Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Sports Shorts May 16, 2012

Checking my (sports) shorts wondering whatever happened to Vince Ferragamo….

* Reaction to the Buffalo Bills signing of Vince Young seems to be mixed. I think this is an intelligent signing for the Bills for a few reasons. There is probably not a better coach in the NFL than Chan Gailey in getting the best out of mobile quarterbacks. Also, the Bills run a similar offense, quick strike spread the field, to the one Young ran in Texas when we carried the Longhorns on his back to the National Championship. Buddy Nix talked about upgrading each position and adding depth. Young does both as he should easily beat out Tyler Thigpen for the #2 QB spot. More importantly, if Ryan Fitzpatrick gets injured or struggles, Young has a proven track record of success. He is 31-19 as a starter in the NFL and been to two Pro Bowls. I discount his time in Philadelphia because he was in an offense that did not fit his skill set. The key to all of this is his maturity. After listening to his press conference, it sounds like someone has been in his ear to tell him its time to be a big boy and become a mature football player. He's not going to find a better opportunity than this one. This is his third team in three seasons so he is running out chances so I expect him to make the most of this chance. This is a nice, low-risk move by the Bills, a team that needed more stability behind Fitz. Plus, it is only a $2 million commitment by the Bills. Thigpen is scheduled to make $2.5 million this season if he makes the team. Now, you have a QB in Young who has been successful in the league and the Bills are getting him at a cheaper price.

* Prior to the season, I thought the San Antonio Spurs had too much tread on the tires to compete for a championship. But, head coach Gregg Popovich did a masterful job of keeping his veterans fresh during the regular season by giving them games off. Now, they look unbeatable and are my pick to win the NBA title. I think Oklahoma City will give them a great matchup in the Western Finals, but they will be schooled by Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and company. On the East side, the only team that has been impressive so far is the Indiana Pacers. I think they will push the Miami Heat to seven games, but don’t see them advancing. Boston may be able to upend the Heat in the Eastern Finals if Chris Bosh doesn’t come back. Even if he does, Miami doesn’t have the depth to go deep in any series.

* Speaking of Finals, I will pat myself on the back as being the only media-type who follows the National Lacrosse League to pick the Rochester Knighthawks in the finals prior to this season in my NLL Preview for Buffalo Stuff . I did not envision the Edmonton Rush making a run with all the turnover, but they were able to gel at the right time led ironically by a bunch of former Knighthawks. The game will be played Saturday night in Rochester and will be the first meeting between the two teams this season. The Knighthawks young guns will prove too much for the Rush as Rochester will win its third Champions Cup 14-11.

Friday, May 04, 2012

Sports Shorts..May 5, 2012

Checking my (sports) shorts wondering whatever happened to Spud Webb...

- I'm thinking either one of two things will happen to the Boston Celtics after this season. They get rid of the immature Rajon Rando or dismantle the Big 3. After Rando's latest look at me moment, I can't see guys like Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce being on board with that kind of nonsense. Avery Bradley has shown he is capable of running the point and possibly helping these aging veterans win one more ring. If Rando stays, Allen will be sure to leave via free agency and I would not be surprised if KG or Pierce ask out.

- During the NLL preseason, I picked the Calgary Roughnecks to defeat the Rochester Knighthawks for the Champions Cup. The playoffs start tonight and while I still (kinda) like my picks, I think the more realistic approach is to look at a Colorado Mammoth v. Toronto Rock final. The East is as weak as it has been in years, but the potential West final between Calgary and Colorado may remind us of the NFC Championship games between the Cowboys and 49ers when it seemed like those were always the actual Super Bowl.

- While it is ridiculous to grade a draft when guys have never suited up for a team, I think Buffalo Bills GM Buddy Nix and head coach Chan Gailey have made the right moves. Stocking up on CBs and LBs in the draft after a significant upgrade on the defensive line through free agency makes Buffalo look like a legit playoff contender for the first time in a decade. If RB Fred Jackson comes back 100% from his season ending injury, Buffalo will be a team to watch in 2012.

- I'm not sure if it is becoming a little league coach or returning to pro baseball (see below), but I have a new found rejuvenation for baseball. Already, I have watched more baseball on TV this season than I have in the last three seasons combined. Maybe it is the kid coming back out of me again or that being around the game again as once again made me a fan.

- Job news #1: I am excited to be returning to Major League Lacrosse this season. I worked the Long Island Lizards v. Chesapeake Bayhawks game at Hofstra for the MLL on ESPN3 last week and have the Rochester Rattlers games vs. the Ohio Machine and Denver Outlaws later this summer. I missed the league after working the TV broadcasts for the original Rattlers for three years before they left town after winning the championship in 2008. Even though I am still waiting for my championship (not really), my first game back was like I never left!

- Job news #2: I will return to pro baseball on May 31 as the Buffalo Bisons take on the Columbus Clippers at 10:35 a.m. I will be filling in for my good friend Ben Wagner on the Bisons Radio Network as he and Duke McGuire move up to handle the TV call on MLB TV. I was the on-field host for the Bisons in 2008 when they were part of the Cleveland Indians organization.