Monday, August 06, 2007

The Hazies - The Champs & The Chumps

Hey Peeps and anyone else checking in. A special "Hey" goes out to Hazel Mae if she is checking in.

It has been a while since we have done The Hazies, what better way to get back into it than after a milestone weekend. For those of you who are new to the page - we like to start each week by taking a look back at some of the more notable performances from the week that was in the world of sports. To those who have risen above the rest, we salute them by honouring them as one of Hazel's Heroes and awarding them a "Hazie". On the flip side, we look at those who have distinguished themselves for less than stellar performances - we refer to them as The Chumps. While Hazel hasn't officially approved this week's list of winners and "runners-up", we'd like to think she would give her trademark smile and thumbs up.


New York Mets P Tom Glavine won his 300th game on Sunday night, an 8-3 win over the Chicago Cubs. Glavine has been a class act since breaking into the league with a pretty bad Atlanta Braves team in 1987 and was humble and gracious as he spoke to the media about what it meant to reach 300 wins (and an automatic trip to the Hall of Fame). When asked if he hoped to go down as the last person to reach the mark - Glavine responded by saying he hoped that others could experience what he had, the feeling of reaching the ultimate milestone for a pitcher. Contrast that with the speech made by Rickey Henderson when he passed Lou Brock for number one on the all-time stolen base list and you see why we like this guy - even when the Braves were in the same division as the Dodgers. On Sunday, actually long ago but for the purposes of this entry - Sunday, Glavine proved why choosing baseball over hockey was the right decision. Yep, Glavine was drafted by the Los Angeles Kings in the 1984 NHL Entry Draft.

New York Yankees 3B Alex Rodriguez hit his 500th home run on Saturday - making him the youngest player in MLB history to reach the milestone. What can we possibly say about ARod that he hasn't said himself? Wanna know how good ARod is? Just ask him...he'll be more than happy to sit you down and talk about each and everyone of his walk-off home runs (there's only a few of them). Good for ARod though - we can't help but think his desire to play in Boston has something to do with that Green Monster and a pursuit of The Asterisk's home run mark.

The NFL Hall of Fame welcomed six new members at its annual induction ceremony over the weekend - Thurman Thomas, Bruce Matthews, Roger Wherli, Charlie Sanders and Gene Hickerson joined Dallas Cowboys WR Micheal Irvin in Canton on Sunday. While they all deserve their own right up - we are going to take a look back at what Irvin meant to the silver and blue.

Irvin was drafted out of Miami - bold, brash, cocky/confident, he proved to be a headache for then coach Tom Landry; following the legendary coach up and down the sidelines pleading with Landry to call some plays to get him the ball. That pretty much sums up what Irvin was all about on Sundays - he was a difference maker. Irvin came to play every week and gave his teammates everything he had every time he took the field. A member of the original "Triplets", Irvin teamed with Emmitt Smith and Troy Aikman to build one of the greatest teams the NFL has seen (we'd put the Cowboys of the early 90's up against anyone). Irvin's numbers weren't the best - but he was one of the main reasons for the success enjoyed by Smith (and vice versa) - he was a guy that always put his team first. That is what made him a Champ on the field.

Off the field, Irvin's life has been marked by bad decisions and trouble with the law - to his credit he owned up to his shortcomings while making his acceptance speech before fans in Canton. When talking about what his sons meant to him - Irvin spoke right from the heart and spoke words that shouldn't be forgotten:
"(to God) I say, 'Please, help me raise them for some young lady so that they can be a better husband than I. Help me raise them for their kids so that they could be a better father than I. And I tell you guys to always do the right thing so you can be a better role model than dad."

Love him or hate him - you have to respect him, both for his accomplishments on the field and his humility when accepting entrance into the Hall.

Last week Anaheim Ducks GM Brian Burke proved why he is a champ. Burke declined to match the offer made to Dustin Penner (a 1000% raise) made by the Edmonton Oilers - and took three draft picks as compensation. While most GMs would have matched the offer made by a mad man (hello Darcy Regier), Burke stared Lowe down and said "take him...he's all yours". Burke has long held to the motto that you can't fall in love with any of your players - sports is after all a business - that boys and girls is why the attorney from New England is far and away the best GM in the business.

This one is for our man Johnny who is vacationing in Greece this month - but promised to check in if there was internet in the town he was staying in. Montreal Canadiens GM Bob Gainey announced the that Habs had resigned former Bell Centre whipping boy D Patrice Brisebois to a one year deal. Brian Burke referred to Kevin Lowe as a "desperate GM" when the Oilers made the offer to Penner - we wonder what Burke would say about Gainey's latest brainwave.

San Francisco Giants LF Barry "The Asterisk" Bonds hit his 755th home run over the weekend - joining Hank Aaron atop the all-time list - loved by some, reviled by the majority, Bonds has cemented his place in history. As we have said here before - we don't have an opinion on Bonds' chase - we can't really understand why people are so protective about a record they didn't set.

Before you make up your mind about The Asterisk - may we suggest that you read Boston Globe columnist Bob Ryan's article on Bonds and the home run chase? Ryan's article, while provocative, sums up what we think of The Asterisk and his accomplishment. While some might call Ryan's column a cop-out, we think he has hit summed things up nicely...and fairly! (a word you won't hear mentioned in the same sentence as "Barry Bonds")

Apologies for not checking in yesterday - it would have a great start to the week. Yankees, Tigers and Giants were our Pro-Line picks. We start the week with the total for the year at - $1,950 - we'll get it back to even before the NFL gets going. Today's suggestions:

San Diego over St. Louis - Jake Peavy seems to have things back together again after a bit of a rough stretch. Anthony Reyes, he of the 1-10 record, takes the mound for St. Louis. Lay $100 on the Padres - $150.

New York over Toronto - Josh Towers goes up against Roger Clemens tonight - if Towers pitches the way he has for most of the season, the Yankees should be able early and often. Clemens is coming off one of the worst outings of his career - so expect him to respond with a decent outing. Lay $100 on the Yankees - $150. (for the record, we like the over 10.5 too).

Detroit and Tampa Bay over 10.5 - Tigers starter Nate Robertson has been getting knocked around lately, so things aren't likely to get better for him against the DRays. Tampa starter Jason Hammel hasn't fared too well in his limited appearances as a starter - expect the DRays bullpen to be called upon. It all adds up to plenty of runs tonight at Comerica. Lay $100 on the over - $120.

That's it for this morning gang - thanks for taking the time to check in. We're back from vacation, so we'll be updating daily. Have a great one peeps!

Hazel, we hope things are groovy in your world.

We're Out.


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