2006 Kansas City Royals Preview

Posted on Minggu, 31 Januari 2010 | 0 komentar
2005 Overview:

Ask any Royal fan and they will tell you - there just simply weren’t many things for them to cheer about in 2005. In fact, the 2005 Kansas City Royals were a complete train wreck and that’s putting things somewhat mildly. The Royals managed to win a total of only 56 games the entire year while losing an embarrassing 106. The anemic Royals pitching staff also allowed a total of 935 runs scored against them, ranking as the second worst in baseball behind the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. 


Much of Kansas City’s offense was provided by newcomer Emil Brown (.286 17 86), 1st baseman Mike Sweeney (.300 21 83) and outfielder Matt Stairs (.275 13 66).  Starting Shortstop Angel Berroa (.270 11 55) and catcher John Buck (.242 12 47) were the only other bright spots in the regular starting lineup. While the Royals hitting may have been spotty in 2005, the pitching can be described as pretty much non-existent. Newly acquired Jose Lima (5-16 6.99) returned an utterly disappointing inaugural year with the Royals managing to win just 1 game on the road the entire season. While Starters Runelvys Hernandez (8-14 5.52), Zack Greinke (5-17 5.80) and D.J. Carrasco (6-8 4.79) all failed to string together any quality starts. The bullpen and relief staff offered very little for fans to cheer about as well. Even though relief pitcher Mike MacDougal (5-6 3.33 21 saves) did his very best to protect any games he was given.  MacDougal appeared in a total of 68 games while converting 21 of 25 save opportunities. By the end of the season, the Royals found themselves a total of 43 games behind the Division and World Champion White Socks - compiling the worst road record in baseball at 22-59.


Off Season Moves:

Kansas City Management added a bunch of starting pitching in the off season – all of which are veterans including; Joe Mays (6-10 5.65), Scott Elarton (11-9 4.61), and Mark Redman (5-15 4.90) who was traded from Pirates to Royals for RHPs Jonah Bayliss & Chad Blackwell. Free agents Reggie Sanders (.271 21 54), Mark Grudzielanek (.294 8 59) and Doug Mientkiewicz (.240 11 29) where also signed to help the struggling offense.


2006 Analysis:

The addition of 3 new starters is a step in the right direction, although with 11 win pitcher Scott Elarton as the “ace” it doesn’t appear to be a terribly vast improvement over the 2005 starting rotation. Expect Ambiorix Burgos (3-5 3.98) and newcomer Joel Peralta (1- 0 3.89) to be the most steady arms in the bullpen. The addition of Sanders, Grudzielanek and Mientkiewicz should help jumpstart the sagging offensive production. All three are also good clubhouse leaders. Sanders should add some much needed protection to Sweeney and Brown in the regular lineup. The bullpen still remains a question mark although the team should probably score more runs in 2006. The Royals are far cry from contending in a division that has Cleveland and Chicago in it. Royal Fans shouldn’t be expecting much.

2006 Houston Astros Preview

Posted on Sabtu, 30 Januari 2010 | 0 komentar
2005 Overview:

For the second straight year in a row, the Houston Astros overcame a horrible start and spotty offense to capture the National League wildcard. Houston rolled past the Cardinals en route to becoming National League Champions only to lose in a 4 game sweep to the World Champion Chicago White Sox.


Despite missing the first month of the season, slugger Lance Berkman (.293 24 82 RBI) was able to establish himself as one of the best power hitters in the game while 3rd baseman Morgan Ensberg (.283 36 101) also emerged as a prime time offensive force leading the team in HR (36), RBI (101), and slugging percentage (.557). The ageless wonder Craig Biggio (.264 26 69) joined Jason Lane (.267 26 78) and Mike Lamb (.236 12 53) to help complete the rest of the starting lineup.


On the pitching side, starter Roy Oswalt (20-12, 2.94 ERA) was able to combine strong power numbers with excellent control in 2005 while Andy Pettitte (17-9, 2.39 ERA) bounced back from an injury-ridden 2004 season to pitch over 220 innings. Roger Clemens (13-8 1.87) at the age of 44 still was able to post respectable numbers joining superstar reliever Brad Lidge (4-4 2.29 42 saves) to provide the Astros with a season ending 89-73 record.


Off Season Moves:

The Astros didn’t make too many moves in the off season only because they really didn’t need to. Their biggest acquisition was signing free agent Preston Wilson (.260, 25 90) who was picked up to help provide more offensive stability and potentially replace Bagwell (who may or may not return in 2006).  Reliever Trever Miller (2-2 4.06) was also added to help an already strong bullpen.


2006 Analysis:


Much of the same faces will return in 2006 with Craig Biggio (94 Runs) and Willy Taveras, who led the team in stolen bases with 34 setting the table for the rest of the lineup. The Astros are hoping Tavares will learn to become more patient in his sophomore year and produce more walks. If Bagwell doesn't come back full-time, Berkman will likely move over to 1B with the newly acquired Preston Wilson expected to play leftfield.


Roy Oswalt is expected to once again return as the ace of the staff after putting together back-to back 20 win seasons. 33-year-old Andy Pettitte has lost significant time to injuries in 2 of the last 4 seasons so the Astros are hoping he can be healthy for an entire 2006 campaign. Clemens is not expected to return and his regular season performance will be missed. He was not offered arbitration in the off season.

Houston is looking to their number 3 starter Brandon Backe (10-8, 4.76 ERA) to find more consistency in 2005. While Wandy Rodriguez (10-10, 5.53 ERA) and Ezequiel Astacio (3-6, 5.67 ERA) will remain the likely candidates as the fourth and fifth starters. With Brad Lidge, Chad Qualls, former Met Dan Wheeler, lefty Mike Gallo and newly signed Trever Miller, the Houston bullpen is deep and perhaps one of the best in all of baseball. Expect the Astros to receive some competition from the Cubs and St. Louis in 2006. If the pitching can hold itself together and the offense at least match the same numbers as last year they should find themselves in the thick of things within the NL Central.

2006 Florida Marlins Preview

Posted on Jumat, 29 Januari 2010 | 0 komentar
2005 Overview:

Most Florida Marlins fans never expected another repeat of the 1997 season when management completely gutted the World Champion Marlins but that is exactly what happened during the 2005 off season. Despite finishing tied with the Mets for 3rd place with an 83-79 record, Florida decided it needed to dramatically reduce payroll in the hopes of focusing on a new stadium plan. In just 12 short days between November 24-December 7 the Marlins dumped millions off their payroll by moving six everyday starting position players, two frontline pitchers, a closer and a setup reliever. When the dust finally settled only superstars Miguel Cabrera (.323 33 116) and Dontrelle Willis (22-10 2.63) remained.


The 2005 offense was led by Cabrera who posted almost identical numbers to his 2004 season ending totals. Cabrera was joined by newly acquired 1st baseman Carlos Delgado (.301 33 115) and outfielder Juan Encarnacion (.287 16 76) while pesky leadoff hitter Juan Pierre (.276 in 162 games with 57 stolen bases), 3rd baseman Mike Lowell (.236 8 58) and newly signed catcher Paul Lo Duca (.283 6 57) rounded out the rest of the starting lineup.


Willis simply dominated in 2005 by starting the season off with a 5-0 record with a 1.29 ERA. Dontrelle managed to enter the all star break with an impressive 13-4 record and 2.39 ERA. Starters Josh Beckett (15-8 3.37), A.J. Burnett (12-12 3.44) and newly acquired Brian Moehler (6-12 4.55) joined reliever Todd Jones (1-5 2.10 40 saves in 45 save opportunities) to complete the rotation.


Off Season Moves:

New appointed manager Joe Girardi and be surrounded by fresh, new faces in his 2006 debut. Hanley Ramirez is a top rookie prospect who was obtained in the Beckett trade from Boston, Ramirez has only played in two major league games and spent most of the 2005 season at AAA, where he batted .271 with six home runs, 52 RBI, and 26 stolen bases. Baseball America ranks Ramirez 10th on the Top 100 prospect list and he will likely get the starting shortstop position moving Cabrera to third base, his natural position.


The Marlins are also excited about outfielder Jeremy Hermida, who was the team's first-round pick in the 2002 draft as well as Eric Reed and Chris Aguila who are expected to get consideration in center and left field. Former New York Met Mike Jacobs (.310, 11 home runs in 30 games), obtained in the Delgado deal, and Wes Helms (.298 4 HRS in 2005) are expected to platoon at first base, while Josh Wilson (.257  17  82  in 143 games at Triple A Albuquerque in 2005) will compete for the starting job at second base.


2006 Analysis:

The Marlins will start 2006 with a bunch of fresh new faces. The fire sale provided the team with a bunch of untested talent which will make the 2006 roster look more like a AAA minor league team then anything else. New Manager Girardi will need to carefully evaluate who is ready to step into a full time role the team. Starting pitcher Dontrelle Willis is coming off his best year ever, so he will be expected to shoulder the load once again with Yusmeiro Petit, Sergio Mitre, Jason Vargas, Anibel Sanchez, Josh Johnson and Scott Olsen all getting consideration for a slot in the starting rotation. Scouts have recognized Johnson as a No. 2 starter and Olsen, a lefthander, is also highly regarded.

2006 FIFA Soccer World Cup Referees About To Be Selected

Posted on Kamis, 28 Januari 2010 | 0 komentar
The 2006 FIFA Soccer World Cup will be held in Germany and, with gametime approaching, the final 44 referee candidates are hoping that they will be among the selected officials chosen to preside over this year’s championship event.  "I've prepared well, and I've comfortably overcome every hurdle in this last test," admits Herbert Fandel, Germany's second representative in the refereeing squad.  World famous official Markus Merk declares, “I can live with the result now, whichever way it goes. You get highs and lows in any sport.”

The remaining 44 FIFA World Cup 2006 potential referees have recently gone through a final test during a five-day session held near Frankfurt.  The selection process will be complete and the results announced at the end of March.  While FIFA has yet to decide on the final total number of referees to be used in this year’s World Cup event, the expected number is thought to be no less than 30.  “We've done everything we can to ensure the referees correspond to the standards expected of this wonderful World Cup in Germany,” said Angel Maria Villa Llona, who serves as an FIFA Executive Committee member who is responsible for match officials.

The 44 referee soccer World Cup candidates have remained under close observation for an entire year.  The FIFA watch has been focused on each domestic league appearance, as well as each international event.  “Their performances over the last 12 months are definitely a more important factor than the tests we've performed here," Llona expressed.  The observation included a check on the candidate’s skills relating to the English language, the knowledge and understanding of the soccer World Cup rules, psychology and fitness.  Referee candidates were required to defeat a time of 6.2 seconds over 40 meters during each of the six consecutive trials.  In addition, the potential referees underwent an additional  test of strength and exercise with their participation in a 150 meter dash and a 50 meter walk.

Australian candidate Mark Shield explains, “The refs have never been scrutinized for so long and so minutely.”  According to experts, the current candidates will be selected to oversee the soccer World Cup championship based solely on their performance.  Those who are selected will be given a whistle at the tournament and will continue on to be recognized as game officials.

