2008 NBA Barter Deadline Bank Perspective

Posted on Minggu, 28 Februari 2010 | 0 komentar
Thursday is the NBA barter borderline and so far we've had some huge NBA blockbuster trades. But for some odd acumen I do accept we could see two or three added trades that could affect playoff agriculture and bank trends. Let's face it, I'm attractive at all of these trades, NBA rumors, and boutique allocution and I'm apprehensive how will this affect my NBA action and handicapping.

Here are some NBA Trades that accept already happened:

Mike Bibby goes from Sacramento to Atlanta for Anthony Johnson, Tyronn Lue, Lorenzen Wright, Shelden Williams and a 2008 additional annular abstract pick. (Gambling Perspective) Bet adjoin this Kings aggregation and they are apparently not done auction players, which is a abiding assurance they are giving up on this division and attractive appear the future. For Atlanta, this is a huge barter for playoff agriculture and watch out for the Over/Under they column for this Hawk team. I'm attractive to bet the over now for the Hawks.

Shaquille O'Neal goes from Miami to Phoenix for Shawn Marion and Marcus Banks (two above UNLV Rebels). (Gambling Perspective) For Miami this barter helps them abutting year and frees up much-needed cap room. I'm still attractive to bet adjoin this Heat aggregation that has agitation on both breach and defense. Phoenix, on the added hand, gets slower but maybe the big guy bottomward low will ascendancy the middle. Look to bet the under. Could get some bendable numbers on Phoenix as the media thinks the Diesel is empty.

Pau Gasol goes from Memphis to the Los Angeles Lakers for Kwame Brown, Jarvis Crittenton, Aaron McKie, the rights to Marc Gasol, and a 1st annular aces in 2008 and 2010. (Gambling Perspective) Look for the Lakers to charge the blow of the division to gel and get acclimated to arena with anniversary other. The additional bisected all depends on Kobe's fingers and Bynum legs. Memphis will be a bet adjoin aggregation for the blow of the 2007-08 division and apparently abutting year also.

Here are some Barter Rumors that I'm audition about the NBA Barter Deadline:

(New Jersey) Jason Kidd to Dallas for Devin Harris, DeSagana Diop, Trenton Hassell, Maurice Ager, and the arrangement of Keith Van Horn. This barter will apparently be accomplished by the time this commodity comes out. (Gambling Perspective) Improves Dallas aloof a bit but for the Playoffs. I'm attractive to bet adjoin the Mavericks because now their bank is anemic and they absent a ton of admeasurement with DeSagana Diop now gone.

(Philadelphia) Andre Miller to either Denver, Houston or Cleveland. (Gambling Perspective) Houston and Cleveland to me looks like the acute trade. For Houston this would accord them addition scorer and for addition who bets a lot of totals I would adulation this barter to Houston. I aloof don't see Cleveland authoritative any trades to accomplish King James blessed or the aggregation better.

(Sacramento) Ron Artest to the Denver Nuggets. (Gambling Perspective) For the Kings it's all about rebuilding and for the Nuggets it's all about aggressive in the Western Conference. This barter looks acceptable to me on the arresting ancillary of the ball, if the Nuggets comedy the Lakers or the Spurs you apperceive Artest will be the go-to-guy on defense.

(Chicago) Too abounding names on this list! Chicago is attractive for anybody to booty Ben Wallace and his arrangement off their hands. Ben Gordon and Chris Durhon are now out there as a accessible trades and I would be afraid to see no trades for the Chicago Bulls.

(Memphis) Mike Miller to either Cleveland or New Jersey. (Gambling Perspective) This barter would be huge for the Cleveland Cavaliers. This would accomplish Cleveland a top aggregation in the East and I would say this could get them aback to the Eastern Conference Finals. This would additionally advice Cleveland in scoring because he would booty some burden off King James. If Cleveland makes this barter appear and they will be a accoutrement apparatus in the East.

Other names out there that I'm audition in barter rumors are:

NY Knicks Eddy Curry to anybody who wants him. NY Knicks Zach Randolph to possibly the Denver Nuggets. Indiana Pacer Jermaine O'Neal but not abounding teams will be absorbed because of his anemic knees. LA Clippers Sam Cassel to Boston, Cleveland or Miami. This Cassel barter makes faculty for the Boston Celtics. Golden State's Michael Pietrus to the Miami Heat. Nice barter for the Heat if they can accomplish this happen. This aftermost barter rumor I heard Monday night is a acceptable one. The Lakers barter Lamar Odom to Washington for Caron Butler. The Lakers accomplish this barter and it would accord them a chargeless ride to the Western Conference Finals.

Thursday should be a actual absorbing day in the NBA.

2007 NASCAR Pepsi 400, Sportsbook Betting and Review

Posted on Sabtu, 27 Februari 2010 | 0 komentar
2007 NASCAR Pepsi 400, Sportsbook Betting and Review

Daytona International Speedway is the site for The Nextel Cup Series which returns this weekend. The Pepsi 400 is where Kevin Harvick will be racing for his second win at Daytona this year.

Harvick won over Mark Martin at the Daytona 500 five months ago in very close racing finish. Harvick has the two victories and seven Top 10 finishes in the Busch Series and is looking to win here on the Nextel Cup circuit.

Jeff Gordon or Tony Stewart will be the favorites in the second trip at Daytona.  Jeff Gordon who is the point's leader had a second place finish at New Hampshire last weekend. Denny Hamlin won that car race but Gordon had a great finish. Among the active drivers at Daytona,

Gordon has won at Daytona six times in his racing career which places Gordon with the most checkered flags. 2005 Daytona 500 was where Gordon won last time to claim the checkered flag at Daytona. But, his last 400-mile race was in 2004 where he claimed victory at Daytona.

Stewart has won the Pepsi 400 NASCAR race in 2005 and 2006 and is considered the best driver here at the Pepsi 400. The Pepsi 400 wins at Daytona are the only two victories that Stewart has claimed, and in 2005 he had his best-ever finish in the 500 where he had a second

place. Stewart has not had a great season and is still trying to claim a victory in 2007. Stewart is still in the running for the championship even with his bad luck and sometimes poor results.  Stewart is in sixth place in points standings with nine races remaining before The Chase begins. The reigning Cup champion Jimmie Johnson and Gordon, four-time Cup winner have the four wins each already this racing season.  It would help Stewart's chance in The Chase if could win a few races.

Denny Hamlin is NASCAR driver that everyone will be looking at this weekend in the Pepsi 400. Last weekend at New Hampshire Hamlin closed the points gap in the standings on Gordon and that is where he claimed his first NASCAR victory of the season. Gordon with only a 156 points lead over Hamlin, thanks to his win and NASCAR penalizing Gordon 100 points over violations a week earlier at Infineon.

Daytona has not been kind to Hamlin and he has not had much success at Daytona.  Hamlin had a 17th place finish in the three races he competed in and that was his top finish. On the racing circuit this season, Hamlin is one of most consistent drivers and on Saturday he will make a run for the race lead.

Check out Auto Racing Betting Odds at http://www.casinospokerrooms.com/em/pepsi400.html

2007 British Open, Carnoustie Golf Club and The Claret Jug

Posted on Jumat, 26 Februari 2010 | 0 komentar
2007 British Open, Carnoustie Golf Club and The Claret Jug

The British Open, the oldest golf championship in the world and in 1860 is when the first British Open all started. The Claret Jug, golf’s most coveted and oldest trophy, and at Carnoustie in July the world’s leading golfers will be there to compete for this treasured Jug.

Special memories of past competitions will be remembered and on this world stage when golfing legends and near legends go by one another on this course emotions will spill out. Some of the most knowledgeable golfing spectators in the world by the thousands will flock to

follow their favorite golfers in action.

Every British Open is filled with drama and excitement, and at England's Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake in the 2006 open was no exception to the rule. Although in Scotland, when the open is played there and is home to some of the toughest links courses of all, and open magic really comes into its own at these tournaments.

The mighty links at Carnoustie will be the place when The British Open returns to its Scottish roots. Carnoustie, the ultimate challenge and a well earned reputation by all golfers to have played there.  With links style golf the 2007 Open will be a real test on the golfers and promises to be one of the most thrilling tournaments in recent history. Carnoustie remains a true champion and a worthy holder of its top dog, world class ranking.

Carnoustie is firmly positioned amongst the very best golf courses, although some say that the finesse is lacking or lack the aesthetics of other golf courses.  Carnoustie still remains the true champion it is and is worthy of holding its top dog position in the world class rankings.

Mountaineers scale Mount Everest and that is why golfers come to play at Carnoustie.  Carnasty as it is called in Scotland is the toughest course there is and probably anywhere else in this golfing world.  You're golfing abilities will be tested to its limits, and that is what the extremes of Carnoustie does to golfers.

Britain's greatest course, as Walter Hagen considered to be hosted six previous British Opens.  The Champions of this tournament tells the story of its greatness with Tom Watson, Gary Player, Ben Hogan, Henry Cotton and Tommy Armour, who have all earned this great honor each of them achieving victory with no better then  nominal par at Carnasty.

Will the golf course be setup as tough and nasty as it was in 1999 when Carnasty grew the rough to such extreme lengths and also narrowed the fairways to little over 20 yards wide. This year it is all about Carnoustie in Scotland and how this British Open will be setup.

In 2005 and 2006 Tiger Woods captured this prestige British Open.  Which pro golfer walks away with the claret jug and wins the British Open when the Open invades Carnoustie Golf Club will have proved himself and go down in history.

Check out the Golf Betting Odds at http://www.casinospokerrooms.com/em/britishopen.html

2006 Atlanta Braves Preview

Posted on Kamis, 25 Februari 2010 | 0 komentar
2005 Overview:

Fourteen straight division titles speak volumes for the Atlanta Braves ability to field a competitive team year after year. 2005 was no different. Playing all year in a very tight NL East division, the Braves once again managed to reach the postseason with a 90-72 regular season record. The Braves exited early in the first round of the playoffs, losing in 4 games to the NL Central Houston Astros - but not before playing in the longest playoff game in history, an 18-inning, 5 hour and 50 minute epic battle which ended in the Astros advancing to play the Cardinals for the NL Championship.

The Jones boys led the offense once again in 2005. Outfielder Andrew Jones (.263 51 128), 3rd baseman Chipper Jones (.296 21 72) joined 1st baseman Adam LaRoche (.259 20 78), all star shortstop Rafael Furcal (.284 12 58) and 2nd baseman Marcus Giles (.291 15 63) to provide a fearsome starting lineup. Newcomer Outfielder Jeff Francoeur (.300 14 45) also impressed joining the team in July.

