Wednesday, August 31, 2005

When sports take a backseat

Changing Times

Katrina has left the Gulf Coast and the states of Mississippi and Louisiana in what the President called the "largest natural disaster the United States has ever seen."

After watching the television and seeing the pictures as they become available in the South, I am amazed at what a city of New Orleans was and what it has been diminished to. I believe as I have heard from the Governors and Senators say that they will rebuild and it will be better than before. I hope that is true. I fear for the families that may find loved ones passed under the rubble of the place that they once called home. I see that there are families sitting above the water line on the roofs of their homes waiting to be rescued. All this gives me chills to know that this is really a "disaster."

To see the 23,000 people evacuated from the Superdome, once the home of the Saints-to be moved to the Astrodome is beyond recognition. To know that this amount of people may not get back to their neighborhoods for weeks if not months is shocking.

Between the levies breaking, a massive hurricane, and a city below sea level, I am beyond words as I think of all the possibilities for loss in the South.

I was reading on the Internet today that people were discussing the looters in the areas that were hit and that they people were making off with electronics, TV's, food and water. In every disaster situation there is going to be people that take advantage of certain situations. The is a shame and to see local law enforcement and others going above and beyond the immediate needs (food and water) is disgraceful.

I urge my readers to give blood, supplies to local shelters that are collecting for the less fortunate in the south, and money to reputable charities that are collecting for the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

As a supporter in the past, please visit the Red Cross by clicking the link below and contributing what you can.

www.redcross.org

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Going, Going......Gone



Moonballs and Stats..

In the midst of my own cranial hurricane, I have developed some questions that need some answers. When is someone going to notice that Jason Giambi is crushing homerun balls at a rapid pace? How many times has he been tested in 2005? Why is it that I feel as a baseball fan I have been left out in the dark when it comes to Giambi's "results?" Are we "sweeping" this under the rug now because we have a divisional race in the American League East?

Do tell...

New York Yankee's DH/1B Jason Giambi has hit 4 home runs in the past 2 games. The last of the two that were hit were so big that they went off the glass facade in right field in Seattle. When are we going to hear the truth?
Can a "strange" illness be the cover up for other things that happened last year?
We need to know, and we need to know now. He is crushing the ball like no one else in either league. Giambi hit 5 home runs in the April, May, and June. He has since hit 14 in July and 6 in August. I don't know about you...but my red light just went on.


In other New York Yankee news:

Since picking up the scraps of a delirious Red Sox bullpen and the likes of Alan “clean shaven” Embree, the Yankee’s are still picking up the scraps that beat them last year.

Today, the Yankees have picked up Mark Bellhorn from unconditional waivers and moved Carl Pavano to the 60 day DL to make room for Bellhorn at 2B.

Bellhorn is batting .216 and has 109 strikeouts this season with the Red Sox.

It looks like he’ll be shaving as well.

In and around MLB:

Cardinal’s pitcher Chris Carpenter has reached the 19 win mark to lead the majors.

Kerry Wood for the Cubs will have season ending shoulder surgery in OH tomorrow.

Davis Wells will serve a 6 game suspension for an ejection that took place on July 2nd for bumping two umpires.

That's all for now.

Chris Kulturides
chrisk67@gmail.com

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Mr. Commissioner....


Losing Focus...

Have you ever heard the term "verbal distraction?" If not, I just made it up when it comes to Major League Baseball. For example, I read the sports page every day to keep up on what is going on around the world in sports. But I have come to the point that the thorn in my side hurts enough to rant and rave a little on the topic of what I call "team and MLB distractions." I don't know about you, but I’m focused on this wildcard and divisional leaders coming into the homestretch.

Let's go back to the days of yesteryear. Here are some of the things that stick out in my mind. Jim Rice and other Red Sox players over the years claimed racial prejudice in the locker room and on the team. This changed team chemistry. That topic in Boston lasted through the years and more or less faded away (I hope) after Carl Everett departed Beantown. Now to the current day, you have the Dodgers 6 games out of first place and 11 out of the Wildcard faced with the Bradley/Kent accusation of racism and leadership. Is this ever going to stop? What has happened here is that Milton Bradley has accused Jeff Kent of the "lack of leadership and the inability to deal with black players." I can see this maybe in the off-season, and maybe keeping it out of the media for starters; but why in the race for the NL West? Do the Dodgers need an excuse for not giving 110% and winning the division? Or even the possibility? I will let you ponder that question.

