Delonte West Pulls a Desperado in Maryland

September 30, 2009
If only Delonte has spent his weekend driving the ball to the hoop, instead of his motorcycle, he might be in camp right now.

If only Delonte has spent his weekend driving the ball to the hoop, instead of his motorcycle, he might be in camp right now.

Cleveland Cavaliers guard Delonte West was arrested over the weekend for illegal possession of firearms, after being pulled over for a traffic violation while driving his motorcycle.  Apparently, police officers found it odd that someone other than Antonio Banderas would be riding a motorcycle with a guitar case strapped to his back, so they searched the case.  Inside, they found two loaded handguns and a loaded shotgun.

There’s no telling why West had the weapons or where he was headed.  He should have been on his way to Cleveland for the start of training camp on Monday.  But his journey seems to have taken a detour, only nobody knows where.  Despite his arrest, West was supposed to report to training camp three days ago.  He has yet to arrive, marking three unexcused absenses for the six-year vet.

Even more concerning than his affinity for Robert Rodriguez films is that he has a long history of battling depression and mood disorders.  He missed 10 days of training camp last year while he battled depression.  This brings to question, how does someone with such a documented mental illness obtain weapons?  Scary thought.  More concerning to basketball fans (or at least to LeBron James fans) is what this means for the team?  He is their starting shooting guard, which might be the tongue-in-cheek understatement of the year, and an important part of the supporting cast around King James.  The team is among preseason Championship favorites and it will be interesting to see how they respond to the latest West mishap.

Perhaps the sight of Enrique Iglesias toting a guitar case filled with gun in "Once Upon a Time in Mexico" inspired Delonte West this weekend.  After all, Enrique told him "I can be your hero baby."

Perhaps the sight of Enrique Iglesias toting a guitar case filled with guns in "Once Upon a Time in Mexico" inspired Delonte West this weekend. After all, Enrique told him "I can be your hero baby."

As a Celtics fan, I’ve watched West quite a bit throughout his career.  He was a good player while on the team, not a superstar but rather underrated still.  When we traded him, I didn’t lose sleep over it, but I continued to follow the St. Joe’s product’s career.  I never thought he’d amount to much because he’s undersized and doesn’t excel at anything.  But he’s a good defender, a decent shooter, and he’s versatile, making him a perfect role player for a contending team.  It’s sad to see that he apparently is still battling the demons in his head.

Was it the long socks?  The curly orange hair?  His height?

Was it the long socks? The curly orange hair? His height?

Ideally, I always saw him ending up with the Celtics.  Not as a player.  Not as a coach.  But as the replacement for our lost mascot, Lucky.  I know, I know, he’s not Irish.  But for some reason, Delonte always reminded me of Lucky, the Celtic’s leprechaun.  The resemblence is there.  Maybe it’s because both wore tall socks.  Perhaps it’s because they were always the smallest men on the court.  Or maybe it’s because of that little orange ‘fro that Delonte rocked from time to time.   All I’m saying is picture Delonte West rocking that outfit.  It fits right?

Either way, West isn’t in camp, rides 3-wheeled motorcycles, and carries his firearms in a guitar case.  This can’t be the way the Cleveland Cavs drew up their preseason schedule, right?

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MLB Awards, Day 2: The John Rocker Closer Distinction

September 30, 2009
I wanted to name this the Kenny Powers award, but instead I named it after the real deal.

I wanted to name this the Kenny Powers award, but instead I named it after the real deal.

A good closer is hard to find.  You look at the teams that have already clinched, and a big factor in their success is having a guy in the pen that can shut the door (with the exception of the Phightin’ Phils, who may have finally found their man).  We take a timeout here, to honor those great doorclosers with the Blue Duck’s award for best closer.  We give it in the honor of one of baseball’s greatest players and humanitarians, Mr. John Rocker.

And the winners are:

NL
Boomer
Ryan Franklin (P) StL

If it looks like that now, imagine it when he stops shaving for the playoffs

If it looks like that now, imagine it when he stops shaving for the playoffs

ERA below two? Check.  Among the league leaders in saves? Check.  Pitching for a playoff team?  Check.  Ryan Franklin fits the bill, albeit in a league of less than flattering options.  He doesn’t strike out many batters, his walk totals are average, and he’s blown a few saves.  But look at the National League this year and even with all the negative things pointed out about Franklin, he’s still the best.  Now it’s overstating it a bit to say he’s been only okay, because he’s been very good.