Pitching has always remained the strongest aspect of every Atlanta team over the past 15 seasons. In 2005 John Smoltz (14-7 3.06 230 innings) returned to the role of starting pitcher after closing games between 2001-2004. The relief role was shared by several pitchers until the Braves acquired Kyle Farnsworth (1-1 2.19 16 saves) midseason. Starters Tim Hudson (14-9 3.52), Jorge Sosa (13-3 2.55) and Horacio Ramirez (11-9 4.63) also helped provide quality starts en route to the Braves 14th straight postseason appearance.

Off Season Moves:

Key Braves loses in the off season include Furcal to the Dodgers, Pitching Coach Leo Mazzone to the Orioles as well as closer Kyle Farnsworth to the Yankees. Former big leaguer Roger McDowell will assume the new role as pitching coach as Atlanta also picked up Edgar Renteria (.276 8 70) from the Red Sox to replace Furcal at short. Pitcher Lance Cormier (7-3 5.11) was also traded from Diamondbacks for Johnny Estrada in three-player deal.

2006 Analysis:

The Braves pitching looks to be shaky in 2006. Expect starter Mike Hampton to miss the entire 2006 season due to Tommy John surgery. John Smoltz will be 39 in May and his right shoulder was subjected to the strain of over 230 innings in 2005 while Tim Hudson has spent some time on the disabled list in both of the last two seasons. Losing Farnsworth leaves a big hole in the closer’s role. Lefty Horacio Ramirez is a solid fourth starter giving the Braves 200 innings that they badly needed last season. Expect Sosa to battle for the fifth spot in the rotation. Bottom line: John Schuerholz will need to get more bullpen help, including a legitimate closer, or the Braves are in serious trouble in 2006.

Offensively, although the loss of shortstop and leadoff hitter Furcal to the Dodgers was a huge blow All-Star and Gold Glove winner Edgar Renteria should see a resurgence in 2006, many believed Renteria had difficulties fitting in to the Red Sox team atmosphere – but he did manage an impressive 70 RBI. It's likely that 2B Marcus Giles will move up to the leadoff positive, with Renteria batting second in manager Bobby Cox's newly retooled lineup.

2006 Arizona Diamondbacks Preview

Posted on Rabu, 24 Februari 2010 | 0 komentar
2005 Overview:

Rebounding from a truly disastrous 111 loss season in 2004, the Arizona Diamondbacks improved their 2005 season record to 77-85 including a final 8-2 record to finish the last 10 games of the year. Led by a balanced offense, the team was able to improve on their 2004 record thanks to the surprise performances supplied by 1st baseman Tony Clark (.304 30 87) and Chad Tracy (.308 27 72). The Diamondbacks also received much needed help from Troy Glaus (.258 37 97), Luis Gonzalez (.271 24 79) and outfielder Shawn Greene (.286 22 73).

Arizona’s starting pitching was spotty for much of the season with starters Brandon Webb (14-12 3.54), Javier Vazquez (11-15 4.42) and Brad Halsey (8-12 4.61) providing the majority of the quality starts in 2005. Relievers Brandon Medders (4-1 1.78) and Lance Cormier (7-3 5.11) joined Brandon Lyon (0-2 6.44 14 saves), Brian Burney (1-3 7.43 12 saves) and Jose Val Verde (3-4 2.44 15 saves) who combined to save 41 games in total. 

Off Season Moves:

Arizona moved aggressively in the off season by shipping Javier Vazquez to the White Sox for Orlando Hernandez (9-9 5.12), and also trading power hitter Troy Glaus to the Blue Jays for closer Miguel Batista (5-8 4.10 31 saves) as well as Gold Glove second baseman Orlando Hudson (.271 10 63). The Diamondbacks also picked up catcher Johnny Estrada (.261 4 39) in a off season trade with the Atlanta Braves. The team signed free agent center fielder Eric Byrnes (.226 10 40) to help improve the as well.

2006 Analysis:

The Diamondbacks addressed their need for a legitimate closer by dealing Glaus in an aggressive off season move. Although Glaus’ hitting will be greatly missed, the Diamondbacks will get far more reliability with Batista then any of the options they used last year. The team is relying on youngsters like Chad Trady and first baseman Conor Jackson to pick up the slack left by Glaus.

Arizona also extended Webb’s deal for another 4 years which was a smart move. Webb is a solid workhorse type pitcher and is the ace of the staff. In 2005 he led the team in both ERA (3.54) and Wins (14 ). The pickup of Orlando Hernandez will at a minimum eat up more innings in 2006. But fans shouldn’t expect many wins from him or this rotation. Eric Byrnes is another nice addition but offense really isn’t nor ever was this team’s problem. The lineup is solid and Luis Gonzalez and outfielder Shawn Greene should project to similar numbers in 2006 even without Glaus in the lineup.

The biggest problem for the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2006 will be their pitching. The team did very little to improve their starting rotation and in fact may have actually weakened it in order to improve their bullpen. Aside from Webb the starting pitching needs much more help. The team shouldn’t be considered as serious contenders for the NL West until the pitching receives a significant upgrade.

2006 Anaheim Angels Preview

Posted on Selasa, 23 Februari 2010 | 0 komentar
2005 Overview:

Mike Scioscia and his 2005 Anaheim Angels entered the new season ready to defend their 2004 American League West Title. Although the 2004 season ended in a disappointing 3 game ALDS sweep to the World Series Boston Red Sox, the Angels remained poised and confident they could return to the postseason once again.  The Angels good fortunes continued in 2005 as they ended clinching the American League West with an impressive 95-67 record. Unfortunately, the 2005 postseason ended in 4 straight losses to the Chicago White Sox as the Angels were eliminated 4-1 in the American League Divisional Playoffs.

Lead by superstar Vladimir Guerrero (.317 32 108) the Angels starting lineup provided a balanced attack against the opposition in 2005. The new additions of Juan Rivera (.271 15 59) and shortstop Orlando Cabrera (.257 8 57) helped provide much better offensive stability as they joined outfielders Garret Anderson (.283 17 96) and catcher Bengie Molina (.295 15 69) to provide one of the more consistent lineups in the AL.

The 2005 Angels pitching was led by Bartolo Colon (21-8 3.48) and John Lackey (14-5 3.44) along with journeyman pitcher Paul Byrd (12-11 3.47). Byrd emerged as a pleasant surprise in 2005 posting an 8-5 record with an 3.73 ERA prior to the all star break which was second only to Colon at the end of the 1st half of the season. While pitchers Brendan Donnelly (9-3 3.72 in 65 relief appearances) and Francisco Rodriguez (2-5 2.67 45 saves) anchored one of the best bullpens in baseball.

Off Season Moves:

The Angels remained conservative in their off season. Free Agent Pitcher Hector Carrasco (5-4 2.04) was signed after an impressive year for the Washington Nationals while additional bullpen help was added by trading 2B Alexi Casilla for J.C. Romero (4-3 3.47) from the Twins.  Pitcher Jake Woods (1-1 4.55) was also picked up for late inning relief help, acquired off waivers from the Mariners. The Angels changed very little to their offense, adding Edgardo Alfonso (.277 4 43) to their lineup in a trade for Steve Finley (.222 12 54).

2006 Analysis:

The Angels were wise to add pitchers Hector Carrasco and J.C. Romero as both should help them improve an already strong bullpen and pitching staff. Finley failed to deliver the same results as he did when he was acquired in the second half of the 2004 season (13 HRS 46 RBI with Anaheim) so the Angels felt he was worth trading. Unfortunately for the Angels, Alfonso’s best seasons are clearly behind him - however as an upside he can still be relied on to drive in runs.  The Angels also avoided arbitration with 7 different players during the off season so the ball club is pretty much the same as it was when it began the year in 2005. The starting 2006 lineup is balanced even losing Molina to free agency. The starting pitching could probably use another consistent starter.  However with only three other teams to compete against in the AL West, there is really no reason to believe the Angels won’t contend in 2006 again.

10 Things To Do Before Buying A Novel

Posted on Senin, 22 Februari 2010 | 0 komentar
OK, you don’t get much time to read novels anymore.  You used to but that was another life.  Before you could pick up something that appealed and because you read so much, you weren’t too disappointed if it didn’t grab you like you thought it would.  Things have changed.  Now when you pick up a novel to read it has to get you in quickly or it will collect dust on your bedside table.  There are too many other things demanding your attention…like sleep! 

And when you go to the bookshop sometimes its hard not to be overwhelmed by the sheer number of books on offer, especially with the big mega stores becoming the norm.  So what to do? 

I’ve put together a checklist that with a little bit of preparation can help you wade through
the sea of books and help you pick a surefire winner:  a novel that will captivate YOU.

1. The best place to start is to look out in magazines, newspapers and online for book reviews – see what is being billed as the latest must read.  Even if you don’t have time to read the whole review, jot down the title and author as one to look out for. 

2. Ask friends for the best book they have read in the last few months or this year or the last few years if like you they really are struggling with the whole when-am-I-going-to-find-time-to-read-a-novel?-thing.  Don’t just ask them what book was their favourite; ask them why they liked it.  Was it an unusual story, was the pace so fast they needed a crash helmet, did it have edge of the seat suspense, did it remind them of growing up?  You want to know what exactly made it a great read for them.  This will help you to refine your search, especially if they say they liked the quirky twist in the ending and you don’t do quirky.   Just because you’re close friends doesn’t automatically mean you like the same books.

3. Ask the people behind the counter at your favourite bookshop what they enjoyed reading and get them to take you to it or give you a specific reference number so you can find it easily yourself. 

4. When you get the book in your hands look at the cover.  Is it a catchy title?  Does the cover appeal to you?  Despite the old saying about not judging book covers, publishers put a lot of time and effort into creating a captivating cover and title.  Does it work for you?

5. Turn it over and read the back.  Does it still appeal?  Do you only like reading modern books and this is set in the 1800s?  It’s important to be fairly ruthless at this stage.  If the premise for the story doesn’t leave you wanting more, chances are the writing probably won’t either.

6. Look at the size of the book.  I know this isn’t something for the purists but if you don’t get time to read many novels, don’t launch back in with a 700 page tome or it will probably take you all year and then you’ll be frustrated and annoyed at wasting time and money on something you haven’t enjoyed.

7. The next step is crucial.  Read the opening – does it get you in straight off?  Novels have a bit more time to seduce you than a short story but not much these days.  A good opening is like someone placing a thread around your finger and gently tugging on it.  They’ve got you but can they keep you?

8. Has the author mentioned 10 characters and 5 different place names in the first 3 paragraphs?  You want to be captivated not confused, remember?  If your main reading time is before you drop off to sleep, books that have lots of characters and places or even a family tree at the beginning are a warning that it gets complicated and you need to keep track of who is who and what they’re up to. 

