Saturday, June 23, 2007

Five Good Questions with . . . Norm Maves of The Portland Oregonian about Oregon State Baseball

The Championship Series of the College World Series begins today at 7:00 p.m. (EST) on ESPN....the best of three series is a rematch from last year when Oregon State beat North Carolina....last week I previewed the Tar, Norm Maves of The (Portland) Oregonian provides the lowdown on the Beavers....I want to thank Norm for taking the time to respond during a very busy week in Omaha....

Q1. Oregon State is going back to the championship series - a year after winning the whole thing. How would you compare this year's team to that of last year's?
You really can't compare this year's team with last year's -- six position starters, two starting pitchers (Dallas Buck and CWS MVP Jonah Nickerson) and the best closer in the school's history (Kevin Gunderson) left after the 2006 season. The players who filled the spots give it a brand-new look. Last year's team had more power from Cole Gillespie, Shea McFeely and, in the CWS, first baseman Bill Rowe, but the offensive production came with bigger numbers from fewer people. This year's team distributes the offense wider, but thinner. It doesn't have a lot of big innings, but picks teams to death one and two runs at a time. That's good enough because one of the three things the 2006 and 2007 teams have in common: good pitching.

Nobody but Casey and pitching coach Dan Spencer knew that the pitchers coming back were pretty talented, too. The addition of freshman Jorge Reyes and the development of left-hander Joe Paterson and some very good coaching has made this a well-rounded, effective staff -- just like last year. The other similarity is in team speed. The last three OSU teams have been very, very fast. They don't always use it to steal bases, but it puts pressure on other defenses to play clean defensive games. The third similarity is defense. This OSU team hasn't made an error since the regionals and led the country for most of the year; last year was just as good.

Q2. What are the strengths of this team? What areas are they weak at?
I mentioned most of the strengths of this team in the previous question, but one unmentioned strength is team chemistry. Shortstop Darwin Barney and catcher Mitch Canham, the two holdover starters from last year, are extraordinary leaders, and the entire team is focused and headed in the same direction. This makes them a much more dangerous team than the sum of the parts. Right now the weaknesses are few, but during the year the Beavers were occasionally hurt by a lack of power and would occasionally get burned by a left-handed pitcher. Arizona State, for instance, limited them to three hits in two consecutive games -- a one-hitter and a two-hitter -- but all that seems to have been cured. They've hit .333 with five home runs and 22 runs in three CWS games, so Oregon State is peaking at the right time.

Q3. What type of coach is Pat Casey? Does he manage "by the book" or is he a "gut-type" of manager?
Pat Casey looks like a by-the-book coach, but he will throw it away now and then. He likes the bunt and the left-right matchup page and uses it effectively, but I've seen him change his starting lineup based on who hits best in pre-game hitting. He will also bench a cold hitter and give up a matchup just to get a hot hitter into the lineup, and occasionally green-light a hot hitter to swing away in an obvious bunt situation. He's also patient: he created a huge offensive weapon in freshman second baseman Joey Wong, a left-handed hitter, by sticking with him when it was apparent he was overmatched against left-handers early in the year. But the experience got Wong, a superior defender, the stick time he needed to solve the problem. He's now hitting .417 in the CWS and .350 in 10 playoff games.

Q4. What Oregon State players should people keep an eye on not only in the championship series, but possibly in the majors?
According to the draft, the players to watch are relief pitcher Eddie Kunz (supplemental to the Mets), catcher Mitch Canham (supplemental to the Padres) and shortstop Darwin Barney (third player, fourth round, Cubs). Kunz is 6-5 and 250, throws in the mid-90s and is a pure power pitcher in the mold of Lee Arthur Smith, Armando Benitez, Goose Gossage (if you're old) or Dick Radatz (if you're REALLY old). Canham is 6-2 and 215, a left-handed power hitter and a terrific athlete behind the plate. He's excellent to second base. Barney is small (5-10, 170) but has extraordinary range and phenomenal baseball instincts. He could also wind up at second base, but he'll have to be a dependable two-hole hitter if he's going to make it. Wong will take over at shortstop the next two years and will probably be drafted as high or higher than Barney in 2009. If Reyes (6-2, 170) continues to develop as a pitcher, he should wind up as a first-round draft choice. Want a longshot? Joe Paterson, left-handed middle reliever, San Francisco Giants. Just a hunch.

