The Weekend Report
JIM SEZ WEEKEND REPORT
THERE'S MLB, NFL AND NBA DRAFT GOODIES ALL ON THE MENU
Can we be perfectly honest with you?
Good, 'cause there's a whole lot on our Jim Sez mind as we weave our way through these final days of June. The NBA Draft's been put in the rear-view mirror -- but we've got our 'Winner' and 'Loser' straight ahead -- and there's plenty of quick-hitter comments to get to regarding Major-League Baseball and the National Football League.
You want some opinions on an array of hot topics? Good ... it's coming your way! All of that in a moment but first this important message:
Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers get you all the MLB winners every day when you either call the toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 or when you go right here online at www.jimhurley.com. Jim's been red-hot this week and he plans on rolling right through the end of June and right into the month of July with a batch of MLB Winners and so make sure you're along for the ride!
The check-in times are as follows: Anytime after 11 a.m. ET for the weekday afternoon Baseball games; after 1 p.m. ET for weeknight games; after 10 a.m. ET on Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays.
Go ahead and pile up your summertime Baseball profits with America's #1 Handicapper ... Jim Hurley!
If someone would have told you that heading into the final weekend in June there would be only two big-league teams playing better-than-.600 ball -- and one of them would be the Texas Rangers (.611) -- you likely would have fallen off your easy chair. Hey, the Rangers not only appear to be 'for real' this season as the American League West crew entered its Interleague weekend series against archrival Houston on a MLB season-high 11-game winning streak but they could be the first-ever bankrupt club to win it all -- now wouldn't that be something!
The Rangers have been borrowing cash from MLB to make its payroll in recent weeks and -- according to some inside reports -- that hasn't made a whole lot of teams happy but now here's Texas scorching-hot in late June and actually having the chutzpah to be talking about acquiring Seattle LHP Cliff Lee (6-3, 2.39 ERA) for the second half of the season.
Fellas, we don't think that one's gonna happen! ...
Quick: Who's been Baseball's biggest disappointment so far in this 2010 campaign?
If you said the Chicago Cubs you won't be getting an argument from us.
The Cubbies entered their Windy City weekend set against the Chicago White Sox at 32-40 overall and that included a dismal 13-20 mark inside the not-so-special National League Central. Folks, that's downright rotten and so if Cubs manager Lou Piniella doesn't care for the various criticisms that have come his way in recent weeks (see former Cubs and current White Sox broadcaster Steve Stone, among others) than his team ought to be something about it.
The Cubs' offense has been catatonic for the whole season and maybe the return of 3B Aramis Ramirez from the DL (left thumb bruise) will perk up a unit that this past week scored 12 runs in one game against the Los Angeles Angels and then registered a collective four runs in the other four games (three losses and a 13-inning 3-2 win in Seattle on Thursday afternoon). If you ask us, the Cubbies need a sparkplug type to get this attack going in the right direction and maybe it's high time the Wrigley Field folks try to swing a deal that would import a leadoff hitter who can also make things happen on the bases ...
Much is being made of this weekend's Interleague set between the New York Yankees and the Los Angeles Dodgers as former Bombers manager Joe Torre goes up against his old team.
All we can say is the Torre vs. Yankees sidebar story has been met with mostly yawns in New York City where last year's World Series championship under current skipper Joe Girardi has pretty much pushed Torre memories into the background but we want to know what happens this weekend if -- and we're saying if -- Yanks 3B Alex Rodriguez gets plunked by a pitch here. Rodriguez shooed away media folks the other day when they were looking for a response as to what this series meant to him -- you'll recall that Torre didn't exactly ever 'warm up' to A-Rod and even batted him eighth in that one playoff game in Detroit back in 2006 -- plus Torre pounded Rodriguez in his recent book and so there's definite bad blood here.
If A-Rod gets hit by a pitch he may head straight to the Dodgers' dugout to get Torre instead of charging the mound.
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The recent flag football injury suffered by Carolina Panthers WR Steve Smith (broken arm) has NFL fans in a tizzy about what players should and should not be doing with their free time but go 'round any NFL roster and you'll find players participating in physical conditioning that may be hazardous to one's health.
Take the Green Bay Packers and their star CB Charles Woodson -- yes, last year's NFL Defensive Player of the Year. Woodson and Packers S Nick Collins 'dabbled' in boxing this off-season as a workout regimen. In fact, the 33-year-old Woodson claimed that the sport helped heal an injured shoulder and he reported to Green Bay's recent OTAs at his preferred playing weight of 200 pounds. Still, what if Woodson would have suffered a broken jaw or a broken hand while boxing? Would the Packers have had the right to be steamed even though the veteran D-back claims the activity is actually a help in his football-related conditioning?
The point is NFL teams can't be overly vigilant in programming what their players do in the off-season or else you might have a league full of guys sitting around and getting fat -- the Smith injury was unfortunate but it should not mean slamming the door shut on all other physical activities.