9. Are there lots of long sentences or are they short and sharp?  Lots of short sentences usually mean action and pace.  Something.  Is happening.  Right now.  Usually it’s best to go for a story with a combination of both – one that suits your preferred action/background information mix.

10. If you still think the book in your hands is worthy, randomly flip open the book in 5 places and see whether it is densely packed with text.  Is there dialogue at each page you stop?  No dialogue usually means that a book is more descriptive rather than direct scenes.  If you want a compelling read then go for something with a fair amount of dialogue; if you don’t mind a slower pace then bits of dialogue here and there is probably enough to keep you going.

If it all stacks up, buy it and enjoy.  Just one more tip though.  If it doesn’t captivate you in the first 100 pages and you find reading it a chore, give it up.  Don’t keep persisting just because you don’t like leaving things unfinished.  The book won’t feel hurt if you don’t finish it.  And the author will never know.

10 Basketball Skills You should Learn

Posted on Minggu, 21 Februari 2010 | 0 komentar
Learning how to play basketball is learning its fundamentals. Here are those:

1.    Dribbling - is important to penetrate to the hoop, move the ball across the court, get away from the defense, and find a good passing lane. There are different types of dribbles:

•    change-of-pace,
•    crossover dribble,
•    behind the back,
•    pull back dribble,
•    low dribble,
•    basic dribble,
•    between the legs dribble

2.    Passing - A good offensive attack requires good passing from players. This helps find an open man, to find a good shooter or to get away from a defender. There are several types of passes you need to learn:

•    Overhead Pass
•    Chest Pass
•    Push Pass
•    Baseball Pass
•    Off-the-Dribble Pass
•    Bounce Pass

3.    Shooting - The object of the game is to win by scoring the most points. Therefore, improving the team's shooting is important to win a game. There are several ways to score in the game:

•    Jump Shot
•    Dunk
•    Alley oop
•    Free throw
•    Layup
•    Three-Point Shot
•    Hook Shot

4.    Rebounding - is essential to gain or regain possession after the shot. Usually, the team who has the most number of rebounds after the game has more shot attempts and chances to score.

5.    Offense - is the only chance that the team has a shot at the basket and scoring. Playing a good offense requires coordination among players and individual skill to execute well plays. 

6.    Defense - To be able to get a chance to score and gain possession, the team should play good defense and try to stop their opponent from scoring. As said, "A good defense is a good offense."

7.    Moves - There are different kinds of basketball moves that are important in executing both a good offense and a good defense. Moves are helpful in finding an open man, make a good shot or create an amazing play.

8.    Violations - Knowing the kinds of basketball violations improves your game.

9.    Assist - is given to a teammate to help him score easily. Thus is it important to find an open man on the court

10.    Foul - is often an accidental contact made by the defender to his opponent or an aggressive move by the ball-handler towards his defender. However, a foul is also used as a strategy to stop the clock or to keep the shooting player from scoring easily. Learning how to use your fouls well is important in the game.

9 Great Family Boating Activities

Posted on Sabtu, 20 Februari 2010 | 0 komentar
One of the most enjoyable outdoor activities that my family and I do during the summer is to go boating. Boating is a great way to bond with friends and family members. If you don’t own a boat you can easily rent one for day at one of your local marinas. There are several boats to choose from and many activities to participate in while on the water. Below are just a few of the great things you can spend your day doing while boating.

1. Relaxation – Many families will take an enjoyable stroll around the lake or river relaxing while spending time chatting with friends and family. Take a cooler and snacks and sit back and enjoy the peace that you can experience while floating on the water.

2. Fishing – Take your kids, grandkids friends and family out for a day of fishing. Not only will you have blast watching the young ones eyes light up when they catch a big one, but you will also be able to spend that quality time together that everyone deserves.

3.    Swimming – You’ll find several boats that will dock at the sand bar or out in the middle of the lake. When you notice these boats sitting their you’ll see how much fun their having jumping off the side of the boat, or just floating in the water swimming. The kids seem to enjoy this more than anything else you can do on the boat.

4. Tubing – Here is my favorite activity on a boat. Take everyone out on the boat for a little tubing. This is a great activity for everyone. Watch the kids laugh and yell as they skim across the water on their favorite towable. There are many towables to choose from depending on your rider’s action level.

5. Water Skiing – It’s a great time to get out your skis and hit the water. Friend will love watching the experienced skiers as well as watching the beginners get up for the first time.

6. Kneeboarding – This ones a little easier than water skiing and kids will really enjoy the thrill of racing across the water. Watch out for those waves and be ready to splash in the water.

7. Fire Works – One of my favorite times of the summer is watching the fireworks over the lake while your sitting out on the boat. This can be one of the most spectacular views for watching fire works. Boating is a great way to enjoy the 4th of July weekend.

8. Wakeboarding – If you know how to water ski get ready for some wakeboarding action. You can have a blast trying out new stunts on a wakeboard. This is one of the most popular activities for young ones on the water.

9. Slalom Skiing – Kick away that other ski and use only one. This is for the more advanced skier, but friends and family will cheer you on as you make a big spray behind you while your slaloming.

This summer head to the water with your family and friends and enjoy your time together.

2007 Briten öffnen sich, Carnoustie Golf-Verein und der weinrote Krug.

Posted on Jumat, 19 Februari 2010 | 0 komentar
2007 Briten öffnen sich, Carnoustie Golf-Verein und der weinrote Krug.

Die britischen öffnen sich, die älteste Golfmeisterschaft in der Welt und 1860 sind, wenn die ersten Briten begonnene alle öffnen. Der weinrote Krug, das begehrte und älteste Golf Trophäe und bei Carnoustie im Juli die führenden Golfspieler der Welt ist dort, für dieses zu

konkurrieren gehüteter Krug.

An speziellen Gedächtnissen der letzten Konkurrenzen werden erinnert und auf dieser Welt inszenieren, wann Golf spielende Legenden und nahe Legenden durch eine andere gehen auf diesem Kurs werden Gefühle heraus verschüttet. Einige der kenntnisreichsten Golf spielenden

Zuschauer in der Welt durch die Tausenden scharen sich zu ihren Lieblingsgolfspielern in der Tätigkeit folgen.

Jedes britische geöffnete wird mit Drama und Aufregung gefüllt, und Golf-Verein Liverpool Englands an der königlichen in Hoylake in den geöffneten 2006 war keine Ausnahme zur Richtlinie. Obgleich in Schottland, wenn das geöffnete erbt gespielt wird und zu einigen der

haltbarsten Verbindungen Kurse von allen Haupt ist, und in der geöffneten Magie wirklich seine Selbst an diesen Turnieren.

Die mächtigen Verbindungen bei Carnoustie sind der Platz, wenn die britischen Rückkehr zu seinen schottischen Wurzeln öffnen. Carnoustie, die entscheidende Herausforderung und ein gut erworbenes Renommee durch alle Golfspieler dort gespielt haben. Mit Verbindungen Artgolf sind die geöffneten 2007 ein realer Test auf den Golfspielern und den Versprechungen, eins der spannendsten Turniere in der neuen Geschichte zu sein.

Carnoustie bleibt ein zutreffender Meister und ein angemessener Halter seines oberen Hundes, Weltkategorie Klassifizierung. Carnoustie wird fest unter die sehr besten Golfkurse in Position gebracht, obgleich einige sagen, daß die Finesse ermangelt oder die ästhetik anderer Golfkurse ermangeln. Carnoustie bleibt weiterhin der zutreffende Meister, den es vom Halten seiner oberen Hundeposition in den Weltkategorie Klassifizierungen angemessen ist und ist.

Bergsteigerskala Einfassung Everest und das ist, warum Golfspieler kommen, bei Carnoustie zu spielen. Carnasty, da es in Schottland benannt wird, ist der haltbarste Kurs dort ist und vermutlich irgendwoanders in dieser Golf spielenden Welt. Du spielst Fähigkeiten wirst geprüft zu seinen Begrenzungen Golf, und das ist, was die übermaße von Carnoustie Golfspieler antut.

Großbritanniens größter Kurs, wie Walter Hagen, das betrachtet wird, bewirtet zu werden sechs vorhergehenden Briten, sich öffnet. Die Meister dieses Turniers erklärt die Geschichte seiner Größe mit Tom Watson, Gary Spieler, Ben Hogan, Henry-Baumwolle und Tommy Rüstung, die alles diese große Ehre jede von ihnen erwerben lassen Sieg ohne bessere dann nominale Gleichheit bei Carnasty erzielend.

Wille der Golfkurs ist gegründetes so haltbares und bös, wie es 1999 war, als Carnasty das rauhe zu solchen extremen Längen wuchs und auch die Fahrrinnen zu wenig über 20 Yards breit verengte. Dieses Jahr ist er ganz über Carnoustie in Schottland und wie dieses britische geöffnete gegründet wird.

Tiger Woods 2005 und 2006 nahm dieses Prestige geöffnete Briten gefangen. Welcher Progolfspieler weg mit dem weinroten Krug geht und das britische gewinnt, öffnen, wenn das geöffnete Carnoustie Golf-Verein hat sich geprüft und unten in Geschichte zu gehen eindringt.

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2007 AFL Arena Football Playoffs

Posted on Kamis, 18 Februari 2010 | 0 komentar
Saturday, the battle to Arena Bowl XXI goes between San Jose and Georgia, as the Georgia Force will host the Columbus Destroyers in the National Conference Championship. The American Conference Championship will be between the San Jose Saber Cats and the Chicago Rush.

The Columbus Destroyers advanced to the Conference championships after winning against the Tampa Bay Storm in the opening round and also defeating the Dallas Desperados in the divisional round.

Dallas Desperados entered the playoffs as the No. 1 team to bet with top position in the standings after a 15-1 regular season and Columbus Destroyers was not supposed to win against Dallas. A huge 12-point underdog, Columbus Destroyers posted the victory in the game. QB Matt Nagy was the reason that Columbus won the game. With his exceptional passing skill, he threw for 285 yards with four touchdown passes.  Columbus Destroyers receiver, Damien Groce led the way with eight receptions for 170 yards and a touchdown.

The Force won the Southern Division, and went to defeat the Philadelphia Soul with ease in the divisional round. Georgia QB Chris Greisen was the main reason for the win over the Soul with 301 passing yards, seven touchdown passes and a rushing touchdown.

Georgia Force and Columbus Destroyers will meet again for the third time this football season. In their first meeting Columbus going in as a 6.5-point home underdog, slipped by Georgia 62-61 with a score in the final 14 seconds of the game when Nagy made a two-point conversion. To get the win Nagy converted six touchdowns, while Greisen had more touchdowns with nine but also had the two interceptions that were very costly. In their last meeting it was a different story, the Georgia Force a 8.5-point home favorite blew by Columbus 54-33, and Greisen had a better game outplaying Nagy and passing for six touchdowns while Nagy had the four.

