Sunday, July 31, 2011

Dolphins Are At It Again?

BY SCOTT MORGANROTH

Are the Miami Dolphins at it again?

This week, the Miami Dolphins appeared to be ready to acquire QB Kyle Orton from the Denver Broncos, but for some reason the deal fell apart.

Miami signed free agent signal caller Matt Moore of the Carolina Panthers.

In 2006, the Dolphins were unsure if a torn labrum in Drew Brees right throwing shoulder was completely healed after undergoing arthroscopic surgery performed by Dr. James Andrews. Brees sustained the injury as a member of the San Diego Chargers in the Final Game of the 2005 Season against the Denver Broncos.

The Dolphins team doctors suggested that the team didn't sign him. I wonder if they're still employed by Miami now.

The Dolphins ended negotiations and traded for Minnesota Vikings QB Daunte Culpepper. Culpepper played the 2010 Season for the Sacramento Mountain Lions and former Coach Dennis Green in the United Football League.

Brees went on to sign a 6-year $60 million deal with the New Orleans Saints on March 14, 2006 and $10 Million was guaranteed. The second year option was picked up for another $12 Million.

On February 7, 2010, New Orleans defeated the Indianapolis Colts 31-17 in Super Bowl XLIV at Joe Robbie Stadium, the home of the Miami Dolphins. Brees was named Super Bowl MVP and these South Florida fans found out quickly that he was fine.

Since this poor decision by Miami management, the Dolphins have employed Joey Harrington, Cleo Lemon, John Beck, Trent Green, Chad Pennington, Tyler Thigpen and current starter Chad Henne since 2006.

Miami hasn't won a Super Bowl since 1973 and the Dolphins last AFC Championship occurred in 1984 under rookie QB Dan Marino.

In Super Bowl XIX on January 20, 1985, Marino's only Super Bowl appearance, Joe Montana and the San Francisco 49'ers thrashed the Dolphins 38-16 at Stanford Stadium in Palo Alto, CA., in the Bay Area.

During Marino's Hall of Fame Career, he amassed 61,361 yards and is third most in wins by a starting quarterback with 147. No. 4 is Peyton Manning of the Colts with 141 and he figures to pass Marino this season.

The last time Miami won a playoff game was during the 1999 Season when Marino guided the Dolphins to a 20-17 road win against the Seattle Seahawks in the Final Game Ever at the Kingdome in January of 2000.

But Marino's last playoff triumph would turn into embarrassment a week later as the Wild Card Dolphins  were crushed 62-7 by the Jacksonville Jaguars in Northern Florida.

This was the second worst playoff loss in NFL History. During the 1940 NFL Championship Game, the Chicago Bears slammed the Washington Redskins 73-0.

After the 1999 Season, Coach Jimmy Johnson left the team and Marino retired.

Other quarterbacks that have followed Marino before Culpepper arrived include Damon Huard, Jay Fiedler, Ray Lucas, Brian Griese, AJ Feeley, Sage Rosenfels and Gus Frerotte.

Griese's father Bob won the Dolphins a pair of Super Bowls in the 1970's but there would be no miracle in those bloodlines this time around.

As much as people like to joke around with me that the team that I follow, the Detroit Lions haven't been to a Super Bowl, I take that fact in stride. I don't care what organization you're with or follow, unless there is stability at the quarterback position, no team has a chance.

I've never cared for Dan Marino and never will! His statistics mean nothing to me!

Hall of Fame Coach Don Shula surrounded him with great wide receivers that enabled him to compile impressive numbers.  When you have targets like Mark Clayton (79), Mark Duper (55), OJ McDuffie (25), Nat Moore (24) and Jim "Crash"Jensen (19) enabling you to throw 420 touchdown passes, you're doing well.

Marino's statistics put him in the Hall of Fame, but one Super Bowl Appearance defines his playoff legacy or lack there of it. He played in 18 Playoff Games and won only eight. Two of Marino's playoff losses were blowouts. That speaks for itself.

But to these Dolphins, while I don't know if Orton would have led Miami to a Super Bowl win, I do believe that he's an upgrade.

Did Denver keep Orton because they feel second-year Florida Gators QB Tim Tebow isn't ready?

That's possible.

But there was a deal to be made here just like there was with Brees. And it didn't happen for whatever reason.

Miami fans can only hope that this decision indicates that the "Dolphins Are At It Again" isn't going to be a repeat of The Curse of Drew Brees.

Scott Morganroth can be reached at scottsports33@aol.com and his blog can be seen at www.scottsports33.com.

Tigers Ping Pong VS Indians

BY SCOTT MORGANROTH

When one associates the July 31 trading deadline, most baseball people figure that the New York Yankees will try to gain an advantage over the Boston Red Sox.

Which moves will the rest of the teams make?

The Detroit Tigers and the Cleveland Indians are two teams that are playing the role of the Yankees and the Red Sox. Which team will have more horses down the stretch to make the playoffs?

When they get to the playoffs, they're not looking to be an easy out for the Yankees and the Red Sox.

Judging by the moves these two teams have made in the last 11 days, it's not only enjoyable to watch them in the standings but off the field as well.

The Tigers began the trading spree on July 20 as Detroit attempted to solidify their third base dilemma by landing Wilson Betemit from the Kansas City Royals in exchange for Single-A prospects left-handed pitcher Antonio Cruz and catcher Julio Rodriguez.

Cleveland answered with a move of its own on July 28 as the Indians traded for Chicago Cubs outfielder  Kosuke Fukudome. The Indians gave up a pair of prospects in outfielder Abner Abreu and left-handed pitcher Carlton Smith.

Saturday July 30 saw these two franchises continue to play Ping Pong.