Some of the topics that I was looking to avoid this year have now become hot topics at water cooler in offices everywhere.

I pondered looking further into the distractions of "steroid" issues around Major League Baseball and have read the recent comments of Nationals coach Frank Robinson and Curt Shilling of the Red Sox. I have come to realize that if there is a controversial issue in the Majors, Schilling will have a comment. Both Robinson and Schilling were on the same page when they pressed for the record to be cleared of Rafael Palmeiro's stats and accomplishments. I have another way around this and I will state in a letter that I would like to submit to the Commissioner, Bud Selig.

Dear Commissioner,

I would like to commend you for ongoing support of a stricter drug "steroid" enforcement policy in Major League Baseball. As we have seen so far in 2005, we have seen 8 players received 10 game suspensions. I would like to encourage you to continue the ongoing education of our student athletes at all levels about the effects of drug and steroid use in sports.

With the current policy in effect and agreed upon with the MLBPA, I would like to see stricter policies for offenders that have had "record" careers.

For example, when I heard that Rafael Palmeiro had violated the policy after attending congressional hearings and pointed at the world and quoted that he "never ever took steroids," I have come up with a way to clear all the outside "distractions" around baseball about his career statistics. When a player of Rafael’s caliber is involved in a suspension of this magnitude, he should pay a higher price for the infraction than a 10 game suspension because of his tenure in the league. He should also not be eligible for the Hall of Fame for 20 years after retirement and should have to pay a fine yearly for his actions, with that money going to the ongoing education of our young athletes. This policy should be for ALL players that are in MLB for more than 5 years.

As for other athletes that have violated the rules this year, they have served the 10 game suspensions and are back with their teams with the exception of Agustin Montero who was on the 40 man roster on opening day and hasn't played an inning in the majors in 2005.

As for Major Leaguers that said that they didn't understand the policy because English is their second language, get an interpreter. I am sure that there are plenty of bilingual personal that can explain what the policy means and how not to violate it.

Mr. Commissioner, thank you for letting voice my opinion of changes that may benefit to the current policy in Major League Baseball.

Sincerely,

Chris Kulturides

Schedule of current players that have violated the policy are listed below.

Please be aware that I am a true believer and always have been that "distractions" in and around the clubhouses in Major League Baseball only prove to bring a clubs down. Success comes to those who stay positive, and causing distractions in the media can only sway the focus of contenders.

Chris Kulturides
chris67@gmail.com

Steroid Suspensions in 2005


In Chronological Order


Alex Sanchez Tampa Bay 4-3-05


Jorge Piedra Colorado Rockies 4-11-05


Agustin Montero Texas Rangers 4-20-05


Jamal Strong Seattle Mariners 4-26-05


Juan Rincon 5-2-05 Minnesota Twins


Rafael Betancourt7-8-05 Cleveland Indians


Rafael Palmeiro 8-1-05 Baltimore Orioles


Ryan Franklin 8-2-05 Seattle Mariners


Major League Baseball Steroid Suspensions in 2005

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Where in the world is Cleveland, OH?

Destination....Cleveland

I was thinking of some of the thoughts that I have put to paper over the past few weeks and I remembered that I had a strong feeling about the Indians and the chance that they have to make it to the playoffs. I wrote in "The Flop" that they needed the solid plays from Grady Sizemore and to keep the sticks hot at the dish. Well, for all you doubters...reality has arrived. The Indians behind Eric Wedge have catapulted into the lead in the AL Wildcard and don't look like they are going to be stopping anytime soon. Here are some of the key stats that you will need to know if you are going to follow the Tribe.

Key players that will assist the tribe in the run for a AL first place bid or the AL Wildcard will be Travis Hafner at DH, Grady Sizemore and Coco "I need some more milk" Crisp in the OF, Jhohhny Peralta and Pitchers Kevin Millwood, Bob Wickman, and Cliff Lee.