2006 Fantasy Football Running Back Models Are In

Posted on Rabu, 27 Januari 2010 | 0 komentar
Hey party people, it’s Dave Buick again, ready to talk about fantasy football. The thing I love as much as my Buick and Ruby, my feathered hair beauty, is fantasy football. As the new season approaches, there is one thing to get out of the way for all you fantasy football managers as you approach your fantasy football online draft: who the hell are you gonna take with the first pick? Are you gonna pick Shaun Alexander, LaDainian Tomilinson or Larry Johnson? Grab yourself a six-pack and let me break this shit down for you.

The Case Against the Soft-top – LaDainian Tomlinson

Tomlinson pissed many owners off last year with his uncool play. Chargers coach Marty Shotenheimer did his share of pissing people off too. Marty’s management of Tomlinson was questionable as he often refused to just toss Tomlinson the keys to the game. Yeah, Tomlinson looks attractive at the top of the board but he was dinged up a little last year and had the worst season of the three backs. Very uncool. Also keep in mind that Drew Brees has bolted the party which leaves Philip Rivers and his 17 career completions driving an offense that used to get looks as it drove down Main Street. An uncool looking Rivers driving the Chargers offense could hurt Tomlinson’s production. Yeah, the soft-top looks great but what the hell does a soft-top even do? Take him if you have pick three.

The Case for the Convertible – Shaun Alexander

The convertible is always the safe choice when you’re buying cars, I mean, the ride just looks cool. Shaun Alexander and his NFL record 28 touchdowns sure looks cool. He plays on a team that cruised to the Super Bowl last year and the Seahawks offense should still be high flying even without All-Pro guard Steve Hutchinson who drove to Minnesota in the off-season. Something uncool is that the Seahawks might have the division wrapped up by week 15. Is Alexander going to be working for you in the final weeks of the season? If he hadn’t been trying to break the NFL touchdown record last year the Seahawks would have had their convertible parked in the driveway during your fantasy football leagues playoff run. Then again, the Cardinals may give the Seahawks a run for their money in the NFC West this year, so Alexander could be battling to the end. 28 touchdowns. Cool. I’d park that shit in the park, open the trunk and crank those tunes.

The Case for the Hardtop – Larry Johnson

If I were a fantasy football commissioner, I’d rig the draft to get the first pick so I could take Larry Johnson. He’s the cool ride. C’mon party people, you know it’s true, hard-tops are just cooler. Despite playing 6 games in which he had 13 carries or less, Johnson still racked up 1750 yards and 20 td’s on the ground along with 33 receptions for 333 yards and a touchdown. If he starts 16 games in 2006 he could easily rush for 2000 yards. Also worth considering is that the Chiefs will be fighting for their playoff lives in the tough AFC West and there is nothing more satisfying than having a hot Larry Johnson taking a Mainer on other teams during playoff time. If you’re the fantasy football manager with the first pick in the draft, take Larry Johnson and keep that comb in your back pocket, you already know your hair looks cool. I know mine does.

2006 Colorado Rockies Preview

Posted on Selasa, 26 Januari 2010 | 0 komentar
2005 Overview:

The Colorado Rookies suffered through a tough 95 loss season ending the year 15 games behind the NL West Champion San Diego Padres. The 2005 offense was led by 1st baseman Todd Helton (.320 20 79), outfielder Dustan Mohr (.214 17 38), and the young 3rd baseman Garrett Atkins (.287 13 89). Shortstop Clint Barmes (.289 10 46) and Matt Holliday (.307 19 87) also contributed to the lineup.


The 2005 Rockies pitching was as thin as the air in their home stadium, Coors Field. Beyond youngster Jeff Francis (14-12 5.68) and Aaron Cook (7-2 3.67) the rest of the starting pitching suffered to provide quality starts throughout the entire year.  Starters Jamey Wright (8-16 5.46), Byung-Hyun Kim (5-12 4.86) and Jason Jennings (6-9 5.02) all failed to impress. On the upside, closer Brian Fuentes (2-5 2.91 31 saves) did manage to convert 31 saves in 34 save opportunities, and was an impressive 14 out of 14 in save opportunities at Coors Field.  Not an easy task when a pitcher is required to close games in a stadium that is notorious for late inning comebacks and blown saves.


Off Season Moves:

The Colorado Rockies didn’t make many moves in the off season. They did however add some veteran experience to the bullpen by signing free agent closer Jose Mesa (2-8 4.76). The Rockies also re-signed starter Byung-Hyun Kim and reliever Mike DeJean (5-4 4.48) plus traded for St. Louis left hander Ray King (4-4 388). Catcher Yorvit Torrealba (.234 3 15) was also picked up in order to upgrade the position.


2006 Analysis:

Growing pains are to be expected with a team this young. Rockie fans need to be patient and allow youngsters such as third baseman Atkins, and shortstop Barmes the time they need to grow into their positions. Look for right fielder Brad Hawpe (.262 9 47) and outfielders Matt Holliday and Dustin Mohr to be expected to contribute more in 2006. Both players proved they were capable of handling major league pitching during the 2005 season and both are expected to be an important part of the Rockies future.


Colorado is reluctant to abandon their game plan and with so many young prospects no one can blame them. Management remained overly cautious in the off season and passed by the opportunity to add a bunch of new faces.


One newcomer to the pitching staff will be pitcher Ray King. He will help, but the starting rotation shouldn’t be expected to provide much better numbers then they did in 2005. Francis and Cook should start more in 2006 and the Rockies closer Brian Fuentes ended the season very strong. In August and September Fuentes was an impressive 15 for 15 in save opportunities. The Rockies are looking for a few breaks to go there way and if the starting pitching can impress the offense should be able to score runs. The Rockies are still a few years and starting pitchers away to be considered a legitimate contender for a division title or wildcard spot.

2006 Cleveland Indians Preview

Posted on Senin, 25 Januari 2010 | 0 komentar
2005 Overview:

The Cleveland Indians were arguably the best overall team in baseball during the 2nd half of the season. The Indians remained right in the thick of the AL pennant chase until the very last week of the season when a 4-6 record in their last 10 games left them two games back in the wildcard standings. Cleveland ended the year with an impressive final record of 93-69. The Tribe fielded some of the best young offensive talent in all of baseball in 2005, led by a breakout year from shortstop Jhonny Peralta (.292 25 78).  Peralta’s first full season helped Cleveland’s offense keep the Tribe close for the better part of the summer. Newly acquired 3b Aaron Boone (.243 16 60) also combined talents with infielders Ronnie Belliard (.284 17 78) and 1st baseman Ben Broussard (.255 19 68) in order to assemble one of the best all around infields in all of baseball. Additional offense was provided in 2005 from outfielder Grady Sizemore (.289 22 81) and Casey Blake (.241 23 58) who joined Coco Crisp (.300 16 69), catcher Victor Martinez (.305 20 80) and DH Travis Hafner (.305 33 108) to complete the rest of the lineup.


The Indians’ pitching staff also proved to be among the best in the AL with starting Pitcher Cliff Lee (18-5 3.79) and C.C. Sabathia (15-10 4.03) joining Jake Westbrook (15-15 4.49) and newly acquired pitchers Scott Elarton (11-9 4.61) and Kevin Millwood (9-11 2.86) in order to form a solid rotation. Aging closer Bob Wickman (0-4 2.47 45 saves) surprised skeptics by proving he still had plenty left in the tank posting a 14-year career high 45 saves in 50 attempts.


Off Season Moves:

The Indians didn’t make many moves during the off season although free-agent right-hander Paul Byrd (12-11 3.74) was signed to take the place of departing Kevin Millwood (who was signed by the Rangers). The Indians also replaced starting pitcher Scott Elarton (signed by the Royals) with Detroit Tiger free-agent Jason Johnson (8-13 4.54). Cleveland also tried to obtain another closer chasing both B.J. Ryan and Trevor Hoffman in the off season but finally settled on bringing back Bob Wickman.


Outfielder Coco Crisp was sent to the Red Sox in exchange for reliever Guillermo Mota (2-2 4.70). The Indians also sent reliever Arthur Rhodes to Philadelphia for outfielder Jason Michaels (.304 4 31), the probable replacement for Crisp as Cleveland's starting left fielder.


2006 Analysis:

The Indians did their best by addressing the free agent departures of Millwood and Elarton but the bottom of the rotation is still shaky. Paul Byrd should be a nice addition to the starting group. The Indians let Millwood go despite the fact that he posted one of the best ERAs in the league. Cleveland was somewhat disappointed in Millwood’s ability to win more games for them.  The workhorse bullpen expects to pick up right where it left off in 2005 with Arthur Rhodes (3-1 2.08), Fernando Cabrera (2-1 1.47), Scott Sauerbeck (1-0 4.04) and newcomer Guillermo Mota setting up closer Bob Wickman. The tribe should be primed for another title chase in 2006 if the starting pitching and bullpen can hold up. With an offense like the Indian’s it’s hard to count them out of anything – especially if Peralta can continue to improve at the plate in 2006.

2006 Cincinnati Reds Preview

Posted on Minggu, 24 Januari 2010 | 0 komentar
2005 Overview:

The biggest news for Cincinnati Reds fans in 2005 was the fact that Ken Griffey Jr.(.301 35 92) was able to play an entire season injury free for the first time in over 5 full seasons.  What was so impressive about Griffey’s 2005 performance was his ability to completely return to form, hitting for both power and average. Griffey grabbed the Comeback Player of the Year Award for his outstanding efforts.


The rest of the Reds 2005 offense was provided by Adam Dunn (.247 40 101), veteran 2nd baseman Rich Aurilia (.282 14 68) and outfielder Austin Kearns (.240 18 67). Unfortunately, the Reds starting pitching didn’t offer many wins in 2005. Starters Aaron Harang (11 13 3.83), Brandon Claussen (10-11 4.21) and Ramon Ortiz (9 11 5.36) joined Eric Milton (8 15 6.47) and closer David Weathers (7-4 3.94 15 saves) to handle the majority of the pitching duties during the season. Weathers’ was picked up from the Mets and was converted into a full-time closer we he nailed down 15 out of 19 save opportunities. No real staff Ace emerged in 2005 with Harang leading the rotation with 11 wins. The Reds ended the season with a less then impressive final 73-89 record, finishing 27 games behind the NL Central Champion St. Louis Cardinals.


Off Season Moves:

The Reds recognized pitching as their main priority during the off season so they traded away popular first baseman Sean Casey to the Pittsburgh Pirates for left handed starter Dave Williams (10–11 4.41). Unfortunately the Reds did little else to address their starting pitching needs. Veteran Infielder Rich Aurilia re-signed, and Cincinnati also traded for utility man Tony Womack (.249 in 2005), which was designed to give the team some options off the bench in 2006. Lefthander reliever Chris Hammond (5-1 3.84) also signed on from the defending NL West Champion Padres.


