Ramirez, Cook talk playoffs

first_imgPut Manny Ramirez and Dane Cook in a room together, and you’ll get more than just the greatest idea for a reality show ever assembled. No, it’s not just “Cookin’ with Manny” that you’d get, but instead two viewpoints that couldn’t be more opposite from each other and couldn’t be more perfect for each other. Major League Baseball’s playoffs, about to start World Series play, can best be characterized from a combination of two quotations, one from Cook and one from Ramirez. Cook, in those ridiculously cheesy and omnipresent TBS commercials, has quite emphatically informed fans, “There’s only one postseason. There’s only one October.” And though the rest of this column could easily be spent pointing out the flaws in everything else the comedian has ever said, that’s one sentiment that’s tough to disagree with. It’s not exactly the most motivational or inspirational or insightful statement ever spoken, but the message is correct. Baseball has reached the time where teams must win or go home, and it’s the most exciting time of the season. Still, though, the counterpoint to Cook’s statement is a valid one too, and it came from perhaps the most unlikely of sources, Manny Ramirez. “There’s always next year,” the Red Sox slugger told reporters before playing Game 5 of the ALCS with Boston facing elimination. “It’s not like it’s the end of the world.” Though the reaction to Ramirez’s comments was initially harsh, especially from Red Sox fans hoping to see a little more sense of urgency in their star, fans and media members alike have begun to understand the truth in his comment after the dust settled. Obviously, Ramirez wants to win. His performance in that game, 2-4 and the game-winning RBI, made that pretty clear. What the outfielder understood, however, and tried to convey, is that there will always be a next season, meaning a loss does not mean the end of the world. This postseason, probably unlike any other in recent memory, proves that it’s not always Cook’s viewpoint nor Ramirez’s, but rather one of the two, depending on the situation, that best describes the driving force behind playoff baseball. This postseason’s biggest story lines are a mix of events and actions that follow either Cook’s or Ramirez’s statements. Playing in his 17th season at the age of 40, Kenny Lofton made his mark on the playoffs. Ramirez’s quote doesn’t make too much sense in describing the old-timer though, because there isn’t always going to be another season for the center fielder. It is hard to imagine Lofton playing in another postseason when he’s 41 years old. In this situation, there is only one postseason for Lofton; there is only one (last) October. Finishing the regular season on an incredible win streak before rolling past their first two playoff opponents, the Colorado Rockies are the team to beat in the World Series. With a corps of players who are young, cheap and talented, there’s no reason to think next season won’t be another good one for the Rockies. There isn’t only one postseason or October in the future for this team. Though losing would probably hurt the squad considering the amazing streak it’s been on, for the Rockies it’s just like Ramirez said, there’s always next year, and judging by the team’s roster, there’s always the year after that and the year after that too. Following the Yankees first-round playoff elimination at the hands of the Indians, manager Joe Torre was offered a contract he called “insulting” and promptly rejected. After 12 seasons and four World Series wins with the New York Yankees, the team decided Torre wasn’t the same skipper he’d been in the past because he hadn’t been getting the job done in the postseason. In this situation, it’s a perfect combination of Cook and Ramirez that can describe what happened. Because the Yankees were so concerned with winning now, they offered a contract to Torre that would require immediate success in order to be lucrative. It really was the end of the world for New York after seven seasons in a row without a World Series ring. They acted on Cook’s way of thinking only because they’d gone by Ramirez’s long enough. Maybe it’s wrong to analyze the playoffs using quotations from two people who won’t be forever remembered as the scholars of our generation. For my money, though, putting what the two of them said together makes a pretty strong definition about playoff baseball. And yes, you can quote me on that. Mike is a sophomore majoring in being undecided. If you think that someone other than Cook or Ramirez had something insightful to say about the post-season you should keep it to yourself;, the column’s already been written. If you can”t resist the urge, however, he can still be reached at mackerstein@badgerherald.com.last_img read more

