Archive for May, 2012

Bears RB Forte needs to sign soon


BY CHICAGO BEARS ADDICT, Feedcrossing.com syndication

The Chicago Bears have made an offer to running back Matt Forte, but he hasn’t signed it, yet. Photo by: SquaredB / Flickr

“Da Man” is of course the do it all running back of the Chicago Bears, Matt Forte. The still unsigned Forte seems to be serious about not signing the contract that is on the table from the Chicago Bears, and the Bears are quite content to stand pat on their offer. There’s also the little 7+ million dollar franchise tag that is awaiting Forte’s approval. When neither side is willing to budge in a negotiation, the side with the least leverage and the most to lose has no choice but to cave. Forte has no leverage and everything to lose. The only play in this situation is to sign the long term contract the Bears are offering.

Whether you side with the player or the team, you have to look at the negotiation from a business standpoint. The revamped Bears offense will be just fine without Matt Forte. Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery will help out the passing game. Offensive coordinator Mike Tice and quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates are set to install a more Jay Cutler friendly offense. And Michael Bush (a starting quality back) was brought in as running back insurance. If the Bears were to play without Forte in 2012, they’d be OK. From a financial point of view, if Forte were to hold out the 2012 season he wouldn’t be OK. Matt Forte needs the Bears far more than the Bears need Forte. (more…)

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Coyotes season ends in West Finals, but team still manages success


Keith Yandle and the Phoenix Coyotes had a terrific season against all odds. Photo by: Bridget Samuels / Flickr

BY BRETT MURDOCK, Couchsideshow.com writer 

Ownerless. Starless. Penny-less.

All words, or variations of words, that describe the Phoenix Coyotes. And they never rang more true than this year, a season which saw a ragtag team of role players, veterans and second-chance seekers thrown together in the hopes of achieving something magical.

What transpired was unlike anything ever seen before in the Phoenix-metro area, the state of Arizona and the sports world across the board. A team that absolutely nobody picked to even make the playoffs mustered their way to not only a postseason spot, but a Pacific Division championship to boot.

Sure, the Desert Dogs have a few players on their roster that would be much more heralded and well-known in bigger markets, but you can count them on one hand. But for the others, this was the chance to be part of something bigger, something that would grab attention and something that analysts, fans and casuals look back on say, “Damn, that was fun.”

For nearly 100 games this season, regular season and playoffs combined, the Coyotes busted their ass in their search for glory, coming up just short as they fell to the Los Angeles Kings in five games in the Western Conference Finals. The final game of the season was as good as they get, with end-to-end action, big hits, controversy and a lively, enthusiastic crowd all thrown into the mix, creating a combustible element that seemed ready to explode at any second. (more…)


40 games through: MLB contenders and pretenders


BY ZAC CORDOVA AND JUSTIN MILLAR, Feedcrossing.com syndication 

Zac Cordova:

Detroit Tigers center fielder Austin Jackson looks as if he may have a career year this season. Photo by: Lauren / Flickr

• LA Dodgers: Pretender. Matt Kemp should change his nickname to “Mr. April” because he gets everyone thinking he is the best player in baseball the first month of every season. He is great no doubt, but has little help outside of Clayton Kershaw and Andre Ethier. AJ Ellis will cool off a bit, but they are too top heavy to be considered consistent enough to be a contender.

• NY Yankees: Contender. Simply too much talent to continue playing this poorly. When you consider all the players they have hitting poorly or injured (Mark Teixeira, Robinson Cano, Alex Rodriguez, Brett Gardner) there has to be a bounce back. Paired with the inevitable trade deadline splash for a starter, the Yanks should be just fine.
• Detroit Tigers: Pretender. They are almost the Dodgers of the AL, in that they have very little depth behind their sluggers. With their offensive stars hitting at of near their norms, and Prince Fielder’s lack of power cancelled by overachieving starts by Austin Jackson and Andy Dirks, there really is not too much room for improvement. Rookie Drew Smyley and Doug Fister wont keep their sub 2.5 ERAs all year, and Dirks and Jackson are due to regress, the Tigers may be in serious trouble, with the only saving grace being their weak division.
• Baltimore Orioles: Contender. The Orioles have quietly put together a tremendous pitching staff, anchored by 5 relievers posting sub 1.8 ERA’s (6 if you include Chris Davis). The potential regression of starters Wei-Yin Chen and Jason Hammel are greatly anchored because of how terrific their bullpen is. Outside of Adam Jones, they do not have an offensive player who is greatly overachieving. If they can sustain the great bullpen work, and hitting, I can absolutely see the Orioles challenging for the division come September. (more…)

Couch Side Podcast — Episode 15: Hamilton versus Kemp


BY Couchsideshow.com staff

This retro picture shows Couch Side baseball insider Brandon Smith interviewing former NAU swimmer Kimber Morelli. Smith joined Couch Side host Wade McMillin as the guest host of this week’s podcast.

