Sports Outside the Beltway

Nashville Predators trade Goalie Chris Mason to St. Louis

With Mason’s departure, the Predators are now without the two goalies who took them to consecutive Central Division 2nd place finishes in 2005-06 and 2006-07.

OTTAWA — The St. Louis Blues acquired goaltender Chris Mason from the Nashville Predators for a fourth-round pick in Friday’s draft.

The 32-year-old Mason played in a career-high 51 games for the Predators last season, posting a 2.90 goals-against average and a .898 save percentage.

“Acquiring Chris really solidifies our goaltending position which was one of our goals going into this weekend,” Blues president John Davidson said in a statement. “We are looking forward to a big day today at the draft.”

Nashville has two picks each in the first, second and fourth rounds. The team also agreed with goalie Dan Ellis on a multiyear deal.

Mason compiled a 58-43-12 record in 135 appearances for Nashville during two stints with the team (1998-01 and 2003-08), mostly serving as a backup behind former goalie Tomas Vokoun and Ellis.

Vokoun was dealt to the Florida Panthers a year ago. I don’t know who the Predators have in the minors, and Ellis did have a good year last year, but I see the team now thin at Goaltender. One strong year in the NHL doesn’t certify Dan Ellis as a quality #1 Goalie in my opinion.


Toronto Blue Jays fire Manager John Gibbons, bring back Cito Gaston

Another day, another MLB manager fired. This time a pink slip was issued north of the border.

PITTSBURGH — John Gibbons was fired Friday by the last-place Toronto Blue Jays and replaced by Cito Gaston, who led the team to World Series titles in 1992 and 1993.

The Blue Jays began the day 35-39, having lost five straight and 13 of their last 17 games to fall 10½ games behind the first-place Boston Red Sox in the AL East.

He is the third major league manager to be fired this week, following Willie Randolph of the New York Mets and John McLaren of the Seattle Mariners.

“The team just wasn’t doing what was expected of it, and maybe changes were needed,” Gibbons said in a conference call. “There was a lot expected this year, we came in riding high and speaking high. And that’s not the results we’re getting now.”

Gibbons, who became manager midway through the 2004 season, had a record of 305-305 with the Blue Jays. His best season was in 2006, when the Blue Jays went 87-75 to finish second in the AL East.

But that 2006 season was also when Gibbons challenged Shea Hillenbrand to a fight after the infielder wrote on a clubhouse bulletin board “play for yourselves” and the “ship is sinking,” and a month later had a physical altercation with pitcher Ted Lilly in a dugout tunnel following an argument on the mound.

The Jays, who were in Pittsburgh to open a weekend series against the Pirates, also fired three of Gibbons’ coaches — Marty Pevey, Ernie Whitt and Gary Denbo.

The 64-year-old Gaston becomes the Blue Jays’ first two-time manager. He previously managed the team from 1989 to 1997.

As Soccer Dad reminded me this morning, Gaston was very successful as Blue Jay manager after taking over the team in May 1989. Gaston taking Toronto to 4 division titles and two world series appearances. The Blue Jays were World Champs in both 1992 and 1993.

After 1993, the Blue Jays have been generally mediocre. Cito Gaston worked magic in his first takeover of the Blue Jays, I doubt it will happen this time.


Seattle Mariners fire Manager John McLaren

The team has the worst record in baseball at present. From AP-

SEATTLE — John McLaren is the latest member of the Seattle Mariners to get cut loose. He probably won’t be the last.

On the day McLaren was fired as manager, Seattle executives said they agree with franchise cornerstone Ichiro Suzuki that players should also be jettisoned from the team with the worst record in the majors.

After beginning the year with playoff expectations, the Mariners are now in the midst of what appears to be a lost season. They fired general manager Bill Bavasi this week and followed by dismissing McLaren on Thursday.

Bench coach Jim Riggleman was promoted to run the team, starting Friday night in Atlanta. He became Seattle’s fifth manager in six seasons.

It is too early to tell, but the Mariners may have regressed to the franchise’s early days when they were the laughingstock of the American League. Among the Mariner’s worst misadventures in that period, was the hiring of Maury Wills as manager. Despite the disappointment this season, McLaren’s time as manager wasn’t the worst in Mariner history.