The Tigers made the first transaction with the Seattle Mariners. General Manager Dave Dombrowski acquired right-handed starter Doug Fister and righty reliever David Pauley for outfielder Casper Wells, infielder Francisco Martinez, left-hander Charlie Furbush and a player to be named later.

Fister is 3-12 but that's misleading due to the lack of run support. Seattle has scored 1.97 runs per-game and has lost seven decisions spanning 10 starts. But in these 10 starts, Fister has a 3.42 ERA with a pair of complete game losses. He has thrown at least six innings in each start.

Pauley is 5-4 with a 2.15 ERA in 39 appearances.

The Indians pulled the trigger again by acquiring Colorado Rockies right-handed pitching ace Ubaldo Jimenez for three minor leaguers and a player to be named later. Cleveland gave up right-handers Alex White and Joe Gardner along with first baseman--outfielder Matt McBride.

It's hard to believe that Cleveland managed to charge ahead of the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Cincinnati Reds, Toronto Blue Jays and Detroit Tigers, who were aggressively scouting Jimenez, the biggest prize at the July 31 trading deadline.

Indians Hall Of Famer, the late Bob Feller, would be proud.

Cleveland wasn't finished because Saturday Night, it dealt infielder Orlando Cabrera, who lost his starting job to rookie Jason Kipnis last week, to San Francisco for Triple-A outfielder Thomas Neal.

As it stands, the Indians trail the Tigers by 1.5 games in the AL Central Division. That could change today and we have a lot of time by the end of the regular season.

Now the question remains, will the Tigers counter with one more move in this Table Tennis Match with the Indians? We'll find out. But everybody will be monitoring the moves made by these clubs for the next eight weeks.

Will we see playoff action in Cleveland or back at Comerica Park? Stay Tuned.

Scott Morganroth can be reached at scottsports33@aol.com and his blog can be seen at www.scottsports33.com.

History, Pirates VS Orioles

BY SCOTT MORGANROTH

First baseman Derrek Lee, 35, was traded from the Baltimore Orioles to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Saturday Night for minor league first baseman Aaron Baker.

The last time that I remember these two teams mentioned in the same sentence was when the Pirates defeated the Orioles in the 1971 and 1979 World Series.

I can't believe that I'm writing this, but the surprising Pirates are 54-51 and are looking to snap an MLB record of 18 consecutive losing seasons, the longest in all professional sports.

If the Pirates come close or get into the playoffs, The Manager Of The Year Award should be handed to Clint Hurdle! It could be the biggest landslide in the award's history.

In 2007, Hurdle led the Colorado Rockies to the franchise's first World Series appearance against the Boston Red Sox.

Speaking of the Red Sox, on June 26, 2011 during an interleague game at PNC Park (Capacity 38,496), the Pirates set a new attendance mark of 39,511 in their new ballpark that opened in 2001. Boston won the game 4-2.

It's hard to believe that a team which is known for making Fire Sale's at the end of July is trading for a Rental Player since Lee signed a one-year contract. But that's what they're doing and more power to the Pirates. I'm really delighted for the great fans of Pittsburgh. I wish the Pirates well and hope they make a great run.

Once upon a time, they had players like Willie Stargell and Roberto Clemente. Most of, if not all of their current roster, weren't even born when these Hall of Famers starred.

This franchise has won five World Series titles, has nine National League Pennants and made 14 Playoff Appearances. The Pirates All-Time record is 9,864-9,735.

Pittsburgh doesn't lack major championships. The Steelers have won six Super Bowls while the NHL's Penguins have added three Stanley Cup Championships.

While I doubt the Pirates will win their sixth World Series, it will be neat to see how this feel good story unfolds. But for Pirates fans, if they're looking to find some real hope in the post-season, they should go back to 2003.

The Florida Marlins (91-71) with a payroll of $54 Million defeated the New York Yankees, who spent $164 Million to be runner-ups. We're talking about a difference of $110 Million between the two payrolls, but in the end, the Marlins had won their second World Series Championship in franchise history.

Ironically, Lee won a World Series Ring with the 2003 Marlins, who made the playoffs as a Wild Card Team.

Scott Morganroth can be reached at scottsports33@aol.com and his blog can be seen at www.scottsports33.com.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Pro Teams Without "S"

BY SCOTT MORGANROTH

Throughout my lifetime, I was always under the impression that the letter "S" is plural. That's what my English Teachers and Professors in Grade School and College taught me. 

But these people should look in the Sporting World because Marketing & Creativity have taken over. As I researched this, there are some really Neat Nicknames that don't require the letter "S" at the end to make them plural.

These nicknames are becoming more common with the Arena Football League, WNBA, Major League Soccer, and the United States Football League. While it will be impossible to mention every team in all of these auxiliary leagues, I'm going to list the main ones because of their creativity. Some of these nicknames came during the expansion era in the NHL and NBA as well as relocation.

In this list, the NFL is the only league where every team's nickname does end in an "S" and everything is plural as we know it.

I hope you enjoy reading this list as much as I had fun composing it. 