Q5. What is up with the team going fishing before the games? Can you explain this a bit?
Fishing? Are you kidding? We're from the Northwest, where just about everybody fishes. Bass, trout, cod and all the salmon you can fit on a hook. Oregon and Washington -- where most of the players come from -- are very outdoorsy places. Just about everybody is a fisherman or hunter, hiker, camper, mountain climber or bicyclist and most are combinations of many of the above. Oregon State is on the Willamette River and 45 miles from the Pacific Ocean, so you can practically cast a baited hook out of your dorm window and catch breakfast. OK, that's an exaggeration, but fishing is a big part of the Northwest tapestry. The fishing thing in Omaha is just one of the many activities the people who run the CWS offer for off-day activities, and yesterday happened to coincide with a victory. These guys know how.

Once again, I want to thank Norm for his are some other previews of the World Series...

  • ESPN

  • The Charlotte Observer's David Scott writes how Carolina head coach Mike Fox has adapted his style of coaching now that he is in Division I...
  • David Scott

  • The (Portland) Oregonian sports columnist Rachel Bachman writes how the World Series is a hot ticket around Omaha....
  • Rachel Bachman

  • Here are two interesting links which appeared on about Rosenblatt Stadium and the World Series going to other venues....
  • David Albright

  • Elizabeth Merrill

    North Carolina Tar Heels
    Batter (No.) Pos. AVG HR RBI
    1. Reid Fronk (7) LF .319 11 56
    2. Tom Fedroff (16) RF .342 5 40
    3. Josh Horton (12) SS .335 9 53
    4. Tim Federowicz (19) C .339 4 64
    5. Dustin Ackley (13) 1B .403 9 72
    6. Chad Flack (34) 3B .251 7 46
    7. Kyle Seager (10) DH .314 2 30
    8. Seth Williams (27) CF .289 9 42
    9. Garrett Gore (4) 2B .325 22 7
    Pitcher (No.) ERA W-L SV SO
    Alex White (6) 4.74 6-6 0 81

    Oregon State Beavers

    Batter (No.) Pos. AVG HR RBI
    1. Chris Hopkins (20) CF .260 22 5
    2. Joey Wong (1) 2B .288 0 19
    3. Mike Lissman (3) DH .325 10 61
    4. Mitch Canham (11) C .321 10 57
    5. Darwin Barney (6) SS .301 4 53
    6. Jordan Lennerton (37) 1B .313 8 48
    7. Scott Santschi (21) RF .280 1 10
    8. John Wallace (35) LF .267 1 24
    9. Lonnie Lechelt (15) 1B .223 2 11
    Pitcher (No.) ERA W-L SV SO
    Jorge Reyes (23) 3.00 6-3 0 61

    Friday, June 22, 2007

    Shawn Kemp - One of the mothers of his children - Nikki Giavasis

    Currently in northeast Ohio there is an unfortunate incident ongoing where a pregnant woman named Jessie Davis has been of the possible suspects is Canton, Ohio police officer Bobby Cutts, Jr who is the father of the child that Davis is carrying.....Cutts also has three other children with three other of those women is a hot looking model named Nikki Giavasis (photo below), who is also from northeast Ohio....

    To take it a step further, when Cutts and Giavasis broke up, Cutts went to her apartment, but when she did not answer, Cutts then broke down the door....and who was inside with Giavasis - none other that former Cleveland Cavalier Shawn Kemp....

