Sports Outside the Beltway

PGA Tour’s Doral tournament in need of a new sponsor

CA, who has been affiliated with the tournament since 2007, is officially out. From the Miami Herald-

As expected, CA has decided not to renew its title sponsorship of the World Golf Championships-CA Championship, the latest incarnation of the yearly PGA Tour event at the TPC Blue Monster at Doral Resort & Spa.

“There is a tremendous amount of interest in the World Golf Championships — the great fields, global exposure, incredible venues — and we will move forward in securing a new title sponsor for the CA Championship,” PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said in a statement.

“We are confident we will be at TPC Blue Monster at Doral next year.”

Before it became a WGC event sponsored by CA in 2007, the title sponsors were Ford (2003-06), Genuity (2001-02), Ryder (1987-2000) and Eastern Airlines (1970-86).

I don’t think finding a new sponsor will prove too hard. Doral has hosted a PGA Tour event since 1962 and is a popular stop with tour players. Some company will step in.


Texas Rangers’ Manager Ron Washington used cocaine last season

Besides former Seattle Mariner Manager Maury Wills, has there been any other MLB Manager who admitted to using drugs while leading a team? From the Dallas Morning News-

Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington admitted on Wednesday that he used an illegal drug in the first-half of last season and tested positive for a random drug test.

Washington did not reveal the type of drug, saying the circumstances aren’t important. Sources, though, said he took cocaine.

He completed a major-league mandated treatment program — which included counseling and giving submitting to urine tests three times a week — only two weeks ago.

The Rangers are satisfied that this was a one-time incident because of the honesty he displayed after the drug use, and that Washington did not have a drug habit.

“I fully understand that I disappointed a lot of people — my family, my players, coaches — as well as the team’s leadership, especially Nolan Ryan and Jon Daniels, as well as young people who may have looked up to me,” Washington said.

“I am truly sorry for my careless, dangerous and, frankly, stupid, behavior last year.”

Should Washington be fired? He didn’t set a good example for his players but I’m willing to give him a second chance. As long as this issue doesn’t detract from his work managing the Rangers.


Washington Redskins sign QB Rex Grossman

He played for the Houston Texans in 2009. From ESPN-

Although many expected the Redskins to sign former Broncos quarterback Chris Simms, Washington made a different move at the position.

The Redskins reached agreement Wednesday with former Bears and Texans quarterback Rex Grossman on a one-year deal, the team announced.

The deal reunites Grossman, 29, with Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, who also spent last season in Houston.

Grossman, whose career stats include 33 touchdowns, 36 interceptions and 6,197 throwing yards, led the Chicago Bears to the Super Bowl after the 2006 season.

But he played in only 12 games the next two seasons, and left the Bears as a free agent in 2009.

If Washington is looking to use Grossman as a backup, fine. Should the team intend to make him the starting Quarterback, I think it is safe to say Washington will have a losing season in 2010. Grossman has a lifetime QB rating of 69.5 and has a career high of 74.8. That makes him slightly better than Brady Quinn.


Washington Nationals release OF Elijah Dukes

One would think the worst team in MLB would be in need of this player. From AP-

Outfielder Elijah Dukes has been released by the Washington Nationals, a sudden move with about two weeks left in spring training.

The Nationals announced the transaction with a terse, two-sentence news release Wednesday.

The 25-year-old Dukes had been expected to be Washington’s starting right fielder.

He hit .242 with 31 homers and 123 RBIs in three seasons with Tampa Bay and Washington. He was limited to 188 games with the Nationals the past two seasons because of injuries.

Why was Dukes released? Two people in the Washington Nationals dysfunctional family organization have given conflicting statements.

Manager Jim Riggleman said it was a strictly baseball decision and not related to any off-the-field problems. “We like some of our other options in right field, really,” Riggleman said. “Elijah was great.”

General manager Mike Rizzo called the release “a performance-based decision” but also implied Dukes’s place in the clubhouse adversely affected the Nationals. Rizzo said the Nationals “will be a more cohesive, united group” without Dukes.

“The clubhouse will be more united,” Rizzo said. “We’ll have a better feel around the ballclub. We’ll gain just by that alone.”

