Monday, May 31, 2010

The Holliday Swap: Christmas Comes Early for Cardinals

As you baseball fans may or may not know, Cardinals' manager Tony LaRussa recently made a very bold move: he flipped Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday in the batting order. For the first time in about seven years, Albert Pujols is no longer batting third in the lineup and has been moved down to the #4 (cleanup) spot; the last time Pujols started a game batting somewhere other than third in the lineup was on May 23rd, 2003 when he hit fourth against the Pirates. According to and the Cardinals organization, Pujols made 1,046 consecutive starts at the #3 spot. However, LaRussa feels that, after all these years of Pujols batting in that slot, Holliday's arrival is a hitter that can finally provide a legitimate alternative.
  • If you follow the Cardinals, it is no surprise that this year's offense hasn't really been "productive" going into a month and a half into the elteason. Going into 38 games in their season (before the change was made), St. Louis had only scored 160 runs, which is equivalent to 4.21 runs per game. According to, that is good for 12th out of the 16 teams in National League; the only teams who have done worse offensively in that category are the Padres, Giants, Pirates, and Astros. For a team that's struggling to score runs, the Cardinals are doing pretty well in the standings.
  • In the NL Central, as of May 21st, they've just re-claimed their first place position and have the third best record in the National League. However, at 24-18, that really isn't saying much, and there is always room for improvement. Tony LaRussa realized that, going into a month and a half into the season, something needs to be done. I must say that this was a very ingenious move by him… and this is why. Do you guys remember much about the Rockies in 2007? Surely, most baseball fans remember the rally they had when they won 14 out of their last 15 games in the regular season, edging the Padres in extra innings in a tiebreaker and earning the NL Wild Card spot in the playoffs. They would eventually go on to sweep the Phillies and the Diamondbacks to become 2007 National League Champions. One of the key players who was a part of this huge comeback was Matt Holliday. During the 15-game span during the end of the season, he batted .400, with 6 homers and 18 RBIs, while upholding an on-base percentage of .493 and a slugging percentage of .800. With that being said, why hasn't Holliday done anywhere near as well as he did in the 2006 and 2007 seasons? Two words: Todd Helton.
  • The All-Star first baseman gave Holliday a whole lot of protection with the simple concept of Helton batting right behind Holliday. Since 2005, Helton hasn't really been that productive of a hitter in terms of home runs and RBIs, and it is quite ironic that Clint Hurdle was doing the same thing Tony LaRussa is doing now: moving the more fearful hitter around to get the other player to perform better offensively. Granted, Helton still hit well above .300 throughout his career until his injury in 2008, but we're talking about Todd Helton here. We're talking about a guy who averaged a .338 batting average, 33 homers, 113 RBIs, a .435 on-base percentage, a .610 slugging percentage, and 46 doubles from 1998 to 2005. He was going to be productive no matter where he was in the batting lineup. Now that LaRussa is taking Clint Hurdle's approach, I'm calling it a very nifty move. The only difference is that Matt Holliday is being protected by Albert Pujols instead of Helton. Another one of the main reasons that LaRussa pointed out about why Holliday is being moved up to third is because he is not doing so well with runners in scoring position. Entering Monday's game, Holliday was only 8-for-47 in such situations… and you can see it by simply looking at how many runs he brought in before being moved (14). He only has 4 RBIs in the month of May; can you say, "Wow!"? Other than his lack of bringing in runs, he's having a good offensive season otherwise. Hitting behind Pujols is a stimulant for just about any hitter, because no pitcher wants to face Pujols.
  • Holliday is going to get a lot more pitches to hit, and LaRussa hopes that this can create more chances for him to, not only drive in runs, but to get on base so that Pujols can drive him in. LaRussa had this to say regarding his switch: "We'll see. We've still got to make it work, but Matt's been a third-place hitter. He likes hitting third. We need to be more productive. So you identify, there's things we can work on, there's things we can improve, which we will improve. And there's other things like this that maybe there's a spark there for us. and getting Matt going would be a spark." "I prefer Albert hitting third, but I more prefer to get Matt going along with Albert and all the other offense we’ve got.“We've got to be more productive.
  • Things like this, maybe there’s a spark for us." Even with a small change like this, I am confident that St. Louis (particularly Holliday and Pujols) are going to do better with their roles being switched. With their starting rotation being rock solid and their closer doing well, there is no doubt in my mind we are going to see some improvement in the heart of the lineup. I mean, just take a look at what Holliday did tonight: hitting a key double that broke the 2-2 tie and giving the Cardinals the 4-2 lead, and the eventual 4-2 win. It was the first run-scoring hit in a week and his first extra-base hit with a man in scoring position since April 7 -- the second game of the season. On a side note, after the game, LaRussa had this to say about Holliday's extra-base hit: "I've said it a number of times, I think Matt's biggest problem is trying too hard, trying to force things. Get him a little bit more relaxed, a little more like himself, and all of a sudden, he does something good. [After getting] a little confidence, he's got a better chance to do better." What do you think? Are we going to see a little more productivity from Holliday? Only time will tell…
  • Read More.....armchairgm

