Tag Archives: Featured

Is golf interesting again?

Is it me, or has it been a hell of a lot more exciting to watch the PGA Tour this weekend?

For the first time in a long time I cannot only hear the reaction of a crowd, but I can also feel the emotion that they are radiating. Quite frankly, it’s because of Tiger Woods.

Now I have not had the chance to look at television ratings yet, but I’m pretty sure that viewership is up a great deal. It is good to see him contend. Typically, I say it’s good to see him make a cut.

People are tuned in for one of two reasons. They either want to see Tiger succeed or fail. That’s it. It is one or the other. Jason Gore has been a quality player some time now, but no one is looking forward to watching his round.

This is the first time in a long time I actually planned a weekend around watching golf and one of my favorite athletes. Woods will be catapulted back into the main event picture he can pull this win off.

Can the guy in red and black make a come back? Do you want to see him win?

Here’s what other bloggers had to say…

Empowered Living with Jeff Crume

Studiotj

Photo: Golf Channel

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Peter Oosterhuis diagnosed with Alzheimer’s

It was sad to hear that one of my favorite golf broadcasters now has early onset Alzheimer’s disease.

The reason I liked the Oosterhuis, Nick Faldo, and David Feherty style of broadcasting is because for some reason internationals make golf sound more interesting. Do they know more? That’ s debatable. Peter would be on the course describing the ball position and all other scenerios like no other.

“I feel it is the right time to step away to focus on things in life that I have always wanted to do.” Oosterhuis said when he retired in January.

I wish he and his family the best of luck as his story yet to be finished. Keep fighting Peter!

Photo: Golf Channel

10 storylines heading into NBA Free Agency

It seems as if the 2015 free agency period has the potential to flip the league on its axis. Some teams with restricted players will have to dish out some serious cash to keep a key player. While some playoff teams will no longer be playoff teams after major subtractions.

  1. What will happen in Cleveland? Coach LeBron James is now using the “wait-and –see” approach as if he doesn’t know what he will do. James will stay with the team and he will put his general manager cap. He obviously wants David Blatt gone and more depth added to the team. It doesn’t look like James wants to team up with Kevin Love anymore as the experiment did not work. (Sidebar: Love is capable of getting 20 points and 20 boards each night. He cannot do that by playing on the wing. Just because he can shoot from the perimeter, inaccurately, does mean you should put him there.) James has gone on the record saying that he wants to see Tristan Thompson come back and be a Cavalier for live. For the record, LeBron has not been a Cavalier for life. It is Cleveland after all. That city can screw up a 911 call dialing 119. BTW we will be previewing all 32 NFL teams in 31 days. The first team up is the Cleveland Browns. There are so many great things to not say about this franchise.
  1. Jimmy Butler has singlehandedly carried the Chicago Bulls in the absence of Derrick Rose. Butler is developing into a superstar shooting guard who will have the ability to make another team an instant threat if he were to leave the Windy City. Most likely he will be offered a max salary that Chicago should match. The Bulls would be placed in a tough position if he were to leave. They already are in need of shooters. This team could go from a championship contender to a middle of the pack team. It is the East where a .500 record can get you in the playoffs.
  2. In the past two seasons Portland has had its best record since the Nate McMillan days. The Blazers will lose at least one star. LaMarcus Aldridge has already put his home up for sale and informed the team he won’t be returning. He will become a max player early in free agency. Wesley Matthews is also an unrestricted free agent who happens to be recovering from a torn Achilles tendon. If he is 100% healthy he can make a team better over night. The only notable player that may be left in Portland is Damien Lillard who happens to be going into his final year of his contract.
  3. The Los Angeles Lakers will be spending George Steinbrenner money this offseason. Rumor has it that they will be making a serious push for Kevin Love, Jimmy Butler, LaMarcus Aldridge, amongst others. Can they become ShowTime again? Who knows? Expect Kobe to still put 40 shots a night.
  4. My favorite NBA owner, Mark Cuban, will also be looking to spend some dineros this offseason as he is still trying to win another championship for Dirk Nowitzki. It is rumored that they also want Aldridge, C DeAndre Jordan and PG Goran Dragic. It is safe to say the Rajon Rondo will not be returning to the team as he was a bud Rick Carlisle was happy to nip (People thought the Rondo addition would guarantee them a title. Silly rabbit). The team will most likely not get Monta Ellis back.
  5. Then there are the New York Knickabockers. I, like everyone else, have no clue as to what this team/Phil Jackson is attempting to do. It’s clear Carmelo Anthony does not care about winning. He proved that last year when he decided to resign. It was no surprise to see the team perform to horrifically. It appears as if Greg Monroe is going to join the team and continue to be a part of a below .500 team. It’s a shame to see a team with such a good fan base be so irresponsible.
  6. The Spurs will be resigning Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan and hoping that they have enough left over to go after Aldridge. Remember Kawhi Leonard is a restricted free agent. It’s not often San Antonio has to make salary and personnel decisions during the offseason.
  7. Boston is going to look to get bigger. Last season they tried unsuccessfully to get Kevin Love. Expect them to land a big name person to go in the post. Brad Stevens and Danny Ainge have done a great job thus far of putting this team together. They came a long way in such a short period of time.
  8. I want to see the Charlotte Hornets pick up someone. Anyone. This team was the biggest disappointment last season. There is a lot of talent, but they can’t put it together. When Michael Jordan, THE GREATEST NBA PLAYER OF ALL-TIME, at age 52 says that he can beat every player on his team there is a serious problem.
  9. Will Dwayne Wade stay in Miami? It would be hard to see him a different jersey next season. Would it matter if he left though? Yes, if Chris Bosh would have been healthy at the end of the season the Heat would have been a playoff team. However, Wade will be one year older this season and if healthy he can give a team a maximum 50-60 games? D-Wade should leave to try to win another title. He should join a team where he would need to play about 30 minutes a night.

