Friday, August 20, 2010

Top Athlete Picks 'Noles, Nerds Meltdown

James Wilder Jr., son of legendary Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back James Wilder, is considered one of the nations top high school football recruits. Hailing from Tampa Plant High School in Tampa, Florida, Wilder has over 80 offers from FBS programs – formerly D1 – and narrowed his extensive list to Georgia, Florida, and Florida State. After his LeBron-esque live TV announcement, the talented athlete chose the Garnet and Gold as his destination next fall. It’s only a verbal commitment and certainly nothing’s set in stone until National Signing Day in February, but I wish this young man the best.

As over the top and ridiculous as the announcement proceedings were, even more absurd was how the fans handled the release. Message board users all over the Internet went ballistic after hearing Wilder’s choice and what ensued was a melee of numerous “Message Board” guy’s. Oh, we all know “Message Board” guy and his extensive knowledge of anything and everything in all facets of football, and in life. If you want a better understanding of “Message Board” guy click here.

Seconds after Wilder threw his FSU hat on, Florida State fans invaded Gator sites with garbage like, “Look who we got!” and “Suck it, Gates!” Okay, I’m slightly exaggerating, but I’m not. What in the world are ‘Nole fans thinking? Because they got themselves a top prospect it allows them to peacock and act like idiots? That’s the beauty of message boards. Total anonymity and the user can transform into their loser, alter-ego without sacrificing their true, loser self. It gets better.

Gator fans then have to react and return fire with gems like, “I hope he enjoys losing every year” and my personal favorite, “I hope he breaks [whatever appendage].” Stay classy, Florida fan.

And before you come at me with, “What, I don’t get an opinion?” Have one all you want, but you lose all credibility and respect the moment you wish ill-will on an amateur athlete. Not that anyone that posts on the Internet cares anyway. It’s all about who can one up the next jerk.

I really don’t have issues with guys acting like complete tools via the Internet. I think some of it is hilarious, but I also think it’s a bit cowardly and completely low-class to not only call out other users, but to rip on kids. 17- to 18-year old kids, mind you. But hey, every fan base has them and no one’s perfect.

Stick to Star Wars and arguing over who’s stronger, Frodo or Willow. Dorks.

Good luck to Wilder at FSU.


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Bucs' Home Game May Be Blacked Out

Yes, you read correctly. This Saturday’s preseason game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Raymond James Stadium may be blacked out. So, if Bucs’ fans want to sit back and enjoy sloppy, mediocre football on their television, they’ll either have to cough up a regular-season ticket price and go to the game or travel 50-miles away from Tampa in order to catch it on Direct TV. Nope, I’m not kidding.

The NFL is chalk full of ridiculous rules and antics, and they’re upsetting fans everywhere by absolutely robbing us of any pro football enjoyment. Does the NFL actually expect us to pay a regular-season ticket price to go to a game that’ll feature the starters for maybe 30 minutes? Preseason football is typically horrendous and boring, not to mention Buccaneer preseason games are often delayed due to inclement weather. If you live in the Bay area and you’ve gone to a preseason game, you know what I mean.

There’s no way a blue-collared working man is going to pay $60 for 300 level seats to watch fourth string kids and journeymen try to make a team. Let’s say Mr. Blue-Collar wants to take his family. He’s easily looking at $240 in tickets and another $100 in concessions for four people, as well as $20 or more in parking. That’s a pretty hefty price to admire a bunch of “What’s His Face’s” and “Who’s He’s?”

The NFL needs to readjust and change this preseason ruling quickly or else every team will be blacked out during the exhibition season. Not a single person likes it and we all just sit around praying the regular season approaches faster than it does.

Thank goodness for the Fantasy Draft.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Hellickson Wins Again

The Tampa Bay Rays have a huge decision ahead of them. Rookie right-handed pitcher Jeremy Hellickson put up another gem against the Baltimore Orioles Sunday afternoon (8/15) in front of a crowd of nearly 30,000. Hellickson made his third start of the season allowing three hits, one walk, and five strike outs through six innings in a game that is considered his worst start of the season. The Rays won 3-2 thanks to Carl Crawford’s two-RBI game and, of course, Hellickson’s stellar performance. Hellickson is the first player in the modern era to pitch at least six innings and allow three hits or fewer in his first three major-league starts. The young man is three and 0 and pitches like he doesn’t have a pulse. So what do the Rays do with him?