Barkley’s future hangs in the balance

first_imgLogically, junior quarterback Matt Barkley’s pending decision is a no-brainer. Even USC coach Lane Kiffin cannot delude himself with the notion that Barkley has anything left to learn at USC under his tutelage.“I’m probably not supposed to say this but unless he just wants to do it to be a special Trojan, he ain’t coming back,” Kiffin said. “Who’s playing better than Matt in the country? How do you not draft that kid, knowing the player he is and knowing what the kid is?”Record setting · USC junior quarterback Matt Barkley threw 39 touchdown passes this season, breaking Matt Leinart’s previous 2003 USC record of 38. – Chris Pham | Daily TrojanPer NFL rules, NCAA student-athletes can declare for the NFL draft three years after graduating from high school.As a junior, Barkley meets this minimum condition after posting perhaps the greatest single statistical season of any USC quarterback — without the benefit of a Pac-12 championship rematch against Oregon and an additional bowl game to pad his statistics.“It’s not a deal where he’s going in the late first [round],” Kiffin said. “He’s every bit ready to go to the NFL.”Before the season, Kiffin indicated that for Barkley to emerge as an elite quarterback, the junior’s final statistical line should feature 30 or more touchdown passes, fewer than 10 interceptions and a minimum 70 percent completion percentage.Barkley posted a 39-to-7 touchdown-to-interception ratio while completing 69.1 percent of his passes.In other words, Barkley shattered Kiffin’s loftiest expectations that were meant mostly to ensure the unquestioned team leader did not become complacent after his successful sophomore campaign.Entering the season with three new starters on the offensive line and junior Khaled Holmes shifting from guard to center, there was concern as to whether Barkley would have enough time in the pocket to throw before pass rushers bore down on him.But with his pocket awareness and elusiveness, Barkley was sacked just eight times — a new USC record.Yet, Barkley, nonetheless, might op to head toward the professional ranks.“I haven’t given up [on Barkley staying],” Kiffin said. “It’s just going to be a decision … does he want to do something that’s really unique, and he might be the kid to do that. I think 90 percent of kids would not.”Perhaps the only precedent at USC for an underclassman quarterback as talented and accomplished as Barkley staying for his final year of eligibility is former quarterback Matt Leinart, who stayed for his redshirt senior season in 2005 after winning a BCS National Championship and Heisman Trophy.Barkley broke Leinart’s single-season school and conference record of 38 passing touchdowns after connecting with sophomore wide receiver Robert Woods for his sixth touchdown during  the 50-0 rout of UCLA.But for all of Leinart’s impressive accolades, Kiffin maintains the comparison between Barkley and Leinart is not all that instructive because Barkley is a better professional prospect than Leinart was at the same stage of their USC careers.“Whenever people discuss guys staying and losing money, I think you can’t do that,” Kiffin said. “Nobody said Matt Leinart was going in the top-three picks.”In the summer 2010, Barkley faced the media once news of the sanctions reverberated across the college football landscape, hoping to communicate USC’s intent to persevere. His leadership earned him the distinction of becoming USC’s first sophomore captain. With all he has sacrificed to navigate USC through its draconian sanctions, there is no question that Barkley deserves to make his decision unencumbered by a belief that he owes USC anything.“I know it sounds weird, but I look up to Matt Barkley,” Kiffin said.last_img read more

Trojans outpoised by Utah

first_imgAs Utah applied the finishing touches to an 80-69 victory over USC at the Galen Center on Sunday afternoon, a unique feeling likely kicked in for many Trojan fans.It was not the worst feeling in the world, but it was a distinct one. It was the unmistakable feeling of falling to a team that refused to lose its cool.Utah has incredible composure. The faithful at Galen may have gasped every time sophomore forward Jakob Poeltl effortlessly collected the ball and laid it in for two, but Utah’s win over the Trojans was much bigger than just a 7-foot Austrian playing center.The Utes’ ability to repeatedly quiet the Trojans obviously involved a number of factors, including strong defensive organization from the visitors as well as an uncharacteristically lackluster performance from the Trojans. However, Utah’s discipline with the ball was truly something.Underrated players are everywhere. With star players garnering loads of attention, many talented youngsters slip through the cracks in terms of receiving national media attention. If you watch even five minutes of a national television broadcast on college hoops, you will almost certainly hear the name Buddy Hield. Likewise, even if watching these 20-year-old student-athletes is your form of religion, you have probably had never heard of Brandon Taylor or Lorenzo Bonam before Sunday.This guard duo dashed any hopes of a USC victory, particularly down the final stretch of the game. Taylor and Bonam did their part defensively, but with the ball in their hands, they showed excellent vision and poise.Taylor served up 10 assists in the win, consistently finding the open man with his head on a swivel. Taylor, a senior with the Utes who hails from Los Angeles, has continued to develop his game even though Delon Wright, Taylor’s former backcourt mate, is now playing for the Toronto Raptors in the NBA. When Taylor and Wright played together — which they did for two seasons — the rangy Wright ran the point. However, Taylor inherited that role this season, and he has really evolved as the campaign has progressed. His game is well-rounded, and he takes care of the basketball.Utah was a Sweet 16 team last year, and if Larry Krystkowiak’s team had not run into Duke at that point, their tourney run could very well have been longer.Against USC, that invaluable experience showed. Utah looked like a team that had been there before. They looked smooth. They looked unfazed. They also looked like an unselfish bunch.One of the most adept passers on the floor was Bonam. A transfer from Gillette College in Wyoming, Bonam has excelled in his first season in Salt Lake City. Bonam finished the contest with just 9 points, but he impacted the game in some way during each of his 33 minutes on the floor.Utah is a fundamentally sound team. The Utes are a well-oiled machine and could be a tough matchup come March should they continue to play like this. While they may not be the trendiest pick in either the Pac-12 Tournament or the NCAA Tournament, the Utes are quietly chugging right along on a four-game winning streak at the moment.Elite guard play helped the Utes take care of USC on Sunday, and it could also catapult this team back into the Sweet 16. After all, that is the very reason Kentucky is still a legitimate candidate to return to the Final Four this season.Josh Cohen is a sophomore majoring in broadcast and digital journalism. His column, “Cohen’s Corner,” runs every other Tuesday.last_img read more