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2006 US Open Tennis Preview

Posted on Rabu, 17 Februari 2010 | 0 komentar
The Grand Slam tennis tournaments - the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open - are the leading major championships in this choice sport and competition of champions and spectators alike. Remaining one of the prestige tennis professional tournaments, and a fan-favorite, the US Tennis Open Series, Tournament and Championship, succeeds and continues to draw massive crowds and fans from around the globe. Millions watching pro-athletes peak and compete for the ultimate prize in tennis: the title, the bragging rights, the cup, the winnings and all that go with it: fame and fortune, recognition of the craft and skill, commitment and dedication to the sport of tennis. The US Open Tennis series, tournament and championship has it all!

From humble beginnings as early as 1881, spearheaded by the US Lawn Tennis Association’s first  National Championship, held in Rhode Island at the time, the US Open Tennis Series, Tournament and Championship sports 124 years of proud history.

It is the one tournament that is the ultimate champion in the survival game that is the grand slam. Unlike the other major grand slam tournaments it has lived, grown and thrived through numerous challenges,  name-changes, location, playing surface and rules edits, yet still around and drawing many to courtside (or at least their television sets, computers and/or mobile devices to keep in touch with what is happening in and around the sport and standings! It continues however to also adapt and please crowds, spanning many generations and hopefully many still to come! This year, a court-color change, building and stadium upgrades and more, promises to contribute to yet another spirited and memorable event!

Some have pitted it as the “richest” pot in the world to be playing for, estimated at $14.5 million US dollars. This is now slightly higher with added prize-monies of up to $19.4 million.

There are five major championships that constitute the overall US Open Tennis Tournament. It encompasses the men’s and women’s singles, men’s and women’s doubles and mixed doubles. All of these categorized competitions grew from a single men’s tournament, building up into the two-week extravaganza phenomena highlight that it is today!

The USTA National Tennis Center, Flushing, NY, USA is the proud hosting venue and choice location for this treasured event in present-day. The 2005 US Open was held Monday, August 29 through Sunday, September 11, with qualifying rounds 1 week earlier on the field courts at the same stadium, which is within easy reach of public transportation, subway, bus, train or car. Kim Clijsters, was the 2005 US Open women’s champion and winner of the US Open Series and Andy Roddick on the men’s side, with runners up Mary Pierce and Andre Agassi made for some exhilarating moments and match-ups in the finals.

The 2006 US Open Tennis Tournament will be held during the period of August 28 and September 10, 2006 and promises yet again to be the ultimate tennis experience for fans around the globe. This will be the 124th anniversary of the US Open Tennis Tournament with the largest winning pot ever.

2006 Toronto Blue Jays Preview

Posted on Selasa, 16 Februari 2010 | 0 komentar
No one expected much from the Toronto Blue Jays in 2005. But surprisingly, prior to the all star break 2005 Overview:

No one expected much from the Toronto Blue Jays in 2005. But surprisingly, prior to the all star break Toronto pitching managed to remain in the American League top 10 while their battling ranked 5th overall in the AL with a collective .268 team average. Unfortunately for Toronto it was all downhill from there as they slid to a final disappointing 80-82 record and fell 15 games behind the Red Sox and Yankees to end their season in 3rd place.

Toronto outfielder Vernon Wells (.269 28 97) provided most of the Blue Jays’ power numbers in 2005 with former Arizona Diamondback and newly acquired Shea Hillenbrand (.291 17 82) helping by splitting time between 1st and 3rd base. The rest of the infield produced much of the team’s offensive in 2005 including 2nd baseman Orlando Hudson (.315 10 63) and 3rd baseman turned 1st baseman Eric Hinske (.262 15 68). Starting pitcher Roy Halladay (12-4 2.41) was clearly the star of the starting pitching staff before he suffered a broken bone in his left leg in early July. And closer Miguel Batista kept the Blue Jays in the race during the first half compiling an impressive 4-2 record prior to the all star break with 15 saves. However, Batista simply wasn’t the same pitcher in the 2nd half of the year despite 16 saves. After the all star break Batista only posted a 1-6 record with a less then stellar 5.35 ERA. Starters Josh Towers (13-12 3.71), Gustavo Chacin (13-9 3.72) and Ted Lilly (10-11 5.56) helped to keep the 2005 pitching efforts admirable.

Off Season Moves:

Much to the delight of Toronto fans, management made two aggressive off season moves to upgrade their pitching staff for 2006. The first was signing free agent and former Baltimore Oriole closer B.J. Ryan (1-4 2.43  36 saves in 41 opportunities)) and the other was taking advantage of the Florida Marlins fire sale by adding starting pitcher A.J. Burnett (12-12 3.44). The Blue Jays also added offensive punch by trading pitcher Dave Bush for 1st baseman Lyle Overbay (.276 19 72) and trading away Orlando Hudson and closer Miguel Batista for slugger Troy Glaus (.258 37 97).

2006 Analysis:

The Blue Jays will jump out of the gate with a very solid pitching staff in 2006. Expect Roy Halladay, A.J. Burnett, Ted Lilly and Gustavo Chacin to form an impressive starting rotation. Burnett pitched over 200 innings in Florida last season so he will prove to be a fine addition to the Blue Jays staff. The acquisition of Oriole closer B.J. Ryan over spotty Miguel Batista will be a vast improvement in the bullpen. Troy Glaus will finally provide some much needed protection for slugger Vernon Wells. One interesting consideration will be how the Blue Jays handle juggling Hillenbrand, Eric Hinske and Troy Glaus at 3rd  base. Hillenbrand and Hinske will most likely DH with leftfielder Reed Johnson (.269 8 58) and rightfielder Alex Rios (.262 10 59) rounding out the rest of the Toronto lineup. If the starting pitching can hold up, and the bats can remain productive expect the Blue Jays to keep the summer interesting in 2006.

2006 Texas Rangers Preview

Posted on Senin, 15 Februari 2010 | 0 komentar
2005 Overview:

Buck Showalter’s 2005 Rangers ended up the season with a disappointing 79-83 record despite having one of the better lineups in baseball.  What made the 2005 season particularly disappointing was the fact the 2004 team ended the season with 89 wins and one of the most impressive home records in baseball. In 2004, the Rangers won 51 home games which ranked 4th overall in the American League, while in 2005 Texas managed only to win 44, ending the season 16 games behind the AL West Angels.

Texas fielded one of the best offensive infields in 2005. 1st baseman Mark Teixeira (.301 43 144) continued to develop his swing, playing in all of the Rangers 162 games in 2005. 2nd baseman Alfonso Soriano (.268 36 104) also proved durable playing in 156 games by finishing 2nd on the team in HRs behind Teixeria. Shortstop Michael Young (.334 24 91), 3rd baseman Hank Blalock (.263 25 92) and outfielders David Dellucci (.251 29 65) and Kevin Mench (.264 25 73) also helped to contribute runs to the potent offensive lineup.

Starting pitcher Kenny Rogers (14-8 3.46) slipped from his 18 wins in 2004 posting a 14 win season to led all starters. Youngster Chris Young (12-7 4.34 showed promise in 2005 appearing in 31 games, while newly acquired starter Chan Ho Park (8-5 5.66) managed to post an 8-3 record before being traded to the Padres in August. Closer Francisco Cordero (3-1 3.39 37 saves) anchored the relief pitching while pitching an impressive 2-0 2.59 with 17 saves after the all star break.

Off Season Moves:

The Rangers had a busy off season losing Rogers via free agency and trading Soriano in a 4-player deal with the Washington Nationals.  Texas also picked up Vicente Padilla (9-12 4.71) from the Phillies in exchange for RHP Ricardo Rodriguez. Soriano was sent to the Nationals for Brad Wilkerson (.248 11 57) while Texas also acquired free agent pitcher Kevin Millwood (9-11 2.86). The Rangers also completed a 6-player deal with the Padres which netted relief pitcher Akinori Otsuka (2-8 3.59) and starter Adam Eaton (11-5 4.57). Pitcher John Wasdin (3-2 4.28) was also resigned via free agency.

2006 Analysis:

New pitching coach Mark Connor has an arsenal of new arms to improve upon the team’s 4.97 ERA in 2005. Texas continues to lack any “ace” as Rogers departure will prove difficult to replace. Millwood is a nice acquisition as is Padilla, although both posted sub-500 seasons in 2005. Eaton should fit nicely into the rotation and is a reliable arm. Look for Otsuka to stabilize the bullpen. Retaining the services of relief pitcher John Wasdin was also a wise move. The Rangers will certainly miss Soriano’s bat in the lineup and hope Brad Wilkerson can return to his 2004 form when he was able to hit 32 HRS - before the Nationals changed their location to Washington. There are many new faces on the Rangers roster, but a lack of quality starters most likely will land them in the same position as 2005.

2006 Tampa Bay Devil Rays Preview

Posted on Minggu, 14 Februari 2010 | 0 komentar
2005 Overview:

There were very few bright spots for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 2005 including the final disappointing weekend when Tampa Bay fans were treated to 4 straight home losses compliments of the visiting Baltimore Orioles. 2005 also saw the final departure of Manager Lou Pinella who was granted a final buyout on his contract. The Devil Rays finished the season with a dismal 67-96 record, 28 games behind the division-leading Yankees and Red Sox.

Despite inconsistent offensive production during 2005, sophomore infielder Jorge Cantu (.286 28 117) and rookie outfielder Jonny Gomes (.282 21 54) provided Devil Ray fans with something to be optimistic about.  While leftfielder Carl Crawford (.301 15 81) and rightfielder Aubrey Huff (.261 22 92) added some impressive offensive numbers as well.

Devil Ray fans had to look long and hard to find any quality starting pitching for much of the year. Only rookie pitcher Scott Kazmir (10-9 3.77) acquired from the NY Mets for Victor Zambrano at the end of 2004, displayed any consistency in the rotation.  The rest of the starting pitching including; Mark Hendrickson (11-8 5.90), Casey Fossum (8-12 4.92), and Seth McClung (7-11 6.59) did very little to help solidify the floundering staff. Incredibly, closer Danys Baez (5-4 2.86) was somehow able to save 41 games in 49 opportunities for a baseball team that managed a total of 67 wins all season. It’s no surprise Pinella wanted out.

Off Season Moves:

A recent poll on the Devil Rays MLB website asked fans; “Which of these off season acquisitions will make the biggest difference for the Rays in 2006?” the selections to choose from were Sean Burroughs, Chad Harville and Ty Wigginton. In a nutshell that should tell you everything you need to know about the Devil Rays off season moves. In 2005 Burroughs managed to hit .282 in 93 games while driving in a total of 17 runs. It’s probably fair to say that Wigginton (.258 7 25) is happy to just be playing on any major league roster. The Pirates became so disappointed with his offensive production they sent him to the minors during the 2005 season. And the pickup of Chad Harville didn’t fair much better. Harville’s career record is 4-7 with an inflated 5.01 ERA.