I have heard people in and around sports compare Travis Hafner to David Ortiz from the Boston Red Sox. The stats are similar in slugging percentage, and in batting average.
I am sure that with a few more years in the league, and perfecting his HR stroke, Hafner will be a 30+ HR contender like Ortiz has been for the past 3 years. The most HR that Hafner has hit has been 28 in 2003 where he drove in 109 RBI's for the year. It is a must that Hafner keep the red hot bat blazing for the Indians to make it to post season. Currently he is hitting .314 to tonight game. He has a slugging % of .569 as well.

If you can't see the ring of smoke from Jhonny Peralta's tent, look again. He has made a contribution to the scoring of every game, especially since August 18th. On the 18th he went 3-5 with a double, a home run and a single. Jhonny needs to assist Hafner in the 3 spot by getting on base for the Tribe to score runs.

I think that someone should call 911. Coco Crisp's bat is on fire and he needs assistance. I don't think so. He is 3-4 in his last 2 outings and making a sizable contribution to the Indians hitting in the two spot. His stats are worth looking at for a better idea of the contribution that he is making.

Grady Sizemore is another key player for the Indians. He has 10 triples this year, tied with Carl Crawford from Tampa Bay. Knowing that there is more highlight reels awaiting his play in the outfield, he needs to contribute at the plate as well.

From the mound, the keys are Wickman, Lee, and Millwood.

Wickman is a key player for an Indians post season run. He is tied for 1st in the AL with Mariano Rivera (NY) in saves with 33. He has 7 saves in his last 10 appearances as the closer for the Indians. His ERA is the lowest in his career as well at .296

Cliff Lee is also having a great year at (13-4) with an ERA of 3.91. Lee is tied with three other pitchers for 4th in the AL with 13 wins. He has 5 wins in his last 10 outings with only one loss and 4 no decisions.

Millwood's luck has changed as of late and that is a good thing for the fans of Cleveland. Any pitcher in the starting rotation going down the homestretch is going to need a W (win) for the Tribe to hold their ground in the AL and also to maybe take over first place in the AL Central. Millwood is 4th in the AL with an ERA of 3.23.

During the month of July, the Indians played 29 games and went 13-16 for the month.
How did they make it to the top of the wildcard and just 7 games behind the White Sox? Don't ask; just thank the White Sox for going on a losing streak when the Indians were getting their act together and winning. This couldn't have come at a better time for Cleveland.

Here are some of the keys for the Indians to maintain or takeover the AL Central.
They will be facing the White Sox on Sept. 19, 20, and the 21st at US Cellular in Chicago, and again for the final 3 of the year at the Jake in Cleveland on Sept. 30th, Oct. 1st and 2nd. Two words...get tickets!
If they can maintain where they are at and turn the misfortune that they had by being swept by the White Sox 4-0 earlier this year, chances are good that we'll see Wedge and company in the post season.

Chris Kulturides
chrisk67@gmail.com

Friday, August 19, 2005

Playoff Implications

Playoff Implications

Have you noticed that you are rooting for your favorite team this week more than in the past? Do you feel that one win or loss could change the outlook of your team's season? Well is all seems as though it is happening now. With a tight race in the Wildcards for both the AL and NL, I can see where this could be a weekend of "team watching."

Major League Baseball seem to have key match-ups positioned so that we see the AL leading Red Sox pitted against the Angels for a 4 game stand. Also, you have the Yankees and the White Sox going for a 3 game set at U.S Cellular.

In the NL, there is more of a Wildcard situation happening with teams like Philadelphia, Washington and Houston. Of these teams the Nationals and the Astro’s are just a ½ game out of the wildcard and if you squint just a little-you will see the Marlins at 1 game back.
Houston and Florida will play 4 game sets and the Nationals will play 3.

For weekend series for these teams, please click on the team below.
NL.
Philly
Houston
Washington
Florida

AL
Boston Red Sox
New York Yankees
L.A. Angels

I won’t rule out the close race in the AL, but with a recent surge for the A’s, the only team that can help Oakland this weekend are the Red Sox.