    Back in 2001, Giavasis admitted that Kemp was the father to her second child....she was interviewed by WEWS and stated, “"I could have cared less about his (Kemp) money, I loved him and he said he loved me," she said. "Getting pregnant, I wouldn't say I regret it because I love my son and he deserves a good life." At that time, in 2001, she was getting $2,500 a month from Kemp for child support, but wanted more....

    If you want to check out more about Nikki Giavasis, here is her website....

  • Nikki Giavasis

  • Five Good Questions with . . . Erwin Ong of TennisServedFresh with a Wimbledom Preview

    Today we have another preview of Wimbledon....Erwin Ong from TennisServedFresh gives us his preview of the big tournament....throughout Wimbledon, you can get Erwin's updates on his website at

  • Tennis Served Fresh - Wimbledon

  • Q1: I know you monitor the new trends in tennis wear. What isyour opinion about the tradition of players having to wear white at Wimbledon? What did you think about the white sports coat worn by Federer last year?
    I have to admit it took me a few rounds to warm up to Roger's blazer last year. My initial thought was that he agreed blindly to a stylist's (or, gulp, publicists's) suggestion. The delivery was much more awkward than in concept (a blazer paired with tennis shorts and shoes -- yikes!). Instead, I argued for a button-up cardigan: much sleeker, much easier to pair with on-court attire, and the "RF" crest would have worked just as well. Ralph Lauren does it all the time. In the end I did enjoy the jacket. I'm all for mixing up what you wear on the court. Wearing white is a great tradition that we should keep around.

    First, there's so much change going on with Wimbledon in the last few years: the players no longer need to bow/curtsy after every match, men's and women's winners get equal prize money, they've installed HawkEye technology on the show courts, and Centre Court will get a retractable roof. With all this going on, it's nice to have some things stay constant: strawberries and cream, Henman Hill, and tennis whites.

    Second, I'd rather not leave it to players to find colors that complement the green grass. (My eyes are still adjusting from all the weird colors worn on the red clay courts at the French.) White is clean and appealing to the senses. And for us tennis fashionistas, consider Wimbledon our version of "Iron Chef": each player has to come up with a well-designed predominantly-white ensemble. So out of the closet come the accent colors, the accessories, the varying cuts, fabrics, and patterns of dresses. It's awesome. This year, look out for Roger's purple-trimmed shirt (with gold shoes), Serena's halter dress with an aqua trim on the hem (which she'll accessorize with a new Wilson racket laid with 22-carat gold leafing), and Stella McCartney's design for Maria Kirilenko: a sleeveless top with a point collar and ruffled front. Reebok designed a new dress for Mauresmo (part of a new collection), and adidas has also shown pictures of Ana Ivanovic's dress.

    Q2: Andy Roddick traditionally plays well on grass as he was the runner-up twice at Wimbledon. What does he have to do this year in order to break through at Wimbledon?
    Andy Roddick, along with every other ATP player NOT named Roger Federer, will have a huge uphill battle to win this year's title. All Roddick can do is play his game and hope for the best. His game works well on grass, he's still improving under the tutelage of Jimmy Connors, and he turned around his dismal first-round doubles loss at a Challenger (!) tournament with a title at the (Stella) Artois last week. He'll come into Wimbledon with confidence, which will be his best weapon against Federer.

    Q3: Who are some "grass-court sleepers" with the gentlemen and ladies who can possibly make some noise at this tournament?
    For those unfamiliar, Wimbledon seedings do not follow ATP Entry rankings. with the re-jiggering, 11th-ranked Czech Tomas Berdych was bumped to 7th, which means he wouldn't face anyone ranked higher than him until the quartefinals; I expect to see him through the second week. Australian (and 2002 men's winner) Lleyton Hewitt benefitted with a bump up to 16th seed, steering him clear of trouble until the 4th round; I expect him to make the second week as well. Up until Andy Murray's (photo) wrist injury two weeks ago, I would have expected the Scot to shine on his home court this year. Alas, the United Kingdom needs to wait until 2008 to crown a hometown hero, since Andy likely won't recover in time. On the women's side, I expect Slovakian Daniela Hantuchova to quietly get through the second week while the world continues to roll out the red carpet for the Serbians (Ana Ivanovic and Jelena Jankovic).

