Archive for February, 2013

Atlanta Braves position battle: Juan Francisco versus Chris Johnson


Couch Side examines the Atlanta Braves third base position battle between Chris Johnson (left) and Juan Francisco. Johnson photo by: Bridget Samuels / Flickr. Francisco photo by: Charles Atkeison / Flickr

Couch Side examines the Atlanta Braves third base position battle between Chris Johnson (left) and Juan Francisco. Johnson photo by: Bridget Samuels / Flickr. Francisco photo by: Charles Atkeison / Flickr

BY WADE MCMILLIN, Couchsideshow.com editor

Replacing a lengend certainly isn’t an easy task.

That’s going to be the spring training chore for Atlanta Braves third basemen Juan Francisco and Chris Johnson this season as they’ll attempt to succeed the recently retired Chipper Jones. I’m sure neither player expects to come even close to Jones’ worst season in this position battle, but both players are above-average options to take over Atlanta’s hot corner. The Braves have to love that both players are under 30 years old. It’s also a plus that the pair had their best seasons at the MLB level in 2012. Regardless of what Francisco and Johnson have done in their pasts, their future will probably be determined by what they do in 2013.

There’s a lot of speculation that this hot-corner duo will platoon for the Braves at third base this year. And while it would be nice to have a permanent starter penciled in on the everyday lineup, the fact is that these two players compliment each other quite nicely simply because Francisco bats from the left side and Johnson bats from the right. However, neither player can hit lefties very efficiently and their defense won’t win them any golden gloves soon. The question marks around both players are easily noticeable by one glance at their career statistics and their splits. That’s why I personally believe this will be a position battle. So who will emerge as manager Fredi Gonzales’ favorite? To truly understand the answer to that question, one must take a deep look into the pros and cons that Johnson and Francisco will bring to the Braves: (more…)


Preseason Position Power Rankings: Couch Side’s top five first basemen for 2013


Editor’s note: Couch Side is very pleased to bring back its annual MLB preseason position power rankings. This year, we will offer two positions every Wednesday and Friday. Each blog ranks the top 10 players at each position and is written by some of Couch Side’s best bloggers. The following is part two of what will be a 12-part series. Enjoy!

BY WADE MCMILLIN, Couchsideshow.com editor

Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto looks to bounce back from an injury plagued year last season. Photo by: Keith Allison / Flickr

Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto looks to bounce back from an injury plagued year last season. Photo by: Keith Allison / Flickr

When it comes to raw power, first basemen usually take the cake.

Currently, there are still some super sluggers playing the position, but surprisingly, the big fly isn’t as common as it used to be from first baseman. Guys like Albert Pujols and Joey Votto can still crush. Yet, their games are becoming much more complete as both of those top players have been known to chase the triple crown. Usually, when ranking first basemen, power would be the ultimate factor. However, like everything in sports, the position has changed. A young core of first basemen is on the rise and a handful of veterans are still proving that they’re some of the best still in the game.

Couch Side’s official preseason first basemen power rankings will cover my six through 10 briefly before jumping into the heavy hitters. I must apologize to some who will come up just short: Billy Butler, Ike Davis and Anthony Rizzo, but the good news for them is they’re still very young and could make me look very stupid as I rank the top 10 first baseman in the MLB for 2013:

 

 

10. Freddie Freeman, Atlanta Braves (.259 AVG, 23 HR, 94 RBI):

With Chipper Jones hanging up his cleats, Big Fred may actually be the hitter to watch out for in Atlanta. Yes, I know they have the Upton brothers now, but this 23-year-old is destined for greatness.

9. Adam LaRoche, Washington Nationals (.271 AVG, 33 HR, 100 RBI):

The big question surrounding LaRoche is can he do it again? The 33-year-old set career highs in home runs, RBI and WAR last year. For that reason and that reason only is why the big man makes this list.

8. Paul Konerko, Chicago Whitesox (.298 AVG, 22 HR, 75 RBI):

In the first half of last season, Konerko was far better than Pujols. He may not be able to repeat that this year, but this crafty veteran is one of the best contact-hitting first basemen in all of baseball.