2006 Analysis:

Expect Adam Dunn now to move over to first base, leaving the outfield responsibilities to Austin Kearns, Ken Griffey Jr. and Wily Mo Pena. The Reds really didn’t significantly address the starting pitching in the off season and the one new starting pitcher they acquired (Williams) will hardly make a difference for the team in 2006. With Harang leading the group with only 11 wins there is a bunch of work to be done before the Reds can hope to contend. Williams was only a 10 game winner in 2005 so fans shouldn’t expect much from him either.


Like many major league teams, the Reds are relying heavily on their youngsters  which include Kearns, Pena, Dunn, shortstop Felipe Lopez, and Ryan Freel.  Fans were happy to get the old Griffey back in 2005 and are hopeful he will pick up where he left off when he starts the 2006 season. Dave Weathers is simply not a strong closer although the team managed to squeeze 15 saves out of him last season. Hammond was a nice pick up and should help out a struggling bullpen - but even more help is needed. Cincinnati Reds fans should expect more of the same in 2006.

2006 Chicago White Sox Preview

Posted on Sabtu, 23 Januari 2010 | 0 komentar
2005 Overview:

After waiting 88 years for a World Series title, the Chicago White Sox and 2nd year Manager Ozzie Guillen entered the 2005 season on a mission. After an impressive rookie managerial season the Venezuela born Guillen led his troops to a division leading 99-63 record. The White Sox simply dominated the postseason losing only 1 game out of a total of 13 played - first by sweeping the defending champion Boston Red Sox and then by rolling past the Angels 4 games to 1. Chicago went home from the Fall Classic against NL Champion Astros with a clean 4-game sweep grabbing their first World Series title since 1917. The White Sox fielded one of the stronger offensive lineups in 2005 with 1st baseman Paul Konerko (.283 40 100) and outfielder Jermaine Dye (.274 31 86) leading the charge.  Outfielder Carl Everett (.251 23 87), 3rd baseman Joe Crede (.252 22 62) and newly acquired catcher A.J. Pierzynski (.257 18 56) also helped level out the rest of the 2005 lineup.


It’s often said that ‘pitching wins championships’ and in 2005 Chicago assembled one of the best starting rotations in baseball. Newly acquired Jose Contreras (15-7 3.61) and Freddy Garcia (14-8 3.87) sparkled in their new White Sox uniforms, while Jon Garland (18-10 3.50) and Mark Buehrle (16-8 3.12) rounded out the dominating starting staff. Newly acquired Reliever Dustin Hermanson (2-4 2.04) performed nicely in the bullpen saving 24 of 29 chances and doubling his output from the previous year with the San Francisco Giants.


Off Season Moves:

The White Sox did very little in the off season to change their team chemistry. Their biggest moves included re-signing first baseman Paul Konerko to a five-year, $60 million deal (he turned down $65 million from the Orioles) and trading for slugger Jim Thome (7 HRS in 59 games in 2005), who is scheduled to start the 2006 campaign as Chicago’s DH. The White Sox also strengthened an already strong rotation with a trade for Javier Vazquez (11-15 4.42) - they also acquired a versatile utility man in Rob Mackowiak (.292 9 58) from the Pirates.


2006 Analysis:

Guillen and company seem to have a solid blueprint for success and it’s hard to find many flaws in their off season strategy. The only real weak point appears to be centerfield since at least for now it looks as if Brian Anderson (.176 in 34 AB in 2005) will take over for Aaron Rowand (.270 13 69) who was traded to Philly in the deal for Thome. Expect Thome (.274 42 105 in a full season in 2004) to blossom as a DH, saving himself from the wear and tear of playing 1st base everyday. He’s a player perfectly suited for the DH role and the White Sox were wise to trade for him.  Thome should provide some nice offense alongside Konerko, Pierzynski, Dye and Crede.  Chicago’s pitching in 2006 should be stronger (if that’s even possible!) with Javier Vazquez joining the rotation.  Vazquez could prove to be another interesting addition to an already powerful staff. Much like the acquisitions of Contreras and Garcia in 2004, the White Sox are hoping Vazquez will fit in nicely and produce better numbers then last season.

2006 Chicago Cubs Preview

Posted on Jumat, 22 Januari 2010 | 0 komentar
2005 Overview:

With the departure of slugger Sammy Sosa, the offensive output for the Chicago Cubs has been replaced by the likes of superstars Derek Lee (.335 46 107) and Aramis Ramirez (.302 31 92). Both players came into their own in 2005 along with the help of Jeremy Burnitz (.258 24 87), catcher Michael Barrett (.276 16 61) and 2nd baseman Todd Walker (.305 12 40). Lee in particular impressed in 2005, hitting 27 home runs prior to the all star break and leading the league in hitting by the end of the season. Starters Carlos Zambrano (14 6 3.26), Greg Maddux (13 15 4.24), and Mark Prior (11 7 3.67) joined closer Ryan Dempster (5-3 3.13 35 saves) to provide the pitching depth in 2005 as the Cubs posted a 79-83 record to end the season 21 games behind the division leading St. Louis Cardinals.


Off Season Moves:

GM Jim Hendry traded for Florida Marlin's Juan Pierre (.276 2 47), who will lead off and play center in 2006, both of which were troublesome spots last year. Hendry also strengthened the Chicago Cubs bullpen with two free-agent signings: lefty Scott Eyre (2-2 2.63 – obtained from the San Francisco Giants) and right hander Bobby Howry (7-4 3.47 – acquired from the Cleveland Indians). The Cubs spent $23 million to lock those two players under contract for the next three years.

Pitcher Wade Miller (4-4 4.95) was also picked up from the Boston Red Sox. The other noteworthy signings were free agent right fielder Jacque Jones (.249 23 73 from the Minnesota Twins), who will be looked upon to replace the offense for the departed Jeromy Burnitz. John Mabry (.240 8 32) was also traded from the Cardinals to help in the outfield. The Cubs are hopeful he can return to his 2004 offensive form when he tied a career high in home runs with 13.


2006 Analysis:

The restructured bullpen should help improve the pitching in 2006. Hendry also did well to pick up Pierre and Jones. Pierre improves the defense and leadoff position and should spell more RBI opportunities for Lee and Ramirez. The biggest non-pitching question remains at shortstop, where veteran Neifi Perez and 23-year-old Ronny Cedeno will be expected to help provide the answer. Lee and Ramierez will need to continue to provide the bulk of the offense in 2006.


The starting pitching remains a question mark. If Kerry Wood can return and pitch more then the 66.0 innings he did last year and Maddux can improve a bit on his record the pitching might surprise some fans as a strong point in 2006. If the Chicago Cubs hope to make it to postseason play they will need to get more from the starters in order for the recent off season bullpen moves to work. Hendry hopes the $23 million is spent on Howry and Eyre will be money well invested. Fans should be patient in 2006 – if the team is close at the all star break expect a midseason trade or two to perhaps make the difference.

2006 Boston Red Sox Preview

Posted on Kamis, 21 Januari 2010 | 0 komentar
2005 Overview:

After finally breaking the 86-year curse of Babe Ruth not to mention performing one of the most miraculous comebacks in baseball history vs. the Yankees, the Boston Red Sox entered the 2005 season hopeful their good fortune would continue. Even though Curt Schilling’s ankle wasn’t 100% - the blueprint for 2005 began by adding newly acquired pitchers David Wells and Matt Clement to the starting rotation.  But from the beginning of the season it was evident that Schilling’s ankle wouldn’t cooperate as he started only 3 games prior to the All Star break.  Thankfully for Red Sox fans no one was running away with the AL East just yet. 


It wasn’t hard for Boston to remain in the hunt for another AL East title especially with the lethal 1-2 offensive punch of Manny Ramieriz (.292 45 144) and David Ortiz (.300 47148) providing the bulk of the scoring. Outfielder Johnny Damon (.316 10 75) continued his impressive output as the Red Sox leadoff hitter while Trott Nixon (.275 13 67) and catcher Jason Varitek (.281 22 70) returned another season of impressive offensive numbers.


The starting pitching learned to live without Schilling with David Wells (15 7 4.45) assembling a decent season. Pitchers Matt Clement (13 6 4.57) and Tim Wakefield (16 7 4.15) also stepped up their game in order to keep the Red Sox and Yankees neck and neck until the last weekend series at Fenway.  The Yankees won the season finale two games to one, leaving the Red Sox to face the Chicago White Sox in the Division Series. Unfortunately for the Red Sox, 2005 ended with a quick postseason departure as they were swept three games to none, losing game 3 in Fenway 5-3 to the White Sox.


Off Season Moves:

The chaos created by the initial departure of GM Theo Epstein proved beneficial for the Yankees who were able to snag free agent All Star Centerfielder Johnny Damon from under the Red Sox noses.  Boston struck back days later completing a seven player deal with the Marlins netting 3rd baseman Mike Lowell (.236 8 58) starting pitcher Josh Beckett (15-8 3.37) and pitcher Guillermo Mota (2-2 4.70). Mota was later used to acquire outfielder Coco Crisp (.300 16 69 16 SB) who will be used to replace Damon in centerfield. Also picked up in the Crisp trade was reliever David Riske (3-4 3.10).

Other notable off season moves included trading Doug Mirabelli to the Padres for 2nd baseman Mark Loretta (.280 3 38) as well as sending infielder Edgar Renteria to the Braves for cash along with 3B Andy Marte. Additional moves included the Red Sox avoiding arbitration with infielder Tony Graffanino (.309 7 38) as well as adding pitcher Julian Tavarez (2-3 3.43) and outfielder J.T. Snow (.275 4 40).


2006 Analysis:

Expect the starting pitching for Boston to be stronger then last year with the addition of Josh Beckett and the anticipated rebound of Schilling. The Red Sox are also hoping that Wells will be more comfortable as the 3rd vs. number 1 starter - a role he was forced to assume when Schilling was unable to rebound from his 2004 ankle injury.  The bullpen is upgraded with the addition of Tavarez and Riske. Expect Mike Timlin (7-3 2.24) Keith Foulke (5-5 5.91 15 saves) Jonathan Papelbon (3-1 2.65) and Bronson Arroyo (14-10 4.51) to pick up right where they left off last year. 


Boston took it hard on the chin by losing Johnny Damon as his production and leadership will be missed but Crisp is a young player with a good deal of speed.  Crisp posted career highs last year in runs (86), hits (178) and homers and the Red Sox are counting on him doing even more to fill the void left by Damon.  Also expect Manny Ramieriz to be on the opening day roster as whispers of him leaving to the Orioles or Mets in some multi-team mega deal appear to be nothing more then fodder to sell newspapers. Few teams can manage Manny’s contract and the Red Sox seem to unwilling to offer and financial relief to any teams who have shown interest in acquiring him.

