Saturday, July 26, 2008

Festive Atmosphere in Vegas....Cotto Margarito Live Blog

Three fights in the books already....they've sung the Mexican national anthem, the Puerto Rican national anthem, the US national anthem and the fighters are making their way to the ring. We think it will be a good one.

Antonio Margarito is in the ring, Miguel Cotto is about to join him. This is the biggest fight in a long time. Let's enjoy it.

ROUND ONE: There was a lot more action the second half of the round. Cotto strung together some combos midway through the round, but I thought Margarito landed some good punches in the final minute. It was a close round. I'll score it to Cotto.

ROUND TWO: A highly entertaining round. Cotto seemed in control early, making Margarito miss. But the punching machine started connecting more and more as the round wore on and he caught Cotto on the ropes. A flurry at the end from Cotto wasn't enough to steal the round.

ROUND THREE: Cotto did more punching when he was on the ropes that round. But Margarito still only knows one speed. Full speed ahead. It was a close round, but I'll take Cotto.

ROUND FOUR: It had more of a feeling of the first minute of the first round. But when Cotto stood in front of Margarito, the Mexican connected. There was less activity this round, but Margarito controlled it.

ROUND FIVE: Harold Lederman disagreed with my round four scoring. But I still see Margarito landing more punches. Although Cotto just stung him wih a short left there. Cotto is definitely moving more the last two rounds and that makes the fight more to his liking. Some good action near the end, I'll score the fifth in favor of Cotto.

ROUND SIX: Cotto might have a slight cut over his left eye. But its not bleeding much, if at all, but they worked on it in the corner between rounds. Cotto is getting more and more control of this fight, as the rounds wear on. And even though Margarito continues to go forward, Cotto is too good defensively, and counters well, and is strong enough to punch out of any little bit of trouble he gets himself into. Still this has gotten a little better for Margarito over the last few moments. For me that round was very close and the crowd shows its appreciation. I think it has to go to Margarito.

ROUND SEVEN: I've got it even halfway through. Lederman on the broadcast has Cotto up 4-2 in rounds. Its very close, but all of a sudden Margarito seems to be landing more and more punches. And connects with a combo there and has Cotto on the move a little bit. Cotto might even be a bit hurt at the moment. Although now he punches back. Cotto needs to move more. Some big punches from Margarito. The Mexican's best round of the fight. Clearly his.

ROUND EIGHT: Let's see how Cotto responds. He trails on my card and it has to be close everywhere. He is definitely moving more in the first thirty seconds. Trying to slow Margarito down. Mexico chants ring out. The crowd sensing the control for Margarito. Still Cotto is being more sucessful with his plan this round. A flurry from Margarito near the end though. The first batch was well defended. But he landed some big ones later, although Cotto countered as well. It was a closer round than some might have thought. As Cotto is more accurate with his punches. I'm going to give it to Cotto.

ROUND NINE: Lederman and I now agree its even through eight. But Lederman gave Margarito the last. He is still coming forward. And bothering Cotto. Still Cotto counters back, and he is moving more. Although at times it is in reverse. Now the Puerto Rico chants come. Cotto ducked several punches and then countered back. Cotto is doing more punching off the ropes than we've seen in a while. There were some clean counters there for Cotto. I'm going to give him the round as a result, in what seemed like a pretty even round.

ROUND TEN: Not sure if Margarito is tiring, but he doesn't seem as busy. He still comes forward. But not quite with the same vigor. Plus Cotto has hit him hard while coming forward a few times, so he might just be more leery at the moment. It appears Cotto has fought this whole fight on his heels. But at the same time, it seems as if the has some sort of control on it. Its odd. Margarito might have won the round without it, but a big combination along the ropes at the end, left no doubt.

ROUND ELEVEN: Margarito starts 11 where he finished 10, with Cotto backed up taking punches and Cotto has now taken a knee and is badly bloodied. Margarito may have just won this fight with this flurry. The blood seems to really bothering Cotto and he is down again. And it has been stopped. Margarito is the winner. I think Cotto's corner called it off.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Other Side of the Pillow

A few thoughts I was thinking about when I was tossing and turning last night.....

....why I gave up the tickets to see the Orioles and Blue Jays today. Turns out, I could have seen two. Or at least one and a half.

....if the FanBlog had SI Cover like powers. Josh Vittek went 0-for-4 with 3 K's last night. Of course, he did call the shutout for the Royals from behind the plate.

