Wednesday, February 22, 2012



Wednesday, August 3, 2011

All-In Against A-Rod

Alex Rodriguez and Jay-Z
Reports have come to light in the past few days that Major League Baseball is summoning Yankees All-Star 3rd baseman Alex Rodriguez to the Commissioner's office once again.  Only this time it's not for alleged steroid use, but instead for one of Rodriguez's hobbies that has nothing to do with baseball.  Gambling, and to be more specific, high stakes poker.  It is not the first time that A-Rod has been linked to poker games across the country and apparently MLB is taking these allegations very seriously.  After A-Rod was spotted at a popular poker parlor with Phil Hellmuth in New York City over 6 years ago, baseball officials told him to stop and stay away.  It appears that Rodriguez did not clearly understand the message because now reports are out that he participated in at least two different high stakes games, one in Beverly Hills with actors Matt Damon, Ben Affleck and Leo DiCaprio amongst others, as well as a game he organized himself that ended in a near brawl with one participant who refused to pay up after suffering over $500,000 in losses that particular evening.  I understand that gambling is a very touchy subject in and around baseball with everything that happened with Pete Rose back in the 70's and 80's.  In fact, it is so taboo that it is merely referred to as the "G" word as to not even breath life into such a word.  However, the gambling that A-Rod is participating in has nothing to do with baseball, betting on baseball, or fixing the outcome of baseball games.  So many of these so-called "baseball purists" that are calling for A-Rod's banishment from the game certainly have their own skeletons in their closet, though they would have you believe they are holier than thou.  Gambling is so popular and common amongst professional athletes that if you were to take a poll throughout the 4 major professional sports, I'd be willing to bet (pun intended) that 85-90% currently or have in the past participated in some form of "illegal" gambling at one time or another.  The number of cards games such as booray, spades, poker, or dominoes that take place on any given professional teams bus, charter flight, locker room, or hotel is unbelievably high, to the point that I can guarantee you it is a DAILY occurrence.  Quite frankly, gambling is so popular amongst young male professional athletes who have a whole lot of money and a whole lot of free time on their hands.  To think that the only place that people go to gamble regularly is Las Vegas and Atlantic City is not only extremely naive, but a tad foolish.  To think that so many people are calling for Alex Rodriguez to be suspended for a significant amount of time, because he chooses to spend some of his $30 million annual salary playing Texas Hold 'Em is absolutely ludicrous.  In all reality, A-Rod wasn't the participant in that game that actually lost the $500k, but even if he was, that's not even a drop in the hat to him.  When word had leaked about Charles Barkley's gambling addiction and the money that he owed to a Las Vegas casino a few years back, certain folks across the country found cause for concern.  Turns out, Charles is a millionaire and can afford to gamble, but the fact of the matter is, Alex Rodriguez has made 4-5 times more money in his career than Barkley ever did.  He certainly can afford it, although it appears that money isn't the issue here.  If the MLB front office really wants to suspend Alex Rodriguez for how he chooses to spend his spare time, then they had better start taking a closer look at what "illegal activities" are taking place in and around their clubhouses, hotels and charter jets on a daily basis.  And for once, we are actually not talking about steroids and performance enhancing drugs.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Arizona Cardinals should trade for Carson Palmer