On January 14th the news didn’t improve much for Devil Rays fans when closer Danys Baez was traded to the LA Dodgers for pitcher Edwin Jackson (2-2 6.28) and it was announced that Kansas City free agent pitcher Shawn Camp (1-4 6.43) was signed to a one year contract.

2006 Analysis:

No doubt newly appointed Devil Rays manager Joe Maddon has his work cut out for him in 2006. On the upside the Devil Rays managed to compile a .274 batting average while scoring 750 runs in 2005 – so offensively they should fair pretty well when stacking up against American League competition in 2006. The main problem with the Devil Rays is lack of pitching. The same starting five will return from last year with bullpen help from Travis Harper (4-6 6.75), Jesus Colome (2-3 4.57), Chad Orvella (3-3 3.60), Tim Corcoran (5.96 ERA in 10 games) and Dan Miceli (1-2 5.89) all looking to help keep games close. The Devil Rays have also signed a bunch of non-roster pitchers as invitees to their spring training camp while also extending minor league deals to several free agent pitchers – hoping to find a few surprises to add to their roster in 2006. Devil Ray fans will need to be patient as it will take some time for the team to rebuild.

2006 St. Louis Cardinals Preview

Posted on Sabtu, 13 Februari 2010 | 0 komentar
2005 Overview:

The 2005 Cardinals were led by one of the greatest offensive player's in baseball, Albert Pujols (.330 41 117). Joined by outfielders Jim Edmonds (.263 29 89), Reggie Sanders (.271 21 54) and Larry Walker (.289 15 82), Pujols and company assembled a regular season winning record of 100-62. During the playoffs, the St. Louis Cardinals lost in 6 games to the Astros. Tony’s Larussa’s team performed well in the postseason, first by sweeping the Padres in 4 straight games and then with Pujols providing some memorable extra inning heroics in game 5 of the LCS against Houston.  Albert’s mammoth homerun helped keep the series alive forcing a game 6 back in St. Louis. Unfortunately St. Louis couldn’t manage another win to force a game seven and Houston was able to make it to their first World Series appearance in team history.

The pitching in 2005 was led by Chris Carpenter (21-5 2.83), Mark Mulder (16-8 3.64) and Matt Morris (14-10 4.11). Closer Jason Isringhausen (1-2 2.14 39 saves) also performed well, closing 39 of 43 save opportunities in 2005.

Off Season Moves:

The Cardinals lost a good portion of their offensive production during the off-season as Reggie Sanders signed with Kansas City and Larry Walker retired. Second baseman Mark Grudzielanek also departed to Kansas City while third baseman Abraham Nunez signed with the Phillies. Starter Matt Morris signed a lucrative 3-year deal with San Francisco for $27 million and the Cardinals also traded lefty reliever Ray King to the Rockies and lost Julian Tavarez who signed a two-year deal with the Red Sox.

The Cardinals did find a decent hitter and a replacement outfielder in Juan Encarnacion (.287 16 76) from Florida and also picked up Larry Bigbie (.239 in 90 games splitting time between Colorado and Baltimore) from the Rockies in the trade for King. The pitching staff sought upgrades for 2006 by adding free agent starter Sidney Ponson (7-11 6.21) and former Mets closer Braden Looper (4-7 3.94) as well as Ricardo Rincon (1-1 4.34).

2006 Analysis:

The Cardinals made several off season free agent signings for the 2006 season but nothing terribly significant. The biggest hope for 2006 is for Scott Rolen to be healthy again so he can contribute. Rolen only appeared in 56 games in 2005 and will be called upon to patch up the hole left by the departure of Sanders and Walker. But any lineup with Pujols and Edmonds should do just fine. Expect to see free agent Junior Spivey (.232 7 24) compete for the 2nd base job as the replacement for Grudzielanek.

Ponson may not have much left in the tank but the 1 million dollars the Cardinals paid to find out is certainly worth the risk. The bullpen picked up two decent arms in Looper and Rincon. Looper blew a bunch of games for the Mets but the Cardinals are hoping he’ll produce in a setup role for Isringhausen. Expect Carpenter to have another productive year as the starting rotation will remain mostly unchanged from 2005.

2006 Seattle Mariners Preview

Posted on Jumat, 12 Februari 2010 | 0 komentar
2005 Overview:

The Seattle Mariners provided little for fans to become exited about in 2005. Seattle ended the 2005 season posting the 3rd worse record in the American League finishing up 69-93 which was only a 6 game improvement from the previous year. The Mariners also managed to only score a total of 699 runs all season which ranked 2nd worse in the entire American League behind the Minnesota Twins.

The starting lineup for the 2005 Mariners offered very little in the way of offensive spark. Newly acquired 1st baseman Richie Sexson (.263 39 121) proved to become a fan favorite while Adrian Beltre (.255 19 87) also helped. But beyond Raul Ibanez (.280 20 89) and superstar Japanese import Ichiro Suzuki (.303 15 88 33 steals) there really wasn’t much offense to speak of on the club.

The 2005 starting pitching also proved somewhat spotty with only Jamie Moyer (13-7 4.28) and Gil Meche (10-8 5.89) posting winning records for the season. Starters Ryan Franklin (8-15 5.10) and Joel Pineiro (7-11 5.62) failed to impress only winning a combined 15 games between the two of them. The only real bright spot in the rotation beyond Moyer and Meche was rookie Felix Hernandez (4-4 2.67).  Hernandez was brought up in August and posted an impressive 2-2 record with a 1.84 ERA, striking out 45 in 44 innings while allowing a 1.66 ERA to left-handed batters in his debut month. Relief pitcher Eddie Guardado (2-3 2.72 36 saves) also posted decent numbers out of the bullpen by doubling his save total from 2004.

Off Season Moves:
Perhaps the biggest move during the 2005 off season for the Mariners was re-signing Jamie Moyer to help keep the starting pitching stable. The Mariners wasted no time by resigning Moyer on December 7th.  Jarrod Washburn (8-8 3.20) was also picked up in order to help the starting rotation while the Mariners added some offense as well by signing free agents Matt Lawton (.254 13 53) from Pittsburgh as well as Carl Everett (.251 23 87). Seattle also acquired veteran infielder Fernando Vina (.226 in 29 games with Detroit in 2005).

2006 Analysis:

New pitching coach Rafael Chaves looks to have Hernandez and Moyer provide some much needed stability to a weak starting rotation. Look for Hernandez to develop nicely with some much needed guidance. Everett and Lawton will help the lineup greatly. Both will provide better protection for Sexson, Beltre and Suzuki making the 2006 offense more fun to watch then the 2005 version. Expect Seattle to score more then 699 runs with this lineup. The Mariners still lack much needed depth in their starting rotation. Hernandez should have a strong 2006 season and fans should be hopeful that perhaps a surprise or two can pull the Mariners from the basement. Kevin Appier was signed to a minor league contract in early January and if healthy may be just what the rotation has been looking for. Appier managed to post 14 wins in 2002, so the Mariners are optimistic that he has a chance to rebound.

2006 San Francisco Giants Preview

Posted on Kamis, 11 Februari 2010 | 0 komentar
2005 Overview:

Without all star Barry Bonds in their lineup the 2005 San Francisco Giants struggled to score runs and find an identity.  Newcomer Moises Alou (.321 19 63) didn’t quite match his 2004 numbers with Chicago when he hit 39 homers and drove in 106 runs but his bat proved a reliable addition.  Joining Alou in the 2005 lineup were Mike Matheny (.242 13 59), Pedro Feliz (.250 20 81) and Ray Durham (.290 12 62) with rookie 1st baseman Lance Niekro (.252 12 46) providing the majority of offense.

Giant pitching in 2005 was led by Jason Schmidt (12 7 4.40) who fell from his 18 win season in 2004. Joining Schmidt for the bulk of the pitching duties where Noah Lowry (13-13 3.78), Brett Tomko (8-15 4.48) and newcomer Brad Hennessey (5-8 4.64). The bullpen remained stable with Tyler Walker (6-4 4.23 23 saves) and closer Armando Benitez (2-3 4.50 19 saves) combining to save a total of 42 games between the two of them.

Off Season Moves:

The Giants sought starting pitching help in the off season and look to improve with the signing of right hander Matt Morris (14-10 4.11 with the Cardinals in 2005). Morris was signed for three years, $27 million follars. Longtime starter Kirk Rueter was released and Brett Tomko signed as a free agent with the Dodgers. San Francisco traded for Baltimore's Steve Kline (2-4 4.28) and signed Tim Worrell (1-2 4.07). The team lost Scott Eyre to the Cubs via free agency. Veteran first baseman J.T. Snow, who played for 9 seasons with the Giants moved on to the Red Sox, clearing the way for young Lance Niekro to play in more games. Steve Finley (.222 12 54) was also acquired via trade with the Angels in exchange for 3rd Baseman Edgardo Alfonzo. The Giants also picked up Free Agent Mark Sweeney (.294 8 40) who matched his career high in RBI with the Padres in 2005.

2006 Analysis:

The return of slugger Barry Bonds alone should mean a better offense in 2006. Expect the Giants to be better then their 75-87 record in 2005. Finley is an interesting pickup. In 2004 he hit 36 home runs which were a career high. The Giants are hoping that Finley can have a rebound year and can perhaps hit 30 or more home runs hitting along side Bonds and Alou. Sweeney might surprise fans is allowed to hit regularly. Niekro also should blossom with better hitters around him.  The lineup is much improved with a healthy Bonds returning.

If Schmidt rebounds and Matt Morris turns in a similar performance as he did last year (14 wins) then the starting rotation will be solid as well. Expect Lowry and Hennessey to also improve in 2006 with more innings under their belts. The Giants are also looking for a full season from closer Armando Benitez which should also help the bullpen. The Giants should be much better in 2006 and will chase the Padres for the NL West title.

2006 San Diego Padres Preview

Posted on Rabu, 10 Februari 2010 | 0 komentar
2005 Overview:

In 2005, the NL West Champion San Diego Padres managed to accomplish more with less. Despite a new ballpark, the offense for the team was spotty all season. Ryan Klesko (.248 18 58) led the team with 18 homeruns while Mark Sweeney (.284 8 40), Brian Giles (.301 15 83), shortstop Khalil Greene (.250 15 70) and catcher Ramon Hernandez (.290 12 58) completed the better parts of the lineup.

