The Sunday: Down

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

Bolted Down

The world’s fastest man wasn’t fast enough to avoid a photographer on a Segway. Usain Bolt was celebrating with the crowd after his victory in the 200m at the World Athletics Championship in Beijing. A camera op on a Segway bumped a railing and then blindsided the six-time Olympic Gold Medalist. Guess this is the only way to slow him down.

 

Saving Lives in Death

37-year-old IndyCar driver Justin Wilson passed away on Monday one day after being struck in the head by a piece of debris from another car during the ABC Supply 500. His brother posted on twitter that six lives were saved because Wilson donated his organs.

 

Coaching Questions

University of Illinois head football coach Tim Beckman was fired on Friday, one week before they were to open their season against Kent State. Beckman was on the hot seat anyway after three unsuccessful seasons in Champagne. He claims the University jumped the gun but only time will tell if the accusations against him – mistreatment of players – are true.

Meanwhile Steve Sarkisian is still the head coach for the USC Trojans. Even after a slurred speech at a high profile USC event last weekend. He is not being fired or disciplined but his drinking is apparently not a secret. Back in 2012 while he was the head man at Washington, he had the University refund a $400 dinner tab that included 45 orders of Patron.

Sumlin TweetSark has become the butt of some jokes. One of which was done by Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin who tweeted (then deleted) that he ‘didn’t pull a Sark after dark’. Sark has to be on a short leash at USC and he might not be the only one. That short leash might also include AD Pat Hayden who hired Sark.

 

Takedown

They say that you should never leave your feet in football. San Francisco 49ers running back Reggie Bush learned that the hard way. Bush was slammed to the turf by Denver Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib during a preseason game.

 

Upset

Week four of the Barclays Premier League is in the books and it was a fairly historical one at that. Liverpool lost 3-0 at home to West Ham United. The first time West Ham has defeated Liverpool at Anfield since 1968.

Liverpool wasn’t alone in their sorrow. Crystal Palace defeated defending champs Chelsea at Stamford Bridge 2-1 and then Swansea CIty came from a goal down to defeat Manchester United 2-1 in Swansea.

It wasn’t not a good weekend at all for some of the bigger clubs in the world.

Advertisements

What to Watch Fri. 8/28 – Sun. 8/30

All times are Pacific.

REMOTE-contrastFriday August 28th

Toronto Argonauts at Edmonton Eskimos – 6pm ESPN2: 6-2 Argos at the 5-3 Eskimos. Big question will be if the Eskimos can rebound from last weeks loss at home to the Ti-Cats.

Chicago Cubs at LA Dodgers – 7pm MLB.tv (or MLB Network): Dodgers lead the West and the Cubs are sitting pretty in one of the Wild Card slots in the National League.

 

Saturday August 29th

Tottenham vs Everton – 9:30am NBC: The Spurs Harry Kane looks to slip a couple of goals past US National team keeper Tim Howard.

North Dakota State at Montana – 12:30pm ESPN: North Dakota State has won the last four FCS titles (and they have a legit playoff structure too) but Montana is breaking in a new coach names Bob Stitt who is a bit of a cult hero among the offensive football crowd. Should be fun.

Toronto FC vs Montreal Impact – 1pm MLS LIVE: Michael Bradley, Jozy Altidore, Sebastian Giovinco, Didier Drogba, Nigel Reo-Coker….yeah there is a lot of talent on this field.

Arena Bowl XXVIII – 4pm ESPN: San Jose Sabercats vs Jacksonville Sharks play in Arena Bowl XXVIII (28). You won’t recognize a lot of the names but rest assured these guys play hard.

 

Sunday August 30th

St Louis Cardinals at SF Giants – 1pm MLB.TV: Giants are in the middle of one of the toughest runs in baseball history. The Cards meanwhile are holding on to the lead in the very competitive  NL Central.

Seattle Sounders vs Portland Timbers – 1:30pm ESPN: We said it before and we’ll say it again, it is the best rivalry in MLS.

