NFL

Luck MegaDeal: A Head Scratcher from an Organizational Standpoint

For weeks now the Indianapolis Colts had been hinting at an historic extension for their quarterback Andrew luck. Yesterday it became a reality when Luck signed a six-year $140 million contract with 87 million in guaranteed money! Andrew luck is now the highest paid player in the NFL is set to make $30 million in 2016 absolutely insane.

From Andrew luck’s perspective, this is a dream situation being set financially for life, thus allowing him to focus on his job, which is bringing championships to Indianapolis. Additionally, this contract runs through his age 32 season. Which means he will still be in his prime and able to get another sizable chunk of change from Indianapolis or another team depending on how this contract turns out. No matter how you slice it Andrew Luck won this deal BIG TIME!

However, from the Colts standpoint, I’m a little skeptical, I’m not saying Luck isn’t worthy of a big extension. He threw an NFL best 40 touchdowns in 2014 and is the fourth player in history to throw 100 touchdowns in his first four seasons. Those are MVP type stats and you could see why Indianapolis invested so much in Luck.

On the other hand, I question if Luck will be able to stay healthy I’m worried 2015 was a precursor to the future. Luck suffered a shoulder injury and a lacerated kidney causing him to miss the latter part of last year. The injuries were in large part due to the lack of protection from his offensive line he was pressured on 32% of his drawbacks. No quarterback will come out unscathed if they’re constantly facing that much heat. If he gets hurt again the Colts are royally screwed and last time I checked, there aren’t that many quality NFL backups in the league.

Also in football there are two sides of the ball and the Colts defense hasn’t been great for a while now and a quarterback can only cover up so much. In 2015 the defense ranked 26th in the league, which isn’t going to cut it if they hope to win consistently.

Lastly, what happens if they need to improve the defense side or re-sign the playmakers around Luck? Where is that money going to come from it’s not like money grows on trees and quality NFL players don’t come cheap. The point being if they don’t win financial flexibility could become an issue, forcing them to part ways with important parts of their roster.

Although, I think Andrew luck is a great NFL quarterback and deserves a big contract. The team overpaid and I struggle to see the team having sustained success because of the financial burden potential I talked about and the unpredictability of injuries in the game of football. We’ll just have to wait and see how it works out. I love it from the player perspective the team not so much!

 

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College Basketball, Uncategorized

Pat Summit: The Pioneer of Women’s Basketball

Yesterday, the world lost a true pioneer as Pat Summit the legendary Tennessee Lady Vols lost her four-year battle with dementia a form of Alzheimer’s disease. She was the reason I ever watched women’s college basketball! Her basketball resume is unmatched you could put her up against any basketball coach in history men or women she would hold her own.

In her 38 seasons she shattered the record books while creating the “dynasty” and brand of Tennessee women’s basketball. She has the most career wins (1098) in NCAA history setting the standard for every college coach to chase after. The measuring stick for every coach is championships, she definitely accomplished that goal, cutting down the nets eight times in her record 31 NCAA tournament appearances.

Additionally, she was the National Coach of the year seven times and the SEC coach of the year eight times. She not only transformed the University of Tennessee she also transformed women’s basketball in the Olympics, she led team USA to five gold medals and four silver medals. She did it all, as a coach and the legacy will never be matched.

More importantly, she cared about every single player and person involved at the University of Tennessee.  She  expected  perfection on the court and in the classroom. She achieved something that is unthinkable in today’s age of winning is all that matters, she had a 100% graduation rate not only molding great basketball players, but well-rounded well spoken women.

Every college program should be modeled after what Summit created on and off the court in Knoxville. It was a sisterhood the lessons Summit taught her players will live on   forever.The world and the game of basketball will not be the same without coach Summits’ wisdom. Rest in peace you will be missed!

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MLB

Boston Red Sox offense powering solid start

The American League East has been a very competitive division for decades mostly because of the heated rivalry between the Red Sox and Yankees. That is still the case in 2016 except the other teams like the Baltimore Orioles and Toronto Blue Jays have this division even more entertaining in recent years. This season, I think the Red Sox are the best team not only in the division, but also in the American League.

The Red Sox currently have one of the most feared offenses in baseball. An offense an opposing pitcher would want to fake sick to get out of pitching to this potent group of hitters. This lineup has everything from young guns to grizzled veterans hitting on all cylinders it’s impossible to pitch to them right now any mistake will get hammered and do some real damage to a pitcher’s ERA and confidence.

However, there is one big concern for the Red Sox is the inconsistency of the pitching staff. The team ranks 22nd in baseball with a 4.37 collective ERA, which will not get the job done over an entire season. They must address the pitching staff if they want to reach their ultimate goal of a World Series championship. That being said, they are still tied atop the AL East with  a record of 33-24.

The Killer B’S

The Boston Red Sox offense has been virtually unstoppable in the first two months of the season. A big reason for this hot start is the emergence of their young guns Xander Bogaerts, Mookie Betts, and Jackie Bradley Jr. they’ve gotten off to torrid starts the numbers are almost laughable baseball isn’t supposed to be this easy.

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Mookie Betts 

Let’s start with Mookie Betts the guy that gets it all cranked up for this offense. He is hitting .285 with 14 home runs and 45 RBIs, which is the most for any lead-off hitter. He did something yesterday there’s never been done in MLB history. He homered in the first and second innings in back-to-back games, which is absolutely insane. He has a .337 on-base percentage setting the table for the rest of his team.