The Nationals discussed the possibility of parting ways with Dukes this winter, Rizzo said. The Nationals “made several inquiries to many” teams, Rizzo said. “We found there was no interest in a trade for Elijah.” The Nationals could have also optioned Dukes to the minor leagues, but they felt he had peaked in his development, Rizzo said.

I tend to believe Rizzo. Dukes has alot of personal problems that detract from him as a ball player. Why would the organization release him out right without trying to make a trade? When healthy, Dukes is a fair to good starting outfielder and would be a excellent 4th outfielder.

I think something recent occurred with Dukes that is not known at present or he was causing trouble in the clubhouse. That is why Washington cut him loose.


Defense rests- Phoenix beats Minnesota 152-114

The Suns scored the most points in a NBA game this season. From AP-

It’s an NBA law of physics: Put the highest-scoring team in the league against arguably the worst defense and watch the scoreboard light up like the Fourth of July.

Jason Richardson scored 27 points and Amare Stoudemire 25, then sat with the rest of the Phoenix starters while the Suns’ reserves finished off a 152-114 rout of Minnesota on Monday night in the highest-scoring game by an NBA team this season.

Lou Amundson matched his career high with 20 points as Phoenix sent the Timberwolves to their 10th straight loss and 16th in the last 17 games.

The Suns, with eight players in double figures, shot 56 percent from the field and 15 of 31 from 3-point range to win their ninth in 12 games.

Minnesota is 14-54 this year. Which makes them not a whole lot better than New Jersey who is 7-60 and trying to avoid setting a new mark for the worst record in NBA history.


Fast Draw- St. Louis Blues take 8 seconds to score goal

It tied a record set almost 25 years ago. From AP-

Alex Steen of the St. Louis Blues tied a franchise record for fastest goal to start a game, scoring at the eight-second mark Tuesday night against the Colorado Avalanche.

Steen’s 20th goal tied the mark set by Greg Paslawski on Oct. 29, 1985 against the Washington Capitals.

Peter Budaj stopped Steen’s shot from the left boards after the Blues won the opening faceoff but the rebound appeared to deflect off left wing T.J. Galliardi on its way into the net.

Peter Budaj was in goal for Colorado.


Oregon fires Coach Ernie Kent

He twice led the Ducks to the elite eight. From AP-

Ernie Kent, the winningest coach in Oregon history, was dismissed Tuesday after 13 seasons with his alma mater.

“You may find a better basketball coach, but I don’t think you’ll find anybody that has the passion and love that I have for this university,” said Kent, who had to pause for several moments to fight back his emotions.

Oregon went 16-16 overall and 7-11 in the Pac-10 this past season, finishing with a 90-74 quarterfinal loss to California in the conference tournament.

Kent, 55, leaves Oregon with a 235-173 overall record.

Oregon had two poor seasons in a row but Kent had made the Ducks into a respectable program. The firing is tough luck for him, but I think Kent will find another head coaching job soon.Ernie Kent


Florida Goalie Tomas Vokoun gets no respect

Scott Burnside at ESPN writes-

Of all the teams still fighting for a playoff spot or set for the playoffs, perhaps no team relies more emphatically on its netminder for success than the New York Rangers.

Burnside clearly has a case of New Yorkitis. Lets examine the NHL Eastern Conference standings and where Florida and the NY Rangers stand.Tomas Vokoun

8th Boston 68 30 26 12 72
9 NY Rangers 69 31 29 9 71
10 Tampa Bay 68 28 28 12 68
11 Atlanta 68 28 29 11 67
12 Florida 67 28 29 10 66

8th is the last playoff spot. New York and Lundqvist are 1 point out of that spot but have played one more game than Boston. In fact they’ve played more games than all 5 times fighting for the 8 spot. Florida has a chance to narrow the gap between itself and Boston if they beat Washington tonight.

Now lets look at Lundqvist’s and Vokoun’s stats

2 Tomas Vokoun, FLA 56 23 22 2.36 .930
10 Henrik Lundqvist, NYR 60 28 23 2.45 .919

Now lets look at the Goals scored for the Panthers and Rangers

New York 181
Florida 174

Who are the three leading points scorers for each team


Marian Gaborik, RW 63 36 37 73
Vaclav Prospal, C 62 17 35 52
Ryan Callahan, RW 69 18 18 36


Stephen Weiss, C 65 23 27 50
Nathan Horton, C 51 17 29 46
Steve Reinprecht, C 67 14 22 36

Gee whiz New York’s top 2 goal scorers have more points this season than Florida’s #1. How is that so Scott Burnside?