7. Adrian Gonzalez, Los Angeles Dodgers (.299 AVG, 18 HR, 108 RBI):

Gonzales still hasn’t earned his large paycheck. His dismal numbers with the Dodgers after he was traded to the boys in blue also raise some red flags. If he can find his old form, which he definitely could by returning to the NL West, Gonzales may just regain some of that lost respect.

6. Mark Teixeira, New York Yankees (.251 AVG, 24 HR, 84 RBI):

The reason big tex is so high on my list, is simply because I’m a sucker for the Yankee slugger. He had a year to forget in 2012 and was bit by the injury bug. However, I think he may just bounce back with a New York lineup that is much weaker than year’s past. That added pressure could bring back the Texas version of Teixeira.

5. Paul Goldschmidt, Arizona Diamondbacks (.286, 20 HR, 82 RBI):

Now that I’ve finally cracked into my top five, Goldschmidt had better not make me eat my words this year. I predict Goldschmidt to have a golden year because of what Snakes general manager Kevin Towers did this offseason. He made room in his starting lineup for top prospect Adam Eaton and acquired Martin Prado, two players who should score a lot of runs with Goldschmidt’s power drving them home. Mlbdepthcharts.com has Goldshmidt slotted in the No. 6 spot in the D-Backs’ batting order, but don’t expect him to stay there for long. Eaton should prove to be a prominent lead off guy and I believe Prado will eventually become the team’s No. 2 hitter, giving Goldschmidt plenty of opportunities to drive in his two new teammates. Also, a fun fact: Goldschmidt led all first basemen in steals last season with 18.
(more…)


Couch Side Podcast Episode 48: The Great Steroid Discussion


Couch Side hosts Craig Paul (left) and Wade McMillin jive about juice in this week's podcast.

Couch Side hosts Craig Paul (left) and Wade McMillin jive about juice in this week’s podcast.

CLICK HERE TO START LISTENING: 


BY Couchsideshow.com staff

Couch Side gets back to its roots as Craig Paul and Wade McMillin pump up the crowd with their usual sports banter. This week’s topics include the rather boring NBA trade deadline, the biggest surprises and disappointments of the NBA, steroids and where NFL quarterback Alex Smith might wind up. Also, Craig and Wade share a special message about a worthwhile benefit in Powell, Wyoming. If you live in the area, please attend the “Bring Brad Home Benefit” in Powell, Wyoming at 9 a.m. Saturday at the Park County Fair Grounds. For more information please click hereClick below to start streaming, downloading or subscribing to the Couch Side podcast!

•  Click here to stream the Couch Side Podcast Episode 48: All-Time NBA Fantasy Draft, via our host site, TalkShoe

• Click here to download the Couch Side Podcast Episode 48: All-Time NBA Fantasy Draft, via our host site, TalkShoe

• Click here to stream, download or subscribe to the Couch Side Podcast Episode 48: The Great Steroid Discussion, via iTunes


Quick Read: Bonilla will collect more money than any outfielder on Mets’ roster


Feedcrossing.com syndication

This is something that has been talked about for years, but Bobby Bonilla signed one of the greatest contracts of all time.

The Mets were really eager to get rid of Bonilla, so in 2000 they agree to buy out his contract. Bonilla’s terms were the $5.9 million he was owed, to be paid out to his estate with interest over 25 years starting on July 1st, 2011.

So, Bonilla’s annual salary, until the year 2035, once the interest kicked in is $1.19 million.

If you take a quick look at the Mets roster for 2013, you will see that makes Bonilla is one of the highest paid Mets players on the payroll, even though he has been retired for years. No wonder the Mets have had financial difficulties over the last few years.  Who signed off on this deal?

If only more athletes, would think like Bobby Bonilla, we would have never had a 30 for 30 BROKE documentary.  Thanks to the Big Lead for all the details.

Be sure to check out other great articles at BlackSportsOnline.