Jim Riggleman has managed twice before in the majors, with the Cubs and Padres. Rob Neyer blogged ‘Riggleman probably will be gone after this season unless the Mariners play .600 ball the rest of the way’. And even that might not be enough to save his job. Firing managers in mid-seasons, with the exception of Jack McKeon taking over the Florida Marlins in 2003 as one example, rarely turn things around for a team. Seattle fans are at least a year away from the team being respectable again. If not longer.

| | Permalink | Send TrackBack
  • Wizbang Sports linked with Toronto Blue Jays fire Manager John Gibbons, bring back Cito Gaston...

Is Miami Dolphin WR Ted Ginn a draft bust already?

Some idiot analyst named Dan Arkush at Pro Football Weekly thinks so.

2007: WR Ted Ginn Jr. / Dolphins
2006: LB Ernie Sims / Lions
2005: CB Carlos Rogers / Redskins
2004: WR Reggie Williams / Jaguars
2003: DT Kevin Williams / Vikings
2002: DT John Henderson / Jaguars
2001: WR Koren Robinson / Seahawks
2000: LB Brian Urlacher / Bears
1999: LB Chris Claiborne / Lions
1998: RB Fred Taylor / Jaguars

And the loser is … Ted Ginn Jr.

The verdict is definitely still out on Ginn, but draft experts far and wide continue to question the wisdom of his selection in last year’s draft over Notre Dame QB Brady Quinn, who eventually dropped into the Browns’ lap at the No. 22 spot. Truth be told, Ginn is victimized in this context by what must be considered a pretty solid cast of candidates. Robinson, who no doubt has had his share of baggage, was given consideration, but he had his moments during his time in Seattle, especially his second season, when he gained 1,240 yards receiving and averaged just under 16 yards a catch. Reggie Williams also was considered based on his mediocre track record in his first three years with the Jags, but it appears the light might have finally gone on for him last season.

I didn’t defend the Ginn selection when it happened. Not because the Dolphins passed over Brady Quinn(who I’d remind everyone that the book is still out on. Quinn spending 2007 riding the Cleveland Browns bench and throwing 8 passes for the entire season.) but because Miami didn’t concern address its most pressing needs. Finding players for a aging defense. This is what I wrote at the time.

I stick to what I said before, the Dolphins should not draft Brady Quinn. Rather the team should either pick

1- DT Amobi Okoye


2- LB Patrick Willis


3- Trade down

Miami has the oldest starting defense in the NFL. Its time to upgrade it.

Willis was AP NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year for 2007.

The age of the Dolphin defense was known(Oldest Average age for a team’s line and linebackers in the NFL) going into the 2007 and took full effect last year. One South Florida sports columnist jumped on the ‘why didn’t Miami pick a defensive player’ bandwagon about six months after the draft.

Ginn wasn’t the right move for Miami, but is he a bust at this point in his career? I watched every single game Miami played last year. Ginn returned one kick for a TD and had two more taken back by penalties. His 34 receptions for 420 yards and 2 TDs is hardly impressive(Ginn had his best game in the season finale against the Bengals may I note) but you have to remember how pathetic the Dolphin QB situation was last year. I ought to know, I watched every minute of every 2007 Miami Dolphin game. Did Dan Arkush?

As to some of those other number nine picks, Koren Robinson and Chris Claiborne each lasted just four years with the teams that originally drafted them. I hardly think that’s what the Seahawks and Lions were hoping from these players when they were selected at #9 in their respective drafts. A strong case can be made for both Claiborne and Robinson as draft busts.(Claiborne is out of the NFL entirely at this moment)

The jury is still out on Ginn(Something Arkush admits as much as it is on Brady Quinn. It is downright stupid to call Ted Ginn after only one NFL season.


Move over Michelle Wie Part V

I introduce to you Allisen Corpuz-

Erin, Wis. – Not long after signing her scorecard and chatting with a few reporters, Allisen Corpuz walked down the steep slope behind the 18th green and approached her father. Marcos and Allisen then embraced in a long hug, knowing this historic journey had come to a conclusion.

