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Sports Morning Headlines-Wednesday, 7/13/11

News from around the Texas Sports Scene for Wednesday, July 13, 2011.

Is Manu Ginobili a Hall of Famer? - ESPN.com asks this question, among others, of a roundtable of its True Hoop bloggers. The answer is a unanimous, “You betcha.”  You can read the piece here. Not much to add from these parts, except to echo what ESPN.com’s straw pollsters have already said. If the case were based solely on his NBA contributions, Ginobili’s ticket to Springfield upon retirement would be up for debate. Three NBA championship rings, however, are a tough argument to beat.  Throw in Ginobili’s accomplishments on the international stage as the only player in the history of the world to win a Euroleague title, Olympic gold medal and NBA championship, and you’ve got yourself an unassailable Hall of Fame resume.   READ MORE

Lockout alternative for NBA’s working class - Locked out NBA players have reason to smile just a little today.  The lockout isn’t ending soon, but the latest news was positive.  It seems the owners will have to refund the $160 million withheld from players’ paychecks as part of the escrow system in the collective bargaining agreement that expired July 1.  Citing sources within the NBA and the players’ union, NBA.com reported a pending infusion of dough for the players, who had yielded 8 percent of each paycheck, per the fine print, during each season in the old deal.  This is money that will make it easier for players to stand firm against the league. Tim Duncan, for example, should get a check for $1.5 million and change. DeJuan Blair will get $73,440; Gary Neal, $45,200.  Additionally, there are lockout jobs awaiting players at the bottom end of the pay scale, and they don’t even have to leave North America to get them.  The newly formed National Basketball League of Canada, after breaking away from something called the Premiere League, recently opened its arms to what it called “Tier 3” NBA players staring at a long lockout.  The NBL defines “Tier 3” players as those on the lower side of the NBA salary spectrum, especially young players earning the league minimum.  One of the NBL’s three established coaches can relate to such players.   READ MORE

ProjectSpurs:  Spurs' Parker surprised at Nets' Williams decision, begins preparations for Olympic qualifier - San Antonio Spurs' Tony Parker and the rest of the French National Team began their preparation for EuroBasket 2011 today in France.  Over the next five days, les Bleus will go through physical training before attacking the basketball part of their preparations when they move to the south-western city of Pau on 20 July for six days, culminating with a game against Canada.  Parker will be joined by fellow NBA players Joakim Noah, Boris Diaw, Nicolas Batum, Ronny Turiaf, and Mickael Pietrus as they hope to qualify for the 2012 Olympics in London. And this begins in Lithuania at the pre-Olympic qualifying tournament in August.  France will be looking to make the Olympic games, something they have not done in 12 years.   READ MORE

Should Dirk Nowitzki play for Germany? - Should Dirk Nowitzki play for the German national team as it tries to qualify for the Olympics?  In our latest Hot Button feature, Jeff Caplan says Dirk should go for it, while Jeff "Skin" Wade argues that the big man needs to spend the offseason resting so he's at full strength for the Mavs' title defense.   READ MORE

Is Cuban a 'players' owner'? - Mark Cuban's reputation as a willing spender is among the reasons his Dallas Mavericks are NBA champions. But in the league's bitter labor dispute, the Dallas-lovin' Cuban and his open checkbook has a powerful opponent.  That opponent: the hard-line partner Cuban and his hawkish approach.  In what likely qualifies as a surprise to many, I'm told Cuban – the jeans-and-t-shirt-wearing billionaire opposed in so many ways to old-school convention – is among the owners prepared to take a relatively inflexible stand in the lockout.   READ MORE

J.J. Barea still serious about going to Spain - Dallas Mavericks guard J.J. Barea is serious about this Spain thing.  If the NBA owners and players can't come to an agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement that will get the 2011-12 season started on time, the little man who is waiting to cash in big as a free agent reiterated his plan to play in Spain.  Barea's whale of a summer continues this week in Puerto Rico with his Super 60 basketball camp that brings together the island's top 60 prospects ages 13-17.  Interviewed by Caribbean Business, Barea confirmed his previously stated plan to play in Spain next season if the lockout continues.   READ MORE

