May 23, 2007
Most postseason college baseball tournaments--e.g., many conference tourneys, NCAA sub-regionals, and the College World Series--are formatted as four-team, double-elimination affairs. In the case of conference tournaments and the CWS, there are 2 of these brackets and the winners play one another for the title in either a single championship game (conferences) or 3-game set (World Series). But the Big XII has just got to be different.
Our conference uses a "pool play" round-robin format instead. So, unlike in a double-elimination setup, we already know who will play whom and when. The official explanation for this system is that it guarantees that each team will play a minimum of three games. That's true, and it's legitimate because it means that fans of any of the eight schools involved will get to see their boys three times no matter what. However, the more important effect of this format is that it guarantees that any given squad plays a maximum of four games. That means that there's no dropping into the losers' bracket and desperately using up all your pitching the week before the NCAA Tournament begins. From a Longhorn perspective, that's a very good thing. Texas' schedule is as follows:
- Wednesday, 1 PM: vs. 8-seed Kansas State.
- Thursday, 4:30 PM: vs. 5-seed texas a and m
- Saturday, 1 PM: vs. 4-seed Nebraska
- Sunday, 1 PM (hopefully): Championship Game vs. other bracket winner (2. Missouri, 3. OK State, 6. Baylor, 7. oklahoma)
For a more complete explanation of the tournament, its format, and its free video (!), visit the Big 12 Baseball Championship Homepage.
May 22, 2007
Which forced Bill Simmons' Celtics to 5th. It's a good night.
- NBA Draft Lottery tonight 7 PM CST. We'll post the winning KD Mock Draft later tonight to remind you why it's a good thing. If the Celtics get the third pick, the ensuing Bill Simmons column should be golden.
- Big XII baseball tournament starts Wednesday. Texas plays its first game at 1 PM tomorrow. Expect a breakdown of the tourney later on.
- The baseball postseason begins in force on Monday with the NCAA selection show. Texas should have a national seed locked up regardless of the Big XII tourney outcome.
- Finally, starting Thursday we'll be guest blogging over at Burnt Orange Nation, check us out over there for a few days. We hope to bring the 'A' game while we're over there. It would be a good idea to look at today's countdown. We plan to be there, hopefully the Horns will too.
May 21, 2007
Bama Guy: Texas fan, huh?
Us: Yeah; what tipped you off?
Bama guy: Well, it's a good school to pull for; they win a lot, and do it with class.
This level of respect from a total, non-conference outsider got us thinking actively again: we are a lucky bunch of fans. We are blessed to have three classy winners as coaches in the three biggest sports. The combination of Mack Brown, Rick Barnes, and Augie Garrido is enough to make almost any American university jealous. These guys generally bring in good kids, good athletes, and win the right way. They run high-profile programs in a manner that can make us proud that they are the most recognizable faces of The University. So the next time one of the Horns' ball teams is in the middle of a sub-par season, don't get sucked in by some of our more hotheaded brethren who are calling for firings. Instead, remember: this guy is our coach, and if we continue to trust him he'll bring us a winner next year. Enjoy these men. It won't last forever, folks.
May 20, 2007
Nick Peoples failed to get a sacrifice bunt down in the 6th then grounded into a double play. Kyle Russell was caught stealing second in 5th hurting the chance for a big inning. Josh Prince failed to execute a suicide squeeze in the 4th that would have tied the game. Moreover, Adrian Alaniz just didn't have it. He couldn't find the strike zone, and when he did the Aggies took full advantage.
Listening to this game, however, we got the feeling that the Aggies could not turn to their bullpen, and that is the difference between Texas and Texas A&M baseball. Joseph Krebs was amazing in relief, throwing 4 1/3 innings of shutout baseball. Krebs did not walk a batter and struck out four. Randy Boone came in and did his best Huston Street impersonation, striking out the side on 13 pitches.
It was only a matter of time before Texas would breakthrough after getting past Aggie starter David Newmann. Texas got their chance in the eighth. An Aggie error on a double play ball left Chais Fuller (who is having a fantastic series) on second with two outs. Josh Prince came through in the clutch, scoring Fuller on an RBI single.
It was a huge team win for the Horns. Every Longhorn hitter got a base hit, the bullpen was lights out, they get the chance to go for a sweep against a top ten opponent, Texas clinched the Lone Star Showdown, not to mention clinching the regular season conference title. To honor the Longhorns big win, Texas decided to light the tower orange last night with an 07, which we assume can only signify Texas having won seven straight versus the Ags.
The Horns will try for their 21st conference win and the sweep today at 2 PM CST. No Big XII team has won more than 20 games since Iowa State left the conference in 2002.
4) Micah --
Tough call - as a Longhorn fan on the East coast, staying up to watch the late games can be brutal. On the other hand, the Sacramento Kings are probably the most likely franchise to move to Las Vegas given that their owners, the Maloofs, own the Palms.