Preseason Position Power Rankings: Couch Side’s top 10 catchers


BY SEAN SCHOONOVER, Couchsideshow.com blogger

Editor’s note: Couch Side is very pleased to bring back its annual MLB preseason position power rankings. This year, we will offer two positions every Wednesday and Friday. Each blog ranks the top 10 players at each position and is written by some of Couch Side’s best bloggers. The following is part two of what will be a 12-part series. Enjoy!

2012 National League MVP Buster Posey tops Couch Side's top 10 Catcher list. Photo by: Dave Nelson / Flickr

2012 National League MVP Buster Posey tops Couch Side’s top 10 Catcher list. Photo by: Dave Nelson / Flickr

When identifying the top catchers of the MLB, one must consider a players defensive capability as well as their offensive ability. The catcher position is the most demanding position on the field and offense is usually the last thing on their minds, as these players have to manage full pitching staffs, mull over game plans, as well as rest their aching legs. Offensive focused catchers now days are finding more ways to get into the lineup on a daily basis, whether it is at 1B or DH. Last season only 6 catchers managed over 500 at bats, which is an improvement of only two in 2011 and one in 2010. The following list includes the 10 best catchers going into the 2013 season, starting with players 6-10 and their 2012 statistics. Players left off the list and who most likely make up the 11-15 spots include: J.P. Arencibia, Carlos Ruiz, A.J. Pierzynski, Brian McCann, and Alex Avila. With that here are your projected ten best catchers for the 2013 season:

10. Jesus Montero (SEA)- 135 GP, 134 H, 15 HR, 46 Runs, 62 RBI, .260 AVG, .298 OBP. .386 SLG, -0.2 WAR

- A tall 6’3”, slightly slow footed catcher but has the potential to hit 25 HRS and 80 RBIs

9. Jonathan Lucroy (MIL)- 96 GP, 101 H, 12 HR, 46 Runs, 58 RBI, .320 AVG, .369 OBP, .513 SLG, 3.9 WAR

- Defensively sound catcher with the ability to hit over 20 HRs with a .300 AVG

8. Wilin Rosario (COL)- 117 GP, 107 H, 28 HR, 67 Runs, 71 RBI, .270 AVG, .320 OBP, .530 SLG, 1.9 WAR

- A power hitter, whom needs improvement on the defensive side. but offensively has a lot of up-side hitting behind Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez

7. Salvador Perez (KC)- 76 GP, 87 H, 11 HR, 38 Runs, 39 RBI, .301 AVG, ,328 OBP, .471 SLG, 2.8 WAR

- Only 22 years old and known for his sound defensive ability, but it is his offensive potential that seems intriguing with his limited experience. This is hands down my sleeper for the position this year.

6. Miguel Montero (ARI)- 141 GP, 139 H, 15 HR, 65 Runs, 88 RBI, .286 AVG, .391 OBP, .438 SLG, 3.7 WAR

- Defensively sound, ranking third best in caught stealing rate last year with 42%, he is one of the best overall catchers in the game and yet does not get enough credit.

5. Matt Wieters (BAL) – 144 GP, 131 H, 23 HR, 67 Runs, 83 RBI, .249 AVG, .329 OBP, .435 SLG, 3.2 WAR

The .249 Average and 112 strikeouts are two statistics that bring Wieters down, however he still has shown the last two years that he is a well-deserved starter in one of the toughest divisions. He is one of six catchers from last year that compiled over 500 at bats, with 526 in 144 games played. The last two years have proved that Wieters is a legitimate top five catcher in the league tallying 55 HRs, to go with 151 RBIs. However, it is the defensive side that Wieters excels, being awarded golden gloves both in 2011 and 2012, throwing out an average of 38 percent of attempted base stealers for both years. The defensive piece is in place and I would not be surprised to see his offensive game take off this season.

(more…)


Quick Read: MJ’s trainer says he would be Bobcats’ best player


Feedcrossing.com syndication

 

Could Michael Jordan really make an impact as a player with the Charlotte Bobcats at age 50? Photo by: simplistic.designs / Flickr

Could Michael Jordan really make an impact as a player with the Charlotte Bobcats at age 50? Photo by: simplistic.designs / Flickr

Michael Jordan just turned 50 and you would have had to have been in a coma to have missed that fact with all the celebration going on.