Bonus: The Philadelphia 76ers will be looking to add Slava Medvedenko, Nick Young, Mark Madson, Brad Miller, and Kwame Brown. You can never have to many centers and other worthless players, right?

Other bloggers talking about free agency:

Instant Sports Net 

Off My Podium

Pistons Nation

The Athletes Hub

Hoops of America

Blues of Nine

Smirfitts Speech

Photo: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

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The Championships, Wimbledon 2015 Gentlemen’s Preview and Winner

Event Name:   The Championships, Wimbledon 2015
Where: London, England
Dates: June 29- July 12
Surface: Grass
Tour: WTA & ATP
Defending Champ: Novak Djokovic
Runner-up:      Roger Federer

Roger Federer returns to the All-England Club one season after losing a heartbreaking fifth & final set to Novak Djokovic. It was the last time Fed was able to be in the final of a major. However, this is 2015 and the No. 2 seed has another opportunity to win his eighth title. Will this be his last chance to win a major? Hopefully not, I would love to see him finish his career like Pete Sampras did.

To see preview of the Ladies side you can click here.

Novak Djokovic comes into the tourney disappointed he could not claim a career grand slam at the French Open earlier this month. If there is a favorite to win the tile it must be Djok, right? He has been in both grand slam finals thus far this season and won one. Novak is also the defending champ.

People are writing off Rafael Nadal. Some have gone as far as saying that his career is over based on his horrible showing during the clay season. I would think that Rafa is allowed to have on bad year on clay. The guy has won nine French Opens and people think he can win another. It’s no secret that grass is not his favorite surface, but can he be called an underdog?

Stan Wawrinka proved all the haters wrong in Paris, as he was able to pick up his second major. He has the ability to push all of the other top players. He will be an interesting player to watch.

David Ferrer will not win because he can’t beat a player better than him. He doesn’t even pick up an occasional upset over the top players.

It appears once again that my favorite country, USA, will not be bringing home a major any time soon. John Isner is the best bet we have, but he is like Ferrer. It’s like he freezes against bigger named players.

Notable gentlemen in the field

Seed Players
1 Novak Djokovic
2 Roger Federer
3 Andy Murray
4 Stan Wawrinka
5 Kei Nishikori
6 Tomas Berdych
7 Milos Raonic
8 David Ferer
9 Marin Cilic
10 Rafael Nadal
11 Grigor Dimitrov
12 Gilles Simon
13 Jo-Wilfred Tsonga
14 Kevin Anderson
15 Feliciano Lopez
16 David Goffin
17 John Isner
18 Gael Monfils
19 Tommy Robredo
20 Roberto Bautista Agut
21 Richard Gasquet
22 Viktor Troicki
23 Ivo Karlovic
24 Leonardo Mayer
25 Andreas Seppi
26 Nick Kyrgios
27 Bernard Tomic
28 Pablo Cuevas
29 Guillermo Garcia-Lopez
30 Fabio Fognini
31 Jack Sock
32 Dominic Thiem

After all of that it is time for my pick. Drum roll please…

I’m going with No. 3 seed Andy Murray to pick up the win. Shocker, I hope not. He is the equal to Djok, Federer, Wawrinka and every other player in the field. Amélie Mauresmo has been an outstanding coach for him. For those of us that had the chance to watch Amélie play, it is easy to compare her game and circumstance to Murray. It has not been easy for him to overcome the other top players en route to his two major victories. Mauresmo had to beat players like Serena Williams and Justine Henin.

Who do you have winning The Championships?

Other bloggers talking about Wimbledon:

Tennis Kibitzer

Nico Mahut Fans

Game Set Match

Moo’s Tennis Blog

Joel Orme Sports

Photo: CARL COURT / AFP/GETTY IMAGES

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The Championships, Wimbledon 2015 Ladies Preview and Winner

Event Name:   The Championships, Wimbledon 2015
Where: London, England
Dates: June 29- July 12
Surface: Grass
Tour: WTA & ATP
Defending Champ: Petra Kvitova
Runner-up:      Eugenie Bouchard

When I think of Wimbledon every year I think of strawberries and cream. It looks so good. I’ll have to try it whenever I go to London. However, that has nothing to do with The Championships this year.

