weekend Rundown</p>
Post date: Wednesday, May 9, 2012 - 20:18
All taxonomy terms: Kentucky Derby, Triple Crown, Union Rags, News
Path: /news/kentucky-derby-primer-road-triple-crown
Body:

The three-year track to the fastest, most exciting two minutes in sports can have conditions ranging anywhere from fast-and-good to slow-and-sloppy. Phyllis Wyeth, the owner of Chadds Ford Stables, has seen them all en route to the 2012 Triple Crown season — when the Kentucky Derby (May 5), Preakness Stakes (May 19) and Belmont Stakes (June 9) are run in a frenetic five-week stretch. After taking a circuitous detour through the mud, Wyeth has come out clean on the other side and has hit full stride with the nation’s top three-year-old thoroughbred racehorse, bay colt Union Rags.

Born and bred near Philadelphia at Chadds Ford Stables, Union Rags — sired by Dixie Union out of Tempo — was sold by Wyeth for $145,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Selected Yearlings Sale in 2010. But the sale didn’t sit well with the wife of famed painter Jamie Wyeth. She could not cope with a serious case of seller’s remorse. So six months later, Wyeth bought back her colt for $390,000 — or $245,000 more than she had sold him for.

Despite taking one step back financially, Wyeth and her team led by trainer Michael Matz are aiming to take 10 furlongs (1 1⁄4 miles) forward historically in the “Run for the Roses” at Churchill Downs. After racing in Louisville, the schedule shifts to Pimlico Race Course (1 3⁄16 miles) in Baltimore two weeks later and then to Belmont Park (1 1⁄2 miles) in New York two weeks after that.

Since Wyeth’s risky rebuy, Union Rags has earned well over $1 million and appears poised to contend in, and possibly win, one or more of the season’s big three races.

This is not the first time Matz has trained the early favorite, having guided Barbaro to a win in the 2006 Kentucky Derby before a false start in the Preakness Stakes resulted in a broken leg and ultimately euthanization. Matz, however, has never been one to let tragedy slow him down. In 1989, he and future wife D.D. Alexander were passengers on United Flight 232, which crash-landed in Sioux City, Iowa, killing 111 on board. Matz not only survived the sudden impact but also heroically saved four children — three siblings and an 11-month-old baby girl — from the subsequent wreckage.

Matz’s perseverance is matched by Wyeth. A former model, Wyeth was working in President John F. Kennedy’s administration when she suffered a permanently crippling car accident in 1962. She has since gone on to a decorated career of public service, philanthropy and, of course, horse breeding. After listening to her own instincts, Wyeth is coming down the stretch with Union Rags.

There have been only 11 Triple Crown winners in history — Affirmed (1978), Seattle Slew (1977), Secretariat (1973), Citation (1948), Assault (1946), Count Fleet (1943), Whirlaway (1941), War Admiral (1937), Omaha (1935), Gallant Fox (1930) and Sir Barton (1919). But that doesn’t stop every owner, trainer and jockey from chasing the carrot of Triple Crown immortality.
 

Teaser:
<p> Kentucky Derby 138:The Road to the Triple Crown</p>
Post date: Friday, May 4, 2012 - 08:14
Path: /news/bob-bafferts-journey-kentucky-derby-138
Body:

Bob Baffert is the most recognizable man in horse racing. With his signature silver hair, sunglasses and smile, the 59-year-old is the face of the sport of kings.

The Hall of Fame trainer has won the Kentucky Derby three times (1997, 1998, 2002), the Preakness Stakes five times (1997, 1998, 2001, 2002, 2010) and the Belmont Stakes once (2001) to lock up the career Triple Crown.

A large part of Baffert’s legend stems from his near misses in the sport’s ongoing quest for the first Triple Crown-winning horse since 1978. Baffert has won two of the three legs of the Triple Crown on four separate occasions — winning both the Derby and Preakness in consecutive years with Silver Charm (1997) and Real Quiet (1998), taking the Preakness and Belmont with Point Given in 2001, and earning the Derby and Preakness with War Emblem in 2002.

Recently, shockwaves were sent through the racing community when news broke that Baffert had suffered a heart attack on March 26 while in Dubai preparing for the $10 million Dubai World Cup. Baffert had a total of three stents placed in two arteries but was said to be in good spirits following the surgery.

The ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, visited Baffert in the hospital. One of the world’s foremost investors in racehorses, Sheikh Mohammed — who won the 2006 Preakness Stakes with Bernardini and has Triple Crown aspirations this season with Alpha — has worked closely with Baffert over the years and guaranteed the finest care for his friend and business associate.