Poe’s Perspective: Halladay will live on in our memories

first_imgJulia Poe | Daily TrojanSeveral days ago, I grew nostalgic for baseball season and subjected several of my sorority sisters to the movie Field of Dreams.The Kevin Costner classic is one of those feel-good movies that’s basically a surefire way to test the quality of someone’s soul character. (If they cry at the final scene, their soul’s doing okay. If they don’t cry, they don’t have one.) None of the sisters who I forced to watch the movie were baseball fans, which led to widespread surprise from all of them when they found themselves bawling as the credits rolled.The film centers around a farmer, Ray, who follows a divine message and builds a baseball diamond in the middle of his cornfield in Iowa. Over time, the baseball greats of the past — Shoeless Joe Jackson, Buck Weaver, Eddie Cicotte — visit the diamond to play the sport they loved so dearly. Every night, they disappear into the cornfield, beyond which, we can only assume, is the afterlife.At one point, a starry-eyed baseball player looks at the picturesque diamond, then turns to Ray and asks, “Is this heaven?”It’s one of those lines that hits you in the gut much harder than you expect. There’s something surreptitiously poetic about the idea of some eternal game of baseball for the star players who devoted their lives to it. It’s an even more poignant symbol when, all too often, we lose these stars too soon.On Tuesday, news broke that Roy Halladay — a well-loved former pitcher for the Toronto Blue Jays and the Philadelphia Phillies — died in a plane crash in the Gulf of Mexico. He was 40 years old, a two-time Cy Young Award-winning pitcher enjoying his fourth year of retirement. This might not have affected me at all if it weren’t for the fact that I spent last summer as an intern at the Philadelphia Inquirer. My Twitter feed, which grows increasingly eclectic and diverse every year, is now dominated by about 30 percent Philadelphia sports news. When Halladay passed away, it seemed that the only news that mattered on Twitter had to do with his death.When we lose an athlete, the thing that’s hard to explain to those who aren’t fans of sports is what exactly we are mourning. Sure, Halladay was an eight-time All-Star with a stellar ERA. He threw a perfect game for the Phillies in 2010, then followed it up with a postseason no-hitter in the NLDS, notching his own sidebar in the history books of the sport. But as fans, we mourn more than just statistics and record-setting performances. We mourn the people, the players who put on the jerseys and somehow lift the pride of our cities onto their shoulders. Perhaps the greatest flaw of sports fans is the way that we put so much stock and hope into these players who we hardly know. When they win, we win, and when they lose, we lose. We follow them on Instagram and bug them for signatures and obsess over their shoes, their hair, their taste in food and music and politics.And then, when these players die, we feel a loss and a trauma almost too large for the relatively small impact they should have had upon our lives. I watched this as the fans of Philadelphia posted tributes and erected memorials to the former pitcher, congregating around Citizens Bank Park in crowds larger than many of those that attended the games I covered last summer.I understand the pain that the city of Philadelphia is feeling, mainly because it was my pain only months ago. I was walking to the Daily Trojan office when I learned that Yordano Ventura, a young, loud-mouthed, hothead of a pitcher for my Kansas City Royals, had died in a tragic car accident. Months later, I still come close to tears when watching tributes made in Ventura’s honor.The loss of Halladay had the same effect on the city of Philadelphia. There’s a pain that comes from losing these athletes, mainly because we see them as invincible. Halladay, in particular, was indomitable on the mound, this towering 6-foot-6 testament to a pitcher’s ability to exert ice-cold control over a baseball. He was unflappable, nicknamed “Doc” because of the almost surgical way he could pick apart even the strongest team’s batting lineup. Halladay was a leader, and then a legend, for a Phillies team stuck in a down-on-its-luck period that many teams skid into after winning a World Series. He gave the city something to cheer for.When I think of this loss, the idea of that diamond in Iowa is comforting. Because the thing about sports fans is that we’re terrible at letting go.These players live on in memories and highlight reels, and their names and numbers are emblazoned in halls of fame and retired jerseys hanging from the rafters of stadiums. Great athletes may pass away, but their impact on the game hardly ever leaves.I hope Halladay joined in on that eternal game, in some baseball diamond that looks a little like heaven. The game will always remember his life; and in that way, I hope he will live on in the game as well.Julia Poe is a junior majoring in print and digital journalism. She is also the sports editor of the Daily Trojan. Her column, “Poe’s Perspective,” runs Thursdays.last_img read more