Rounds of 81 and 88 put Corpuz nine strokes off the match-play cut, but in the grand scheme, that did not matter. For the past two days at Erin Hills, the Kapolei, Hawaii, fifth-grader had entered the record books as the youngest qualifier to compete in a USGA championship. Whatever happened afterwards was simply gravy.

At 10 years, 3 months and 9 days, Corpuz shattered the previous mark of fellow Hawaiian Michelle Wie, who achieved the feat eight years ago in this same event, the U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links. While Wie, the 2003 WAPL champion and 2004 runner-up, did advance to match play in 2000 – she lost to Cindy Lee in the first round (3 and 2) – Corpuz, who attends the same Punahou School in Honolulu, fell a little short.


Corpuz could be next. A little more than six years ago, Corpuz asked her father for a simple birthday present. She wanted to play golf and join her father and then-6-year-old brother on the links. Since that simple request, Corpuz has risen quite quickly in the junior ranks. Four years ago, she captured the 6-and-under division at the Junior Worlds in San Diego by seven shots. More recently, she’s won back-to-back U.S. Kids World Cup titles in her age division (2006 and ’07).

Three weeks ago, the 5-foot, 111-pound Corpuz carded an 80 during her 2008 WAPL qualifier in Kauai. It was good enough to be first alternate behind Cyd Okino, who first qualified for the WAPL at 11. But on June 9, Okino won a U.S. Women’s Open sectional qualifier in Hawaii, which gave her an exemption into the WAPL, along with the U.S. Girls’ Junior and U.S. Women’s Amateur. That opened the door for Corpuz to grab Okino’s qualifying spot since the USGA automatically holds a few WAPL spots open for those who qualify for the Women’s Open.

It was a good-news, bad-news situation for Corpuz. The good news is she was making history. The bad news was she had to miss her Junior World qualifier. Fortunately, her father, Marcos, found another qualifier in the Los Angeles area that takes place next Tuesday, giving Corpuz time to fly back to the West Coast and compete.

“I think it’s really cool,” said Allisen of qualifying for the WAPL at such a young age.

Yes it was pretty cool Allisen. I hope to read more about your golf accomplishments in the years ahead.

Allisen goes to the same school, Punahou, as Michelle Wie did before graduating last year. I think Allisen is modest enought not to be angling for any Nike deals in the near future.

Talking about Michelle Wie, she’s teeing it up in this week’s Wegaman’s LPGA. In spite of her off 2007, Michelle is still talking about her dream of qualifying for The Masters.


Tiger Woods may not play the rest of 2008

This news comes two days after Woods defeated Rocco Mediate in a playoff.

Tiger Woods will miss the rest of the season because of a left knee that will require more surgery, a person with knowledge of the decision said Wednesday.

Woods had surgery to clean out cartilage April 15, but later suffered a stress fracture while preparing for his return to golf. That’s what caused his pain during the U.S. Open, which he won in a 19-hole playoff Monday over Rocco Mediate.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the announcement had yet to be made. Woods was expected to discuss his future on his web site later Wednesday.

Woods was last seen in public late Monday afternoon walking with a pronounced limp across Torrey Pines toward the parking lot, the U.S. Open trophy in his arms. Upcoming surgery makes his 14th major title even more staggering — despite the stress fracture, he managed to win a U.S. Open that required 91 holes over five days.

If the report is true, Woods would miss this year’s Ryder Cup.

Tiger was in obvious pain at times on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. I also heard a report that Woods was advised by doctors not to play last week. If Tiger needs to rest for 6 months, the PGA Tour will still be there when he comes back. I just hope no long-term damage was done by Woods playing in the US Open.

On a semi related note, last Sunday’s broadcast got a 13.5 rating.(Hat tip- Ryan at GNN) Too bad for NBC the US Open isn’t played on the west coast every year, for 2009 the tournament is being played at Bethpage Black on Long Island before going to Pebble Beach in 2010.

Also note Tiger won the last US Opens played at Bethpage Black(2002) and Pebble Beach.(2000) What are the odds he could win 3 in a row?

