Get Rid of ‘Em

Twin brothers Henrik and Daniel Sedin of the Vancouver Canucks were split up for the first time in their lives via the NHL All-Star fantasy draft

I’m just going to go out on a limb here and say that they have got to scrap the all-star games. No applause necessary for the originality.

On what may possibly be the worst weekend this year in sports, we saw two brutal all-star games in which even the highlights were almost unbearable. I think it would have been more fun playing scrabble on family game night. Seriously, I like scrabble.

The Pro-Bowl is as big a joke as Jose Canseco’s boxing career was. There is no reason for the NFL to play this game. Football is a game that is built off of pure intensity and violence, yet in an all-star game there is no way that guys can play with anywhere near the same passion that they do during the season. No one wants to get hurt in an all-star game and nobody wants to hurt a fellow player in something that is essentially meaningless

Might as well make it a flag football Pro-Bowl if you’re going to keep it around because what is put on display each year sure isn’t NFL level football. I mean, at one point it was 42-0 and the first half wasn’t over.

They should stop torturing the players and the fans that waste their time to watch this spectacle. At least they put the game back in Hawaii this year.

The NHL at least tried to do something this year to spice up their all-star game even if it only ever had the potential increase the hype prior to the game. You don’t see hockey as the lead story too often on major American sports sites as it was on Friday evening.

However, as much hype as the fantasy draft caused, it in no way led to the player’s to work harder during the game. If they could find some way in the NHL, as well as the NBA, to force the player’s to play some defence then maybe these games could actually hold some viewers. Alas, there probably is no realistic method for these leagues’s to follow in order to make these multi-millionaires show some effort for one extra game.

The combined goal total of 21 in the NHL all-star game exceeded the Vegas over/under set at 16.5.

Major League Baseball’s all-star game is not enjoyable because it actually means something in terms of World Series home field advantage. In fact, I think it’s stupid to decide something like that in an all-star game. It may create a little extra buzz each and every year, but in baseball there is never a reason not to try. Its baseball, how can you not put in a full effort?

The 3 other major North American sports don’t have that luxury. Moreover, with all the complaining that surrounds each respective all-star game from fans and analysts alike, it would make more sense to just abandon the game’s altogether.

The most intriguing feature of the NBA and NHL all-star games, which in my humble opinion are the skills competitions, have even lost their allure.

Keep the breaks, keep the status, but lose the game.

Maybe they should just make everyone play baseball for the all-star game.

Also, check out The Everyday Man’s Sports blog for his take on this issue http://theeverydaymanssportsblog.wordpress.com/2011/01/29/the-comedy-all-stars/

Agree? Disagree? If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, please feel free to reply in the comments section below. Or you can e-mail me at cross_can15@hotmail.com. I’m now on twitter follow me @paintstheblack and I will gladly return the favor.

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Kevin Garnett: From Classless to Shameful

Kevin Garnett slides his foot under Channing Frye

Respect. I guess that’s a word that Kevin Garnett doesn’t understand the meaning of.

Voted the biggest trash talker in the league by the players with a whopping 62 percent, Garnett is known around the NBA for his animalistic, cave man-like intensity.

Our increasing acceptance towards the brash, loud-mouthed athlete has seen us not only accept guys like Kevin Garnett, but admire them. The only people who seem to be denying the changing culture in sports are the guys running the head offices in their respective league. The NFL and NBA go to extreme levels in an attempt to take all emotion out of sports.

There’s nothing wrong with a little trash talking.

However, when you talk about crossing the line, Kevin Garnett is no stranger to the other side. Earlier in the season, without denial, Garnett allegedly called Charlie Villanueva a “cancer patient” in reference to Villanueva’s disease Alopecia Areata that causes him to be hairless.

Classless.

Last night, Kevin Garnett showed all of us that he has no respect for not only his fellow players, but for the game of basketball.

In the Boston Celtics matchup against the Phoenix Suns yesterday, on two separate occasions, Kevin Garnett slid his foot under Channing Frye’s while he was taking a jump shot. The first time, Channing Frye twisted his ankle but was able to shake it off and come back into the game. The second time, Frye was unharmed but the video also catches Garnett taking a shot at Frye’s private area while he is sliding his foot under the jump shooting Frye.