The Padres pitching was the most solid aspect of the team led by rookie Clay Hensley (1-1 1.70 in 47.2 innings pitched). Hensley was called up in July and helped starters Jake Peavy (13-7 2.88), Woody Williams (9-12 4.85) and reliever Akinori Otsuka (2-8 3.59) post an 82-80 final record which was good enough to clinch the NL West.

Off Season Moves:

Padres GM Kevin Towers made sure to re-sign Brian Giles then moved on to strengthen the already solid bullpen by re-signing closer Trevor Hoffman (1-6 2.97 42 saves). Towers also traded third baseman Sean Burroughs to the Devil Rays in exchange for pitcher Dewon Brazelton (1-8 7.61), then upgraded their offense at third by trading pitcher Brian Lawrence to the Nationals for Vinny Castilla (.253 12 66). The Padres also improved their outfield defense, and added some offense, by trading Xavier Nady for the Mets' Mike Cameron (.273 12 39 13 stolen bases). Second baseman Mark Loretta was also moved to the Red Sox for catcher Doug Mirabelli (.228 6 18) which became necessary with the loss of free-agent catcher Ramon Hernandez who signed with Baltimore. Starter Adam Eaton and reliever Akinori Otsuka were also traded to the Rangers in a 6-player deal for starter Chris Young (12-7 4.36) and backup outfielder Terrmel Sledge (.243 in 20 games). Catcher Mike Piazza (.251 19 62) and pitcher Shawn Estes (7-8 4.80) also joined the team as free agents in January.

2006 Analysis:

The Padres had a busy off season looking to keep their team strong for another playoff run in 2006. The rotation, the best part of the team in 2005, may be a bit shakier in 2006 without Eaton and Lawrence. Newcomers Young and free-agent pickup Shawn Estes (from Arizona) aren't quite on the same level. The ace of the staff  Jake Peavy will be expected to shoulder much of the load again. The bullpen will be without Otsuka, Chris Hammond and Rudy Seanez, but the addition of Hoffman was solid pickup for the team. The weak offense has improved, with Castilla and former Mets Cameron and Piazza added. The Padres gave up very little to pickup Cameron who missed all of August and September due to devastating collision with centerfielder Carlos Beltran. Cameron will return to his natural position in centerfield in 2006. Piazza is also a good pickup. When rested he can still provide decent power numbers although he still remains a defensive liability when it comes to throwing. If he is used carefully there is no reason why he can’t make a positive contribution.

2006 Pittsburgh Pirates Preview

Posted on Selasa, 09 Februari 2010 | 0 komentar
2005 Overview:

Pittsburgh Pirates fans had little to cheer about in 2005. The only real bright spot for the club was the continued improvement of outfielder Jason Bay (.206 32 101) who played in all 162 games in 2005 for the team.  Beyond Bay there was little offense to speak of for the entire season.  Only 1st basemen Daryle Ward (.280 12 63) and newcomer Brad Eldred (.221 12 27) did much while sophomore 2nd baseman Jose Castillo (.268 11 53) provided the rest of offense for the Buc’s 2005 lineup.

Pittsburgh’s starting pitching in 2006 was almost non-existent. Dave Williams (10-11 4.41) led the staff with 10 wins, while Kip Wells ( 8-18 5.09), newcomers Mark Redman (5-15 4.90) joined Oliver Perez (7-5 5.85), rookie Zach Duke (8- 1 1.81 in 14 game starts) and Josh Fogg (6-11 5.05) to complete the rest of the Pirate rotation. Closer Jose Mesa (2-8 4.76 37 saves) managed to appear in 55 games in order to help keep things interesting. The Pirates finished the season with a last place 67-95 record.

Off Season Moves:
General Manager Dave Littlefield addressed the Pirates offensive needs by signing free agent slugger Jeromy Burnitz (.258 24 87) as well as first baseman Sean Casey (.312 8 58) who came in a trade with the Reds for lefty starter Dave Williams. Third baseman Joe Randa (.275 17 68) was also signed via free agency from San Diego.

The Pirates also picked up free agent reliever Roberto Hernandez (2.58 ERA in 67 appearances for the Mets in '05) in order to fill out the rest of their 2006 bullpen.

2006 Analysis:

Expect Jason Bay to have another big year for the Pirates. The addition of Casey Randa and Burnitz for a small market team is impressive. All three players should be able to add to their 2005 numbers in this lineup. Randa in particular will be interesting to watch. Expect Jose Castillo and Ward’s numbers to also go up with the better protection they will receive by the additions.

Hernandez enjoyed a comeback season with the Mets proving to be a reliable arm in their bullpen. The Mets didn’t want to take the chance that he would repeat his 2005 performance so they allowed him to leave via free agency. The Pirates are hopeful that the Mets loss is their gain. Hernandez maintained good velocity throughout the season and kept the Mets in race for the 2005 NL East.

Of course Littlefield has improved his power from his corner infield spots, and since Randa and Casey are respectable at getting on base the Pirate offense should be better in 2006. The Pirates will rely on Duke to pitch in more games in 2006 and hope he is a player they can build the rotation around. Still the starting pitching is shaky. The Pirates will be looking to get to at least a.500 record in 2006, somewhere they haven't been since the 1992 season. They remain a young team with a lot of pluses.

2006 Philadelphia Phillies Preview

Posted on Senin, 08 Februari 2010 | 0 komentar
The Philadelphia Phillies remained right on the Braves heels for most of the 2005 season thanks to a potent batting order that included 2nd basemen Chase Utley (.291 28 105), and outfielder’s Pat Burrell (.281 32 117) and Bobby Abreu (.286 24 102). Shortstop Jimmy Rollins (.290 12 54) and veteran catcher Mike Lieberthal (.263 12 47) also contributed to provide the Phillies with a well-balanced lineup. Perhaps the biggest offensive surprise was the emergence of rookie 1st baseman Ryan Howard (.288 22 63) who stepped in to replace the inured power hitting Jim Thome. Howard hit an impressive .298 mark after the all star break, launching 19 homeruns while playing in 67 games. His .323 batting average against righties helped keep the Phillies close and landed Howard National League Rookie of the Year. The Phillies ended the 2005 season with a respectable 88-74 record, finishing 2 games behind the Eastern Division leading Atlanta Braves. Philadelphia finished second in the National League with a team batting average of .270 (eighth in MLB).

The Phillies 2005 pitching was led by newly acquired Jon Lieber (17-13 4.20) who was picked up from the Yankees in the 2004 off season. Lieber posted only an 8-8 record prior to the all star break but rebounded nicely with a 9-5 record in the second half of the season and a 3.28 ERA. Joining Lieber in the rotation were starters Brett Myers (13-8 3.72), Randy Wolf (6-4 4.39), Vicente Padilla (9-12 4.71 and rookie pitcher Robinson Tejeda (4-3 3.57). Workhorse closer Billy Wagner (4-3 1.51 38 saves in 41 save opportunities) appeared in 75 games posting a microscopic 0.74 ERA in 36.1 innings pitched after the all star break.

Off Season Moves:

The Phillies acquired veteran reliever Arthur Rhodes (3-1 2.08) from the Indians for outfielder Jason Michaels to help their 2006 bullpen. Philadelphia also moved often injured 1st baseman Jim Thome (.207 7 30 RBI in 59 games) to make room for rookie sensation Ryan Howard. Aaron Rowand (.270 13 69) was picked up from the White Sox in the trade for Thome. Vicente Padilla was also moved for relief pitcher Ricardo Rodriguez (2-3 5.53) while starters Ryan Franklin (8-15 5.10) and journeyman reliever Tom Gordon (5-4 2.57) were acquired via free agency.

2006 Analysis:

The Phillies will enter the 2006 season with a potent lineup. Picking up Rowand in exchange for Thome will add to an already stacked batting order. Rowand is slated to replace free agent outfielder Kenny Lofton in centerfield. The Phillies will also be looking to build on Chase Utley and Ryan Howard’s breakout seasons. Abreu was included in the trade rumor mill all off-season but it appears he will be staying in Philadelphia. Abreu is a steady often-underrated competitor, playing in all 162 games last year. Expect the offense to be even better in 2006 with Howard playing a full season.

The Phillies are most concerned about their pitching. The team lost free agent closer Billy Wagner to the Mets, and reliever Terry Adams to Pittsburgh. Vincente Padilla was also traded to Texas and it appears Urbina may not be pitching at all in 2006.  Lieber, Lidle and Myers should continue their 2005 form in 2006 although the 4th and 5th starters are very weak.  Reliever Tom Gordon has some very big shoes to fill with the departure of Wagner. Gordon hasn’t managed to hold down the closer role since 2001 with the Chicago Cubs.  Expect the Phillies lineup to dominate the NL and the top 3 pitchers to do well. The bullpen is shaky, but Philadelphia should contend for the East with a strong offensive attack.

2006 Oakland Athletics Preview

Posted on Minggu, 07 Februari 2010 | 0 komentar
2005 Overview:

The Oakland Athletics finished the 2004 season with an impressive 91-71 record ending the year only 1 full game behind the division leading Angels. Unfortunately, the 2005 season didn’t end up quite as well for Oakland as they finished up the year with a final 88-74 record, 7 games behind the AL West Champion Los Angeles Angels.

Despite some very shaky starting pitching the 2005 A’s bullpen kept the team in contention entering the 2nd half of the season. Thanks to relievers Hudson Street (5-1 1.72 23 saves) and Justin Duchscherer (7-4 2.21) both of who appeared in a combined 70 games prior to the all star break. The starting pitching was led by Barry Zito (14-13 3.86), Joe Blanton (12-12 3.53) and Rich Harden (10-5 2.53).  Newly acquired Danny Haren (14-12 3.73) also contributed while starter Kirk Saarloos (10-9 4.17) stepped up his game in 2005 by winning 10 games for the first time in his young 4-year career.

The 2005 Athletics’ offense production was led by outfielder Mark Kotsay (.280 15 82), 3rd baseman Eric Chavez (.269 27 101) and outfielder Nick Swisher (.236 21 74) Newcomer outfielder Jay Payton (.269 13 42), who was acquired midseason from the Boston Red Sox also helped stabilize the starting lineup.  The offensive surprise of the season was rookie 1st baseman Dan Johnson (.275 15 58) who was called up in late May.

Off Season Moves:

The Oakland A’s had a busy off season first by signing free agent pitchers Jay Witasick (1-5 2.84), Matt Rooney (1-5 5.45) and starter Esteban Loaiza (12-10 3.77). The A’s also picked up reliever Chad Gaudin (1-3 in 5 games) via trade from the Blue Jays as well as outfielders Milton Bradley (.290 13 38) and Antonio Perez (.297 3 23) in trades with the LA Dodgers. Free Agent Frank Thomas was also signed from the World Champion White Sox (.219 12 26) to help complete the 2005 lineup.