2006 Baltimore Orioles Preview

Posted on Rabu, 20 Januari 2010 | 0 komentar
2005 Overview:

Prior to the All Star break the Baltimore Orioles were playing like they were destined for one of those dream seasons. On June 21, Baltimore held a two-game lead over the division rival Boston Red Sox and had assembled an impressive 42-28 record. The Orioles were also just 24 days away from celebrating Rafael Palmeiro's 3,000th career hit and were 4th in the American League with a .278 team batting average. But after June 22nd Baltimore’s dream season quickly faded. The Orioles would lose their next six games and win only 32 of their final 92 games (just under 35%).  Rafael Palmeiro would be suspended for steroid use on Aug. 2, and second-year manager Lee Mazzilli would be fired just two days after Palmeiro’s suspension.


The three offensive bright spots in 2005 were shortstop Miguel Tejada (.304 36 98) 3rd baseman Melvin Mora (.283 27 88) and outfielder Jay Gibbons (.277 26 79). On the downside, 1st baseman Rafael Palmeiro (.266 18 60) appeared in only 100 games and the off season acquisition of Sammy Sosa (.221 14 45) proved to be a wasted gamble.  As far as pitching, only starters Rodrigo Lopez (15-12 4.90), Bruce Chen (13-10 3.83) and closer B.J Ryan (36 saves in 41 opportunities) proved reliable. The Orioles ended their season with a disappointing 74-88 record, 21 games behind the division-leading Yankees and Red Sox.


Off Season Moves:

After Free Agent Closer B.J Ryan signed with the division rival Toronto Blue Jays, Baltimore quickly traded Steve Kline to Giants for RHP LaTroy Hawkins (2-8 3.83 6 saves in 2005, 25 saves in 2004 for the Chicago Cubs). The Orioles also added Free Agent catcher Ramon Hernandez (.290 12 58)  and 1st Base/ Outfielder Jeff Conine (.304 3 33) as well as former Red Sox Kevin Millar (.272 9 50) hoping to supplement the loss of Rafael Palmeiro as an offensive force in the everyday lineup. Baltimore also traded SS Nate Spears and LHP Carlos Perez to the Cubs for Corey Patterson (.215 13 34) in order to better jumpstart their offensive production in 2006. To address their starting pitching problems the Orioles traded  with the Mets for RHP Kris Benson (10-8 4.13) in exchange for relief pitcher Jorge Julio.

2006 Analysis:

Expect the offensive additions to help better protect Tejada and Mora. The newly acquired Millar and Conine will probably split time between 1B, outfield and DH. The starting five appear at this point to be Lopez, Erik Bedard  (6-8 4.00), Daniel Cabrera (10-13 4.52), Chen and John Maine (2-3 6.30) plus newcomer Kris Benson who is expected to bump Chen or Maine to the bullpen. Although the addition of Benson will help, the starting rotation doesn’t quite offer enough to seriously contend against Toronto, Boston and New York. The departure of lefty closer B.J Ryan will clearly be missed.  The Orioles are keeping their fingers crossed that LaTroy Hawkins can once again close games like he did in 2004. Relievers Eric DuBose (2-3 5.52), Chris Ray (1-3 2.66), Tim Byrdak (0-1 4.05) and Todd Williams (5-5 3.30) complete the Oriole bullpen. Javy Lopez will most likely DH this year with the acquisition of Free Agent catcher Ramon Hernandez joining the club.

2006 Detroit Tigers Preview

Posted on Selasa, 19 Januari 2010 | 0 komentar
2005 Overview:

About the only good news for Detroit Tigers fans in 2005 occurred at the end of the season. In October it was announced that Jim Leyland was coming out of retirement and had accepted the Tigers managerial job. Leyland is looking to help change the team’s fortunes for 2006 and beyond but he will have his work cut out for him.  The Tigers managed to win only 71 total games in 2005 posting a lackluster 71-91 record. Yet somehow the Motown offense was able to score a total of 723 runs which was only 18 fewer then the World Series Champion Chicago White Sox.  Of course it didn’t help matters that the Tigers also allowed a total of 787 runs - mostly due to an inconsistent and underperforming pitching staff.


The 2005 offense was led primarily by outfielder Craig Monroe (.277 20 89), and DH Dmitri Young (.271 21 72). Rookie 1st baseman Chris Shelton (.299 18 59) also provided some much needed offensive spark with veterans Ivan Rodriguez (.276 14 50) and Rondell White (.313 12 53) posting respectable numbers. The rest of the 2005 offensive production was supplied by 3rd baseman Brandon Inge (.261 16 72) and 2nd baseman Placido Polanco (.338 6 36) who was acquired from the Philadelphia Phillies in a midseason trade.


The Tiger starting pitching in 2005 had very few bright spots. Starters Jeremy Bonderman (14-13 4.57) and Mike Maroth (14-14 4.74) managed to combine for 25 total wins, while the rest of the starters struggled for much of the entire season.  Both starting pitcher Nate Robertson (7-16 4.48) and Jason Johnson (8-13 4.54) turned in forgettable performances in 2005. The Tigers used a combination of five different closers with Ugueth Urbina (1-3 2.63 9 saves) performing the best, prior to his being traded midseason to Philadelphia.


For Detroit Tiger fans, the season couldn’t end soon enough.


Off Season Moves:

The Detroit Tigers signed free-agent lefty Kenny Rogers (14-8 3.46), to a 2-year, $16 million contract, hoping to provide some better stability in the starting rotation. The Tigers also signed closer Todd Jones (1-5 2.10 40 saves) from Florida in order to help upgrade their bullpen. Jones a 12 year veteran experienced a renaissance year with the Florida Marlins by holding opposing hitters to a .230 batting average while saving a total of 40 games (his highest save total in five years). 


2006 Analysis:

Rogers is an improvement to the starting rotation as is bringing in Jim Leyland from out of his retirement to help. Leyland has worked in similar environments before and has proven he knows how to handle the challenge. The starting rotation is still lacking. Detroit made a run at a few different free agents this winter, but little materialized. The Tigers have some hitting and can score runs. There's also some talent in the bullpen, but the rotation doesn’t appear to be much stronger than it was last season (4.85 ERA, 10th in the AL). Fans will need to be very patient as Leyland attempts to rebuild from within.

3 Striking Facts about Bowling for Soup

Posted on Senin, 18 Januari 2010 | 0 komentar
Since its inception, bowling has consistently obtained and retained its recognition in the sports category. In the United States alone, there are 50 million people that participate in the sport.

Because of its extreme popularity, the fascination for bowling has reached all classes of society, including musicians. Yes, the concept of bowling is so popular that even musicians or band members have used bowling terms when naming their bands. Bowling for Soup coined their band name from the sport.

Bowling for Soup is an all-male band that engages in "pop-punk" music. Originally from Wichita Falls, Texas; this band was recognized for its hit singles like "Girl All the Bad Guys Want" that was released in 2002. Their newest hits were "Almost" and "1985."

The band's popularity soars as they continue to create songs that are widely accepted by the "pre-teen" group.

For those who are not yet familiar with the band, here are five amazing facts:

1. The band got its name from "Bowling for Shit," a routine from Steve Martin's comedy album, "Wild and Crazy Guy," that was released in 1978.

2. They are known as "musical heavyweights" and drunk-rockers. But all of that changed when they were nominated for the 2003 Grammy Award for their category, "Best Performance Pop, By a Duo or Group."

Since then, they are no longer known as the "fat guys" from Texas. After the Grammy's, they now acclaim themselves as the "Grammy-nominated fat guys from Texas."

3. Their name has nothing to do with the sport of bowling, but they do bowl; they are not "true-blue bowlers" which is what they call themselves. Jaret Riddick, the band's lead vocalist and lead guitarist has stated that they play "badly" when it comes to bowling. They participated in a bowling event known as a "Bowl-a-thon," where Chris Burney, their bassist and vocalist, was able to score a "scorching" 70.

On the other hand, the term "soup" has nothing to do with edible soup either - the fact is that Riddick admitted that he is not a "soup eater."

Given all of the above, this band has made a great impact on the entertainment scene. They are very popular even if they are not into the sport of bowling. Whether it has been a strike or a spare, they have hit their way to fame.

7 Grilling Tips Beyond The Summer Months

Posted on Minggu, 17 Januari 2010 | 0 komentar
Grilling is fun to do all summer long. You love to get out there and soak in the sun while making some great tasting food in the process. But, for many, as soon as the leaves begin to fall, it's time to pack up the grill until next year. Why do this when this tool can be used all year round to produce wonderful, and healthy foods?

Here are 7 things you need to know about grilling.

1. It happens all year round. Face it; there is no real reason to put the grill away. Do you have a covered patio or a spot in the garage to set it up? If so, then do so. Keep the tank full and grill away. The grill will supply you with heat if it is really cold outside.

2. The flavor can be even better. throughout the winter season, many people eat more hearty foods. And, because of this, it can often be duller tasting foods. If you love the taste of flamed cooked foods, youll love them even more during the winter season.

3. CautionCaution. You should keep the lid of the grill blocking any fierce wind that is coming in. And, you should always keep the top of the grilled closed to insure a clean location to cook. Just as you would within the duration of the summer season, make sure to keep the grill clean and well stocked to insure that when you want to grill it's available to you.

4. Winter Veggies. Winter time vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, squashes and others are fantastic on the grill. Take a few moments to clean and prep them, cover with olive oil or a light spray of butter and grill away. This is a great way to affordably eat in season veggies with the taste of the grill on them.

5. Potatoes on the grill. One of the most eaten foods during cold winter time cycles are potatoes. If you love them, make them and cook them on your grill. Cut up and place inside of a tin foil wrapper, season and grill till you get blue in the face.

6. Smoke Away. Smoking ribs or steaks on the grill throughout winter is an astronomical way to enhance their flavor. Just keep the lid at a low level and regulate the temperature. There is no reason not to love it. In fact, when Super Bowl Sunday roles around, your place will be the place to be to enjoy superior foods.

7. Fruits And Dessert. Fruits on the grill make a top notch dessert too. What a better way to get in some healthy foods that are full of flavor? Just slice, coat with a little butter and grill away.

Grilling throughout the winter or fall season does mean that you should take supplementary precautions. Youll want to insure that everything remains clean and if possible store the grill in the garage or other indoor area too keep from debris blowing in.

And, when you do cook out there, be careful not to burn yourself as well. Other than that, there is no decent rationale why your grill should not be burning today.

7 Areas in Improving Your Basketball Game

Posted on Sabtu, 16 Januari 2010 | 0 komentar
Becoming a better basketball player doesn't happen over night. It involves serious work, discipline, dedication, and the love of the game to become the player you want to be. So to help you out on your way to become a better basketball player in the future, here are 7 areas you need to improve:

Speed and agility - There are many exercises you can do to improve your speed and agility. One of the most effective is the "suicide". Start at the base line and sprint towards the free throw line, touch the floor and go back. Sprint and touch the mid-court line and back. Sprint and touch to the farthest free throw line and back. Sprint and touch the opposite base line and back. Do this several times and will definitely improve your speed. You can also use other sprint training techniques.

Jumping - Improving the strength and power of your legs will improve your vertical jump. Do squats, step ups, and lunges. Jumping and hopping drills are effective as well.

Strength - Weight lifting is an effective tool to become strong and increase muscle mass. If you play the position of forward and center, you definitely need to improve in this area.

