Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Tuesday Night Football: La-Lafayette Beats Ark. State in Bizzare Game

((ht: espn.com))

Just having a game on a Tuesday night is weird enough. Seeing the highlights of the Lousiana-Lafayette vs. Arkansas State Red Wolves game, was flat out bizarre.

The Ragin Cajuns got the 55-40 win, but the strange plays were everywhere. Red Wolves RB Michael Gordon scored on a 70-yard TD run in the 2nd quarter--but only after being wrestled to the ground near the line of scrimmage. Or so we thought. Gordon actually landed on top of a pile of his own players and never touched the ground. So he just rolled up and sped to the end zone untouched.

It also featured another bizarre Arkansas State play where on a reverse, the guy making the last handoff, punctuated it with a full summersault.

And lest we forget the fake punt. The Red Wolves inexplicably tried a fake punt while near their own end zone. And unlike a couple weeks ago against Miami where the pass was intercepted, this one was complete. However it only went for a yard.

The Cajuns got the ball on their 6 and scored on the next play.

Elijah McGuire was the star of the game, running for 265 yards and 4 TD's on only 16 carries for La.-Laf, who remain 3-0 in the Sun Belt conference, tied with newcomers Georgia Southern, who are not eligible for a bowl invite.

Your highlights from ESPN.com (and they are worth watching):

University of Texas to Pay Athletes $10,000

((ht: dallasnews.com))

Oh boy.

Some college athletic director had to break the ice...or at least just come out publicly and say it. And as it turns out, apparently University of Texas AD Steve Patterson is that guy.

Patterson spoke at a Washington D.C panel to discuss the changing landscape of College Sports on Tuesday. He said his school is prepared to pay players $10,000 each per year to cover their daily expenses and to compensate the athlete for use of their image.

Patterson did not say when the Longhorns would begin doing this. He added it would cost the school roughly $6 million a year and it wouldn't be a significant dent in the athletic budget.

Read the story from the Dallas Morning News RIGHT HERE

This all comes on the heels of the Todd Gurley incident, where he is alleged to have taken money for his autograph and allegations Jameis Winston and many other college players have done the same.

The path to this is a long one and ended this past summer when the NCAA essentially allowed the "Power 5" conferences to operate on their own.

While a school that brings in enough money like a Texas won't have issue with this, it's likely that many smaller school's will not be able to keep up. Along with separating the haves and the have nots, it should strengthen the argument that there should be separate levels for each.

Only time will tell who will step up and be the first to actually pay instead of announcing it.

Awesome: A Minnesota Timberwolves 90210 Mashup

((ht: cbssports.com))

This is absolutely one of the funniest things you will see all day. Though we are not yet sure if that's intentional or not.

Check out this really well edited video that combines the Minnesota Timberwolves media day and highlights mixed with highlights from the early 1990's TV Show Beverley Hills 90210.

And yeah, in case you are wondering, most of the guys featured in the video, were either not born yet or just a couple years old when the TV show debuted.

Nice work YouTube user Marcos Lopez, nice work:

B.A.S.T.A World Series Game 1 Breakdown: Giants Feast on Royals Pitching


By: Apurv Baichwal

Today’s game marked the beginning of a World Series that should be a close one, filled with long, gruesome, nail-biters. This series is supposed to be a battle between the two best teams in baseball, and for this reason the games should be tight to the very end. This year, the World Series should be even more legendary, because both of the teams came into the postseason from the Wild Card position; the only other time that this has ever happened was in 1989 during the Bay Bridge Series when the Giants lost to the A’s. These teams had to fight from the lowest spots in the postseason, playing without any home field advantage, to make the World Series. So, one would expect these feats to be a testament to both the Royals’ and the Giants’ strength. Therefore, this series—on paper—should be close; every game should go down to the wire.

However, today’s game looked like a regular season game. The Royals could not pitch for their lives, as they gave up seven runs through the game. Even more surprisingly, the Royals’ starting pitcher and their supposed ace, James Shields, was atrocious today, as he was chased after three innings. As we predicted, “Big Game” James Shields really isn’t all that good in the postseason. In fact, he is actually pretty bad, as coming into the World Series he had a 5.63 ERA this postseason, and after this game, it rose even higher. Today he went 3+ innings, allowing a whopping five earned runs and seven hits, along with a walk. Another part of our prediction from yesterday was that Ned Yost is a pretty pathetic excuse for a baseball manager. Ned Yost definitely lived up to that prediction today, as he was obstinate in not pulling out his starting pitcher, even after he allowed three runs in the first. He only finally pulled his pitcher out in the fourth, after he allowed a run and left runners on first and second.