It appears that the current NFL lockout is in it's final stages and that the League and the Players Association should have a deal in place in the not so distant future.  Once this happens, teams can begin to assemble their rosters and prepare for the upcoming season.  Though it will be an abbreviated off-season and many moves and transactions will take place in a very short amount of time, one addition many Cardinals fans are eagerly anticipating is who will be the quarterback for the 2011 season and beyond.  Many fans and analysts alike believe that if the Cardinals can land a solid quarterback either through free agency or via trade, that they should have no problem getting back in contention for the NFC West division championship and another shot at the playoffs.  Since their Cinderella ride to the Super Bowl in 2009 and return trip to the playoffs in 2010, last season showed just how much they missed Kurt Warner, and just how much he meant to the organization as a whole.  Derek Anderson, Max Hall and John Skelton all took turns under center, and to quite honestly, all failed miserably.  Not that anybody expected them to fill Warner's shoes, when in reality, the man is a future Hall of Famer, but those three combined couldn't even find the shoe store, much less attempt at even trying the pair on for size.  Why many league pundits have been saying for months that Philadelphia Eagles backup quarterback Kevin Kolb is all but next in line to be the quarterback here in the desert, many fans including myself have reservations.  For one, the man has only started a handful of games in the league, which doesn't exactly provide a thorough body of work to evaluate from.  Yes he did play behind Donovan McNabb and Michael Vick but my feeling all along has been that if the man was that great to begin with, then why has it taken this long for him to even be given a shot at starting and being "The Guy?"  The #1 quarterback on my list of future Cardinals signal callers has been Carson Palmer.  From the day the season ended last year, when Carson vowed never to set foot in Paul Brown Stadium again, I immediately said that the Cardinals need to do everything they can to appease Mr. Palmer and bring him to the desert.  Not only would he be a perfect fit in Coach Whisenhunt's system, but the southern California native would be much closer to his San Diego home, and would provide the perfect incentive to convince All-Pro wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald to re-sign after his contract runs out at the end of the 2011 season.  Let's be real here.  Fitz is not coming back to play with Max or Skelton.  I do feel that he would stay for Kolb but I know that with a former Pro Bowler like Carson Palmer, Fitz would undoubtedly retire a Cardinal.  While Bengals owner Mike Brown has stated the club has no intention of trading Palmer, the Cardinals still need to make every effort to try and lure him away from Cincinnati.  Carson is on record saying:  
“I have $80 million in the bank. I don’t have to play football for money. I’ll play it for the love of the game but that would have to be elsewhere. I’m prepared to live my life.”
Though the Bengals front office has reiterated that they will call his bluff, it's hard to see them not taking advantage of the opportunity to receive something of value in return, rather than just letting him walk away and being left with nothing.  At 6'5 and 235 lbs, he has the size and arm strength to compliment Fitzgerald perfectly.  If Rod Graves and the Cardinals brass can pull the right strings, it's very conceivable that this team could lock up NFC West titles coupled with deep runs into the playoffs for the next 4-5 years.  If they really want to keep that sellout streak at University of Phoenix Stadium going, bring in Carson Palmer as the next quarterback of the Arizona Cardinals.  He will put butts in the seats, and W's in the standings.

The Return of Nancy Botwin

Weeds season 7 @ Showtime
In true mid-season form, as only the Queen of Green could do, after serving only 3 years in prison for manslaughter in the death of Pilar, Nancy Botwin was in fact released in New York.  Appropriately, that is where Season 7 of the award-winning Showtime drama "Weeds" picks up.  We last saw the Botwin family at the airport where Andy, Silas and Shane were boarding a plane for Copenhagen, Denmark, while Nancy reverted to Plan C and led Esteban out of the airport with their baby and right into the waiting arms of the FBI.  It was quite noble of her to take the fall for the murder that her son Shane committed, though I suppose it was the least she could do after everything she has put her family through since the death of their father just before we were introduced to this everyday, upper-middle class family from suburbia southern California.  After originally agreeing to a witness protection deal to ensure her safety and that of her family, Nancy is informed that Esteban passed away while she was locked up thus eliminating her need to go all "Henry Hill", as Tony Soprano would say.  Weeds has followed the Botwin children from elementary and high school kids on thru to their late teens and early twenties as they have a front row seat on the roller coaster ride of life with their mother.  It will be interesting to see just what Nancy has up her sleeve now that she is no longer wanted by the FBI or the Mexican drug cartels.  For my money, I'm betting she goes back to doing what she does best.  Exactly what got her and her family in all of this mess in the first place.  Nancy Botwin may very well be one of, if not the worst mother's in television history.  However there's no denying how interesting and exciting she makes everyday life in the suburbs.  Season 7 should answer the question of whether or not Nancy can handle the Big Apple, and perhaps keep herself out of trouble for a day or two.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Next Chapter...

As this coming Monday, July 11th approaches, I am preparing to turn the page to the next chapter in "My Crazy Life."  While I can say that I am ultimately excited for this wonderful opportunity that awaits with the Arizona Cardinals, I am also curious as to if this will be the stop on my personal journey where I will plant some grassroots.  Trying to stay on an even keel has been a top priority as life has taught me that consistency in my demeanor will keep me in balance.  Never get too high when things are going good, and have the where withall to realize that the lows are never as low as they may seem.  Certain circumstances may have a lasting impact on how we view situations, but you should never let circumstance define who you are and what you are about.  Everything that has happened up to this point happened for a reason.  If things were supposed to be different, then they would have happened that way.  At the end of the day, God has the master plan and he has laid it out for me to play it out.  I may not have necessarily agreed with, or been extremely happy with all of the events of the past few years, but the only person that can do anything about said circumstance is me.  There is no sense in wasting energy stressing about anything that has already taken place because I don't own a DeLorean that can take me back in time to change any of it.  It is up to me to live for today, one day at a time.  Let positive vibes embody every facet of each day and don't let negativity creep into any aspect of your life.  Fact is you had better make the most out of each and every waking second because Lord knows we don't get a mulligan.  Forget about the past, don't live with regrets, and wake up every morning thankful for your next breath.  One of my favorite quotes I receive quite often via text message from a very special person who is near and dear to my heart simply says "make today your best day ever!"  We will cross the tomorrow bridge when we get there.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