I’ll also point out that Vokoun went 8-4-2 From for the month of January(he started all of Florida’s games) a Save Pct of over .940. That .940 is outstanding but Vokoun had to be like that. Florida scored 32 goals for the month or 2.27 per game

In that same stretch the Rangers supplied Lundqvist or his backup 36 goals in 16 games or 2.25. The Rangers went 6-9-1 that month. Because NY Goalies gave up 41 goals.

Florida in its last 18 games has only twice managed to score 2 or more goals in regulation. The total amount of goals for Florida in those 18 games-33

For New York in its last 18 games has scored 2 or more goals in regulation 9 times. Tho total amount of goals for the Rangers in those games- 46

Obviously Scott Burnside doesn’t- Look at the stats before making statements in his columns or doesn’t pay attention to all of the NHL. Tomas Vokoun is having a incredible year but this ESPN doesn’t seem to have noticed.


Tiger Woods to return at The Masters

When he plays at Augusta it will be his first tournament action in almost five months. From ESPN-

Tiger Woods will make his highly anticipated return to competitive golf at the Masters.

The world’s No. 1-ranked player, who has never missed the year’s first major as a professional, announced in a statement Tuesday that Augusta National Golf Club will be the site of his comeback.

“The Masters is where I won my first major and I view this tournament with great respect. After a long and necessary time away from the game, I feel like I’m ready to start my season at Augusta,” Woods said in a statement.

“The major championships have always been a special focus in my career and, as a professional, I think Augusta is where I need to be, even though it’s been a while since I last played.”

The Masters is scheduled for April 8-11, with the first and second rounds airing on ESPN beginning at 4 p.m. ET.

Woods last played on Nov. 15, when he won the Australian Masters in Melbourne for his 82nd career victory. His world then unraveled less than two weeks later; he was involved in a one-car crash outside his Florida home that required a hospital visit and let to a series of revelations about his personal life that included a later admission of multiple affairs.

I always felt The Masters was the most likely place for Woods return but didn’tmake a fool out of myself like much of the golf media and bloggers waste bandwith by speculating on it. You’re going to hear countless descriptions of the Masters being a media circus, but its really going to be and here’s why. One- Woods is conservative with the media and will remain so and Two- The Masters has always been taken a low key approach even when controversy swirled around it(The no women members scandal of a few years back). The 2010 Masters will be the same, Woods will not answer personal questions but the media will give you THEIR version of the answers nevertheless.


Detroit Lions coach Jim Schwartz says drafting QB not out of the question

What are they drinking in Motown right now? From the Detroit Free Press-

The Lions need a third quarterback on their roster and, more important, a dependable backup for Matthew Stafford.

Signing a veteran to compete with Drew Stanton for that role would seem to make the most sense, but coach Jim Schwartz said drafting a quarterback is not out of the question.

“You can take that first-round draft pick off, but maybe at some time in the draft a quarterback makes sense,” Schwartz told reporters Friday. “That’s happened a bunch of different times. You’re sitting saying, ‘Hey, look, this makes sense right here.’ I don’t think we’ve gone into (the off-season) saying, ‘This is exactly how we’re going to fill that.’ What you do is you just weigh every option that comes up. When one makes sense, you pull the trigger on it and right now we’re still weighing our options.”

Schwartz doesn’t like to paint himself into corners or to speak in absolutes. He never says never and was not dismayed at the prospect of developing a young QB.

The coach not wanting to speak in absolutes does explain the matter. As things stand, Detroit needs help all over their squad and backup quarterback has to rank pretty low priority wise. Offensively, Guard, Wide Receiver, and Running back are where the Lions need help. All those first round WR draft picks(Charlie Rogers, Mike Williams most notably) of theirs in the Matt Millen days didn’t work out too well.

Update- Detroit acquired QB Shaun Hill from San Francisco. The Lions won’t be spending a draft pick on a Quarterback now.


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