There has been chatter that the Rays may go to a six-man rotation, but apparently James Shields isn’t cool with that, which is hilarious considering “Big Game” James is the weak link in this fine stable of pitchers the Rays have assembled. Once Jeff Neimann and Wade Davis return from the DL, Hellickson will most likely head to the bullpen. I’m not sure how I feel about that. I think going with a six-man rotation is a great call considering David Price’s pitch count is extremely high for this point in the season and they’ll need him fresh for the playoffs. Having a sixth man would also allow the walking wounded like Neimann an extra day of rest before it’s his turn to start.

Like Price, Hellickson’s season pitch count is also high. He’s had a ton of starts while he played in Durham - Tampa Bays Triple-A affiliate - and has pitched deep into games while in the minors, so that’s something the Rays organization needs to keep an eye on. He’s a young kid and they certainly don’t want to wear him out so early in his professional career. There’s a better than average chance his nasty stuff will be called upon, especially once the 2010 Playoffs begin.

The Rays have a good problem on their hands. Jeremy Hellickson has shown us that, even when he plays poorly, he can pitch exceptionally well and positively contribute to a Rays team that is post-season bound and is knocking on an A.L. East title. Hellickson’s season stats so far: 1.35 ERA and only three total earned runs. Freaking. Legendary.

Monday, August 9, 2010

FSU's Fortson Dismissed

Florida State junior wide receiver Jarmon Fortson has been dismissed from FSU for committing the same infraction multiple times, according to, a Rivals/Yahoo sports network. The specific term used was “Violation of Team Policy,” which only clouds speculation as to what actually happened. Sources have revealed that Fortson failed multiple drug tests and head coach Jimbo Fisher had no choice but to release the talented wide out.

Fortson is best remembered for dropping what would have been the game winning touchdown in the opening game last year against Miami. He did an excellent job of rebounding from that loss and made spectacular catches throughout the rest of the 2009 season.

Jimbo Fisher does not receive any praise for this dismissal. Fortson had to be booted via NCAA rules and I wonder if Jimbo would’ve kept Fortson on the team if the NCAA didn’t have these regulations in place. I’ll give Fisher kudos if he dismisses Nigel Carr next, but he’s not going to get one for doing what he’s supposed to. I don’t get credit for paying my taxes; Jimbo shouldn’t get any for validly throwing a player off of his team.

Fortson was on pace to have a breakout season with a veteran quarterback slinging him the ball and multiple speedy wide outs to help alleviate him of any double teams. If there is one good thing to come out of this debacle its wide receiver may be the deepest position FSU has on the team. This leaves the door wide open for sophomores Willie Haulstead and Rodney Smith.

Hopefully others on the team learn, but I highly doubt it. Good luck to Fortson and all his future endeavors.


Saturday, August 7, 2010

Chris Rainey: Ultimate Bonehead

University of Florida wide receiver Chris Rainey has a loaded, loud mouth and he isn’t afraid to use it. The former running back, turned wide out has been reprimanded by Urban Meyer on multiple occasions. As a matter of fact, Meyer has told Rainey that he expects the senior to think about his answers 24-hours in advance before ever addressing himself, his coaches, teammates, and most importantly the media. Well, Rainey decided to ignore his coach’s warning and dropped a major bomb. “I guess we got rid of the prima donnas – all the selfish cats” said Rainey during one of the Gators summer practices, according to the Miami Herald. Bone. Head.

Mr. Rainey, exactly whom do you speak of? Is it your All-American middle linebacker that was the backbone to a dominating defense last season? How about a reliable tight end that bailed the offense out week after week? Or - and the thought is repulsive – is it one super athlete that won a Heisman trophy and is cherished by Gator Nation? No…No!

I don’t care who he’s referring too. Chris Rainey might be one of the dumbest young men to ever get in front of a microphone. Way to keep team morale together, Rainey. Terrell Owens thinks you said something overboard. And this isn’t the first time Rainey has been caught with questionable quotes. As a senior at Lakeland High School, he talked about how people in Lakeland just give him money and gifts all of the time, which is a huge recruiting and NCAA violation. It led to his now famous statement, “Damn, I’m glad I’m Chris Rainey.” He later retracted his statement at the advice of his head coach. Rainey went off again his freshman year at UF and I quote, “I’m a white woman man” in reference to all the attractive co-eds he sees on a daily basis. Good for you, Chris. Just don’t pull a Travis Henry, big guy.

This isn’t the first time a Gator player has said something controversial this year. Google Deonte Thompson and, “You know, a real quarterback” and enjoy that melee.