All-Star Snoozefest

It appeared that Justin Upton may have taken slight offense to being excluded from Prince Fielder's Home Run Derby squad that will be representing the National League next week at Chase Field.  So much so that when he smoked a mammoth home run to left-center field in the 3rd inning, Fielder turned his back to Upton as he rounded first base.  With baseball's new rule implemented this year that designates a captain for each team for the Derby, who then gets to choose his 3 participants.  Much like Bruce Bochy did with the All-Star roster, Fielder chose his teammate Rickie Weeks, and two of his "buddies," Matt Kemp and Mike Stanton.  Although Upton admitted to having no hard feelings and being more than happy to be hitting homers in situations and games that actually matter, it had to irk him being passed over, after basically openly campaigning for the opportunity a few days ago.  Fielder said that he would have liked to have had a D-backs representative in the Derby but he said that the players who he chose were his friends and he knows them well.  Apparently Prince thought this year's game was taking place at Miller Park  It will be interesting to see if this situation leads to a tinkering of the rules for the future to try and eliminate some of the bias.  I suppose Prince thought fans in Arizona would like the opportunity to see a few players that represent the cellar-dwellers of the National League showcase their skills on All-Star weekend.  The MLB All-Star game is starting to become more and more of a joke when you consider that Yankees ace C.C. Sabathia, who leads the A.L. in wins with 12, was snubbed as well in favor of guys you've never heard of named Glo Gonzalez, Brandon League, and Chris Perez.  Who you might ask?  Exactly my point.  Standball supporters in the Valley had to wait this many years for the All-Star game and this is the best product the MLB could put out on the field?  Wake me up when the lockouts end.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Ian Kennedy feels the All-Star snub

D-backs pitcher Ian Kennedy
The rosters for the MLB All-Star game on July 12th at Chase Field have been finalized and much to the surprise of D-backs players and fans alike, only one member of this year's squad was on the list.  Justin Upton was a no-brainer to make the National League roster after his stellar first half of the season in leading Arizona to surprise contention in the NL West.  What really rubbed some the wrong way was the fact that Ian Kennedy, the man who many consider the main reason for Arizona's successes this season, was curiously omitted.  The most unsettling part of the process is the fact that Giants manager Bruce Bochy, who will be managing the National League, chose 3 of his own pitcher's over Kennedy, even though the D-backs right hander had more innings pitched and a better ERA than both Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain.  Obviously Bochy has every right to favor his own players who have indeed pitched well, and he undoubtedly wants to reward them for leading his club to a World Series title last year, but he has had the opportunity to witness the 26 year old right hander dominate his own club twice this season, with a front row dugout seat.  Unfortunately, the D-backs ace expeditiously went out and had his worst outing of the season Sunday against Oakland which could ultimately end up sealing his All-Star fate.  However, Kennedy still does have a chance to make the squad under a couple of different circumstances, though it shouldn't take an online fan poll or a pitcher withdrawing from the game last minute for him to receive his just due.  He rightfully deserves to be pitching for the National League at the mid-summer classic whether it was taking place in his home ballpark or not.  Perhaps baseball should employ the same rules as the NBA, where all coaches in each conference are given the chance to vote which players are deserving.  That way we can eliminate what appears to be nothing more than an obvious case of hometown bias and favoritism.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Locked Out