    Q4: Being that Roger Federer is so dominant on the grass surface, do you think he is "ripe" to get picked off by someone in this tournament? If so, who could be that someone who does "the impossible?"
    The only person that can beat Roger is Roger. If he's done rueing his loss in the French Open finals ("I couldn't care less how I played the last 10 months or the last 10 years. At the end of the day, I wanted to win that match.") and he's done wearing his clay insecurities on his Nike sleeve, then Wimbledon is a lock.

    Q5. What's your predictions for the gentlemen and ladies champions and why?
    As I'd said, I don't foresee anyone upending the folks we've generally seen at the top. Roger Federer will march his way through another title. While he might have been hampered with a thigh injury (forcing him to withdraw from last week's Wimbledon tune-up in Halle), he should be roaring to go. And he still has an edge over EVERYONE on grass, meaning, his weaknesses, which were so grossly exposed on clay, disappear on this surface.

    And for the women, Justine Henin will take the crown again. She has put herself together after both missteps in her health, private life, and her dealings with the tennis public. While the bigger babes like (Ana) Ivanovic, (Jelena) Jankovic, and Serena might give her some trouble, Henin will be able to match them pound for pound. For men's doubles, I'm choosing (Daniel) Nestor and (Mark) Knowles (photo) over Mike and Bob Bryan. For women's doubles, Serena and Venus, who took a wildcard (and won this tournament in 2000 and 2002) likely won't win this time around.

    I want to thank Erwin for his time and we will hear back from him as Wimbledon rolls on....

    Thursday, June 21, 2007

    Five Good Questions with . . . Rick Vach of Tennis-X about Wimbledon

    June 25th, the grass courts at Wimbledon will be open for another one of our resident tennis experts, Rick Vach of the website Tennis-X, gives us his thoughts about what is going to go down at the All-England Club....
  • Tennis-X

  • Q1. Now that the clay court season is over, Rafael Nadal has to play the next two majors on surfaces (grass & hard court) that favor Roger Federer. What has Nadal done over the last year to improve his game on grass?
    The better question is, what has Wimbledon and the ATP done to improve Nadal's game on grass and hardcourt? A lot. The grass is so slow nowadays in Wimbledon's effort to product more rallies, it plays like a hardcourt. Some of the hardcourt events are so slow, they play like a fast claycourt. Nadal is right at home in the new "Let's-slow-everything-down" scheme of things. Pete Sampras would have a problem if he were playing Wimbledon these days -- he'd see a lot more passing shots go by. That's why Roger Federer plies much of his trade at Wimbledon from the backcourt, which is ruining the grasscourt game.

    I long for the days when Goran Ivanisevic and Mark Philippoussis served people off the court. Those were two guys with mediocre volleys who still came in all the time because when the lawns were slick, even crappy volleys worked wonders (see: Bjorn Borg). Players were encouraged to volley. Now even Tim Henman says he can't serve and volley at Wimbledon. Grasscourt play has been sanitized to the point where Tim Freaking Henman, the guy event organizers have wanted to see win all these years, says All England Club officials have screwed up the lawns and changed grasscourt tennis. Nadal has lightning-quick hands and feet and a champion's mentality, and that's all he needs to beat Federer on grass or hardcourts. With today's surface changes he can get away with a less-than-outstanding serve, and scamper around the baseline to win on the clay-like, high-bouncing slow lawns.