Much of the debate the past week has been about what Jordan would do to LeBron James or any other player in the prime of Jordan’s career. The question now though is what would MJ do today, right now if he was the starting shooting guard for the Charlotte Bobcats?

If you asked Jordan’s long time trainer Tim Grover, lets just say he has all the confidence in the world in Jordan.  During a recent radio interview with WFNZ in Charlotte, Grover said not only would “Jordan be the Bobcats best player on the floor today, he’d still average 20 plus points.”

Tell me why you truly believe if he made a comeback, he’d be the best player on the Bobcats right now:

“First of all, the Bobcats are a very young team, so he knows how to create [things] and how to take away guys’ strengths. … Just the way he would compete, that if one of the players actually did beat him, he would take it so seriously that he would get himself in better shape and re-challenge that individual until he’d be able to beat him again. His skill set was so high. … I guarantee it’s still higher than most of the guys out there.”

What kind of numbers would he put up?:

“He’d average 20. Yeah, he’d average 20. … Listen, would he be able to go out and get through an 82-game season? One thing people also [forget], he had no major injuries. … But yes, Father Time is undefeated. But again, there’s so much advancement out there … in anti-aging and so forth, so it is possible. I don’t think that he would come back unless he was 100 percent ready.

I know most of my readers are going to say but it’s the Bobcats.  Still to be 50 and average 20 in the league or be the best player on an NBA franchise.

I’m just saying.

Be sure to check out other great articles at BlackSportsOnline.

Preseason Position Power Rankings: Couch Side’s top 10 starting pitchers


Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander topped Couch Side's list of the top 10 starting pitchers in Major League Baseball. Photo by: Keith Allison / Flickr

Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander topped Couch Side’s list of the top 10 starting pitchers in Major League Baseball. Photo by: Keith Allison / Flickr

Editor’s note: Couch Side is very pleased to bring back its annual MLB preseason position power rankings. This year, we will offer two positions every Wednesday and Friday. Each blog ranks the top 10 players at each position and is written by some of Couch Side’s best bloggers. The following is part one of what will be a 12-part series. Enjoy!

BY BRANDON J. SMITH, Couchsideshow.com senior blogger

It’s not too hard to identify who the top starting pitchers in baseball are. High strikeout, high innings counts are the biggest factor when ranking the elite talent in the game. Taking age and past performance to account is extremely important when compiling a list, especially since pitcher health can be extremely volatile.

I’ll start off my briefly mentioning by 6-10 on this list. Names I had to leave off, but probably fit into 11-15 are CC Sabathia, Matt Cain, Yu Darvish and RA Dickey.

10. Jered Weaver, Los Angeles Angels (20-8, 2.81 ERA, 188 IP, 142 Ks, 3 WAR — 2012 stats) – Excellent control pitcher who generates a lot of fly ball outs.

9. Cole Hamels, Philadelphia Phillies (17-6. 3.05 ERA, 215 IP, 216 Ks, 4.5 WAR — 2012 stats) – Great veteran lefty with an even greater change up.

8. Cliff Lee, Philadelphia Phillies (6-9. 3.16 ERA, 211 IP, 207 Ks, 4.9 WAR — 2012 stats)- Don’t let 2012 record fool you, Lee still has pinpoint control.

7. David Price, Tampa Bay Rays (20-5. 2.56 ERA, 211 IP, 205 Ks, 5 WAR — 2012 stats) – Reigning AL CY Young award winner is only 27 and getting better every year.

6. Roy Halladay, Philadelphia Phillies (11-8. 4.49 ERA, 156 IP, 132 Ks, 0.7 WAR — 2012 stats) – An injury ached 2012 doesn’t erase recent dominance from a future Hall of Famer.

