Friday, February 26, 2010

Dodgers fans will pay price to see Yankees

So if you live in Los Angeles and want to watch the Dodgers play Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira and the New York Yankees this summer … you’re going to have to pay a big price.

Forget about buying single-game tickets when the Yankees come to Los Angeles on June 25-27.

If you’re a Dodgers (or Yankees) fan and want to watch the Bronx Bombers in LA, you’ll have to buy a 14-, 21-, or 28-game package to do so.


So much for the “average” fan getting to see the Yankees-Dodgers renew what once seemed like an annual World Series match-up in generations past.

The Dodgers anticipate selling out all three Yankees games via ticket packages. If tickets remain available, they'll be sold individually at a later date. Hey, buy your Yankees tickets now and at least you’ll get to see the Pittsburgh Pirates and Washington Nationals come to town, lol.

This is similar to a ticket ploy of the San Diego Chargers several years ago when they used to lose regularly to the Oakland Raiders … instead of the Chargers now having won 13 straight against Oakland.

To keep the stadium from being comprised of primarily Raiders fans 10 or so years ago, the Chargers made people buy tickets to several other games besides Chargers-Raiders.

The Dodgers really don’t need much of an attendance boost from what they normally draw annually. But selling out the Yankees series will probably assure other sellouts this season.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Tomlinson, Westbrook losses will be felt

Which team is going to miss its star running back more?

Will it be the San Diego Chargers without LaDainian Tomlinson, or the Philadelphia Eagles without Brian Westbrook?

Without a doubt, the vote here goes to the Chargers without LT.

The problem with San Diego is that it does not have any succession planning at running back. Darren Sproles, who split time with Tomlinson last season, will likely also leave the team because it would cost the Chargers more than $7 million to keep him.

So does that mean the Chargers will try to get by with Michael Bennett, Mike Tolbert and Jacob Hester? For their sake, let’s hope not.

One thing the Chargers have in their favor is playing in an incredibly weak AFC West with Denver, Kansas City and Oakland.

The Cleveland Browns couldn’t win that division … and the Buffalo Bills might not be able to, either.

But 10 other AFC teams would certainly win the AFC West if they switched places with the Chargers. They include New England, the New York Jets, Miami, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Tennessee, Houston and Jacksonville.

As for the Eagles, they must get along without Westbrook in the always-tough NFC East with Dallas, the New York Giants and Washington.

Westbrook missed half of last season with two concussions and an ankle injury. But at least the Eagles have done some succession planning.

LeSean McCoy was being groomed to replace Westbrook in 2011; now that process will need to speed up by a year. Even so, McCoy gives the Eagles more than the Chargers will have at running back if they lose Sproles.

Ironically, Tomlinson could very well end up signing with the Eagles. Wouldn’t it be something if the Super Bowl that he never realized in San Diego became a reality in Philadelphia?

Monday, February 22, 2010

Winter Olympics: Another 'Miracle on Ice' brewing?

“Do you believe in miracles? YES!”

We all remember those words from the legendary Al Michaels 30 years ago today.

If you were alive then, you most likely recall where you were that day when the United States stunned the world and the Soviet Union, 4-3, in the Winter Olympics men’s hockey competition at Lake Placid, N.Y.

Heck, the Soviets – a team of professionals – had not lost in the Olympics since 1968 and were surely considered the best team in the world. And the Americans, coached by Herb Brooks, were a team full of amateurs and college kids that had lost to the Soviets, 10-3, in an exhibition prior to the games.

American Mark Johnson scored a goal in the third period to tie the Olympics game, 3-3; and, with 10 minutes left, captain Mike Eruzione put the United States up, 4-3. Goalie Jim Craig held the lead as time wound down … and we heard Michaels’ famous call:

So, now, could there be another Winter Olympics miracle brewing after the U.S. defeated a heavily favored Canadian team, 5-3, Sunday night in Vancouver?

Brian Rafalski has four goals in the entire NHL season … but he has two straight multi-goal games for the U.S. Goalie Ryan Miller stopped 42 shots by the Canadians after making 24 saves combined in the first two games.

Do you believe in another “Miracle on Ice” some 30 years later?

Why not?