    Q2. After that embarrassing performance by the American at Roland Garros, what do you expect from the top United States men, Roddick, Blake, and Fish, at Wimbledon?
    There is no reason why Roddick and crew won't go deep at Wimbledon. As Roddick showed by his fourth Queen's Club title in a row last week, his confidence is always high on the grass and he's a pretty good bet to square off against Roger Federer in the final or semis. Blake is not great on grass but could go deep, same with Ginepri. Fish has no excuse not to go deep with his serve-and-volley skills. Grass is the surface for the wham-bam American-type game. On the women's side, no reason not to put Venus and Serena Williams among the title favorites, but the U.S. women's threat stops there.

    Q3. The Williams sisters seem to thrive on grass and Sharapova already has a Wimbledon title under her belt. However, on the ladies side, is this tournament Justine Henin's to lose being that she never won at Wimbledon?
    The world No. 1 Henin is not the favorite some think she is, though she is coming off a runner-up effort last year to Amelie Mauresmo. Depending whether the conditions are wet (as they have been in the run-up to Wimbledon) or dry this year, Henin will have a shot, but will have to deal with a lot of firepower to reach another final. So many of the top women just bang the ball off the forehand and backhand sides with little want for slice or volleying or dropshots or touch (Mauresmo was a refreshing departure last year), and that makes it a craps shoot on grass -- hard to call.

    Q4. On the gentleman's side, can anything stop Federer at Wimbledon?
    Injury maybe? Bronchitis? Mirka dumping him for Rafa? Two weeks of rain? Federer lost a couple claycourt matches to lower- (much lower-) ranked players during the beginning of the claycourt season as he was trying to mentally come to terms with breaking up with coach Tony Roche. Some outside influence or injury or bad clams or too-tight Nike underwear would have to come into play for Federer to exit Wimbledon without a title.

    Q5. I have read there will be no roof at Wimbledon this year as they continued to refurbish the holy ground of tennis. What is your opinion about refurbishing Wimbledon? How do you feel about the traditions, such as players wearing white? When is that roof due, 2009? When did they start construction, 1984? No hurry All England Club Committee, try and finish it before you guys finish your term, or pass on. No, they do things slowly at Wimbledon, that's part of the scene and tradition -- there don't seem to be many traditions that hold up today in tennis, besides fans getting violently drunk during US Open night matches, so thumbs up to Wimbledon tradition.

    Seeing players in white is a nice break from a lot of that ugly-ass Euro-wear (see: Tommy Robredo, who many times looks like he wears just whatever is clean) you see during the claycourt season. Note to European players: orange and black and blue and purple are colors, but aren't necessarily meant to be worn together. Yes, Wimbledon traditions such as all-white are wonderful I expect to most fans and players -- except for Frenchman Gael "Force" Monfils, who for two weeks has to refrain from dressing like a red and black Air Jordan shoe. And if Roger walks out on court in another crazy-ass suit coat and tennis shorts, more power to that -- except maybe this year he should wear black socks with his tennis shoes to complete the today-I-forgot-to-wear-pants look.

    I want to thank Rick Vach for his time....we will hear from him again at the mid-point of Wimbledon....

    Wednesday, June 20, 2007

    Kobe Bryant - Is he bipolar?

    I have come to the conclusion that Kobe Bryant is bipolar.....he does not know what he wants....he has mood swings.....first he wants to be “the man” he is crying that he needs help.....then he wants to leave the wait, he changed his mind - now he wants to retire a Laker.....hold up, he just met with owner Jerry Buss and he now demands a trade....

    It was determined by the “experts” and analysts on Sports Center and the sports talk shows that the Lakers should not trade Kobe because they would not get anyone in return of marquee value....that is true....Kobe is 28-years old, in his prime, and is one of the five best players in the game....but these analysts did not take into account the distraction that Kobe brings to the team.....

    Kobe Bryant is another Terrell Owens - he is a cancer on a team....he is an egomaniac who wants all the attention and accolades but will not accept any blame if his team loses....a logical choice would be for him to be traded to Chicago....the Bulls have enough young players to pull off the trade, yet still keep enough quality players to help Kobe...but will that move take the Bulls to the next level?....I question that.....