NBA (4)
1. Miami Heat
2. Orlando Magic
3. Oklahoma City Thunder
4. Utah Jazz (formerly New Orleans)
NHL (3)
1. Tampa Bay Lightning
2. Minnesota Wild
3. Colorado Avalanche
NFL (0)
All Plural
MLB (2)
1. Boston Red Sox
2. Chicago White Sox
WNBA (9) in 12 team league
EASTERN CONFERENCE 
1. Atlanta Dream
2. Chicago Sky
3. Connecticut Sun
4. Indiana Fever
5. New York Liberty
WESTERN CONFERENCE
1. Minnesota Lynx
2. Phoenix Mercury
3. Seattle Storm
4. Tulsa (formerly Detroit) Shock
Major League Soccer  (MLS) 12-18 Teams
EASTERN CONFERENCE
1. Philadelphia Union
2. Columbus Crew
3 Sporting Kansas City
4. Houston Dynamo
5. D.C. United
6. New England Revolution
7. Chicago Fire
8. Toronto FC (Football Club)
WESTERN CONFERENCE
1. Los Angeles Galaxy
2. FC Dallas
3. Real Salt Lake
4. Chivas USA
Original North American Soccer League (NASL) 
1. Dallas Tornado
2. Chicago Sting
3 New England/Jacksonville Tea Men
4. Montreal Manic
5. Philadelphia Fury
6. Detroit Express
Original USFL
1. Chicago Blitz
2. Denver Gold
3. Los Angeles Express
Arena Football League (AFL)
1. Detroit Drive
2. Chicago Rush
3. Tampa Bay Storm
4. Philadelphia Soul
5. Grand Rapids Rampage
6. Kansas City Brigade
7. Colorado Crush
8. New Orleans Voo Doo
9. Charlotte Rage
10. Detroit Fury
11. Georgia Force
12. Utah Blaze
13. Spokane Shock
14. Fort Worth Cavalry
15. Las Vegas Sting
16. Oklahoma City Yard Dawgz
17. Texas Terror
18. Pittsburgh Power
19. Kansas City Command
20. St. Louis Stampede
21. Milwaukee Iron

I look forward to your feedback as to which ones you like the most.

Scott Morganroth can be reached at scottsports33@aol.com and his blog can be seen at www.scottsports33.com.






Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Sports Shorts

BY SCOTT MORGANROTH

Boston Red Sox Pitcher Tim Wakefield, 44, could be a marginal Hall Of Fame candidate at best, but it's hard to not take notice of his accomplishments.

Here is a guy that has been moved in and out of the bullpen and quietly has won two World Series Rings with the Boston Red Sox in 2004 and 2007.

On Sunday July 24, Wakefield became the second Red Sox pitcher behind Roger Clemens to record 2,000 strikeouts for this storied franchise. The Red Sox fans gave him a standing ovation as he improved to 6-3. Boston defeated the Seattle Mariners 12-8.

Wakefield has a total of 2,110 career strikeouts. He amassed 110 with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

When he wins his next game, Wakefield will record his 200 career triumph. He is 199-175, and the knuckleball pitcher has been clocked to throw as slow as 59-62 MPH.

The reason why this story is important to me is it hits closer to home.

When a pro coach moves to college this usually translates to success. I've seen FAU Coach Howard Schnellenberger have great success when he was a successful with the Miami Dolphins and bounce back from a tough situation with the Baltimore Colts.

He turned the Miami Hurricanes into National Champions, had tremendous success at a basketball school Louisville that resulted in a new on campus stadium being constructed. Schnellenberger built the FAU program from scratch and now the Owls will be opening their new stadium in October.

Former NHL Head Coach Andy Murray will be Western Michigan's new boss.

The Kalamazoo Gazette, attributing the information to sources, says Murray will be introduced at a noon press conference today. Murray replaces Jeff Blashill, who left the Broncos to become an assistant coach with the Detroit Red Wings.

Blashill guided the Broncos to their first NCAA Tournament appearance in 15 years in his lone season at Western Michigan University.

Murray, 60, coached in the NHL for 10 seasons starting in 1999-2000, first with the Los Angeles Kings and then with the St. Louis Blues. His career record is 333-278, with 58 ties and 69 overtime losses.

There is no better way to recruit a player than to tell him and his parents that he's been a pro coach, let alone a successful one and has the connections in that league to get their son noticed to chase their dream.

It's safe to say that Western Michigan made a great hire by landing Murray.

Finally, when I heard that 70-year old Larry Brown is the latest candidate for the Minnesota Timberwolves coaching job, I couldn't help but laugh hard.

If he lands in his 10th NBA city, he'll be reunited with Center Darko Milicic, 26, who was selected by the Detroit Pistons as the second player in the 2003 NBA Draft. Milicic (7-0, 275) has been a draft bust and I'm sure that he'd be fuming to be with a coach that failed to develop him properly.

Brown, who is sixth on the all-time NBA wins list with 1,098, was fired from his last two jobs with the New York Knicks and Charlotte Bobcats. He is so restless that he's willing to take an assistant coaches position to join Lawrence Frank's staff when he accepts the Detroit Pistons job.

For some reason, I think Brown is a better fit to join the Pistons because of his past two failures by eating humble pie. I could see New Owner Tom Gores hiring a strong presence on the bench. The Pistons are young and need discipline. Both Frank and Brown will make sure they get it. It doesn't hurt that Brown's only two Pistons teams made it to the NBA Finals winning one championship. Therefore, he won't lack credibility.

Even though Joe Dumars is a very important part of the decision making process, Dave Checketts opinion is starting to carry a great deal of weight to Gores new regime as a consultant. If Dumars had his way, Mike Woodson would be the new coach. But he won't and it looks like the 40-year old Frank will be roaming the sidelines at the Palace of Auburn Hills.

Scott Morganroth can be reached at scottsports33@aol.com and his blog can be seen at www.scottsports33.com.

Monday, July 25, 2011

HOF Predictions For 2012

BY SCOTT MORGANROTH

Now that Bert Blyleven and Roberto Alomar have made their induction speeches, the question remains, who will join them in the Baseball Hall Of Fame in 2012?

The best bet appears to be Barry Larkin, who had 361 votes totaling 62.1% which was an increase of 10.5% from 2010.

The shortstop spent his entire 19-year career with the Cincinnati Reds and won a World Series in 1990. He made the All-Star team 12 times and won three Gold Gloves. The Cincinnati native hit .295 with 198 Home Runs, 2340 Hits, 960 RBI and 379 Stolen Bases.

Why Jack Morris isn't in the Hall of Fame by now is any ones guess.