Once again the favorite is Serena Williams. The only person that can possibly beat her is Serena Williams. Every opponent she may have in the tournament will have to play their A+++++ game and have Serena commit a lot of unforced errors. Williams is 69-8 against the current top 10 players in the world. Is that a form of intimidation or a lack of motivation for the other ladies? With a Wimbledon win Serena will:

  1. Complete her second Serena Slam (win all four majors consecutively, but not in the same year.
  2. Be one major shy of completing the season grand slam. This feat has been done three times (Maureen Connolly Brinker in 1953, Margaret Court in 1970, & Steffi Graf in 1988) Graf actually completed the Golden Slam that season. She won an Olympic Gold medal that season as well.
  3. Will only be one major behind Graf for the most all-time in the Open era.
  4. Pick up her 6th win at the All- England Club. She would then be three back of Martina Navratilova.

You can see the gentlemen’s preview here.

The matches are played on the court and not on paper and that’s why these people may have an outside chance of winning if Serena is unable to get the job done:

  • Petra Kvitova is the defending champion and has won two of these titles in the past four years. She will need to play strong in the early rounds to gain momentum. She does have tendencies to get upset early in majors.
  • Maria Sharapova would love more than to be the person to stop Serena as she has already accomplished this feat in 2004 to claim her first major. Sharapova also has the ability to get upset. She is my favorite is Serena goes out.
  • Caroline Wozniacki has been playing great since breaking up with Rory McIlroy last season. However, she still has yet to win a major. She has the ability to fly under the radar to win the title.
  • Venus Williams has won this championship on five separate occasions and may still have some magic left in the bottle. Sloane Stevens knocked her out in the first round of the French Open. Venus didn’t play bad in the match. Stephens outplayed the veteran.
  • Madison Keys is my dark horse pick. She has the power and pace needed to contend on this surface. Keys proved earlier this season at the Australian that she belongs in the conversation of players for the future.
  • Finally, there is a young woman named Vika. Victoria Azarenka is much better than her ranking. Reminder, it is because of her injuries last season. She has played great since coming and I expect that to resume.

Notable ladies in the field:

Seed Players
1 Serena Williams
2 Petra Kvitova
3 Simona Halep
4 Maria Sharapova
5 Caroline Wozniacki
6 Lucie Safarova
7 Ana Ivanovic
8 Ekaterina Makarova
9 Carla Suarez-Navarro
10 Angelique Kerber
11 Karolina Pliskova
12 Eugenie Bouchard
13 Aga Radwanska
14 Andrea Petkovic
15 Timea Bacsinszky
16 Venus Williams
17 Elina Svitolina
18 Sabine Lisicki
19 Sara Errani
20 Garbine Muguruza
21 Madison Keys
22 Sam Stosur
23 Victoria Azarenka
24 Flavia Pennetta
25 Alize Cornet
26 Svetlana Kuznetsova
27 Barbora Strycova
28 Jelena Jankovic
29 Irina-Camelia Begu
30 Belinda Bencic
31 Camila Giorgi
32 Caroline Garcia

After all of that it is time for my pick. Drum roll please…

Of course I’m going with Serena. She is playing out of her mind. As tennis players mature in age they are supposed to regress in skills (i.e. Roger Federer) but Williams has gotten stronger. She knows what a win this year means in respect to history and I do not expect any person to be able to prevent her from winning Wimbledon.

Who do you have winning The Championships?

Other bloggers talking about Wimbledon:

Iain’s Football and Tennis Blog

Tennis Kibitzer

Tennis Abides 

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AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus

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Am I the only one losing patience with Tiger?

Embed from Getty Images

I cannot articulate my feelings as I watched arguably the greatest golfer play the fourth worst round of his career for well over four hours. I am a Tiger Woods fan, but my patience is wearing quite thin.

The guy looked defeated at Chamber Bay. His body language communicated to the world that he was living up to his 195th official world golf ranking.

From 1996- 2014, Woods had only one 80+ round. He has had three 80+ rounds in 2015 alone.

In every tournament I notice that he is going to play in I say to myself and others, “Tiger will turn it around this week!” Apparently, I am a chronic liar. If only I were a politician I could be paid to say those inaccurate words.

To make his day even worse there was banner that said “Cheater” that flew above him while he was playing.

He was not been able to hit fairways and greens consistently like a player of his caliber should. Woods did sprinkle in a few good looking shots, but not enough to save his amateur-like round.

I believe it’s because he does not play enough. Tiger should play in more tourneys. That is the only way he can gain some type of momentum. What, if anything, do you believe is his problem?

Chrisette Michele Top 10

One of my favorite Soul/R&B singers is Grammy Award winner Chrisette Michele. Her sound is not one from this era. To me, that is the best thing about her music. She says that Sarah Vaughan is one of her biggest influences and you can hear it in her songs.

I’m still upset with myself because I missed her April performance in Baton Rouge. Any show with heron the marquee should be good with the addition of R. Kelly. Be sure to see them in a city near you.

