Monthly Archives: March 2012

Baseball’s Real Opening Day

Baseball season has finally started but not really.  On Wednesday and Thursday the first two games of the season took place in Tokyo, Japan, between the Oakland Athletics and the Seattle Mariners.  Seattle took the first game in extra innings with a final score of 3-1, Ichiro was the star of that game in his home country going 4 for 5 with an RBI.  The A’s won the second game 4-1 with their high paid Cuban acquisition Yoenis Cespedes who homered after having just a one hit game with two strike outs in the first game.  Now the two teams head back to the US to play…exhibition games!

I find it pretty ridicuous that MLB takes the first  official games of the season to Japan, which they have done for the last few years.  Its even more ridiculous that the two teams that started the season still have to play games that don’t count.  I agree its a nice thing to bring Ichiro back to his home country where they broadcast every game he plays in during the season, but its hardly a reason to make such a decision to bring regular season games there.  One could argue that its to expand the game’s reach around the world,  but they already have baseball and very competitive leagues.  There is also the situation of the smaller ballpark which inflates stats for only two games. Then reality will set back in, here in the U.S., when they play in roomier parks.  I know it won’t stop anytime soon but I wish it would.

The real opening day takes place on Thursday when  all of the teams start a new and aim for the World Series.  The first set of games will start at 1pm eastern time and go through the night.  I like the fact that the opening day in the U.S. is starting on a Thursday and carrying on into the weekend.  In years past the season started in the middle of the week and it took some of the special feel away.  The ballparks will be packed and ready to rock.

This season holds a lot of questions. With a new incredible ballpark in Miami where they have stocked up the team with high paid free agents Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle and new manager Ozzie Guillen.  Over in L.A. you have the power house Albert Pujols who will look to capture another World Series title and cement his legacy as one of the best players baseball has ever seen.  Detroit picked up Prince Fielder and brought him back to the city where his father Cecil played for years. He will undoubtedly make them strong contenders for the World Series title.  There are many other story lines, but those are by far the main one to follow as the season begins.

Baseball is still America’s sport. No matter how popular the game of football becomes in the U.S., baseball will always hold a place in the history of this great country.  With such a rich history it is hard to not get excited and interested in the beginning of every season.  For some fans, depending on how your team does, by July it can be hard to stay interested.  It’s going to be a great season and I can’t wait for it to start on Thursday. Anything can happen when the season starts and that’s what I love about baseball.

Update: Peyton Manning signs with Denver

Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos agree to a 5 year $96 million deal. Let the hype begin!

Mile High Manning

By all indications free agent Peyton Manning is going to play for the Denver Broncos next season.  He asked his agent to begin contract negotiations with the team on Monday.  After a week of constant media attention and tryouts, for a few teams to include the 49ers and the Titans just to name a couple, the fog has cleared.  Countless hours of talk on radio and tv and even a helicopter following his truck leaving the airport which was very reminiscent to the O.J. Bronco chase in 1994.  It will all come to an end in the next day or two and only talk of next season with Manning and the Broncos will ensue.

He has been without a doubt the most sought after free agent to hit the market since Reggie White left the Philadelphia Eagles take a big money deal with the Green Bay Packers in the early 1990’s.  He is leaving Indianapolis where he played for 14 seasons and had a very successful career breaking records and winning a Super Bowl title.  He will be going to a team that had a QB controversy all of last season. The Broncos fans were pulling for Tim Tebow to be their QB all last season.  You can rest assured that there will be no controversy any more Manning is their guy and will be their guy hands down.

This will be a very interesting season coming up for the Broncos with Manning at the helm.  They lost Wide Receiver Brandon Loyd to the New England Patriots via free agency.  You have still got to believe even with Loyd gone from the picture Manning will have enough talent around him to  make the Broncos very strong contenders in the AFC.

The one question that some have is whether Manning’s health will be an issue.  He underwent season ending neck surgery before the 2011 season began.  The Colts were unsure for most of last season of whether they would stay with him at QB or go with the obvious 1st pick overall in the draft Stanford’s Andrew Luck.  They chose to go with a young QB with a lot of potential for the future than take a chance on Manning for a few more seasons and have no future plan in place when he retires.

As this past week showed there were more than enough teams that would love to have Manning take over and turn their franchises around or put them over the top.  The Broncos were a team that seemed to be tired of the QB controversy and want to win without a doubt now.  They seemed to have turned on the pursuit in the last couple of days with team president John Elawy courting Manning and meeting with him on numerous occasions.  They tried hard and won the battle for possibly the biggest free agent QB ever.