....if this would be the year, where the Mount actually won a first round NCAA tournament game (ok maybe that was after I fell asleep). But the reports continue to be good. Apparently the returning group is working very hard, and there could be a budding superstar or two in the mix. The Mount seemed to have a very solid eight man rotation at the end of the season last year, and they really only lose one from that. Both freshman are expected to be ready, and there might be another player or two ready to go this fall.

....if what we're hearing about Brandon Gilbeaux is really true? Obviously, the returning starting Defensive End is off the team at Syracuse right now. We had heard he might be able to return. Now we're hearing, he's at least checking his options out at Delaware State. I was hoping he'd be back on the hill at some point. But the word makes it seem like less than a coin flips chance of that happening at the moment.

....if I utilize TiVo properly. How many college football games can I watch this year? I went with 105 before the postseason. They might be stretching it.

....if NBC really had a plan for the online content of its Olympic Coverage. Less than 2 weeks away from the first competition, and the plan has still not been publically released. We're all for cutting it close, but with this size of undertaking, we now have our doubts to how smoothly the whole process will be.

....if the Astros gained any ground since the acquisition of Randy Wolf?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

If we're good for one thing.....

it's pictures of hot tennis players. Since Ashley
Harkleroad (is that her name) decided to bare all in Playboy and Jelena Jankovic (I spelled it right) was on the cover of FHM - there have been a lot of google searches recently looking for hot tennis players. Of course, we here at the fan know all about that.

But it struck as pretty cool that one
blogger thought he knew which 10 tennis players should follow Harkleroad's lead and show nothing but a net cord. And of course, as we always do, we had to disagree. I mean seriously what list is complete without Tamira Paszek and a historical shot of Sandrine Testud. That is them, pictured above. There is some comedic value to Testud, but you'll just have to trust me.

Of course since Greg Norman and Chris Evert are back in the news. Couldn't we stand a pictorial of Chrissy as well?

Morning Cup of Coffee

....Waking up this morning, trying to determine why the Astros traded for Randy Wolf? I mean seriously, is Randy Wolf going to lead the 'Stros back from 12 games back in the NL Central passing four teams in the meantime. And the outlook isn't that much better in the wild card. They need to pass seven teams in that race coming from 11 back. No doubt Houston's pitching stinks, but Randy Wolf is far from a difference maker. Silly.

....Greg Norman is trying to decide whether he wants to play the PGA or not. I guess his legacy can't afford another collapse.

....The Diamondbacks picked up Jon Rauch from the Nats. Is he going to be their closer? That wouldn't really make them much better than Brandon Lyon would it?

....Is this bursar sac thing really a big deal with Peyton? I mean I know the guy doesn't need anything hurting his mobility. But here's a thought, maybe the Colts could trade for Favre as an insurance policy. Has anybody thought of that?

....The summer prospectus is up on the Mount Athletics site on the men's basketball team. We're a little less than four months away from the opener versus Loyola. That will be a good one to start against. Lots of intensity and an inexperienced Hounds team. Wonder if Patsos, and his new contract extension, will talk about ending the series after we beat them? (again).

....Think Josh Vittek might have been trying to tell the O's they should have drafted him? He went 8-for-13 with a pair of homers and four rbis in the three game series. He also belted two doubles against the Oriole Rookie League team. He's raised his professional average to .300. The Mount St. Mary's project grew up in Maryland and had to have been somewhat disappointed when the Orioles didn't select him.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Catching Up

It's been almost a week since I posted anything, so some news and notes since then.

...Just how good is Matt Wieters? We might not know for a long time. But we're starting to think the answer is probably real good. Baseball America agrees. In their midseason update to their top 100 prospects list (they only list 25 at midseason), Wieters is the top rated position player, number three overall. He's currently at AA-Bowie. With most of his at bats coming at High A-Frederick this year, he's hitting .345 with 18 homers. His OPS is 1.013. And even though most of that did come in Frederick, his production hasn't really dropped at Bowie in 75 AB. He's hitting .347 there with a .977 OPS. Originally, I thought the earliest we'd see him in an Orioles uniform was sometime after opening day next year. I'm starting to reconsider. Although the economics of the game, still may lead to that.

...The over/under on Syracuse wins for the season 2.5. Real tough to recommend the over. Especially if the Orange is truly 12 points worse than season opener Northwestern, as the line suggests. If that is the case, the under is the safe bet. But in July, we're supposed to be optimistic. So I'm trying to remain that way.