Therefore, I choose Sacto. They have a history of putting together incredibly entertaining offensive clubs, and GM Geoff Petrie is one of the savviest personnel men in the league. I have full confidence that he'll be able to put together a roster around KD that will make them competitive for years to come, thus ensuring plenty of national TV appearances for Longhorn fans to enjoy.
Plus he'll be in Vegas.
Vegas baby, Vegas.
5) Greg -- L.A. Clippers
Kevin Durant loves the show Entourage. The Clippers love Kevin Durant's talent. The Clippers are so thrilled to get Kevin Durant that Ari Gold will be Durant's agent. The Clippers have big things for Durant. For starters, they are going to posters entitled "The Dynamic Duo" It will be a picture of Durant and Kaman. Kevin Durant also loved watching big time Clippers fan Malcolm from Malcolm in the Middle. Now, 34 years old, Malcom will be a huge influence in helping Kevin Durant land a chick his own age, namely Hillary Duff. Also, LA is in close vicinity to the USC campus, so any payback needed on Taj Gibson will be easy to come by.
6) Jeff -- Seattle
There is a reason that Seattle slipped all the way to the 13th pick. I've never been do the Pacific Northwest, but I understand the weather there is awful. I can't really think of any reason to like Seattle other than the fact that my new roommate is from there. I've never been there, however, and I hate to speak ill of places I've never visited...that's the kind of thing they do in Russia. But the SuperSonics aren't going to be in Seattle much longer. The team was recently bought by a group from Oklahoma City. We all know that Oklahoma sucks, but playing in OKC would put KD only 6 hours from Austin. That's the closest KD could be to The University without playing on one of the Texas teams. Kevin Durant to the OKC SuperSonics could be the steal of the draft.
7) Abram -- Charlotte
First and Formost, I must object to my esteemed colleague's comments about Seattle. I have recently visited there and it is a wonderful city. That said, here is why Charlotte would be a great place for KD to end up. Not only were the Bobcats the very last team available and I had the very last pick, but also...well, that's pretty much it. But there are some positives. Much like Cleveland and the Browns, it was very impressive the way the community rallied after losing their NBA team to New Orleans and got themselves a new franchise. Obviously, this is a basketball town where KD would be the fledgling team's first superstar. So he'd have that going for him, which is nice. Charlotte is the biggest city in a hoops-crazed state--take a look at Duke, North Carolina, Wake Forest, and NC State if you don't believe me. It would actually be a great place for Durant to flourish, with low expectations and a loving fan base. And I hear the Panther cheerleaders have interesting ideas about what makes for a good night on the town.
May 19, 2007
Contest #8 was won by Jonathan Brater with an entry: "Um, excuse me guys, I think you spelled my name wrong on this thing. "By Default" is not my middle name..."
Kyle Russell hit home run #27 in the top of the first, extending his lead in the NCAA home run chase. Nick Peoples came up huge for the Horns, going 3-4, scoring 2 runs including the eventual game winner.
The win puts Texas one win away from clinching a complete victory in the Lone Star Showdown. Moreover, the Horns have a magic number of 1 to clinch sole ownership of the Big XII regular season championship. A Texas win or a Missouri loss would clinch it. Texas returns to action tonight at 6 PM CST.
Finally, for your weekend viewing pleasure, enjoy the following video. If this doesn't inspire you, you must not have gone to Texas.
My second round choice for Durant was an easy one... at least when you consider the other cities available:
3) Ziggy -- New York Knicks
May 18, 2007
Despite the fact that this would make Bill Simmons--in all his Barnes-bashing sin--a very happy man, I think Boston is the best place for KD to end up (especially since all 3 teams within my driving distance were taken in the first 4 picks). Let's start with reasons to love the city itself.
KD will have the chance to join such historic Boston heroes as Paul Revere, Samuel Adams, Crispus Attucks, and Carl Yastrzemski. Along with delightful clam chowder and lobster, Boston has much to offer to keep KD entertained. Yes, the city is full of history--but despite Kevin's reputation as quite a good student, I somehow doubt his first act upon arriving will be to stroll the Freedom Walk. The main feature of Boston that I am referring to is the fact that there are 50 colleges and universities in the metro area. Durant said repeatedly that leaving UT was a very tough decision for him because he loved college and loved the college lifestyle. Boston is a college town on steroids. Remember, the kid is going to turn 20 during his rookie year. He would love living in such a young city.
Which brings us to basketball (here comes a killer segue!). KD would come in and make an immediate impact on what is a relatively young Celtics team (10 of their 15 players are 25 or younger). More than that, he would have the opportunity to rebuild a once-great team back into a winner; he'll have a chance to "pull a Mack Brown," if you will. When you think of NBA greatness, two franchises come to mind before any others: Lakers and Celtics. For KD to join the tradition of Red Auerbach, Bill Russell, Bob Cousy, John Havlicek, Kevin McHale, Robert Parish, and (my childhood favorite) Larry Bird would be a huge honor. True, their last championship was in 1986. And true, they tore down the Gahden. But the Celtics are an important part of this country's sporting history. And they are in danger of becoming irrelevant in their own city. The Sox are Yankees Lite at this point with the way they buy their way into the postseason every season, and the Patriots have been the most consistent franchise in the NFL for the last few years. New Englanders (New Englishmen?) expect winners, and KD represents the Celtics' best shot at winning them back.