“When you have Sheik Mo come visit you … this is when you know you are being well taken care of,” joked the affable Baffert, in a 13-second cell phone video taken from his hospital bed.

This season, Baffert has a handful of horses primed to contend in the Triple Crown, with Bodemeister and Liaison making the field of 20 in the Kentucky Derby. Health permitting, Baffert will bring his usual swagger to the paddock and track. Regardless, Baffert’s shadow will continue to loom large over the sport.
 

--By Nathan Rush

Teaser:
<p> Kentucky Derby 138<strong>: </strong>The Road to the Triple Crown</p>
Post date: Friday, May 4, 2012 - 08:09
Path: /college-football/athlon%E2%80%99s-essential-eleven-links-day-april-30
Body:

This is your daily link roundup of our favorite sports posts on the web for May 4.

• Peter Berg confirms a Friday Night Lights movie, and he is not a fan of Craig James.

• Baseball fans are hoping that Mariano Rivera’s knee injury doesn’t end his incredible career.

• The NFLPA has filed a grievance against Commissioner Roger Goodell, questioning his authority to suspend current and former New Orleans Saints after their bounty scandal.

• ESPN SEC blogger Chris Low details the league’s top prospects for the 2013 NFL Draft.

• SB Nation has your Kentucky Derby 138 preview.

• Greg Wallace of OrangeAndWhite.com has the latest on the arrest of Clemson star receiver Sammy Watkins.

• Utah State and San Jose State are moving from the Western Athletic Conference to the Mountain West in 2013.

• Jon Gold if Inside UCLA says the Bruins spring game will be scaled back because of injury concerns.

• Can Miguel Cotto challenge 42-0 Floyd Mayweather Jr.?

• The Cubs and Reds game had an MLB first yesterday: a shared birthday for the starting pitchers.

• Ahh, the life a Browns fan. Somehow I don’t think the new draftees will change the feeling in Cleveland. Here’s a Video of the Day…

--- Email us with any compelling sports-related links at links@athlonsports.com
 


May 3

• San Diego reacts to the death of Chargers legend Junior Seau.

• Because if venue disagreements, Indiana and Kentucky will not play in basketball next season.

• The Orange County has an interesting look at Jered Weaver’s family after the Angels ace tossed a no-hitter against the Twins.

• SB Nation has a great recap of college conference realignment.

• Brian Hamilton of the Chicago Tribune has the latest on the Notre Dame football arrests.

• ESPN Big Ten blogger Brian Bennett looks at the league’s “Top 6” requirement for a four-team college football playoff.

• Rick Bozich of the Louisville-Courier Journal has an interesting Kentucky Derby column on “Take Charge Indy” trainer Patrick Byrne.

• CBS’ Gary Parrish details how the Grizzlies bounced back from a crushing Game 1 loss to the Clippers.

• Did Colt McCoy’s father hurt his standing with the Browns?

• Blair Kerkhoff of the Kansas City Star has the details on Stanford athletic director Bob Bowlsby taking over as Big 12 commissioner.

• Umpire Tim Welke gives us one of the worst calls of all time in our Video of the Day…

--- Email us with any compelling sports-related links at links@athlonsports.com
 


May 2

• The Tampa Bay Buccaneers made a classy move today by signing the inspirational Eric LeGrand.

• Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News brings us some funny Saturday Night Live promos from Eli Manning, who will host the this weekend.

• SB Nation looks at the harsh NFL penalties that were handed down to four Saints players for their part in the New Orleans bounty scandal.

• The high school coach of former Alabama backup quarterback Phillip Sims says that the Virginia native lost the QB derby because he was an out-of-state kid.

• ESPN Big 12 blogger David Ubben looks how Kansas and new coach Charlie Weis fared this spring.

• Complex has a flowchart of when your NBA team will win a title.

• ESPN Boston has the details on BC running back Montel Harris being dismissed from the team.

• Butler is leaving the Horizon League for the Atlantic 10 Conference.

• Rest easy, state of Iowa. The new Cy-Hawk trophy has been designed, and both Herky the Hawk and Cy the Cardinal are featured.

• The Bears wasted no time in signing their second-round pick, South Carolina wide receiver Alshon Jeffery.

• What’s a teenager to do in the nation’s capital? Washington Nationals phenom Bryce Harper plays some pickup softball in our Video of the Day…

--- Email us with any compelling sports-related links at links@athlonsports.com
 


May 1

• Ravens coach John Harbuagh says the Patriots titles are "stained" because of cheating.

• Roto Professor lucks at the fantasy baseball ramifications of the Rays losing third baseman Evan Longoria for 6-8 weeks.