...Adam Loewen might have picked the best option in his injury recovery. He's going to play the outfield/first base for the Oriole minor league teams and see if he can't continue a major league career that way. Truly that might be the best opportunity for him. But...we really think we saw his final major league action, when he had to leave July 6th's game with the Rangers with that recurring arm injury. It's a shame. But we wish him luck.

...Josh Vittek had a real good week. Given a chance to play a little bit for Burlington in the Rookie League, he delivered. He was 6-for-19 with 3 homers, including an extra inning game winner. He also drove in five runs during the week. Vittek, the Mount product, had not been seeing a lot of playing time in recent weeks, but got five starts this week including four as a catcher. He produced a real good week for the struggling Royals.


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Watch at your own peril

The All-star game was a little boring....and then I found this. Apparently, Chris Snyder will return from his fractured testicle and begin wearing this thing.

All Star Game watching

I know my wife isn't going to let me watch this whole thing. I'm sure she's going to make me watch Big Brother 10. But sitting through a night of Tim McCarver might be too much anyhow.

A nice pregame ceremony but not sure Joe Buck was the best voice for it. Still it was nice to see all those legends together. And I guess baseball didn't even have a Pete Rose controversy, but the all-time hits leader isn't in the Hall of Fame. Problem solved.

8:48: Well we are now underway and Cliff Lee has struck out Hanley Ramirez. The Marlin shortstop was swinging for the Downs.

8:52: Lee has worked his way through the first inning. He added another strikeout of Utley. Now the AL gets its chance. I really think the American League is going to win tonight.

8:54: A good start for Ben Sheets as well. He got Ichiro to sky out. Derek Jeter is now up. I have to agree he's the most overrated player in the game right now. Don't get me wrong he's good, but he gets a lot of hits like that. I mean Utley could have maybe even should have made the play.

8:58: Sheets gets Hamilton and Rodriguez to finish the inning. Then they just showed that ballgirl video as part of the commercials. I guess Gatorade determined it wasn't such a bad spot after all.

9:03: Here's my wife to watch Big Brother. Chipper smacks a single to center.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

A Michigan take on the Rodriguez settlement

I got a note from a West Virginia fan earlier today. He wanted me to read the column in the Detroit Free Press about the former West Virginia head coach Rich Rodriguez. The same Rodriguez who led the Mountaineers to back to back Big East titles and was cheered mightily by the WVU faithful. And yet the same Rodriguez who left Morgantown for the greener pastures of Ann Arbor, and is now the most hated football coach in WVU. Mountaineer fans will tell you it wasn't about Rodriguez leaving, it was about how he left. And well, while the end was ugly, the truth is they wouldn't like him no matter how the end came to be. The fact is because it was so ugly, they dislike him a little bit more right now.

I'm not trying to defend Rodriguez. There is no doubt he's a great football coach. But he seems to lack a little in the character department. And the fact that he thought he get everyone to see it his way, when arguing that he shouldn't have to pay the $4 million buyout clause, is fairly laughable.

But fans must remember that coaches should look for "better" opportunities. Because fans are always looking for "better" coaches. That makes it difficult for coaches, makes their desire to look for other jobs more reasonable. RichRod (as he's now known in Michigan - the rest of the internet community uses an appropriate nickname for RichardRod) wasn't reasonable in expecting to not have to pay WVU the money he owed them. However, short of a lifetime contract, he was reasonable to wish to leave.

That is something we as fans have to realize and accept. Simply that if we want to able to call for coaches heads - and put them in a non-stable environment, we have to understand that when they move on its that environment that led to some of it. We can't want coaches fired after they goto bowl games, if we don't expect they will leave for "better" opportunities after striking gold.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Watching Baseball

Some random thoughts as I'm watching games on this Wednesday night.

I know that Howie Kendrick has been hurt, but I never would have thought that he wouldn't have a homer by this point of the season.

Why can't a game be stopped in the middle of the inning for rain? It's raining as hard as it can possibly rain, or so it seems in New York and they aren't stopping the Mets and Giants game. They stopped the game after the third out and the game is in a rain delay now.

In case anyone was wondering, the Kansas City Royals are in fourth place in the AL Central. They are two games ahead of Cleveland in the Central. And the Indians are sellers. Maybe just maybe, I'll win that double cheeseburger.