In August, I seem to replace my 40 watt baseball bulb with 100 watt bulb because of the playoff implications of every game possible waiver moves around the league.

I remind you that just because the “trade deadline” has come and gone, there still is the scenario of waivers.

So, if you though that your favorite team was good to go for now and playoff bound with the line-up at hand-think again..

Names that come up in and around the rumor mill in MLB are Griffey and Alou. Can you see a strong lefty bat in the line up in Midwest pinstripes? I am sure that that would solidify a line-up with bats like Everett, Dye, Konerko, and Rowand.
With visions of grandeur in Houston, Phil Garner hasn't stopped thinking about San Francisco Giants slugger Moises Alou. The Astros organization would like to acquire him for the pennant stretch. That would be a great addition to a currently potent line-up in Houston.

For a full run down of match-ups for the weekend click on the appropriate day.

Saturday-MLB
Sunday-MLB

Also, catch a weekend post of the action around the greens at the NEC Invitational.

Chris Kulturides
chrisk67@gmail.com

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

The Flop

The Flop

By Chris Kulturides

As a long time baseball fan and enthusiast of the game I have come to compare a lot of the aspects of Major league Baseball to Texas Hold Em’. It is called the Flop. It is the ability to have a bet out there that you will be able to make a hand to stay in the game. I call this relative to free agency, off season trades, and the infamous trading deadline. Many teams make moves early in the off season and in free agency to make their teams better and then comes “The Flop.” There are two scenarios that come into my head, a jack/ten off-suit and King/Ace (called Big Slick). Who had Big Slick in April? Who had Jack/Ten and flopped two tens and a Jack for the full house and a great chance of making it to the World Series? I mean the baseball World Series that is…

Teams in April that had Big Slick and now have a slim chance of rebounding and teams that have the winning hand:

American League

**Baltimore, great out of the gate with a hot Brian Roberts and now they have nothing but a flat Pepsi from a Sammy Sosa commercial. (Insert your own pejorative Palmeiro comment here.)

**Toronto, they had a solid chance to make something of 2005, until Lily and Halladay arrive on the DL within a month’s time. Now they are 8 games out and 6 out of the Wild Card. The recent setback of Roy Halladay’s injury (stiffness) will turn the gas off for the Jays.

**Detroit, I am sure that anyone that saw the highlights of Dmitri Young’s 3 home run game on opening day thought that he was going to be the answer in ‘05. Nope. I am sure that the addition of Farnsworth to the pen, and Percival (currently out with right flexor pronator) were going to help D-Town win some games. Another no….Farnsworth is in Atlanta now and Percival is still out. Sounds like after the departure of Farnsworth to Atlanta, Detroit called it a night. Detroit is now 18 ½ out of first in the AL Central.

**Minnesota, another strong team and with strong pitching featuring Brad Radke and Johan Santana. I knew that they were in a great position for the Wild Card in the AL Central. With the recent loss of Tori Hunter in a painful looking collision with the bullpen wall at Fenway, all hope is lost with the Twins 13 out with a hot Cleveland club in front of them.

**Texas, another team that is watching the Angels and the A’s have a run at it. I would hate to leave out that distractions go a long way in MLB. I will leave this one to Orel to handle as the pitching coach.

Who is holding the Full House in the American League?

Boston: With the trade deadline come and gone, Manny Ramirez can stick it out in Boston for another year and ask to get traded next year. With 32 dingers and 108 RBI’s he is the anchor of the Red Sox. David Ortiz and Manny are the scariest 3-4 hitters in the AL. See you in the post season…

White Sox: If the White Sox can get the bats back and not fold to the pressure of winning, they may have a great chance of making it past the first round of the playoffs.
The keys here are keeping players like Rowland, Everett, and Dye healthy and making sure that Buehrle, Garland, and Hernandez don’t over work the pitch counts and get burnt out. The White Sox played a barn burner into the 16th inning last night and used every last person in the bullpen. The White Sox lost 9-4.

