Thursday, June 30, 2011

Baseball's Most Bizarre Injuries

It isn’t uncommon for baseball players to be hard on themselves, but Baltimore Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts took self-punishment to a whole new level in October, 2010 when he beat himself in the head with his baseball bat after striking out at the plate. His temporary lapse of judgment resulted in a low-grade concussion which kept the two-time All-Star out of the lineup for the remainder of the season. “I’ve never had concussion-like symptoms in my life; it’s not fun,” a woozy Roberts said afterwards. “It’s not something you want to go through every day, that’s for sure. It’s a lesson to myself, a lesson to the kids to not do that, no matter how frustrated you are.” Bizarre injuries like Roberts’ are actually quite common in professional baseball, where players are constantly finding new and inventive ways to keep themselves on the sidelines. Learn more about baseball’s most bizarre injuries by clicking here.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Game Time Essentials

There are few family outings more thrilling than attending a sporting event -- if you’re properly prepared. Showing up without the right game time essentials can turn a pleasant afternoon at the ballpark into a torturous affair for everyone involved. That’s why I’ve compiled a handy guide to the top 10 things you’ll need for attending a live sporting event. My list includes a lineup of must-have items as well as details on where you can find them and what may happen if you leave them behind. Learn more by clicking here.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Question of the Week

Jason, Fargo, ND
Subj: Have basketball, will travel
Which NBA player holds the record for having played with the most teams?

That honor is shared by NBA journeymen Chucky Brown, Tony Massenburg and Jim Jackson, all of whom played for 12 different teams during their careers. Although all three men are exceptionally well-traveled, Massenburg deserves special mention for also plying his trade in Europe during the first third of his professional career. Even now, he regards his nomadic lifestyle as being a tremendous badge of honor. “I must have been doing something right,” he says proudly. “People aren't going to just keep passing you around if you can't bring anything to the court. It's just a part of the business, that's how I look at it.” The University of Maryland alum nearly added a 13th team to his resume in 2007 when he tried out with the Washington Wizards. Unfortunately the team had little use for his services and waived the then 40-year-old power forward prior to the first game of the season.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Three's a Crowd

Dale, Hemet, CA
Subj: Three of a kind
Much has been made of the dominance of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami, but who do you think are the best threesomes in NBA history?

Superb question Dale! After several hours of careful consideration I’ve come up with five deserving trios and one honorable mention. My selections are based upon offensive proficiency, winning percentage and overall dominance.

5. Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen – LeBron James and co. may be the league's best contemporary trio, but until the win their first championship "Gang Green" will continue to hold onto this prestigious spot.
Best offensive season: 2007-2008. Pierce, Garnett and Allen are currently lit up opponents to the tune of 55.8 points per game en route to winning the NBA championship.

4. Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman – Admittedly more of a “Big Two” than a “Big Three” Jordan and Pippen were so dominant during their prime that it seems like a shame to exclude them from this list. That’s why I paired them with Rodman, a defensive demon who helped the Bulls win three consecutive championships from 1996-to-1998. Although Jordan and Pippen’s 50 + points per game were key, it’s unlikely Chicago would have been nearly as dominant without the Worm’s willingness to do the dirty work and defend the other team’s top scorer.
Best offensive season: 1995-1996. The Bulls finished the 1996 season with a 72-10 record as their three main men combined for an average of 55.0 points per game.

3. Jerry West, Elgin Baylor, Wilt Chamberlain – It isn’t often that a team can put three Hall of Famers on the court at the same time, but that’s precisely the luxury the Lakers had during the late 60’s and early 70’s when they suited up Jerry West, Elgin Baylor and Wilt Chamberlain. The high scoring trio went to the NBA Finals in three consecutive years before bowing out to the Boston Celtics and the New York Knicks. Despite their inability to win a title, Wilt, Big E and The Logo are all charter members of the league’s 50 Greatest Players in NBA History.
Best offensive season: 1969-1970. Opponents didn’t stand a chance against the Lake Show in 1970 when their three primary offensive weapons combined for an eye-popping 82.5 points per game. Granted, Wilt was injured for the bulk of the season, but when he was in the line-up Los Angeles was a formidable force.

2. Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parrish – The original “Big Three” Bird, McHale and Parrish led the Celtics to five NBA finals in the 1980’s, winning the championship three times. Although Bird was the team’s unquestioned leader, Parrish was also a rock in the paint and McHale was a surprisingly adept rebounder and shot blocker who was named to the NBA All-Defensive First or Second Team six times during his illustrious career.
Best offensive season: 1986-1987. The C’s were firing on all cylinders in 1987 when their “Big Three” combined for an absurd 71.7 points per game. Unfortunately their supporting cast let them down in the postseason and Boston fell to the Lakers 4 games to 2 in the NBA Finals.

1. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson and James Worthy – Although often overshadowed by their East Coast rivals, Kareem, Magic and Worthy formed the backbone of a Lakers squad that won four championships during the 1980s. Their selflessness and clutch play kept them on top of the standings year after year and their fan-friendly, fast breaking attack revitalized a league that was teetering on the brink of irrelevance.
Best offensive season: 1985-1986. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, there’s no denying that the Showtime Lakers knew how to put the ball in the basket. L.A.’s terrific trio were at their best statistically in 1986 when they combined for 62.2 points per game.

Honorable Mention: Tim Hardaway, Chris Mullin and Mitch Richmond – Although this trio never won a championship they did manage to keep things interesting by scorching their opponents on a nightly basis. Hardaway initiated the attack with his killer UTEP Two Step, while Mullin and Richmond kept defenses guessing with their nearly unstoppable inside-outside game.
Best offensive season: 1990-1991. Run TMC set the league on fire in 1991 when they combined for 72.5 points per game. Sadly for fans around the league, the trio was broken up the following year when Richmond was unwisely traded to the Sacramento Kings in exchange for Billy Owens.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Question of the Week

Jack, El Paso, TX
Subj: Pure perfection
Who pitched the first perfect game in American League history?

That honor belongs to Denton “Cy” Young, who ensured his place in the history books on May 5, 1904 when he retired all 27 batters he faced in a 3-0 victory over the Philadelphia Athletics. Athletics manager Connie Mack was so blown away by Young’s dominant performance that he later called it the most impressive game ever pitched.

So how did Young do it? Pure concentration. The 6’2” hurler was so focused on the task at hand that he had no idea he had accomplished the feat until his teammates mobbed him on the mound following the final out.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Least-Deserving MLB All-Stars

Baseball’s Mid-Season Classic is fast approaching, and while the event aims to toast the very best talent in the Major Leagues, one or two undeserving players always squeak in due to the league’s ridiculous rule requiring every team have at least one representative. That statute may have made sense back in 1935 when there were only 16 teams, but now that the league has expanded to 30 squads it’s allowed dozens of hopelessly inefficient fielders and maddeningly inconsistent hurlers to sneak onto Baseball’s biggest stage. Grab your hat, adjust your cup and click HERE as I examine the top 10 least-deserving MLB All-Stars from the past 20 years.