As a dad I find it really hard to focus on the important things, like 10 hours of non-stop football on Saturdays and Sundays. It's REALLY annoying... I kid of course. For full disclosure here are my sports allegiances: Boston Red Sox, Tar Heels basketball, Georgia Bulldogs football and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. I am also a staunch supporter of the return of the Charlotte Hornets! I'm always objective, it just turns out the TRUTH is always on my team's side. I can't help it.
Some people call me a Half-back, I refer to myself as a Hybrid. One parent from the north, the other from the south resulting in my love for sweet and unsweet tea. Just like most Americans, sports are my escape. Those who cannot do (anymore), critique and debate. So I share my love of sports with you all. GO DETROIT!
Great sports coverage and a lot of "best of" sports lists at Bleacher Report. http://bleacherreport.com/
What's the latest in college sports and whatever happened to guys like UNC's Ed Geth? http://www.lostlettermen.com/
Like polls and giving fantasy tips? Waste hours in NFL.com's Genius Community. http://genius.fantasy.nfl.com/
SB Nation has a large collection of sports opinion. http://www.sbnation.com/
One of Tank's favorite writers Bill Simmons and the Grantland crew kill it. http://www.grantland.com/
A trio of baseball kings are going into the Hall of Fame together this year in what could be one of the biggest classes in Cooperstown history. The 16-member expansion era committee unanimously and rightfully decided that former managers Bobby Cox, Tony LaRussa and Joe Torre belonged in the hall. Looking at these numbers, there is no doubt that they all undoubtedly deserve the honor...
Bobby Cox (Atlanta 1978-1981, 1990-2010 / Toronto 1982-1985)
- 2,504 wins
- 1 World Series title (1995)
- 5 National League pennants
- 15 Division titles (11 NL East, 3 NL West, 1 AL East)
- 4-time Manager of the Year (3 National League, 1 American League)
- Holds the MLB record for regular-season ejections by a manager with 158. (3 more in the postseason)
Tony LaRussa (Chicago White Sox 1979-1986, Oakland 1986-1995, St. Louis 1996-2011)
- 2,728 Wins (3rd all-time)
- 3 World Series titles (1989, 2006, 2011)
- 6 Pennants (3 National League, 3 American League)
- 13 Division titles (5 AL West (CWS and OAK), 8 NL Central)
- 4-time Manager of the Year (3 American League, 1 National League)
Joe Torre (NY Mets 1977-1981, Atlanta 1982-1984, St. Louis 1990-1995, NY Yankees 1996-2007, LA Dodgers 2008-2010)
- 2,326 Wins
- 4 World Series titles
- 6 American League pennants
- 13 Division titles (10 AL East, 3 NL West (ATL and LAD))
- 2-time Manager of the Year (both AL)
This year's ballot for players, as voted on by the Baseball Writers of America Association, includes several "locks" for election, at least in my mind.
There is no doubt that fromer Braves Gregg Maddux and Tom Glavine should be first-ballot Hall of Famers. If elected this year, the two would be the first teammates ever elected to the Hall in the same year. Maddux amassed 355 wins in his career and 4 Cy Young Awards (consecutively by the way 92-95), a record 18 Gold Glove awards and nearly 3,400 strikeouts. While Glavine doesn't have that much hardware, he's a two-time Cy Young Award winner, 305 wins and (more impressive than a Gold Glove) 4 Silver Slugger Awards.
Also on the ballot is "The Big Hurt" Frank Thomas. Aside from being one of my favorite players as a kid, he is one of the few studs in the steroid era who has never been tied to PED's. He won back-to-back AL MVP awards in 1993 and 1994 and was impressively in the top 5 in MVP voting six times. He hit 521 home runs for 18th all-time and 1,704 runs batted in for 22nd all-time.
Next on my "lock list" is Craig Biggio. The former Asheville Tourist was the leading vote-getter in last year's HOF balloting when no one was inducted. Biggs was a mere 39 votes shy of hitting the 75 percent needed. Biggio could do it all playing catcher, 2nd base and the outfield in his career. He accumulated 3,060 hits adn was a 7-time All-Star.
Jack Morris should also be voted in. This is Morris' 15th and final year of eligibility to be voted in by the writers. There has been a growing movement to put him in the hall. Morris won more games in the 1980's than any other pitcher, but having no Cy Youngs to his credit and fewer than 300 wins hurts his case. He was the World Series MVP in 1991, when he pitched a 10 inning shutout against the Braves in the clincher.
Mike Piazza, one of the best offensive catchers in history, should also be a shoe in for induction. In 16 seasons Piazza was an All-Star 12 times and won a Silver Slugger Award 10 times. Despite his embarassing showings in the Home Run Derby, his power numbers are unrivaled for a catcher. Piazza hit 396 home runs as a catcher, the most for that position in history. He ended his career with 427 dingers and a .308 batting average. Last year Piazza was 4th in the HOF voting.
I think the ballot should also include Jeff Bagwell. Though many assume that Bagwell was a steroid user because of his girth, he has never been tied to PED's much like Frank Thomas. Bagwell was an amazing hitter in his 15 seasons. He finished his career in the top 70 in seven different offensive categories. He had a .297 lifetime batting average and was in the top 10 in NL MVP voting six times including winning the 1994 award.
Personally I would also like to see all stars from the "steroid-era" in the Hall of Fame, but I know that won't happen any time soon - if ever. Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Mark McGwire not being in the Hall is a crime. Yes, I feel the same about Pete Rose and Shoeless Joe Jackson. Regardless of whether you like them as people, their contributions to baseball are too great to go unrecognized and revered.
