Monthly Archives: April 2012

NBA Playoffs 101

In the NBA there are a total of 30 teams and only 16 get to go to playoffs each year. There will be 8 teams in the Western Conference and 8 teams in the Eastern Conference that will battle it out for a chance to win the Championship. Playoffs start after the regular season is over, normally around the middle of April.

The first thing you need to understand is how the standings work. Please refer back to my previous blog: NBA Standings 101.

When the regular season is over, each team’s record is compared to the other teams in the same conference. It does not matter the records of the teams in the other conference, so the Western Conference teams are not compared to the Eastern Conference teams or vice versa. Also it is important to know the team with the best record in each division.

In each conference a team’s final record and their ranking in their division compared to the other teams records and rankings will determine the team’s seed. A seed is a team’s position in the playoffs being number 1-8 in each conference.

Each conference has 3 divisions. The teams that finish first in their division will be no lower than the 4th seed. The team that finished the regular season with the best overall record of their conference will take the number 1 seed. The other 2 division winners in that conference will be placed in the 2, 3, or 4 seed. The other teams in each conference will be ranked according to their win loss record. Only 8 teams in each conference go to the playoffs, so there are 7 teams in each conference that do not get to go. Once the teams have been placed in their seed the playoffs will being. Each conference will play the teams in the same conference till there is only one left to play the other conference’s winner.

In the playoffs there will be a total of 3 series. Each matchup in all three series will play 7 games. The best of 7 wins, so the team that wins 4 games moves on to the next round. If a team wins 4 games before all 7 are played that series will be over early and the team will wait for the other matchups to finish. Also the team with the least amount of losses, compared to who they are matched up with, will have home court advantage. This means they will get 4 of the 7 games played on their home court, 3 will be on the other team’s home court.There are two ways the leauge will have the the series lay these 7 games. One way is 2-3-2: the matchup will start with 2 games on the home team’s court, then 3 at the other team’s court, and back to the home team’s court for 2 more games if all 7 games are needed. The other way is 2-2-1-1-1: the match up will start with 2 games on the home team’s court, then 2 games at the other team’s court, back for 1 on the home team’s court, then 1 on the other team’s court, and then 1 on the home team’s court to finish.

The 1st series is called Round 1. In round 1 the 1st seed will play the 8th seed, 2 seed plays the 7 seed, 3 seed plays the 6 seed, and the 4 seed plays the 5 seed. (8–1, 2-7, 3-6, 4-5). The team that gets best of 7 (wins 4 games) will advance to the next series called Round 2, or Conference Semifinals.  In this round there are 2 matchups in each conference. The winner of the 8 and 1 matchup will play the winner of the 4 and 5 matchup, and the winner of the 3 and 6 matchup will play the winner of the 2 and 7 matchup. After these 2 matchups are over only 2 teams will remain in each conference and will move on to play each other in the 3rd round called the Conference Finals. The first team to win 4 games out of 7 in this matchup will be the winners of their conference and will advance to the Finals, the last series, to play the other Conference Finals winner. The team that wins best of 7 games will have won the playoffs and be the new NBA Champions.

Here is a look at how last summers playoffs went:

The NBA Champs receive the Larry O’Brien Trophy, and one player will be awarded Finals MVP (most valuable player).

Resources:

http://www.nba.com/canada/basketball_u_on_the_playoffs-Canada_Generic_article-18056.html

http://www.mademan.com/mm/how-nba-playoffs-work.html

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Ron Artest AKA Metta World Peace

Metta World Peace is not the name that this NBA player’s parents gave him. His real name was Ronald William Artest Jr., named after his father. Artest was born on November 13, 1979 and grew up in Queensbridge, New York. He lived with his parents, his siblings, and many other family members in a house not big enough for all of them. He grew up in an unconsistant environment, with hard times of poverty and a fear of the violence all around him. Artest also grew up constantly seeing his father and mother fighting and his dad hitting his mother. Money was extremely tight, and Artest never had any control over anything.

When Ron Artest was 7 years old he began to inherit that “Artest temper” as his father called it, and this was around the time his parent’s marriage began to fall apart. Artest lashed out in school hitting kids that would tease him. By the time he was 8  his parents put him in anger management therapy. The therapist suggested Artest take up basketball so that is just what he did. His father helped him by practicing with him, but also used it as an opertunity to toughen Ron up. Ron’s father played rough with him on the court, fouling him and knocking him down.