Couch Side baseball insider Brandon J. Smith makes his debut on our podcast to discuss the NBA playoffs, Stan Van Gundy’s firing, I’ll Have Another’s chance at the triple crown and Dallas Clark signing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Smith and Couch Side host Wade McMillin also have a great baseball debate about who is the better player — Josh Hamilton or Matt Kemp. See who the pair picks as the MLB’s best by following the links below:

 

Click here to stream/download Couch Side Episode 12  via iTunes

Click here to stream Couch Side Episode 12: NFL Mock Draft via our host site, TalkShoe

Click here to download Couch Side Episode 12: NFL via our host site, TalkShoe


Kendrick Perkins: Oklahoma City’s silent catalyst


BY ALEX ROSE, Feedcrossing.com syndication 

Oklahoma City Thunder center Kendrick Perkins may not impress in the box scores, but his team play is a big factor for the Thunder in the NBA playoffs. Photo by: PeggyDavis66 / Flickr

The day after each Oklahoma City Thunder game, the dedicated fan will grab their morning coffee and take a peak at the boxscore to see how many points Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook scored.  They look to see how many blocks Serge Ibaka swatted. Maybe Durant and Westbrook combined for a massive 70 points (accomplished twice this season), or maybe Ibaka added another double-digit block game to his stash.   However, when you come across Kendrick Perkins‘ name, the numbers look insufficient at best.  For his career, Perkins has averaged a quiet 6.2 PPG, 6.2 RPG, and 1.4 BPG.  As a member of the Thunder, his numbers seem even more anemic as he averaged just 5.1 PPG, 6.6 RPG, and 1.1 BPG in 65 games this year.

However, basketball is a game in which teamwork is hard to measure. There is no statistic that measures a player’s willingness to help their teammates succeed by doing the little things on the court.  There is no statistic that measures the extra pass on the perimeter for the open 3-pointer when the defense is late to rotate.  There is no measure that communicates how important a box-out can be so that a teammate can secure a tough rebound in the paint.  Baseball is a game in which statistics can tell the whole story of a particular game.  Teamwork is much less important.  The major league baseball player is essentially left to his own skills when stepping into the batter’s box.   (more…)


Tigers continue to toil, bullpen at fault?


BY JOE WHITE, Feedcrossing.com syndication

Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Daniel Schlereth is one of many Tiger relievers who have been off their game to start the 2012 season. Photo by: Lauren / Flickr

Almost exactly a year ago I wrote this article chronicling the early season struggles of the Detroit Tigers’ bullpen. Well, here we are again. Fresh off of the Twins (the TWINS?!) dropping an 11-spot on the Tigers last night and the bullpen allowing 5 earned runs in their 5 innings of work, fans are rightfully concerned.

The bullpen has been bad but certainly isn’t entirely to blame here. The offense has been suppressed for most of the season and the starting rotation has been decent, but couldn’t be categorized as world-beaters at this point. The defense has been predictably unsuccessful but ranking 21st in fielding % is probably more than what most expected. Although the fact remains that it’s hard to create an error on a ball your range doesn’t allow you to reach.

But man that bullpen is frustrating! By the numbers it might actually be even more troubling.

Senor Slider is making his way back

Across all of Major League Baseball the Tigers’ pen ranks dead last in ERA at 5.17. Worse than even the horror show on the north side of Chicago.

As an entire staff, the Tigers are doing a decent job not walking the opposition, but as a bullpen, only 2 teams have walked more. In 116.2 innings of combined work, the ever rotating 7-man pen has walked 58 hitters. Teams are hitting .270 off of Luke Putkonen and company, which ties them for 4th worst in the bigs.

(more…)