Franklin is closing games for Tony La Russa, someone whose trust isn’t easy to gain.  Ryan doesn’t allow many hits and has only 13 runs on the season.  That’s pretty amazing considering his peripheral stats (k’s, walks) are average.  The bottom line?  He gets the job done for a team with World Series potential.  Congrats.

Carebear
Trevor Hoffman

I know we did Comeback Player of the Year yesterday, but this guy is really the epitome of returning to old form.  But, the beauty of Hoffman is that he has evolved as a pitcher.  The once prototypical closer has become a crafty changeup machine, but got the job done maybe as effectively as ever this year.

Hoffman carried with him the lowest WHIP in the major leagues at 0.88.  Hoffman blew only 3 saves in 39 chances, and finished the year with an ERA of 1.76.  Not bad for a 41-year old.  The Brew Crew struggled mightily in ’09, but Hoffman did not contribute to their plight.  It would have been nice to see what he could have pulled off with a playoff contender this season, though.  Hells Bells.

AL

Biggest honor of my long career. Mos reaction when we told him of the award.

"Biggest honor of my long career." Mo's reaction when we told him of the award.

Boomer
Mariano Rivera
(P) NYY

Another classic year by Mo.  He’s been the only constant in a Yankees bullpen that was battered by injury all year.  He’s got 44 saves, two off the league lead.  His stats aren’t neccessarily mind-blowing; among closers he’s not near the lead in strikeouts, nor does he pitch multiple innings, but he doesn’t need to.  With his devastating cutter breaking the bats of lefties and causing righties to pop-up, he’s efficient.  Considering he doesn’t walk batters (almost literally, he’s got about half as many walks as any other AL pitcher with 30+ saves).

He’s closing games for the best team in baseball and he’s getting it done the same way he does every season.  The qualities you look for in a closer are consistency and reliability.  Rivera’s got ’em, as he doesn’t have many heart attack innings (see Papelbon, Jonathon), doesn’t have total clunkers (Fuentes, Brian), and gets the job done in the ninth.

Carebear
Joe Nathan

Joey’s been getting it done for a long time now.  It seems like he is one of the few closers in baseball whose job has never been in question.  Minnesota has made this interesting and during their comeback stretch, Nathan has been solid.  In the last 2 months, Nathan has 16 saves with only two blown.

He has blown 5 on the season, a bit steep, but his numbers are great.  With a WHIP of 0.95, Nathan does not allow baserunners, avoids big innings, and strikes out more than a man an inning.  Best closer in the AL? no, but Boomer chose Mo.  Joe Nathan is as good as any non-Mo closer in the league.

Kenny lost out to Rivera in a close decision.

Kenny lost out to Rivera in a close decision.

Tomorrow is day 3 of the baseball award extravaganza.  Our Cy Young Award goes out.  No Name for that one yet.  Send us any suggestions?  Gaylord Perry, Orel Hershiser, and Doc Gooden are in the running.  Tune in tomorrow.

Yesterday we announced the Comeback Player of the Year Award winners here https://blueducksports.wordpress.com/2009/09/29/blue-duck-mlb-awards-day-one-comeback-player/


Blue Duck Sports – Week 4 NFL Betting Guide

September 30, 2009

Last week wasn’t the greatest, but continues to be profitable as my “locks” made a come back.

Looking for a strong showing this week, and there appear to be a lot of “solid” bets to make.  Tread carefully of course because you are useless to me if you can’t afford internet service anymore and your PC gets repo’d.  Play it safe and play all of my picks…it’s been working so far.

Have you heard?  Brett Favre has still got it I swear!

Have you heard? Brett Favre has still got it I swear!

Last week: 9-7  Locks: 2-0        Season: 29-19   Season Locks: 3-2

Raiders vs Texans Over 42

The Texans have the ability to put points on the board.  Admittedly, the Raiders defense is under rated but I see Schaub and company putting up 30 on the Raiders.  Jamarcus Russell should be able to hand the ball off enough to his talented backfield to cover the rest of the over.

Patriots -1.5 vs Ravens

Tough game to pick.  Ravens defense is not as good as it has been, but all eyes will continue to be on Brady to see if he can get it back together for a solid game.  The Patriots defense has been a bright spot and should give the offense time to get going.  This will be a statement game for the Patriots, against a team many are already proclaiming to be the best in the NFL.

Giants -9 vs Chiefs

Giants will control the game and the clock and rattle Cassel whenever they please.  Large spread but look for the Giants D to continue their dominant streak.

