R.I.P. Josh Hancock

May 1, 2007

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It was a sad story over the weekend, hearing about Josh Hancock’s fatal accident in St. Louis. Hancock was one of those guys that make a Major League team function. He wasn’t a superstar, but rather a guy who ate up innings out of the bullpen. Tony La Russa even said that the Cards wouldn’t have won the World Series without him. That’s quite high praise for any athlete.

The strangest thing was that Hancock was in a similar accident just three days before his death. It’s a horrific story and Hancock will surely be missed around the league.

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The Miami Heat’s defense of their 2006 NBA title went by the wayside Sunday afternoon, when they were swept by a sharper, more engergetic Chicago Bulls team. These aren’t your older brother’s Bulls of the 90′s, but make no mistake about it, they are for real. Led by star guards Kirk Hinrich and Ben Gordon, the Bulls have a mix of inside and outside guys, highlighted by the prowess of big man Ben Wallace and the versatility of former Duke standout, Luol Deng. They are a young team, but could take the Bulls deep into the playoffs.

The Heat, on the other hand, limped into the playoffs. Shaq hasn’t been the same big man he once was. Dwyane Wade hurt his shoulder in February and opted to rehab instead of having surgery. The early departure from the playoffs, however, should give Wade the incentive to be operated on.

It was only last year that the Heat were champions, but now it seems like both these teams are headed in opposite directions. The young Bulls are up and coming, while the heat continue to look older and older everytime they take the floor.

Check out highlights from the Heat’s run to a championship last season:

Welcome Randy

April 29, 2007

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So Randy Moss, the NFL’s bad boy, will be donning a Patriots uniform next year. I’m still not sure how I feel about this. There’s no question that I am sold on his talent and ability on the field. But the Pats have long had a “team first” mentality and Moss is the antithesis of that attitude. However, rumor has it that Moss will be restructuring his current deal to free up some cap space. That’s an admirable thing in itself and a scenario which doesn’t typically arise in professional sports.

With all personal issues aside, the Brady-Moss connection is probably the best quarterback/receiver tandem in the league, although an argument could be made for Peyton Manning and Marvin Harrison. Either way, the Pats look like the frontrunners to win next season’s Super Bowl. They have sured up their receiving corps and strengthened their defense, so I don’t see why that can’t happen.

Share your thoughts with other Pats fans here in the Fan Zone.

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I am by no means a NASCAR fan. In fact, I am probably the farthest thing from it. I find it ridiculous that racers can drive around a track for hours at a time and consider it a sport. With that said, I think what Jeff Gordon did this past week was one of the most honorable and kind-hearted things I have seen in sports in a long time.

Gordon, who tied Dale Earnhardt Sr. for sixth place all-time on the career wins list, held out a flag with Earnhardt’s No. 3 on it as he made his victory lap at Phoenix International Raceway. It was just a small gesture, but one that did not go unnoticed by Earnhardt’s son, Dale Jr. The father, who was killed at the Daytona 500 back in 2001, was one of Gordon’s fiercest competitors. The carrying of the flag was just one minor way Gordon had hoped to honor his former friend.

In a time when sports mean so much to society, this small gesture by Gordon means so much more than many people realize.

Give me the sweep boys

April 23, 2007

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The Red Sox have finally done what they hadn’t in 17 years: sweep the Yankees at Fenway. And with the sweep comes a four-game lead over the Bombers in the East. Yes, it’s April. Yes, it was only one series. But every game counts. Last night was no different. The Sox were even able to tie a Major League record, combining to hit four home runs in a row off rookie starter Chase Wright. That’s pretty impressive no matter who an opposing team trots out to the mound.

Although it’s a great start, the Sox don’t have much time to relish their wins. They are back at it again this weekend in the Bronx. The pitching matchups don’t look nearly as solid as they did in this first series, but the bats are coming around and maybe they can use their offense to propel them to another series win.

On a sour note, Daisuke hasn’t look nearly as good as advertised. At times he has flashes of brilliance. Then he goes out and gives up four straight hits. Hopefully he will start earning his millions.

Check out more photos of last night’s season finale here.

Going for the sweep

April 22, 2007

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The Sox haven’t exactly played their best baseball over the last two nights, but they have done enough to win and that’s really all you can ask for. Beckett was shaky yesterday but settled down nicely to make sure that the Sox would hold on. Friday night, Curt Schilling looked more like he did on Opening Day than he has in his past two starts. Luckily Jason Varitek and Coco Crisp found their strokes and picked up the offense in a thrilling comeback win.

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Now the Sox have built a 3-game lead in the A.L. East and are one win away from a sweep. The ball rests in the hands of Daisuke Matsuzaka as they look to punish the Yankees. Even though the Bombers haven’t exactly thrown an All-Star lineup out there this series, it’ still nice to beat a good team in the early part of the season. After all, every win counts.

Share your thoughts with other Sox fans here.

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I have to say that although Josh Beckett has only made three starts thus far this season, he has been incredibly dominant. He looks to be in top form this year so far, posting a 3-0 record and an ERA under two. This season may just be a ceremonial passing of the torch from Schilling to Beckett. Beckett will seemingly be the ace for the next decade if the Sox so choose to sign him.

The Sox have a series coming up against Toronto which should be a good A.L. East matchup, but let’s be serious. We are all looking forward to Friday night when the Yanks roll into town. The Sox have their rotation lined up to be Schilling, Beckett, and Matsuzaka, which is the exact way you want things to play out. More to come later on the series…

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