Some that didn’t make the countdown:

If It’s Love 


Aston Martin Music 


Playin’ Our Song 


What You Do 


Let’s flow into the Top 10

10. I Don’t Know Why, But I Do   


9. I’m A Star 


8. Notebook 

 


7. Be OK 


6. All I Ever Think About 


Let your freedom Reign into the Top 5

Serena escapes

World No. 1, Serena Williams, was able overcome 52 unforced errors en route to a three set victory over the German, Anna- Lena Friedsam.

Friedsam won the 1st set in 7-5 thanks to three breaks of Williams serve, which, as we all know that is uncharted water.

Serena provided Friedsam with 14 unforced errors in set two, but she able to overcome her downfalls to win the set 6-3.

Williams upped her game as she usually does when her back is to the wall in the 3rd. The veteran won 78% of points on her first serve. She received an early break to go up 2-0 and never looked back winning the third set 6-3.

If we all know Williams she would belittle herself and talk about the downfalls that she experienced today, but she is still alive in the 2015 French Open and really could not ask for more.

Serena will most likely face Victoria Azarenka in the 3rd round, which will be an old-fashioned catfight. Williams owns the head-to-head series lead 15-4.

Photo: Michel Euler

Hotard’s Top 10 Quarterbacks Heading into 2015-16

As the NFL season knocks on the door, analysts and journalist have began compiling their respective lists of the top signal callers in the NFL.
I figured now would be a good time to take a crack at my top 10 quarterbacks heading into the 2015-16 NFL season.
Before I begin my list, keep in mind that the NFL and sports in general are about the “what have you done for me lately,” mentality. I remember when San Francisco’s Colin Kaepernick was being looked at as a one of the future gems of the NFL.
After a down year, he is sitting in limbo trying to figure out his identity. It seems like a century ago when Kaep was a stud.
Bottom line, it never ceases to amaze me what a few years of game film and success can do to a quarterback. The game changes quick, so it is best to evolve with it.

LETS BEGIN…

fancloud.com10- Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins

I may be in the minority to include Tannehill into my top 10, but I love the guy. He has steadily improved his numbers every single year since his rookie season (2012). He finished last year just north of 4,000 yards to pair with a 66% completion rate. Icing on the cake, 27 touchdowns to 12 interceptions isn’t too shabby either. The only knock so far has been his record. He and the Dolphins have not eclipsed eight wins in a season yet, but I am thinking this may be the year.

Joe Flacco fanspeak.com9- Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens

I remember when Flacco claimed he was the best quarterback in the NFL and everyone laughed. Only problem was, the joke was on them as he went on to win his first and only Super Bowl. Flacco has been one of the more consistent play callers in the league. Since entering the league in 2008, he and the Ravens have only missed the playoffs one season. When the Ravens make the playoffs, Flacco isn’t exactly a quarterback you want to face. The guy has yet to go one-and-done in the postseason and hoists a record of 10-5. In his 15 appearences, he has thrown for 3,223 yards, 25 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.

Tony_Romo-geeksandcleats8- Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys

Still to this day, he is the most unfairly critiqued quarterback in the NFL simply because of the logo on his helmet. People hate the cowboys thus hating the quarterback. We all know the narrative that Tony Romo is not clutch. FALSE. He has the highest 4th quarter QB rating of ALL TIME. The problem is, all of his meltdowns have typically been when everyone has watched. Many times, it is because he is making a throw into a tight window. Oddly enough, didn’t Brett Favre miss out on two Super Bowls because of that same “gutsy” decision making? When Romo does it, it’s “bone headed.” People, especially fans, always want it both ways. I digress. Bottom line, he is coming off his best season and will always find a way on my top 10 list.

100710-Ben-Roethlisberger-SW-PI_20101007230653_660_3207- Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers

Something about Big Ben that I cannot put my finger on just always leaves him out of the top 5. I watch him play and he is great, don’t get me wrong, but I just have never liked him enough to put him in that top 5 spot. There is no denying his ability to manipulate and move around the pocket and fire downfield. Now that he has a top receiver in Antonio Brown, he will age well moving forward.
Buffalo Bills v New Orleans Saints6- Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints

Normally, I would stick Brees in the top five, but he has lost that big play ability it seems. I am not sure what to make of Brees heading into 2015. As a Saints fan, I have noticed he held on to the ball too long last year and doesn’t have the same strength to make throws he made three years ago. Is he still one of the best quarterbacks in the league? Absolutely, no question. I’ll take a Brees down year over most guys’ best season. Just not sure he is top five anymore. With some tweaks to the offensive line and moves that signify the Saints could be shifting to a more run-oriented offense, he could go on to have an outstanding year relying on play-action, much like Romo did last year.

5- Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks

Maybe my favorite guy to watch in the NFL right now. His ability to make plays downfield by avoiding the pass rush is incredible. He has helped the Seattle Seahawks reach the last two Super Bowls and I firmly believe (Prediction alert) he is about to make round three. I’m salivating over the fact he now has a big target in Jimmy Graham. For a while, they made hype about how great he is at home because they were literally unbeatable at Century Link Field for two years. More impressive are his numbers on the road and being poised and confident away from the rabid Seattle fans. Last season, Wilson threw for just under 2,000 yards, 14 touchdowns and just 1 interception on the road. For those who have claimed he is a “game manager,” game managers don’t do that.

peyton-manning-run24- Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos

It is evident that Manning, like Brees, has lost some luster in his arm and wears down more rapidly. However, Manning is still a tower at 6’5. He was on pace to have another historic season early last year, but wear and tear caught up in the second half. He is still one of the most intelligent signal callers of all time. Combine that with his size, the guy won’t be hurting too much to sustain success.