You be the judge, but if you can’t see this as an obvious intent to injure, then please keep the rose-coloured glasses for yourself and Mark Jackson. I’m not too sure what Mark Jackson is saying right now because if he was Garnett’s defence lawyer, I think the jury has already given the guilty verdict, locked him up and thrown away the keys.

Sean Avery has been hockey’s ultimate bad boy for the last few years. Possibly the least classy player to ever lace up a pair of skates. There is no line for Avery to cross, because everything is fair game. Sean Avery doesn’t follow the “code” that nearly all NHLers follow. He doesn’t mind giving the occasional sucker punch that would be unthinkable for most guys.

Kevin Garnett threw his sucker punch yesterday and the way I see it, he and Sean Avery aren’t all that different. Except for one key aspect, Kevin Garnett is a well-respected professional athlete.

Garnett may be a winner in the sense that most of us can understand a winner to be but not where it really counts. MVP, defensive player of the year, NBA Champion, Olympic gold medalist, the list is a pretty extensive one for KG. Heart of a champion? Kevin Garnett has about as much heart as the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz.

I thought mutual respect was something that professional athletes were supposed to have for each other. Maybe Kevin Garnett didn’t get the memo.

The health of an athlete is his livelihood. Without his health, there is no job, and obviously no money. Sticking a foot under another person may only twist an ankle, but it shows us that this is a guy who will do anything to win a basketball game. What’s next?

When you stick a foot under an opponent in the hope that they do in fact hurt their ankle, it is clearly a classless move. But you know what else describes a move like that? Gutless.

Funny, that’s what they call Sean Avery.

Agree? Disagree? If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, please feel free to reply in the comments section below. Or you can e-mail me at cross_can15@hotmail.com. I’m now on twitter follow me @paintstheblack and I will gladly return the favor.

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PGA Needs More Than Tiger

Those were the days weren't they?

Tiger Woods and the PGA have been engaged in a steaming hot relationship ever since he burst onto the scene in 1996. However, as we all know this relationship has cooled off a tad, and by cooled off I mean that Tiger has stopped winning. Maybe they’re just taking a break. At least, that’s what golf fans are hoping for.

The PGA needs Tiger Woods as much as Tiger Woods needs golf. However, this marriage cannot last forever and professional golf is feeling the full effect of this “break” that the two sides have taken in their relationship.

For the PGA, Tiger Woods signifies better ratings, more sponsors, lots of money and all that other good stuff. The issue here is that, when Tiger Woods isn’t playing well or not playing at all, the PGA suffers mightily. Other than the diehard fan, most don’t care one bit about golf if Mr. Woods isn’t involved these days. The short-term memory that we humans possess has led us to forget the days when we watched and most importantly enjoyed golf without Tiger Woods. Granted, in those days there were other stars to make golf interesting.

There, of course, is an easy fix to this issue. Tiger Woods has got to start playing well. Problem solved. No biggie, right?

Naturally, if Tiger Woods starts playing well, we know that professional golf will become relevant once again, but what happens when if Tiger is never able to compete at a high level again?

Even if Tiger does come back strong and is at least a contending force on the scene for another 10 years golf needs something more.

The PGA needs a player who will make fans want to tune in despite Tiger’s absence in a tournament. They need a personality who can compete to the point of near dominance on a regular basis. It seems like the golf world is due for someone like that to come out, but it hasn’t happened yet.

A rivalry similar to Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal’s would be ideal, but that may be a bit too much of a utopian fantasy for now.
You would have hoped that an Anthony Kim or Rory McIlroy could have been the third, except not awkward, wheel in this relationship. It is now coming on 15 years since a true star has broken out. Let’s get real, Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els and Vijay Singh are not real stars. During their prime, they could contend on any given weekend, but they aren’t exactly what the sport needs.

I would like as much as anyone for Tiger Woods to come back and regain that number one status that he lost last season. Nevertheless, putting all our eggs in the Tiger basket each and every tournament is getting to the point of ridiculous.