When is Urban Meyer going to be held accountable and responsible for what his players say to the media? That’s the popular question now in the college football world. When are the coaches accountable? Turning a blind eye and saying, “I didn’t know” is not going to cut it anymore.

So, Mr. Rainey, enjoy your senior season at UF. Just remember to learn from your adoptive brother, and former teammate, Maurkice Pouncey and don’t accept $100 grand from an agent…allegedly. Make sure you use good judgment when speaking to a beautiful co-ed, regardless of skin tone. And most importantly, never, and I mean never tell anyone who you meant when referring to “prima donnas.” I think we all know who you’re talking about, but Gator Nation will tear you limb from limb if you actually let it all out. Have a great year. Just keep quiet.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Soriano Deserves MVP Honors

No, I don’t mean A.L. MVP honors. Instead, I mean when that vote comes out by the A.P. voters - I think - and they announce who they believe is each team’s MVP for that season…yeah, that MVP.

Imagine if Tampa Bay Rays right-handed closer Rafael Soriano was on this squad last season. Imagine how many more wins there would’ve been. Remember all of the blown saves last year? Remember that epic night in Cleveland on Memorial Day when the Rays were smoking the Indians only to allow them to score like 15-runs in the bottom of the 9th, which preceded one of the most painful losses in Rays history? Or how about when Jason Bartlett blasted a bomb against Seattle during a 13-inning game to take the lead? Remember how confident we all felt with J.P. Howell coming out to close? Yeah, he gave up a 2-run shot that left the Rays’ dugout looking completely lost and dejected.

I’m not here to dwell on last season’s failures. It’s done…gone, whatever, but it’s fun to pretend and use a hypothetical, right? What I’m getting at is this squad may not have the record it currently holds without Soriano closing out some tough and tight games. He currently is the A.L. leader in saves and is tied for the lead in the M.L. Joaquin Benoit has exceeded expectations and he might’ve been the closer at some point if there wasn’t a Rafael Soriano on board, but number 29 has been lights out.

The guy has ice in his veins, shows zero emotion, and does what he’s supposed to do…close out games and get the Rays a victory.

Longoria’s the pretty boy that shows up on TV and on the cover of video games. Carl Crawford is the current superhero on staff that the league holds in the highest regards. And Rafael Soriano is the quiet kid who gracefully flows to the pitcher’s mound when called upon and succeeds in putting opponents away. Thankless. Humble. MVP.

FSU's Carr Needs To Go

If you haven’t heard by now, Florida State linebacker Nigel Carr was arrested on multiple felony accounts including grand theft auto and felony fraud. Carr was one of FSU’s most dependable linebackers, especially towards the end of the ’09 season, but it seems that his tenure as a Seminole is over. Or is it?

New head coach Jimbo Fisher has currently placed Carr under the - oh so vague -“suspended indefinitely” tag and he’s awaiting for Carr’s trial to be finalized before he gets the final say. Carr has actually pleaded not guilty to his five counts, which is a pretty smart move on his part (or his lawyer’s, whichever) considering there is a substantial amount of evidence against Carr. (Seriously, kid…what’re are you thinking?) I really shouldn’t be surprised because this has been a Florida State m.o. for decades, but this was supposed to change under Fisher who has a tighter grip and clearer understanding of today’s student-athlete.

Coach Fisher needs to set precedence immediately by releasing Carr of his scholarship and sending him away. Carr will be fine going to a smaller school and becoming a D-2 superstar like every other Seminole that has been booted the last several years. Fisher needs his current and future players to understand that the days of bone-headed pranks and acts are over and there will be zero tolerance. Carr was a highly recruited young man and he still may have a bright future ahead of him, but it can’t be at FSU. Keeping him on the team is only going to undermine Jimbo’s authority and the echoed words of one Bobby Bowden’s, “Boys will be boys” will forever haunt Fisher while he’s in charge.

Make an example and kick Carr out of school and allow him to feel what it is to be an adult with responsibilities and that for every action there is a reaction. I get kids do stupid things and everyone deserves a second chance, but Florida State’s boosters and fans ought to be getting a bit sick of this swan song stuck on repeat. We might’ve committed just as many brainless exploits when we were in college, but we’re not under a microscope and we’re certainly not set to the high standards of these student-athletes.

Do the right thing Jimbo or else you’ll soon be forever known as just another coach that harbors criminals in the State of Florida.