All Morris did was go 254-186 with a 3.90 ERA with 2,478 strikeouts. He made the All-Star team five times and has won four World Series Rings. He played with the Detroit Tigers 14-seasons and was the ace of the staff that won the 1984 World Series.

In 1991, he signed with his hometown Minnesota Twins and led them to a title. He started three World Series games for the Twins and he won a memorable Game 7 against the Atlanta Braves where he pitched 10 shutout innings in a 1-0 win. He holds the Twins record for most wins in a postseason with four. He won the 1991 World Series MVP.

Morris would take his clutch performances to Toronto where he would win two more World Series Championships in 1992 and 1993 for the Blue Jays.

The end of his career came with the Cleveland Indians in 1994.

Morris' Hall Of Fame numbers are steadily increasing but will he get a big enough boost to get in next year? He had 311 votes, totaling 53.5% with a small increase of 1.2%.

If he doesn't get major support next year, Larkin could be only new member to reach this elite fraternity in 2012.

The Hall Of Fame's Membership consists of 295 which includes 234 players, 20 managers, nine umpires, 32 pioneers and executives. It takes 75% of the vote from the Baseball Writers to get in otherwise the Veterans Committee has their own selection process.

The other holdovers include pitcher Lee Smith, who had 263 votes, 45.3% but decreased by 2%, first baseman Jeff Bagwell had 242 votes, 41.7% in his first year of eligibility and left fielder Tim Raines, who had 218 votes, 37.5% with an increase of 7.1% from a year ago.

As for the newcomers that will make the ballot for the first time, there is center fielder Bernie Williams, who spent all of his 16 seasons with the New York Yankees. You can find the statistics of the native of Puerto Rico in my other blog, "Proud Day In Puerto Rico."

Third baseman Vinny Castilla played 16 seasons but nine of them were with the Colorado Rockies. He hit .276 with 320 Home Runs but 239 of those round trippers came in the altitude and thin air of the Mile High City. He also had 1,105 RBI and was a two-time All-Star.

Finally, designated hitter/outfielder Ruben Sierra played 20 seasons and this native of Puerto Rico made an All-Star team. He amassed 306 Home Runs, 1,322 RBI and 2,152 hits.

The only chance that Castilla and Sierra have to make the Hall Of Fame is if the Baseball Writers flush out all of the big name superstars in the Steroid Era.

We'll have a better gauge of all of these voting totals in 2013 when Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Sammy Sosa hit the ballot.

As for Williams, I do believe that he gets in with all of his success with the Yankees and leading them to four World Series Championships. I have a feeling that he'll get about 30% of the vote next year.

But for now, we have until January of 2012 to see if Larkin enters Cooperstown, NY, alone or see if Morris finally gets his respect.

Morris ERA totals mean nothing to me because he played his entire career in the American League and had to face the designated hitter.

I predict that Larkin and Morris both make it next year.

Bagwell and Raines will make huge progress as well.

Scott Morganroth can be reached at scottsports33@aol.com and his blog can be seen at www.scottsports33.com.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Six Stooges

BY SCOTT MORGANROTH

Were Juan Gonzalez, Rafael Palmeiro and Mark McGwire watching the Hall of Fame Induction Ceremonies in Cooperstown, NY, on Sunday?

I doubt it.

Despite three All-Star Selections, a career .295 batting average, 434 Home Runs and 1,404 RBI, I have a feeling that the Baseball Hall Of Fame will mean nothing to him after next year. Gonzalez has used steroids and the Baseball Writers are making him pay for it. This year he had 30 votes and 5.2%. If he goes below 5%, he'll be off the ballot permanently. He was the last player at the cutoff point.

When Rafael Palmeiro pointed his finger at Congress and said he didn't use steroids, only to be suspended for 10-days on August 1, 2005 by Baseball for indeed using the performance enhancers, his 569 Home Runs and 3,020 Hits, meant nothing. In his first year of eligibility in 2011, the Havana, Cuba native received only 64 votes for 11% and is just above Gonzalez. I wouldn't hold my breath to see Palmeiro's name called anytime soon.

I know where McGwire will be when Roberto Alomar and Bert Blyleven give their induction speeches. He'll be in Pittsburgh in uniform as his St. Louis Cardinals face the upstart Pittsburgh Pirates. McGwire is the hitting coach for his loyal friend and manager Tony LaRussa. I give LaRussa a lot of credit for keeping McGwire in baseball because at least it gives him a fighting chance to keep his Hall of Fame hopes alive.

According to his voting totals in 2011, McGwire's numbers decreased by 3.9%. He received 115 votes for 19.8%. Will McGwire's 583 Home Runs and 12 All-Star Appearances be enough to change the minds of the Baseball Writers. I'll be curious to see how this plays out.

The Class of 2013 will be a good indication as to what the future holds for McGwire since Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and Roger Clemens will be ready to eat their taste of Humble Pie. These Three Stooges know what they did. They cashed in on the millions of dollars and statistics but now they know that their numbers mean absolutely nothing. I'll be anxious to see if they get 25-30% of the vote.

But for now, The Six Stooges of Gonzalez, Palmeiro, McGwire, Bonds, Sosa and Clemens can be thankful for what they have but the public knows what they're unlikely to get, a plaque on the wall in the Baseball Hall Of Fame. They won't join their artifacts that are currently in the museum that have been shown to visitors over the years both past, present and in the future.

Scott Morganroth can be reached at scottsports33.com and his blog can be seen at www.scottsports33.com.

Proud Day In Puerto Rico

BY SCOTT MORGANROTH

Today's Baseball Hall Of Fame Inductions in Cooperstown, NY will be another Proud Day in Puerto Rico and the future looks bright.