Friday, February 19, 2010

Tiger Woods heads the class of sports cheaters

Tiger Woods … or should we call him Cheetah Woods … is certainly the leader of the pack when it comes to sports lowlifes.

He did nothing to change that impression with his somewhat emotional statement-reading Friday morning when he refused to answer questions.

Woods can’t take away the facts that he committed adultery with more than a dozen women; or paid millions of dollars to cover it up.

He did make a point when he told the media to leave his family alone. But sadly, when you’re a person of his stature, you bring it on yourself when you have multiple affairs on top of the fact you treated people poorly for years while you were on top of the world.

“I know I have bitterly disappointed all of you," Woods read from his statement. “I am embarrassed that I have put you in this position. I have a lot to atone for. I was unfaithful. I had affairs. I cheated. What I did was unacceptable and I am the only person to blame.”

Give his wife, Elin, credit for not appearing in the room.

Woods is hardly alone when it comes to athletes and cheating.

How about former Denver Broncos running back Travis Henry with nine different kids by nine different women?

Or San Diego Chargers cornerback Antonio Cromartie with seven kids by six different women? And now he’s reportedly being sued for lack of child support by a woman who was his fiancĂ©e until Cromartie got somebody else pregnant while they were engaged.


You’ve seen and heard about the likes of Roger Clemens, Rafael Palmeiro, Manny Ramirez and Mark McGwire when it comes to another type of cheating … performance-enhancing substances.
McGwire (presumably) only came clean so that he could return to baseball as hitting coach of the St. Louis Cardinals.

The sporting world is full of cheaters. Cheetah Woods is at the head of the class.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Are Chargers preparing to trade Cromartie to Dallas or Green Bay?

So now the San Diego Chargers are exploring to trade cornerback Antonio Cromartie for a running back, according to ESPN’s esteemed reporter Chris Mortensen.

Good luck getting much for Cromartie.

The youtube video of No. 31 Cromartie backing off a tackle of Shonn Greene in the past season’s playoffs certainly has damaged Cromartie’s reputation. All he had to do is put a hit on Greene and the New York Jets’ running back certainly would not have scored a 53-yard touchdown.

Cromartie had great value after a 2007 Pro Bowl season in which he intercepted 10 passes, as well as made all the highlight films on ESPN, etc. with a 109-yard touchdown return of a missed field goal vs. the Minnesota Vikings.

Since then, his career has taken a downward spiral culminated by his missed tackle vs. the Jets … not to mention much-publicized partying off the field (and the fact he has seven kids by five different women.)

The Chargers could trade with the Dallas Cowboys, who are overloaded at running back with Marion Barber, Tashard Choice, and Felix Jones. Maybe the Cowboys would be willing to trade one of the three with the belief that a new start would be good for the once highly-regarded Cromartie.

San Diego is in need of a running back for two reasons: (a) LaDainian Tomlinson will soon be released, and (b) Darren Sproles is a pending restricted free agent who would be due $7.3 million in 2010 if the Chargers tender him a contract, a 10 percent increase over his 2009 franchise-tag salary of $6.67 million.

The Green Bay Packers are in need of a cornerback, so they could also be in the market for Cromartie.

Cromartie’s departure could leave the Chargers thin at CB, where Quentin Jammer is a star but the rest are questionable. Among other things, Antoine Cason has not progressed as well as the Chargers had hoped after making him their No. 1 draft pick two years ago.

Trading Cromartie would rid the Chargers of someone not considered a “team” player … but it could leave holes at cornerback and running back (depending on what the team gets in return.)

Monday, February 15, 2010

Football withdrawals? There's much else to watch

Did anybody else go through football withdrawals over the weekend?

We get so used to college football (beginning the last weekend of August) to the NFL (beginning the Sunday after Labor Day.) Then when the Super Bowl is over and everyone goes home, it’s hard to believe that the games which are now on nearly every day or night of the week are over.

No more Drew Brees and the miracle New Orleans Saints. No more Peyton Manning and the can’t-do-more-than-come-close Indianapolis Colts.

Heck, there are even withdrawals for Tom Brady, Philip Rivers, Tony Romo … and maybe Brett Favre (except for the endless “will he come back? stories.)

At least there was plenty to settle for over the weekend if you like:

An NBA All-Star game before nearly 109,000 fans in the Jerry Jones/Dallas Cowboys palace. And how about Dwayne Wade with 28 points and 11 assists?