Houston Rockets Head Coach Kevin McHale adds two new names to his coaching staff - The Houston Rockets have added two new coaches to their coaching staff to go along with Chris Finch.  McHale has been rumored to be putting together an "all star assistant" staff.  I'm not sure from a giant names list that's true, but from a coaching standpoint it certainly is.  Finch we know pretty well as the Rio Grande Valley Vipers and England National team coach.  Also as the rumored guy to be next in line after McHale.  The Rockets and Daryl Morey seem to have a lot of faith in him as a coach.  Kelvin Sampson is definitely a name.  As a hater of everything OU (never have figured out why they aren't UO) I actually have a lot of respect for Sampson as a coach.  He's won everywhere he's been as a head coach and he won't have any NCAA violations as an NBA assistant.  Plus, are texting and phone calls really THAT big of an issue?  Or is the NCAA just too lazy to fix actual problems?  His coaching ability is up to a high standard, and like him or not, he's a great hire for the Rockets.   READ MORE

From the Ninetyfourums: Yao or Amare? - This was interesting.  In response to my latest Yao feature, a reader, KingJosh, wrote:  "Rahat do you really think Stoudemire was the correct choice over yao? Even today I would still have taken yao 9 times out of ten, even with the power of hindsight."  Amare has a current career average of 22/9, 4 pts better than yao – yet he is half the defensive presence of yao. His team’s success has always been accompanined by 1st tier talent (Nash, J.johnson, Marion etc) and has had injury problems of his own. This year we saw amare attempt to lead his team by his own and only barely squeak into the playoffs in a piss weak Eastern confrence. There is denying that he is NOT a superstar. However when healthy, yao definitely WAS a superstar. 22 and 10 while anchoring a top 5 defence? Prime yao was a top 10 player, and a center at that.  Scoring PF with no defence are a dime-a-dozen these days, hell the rockets aqcuired one for v.span. Give me 7 years of a transcendnet superstar center anyday.   READ MORE

Sources: NBA players to get escrow money back - Locked-out NBA players will have their escrow money returned to them for the first time because salaries fell below 57 percent of league revenues last season, two people with knowledge of the situation said Tuesday.  The players will get about $160 million back when a final audit of league revenues is completed later this month. The people spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the auditing process is ongoing.  Eight percent of player salaries have been withheld each season since the 1999 collective bargaining agreement to ensure that players don’t exceed their guarantee of 57 percent of league revenues. They had surpassed that limit each season since, so the money was kept.  But with revenues up during a successful 2010-11 season, salary costs will fall short of that mark for the first time, though it isn’t known yet by how far.  The escrow return, first reported Tuesday by NBA.com, could strengthen the players’ contention that an overhaul of the current financial system isn’t needed and that owners can address their losses by controlled, smarter spending.  The union has argued that the total value of negotiated salaries had decreased in recent years, so player costs weren’t the problem.   READ MORE

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prince Gives NL 2nd Straight Win and WS Home Field Advantage - With 16 of 84 All-Stars dropping out, this was no desert classic - except for fans of pitching.  Daniel Hernandez, an intern who helped save the life of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords during the shootings, threw out a ceremonial first pitch along with Joe Garagiola.   READ MORE

Firefighter's widow offers public thanks - The widow of a Brownwood firefighter who died at a Texas Rangers game last week says she is thankful for the public's support and that Josh Hamilton remains her son's favorite baseball player.  Jenny Stone, wife of Shannon Stone, submitted a statement to the Brownwood Bulletin, which published her remarks Tuesday, one day after her husband's funeral.  Last Thursday, Shannon Stone was trying to catch a foul ball tossed to him by Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton for his son Cooper, 6, when he fell over a railing and into a gap between the stands and a scoreboard in left field.  In the statement, Jenny Stone says, "While we have been overwhelmed with sadness by his death, we have also been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and sympathy that we have received, from complete strangers as far away as New Zealand, to the former president of the United States of America [George W. Bush, who was at the game], to our closest friends and family."   READ MORE