2006 Analysis:

The A’s need strong starting pitching in 2006 if they hope to compete. The bullpen cannot be relied on as heavily to keep Oakland in contention. Esteban Loaiza should be a good pickup to help solidify the rotation. Barry Zito is on the last year of his contract and GM Billy Beane has been known to dump contracts before losing players to the free agent market. He has been shopping Zito around on a limited basis and has made it know that he will listen to offers, so it will be interesting to see how things shake out. The bullpen is strong and Witasick will help make it stronger. Milton Bradley’s addition is a nice pickup as is Frank Thomas who the A’s a hoping will rebound after he played in only 35 games in 2005. Bradley also had limited at bats in 2005, appearing in only 75 games. The pickup of the young 3rd baseman Antonio Perez will also help. Expect the A’s to be in contention if they can get consistent starting pitching. The offense should be fine - look for 1st baseman Dan Johnson to blossom in his sophomore season.

2006 New York Yankees Preview

Posted on Sabtu, 06 Februari 2010 | 0 komentar
2005 Overview:

The New York Yankees simply weren’t themselves for much of the 2005 season. The Bombers starting pitching proved spotty for much of the year while their offense regularly scratched and clawed for runs during the entire first half of the season. Newly acquired starter Randy Johnson struggled to become the power pitcher the Yankees had hoped for, while the rest of the pitching staff battled with constant injuries and poor starts.  Somehow Manager Joe Torre was able to keep his team in the mix of things until after the All Star break. And as the Orioles and Blue Jays began slumping in the second half of the season, the Yankees hit their stride.

Rookie 2nd baseman Robinson Cano (.297 14 62) provided the Yankees with an impressive bat and steady defense while 3rd baseman Alex Rodriquez (.321 48 130) assembled a stellar MVP campaign hitting behind Shortstop and Captain Derek Jeter (.309 19 70). Outfielders Hideki Matsui (.305 23 116) and Gary Sheffield (.291 34 123) also helped anchor the Yankee offense while 1st basemen Jason Giambi (.271 32 87 108 walks) rebounded from his admission of steroid use and a dreadful 2004 campaign. Giambi turned in an impressive offensive second half and forced fan favorite Tino Martinez (.241 17 49) to the bench despite Tino’s hot offensive production prior to the all star break.

Closer Mariano Riveria (7-4 1.38) proved once again why he is one of the most valuable closers in baseball appearing in 71 games while saving 43. And Randy Johnson (17-8 3.79 211K) finally settled in to provide some needed consistency in the rotation. The Yankees also caught some much needed “lightening in a bottle” from newcomers Aaron Small (10-0 3.20) and Chien-Ming Wang (8-5 4.02) while starting pitcher Mike Mussina was able to string together a number of quality starts in order to improve his overall record to 13-8. The July addition of Shawn Chacon (7-3 2.85) acquired from the Colorado Rookies for RHP Ramon Ramirez and Eduardo Sierra also provided some much needed help for the starting rotation.

The Yanks ended their season in a classic “fight to the finish” battling rival Boston for first place finally clinching the AL Eastern division in the final weekend series against the Red Sox.

The Yankees postseason didn’t prove quite as exciting as they lost to the Angels in 5 games exiting quickly in the first round of the playoffs.

Off Season Moves:

After a disappointing postseason, Steinbrenner and company quickly re-signed GM Brian Cashman and began focusing on the tasks at hand. First in line was extending leftfielder Hideki Matsui’s contract for another four years. Next, Yankee management added bullpen strength by signing free agents Kyle Farnsworth (1-1 2.19 16 saves) and Mike Myers (3-1 3.13) while trading for pitcher Ron Villone (5-5 4.08).

Yankee fans were also given a special Christmas present on December 21st when Boston free agent outfielder Johnny Damon (.316 10 75) agreed to terms as the Yankees new centerfielder. Free agents Octavio Dotel and Miguel Cairo were also signed while fan favorite Bernie Williams (.249 12 64) agreed to return - at least for one more season - as the team’s DH.

2006 Analysis:

The Yankees addressed some key bullpen concerns with additions of Farnsworth and Myers who will join Tanyon Sturtze (5-3 4.73), Aaron Small and Chien-Ming Wang as the bridge to Riveria. Dotel is coming off surgery but his save numbers (36 in 2004) have the Yankees hoping he is worth a chance. Damon finally gives the Yankees the leadoff hitter they have lacked for the past few seasons and will solve the defensive problems that eventually forced the benching of centerfield Bernie Williams prior to the all star break.

If both are healthy, Randy Johnson and Mike Mussina should have an easier first half then last season but the 4th and 5th starters for the Yankees may need some help - so expect Jaret Wright and Carl Pavano to receive some competition. It will be interesting to see just how Joe Torre fits Chacon, Wang and Small into the mix.

2006 New York Mets Preview

Posted on Jumat, 05 Februari 2010 | 0 komentar
2005 Overview:

Rookie Manager Willie Randolph and General Manager Omar Minaya entered the 2005 season with two new key acquisitions. Both Pedro Martinez and Carlos Beltran arrived via free agency hoping to improve the New York Mets lineup and rotation. Martinez (15-8 2.82) certainly impressed, posting a 10-3 record prior to the all star break. Beltran (.266 16 78) on the other hand struggled for most the season as the Mets finished the season with an 83-79 record, 7 games behind the Atlanta Braves.

Outfielder Cliff Floyd (.273 34 98) enjoyed a renaissance in 2005 reaching a career high in homeruns. 3rd baseman David Wright (.306 27 102) also came into his own while Mike Piazza (.251 19 62) ended his 8-year career as a NY Met batting only .232 after the all star break.  Shortstop Jose Reyes (.273 7 58 60 stolen bases) was able to play a full season and impress but the rest of the Met’s offense suffered with injuries and spotty output. Japanese import Kaz Matsui (.255 3 24) Mike Cameron (.273 12 39), and newly acquired 1st baseman Doug Mientkiewicz (.240 11 29) did little to provide the Mets with any stability in the everyday lineup.

Along with Martinez, Tom Glavine (13-13 3.53) was able to finally show a glimpse of the pitcher he once was by compiling a 7-6 record and 2.22 ERA after the all-star break. Starters Kris Benson (10-8 4.13), Víctor Zambrano (7-12 4.17), and Jae Seo (8-2 2.59) were helped by the aging Roberto Hernandez (8-6 2.58) and the emergence of Aaron Heilman (5-3 3.17) in the bullpen. Unfortunately, closer Braden Looper (4-7 3.94 28 saves) struggled for the entire season converting only 28 of 36 save opportunities.

Off Season Moves:

The Mets finally picked up the 1st baseman they wanted by acquiring Carlos Delgado (.301 33 115) from the Marlins. Catcher Paul Lo Duca (.288 6 57) was also netted from the Marlins fire sale while Mets GM Omar Minaya landed the closer free-agent lefthander Billy Wagner (4-3 1.51 38 saves) from the Phillies.  Mike Cameron was moved to the Padres for new right fielder Xavier Nady (.261 13 43) and the ageless wonder Julio Franco (.275 9 42) was signed via free agency to a 2-year contract. Starting pitchers Jae Seo and Kris Benson were also dealt while relievers Jorge Julio (3-5 5.90), John Maine (2-3 6.30) and Duaner Sánchez (4-7 3.73) joined the bullpen.

2006 Analysis:

While Minaya failed to land Manny Ramirez after all the rumors, he was able to add a legitimate power hitter in Delgado. Expect Wagner to be a tremendous upgrade over Looper. Lo Duca should perform well alongside backup catcher Ramon Castro (.244 8 41). However, the Mets starting pitching may prove to be a bit thin. Trading both Seo and Benson may have been a mistake.  Look for Heilman to join the starting rotation after a strong effort in winter ball and Steve Trachsel (1- 4 4.14) to also return. If the Mets remain healthy and their rotation doesn't fall apart, they will contend with the Phillies and Braves in 2006

2006 NASCAR Preview

Posted on Kamis, 04 Februari 2010 | 0 komentar
This speedway phenomena and crowd-sports fascination is an annual specialty racing mass-event, presented by NASCAR, Daytona Beach, Florida in the USA. Typically held in the state of North Carolina at the Lowe's Motor Speedway, Concord, N.C., it has become a part of the fabric of not only the local area, but also a National passion and worldwide sporting event of distinction.

It offers one and all - with an insatiable need and appetite for the ultimate in speed and custom wheels racing - some utter satisfaction and the perfect adrenaline rush, on-demand and lap-by-lap!

It remains one of the largest global spectator sports and sports-betting favorite, gaining ground every year. It has however also known some ups and downs in its interwoven, proud and tragic history.

It came rooted in and from humble beginnings in the whiskey bootlegging down South, the ensuing stock-car racing of the early years, to the formal establishment of the national sanctioning body  to govern stock racing on December 12,  1947 called ‘NASCAR’, the now well-recognized acronym and branding for the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing.

Its halls of fame also carry shadows and sadness of numerous crashes, accidents and tragic incidents, famous driver deaths and losses that dot its development and sporting landscape.  From struggling with and overcoming with triumph, numerous diverse challenges and obstacles like prohibition, the law,  world war II, automotive and technological advancement and roller-coaster participation, retraction, interventions,  the birth of the ‘HEMI’, to tobacco advertising bans, corporate sponsorships partnering, increasing popularity,  broadcasting and media coverage, personal and professionals competing on and off-track, increasing hype, droves of timeless champions and recognized fallen heroes, NASCAR and racing has remained a crowd pleaser and favorite.

NASCAR, among other things, also acts as the sanctioning and overseeing body for the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series. In retrospect, here are some quick-facts about the events and more specifically the 2005 NEXTEL Cup Series. With final races held on Saturday, May 21, 2005, with capacity crowds exceeding organizers’ expectations and a new champion, everyone’s eyes are on the pre-season thunder and hopefuls in 2006!

The Nextel Cup Series' second season, the 57th for NASCAR's premier division -- began in February 2005 at Daytona and ended 35 races later with the Ford 400 at Homestead.
It consisted of 36-races in total, making up the 2005 Nextel Cup Series, including the season-ending 10-race Chase for the Nextel Cup "playoff." Tony Stewart tops the NASCAR world as the 2005 Nextel Cup Champion.

You might be asking what makes a driver eligible for the Nextel Open and who or what to watch for? Here are some of the general guidelines:

Little has changed in the rules for the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series (Open and All-Star Challenge). Eligibility rules for competitor-drivers potentially partaking in the NASCAR
-    Nextel Cup Series include:

    Drivers and car owners who have won races in the current and preceding year.