12:01am Eastern Time on July 1st, 2011 has come and gone, just like clockwork.  And with that, the National Basketball Association has officially locked out it's players, making that two of the country's big 4 professional sports leagues currently amassed in a work stoppage.  While optimism reigns supreme that a deal will get done in the NFL, it is the exact opposite with the NBA.  In fact, many people believe that most of, if not all of the 2011-12 season could be lost due to the lockout.  What a shame for a sport that has had every opportunity this past year to capitalize on an enormous circumstance by way of professional football.  While the NFL was embroiled in it's own mess, basketball had taken center stage and put on a wonderful show.  Never had it been more popular or ratings been higher than this past season.  With the advent of social media, mixed in with all of the storylines from LeBron and the Miami Heat, to Dirk winning finally winning his first championship, the Association's popularity was at an all time high.  None of that seems to matter now.  David Stern and the owners are stating that 22 of the 30 teams are operating in the red, and that the current system is flawed beyond repair.  With the players receiving almost 60% of basketball related income in the old system, the owners are determined to flip that percentage in their favor.  Billy Hunter and the Players Association refuse to settle for that and so now it has come to this.  1998 all over again.  If they really want an indication of the future to come, one need look no further than the National Hockey League.  They are still trying to recover from lockout that completely cancelled the 2004-05 season.  Fans were so turned off by the entire situation, billionaires fighting with millionaires on the sole basis of money and greed, that they completely walked away from hockey altogether.  The NHL still hasn't recovered.  All David Stern needs to do is give Gary Bettman a phone call.  One quick phone call and one simple question.  "Was it worth it?"       

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Suns should consider David West

Hornets forward David West
New Orleans Hornets All-Star forward David West has informed the organization that he will opt out of the final year of his contract and test the free-agent market this summer according to ESPN.  Although the 30 year old suffered a torn ACL which required surgery in April, he is still projected to be one of the most highly coveted players available in what will be a less than stellar free-agent class this summer.  The two-time All-Star has said that it was his intention all along to opt out and test the free-agent waters in 2011.  Unfortunately for him, he didn't plan on that coming both during a major rehabilitation process on his knee, and amid the expectations of an impending league work stoppage on July 1st.  With all that being said, how do the Phoenix Suns factor into this.  With the loss of Amar'e Stoudemire last summer, the Suns could certainly use a power forward to play alongside center Marcin Gortat.  With West having played alongside Chris Paul for the majority of his career with the Hornets, he would almost certainly love the opportunity to be on the receiving end of many Steve Nash assists.  His toughness on the defensive end and rebounding abillity would also be a welcome asset in the desert.  The potential hold up that may cause the Suns to pass on West would be the injury factor.  After citing injury history as a main reason for not offering Amar'e a max deal last summer, the front office may be hesitant to turn around and offer a contract to a player who just recently had major knee surgery.  Factor in that West is 3 years older than Stoudemire and Lon Babby and Lance Blanks will have some decisions to make.  Blanks has stated that his goal is to change the identity of the Suns organization in moving away from strictly an offensive juggernaut and more toward a well-rounded defensive minded ball club.  The drafting of Markieff Morris over twin brother Marcus, who scouts deemed to be the better offensive player of the two, proved as much.  Now is as good a time as any for him to start making his mark on the franchise.   Blanks should give some serious consideration to adding a piece the caliber of David West this off-season, and show the fans in Phoenix that he indeed has the walk to back up his talk.

All Good Things....

As seems to be the case with so many popular entities both in life and television, all good things undoubtedly come to an end.  Such is the case with the widely popular HBO series "Entourage" when the first of 8 final episodes begins airing July 24th.  I personally feel the series had hit somewhat of a lull the past few seasons after developing such a huge following over the first 3-4 seasons.  At some point though life must go on and the audience's glimpse into the lives of the characters must come to a close.  HBO always seems to conclude their most popular shows in the same manner that attached so many fans throughout the course of it's run.  On the edge of your seat, and yearning for more.  Such was the case with The Sopranos and The Wire amongst others.  Surely fans will be hankering for a movie, which is already rumored to be in the planning stages.  Fans will be very interested to see just what becomes of not only Vincent Chase, but the rest of his friends who we have all witnessed grow and mature right before our eyes.  What once was a group of buddies who seemed to merely be riding the coattails of their celebrity comrade became a group of successful, grown men who legitamized their careers by pursuing their own dreams and aspirations.  Not only did it give people an inside perspective of what life is like for an actor trying to make it in Hollywood, but it showed that everything is not always so glamorous as it is often portrayed.  One day could you be starring in a James Cameron feature film, and the next be out of work and struggling to make ends meat, or find employment period.  Being somebody who has always had that dream to one day pursue a career in acting, I've loved being able to see what life is like in Hollywood, not only for the actors themselves, but the agents, producers, directors and the friends & family.  Where the lives of Vinny, Ari, E, Turtle and Drama go after Season 8 will be striclty for our imagination to decide.  With rumors are circulating that the creators are trying to secure a cameo from Charlie Sheen for one of the final episodes, we as fans can rest assure of one thing.  The final season of Entourage will be "Winning" on every conceivable level.