From the Giants’ perspective, the first, fourth, and seventh innings were their best. In the first, the top of the lineup produced, and the whole lineup clicked together to produce three beautiful runs. Gregor Blanco, who struggled earlier in the postseason, opened up the game with a single to shallow right centerfield. Rookie second baseman Joe Panik then advanced him to second with a deep flyout to left centerfield. Blanco exhibited some stellar base running here, realizing that the ball was going to be caught, then deciding to tag up at first, then sprinting over to second before the throw could get there. Buster Posey, showing off his great bat control, then slapped a single to left advancing Blanco to third. With runners at the corner, power-hitting third baseman Pablo Sandoval hit a ball hard down the right field line, a shot that bounced off the right field wall. Blanco easily scored on this one-out double, but Posey was easily called out at home after trying to stretch his way home. Third base coach Tim Flannery made a rare mistake here, as he is usually really good at deciding whether runners should go home, but after the ball took a funny bounce off the wall, Flannery expected the Royals’ left fielder to have a harder time tracking it down. Fortunately, even though Posey caused the second out, usually a no-no when you could instead be at third with one out, Hunter Pence was ready to hit when he came to bat. Hunter Pence absolutely destroyed a fastball to center, as somehow Shields thought it would be a good idea to throw fastballs to a fastball hitter. Pence barely missed one fastball, fouling it straight back, then Shields immediately threw him another one right down the middle that he smashed 421 feet directly into centerfield for a two-run home run.



In case their 3-0 lead wasn’t enough, the Giants heart of the lineup tacked on two more runs in the fourth inning. Hunter Pence led off with a low, hard line drive right near the left field line that barely slid under the Royals’ third baseman’s glove for a double. During first baseman Brandon Belt’s at bat, Hunter Pence advanced to third on a wild changeup that took a bad bounce in the dirt. Belt then walked after five pitches, putting runners on the corner and highlighting the fact that James Shields had no control all game, missing his targets by multiple feet many times and leaving pitches out over the middle of the plate. Michael Morse then came to the plate and singled to right, scoring Pence and advancing Belt to second. Manager Ned Yost, finally pulled out his starter here, but the Giants were not fazed as they added another run in the inning.

Bruce Bochy showed some real managerial skill, contrarily to the Royals’ manager, pinch hitting the speedy Juan Perez for NLCS hero Travis Ishikawa, who won the final game of the series. Although fans may not have appreciated the decision, it was effective, as Perez laid down a beautiful sacrifice bunt down the third base line, advancing Belt to third and Morse to second. Brandon Crawford then walked, after a hard-fought at bat, bringing the top of the lineup, and Gregor Blanco to the plate. Now, the Giants’ scored their fifth run with a walk, a laughable play that pretty much summed up the game: the Giants dominated the Royals. In summary, Blanco walked, advancing each runner one base and scoring Brandon Belt, and giving himself a quite ironic RBI.

The Giants still did not stop; however, as they added a final two runs in the seventh. Here, Gregor Blanco led off the inning with another walk, followed by a huge triple to deep right field by Joe Panik. This ball bounced over the Royals’ sliding right fielder and rolled to the wall. By the time the center fielder picked the ball up and relayed it in, Panik had a standup triple and Blanco had scored without difficulty. Pablo Sandoval then scored Panik with a single to short left, giving the Giants seven runs, and more than enough to win the game.

With their huge first inning, the Giants went up 3-0 before the Royals could even come to bat. Although it was only the first inning, the game looked to be almost done, as the Royals and their fans were extremely dejected, and morale was really low. The fact that Bumgarner was stellar through seven innings, overpowering the Royals lineup, definitely did not help this low morale. Bumgarner, who has been the Giants’ ace in the rotation, and the star of their postseason threw his fifth seven plus inning start of this postseason. For comparison, no other pitcher has thrown more than two seven plus inning starts. The point is: Bumgarner has been really, really good this postseason, and he continued his great pitching today.

Bumgarner went seven strong innings, and he shutout the Royals through the first six. He only allowed three hits and one walk, but he gave up one earned run on a seventh inning home run. He threw 106 pitches today, and he threw 71 of them, or 69% of his total pitches, for strikes, recording five strikeouts through his win. This win also marked his third World Series win, in his third World Series start, as he has always been stellar in the Fall Classic. This Giants’ win also caused the Royals to suffer their first loss of the postseason, as they had won eight games in a row, and it truly brought them back to Earth and grounded them, showing that the Giants have come to play and win.  The always trusty Javier Lopez then pitched a scoreless eighth, only allowing one hit, and then the hard-throwing Hunter Strickland managed to close out the game without a blemish, not allowing a baserunner as he recorded two strikeouts.

Back to our prediction of this World Series from yesterday, much of it came true this game.

1. Ned Yost really proved himself to be an awful manager by not pulling his starting pitcher out early enough when the Royals still may have had a chance to win.