Stamina - Stamina training such as road running is effective to build up the heart to go to distance during the game. 

Dribbling - This skill can be improved by using different dribbling techniques and drills. There are 3 dibbling techniques: natural dribble or relaxed dribble, control dribble or dribbling low to maintain possession under a defensive pressure, and speed dribble or dribbling at a maximum speed. Different drills include up the ladder, squeeze the bananna, ball slap, rhythm drill, drop step, pass and catch, hot potato, sit dribbling, spider, dribble 8, figure 8, one leg, ball drop, and around the world. These drills aren't only applicable to ball-handlers. They apply to all positions to increase ball handling capability.

Shooting - Improving your shooting skills involves correct jump, body form and power. This can be improved by constant practice. Shooting the ball for several times using one form increases the chances of making the shot. Bottom line is, if you want to improve your shooting you should practice, practice, and practice some more.

Defense - Improving your defense is as important as improving your shooting and dribbling ability. There are different ways to do this: cone drills, stadium stairs, defensive slides, and jumping rope.

6 Types of Baseball or Softball Pitching Machines You Can Consider

Posted on Jumat, 15 Januari 2010 | 0 komentar
Are you getting a baseball or softball pitching machine but fretting over the different brands and options available? Well, it's inevitable isn't it? After all, there are at least 6 different types of pitching machines and countless different brands and models out in the market today!

Here are the 6 major types :

(1) Real Ball Pitching Machines

As the name suggests, “Real Ball” pitching machines throws out real balls or those machine pitch dimpled balls you see at the commercial batting cages. Both types of baseballs weigh about 5oz.

Such equipment usually comes in 2 major categories which comprises of the Arm Styled Wheel Machines or the Compressed Air Machines. Although there may be exceptions, all require a batting cage. Invest in an auto feeder and remote control if you're opting for a one player mode and you're good to go.

(2) Wheel Style Pitching Machines

Ever seen those pitching machines used in leagues, high schools, colleges, pro ball or simply off someone else's backyard? Yes, these are the ones. One of the most popular choices, wheel style pitching machines can be used just for baseball, softball or in a combination package for both sports.

Through the support of a rubber wheel(s), a motor propelling the wheels' movements, dynamic parts with speed and directional adjustment knobs and a metal frame attached to a tripod, wheel styled pitching machines run on 110v power. If you're using them on fields without electricity supply, you'll need a power generator.

(3) Single Wheel Machines

These are entry level machines used to throw a straight pitch in a speed ranging from 25-70 mph. The price is usually set above $900. Currently, there are only a few single wheel machines out in the market which has the added feature of churning out curveball throws. Coaches may prefer the curveball option since they're more versatile when it comes to throwing the breaking ball from either of the “hand”. But be prepared to pay as they can cost $1,200 or more.

Overall, single wheel machines are still slightly cheaper than the real ball machine and is lightweight enough to be carried from your car boot to the ballpark. However, if you prefer higher speeds or a greater variety of pitch throws, you may want to consider the 2 wheeled machines instead.

(4) Two Wheel Machines

These machines can simulate almost every pitch regardless of the angle, hand (be it left or right) or speed you're talking about. Naturally because of the additional capabilities, they're also much more expensive than other types of pitching machines.

Their ability to throw all the different types of pitches and the added advantage of using them for ground balls, fly balls and even catchers pop-ups increases the thrill and fun practising with such machines. They are relatively portable too.

Some people dislike the fact that they can't see the movement of the “pitcher's arm” with such machines. But after a bit of getting used to, it's not really a major disadvantage. More importantly, however is that the consistency of their pitches drops with either wet, waterlogged balls or swollen balls. Like all wheel type machines  So, if you're living in a region that's consistently dealing with rainy or wet weather, you may want to consider other options.

(5) Arm Style Pitching Machines

Yes, these are often the ones you see at the commercial batting cages. You know, those junky heap of steel affixed with the red lightbulbs alerting the batter on the impending pitch?

Equally suitable for both baseball or softball, these machines have been around for more than 50 years and can throw a straight and accurate ball at speeds that varies between 25 to 85 mph. Because of their bulk, instead of shoving them into your garage, the smarter move is to just cover them up and leave them where they are after the season. Otherwise, they're pretty durable.

(6) Rack Fed or Hopper Fed Pitching Machines

Such machines are pre-fed with baseballs or softballs so that no auto feeder are required. There are mainly 2 types. One is rack fed and can contain 38 baseballs or 28 softballs at one time. The other is hopper fed and can hold as much as 600 baseballs or 400 softballs.

These are professional base ball training equipment and are incredibly durable. Maintenance is often just a routine application of lubricating oils to a couple of the joints and even if you do need to replace a few of faulty parts, they're relatively inexpensive and easy to fix.

One advantage with these machines is that player can often see the pitcher wind up so that he can position himself for the swing in a more realistic timing. However, because of their bulk, they're not really as portable as the other types mentioned earlier.

6 Steps To Buying The Right Snowboard Boots

Posted on Kamis, 14 Januari 2010 | 0 komentar
One of the most important pieces of equipment of snowboarding is your snowboard boots. They are your connection to the snowboard, by not spending time in finding the right boots; you can ruin your snowboarding experience. some quick tips for buying boots.

Should I buy Step in or Strap in boots...

The first decision is if you want the traditional strap-in boots or the newer step-in boots. If you decide to go for the step-in boots you will have to buy the bindings and boots together, this is because the strap-in boots will not work with the step-in binding. The trend at the moment seems to be softer boots with strap-in bindings.

the fit of the boots...

No matter how much you have to spend on boots it is very important that you take time finding the best fitting boots. If you buy boots that are comfortable in the shop you will find aching feet on the slope. So find boots that are snug. Remember be patient. Different brands of boots suit different types of feet. So go forth and find your boots.

Trying On Boots...
Here are a few things to remember when trying on your boots. Firstly wear proper socks. Put on a boot and push your heel into the back of the boot to make sure that your foot is secure. Then tie the boots laces tight but not too tight. Then close the outer lining of the boot, repeat the process with the other boot. Attach the bindings and stand up. Notice how secure your feet are, move forwards and backwards making sure there is no rubbing that may cause you discomfort later on.

heel lift...
Heel Lift is when you lean forward in your boots and your heel lifts and not your snowboard. But this will be minimized if you find the best boots for your feet.

Inner Boots...
There are many advantages of having inner boots or lining, usually the inner boots can be laced like the outer boots, and they provide a little extra stability on the slope. You can take the inner boot out to dry after a long day snowboarding.

Some Boots have additional features...
As you search for the perfect pair of boots you will notice that as the price for boots goes higher with the features. For example air-pumps. All you must remember is that these features are useless if the boots don?t fit you in the first place.

5 Sure-Fire Tips For Diamond Systems Mastery

Posted on Rabu, 13 Januari 2010 | 0 komentar
Let's face it... Learning to use those "dots on the rails" can be daunting at times, and other times down right frightening.

In this short article, I'll give the beginner to amateur level player a few tips to follow in their quest to become proficient in the pool and billiards diamond system.

Tip #1: Master the fundamentals of the game first

Like in any other skills it’s always easier to learn the correct way at the beginning than try to unlearn bad habits after they have been acquired. You may have heard the saying, "Bend the tree while it is still young".

The point here is that if you develop bad techniques and mechanics when first learning pool this could adversely affect your effectiveness later in using diamond systems. Also there is little use in tackling ‘Pool 202’ when you haven’t mastered ‘Pool 101’.

Tip #2: Using diamond systems can enhance natural instinct

There are many pool players who will argue that all you need is a ‘feel’ for the ball and you can forget any math or physics as applied to the game. These players can apparently make their shots without reverting to any ‘diamond systems’ and calculation and so experience is more important than learning some ‘trick’.

The only problem with this approach is that when such players are having a bad day then they have nothing to resort to.

This is not to say that feel and intuition have no part in the game, but pool follows physical laws that the systems try to simplify for the pool player. Terms such as ‘hard’ and ‘soft’, ‘fast’ and ‘slow’ are of course imprecise and would mean different actual speeds (meters per second) for different players.

Tip #3: Take 5 minutes and learn the table in front of you

As mentioned before, because diamond systems by their very nature are more involved, you want to have a perfect and predictable table as possible. Unfortunately, each table will have their own particularities that you must compensate for in your shots.

This takes us back to the argument of intuition versus systems because if you’ve practiced all your game on one table you may have problems with your shots just being a little off on another table. Your ‘feel’ may be on spot but the table is not being kind to you.

You must then carry out some simple exercises to test the rubber, cushion, level of table, bad spots and whether the table is playing long or short. Simple things such as if the cue ball is dirty or new can significantly affect your game.

If there is any inconsistency in the table then small mistakes will become magnified and your shots will be off.

Tip #4: Learn the proper english to use with diamond systems

English is often defined in tips, such as in ‘one tip of running english’. The only problem here is that different cues have different sizes and curvature of tips; so one tip to the left of center for a 13mm cue tip will be very different for a 12mm tip.

The point here is that ‘tip’ is not a fair measurement against the cue ball because different cue sticks have different size tips.

Tip #5: Learn the right speed to use with diamond systems.

In simple optics, the angle that light strikes a plane (flat) mirror at is the same angle that it will reflect at. In pool a rebounding ball approaches this same principle (assuming no spin) except that whereas the light doesn’t physically affect the mirror the ball compresses the cushion adding another factor to take into consideration.

As a rule of thumb the faster the ball hits the cushion the [smaller] the angle that it leaves the cushion. To get a feel for how this changes with speed of the ball will require constant practice.

This behavior of the ball is a little counter-intuitive so it takes some ‘getting use to’ which is the whole purpose of trying different speeds of the ball off the cushion and experiencing for yourself the difference in the rebound track line.

Now that was some food for thought.

In my next article I'll share with you an additional series of tips, that if studied further will guide you to a greater understanding of using diamond systems in pool and billiards.

5 Card Stud Internet Poker Explained

Posted on Selasa, 12 Januari 2010 | 0 komentar
To begin the game an ante is first placed on the table by every player. Remember, usually the amount is only a fraction of a bet that is set by the card room. The dealer then deals 2 cards - 1 hole card and 1 door card - starting with the player on their left and continuing clockwise round the table. The player who has the lowest card showing on the table must place the bring-in bet, which is equal to half of the lower level bet.

In the first betting round each player, wit...

To begin the game an ante is first placed on the table by every player. Remember, usually the amount is only a fraction of a bet that is set by the card room. The dealer then deals 2 cards - 1 hole card and 1 door card - starting with the player on their left and continuing clockwise round the table. The player who has the lowest card showing on the table must place the bring-in bet, which is equal to half of the lower level bet.

In the first betting round each player, with the possible exception of the bring-in player who has already contributed the bring-in amount, may either choose to fold (quit the game), call (meet the bet) or raise, increasing the bring-in to a full bet. If players still left in the round choose to only call the bring-in amount, then the player who originally contributed the bring-in is the only player who has the option to check their own amount.