Basketball gave Ron something to do and turn to when things got hard. It was the one thing he felt in contol of, but it did not take him away from the fighting. In the projects basketball was a very rough game full of hard fouls and fistfights. In 1991 Ron watched as a childhood friend was stabbed through the heart with a chair leg as a result from a basketball game fight. This happened during the championship game of a Y.M.C.A.-sponsored tournament. “One of my friends was playing … and it was so competitive they broke a piece of leg from a table and they threw it and it went right through his heart and he died, right on the court,” Ron said.

Then in 1992 his parents separated, and in 1995 his 10-week-old little sister died of SIDS. This did not help with Artest’s temper. Ron’s father said, “A lot of Ron’s anger came from the breakup of the family.”

Artest continued to turn to basketball. He played for his school and in tournaments. During an AAU tournament Coach Fran Fraschilla with St. Johns University recruited Ron Artest. It was Artest’s aggressive style of play that caught the coach’s eye. The coach believed that Artest would be perfect for the rugged St. John’s team. Coach Fraschilla loved Artest’s aggressive temper so much that he would rile him up before games by taunting him. Coach would also demote him to the second team just to make Artest angry. Coach Fraschilla believed that Ron Artest played the way he did because he had a fear of failing. Fraschilla said, “He has a tremendous fear of failure. He worries that he’ll have to go back to Queensbridge.” A while later coach Fran Fraschilla was fired because of his own temperament.

In 1999 Ron Artest went to the pros to play for the Chicago Bulls. He was a Bull for 3 seasons, then was with the Indiana Pacers for 5 seasons. In 2005 Artest played 2 seasons in Sacramento, and then moved on to Houston for 1. The Lakers got Ron Artest in 2009, which is where he currently is playing today.

Ron Artest makes lots of money in the pros, but has never forgotten where he came from. Artest, even now, continues to give to charity and provides for many programs and extra-curricular activities for the children in Queensbridge, NY. Ron Artest has given lots to others whether it be time or money, but is known as one of the worst players in the NBA for his temperament.

During Artest’s NBA career he has been suspended 13 times. Wow! That is a lot. The most memorable suspension was for 86 games, which was a result from the brawl that broke during a game in 2004 while he was playing for Indiana. During a game against Detroit, in Detroit, the players from both teams got into a fight. Then the fight moved into the stands and Artest punched fans. This outburst was the ugliest thing I have ever seen, not only of the players but the fans as well.

This was the best video I could find of the fight, but it does not show one moment when Artest punches a fan right in the face that had approached him. To see that click on this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TuJlhNzVC4Q

Ron Artest did many things that got him suspended even after this incident. One, not even a year ago, was during the playoffs last summer in game 2 Lakers vs Mavericks. Another dirty play by Ron Artest.

On September 16, 2011 Ron Artest decided to change his name to Metta World Peace to honor world peace. It is just too bad he was not able to change completely as a person as well. World Peace still has his moments that remind everyone who he used to be, or still is.

On Sunday April 22, 2012 the LA Lakers played the Oklahoma City Thunder in their second to last game of the season. The Lakers won 114 – 106, but the real story was Metta World Peace’s ejection for throwing his elbow. World Peace, after a great drive and dunk, celebrate a bit too much and viciously elbowed OKC’s James Harden in the head. The hit was so hard that it gave Harden a concussion. After the hit Ibaka approached World Peace and it almost looked like another fight would breakout. Ibaka said, “I saw it happen and it was a very hard hit. That’s the first I’ve seen anything like that happen live. I was surprised. I went up to him to ask him why he did that and he wanted to fight me too. I don’t know what he was thinking. I have no idea.” When the game was over World Peace said, “During that play I just dunked on Durant and Ibaka and I got really emotional and excited and it was unfortunate that James had to get hit with an unintentional elbow.”

After World Peace got home he watched the replay and immediately tweeted, “I just watched the replay again… Ooo… My celebration of the dunk really was too much. Didn’t even see James ….. Omg… Looks bad.” I agree. It does look really bad. I do not understand how someone could do that to another player. Yet again Metta World Peace (Ron Artest) commits another aggressive, uncalled for play. When I first saw this video I believed it was intentional. I thought it was disgraceful, uncalled for, dirty, and everything wrong. How could you not see someone right there? I still believe all of these things, but see it a little differently when I take into consideration World Peace’s background. Yes, I believe this was intentional, but I also believe that he was just celebrating and was not thinking clearly. Maybe in that moment when they bumped into each other he referred back to the way he was taught to play basketball for many years. But on the other hand that was years ago and he needs to learn to control himself.