    I wrote in a previous blog entry that Kobe has not proven that he could carry a team through the NBA playoffs....LeBron James, who plays with less talent around him than Kobe does in L.A., was able to will the Cavs into the NBA Finals....yes we all know that Kobe has three rings - but those were because Shaq was the anchor on those championship teams.....

    To me, Kobe is another Kevin Garnett or Tracy McGrady....a flashy player who can score a ton of points, but cannot win in the playoffs....maybe the dysfunctional Kobe would fit in well with another dysfunctional organization like the Knicks or Sixers....

    This Associated Press article explains about a video that someone shot of Kobe blasting the Lakers....

  • Kobe video

  • Los Angeles Times sports columnist Bill Plaschke writes how Kobe has used the Laker fans....
  • Bill Plaschke

  • In an article written on May 31st, N.Y. Post reporter Marc Berman writes that a Kobe deal to the Knicks is unlikely....
  • Marc Berman
  • Tuesday, June 19, 2007

    Terry Hoeppner Dies


    1948 - 2007

    National League All-Star Team

    Yesterday I gave my selections for the American League All-Star I take my shot at the National League....

    Catcher - Russell Martin, Los Angeles - the kid is quietly doing the job (.288, 7, 41)
    First base - Prince Fielder, Milwaukee - Pujols may be da man, but this year Prince is da king (.290, 25, 54)
    Second base - Chase Utley, Philadelphia - quickly becoming the best in the business (.320, 12, 54)
    Third base - Miguel Cabrera, Florida - David Wright gets all the press, but Cabrera may be the best player in the league (.332, 16, 51)
    Shortstop - Jose Reyes, New York - Reyes is the most dynamic player in the game (.318, 3, 32, 37 sb)
    Outfield - Matt Holliday, Colorado - no one outside of the Rockies knows about him (.363, 12, 53)
    Outfield - Ken Griffey, Jr, Cincinnati - Junior is having a nice season (.287, 18, 43)
    Outfield - Barry Bonds, San Francisco - I may not like him, but the game is played at his house (.287, 14, 31)
    Starting pitcher - Jake Peavy, San Diego - the best pitcher in baseball (8-1, 1.82, 103)

    The reserves are....
    Catcher - Bengie Molina, San Francisco (.295, 6, 33)
    First base - Albert Pujols, St. Louis (.305, 16, 45)
    First base - Dmitri Young, Washington (.333, 7, 34)
    Second base - Freddy Sanchez, Pittsburgh (.296, 1, 23)
    Third base - David Wright, New York (.281, 12, 37)
    Shortstop - Hanley Ramirez, Florida (.322, 8, 21, 22 sb)
    Outfield - Carlos Lee, Houston (.299, 11, 55)
    Outfield - Aaron Rowand, Philadelphia (.325, 10, 38)
    Outfield - Alfonso Soriano, Chicago (.294, 11, 23)
    Outfield - Eric Byrnes, Arizona (.307, 10, 35)

    Starting pitcher - John Smoltz, Atlanta (R) (8-3, 2.84, 76)
    Starting pitcher - Cole Hamels, Philadelphia (L) (9-2, 3.47, 104)
    Starting pitcher - Brad Penny, Los Angeles (R) (8-1, 2.18, 61)
    Starting pitcher - Ben Sheets, Milwaukee (R) (7-3, 3.31, 61)
    Starting pitcher - Oliver Perez, New York (L) (7-5, 2.93, 76)
    Starting pitcher - Matt Morris, San Francisco (R) (7-4, 3.21, 48)
    Starting pitcher - Brandon Webb, Arizona (R) (7-4, 3.14, 90)
    Closer - Takashi Saito, Los Angeles (R) (1-0, 1.61, 19 saves)
    Closer - Francisco Cordero, Milwaukee (R) (0-1, 2.45, 25 saves)
    Closer - Trevor Hoffman, San Diego (R) (2-3, 2.08, 19 saves)
    Closer - Brian Fuentes, Colorado (L) (0-0, 2.01, 18 saves)