5. Zack Greinke, L.A. Dodgers (15-5, 3.48 ERA, 212 IP, 200 Ks, 5 WAR)

I’m willing to take some flak for this one, but I’m betting highly on Greinke’s upside to put him in my top 5. He has elite stuff, can hurl it up to 95 with a devastating change up and slow curveball. One problem with defending Greinke is that he’s had recent years of ERAs nearing 4, despite his high strikeout output (career 8 strikeouts-per-9); some of it can be explained by the stat Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP). FIP calculates ERA based solely on pitcher walks, strikeouts, and home runs allowed, without factoring things out of the pitchers control like the play of his fielders behind him. So in theory, FIP says what your ERA should be in a perfect world, even while admitting that baseball is never perfect. Here are Greinke’s ERA and FIP the past three seasons.

2010: 4.17 ERA, 3.34 FIP

2011: 3.83 ERA, 2.98 FIP

2012: 3.48 ERA, 3.10 FIP

His ERA being consistently higher than his FIP despite his ability to get strikeouts is odd. For some reason Greinke hasn’t been able to prevent blowup innings, which some might chalk up to his mental fragility. I’m not going to play this card, because Greinke received a massive contract  to pitch most of his games in Dodger Stadium, and other favorable pitchers parks in the NL West. Getting to face some weaker lineups can easily boost his numbers to the point where he’s looked at as a true elite pitcher.

(more…)


Couch Side Podcast Episode 47: All-Time NBA Fantasy Draft


draft gfx

CLICK HERE TO START LISTENING: 


BY Couchsideshow,com staff

The Couch Side podcast has special guests galore in this week’s episode as our biggest panel ever tackles an All-Time NBA Fantasy Draft. Join our special panel of Brett Murdock, Matt Vinsko, Craig Paul, Sean Schoonover, Stayson Isobe and moderator Wade McMillin for Couch Side’s official top 25 NBA players by starting lineups. Each guest picks a legendary player to fill their team in each positon — center, power forward, small forward, shooting guard and point guard — during five rounds of fantasy NBA action that doesn’t discriminate between current and legendary players. Also, be the judge for yourself by commenting on who has the best team at the bottom of this post. Click below to start streaming, downloading or subscribing to the Couch Side podcast!

•  Click here to stream the Couch Side Podcast Episode 47: All-Time NBA Fantasy Draft, via our host site, TalkShoe

• Click here to download the Couch Side Podcast Episode 47: All-Time NBA Fantasy Draft, via our host site, TalkShoe

• Click here to stream, download or subscribe to the Couch Side Podcast Episode 47: All-Time NBA Fantasy Draft, via iTunes


Quick Read: Jeter Calls A-Rod’s Situaion ‘Awkward’


Feedcrossing.com syndication

Derek Jeter is currently rehabbing from a fractured ankle suffered in the post season, and while opening up about his plans to start for the season opener he voiced his opinion on Arod’s questionable return.

The 37-year-old short stop and team captain was candid about his return to the team by season opener, and as reported by USA Today doesn’t view age as a determining factor in his timetable.

Jeter was also just made aware that Arod will not be joining them for spring training and stated the following

“It’s going to be weird,”

“He’s been part of this team since 2004. It’s going to be awkward.”

Jeter also said that it will not be awkward playing next to Arod’s replacement and longtime Red Sox enemy Kevin Youkilis. Youkilis has found himself caught in the crossfires of NY media after saying that he’ll forever be a Red Sock at heart.

Leave it up to Jeter for knowing just what to say. One will be hard pressed to get him to voice his opinion on the off the field matters surrounding Arod, but for now he’s standing by his teammates side and pressing forward with Youk.

Classic Jeter

Be sure to check out other great articles at BlackSportsOnline.

Are they really rebuilding? A review of the Miami Marlins’ offseason


New Miami Marlins manager Mike Redmond is certainly going to have his work cut out for him after Miami traded away all of its talent this offseason. Photo by: Joel Dinda / Flickr

New Miami Marlins manager Mike Redmond is certainly going to have his work cut out for him after Miami traded away all of its talent this offseason. Photo by: Joel Dinda / Flickr

BY WADE MCMILLIN, Couchsideshow.com editor

The Miami Marlins have been known to the let the walls fall down immediately after putting them up.