Its time for Manning to shine and prove all of the doubters wrong.  He very well could win another World Championship or more in the upcoming seasons as long as he can stay healthy.  This will be a very exciting season coming up for the NFL this year.  Manning going to Denver will likely be the sports story of the year and will be dominating the radio and tv airwaves till this time next year.  So its safe to say at this point that the Broncos have their man at QB once and for all.

Marlins bright future

20120317-014626.jpg The new era of the Marlins is upon us. No longer the “Florida” Marlins they are now known as the “Miami” Marlins. They have a new ballpark which is breath taking. They also have a owner in Jeffery Loria who has finally put his money where his mouth is.

The team came into existence in 1993 and captured their first Championship in 1997. Then the team was dismantled and traded away. One interesting thing happened during the “Fire sale”, they were able to acquire talent that would win them their second and last championship in 2003 when they upset the favorite New York Yankees in the World Series.

The Marlins have not had any note worthy seasons since that championship year of 2003. They have also not made the playoffs in the years that have followed. Intact there was strong indication in 2005 that the team might leave South Florida and Florida completely due to the tax payers not wanting to foot a major part of the bill for a new stadium. A deal was made and the new ballpark in downtown Miami on the site of the former Orange Bowl is finished and ready for baseball.

During the off season the Marlins went crazy and acquired big time free agents for big time money. Jose Reyes, Mark Buerhle being the two highlights of the off season acquisitions. Former White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen was hired on to replace The retired Jack McKeon.

This season will be a great one for the Marlins and their fans. Everything seems to have fallen into place and the once forgotten team has become the talk of the baseball world. They are prepared and ready to win and have assembled a team that will surely be contenders in the tough NL east. With the season less than a month away it’s time to “playball” now!

Howard officially waives right to become a free agent, Staying with Team

Its official Howard has formally waived his rights to free agency at the end of this season and will remain on contract through the 2012-2013 season.  The Drama has ended for now.  We will have to see whether he signs a longer term deal in the next year or if this will happen all over again next year.  For the Magics sake I hope this gets resolved on a longer term basis soon.

The Magic can for now focus on the rest of the season.  They are strong contenders in the Eastern Conference and will remain so going into next season regardless how this season ends.  It is unknown if they will be able to acquire a NBA title this year but is still a strong possibility.  How they end up ending this season would have to be a major factor on whether Dwight will want to stay in Orlando for the future.  The team might still need to address the depth issue that Howard has long had a problem with though.

I will be reporting on the Magic and other teams around the NBA going into and through the playoffs so keep checking back for more news.

What the hell is wrong with Dwight?!

The year is 1996 and the Orlando Magic are coming off 2 incredible post seasons, the later of which they lost to the Chicago Bulls in the Eastern Conference Championship.  Heading into the off season the Magic were certain that the services of free agent Shaq would be obtainable yet again.  Hence the reason they did not trade him in the final year of his deal during the 1995-1996 season.  Little did they know he would get swept away by Los Angeles Lakers who that same summer acquired rookie Kobe Bryant in the first round of the draft.  That Lakers Team would go on to win three NBA titles.

Now flash forward to the present day Orlando Magic and there star player Dwight Howard.  Going into this season one that could be his last with the season depending on if he opts into his contract that would have if stay until the end of next season, he made it clear he would like to go somewhere else.  Possibly to Dallas or the team from New Jersey that will be in Brooklyn next season.  He claims the team has done nothing in terms of acquiring new players for him to win a championship with.  He has handled this contract situation worse than Lebron handled leaving Cleveland and that is saying a lot.

He has been flip flopping over the last 24 hours.  Saying he would  on his final year on his contract then retracted his statement and realized he did not want to give up that control.  The Magic at that point told him that if he does not opt in he is going elsewhere and would be doing so on Thursday the last day of the trade deadline at 3pm EST.  The Magic have the disaster of losing Shaq while getting nothing in return fresh in their minds still and will not let that go down again.   In the last few hours it has been reported that he is in fact willing to opt in and stay with the team but as I write this we are  2 and 1/2 hours from the deadline and nothing is yet done.

We will be finding out really soon what the fate of Dwight Howard and the Magic will be.  If he stays it is possible there could be a Championship banner hanging up at the venue formerly known as the “Orena” next year.  There also could be no Dwight Howard and the drama and distraction he has brought to the Orland Magic this season.  Regardless of what happens today it is safe to say this is a event that will not only effect the future of a star player but a franchise as well.

