Thursday, February 28, 2008

Chargers: Status quo good enough?

The Chargers are making it clear that status quo is good enough for them.

It was good enough to give them the No. 1 seed in the 2006 AFC playoffs; good enough to get them to the 2007 AFC Championship game.

But will it be good enough to get them to an eventual Super Bowl? We’ll see.

The team did the expected Thursday by cutting fullback Lorenzo Neal and free safety Marlon McCree. It was not so expected when offensive tackle Shane Olivea, who started much of last season, was also released.

The Chargers are banking that their current roster, plus the addition of linebacker Derek Smith from the San Francisco 49ers, will be enough to lead them to the promise land in 2008.

They’re certainly going to lose cornerback Drayton Florence and running back Michael Turner to free agency. Back-up quarterback Billy Volek can also hit the open market … and the Chargers may be best to let him go and elevate Charlie Whitehurst to the No. 2 QB slot.

The Chargers are down to just four picks in the 2008 NFL draft. Apparently, what they already have is believed to be enough by General Manager A.J. Smith.

Time will tell …

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

LT breaks down while receiving prestigious Starr award

You’re probably aware that LaDainian Tomlinson has won numerous awards during his NFL career, but here’s one you may not have heard about.

During Super Bowl weekend earlier this month, the Chargers’ star running back received the 20th annual Bart Starr award during the Athletes in Action Super Bowl breakfast.

Starr, a NFL Hall of Famer who led Green Bay to the first two Super Bowl championships, presented the award which honors his commitment to be a positive role model to his family, teammates and community.

Tomlinson broke down in tears as he talked about his mother, Loreane, who raised her family alone.

“We didn't have much growing up, but we had a home,” Tomlinson said, according to the Baptist Press (BP) News Service. “When I was in high school, my mom accepted Christ into her life and that made all the difference. That is what life is all about.

“One of my favorite verses in the Bible is Luke 12:48 which says where much if given, much is required. It also says in the Bible it's harder for a rich man to get into heaven than a poor one. I have so much now; I'll never forget that challenge. I live by that verse which always keeps me humble.”

There’s a side of the real LT that you rarely hear about nowadays.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Was Chargers' LT smarter than Gates?

LaDainian Tomlinson was heavily criticized for missing most of the AFC Championship game with an injured knee, but maybe he wasn’t so dumb after all.

Or have you not heard the latest with Antonio Gates?

Now we’re finding out that Gates is expected to have surgery this week on his injured big left toe, which severely hampered him in the Chargers’ final two playoff games last month.

Gates, among the top tight ends in the NFL, is reportedly expected to be slowed for much of training camp in 2008. He could even be rehabilitating his injured toe when the Chargers kick off the regular season.

After being injured in a Jan. 6 playoff game against Tennessee, Gates spent most of the next week in a walking boot. Even so, he played (but wasn’t his normal self) in the Jan. 13 game at Indianapolis and the Jan. 20 AFC Championship game at New England.

In retrospect, he might have damaged his long-term career by thinking about short-term playoff aspirations despite his injured toe.

As one looks back now, it might be easier to understand that Tomlinson did the right thing by not risking himself to further injury such as Gates did at New England.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Television deal will kill SDSU recruiting

Let’s say you are a top high school prospect and want to play college sports where you can get a lot of television exposure.

If so, then you can forget about attending San Diego State.

The television deal that the Mountain West Conference has is eventually going to destroy some teams – and SDSU could be at the top of the list.

The conference has a ridiculous deal whereby most of its teams have conference games televised on a network called themtn.

Only 1.2 million people nationwide get the channel. The number is extremely low in San Diego because you must have Cox Communications digital cable to watch themtn.

Whenever SDSU football or basketball games are televised on themtn., there probably aren’t 1,000 local households watching … or able to watch.

Sadly, any top recruit who wants his or her friends and relatives see them play on TV will want to go to a school where people actually get the channel which televises their games.

This certainly works if you are on networks such as ESPN, CBS, NBC or Fox.

Too bad San Diegans can’t even watch their own team play. In the long run, this will kill recruiting … and possibly the already downtrodden SDSU athletic program.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Padres pitchers are hurting

The Padres have done quite well taking players off other teams’ scrap heaps the past couple of years, but can it happen again in 2008?

Take a look at the pitching staff after you get past the top three starters: Jake Peavy, Chris Young and Greg Maddux.

What you have waiting in the wings could potentially be dangerous to opponents … or dangerous to the Padres for counting on so many pitchers coming off injuries.


Randy Wolf hasn’t pitched since last July 3 because of a shoulder ailment.
Mark Prior hardly pitched at all in 2007 due to shoulder and oblique injuries.
Shawn Estes hasn’t worked since April 2006 due to Tommy John surgery.
Glendon Rusch hasn’t pitched since 2006 because of a blood clot in his lung, a bad back and a strained elbow.

If any two of these four recover and have a successful 2008, the Padres should be sitting pretty. If not, they’re going to be sitting back and wondering why they signed so many hurting pitchers.

The Padres have done well the past two seasons by picking up other teams’ leftovers such as Heath Bell, Josh Bard and Cla Meredith.

But all three came to San Diego in good health … which is more than you can say about the candidates vying for the final two jobs in this year’s starting rotation.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Clemens, Bonds reap what they sow

“You reap what you sow.”

Barry Bonds learned this lesson quite well.

And now, Roger Clemens is learning it, too.