UPDATE (James Joyner):
It’s true. Woods has confirmed the story on his official site:

“I know much was made of my knee throughout the last week, and it was important to me that I disclose my condition publicly at an appropriate time. I wanted to be very respectful of the USGA and their incredibly hard work, and make sure the focus was on the U.S. Open,” said Woods. “Now, it is clear that the right thing to do is to listen to my doctors, follow through with this surgery, and focus my attention on rehabilitating my knee.”

A date for the knee surgery, as well as the necessary rehabilitation schedule, has not yet been determined.

“While I am obviously disappointed to have to miss the remainder of the season, I have to do the right thing for my long-term health and look forward to returning to competitive golf when my doctors agree that my knee is sufficiently healthy,” said Woods. “My doctors assure me with the proper rehabilitation and training, the knee will be strong and there will be no long-term effects.”

It’s simply amazing that he managed to play 91 holes at the U.S. Open, including a 19-hole playoff, in that condition. And win.

Bill Jempty update- It is amazing Woods managed to play 91 holes. He has both ACL(Anterior Cruciate Ligament) damage in addition to a double stress fracture of his left tibia. I hope Woods didn’t permanently cripple himself by foolishly playing last weekend. Another US Open trophy wouldn’t be worth ending his career.


New York Mets fire Manager Willie Randolph

Bench coach Jerry Manuel has taken over on a interim basis. From AP-

ANAHEIM, Calif. – After weeks of speculation that his job was in jeopardy, Willie Randolph finally got fired by the New York Mets while most fans were sleeping.

Randolph was let go in the middle of the night Tuesday, 2 1/2 months into a disappointing season that has followed the team’s colossal collapse last September.

Bench coach Jerry Manuel takes over on an interim basis for Randolph, who led the Mets to within one win of the 2006 World Series. They got off to a strong start again last year but plummeted down the stretch and have been unable to rebound.

A preseason favorite to win the NL pennant, the $138 million Mets (34-35) had won two in a row when Randolph was dismissed early Tuesday morning — making him the first big league manager to get fired this season.

Pitching coach Rick Peterson and first base coach Tom Nieto also were cut loose in an enormous overhaul that was revealed in a fact-of-the-matter news release at a stunning time — about 12:15 a.m. PDT, nearly two hours after New York’s 9-6 victory over the Los Angeles Angels.

Did Randolph get a bum deal? He hadn’t been without controversy of late. Randolph made some comments on television a month ago that caused him trouble. A team full of overpaid stars that is struggling to play .500 ball plus the general impatience of New York sports fans and management were more likely to be the reasons for Randolph’s dismissal. I think the odds are 50-50 or better that Randolph lands another managing job in the majors.


Tiger Woods, Rocco Mediate, A US Open playoff, and 13

There will be an 18 hole playoff tomorrow to determine the US Open Champion. 64-time PGA Tour winner, 13-time Major Champion, maybe the greatest golfer ever to play the game Tiger Woods versus five-time PGA Tour winner, Zero major champion tour journeyman Rocco Mediate. The playoff has the smell of a rout in the works for tomorrow, doesn’t it? I’ll get back to this later.

Just yesterday I wrote I was pulling for Rocco, but at the same time gave him little chance to win the US Open. Rocco, who comes off as a very nice person(at least he did when I followed him at a tournament 20 years ago) had people pulling for him this weekend. Fans shouting Rocco. He played good golf, better on Saturday than Sunday I think, and has put himself in position to win a major championship.

Except that Rocco is up against Tiger Woods. An injured, but formidable Tiger. I wasn’t surprised when Woods birdied 18 to force the playoff.

A playoff that shapes up much like the 1929 US Open did. Then it was Bobby Jones, arguably the greatest player to tee it up prior to 1950, against Al Espinosa a 7 time PGA winner. Because Espinosa was a devout Catholic, the tee-time was pushed back on Sunday in order for him to go to mass.

I’ll save you looking up how that playoff ended. Jones won it by 23 shots, 141-164. In those days a 36-hole playoff took place to determine who the Open champ was if a there was a tie after 72 holes.

Which reminds me, the USGA should finally eliminate the 18-hole playoff format they use to determine the US Open champ. A four-hole playoff like used at The British Open is a fair test, besides the USGA has dumped the 18-hole format for their other events.