Texas couple married at All-Star FanFest - A Humble, Texas, couple won their dream wedding at the MLB All-Star FanFest in Phoenix.  READ MORE

Crawdads' Profar returns with a bang - Rangers prospect fresh off solid performance in Futures Game.  The Futures is now for Jurickson Profar.  Hot off a solid showing in the All-Star Futures Game on Sunday, Profar homered, singled and stole a base as Class A Hickory routed West Virginia, 11-5, on Tuesday.  MLB.com's No. 47 prospect opened his first South Atlantic League game since Friday with a longball, his ninth of the season. It was the second homer in nine games for Profar, signed by the Rangers as a non-drafted free agent in July 2009.  "I was trying to put the barrel of the bat on the ball and I hit a home run," Profar said. "I'm just trying to hit the ball [in that situation]."  Profar led the second inning off with a single and promptly stole his 11th base of the season. The 18-year-old shortstop was later caught tying to swipe third base.   READ MORE

Wilson loses grip, AL loses to NL - As C.J. Wilson walked out of the American League clubhouse on his way to a Southern California beach, he had a one-word summation of his initial All-Star experience.  "Bummer," said Wilson, the losing pitcher in the American League's 5-1 loss to the National League in the 82nd All-Star Game on Tuesday night.  The AL led, 1-0, going into the bottom of the fourth, but Wilson gave up a pair of singles, to Carlos Beltran and Matt Kemp. Prince Fielder then sent a 2-2 cutter deep over the fence in left-center for a three-run homer. That ended up being the game-winning blow, and allowed Fielder to take home the Most Valuable Player trophy.   READ MORE

Michael Young savors seventh All-Star trip - Michael Young stood on the first-base line with a couple of Rangers teammates during pregame introductions and smiled. Young looked around and saw an All-Star Game in Arizona that had a Texas flair to it.  There was manager Ron Washington, firing up his squad with a pregame speech and flashing that broad, infectious smile. And outfielder Josh Hamilton, making his fourth consecutive start after an emotional weekend and getting a lift from the sellout crowd at Chase Field with a nice ovation when he was introduced. He added a hit in the fourth. Third baseman Adrian Beltre got a chance to start for the first time and hit behind Hamilton, something he’s done many times this season. He also had a hit.   READ MORE

Jury to begin hearing evidence in Clemens trial - A female-dominated jury is in place to begin hearing the evidence of whether baseball's Roger Clemens lied about using performance-enhancing drugs.  The newly seated jury of 10 women and two men is scheduled to get to work Wednesday with opening arguments. Prosecutors say Clemens lied under oath three years ago when he denied using steroids and human growth hormone during congressional testimony. Clemens maintains that he didn't use drugs during a 24-season career that set several pitching records.  Clemens' attorney said the defense will begin by questioning whether the House of Representatives' investigation into whether the pitcher used drugs was a proper legislative inquiry. The defense argues it was not since it didn't concern any legislation and aired a personal dispute between the baseball star and the trainer who accused Clemens of using.   READ MORE

Royal blast: Prince's homer lifts NL past AL - Prince Fielder turned the Chase Field boos into cheers Tuesday night.  The 2011 All-Star Game MVP smacked a three-run homer to power the National League past the American League, 5-1, in the 82nd Midsummer Classic, providing the Senior Circuit with home-field advantage in the World Series.  "It's hard to beat great pitching and a three-run homer," NL manager Bruce Bochy said.  The Brewers slugger had been booed during Monday's State Farm Home Run Derby for leaving the D-backs' Justin Upton off the NL Derby squad, and Fielder was greeted likewise by a sellout crowd of 47,994 on Tuesday right up until he connected on Rangers pitcher C.J. Wilson's cutter in the fourth inning.   READ MORE

GCL Astros start Game with a 10-Spot - Despite only having four hits in the top of the first inning of their game against the Mets today, the GCL Astros scored 10 runs before the inning was through. Four of the Astros who came to the plate in the frame reached on walks, two were hit by pitches and one reached on a wild pitch after a strikeout.   READ MORE

