Monthly Archives: April 2015

Kevin Love Rocks Cleveland Indians Hat in Hospital

Kevin Love

By Matt Stevenson

April 30, 2015

Game 4 of the Cavaliers-Celtics series ended in a sweep, but Cavaliers fans lost more than they won. 3 time All-Star Kevin Love dislocated his shoulder after getting tangled up with Celtics Kelly Olynyk and will miss 4-6 months after a successful surgery and, more importantly, the rest of the playoffs.

Much debate has been brought up amid the injury if Love, who has a player option with the Cavaliers, can opt-out of his current contract and become a free agent. 3 years of trade rumors when Love was on the Minnesota Timberwolves were consistently held up due to the lack of commitment teams were getting on Love resigning with any team he could be traded to.

The price to trade for Kevin Love was simply too high with no guarantee he would stick around for the long haul.

The Cavaliers ended up trading the 2014-2015 first overall pick, Andrew Wiggins, in a package with other first rounders and even the 2013-2014 first overall pick, Anthony Bennet, for Love. The Cavaliers executed the trade with a firm belief that Kevin Love would opt-out of his contract upon the end of this season, only to resign with Cleveland for a 5 year maximum contract worth about $120 million dollars.

The regular season had its ups and downs, but nobody received more criticism than Love. It was a daily topic on any media outlet whether it was ESPN, Bleacher Report, or even the local Cleveland news stations (and Minnesota’s as well I’m sure).

Kevin Love was left out of LeBron James’ Instagram photos, he was called out publicly by LeBron on Twitter claiming he needs to “Fit-In” and him clearly not having the same chemistry as the rest of the team on or off the court.

Kevin Love had the roughest season out of ANY player in the NBA this season in regards to the criticism from the media.

The reports of him leaving Cleveland because he doesn’t want to retain the lesser role, in which he currently does with the Cavaliers, is a legitimate argument. In the next round if the Cavaliers don’t do well, will Kevin Love be motivated to burn the Cavaliers? As the fans and organization would learn his worth through a devastating playoff exit, he might feel even more offended and motivated to leave Cleveland.

But then the morning after his surgery, Kevin Love posted a simple picture on Instagram, the same app that has been used to exclude him from the Cavaliers. It’s a picture of him giving a thumbs up with an enormous smile on his face. The reason the photo is important is because he is wearing a Cleveland Indians hat.

This is not just a hat. It’s a symbol. Kevin Love is thanking the Cleveland fans for the love and support we’ve given him through the awful injury he endured. I believe this is a message to the fans of Cleveland that he is, indeed, staying put in Cleveland for years to come.

UFC: Trouble at the Top

By Kaleb Page

April 30, 2015

Athletes finding themselves in compromising situation and then getting in trouble for their actions.

Let the yawn out now.

It’s essentially a different day but the same story in the world of sports. No matter what the sport may be, there are athletes getting in trouble for breaking the law, PEDs, etc. almost every day.

On Sunday UFC Light heavyweight champion Jon “Bones” Jones was involved in a car accident in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The accident broke a woman’s arm in the vehicle that was struck.

The accident became a bigger issue when Jones left the scene of the accident and from reports he came back to grab to grab a handful of cash and then flee again. When cops searched the car, once they arrived, they found marijuana and a rental car slip linking the car to Jones.

The Albuquerque police placed a warrant out for Jones thereafter. On Monday, Jones turned himself in and faces a felony hit and run charge.

There were some reporters that said Jones should have his title stripped and a suspension placed on the fighter. Especially after a recent positive drug test that showed the fighter had cocaine metabolites in his system and now this incident.

On Tuesday, that exact punishment was dealt out by UFC President Dana White.

This is the first time a fighter in UFC has had their title stripped for conduct outside the octagon. Even though this is unprecedented, I think it is important for them to take the stance they did.

Right now Jones is not in the right place and needs to focus getting himself right before he even thinks of fighting again. I know he is possibly the best fighter right now and has a legacy that grew into what it is.

However, right now he is hurting his legacy with his actions and if he truly wants to be the greatest ever then he needs to become a better person.

A better person in the sense of knowing who he is and bringing himself back to earth a bit. He came on the scene as the freak athlete that learned his way to stardom through watching YouTube videos on the sport. He needs to get back to being the hungry and humble newcomer that rose to the occasion.