Josh Vittek hasn't played at Burlington in about a week. He's not in the lineup again tonight. I don't know if that is because of an injury to Vittek or because the Royals recently sent David Wood down to Burlington. Wood had started the year with Wilmington, but was struggling in Delaware and has been sent back to Rookie ball. Vittek not playing has coincided with Wood's arrival, but I'm not sure if there is more to it or not.

Another Mountie Michael Gioioso has had some injury problems but is trying to get back in shape in the Gulf Coast League with the Orioles. He's 0-for-10 thus far.

Keep an eye of Chris Salberg in the Orioles chain. Salberg was a 22nd round draft pick out of Florida Atlantic in 2006. He did not pitch in the minors in '06, and he made just one start in 2007 and was hit hard in 2/3 of an inning at Aberdeen. But the lefthander is 2-2 with a 2.10 ERA in 6 starts (4 at Aberdeen, 2 at Delmarva) this year. He's in line to get his third win with the Ironbirds tonight, as he went five innings and left with an 8-2 lead.

The White Sox seem like a team that could totally tank to me. I just don't totally believe in everything they have going on. I know that Paul Konerko could get hot for them. They certainly haven't gotten the best from him. But I'm just not sure I expect guys like Carlos Quentin, Nick Swisher, AJ Pierzynski and Alexei Ramirez to continue to perform at this level. I expect either Minnesota or even Detroit to win that division.

Brandon Snyder's hot streak continues again for Frederick. Hitting .366 in his last 10 games, Snyder has homered again tonight. Jake Arrieta threw seven strong one-hit innings and the Keys hold a 3-2 lead late.

Scary thought that Esteban Yan is starting for the Norfolk Tides tonight. Jeff Fiorentino has two hits tonight - and you've got to think he's in a position to battle for an outfield job with the Orioles next year with Jay Payton unlikely to return.

A couple of real good pitching performances have my eye tonight. Carlos Zambrano has looked unhittable the last few innings versus the Reds, retiring 12 in a row. Meanwhile, in Texas Jared Weaver is shutting down a good Ranger lineup. Although it did take a lineout double play to end the first inning and preserve Weaver's shutout early.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Too Many Crooked Numbers

I was one of the 22,276 fans at Oriole Park yesterday. I stayed until the bitter end. Actually, I stayed a lot longer than that. It was Kids Run the Bases Day and my daughter wasn't leaving til she touched home plate. Unfortunately, she didn't carry the tying run.

I've watched a lot of Orioles games this year. Yesterday was the first time, I got that disgusted feeling. The feeling that this team didn't have a chance. Six pitchers, most of which couldn't throw strikes. Errors in the field (of both the physical and mental variety). Stranded base runners. It just didn't seem like a very good effort.

And there I was with two outs in the ninth. Standing and clapping. Urging those that had stayed to do the same, because these guys deserved it. Down 11-5 in the eighth, they could have packed it in early and gotten an early start on the day off. But they didn't. They rallied. And they nearly came all the way back. There is no quit in this team. Even on a day when they didn't seem to have all the good qualities that have kept them over .500 into July, they didn't quit. You've got to give them credit for that.

A couple of other thoughts though....

Brian Roberts deserves to be on the All-Star team. But I don't think it happens. I doubt he finishes second in this voting. But help him out.

The bullpen which has been phenomenal all season, seems a bit creaky right now. Still I think the Birds have to show confidence in Lance Cormier and Fernando Cabrera right now. They've pitched well in the innings they've thrown. Now we need to see if they can step it up in Matt Albers absence.

There is no one on the horizon to help the starters. The only "prospect" who appears close to ready to at least throw in the major leagues is Hayden Penn. And he's having trouble getting guys out in AAA. All of this could lead to a very scary second half. Anybody have Victor Zambrano's number?

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Feeling for Tara

Until the other night, I had never heard of Tara Kirk. In fact, the next morning, I still didn't know her name. Rather she was just the US swimmer who missed the Olympic Swimmer by .01 (that's one one-hundreth of a second) in the 100 meter breaststroke. There are 246,149,280,000 hundreths of a second in the average lifetime. Because of one of those Kirk isn't going to the Olympics. Unless of course she can qualify in the 200-meter breaststroke, which Kirk has admitted isn't her strongest of events. The Trials can be so cruel, read Pat Forde's take on or take Kirk's word for it. She had the courage to write about it here.

Wow, that is some powerful stuff. We can't begin to understand the hurt she is feeling. But we can try to understand just how cruel these trials are.