During the second betting round, the game really starts to take shape as each player is dealt one more door card. Now with 2 cards showing, players have a better idea of not only the potential of their own hand, but also what winning advantages their other opponents have.

Strategies begin taking effect as the player with the highest card value begins the round of betting. The highest card value includes all cards exposed, and could consist of the highest card, pair and so on. If in the event two hands prove to be of equal value, the betting is then commenced by the player who is the closet to the dealer's left.

The player with the highest showing hand begins the betting round, and they may either check, fold or raise. If this player chooses to check or fold, the remaining players, following clockwise from that players left may check until a raise has been made.

The dealer deals a 3rd door card to each player, and the excitement continues its climb, as each players exposed hand reveals more details to their opponents at what potential their hidden card could have.

Then the final round of betting where the last door card is dealt by the dealer, giving players a pretty good idea if luck has run out for them or their opponents, or if they have instead hit the jackpot, is performed.

Finally, the single hole card and 4 door cards of the remaining players are revealed as each player left in the hand show their cards, beginning with the last player to bet and continuing in that pattern. During the showdown players may also choose to “muck” (fold out of the game, without showing their cards) their hand. The winner naturally takes the pot.

If in the event, a player wins by default, which means that every other player in the hand folded, no showdown will occur.

5 “Extra” Things to Remember On Every Dive

Posted on Senin, 11 Januari 2010 | 0 komentar
Don’t leave the dock without it

When you pack your gear bag, your checklist probably includes the usual gear and emergency equipment, mask, fins, regulator and one of those kits with a few extra o-rings, neoprene patches and regulator mouthpieces. Here are a few extra things that you can throw into your gear bag that will make your dive more comfortable, confident, and safe.

Citrus beverages

When I surface, the first thing I want to do is get the taste of ocean out of my mouth. As much as I appreciate the smell of the sea and the salty air, I’m not so enthusiastic about having it on my tongue. Water is refreshing, but I find that I can drink a few liters of bottled water and still taste the remnants of the sea in my mouth.

After experimenting with dozens of beverage candidates, I find that Five Alive is hands-down the best cure for oceanmouth. Other citrus juices are good, but none are quite as effective as Five Alive. The better ones were those that contain acidic juices like pineapple and grapefruit.

The juice serves another purpose: rehydration. It seems counterintuitive that spending an hour submerged in water can cause dehydration, but it’s true. The air in your tanks is very dry – necessarily so, since moisture in a tank will rust it from the inside. Just breathing in that dry air for an hour will silently dehydrate you. Drink something when you get back to the boat and you can avoid the symptoms of dehydration such as headache, nausea and dizziness.

Long-sleeved rashgard or cotton shirt

Did you know that the chemicals in sunscreen are poisonous to reef-dwelling marine life? You need to protect your skin from the harmful effects of UV radiation, but you don’t want to slather on the SPF lotion before your dive. Cover up the old fashioned way with a cotton shirt or a long-sleeved rashguard.

Laminated Dive Table Chart

Are you dependent on your computer? Go back and review your certification training and learn how to calculate your residual nitrogen using tables. Computers are great tools, but it behooves every diver to remember how to manage their nitrogen levels without gadgetry.

A “dry bag”

A dry bag needn’t be anything fancy – inexpensive bags with resealable flaps are available at most camping or marine supply stores. They don’t need to be watertight to 100 ft – since you leave them on the boat in your gear bag. My favorite is a bright yellow, rubber bag with a top that folds over three times and tucks into itself for an easy watertight seal. Many divers on a budget will use a variety of disposable resealable freezer bags.

In my dry bag, I keep:

•    Tissues – a necessity. After purging my mask a few times, my sinuses get rebellious.
•    Cotton Swabs – some gentle attention to get the water out of my ears.
•    A photocopy of my identification & passport – just in case
•    Band-aids – because I stub my toes on boats
•    Everything that was in my pockets – Before donning my wetsuit, my dry bag (by virtue of its sealability) is a good place to keep a cell phone, camera, wallet, jewelry, car keys, etc.
Tell someone where you are going and who you’re with.
Make this a habit, so you don’t need to be concerned when an emergency arises.

First, make sure the dive operator knows who you are, where you are staying, and who to contact in case of an emergency. If you are injured during a dive, the dive operators might whisk you directly to the nearest hospital, medical clinic or decompression chamber. If the medical staff can’t determine your identity, it can complicate your medical attention.

Second, tell someone who isn’t diving with you where you are going. That could be others in your party, the hotel concierge, or a phone call to a relative back home. Tell them the name of the dive shop, your destination, the departure time and estimated return time for your dive excursion. If you know it, include the names of the boat, its captain, and divemaster. If you are traveling alone or diving in a group, write the information down and leave it with the hotel office. If your hotel is near a popular diving spot, they will be used to that sort of thing.

3 Popular Wreck Diving Sites in Britain

Posted on Minggu, 10 Januari 2010 | 0 komentar
While the mention of scuba diving generally brings to mind the image of some exotic tropical dive locale, the United Kingdom has a number of exciting dive spots just waiting to be explored by divers like you.  If you have no issues with cold water diving, the following destinations will leave you breathless.  Or something like that…

One of the best dive sites in the U.K. is located in Scotland, in the Sound of Mull.  The Sound of Mull is located between the Isle of Mull and the Morven Peninsula.  It is an extremely popular destination for U.K. divers because it offers an unparalleled range of diving in very reasonable conditions.  The area is cursed with bad weather, which has resulted in countless shipwrecks over the years.  Most dives in the area are launched from Tobermory, Lochaline, or Oban.  The Hispania is, by far, one of the most popular wrecks in the area, due to the fact that it is still relatively intact and awash in marine life.  It is shallow enough to get a good long dive, and visibility is generally very good.

Another phenomenal dive spot is located on the south coast of England, in the waters of Sussex.  The Alaunia, a steamship sunk by a German mine in 1916, is one of the more popular diving destinations on the south coast.  Although the wreck is considerably broken up, there are still significant parts of the ship left intact.  Be on the lookout for a series of portholes to help navigate the site.  If you can manage to find the bridge area, you will undoubtedly be pleased to find the anchor still hanging from its chain.  The size of the wreck is overwhelming to some degree, and it would take a few separate dives to explore the entire ship.  Shoals of bib, spider crabs, and massive lobsters are sure to keep you entertained.  See if you can spot a dead man's fingers while you are down there.

Another extremely popular dive is located near Plymouth, where the wreck of the steamship Maine found its final resting place.  It can be found approximately a mile off Bolt Head.  It was highly noticeable for a number of years, as the masts of the ship broke the surface of the water.  The wreck has since been cleared of its mast, with most of the debris swept to its port side.  It rests in water that is approximately 30 meters deep.  The ship was torpedoed in March of 1917 and, after a noble rescue effort, came to rest in waters within easy reach from Salcombe.  While this would be an amazing exploration for any diver, it is not recommended for novice divers due to the strong current.  There is a good representation of undersea life, and this destination is sure please anyone who visits.

3 Little Known Tips Of Basketball Hoop Shopping

Posted on Sabtu, 09 Januari 2010 | 0 komentar
I've got a confession to make. I play basketball. I play it very poorly and can't make very many of the shots that I shoot at the basketball hoop. I have a feeling that I am not alone in the world at being a rather poor basketball player. However, one thing that I'm not bad at is comparison shopping. I've mastered the ancient art of comparing prices between merchants and can usually ferret out a fairly good deal with a little bit of leg work. Basketball hoops are no different than other items when it comes to shopping for them. There are some tips you should know before embarking on your journey to shop for a basketball hoop.

1)New or Used. You really might consider buying a used basketball hoop if you are interested in value. However, make sure you are buying one that hasn't been banged up too bad. Years of basketball practice can only make your rim bent and dirty. Ebay can be a great place to buy used equipment and basketball hoops are regularly for sale on Ebay.

2)Do your homework by comparing different merchant offers on different search engines and different websites. Just because something is advertised for sale on Google doesn't mean its also advertised for sale on Yahoo. Some merchants advertise their good strictly through the Amazon partners program and don't do any other advertising anywhere else. Price vary drastically and the only way you will know that you are getting a good deal is to examine what the different people are selling the same goods for on different websites. Basketball hoops are no exception.

3)Learn about the different types and styles of basketball hoops. Without the knowledge of what you are buying, points #1 and #2 are nearly worthless. Buy your hoop the right way and get a great deal on one by being an informed consumer. Learn how to buy a basketball hoop and you can guarantee that you got a better deal than everyone else.

3 Key Lessons to Improve Your Rebounding Skill

Posted on Jumat, 08 Januari 2010 | 0 komentar
There are 2 occasions where you can get the ball off the bounce: when you are on the offense and when you are on the defense. Either way, you need to learn these lessons to become an overall rebounder of your team:

1.    Rebounding is making the right body position.

Your coach always yells "rebound!" and you are getting sick of it because no matter how high you jump, your opponent is still able to grab the ball away from you. If this is your problem, then you might not be placing yourself in the right rebounding position. Remember this: rebounding doesn't start when you get the ball on its way down, it starts on the ground. Thus, knowing where to place your body to get the perfect position is one key to grabbing the ball. (I say one key because you have to understand the second lesson.)

The ideal position is placing your body between your opponent and the ball. Take note that not all rebounds come from the rim or the board, so positioning your body between the opponent and the basket isn't always possible.

2.    Rebounding is anticipating where the ball will land.

You know the right position but it is useless if you don't know how to anticipate where the ball is going to go. This requires common sense. For example, if the ball is taken in the perimeter, it is likely that the ball will bounce off strong. A short shot may yield an opposite result. What you should do is to always put your eye on the ball and the moment the player taking the shot. Predict where the ball will land and position yourself right away taking into consideration lesson number 1. Take note that you can't always guess the position of where the ball will land but knowing this will increase your chances of placing yourself in the right position to get the rebound.

3.    Rebounding is all about attitude.

As said by many, rebounding isn't about who jumps high or who stands tall; it is about who wants the ball more. This is the third lesson you have to learn. The attitude is all it takes to become a good rebounder. You may know how to position before rebounding and you may know how to anticipate where the ball will land, but if you don't want it, you won't get it.

Know the right position, anticipate where the ball will land, and wanting the ball more are the 3 main factors to become a good rebounder. Learn these and you'll be controlling the board.

3 Health Benefits of Bowling: Tone Those Muscles and Make a Strike!

Posted on Kamis, 07 Januari 2010 | 0 komentar
Among the many sports that man has ever played, perhaps, bowling is the most popular among all. With over 50 million players in the United States alone, bowling is definitely one sport that is a cut above the rest.

Among the many reasons this particular sport has remained at top of is the fact that it is a highly flexible sport. It promotes easy adjustment methods that are why many children and adults alike can take part in this remarkable game.

About 95% of bowlers consider bowling as a sport that can be exploited as a recreation, a form of relaxation, a societal factor, and a competitive nature as far as sportsmanship is concerned.

The simplicity of the game contributes to its adaptability. Because its rules are easier to understand, more and more people are engaging in this sport, not because of competition but basically because they want to enjoy the time with their friends or family.