When this pick was made, it seemed like a steal at #6. There once was a time when TJ Ford was the greatest Longhorn to ever wear a basketball uniform. TJ may not be the best shooter in the NBA, but I doubt you can find a quicker player in the league. He has had some injury problems, but the chance to match my two favorite Longhorn basketball players at the next level was too much to pass up. So I took the Bucks with the sixth pick.
Apparently TJ was traded.
There are still a few reasons to like a TJ-less Milwaukee Bucks. First and foremost, the Bucks are one of the few teams in the NBA that would seemingly take Kevin Durant with the first pick. The Bucks already have a franchise center in Andrew Bogut that they took at the top of the 2005 draft. The Bucks have one of the NBA's best guards in Michael Redd, and KD would make one of the East's best offenses even better. The Bucks would seemingly be one of the few teams that wouldn't rely on KD to be their primary scorer right away, lessening his short term stress.
Finally, the Bucks seem to have a history of trading Longhorns to the Raptors, so maybe KD and TJ can be reunited after all. Oh, and happy 24th birthday VY.
May 17, 2007
Kevin Durant has been compared to Kevin Garnett. It's time to shut those critics up. The Timberwolves select Durant so they can trade Garnett because we all know Garnett does not like being upstaged by a rookie. In addition, Minnesota offers the Mall of America, a perfect location for a teenager like Durant.
It is only fitting for Kevin Durant to play in the state where the first intercollegiate basketball game occurred. Furthermore, he has great role models on the team like Ricky Davis and Eddie Griffin to mold him into a Timberwolf.
Having said that, Atlanta is the best place for Durant to end up, hands down. Look at the sports landscape of the city: the Braves success has bred complacency in their fan base. The Thrashers are an up-and-coming success (disclosure - I work for them too), but in a niche sport. The Falcons are led by a quarterback who appears to be engaged in some sort of legal trouble can-you-top-this battle with his brother ("I see your weapons charge and raise you a cruelty-to-animals rap!"). That leaves the Hawks.
KD is a breath of fresh air, a charismatic and enjoyable personality that the city would gravitate towards post-haste. His presence on the Hawks roster would immediately make the franchise the most-talked about in the city, and the fact that he would lead them to the playoffs for the first time in a decade would bring the fans out in droves.
People like to make fun of the Hawks and the amount of fans that come to the games dressed as empty seats, but this city loves basketball. Atlanta typically pulls close to the highest out-of-market ratings in the country for the NBA. They are dying to support a winner. A Durant-to-the-Hawks scenario would be the perfect storm, much like Vick was at the beginning of the decade for the Falcons, only without the herpes. He would rule the city in much the same way he rules Austin, and would instantly make the franchise relevant again, which would be music to David Stern's ears given that the team resides in the country's 9th largest media market.
Then again, maybe getting Durant would be too much for me to take. I nearly shit my pants when the Hawks drafted Royal Ivey for god's sake - drafting Durant might make me catatonic.
May 16, 2007
Remember the Alamo? Of course you do. It's the surprisingly small (I built a bigger one out of sugar cubes in 4th grade) mission in San Antonio where the deep and long-standing relationship between the states of Tennessee and Texas began (and home to the non-existent basement in which Pee Wee's bicycle was rumored to have been held). The Alamo's historic freedom fight was led by a tough and committed contingent of Tennessee volunteers (yep! that's where the nickname comes from). Yes, Texas and Tennessee have, since that time, been inextricably linked. Bosom buddies, if you will. Through the years, the pipeline has been open, with great talents and treasures (remember when I went to Texas?) being shared by the sister states, and the connection has never been stronger.
Tennesseeans have become accustomed to sports greats from the State and The University of Texas. The state's undisputed star of stars is none other than legendary Longhorn quarterback Vince Young. Adding Kevin Durant as the state's biggest basketball star, in the state's biggest city, is the next logical step for everyone. Longhorn fans can see all of their favorites on one glorious roadtrip. VY and KD can gather as often as they want to sing The Eyes of Texas in their super voices, powerful enough to make Chuck Norris run for cover. I can see both of them play. See? It's great for everyone!
Basketball-wise, here's a franchise that has tasted success and yearns for more. After years of cellar-dwelling, the Grizzlies broke through a couple years ago with 50 wins and playoff trips. It can be done... not by Mike and not by Pau, but by KD alone (1-2-3, 1-2-3, 1...2...3...). The Grizzlies have a fantastic arena, great fans that are waiting for a star, and even the freedom to hire a coach to suit a new franchise player. If Kevin Durant could do what he did as a boy in the live music capital, eating Texas barbecue, just imagine Kevin as a man, fueled by Memphis bbq, rockin' the rims in the birthplace of rock and roll. See you in Memphis and, of course... Remember the Forum!
Why Indiana? Two words: Larry. Bird.