Case in point: the team’s last two World Series victories. In the first title run, it was see you later Garry Shefield, Moises Alou, Kevin Brown and Bobby Bonilla. After a second championship, Carlos Delgado, Mike Lowell and Josh Beckett were all asked to pack their bags. During both “fire sales,” Miami did change hands in ownership and looked to rebuild, watching players such as Miguel Cabrera and Dan Uggla also find new homes. As frustrated fans watched the Miami Heat go out and get the likes of LeBron James and Chris Bosh, winning an NBA championship one year after obtaining the superstars, their baseball team was back to their old ways of extreme ups and even more extreme downs.

The seats of the once sold out Sun Life Stadium were empty. The team’s faithful followers simply quit believing. Miami management used its usual solution for this reoccurring problem, though, throwing more money at the troubled franchise. So one multi-million dollar new stadium later and a fresh, new name change, gave us the Miami Marlins. A new start and a new hope was marketed to Fish fans as the front office frivolously spent its newly acquired cash to obtain highly touted free agents like Jose Reyes, Mark Buerhle and Heath Bell.

With the addition of three new stars, a snazzy new stadium and a rebranded image, the Marlins had some high hopes for 2012. However, as in the past, the wheels fell off. Players under performed. Newly-hired manager Ozzie Guillen was more of a headache than a leader. The latest fire sale could be seen from miles away. The blazes began with a blockbuster trade that could easily trump the monster move of 1998 that sent Sheffield, Bonilla, Charles Johnson and Jim Eisenreich to the Dodgers for Mike Piazza (traded to the Mets just months laters) and Todd Zeile. Miami showed its former colors, shipping Reyes, Buerhle, Josh Johnson and John Buck to the Toronto Blue Jays for practically peanuts. The trade, which actually followed another deal that landed Bell in Arizona, was Miami’s white flag. They clearly weren’t going to continue down the path that saw them finish dead last in the N.L. East in 2012.  (more…)


Curt Schilling’s performance-enhancing drug accusations shot down by MLB


Feedcrossing.com syndication 

Former Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Curt Schilling claimed that personnel from his previous team told him to use performance enhancing drugs for medical reasons. Photo by: greenmelinda / Flickr

Former Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Curt Schilling claimed that personnel from his previous team told him to use performance enhancing drugs for medical reasons. Photo by: greenmelinda / Flickr

Former all-star pitcher Curt Schilling’s recent claim that he was told by the Boston Red Sox to use performance-enhancing drugs (PED) has been shot down by investigators. Major League Baseball and the Red Sox organization looked into the matter and found there was no substance to it. Schilling had said that Mike Reinold, a member of the Red Sox medical team, urged the pitcher to use PEDs to help treat a shoulder injury that he suffered back in 2008.

The accusations were recently made by Schilling to Terry Francona, who was the Red Sox manager at the time, as well as Theo Epstein, who was the club’s Theo Epstein in 2008. However, the investigations proved to be fruitless. Schilling had told Colin Cowherd of ESPN Radio that a member of the Red Sox medical staff suggested that he try taking the illegal substance as one way to help heal his damaged shoulder.

In later interviews, Schilling mentioned Reinold as the person who made the suggestion to him. Reinold was hired by the Red Sox in 2008 as the team’s rehabilitation coordinator. He remained with the club until leaving in 2012. (more…)


Couch Side Podcast Episode 46: College Basketball Craziness


Tim Tebow may now have been recognized in this week's episode, but no one can pass up "Tebowing" during wedding festivities.

Tim Tebow may now have been recognized in this week’s episode, but no one can pass up “Tebowing” during wedding festivities.