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Kelly Brook is the only allowable form of curvy and other news

- Carrie Underwood's legs still aren't doing it for me. [Lainey Gossip]
- Mariah Carey quits a movie and everyone's first thought is she's pregnant not batshit crazy? How does that even happen? [Dlisted]
- Dane Cook gets Kanye'd on American Idol. [Popeater]
- Ashton Kutcher's Killers won't be shown to critics until opening day so no one can say it sucks until after they bought a ticket. [Huffington Post]
- Victoria Justice is, indeed, a fine young woman. [HollywoodTuna]
- Sienna Miller panty flash FAIL. [DrunkenStepfather: Site is NSFW]
- Megan Fox's Jonah Hex posters are old-timey whoretastic. [Popoholic]
- Gary Coleman's in the hospital again. Is it a brain hemorrhage? Because those things are hot right now. [StarPulse]
- Matt Lauer might have banged a tranny. [Celebslam]
- Madonna incorporates her love of getting banged into selling eyewear. Why not? [Just Jared]
- Jake Gyllenhaal is goddamn everywhere. [PopSugar]
- Justin Bieber will fucking cut you. [The Blemish]

To find the best term life insurance agents

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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Henin shocked in Madrid first round, Sharapova exits

MADRID: Four-time French Open champion Justine Henin's preparation for the Roland Garros grand slam event suffered a shuddering jolt with a defeat by France's Aravane Rezai in the Madrid Open first round on Sunday.

  • Henin won the Stuttgart title on clay last week and is considered a dangerous outsider in Paris later this month but her first serve was inconsistent and Rezai, the world number 22, took full advantage with a 4-6 7-5 6-0 win as the Belgian's game collapsed. Henin beat Australia's Samantha Stosur in the final in Stuttgart last Sunday for her first title since she ended her 19-month self-imposed exile at the start of the year.
  • Maria Sharapova was another former world number one to fall at the first hurdle, the Russian 11th seed going down 6-4 6-3 to Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic. "It's a struggle trying to find the rhythm," a philosophical Sharapova, who was playing her first tournament since pulling out of the Sony Ericsson Open in March with an elbow injury, told a news conference. "I thought (Safarova) played really solid, good tennis and did everything she needed to win the match. More solid than me anyway," the 23-year-old added. "I certainly had my chances in the match and a few balls here and there that I maybe would have made if I had the matches under my belt." Safarova broke Sharapova's serve four times and the Czech is on course for a possible last-16 clash with sixth-seeded Russian Elena Dementieva. "If you win against these top players, as I have the last couple of months, then you get your confidence and you realise you can be up there," the world number 35, who beat world number two Caroline Wozniacki in Stuttgart, told a news conference. "My dream is to be top 10 and it's a lot about believing in yourself." Fourth seed Venus Williams, also a former number one, plays qualifier Stefanie Voegele in the first round later on Sunday.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Sports Update: How will Lebron's elbow hold up?