Oakland and the Angels:
These two teams are holding the same hands and bluffing their way through thinking that one has a better hand than the other. Difference is that the A’s will win the AL West and the Angels will be the Wildcard with the strong bat of Vlad Guerrero. Also, if K-Rod can take the emotion out of the game and concentrate on the man on 3rd, they wouldn’t have given it away against Oakland on a decent throw back to the mound. Keep your head up, cause if you don’t Texas may be knockin’.

Cleveland and the Yankees:
Watch Cleveland, they definitely were dealt the worse hand that is now a winner and the Yankees are in a good position as well. If Cleveland can continue with solid hitting and outstanding plays from Grady Sizemore they can be a contender. With the Indians who had been victorious in 14 out of their last 18 (before getting swept by Tampa Bay for 3 losses this past weekend) and more recently had 6 straight wins to go 11 games over .500, they are a concern for the Angels and the Yankees in the wildcard race. The Yankees have to come back to the “Yankee” form. That is consistent winning. With Posada’s bat heating up and the ferocious bat of Giambi sending balls into orbit in July, I can’t see why we won’t be looking at these match-ups in late September and into the first days of Oct.


Who got the decent flop in the NL and has seen it go away? Who has staked what they thought were the best hands in the NL to come out on top? Here is what I see.

Big Slick in the NL:

Washington: What happened? I was thinking in the beginning of the season that the Nationals were going straight to the playoffs. What a run, Wilkerson, Nick Johnson, and Jose Guillen off to a great start and then the bottom falls out in DC faster than you can say “inflation.” Frank Robinson has managed this inaugural team well and has done a great job getting the team together and playing to win.

Cubs: The North side squad looked good in April and what can you say about D. Lee. This guy is the MVP hands down if there wasn’t a guy named Albert Pujols in the NL.
Another misfortune was the pitching staff in April to present day and also the loss of Nomar with the groin tear. Pitching is key for the Cubs. Maddux looked great last week against the Cards in a complete game 11-4 victory, but the Cubs need the rotation working on all gears to send the Billy goat to the farm. This means that along with Maddux, Prior and Wood need to be healthy for the Northsiders to win. With the team 17 1/2 games out of first and 6 ½ out in the wildcard, I can’t see them getting past Houston for the top spot in the Wildcard.

Padres and the Diamondbacks: These 2 teams are the equal of the AL west. Here is the difference that needs to be noticed. The Diamondbacks will win the NL west as long as Chad Tracy and Troy Glaus keep up the bats and continue to drive in runs. Luis Gonzalez seems to have come alive in recent days and this will add the much needed lift in the homestretch that the D-Backs will need to lead the division. The Padres are the real “Big Slick” hand in the NL. With the domination that the Astros are bringing and the strong wildcard presence as of late, I don’t see any stopping them in the near future. The only way that the Padres stay in contention is with a healthy Adam Eaton and Ryan Klesko. So, I see the D-backs taking the #1 spot and the Astros hanging tough in the Wildcard. Don’t count the Padres out in ‘06, they will have to play better ball than 2 over .500 in mid-August to hold a spot for a playoff berth.

I will not make playoff predictions until early September, ‘cause with injuries happening all over MLB, it is tough to say who will take all the chips this early on.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

My Agent



I couldn’t have been in a better mood when I began to put this piece together. Then I thought, what would my agent think if I decided not to inform my fans of the current news in and around sports? Like a holdout in pro sports, where fans frequent the practice fields in preseason for a look at the current and future stars.

Then some questions came to mind.

Could I renegotiate my contract? Should I head back to my estate and do curls and sit-ups with media everywhere asking questions? Is it o.k. just to say no comment or n/c when asked questions? Or why I didn’t put pen to paper or fingers to keys to bring you what you needed?

The answer is no.

When we look at current day agents in the NFL, it isn’t just about the money; it is about the publicity that goes along with it. For instance, player agents on 60 Minutes, David Letterman, and on Inside the NFL on HBO are creating explosive media attention like never seen before. They are ruthless, aggressive and sometimes more part of the game than the game itself. I would have to say that the number of fans that go to a game or are a fan of the NFL could tell you the name of at least one agent. That is where the game loses credibility. If you are under contract and getting paid, play. If you have a great year, then ask for a raise. Have you ever seen a NFL team tell a player that they had a sub par year and they aren't going to pay or they would like to lower the amount of the existing contract?

