Friday, April 23, 2010

NFL Draft 2010: St. Louis Rams Pick Sam Bradford

Sam Bradford heard his name called as the first pick in the NFL draft, collected a new St. Louis Rams jersey with his surname on the back and took the obligatory pictures with commissioner Roger Goodell. The Rams, desperate for a revival, were undoubtedly convinced. Although St. Louis general manager Billy Devaney wouldn't publicly declare that Bradford was the pick before the draft — even on Thursday, hours before the prime-time event — the team gave the quarterback the heads up. And for weeks, draft analysts projected Sam Bradford as No. 1.

The Rams – who finished a league-worst 1-15 in 2009 and have just six wins in the last three years - were sold. They're prepared to guarantee Bradford upwards of $50 million, and then hand him the keys to a franchise that has definitely fallen on hard times. For Sam Bradford, who stands 6-4 and weighs 236 pounds, it's likely he will take over as the starting quarterback immediately, and he will become the face of the Rams. 

Sam Bradford completed 67% of his throws over two-plus seasons at Oklahoma, and his 88-16 touchdown-interception ratio is certainly impressive. He has a big-enough arm, has demonstrated that it's healthy, and as long as he can learn to take better care of his body and avoid the kind of hits that knocked him out of the lineup last year, Sam Bradford should be just fine at the next level.

"That's pretty cool because I know the Big 12 has been getting a lot of slack lately, People for some reason didn't think that we played much football in the Big 12 and sure didn't think we played much defense, so for two defensive tackles to go in the first three picks is a credit to the Big 12." said Sam Bradford, the 2008 Heisman Trophy winner.

"That was really cool, I actually still have the Heisman ballot from when they read that off. So I'll be able to add that to the collection and be able to look at it years from now." Sam Bradford added at the backstage.

Still, with the Rams not engaging in serious contract talks with Sam Bradford's agent, Tom Condon, to seal a deal before the draft, the quarterback was only so assured. NFL veterans who have been down this path before, Sam Bradford said, warned him to never rest assured about the selection until it happened. And he listened to that advice.

The predraft highlight? Sam Bradford took the 17-member entourage, which included his parents and grandparents, to the Top of the Rock, an observation deck at the top of Rockefeller Plaza. "It's probably one of my favorite things to do," he said. "You get up there and you can see clear across all of New York City".

With that formality handled, the Rams will get a man eager to get on the field again. The motivation of proving that he's a worthy selection and can make the NFL transition is boosted by the incentive to make his comeback complete from the shoulder injury.
"I'm ready," Sam Bradford said who dressed in a tan suit with a sky-blue shirt accented with a green tie, Sam Bradford sure looked and sounded like a man prepared to face all the pressure and challenges that await. 
Does he expect to start on Week 1 as a rookie?

"I can't answer that," he said, chuckling. "I haven't been presented a playbook yet. But I'm going to do everything I can to get on the field as soon as possible."

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

UFC Warriors Silva And Maia On Brazilian Talk Show

This weekend's post-fight brawl at the Strikeforce: Nashville event finally edged Anderson Silva's disrespectful performance at UFC 112 out of the media's spotlight. That did not stop from getting their hands on a video of an April 18th Brazilian talk show appearance made by Anderson Silva and his UFC 112 opponent Demian Maia. In the following translated quotes from the Domingão do Faustã appearance, Anderson Silva plays it characteristically safe and Demian Maia reacts coolly when questioned of the bout.

Anderson Silva and Demian Maia each complained that he had been disrespected by the other at UFC 112, but a week later the two appeared on a Brazilian television show, shook hands and were civil – if not exactly warm to each other. And Anderson Silva indicated that he doesn't have anything to apologize for in the way he approached the fight with Demian Maia, which has been criticized by many members of the media, MMA fans and UFC President Dana White

"I think I fought well, executed my game plan and disrupted Demian's game, I couldn't fall to his game because he's a Brazilian jiu jitsu specialist. Even though I train BJJ as well, I don't even come close to his BJJ level.Said Anderson Silva in an interview.

"I have nothing against any of my opponents, have nothing against Demian. I respect his work a lot." Anderson Silva added.

According to the Silva-Maia fight has gotten more attention in Brazil than any other UFC fight in history. Some of that attention has been negative, but Silva was cheered by the crowd when he was introduced on Domingão do Faustão, and he said his antics in the Octagon shouldn't be interpreted as disrespectful toward Maia.

After Anderson Silva said that, Demian Maia was introduced and brought on stage, where he shook hands with Silva and answered questions from the show's host, declining to say whether he was still angry with Silva over the way the fight transpired. 


In the teeth of demonstrating quite the opposite at UFC 112, Aderson Silva maintained that he holds no grudges against his opponents and has no problem with Demain Maia in particular. Demain Maia seemed to be a bit less willing to let bygones be bygones and would not give away his personal feelings towards Silva.

"I don't have much to say, it was what happened, The fans saw what happened." Demain Maia said.