The NBA’s biggest story these days might be LeBron James’ right elbow, the most examined joint in Cleveland sports history which even has its own Twitter account (@LeBronsElbow). (Watch CNN's Sanjay Gupta talk about the injury.) The Celtics and Cavs play Games 3 and 4 in their Eastern Conference semifinals this weekend, the highlights for a busy weekend in sports (all times Eastern):

-Cavaliers at Celtics (ESPN. 7:00 PM) How will the three days of rest affect LeBron’s health? He’s been diagnosed with a bone bruise and strain in his right elbow and the series outcome will likely come down to how hard he can go with the pain. Game 3 is tonight. The series is tied at 1-1.

-Suns at Spurs (ESPN, 9:30 PM)
Why do the Suns lead the series 2-0? Simple teamwork,” says’s Ian Thomsen. “The Suns are delivering more production and energy across the board.” Phoenix is 34-9 over the last three months and can take a commanding lead tonight in Game 3 in San Antonio.

-Wigan at Chelsea (Sunday, 11:00 AM, Fox Soccer Channel)
It’s simple for Chelsea: The Blues will lift the Barclays Premier League title if they pick up three points at Stamford Bridge. A draw or loss opens the door for Manchester United, who play Stoke City. Chelsea leads Manchester United by a point with only Sunday’s games remaining in the schedule.


batting average for Tigers rookie outfielder Austin Jackson, who leads the American League in hitting.

Career wins for Robin Roberts, the Hall of Fame pitcher who led the Phillies to the 1950 pennant. Roberts died on Thursday. He was 83.

Goals for Red Wings forward Johan Franzen (along with two assists) in Detroit’s 7-1 win Thursday night over San Jose in Game 4 of the Western Conference semifinals. San Jose will host Game 5 on Saturday night with an opportunity to advance to the conference finals.
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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Sachin Tendulkar on Twitter @sachin_rt

Finally, Sachin Tendulkar joined Twitter. He got really great response from fans. He is following only 2 people now and around 50 thousand fans following him and counting.
Zaheer Khan confirmed this is real ID by tweeting “Yes! Its true sachin tendulkar is on twitter on @sachin_rt”.
“The only record left for him to break is maximum number of followers. Welcome the one and only and my favourite Sachin Tendulkar,” tweeted Deepika Padukone.
“Sachin Tendulkar is on Twitter. We want him to beat Ashton Kutcher hollow. Spread the word. Follow Sachin,” said Riteish Deshmukh.
“The original rock star is here. Welcome Sachin Tendulkar. He is here. Give him all the love he deserves,” read Arjun Rampal’s post.
“A big welcome shout for the Sachin Tendulkar himself. Enjoy!” said celebrated director Karan Johar.
“Finally on Twitter, the god of cricket himself. A big welcome shout for Sachin Tendulkar himself. Spread the word,” wrote Shilpa Shetty.
“Good to see you here,” said Sania, a self-confessed fan of Tendulkar.
You should follow original Sachin at Twitter.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Troubled sport thrown into fresh turmoil by allegations against John Higgins

To understand the penetrative, long-term impact of the allegations of frame-fixing that have dealt professional snooker a potentially mortal blow, one need only talk with Steve Davis, the sport’s greatest ambassador.
On the verge of tears after allegations that John Higgins, the world champion, was prepared to accept a six-figure bribe, Davis said: “After this, if Barry Hearn isn’t allowed to continue as WPBSA chairman, I’ll have to seriously consider my future in the game.” This from a veteran who has always maintained that voluntary retirement is unthinkable, so deep is his love of all things green baize.
The black Davis mood was created by the acrid stench that can only emerge from a high-profile alleged betting scandal, especially one that came to light on the eve of the World Snooker Championship final, the sport’s showpiece occasion. “My thoughts as a player, it’s the darkest day I’ve ever experienced,” Davis, 52, said. “I’m gobsmacked. The integrity of the game has been put in question. It’s at the lowest ebb it’s ever been.”
Hearn spoke to a tearful Higgins yesterday and said afterwards: “As much as I would class John as a nice guy, the game is at stake here.” Asked if Higgins could play again in the future if found guilty, Hearn said: “I think it would be a real problem for him.”