Okay, four words: Larry Bird and Reggie Miller.
Shit, that's five, but you get the idea. When thinking about where I want the most talented Texas Longhorn basketball player of all time to wind up, I can't help but reminisce on my two favorite players of my formative basketball years.
If Durant goes to Indiana, he gets hands on Larry Bird guidance. There aren't many non-sleazebags in the NBA who I'd trust not to sully our pristine hero, but Larry Legend's one of 'em.
Meanwhile, the Pacers desperately need a face to their franchise now that Reggie's boring us from the announcers' table, and damnit, I need a reason to like the Pacers again. When Miller finally retired from basketball last season, I realized that I wasn't so much an Indiana Pacers fans so much as I was a Reggie Miller fan.
Without Miller, the Pacers are a mess of a basketball team desperately in need of a big scoring guard in Durant's mold. If Larry Bird gets to draft KD to Indiana, the Pacers get what they need, I get what I need to root for the team again, and Durant lands in a city with fans who will worship him. And appreciate him.
It's hard to even talk about KD as a professional just yet, as I'm just now emerging from the "If I can't have him, nobody can" phase, but I know my road to letting go would be infinitely more bearable if he somehow fell into the Pacers' lap.
Here's to hoping…
May 15, 2007
To complete this project, we held the Kevin Durant NBA Team Mock Draft. 14 lottery teams meant 2 rounds of 7 drafters. We asked seven of the web's biggest Longhorn fans to serve as the drafters. Or, at least, seven of the web's biggest Longhorn fans that also fit the other key criteria: we have their email addresses.
The order was as follows:
1) Ben D. -- Of Manifest Destiny fame
2) Peter -- The king of UT blogs...Burnt Orange Nation
3) Ziggy -- Funniest person in Memphis
4) Micah -- If only the Hawks were as good as their blog.
5) Greg -- No blog, but he is on Facebook...
6) Jeff -- The looks and brains behind 40 Acre Sports
7) Abram -- The beard behind 40 Acre Sports
We, therefore, begin the Kevin Durant Mock Draft...And with the first pick in the Kevin Durant Mock Draft, Ben Dorfman selects NOOCH!
Wow, the first pick in the draft. I'd be more excited if I actually got to stand on stage with david stern wearing a 17 button suit and a NOOCH hat, but this is still pretty good. and for the record, i know that NOOCH is no longer, i just like saying NOOCH. who doesn't like saying NOOCH? NOOCH!
Anyway, being a longhorn fan is serious business. you have to be committed. i'm moving to atlanta in a few weeks, and my new apartment is on durant street. that's no lie, i'm really going to be living on durant street. the kid's got talent, there's no way around it, but is he really worthy of all this love and affection being being bestowed upon him? he had a phenomenal, unprecedented freshman season, he was the anchor of one of the three teams that really put Big 12 basketball on the map this year, and he won so many awards that he's renting space in lebron's house to store them all until he can build a mcmansion of his own. but as far as his longhorn status is concerned, in my opinion, he's no brad buckman. blame the system, though, not the kid. i'd have left school if somebody offered me $500 and a spicy chicken combo at wendy's.
So, i wasn't really sure how to play this one. i debated the "good luck in atlanta, we're all pulling for you!!" route, but it felt a little contrived, and i didn't want to steal micah's thunder. i also debated the "screw you, durant, enjoy your time in portland," but i'm not a vengeful person, and again, you can't blame the kid for taking his game somewhere he can make the money for himself and enjoy life to the fullest. it's that enjoying life to the fullest part that led me to NOOCH. nowhere in the league is there more fun to be had than in new orleans, and with kevin durant leading the way (now that the pain of the baron davis loss is sure to be felt city-wide), he can have fun and be the biggest star on the local hardwood. it could also be nothing but good for the city to have a genuine nice kid to focus on, now that we all know reggie bush is a punk.
May 14, 2007
It's 11:37 PM CST, so this will be brief. But we've just finished watching the Spurs lead Game Four of their series against Phoenix from the middle of the 2nd quarter until the last 2 minutes, and then lose. They led by 5 with under 2 and a half to play, and managed to blow it. This unlikely meltdown can be chalked up to 2 specific failings:
1. The Spurs failed to get themselves open shots in the final moments of the game, instead opting to run the shot clock all the way down and then fling up a wild turnaround jumper. By the time they decided they were actually going to try to score, the Suns were playing adrenaline-laced D and San Antonio couldn't get an open look. Just goes to show: stalling when you've far from wrapped it up will only cause failure. Kind of like the Prevent Defense in football.
2. Steve Nash is an unbelievable passer. The Spurs' D had no idea where the ball was on two crucial behind-the-back passes during the late rally, and Amare Stoudamire ended up with a couple of easy open shots that got the Suns in position to win.
Add in the fact that this game continued the trend of very violent matchups between these two squads, especially with Robert Horry's frustration-inspired linebacker shot on Nash with 20 seconds to go, and you've got yourself easily the most interesting series in these playoffs. At least so far, but we wouldn't be shocked if it was all downhill from here. For our part, we hope it goes 7.