All that there is to be said of the bout has been said by now. What is left is to look forward to and ask questions about Silva's next bout with Chael Sonnen. Questions like, will Anderson Silva have an answer for Sonnen's grinding wrestling offense? Or, can Sonnen get inside Silva's striking range without having his face Picasso'd? With their bout rumored to take place at UFC 117 this summer we won't have to wait too long for the answers.

I'll put here my two cents: Anderson Silva needs to get it straight. It's not about showboating per se. Or about trash talking. What it is about is whether it's all in the nature of the sport and ultimately in good fun. Brock Lesnar obviously didn't understand that w/ Mir, and it remains to be seen if he'll pick up on it. The Diazes obviously didn't understand that with Miller and it was a joke that the Strikeforce event turned into a brawl.

But there are plenty of fighters who are pseudo-psychos in a quirky way that works. If Silva had been coming across this way during the fight, or even said things like this after and congratulated Maia for his gutsiness, it'd have been totally different, showboating or not. 

Click the whole interview here:


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

LA Lakers Wins In Game 2; Kobe Bryant Finishes 39 Points

All-Star basketball player Kobe Bryant scored 39 points and the Lakers pushed themselves away from the Oklahoma City Thunder, 95-92, in Game 2 of their first-round series last night at Staples Center. It wasn't easy, the game coming down to Jeff Green's missed three-point attempt at the buzzer, but the Lakers took a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series. The Lakers, however, took another tight one from the Thunder, Kobe Bryant making 12 of 28 shots and 13 of 15 free-throw attempts, just enough to move age and experience past youth and innocence.

Kobe Bryant had 15 points in the fourth quarter, seven from the free-throw line. Pau Gasol was the only other Lakers player in double-digit scoring, finishing with 25 points and 12 rebounds. Ron Artest missed eight of 10 shots and Lamar Odom missed seven of nine shots. The Lakers could have made things a little easier in the end, but Bryant and Gasol each missed one of two free-throw attempts in the final 15.1 seconds, allowing the Thunder to stay within striking range.

On the Thuders side, Kevin Durant had 32 points and Russell Westbrook had 19 to lead the Thunder. The Lakers led after three quarters, 73-69, but the loudest roar up to that point came when Craig Calloway, a 29-year-old from Compton, won $235,000 by making a halfcourt shot before the fourth quarter in a promotion sponsored by The Mirage hotel. Getting the ball inside was part of the Lakers' game plan after they went over video from Game 1. 


Rusell Westbrook carried the Thunder early in the third, and Durant scored their final five points to leave them trailing 64-56 going into the final 12 minutes. Fisher, Artest and Odom were in foul trouble and Bryant scored a single point on a free throw as they played to a draw in the third.

The Thunder outscored the Lakers 26-20 in the second quarter, when Los Angeles got away from the inside game of Bynum and Gasol and settled for jump shots instead. Their 17-point lead dwindled to 47-39 at the break.

Pau Gasol made eight of 14 shots, but Andrew Bynum had only six shots going into the fourth quarter. When he got the opportunities in the fourth, he didn't take advantage, finishing with six points on three-for-nine shooting. Andrew Bynum ignited the Staples Center crowd with a monster one-handed dunk over a defenseless Nenad Krstic in the second quarter that pushed the Lakers’ lead to 17.

The Lakers came out blazing against the overwhelmed Thunder, pounding the ball inside to Bynum and Gasol while shooting 54 percent and taking a 27-13 lead in the first quarter. In the playoffs for the first time since moving from Seattle two years ago, the Thunder shot 26 percent, leading to their fewest points in an opening period all season.

However, Oklahoma City settled down the rest of the way, but never got closer than six points against the defending champions, who are seeking a third straight trip to the NBA finals.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Edwin Valero Wants To Fight With Manny Pacquiao

Venezuelan boxer Edwin Valero, who committed suicide on Monday in a jail where he was held for killing his wife, was a "sensational" fighter who was being groomed to fight the boxing legend Manny Pacquiao, promoter Bob Arum said who co-promoted Edwin Valero's last two bouts, told Reuters that Valero (27-0) would have made an outstanding opponent for world welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao, another of his fighters.

A 28 year old Edwin Valero was the World Boxing Council (WBC) lightweight title though it had recently declared him "champion in recess" after being detained in March for mistreating his wife and then receiving treatment for alcohol abuse. Bob Arum said he did not know Edwin Valero very well, but despite hearing rumors of drug and alcohol troubles for the Venezuelan had not seen evidence of that himself during several meetings. 
"He was a sensational fighter, sensational, He was just electric. A complete crowd-pleasing style. I was grooming him as a great future opponent for Manny Pacquiao. That would have been a sensational fight." Bob Arum said in an interview from his Las Vegas office.

"The times I met with him, he was very polite, very reasonable, I had heard stories about drug and alcohol abuse ... but I never realized the magnitude of it. The few times I met with him he seemed perfectly normal." Promoter Bob Arum added.

 Some skeptics may suggest that it is a particularly convenient excuse as Margarito would provide extremely stiff opposition for Manny Pacquiao. Although, that is not the only contentious issue, there seems to be a difference of opinions between Freddie Roach which is Manny Pacquiao’s promoter and Bob Arum who was very keen on Manny Pacquiao meeting Margarito whose also promoted by Bob Arum’s “Top Rank” promotions as his next opponent.

