Friday, October 14, 2005

BRITISH HEAVYWEIGHT SKELETON TO COUNTER IRISHMAN KEVIN MCBRIDE

With an ambition to win a major version of the world title Matt Skelton will fight Irishman Kevin McBride in London on 10 December. If Matt wins this fight it could open up big opportunities for him. McBride ended the career of Mike Tyson in June and if Skelton defeats McBride, his preferred fight would be against America's WBO champion Lamon Brewster. Former martial arts fighter Skelton, who is also a winner of all of his 17 paid fights since he was introduced to boxing, was due to defend against former champion Williams in Bolton on July 16. The only reason why Skelton prefers to fight McBride instead of Williams is that the winner of the Skelton & McBride fight will be given a shot at either Ruiz or Brewster Danny Williams and Skelton can’t be blamed for looking for a more meaningful option after the fiasco of the first scheduled fight.

PERLOZZO: THE NEW TAG: MANAGER OF THE BALTIMORE ORIOLES

Finally the pro tem tag is gone! Perlozzo signed a three-year contract with the Orioles. His long-awaited administrative shot came under less than idyllic conditions. Perlozzo, 54, had spent 19 seasons as a major league coach before being tabbed to replace Mazzilli, who was fired on August 4. Perlozzo inherited a club which had lost eight straight games and 16 of 18 after leading the American League East Division for more than two months. It is going to be worth noticing how he will guide a team trying to end a run of eight straight losing seasons. The 54-year-old Perlozzo anticipated to get the job two years ago, but the Orioles preferred to hire Mazzilli. Perlozzo got his first managerial job with Little Falls, the New York Mets' affiliate in the New York-Penn League in 1982. Prior to that he had a nine-year career as a player that included 12 big-league games with Minnesota and San Diego. In 1987, he became the third base coach with the Mets organization. With the Cincinnati Reds and Seattle he assumed the same designation in 1990 and 1993. Perlozzo third base coach in Baltimore under Davey Johnson in 1996. After serving that role for five years, he was promoted to bench coach when Mike Hargrove arrived in Baltimore. In 2002, he became a finalist for the Mariners' job. But Bob Melvin, a rookie manager whom Perlozzo once coached in the minors, was chosen instead. Although Melvin was dismissed after last season, he was ironically replaced Hargrove. When Hargrove was fired in Baltimore, Perlozzo replaced as his successor. Perlozzo was the second-longest tenured coach on Baltimore's staff, having been bench coach since 2001 and third base coach the previous five seasons.

DETROIT PISTONS SEASON’S PREVIEW

With the new additions of Alex Acker (Pepperdine- Pistons as 60th overall pick in the 2005 NBA Draft.), Dale Davis from Indiana Pacers, Maurice Evans from Sacramento Kings, Amir Johnson from Westchester HS and Jason Maxiell from Cincinnati the Detroit Pistons has emerged out as an incredible defensive team, which can win games if it relies on its defensive front only. With a frontcourt trio like Tayshaun Prince, Rasheed Wallace and Ben Wallace defense is excellent. The team is tough and strong on the boards. The long and athletic players have proven backups at every position except small forward. The team is also strong because Richard Hamilton and Chauncey Billups form one of the preeminent backcourt double act in the NBA – both defensively and offensively. Their ability to perform under pressure ha proved that they are competent enough to take home the victory without Larry Brown. Though the team has always struggled without Larry Brown on their roster, the team will surely make it big. The Pistons have been projected second in the Central Division and fourth in the Eastern Conference. Not a bad score!

