Monday, April 27, 2009

Thoughts on the Texans NFL draft...


The OLB (USC's Cushing) I can understand, and I'm OK with Cincinatti's Connor Barwin, after all, most people consider him to be an OLB in the NFL anyway. If there's one thing the Texans needed, it's help at Linebacker and in the secondary.

What I don't understand is this: Not drafting ANYONE until the 7th (and final) round to address the glaring need at Safety, not getting a running back, and drafting TWO tight-ends?

The tight-end picks are especially confusing given that the current TE (Owen Daniels) was a pro-bowl player last season. The 'excuse' provided by local media is that the Texans needed a blocking tight end to plug in during short-yardage and obvious-run situations. OK, fine. That explains away Anthony Hill, but it doesn't go anywhere toward explaining James Casey. Now, don't get me wrong, I like Casey, I think he's going to be a fine player in the NFL. I'm just not sure if the Texans are the place where he can grow into being that good of a player. Rumor also has it that Casey will be used in the Wildcat formation, which means that the Texans used a 4th round pick on a player to run a gimmick offense that's likely to be figured out by NFL D-coordinators within a couple of years.

And, oh by the way, Liberty's Rashard Jennings was still on the board, a tough, no-nonsense RB that could have been the between-the-tackles solution that the Texans needed to fix their pathetic short-yardage offense. There's talk, especially by writers, that the Texans are going to try and find an RB through the free agent process, but history proves the late-round drafting track record to be superior to the FA track record in running backs. More likely is the fact that writers are working to explain away Kubiak & Co's aversion to spending high draft picks on backs, something that worked for them in their Denver days, but which has proven less than successful in recent years. (How's that working out for Mike Shanahan these days?)

Most fans won't remember, because of the focus on David Carr, but the failure in the Texans organization during the Charlie Casserly/Dom Capers era wasn't, primarily, due to mistakes at the top of the draft. (although they did make several) Their failure was primarily in the second, third and fourth rounds, wasted rounds whose lack of production decimated a growing team.

This year's Texans made good picks in Rounds 1-2 & 6-7, everything else in the middle is subject to further review. It might be the A+ draft that Chron writers are portraying it as, but then again it might not. It might be a hot mess.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Had I a pick in today's Seinfeldian draft...

Today is the 2nd Annual KGOW Seinfeldian Mock Draft where anything and everything is fair game.

Unfortunately, my invitation to participate somehow got lost in the mail, either that or it was eaten by Sean "The Cablinasian" Pendergast one Friday at Nick's Place. Either way I won't be participating. So, as a public service, I'm going to reveal early what my pick would have been had I a place in the line-up.

The Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 emblazoned with Bar Rafaeli. My team might suck but they'd travel in STYLE.

The draft is this afternoon from 3-7 on 1560 AM Houston.

Sports Shorts (04/23/2009)

Thanks Deke. [Richard Justice,] - Dikembe Mutombo had a great career, and an even better life so far.

Dave Maggard leaves big shoes to fill. [Jerome Solomon,] - Solomon gives Maggard's retirement more serious treatment than his co-worker is capable of.

** These two examples show why Justice is so dissapointing as a newspaper columnist. On the one hand (the Mutombo story) he dishes out a fitting tribute with a well-written, well thought-out column, on the other hand (the UH story) he just runs around with his hair on fire trying to draw attention to himself. **

McGrady says injury took his passion for the game. [Brian McTaggart,] - Then retire. Spare us all of this 'woe is me' drama for Chrissakes.

Aeros score overtime victory over Peoria Rivermen. [Andrew Farraro,] - Thank you John Royal!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Detroit Lions New Logo?

Rolled out today.

Old: (image courtesy of

New: (image courtesy of

The other finalist: (image courtesy of Real Clear Sports Blog)

Which of the three do you prefer?

Monday, April 20, 2009

New Poll (3CB Related)

New Poll up today on the (still emerging) Main Page. It involves the Rockets and how far you think they'll go in the playoffs.

You can answer that here and keep track of updates on all three active blogs.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

MMA matures

And the fans revolt.

[Kevin Iole, Yahoo! Sports]
Anderson Silva wasn’t one of the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s biggest pay-per-view draws despite a slew of highlight reel knockouts and a reputation as the finest mixed martial arts fighter in the world.

After Saturday’s performance, the toughest job in sports may belong to the person who has to devise a marketing campaign for his next fight.

Silva won a unanimous decision over Thales Leites in the main event of UFC 97 on Saturday night at the Bell Centre, but it was such a mystifying and dreadful performance that it left UFC president Dana White angry and embarrassed.

“I can honestly tell you that I’ve never put on an event that I was embarrassed to be at until tonight,” White said. “I want to publicly apologize to all the fans.”