Crouch-Brady-Deflategate-Press-Confrence-12003- Tom Brady, New England Patriots

Part of me wanted to slate him out of the top 5 due to his suspension for Deflategate. The guy is still coming off of his fourth Super Bowl win and sixth appearance. The combination of him and Head Coach Bill Belichick is just unfair. I suspect they will back near the top and fighting for a Super Bowl.

AndrewLuck2- Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts

The most can’t miss QB prospect has been everything he was expected to be and more. It is truly a treat to watch him play. He is the next transcendent star that the NFL has to offer. Luck really is a combination of Peyton Manning (intelligence) and John Elway (athleticism and arm). He could easily make a case for the top spot. It only took Luck three years to toss 40 touchdowns in a season. That is with a sub par offensive line as he has been hit more than any quarterback the last three years and without a true number one receiver.

tumblr_m12fz1K7XN1qdyvixo1_5001- Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers

The two time and reigning NFL Most Valuable Player tops the list, no surprise here. Maybe the most impressive thing about Aaron Rodgers is that he isn’t slinging the ball 40 times per game and yet he still puts up nearly 40 touchdowns and 4,400 yards each season. His touchdown to interception ratio is obnoxious every year. He has a massive arm and can pinpoint it anywhere. Let’s be honest, Rodgers has made a career off the back shoulder throw. No matter, who he throws to, they become stars. RODGERS! DISCOUNT DOUBLE CHECK!

Now that I have spewed my top 10 list, share yours below or tell me what an idiot I am because of something that you may not agree with. I welcome it.

French Open Preview

Event Name:   French Open
Where: Roland Garros; Paris, France
Dates: 5/24/15 – 6/7/15
Surface: Clay
Tour: WTA & ATP
Defending Champs: Rafael Nadal & Maria Sharapova
Runner-up:      Novak Djokovic & Simona Halep

The 2015 is loaded with questions and will surely be two weeks of action that we fans will not want miss. Is it time for a “changing of the guard” on the women’s side? If it is who will be there to take over? Underdogs like Carla Suarez Navarro can make a huge push. What? Navarro is ranked 8th and you are calling her an underdog? Yes, she has improved her game that much. She has somehow run into a monster named Serena every time, but she has played great against everyone else. it is hard for me to pick Ivanovic, Bouchard, and Wozniacki just because you never know which one of those ladies will show up. The only person outside of the top 10 that I believe has a chance to win is Vika. You’ll find the reason later on.

On the guy’s only seven of the top eight players have a chance of winning to be frank. David Ferrer is the Aga Radwanska of men’s tennis. Both players receive high rankings, but they can not beat better players. Like ever! Last season Kei Nishikori thrusted himself into the conversation of being the best men’s player, but I do not believe he is ready to win. John Isner continues to play well in none major events, and I expect that trend to press on. More on the chances of Amercians and the French later on.

Women’s Side:

  • All eyes are on Serena as it is her tournament to lose. She seeks to claim major win number twenty and her third straight major victory overall. Will her elbow injury prevent her from a victory?
  • Can Sharapova go into a major tourney without losing in an upset early? She should be able to come out of her quarter easily.
  • Simona Halep is a finalist from last year, will she be able to break through to get her first major win.
  • Victoria Azarenka seems to be getting back to her old self, as she is now healthy. She had Serena down for a couple of match points down in Madrid before choking. Vika is ranked 27th, but is clearly not an underdog. She will most likely face Serena in the 3rd round.
  • 1st round match I am most looking forward to seeing: Venus Williams versus Sloane Stephens. People wrote the 34-year-old Williams off a few years ago, by she has fought off disease and non-believers to get back to being a major championship threat. In 2013, Stephens was pronounced the American heir to Serena’s crown, but she followed up with an awful 2014. Sloane has been up and down all season, as her record is 11-9, but I expect her to put up a battle against Venus.

Men’s side:

  • So this guy named Rafael Nadal has won this event in the past five years. Actually, he has won nine of the past ten French Opens. He will come into the tourney ranked sixth, but I must say that I do not expect him to win this year. For his standards he has been awful on clay. Typically, he wins every match on the red stuff, but he has only won one clay tournament he entered this year. It will be tough; if anyone can defy the odds it’s him.
  • Can Novak finally win the French? No other questions needed.
  • 33-year-old, Roger Federer will pursue his second major at Roland Garros. He has played great in 2015, but can he defeat Novak and Rafa. They seem to be his kryptonite.
  • Will an American break through to win the title? No.
  • Will a Frenchman break through to win the title? No, but they have better chances than the Americans.