Our hope in all of this is that Kirk finds the strength to rebound in the 200 - and then somehow ends up in the Games.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

NBC to release Olympic Schedule soon

Five weeks from today the competition at the Beijing Olympics will have begun. Ladies soccer gets underway with six games on this day. So I exchanged emails with NBC Universal's Adam Freifeld today about the upcoming coverage.

Freifeld told me via email that the schedule is to be released in the next couple of days. For me that means the schedule will be released tomorrow, Thursday. Because last week, I heard that the schedule would be released this week. With that said, I don't think they'll release it on the Holiday on Friday, so I think we see it tomorrow. But it could have been delayed and we won't see it until next week.

Also contained within Freifeld's email was the information that some of the content available live on the internet will be the same content on NBC's cable coverage (USA, MSNBC, CNBC). He said that soccer would be one of the sports available for live viewing on the internet. I would expect that most of the other team sports, volleyball, basketball, baseball, field hockey, handball, softball would also be available live online. But again that is my speculation. We will find out more in the upcoming days. Freifeld did note that the online information would be released the same time the broadcast schedule is released.

One other media note.....Syracuse and Northwestern announced today that their season opening game will begin at noon on that Saturday and be broadcast on either ESPN or ESPN2. This concurs with our speculation the other week that the game would be on ESPN2. We're still banking on ESPN2 - and hoping for no Pam Ward - as East Carolina announced that its opener with Virginia Tech would be broadcast on ESPN at Noon. Of course, we wouldn't put it past the Pirate athletic department to have been confused during a conversation with someone.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Tuesday Thoughts

Brandon Fahey still looks like a kid. No matter how many times he's been up and down. He still looks like he's 12. But he just had an RBI double into the corner to give the Birds a 2-1 lead in the second.

A great 800 meter men's final at the Olympic Trials last night. I haven't seen a closing finish like that since Big Brown. And the battle to get the third and final slot on the team was truly thrilling.

Tonight there is more from Omaha. Michael Phelps highlights the night. Natalie Coughlin also goes in the 100 meter backstroke hoping to hold onto her spot. She set a new world record in the prelims.

Haven't commented on the Orange losing Brandon Gilbeaux yet to academics. Gilbeaux is the second returnee who won't return this fall. He's also the second academic casualty of Greg Robinson. He's another Robinson recruit who played early and hasn't made the grade. These type of grade issues happen everywhere, but they are easier to swallow when the wins are more plentiful.

A little bit more high tech from NBC tonight (coverage is actually on USA) but they've come back with the world record time line in the pool and the swimmers names in each lane. Phelps has won the 200m freestyle securing another spot on the team.

Lou Montanez is starting to look like one of those guys who might be a late bloomer. He was drafted in the top ten a long time ago by the Chicago Cubs as an infielder. Now as a 27-year old outfielder he's tearing up the AA-Eastern League. He's hit another homer at Harrisburg tonight, his 17th on the season. Nolan Reimold, the more thought of prospect has hit a pair of homers as the BaySox lead 7-0. Matt Wieters is 1-for-2 with a double tonight. The Orioles continue to look strong at the lower levels. Brad Bergesen continues to get it done after starting the year at Adv-A Frederick. Making his 13th start with Bowie, Bergesen has allowed just one run through six innings while striking out seven, as the Senators have pulled within 7-1.

But back to Montanez, I'm in favor of giving the guy a chance to earn the fourth outfielder job next year. I think that means you've got to give him an extended look at the end of this season. And then maybe he becomes a fourth outfielder/designated hitter for them in the future. It's almost starting to look like the Orioles have too many outfielders going forward as Nick Markakis and Adam Jones appear fixtures for awhile. Then when you consider the development of Luke Scott and the potential of some others like Montanez and Reimold and don't forget the Orioles reacquired Jeff Fiorentino. Then at the lower levels you've got Brandon Tripp, Joe Nowicki, Matt Angle and all the young draft picks and it's almost a situation where the Orioles have some young depth in the outfield.

I've been excited about the young pitching for awhile and now some of those young outfielders are starting to make me feel better. Obviously, not all of them will become major leaguers. But the philosophy has been developing organizational depth. And I'm really starting to like the possibilities of the outfield.

Lemonade Recognition

WHTM-TV featured my daughter and her friend's lemonade stand on their newscast last night, as part of their hometown heroes segment. I thought some of you might be interested in seeeing how they covered the event
Stop by for a cold glass of lemonade on Friday or Saturday.