Metta World Peace was suspended for 7 games without pay for elbowing James Harden. I feel that it should have been 10 or more. Ron Artest father once said, “I always though Ron’s temper would be his downfall in life.”

Resources:

http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/7846500/metta-world-peace-suspended-10-games-minimum

http://espn.go.com/los-angeles/nba/story/_/id/7843190/los-angeles-lakers-metta-world-peace-ejected-elbowing-oklahoma-city-thunder-james-harden-head

http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/post/_/id/41211/intermittent-peace

http://www.insidehoops.com/forum/showthread.php?t=130926

http://www.answers.com/topic/ron-artest

http://www.nba.com/playerfile/metta_world_peace/bio.html

http://www.nba.com/lakers/releases/metta-world-peace-suspended-7-games

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NBA Standings 101

The NBA has a total of 30 teams. These teams are organized in two different ways, conference and divisions. First the teams are divided in two conferences, the Eastern Conference and the Western Conference. Depending on where each team is located decides which conference that team is in. Looking at the map below you can see the logo of each team and where they are located. The teams to the left of the red line are in the Western Conference and the teams to the right of the line are in the Eastern Conference. Each conference contains 15 teams.

You see the two conferences again in the map below. Instead of logos this map just has the name of the City that contains an NBA team. If the team is in the Western Conference they will be in the red and if the team is in the Eastern Conference they will be in the blue. This map also shows each division in the NBA. Each conference can be further broken down into 3 divisions. The divisions in the Western Conference are Northwest, Pacific, and Southwest. The divisions in the Eastern Conference are Central, Atlantic, and Southeast. Each conference has 3 divisions which contain 5 NBA teams.

During the season each team is ranked by a win loss record. This record will determine the standings. The team with the most wins and the least loses will be ranked at number 1 in their conference standings. If there are any teams in the same conference or division that have the same record the league must look at the tiebreakers to figure out which team will take each position.

Tiebreakers in order:

  1. Division winner. This is the team that won their division.
  2. Better record in head-to-head games. Looking at the record of the games when the two teams played each, the one with the most wins takes the higher position.
  3. Higher winning percentage within division. This is the team with the best record against the teams in their division only.
  4. Higher winning percentage against playoff teams in own conference. This is the team with the best record against the playoff teams in their own conference only.
  5. Higher point differential between points scored and points allowed. This is the total of all the points a team scores during the season minus all the points scored against the team during the season.

To find out where your favorite team stands in the standings each season you can go to http://www.nba.com/standings/ . To the left of this website you can change the order to conference or division standings. At the beginning of each season these records start at 0-0.

Resources:

http://www.nba.com/standings/team_record_comparison/conferenceNew_Std_Cnf.html

http://www.nba.com/canada/Basketball_U_on_the_Playoffs-Canada_Generic_Article-18056.html

http://espn.go.com/nba/playoffs/matchups

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Philip Humber’s Perfect Game

Yesterday on April 21, 2012 29-year-old Philip Humber, pitcher for Chicago White Sox, throws a perfect game against the Seattle Mariners.

A perfect game for a pitcher is not only when they strike out every player from the opposing team, but in definition it is when a pitcher pitches for all 9 innings and no player from the opposing team makes it to 1st base. So during yesterday’s game no Mariner ever made it to first base even though they got really close in the 9th inning. In the 9th the first Mariner up to bat was Michael Saunders. Humber pitched 3 balls and the count was 3-0 (3 balls, 0 strikes). This was the first time in the game Humber was 3-0. If he threw just one more ball then Saunders would get to walk to first base and Humber’s perfect game would not have been. Luckily Humber then threw a strike and then the next two were swinging strikes so Saunders was out. Then came John Jaso to bat. Humber’s first two pitches were strikes and the count was 0-2. The next pitch was hit and a fly ball was sent out to right field but was caught and Jaso was out. Last to bat for the Mariners was Brendan Ryan. The count was 3-2 when Humber threw a pitch that would have been a ball, but Ryan had slightly swung at it. The Umpire called it a swing, Ryan was out, and Humber got his perfect game.