Buccaneers +7 vs Redskins

Both teams are absolutely terrible, and the Redskins should come out fired up after being embarrassed by the Lions last week.  If the Bucs can keep it close in the first half, they could very well win this game outright.

Bengals -5.5 vs Browns

The Browns are my vote for worst team in the league.  Not only do they lack talent, but they hate their coach.  Absolute disaster.  The Bengals have been a pleasant surprise and should roll here.

Jets vs Saints OVER 45

Tough game to pick with the line so I’ll take the over.  It’s a big over to hit, but I’m still not sold on the Jets defense.  Drew Brees should be able to find time and put together a good game.  On the other side of the field Mark Sanchez has shown a lot of poise and should also be able to keep his team in the game.

Bills -2 vs Dolphins

While the Dolphins were never really about who played quarterback, and relied heavily on the run game and gimmick plays (wildcat).  The loss of Pennington will hurt a bit.  He was a very efficient quarterback and didn’t make costly mistakes.  Not sure if Henne can provide the same.  I just hope this game isn’t on TV.

Rams +9.5 vs 49ers

49ers will be without Frank Gore, it won’t slow them down all that much, but look for the Rams to control the game on the ground and keep this one close.

Cowboys -3 vs Broncos

The Broncos are over rated.  Don’t get me wrong with this, but the Cowboys DO play in a tough division.  They still have the offense to put up big points even with a backfield that is in pain.  They should be able to handle this one.

Chargers +6.5 vs Steelers

The Steelers are reeling, and may not be as good as we thought they were.  The Chargers defense continues to be suspect, but their offense is able to score from anywhere on the field, while the Steelers are not.  If the Steelers cannot get a running game together the Chargers will be able to keep this close.

Packers +3.5 vs Vikings

Everyone will be watching this game.  Brett Favre vs his old team.  Favre now playing for their bitter division Rivals.  The Vikings are good, and the Packers haven’t shown too much, but Aaron Rodgers should be able to carry his team to victory here.
Really, I just like the whole emotional factor that Green Bay should be running on.  I love that stuff.

Lock of the week:

How can I not love this guy??

How can I not love this guy??

Lions vs Bears OVER 39

Everyone knows I hate Jay Cutler, but he may become a fixture in my lock section. Neither teams defense is very good, and both offenses are developing.  Look for both teams to put up 40+ combined.

Titans -3 vs Jaguars

Both teams are very good rushing teams, but I’ll give the edge to the Titans in the passing game and on defense, enough so that they should cover the 3 points.


Blue Duck MLB Awards: Day One: Comeback Player

September 29, 2009

Brad Lidge has proven that MLB voters dont know anything.  Our picks will stand the test of time.

Brad Lidge has proven that MLB voters don't know anything. Our picks will stand the test of time.

At Blue Duck we love when fallen heroes return to their days of glory and regain abilities thought to be lost.  That is why we get all giddy when thinking about the Major League Comeback Player of the Year.  We probably wont find out who actually wins this award, but the Blue Duck version is slightly more appreciated by the players.

So here are Boomer and my picks for the AL and NL Return to Glory Award for 2009.

AL:
Boomer:
Victor Martinez

(C) Cle/Bos

Youre Welcome, Victor. You deserve it.

You're Welcome, Victor. You deserve it.

After missing half the season in ’08, Martinez has bounced back to his norm.  Currently sporting a .301 average, Martinez has also been clutch since arriving in Boston at the trade deadline.  His versatility has allowed him to contribute behind the plate (spelling the relic, Jason Veritek) while also playing above average defense at firstbase.  This has allowed the Sox to shift Kevin Youkilis to third, and keep Mike Lowell as healthy as possible following off-season hip surgery.

His arrival has coincided with a revival of sorts to the offensive game of David Ortiz.  Already having appeared in 150 games on the season, Martinez has not lost the power he displayed between the 04-07 seasons, hitting 22 homeruns.  He’s healthy, he’s producing, and he’s in the middle of the playoff race.  He’s officially back.

Well Done Justin

Well Done Justin

Carebear
Justin Verlander

The Tigers have almost become the team they were supposed to be last year in 2009.  Much of this is due to the reemergence of Justin Verlander.  Justin had a league leading 17 losses last season, and has come back with 17 wins in the ’09 campaign.  His 4.84 ERA last year reflected the fact that he lost his fastball, and lost control.