We're a little bit disappointed that it took so long to clinch this year, but the fact remains: the "Lone Star Showdown" is a symbol of inevitability. The University of Texas will occasionally lose to its little stepsister in the occasional single contest. But when taken as a whole, in the combination of all athletic activities in a given school year, aggie simply has no prayer of defeating The University. We have actually often wondered why a&m agreed to this annual confirmation of their inferiority to the Horns in the first place...but now we're certainly glad they did.
As a related side note, in football (obviously the key sport in the rivalry) Texas holds a 73-35-5 record all-time against aggie. Think about that for just a moment. Texas has defeated a&m more than twice the number of times we've lost. The story of Texas versus a&m is one of complete dominance by the Orange and White, and of increasing frustration and jealousy on the part of the farmers. All the Lone Star Showdown does is lend a quantifiable, formulaic brand of proof that this is, and will remain for the foreseeable future, a fact of Texas life.
May 13, 2007
Texas fairly easily took care of UAPB 10-4 on Saturday. The Horns were up 8-0 through 3 innings and cruised after that. Russell Moldenhauer went 3-3 from the plate to lead the Texas offense. James Russell, Adrian Alaniz, Austin Wood, Joseph Krebs and Randy Boone combined to pitch 8 1/3 scoreless innings. The only problem for the Horns was former shortstop Josh Prince giving up 4 earned runs over only 2/3 of an inning. Randy Boone was given the win for pitching a scoreless 9th. Allegedly, Augie decided before the game to give the win to the pitcher who gave up the fewest runs despite Russell making a declared start. Since four pitchers did not give up a run, the Horns drew cards after the game and Boone drew the highest card, giving him the win for the day.
Texas returns to action next weekend against Texas A&M in a series which may have implications far beyond baseball (more on that below). Oklahoma and Missouri split the first two games of their series, giving Texas a magic number of two to clinch the conference outright. Oklahoma State has reentered the picture as well by taking the first two games from Texas Tech. Texas either needs to take 2 of 3 from Texas A&M, have OSU and Mizzou drop 2 of their final 4 games, or a combination of Texas wins and Mizzou/OSU losses. To clinch a share of the title, the magic number is only 1.
Track and Field
Both the women's and men's track and field teams lead Texas A&M through two days. The men are in second place and the women in seventh with many of the running events on the docket for today. As we said earlier, one victory over the Ags would clinch a share of the Lone Star Showdown, two wins would clinch the title outright. We'd really prefer it not all boil down to baseball. Good luck to both teams today.
Finally, a hearty congrats go out to Limas Sweed and Dallas Griffin for being named to the Playboy All-America Team. Limas joins a bevy of former Texas greats, including former offensive stars Roy Williams, Cedric Benson and Ricky Williams. Dallas was named as the Anson Mount Scholar/Athlete, an award which honors "the nation's premier student-athlete in football." Hook 'em and congrats.
We'll be back later today to update the baseball and track and field standings.
May 11, 2007
Enjoy the weekend and Hook 'em Horns.
May 10, 2007
- The World Champions managed to score more than 3 runs for the first time in 10 games on Tuesday, beating the Rockies 4-1. They then matched their best win streak in recent memory at 2 in a row by winning 9-2 on Wednesday. If only the Cards could play the Astros and Rockies exclusively until September, they could be right around .500 when it's all said and/or done.
- Michael Vick has dog fights in his house? WHAT?! The jury has been out on Vick for quite some time, but we are now essentially convinced that the dude is just weird, and that's it.
- Apparently, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. is doing something noteworthy at some point in the future. This is interesting only because it has taken valuable space on sports pages that should be reserved for sports.
- BoSox manager Terry Francona has publicly asked both David Ortiz and Curt Schilling, and by extension the whole team, to shut up in public on the Barry Bonds homerun/steroids/jerk issue. While we generally agree that Bonds is not the type of guy we're going to tell our kids about and get nostalgic one day, we also applaud Francona for telling his players to act like players, not fans. Especially when one of them is factually incorrect in what he's saying.
- If you're not watching Burnt Orange Nation's daily countdown to Texas football season...start now! It'll quickly become one of the best parts of your day. Or the very best, depending on your quality of life at the moment.
Vince Young played well, but not nearly as well as the hype.
That's absolutely insane. VY went 8-5 as a starter on a squad that may have been the worst team in the NFL in September. He set a rookie record for rushing yards and nearly led the Titans to the playoffs. For Pete Prisco to say a guy he thought was "years away" from even playing was anything but brilliant is sheer lunacy.
It's nice to see we're not alone in our belief that Pete Prisco sucks. The good people over at Cold, Hard Football Facts have apparently been mocking Prisco's take on the NFL Draft for years. Their yearly report can be seen here, and they provide the extraordinarily detailed scorecard that we've always wanted to create. CHFF suggests that there are five...deficiencies...in Pete's work:
1) He doesn't write that good (seeing how we don't either, we'll forgive him for that one)
2) He gets simple facts wrong
3) He constantly overrates the Trojans (6 of 8 Trojans drafted in 2006 were the "Best Pick" of their respective teams)
4) He has a limited vocabulary
5) His crystal ball doesn't work so well.