Top 32 Seeds:

Seed Men Women
1 Novak Djokovic Serena Wiliams
2 Roger Federer Maria Sharapova
3 Andy Murray Simona Halep
4 Tomas Berdych Petra Kvitova
5 Kei Nishikori Caroline Wozniacki
6 Rafael Nadal Eugenie Bouchard
7 David Ferrer Ana Ivanovic
8 Stan Wawrinka Carla Suárez Navarro
9 Martin Cilic Ekaterina Makarova
10 Grigor Dimitrov Andrea Petkovic
11 Feliciano Lopez Angelique Kerber
12 Gilles Simon Karolina Pliskova
13 Gael Monfils Lucie Safarova
14 Jo-Wilfred Tsonga Aga Radwanska
15 Kevin Anderson Venus Williams
16 John Isner Madison Keys
17 David Goffin Sara Errani
18 Tommy Robredo Svetlana Kuznetsova
19 Roberto Bautista Agut Elina Svitolina
20 Richard Gasquet Sabine Lisicki
21 Pablo Cuevas Garbiñe Muguruza
22 Philipp Kohlschreiber Barbora Strycova
23 Leonardo Mayer Timea Bacsinszky
24 Ernests Gulbis Peng Shuai
25 Ivo Karlovic Jelena Jankovic
26 Guillermo Garcia-Lopez Sam Stosur
27 Bernard Tomic Vika Azarenka
28 Fabio Fognini Flavia Pennetta
29 Nick Kyrgios Alizė Cornet
30 Adrian Mannarino Irina-Camelia Begu
31 Viktor Troicki Caroline Garcia
32 Fernando Verdasco Zarina Diyas

My Predictions: Serena Williams & Novak Djokovic

Other Bloggers say:

Iain’s Tennis & Football Blog

Adjusting The Net

The ATP World Tour Tennis Blog

Ming Yu Musing

Tennis Thoughts

Tennis Translations

Photo: (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)

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TBT 5/21/15 American Idol Edition

  1. Ruben Studdard- Sorry 2004 (2004) 

  2. Taylor Hicks- Do I Make You Proud (2006) 

  3. Carrie Underwood- CMAs Medley (2013) 

  4. Jennifer Hudson- I Will Always Love You (2012) 

  5. Adam Lambert- For Your Entertainment (2009) 

  6. Jordin Sparks- No Air (2008) 

  7. Daughtry- Waiting for Superman (2013) 

  8. Clay Aiken- Invincible (2003) 

  9. Scotty McCreery- The Trouble With Girls (2011) 

  10. Phillip Phillips- Gone, Gone, Gone (2012) 

Some others who have been talking about Idol this week:

Dudes Review Idol

The Hudsucker

Robster’s Pace 

Thought Catalog

Kelly Clarkson Top 10

It is very possible that Kelly Clarkson is my favorite American Idol winner. Every song she puts out is some type of inspiring anthem. When working out I happen to get a little more energy when one of her songs get shuffled in. I will also always have a special connection to one of Clarkson’s songs. “A Moment Like This” was my high school class song.

These are a couple of new hits that are from her new album, “Piece By Piece”.

Heartbeat Song 


Run Run Run 


Some that didn’t make the Top 10:

Don’t Rush 


Walk Away 


Dark Side


Don’t You Wanna Stay 


Breakaway 


People Like Us 


To continue to the Top 10 please head over to the next page.

When is it too early to fire a coach or manager?

It was reported on Sunday that the Milwaukee Brewers fired their manager, Ron Roenicke after the team started the season 7-18. In his time with the team he went 342-331 in just over five seasons with the squad.

The team finished only two games above .500 last season. The Brewers higher-ups knew that this team was not going to contend this year. They didn’t go out and improve the roster over the offseason and assumed they would morph into the Kanas City Royals. The expectations for this team fell harder than Rand Paul, Ben Carson, and Ted Cruz’s hopes of becoming president in 2016.

Did the Brew Crew happen to forget the division that they have been apart of for decades? The Cardinals have had this division on lock for the past decade. The new look Cubs are energized and bound to make a serious run at the division title. They are not going to the World Series, but they have a chance at winning the division. Cincinnati and Pittsburgh are still in the middle of the pack, but they also have chances of making the postseason.

I feel sorry for the Brewers because they do not have the sorry Houston Astros to beat down on in the National League Central. Oh wait; those same sorry Astros are in first place in the American League West.

Yes, I understand that baseball consists of a 162 game schedule, however the Philadelphia 76ers have a better chance of winning the NBA Championship than the Brewers chance of making the postseason this year.

Roenicke started the season with the tools he was given why not let him finish out the lifeless season that his team was predestined to have. Milwaukee had the chance of firing him at the end of last season and didn’t take it.

Craig Counsell will become the interim manager who is going ruin his personal reputation just to keep the Brewers in last place. Roenicke could have done that under his current contract, which had a team option for next season.

In baseball, you will not change the morale of a team or fan base midseason. I can’t speak for all die-hard fans, but if the writing is on the wall, just get out your bifocals and read it. It will be long season. I’m a Braves fan, I have already come to the understanding that season will be disappointing.