NY Red Bulls vs DC United – 4pm FS1: A nice way to cap off rivalry weekend.

Chicago Cubs at LA Dodgers – 5pm ESPN: Getaway game of two playoff teams.

The Sunday: Ghosts of Sports

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

Catches

SF Giants outfielder Juan Perez invoked his inner Bo Jackson as he ran up the outfield wall in St Louis to make a basket catch.

While great, Bo’s might have been better.

 

Tech Ghosts

ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter was accidentally terminated this week. Lucky for us it was apparently an accident.

 

Turf Specters

If you watched the Manchester United vs Newcastle United match on Saturday you say a great example of how the ‘turf monster’ can just reach up and grab a player. Or you’ll just think to yourself ‘what a horrible dive.’

Turf Monsters

 

What To Watch Fri. 8/21 – Sun. 8/23

All times are Pacific.

Friday August 21st

REMOTEHamilton Tiger-Cats at Edmonton Eskimos – 6pm ESPN3: Two teams with 5-2 records but got to it in different ways. The Ti-Cats are doing it with balance across all three phases while the Eskimos have done it with defense and a backup QB. Interesting.

Toronto Blue Jays at LA Angels  – 7pm MLB.COM: Both teams are in the AL Wild Card but the Texas Rangers and Baltimore Orioles are hot on their tails. Huge series this weekend.

 

Saturday August 22nd

SF Giants at Pittsburgh Pirates -1pm FS1: Playoff contenders and two solid pitchers (Heston vs Cole).

Toronto Blue Jays at LA Angels – 6pm MLB.TV: Like we said, huge series in the American League.

Real Salt Lake vs Seattle Sounders – 7pm MLS LIVE: RSL may not be the team they were and Seattle is getting healthy. Still, Rio Tinto is one of the toughest places to play in MLS.

Vancouver Whitecaps vs FC Dallas – 7pm MLS LIVE: Separated by four points in the west and both have a legit chance to win that conference.

 

 

Sunday August 23rd

Everton vs Manchester City – 7am NBSCN: City is coming off of a 3-0 thumping of Chelsea. Looks like a trap game to me.

LA Galaxy vs NYCFC – Noon ESPN: It’s one of the games MLS execs drool over. Keane, Gerrard, Gonzalez, David Villa, Lampard all of the field.

Ottawa Redblacks at Toronto Argonauts – 1pm ESPN3: Two teams that people didn’t think would be doing this well square off in downtown TO.

SF Giants at Pittsburgh Pirates – 5pm ESPN: Game four of a four game set. Playoff implications are on the line.

Bay Area Oil Spill

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

(Full disclosure, I was born & raised in Northern California and raised a 49ers fan.)

The San Francisco 49ers could be one of the worst teams in the NFL in 2015. They have pretty much blown up a team that was in the Super Bowl three seasons ago and replaced just about everything but the janitorial staff (they even traded the All Pro punter). It could be worse but not by much.

49ER DEPARTURES

Jim Tomsula is the new 49ers Head Coach. While he is a well respected defensive line coach, he has never been a coordinator or a head coach at the NFL level. He replaces Jim Harbaugh who while successful (44-19-1 with three NFC Championship appearances and one Super Bowl appearance) was also abrasive. So he is out and the player friendly Tomsula is in.

Somewhere after Harbaugh’s departure over 16 players from the 2014 team moved on. This included the retirement of three main pieces to the defense, chief among them was future Hall of Fame linebacker Patrick Willis. His replacement Chris Borland retired shortly there after and then All Pro defensive lineman Justin Smith. This preseason rising star defensive end Aldon Smith was released after yet another DUI arrest, All Pro punter Andy Lee was traded and the teams all time leading rusher Frank Gore was allowed to sign with the Indianapolis Colts.

The most notable addition is someone who has never played a down of collegiate or professional football. Jarryd Hayne was NRL Superstar in Australia (that’s rugby for those of you keeping track at home) who played his first pro football game in the 49ers preseason loss to the Houston Texans. Hayne impressed but it’s still one game and we didn’t even see if he could pick up a blitzing linebacker.