Paul Lo Duca
By Tank Spencer
It's championship weekend in college football and for once in my life I'm actually pulling for Duke (SSHHH, don't tell my dad). The ACC Championship is being held in Charlotte and there couldn't be more at stake. If David Cutcliffe's Dookies are able to do the unthinkable and beat Jameis Winston and the Florida State Seminoles, it'll be another HUGE shake up for the BCS.
Let's hope that Michigan State's basketball team doesn't transfer its lackadaisical effort to the football team for this week's Big Ten championship. I would love nothing more than to see Ohio State go down in flames and it just might happen. People overlook the fact that Ohio State has struggled to beat several teams this season, including J.P.'s very mediocre Michigan Wolverines to close the season. What also escapes sports fans is that Michigan State only has one loss. If any team in the Big Ten can take down the Buckeyes, it is Sparty. That defense only allows 11.8 points per game.
In the SEC its Auburn vs Missouri and the winner SHOULD be in the BCS title game regardless if Ohio State wins. I doubt it will be anything other than FSU vs Ohio St. if both win their conference titles, but a man can hope for common sense in the ranking system. Either team that wins Saturday will have taken down five top 25 teams this season. My money is on Auburn, being that they are the only team that has proven it can take out the would-be national champ, Alabama.
I'm praying we'll see another all SEC final like two years ago. If FSU and Ohio State get taken out, the chances of Iron Bowl II, Auburn vs Alabama, should be pretty good. For the sake of fairness, I think, the Crimson Tide needs another shot to make up for the fluke play that ended their championship hopes. If you missed Chris Davis' amazing missed field goal return, or just want to see the magic one more time, Click HERE. My other championship picks:
PAC-12 - Arizona State shocks Stanford
C-USA - Marshall rolls over Rice
MTN WEST - Fresno St. beats Utah St.
BIG XII - Baylor beats Texas, but Oklahoma St. takes down Oklahoma to clinch the championship.
By Tank Spencer
As we sit down to think about what’s most important in our lives this holiday season, I reflect on what I’m thankful for in the world of sports.
I give thanks for:
1. Another World Series trophy in Beantown.
It's been a year of the comeback for Red Sox fans. After sitting out the playoffs last year, finishing in last place in the division, John Farrell led the Red Sox to a division title, the pennant and the first World Series clinched at Fenway Park since Woodrow Wilson was in the White House.
2. Oregon and Baylor don't disappoint.
In the last few weeks the BCS picture has cleared right up the Ducks and the Bears suffered losses taking them out of the national title conversation. Now if only Ohio State would trip up against Michigan this week, we wouldn't have to hear the incessant whining from Buckeye fans that they deserve a shot. Don't be fooled by the undefeated record, they don't. The Big Ten's inferiority is nothing to celebrate. Just because you beat a bunch of mediocre teams, doesn't give you the right to clamor for respect. Hopefully everything holds and Alabama and Florida State remain undefeated to set up a national title game that could be one of the greats. Once again Nick Saban and Alabama would hoist the crystal ball.
3. No Tim Tebow in the NFL.
We began the 2013 NFL season wondering if and when the calls for Tim Tebow to start at quarterback for the New England Patriots would arise. Thankfully the Patriots ARE the smartest-run organization in sports and saw fit to release Timmy before the season even got started. I'm thankful that no other franchise has decided to test the waters and infect themselves with the disease that is Tebowmania. Can we close the book on him please? He's a horrible pro quarterback. End of story.
4. The Buccaneers have a three game winning streak!
My Bucs are horrible. I didn't think we'd win three games all year after seeing how this team has imploded. So the win streak comes to a crashing halt this week in Charlotte... we still aren't the worst in the league!
5. The Erwin Warriors' historic season.
As sadly as the season ended (and the "what ifs" remain), I have to applaud my alma mater for doing something no squad from Leicester has done before. Nine straight wins is nothing to sneeze at. I can't wait to see what Mike Sexton has in store for the next class of Warriors.
6. The Yankees signed former Braves catcher Brian "Cry-baby" McCann.
After he pitched a fit when his pitcher got rocked by a Brewers player late in the season, I lost all respect for McCann. Mr."We Play With Honor and No Fun At All" was on the free agent market and said to be in serious talks with my beloved Red Sox. Thank you Lord for making him a Yankee. Now it'll be so much easier to hate him rather than try to stomach him in the Boston dugout.
7. The Panthers are relevant again!
It has been a long time since the Carolina Panthers have had this much to celebrate. In fact, I 'll argue they never have had this much to celebrate. While I'm not a Panther fan, I can recognize a franchise that has a lot going for it. At the beginning of the season Panther fans were wondering who their new coach would be, is Cam Newton really the answer and what to do about the secondary woes. All of those have been answered: no new coach needed, yes he is, and don't fix it if it ain't broke. The Panthers are rolling to the playoffs and are a couple of breaks away from being Super Bowl contenders. Even this Tampa-loyal North Carolina native is getting excited about Panther football.
8. Finally, I'm thankful for you.
I've been given an opportunity to host my own show and the feedback I've gotten so far is all positive (except for from Nuclear Bob- and he's mentally unstable and can't be trusted for any reliable opinion on anything). The show will resume on it's regular schedule December 7th 11a-1p. Be sure to tune in, tell your friends and I'll do my best to keep you up to date and entertained.