The Brackets!

Brackets, brackets, brackets! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh! What an exciting time of the year we have entered again. If you have been living under a rock I will tell you now that it is time for March Madness. Which actually runs into April but who cares this is America and we can do things like that! I can remember being a kid in elementary school getting excited for the NCAA basketball tournament. I don’t know anyone who does not at least know what it is. In fact I don’t know too many people that have never filled out a bracket (My sports hating wife has even filled one out).

I think a lot of the excitement has mostly to do with predicting the outcome of this massive tournament. It is a very unique event in that sense. Just about anyone whether they follow the sport of college basketball or not can give it a try. Countless office pools and friendly wagers dominate this month long period of sport. Bragging rights are definitely on the line. I have already filled out two.

The other great thing is that it provides a ton of entertainment almost dominating the late part of the week into Sunday for the first two weeks then reigning over the last 2 weekends.  The powerhouse teams versus the underdog, legendary programs versus legendary programs, you will be hard pressed to find a boring game.  The unpredictability is also a great part of this event you never know who will be upset. You have got to be a part of it!  If you can’t feel all of the excitement check your pulse and if you are still alive fill out a bracket already!

Dolphins QB!

With Peyton Manning being officially released by the Colts today and the possibility they might go after him I thought I would address the subject of the Dolphins QB spot. Let’s start with Matt Moore, replace him! While he did okay for the most part he is no long term QB for the Dolphins. I as a fan am tired of the revolving QB door since Dan Marino retired after the 2000 season. We have had the likes of Chad Pennington, Cleo Lemon and John Beck to name a few. I am sick of it! Find a new long term QB now Miami!

Let me touch on the Manning possibility now. No one can deny how great of a QB Manning is but with his age, and injury issues I don’t see him as a long term fix. I feel the dolphins need and have needed a long term fixture at the QB position in order to be consistently successful again.

That brings me to Robert Griffin III or RG3, which could be a possibility if the dolphins traded up from their 8th pick over all to the 2nd pick held by the Rams who have shown interest in trading it for the “right deal”. I think the dolphins should trade for the pick and bank the filigree on that kid. He is the complete football player like we have never seen before. He looks like he could be even greater than Cam Newton was this past season.

But there is a problem with the RG3 scenario that I have laid out. In order to get that pick from the Rams, the dolphins would have to do something they have never been comfortable doing before and that is to trade a few first round pick possibly 3 to make a deal come to life. I think they need to take a chance and pull the trigger o. This one. If there ever was a time to make a trade to move up in the draft it would be now.

We will have to see what happens in the next month with the Manning situation to get an indication as to which way the dolphins might go. I feel that the only real option us to get RG3. Not any other free agent not even Manning. The dolphins have been dragging their feet for too long and the fan wants to see it end immediately!

Memories Of Spring Baseball

Spring training is finally upon us. Finally after five and a half months of no baseball it is back. Back are the boys of summer, fans to the ballparks, warmer weather is coming back and most of all hope. Hope that every team holds of making it to the post season and advancing to and hopefully winning the World Series.

I have many fond memories of spring and the baseball that it brings back every year. I grew up in the city of Lakeland, Florida. Spring training home of the Detroit Tigers dating back to the early part of the 20th century. And I am and always have been a die hard Marlins fan, but I hold a place for the Tigers in my heart.

I would attend many games every year with my father friends and by myself. I would even head to the ballpark early on Saturday and Sunday morning to get autographs and meet with the players as they would head into the club house. I remember being in awe of players like Tony Clark, Juan Gonzalez and Brandon Inge just to name a few.

There was nothing better than sitting in the uncovered bleacher seats in the hot central Florida sun and watching live baseball. Many people that I know think baseball is boring and unwatchable. I find it to be incredible to watch, especially when it is in person. I have always loved the strategy and the unpredictability of the game.

As I have grown old and moved away from my home city. I still am in love with spring training and my hometown team, well at least they are for two months of the year. I am really amped up for the season this year. As the years go by I find myself getting more and more interested with each passing year. I only hope that those of you reading can feel half the excitement I feel about this season coming up. If you do I believe you as well as I are going to Have a great summer!

Welcome to 2 Cents Worth Of Sports!

Hello and welcome to the 2centsworthofsports blog. My name is Justin Hand and I am a family man who serves in the US Armed forces and a huge fan of sports. This will be my outlet for discussing and sometimes getting pissed off about topics and happenings in the world of sport. So with that being said thanks for visiting and enjoy the ride!