Isis Young announces grad transfer to Fordham

first_imgFormer Syracuse guard Isis Young has transferred to Fordham University to play as a graduate, she announced over Twitter on Thursday evening. Facebook Twitter Google+ Young came to Syracuse as a sophomore in 2016 after playing one full season at Florida. She redshirted one year but returned to score double-digit points 11 times in the 2017-18 season.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textIn her two seasons at SU, she averaged 5.6 points per game. Young lost minutes to other guards over the course of her final season in Orange. After playing 18.5 minutes per game as a redshirt junior, she averaged 6.3 minutes per game last year. Young played just two minutes in her final game, a 67-57 win over Virginia on March 7. Young is joining a Fordham Rams team that lost to Syracuse in the first round of the 2019 NCAA tournament. The Rams won the Atlantic-10 conference with a 25-9 overall record. Comments Published on June 14, 2019 at 12:00 am Contact Danny: dremerma@syr.edu | @DannyEmermanlast_img read more

Another Cat calls it a day.

first_imgKilkenny goalkeeper David Herity has announced his retirement from inter-county hurling.A member of the Cats’ panel since 2008, the Dunnamaggin stopper won five All Ireland medals – most recently as an unused sub in September’s replay defeat of Tipperary.Herity is the second Cats star to bow out within a week, following the retirement of Tommy Walsh.last_img

Geraghty wins appeal against racing ban

first_imgGeraghty has now been cleared to rise at this year’s Punchestown festival after he had argued against the punishment that he was given following his ride on-board Noble Emperor in Limerick earlier this month.Tonight’s hearing cleared all parties of any wrong-doing with the presiding officer ruling that Noble Emperor had lost his chance of winning the race from a very early stage.last_img

BHA outlines plans to resume racing ‘at the earliest possible opportunity’

first_img Submit Related Articles Share On-course bookmakers return to UK courses in two-week trial August 17, 2020 Share StumbleUpon HBLB gives £3.2m boost to UK racing August 13, 2020 UK Racing pushes for drastic levy reforms as deep recession looms August 25, 2020 British Horseracing Authority (BHA) CEO Nick Rust has emphasised that ‘racing will not be beaten’ by the COVID-19 pandemic which has resulted in the widespread cancellation of race meetings across the UK.Issuing a statement on the outbreak, senior executives from the BHA, Racecourse Association (RCA), National Trainers Federation (NTF) and the Racehorse Owners Association (ROA) have published the details of a new plan aimed at  the‘financial response in the light of the suspension of racing’.Nick Rust, the BHA Chief Executive who chairs the Industry Group, said: “The effort from across the sport at the moment is incredible. There is a determination that racing will not be beaten by this shutdown. The willingness to help is universal. We will do all we can to keep people informed as we progress.”British racing’s industry plan for coronavirus has been divided into four categories which will address finance, people, medical and equine, with the strategy expected to be completed and agreed on Friday.Emphasising that ‘all avenues of potential assistance are being explored’, the Industry Group has reiterated that ‘effort is already directed at making sure racing is ready to return at the earliest possible opportunity’.The Chief Executive of Racing Welfare, Dawn Goodfellow, added: “We are acutely aware that the current situation will be resulting in immediate hardship for many people from a whole range of different roles across the industry. We are working hard to ensure that any available funds that the industry can provide are disbursed quickly, fairly and transparently to those in most need.”Rob Hezel, the Chief Executive of the Racing Foundation, which has managed since 2012 the funds received by racing after the sale of the Tote, said: “We are working as fast as possible with senior racing executives to work out how best to use our resources to support the developing plan.“We are also liaising with other funding bodies to increase the levels of support that can be made available and we are examining the pressures being faced by racing’s charities so we can help them wherever possible too.”last_img read more