NO.

It all comes down to contract dollars, length, and bonus’s when signing in the NFL. Players in the NFL that have been drafted are looking for security for years to come and also to make sure that they are getting current market value. I believe that Chicago and Miami will be glad to get these 2 running backs signed and on the field.

Here is a list of the signings and holdouts in the NFL.

1 Alex Smith, QB San Francisco 6 years

2 Ronnie Brown, RB Miami Multi-Year deal (34 Mill.)

3 Braylon Edwards, WR Cleveland 5 years

4 Cedric Benson, RB Chicago ????

5 Carnell Williams, RB Tampa Bay Undisclosed

6 Adam "Pacman" Jones, CB Tennessee ????

7 Troy Williamson, WR Minnesota 5 years

8 Antrel Rolle, CB Arizona 5 years

9 Carlos Rogers, CB Washington 5 years

10 Mike Williams, WR Detroit 5 years

11 Demarcus Ware, DE Dallas 5 years

12 Shawne Merriman, LB San Diego 5 years

13 Jammal Brown, OT New Orleans 5 years

14 Thomas Davis, FS Carolina Undisclosed

15 Derrick Johnson, LB Kansas City 5 years

16 Travis Johnson, DT Houston 5 years

17 David Pollack, DE/LB Cincinnati ????

18 Erasmus James, DE Minnesota 5 years

19 Alex Barron, OT St. Louis 5 years

20 Marcus Spears, DE Dallas 5 years

21 Matt Jones, WR Jacksonville 5 years

22 Mark Clayton, WR Baltimore 5 years

23 Fabian Washington, CB Oakland 5 years

24 Aaron Rodgers, QB Green Bay Undisclosed

25 Jason Campbell, QB Washington 5 years

26 Chris Spencer, C Seattle 5 years

27 Roddy White, WR Atlanta 5 years

28 Luis Castillo, DT San Diego 5 years

29 Marlin Jackson, CB Indianapolis 5 years

30 Heath Miller, TE Pittsburgh Undisclosed

31 Mike Patterson, DT Philadelphia 5 years

32 Logan Mankins, G New England Undisclosed

**Moments before posting, Miami signed their 2nd round draft pick

Fact:

NFL agents are permitted to receive commissions of up to 3% of the value of the contracts they negotiate.

Have you seen any NHL agents on national TV? No. Has the commissioner been on late night talk shows where there is a wide spread demographic that may love the game of hockey and would want him to speak candidly about the direction of the NHL? I haven’t seen it. The NHL needs some major publicity to get the fans back in the seats. Fans have come back and enjoyed other professional sports after strikes and lockouts, but this was a very bad year for the NHL.

For a current list of free agents in the NHL, please click here.

***************************
On the flip side of the ice, let’s head to the track and information on NASCAR signings.
Jack Roush has not said that it not completely out of the question that he will release Kurt Busch from his contract in 2006.
Last week, Busch signed a deal to drive for Roger Penske in 2007 and asked Roush that he be released from his current contract after this season.

MLB:

For the schedule for Tuesday's match-ups, please here.

**Thursday's feature will be a full breakdown of the Red Sox/Tigers game on Wednesday at 1:05 EST on ESPN

Chris Kulturides
Chrisk67@gmail.com

**Please note that the publisher (C. Kulturides)does not have an agent**

Monday, August 15, 2005

The Dividing Line....

The Dividing Line

Being from Boston and now living in Chicago, I have a vantage point that baseball fans would love to have.

North, South, Cubs, Red Sox.....Where do I begin?

I arrived here in Chicago in Nov/04 and the first thing that some people asked was "so, are you a Cubs fan or a Sox fan?"
You can pick your battles, so you tend to answer with, "I am a Red Sox fan and a baseball fan in general." That always doesn't go over well with the masses here in a divided city.