• Lisa Horne of Fox Sports has an exclusive with Arizona State coach Todd Graham, who says ASU is a destination job and that he never should have gone to Pittsburgh.

• CBS' Brett McMurphy has the details on Conference USA adding six schools in 2013.

• Sharp Football Analysis has an interesting study on Overs/Unders in the high-scoring NFL.

• ESPN Big East blogger Andrea Adelson shows us some much different uniforms for Rutgers football this season.

• Will the recently-retired Hines Ward coach at Georgia one day?

• The Big Ten Network unveils an All-Big Ten Spring offensive team.

• Could Vince Young be the new backup in Buffalo?

• SB Nation breaks down “Amar'e Stoudemire versus the Fire Extinguisher.”

• Nebraska and Cal State Bakersfield have one of the most entertaining dance-offs/improv acts/rodeo impersonations/Greco-Roman wrestling matches/method acting/etc. that you have ever seen during a rain delay. Here’s our Video of the Day…

--- Email us with any compelling sports-related links at links@athlonsports.com
 


April 30

• Will Brinson of CBS has NFL Draft winners and losers.

• Arkansas wide receivers Jarius Wright and Greg Childs played high school and college ball together, and both were drafted by the Minnesota Vikings.

• New idea for the bathroom in your man cave

• Despite having two of the top four overall selections, ESPN Pac-12 blogger Ted Miller says the league had a rough NFL Draft.

• SB Nation in Virginia has the latest on (former) Alabama quarterback Phillip Sims transferring back to his home state to play for the Cavaliers.

• SEC blogger Barrett Sallee looks at how the league’s championship pedigree plays well during the NFL Draft.

• SI’s Stewart Mandel details the favored plan for a college football playoff.

• Miami had the most ACC players selected in the NFL Draft, but no Hurricanes or Florida State Seminoles were selected in the first two rounds.

• Bleacher Report has a slideshow on the NFL’s Draft’s most head-scratching picks.

• Halos Heaven says the Angels are “unclutch” so far this season.

• Rich Eisen of the NFL Network struggled during the first round broadcast on Thursday, and then he went nuts for a punter on Friday night in our Video of the Day…

--- Email us with any compelling sports-related links at links@athlonsports.com
 

Teaser:
<p> Rounding up the web's best sports links from the NFL, college football, MLB, NBA so you don't have to.</p>
Post date: Thursday, May 3, 2012 - 20:11
Path: /nfl/top-25-undrafted-free-agents-nfl-over-last-25-years
Body:

Undrafted free agents are signing all over the NFL, and some stars in the league do slip through the scouting cracks from time to time. Could Chris Polk, Chase Minnifield, Dwight Jones or William Vlachos be that next surprise? Here’s a look at some big-time players who earned it the hard way. Our list begins in 1987, so you will not see greats like Dick “Night Train” Lane, Warren Moon or Willie Wood.

1. Kurt Warner, QB, Northern Iowa
He played in three Super Bowls with the Rams and Cardinals and won the league’s MVP twice. He was also MVP of Super Bowl XXXIV when St. Louis defeated the Titans 23-16. Warner holds many postseason records and should make the Hall of Fame.

2. John Randle, DT, Texas A&I
The ferocious Vikings pass rusher was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2010. Randle totaled 137.5 sacks in his 14 seasons with the Vikings and Seahawks. He made seven Pro Bowls and was elected to the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 1990s.

3. Antonio Gates, TE, Kent State
The Chargers turned to the basketball court to find Gates, who did not play college football. He’s made eight Pro Bowls in nine seasons in San Diego, and Gates has amassed over 7,700 receiving yards and 76 touchdowns in his career.

4. Wes Welker, WR, Texas Tech
The ultra-quick Welker was also drafted by San Diego, but then was cut and signed on with Miami. However his numbers have skyrocketed in the New England spread system, and Welker has an NFL-leading 554 catches over the last five years.

5. Adam Vinatieri, K, South Dakota State
Some may disagree with having a kicker this high, but Vinatieri’s contributions to elite teams should not be undervalued. He has been a part of four championships with the Patriots and Colts and made a last-second, game-winner in two of those Super Bowls.

6. Brian Waters, G, North Texas
Waters failed to latch on with the Cowboys during his first year out of college in 1999, but he found a home in Kansas City the next season. The elite blocker made five Pro Bowls with the Chiefs and then a sixth with the Patriots last season.

7. Jeff Saturday, C, North Carolina
The five-time Pro Bowler anchored the Colts offensive line from 2000-11. During his time snapping to Peyton Manning, Indy won double-digit games nine times and claimed a Super Bowl XLI title.