Verlander’s WHIP is down dramatically, and he has already pitched 20 more innings than last season.  Anyone who watched him pitch the last two years will tell you the difference is night and day.  He was topping out at about 94 MPH for much of the year, and in ’09 his free and easy motion producing 99MPH fastballs deep into games has wowed commentators and opposing hitters all season.
Verlander makes this team a big threat in the playoffs.
NL

Boomer:
Chris Carpenter
(P) StL

Way to not get injured again, Chris.

Way to not get injured again, Chris.

After being limited to 21 innings combined the last two seasons, Carpenter has proven he’s healthy and can still pitch.  His 2.30 ERA ranks him first in the National League.  Add in his 16 wins (behind only teammate Adam Wainwright) and it’s no wonder the Cardinals have clinched the NL’s Central Division.  The fact that he’s been able to throw over 180 innings in his first full season in two years it all a bonus for the Cards.

Even more astonishing than his win/loss total is that he’s only allowed 7 homeruns on the year in addition to a ridiculous 1.01 WHIP.  But he’s been able to pickup where he left off, just about matching his career average for K/9 while exceeding his career averages for ERA and WHIP.  He’ll be pitching one of the first two playoff games for St. Louis, which seemed unimaginable at this point last year.
Carebear:
Troy Tulowitzki
This is how excited Tulowitzki was after we called him about the award.

This is how excited Tulowitzki was after we called him about the award.

It may be ridiculous calling a 24 yr old the Comeback Player of the Year, but after his Rookie of the Year in 2007 many thought Troy was just a flash in the pan.  Tulowitzki proved everyone wrong this season.  A lot of his troubles were caused by injury in 2008, and returning to good health brought in some healthy numbers as well.

His 30 homers are first among MLB shortstops, and his 87 RBIs trail only Hanley Ramirez.  Troy is also having a solid year fielding the ball.  The Rocky has committed only 9 errors this year.  Most importantly, Troy has helped his team back into playoff contention.  Finishing 14 games below .500 last year without a healthy SS, Troy Tulowitzki has shown that he is an integral part of what should be the NL Wild Card team.

Tune in tomorrow for Blue Duck’s presentation of the John Rocker Award to the AL and NL’s best Closer.

A Storm is Brewing in Buffalo

September 27, 2009

Next question!

Somebody throw me the ball!

Terrell Owens went without a catch in a game for the first time since 1997.  The future hall of famer was less than pleased once the game ended.  In his post-game press conference, he was visibly frustrated with his role in this offense, although he didn’t say that.  He’s finally become aware that the media will twist whatever he says into a controversy, so he withheld his vitriol from quarterback Trent Edwards.

When asked how he feels about his streak being broken, he said “It’s over.”

When asked about his feeling about this game, he said “We need to prepare for next week.”

When asked what was wrong with the offense, he asked “What do you think?”

When asked about his role in the offense, the plays being called, and his quarterback’s reading of the routes, he responded “I run the routes for the plays that are called”

So in short, he was a smug son-of-a-bitch (See here).  But he has to be.  God forbid he spoke his mind, he’d be splitting the locker room, causing controversy for his team and bringing the spotlight onto himself.  And of course, he’d be feuding with yet another quarterback.  But would he be wrong?

There’s no way the locker room is pleased with the way the team is run.  As disposed offensive coordinator, Turk Schonert,  implied after he was fired two weeks before the season began, the Bills run a “Pop Warner” offense.  Now Schonert wasn’t the answer, as Lee Evans and Trent Edwards approached him about concerns about the offense before he was let go.  But the fundamental offensive philosophy of the Bills is what is ruining this team.  They have a true burner in Lee Evans, a hall of fame receiver in Terrell Owens, and a decent running back in Fred Jackson (not to mention the impending return of Marshawn Lynch).  Add in a the versatile Roscoe Parrish, the Bills would seem to have plenty of weapons to have an effective offense.  Yet these resources are not being utilized to their full potential.

So would T.O. be wrong to question the philosophy of the offense?  No, because it’s extremely doubtful he’s the only one who feels that way.  And he did an admirable, if not genuine, attempt to deflect those feelings in his post-game presser.  But it’s only a matter of time before he can’t bite his lip any longer, and head coach Dick Jauron and quarterback Trent Edwards had better take cover.  They will be public enemy number one, not T.O.  As much as he’s reviled by the media for being a cancer, rarely do teammates question his work ethic.  There were reports that a majority of the Philadelphia Eagles locker room supported T.O. in his crusade on the team’s offense.  And there were plenty of players on the Dallas Cowboys who voiced their support of T.O.’s outburst against his team’s offense (and judging by Tony Romo’s performance so far, was he wrong?).  He just speaks up for everyone else on the team who won’t speak for themselves.