Note- I always thought it dumb that once the 18-hole playoff was over, and if there was still a tie, the USGA suddenly thought sudden death was acceptable for a major championship. If it isn’t acceptable at the end of 72 holes, why should it be at the end of 90?

I looked at other playoffs that may compare to Woods vs. Mediate. On the men’s side of the equation, you have 1990 where Hale Irwin faced Mike Donald and 1994 where Ernie Els faced Loren Roberts. Irwin and Els are three-time major winners, Donald and Roberts were journeyman.

A better comparison may be the 2006 US Women’s Open where Annika Sorenstam faced off against Pat Hurst in a 18 hole playoff. Annika and Pat’s win totals 67 to 5, is almost the same as Tiger and Mediate’s 64 to 5. Annika was the #1 player in the world, maybe the best woman to play the game ever. Hurst is a career journeywoman(but unlike Mediate, Hurst has a major to her credit. The 1998 Kraft Nabisco)

Annika won the playoff in 2006 70-74.

So what do I predict tomorrow.

First what’s that 13 I mention in the title of the post.

Tiger has 13 majors

Tiger has almost 13 wins to every one of Rocco’s.(12.8 to be exact. I think that’s close enough to be called 13 to 1).

The Par 5 13th hole was pivotal in this weekend’s play. Tiger making an eagle three on Saturday compared to Rocco’s bogey six. Then on Sunday, Tiger bogied the 13th, opening the door for Rocco Mediate to win the tournament in regulation which he nearly did.

Now for my prediction- Most people will say Rocco Mediate hasn’t a prayer just like Al Espinosa did when faced with Bobby Jones. Tiger has a bum knee, and Rocco is playing well. I think the playoff will be close with Tiger coming out on top 71-73.

One last thing- I’m surprised tomorrow’s playoff isn’t in prime time also like play had been over the weekend. Instead Tiger Woods and Rocco Mediate will begin their playoff at 9 a.m.

Also note Tiger is 10-1 in playoffs according to the 2007 PGA media guide book(I don’t have 2008′s) and Mediate is 2-0. Tiger has won the San Diego Open, also played at Torrey Pines, in a playoff. That was in 2006.

Tiger’s only defeat in a playoff happened up the road at the Nissan LA Open in 1998 to Billy Mayfair.


NY Yankee Ace Chien-Ming Wang injured while running bases

As a result, Wang had to be removed from today’s game against the Houston Astros.

New York Yankees ace Chien-Ming Wang pulled up while rounding third base against Houston on Sunday and had to be helped off the field after scoring in the sixth inning.

After he scored on a single by Derek Jeter, Wang doubled over and pointed toward his right foot when trainers approached him. He put his arms over two Yankees officials and was helped off the field.


There was no immediate word on the nature or severity of his injury.

The chances are that the injury Wang suffered was minor. Today’s news reminds me of a pitcher in the 1970′s named Scipio Spinks. Spinks was a talented and wild flamethrower with the Cardinals when he tore his ankle up in a homeplate collision with Johnny Bench. Spinks’ never recovered from the injury.


MLB pitcher Scott Baker strikes out 4 in one inning

The last time this rare pitching feat occured was in 2006. From AP-

MILWAUKEE — Minnesota starter Scott Baker struck out four in the third inning of Sunday’s game with the Milwaukee Brewers, becoming the first Twins pitcher to accomplish the feat.

Baker started the inning by striking out Ryan Braun swinging, then got Prince Fielder to strike out, but the ball bounced far away from catcher Mike Redmond.

That allowed Fielder to easily reach first on the wild pitch. Baker then struck out Russell Branyan and Mike Cameron looking on three pitches apiece to end the inning.

The last pitcher to accomplish four Ks in an inning was Brad Penny on Sept. 23, 2006, for the Dodgers against the Diamondbacks.

The famous case of a pitch getting away from a catcher on a strikeout happened in the 1941 World Series. In game 4 a dropped strike three by catcher Mickey Owen on a pitch from Hugh Casey sparked a winning rally for the New York Yankees.

No such infamy for Baker and Redmond. In a year they may be the only living people who remember what they combined to do today.


Visitors Since Feb. 4, 2003

All original content copyright 2003-2008 by OTB Media. All rights reserved.