CLICK HERE TO START LISTENING: 


BY Couchsideshow.com staff

Couch Side co-hosts Wade McMillin and Craig Paul have a lot on their plate this week. The gang looks at the the quarterback situation of the NFL offseason and the movers and shakers in men’s college basketball. Special guest Sean Schoonover also stopped in to promote next week’s show, which brings in a total of five guests for an All-Time NBA draft.  Click below to start streaming, downloading or subscribing to the Couch Side Podcast:

•  Click here to stream the Couch Side Podcast Episode 46: College Basketball Craziness, via our host site, TalkShoe

• Click here to download the Couch Side Podcast Episode 46: College Basketball Craziness, via our host site, TalkShoe

• Click here to stream, download or subscribe to the Couch Side Podcast Episode 46: College Basketball Craziness, via iTunes

 


Picking with the Pros: A Look at the Rising Stars Challenge on All-Star Weekend


BY MATT VINSKO & BRETT MURDOCK, Couchsideshow.com senior bloggers

Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irvng earned the top pick for Couch Side's All-NBA sophomore team. Photo by:

Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irvng earned the top pick for Couch Side’s All-NBA sophomore team. Photo by:

Come Valentine’s Day weekend, most people will be spending their hard-earned money on chocolate, stuffed animals, and other gifts in an attempt to impress their loved ones.

But for two Couch Side writers, Feb. 15 marks the beginning of the NBA’s All Star weekend, a three-day period full of dunks, skills, and the occasional shooting star. While most will have their eyes set on the All-Star game Sunday night, the rookies and sophomores of the NBA will have their own game to show off their skills on Friday.

The Rising Stars Challenge used to consist of rookies versus sophomores.  But that trend changed last year when two TNT-analysts drafted their own teams, who then faced off in a marquee matchup of young talent.  Before the pros pick this year’s Rising Stars this Thursday on the NBA on TNT, see who Matt and Brett expect to comprise each team and who looks to have an edge entering All-Star Weekend.

To decide who picked first, a coin toss was held.

With the first pick, Matt has selected: Kyrie Irving.  Easily the most talented player in the rookie/sophomore class; one who is set to start the All-Star game as well in Rajon Rondo’s absence.

With the second pick, Brett has selected: Anthony Davis.  As far as game goes, he’s the biggest, most dominant low-post player on the roster.  Even in an exhibition game, you have to have that. (more…)


Royal Rumble Review Part Two: Breakdown of the beat down


Two of Couch Side's top bloggers attended this year's WWE Royal Rumble. Photo by: Brett Murdock / couchsideshow.com

Two of Couch Side’s top bloggers attended this year’s WWE Royal Rumble. Photo by: Brett Murdock / couchsideshow.com

Editors note: The following is part one of a two-part series, looking at the first-hand accounts of the WWE’s Royal Rumble Pay-Per-View event from two of Couch Side’s finest writers.

BY MATT VINSKO, Couchsideshow.com blogger 

As a fan of wrestling, I find it odd that I’ve only been to three WWE events in my life.  The first two (a house show and a taping of ­SmackDown), while entertaining, lacked the glitz, glamour, and star power that the wrestling organization loves to trot out.  But that underwhelming feeling immediately disappeared upon walking into the U.S. Airways Center on Sunday, January 27, for the Royal Rumble.

John Cena, CM Punk, The Rock, hell, even a surprise return by Chris Jericho.  What more could I ask for?  While the returns of Goldust and The Godfather were fan-pleasing, the matches themselves left quite a bit to be desired.  Still, the star power alone was easily worth the $45 price of admission.

The night started hot with The Miz vs. Antonio Cesaro in what turned out to be an excellent opening match.  Brett and I both (accurately) predicted Cesaro would win, but the fact The Miz got a hot pop not only surprised me, but foreshadowed everything to come.  (more…)


Royal Rumble Part One: The experience is everything


Couch Side bloggers Matt Vinsko and Brett Murdock attended the WWE's Royal Rumble one week ago.

Couch Side bloggers Matt Vinsko and Brett Murdock attended the WWE’s Royal Rumble one week ago.

Editors note: The following is part one of a two-part series, looking at the first-hand accounts of the WWE’s Royal Rumble Pay-Per-View event from two of Couch Side’s finest writers.

BY BRETT MURDOCK, Couchsideshow.com blogger

Ladies and gentlemen, I have been to numerous sporting events in my life. I’ve been around loud crowds, hyped-up environments, and have seen my fair share of gripes, surprises, controversy, and full-on rowdiness. But nothing could have prepared me for what WWE’s Royal Rumble pay-per-view gave me on January 27 at the US Airways Center in Phoenix, Ariz.

