The great John Wooden once said it’s impossible to overachieve. There’s no way an athlete, or anyone for that matter, can achieve something over his potential. Coach Wooden hates the phrase “I’m giving it 110%” because 110 doesn’t exist. Only 100% is possible. Furthermore, Coach Wooden says we are actually all underachievers, so when I watch a James Blake match why do I feel as though he may be underachieving in a way that no one else can? This guy has never made it past a quarterfinal of a major. Insane, with his blazing forehand, world class speed and overall power that he hasn’t put it together yet. And – unfortunately for him – he’s 29, which is ancient in tennis. J-Bo hasn’t won consecutive matches since February and is beginning to look like he’s completely lost his confidence. Some may say I’m overreacting, considering his latest loss was on the dirt, but I say I’m not. He just lost to a qualifier who’s ranked 112 in the world, and hadn’t won a match on the ATP World Tour all season, until yesterday. J-Bo has seemed to get down on himself a whole lot more than usual lately. His 8-7 record for the season is very disappointing, especially considering he’s 2-5 his last seven ATP matches. The worst part about it is on the ATP website, you can fill out your draws for each ATP 1000 series, and they put it up before the qualifiers are even determined. I chose Blake to lose without even knowing his opponent because of the combination of the red stuff, his fading confidence, and his perfection at the art of underachievement. Maybe J-Bo should just take a page from Andy Roddick’s book, and not even bother to show up for these clay tournaments anymore. Maybe J-Bo should just take some time off, relax a take a deep breath. Maybe he should wait until the grass season – nevermind, Blake has surprisingly never done well on the grass. Or maybe he should just wait for the U.S. Open Series and play every single event and hope he can accumulate as many points as possible against inferior competition. Whatever J-Bo does, he needs to solve his problems quickly or else he may be forced into retirement in the near future.
Happy Monday to everyone. What a great weekend of sports we had, from the NFL Draft, to the NBA playoffs, to the two biggest rivalries in baseball. To the MLB rankings…
1. Boston Red Sox (12-6) – They’re technically not even in first of the AL East, but after that 9-game home sweep, including beating the Yankees, they’re the hottest team in baseball. Kevin Youkilis is leading the majors with a ridiculous .439 BA, while Mike Lowell leads the league with 22 RBI, and Jason Bay is replacing Manny Ramirez as well as anyone could hope, hitting clutch home runs like the 9th inning game tieing home run against the Yankees Friday night. The one huge concern is Big Papi. He’s batting .222 with NO home runs. I know you can’t just drop him in the lineup yet, but Terry Francona really needs to consider it with every other starter swinging the bat better than Papi.
2. Toronto Blue Jays (14-6) – 20 games into the season, the Blue Jays have the best record in baseball. The Jays have yet to challenged by the Red Sox, Yankees or Rays, so we will find out if they’re for real during May. The Jays have scored the most runs in the majors at this point, and also own the league’s fifth highest team ERA. If they can keep this up, they may be able to hold their own against the Yanks and Sox juggernaut offenses.
3. Los Angeles Dodgers (13-6) – They fell a little back to earth this week, but still are tied for the best record in the NL. Chad Billingsley is starting to look like a quality ace with his 2.05 ERA and leading the NL in wins (4). No one on the Dodgers has enjoyed having Manny Ramirez more than Andre Eithier. Eithier has 20 RBI already, second only to Albert Pujols.
4. St. Louis Cardinals (13-6) – What more can you say about Albert Pujols? This guy is just unbelievable. He leads the league with 7 home runs and 25 RBI, and is even batting .343! Ryan Ludwick continues his hot streak with 5 home runs and 19 RBI.
5. Seattle Mariners (12-7) – For Seattle it’s all about pitching. Seattle owns a 3.50 team ERA, second best in the AL. Felix Hernandez is off to a 3-0 start, while Jarrod Washburn has also enjoyed early success. Erik Bedard leads the staff with 29 strikeouts and a 2.02 ERA. The Mariners are only 20th in the league in total runs scored, however, so they’ll need to pick that up, since the pitching can’t be this great all year long. Continue reading
Just three months ago, Emma was limping around the streets of Los Angeles, struggling to find food, comfort or shelter. Her hind left leg shattered in three places dragging across the ground. Emma and her brother were spotted and taken to West Hills Animal Hospital. After extensive surgery on her leg, and a full month of rehabilitation, the emaciated Emma survived, but her brother did not.
Emma received her name from Janet Lester just one month after all her surgeries. Lester remembers the first time she found the dog online at Lange animal rescue.
“Her entire body was wrapped in a blue cast, all we could see was her tiny face in the picture,” said Lester. “But the second we saw her face, we knew we had to adopt her.”