It is also worth mentioning that CHFF predicted a Texas victory before the 2006 Rose Bowl, and called VY's 2006 year the "greatest year ever for a college-to-pro quarterback." Their site is highly recommended for an alternative look at the world of football.
Here's to CHFF! Keep up the great work.
May 9, 2007
Death on wheels indeed
Adrian was then picked up by the AFL's Utah Blaze and eventually traded to your very own Austin Wranglers. On Monday, the Wranglers, apparently unhappy with his 42 TDs to 10 INTs, cut Adrian after he had led the Wranglers to a 3-6 record.
McPherson being cut comes on the heels of former Tulane star Shaun King being cut by the Las Vegas Gladiators after a 1-5 start. The AFL is clearly a 'win-now' kind of league. As a final note, the Wranglers have signed former Texas great Chance Mock as the backup quarterback. Ah, the circle of life.
Classic. Special appreciation as well to Jonny Orlansky and Benjamin Orlansky for stellar efforts. For Contest #8 (through Sunday), give us your thoughts on Jason White looking as puzzled as anyone else about winning college football's "most prestigious" trophy before getting walloped by LSU for the National Championship:
Caption Contest Standings:
Ben Dorfman -- 2
Jonathan Brater -- 1
Scott Price -- 1
Greg Kelminson -- 1
Benjamin Orlansky --1
Jonny Orlansky -- 1
May 8, 2007
"He has done a great job. I have heard a lot of great things about coach and you could see his impact immediately with the recruiting and the players he was bringing in and with his coaching staff and what they have been able to accomplish. A National Championship. All of the reasons why he was brought here and he has delivered. It's special and a good place."
Awesome, only 115 days until football starts again!
Smith-Wills Stadium in Jackson will host the SWAC Tournament. We grew up watching the Jackson Mets and Jackson Generals in Double-A ball in this ballpark. We never caught a single foul ball.
Here's hoping that Augie uses the opportunity to give each weekend starter 3 innings of work. UAPB will probably throw their ace and go all out to get the win against a top-10 team, so don't be too surprised if the game is closer than your sensibilities say it should be.
This, by the way, is another reason to love college baseball. Texas didn't even have a team to play against on Saturday until 6 days in advance! It's a kind of laid-back, very local-sports feel that makes the game unique and a lot of fun.
There is no question that La Russa exercised poor judgment and made a huge mistake with his actions in Florida. However, the idea of publicly laying blame on a man for the death of another person--especially one whom La Russa cared a lot about--is beyond Bayless's normal buffoonery. That crosses the line into the realm of irresponsible. Most people in the media understand the power of their words, but Skip has proven here that he is incapable of distinguishing between thought-provoking commentary and abandoning human decency.
Cold Pizza with NEW HAT!
Other than moving the HQ to Bristol, it's unclear how the new changes will destroy our morning routine. You shouldn't worry, however, because Skip Bayless will still be featured in his "1st and 10" segment. If giving Skip a snazzy new set doesn't dramatically improve ratings then we don't know what will.
May 7, 2007
We're coming closer and closer to my dream of Clemens' Hall of Fame plaque featuring a cap with a dollar sign on it.
For starters, having attended the University of Texas, we can't help but giggle a little when both Dallas and Houston entered the postseason with high expectations and both flamed out in the first round. Don't get us wrong, we feel for our friends who are from those two cities; we just have a funny way of showing it. The Mavs lost in spectacular fashion--arguably the most disappointing disappointment in the history of the playoffs. And the Rockets, well...they couldn't overcome the presence of Tracy McGrady. And now Jeff Van Gundy can't take it anymore.
Elsewhere in the Association, the Spurs continued to work their magic on the Suns in Game One. Every year, you look up in May and there's San Antonio. As a side note, the fact that this series is happening in the second round is a travesty. Grand Sultan David Stern needs to revisit the seeding system.
The Bulls-Pistons series is reminiscent of some of the great playoff matcups of our youth, with Isaiah's Pistons and Michael's Bulls duking it out frequently. This series lacks that level of star power, but both squads are fun to watch, and the Ben Wallace link between them makes for an intriguing back-story. Detroit leads 1-0, and if they go up 2-0 it may be insurmountable for Chicago.
The Cleveland-New jersey series has LeBron James. Which, for casual fans like us, is enough.
Finally, way out west, the Warriors will try to continue their unlikely playoff run against the Jazz in Game One tonight. These guys are easily the best story in the '07 playoffs thus far. Experience tells us that it's hard to keep a full head of steam after pulling off a huge upset. But then again, we saw the Fiesta Bowl. Which is to say, anything's possible.
So the NBA Playoffs are entertaining. But we still won't budge on NASCAR.