La Liga wrap: Real cruise, Barca sweat, Atletico make real statement

first_imgReal Madrid got their first three points of the La Liga campaign after a scintillating display against Pepe Mel’s Real Betis at the Bernabeu.Los Blancos boss Rafael Benitez had come under severe criticism for favoring a defensive style of football but his side responded in tremendous fashionGareth Bale and James Rodriguez both scored twice and Real Madrid goalkeeper Keylor Navas saved a penalty as Rafa Benitez’s side thrashed Real Betis.Navas’ name echoed around the Santiago Bernabeu after one fine first half save and even more loudly in the second half when he blocked Ruben Castro’s spot-kick. Benzema added a fifth to put  a gloss on Madrid’s performance.At the Camp Nou, Barca were made to sweat for their win over Malaga on Saturday night. The Andalusians who were went unbeaten against Barcelona last season proved tough opponents for Luis Enrique’s side again.The threat posed by the attacking trio of Suarez, Messi and Neymar were all nullified either by Kameni’s brilliance or last ditch tackles.A late  strike from Thomas Vermaelen in only his fourth official appearance for Barcelona earned the Blaugrana all three points which effectively meant Luis Enrique has now won against every team he has faced as Barcelona coach. Jackson Martínez came off the bench to score his first Atlético Madrid goal in a 3-0 win over Sevilla at the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán stadium.Spain international Koke scored the opener 10 minutes before the interval and Martínez’s introduction as a 78th-minute substitute to replace Fernando Torres paid dividends to the tune of two further goals.He had been on the pitch a matter of seconds when Gabi’s deflected effort beat Beto to make it 2-0 and Martínez found the net following a one-two with Antoine Griezmann.Eibar 2-0 Athletic BilbaoEibar recorded a first ever league victory over Athletic Bilbao to go joint top of the Primera Division.Saul Berjon opened the scoring from the penalty spot while Adrian Gonzalez scored his first goal for his new club in the second half to cap a 2-0 win for Jose Mendilibar’s side, following a 3-1 success at Granada in their season curtain raiser. Valencia 1-1 DeportivoValencia and Deportivo La Coruna are still searching for their first Primera Division win of the season after playing out a 1-1 draw at the Mestalla stadium on Sunday.Lucas Perez fired Deportivo in front with a spectacular long-range strike on 38 minutes, but their lead lasted only seven minutes as Alvaro Negredo rifled home from close range just before half-time to restore parity.Villareal 3-1 EspanyolRoberto Soldado continued his impressive form on Spanish shores by scoring one and assisting another two as Villarreal beat Espanyol 3-1 in La Liga.He equalised for his side on Friday at El Madrigal after Felipe Caicedo, who was once on Manchester City’s books, put the away side ahead after five minutes. Soldado’s equaliser in the 67th minute was a neat swivelled volley after a lofted pass from the left by Samuel.The game appeared to be heading for a draw until Soldado threaded in Cedric Bakambu, who rounded the goalkeeper and converted from a tight angle. Soldado turned provider once more to settle the match in stoppage time, as he teed up Bakambu for his second goal of the game. Celta Vigo 3-0 VallecanoCelta Vigo continued their 100 percent start to their Primera Division campaign by easing to a 3-0 victory over 10-man Rayo Vallecano.The visitors had goalkeeper Tono sent off when the game was barely 10 minutes old and Nolito converted the subsequent penalty to put Eduardo Berrizo’s side on their way to a second successive victory. The Celta forward struck again early in the second half, while midfielder Andreu Fontas added a third moments before the final whistle.Las Palmas 0-0 LevanteLas Palmas and Levante picked up their points of the season after playing out a goalless draw in the first top flight game at the Estadio Gran Canaria in 12 years.Newly-promoted Las Palmas dominated possession and were the only side to take the initiative over the 90 minutes, but they came unstuck against Lucas Alcaraz’s ultra-defensive unit.Getafe 1-2 Granada Granada picked up their first win of the season after grabbing a controversial 2-1 win at Getafe.The visitors took the lead through a hotly contested penalty converted by Youssef El Arabi on 26 minutes and just moments later Isaac Success increased their advantage.Angel Lafita gave Getafe hope of a comeback by scoring late in the second half but Granada held on for the remaining minutes to take the three points.–Compiled by Kweku Arhin. Follow Kweku on Twitter: @nana_odum. Get more updates on Facebook/Twitter with the #JoySports hashtaglast_img read more