Leites was flopping onto the ground at the first sign Silva would throw a punch at him, hoping to turn it into a grappling contest. Silva, though, wouldn’t fall for the bait and forced Leites repeatedly to stand.

And while it was admittedly hard to look good with the way Leites was fighting, the man who is supposedly the best fighter in the world needs to find a way to force the action.

Last night, when watching the event at a local watering hole, I commented to others that fans and pundits would be unduly harsh on Silva this morning, and I was right. The irony of this is that Silva, one of the most prolific champions in MMA history, is just the type of fighter that's likely to have a long-time reign. He doesn't get hit all that often, and he is very measured in his offense.

Prior MMA champions, especially in the UFC, were most likely to charge in full-bore without giving much thought to the offense that was being returned. As a result of this MMA history is rife with short-time champions 'getting caught' in flash knock-downs by inferior competitors. One need only look to the Matt Serra upset of George "Rush" St. Pierre as evidence of this. Silva, a methodical, slick counter-puncher more-closely resembling Floyd Mayweather than Mike Tyson, is a winner, but does not lend himself to fights that are fan-friendly.

That Thalos Leitas continually dropped to the ground, seeking to press his advantage, went almost unnoticed by the Canadian fans who, to be fair, were going to boo and heckle Silva regardless, in support of the aforementioned St. Pierre. (A Canadian, and the next probable opponent for Silva) Canadians after all are not known for being the most honest of sports fans in their cheering habits, often refusing to acknowledge good performances by fighters outside of their homeland. Americans are guilty of this as well, as are the Brazilians. The Japanese, alone amongst MMA fans, are the only group of fans that cheer for good performances regardless. Yes, they have their favorites, but they are savvy enough to realize when a guy is dogging it in the ring (or cage).

Dana White is angry, but Silva's next fight (if St. Pierre successfully defends his championship at UFC 99) should market itself. Depending on your preference St. Pierre and Silva are 1-2 in the debate for 'best pound for pound MMA fighter', that they may get a chance to tussle in the ring sets up MMA for a SuperFight for the ages, one they desperately need after a series of lack-luster performances.

The fight was bad, slow and plodding without much offense, but chastising Silva for this alone is missing the mark. He's exactly the type of fighter who's likely to reign as the champion for a long time. The question is: Does MMA really WANT that type of fighter in their system?

Monday, April 13, 2009

Not THAT Much worse Richard....

Another nugget of wisdom from the Chron's Sr. sports columnist...

After today's embarassing loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates (themselves losers to Manatee Community College) your Houston Astros are 1-6. In case you're wondering that's 1 1/2 games better than the 0-8 record Justice is mentioning.

Yes, it could be worse. Instead of winning ONE game the Astros could have won NONE. It's good to know the Chronicle values this type of hard-hitting sports analysis over competent beat reporters.

God knows what we would do if we didn't know how Ortiz thinks Wandy might be 'close to stardom'.

Is it Football season yet?

Friday, April 10, 2009

Breaking the rules in the name of National Arrogance

I've long maintained that the French Anti-doping organizations are dirty, the rest of the World is finally realizing this.

[AP via]
The head of world cycling on Friday accused France’s anti-doping agency of unprofessional and “disturbing” behavior after it released a report saying Lance Armstrong did not fully cooperate with a drug tester.

The French agency, known as AFLD, said it could punish the seven-time Tour de France champion for not remaining in sight of the doctor conducting a test on his hair, urine and blood on March 17.

No banned substances were found and Armstrong has denied misbehaving, claiming that he was allowed to take a shower during a 20-minute delay.

While the tests fell outside the International Cycling Union’s jurisdiction, Armstrong received the organization’s backing on Friday.

“The fact (is) the test was done and was a matter of fact reported by Lance Armstrong himself on Twitter,” UCI president Pat McQuaid told the BBC. “Then the French authorities decided to make up a report on the testing procedure, forward it to the UCI — knowing that the UCI have no jurisdiction in this case — and at the same time that report has leaked to the press.

“So I would have to question why is that the case? I would have to say that the French are not acting very professionally in this case.”

Add to this past indiscretions regarding Lance, and their deplorable behavior during the Floyd Landis debacle, and you have an organization that's using anti-doping hysteria as a political tool to mask the deficiencies of their Nation's premier cyclists.

It's too bad that the greatest bike race in the land has come under the control of a group of seemingly unscrupulous, vindictive managers.

Some Early Masters Thoughts

It's the first major of the year at one of the Country's best courses that happens to be ran by some of the biggest jerks in America....

1. Nice to see the Master's committee hasn't geeked out the course again this year. Take away the scoring opportunities and Augusta becomes just another venue with pretty scenery.