I will begin my eloquent rant with the band wagon. I have seen fans get on and off like a bus that stops every block for every other team except the Cubs and White Sox. I am on the same band wagon that I have been on since I was 8 and sitting in front of a cabinet RCA TV that had Carlton Fisk waving that home run in game 6 fair that extended my season one more game. Here in the Windy City, unfortunately that isn't the case. You are one or the other, and that is it. I see the White Sox making a statement in the post season and I see the Cubs fading out of contention like fog rolling in off of Lake Michigan. If you are on the wagon stay on it, because when your team wins it all you will be glad that you stayed faithful through thick and thin.

So what are the chances that the Northsider’s will seek refuge in the White Sox?
You know that the closet fans will come out, and they will be present when you see U.S Cellular filled to capacity. So the chances in a divided city are good when playoff time comes around. Just don’t plan on Cub fans admitting that they are Sox fans. I know this sounds hypocritical, but I have talked to many fans that support one club or the other, and they all say that they will never route for the other team. I was talking to a White Sox fan not to long ago that told me that he would never watch the Cubs, unless the White Sox weren’t playing that day and only if the Cubs were losing when he turned the TV on. That was the only way that he would watch a Cubs game from the Southside. Now that is what I call a loyal fan.

I know that if the Red Sox don’t make the playoffs this year, there isn’t another MLB team in the state like there is here in Chicago to cheer for. Can you see fans from Massachusetts supporting the Yankees? I think that there was a better chance of trading Manny at the trade deadline than getting a die hard Red Sox fan to drive down Interstate 95 to root for the Yankees.

It is nice to have a vantage point as an “outsider” here in a city that has a passion for sports and an undying love for the Cubs. I know that it has been a long time since Chicago saw a championship here. It will be a long time till we see another Cubs team go 117-45 like in 1907, and win a second championship a year later against the Detroit Tigers (4-1).

In reality, the White Sox have made a statement in the AL Central in 2005. With strong players that are coached under a philosophy of “letting the guys play” can’t be that bad when you have a former Chi Sox infielder in Ozzie Guillen at the helm. The 2005 White Sox have that flair of the 04 Red Sox, where players like Aaron Rowand have that “dirt dog” appearance and can play the game with the same intensity as a Trot Nixon from the Red Sox. Passion in these types of players motivates the entire team to success and I know in the “win or die trying” era that is what the Southsider’s are thinking.

In addition, I find myself taking in the chatter and banter against the other teams here in Chicago from the natives that have come to adopt their teams like next of kin. I have always been curious about fans that are devoted to a team that fails to make in into the playoffs in a divided city and they have to wait all winter to see them again. The only answer that I can find after pondering this question here in Chicago was the Bears.

Chris Kulturides
Chrisk67@gmail.com

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Sundays..........

Sundays….

I have loved Sunday’s for the longest time, NASCAR, PGA golf, and usually the last game of a home stand for Major League Baseball.

Today is a day that winners can run away with the points lead, the PGA Championship will come down to the wire on 18, and teams that are in contention for playoff spots have the ability to either split a series or sweep it.

Major Cable networks have made it easy to watch as much sports on a Sunday as possible.
I know that there is a majority of men and maybe some women that would love to have 3 to 4 TV’s going with their favorite games on. When I was growing up as a kid, my dad would like to watch the Daytona 500 and the PGA. He can have his wish now that there is picture-in-picture. I know that today (Sunday) if I had a chance, I would be watching NASCAR, the PGA Championship and a baseball game and the X-Games simultaneously. Well if you don’t have picture-in-picture, here is a preview of what is happening today.

NASCAR revs its engines at Watkins Glen today and Tony Stewart who is the current point’s leader is on the pole. Here are your current standings in Nextel NASCAR Cup.