For a sport in need of renewed and additional television revenue, and desperate to attract new sponsorship income, such a story is poisonous.Hearn, who took over as chairman of the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA) in December, said he was “absolutely mortified” by allegations that Higgins, three times the world champion, and Pat Mooney, his manager, agreed to manipulate the outcome of four frames in future minor events.
Higgins and Mooney, who was a WPBSA director until his resignation yesterday, were filmed by the News of the World, allegedly agreeing to accept £261,000 in return for frame manipulation.
Higgins and Mooney claim they are innocent and there is no suggestion or accusation that Higgins has ever thrown a match or been involved in any fraudulent activity during an 18-year professional career in which he has collected more than £5 million in prize money.
“Today is the start of the biggest match of my life,” Higgins said. “It’s not the World Championship that’s at stake, it’s something even more important, my reputation. I will fully co-operate with the snooker authorities.”
The News of the World has video evidence of a meeting with Higgins and Mooney that took place in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, on Friday. Higgins claims he was “really spooked” by what he thought were members of the Russian mafia, a sentiment echoed by Mooney. “I have never deliberately missed a shot, never mind intentionally lost a frame or a match,” Higgins said. “My conscience is 100 per cent clear.”
Yet regardless of where innocence or guilt may lie, Davis and Hearn are convinced that the whole sorry affair, and its timing, have caused immense damage for snooker, which given its recent financial and perception problems can ill afford such a hit.
There have been several betting furores in modern snooker history, but none has featured anyone as internationally recognisable as Higgins.
Many will be relieved that Hearn, who showed decisive leadership by quickly suspending Higgins from all WPBSA tournaments, is remaining at the helm after an initial period of soul-searching when the story surfaced. “I’m not prepared to see the sport die under this type of publicity,” he said. “I know in my heart of hearts I can put those things right. My first reaction was to walk away, but the second was ‘no, this means something to me’.
“So I’m staying and dealing with it, but I’m going to take it very seriously.We at the top of the game have a responsibility and my message to fans is that this is not going ruin our game.”
David Douglas, a former Metropolitan Police detective chief superintendent who was invited by Hearn to sit on the WPBSA board for his disciplinary input, will head the disciplinary inquiry.
One positive is the reaction of Fred Done, chairman of Betfred, the World Championship sponsor. “If Barry wants to do another five-year deal I will sign now,” he said. “I will continue supporting snooker and I’m confident the WPBSA will conduct a proper and thorough investigation.”
In February 2006, Quinten Hann, of Australia, was banned by the WPBSA for eight years after a similar undercover operation by The Sun revealed he had offered to throw his opening match against Ken Doherty in the 2005 China Open.
Although the match was subsequently played properly, after undercover reporters pulled out of the deal, a WPBSA disciplinary panel was shown transcripts and video footage of meetings between Hann and journalists in March and April 2005.
Hann was found to be in breach of the WPBSA’s rule 2.8, which states: “A member shall not directly or indirectly solicit, attempt to solicit or accept any payment or any form of remuneration or benefit in exchange for influencing the outcome of any game of snooker or billiards.”
Davis, who beat Higgins 13-11 in the second round of the championship nine days ago, put it succinctly. “How horrible a thought that from now on every time we miss a shot or make a mistake, someone who thinks there’s something going on will say, ‘I told you so,’ ” he said.
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