There is also a heavy, unproven suspicion of serious steroid abuse by Bonds over the last decade or so. We believe that Bonds probably knowingly used steroids, but we admit that there is no direct proof at present. Aside from an admission from Bonds, it seems unlikely that direct proof of steroid abuse will be possible.
A recently released ABC News poll concluded that a majority of Americans don't want Barry Bonds to break the home run record. That doesn't surprise us in the least. The poll revealed that 52% of people identifying themselves as "baseball fans" are cheering against Bonds. Moreover, only 37% of baseball fans are cheering for Bonds to succeed.
The poll also examines the role of race on the Barry Bonds issue. According to the poll, 39% of white people and 26% of black people identify themselves as baseball fans.
Which brings us to Jayson Stark. We generally like reading Jayson Stark, but his recent piece attempting to dissect the meaning of this poll was lacking to say the least.
Stark starts off saying that "until now, we haven't spent much time talking about the racial issues that hover over this man and this event. But this poll tells us we need to do more of that, too." He asks "would you have known, from the way this issue has been portrayed by all of us in the media biz, that the percentage of fans who wish this moment wasn't happening would be only 52 percent? Would you have guessed that three fans out of every eight actually want Barry Bonds to break this record?"
On the racial issue, Stark writes that "nearly half of all black fans think Bonds has been given a raw deal. And a quarter of those fans think that raw deal is all about race -- not steroids or anything else."
The career home run record is arguably the biggest record in all of sports. Jayson Stark is questioning the media's portrayal of America being firmly anti-Bonds. Of course, Jayson doesn't mention that Hank Aaron had 77% of Americans cheering for him to break Babe Ruth's record in 1974. Is it not a pretty big story that 40% fewer Americans are cheering for Bonds to break the home run record than Aaron? Are a majority of Americans not openly rooting against this record to be broken whereas 30 years ago only a quarter of Americans opposed it?
Jayson mentions that many fans think Bonds has been treated unfairly, but he fails to mention that overall only 10% attribute this to race. While a quarter of black baseball fans who think Bonds has been treated unfairly believe it is because of race, 62% believe it is either because of the steroids or because Barry is a jerk. Overall, fans who don't believe Bonds took steroids are three times more likely to believe he has been treated unfairly, a figure which makes a lot of sense. If somehow it is proven that Bonds didn't take steroids, we would agree that he has probably been treated unfairly. It is no surprise that those who don't think he took steroids today feel like he is getting a raw deal.
Finally, there is the issue of the media's portrayal. Stark argues that ONLY 52% of America is openly against Bonds, and about 35% WANT Bonds to break the record. Is the media really portraying America v. Bonds inaccurately? Attaching no political subtext, we point to an April 22nd Pew poll relating to President Bush's approval rating. This poll suggests that Bush and Bonds share roughly the same approval ratings.
According to the Pew poll, 35% of Americans approve of the President and 57% of Americans disapprove of his job performance. Should the media focus on the fact that President Bush has a core group of supporters or that his disapproval rating is nearing dangerous levels? Should the media be portraying Americans as "conflicted" in their support for Bush? Would it be accurate to say that only 57% of Americans think Bush isn't doing a great job and almost two-fifths think the Prez is doing a good job? Is suggesting that at present most Americans disapprove of both Bonds and Bush an example of misreading the mood of the nation on this? We wouldn't argue that America is conflicted on either Bonds or Bush (again, no political agenda here, just using similar poll numbers).
Stark concludes that "we have a greater feel now for all of the powerful elements that will collide when that historic baseball takes its fateful ride through the sky. And they won't be colliding quite the way most of us suspected before these poll results knocked on the door to our brains." If that isn't a load of crap, we don't know what is. But, hey, only 94% of Americans believe we landed on the Moon. If we ever do land on the moon for real, knowing that 6% of Americans never believed the lies should give us a better feel for all of the powerful elements that will collide.
May 6, 2007
Offensively, Nick Peoples struggled from the leadoff spot, going a combined 1-11 over the weekend. Both Russell and Danks had nice weekends until they got hurt. Texas pounded out 35 hits but were only able to score 15 runs.
The starting pitching was very solid for Texas, but Joseph Krebs had a miserable weekend. Krebs pitched only 1 1/3 innings but gave up 6 runs (5 earned) on 6 hits. The three starters combined for 21 1/3 innings and gave up only 5 runs.
We might question some of Augie's moves this weekend, but we've learned through experience that it is unwise to question college baseball's all-time win leader. After the game, Augie told the media "We're going to win the championship. We're the best team, and we're going to win it." Augie rocks.
Texas returns to action this Saturday night versus TBA. We expect to see Tobias Fünke on the mound for the Horns.
Caption Contest Standings:
Jonathan Brater -- 1
Scott Price -- 1
Ben Dorfman -- 1
Greg Kelminson -- 1
Benjamin Orlansky -- 1
Jonny Orlansky -- 1
May 4, 2007
Texas fell to Missouri 7-6 in 11 innings. Clay Van Hook was thrown out trying to score on a Jordan Danks single in the 11th, ending the game. We did not see the game but it seems to be a general rule that one should not end a game like that. We won't try to predict how the remainder of the series will go, let's just hope the baseball gods ease up on us the rest of the weekend. It is interesting to note, however, that Adrian Alaniz hasn't thrown a no-hitter in over two years.