Then there is the quarterback position. If 49ers have pinned there hopes on Colin Kapernick. If he doesn’t turn the corner and become a top line NFL signal caller than it could be a long couple of years for the 49er Faithful.

All these questions can be traced back to GM Trent Baalke. We criticized his strategy during the draft and firmly believe that if the 49ers finish in the NFL West basement then blame falls squarely on his shoulders.

And let’s not even talk about the field they play on. It’s possible the worst in all of sports.

Time will tell if the moves the 49ers made will pan out. Consensus is that they will not and the 49ers will be worse than the Oakland Raiders. If that happens you can probably expect a long road to recovery with a new GM at the helm.

 

 

 

The Sunday: Going Away

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

Out for 6-10

NY Jets QB Geno Smith is out 6-10 weeks due to a broken jaw. How did he get it?
Apparently over a $600 dispute with now ex-teammate IK EnemkpaliSmith is so eager to get back to football  that he was out throwing the day after surgery. The NY Post captured Smith outside his house, with no shirt and eye black. Needless to say, it may be another long year for Jets fans.

Smith NY Post

Head Home

Minnesota Vikings head coach was so upset with the performance os his players at a practice last week, he ended it 20 minutes early and made them run a lap. Goes to show that even in the NFL, you better bring it each and everyday.

Away For Good?

We were very vocal here about Michael Sam’s move to the CFL. We thought it was a great move for his skill set. He played one game before ‘stepping away’ from the game of football citing his mental health. Facts are this, it will be high unlikely that he will be given another chance on a professional football field. Then again, we’ve been wrong before.

Away With The Other Hand

Oklahoma WR Jeffery Mead made a very impressive one handed grab in a practice.

EllingsonNot to be outdone, Ottawa Redblacks WR Greg Ellingson snatched the ball out of the sky without breaking stride. While the Redblacks got taken behind the proverbial woodshed, it was still a heck of a catch.

 

Thrown Away

Golf can be a frustrating sport so there is some solace when you see a professional get frustrated. John Daly got frustrated and chucked his club into Lake Michigan during the second round of the PGA Championship. The club was recovered by a kid a little later. 

The Best In The Business (OpEd)

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

Duane Kuiper and Mike Krukow (aka Kruk & Kuip) are the best announcers in baseball. Yes, the best announcers in baseball. From their insight, to their laughter, to their well placed silence. They are the best around.

Last September Steve Fainaru did a great piece for ESPN talking about Kruk & Kuip’s friendship and Kruk’s battle with inclusion-body myositis. Even with a debilitating disease Kruk, with the help of Kuip, keep on truckin day in and day out during the marathon baseball season.

What makes these two really stand out is their ability to not speak. Throughout the game you will have some short periods of silence where they just let the images speak for themselves. They both have come to realize that you do not need to fill every bit of air time with useless jibber jabber. When they do speak it is insightful or just down right hilarious.

If you live outside of the SF Giants television market then do yourself a favor and catch a game via MLB Network or on MLB.tv. You’ll be glad you did.

What to Watch Thurs. 8/13 – Sun. 8/16

All times are Pacific.

REMOTE-contrast

Thursday August 13th

PGA Championship – 11am TNT: The last major of the year gets going at Whistling Straights. Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy and Zack Johnson are all playing together today.Tee time 11:20am.

Edmonton Eskimos at Montreal Alouettes – 4:30pm ESPN2: Edmonton has been the second surprise story of the season while the Al’s have been making their own headlines….and sometimes it means breaking their fans hearts.

LA Angels at KC Royals – 5pm MLB.TV: KC looks to increase their lead in the AL Central while the Angels are trying to hang on to that Wild Card spot.

 

Friday August 14th

PGA Championship – 11am TNT: Round two at an awesome course.