2. “Big Game” did not live up to his billing as he allowed five earned runs over three plus innings.

3. The Royals did regress, as was inevitable, as they had almost no offensive production combined with terrible pitching, forcing their first loss of the postseason.

4. The Giants held runners as the Royals did not manage a single stolen base all game. Bumgarner looked sharp holding runners on, with looks and quick throws, and his being a lefty gave him a definite advantage as he was facing first base before every pitch.

5. The San Francisco Giants possessed their “it” factor today, as balls fell in marvelous ways for them, including great bounces and some great plays on their end. The Giants always seem to have the baseball gods on their side in the postseason, as they looked like they were destined to win the game.

Overall, the Giants completely annihilated the Royals with a 7-1 win, and they put themselves ahead in the World Series, with a 1-0 lead. Even if they lose tomorrow, they will have still achieved their goal, as all they needed to do was split the first two games in Kansas. Tomorrow’s game will probably be much harder than today, with control specialist Jake Peavy squaring off against the Royals fire-throwing, 23 year old Yordano Ventura at 5:07 PDT. Hopefully the Giants can continue the hitting prowess they displayed today, as with today’s offensive production they could sweep the Series. Unfortunately, the Giants probably will not get this much production tomorrow, but they could still manage a win if Peavy is able to bear down and use his control to force the Royals’ hitters to chase as they are prone to do. Today’s Giants’ win was stellar, and hopefully tomorrow’s game can be great as well.

Stats courtesy of ESPN.com

UGA Moves To Get Todd Gurley Eligible Again

The University of Georgia will file paperwork Wednesday to ask the NCAA to reinstate suspended star tailback Todd Gurley.

The school released a statement that said; "Todd has confirmed his desire to seek reinstatement and the University fully supports Todd's request. The University plans to file the necessary paperwork with the NCAA later today (Wed.)"

Gurley has been on indefinite suspension since word began circulating he took money to sign autographs for a memorabilia dealer who in turn was selling the items.

A video was alleged to have been give to a dealer--a Bryan Allen, who also is alleged to have shopped the video and information to various media outlets before sending it to UGA. The video is alleged to have shown Gurley signing items, but stopped short of showing money changing hands.

UGA also added this in their statement; "The University hopes for and expects a prompt ruling by the NCAA so that Todd, his coaches and teammates can adequately prepare for our next game"

What this means: The investigation is done. And Georgia seems to be confident they can get their Gurley back. And they'd like him back to play in their rivalry game vs. Florida. It also means they feel confident the NCAA will agree after having him sit for 2 games.

We will keep an eye on things the next few days as we suspect they'll get their answer no later than Friday.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

BASTA: Five Reasons the Royals Have No Chance in the Fall Classic

((HT: BASTA/Ben Leonard))

The Giants and Royals meet in the 110th edition of the Fall Classic, with Game One starting at 5:07 PST on Tuesday at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City. The recent legacies of these two franchises could not be any more different. The Giants are in their third World Series in five years, while Kansas City has been a marker of futility, with this year marking their first trip to the postseason in twenty-nine years. With the Royals being labeled as the favorites in the series, riding an eleven game postseason winning streak and home field advantage, there would seem little reason to give the Giants a chance. However, the Royals are not as infallible as they might seem:

1. Ned Yost is an awful manager

Ned Yost, the Royals’ oft-criticized manager, deserves his share of censure. He insists on bunting, sabermetrically: the worst thing a team can do to consistently score more runs, unless the pitcher is “hitting”. Yost does not have this excuse, as he manages in the American League. He also hits Alcides Escobar in the leadoff spot, who is a great defensive shortstop and basestealer, but holds a career .286 wOBA. Would you rather have the light-hitting, low on-base skilled Escobar get extra at-bats, or have unknown superstar Alex Gordon take them? Clearly, Yost lives in the past as a manager, and is infatuated with traditional baseball ideology, not what will win games.

Managers ultimately do not have much influence in the postseason or the regular season, but he almost cost his team the wild card game against Oakland. He pulled James Shields in the sixth, which was justified, but for reasons unknown, put in Yordano Ventura, who was battling elbow problems, and is not accustomed to pitching in relief. Yost’s move backfired when Ventura immediatly gave up a three-run homer to Brandon Moss, at the time essentially ending Kansas City’s hopes to win. Only a miraculous rally, coming independently from Yost’s decisions, let them advance. Yost is average at best as a manager, and his mediocrity will come to haunt Kansas City at some point in the series.