1
Tony Stewart
2923, Leader, $4,472,470
2
Jimmie Johnson
2848, -75, $4,487,639
3
Greg Biffle
2812, -111, $3,602,648
4
Rusty Wallace
2705,-218, $3,060,546
5
Kurt Busch
2646, -277, $4,564,403
6
Mark Martin
2636,-287,$3,801,043
7
Ryan Newman
256,-355, $3,470,549
8
Jeremy Mayfield
2554,-369, $2,889,688
9
Dale Jarrett
2493,-430,$2,931,776
10
Carl Edwards
2487,-436,$2,670,518


It was 100 degrees in NJ on Saturday for the PGA Championship and it won’t be cooling down on Sunday either. It’s really is anyone’s tournament from the even par mark to where the leaders stand now with Phil Mickelson and Davis Love III knotted at -6 on Saturday. Notables for Saturday were John Daley (+8) walloping the driver off 17 and then a 2 iron 280 yards to be on the green and birdie was remarkable as well as Charles Howell III on hole #4 draining the hole-in-one on one bounce. Howell III finished his round at 1 under par for the day. Also, keep a close eye on Vijay Singh (-4), just 2 shots off the pace. The approach shots in the final round will be critical, because one putts will be the winning strategy on Sunday.

Tim Wakefield had the knuckleball working for the Red Sox as they beat the White Sox 7-4 and denied Jon Garland his 17th win of the season. The Red Sox can sweep with a win today.

The Cardinals Chris Carpenter picked up the win against the Cubs today at Wrigley, bringing his record to (17-4). Carpenter has the best record in the Majors. Jerome Williams went 6 strong and reached a season high 7 strikeouts while earning a no decision Saturday.

The A’s are gaining ground in the West with the addition of Jay Payton from the Red Sox. He has made a contribution with his 8th homerun since joining the club and it was his 13th of the season. The A’s haven’t lost 2 in a row since Payton arrived in Oakland.

In the Big Apple it took 11 innings to beat the Rangers on a Bernie Williams 2 run shot 9-8. Other notables were Gary Sheffield and Alex Rodriguez going yard for the pinstripes.

To check on pitching match-ups for Sunday, August 14, 2005, click here.

As a final though for this Sunday, here at Today in Sports we would like to wish our best to Mike Cameron who underwent facial surgery Saturday after colliding with Carlos Beltran on Thursday night.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Today in Sports



Welcome to Today in Sports.

I will be posting on current events from around the sports world as well as other topics of interest.

Let’s get started.

It was a great night to see that NFL football was back in swing and that there was more than just highlights of the top 5 Web Gems on ESPN. I like the plays of the night, but I also like football. Well it looks like the Chicago Bears will be starting another season wondering what it could have been if Rex Grossman started at QB for them the entire season. Grossman went down last night with 11:08 to go in the half and was taken away on the cart. This isn’t anything new for Grossman and the fans of Chicago. He was derailed last season after playing in only 3 games and suffering a ruptured ligament in his right knee. Chicago went on to lose the contest to the Rams 17-13.

Being from the Midwest now and growing up on the East Coast, I feel for the state of Minnesota and the Twins at this time. Why? For releasing David Ortiz from the Twins and seeing what damage he does on a nightly basis for the Red Sox.
Big Papi was explosive in the 9-8 victory against the AL Central leading White Sox, with Mark Buehrle taking the loss and Chad Bradford picking up the win. Also of note, Curt Schilling gave up two homeruns in relief that brought the ChiSox back within one. Schilling has 9 saves since returning to the Red Sox. In today’s match up Tim Wakefield (11-9 4.13) will take on Jon Garland (16-5 3.29) at the Fens in Boston.

If you didn’t get a chance to see the Diamondbacks game last night or the highlights, you have to get a chance to see Shawn Green make an amazing catch in centerfield last night.
As well as that amazing catch by the D-backs centerfielder was another great move by the club to pull within 3 games of the Division leading Padres.

As for the 87th PGA Championship at Baltusrol, it is Phil Mickelson’s tournament to lose.
With the cut at +4, Tiger Woods birdied the 18th hole to make it into weekend play. Tiger looked determined to make the cut and had a sense about him yesterday that showed that he wanted to be a contender for weekend play. Woods is paired with Scott MacCarron to tee off at 8:20 a.m. today. In other golf news, our congratulations goes out to Jason Gore with his recent win in the Cox Classic last Sunday. Gore earned his PGA card with this victory. He will be a contender for years to come in the PGA.

Check back for updates in the world of sports including the Little League World Series, MLB, PGA, NFL and other great sports of interest from around the world.

Chris Kulturides
Chrisk67@gmail.com