April 28, 2007

Mr. Russell

"I’m ready to go out there and hear the Raiders Anthem and hear things go wild and I’m happy to be a part of that. I’m very fortunate to have the opportunity and chance and now I’m ready to go in and compete. I’m ready to go to work."

Raiders pull off huge trade

The Oakland Raiders traded their 4th-round selection for the Detroit Lions for Josh McCown AND Mike Williams. Not one of them, but BOTH. McCown, you'll remember, interviewed and was though to have the job last year before he accepted the Lions' offer. Mike Williams still has the potential that made him a 1st-round pick in 2005, though he has underachieved this far. Still a pretty solid move, hard to argue with. You're not getting tremendous playmakers, but you're getting two players who can play pretty dang good ball when they are at their best. For a 4th-round pick, that's not bad at all.

Raiders select Zach Miller

Tight end from Arizona State. Let's hope he can hang on to the ball.

Raiders select to trade

With the first pick in the secound round of the 2007 NFL Draft, the Oakland Raiders select..................to swap 2nd-round picks with the Arizona Cardinals and receive a complementary 4th-round pick as well.

Not sure the ins & outs behind the deal as the Raiders drop 6 spots in the 2nd round. Hopefully they will still be guaranteed to get the guy that they want in that spot, and then they would have just picked up another selection. The problem with all that is the fact that I was hoping that the Raiders would pick Alan Branch, seeing to it that he was still hanging around after the completion of the first round. Oddly enough, that's the player that the Cardinals chose with the Raiders' old pick. So that's annoying. Hopefully somebody good is coming our way and hopefully Oakland knows what they are doing.

Dirk Nowitzki "Obviously" Watch

"Obviously, they've been making it tough for me to score," Nowitzki said.

Reds do some things

Reds already got one of their 2 PTBNL's in a guy named Marcus McBeth. Looks decent. Hopefully he will have more success than the Shakesperean character.

Also, in a much-anticipated move, Rheal Cormier has been DFA'd. Let's hope we never see him again. Brad Salmon has been called up and we can probably expect to see him pretty soon.

Face of the Franchise

Raiders select JaMarcus Russell

End the speculation, there it is. Everyone was right. He's the man now.

Senators 5, Devils 4

I wasn't around for hardly any of this game, so I won't pretend like I was. And I'm fairly glad I wasn't, to be honest.

Sure, the Devils came back from 4-0 down to get to 4-3, and then from 5-3 to get to 5-4. But it might as well have been 5-0. A loss is a loss. Not that the positives for the Devils are non-existent, they were able to come back to get within striking distance and they do know that they can score on Emery if they try. But, like I say, a loss is a loss.

Everyone talks about how this series will go the distance, how it will be extremely balanced, how it will be a low-scoring affair. None of that really applied to Game 1, and the Devils might not have the firepower to go the distance for they are surely not the better team.

The thing that bothers me the most is Martin Brodeur's performance. I don't know the whole story, I don't know if the defensemen are more to blame than he is or who is to blame, I will leave that up to the other blogs who know a heckuva lot more than I do. What I do know is that 4 goals were scored on Martin Brodeur, in a row, on 9 shots in the period. We cannot afford to have Brodeur "find himself" somewhere in the middle of the series, he needs to find himself right now. Who knows, chances are high that he will bounce back considerably well in the next few games of the series, and that would be incredible if he could do so. But this may the beginning of the end for his postseason dominance. I just don't understand how it happens. Everyone warned about it, Ottawa was much deeper and much better than Tampa Bay. While they didn't have a single best line, they had infinitely better players. And that was proven, as the #1 line went wild in New Jersey. It's just tough when they clawed back with 3 solid goals, to give up another one right away to put it away at 5-3. And that goal made the difference as Parise was able to get a late goal in the game. For nothing, to be sure, but it could have been for something. Brodeur did get better after that first period, but who wouldn't? When I stopped in to check the score, saw it was 4-0 in the first, I was almost positive I would see a different goaltender in net. I realize it's Brodeur, but still, I was a little surprised. He was able to get somewhat of an edge back, but that's hard to deal with. It's nice to know the Devils can score, that's pretty cool. But they need to play extremely better if they are to have a chance with this team, this team that is dang, dang good. They could be gone pretty soon if they don't.