While it is tough to keep that mindset when you are anointed the most untouchable guy in the division and are having that type of rise; I think it is important for him to look himself in the mirror and change.

As for now there is trouble at the top and UFC 187 will have a new headliner.

Stepping into Jones’s place is Daniel Cormier. A fighter Jones beat in at UFC 182 and will be an interesting match-up with the powerful striker Anthony “Rumble” Johnson.

Thursday’s All Right for Fighting: Royals and White Sox

By Ellen Chlumecky

April 28, 2015

When you think about fighting in sports, what’s the first sport you think of when you think fights? One would probably think boxing first and foremost. Maybe one might think of hockey, football, lacrosse, or maybe even basketball. Baseball is probably low on the list of sports that people might think of as violent. One would most likely not think of baseball as a sport that involves brawling of any kind. However, this week baseball defied all stereotypes this week with a huge brawl that grabbed an enormous amount of media attention.

On, Thursday, April 23rd, the Kansas City Royals and the Chicago White Sox had a brawl at U.S. Cellular Field. Six players were suspended in the process and a seventh player is now being fined for their roles. The Royals’ pitcher Yordano Ventura received a seven game suspension. Another Royals’ pitcher Edinson Volquez received a five game suspension. Royals’ outfielder Lorenzo Cain received a two game suspension. Lastly from the Royals, pitcher Kelvin Herrera also received a two game suspension. White Sox pitchers Chris Sale and Jeff Samardzija received five game suspensions. White Sox catcher Tyler Flowers was not suspended but was fined with an undisclosed amount. In addition to their suspensions, they were also fined as well.

Tensions had been high for quite some time, since the opening series of the season to be exact. The fight took place in the seventh inning Thursday. It started near the first-base foul line then started to range out toward second base and resuming again near the first-base bag. It ended with the ejection of five players which included both of the starting pitchers: Ventura and Sale.

http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=12752895

You can view the whole brawl in the video above. It was a mess of arms, hands, and baseball hats. In addition to those seven players, players from both the dugouts and bullpens ran onto the field. Other players threw punches in the fight that lasted several minutes.

The Royals are starting to earn a fighting reputation after several incidents. The White Sox are just one of two teams they got into a fight with; the other one was with the Oakland A’s. Also, Yordano Ventura got into a heated argument with the Angels’ Mike Trout during a series. Yet Yost insisted that his club has rarely been the instigator in any of these situations. However, he hopes that it’s all behind them and they can move forward.

The MLB did the right thing. A massive amount of younger children look up to these baseball players. The MLB doesn’t want to condone this brawling among its fans. The MLB believes this punishment is fair and I agree fully. While some of the players are trying to appeal, I believe the MLB will do what they think is the right option.

Bruce Jenner Breaks Down America’s Myths about Gender

By Ellen Chlumecky

April 27, 2015

In this day and age, the world is harsher than ever. Especially with Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr, there is more of a chance for people to berate and insult each other. When people want to stand up and stick up for themselves, the world can’t help but stop and stare. These people shouldn’t be mocked, teased, or felt degraded or insulted. These people should be celebrated and felt important for their differences. When former Olympian, Bruce Jenner, revealed to the world on April 24th that he is a transgender woman, there is was a surprising amount of support not only from his family but also many people working hard for acceptance for the transgender community.

Bruce Jenner won two Amateur Athletic Union decathlons, the Pan-American Games decathlon, a gold medal in Montreal Olympic decathlon, a Sullivan Award, an Associated Press Athlete of the Year. He was also inducted into the National Track and Field Hall of Fame and into the Olympic Hall of Fame. He was a talented athlete and an idol to the United States of America in the 70s and the 80s. Young athletes looked up to him and looked at him as a model of someone who was strong and confident. However, even after several years of no longer being an athlete you can see his confidence and his strength in his interview with Diane Sawyer.

http://money.cnn.com/2015/04/24/media/bruce-jenner-interview-diane-sawyer/

The reason I felt this was so important to write about is the same reason that I believe people who feel they need to be who they are need to be comfortable to do so. Bruce Jenner is one of several athletes who waited till they were done with sports to feel comfortable becoming transgender. Some of these athletes were out of the public eye which is why they felt it was finally acceptable to change genders. Bruce Jenner has a unique situation because of who his family is, the Kardashians.