Betts has become comfortable in the lead-off position and is quickly showing that he the entire package hitting for average, power, and production. The fact that he is just 23 years of age is mind-boggling to me because of his cerebral ability understanding every situation at the plate and in the field. He will continue to get better and become a perennial MVP candidate and All-Star if he keeps up this ridiculous pace!

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Xander Bogaerts

Xander Bogaerts is another great piece of this lineup he is currently hitting a robust .345 with six home runs and 33 runs batted in. He’s a guy that pitchers hit the face because he is not a feast or famine type player he will take his base hits walks and homers when they come. He’s not trying to do too much and it’s paying off big time He currently has a 26 game hit streak, taking whatever the pitcher gives him starting rallies for this potent offense.

Furthermore, I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about the fact that he is one of the best young shortstops in baseball. He makes every routine play and the more than occasional flashy play that saves their pitchers from much bigger innings. He has .922 fielding percentage with just two errors.

Bogaerts like Betts is just 23 years of age and continues to evolve and soak up all there is to know about baseball. He is another guy that has quickly become a superstar and a perennial All-Star candidate for many years to come.

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Jackie Bradley Jr

The last of this deadly trio is Jackie Bradley Jr, his story is not all, roses like Bogaerts and Betts he’s had trials and tribulations during his young career. Bradley Jr was drafted 40th overall 2011 draft with everyone assuming he was going to be the next big center fielder to grace the big leagues. He debuted in 2013 he always had the defense that was never an issue, but hitting came around pretty slow.

That resulted in a demotion for Bradley to figure out his swing. I think it’s the best thing that could happen to him because the reality set in and he worked very to get where he is right now. In 2016, he has put it all together, having a breakout year. He is hitting .323 with nine home runs and 38 RBIs.

Prior to 2016, he hit just .233 and looked lost and overmatched early on. This spring training, he made a couple of adjustments with his swing and hasn’t looked back. It just goes to show what perseverance and little confidence can do for a major league player.

It may have taken a little longer than he would’ve liked to succeed at the major-league level, but now that he has it looks to me the Red Sox have found their center fielder for many years to come. Bradley’s story just showed you MLB players are made in all shapes and sizes. Careers happen in many different ways that’s what makes baseball great!

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A Magical Fairwell

The ageless wonder David Ortiz has been the face of the Red Sox for the better part of the decade has finally decided to hang it up. He is going out with a bang, putting up MVP type numbers, making people think he should rethink the retirement decision. He is hitting .340 with 16 home runs and 54 runs batted in these are insane numbers for any player, but especially for a 40-year-old. You would think he would lose a little bat speed, but not David Ortiz he’s like a fine wine gets better with age!

Ortiz is proving age is just a number continuing to be a fixture in Boston finishing his career in style. Ortiz is a once-in-a-lifetime player that I’m glad I have been able to witness his clutch performance and continued greatness until the very end baseball will not be the same without Big Papi, but he’s giving us one great season finishing a no doubt Hall of Fame career in my mind. The only thing missing in this storybook final season is one more championship for the city of Boston.

Conclusion

The Boston Red Sox are in a very good position at the beginning of June tied atop the division with the Baltimore Orioles. However, the pitching staff has been wildly inconsistent in the last couple weeks and that must change if they want to make a strong postseason run. I still believe this team is the best in the American League despite pitching struggles.  The American League East will be one of the more compelling divisions down the stretch, but  I believe the Red Sox will come out on top.

 

 

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Uncategorized

Muhammad Ali A True Hero

Last night the world lost a true icon and boxing legend Mohammed Ali. Although, I didn’t get to witness firsthand the impact he made worldwide; I do understand he was a great man, a great athlete and one-of-a-kind! When you think of boxing the first thing that comes to your mind is Mohammed Ali. He shaped the sport into what it is today with his domination and confidence.

His record was amazing he was a three-time heavyweight champion and of his 61 total fights he was victorious in 56 of them. Furthermore 37 of those wins came in knockout fashion I guess he liked putting his opponents out of their misery. Even more impressive he had just five career defeats. In addition, he won Olympic gold at the 1960 summer games. He no doubt was “The GREATEST.” I wish I could’ve seen him in action I’m sure it was a sight to behold.

Outside of the ring he was much of the same stubborn and confident, stood up for what he believed in. He was arrested for draft evasion because he refused to kill anyone. Pretty noble because he sacrificed his freedom and career for integrity something that was hard to come by during that time period as black and white equality was still settling in. He spent five years in prison and forfeited three years of his boxing career. This shows you what you believe in does matter, just put your foot down and someone will eventually listen.

Ali was unfortunately diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1984, but he didn’t let that stop him. He continued to be a great humanitarian in 2002 he went to Afghanistan and was the U.N messenger of peace. One of the many contributions he made to the world, despite his illness. For those selfless acts he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Presidential Citizens Medal.

As you can see, Mohammed Ali was much more than boxing; he enriched the world and made it a much better place. Also he was a miniature Yogi Berra with some of his poignant quotes that stop and make you think. Rest in Peace you will be missed!

 

“Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee”. 

“He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life”.

“I am the greatest; I said that even before I knew I was”.

“Silence is golden when you can’t think of a good answer”.

 

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