Folks, that's just not the real world when it comes to the NFL and how its players handle their free time ...
It's never too early to check out NFL 2010 schedules and here's something that recently caught our eye:
The AFC defending champion Indianapolis Colts are well known for getting off to cat-quick starts but this season Indy will play three of its first four games on the road (that's the first time this will happen since 2004) and chucked into the early-season mix is a Week 2 home game against the New York Giants.
Yes, a Peyton Manning vs. Eli Manning showdown in prime-time on NBC on Sept. 19th will get the juices flowing for all pro football fans but with road tilts at Houston (Week 1), at Denver (Week 3) and at Jacksonville (Week 4) can these here-and-now Colts actually expect anything better than a 2-2 start to their 2010 season? Stay tuned ...
Ask us right now what NFL head coaches 'must win' this year in order to save their jobs and here's our short list:
Jacksonville's Jack Del Rio has won only one playoff game in his prior seven years with the Jaguars (see a 31-29 triumph over Pittsburgh back in 2007) and his team's record is 12-20 overall the past two seasons. If Del Rio has a losing record after eight weeks of play while heading into Jacksonville's bye week, then he could be a goner even before year's end. At best, Del Rio must be .500 or better at season's end or he will finally walk the gang plank.
Dallas' Wade Phillips also seems to be on the hook when it comes to demanding head coach Jerry Jones but there is real pressure on Phillips to get the 'Boys to the 'promised land' this season with the Super Bowl set for the NFC East team's own stadium in February. Throw in the fact that it seems everyone is picking the Cowboys to get to SB 45 and there's no escaping the pressure cooker -- maybe no player will be more influential in saving/firing a head coach than Dallas QB Tony Romo who, sorry to say, still doesn't give us the impression that football is the most important thing in his sporting life.
Carolina's John Fox has been dodging the grim reaper for much of the last few years. Now, Fox enters his ninth season with the Panthers knowing that the aforementioned Smith could be out at the start of the season and knowing that QB-of-the-future Jimmy Clausen (Notre Dame) might still be a couple of years away from being a finely polished NFL signal-caller. Now, here's what could get Fox fired in season: A bad offensive team in Carolina and then QB Jake Delhomme playing well in Cleveland. Ugh!
NBA DRAFT --
Let's put a little bow on the NBA Draft with our annual 'Winner' and 'Loser' category:
THE WINNERS -- No question the biggest winners on the night were the teams that either successfully scaled back their payrolls so they could make a concerted run at a big-name free agent or the ones that really beefed up a sagging roster ... here's a couple of the latter teams:
New Jersey -- Maybe the Nets still will deal away #3 overall pick Derrick Favors (Georgia Tech) but we have our doubts about that rumor. Favors simply needs to mold his still-developing body into NBA shape and he could be dynamic at either forward position while small forward Damion James (Texas) already has new head coach Avery Johnson all juiced up because of his defensive prowess. Hey, you better plan on playing 'D' for Johnson's new-look Nets or you ain't gonna be around for very long.
Sacramento -- The Kings already own last year's Rookie of the Year in point guard Tyreke Evans but now they really double-dipped nicely in this 2010 draft with Kentucky C/F DeMarcus Cousins getting tabbed with the fifth overall selection and then they gobbled up Marshall shot-blocker Hassan Whiteside in Round Two. No doubt Whiteside was disappointed that he lasted until the 33rd overall pick (we had 'em going #13 overall to Toronto) but the fact remains that the Kings snared two players with first-round value.
THE LOSERS -- Let's go ahead and pick on a team that had lots of picks but didn't get the 'max' for them and one that didn't have any picks at all:
Oklahoma City -- It didn't look as if NBA scoring king Kevin Durant was all that enthralled with his team's draft picks/trades on Thursday night past as the Thunder wound up with C/F Cole Aldrich (Kansas), veteran swingman Morris Peterson (via a trade) and a cast of nobodies that included Florida State reserve Ryan Reid who ESPN analyst Jay Bilas claimed wasn't on his list of 'top 100 player'. The Thunder needed to get bigger and stronger so they can compete with the two-time champion Los Angeles Lakers and we're not exactly sure if they handled things right here.
Cleveland -- Maybe the Cavaliers will turn out to be the off-season's biggest winners if they can re-sign mega-million free agent LeBron James but why didn't the new front office team at least swing a deal for a second-rounder that might have added some much-needed depth to this club? The opportunity to get involved after Round One was there providing the Cavaliers traded away a future pick and -- with or without James -- this team needed to give their fans a reason to smile on Draft Night and simply didn't pull the trigger.
NOTE: Don't miss out on the next Jim Sez as we cover MLB as we approach the halfway point of this 2010 season plus there's more Football too!
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