2. Do we really have to see every shot Tiger hits, to the exclusion of getting to see the leaders?

3. ESPN's coverage is spotty at best. Mike Tirico is a competent anchor, but he's being given very little to work with. The initial hour of coverage is basically on-line fellatio.

4. Nothing seems more out of place, or more appropriate at the same time, than hearing the 'patrons' at Augusta boo Boo Weekly.

5. The 13th at Augusta is the "best Par 5 in the World?" What??? Prettiest maybe, but far from the 'best'. (same for 12 and the 'best par 3' award)

6. 15 & 16 are better holes than 13 & 12 respectively.

7. Jeev Milkha Singh got more TV time playing with Tiger than he's received all year.

8. Phil Mickleson, Tiger Woods & Jim Furyk will NOT win this tournament. Book it.

9. Nice to see Todd Hamilton play a good round. He's been gone for a while now (since winning the Open Championship) and is a nice guy.

10. Don't EVER count out Jeff Ogilve.

11. Chad Campbell is alternatively killing himself and playing while standing on his time at the same time.

12. Gary Player's last Master's will be done after today. Too bad.

13. If you bought a Taylor Made driver hoping to get a refund when Sergio won, you might want to abandon all hope of getting your money back.

14. Ian Poulter wears the best pants in Golf. Now if he could just win a tournament.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

In-Justice (again)

Richard Justice is on a tear again. Fortunately (for us) Tom Kirkendall copied the comments before Justice had a chance to go back and doctor them.
Remember awhile back when Chronicle lead sports columnist Richard Justice defamed Stephanie Stradley, a very good local blogger on the Texans and the NFL who now blogs at the Chronicle?

Well, ol' Richard is at it again.

This time the subject of Justice's venom is Alan Burge, who pens a very good blog on the Texans for the Houston Examiner.

Burge recently made a comment on one of Justice's blog posts regarding Texans GM Rick Smith, who Justice has been belittling for months because Smith fired Justice's friend, former Texans strength coach, Dan Riley.

At any rate, after Burge commented (he goes by "AJ" in the comments) on Justice's blog post, Justice responded by belittling Burge's comment. Burge responded by again challenging Justice's statements regarding NFL contract provisions. Justice responded by continuing to belittle Burge and concluded by accusing Burge of stealing "from others and calling it research."

Inasmuch as Justice has previously removed some of his defamatory statements from his blog site after publishing them, I copied four of Burge's comments and Justice's replies to them before Justice could remove or edit them (he has, in fact, done so now). Burge's comments and Justice's replies are set forth in the document below. Also included in the document is a comment from another commenter who was appalled by Justice's comments toward Burge and Justice's reply to that comment.

Go read Tom's entire post. He has the comments printed out and asks a pointed question: Is there any hope for the Chronicle?

From a Sports coverage perspective, Yes. But only if the Chron is willing to jettison, or demote, their top-tier writing talent and re-build from the bottom. Given Cohen's track record with columnists, I don't see that happening.

The end-result of this is hackneyed analysis, PR-like reporting and the above-referenced unbalanced rants. What all of this obscures is some very good reporting going on in the 'free' blog Sports section. Yes, there is some homerism but what do you expect from a 'fan' blog? There's also better analysis to be found here than in the blogs of the supposed top-flight writers.

This is twice now that Justice has irrationally gone after a sports blogger, denigrating them personally instead of addressing the weak points of an argument in which he is clearly wrong. Of course, its also wrong for Justice to characterize what he does as "reporting". He's a columnist, he walks in the realm of opinion. He's not out there working the beat or breaking news he's commenting on what's already happened. Quite often he's taking Mark Berman's scoops and commenting on them. Which, when you think about it, is really what he's accusing Alan Burge of doing.

It's ONLY one game.

OK, it's only one game, one game that looked painfully like what we've seen on the worst days of Astros teams over the last few years. An anemic offense couldn't muster more than two runs against a version of Zambrano that clearly didn't have his best stuff. Roy Oswalt struggled a little bit in the beginning with his control, and two Cubs hitters deposited the balls into the left field bleachers. Oh, and Bourn got a hit. Miggy had three. In between all of that Kaz Matsui made the third out of an inning at third base (he didn't check to make sure the outfilder didn't catch the ball, was standing on third looking dumbfounded while the ball lobbed into second base), Miggy was thrown out attempting to steal second on a ball that, one can only presume, he thought had gotten away from the catcher but had, actually, just bounced in front of home plate, making for an easy play. (Hey Jose Cruz. That's your call FWIW)

After all of the sloppy, opening day mess was over, the Astros were on the down-side of a 4-2 loss. The good news is there are 161 games left to play. Of course, that could also be the bad news depending on your point of view.