A Daytona 500 race that would never end with more than two hours of pothole delays … and more than a few wrecks at the end that made the race last forever. At least Jamie McMurray could celebrate victory and Dale Earnhardt Jr. a strong second-place finish.

The 2010 Winter Olympics with endless TV coverage and American Johnny Spillane becoming the first American ever to win a medal in Nordic combined. Now we can focus on the extensive coverage of the likes of Bode Miller and Lindsey Vonn.

And don’t forget Dustin Johnson becoming the first golfer to win the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am in consecutive years.

As it continues to freeze in many parts of the country, here’s something that will make many warm. Spring training begins this week for MLB teams!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Outdoors Super Bowl on East Coast? Forget it!

You’ve seen the weather on television … or experienced it if you live in many parts of the country.

Snow storms all across the East Coast last weekend cancelled numerous sporting events. More snow has continued to pile up.

So, do you really think the 2014 Super Bowl should be played outdoors in the conditions at the new football stadium of the New York Giants and New York Jets in New Jersey?

Just think if last weekend’s Super Bowl game had been scheduled for the metropolitan New York area.

Do you think Drew Brees would have been able to complete 32 passes? Do you think Brees and Peyton Manning would’ve had such a great passing showdown?

How about Tracy Porter returning an interception in the piling snow?

Had the game been played in New Jersey, both teams would have been primarily forced to abandon the pass and go with the run.

This is not to mention what would have happened with tens of thousands of visitors in town for the Super Bowl. It’s bad enough that locals could hardly get around last weekend; what if the Super Bowl and its throngs had been in town?

The next three Super Bowls are scheduled indoors: The Jerry Jones/Dallas Cowboys palace in 2011; Indianapolis in 2012 and New Orleans in 2013.

As for an outdoor/East Coast Super Bowl in 2014: Forget it. Just take a look at the conditions of when the Super Bowl was played last weekend.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Rodgers more likely to win Super Bowl than Rivers?

Daniel Jeremiah, the excellent former scout for the Baltimore Ravens and Cleveland Browns, offers a very informative Web site at

Recently, he asked five NFL executives, scouts and coaches the following question: “Which QB will be the next to win his first Super Bowl, Rivers or Rodgers?”

The result may surprise you.

All five people picked Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers to win a Super Bowl before Philip Rivers of the San Diego Chargers.

Quite interesting, especially since the Chargers are picked second behind the Indianapolis Colts in (very early) odds to win next year’s Super Bowl.

Perhaps this is a sign of the times.

The Packers are seen as a team on the rise with such stars as Rodgers, RB Ryan Grant, WR Greg Jennings and WR Donald Driver leading a very potent offense.

Perhaps the Chargers are seen as a team on the demise because of the certain departure of RB LaDainian Tomlinson, maybe the departure of CB Antonio Cromartie, weak offensive and defensive lines and the stigma that coach Norv Turner can’t win a big game.

Jeremiah’s question opens up an interesting discussion of the future possibilities for the Packers and Chargers.

Yes, Jeremiah is a former QB at Appalachian State University and the son of David Jeremiah … the dynamic pastor at Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, Calif., best-selling author and leader of Turning Point Ministry.

Here’s hoping and praying that Daniel Jeremiah soon gets another job that he so richly deserves in the NFL.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Will Tomlinson follow Brees to Super Bowl?

First, Drew Brees; next LaDainian Tomlinson?

Seems like yesterday’s trash for the San Diego Chargers turns out to be a treasure for someone else.

By now, we’re all more than familiar with how the Chargers discarded Brees … only to see him win a Super Bowl four years later with the New Orleans Saints.

Tomlinson could become the next Chargers reject to win a Super Bowl elsewhere. We’ll see where he goes next season, and certainly what happens.

Rodney Harrison was still a popular Charger when he went to New England and won a couple of Super Bowls. Will Tomlinson follow in his footsteps; not to mention those of LT’s good buddy Brees?

The problem with the Chargers appears to be that whenever they get rid of a veteran player/coach, the front office is so clumsy in doing so.

Do the names Donnie Edwards, Marty Schottenheimer and Lorenzo Neal ring a bell – along with the abovementioned and Junior Seau?