    Analysis - The National League have a bunch of "clump" players....and by that, I mean there are many quality and deserving players clumped at one position....take for instance shortstop....I went with Reyes and Ramirez, but could have easily taken Edgar Renteria (Atlanta), Jimmy Rollins (Philadelphia), J.J. Hardy (Milwaukee)....the same could be said at first base where Derek Lee of the Cubs and Todd Helton of the Rockies was left off....the Cubs have only 1 representative and I went with Alfonso Soriano because he is starting to swing a hot stick and he is capable of stealing bases, which gave him the nod over Lee....

    It was a lot easier getting left-handed pitching in the National League compared to the American League....I have four southpaws, with Oliver Perez being one of the last players to make the team....I went with Perez because #1 he is a southpaw, and #2 last year this time he was down in the minors wondering if he would ever get his head straightened out - and he did....the one player I love on this team is Hanley Ramirez....most people don't know about him....but he was Boston's prize prospect who they traded in order to get Josh looks like it worked out for both teams....

    The statistics were through Sunday, June 17th

    Monday, June 18, 2007

    American League All-Star Team

    There are less than 2 weeks left to vote in this year's All-Star ends Thursday, June I figure this is the best time to give my selections for this year's 30 man I am focusing on the American League and tomorrow it will be the National are my starters....

    Catcher - Jorge Posada, New York - he is one of the leaders in hitting (.349, 8, 41)
    First base - David Ortiz, Boston - even though Papi is usually a D.H. he gets the nod here (.332, 11, 42)
    Second base - Placido Polanco, Detroit - how can you deny a guy hitting over .340 (.345, 1, 33)
    Third base - Alex Rodriguez, New York - he is having a monster year (.306, 25, 68)
    Shortstop - Derek Jeter, New York - he is up there in average, hits, and leadership (.335, 4, 31)
    Outfield - Magglio Ordonez, Detroit (photo) - Mags is up there with A-Rod for MVP (.365, 13, 61)
    Outfield - Ichiro, Seattle - this guys never slows down (.342, 5, 32, 25 sb)
    Outfield - Vlad Guerrero, Anaheim - every year he is predicted to slow down because of injuries - yeh right (.333, 12, 61)
    Starting pitcher - Chi Chi Sabathia, Cleveland - fans don't pick pitchers but he would be my man to start (9-2, 3.19, 96)

    Now for the reserves.....
    Catcher - Pudge Rodriguez, Detroit (.300, 7, 39)
    Second base - Brian Roberts, Baltimore (.306, 2, 17, 22 sb)
    Second base - B.J. Upton, Tampa Bay (.320, 9, 31)
    Third/First base - Kevin Youkilis, Boston (.329, 8, 33)
    Shortstop - Orlando Cabrera, Anaheim (.336, 3, 37)
    Outfield - Torii Hunter, Minnesota (.312, 14, 54)
    Outfield - Alex Rios, Toronto (.292, 15, 39)
    Outfield - Grady Sizemore, Cleveland (.286, 11, 32, 20 sb)

    Johan Santana, Minnesota (L) (6-6, 3.19, 105Ks)
    Brian Bannister, Kansas City (R) (3-3, 2.91, 28)
    Dan Haren, Oakland (R) (8-2, 1.64, 84)
    Chad Gaudin, Oakland, (R) (6-1, 2.85, 53)
    Erik Bedard, Baltimore (L) (4-4, 3.64, 112)
    James Shields, Tampa Bay (R) (6-1, 3.30, 85)
    John Lackey, Anaheim (R) (10-4, 2.53, 71)
    Justin Verlander, Detroit (R) (7-2, 2.79, 68)
    Josh Beckett, Boston (R) (9-1, 3.39, 68)
    Akinori Otsuka, Texas (R) (1-1, 2.10, 4 saves)
    Francisco Rodriguez, Anaheim (R) (0-2, 2.51, 21 saves)
    J.J. Putz, Seattle (R) (0-0, 1.19, 19 saves) - photo
    Bobby Jenks, Chicago (R) (2-2, 2.52, 17 saves)