 

 

 

 

 


Is Michael Irvin Gay? - We already know that the former Dallas Cowboy was one of the most talented wide receivers of his day, but what about his sexuality?  When people walk past a newsstand and see him on the cover of ‘OUT,’ a magazine that is geared towards gay men, their fashion style, entertainment desires, and overall lifestyle, they might pause and wonder—especially with the shirtless picture of him on the cover.   READ MORE

Cowboys Are Second Most Valuable Sports Team In The World - According to Forbes Magazine, the Cowboys are worth $1.81 billion, making the second most valuable sports team in the world. The Cowboys narrowly miss out on the top spot, which is held by Manchester United with $1.86 billion, but edge out the Yankees, who come in third with $1.7 billion.  Forbes let's us in on why the Cowboys take the top spot among all NFL teams:  "The Cowboys are the sports world’s second most valuable team with a worth of $1.81 billion. Jerry Jones‘ $1.25 billion stadium, which opened in [2009], features more than just a 152-foot-wide HD TV screen. Cowboys Stadium has 320 luxury suites and 15,000 club seats that generate more than $100 million annually in premium seat revenue for Jones. America’s Team has also signed a host of lucrative sponsorship deals with the likes of AT&T, Bank of America, Ford Motor and PepsiCo."   READ MORE

City official brushes off Cowboys camp report - Sawaya says team is still planning to work out here.  A city official dismissed an Internet report Tuesday that cast a pessimistic light on the chances of the Dallas Cowboys training at the Alamodome this year.  Citing anonymous sources, Foxsportssouthwest.com suggested the NFL lockout likely would force the team to hold training camp at club headquarters in Irving.  “It does not look good,” one source said regarding the Cowboys practicing at the Alamodome.  But the city official who oversees the building said the team has given no indication it's leaning toward abandoning plans to work out in San Antonio.   READ MORE

NFL: Looking Back on the Houston Texans' 2004 Draft - The Houston Texans' 2004 NFL Draft was eerily similar to their 2003 draft.  They started it off with a bang by drafting a solid starter in Dunta Robinson, but then swung and missed on the rest of their picks.  Other than Robinson, only three players from their 2004 draft class made any kind of impact for the team. The lack of impact players in this group had a lot to do with the Texans hitting rock bottom as a franchise not too long after this point.  As hard as it is, let's take a spin back through the 2004 NFL Draft and look at who the Houston Texans could have had.   READ MORE











 


Realignment talk: How would you draw it up? - The NHL will not realign its division until the 2012-13 season, but that's not stopping people from throwing out ideas.  Here, the Toronto Star makes suggestions as bold as the ``Sunshine Conference'' (Tampa , Bay, Florida, Dallas, Anaheim, Phoenix, Los Angeles, San Jose) and as simple as East vs. West.   READ MORE

Stars agree to terms with Godard on two-year deal - The Dallas Stars announced today that the club has agreed to terms with right wing Eric Godard on a two-year contract. The first year of the contract is a two-way deal worth $750,000/$105,000 while the second year is a one-way agreement worth $700,000.  Godard, 31, spent the 2010-11 season with the Pittsburgh Penguins, appearing in 19 games with three assists, a +4 rating, and 105 penalty minutes.   READ MORE

Dallas Stars Sign Right Wing Eric Godard to Two-Year Contract - Apparently the Stars weren't quite done in free agency, announcing today that the team has signed winger Eric Godard to a two-year contract, with the first year of the deal a two-way deal.  Godard is a tough guy, a pugilist in every sense of the word and is going to keep the Stars moving towards this "tough to play against" movement that Joe Nieuwendyk has been preaching. Of course, the Stars already have Krys Barch but as we saw last season the Stars could always use more physicality -- especially if Barch is hurt or has limited minutes once more. It's important to remember that the players that fought the most last season -- Barch and Brian Sutherby -- one is gone and the other will be facing limited minutes.   READ MORE

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