With all these advantages, many people are still not aware of the health benefits that bowling can provide. They just thought that the activity could promote physical vigor and it stopped there. What they do not know is that the health benefits of bowling is more than just building stamina and releasing energy.

So for those who are not yet aware of these benefits, here is a list that you should know:

1. Promotes good muscle exercises

Merely walking along the lane, while attempting to make a strike or a spare, is enough to exercise the muscles in your legs. It resembles that of the "walking exercise" that most health buffs do; the only difference is that there is more weight involved. This is because in bowling, your hands are holding the bowling ball.

Consequently, as you swing around to hit the pins, the flexing and stretching provides adequate exercise for your tendons, joints, ligaments, and muscles in the arms.

2. Fat burning

As your muscles flex, turn, and twist in every swinging motion that you make while playing bowling, these moves can actually promote the burning of some accumulated body fat.

3. Builds friendships

One of the health benefits that can be derived in bowling is based on the kind of relationship that is being built with your friends or family. As some psychologists contend, building social relationships can actually promote better performance of the heart muscles. Emotional stress can shorten the lifespan of an average person.

Indeed, there can be no better or enjoyable way to live a healthy life than bowling can.

3 Bowling Techniques to Make a Strike or Spare

Posted on Rabu, 06 Januari 2010 | 0 komentar
It is a strike, when all of the pins are knocked down "on the first ball of a frame."

It is a strike, when all of the pins are knocked down "on the first ball of a frame."

Every bowler would like to hit a strike and score big to win with this action, but it is not merely a stroke of luck. Bowlers who want to make it big by hitting strikes more often than not have to work at it.

Like in any sport, great action comes in small packages, where the attention is focused on the techniques learned and used by that player. It is important for every player to know how to hone his or her skills to win the game.

So for those who wish to make a strike or a spare in order to win a match, here are three bowling techniques that they can use:

1. Spinner

This technique refers to the way of delivering a shot with the intention that no more than a minor part of the ball touches contacts the lane. This technique promotes less friction between the ball and the lane, not considering the "oiling pattern" of that lane. As a result the ball glides practically in a straight line down the lane.

Experts contend, however, that this kind of shot is not very successful in that it does not attempt to take full advantage of the dragging the power of the bowler.

2. Stroker

With this kind of technique, the bowler relies more on precision than strength. This technique is characterized by employing the "by the book" style of playing that entails the proper execution of even movements, keeping square shoulders to the target all the way through the release of the ball, and maintaining an on-time move at the "foul line."

This is the "classic" technique of most bowlers because it employs smooth and controlled movements and lessens the possibility of injuries.

3. Cranker

This is the kind of technique that is being employed by a bowler who relies more on his strength to deliver a good shot rather than accuracy. It is like 'hitting hard' when a bowler uses this technique.

The skill involves more adrenaline that constitutes the bowler's drive to win.

Usually, crankers use "late timing", they do not slide, attempt to get to the "foul line" earlier than the ball, and they bend their elbows to keep their hands at the back and beneath the ball.

There are no perfect techniques, but there is a particular technique for every player. The important thing is to create a strike or even a spare.

1,000 Victories and a Place in the Yankee’s History Book

Posted on Selasa, 05 Januari 2010 | 0 komentar
Before 1996 season nobody figured a long term relationship between the Yankees and Joe Torre. Torre got his 1,000th win as Yankees manager, with Hideki Matsui hitting a three-run homer in an 8-5 victory over the Texas Rangers on Sunday that stretched New York's winning streak to a season-high five games.

Before 1996 season nobody figured a long term relationship between the Yankees and Joe Torre. Torre got his 1,000th win as Yankees manager, with Hideki Matsui hitting a three-run homer in an 8-5 victory over the Texas Rangers on Sunday that stretched New York's winning streak to a season-high five games.

Torre has a 1,000-645 record with New York, before him we find Joe McCarthy (1,460), Casey Stengel (1,149) and Miller Huggins (1,067). Torre has the longest uninterrupted term among Yankees managers since Stengel from 1949-60. Yankees owner George Steinbrenner and all Yankee fans should be proud of him for the decisions he is making are the right moves and he is a true leader to he team.

Players credit Torre for his even-tempered disposition and ability to handle different personalities, besides he has done just about everything that needed to be done to get the organization back to where it should be.

Torre's road to a thousand Yankees victories has been glorious at times, with six pennants and four World Series titles. Well 1,000 victories are a lot of wins, especially when you sign a two-year contract back in '96 and think about what's happened since then. The Yankee history book is a special place to be for Joe Torre and very well deserved one.

“You’ve Got to Bet the Preakness”

Posted on Senin, 04 Januari 2010 | 0 komentar
This Saturday, I’ll be back at the same sports bar where I watched the Kentucky Derby.

This Saturday, I’ll be back at the same sports bar where I watched the Kentucky Derby. If you read my Derby column, I told you to throw out a couple of favorites (Lawyer Ron and Brother Derek), and keep Barbaro, despite history being against him. Unfortunately, I also told you that I like America’s favorite bet, the exacta. The exacta always seems do-able, and offers a chance to win some real dollars. And in a field of 20, what were the chances of hitting the Trifecta? Sad to say, that darn Bluegrass Cat spoiled my day. This was a horse that, by all reports, was “the bust of 2006.” That’s why it’s called gambling. But Triple Crown races are events, and, if you are a sports fan, you’ve got to bet the Preakness.

This time, it’s all about value. Sure, Barbaro looked great in the Kentucky Derby, but is he the sure thing that many analysts and bettors make him out to be? Well, maybe. Which is the reason you’ll never get value betting on him this Saturday. At best, he’ll go off at even money. Keep in mind, until Smarty Jones won in 2004, it had been 25 years since an odds-on-favorite won the Preakness Stakes. You’ll hear a lot about “The Bounce Factor,” which says that horses tend to regress after particularly strong races, especially when they are coming back on short rest. And Barbaro is a horse that has never run with fewer than five weeks of rest.

Did you know that 21of the last 22 Preakness Winners ran in the Kentucky Derby? So, what about Brother Derek and Sweetnorthernsaint? Brother Derek, the morning line favorite for the Kentucky Derby, had major positioning problems in the Derby, and spent most of the race trying to break through a crowded 20-horse field. He lost a shoe and still finished fourth. He could be primed to run in the Preakness the race that many had expected him to run in the Derby. Sweetnorthernsaint, who ended up as the Derby favorite after a lot of late money was bet on him, also is one to watch. His Beyer speed figures were consistently better than those of Barbaro before the Derby. At 4-1, he may be a good bet.

Only three horses that ran in the Kentucky Derby will run in the Preakness, the smallest number in the last quarter century. So, given that, the odds would be better that a horse would break that 21 out of 22 streak which I mentioned earlier. Which new horses are possible contenders? Most analysts think Bernardini is the best of the newcomers. The term “Speed Freak” has been used for Diabolical, and that always perks up my ears. Like Now likes to gun it from the start, so, maybe, he’ll take the lead and keep it. Nothing about the other new horses excites me.

So, I’ll be splitting up my $50 with a variety of bets. Right now, an exacta of Sweetnorthernsaint and Bernardini seems like good value, and not too outlandish. Scrappy T, the best fresh horse last year, came in second. Diabolical as a long shot to win might be worth a try. As long as Brother Derek doesn’t slip to worse than 3-1, put him in some exacta bets. And, if you just can’t bear not betting on Barbaro, put him in a couple of trifectas that include a long shot. Have a drink and enjoy yourself; there’s only one more to go after this one.

"The Kid": Die Legende des Stuart Ungar

Posted on Minggu, 03 Januari 2010 | 0 komentar
Stuart Ungar wurde am 8. September im Jahre 1953 in Amerika geboren. Er wuchs in Manhattan in ein jüdisches Elternhaus auf und gilt bis heute als einer der besten Poker- und Gin-Rummy-Spieler. Sein Spitznamen "The Kid" hat er seiner jungen Karriere in der Pokerwelt zu verdanken. Auch wirkte er optisch immer wie ein kleiner Junge, Stuart Ungar hatte eine kleinen und schmächtigen Statur.


Stuart Ungar galt schon im jungen Alter Kind als hochintelligent. Sein fotografisches Gedächtnis vermöglichte ihn seinen Erfolg, der schon in frühen Jahren begann. Als zehn jähriges Kind gewann er sein erstes Gin-Rommé Tournier, der auch gleichzeitig sein erster Tournier darstellte, an dem er teilnahm. Mit vierzehn Jahren besiegte Stuart Ungar den zu diesem Zeitpunkt besten Gin-Spieler New Yorks.


Bis dahin hatte Stuart Ungar das Spielen als Freizeit und Hobby angesehen. Doch der tragische Tod seines Vaters sollte alles ändern. Sein Vater starb jung an einem Herzinfarkt und hinterließ seine Frau mit 2 Kindern. Stuart Ungar unterbrach die Schule und ging nach der zehnten Klasse ab, um als Vollzeit-Gin-Rommé-Spieler Geld für die Familie zu verdienen. Stuart Ungar schaffet es durch Tourniere seine Mutter und seine Schwester finanziell zu unterstützen.

Doch es gab auch eine dunkle Seite seines Erfolges, die Spielsucht. Die eine Hälfte seiner Gewinne gab er seiner Familie, die andere verspielte er auf den Rennbahnen. Bald schon hatte sich Stuart Ungar hoch verschuldet und verließ New York. Erst Miami und dann Las Vegas wurden zu seiner neuen Heimat. Dort begegnete er seine Lebensgefährtin, Frau Madelaine, die er heiratete. Zusammen bekamen sie eine Tochter, die Stefanie genannt wurde. Während der ganzen Periode hatte Stuart Ungar mit dem Spielen kein Halt gemacht. Er spielte nun High Stakes Gin Rommé mit großen Erfolg.


Doch auch hier sollte sein Erfolg ihm zuvor kommen. Da Stuart Ungar schon als Gin Rommé einen bekannten Namen trug und kein Rivale ihn besiegte, sollten Casinos ihn nicht mehr willkommen heißen. Stuart Ungar wurde von
Gin Rommé Tourniere ausgeschlossen und keiner traute es sich gegen den großen Sieger anzutreten. Stuart Ungar hatte keine Wahl und musste seine Gin Rommé Karriere aufgeben. Nach der Suche auf ein neuen passenden Spiel, fiel er aufs Poker, dem Hold’em Poker. Schon im Jahr 1980 nahm er an seinem ersten Poker Tournier teil.


Stuart Ungar erster Poker Auftritt sollte unvergesslich werden. Obwohl Stuart Ungar so gut wie keine Erfahrung in No Limit Hold’em hatte, besiegte er die Poker Legende Doyle Brunson im Heads-Up beim WSOP Main Event. Von hier ab erlangte er seinen Spitzname "The Kid", der bis dato jüngste WSOP Sieger aller Zeiten. Sein Titel verteidigte Start Ungar auch im folgenden Jahr.