When Roberto Alomar completes his Journey to Legendary Status, he'll be the third player from Puerto Rico to be enshrined into the Hall Of Fame.  He'll join Roberto Clemente and Orlando Cepeda.

Alomar will take his 12 All-Star Selections, two World Series Rings, 10 Gold Gloves, a lifetime batting average of .300, 2,724 Hits, 474 Stolen Bases, 210 Home Runs and 1,134 RBI to Upstate, NY. Alomar earned 90% of the vote in 2011 by amassing 523 which was a 17.3% increase from 2010 during his first year of eligibility.

But I have a strong feeling that the fourth player from Puerto Rico could be inducted as early as 2012.

The best newcomers on next years ballot will be Bernie Williams and Vinny Castillo.

Williams, a native of San Juan, Puerto Rico, played all 16 of his MLB seasons with the New York Yankees. With the Bronx Bombers, he had a lifetime career average of .297, 2,336 hits, 287 Home Runs, 1,257 RBI, had five All-Star Selections and owns four World Series Rings.

Williams will face stiff competition from Barry Larkin, Jack Morris, Lee Smith, Jeff Bagwell and Tim Raines. His biggest advantage is being in the New York Metropolitan area where there are plenty of writers that should give him support.

But even if Williams doesn't get in next year, I do predict he will within five years.

The Class of 2013 will be where we really find out the impact of the Steroid Superstars. Will Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Sammy Sosa get even 25% of the vote? Other players that should gain by these individuals dishonesty include Curt Schilling, Craig Biggio, Mike Piazza, Kenny Lofton, Sandy Alomar Jr., Todd Walker and David Wells.

The Process of Elimination will get the Center Fielder Williams in the Hall of Fame sooner or later and he can celebrate his accomplishment by taking a beautiful Boat Ride on Lake Otsego.

Scott Morganroth can be reached at scottsports33@aol.com and his blog can be seen at www.scottsports33.com.

This Week's Sports Thoughts

BY SCOTT MORGANROTH

As the NFL and it's players work to end the lockout, I was amazed at the reaction by the players when the owners ratified the new labor deal 31-0 Thursday Night.

The words that stood out in my mind that the players were accusing the owners of doing are trying to pull a Fast One. They were being Bamboozled which means to trick or deceive. They were Hoodwinked which also means to trick, deceive or take in.

Was this a Power Play by the owners? I'd say it was their Final Offer. They know how far they're going to go. We have a battle featuring Millionaires VS Billionaires. If I were a betting man, and I'm not, I'll take the Owners/ Billionaires because they've got deeper pockets and the players know they need to pay their bills.

It's pretty obvious that as we draw near the pre-season and there is $200 Million plus on the line for each weekend lost that the owners aren't about the let this drag on any further. The players aren't getting any better offers. The offers only figure to get worse. That's why both sides are scrambling through the weekend to get a deal done.

When this deal does get done and the lockout ends, lets figure that for teams to fill their 90-man rosters, the activity is going to look like the New York Stock Exchange with the frantic pace of the teams signing their own free agents, in addition to the undrafted free agents as well as their draft choices. The newspapers will need extra pages and there will be longer stories online with a transaction a second.

As comical as this is, I'm looking forward to seeing the pace of these activities when it generally takes five months to do that must be done in just a few short days. We all know that the front offices and coaches have been preparing for this, now it will be interesting to see which team has done it's homework and does the best job.

I am amused at the premature reaction to the players on Twitter by the players comments. There should have been a gag order on the players but in this day and age, it's extremely easy to press The Send Button and just be amused by the many other comments they've said. No need to mention them now with a deal so close.

But I do know that both sides realize that if there are no contests on September 11, 2011 this will be a major Public Relations Disaster to the players, owners and the league to not have games on the 10th year anniversary of the terrorist attacks. To see these sides squabble overs billions of dollars will get no sympathy from anyone.

Thankfully, both sides are smart enough to realize that and there will be Pro Football soon. I can only hope that the injuries are minimal because of question marks of the players conditioning, but you can rest assure the teams will have extra doctors, strength conditioning coaches and trainers on staff this season to work through this.

In basketball, when I read in the Detroit News that Pistons guard Ben Gordon will be one of four players paid in the NBA lockout, I was wondering how all of this happened. As it turns out, all the clients of Raymond Brothers spread their salaries out of the 2010-11 NBA Season of 18 or 24 Months in case of cancellation of games. Many people figure that the NBA Lockout is expected to last the entire season.

The other three players who were smart and planned for this so they could pay their bills and not even consider playing in Europe are Memphis Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph (Michigan State), Dallas Mavericks forward Caron Butler and LA Clippers forward Al-Farouq Aminu.

Finally, the most colorful way to describe an Indy Car came from a good friend of mine whose a realtor for Tauriello Real Estate in Delray Beach, Florida. Shane P. Barta described Indy Cars as a Space Ship where you shift with your fingers and NASCAR Stock Cars as normal. With a stock car, you'd shift regularly.

I do agree with Barta because the general public does view the stock car as their own car with the the same body style but just going speeds at greater than 150 MPH. The Indy Car does look like a Space Ship and actually reminds me of a hydroplane on water, just the pavement version.

Regardless, in any of these machines, I'll guarantee one thing, the adrenaline rush has to to be incredible and if I had the chance to get in all three, I'd do it in a second!

Scott Morganroth can be reached at scottsports33@aol.com and his blog can be seen at www.scottsports33.com.

Monday, July 18, 2011

My Favorite Sports Debate

BY SCOTT MORGANROTH

There aren't too many light-hearted debates in sports that I like, but one of my favorites resurfaced when second-year Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Golden Tate rekindled one that I encountered 10 years ago.

In 2001, former Detroit Lion Mark Carrier and I had a candid discussion at an Arizona Cardinals football game at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, AZ about whether Auto Racers are athletes. Carrier didn't think so and I agreed with him. As a 10-year safety in the NFL, Carrier handed out some hard hits to any receiver that ventured in his territory.