Warriors 109, Mavericks 91

I really don't know what to say about this one, except for the Golden State Warriors, at least for one night, had the biggest home-court advantage I'd ever seen. That place was simply electric. Wow. You get the impression folks in Dallas are just so dang used to it all, they practically applaud with golf claps compared to the fans in Oakland. There was nothing like it. And it wasn't like the Warriors weren't giving them anything to cheer about, they were amazing yet again. Maybe all the homers in Oakland are right - the Warriors really will wipe the floor with these Mavs. We can hope not, for the sake of all things holy, and the sake of what a truly horrendous offseason these Dallas Mavericks will face, getting the 4th-best record in the NBA to do what with it? Not show up come playoff time? That doesn't make any sense. For a team that was talking about only the playoffs the ENTIRE YEAR with just a shrug about the regular season, as if it was some annoyance they had to trudge through to get to where they want to be, sure are acting like the opposite. It's true the Warriors have their number, that much is evident. It's just sickening how poorly the Mavs are playing. It's clear they understand the trouble that they are in, first #1 seed to go down to a #8 seed in the history of a 7-game series. Losing back-to-back rounds in the playoffs, albeit competely different circumstances but with the same style of chokery that allows them to forget playing defense and missing all their jumpers. Can we say gut-check time? Or should we have said that a long time ago?

Reds woes

It started with a 7-5 loss to the Cardinals, one of the many losses this year when the Reds had a healthy lead. This time, the bullpen didn't blow it. Lohse blew it, giving up 3 runs in the 5th and two others in different innings. It's a sad feeling when you're pleased by the fact that, well, you lost, but at least the bullpen didn't blow it. But they sort of did because if they don't let 2 more runs score, then Freel's wild pitch run score ties the game. But it wasn't meant to be. A lot of people are getting on Jerry Narron for screwing things up, and that's true to a certain extent. He's having trouble pulling some pitchers too early and letting others stay in when it's too late. Case in point - pull Lohse after his disastrous inning, or maybe even take him out during the 5th. But no, he went in to start the 6th as well. I know he would be cautious about starting the bullpen too early, but at other times he is confident in the bullpen when he pulls the starter (usually Harang or Arroyo) too early. Ah, it just sucks right now. I don't think there's been a time where both cylinders are running at the same time, or when the whole team is in sync. It just doesn't last very long.

After that loss, the Reds extended Coffey's contract out another year. That's not really a woe, but it might be. I like the guy a lot, he's been struggling early, but I think he'll be fine. He better be.

The big news, at least to me, is the Reds letting Chris Denorfia go. For nothing. Nothing at all. Some cash and 2 Players To Be Named Later. We all know how those deals work out. What makes it slightly easier to deal with is the fact that Denorf wasn't going to be able to play at all this year, so we won't see him flourish in Oakland until 2008. But he will do a fine job. What's the rationale? I don't get it. Somebody will need to explain it, and I'm sure they will at least try. When I heard he had been traded, I thought it was for bullpen relief as I always do, but this was for nothing and is hard to comprehend. I'm going to miss the guy because he was good, is good, and will be even better.

Ken Griffey Jr. continues to be as fragile as the wind. Broken bones started it off, then he had some infection of the colon, then he had stomach & chest pains, and now he has been diagnosed with pleurisy, which is an inflammation of some type surrounding the lining of the lungs. Who is this guy? Yikes, man. Let's hope he heals up from all of this nonsense, this is quite ridiculous. So that's a problem we're dealing with right now.

And the latest woe, if we needed any more, was the loss last night to the lowly Pittsburgh Pirates, who aren't all that lowly anymore. Reds lose 3-1. It was a Guaranteed Loss Night, as Milton picked up the tab like he so often faithfully does. You know the story, he wasn't great, he was maybe even mediocre, didn't pitch well enough to inspire confidence, and the Reds' bats didn't want to seem to wake up to prove him wrong at any time. Adam Dunn blasted a solo homer in the 9th, but that was all the fun these Reds have. Let's hope they start learning how to play baseball fairly soon.