Humber is the 21st pitcher to have a perfect game. During the game Humber had a total of 9 strikeouts, 13 flyouts (fly balls that were caught for an out), and 5 groundouts (balls that were hit and then thrown to first for an out). All of these added up to 27 outs and a perfect game for Philip Humber with some help from his teammates and a 4-0 win over the Mariners. This was also Humber’s first time to pitch all 9 innings. Before yesterday’s game the longest he had pitched was for 7 2/3 innings.

When the game ended and the last out was throw Humber fell to his knees but quickly got back up before all his teammates could make it over to him and knock him down again with excitement. The fans also showed their happiness by giving Humber a standing ovation as he walked off the field. He responded to the fans by taking off his hat and saluting them. It was truly a great day for Philip Humber. Humber said, “I mean, I can’t even put it into words,” Humber told Fox afterward. “I’m just so happy. There are so many good things happening right now. This just adds to the list. God is so good.”

Congratulations to Humber for his perfect game and to the White Sox for their unforgettable win.

Watch Humber’s Fox interview:

Watch the last pitch live:

Resources:

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2012/writers/cliff_corcoran/04/21/philip.humber.perfect.game/index.html

http://espn.go.com/blog/chicago/white-sox/post/_/id/9440/phil-humber-throws-perfect-game

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perfect_game

List of pitchers who have pitched perfect games: http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/history/rare_feats/index.jsp?feature=perfect_game

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Happy 100th Fenway Park

100 years ago on April 20, 1912 Fenway Park was built in Boston, MA in only 7 months. It is where the Boston Red Sox call home. Even though there have been some upgrades to the stadium, it has managed to keep its originality and has always been the model of what a baseball stadium should be like. Tim Wakefield, pitcher in Fenway for 17 seasons, said “they modernized it the best they could but kept the original historic Fenway Park intact, which is phenomenal. It’s unbelievable how they accomplished that. To have the same old feel as 100 years ago and to be playing in modern day with new amenities, it’s really amazing.” Wakefield just recently retired from the game of baseball.

Even with all the history within this stadium, it is mostly known for the beautiful color green from the grass on the field to the big Green Monster. The Green Monster is Fenway’s 37-foot-high wall in the outfield. This wall separates the field from the street, but what makes it unique is that it is the largest wall in a baseball stadium and is the color of the grass. The grass is also something that makes this stadium stand out. It is well-kept and is a true-green color.

Fenway Park has many great memories in these 100 years. Jim Caple with ESPN.com said “It’s where Babe Ruth pitched, Ted Williams batted, Carl Yastrzemski played balls off the Wall, Carlton Fisk waved his home run fair and David Ortiz has repeatedly delivered in the clutch.” What an amazing and historic stadium.

I have never been to Fenway Park, but after learning of it’s 100th birthday and all the history it still has despite the upgrades, I would love to see if for myself. When describing the field, Tim Wakefield said “What a cathedral. It’s like going to church. The stadium is the star here. Fenway is the star.” I love places that contain such history. I know that today’s game will be memerable. Today the Red Sox will play the New York Yankies, the same team the Red Sox played 100 years ago, but then the New York Yankees were the New York Highlanders. Before the game there will be big ceremony to celebrate. Also both teams will wear their throwback uniforms from 1912. This will be a great game to watch late this afternoon.

Happy Birthday Fenway Park!

100 moments at Fenway:

http://espn.go.com/boston/fenway/_/timeline/100/

Resources:

http://espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/7833554/here-another-100-years-fenway-park

http://boston.redsox.mlb.com/schedule/index.jsp?c_id=bos#y=2012&m=4&calendar=DEFAULT

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Does Texas Rangers Joe Nathan have Limits?

So far this season the Rangers have played 6 games, winning all but 2.

Before the season started the Rangers made some changes to their pitching rotation. The Rangers got Joe Nathan, a closing pitcher, from the Minnesota Twins. Rangers then moved Neftali Feliz, one of last season’s closing pitchers, to a starting pitcher position so that Nathan could be one of the closing pitchers.