Lester already had a thoroughbred beagle, Comet, but was looking for a companion for him. She said adopting Emma has been the best thing her family has ever done.
“Deciding to rescue the dog and bringing her home, there’s nothing I wouldn’t do again, she’s great,” said Lester. “The two dogs have been great together.”
The two dogs are now inseparable, sleeping together, Comet against the couch, and Emma against Comet. The two dogs even walk in sync, one gets up, and the other follows in suit. Lester said Emma has fully recovered since they adopted her two months ago. Emma, a pug mix, has gained four pounds and now goes for walks with Janet and Comet daily.
“When we first got her, we were worried because she could barely even walk without being in pain; now she runs like any other dog, she’s truly amazing.”
Life Animal Rescue, is a nonprofit organization that rescues dogs from animal shelters. Linda Ribas, the volunteer in charge, said all the animals they rescue, like Emma, are great dogs. She still remembers the first time she rescued the dogs.
“I was shocked because the dogs were absolutely adorable and very well behaved and I couldn’t understand why they didn’t have homes already,” said Ribas. “It’s extremely rewarding when you save somebody’s life.”
Ribas said the economy is having a sad effect since many dogs that previously had owners no longer could provide for them, and therefore are bringing their dogs in.
“A lot of the dogs at the shelters when we go there, we see they have names, the shelter does not give names to the dogs that are strays,” said Ribas.
Since last July, the Ventura County Animal Department has accepted about 3,500 dogs, 27 percent more than the previous year, and was forced to euthanize almost a third of them.
There are thousands of animals across the country, like Emma, that need homes. To adopt one from Life, the website is lifeanimalrescue.org. To find the closest shelter anywhere in the country, visit The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals at aspca.org, which has searches by zip code.
I leave you with my choices for the first round of the NFL Draft. Let the debates begin…
1. Detroit Lions – The good thing for Jim Schwartz and the new version of the Lions is that anything would be an improvement. With the logo change comes a new culture, a fiercer approach – and they need it. The Lions pick twice in the first round and five times in the first three rounds. They need to fill just about every position known to man, but the most quintessential position in football is the quarterback. It all starts with the QB, so this is a no-brainer – they’ll be taking the top rated Georgia QB Matthew Stafford.
2. St. Louis Rams – With the departure of OT Orlando Pace, a huge void needs to be filled. The Rams also need to fill many positions, but a franchise OT is the best and safest bet here. The great thing for them is there are three OT’s that should go in the top 10, so the Rams have their choice. The consensus pick is 6’5, 309 lb Jason Smith from Baylor, as Andre Smith has dropped due to fitness, but Virginia’s Eugene Monroe is also highly regarded.
3. Kansas City Chiefs – Bringing in Scott Pioli, Matt Cassel and Mike Vrabel, KC is already starting to look like the New England Patriots Version 2.0. Pioli made another typical Patriot-type move by trading veteran All Star Tony Gonzalez for a second round draft pick. It’s clear the Chiefs also need an OT. They will take Eugene Monroe. There’s always little risk involved in taking an offensive lineman this high, and the Chiefs may have something going with two young franchise OT’s (Brandon Albert was drafted last year.) The defense still needs to be addressed, but the Chiefs can’t pass up this opportunity to solidify the line, especially with this new explosive offensive featuring Matt Cassel, Larry Johnson and Dwayne Bowe.
4. Seattle Seahawks – This is where the draft starts getting real interesting. Do the Seahawks take Mark Sanchez as an insurance policy because Matt Hasselback isn’t getting any younger, or do they take OLB Aaron Curry, a position they’re sorely lacking? The Seahawks go with Wake Forest’s Aaron Curry, a truly can’t miss prospect who has the size, strength and speed to make him a great NFL linebacker. 6’2, 250 and runs a 4.6? Sold! The Seahawks will wait for a quarterback later in the draft, someone they can spend a few years grooming into the job. The Seahawks now look to filling their vacancy at WR, and probably look to address the QB situation with their 3rd pick.
5. Cleveland Browns – Now that Sanchez has fallen and Aaron Curry has been snatched away, Mangenious and the Browns may entertain numerous trade offers, but ultimately they feel Texas Tech’s WR Michael Crabtree is just what the doctor ordered for whichever young quarterback they decide to go with. Crabtree gives the Browns the ability to throw to a big Larry Fitzgerald-like target. This also should take the pressure off Braylon Edwards, let him snap out of last year’s truly abysmal season and focus on what got him to the Pro Bowl two years ago. Edwards will welcome the chance to get free with the addition of another real threat on the opposite side of the field. Continue reading
So I bought Mlb.tv for the first time. It’s been three years in the making since I started contemplating this purchase. After having it for two days, I haven’t regret it for a single second, and I realize it may be the best $110 a man can spend. Continue reading