His marriage to Kris Kardashian brought his whole situation to a larger media scale than it would’ve if he had stayed out of the spotlight. However, I don’t think that he would’ve wanted to change it at all. Bruce Jenner was quoted saying, “We’re going to make a difference in the world with what we’re doing.” Jenner had contemplated suicide because he felt like he was living a lie. As he is coming out to the world, he is showing people how important it is to be who you are because being happy is most important.

He is not only standing up for himself but for all trans, gender-nonconforming, and intersex people. These people want to be happy by being themselves, and I believe that what he’s doing is amazing. He deserves more than just settling. I fully support anyone going through this situation and I believe the sports world should stand behind these people as well.

OKC Pulls the String on Scott Brooks

By Kaleb Page

April 24, 2015

Being a professional coach these days comes with more scrutiny than ever before. With 24-hour news cycles, social media and podcasts, there is no shortage of debate on how well a coach is actually coaching.

For much of professional coaching, especially in the past, the leash on a coach was at least three to four years. However, given the right circumstances that leash can be shortened or it can get the extension.

Scott Brooks was fired Wednesday by the Oklahoma City Thunder. After seven seasons as the head coach, the team decided to fire Brooks and look to go in a different direction. It’s surprising given what Brooks did in his time as a coach. He had a career record of 338-207 (.620) and was the NBA Coach of the Year in 2010.

When Brooks started his career with the Thunder back in 2008 the team was an awful 22-47, for the next six seasons Brooks coached a team that hit at least 50 wins four times. That doesn’t include the 47-19 season (2011-12) that had the team in the NBA finals facing off with the ‘Big Three’ in Miami (the Thunder would lose).

This season for the Thunder, in the much tougher Western Conference, was a roller coaster ride. Every time your looked to see what the team was doing, there seemed to be a debilitating injury. For a good 90% of the season the team was without their superstar Kevin Durant (last year’s MVP). Russell Westbrook battled many injuries (missed 15 games) to still battle night in night out, make a push for the MVP and becoming a nightly triple-double machine. It also didn’t help that versatile big man, Serge Ibaka, fell to injury keeping him out for the big stretch run toward the playoffs.

Despite the setbacks, the team was in contention all the way up to the final game of the season for the final spot in the Western Conference playoffs. Even though Brooks took this team from nothing to something. It still wasn’t good enough to stay off the chopping block.

Now, there’s the argument that Brooks had long enough with a lot of talent to get more Finals appearances and even an NBA title. However, I’m not picking up what they’re putting down.

If anything Brooks deserved at least another year. He was the original guy that was the voice leading this group of young talent, and it was in the hardest conference in the association.

To be honest I think the real look into scrutiny should be at GM. Yes, GM Sam Presti is a bright mind at that position but there are some questionable moves that have put this team down this so-called path.

Let’s look at this team when they got to the NBA Finals. When they were in the Finals this team had Westbrook, Durant and James Harden (Yeah…you read that right). Now imagine, that team still together as a dynamic big three and even a big four if you factor in Ibaka. However, the GM took part in a three team trade that sent Harden to Houston and got Kevin Martin in return.

Yeah, let’s just say that didn’t pan out with Martin being an afterthought and leaving after just one year.

You could even look at the trade that let Jeff Green go and gave the team Kendrick Perkins. A deal that wrapped up so much money in Perkins, that it could have been used elsewhere (i.e. James Harden).

I know the coach is the figure-head of the team, and he will take the fall 9 times out of 10. In all honesty, it looks like there needs to be some changing elsewhere as well.

…But I guess that’s none of my business. (Enjoy Shaq and Charles Barkley’s take)

 

LaMarcus Aldridge Should Bolt Portland for San Antonio During Free Agency

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By Matt Stevenson

April 24, 2015

LaMarcus Aldridge is possibly the most under-rated star the NBA has seen is recent times. Leading the Portland Trail Blazers since 2006, Aldridge has revitalized the franchise and have become a post season threat to any playoff team.

But Aldridge is a free agent after this season and his unhappiness with the organization is being reported by numerous sources. Also, look at how awful this team looks against the Memphis Grizzlies in the playoffs so far.