Last night, Wednesday April 11, 2012 the Rangers lost to the Mariners 4-3. The Rangers played great for 8 innings and were up 3 to 1. Then in the 9th Nathan came in to close the game. It was up to Nathan to save his team and complete the win. Nathan also closed the game the night before, Tuesday, when the Rangers beat the Mariners 1-0, so he was closing a back to back game Wednesday night. Joe Nathan allowed 3 runs on 4 hits, meaning 3 runners scored from 4 Mariners hits off Nathan’s pitches. This put the Mariners up by one and cost the Rangers their win.

Last night was Nathan’s second time to pitch on back to back nights this season; the first was on April 7, 2012. On opening day, April 6, 2011 Nathan pitched the game against the Chicago White Sox and the Rangers won 3-2. Then Nathan pitched against Chicago again the next day. The game was tied 3-3 when Nathan approached the mound. Alex Rios, White Sox #51, hit a homerun and won the game for Chicago. Rangers lost 4-3.

So both of the Rangers loses have come from Nathan on nights he is pitching back to back. Joe Nathan pitched back to back nights only 3 times last season as a Twin. Maybe they thought he could not play to the best of his ability on back to back nights. Nathan has been a good closing pitcher for the Rangers, and has pulled out many saves and finished off a few great wins on nights he is not pitching back to back. The Rangers should really watch Nathan this season and take note, so come play off time, this is not a problem.

Resources:

http://espn.go.com/dallas/mlb/recap?gameId=320411113

http://espn.go.com/blog/dallas/texas-rangers/post/_/id/4881279/rapid-reaction-mariners-4-rangers-3-2

http://espn.go.com/dallas/mlb/recap?gameId=320407113

http://www.foxsportssouthwest.com/04/07/12/Rangers-sunk-on-night-of-missed-chances/landing_rangers.html?blockID=704812

http://texas.rangers.mlb.com/schedule/index.jsp?c_id=tex#y=2012&m=4&calendar=DEFAULT

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GOODBYE ODOM!

The Dallas Mavericks have finally sent Lamar Odom on his way. After months of Odom playing as if he couldn’t care less, the Mavs have parted ways with him. The Mavericks meet with Odom on Easter Sunday April 9, 2012 and decided on a parting plan. Odom said, “The Mavericks and I have mutually agreed that it’s in the best interest of both parties for me to step away from the team.” Dallas decided not to released Odom but he will not be allowed to practice or play with the Mavericks. For the rest of the season the Mavs will list Odom as “inactive”.  By not releasing Odom, Dallas will get the chance to possibly trade Lamar Odom at the end of the season. Cuban is still resbonsible for the rest of Lamar Odom’s salary this year. If Dallas still has Lamar Odom on their roster on June 29th they will have to pay him another $2.4 million to buy out his contract. If the Mavs buy out Odom’s contract he will no longer be with the team.

When asked about Odom, Jason Terry, Maverick #31, said “It’s a tough situation. It’s always tough to adjust to a new situation. And for whatever reason it didn’t work out for him. We wish him the best. He’s a great dude.”

Now the Dallas Mavericks are ready to move forward. The president of operations for the Mavericks, Donnie Nelson said, “He’s (Lamar) dealt with a lot of personal issues. At this point, we need to be able to count on some things. It’s never easy to do these things. We just need to move on.” Coach Carlisle said, “I really feel that we have other guys that are ready to step up. So that’s what we’ll do.”

This is the best decision the Dallas Mavericks have made all year. Lamar Odom has had a season low and did not play to his best ability for the Mavs. Donnie Nelson said, “Lamar hasn’t performed like he wants to perform and is capable of performing.” Many stood up for Lamar when they would refer to the 0-7 record of games he missed. Even coach Carlisle would talk about how the Dallas Mavericks have lost every game that Lamar did not play in. But Tim McMahon with ESPNDallas.com pointed out the fact that in all 7 of those games either Kidd or West were missing as well. Odom just never played with any heart. He pouted and just went through the motions the whole time he was on the court. I maybe saw him play with effort only 1 or 2 games out of the 50 he played in.  I also feel that there was just no connection with this Dallas team and a lot of miss trust amongst them. I believe that Lamar Odom had a lot to do with those negative vibes. I think the Mavs will be a lot better now that he is gone. The team can now start working with each other and build a trust with the whole team. I am very excited to see where the Mavs will go from here, so Goodbye Lamar.