    Analysis - The All-Star team is comprised of 30 players, but it was still difficult to pick the most deserving....the most difficult part of selecting the pitching staff was to find quality southpaws after Sabathia.....the Orioles Eric Bedard made the team because he leads the A.L. in strikeouts and is a left-hander....Santana is not having a Santana-like year, but I needed another lefty...Andy Pettitte is deserving with his 2.93 era, but just missed out...some may wonder why Fausto Caromona did not make the team....he has more wins than Santana, but they both have similar ERAs - plus Santana has more strikeouts and is a southpaw...Texas and Kansas City do not deserve anyone on this team....I was going to take Mark Texiera as the Rangers representative but he is banged up....Kelvim Escobar and Jeremy Bonderman lost out because of the K.C. and Texas looks like A-Rod will have to play the entire game at third....Youkilis is a nice pick because he provides diversity being that he can play either third or first...

    I know I went with 3 second basemen, but Roberts and Upton are truly deserving even though I could whack one of them from the team because I have a Baltimore and Tampa representative also on the pitching staff.....many people do not realize that James Shields is throwing some solid ball down in the Sunshine State for the D-Rays.....the last spot was between Grady Sizemore, Manny Ramirez, Joe Mauer, and Mike Lowell....the nod went to Sizemore because he can hit and has speed if needed late in the game....

    Note - Statistics were based on Saturday, June 16th

    Sunday, June 17, 2007

    The Sunday Baker's Dozen

    Denver Post sports columnist Mark Kiszla writes how Tiger Woods may be on the verge of fatherhood, but the memory of his dad is still there on Father's Day...
  • Mark Kiszla

  • Washington Post reporter Les Carpenter writes how former Cleveland Brown Bernie Parrish is fighting for better pensions for retired NFL players....
  • Les Carpenter

  • Boston Globe sports columnist is excited that he can listen to the great Vin Scully on his XM radio...
  • Bob Ryan

  • Los Angeles Times sports columnist Bill Plaschke is at the U.S. Open and hoping a guy named Bubba who scratches his back with his putter wins the thing....
  • Bill Plaschke

  • Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel sports columnist writes how Barry Bonds' chase for The Record has slowed down....he only wishes it was over already....
  • Tom Haudricourt

  • Newark Star-Ledger reporter M.A. Mehta writes about the legendary blow-up between Billy Martin and Reggie Jackson....
  • M.A. Mehta

  • New York Daily News reporter Michael Daly writes how "big time" businesses are using government subsidies to move back to Ground Zero...
  • Michael Daly

  • New York Daily News reporter Thomas Zambito writes that Michael Jackson was almost swindled out of his money by friends and family....
  • Thomas Zambito

  • Former Atlanta Brave Dale Murphy tells Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Carroll Rogers he believes Barry Bonds took something to help pump upp his homerun numbers....
  • Carroll Rogers

  • Miami Herald sports columnist Dan Le Batard writes how baseball's "childish" acts are just part of the game....
  • Dan Le Batard

  • Indianapolis Star sports columnist Bob Kravitz writes how Indiana University athletic director Rick Greenspan had to make a difficult decision about the university's football program...
  • Bob Kravitz

  • Boston Globe reporter Stan Grossfeld writes how former Red Sox slugger Mo Vaughn is working to help provide low-income housing to people in need....
  • Stan Grossfeld

  • St. Louis Post-Dispatch baseball writer tell how Oakland Athletics managing partner Lew Wolff is rooting against his childhood team this weekend....
  • Rick Hummel