I thank you for allowing me to vent, but now I ask the question, When is it to early to can a coach or manager?

Personally, I believe in riding the horse that got you to your present-day situation and taking responsibility for my poor decisions. Give the person a chance to fail, because we all know they will not succeed in Milwaukee. Green Bay yes! Milwaukee no!

Photo: Kim Klement / USA TODAY Sports

Woods commits to a summer schedule

World number 106, Tiger Woods, announced on Twitter that will be playing in a quite a few tournaments this summer.

Last week, Woods announced that he will be defending at the PLAYERS Championship May 7-10.

You can read here about other tournaments that he may possibly enter before the U.S.Open this June.

Of course, this schedule does depend on his health.

Tiger happens to be coming off of a T17 performance at Augusta.

For more info please see the press release.

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Photo: Carlson/AP

What happens when Sports meets Reality?

Yes, Down The Line Sports Entertainment is a sports and entertainment blog that does not cover civic issues, however there comes a point where sports reality, reality, and the civic issues intertwine.

Sports reality is very important in many ways especially as devoted fans who will do anything and everything to will our teams on to victory. Sports is the MOST real thing on television besides the news. One might argue that the news is skewed and actually not real. But,

  • Imagine how the people of Chicago will react when the Cubs win a World Series?
  • Think of the feelings that you experience when you have a bet on the Kentucky Derby.
  • Is there anything more exciting than a buzzer beater?

Sports leaves each of us with a feeling that can’t be described. It leaves us with a memory that will always be tangible. You will remember where you were you seen Buster Douglas knock down Mike Tyson. You will remember being amazed as David Tyree made a catch using his helmet in the Super Bowl. You will remember the smell of the cold wind blowing in your face as you run in a marathon.

That is reality! You are experiencing it right? Those are priceless memories that can’t be taken away from you, right?

But, is that the same feeling you have when your first child is born, the regret of not paying a bill on time because you were laid off, or being a witness of a loved one struggling to hold on to their life.

Aren’t those same tangible, realistic feelings?

Below is a chart that compares and contrasts both sports reality, reality, and civic issues.

Slide1

What happens when sports realities and reality happen at the same time to affect civic issues?

With that, I take you to Baltimore, Maryland where sports is at the center of reality. For those of you who do not know, Baltimore is the epicenter of protests and riots because of the handling of the death of Freddie Gray as he was being arrested. Since his death, the community and police have banded together to seek peace and find the truth. That is not being shown on television though. We are seeing looting, disrespect for authorities, burning of buildings, and a whole lot of destruction.

Yes, Freddie Gray died, but what does this have to do with sports and reality?

Because of protests, the Baltimore Orioles have not been able to play their home games at Oriole Park at Camden Yards because the team and Major League Baseball want to protect fans, players, employees, and umpires from potential harm.

The team has decided to play a game on Wednesday, April 29, in front of an empty stadium. The team was also scheduled to host the Tampa Rays this weekend, but instead they will travel to Tampa and act as the home team.

How are sports reality, reality, and civic issues being used in this one example? Well,

  1. Hearing the cheering of the hometown team will not be a memory someone will gain this weekend.
  2. Ticket holders who made plans for Monday and Tuesday’s games may not be able to attend the games on Thursday.
  3. On Wednesday, the team will not have fans cheering for them. Therefore losing home field advantage.
  4. Employees of Oriole Park at Camden Yards who make close to minimum wage will miss out on three days pay, as they will not be traveling to Tampa. I would think the team would pay them because this is not the employee’s fault.
  5. Because there are no games being played either in public or in Tampa, the team will lose out on revenues that are generated by ticket sales, parking, concessions, and other revenue streams. Someone will have to pay for what the team has lost. Expect consumers to pay higher prices until the team recuperates its loses.

To the peaceful protestors of Baltimore, please know that people around the world and I see what is going. We respect you and encourage you to continue to seek the truth.

To the police and community leaders of Baltimore, please continue to share peace in a city that is desperate. Show shines of sympathy and empathy because people need it.

For the looters and destructors, hell terrorists, please start to think. Step outside of your body and look at what is going on. If you do that you will see:

  1. One of America’s greatest cities being destroyed. Believe it or not, you will have to pay for those damages. Actually, the entire city and state will have to pay for your crimes.
  2. People who have negative views of blacks will (in the their mind) be justified.
  3. That all of this damage will have been for nothing. I am sorry to say that riots will not bring Freddie Gray back. No matter how many buildings are set on fire, Orioles games cancelled, or how much disrespect is shown to the police will bring this young man back. I’m sorry, that is reality.

Consider the phrase, “One bad apple spoils the bunch.” That bunch is inedible.

I hope that the Orioles are not punished for acts they did not commit.

Sidebar. Yes, this is a national mess that only local authorities have control over. Stick to local government. Let’s not make this more political that what it already.

Yes, sports reality is a “legal” high that can never be matched, but please notice the real issues surrounding you. There are parts of this country that are still fighting for voting rights and equality rights amongst other things. Seek to find issues that may interest you and use your voice.