But for several weeks afterwards, I raised this question to My Co-Hosts, Mark Allen, Gary Miller and Mary Beth on our weekly Auto Racing Show "Weekly Wheels" in Phoenix, AZ. Miller understood my position while Allen and Beth leaned the other way, but respected my viewpoint.

Tate tweeted to NASCAR's Jimmy Johnson that he felt drivers weren't athletes. He made reference to ESPN's ESPY Awards that Johnson was nominated for Male Athlete Of The Year. This infuriated NASCAR Nation.

Tate by no means didn't appear to be taking any shots at Johnson and said it was no big deal to drive 90 MPH. He did backpedal and admitted that he couldn't drive a car at 150 MPH, Motor Sports are dangerous and would make him nervous.

Johnson handled the situation with class that drivers don't get the respect of the other major sports. The five-time NASCAR champion invited Tate to attend a race. Time will tell whether Tate accepts the invitation.

But if it isn't Tate, you can rest assure another athlete will make these comments.

Athletes in all major sports are taller, weigh more and figure to have a difficult time trying to climb into a race car. The same would hold true if they wanted to be jockey's and get involved in Horse Racing. Picture a seven foot, 270 pound NBA center riding a horse around the famous Churchill Downs, Home of the Kentucky Derby.

I'd like to see Shaquille O' Neill, 7-1, 325 pounds, drive at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway at speeds of over 200 mph. It would be a great photo but Shaquille would be completely boxed in and it would be an event to see him get out of the car.

The bottom line is to this day, I still believe that drivers or jockeys aren't athletes!! The automobile and the horses do the work!!

Yet in Auto Racing, to be in a hot car that requires an insulated suit to cool the drivers and protect them from fires, have proper conditioning to steer a car at high speeds for a specific amount of hours and escape dangerous crashes, requires proper conditioning & training.

I know athletes in other sports realize the risks and dangers of Auto Racing. But all sports have their physical and mental demands.

I also respect the opinion of Football and Hockey Players because their sports are extremely physical. The average football career last 4-5 years while hockey's checking and fights result in serious injuries as both sports face serious concussion issues.

No matter how many athletes speak-up, the drivers always seem to take it in stride.

Furthermore, I've seen these athletes show-up at Motor Sports Events during their off-seasons, while others actually try to form their own race teams because the competitive nature yearns inside after their careers are over. So there is that mutual respect from all of the major sports.

But I'm looking forward to the next person that writes or talks to me about this subject and will for years to come. My position still won't change!!

Scott Morganroth can be reached at scottsports33@aol.com and his blog can be seen at www.scottsports33.com.

HOF Process Of Elimination

BY SCOTT MORGANROTH

Now that Roger Clemens perjury trial resulted in a mistrial, does that mean this clears the way for him to make it to Baseball's Hall of Fame?

Despite his reprieve, don't look for Clemens to make any induction speeches in Cooperstown, NY. I have a feeling that the Baseball Writers will make him wait for a long time because they're convinced he used performance enhancing drugs.

But Roger, you're not alone. There are four other players listed in this story that will shake their heads every January that will say we made the millions, All-Star Teams, and compiled the numbers but in the end, won't have a reason to make the trip to Upstate New York.

Meanwhile, there are three other players that should get consideration for the Hall of Fame. Will they get in? After looking at vote totals, there numbers won't make the grade, but as this "Process Of Elimination" gets rid of the sure future Hall of Famers that the Steroid Era eliminated, the three players listed here should at least be discussed.

Starting with the Big 5, we'll move to the Unfortunate 3. Let the debate and discussion continue.

1) Sammy Sosa has 609 HR, was a seven-time All-Star, amassed 2,408 hits and had 1,667 RBI. He made the Cubs fun to watch and rescued baseball from the 1994 strike, but in the end none of that will matter.

2) Barry Bonds is the All-Time Home Run King with 762 but we all know that number deserves an asterisk. He was a 14-time All Star, who had 2,935 hits and 1,996 RBI. Justice was served to not see this Fraud reach 3,000 hits and 2,000 RBI. Bonds did have 514 stolen bases in his 22-year career. In his first seven seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates he had 251 while in his final 15 with the San Francisco Giants, Bonds swiped 263. Some things are all too obvious. In the latter part of his career, as he got bigger and slower, his power numbers increased and his speed decreased thanks to steroids.

3) Mark McGwire slammed 583 HR, was a 12-time All-Star with 1,414 RBI and 1,626 hits. Like Sosa, he rescued baseball from the 1994 strike when both were in their season long home run chase to pass Roger Maris 61. But in the end, that chase amounts to nothing in the history books because of steroids. Yet, his long bombs were fun to watch and the St. Louis Cardinals made extra money off of him at the concession and souvenir stands as fans went to games early to watch him hit his long home runs during batting practice.

4) Rafael Palmeiro appears to be the only player in the 3,000 hit club that won't make it to the Hall of Fame. He hit 569 HR, was a four-time All-Star with 3,020 hits and 1,835 RBI.

5) Roger Clemens will go down as the best modern day pitcher that I've ever seen and now he's added a new word to my vocabulary and that's "Misremembers." Despite his mistrial, it won't won't matter for a long while. I doubt the Baseball Writers will recognize his 354-184 record with a 3.12 ERA, 4,672 strikeouts, six Cy Young Awards and being an 11-time All-Star.

Baseball is a game of numbers and while the late Kirby Puckett didn't have Hall of Fame Numbers, the Baseball Writers loved him enough to vote him on the first ballot in 2001. He spent his entire 12-year career with the Minnesota Twins leading them to World Series titles in 1987 and 1991.  He had a lifetime batting average of .318, 207 HR was a 10-time All-Star, amassed 2,304 hits and 1,085 RBI.