As much as boxing fans have expressed their desperation to see Manny Pacquiao vs. Edwin Valero (27-0-0). However, Manny Pacquiao has a wealth of experience, has fought at the highest level for many years and Edwin Valero is still considered as being relatively untested. Edwin Valero’s last outing against Antonio DeMarco certainly showed his potential against a higher caliber of opponent, but Manny Pacquiao is the top fighter in boxing and Edwin Valero has a long way to go before he can consider himself a true contender to Manny Pacquiao’s Pound for Pound crown.

The Venezuelan boxer Edwin Valero boasts an incredible record, with all of his wins coming by way of knockout, no matter what is said about his potential frailties his record should not be taken lightly, regardless of the opponents he has faced to date.
Bob Arum may not be as enthusiastic about this fight as Freddie Roach, Edwin Valero is surely Arum’s future poster boy and having him systematically taken apart by Manny Pacquiao might not be the best idea. Having said that Edwin Valero has been very vocal in wanting to fight Manny Pacquiao and now that Roach has mentioned his name, the word will travel and I am positive Edwin Valero will pressure Bob Arum to make that fight happen.


Danica Patrick Finished 16th In the 36th Toyota Grand Prix

Danica Patrick seemed to fall further from relevance. The most popular driver of the IZOD IndyCar Series, and the only woman to win a major closed course car race, Danica Patrick finished 16th in the 36th Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. It's the third time in four races Patrick has failed to finish better than 15th; she took seventh at St. Petersburg in the second race of the season. Danica Patrick qualified 20th and was one of only three drivers to incorporate a three-stop strategy.

In her last five races of 2009, she had only one top-10 finish. Though she finished 5th in the series championship, she was closer to 10th place than she was 4th place. Over her last 9 IndyCar races, she has two top-10s, including sixth in last year's race at Motegi, site of her historic victory in 2008, when Helio Castroneves ran out of fuel on the last lap. However, seven of her last nine finishes have been 12th or worse. And that doesn't include her performances in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, where she finished 35th at Daytona, 31stt at California Speedway and 36th at Las Vegas.

And that doesn't include her performances in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, where she finished 35th at Daytona, 31st at California Speedway and 36th at Las Vegas. The next race is at Kansas Speedway, where she finished 5th last year, and then Indianapolis, where she has been exceedingly strong. 

 “Today’s race was definitely challenging, and the result doesn’t show how hard the GoDaddy crew worked. It’s been a frustrating weekend all around for the #7 car. But I’m so happy that my teammate Ryan (Hunter-Reay) won. His win is great for the #37 guys and Andretti Autosport as a whole.” said Danica Patrick, who became a media sensation with a fourth-place finish in her inaugural Indianapolis 500 in 2005.

Danica Patrick's teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay became the first American driver to win an IZOD IndyCar Series race since he won in July 2008 at Watkins Glen, which was his first career victory.

Below are the results Sunday of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach IZOD IndyCar Series event on the 1.968-mile Streets of Long Beach circuit, with order of finish, starting position in parentheses, driver, chassis-engine, laps completed and reason out: 


1. (2) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Dallara-Honda, 85, Running 
2. (3) Justin Wilson, Dallara-Honda, 85, Running 
3. (1) Will Power, Dallara-Honda, 85, Running 
4. (8) Scott Dixon, Dallara-Honda, 85, Running 
5. (6) Tony Kanaan, Dallara-Honda, 85, Running 
6. (15) Mario Moraes, Dallara-Honda, 85, Running 
7. (4) Helio Castroneves, Dallara-Honda, 85, Running 
8. (5) Ryan Briscoe, Dallara-Honda, 85, Running
9. (10) Dan Wheldon, Dallara-Honda, 85, Running 
10. (16) Mike Conway, Dallara-Honda, 85, Running 
11. (14) Vitor Meira, Dallara-Honda, 85, Running 
12. (12) Dario Franchitti, Dallara-Honda, 85, Running 
13. (11) Hideki Mutoh, Dallara-Honda, 85, Running
14. (9) Marco Andretti, Dallara-Honda, 85, Running 
15. (17) EJ Viso, Dallara-Honda, 85, Running 
16. (20) Danica Patrick, Dallara-Honda, 85, Running 
17. (13) Simona de Silvestro, Dallara-Honda, 85, Running 
18. (19) Takuma Sato, Dallara-Honda, 84, Running 
19. (21) Alex Lloyd, Dallara-Honda, 84, Running 
20. (18) Raphael Matos, Dallara-Honda, 84, Running
21. (7) Alex Tagliani, Dallara-Honda, 65, Contact 
22. (22) Graham Rahal, Dallara-Honda, 58, Contact 
23. (23) Mario Romancini, Dallara-Honda, 58, Contact
24. (24) Bertrand Baguette, Dallara-Honda, 45, Mechanical 
25. (25) Milka Duno, Dallara-Honda, 10, Handling

Ryan Hunter-Reay, is the newest member of the Andretti Autosport quartet, received a bear hug from the CEO in Victory Circle. That meant a lot coming from a racing champion - Michael Andretti.