UPDATE: Rumors have spread that Lamar Odom and Dirk had a fight during the game against the Memphis Grizzlies last Saturday night. This rumor is untrue and even grew to not only a verbal fight but a fist fight as well. But all of this was made up. Later today the truth came out. There was a verbal confrontation during that game but it was not against Dirk and Odom, it was between the owner Mark Cuban and Lamar Odom. During half time Cuban approached Odom and asked him “in or out?” Sources say that Lamar got mad about this and then did not return to the bench until after the third quarter started. This was probably the last straw for the Dallas Mavericks, and that is why the decision was made on Sunday.

Lamar Odom left Dallas yesterday to head back to LA. At DFW Airport he was seen wearing an LA Lakers championship t-shirt and his LA Lakers championship ring. This says a lot about how much he really cared to be in Dallas. What a PUNK!

Resources:

http://espn.go.com/dallas/nba/story/_/id/7791431/dallas-mavericks-lamar-odom-sever-ties-immediately

http://espn.go.com/dallas/nba/story/_/id/7793017/lamar-odom-tired-dallas-mavericks-act-had-end

http://espn.go.com/dallas/nba/story/_/id/7796599/sources-lamar-odom-argued-dallas-mavericks-owner-mark-cuban

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Dwight Howard Wants Coach Gundy Fired

Dwight Howard, star player for the Orlando Magic, told management he wants the head coach, Stan Van Gundy fired. Coach Gundy confirmed this in a conversation with media yesterday April 5, 2012. Gundy said “I was told it was true by people in our management.” Van Gundy explains the situation to media while the team is practicing. He confirms what Howard did, and then says that he is not worried about it and just wants to focus on the game they had coming up against the New York Knicks. He also explains that the decision is up to managment. Gundy said, “I’m the coach right now, and I’m the coach until they decide I’m not the coach. It’s 12:02 right now. If they want to fire me at 12:05, I’ll go home and find something to do. I’ll have a good day.”

Then while this interview was coming to an end Dwight Howard approaches the coach, not knowing what was said, and joins in the conversation about how they are just worried about the game. The coach then leaves Dwight Howard to talk to the media. When the media asks Howard about the situation he basically makes you believe it is not true without saying it, but was caught off guard when he is told that the coach confirmed it. Howard said, “Whatever happens at the end of the season is not under my control. I am a player for the Magic. I am not the GM. I am not Rich DeVos. I am not Alex Martins. That is not my job. … I haven’t said anything to anybody about anything.” Dwight Howard denies the rumors without really saying he did or did not tell manament he wanted the coach fired.

I understand not wanting to talk to media about something personal going on with your team or the organization you work with, but the way this interview went with Dwight Howard was very awkward. When Dwight Howard was asked about the situation again after the game he simply replied, “No comment.”

On March 15, 2012 Dwight Howard decided he was not going to opt out of his contract this summer, and would stay with Orlando. Orlando was desperate to keep their superstar, so management said they would do whatever it took. This is probably when Dwight Howard requested Stan Van Gundy be fired at the end of this season. Ian O’Conner with ESPNNewYork.com said in one of his blogs it was reported that “Orlando’s front office had given Howard the power to determine the fates of general manager Otis Smith and Van Gundy at the end of the season if he agreed not to opt out of his contract.”  Then after some time the word got out.

Orlando Magic’s game last night against the New York Knicks was a disaster. The Magic showed no effort. Knicks beat the Magic 96-80. Charles Barkley even said “The Orlando Magic quit.” Barkley described the performance of the Magic team as “one of the least inspired.” Orlando has now lost 5 games in a row.

The Orlando Magic team and organization are dealing with a lot right now. I believe Coach Gundy should not have gone to media with what he found out about his superstar. He should have kept that within the organization and dealt with it there. Gundy and the organization do not need to media in on this. If Howard wants the coach fired, it is still the management’s decision. Coach Gundy did not help persuade the organization to keep him when he told the media that the rumors were true. The Coach now needs to focus on the team and getting them inspired to play again, if he can, and win some games.

Resources:

http://www.bloguin.com/articles/baskeball/van-gundy-howard-asked-management-to-fire-him.html

http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/7778991/orlando-magic-stan-van-gundy-dwight-howard-wants-fired

http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nba-ball-dont-lie/stan-van-gundy-dwight-howard-gives-inside-nba-154633646.html

http://www.nba.com/magic/schedule/

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Ubaldo Jimenez’s Pitch…Intentional or Not?