    In the true spirit of competition, a driver who has left the team under whose banner a race might have been one, remains eligible and the car owner's new driver can also race (through the last race before The All-Star Race)

    Past NASCAR cup champions (past 10 years )

    The All-Star Race winners (past 10 years)

    The winning driver of the Nextel Open

    Drivers who have won in previous years, not eligible by the above (not owners)

    If 20 drivers are not eligible, winners from previous seasons still active on the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series, become eligible for The All-Star Race. All active drivers during that season become eligible, even if the field exceeds 20 competitors.

It is then easy to see that the entry requirements for NASCAR-banner type events, support standards of excellence and achievement.  To qualify for the Nextel Open, drivers must be in the Top 50 of the final NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series [drivers] point standings or in the Top 50 of the current NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series [drivers] point standings as of March 14, 2006. Just because a driver is listed, does not mean they will be participating in the race.

The 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge, showcased race winners from the previous and current seasons, as well as past event champions and series champions from the past 10 years (1995-2005). All were active drivers and competed in at least one series event during the preceding (2004 or 2005) season. Also eligible was the winner of the NEXTEL Open, a preliminary event for teams not qualified for the all-star event, and one other NEXTEL Open driver, who secures an empowered fan-favorite vote, into full participatory rights and privileges in the all-star event. To qualify for the NEXTEL Open event, drivers must have been in the Top 50 of the final 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings, or in the Top 50 of the current point standings at the time.

The ever-popular NASCAR's Nextel All-Star Challenge race, is likely to return to Lowe's Motor Speedway near Charlotte in 2006, but NASCAR is contemplating its future, always with an eye on what tomorrow may bring to the sport in general and the event in particular.

Quoted sources list The Charlotte Observer as reporting that recently a vice president from Nextel, (official sponsors of the NASCAR’s Cup series as well as the all-star race), said that the company was satisfied with the Charlotte area's efforts for the race and indicated the event would likely come back in 2006. 

NASCAR Vice President Jim Hunter said nothing has been decided about the long term. "Every year, we revisit the idea of moving the all-star race," he said. The story also lists that  the all-star event creates approximately $94 million dollars’ worth of impact on the region's economy in travel and tourism dollars spent.(Source: NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter, 4-7-2005), so it is easily seen that this event is sporting a growing trend, not only in viewer-ship, but also in vested dollars and profits

2006 Minnesota Twins Preview

Posted on Rabu, 03 Februari 2010 | 0 komentar
2005 Overview:

The Minnesota Twins were able to provide fans with a respectable year by fielding essentially the same team it did to end the 2004 season. Minnesota finished the year 83-79 while compiling the 2nd best home record within the AL Central (2nd to only the World Series Champion White Sox) going 45-36 at the Metrodome. The power production from the Twins offense in 2005 was led by 1st baseman Justin Morneau (.239 22 79) and outfielder Jacque Jones (.249 23 73) while outfielders Shannon Stewart (.274 10 56), Torii Hunter (.269 14 56), 3rd baseman Michael Cuddyer (.263 12 42) and Catcher/DH Matthew LeCroy (.260 17 50) all combed to help keep the batting order stable.

Unfortunately, Minnesota wasn’t able to find much quality starting pitching in 2005 with Johan Santana (16-7 2.87) and Carlos Silva (9-8 3.44) proving to be their most consistent starters.  Pitcher Brad Radke (9-12 4.04) suffered a disappointing summer while starter Joe Mays(6-10 5.60) posted a dismal 1-7 record with a 8.22 ERA after the all star break. Starting pitcher Kyle Lohse (9-13 4.18) also struggled to win games after the all star break, returning only 2 wins against 6 losses to end the season with a disappointing sub-five hundred performance.  The bullpen had a few bright spots with Juan Rincon (6-6 2.45) appearing in 75 games, J.C. Romero (4-3 3.47) appearing in 68 and closer Joe Nathan (7-4 2.70) posting 43 saves in 48 save opportunities.

Off Season Moves:

The Twins have had a tough winter. Talks for Alfonso Soriano and several others at the GM meetings went nowhere so Minnesota settled by trading RHPs Travis Bowyer (5.59 ERA in 8 games) and Scott Tyler for second baseman Luis Castillo (.301 4 30). Castillo became available as part of the Marlins dismantling. The Twins also signed Rondell White (.313 12 53) to serve as a designated hitter/right fielder (taking Jacque Jones' spot) and added Tony Batista (.241 32 110 in 2004 with the Expos), after a full season in Japan, to assume duties at third base.

2006 Analysis:

With the White Sox and Indians making moves to improve their rotation the Twins did little to improve their starting staff. The Twins are hoping that Johan Santana will repeat his 2005 effort and wouldn’t mind if he could pick up another 20 win season, like he did in 2004 – since every little bit will help.  If Lohse can put together a better full season that should help take some of the strain off the rotation as well.

The Twins need to be stronger in the infield and they are hoping the addition of Luis Castillo will help in that department. Rondell White is being expected to add a steady bat in the everyday lineup and it will be interesting to see how Tony Batista performs after missing a full year of major league pitching. Batista was a legitimate long ball threat during his last few years at Baltimore and Montreal – so his bat will be a welcome addition.  Since the White Sox and Indians are fielding much deeper rotations, it will be very tough for the Twins to compete.

2006 Milwaukee Brewers Preview

Posted on Selasa, 02 Februari 2010 | 0 komentar
2005 Overview:
The Milwaukee Brewers put together an impressive 2005 season posting a .500 record (81-81). Led by outfielders Carlos Lee (.265 32 114) and Geoff Jenkins (.292 25 86) the Brewers 2005 offense also received help from 1st baseman Lyle Overbay (.276 19 72) and Brady Clark (.306 13 53).  Rickie Weeks (.239 13 42) and Bill Hall (.291 17 62) split time at second base while pitcher Chris Capuano (18 12 3.99) surprised many by posting 18 wins and pitching over 200 innings (219) for the first time in his young major leaguer career. Helping Capuano in the rotation were Ben Sheets (10 9 3.33) and Tomo Ohka (7 6 4.35) who was acquired midseason from the Washington Nationals. Newcomer closer Derrick Turnbow (7 1 1.74 39 saves) did very well posting a microscopic 0.90 ERA after the all star break.

Off Season Moves:

GM Doug Melvin continued to carefully build his team of youngsters for 2006. First on his list was trading first baseman Lyle Overbay in order to make room for newcomer Prince Fielder (.288 2 10). The organization is high on Fielder’s potential. The team also picked up starter Dave Bush (5-11 4.49), outfielder Gabe Gross (.250 1 7) and pitcher Zach Jackson, who was a former first round pick from the Blue Jays.

The Brewers also traded to get third baseman Corey Koskie (.249 11 36) in exchange for right hander Brian Wolfe. Melvin also sent pitcher Wes Obermueller to Atlanta to get back the Brewers' former closer, Dan Kolb (3-8 5.93).

2006 Analysis:

The Brewers GM Doug Melvin continues to impress as he has assembled a team of young, aggressive players. Prince Fielder is expected to join Lee and Jenkins to form one of the more formidable lineups in the NL.  The Brewers think so highly of Fielder they moved Overbay to make room for his immediate ascension.

The team hopes Bush will be a good pickup. The pitcher turned around a poor 0-5 start with the Blue Jays and did struggle in September as well, but the Brewers are hopeful a change in scenery will help him. The team's starters ranked sixth in the NL with a 4.02 ERA last year and the staff should be improved. Expect Koskie to do well in his new uniform. His RBI totals in particular should increase with more consistent playing time.

The pitcher to watch will be Capuano. His 18 wins and 35 game starts really anchored the rotation in 2005. The Brewers are hoping he will become a legitimate ace to build their rotation around. The bullpen other then Turnbow is somewhat questionable. Kolb is familiar face and will help setup the closer but other then that there isn’t much here to depend on. Turnbow posted a 3-0 record after the all star break and emerged as one of the more reliable closers in baseball. The Brewers are counting on him picking up where he left off in 2005. Brewer fans remain hopeful in 2006 as management continues to build a quality team.

2006 Los Angeles Dodgers Preview

Posted on Senin, 01 Februari 2010 | 0 komentar
Led by newly signed 2nd baseman Jeff Kent (.289 29 105), the Los Angeles Dodgers posted an unimpressive 71-91 record in 2005. 1st basemen Olmedo Saenz (.263 15 63) and Hee-Seop Choi (.253 15 42) joined outfielder Milton Bradley (.290 13 38) and late season pickup Jose Cruz (.301 6 22) to provide the majority of the team’s offense for the year. Catcher Jason Phillips (.238 19 55) and outfielder J.D. Drew (.286 15 36) also helped add some pop in the lineup as Los Angeles ended 2005 a full 11 games behind the Division Champion San Diego Padres.

Pitchers Jeff Weaver (14 11 4.22), Derek Lowe (12 15 3.61) and Brad Penny (7-9 3.90) combined to provide a majority of the team’s quality starts while reliever Yhency Brazoban (4 10 5.33 21 saves) anchored the back end of the bullpen.

Off Season Moves:

The Dodgers signed a bunch of free agents in the off season to address their needs. Free agent Nomar Garciaparra (.283 9 30) was signed to play first base, Bill Mueller (.295 10 62) to play third, Rafael Furcal (.284 12 58) to play shortstop and Kenny Lofton (.335 2 36) to play centerfield. Milton Bradley was sent to the A's and the team added NY Met Jae Seo (8-2 2.59) and Giants free agent Brett Tomko (8-15 4.48) to the starting rotation.

The LA Dodgers addressed their bullpen needs by picking up closer Danys Baez (5-4 2.86) and reliever Lance Carter (1-2 4.89) who was signed from the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

2006 Analysis:

Mueller, Garciaparra and Furcal were all solid pickups and should help reduce the need for Kent to do all the scoring in 2006. The Dodgers are hoping Garciaparra can play healthy for a full season and they expect him to surprise skeptics who believe he is damaged goods. Furcal is an anchor in the infield and has an absolute canon for an arm. Fans should expect him to step up his game another notch in 2006 after the Braves let him get away.

Seo had perhaps the best 2nd half of any of the Met pitchers last season. The Mets felt his 2005 season was essentially a fluke so they were willing to trade him for reliever Duaner Sanchez. The Dodgers are hoping Seo can provide a significant amount of quality innings in 2006. Fans shouldn’t expect Tomko to do much better then last year but the Dodgers still need him to improve on his 8-15 record though. Fans also should be confident that the off season bullpen signings will help. Both Baez and Carter will be welcome additions. Baez in particular was chased by a few different teams and the Dodgers were lucky to grab him.

If a few of the offensive pieces can come together the Dodgers might surprise some people in the NL West. Most experts would point to the fact that the starting pitching is still too shaky to pick the team for any serious contention in 2006.

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