How good is this Texas team? Since losing its first two series, Texas has taken eleven straight. Offensively, Texas is batting .317 as a team, good for the fifth best all-time team record. Texas needs only 13 more home runs in order to set a new team record in that category. Whether this regular season success will translate into Omaha success remains to be seen.
As for this weekend's pitching, James Russell has not picked up a win the last two weekends. Adrian Alaniz has been fantastic the last three starts, and Joseph Krebs has put together a string of solid starts to go along with several innings of strong relief last weekend. On Sunday, Texas will either start Krebs or Austin Wood (6 IP, 3 H, 0 ER last Sunday) hoping to give the Horns their fifth straight Sunday victory.
Last weekend, the Horns picked up increasing contributions with the bat from freshman Russell Moldenhauer (2 HR, 5 RBI) and senior Chais Fuller (5-9, 2 BB). Texas will need Jordan Danks to bust out of his slump and it has been a little too long since Kyle Russell's last home run.
PROBABLE PITCHING MATCHUPS
May 4, 2007
Texas: LHP James Russell (8-3, 3.65 ERA)
Missouri: RHP Aaron Crow (4-2, 2.55 ERA
May 5, 2007
Texas: RHP Adrian Alaniz (10-2, 2.54 ERA)
Missouri: LHP Rick Zagone (6-0, 3.92 ERA)
May 6, 2007
Texas: LHP Joseph Krebs (6-0, 2.45 ERA) or LHP Austin Wood (6-1, 3.39 ERA)
Missouri: RHP Ian Berger (3-1, 3.77 ERA)
May 3, 2007
Given these revalations, expect to see dominant pitching performances from the Aggies when they face the Horns in two weeks.
It's unclear how the change will affect the game, aside from lowering three point shooting throughout college basketball. We see the change as a good thing in that it will hopefully convince Connor Atchley to shoot less. You can read the ESPN.com article here including positive spin from Billy Donovan and Texas A&M sharpshooter Josh Carter. Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl was less enthusiastic, suggesting that "if it's not broke, don't fix it."
- As some of you may have known, this half of "us" has been in Israel for the past week or so. The Other Half (insert married couple joke here) performed ably despite a very busy schedule, as anyone who knows him should of course have expected. It's nice to be home.
- While in the Holy Land, we couldn't help but hear about the tragic and untimely passing of Josh Hancock. In the shadow of the Virginia Tech shootings, it seems a bit crass to make a much bigger deal out of this tragedy over that just because we like the team he pitches for. Still, Josh was a Mississippi boy--we even have a mutual friend--and a member of the Cardinal family, and he will be sorely missed. The Birds' losing streak does not appear to be such a big issue in the wake of his passing.
- We had the opportunity to visit the offices of Maccabi Tel Aviv, Israel's preeminent pro basketball powerhouse. They have a list of the years Maccabi has won the Israeli championship and the Euroleague championship on a big board in there. Since 1950--the first year of the Israeli league's existence--Maccabi has failed to win the championship of Israel only 6 times. When you get past the fact that it's really just a bunch of American guys who couldn't cut it in the NBA, it's pretty amazing.
- The NBA playoffs have been very entertaining so far. For (over-) informed commentary, refer to frequent commenter Benji Orlansky.
- And finally, a quick on-the-field thought on America's Game. Barry Bonds gets closer and closer to Hank Aaron's record each week, and our stomachs get more and more nauseated. Even if the steroids thing wasn't an issue--and it is--this is about the least likable baseball star since Ty Cobb. Athletes may not owe it to us to be nice guys; but we certainly don't owe it to them to cheer for them if they're jerks. Along those lines, the most interesting idea we've read on the topic was offered by Rumors and Rants. You can read the full piece here, but the most important point is that if/when Bonds breaks the HR record, baseball may find a new savior in...Alex Rodriguez. For the time being, however, we'll stick to anti-Bonds voodoo.
May 2, 2007
May 1, 2007
Damned Scots! They ruined Scotland!
On the NBA front...
Big shot Bob is just that, the Wizards were easy targets without Agent Zero, the Raptors aren't relying on TJ enough, D-Wade is a pansy, Kobe clearly isn't taking enough shots, Rockets fans would probably trade it all for VY, apparently German people have no heart, and we've already met our quota for Detroit reference in a post so there's no need for another.
On the Horns front...
Austin Wood was named Big XII pitcher of the week after picking up victories on Tuesday and Sunday. Additionally, since moving to the lead off spot, Jordan Danks has been struggling, to the point where he was moved to the 7th spot on Sunday. Finally, 40 Acre Sports will be beginning to scout out the Texas Longhorn football schedule. Over the next few weeks we hope to bring you detailed analysis and information on the 2007 football season to the point where the season is so boring and predictable for our readers that they may prefer not to watch the games.