After, remember that events that have already occurred cannot be prevented after the fact. If you want to see change get out in your community, actually speak to your neighbor, and network with people who are a different demographic than you. Be the person you want to see as a leader of your neighborhood.

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Photo by: Patrick Semansky—AP

Check out what other bloggers said about this issue:

The Phoenix Rises

Ronovan Writes

SmallGovReport

RighteousBruin

MentalUnrest

The Central Standard Times

Time for the NBA to make a change

It is about time that the National Basketball Association does something about player eligibility.

It is clear that undergraduates do not want to be apart of a dynasty and play all four years in college. Instead, they would rather play one year and then turn pro as the current eligibility rules require them to do.

Why can’t players just turn pro after graduating from high school? The athletes would have the opportunity to sink or swim at the professional level, while the players who actually want to play college basketball and get an education will be able to play at a more prestigious school in a better conference and in front of more people.

There have been success stories for players who opted to go pro.

Players that skipped college

Year Drafted Player Career Stats
1974 (ABA) Moses Malone 20 PPG; 12 RPG
1995 Kevin Garnett 18 PPG; 6 RPG
1996 Kobe Bryant 25 PPG; 5 RPG; 5 APG
2003 LeBron James 27 PPG; 7 RPG; 7 APG

There have also been some disasters. Though some of the flops played many seasons in the NBA, they never quite prospered like they were supposed to.

Players that flopped

Year Drafted Player Career Stats
2000 Darius Miles 8 Seasons; 10 PPG
2001 Kwame Brown 13 Seasons; 6 PPG; 5 RPG
2004 Robert Swift 4 Seasons; 10 PPG; 4 RPG
2004 Sebastian Telfair 12 Seasons; 7 PPG; 3 APG

*Stats courtesy Basketball-Reference.com 

If players decide to play for the NCAA, they should be required to play for at least three years like in the NFL.

If the NBA did this all parties involved would benefit from the change.

  • The NBA would be able to draft franchise players at a much younger age if players come out of HS.
  • Players that go to college will get a chance to learn from another quality coach before going to the pros.
  • The NCAA would be able to exploit players for more than one season.
  • The men’s college game would become even more competitive thus creating a better product.

Respected college head coaches opinions:

“College is not for everybody. So if a kid doesn’t want to go to college, let him go to the pros. Let him go into the [D-League]. And if someone does want to go to college, let them go. We’re still going to have great basketball teams,” Rick Pitino said.

“Major League Baseball has the best idea of all. Three years before they’ll take a kid out of college, then they have a minor league system that they put the kids in. I’m sure that if the NBA followed the same thing, there would be a lot of kids in a minor league system that still were not good enough to play in the major NBA,” Bobby Knight.

Don’t get me wrong I enjoyed seeing Kentucky season. I believe that John Calipari is a creative virtuoso in the field of recruiting. You deserve to go to the Final Four every year whenever you can build a new program with that high of a turnover. Conversely, wasn’t college basketball better with group of recognizable players? You will never forget the Fab Five or Phi Slama Jama.

There are arguments for both side of this issue, but any system has to better than the one they are currently operating under.

Photo: Getty Images

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Braves pitcher gets 80 games off

Anyone ever heard of Andrew McKirahan? I’ll wait.

I am an Atlanta Braves fan and I never heard of him. Apparently, he is a cheater. Sorry, that was unprofessional of me. According to the Associated Press, McKirahan has been suspended by MLB because he tested positive for Ipamorelin. It’s some type of human growth hormone.

I do not understand the reason as to why he would do it. The young player is currently making the league minimum. However, because of this little 80 game hiatus he’s is going on he will forfeit $221,858. This season he was scheduled to make $507,500.

So, I wonder if it was really worth it.

It was just nine days ago when I went on a rant because Jenrry Meija was suspended for a different PED.

When will players understand that they can no longer cheat the system, cheat their organization, cheat the fans, and cheat themselves?

We as fans need to do our parts as well and no longer approve the using of these drugs. We do not boycott games and or demand stiffer penalties. Isn’t it an endorsement when fans cheer a player that has previously cheated? Yankee fans, do I really need to bring up A-Rod? We’ll save that conversation for a later date.

It is time for this epidemic to cease to exist. I agree with the phrase “It ain’t cheating if you don’t get caught”. What should happen if you do get caught? When you get caught?

Photo: Nick Turchiaro- USA TODAY Sports

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Hack-A-Jordan gets old quickly

It is no surprise that DeAndre Jordan absolutely sucks at the free throw line, and San Antonio is taking advantage of it. That’s just something that they are supposed to do as competitors.

In the regular season he shot 39%.

This scheme is boring and it lengthens the game far too much. Seeing a fast paced first half get slowed down near intermission is depressing. Especially, if you our on the east coast and the clock has already struck midnight. Not to mention those watching internationally.

The method has worked through half time of game one, as Jordan is 5/12 from the charity stripe.

Overall, I believe in “Hack-A-_____ method. You cannot punish a team for intentionally fouling someone who is a bad free throw shooter. The best way to eliminate this problem is to teach said player how to shoot a free throw.

Photo: (Jae C. Hong / Associated Press)