Both men have been surly with the media for years … and disdainful to a broad fan base everywhere except where they called home.

Bonds has been dragged through the mud for years because of his horrible attitude … home run record, or not.

Nowadays, Clemens can also stick his seven Cy Young awards where the sun doesn’t shine.

He could intimidate batters with high-and-inside fastballs, throw broken bats at Mike Piazza during the 2000 World Series, and commit other various acts in trying to prove he was the Big Man on Campus.

But trying to intimidate Congress … or have his lawyer attempt to intimidate an Internal Revenue Service representative?

Sorry, that’s out of bounds.

Oh sure, Clemens could defend himself on Capitol Hill by bragging about how he “wore the uniform of the U.S.” during international baseball competition. That doesn’t exactly compare to wearing the uniform of a United States military branch.

Yes, both Bonds and Clemens figured they were above the law while they were on top of the world in Major League Baseball.

Wouldn’t it be ironic if the top pitcher and hitter of the last 15 or so years served time side-by-side in prison for perjury?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Did Padres' GM wake up Dodgers?

As spring training begins this week, the last thing a Major League Baseball team wants to do is wake up a sleeping opponent.

Yes, the Los Angeles Dodgers have been sleeping for years.

Yes, the Padres have totally dominated them in head-to-head competition.

So, why did Padres’ General Manager Kevin Towers wake up the Dodgers with the following statements at a recent luncheon concerning the Padres-Dodgers exhibition games March 15-16 in Beijing, China?

“My hope is we can kick their tails over there and give them a little taste of what we're going to give them over the course of the season,” Towers said, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Whoops, sounds like the Padres are already bragging about their dominance over the Dodgers.

Don’t think for a second that the Dodgers won’t have those comments posted in their clubhouse when they play the Padres this year, beginning with an April 4-6 series in San Diego!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Good move by Chargers!

Give credit to the Chargers, who aren’t always known for being fan friendly, for making a very fan friendly move.

The team has cancelled more than 300 season tickets due to violations of the team’s Code of Conduct for home games. These individuals will no longer be allowed to purchase tickets from the team.

Here’s the explanation in an official Chargers’ news release:

Most cases involved ticket holders who were evicted from the stadium by the San Diego Police Department and the team’s private security officials in 2006 and 2007. Violators received warning letters. The Code of Conduct, instituted in 2006, states: “Fans who demonstrate inappropriate and disruptive behavior, including the following, are subject to ejection and season ticket holders risk losing their season ticket accounts for:
Excessive consumption of alcohol
Obscene, offensive or abusive language or actions
Fighting, or otherwise dangerous, abusive or profane behavior
Unruly or inconsiderate behavior
Indecent exposure or undressing
Wearing obscene or indecent clothing
Smoking, except in designated areas
Scalping or other improper resale of tickets
Interfering with security procedures
Interfering with the progress of the game, going onto the field or throwing any object onto the field or on the stadium premises
Even if season ticket holders give away or sell their tickets to a game, the account holder is accountable for the actions of those using the tickets. Accounts can be forfeited partially or entirely for violations of the Code of Conduct.”

Good for the Chargers!

There’s nothing worse than paying top dollar for a ticket, then being forced to sit by some idiot!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

(Game) Time is not on San Diego State's Side

The Mountain West Conference, which includes San Diego State, just couldn’t wait to get away from the crummy starting times its athletic events were receiving on networks such as ESPN.

So the conference went ahead and joined partnership with CSTV and even has its own television station, so to speak, called the mtn.

So now, those inconvenient late morning and late evening starting times are gone … or are they?

Have you noticed that the San Diego State men’s basketball team hosts the Air Force Academy at 8 pm Wednesday to accommodate the mtn. TV broadcast?

So, what ever happened to those much better weeknight starting times of 7 pm when the Aztecs were being televised by Channel 4 San Diego?

Well, not only has this wonderful deal with the mtn. made for worse starting times; it has also taken away a large majority of local viewers.

If you are lucky (or unlucky) enough to even be able to watch the games on the mtn., consider yourself in a sizeable minority.

The mtn. was supposed to solve the problem of lousy starting times … plus increase exposure for the Mountain West Conference. Let’s face it: The TV “network” has done neither.

Oh, how we long for the day of the 7 pm start (especially on weeknights) on channels that local people could actually watch.

The Aztecs on TV with a decent starting time?

Wishful thinking.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Did Eli Manning one-up Chargers?

OK, Charger fans; does everybody still believe the Chargers got the better of the draft day trade with the New York Giants in 2004?

After all, the Giants did receive Eli Manning in the trade. And Manning was the MVP on Sunday when the Giants shocked the New England Patriots, 17-14, in the Super Bowl.

You can still make the contention that the Chargers did much better in the trade. In essence, by trading Manning to New York, the Chargers were able to get quarterback Philip Rivers, linebacker Shawne Merriman and kicker Nate Kaeding.

Certainly, a case can be made that the Chargers went from 4-12 in 2003 to the playoffs each of the last two years because of the Manning trade in April 2004.

But what about the Giants? They were also 4-12 in 2003 … and now they have won the Super Bowl with Manning.

There’s no question that the Chargers received plenty of overall talent by trading an unhappy Manning to the Giants within an hour of drafting him in 2004.

Yet until the Chargers win the Super Bowl like Manning and the Giants did, it will be difficult to say they got the best of the trade.