In Focus

Focus in on what’s relevant in sports. The Hall Of Fame welcomes Barry Larkin, and the NBA is in full swing.

Barry Larkin, Cincinnati Reds, 2004, by Rick D...

Image via Wikipedia

MLB

The Hall of Fame ballots were cast, with Barry Larkin as the lone player to be enshrined this year. Barry was the definition of consistency.  He played all 19 illustrious seasons in Cincinnati. Forget the steroid controversy, Larking never needed performance enhancing drugs to compete at a high level. He won an MVP, 3 gold gloves, 9 silver sluggers, and a World Series in 1990 against the Oakland Athletics.. He was a 12-time all-star. He credits Ozzie Smith as a major influence on how he played the game.

It looks like Jack Morris will make it in next year, maybe alongside Jeff Bagwell. Historically, any player who has received 50% of the vote has eventually made it in. Steroid users Mark McGwire and Rafeal Palmeiro both were under 20% of the vote,  despite career numbers that would most likely get a clean player in first ballot. Fred McGriff might get in later. He received 21%, 17%, 23% of votes in consecutive years. Look for Randy Johnson to be a first ballot hall of famer next year.

The Angels are going hard after a championship now. They extended 2B Howie Kendrick’s contract four years, obviously in addition to their big free agent acquisitions Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson.  The Angels have 7 players on their roster owed over $100 million in 2012, including Vernon Wells (33) and Bobby Abreu (37) who wont produce worth half their salary.  But those ill-minded contracts didn’t stop the Angels from handcuffing their franchise with Pujols for the next ten years, who is due the majority of his money late in his contract, something he agreed to do to help ink Wilson. Despite the frantic moves made by the Angels this offseason, the Texas Rangers are still my favorite in the AL West.

Cardinals fans, losing Pujols will hurt for the next 3 or 4 years, but when he’s limited to a designated hitter batting .280 limping around the base paths, it wont hurt as much when he’s still making $20 million+. We can still watch him chase records. That’s what television is for.

SOCCER

Lionel Messi

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Lionel Messi wins his 3rd straight FIFA soccer player of the year award, becoming the 3rd player to do so since the award was open to players outside of Europe (Zinedine Zidane, Ronaldo), and the second to ever win them consecutively (Michel Platini). The 24 year old scored 55 goals for F.C. Barcelona in route to 3 trophies, and 4 goals for Argentina in national competition.

NBA

Watching the Knicks is painful at times.  Watching Carmelo Anthony hold the ball for 5 seconds while he tries to wait for an opening to shoot just doesn’t flow. Sometimes I wonder if Amare Stoudamire’s knees are going to give out on him while he tries to make a play for himself. The Knick’s desperately need a point guard. I don’t think Baron Davis is the answer, especially come postseason. If I were Mike D’antoni I would give Laundry Fields a shot at PG, and work rookie Iman Shumpert into the rotation to groom him for the post season. At least designate someone on the court to direct the offense because there is no order to it now. The Knicks should try and go after Steve Nash, who already has experience with D’antoni from his years in Phoenix.

Wizards v/s Timberwolves 03/05/11

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It is hard to get too excited about the recent potential shown by the Minnesota Timberwolves because they still have a bad record and are no where near the postseason. Kevin Love is a true unstoppable force in the paint, beating Dwight Howard for the league lead in double doubles by 3. Loves 24 points and 15 rebounds per game have only been enough for 3 wins. Ricky Rubio and Derrick Williams are two of the top performing rookies in the league.  Not a bad top 3 players to have on your team to grow together. They might want to think about trading Michael Beasley, whose playing style doesn’t really fit Minnesota’s mentality. His scoring is down nearly 8 points per game than last season. Don’t forget about Jose Barea off the bench for the T-wolves, I think the Dallas Mavericks are really missing his energy level.

The Washington Wizards are the worst team in the league. John Wall’s athleticism hasn’t correlated into any wins so far this season. The team is young and seems to be fighting head coach Flip Saunders on how he wants the team to play. I’m not sure Saunders has any control of his team.

NCAA FOOTBALL

A BCS committee will meet to discuss changes to the BCS system today, where they will consider “everything you can imagine“. We will see what these guys can accomplish without hurting their wallets too much.

Let me offer a solution. This may be a little out there, but have you seen the current system, yikes.

4 bowl tiers. Each tier has 8 teams in it. Each tier can still have a major ad and bowl title. The top 8 teams can compete in the Rose Bowl Playoffs, or what have you, then the next 8 teams in the Sugar Bowl Playoffs, and so on. Each round and bowl can be presented by whoever you want. This way you can unarguably crown a national champion. You would obviously need to eliminate conference championship games, but with the huge gap between those games and when the BCS games start, that is all you would need to change about the schedule to make this work. That means the teams that win each bowl will play 15 games, only one more than now.

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One response to “In Focus

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