Clearly there is no method to go out and find a brand new superstar to take the PGA by storm. It sure would be nice though wouldn’t it?

This relationship between Tiger and the PGA may not be at the point of stale yet, but it sure could use a little injection of life. Perhaps a third-party to spice things up. The ménage à trios may not have worked out too well for George and Jerry but for the PGA it might just be the perfect thing.

Agree? Disagree? If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, please feel free to reply in the comments section below. Or you can e-mail me at cross_can15@hotmail.com. I am now on twitter follow me @paintstheblack and I will gladly return the favor.

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Emotional Disconnect

Dear Jay,

It’s not your fault.

Sincerely,
Chris Ross

Leave it Jay Cutler to pull off the inexcusable, unimaginable, inconceivable blunder to start a new decade of NFL playoff football.

“As a guy how had 20 knee surgeries you’d have to drag me out on a stretcher to Leave a championship game!” That tweet came from current ESPN analyst and former NFLer Mark Schlereth. Even though the grammar may be a bit off, the sentiment expressed in the tweet is one that represents the feeling of the majority of football fans towards Jay Cutler’s…situation.

People are questioning Jay Cutler’s toughness and rightfully so. I mean, how is it possible for an NFL quarterback to keep himself out of the NFC Championship game? He’s got to be pretty much dying, doesn’t he?

Jay Cutler was walking around without much of a noticeable limp during and after the game, as well as not looking too troubled by the disconcerting situation that his team was in on Sunday. Down 14 points with the 3rd stringer in and he is just going to sit there and watch uncaringly.

Just recently, I wrote a post all about the mistake the Denver Broncos made in trading away Jay Cutler. I feel a bit foolish for saying what I said in hindsight because, among a number of other things, I referred to Cutler as an emerging leader, which he obviously is not. However, I still stand by the general idea of the post because the thought of giving away a franchise quarterback is wrong.

Anyways, I’m not here to question his physical toughness despite the validity of the question because I don’t think there is enough evidence to support it. Cutler, faced a season with a brutal offensive line during the season and was under constant pressure and harassment from opposing defences. However, we did not hear too much as a peep coming from his mouth. He continued to persevere through the issues, the bruising, and the battering. He brought his team to the NFC Championship game for goodness sakes!

Jay Cutler did not stay on the bench against Green Bay because he was afraid of getting hurt or that he couldn’t handle the pain in his knee. He just flat out didn’t want to play.

Once more, I am not questioning his physical toughness, what I am questioning is his mental toughness.

Jay Cutler had an awful half. 6-14, 80 yards passing and 1 interception. With the season on the line and his team’s chances riding on his right arm, Jay Cutler was content to stay on the bench because he didn’t want the burden that the John Elway’s and Michael Jordan’s of the world thrive on. He had an excuse and he was perfectly fine with standing by it because he simply is not comfortable with everyone depending on him.

The worst part about it is Jay Cutler can’t do a damned thing about it.

The great quarterback is the olden day General. He wants to go to battle with his troops and without a second thought would sacrifice himself for the well-being of his men. The mindset that these generals have is something that you can’t acquire, you’re born with it.

Jay Cutler was not born with it. Cutler was born with a skill set that scouts drool over, but not the intangibles that the ordinary Joe Schmuck can relate to. He is not a person that is well liked by his peers as evidenced by the barrage of tweets from Colleagues around the league telling him simply to suck it up.

Brett Favre played on a broken ankle for heaven’s sakes.

He can’t fully comprehend the nature of the position and the responsibilities that come along with it. He doesn’t have the mentality that he can’t let his teammates down because he doesn’t understand how much he actually is letting down not only his teammates but the legion of Chicago Bear fans.

On an emotional level, Cutler doesn’t connect with people, which is why fans and players have not taken to him. He is often dispassionate and often seems to be detached from real human feeling. Okay, that may be a bit of an exaggeration but the fact of the matter is that this emotional disconnect is what prevented him from coming back into the game on Sunday.

Once Jay Cutler had found a reason to escape the nightmare of his poor play, he did not feel the obligation that most guys would have felt in the same situation. He just wanted to get outta there and then it was somebody else’s problem.