INCREASED PENALTY FLAGS

This season the number of penalties seems to be more and more frequent. This drift is very notable and has led to the sloppy performances of the teams. The stricter implementation of the rules has made the players and officials to ponder that NFL has shifted away from its common-sense approach to officiating games and bend over more on a stricter elucidation of the rule book. Pregame fighting and the incidents in the Ravens-Lions game aren't indeed good for the NFL game and need to be stopped immediately. If either of the team takes more flags they will lose their chance of winning. The way true penalties are popping up in 2005 season can let the team to lose their focus. NFL’s last year's focus on defensive penalties also has led to stricter enforcement of these rules and more penalty flags. Moreover, most players hoping to make it big are not self-disciplined when it comes to avoiding penalties as compared to those from previous decades. This being the reason most major college programs faces tremendous pressure to succeed that whatever limited time coaches have to work them for. The last week’s highlight was a franchise-record 18 flags thrown against the Miami Dolphins, the Baltimore Ravens bracketing 21 penalties with the expulsion of two players.

NHL'S RULES REFORMATION

The up gradation in NHL’S rules has once again made us reminiscent of Jacques Lemaire, who scored 44 goals and had 95 points for the Montreal Canadiens in 1972-73. Now it is the game to watch the scintillating saves of Mike Modano skate, or Rick Nash shoot or Marty Brodeur. If we have tolerated lockout and a season's cancellation to see this new style of hockey, then it is worth the frustration. NHL hockey had certainly developed to the point that it was agonizingly frustrating to watch on television, except at playoff time. But in the regular season, the emphatic defense, and excellent coaching, choked the enjoyment out of the sport. Unlike other sports, no one, except maybe coaches and general managers, enjoyed watching the NHL style of defense. Moreover, the disciplined defensive style wasn't entertaining. Even the goaltenders were the only saviors of the game.

But now due to the combined efforts of players and the league, all of this has changed. The NHL can once again be described in terms of rapidity, three-man rushes, and quick transitions. Breakaways are once again in vogue.

Monday, October 10, 2005

TIGER WOODS DEFEATED DALY IN PLAY-OFF EXTRAVAGANZA


For 70 holes, Daly was the most unfailing player in the star- studded field, driving the ball long and primarily in the tapered fairways of Harding Park. But the Spaniard dropped out of the picture on the back nine when he couldn't hole any birdie putts. Woods had just missed a 25-foot birdie putt on the second extra hole, No. 16, and already anticipated that John Daly surely would pour in his 15-foot birdie putt for the win. Encourage on by par save from 10 feet on the par-4 9th, Woods went on to birdie the next three holes. After a gigantic struggle, he made up a two-shot deficit over the final three holes, closing with a 3-under 67 to matched Daly at 10-under 270. It was the third time this year Woods rallied in the final round to win, and his second victory in a playoff to amplify his career record to 8-1 in extra holes.

CHRIS BURKE, THE FIFTH PLAYER IN MLB HISTORY TO HIT A SERIES-ENDING HOMER


Burke is always up for big-time situations. He is not afraid of failure. He just needs a chance and willingly he fail in order to get an opportunity to do that. He talks about situations and opportunities and talks about how he wants to be the guy -- in the spots. Burke, who entered the game in the 10th inning as a pinch-runner for Lance Berkman came up with one out in the 18th against rookie Joey Devine, and launched a drive over the left-field wall liftIng the Astros to a 7-6 win over the Braves. The homer proved to be auspicious for the Astros since it made them eligible National League Championship Series. His grand slam in the eighth made the hero of the game, or at least, one of the heroes of this game. Burke is also a second baseman who is stuck behind Craig Biggio, a future Hall of Famer. He is a player who knows how to play under pressure. He is also a modest persona who respects his role as a young player among veterans. The unsung hero of the game was Roger Clemens who was the last accessible pitcher for the Astros, and was pitching on just two days' rest. He tossed three shutout innings of relief to earn the victory.

It was indeed the longest postseason game lasting 5 hours, 50 minutes. The previous longest postseason game also took place in Houston when the New York Mets clinched the 1986 NLCS with a 16-inning win at the Astrodome.