2. “Big Game” James Shields does not live up to his billing

James Shields, who has been hyped as “Big Game” James Shields by the national media, has been a far cry from that in his postseason career. He deceptively pitched well in the playoffs for the Rays in 2008, posting a 2.88 ERA in four starts, but was the beneficiary of good luck, as evidenced by his 4.43 xFIP. Here are the rest of his unimpressive postseason numbers:

Year Team G GS IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 BABIP LOB% GB% HR/FB ERA FIP xFIP
2010 Rays 1 1 4.1 4.15 0.00 2.08 0.214 43.5% 57.1% 16.7% 8.31 6.54 5.23
2011 Rays 1 1 5.0 10.80 0.00 0.00 0.471 30.0% 47.1% 0.0% 12.60 1.83 2.83
2014 Royals 3 3 16.0 8.44 2.81 1.69 0.360 74.6% 34.0% 15.8% 5.63 4.82 3.85


The first cousin of ex-Giant Aaron Rowand seems to share the set of genes for mediocrity, especially when it comes to meeting high expectations. The Royals need an ace to compete against Madison Bumgarner in this series, who has been absolutely filthy this October.

Bumgarner will be too much for “Big Game” James Shields to handle, and the Giants will take Game One of the series handily, swinging the series in their favor.

3. Inevitable regression

The fact that the Royals have won eight straight postseason games ironically makes them all the more susceptible to regression, as their fluky streak cannot continue forever, especially with a long break in between series. Contributing to this inevitability is that six of eight games they have played this postseason have been decided by two runs or fewer. This may be a testament to Kansas City’s stellar outfield defense or dominant bullpen, but it can also be used to show that the Orioles, Angels, and Athletics have been perennial chokers when it comes to the postseason, as they (besides Oakland) don’t have the pitching to succeed in the postseason. The Royals have had advantageous opponents and have played outside of their usual selves, hitting eight home runs in eight games when they were last in the majors in home runs in the regular season. Among these eight homers, four came from Mike Moustakas, a once highly-touted prospect who was sent to Triple-A earlier in the season because he was below replacement-level. The Royals are clearly due to regress, and the Giants will play them at just the right time to meet this regression.

4. The Giants hold runners (unlike Jon Lester)

Buster Posey throws out runners exceptionally well, fifth in the major leagues among qualified players in throwing out 29.8% of potential base stealers. The Royals have rode small ball, including thirteen stolen bases in their road to postseason dominance. They ran all over Jon Lester in the Wild Card Game, who has not picked off a runner at first base since June of 2013 (This is not a joke). Chris Iannetta, the Angels’ catcher, was 38th among non-qualified catchers in stolen base percentage. Madison Bumgarner, the Giants’ Game One starter, allowed just seven base runners to steal on him in seventeen attempts, a measly total for an entire regular season, a testament to his ability to hold on runners. The Royals’ prowess on the base paths is real, but has been greatly accentuated by weak competition. The Giants will be able to ground the Royals’ running game, limiting their firepower, coupled with the aforementioned foreseeable power outage.

5. San Francisco’s “it” factor

The Giants simply have the magic touch when it comes to the playoffs. Every ball seems to bounce their way, including this incredible bunt from Gregor Blanco in 2012.
((HT: MLB.com))


The Giants know how to overcome adversity when it matters, contributing to their title runs in 2010 and 2012. San Francisco has become legendary in the postseason, and they simply have more experience than Kansas City. The little things always seem go their way, including how Matt Adams and the Cardinals forgot how to play defense in the NLCS. The Giants are seemingly the team of destiny once October comes around, and there is no reason for that to change any time soon.

For all of these reasons, the Giants will take the series with relative ease despite playing in tight games, the trademark of their torturous postseason success. Madison Bumgarner will give the Giants an easy win in Game One, and Jake Peavy will cruise take Game Two, helping to steal two games in Kansas City, giving the Giants an easy road to the title.

Football Coach Fired for Postgame Watermelon Smashing

((ht: postandcourier.com))

A Charleston, South Carolina area football coach was fired Tuesday morning after what the County School district termed "inappropriate post game celebrations".

Bud Walpole, the now former coach at Academic Magnet school is alleged to have led a celebration that involved smashing watermelons which the players then picked up and ate. Someone apparently complained to the Charleston County School District.

Read the entire story from the Charleston Post and Courier RIGHT HERE

Magnet, located in North Charleston is 6-2 this season. According to reports, the school, which had been one of the worst football teams in the area, began the celebrations after winning their 1st game this season. They won their first 6 of the season.

WCSC-TV in Charleston reports that the complaint came after a parent from a team beaten by the Raptors complained saying the players were making monkey sounds while eating the Watermelon. The inference being that there were racial undertones.

Read the WCSC story RIGHT HERE

The Raptors have lost both games that happened since the investigation began.

Here is some video of the team in action:



Scott Eisberg over at News4 breaks down the firing
((HT: ABCNews4))
WCIV-TV | ABC News 4 - Charleston News, Sports, Weather