Bayern Munch vs Hamburg – 11:30am FS1: The Bundesliga gets under way with one of the biggest and best clubs in the world -Bayern Munich- on display.

NY Yankees at Toronto Blue Jays – 4pm MLBN: The Yankees may only be a 1/2 game back in the AL East but the Jays are the hottest team in baseball and swept the Yankees a week ago in New York.

Pittsburgh Pirates at NY Mets  – 4pm MLB.TV: Mets are Pirates are two of the best teams looking to lock in a playoff seat in the National League.

 

Saturday August 15th

PGA Championship – 11am CBS: Now we get down and dirty and get into the stretch run of who can take the last major of the year.

NY Red Bulls vs Toronto FC – 4pm MLS Live: Two of the top teams in the east face off in a battle for playoff seating.

FC Dallas vs LA Galaxy – 6pm MLS Live: The Hoops and the Galaxy are fighting to keep pace with first place Vancouver. This game should go a long way in deciding the West.

Ottawa Redblacks at Calgary Stampeders – 7pm ESPN2: This is the CFL game of the weekend.

Washington Nationals at SF Giants – 7pm FS1: A rematch of last years NLDS. Giants have taken the first two games and the Nats Bryce Harper hit a home run last night that still may not have come down yet.

 

Sunday August 16th

Manchester City vs Chelsea – 8am NBCSN: Well this isn’t bad for the second week of the season.

PGA Championship – 11am CBS: Final round from Whistling Straights.

LA Angels at KC Royals – 5pm ESPN: Final game of the four game set.

 

 

25 years of Friday Night Lights

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

It’s been 25 years since H.G. Bissinger’s high school football classic Friday Night Lights‘ was published. It has since been turned into a movie, a TV series and has been named one of Sports Illustrated’s top sports books of all time. If you haven’t read it you should, it’s that good regardless of what you think of the author.

FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS

Bissinger was recently on NPR’s ‘Fresh Air’ to promote the 25 anniversary of the book.  While it is interesting to hear about how the book was written and what happened to some of the players like Boobie Miles all these years later, the interview came off more about Bissinger’s issues than anything else. He sounded like someone who never recovered from his hit book which was his first.

Taking Bissinger’s issues out of the equation, the book itself is truly great. It gave credence to the notion that ‘football is a religion in Texas’, especially when it comes to west Texas. You can drive for miles in the western part of the state and not come across a single sign of life. Then out of nowhere will appear a football stadium that can hold five thousand people and then some.

While the book did spawn a movie and a TV series, neither can compare to the book. The movie changed parts of the story and didn’t touch on the racist undertones. The TV series eventually figured it out and ended up being a pretty good show.

There are still a few weeks left before regular season starts for high school, college and the NFL. Plenty of time to read this book and have a better appreciation for the game of football.

The Sunday: Glimpses of Hope

Nice Job Coach

Vancouver Whitecaps head coach Carl Robinson has done an outstanding job so far this year. The Caps lead the Western Conference with 42 points and this past week in a Champions League match against Cascadia rivals Seattle he nonchalantly just leaned forward and back heeled the ball back onto the pitch. Well done coach.

 

Bowled Over

The NE Patriots didn’t think defensive lineman Vince Wilfork had ‘it’ anymore. Well this video shows that they may have been mistaken.

 

History

Sam AlsMichael Sam made his professional debut with the Montreal Alouette’s on Friday night against the Ottawa Redblacks. While he didn’t record a sack – or even a tackle – history was made. The first openly gay professional football player on the field during a regular season game. Now it’s a matter of how long before he feels comfortable in the CFL game to make a significant impact.

The Switch

MLB Advanced Media (BAM) is getting the NHL in a move was announced earlier this week. That means that the live streaming once hosted by NeuLion is going to BAM along all the rest of the NHL’s media content. This includes the NHL Network and any NHL apps.

This is another big win for BAM who now handles the backend live streaming for HBO Go, WWE, March Madness, Watch ESPN along with MLB.TV.