So watch out Buffalo, because the T.O. storm is coming and it’s all your fault.  Not because he’s a bad player or because he’s vying for media attention, but because your offense is a joke.  And he’ll tell everyone that will listen that it is a joke.  So instead of tinkering with a no-huddle offense all off-season, perhaps tinkering with a different offense was the appropriate move.  And Buffalo dropped the ball on that attempt.

It seems like forever since Buffalo had something to smile about.  Terrell Owens was supposed to be that beacon of hope.  If only Dick Jauron and Trent Edwards would open up the offense.  Sorry Buffalo, theres a storm coming and the coach is to blame.

It seems like forever since Buffalo had something to smile about. Terrell Owens was supposed to be that beacon of hope. If only Dick Jauron and Trent Edwards would open up the offense. Sorry Buffalo, there's a storm coming and the coach is to blame.


And Down Goes the Champ

September 27, 2009
Tim Tebow was knocked out of Saturdays game against Kentucky by a clean clean shot from defensive end Taylor Wyndham.

Tim Tebow was knocked out of Saturday's game against Kentucky by a clean shot from defensive end Taylor Wyndham.

The most overrated quarterback in college football was absolutely crushed Friday evening in the Gators game against Kentucky.  The Wildcats defensive end, Taylor Wyndham, sprinted off tackle and speared Tim Tebow straight back.  It was an absolutely clean hit, driving Tebow to the turf.  Only, on the way to the ground, Tebow’s head struck the knee of a teammate and he was knocked cold.  He lay motionless on the turf for a couple of minutes, and Commonwealth Stadium went silent.  Fans had tears in their eyes, as America’s darling wasn’t moving.

He eventually was able to walk off the field under his own power, later being escorted to the local hospital to be admitted for observation.  All test results point to a concussion and there is no ETA on his return.  He could play in Florida’s next game, two weeks from now versus LSU, but it is too early to tell.  The game against LSU looks to be the toughest on the Gator’s schedule this season, so if he is unable to go, it could cost Florida a shot at defending their national title.

I’m not upset though.  I’m rather unimpressed with Tebow the player.  He plays quarterback, yet is known more for his rushing.  He rarely throws the ball more than 25 times a game, and his carries number in the double digits.  The media is always abuzz, raving about how talented Tim Tebow is, how he will transcend the NFL, reinventing the quarterback position.  I don’t buy it.  We’ve seen this type of “talent” before, in the form of another former Heisman winner, Eric Crouch.  Both players were athletic quarterbacks, who rushed the ball from the snap, hardly ever counted on to win games with their arms.  Statistically, they were marvelous quarterbacks, in college.  The NFL didn’t buy into it, drafting Crouch as a safety, and he never played in the NFL.  Another college quarterback who was supposed to reinvent the QB position was Vince Young, a highly productive college quarterback who won games with his legs.  Currently, he’s riding the bench, trying to get the nerves to finally pull the trigger (not on a pass from the pocket, but on a bullet in the chamber).  Tebow fits those comparisons.

Now don’t get me wrong, I admire his leadership.  That speech he gave last year after Florida lost to Ole Miss is an instant classic which makes me want to lace up the cleats and head into battle with him.  And leadership is an intangible skill, something you can’t teach.  He’s got it, no question.  I just don’t buy that his skills as a quarterback will translate into the pros.  It’ll be interesting to see if Florida can perform without their leader, and if they do, will it temper the hype surrounding Tebow.  Either way, he got his clock absolutely cleaned Friday night.  And it was awesome.


Preseason? Milan Lucic is already warmed up

September 26, 2009

Seriously, what do you have to fight about in the preseason?

If Kimbo Slice fought half as well as Lucic, he’d still have a career.

This kid is fighting somebody everytime he laces up the skates.  And you know what?  I love it.  Hockey sucks without it.  It’s not like baseball where dugouts empty, bullpens charge in, but nothing happens.  Or when football players get into it, they just push at each other’s facemasks.  Not in hockey.  These guys wail on each other, sans facemask, without anybody interfering. Take this fight for example, Chris Neil is getting his shit kicked in but his teammates stay on the bench and clap their sticks against the boards.  They let him take his beating like a man.

Keep it up hockey, you’re earning a new fan.

Hey Vince McMahon, I think Monday Night Raw has found their next guest host.  Make it happen

Hey Vince McMahon, I think Monday Night Raw has found their next guest host. Make it happen