ALLEN’S AWARENESS ABOUT THE ALLEGED BUMP OFF OF HIS STEPFATHER


Seattle SuperSonics guard Ray Allen talked about an alleged conspiracy to kill his stepfather, saying his family was aware of the situation for more than a year. Ernest C. Garlington, 37, of Southington, Conn., and Terrence Battle, 31, of Waterbury, Conn were charged in a murder-for-hire plot against Derek Hopson, a psychologist by profession. The reason behind the conspiracy has not been ascertained, but the only fact revealed is that Hopson was once married to Garlington's wife and now he's married to Flora Allen-Hopson, Allen's mother. Garlington and Battle attempted to murder Hopson with the assistance of a third man, Robbie Santos, 34, of Waterbury. Santos is now behind the bars serving an 18-year prison term for firing a shot from a .25-caliber pistol at Hopson on May 21, 2003. For this mission the culprits offered Santos $8,000. Garlington and Battle are also involved in another assault on Hopson committed on Aug. 12, 2002, in which Hopson was attacked with a golf club. Garlington is director of psychological services at New Opportunities Inc., a nonprofit corporation that administers social service programs for low-income families in Waterbury and surrounding communities. Battle was charged with aiding in the commission of an attempted murder, conspiracy to commit murder and criminal attempt to commit murder. He was being held in lieu of $950,000 bond and Garlington has been charged for conspiring to commit first-degree attack and then filing petition requesting the commission of a murder and conspiracy to commit murder.

VINNY’S COMEBACK, NOW HE’S THE TEAM’S MOST RELIABLE QUARTERBACK


More than anything, Vinny Testaverde desperately wanted to prove his mettle. Though he knows that he won’t be counted on to throw for 300 yards despite of having been on the roster of good defensive team, but still he managed to give the team its best chance to win some games and not let the season get away. More than that, he did against the Buccaneers. The 41-year-old quarterback led the Jets to a 14-12 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He looked at ease in the pocket and provided a steady play for his team to be factors in the chase for division title again. The Jets' special teams and defense are solid, and Testaverde will only get better each week as long as the Jets can get their running game going. He just needs to use his strength, knowledge of the game and ability to play smart.

Let’s anticipate how this young quarterback will take care of the football.

If the Jets hope to challenge for a playoff spot, the defense must set the tone. The team offense seems to be in mess. A year that started with so much promise was on the brink of disaster. But when Testaverde took the command, he sent chills down the spine of the spectators. Testaverde will play in weeks to come as the replacement for injured Chad Pennington and Jay Fiedler.

IF NHL PLAYERS CONTINUE TO PLAY WITHOUT A VISOR, WILL THEY BE LUCKY ENOUGH TO ESCAPE THE UNEXPECTED INJURY?


95-mile-per-hour shot to the head will definitely bring brain damage to the NHL players. But if the visors prevent the head injuries what’s bad in wearing them? Is not the eye protection mandatory for NHL players and how many players are foolish enough to take the risk of playing in the world's top league without a visor attached to their helmet?

When Toronto Maple Leafs captain Mats Sundin felled by a puck to his left eye last week, he was sidelined for a month or more with a broken orbital bone. Sundin, used to wear visor when he broke into the league 15 years ago (I guess that a charm of the beginner to look professional and behave professional). On Wednesday night he was playing without a visor, and an unfortunate wayward shot by Ottawa forward Bryan Smolinski struck him in the eye. It is not only the case with this veteran, on the contrary from the past five years, the Leafs have witnessed a startling series of serious eye and facial injuries to key players.

Bryan Berard lost most of the vision in one eye after a March 2000 incident in which he was struck accidentally by the stick of Ottawa forward Marian Hossa. Tucker and Nolan, meanwhile, both required surgery to correct detached retinas in January 2004. Over the past five years, NHL stars from Steve Yzerman to Al MacInnis to Dany Heatley have experienced unbearable eye injuries

The two most cited that the players after entering the big league abandon the face masks are

Plain glass somehow impair on-ice vision

Display of manhood and a physical and aggressive style of play.