Moreso than yesterday, tonight's game will give us a small peek into the prospects of this year's Astros team. Roy Oswalt is the cannon, despite the result last night he's going to throw 200 innings make around 30 starts and have double digit wins. He pitched well enough to win last night, if the offense could have mustered anything with runners in scoring position. With the rest of the starting pitching however the Astros could find themselves bringing a knife to a gun-fight. Wandy Rodriguez has been great at home. He'll need to continue that trend, and improve on the road, if the Astros are to have a chance this year. After that? Hampton, Ortiz and Moeller are unknown entities.

It was only one game Astros fans, a game that had some brief flashes of positive, but also displayed some infuriating negatives that we've seen all too often from this Astros team.

Monday, April 06, 2009

The Astros Fan 2009 Opening Day Prayer....

Dear Baseball Gods,

This year we, the Astros fan, lift our voices to you in eager anticipation for the coming year. We thank you for our bounty this decade. Thank you for Craig Biggio in his prime, before he and Jeff Bagwell took over the clubhouse and refused to make way for younger talent, thus ending the promising major league career of Chris Burke. Thank you for Lance Berkman and Roy Oswalt, two stars that shine as bright in the baseball firmament as any other for any team not owned by a Steinbrenner. And, most especially, thank you for Hunter Pence, long may he roam the outfild and continue to be a plus player on a team full of averages and negatives.

We come to you at this time, in the twilight hours of the off-season before the dawn of the first game, with a simple list of requests.

1. We pray for the season-long health of Roy Oswalt, for without him we are surely sunk.

2. We pray that something in the closing mechanism of the roof at Minute Maid gets irreversibly jammed, forcing the roof to be open all year.


3. We pray for four days of rain subsequent to every Roy Oswalt start.'s pretty much the only chance we've got.

If, in your wisdom, you decide that two of these requests are not in keeping with the spirit of the game, then we pray that you conk Drayton McLane on the head and bring about in him the realization that he's not doing what it takes to compete for a title every year. Maybe that way he'll either admit the Astros are rebuilding or will spend some freakin' money on some pitchers.

In Koufax' name,


Happy Opening day (sorta - if you ignore the travesty last night*)

*Thanks Selig, you no-sense-of-history-havin' geek.

Lincicome's Bomb

It's too bad that many Houstonians were pre-occupied with other distractions on Sunday, because they missed what might have been one of the greatest sports moments of 2009 when Brittany Lincicomb bombed a 210-yard hybrid to within six feet of the cup on the 72nd and final hole of the LPGA Kraft Nabisco Championship.

It was easily one of the top 3 golf shots that I've seen performed under pressure, right up there with Jack Nicklaus' 1-iron at the 1972 U.S. Open and Corey Pavin's 4-wood at the 2000 U.S. Open. Unfortunately it won't get the same amount of respect or media play, because it wasn't Tiger, and it was the LPGA.

That's too bad though, because it was a great golf shot executed under the most difficult of conditions, the 18th hole during the final round of a major. People may not realize this now but getting Eagle on the 72 hole of a Major championship for the win is an amazing accomplishment. It should go down as one of the greatest sports moments of the year.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Drink Up Pirates Fans

This Year's Gonna Hurt...

[David Brown, Big League Stew]
Yeeeargh! Shiver me timbers and fly the Jolly Roger at half staff, mateys!

The Pirates, who have averaged 89 losses since 1993, sank to the deepest part of Pittsburgh's Three Rivers on Thursday after one of its split squads lost to Manatee (Fla.) Community College during a fundraising exhibition game.

In some ways, the top of the box score says it all: Manatee C.C. 6, Pittsburgh 4.

The Sarasota Herald-Review, however, ran a very detailed story — almost 1,000 words, for your Bucco masochists — about how the Lancers did the unlikely at McKechnie Field in Bradenton.

It's only fair to point out that the Pirates lineup was filled out by guys who missed the cut in spring training. Several of the team's best players, including Nate McLouth, Ryan Doumit, the LaRoches and Stewcast guest Freddy Sanchez, did not play in the game.

Yet several guys who have logged big league minutes — like Mets' killer Steve Pearce, Brian Bixler and Robinzon Diaz — were in the no-win situation lineup, as was prized prospect Jose Tabata. Virgil Vazquez, who contended for Pittsburgh's fifth starter spot this spring, started the game for Pittsburgh on the mound.

True, it wasn't the starting nine (or anything remotely close to it) but, injuries and the MLB season being what they are, you have to wonder if the Pirates management is wondering whether Manatee Jr. College would consider a trade right now. Something along the lines of the entire roster of the Altoona Curve, (the Pirates AA affiliate) a player to be named later and cash for the entire roster of Manatee Community College.

Obviously a 'straight up' trade wouldn't be a good deal....for the Community College that is.