Despite the rumors this season and last season as well (Blazers were rumored to be offering up Aldridge last season) LaMarcus has repeatedly voiced his desire to stay in Portland… Except we haven’t heard that lately.

A Texas native and a Texas University alum, the Dallas Mavericks and San Antonio Spurs are the two teams that may actually have the money to land him. It was recently reported that San Antonio might even already be discussing a free agent meeting with him.

Why would Aldridge want to leave though?

Wesley Matthews and Nic Batum are quality players for any team in this league and have both proven their value as shooters and defenders. But Robin Lopez is too inconsistent to be a starter on a championship team and Meyers Leonard is questionable to be on any team. Aldridge’s help down low is awful in the paint, and he is solely relied upon by his teammates to defend and attack in the post.

But hold on, what about Damian Lillard? This is where I believe it gets sticky.

Aldridge has worked his ass off for the Blazers organization ever since he came as a rookie, and has put up with the injuries of Greg Oden and Brandon Roy and mediocre replacements they paired him with… while still some how posting winning records.

The Portland Trail Blazers this season made it obvious that Damian Lillard is who they want to be the face of the franchise. Although maybe more flashy and fun to watch than a post-dominant player like Aldridge, Lillard came into a team that had a set starting lineup in Matthews, Batum, Aldridge and Lopez. He meshed in great and easy with his skill-set, but he should’ve with such a good group of guys around him.

There should be no doubt that Aldridge is upset with this because it has always been HIS team until now. Lillard has whoa’d the NBA fans and, more importantly, the men wearing suits in the Portland Trail Blazers front office.

Tony Parker staying put, the Spurs also have nice depth, and of course Kawhi Leonard coming into a contract year as well. It’s a great situation for both the Spurs and Aldridge if they can afford to pair Kawhi and LaMarcus. Of course, big questions revolve around Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan regarding their possible retirements. The thought of not having to pay income taxes and returning to his home town of Texas is nice too.

The Trail Blazers had a great run but treating a star like Aldridge they way they have in order to get the younger, fresher Lillard’s brand famous is not the way to handle that situation. I predict LaMarcus Aldridge will bolt Portland for San Antonio during NBA Free Agency this summer and the Spurs will , yet again, have a great 10-year future as a league powerhouse.

Bryan Price Drops Some Bombs

By Kaleb Page

April 24, 2015

The good old-fashioned coach tirade. It’s a work of art when done right.

Whether its Jim Mora shouting about the playoffs or Dennis Green yelling about losing after letting the Bears of the hook, the tirade when done right is something to behold.

However the one that came from Cincinnati Reds manager Bryan Price was far from that. Prior to Monday’s game against the Brewers, Price did his normal pregame presser. However, this day would be far from normal when it came to Price and the media.

In an article by Yahoo Sports, the actions of Price came as a surprise since the manager is known for being very respectful toward reporters.

The tirade was targeted at a Cincinnati Enquirer report that released information on Devin Mesoraco being unavailable for the big national league central match-up with the rival St. Louis Cardinals prior to that series starting. It also had to deal with another report about a call-up to replace Mesoraco that Price was hoping to keep hidden.

When the reporter asked similar questions in that regard towards the health of the club, it set the fire into a blaze.

What resulted was a 5 minute and 34 second tirade with a good 77 uses of the ‘f-word’ sprinkled in there for good measure.

It was immediately hit with backlash, and it was deserved because there is no need for all of that. I understand that there will be times were managers and media clash, but to go this far is quite far.

Now granted he didn’t attack the reporter personally or get overly vulgar, but at the same time there is a higher standard that managers have to hold themselves too. It’s another thing too that baseball has more of a family vibe to it so something like this will draw the ire of more people than some other sports might.

Since the time has passed Price has made an apology and looks to move past the situation. I hope so because Price was a nice manager one that seemed unfazed by the pressures of the job.

Well this occasion proved that thought wrong, but hey you have all that scrutiny on you 24/7 and see if you don’t lose your cool. Let us not hold this one moment over his head forever.

In the words of Fox Sport’s Ken Rosenthal: “Price wasn’t the first to crack, and he won’t be the last.”

Hopefully this is just the case a rare flare up by a manager who is far from this embarrassing moment.

Until then, look for a parody version of Brian Price on an episode of South Park dropping some bombs…’f bombs’ that is.