This was a chance for Jay Cutler to cement himself a legacy that would last for generations. An opportunity of a lifetime that kids dream about. Leading your team to the super bowl on a bum knee is the embodiment of football hero. Nah, Jay Cutler isn’t worried about leaving a legacy, being considered an all-time great or letting down his team. Something is missing between the ears that separates him from the heart of the champions.

Jay Cutler can’t help it. You can ridicule him all you want for his decision to stay on the bench when his team needed him most but it’s useless. You think you don’t understand how Jay Cutler could do what he did? Well, neither does Jay Cutler.

Agree? Disagree? If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, please feel free to reply in the comments section below. Or you can e-mail me at cross_can15@hotmail.com. I’m now on twitter follow me @paintstheblack and I will gladly return the favor.

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Federer Express Delivering No More

Roger Federer is possibly the classiest champions in the history of sports

I’m just going to go ahead and say it. Roger Federer is done. Turn out the lights because the party is over.

16 grand slams, a previous streak of 237 consecutive weeks as ATP number one ranked player, and arguably the best tennis player of all-time. Quite an impressive resume for a 28-year-old but right now all of that doesn’t matter.

Currently, Federer is attempting to win his 17th grand slam at this year’s Australian Open. His train was almost derailed just shortly after leaving the track as he grinded out a 5 set match versus Gilles Simon in the second round yesterday.

In the prime of his career Federer rarely played 5 setters in a tournament, much less even drop a set. He was that dominant.

Roger Federer is facing the inevitable downfall that all elite athletes are confronted with. He is not the same player on the court and that is something that has been evident for the last couple of years.

There was a point in time when it seemed like he might not even get that elusive 15th major, but Federer was able to battle through some of his less fine moments to capture two more majors.

Can he do it again? Don’t think so.

Roger Federer’s game is not devoid of anything, in fact, his repertoire has expanded with age. However, he does not make the higher degree of difficulty shots that he used to make at such an unbelievably consistent rate. He still glides like a graceful gazelle around the court but no longer is there the reliability in him where you felt that he could never miss.

The tougher times that have come upon him have led to the fist-pumping and animal-like instinctual cries of joy that were not a part of his personality in his younger years.

The amount of emotion he shows during matches is the barometer by which we can measure how well he is playing and how comfortable he feels about his game. There was no fist-pumping in the olden days simply because there was no discomfort.

He let out a massive “sigh” of relief following his gruelling match versus Simon to put it as lightly as possible.

Although, it should be pointed out that Federer had lost his 2 previous matches to Simon, it is still too frequent in recent major tournaments that Federer has been forced to go deep into matches against supposedly lesser opponents.

Never a good sign.

It isn’t the same anymore with him and there is no indication of things improving anytime soon. Not even the magic to pull the rabbit out of a hat for one major tournament. I’m not seeing it.

Robin Soderling is seeded 4th in this year's Australian Open

However, his game is not the only issue that stands in way of an even greater legacy. The competition on the tour at this point in time is arguably as good as it has ever been in the history of tennis.

I guess I was wrong to speculate that Rafael’s Nadal win at Wimbledon in July was possibly his last chance at another major. Nadal has continued to dominate the tour since then and is looking to complete the “Tiger Slam” by winning all four majors consecutively but not in the same calendar year. He is healthy, in his prime years, and has overcome the US Open. Is there anyone that is going to be able to take down Nadal?

Then you add to the mix Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, and Robin Soderling, suddenly you are looking at a very formidable top 5 group of players. All 3 of those guys do have the ability to win in any given tournament and take down a top player on any given day.

With that being said, I don’t believe that any of those guys have the mental make up to win multiple majors but that still doesn’t mean that they are not a threat whenever they hit the court in a tournament.

Roger Federer is possibly the best player that ever played the game and if not for Rafael Nadal this would not even be a discussion.

The thing is, with professional sports it’s all about what have you done for me lately. At this moment, Roger Federer has not done much lately and that is not going to change.

Agree? Disagree? If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, please feel free to reply in the comments section below. Or you can e-mail me at cross_can15@hotmail.com. I am now on twitter follow me @paintstheblack and I will gladly return the favor.

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