These next three players compare to Puckett in numbers and why they're not in the Hall of Fame is anyone's guess. By eliminating five, hopefully these three will get closer to Cooperstown, NY.

1) Fred McGriff fell short of the 500 HR Club with 493 but he was a five-time All-Star, compiled 2,490 hits and 1,550 RBI.

2) Don Mattingly played his entire career for the New York Yankees from 1982-1995. He played in the postseason once in his 14-year career in his final season. Despite playing in only five playoff games, Mattingly was a lifetime .307 hitter and hit over .300 in seven years. Mattingly amassed 222 HR, was a six-time All-Star, compiled 2,153 hits, with 1,099 RBI.

There is no better way to talk about tough luck except when you compare Mattingly and future Hall of Famer and current Yankees legend Derek Jeter. In his only playoff appearance in 1995, a series which the Yankees lost 3-2 to the Seattle Mariners, Mattingly hit .417 in five games and had 10 hits which included one home run in 24 at bats plus one walk.

This was Jeter's rookie season and he would go on to win five World Series titles and make it to the 3,000 hit club. Five World Series titles compared to five playoff games. Go figure. Whether Mattingly reaches the Baseball Hall of Fame remains to be seen, but having his number retired with the Yankees and being in "Monument Park" is a good consolation prize.

3) Alan Trammell played all 20-years with the Detroit Tigers and his Hall of Fame Vote totals continue to increase slightly. In 2010 he was at 22.4 % while in 2011 he reached 24.3%. His numbers compare to Puckett's. He won a World Series in 1984 for a Tigers team that started 35-5 and defeated the San Diego Padres in the "Fall Classic." Trammell hit .285 with 185 HR, 2,365 hits, 1003 RBI and was a six-time All-Star playing a demanding shortstop position.

This year, justice will be served now that former Twins pitcher Bert Blyleven will finally be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. He earned 79.7% of the vote in his 14th year of eligibility.

Time will tell if the "Process of Elimination" of these mega superstars paves the way for McGriff, Mattingly and Trammell. But these guys deserve to be in the Hall of Fame! Now the only question is, will justice ever be served in all three cases? I hope so!

They made their contributions to the game and they did it very clean without the help of performance enhancing drugs. That speaks volumes in itself.

Scott Morganroth can be reached at scottsports33@aol.com and his blog can be seen at www.scottsports33.com.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Ft. Lauderdale Strikers Return

BY SCOTT MORGANROTH

When I walked into the Pompano Beach Chamber of Commerce to meet with My former Deerfield Beach Observer Editor Ric Green, I saw a schedule for the Fort Lauderdale Strikers.

As I looked at this schedule, I thought it might be from a youth soccer league. But as I continued to read it, the Strikers were playing in the North American Soccer League (NASL). I decided to call the number and spoke to James Armold.

He filled me in that the Strikers have Returned. The President of the team is 55-year old Tim Robbie, who was the General Manager of the Strikers from 1980-83 when his mother Elizabeth Robbie owned the franchise. Tim Robbie was announced as President on March 9th at a Press Conference at Fort Lauderdale Stadium.

The team is playing at Lockhart Stadium. Their offices along with their practice facility are at Fort Lauderdale Stadium. Ironically, in last weeks edition of the Deerfield Beach Observer, I actually made mention of the Strikers when I was referring to FAU Football.

Now on this Friday, July 15, 2011 morning, when I was actually at the Pompano Beach Chamber of Commerce to meet Ric for new ideas on how to market an alarm company that I'm working with, in addition to other money making projects that I'm exploring, it's ironic that a part of my past could once again be a part of my future.

Time will tell when I meet with the Strikers later this week.

But now after looking at the schedule, I know this isn't an April Fools joke.

Back in the 1980's, I enjoyed covering the Strikers. They were one of the first professional sports teams that I wrote about for the Hallandale Digest.

I met one of my closest friends Chip Namias, who was the Director of Public Relations. We've known each other since 1982. Now Chip and I both wear glasses and have a few more gray hairs.

Robbie and I got a long real well and I enjoyed dealing with the rest of his family especially his father Joe, who was the owner/founder of the Miami Dolphins.

I told Armold that every time that I write a Miami Dolphins story, I always use Joe Robbie Stadium because he was the person that built that Miami Gardens venue which has been the home to several Super Bowls and a Pro Bowl. At one point this was vacant land off the Lake Lucerne site next to Calder Race Course.

As I meet the staff of the Strikers this week, it will be very different because most of them will likely be in their 20's to mid 30's. The only stories they'll know are those that Tim Robbie and the rest of the local media has mentioned to them. Sure a lot of these names will be on the Strikers website.

These names include Arnie Mausser, Teofilo "Nene" Cabillas, Ray Hudson, Thomas Rongen, the late Jan Van Beveran, Colin Fowles, Gerd Muller, George Best and Gordon Banks. When Van Beveran died a few weeks ago, Arnold told me that there was a tribute to him as well as a moment of silence.

It will be interesting to see if the Strikers hire any of these players and give them a role with the organization. It would make good sense to connect the old generation to the new one.

But I know the next time I return to Lockhart Stadium, it will be hard to criticize this place because it was a good soccer facility and there were a lot of great memories. Although the NASL isn't on the same level as Major League Soccer, and I assume that Robbie will want to take his Strikers to the next level; for now, this is the best place for him to be.

Welcome back Strikers. It will be neat to see the Red, Yellow and Black colors on the field. It will be great to take a trip back to memory lane 27 years later.

Scott Morganroth can be reached at scottsports33@aol.com and his blog can be seen at www.scottsports33.com.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Estúpido NBA Lockout

BY SCOTT MORGANROTH

Are you ready for some Professional Basketball?