Doch Stuart Ungar sollte seine Spielsucht nie im Griff haben. Seine Gewinne verspielte er immer wieder bei Sportwetten oder Pferderennen und gelang so schnell in einen Teufelskreis. Man sagt er habe mindestens viermal sein ganzes Vermögen verloren und wieder gewonnen haben. Bald schon kamen noch Drogenprobleme dazu. Diese ganzen Umstände waren für seine Ehefrau Frau Madelaine zu viel. Sie verließ ihn letztendlich zusammen mit deren gemeinsamen Tochter Stefanie.


Sein größter Tiefpunkt erlitt Stuart Ungar 1990, während der WSOP. Er hatte an der WSOP dank eines Freundes teilnehmen können, der ihm das Startgeld von 10.000$ lieh. Doch am dritten Tag fand man ihn bewusstlos mit einer Überdosis Kokain. Obwohl er das Turnier nicht mehr zu Ende spielen konnte, war sein Vorsprung an Chips so groß, dass er noch den neunten Platz erreichte.


Ein Comeback erreichte Stuart Ungar. Durch geliehene Startgeld konnte er an der in der WSOP 1997 teilnehmen und gewann den ersten Platzt. Nach seinen Gewinn gab Stuart Ungar seine letzte Interviews, wo er sein berühmte Zitat sagt:„Niemand hat mich jemals mit den Karten besiegen können. Der einzige, der mich jemals schlagen könnte bin ich selbst.“ Außerdem sagte er, dass er diesen  Poker  Turnier seiner Tochter widme, dessen Bild er immer bei sich trage.


Im kommenden Jahr hatte Stuart Ungar wieder mal seinen ganzen Gewinn in Drogen und Wetten verloren. Entzugsversuche blieben erfolglos. Zum Schluss seiner Karriere war niemand mehr bereit, ihm Geld zu leihen. Seine letzten Momente verbrachte Stuart Ungar in einem Motelzimmer, wo er dann am 22. November 1998 an einem Herzinfarkt verstarb.


Stuart Ungar ist das klassische Beispiel für die dunkle Seite des Glücksspiels. Spiel- und Drogensucht sollten ihm zum Verhängnis werden. Mittlerweile sind mehrere Bücher, Filme, Reportagen und weitere Medien über sein Leben veröffentlich worden.





Article Body:
Stuart Ungar wurde am 8. September im Jahre 1953 in Amerika geboren. Er wuchs in Manhattan in ein jüdisches Elternhaus auf und gilt bis heute als einer der besten Poker- und Gin-Rummy-Spieler. Sein Spitznamen "The Kid" hat er seiner jungen Karriere in der Pokerwelt zu verdanken. Auch wirkte er optisch immer wie ein kleiner Junge, Stuart Ungar hatte eine kleinen und schmächtigen Statur.


Stuart Ungar galt schon im jungen Alter Kind als hochintelligent. Sein fotografisches Gedächtnis vermöglichte ihn seinen Erfolg, der schon in frühen Jahren begann. Als zehn jähriges Kind gewann er sein erstes Gin-Rommé Tournier, der auch gleichzeitig sein erster Tournier darstellte, an dem er teilnahm. Mit vierzehn Jahren besiegte Stuart Ungar den zu diesem Zeitpunkt besten Gin-Spieler New Yorks.


Bis dahin hatte Stuart Ungar das Spielen als Freizeit und Hobby angesehen. Doch der tragische Tod seines Vaters sollte alles ändern. Sein Vater starb jung an einem Herzinfarkt und hinterließ seine Frau mit 2 Kindern. Stuart Ungar unterbrach die Schule und ging nach der zehnten Klasse ab, um als Vollzeit-Gin-Rommé-Spieler Geld für die Familie zu verdienen. Stuart Ungar schaffet es durch Tourniere seine Mutter und seine Schwester finanziell zu unterstützen.

Doch es gab auch eine dunkle Seite seines Erfolges, die Spielsucht. Die eine Hälfte seiner Gewinne gab er seiner Familie, die andere verspielte er auf den Rennbahnen. Bald schon hatte sich Stuart Ungar hoch verschuldet und verließ New York. Erst Miami und dann Las Vegas wurden zu seiner neuen Heimat. Dort begegnete er seine Lebensgefährtin, Frau Madelaine, die er heiratete. Zusammen bekamen sie eine Tochter, die Stefanie genannt wurde. Während der ganzen Periode hatte Stuart Ungar mit dem Spielen kein Halt gemacht. Er spielte nun High Stakes Gin Rommé mit großen Erfolg.


Doch auch hier sollte sein Erfolg ihm zuvor kommen. Da Stuart Ungar schon als Gin Rommé einen bekannten Namen trug und kein Rivale ihn besiegte, sollten Casinos ihn nicht mehr willkommen heißen. Stuart Ungar wurde von
Gin Rommé Tourniere ausgeschlossen und keiner traute es sich gegen den großen Sieger anzutreten. Stuart Ungar hatte keine Wahl und musste seine Gin Rommé Karriere aufgeben. Nach der Suche auf ein neuen passenden Spiel, fiel er aufs Poker, dem Hold’em Poker. Schon im Jahr 1980 nahm er an seinem ersten Poker Tournier teil.


Stuart Ungar erster Poker Auftritt sollte unvergesslich werden. Obwohl Stuart Ungar so gut wie keine Erfahrung in No Limit Hold’em hatte, besiegte er die Poker Legende Doyle Brunson im Heads-Up beim WSOP Main Event. Von hier ab erlangte er seinen Spitzname "The Kid", der bis dato jüngste WSOP Sieger aller Zeiten. Sein Titel verteidigte Start Ungar auch im folgenden Jahr.


Doch Stuart Ungar sollte seine Spielsucht nie im Griff haben. Seine Gewinne verspielte er immer wieder bei Sportwetten oder Pferderennen und gelang so schnell in einen Teufelskreis. Man sagt er habe mindestens viermal sein ganzes Vermögen verloren und wieder gewonnen haben. Bald schon kamen noch Drogenprobleme dazu. Diese ganzen Umstände waren für seine Ehefrau Frau Madelaine zu viel. Sie verließ ihn letztendlich zusammen mit deren gemeinsamen Tochter Stefanie.


Sein größter Tiefpunkt erlitt Stuart Ungar 1990, während der WSOP. Er hatte an der WSOP dank eines Freundes teilnehmen können, der ihm das Startgeld von 10.000$ lieh. Doch am dritten Tag fand man ihn bewusstlos mit einer Überdosis Kokain. Obwohl er das Turnier nicht mehr zu Ende spielen konnte, war sein Vorsprung an Chips so groß, dass er noch den neunten Platz erreichte.


Ein Comeback erreichte Stuart Ungar. Durch geliehene Startgeld konnte er an der in der WSOP 1997 teilnehmen und gewann den ersten Platzt. Nach seinen Gewinn gab Stuart Ungar seine letzte Interviews, wo er sein berühmte Zitat sagt:„Niemand hat mich jemals mit den Karten besiegen können. Der einzige, der mich jemals schlagen könnte bin ich selbst.“ Außerdem sagte er, dass er diesen  Poker  Turnier seiner Tochter widme, dessen Bild er immer bei sich trage.


Im kommenden Jahr hatte Stuart Ungar wieder mal seinen ganzen Gewinn in Drogen und Wetten verloren. Entzugsversuche blieben erfolglos. Zum Schluss seiner Karriere war niemand mehr bereit, ihm Geld zu leihen. Seine letzten Momente verbrachte Stuart Ungar in einem Motelzimmer, wo er dann am 22. November 1998 an einem Herzinfarkt verstarb.


Stuart Ungar ist das klassische Beispiel für die dunkle Seite des Glücksspiels. Spiel- und Drogensucht sollten ihm zum Verhängnis werden. Mittlerweile sind mehrere Bücher, Filme, Reportagen und weitere Medien über sein Leben veröffentlich worden.

"OTA’s" - What They Mean And What They Can Mean

Posted on Sabtu, 02 Januari 2010 | 0 komentar
In recent years in the NFL, the term "OTA" (Organized Team Activity) has come to the forefront this time of year. There are a few reasons for that. One is that the calendar reads May and June, and this is the time of year when activity is at its lowest. The draft is over, free agency, for all intents and purposes, is finished and coaches and staff members are going to cycle into their much-needed vacations.

Another, and perhaps more important reason, is that these OTA’s ha...

In recent years in the NFL, the term "OTA" (Organized Team Activity) has come to the forefront this time of year. There are a few reasons for that. One is that the calendar reads May and June, and this is the time of year when activity is at its lowest. The draft is over, free agency, for all intents and purposes, is finished and coaches and staff members are going to cycle into their much-needed vacations.

Another, and perhaps more important reason, is that these OTA’s have come to mean much more to not only the team involved, but to individual players. There are several teams around the league this year that are holding OTA’s that could bear a direct correlation to on-the-field results in 2006. We’ll take a look at a few of them here.

Houston Texans

The Texans have officially cleaned house since the end of the 2005 season. The coach and GM have both moved on, and the team is attempting to implement an entirely new approach both on the field and off as it continues to search for a new general manager. There is a lot to be done in Houston, and the more work the team can get, the better.

Oakland Raiders

The Raiders have a new coach who’s trying to instill discipline and toughness on a team that has lacked both in recent years. They also have a new QB to acclimate to their offense, and Aaron Brooks needs that same dose of discipline that the rest of the team does, as he’s been error prone in recent years.

New Orleans Saints

For the Saints, everything starts anew this year. There is a new coach, a new QB coming off a serious injury and a new potential superstar whose complete role has yet to be defined. Sean Payton needs to make sure Drew Brees’ shoulder will hold up before he can fashion his offense, and Reggie Bush’s talents are so unique that they really don’t fit a template.

Green Bay Packers

The Packers have a new coach and a slew of young players attempting to earn starting spots all over the roster. Although Brett Favre has always operated in some form of the West Coast offense, he still needs to learn the nuances of Coach Mike McCarthy’s scheme. Their defense will feature several new starters and there’s a new defensive coordinator running the system.

Miami Dolphins

Although the Dolphins don’t have a new coach, they’re in a different situation than the teams above because they’re right on the cusp of the playoffs. In order to reach that potential, though, Coach Nick Saban will have to break in a new QB in Daunte Culpepper, assuming he’s healthy, and fine tune his overall system to ensure that the team takes that next step.

Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys are the choice by many to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. Bill Parcells has been building the team his way for two years, and he and Jerry Jones added a player who’s explosive in more ways than one in WR Terrell Owens. Parcells needs to integrate Owens into his offense and instill air-tight team chemistry to keep all the personalities in check. Every detail matters for a team that could go all the way, and Parcells is taking no chances.

Teams have different reasons for their OTA’s, but they are important. Even though they’re considered “voluntary” under the existing CBA, players’ chances to earn starting spots can be damaged if they’re absent, and teams with bigger dreams can have them dashed if they don’t hit the ground running in training camp in July. The teams we see playing into January will most likely be able to look back at a successful OTA season.

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