Now, I’ve been a wrestling fan for a long time now. I watched religiously from 2003 to about 2006 but then lost some of that consistency until the summer of 2011, more known as “the Summer of [CM] Punk” (more on him later). So when the opportunity came for me to experience WWE’s second biggest pay-per-view of the year mere miles from my house, I jumped on that chance and didn’t look back and let me tell you, it was well worth it.

I won’t go into the main details of every match on the card because that is not what the point of going to an event like this is. The point is to be part of the experience and let me tell you, the Royal Rumble was incredible. Showing up in Downtown Phoenix an hour and a half early to eat was awe-inspiring itself as nearly every restaurant and bar was packed with fans who were only getting prepared for what the nigh would bring. Hell, halfway through our “pre-game” festivities (if you will), Matt and I got to experience the familiar “LET’S GO, CENA!” “CENA SUCKS!” chants at a bar. A BAR! Not the event, but a local bar. I could tell we were going to be in for quite a night.

We were somewhat worried about getting in after getting tickets off Craigslist but thankfully, they were legitimate and soon enough, we were in our seats and ready to rumble (get it?). From then on, it was all about the crowd reactions to the matches, entrances, spots, and moments. And the Rumble is arguably the best PPV for those reactions. (more…)


Couch Side Podcast Episode 45: Super Bowl Analysis


Couch Side co-hosts Sean Schoonover, left, and Wade McMillin dressed super for a Super Bowl special.

Couch Side co-hosts Sean Schoonover, left, and Wade McMillin dressed super for a Super Bowl special.

CLICK HERE TO START LISTENING: 


BY Couchsideshow.com staff

In this week’s episode, Couch Side co-hosts Wade McMillin and Sean Schoonover review the Super Bowl, preview the upcoming NFL offseason, debate the NFL Hall of Fame, look at baseball’s remaining free agents and honor the No. 45 in professional sports. Click below to start streaming, downloading or subscribing to the Couch Side Podcast:

•  Click here to stream the Couch Side Podcast Episode 45: Super Bowl Analysis, via our host site, TalkShoe

• Click here to download the Couch Side Podcast Episode 45: Super Bowl Analysis, via our host site, TalkShoe

• Click here to stream, download or subscribe to the Couch Side Podcast Episode 45: Super Bowl Analysis, via iTunes


NBA Power Rankings Week 14: Race to the break


BY JORDAN WHEELER, Couchsideshow.com blogger

NBA Power Rankings (week 14) are organized with this week’s ranking, the team and last week’s ranking in parenthesis. 

Western Conference

1. San Antonio Spurs (2) - The Spurs won their 2 games this week against the Bobcats and the Wizards. That marks 10 wins in a row for them, and a 38-11 record, which is best in the league. Tim Duncan left the game against the Wizards so hopefully that isn’t too serious.

2. Oklahoma City Thunder (1) - Oklahoma has lost 2 of their last 3 games. They lost to the Lakers and to the Cavs. They have 3 games this week and I believe they should rebound and come away with 3 wins.

3. L.A. Clippers (3) - Lob city is just 5-5 their last 10 games. They have 7 of their next 8 games on the road. They need to finish these next two weeks strong going into the All-Star break to keep a safe distance between them and Denver, Memphis, and Golden State.

• For the rest of Couch Side NBA Power Rankings Click Here

Eastern Conference

1. Miami Heat (1) - The Heat are just 6-4 their last 10 games, and they have lost 2 out of their last 3. The Heat have 7 games before the All-Star break, with a big week next week. They play the Lakers, Portland, and the Thunder before heading to Houston for All-Star weekend.

2. New York Knicks (2) - The Knicks are on a bit of a role. They have won 4 games in a row and have pulled even with the Heat again. They only have 5 games before the break and only of those games is against a quality opponent.

3. Brooklyn Nets (3) - With a win against Chicago on Friday keeps Brooklyn in the number 3 spot. 4 out of their remaining 6 games before the break are against quality opponents.

• For the rest of Couch Side NBA Power Rankings Click Here


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 108 other followers