If you are, too bad because you won't get any for awhile.

According to all of my sources, it looks like we may have a season without NBA Basketball. The majority of the teams are losing a lot of money and NBA Commissioner David Stern seems intent to take a page out of his buddy NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman's book and shut his business down for a year.

That move will likely cause the NBA Players Association to dissolve it's union and we might see some players go bankrupt. There will be some that play overseas and enjoy Europe plus collect a paycheck. Others could get hurt and then their contracts might get voided.

But that's a chance they'll have to take so the players can stay mentally sound due to not being able to play basketball. Plus they can stay in basketball shape and use these teams' trainers. Inactivity could be one's worst enemy.

Don't I know. For the past so many years, aside from working with my writing, my primary occupation Sales & Marketing in South Florida has been difficult for me in many ways. If players are worried about their compensation in the NBA, let them go on numerous dead end interviews as I have and be lied to time and time about inaccurate pay plans.

When My time ends in South Florida in the future, this area will always be remembered for the scams, cons and a reputation known as the "Call Center Capital Of The World."

Honest people are a rare breed. The liars should be sent to the Atlantic Ocean and be fed to the sharks.

So for all of these NBA players that complain about six and seven figure salaries, fellas it can be worse!

While you're not operating, the sports fan will have college football, basketball and hockey will take some of your audience. Nobody pays attention to your sport until after the NFL Season. It looks like the NFL Lockout is just a matter of days before its resolved. I've never taken the NFL Lockout seriously because thus far, no games have been lost. The owners and players know what's at stake and there is a sense of urgency to get a deal done.

Any NBA work stoppage means that if it does last an entire season, this years rookies and next years draft class will have an interesting battle as to who wins Rookie of the Year. Perhaps by the end of the lockout, the Minnesota Timberwolves and Detroit Pistons will have head coaches. Although my sources say that Mike Woodson is the front runner for the Pistons job.

In the meantime, all that figures to happen is the media and fans will have plenty to talk about and the players will get no sympathy considering the "State Of The Economy." The longer this insane Soap Opera goes on, the longer it will be to regain your fan base. I'll say the recovery will take at least 10 years.

On the bright side, the Dallas Mavericks will be able to hold onto their title for an extra year, while it will be that much longer before the "NBA Christmas Grinch" LeBron James gets another chance to flounder in the clutch and be title-less.

For now, it's time to pay attention to the baseball pennant races and as fast as this year is flying, it won't be long before we're watching the World Series. Of course there is football and I'll be paying close attention to seeing how quickly Brady Hoke turns around the Michigan Wolverines, how far the Ohio State Buckeyes fall and I'm looking forward to working in FAU's New Football Stadium.

If I need some good material, don't worry NBA, I'll slip in a hard-nosed blog here and there so that I can laugh at you because you haven't learned that these prolonged work stoppages are a Lose-Lose-Situation for everybody. They are estúpido (stupid).

Scott Morganroth can be reached at scottsports33@aol.com and his blog can be seen at http://www.scottsports33.com.

Monday, July 11, 2011

FAU Football Stadium Events?

BY SCOTT MORGANROTH

It's hard to believe that in 94 days, the FAU Owls Football Team will begin a new era with their new on-campus stadium.

I'm amazed that in the 1980's, FAU was a commuter school and it has now grown up into a Division I institution.

By the time FAU plays in its' new stadium, the Owls will have played five road games. Their first three games will be against the Florida Gators, Michigan State Spartans and defending National Champion the Auburn Tigers. While it seems destined FAU could start 0-3, they'll definitely get three big pay days to put in the athletic departments checkbook.

FAU's first two Sun Belt Conference games are at the University of Louisiana Lafayette and North Texas.

By the time Oct 15 rolls around and FAU faces Western Kentucky (2-10), the Owls should be able to win its first game in the new stadium against the Sun Belt Conference last place Hilltoppers.

Will the Owls be out of the post-season picture and be looking for a miracle to become bowl eligible? Time will tell. 

I've always wondered that with a 30,000 seat expandable stadium, that this season will occupy five dates. In the future it could have as many as seven home games.

The question remains, what events could we see down the road? 

I anticipate that there could be a bowl game.

Here are some ideas for Athletic Director Craig Angelos.

Angelos should have no problem attracting events because being in South Palm Beach County, this stadium is centrally located to Palm Beach, Broward, Dade and Martin County.

There is no doubt that Angelos will get his fair share of concerts.

Years ago, the Orange Bowl (OB) was a venue that attracted concerts. The Marlins new baseball stadium, on the OB site, will be ready by next season. Although there will be competition for the outdoor market, I do believe that there is enough room for two outdoor concert facilities.

Back in the late 1970s and early 1980s, the Fort Lauderdale Strikers played their home games at Lockhart Stadium in Fort Lauderdale. Even though Lockhart was horrible for the Owls because of the poor locker-room's, it was good for a North American Soccer League team.

Major League Soccer has a solid fan base in the USA so it's time to see if Angelos can get a team on campus and call it the South Florida Strikers.

In 1983, FAU Coach Howard Schnellenberger left his National Champion Miami Hurricanes for the USFL to coach a team in Miami at the Orange Bowl. This move backfired because the league never played a game in this market and subsequently folded.

The Spring of 2012 marks the return of the New USFL. While I highly doubt we'll see the 77-year old Schnellenberger coach this team, it would be neat to see a team in the area in a league where he wanted to coach in the pros again.

Back in the old USFL, there used to be a territorial draft where teams could draft players that played at local schools. I could see a territorial draft with Miami, FIU and FAU and there will be old faces chasing their dreams in Boca Raton.

Scott Morganroth can be reached at scottsports33@aol.com and his blog can be read at www.scottsports33.com. 

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