On Sunday April 1, 2012 The Cleveland Indians played the Colorado Rockies in a spring training game. The Rockies won 12 to 10, but not without some sports drama. Cleveland’s pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez hit his former teammate Troy Tulowitzki on the elbow with his first pitch to the batter during the first inning. After the pitch Tulowitzki dropped his bat and headed toward Jimenez, who left the mount and motioned his arms several times while heading toward Tulowitzki. This act cleared both team’s benches. While they were exchanging words the umpire and teammates got in between Tulowitzki and Jimenez and pulled them apart. Many feel that Jimenez’s pitch was intentional!

Evidently Tulowitzki and Jimenez did not like each other before this game. Last year Ubaldo Jimenez played for the Colorado Rockies. Not long ago Jimenez explained to Foxsports.com he was unhappy that Colorado did not offer him a contract extension but offered one to both Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez. This past July, after Jimenez was not offered a contract extension he was traded to Cleveland. Jimenez talked to the media about how he felt the team treated him but never mentioned any names. Tulowitzki also talked to media about his former teammate Jimenez, and mentioned how he thought Jimenez should move on and not dwell on things. In the Denverpost Tulowitzki was quoted talking about last year, “For him to come out and badmouth an organization that I have a lot of respect for and take a lot of pride in being here, yeah, you are going to be upset. You don’t spend the portion of your career with a team then the next year come out and say something. I would have addressed my teammates directly and handled it from there because we were all wondering what was going on.”

After the hit and confrontation during the game, Tulowitzki was taken to the hospital to get X-rays done. Luckily for him the results were negative. After the game Ubaldo Jimenez tried to explain himself. He said, “It was the first inning and I didn’t have good control of my fastball. As you guys can see I walked the first guy on 4 pitches.” Jimenez expressed that he did not want to hurt Tulowitzki. On Monday when asked about the pitch again, Jimenez added, “Players are hit by pitches every day. With a guy like him, you have to go inside. I can’t get the ball to go where I want every time.” Jimenez also said that he would not apologize to Tulowitzki for the hit.

Indians manager, Manny Acta stuck up for his pitcher when he said that Jimenez’s pitches were “pretty wild all day.”

Tulowitzki said that he did not know if the hit was intentional or not. While talking with the media Troy Tulowitzki said, “You guys will have to talk to him and see if it was intentional or unintentional.” He was also quoted saying, “From my take, as soon as he hit me it just seemed like he wanted a little more. That’s when the confrontation started.” To me, this quote sounds like Tulowitzki did believe Jimenez’s bad pitch was intentional.

The Rockies manager, Jim Tracy defiantly believed that Jimenez hit Tulowitzki on purpose. Jim said, “Five days before Opening Day, you’re going to take a pot shot like that? It’s the worst I’ve ever seen. I’ve lost all respect for him, and that’s a very difficult thing for me to say with all the players I’ve had to manage over the years.” Jim described the event as “the most gutless act” he had ever seen in baseball.

The Commissioner of MLB, Bud Selig was at the game. The League reviewed the event on Monday April 2, 2012 and decided to fine Ubaldo Jimenez and suspend him for 5 season games.

Today Jimenez went to the players’ union and requested an appeal of his suspension. ESPN, The Associated Press stated that Jimenez is scheduled to start the Cleveland’s second game of the season this Saturday.

Personally, I feel that if this hit was not intentional, then Jimenez would not have rushed off the bound and headed for Tulowitzki the way he did. Knowing that there was bad blood between the two just this past summer, I cannot help but feel that this hit was on purpose. I am very surprised that Jimenez was not ejected from the game.

Terms to know:

Manager: in MLB the head coach is called the manager.

Resources:

http://espn.go.com/mlb/spring2012/story/_/id/7762625/ubaldo-jimenez-cleveland-indians-drills-troy-tulowitzki-colorado-rockies

http://www.denverpost.com/rockies/ci_20303434/ubaldo-jimenez-drills-troy-tulowitzki-benches-clear-tulo-leaves-elbow-injury?source=rss

http://espn.go.com/mlb/spring2012/story/_/id/7765713/cleveland-indians-ubaldo-jimenez-says-suspension-not-warranted

http://espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/7770839/cleveland-indians-ubaldo-jimenez-appealing-5-game-suspension

http://espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/7767204/mlb-bans-cleveland-indians-ubaldo-jimenez-5-games-hitting-colorado-rockies-troy-tulowitzki

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