8. Priest Holmes, RB, Texas
The former Ravens and Chiefs runner had a solid career with over 8,000 rushing yards and 94 total touchdowns. Holmes had an amazing three-year run in Kansas City from 2001-03, amassing 4.590 rush yards and 56 TDs on the ground.

9. Tony Romo, QB, Eastern Illinois
The popular Cowboys signal caller is still building his legacy, but he has already made three Pro Bowls and tossed 149 touchdowns in 77 starts. Romo’s career passer rating is a very impressive 96.9.

10. James Harrison, LB, Kent State
The 2008 NFL Defensive Player of the Year bounced around for a couple of years before landing back with the Steelers in 2004. Harrison has become a playmaking force in Pittsburgh, including winning two Super Bowls.

11. Rod Smith, WR, Missouri Southern
He played his entire 12-year career in Denver, and Smith’s 849 receptions put him in the top 20 in NFL history. He was part of two Super Bowl winners with the Broncos and went over 1,000 yards receiving eight times.

12. Jesse Tuggle, LB, Valdosta
The Georgia native played for the Falcons from 1987-2000, making over 1,800 tackles in 209 games. “The Hammer” was a five-time Pro Bowler, and Tuggle’s No. 58 was retired by Atlanta in 2002.

13. Pat Williams, DT, Texas A&M
The massive run stuffer took a while to make a mark in the NFL, but he became a defensive force for the decade of the 2000s. Williams made three straight Pro Bowls from 2006-08 while playing for the Vikings.

14. Jeff Garcia, QB, San Jose State
The four-time Pro Bowler starred in Canada to begin his professional career, and did not play in the NFL until age 29. However, Garcia made his mark by throwing for over 25,000 yards with the 49ers, Browns, Lions, Eagles and Buccaneers.

15. London Fletcher, LB, John Carroll
The undersized tackling machine has been a playmaker with the Rams, Bills and Redskins for over a decade now. He has never missed a game in 14 NFL seasons and has started every game over the last 11 years.

16. Arian Foster, RB, Tennessee
The Texans star runner is the youngest member on this list, but he has put up some staggering numbers over the last two seasons. Foster led the NFL in rushing in 2010 with 1,616 yards and followed that with 1,224 yards in 13 games a year ago.

17. David Akers, K, Louisville
The reliable kicker has led the NFL in scoring over the last two seasons. Akers has made 338 career field goals with a better than 82% accuracy rate. After making five Pro Bowls with the Eagles, he made his sixth last season in San Francisco.

18. Shaun O'Hara, C, Rutgers
The tough interior blocker started his career playing guard for the Browns, but he flourished with the Giants from 2004-10. During that span, O’Hara made three Pro Bowls and was a leader on the Giants Super Bowl winner in 2008.

19. Bart Scott, LB, Southern Illinois
The entertaining linebacker has played on some quality defenses with both the Ravens and Jets, and he made the Pro Bowl in 2006. Over the last six seasons, Scott has only missed one start.

20. Antonio Pierce, LB, Arizona
He had a fairly short NFL career but was a tackling machine from 2004-08 with the Redskins and Giants. Much like O’Hara, Pierce was an underrated leader for the Super Bowl XLII champions.

21. Jake Delhomme, QB, Louisiana-Lafayette
The Bayou native started slow with the Saints, but he found a nice niche with the Panthers from 2003-09. Delhomme passed for over 19,000 yards and 120 TDs during those seven seasons and led Carolina to a Super Bowl appearance in 2003.

22. Barry Sims, T, Utah
The starting left tackle for two league championship games and a Super Bowl in 2002, Sims played 12 NFL seasons in the Bay Area. He was a solid blocker in Oakland for nine years before finishing his career in San Francisco.

23. Wayne Chrebet, WR, Hofstra
The New York fan favorite was a classic underdog story, and he played his entire career with the Jets. Chrebet was especially effective from 1995-2002, when he caught 507 passes and 39 TDs during that eight-year span.

24. Josh Cribbs, KR/PR, Kent State
The college quarterback has been mainly known as a returner for the Browns, but he did have 445 receiving yards and 614 rush yards from 2008-10. Cribbs has averaged 25.7 yards on 344 career kick returns, while scoring eight times.

25. Cullen Jenkins, DL, Central Michigan
The younger brother of Kris Jenkins turned himself into a solid interior defender with the Packers and Eagles after some time in NFL Europe. He had a career-high in tackles last year with Philadelphia.

--Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman)
 

Teaser:
<p> Top 25 Undrafted Free Agents in the NFL over the last 25 Years</p>
Post date: Monday, April 30, 2012 - 16:27

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