Drew Brees is Exhibit A of a disturbing pattern in San Diego. Notice how he has a Super Bowl trophy, while the Chargers don’t even have a Super Bowl appearance in the past 15 years?

Friday, February 5, 2010

Drew Brees: Good guy to pull for

There are many reasons to hope that Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints win the Super Bowl over Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts.

You can start with the fact that Brees was discarded like yesterday’s bread by the San Diego Chargers after he suffered a severe shoulder injury during the final game of 2005.

Then you can consider how he has overcome that injury to rebuild the Saints … and help in the rebuilding of New Orleans.

And the latter is what counts most. Brees signed with the Saints shortly after Hurricane Katrina and has followed up on his pledge to do all he can to help rebuild the city of New Orleans.

Above all, you must cheer for Brees because of his Brees Dream Foundation and how it has positively affected thousands of people.

The foundation was founded in 2003 with a mission to advance research in the fight against cancer and provide care, education and opportunities for children in need.

Since its inception, the Brees Dream Foundation has committed more than $4.5 million to charitable causes in the New Orleans, San Diego and West Lafayette/Purdue communities (the locales where his football career have taken him.)

Yes, you must cheer for Brees because he is a good guy. You must also pull for him because of the way he rebounded after San Diego tossed him aside.

That being said:

Super Bowl prediction:
Indianapolis 28, New Orleans 25

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Tomlinson unloads on Chargers teammates

There’s an old saying that the most honest employee is one who’s on his/her way out the door.

At that point, there’s no holding back because the organization is powerless to retaliate against you.

Say hello to the world of LaDainian Tomlinson on his way out the door with the San Diego Chargers.

During an interview with Billy Ray Smith and Scott Kaplan on radio station XX 1090 AM, Tomlinson said that he “would not take a pay cut under any circumstances” like he did before last season. Say goodbye to LT.

Tomlinson acknowledged that he was unhappy with changes within the organization, but declined to specify what bothered him, according to

“Things were always there that happened over time,” Tomlinson said, adding that the Chargers' playoff loss to the New York Jets brought a lot of issues to the surface. “I didn't feel the unity and togetherness in the locker room at times this season.

“We're at a point where guys come into the league and it's not about the same values anymore. I just can't deal with that kind of stuff.”

Maybe it’s Vincent Jackson with his DUIs and driving without a license. Maybe it’s Shawne Merriman and his troubles with Tila Tequila. Maybe it’s Antonio Cromartie with his getting into public disputes and inability to make tackles. Maybe it’s something/someone else.

LT has never been as happy as a Charger since Marty Schottenheimer was fired after a 14-2 season and replaced by Norv Turner for losing in the Divisional playoffs three seasons ago. (Makes you wonder why Turner survives after going 13-3 and losing in the Divisional playoffs this season.)

All in all, it’s the start of what should be a very interesting offseason for the Chargers.

Monday, February 1, 2010

New Orleans Saints RB follows Faulk's footsteps

Marshall Faulk of the NFL Network won’t be the only former San Diego State University running back at this week’s Super Bowl.

Lynell Hamilton of the New Orleans Saints could see a few snaps at running back as long as an ankle injury doesn’t prevent him from playing.

Do you remember Hamilton?

He came to SDSU as the most highly-touted running back since Faulk … and he started out like he might be the next great Aztec runner.

Then, a serious Joe Theismann-type knee injury his freshman year slowed him down for the rest of his SDSU career. Even so, Hamilton still finished with 1,087 rushing yards as a freshman and became the 10th Aztec ever to rush for more than 2,000 career yards.

While primarily a blocking back with the Saints, Hamilton did score a rushing touchdown in the Divisional round playoff game vs. the Arizona Cardinals and is the team’s third-leading rusher in the playoffs.

All told, Hamilton rushed 35 times for 125 yards and two TDs during the regular season. The second-year running back had his best career game with 10 carries for 48 yards and one TD in the regular-season finale vs. the Carolina Panthers.

When you think of the New Orleans offense, certainly players such as Drew Brees, Reggie Bush, Pierre Thomas, Devery Henderson, Marques Colston and Jeremy Shockey come to mind.

But don’t forget Lynell Hamilton: He could become the first SDSU running back since Marshall Faulk to possess a Super Bowl championship ring.