LeBron, Wade and Bosh make the Miami Heat the most hated team in the NBA

Let me start off by apologizing in advance if I fall asleep while writing this article. “I decided to take my talents to Sowf Beech”, and as many guys know, that can be very tiring.

It’s essentially been a month since LeBron James ended the saga of where he was going to play in 2010 by hosting his own1 hour love fest, AKA “The Decision”, with the “help” of ESPN and the Boys and Girls Club of America. By reading a few of my earlier posts, you can tell I hate the NBA for a gazillion reasons.  When I first heard about “The Decision”,  I threw up in my mouth a little bit.  But I can honestly say, I’m in the minority think that this fiasco might actually be good for LeBron and the NBA.

Here’s why I like LeBron going to “Sowf Beach” to play for the Miami Heat.

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Matt Harris didn't mind wearing the enemy's uniform.

Due to some great feedback from my readers, one of the suggestions that I had gotten was to try to get an interview with a professional athlete.  When I was thinking about how I would go about that, I said to myself, “I know it’s going to be tough to get an athlete to answer an E-mail about an interview, or to get in contact with a professional organization.  But what if I interviewed someone who is involved in pro sports that someone might not notice?”   I was thinking about an umpire, referee, or maybe a front office type employee?  Well, thanks to a reader (We’ll call him “Point Five”), I got into contact with someone who has done something that almost every young kid has dreamed about doing.

I got the chance to have an e-mail conversation with Matt Harris, who was the bat-boy (don’t call him that) for the New York Mets from 2006 thru parts of 2009.  Here is the interview…

Total Sports Blog: How did you get the job?

Matt Harris: During the Junior year at SUNY Cortland in one of my Sports Management classes, a person in my group used to have a job, and he gave me the contact info.

TSB: Are you a Mets Fan?

MH: No, I was born and raised a Yankee fan, a pretty passionate one at that.  I think this helped in a way, cause I was able to keep a better fan/employee balance.

TSB: Are you still the bat-boy?

MH: I am not currently the bat boy, or employed by the New York Mets.  I worked the 2006, 07, 08, and briefly in 09.

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Do the 2010 Mets have the same fight as the 1986 Mets?

In the last couple of months, I’ve heard more and more people say things along the lines of, “This is not what the ’86 Mets would be doing”, “This team needs to get more grit like the ’86 team” and “We need more guys from the ’86 team around.”, blah blah blah.

I completely understand why fans want what the ’86 team had.  I can’t remember a team that had such an “Eff You” attitude, in my lifetime.  They knew they were gonna beat you, and if it meant they had to punch you in the face to do it, they would.

When you look at that team, versus the 2010 team, there’s no doubt in my mind that the only 4 guys on the 2010 team that could cut it on the ’86 team are Santana, Blanco, Carter and Frenchy.  I know Reyes got into it with Miguel Olivo back in ’07, but Jose just isn’t that type of player.

The ’86 team’s biggest SOB’s were their best players.  Carter, Knight, Hernandez, and the beast in LF, Kevin Mitchell.  Seriously, do you think if Hanley Ramirez came into 3rd base hard, that David Wright would throw a right hook and then Jason Bay would come sprinting in from LF to throw bodies across the diamond?  I don’t think so.

The good old days of great pitching and timely hitting are just not in the cards for the 2010 Mets.  One week the pitching is great, and then the offense goes into hibernation (as we are seeing right now).  There won’t be any bench clearing brawls to spark this club.  It’s a different era.  Everyone is friends, and even the most heated rivalries don’t have the pure hatred like they once did.

Listen, before the season started, every Met fan would have signed up for an 84-87 win season.  We knew if we got a break here or there, we could make the playoffs.  Well here we are.  1 game over .500 and 6 back in the Wild Card standings with 63 games to go.  There are no Ray Knights or Gary Carters out there.  So Omar has his work  (If he’s still employed by the time this is printed) cut out for him in the next 5 days.

Let’s go Mets!


Is chemistry overrated?

July 22, 2010 by

When you hear people talk about team chemistry, different opinions are everywhere.  One guy will say that it’s overrated, the next guy thinks that it’s essential.  I think in sports like football, basketball and hockey, there are multiple parts moving in unison during gameplay that makes chemistry essential.  But in the game of baseball, so many plays are one player vs another player, that I don’t believe chemistry comes into play.  It’s more of an overall attitude.

The 2010 Mets are a perfect example.  Early on in the season, the team looked pretty lost like most of the 2nd half of last season and the final month of the previous two seasons.  We can blame it all on the injuries, but when it’s all said and done, there was no excitement or energy on this team other than Reyes, Wright or Santana.  For the past 3 years Omar has gone out and found some good value off the scrap heap like Fernando Tatis,  Damion Easley, and R.A. Dickey.  But for every one of those moves, there have been the Louie Castillo, Garry Sheffied, Garry Matthews and Frank Catalanotto’s of the world.  What do they all have in common?  They are all essentially AARP members.

When the Mets went on their run this year, I believe there was no coincidence that it started with the call-up of Ike Davis.  He brought this shot of youthful exuberance to not only the Mets lineup, but to the entire fan base.  As the season rolled on, Ruben Tejada was called up, Chris “The Animal” Carter was unleashed,  Jenry Mejia was pitching regularly, Josh Thole was battling Strasburg,  Jonathon Niese was starting every 5th day, and we even had a few games where the entire infield was home-grown.  Ike, Ruben, Jose and David put a huge smile on the face of Mets fans everywhere.  Heck, even Ollie was placed on the DL and we didn’t have to deal with that garbage.

Omar knows nothing about chemisrty

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My 2010 World Cup Experience by Anurag Kumar

First off, I’m not a big soccer guy.  I know my way around to be able to have a below average conversation about teams and players… Man U., Messi, Barcelona, etc.  But I couldn’t tell you the name of the German League or which club team Landon Donovon played for in England.  I didn’t think I could keep up with all the hardcore fans that would be there.

Security was a big concern.  A week before the games started, there was the incident with the Nigerian team where fans were getting trampled to get their hands on free tickets.  Needless to say, it didn’t help to allay my fears of lack of crowd control.

And then there were the vuvuzelas.  I tried to do as little research as possible in planning the trip (my buddies I went with planned the whole thing).  So when I heard about these things called vuvuzelas about a week before the trip, I was pissed.  It was described to me as the scene in Dumb and Dumber when Jim Carrey asks, “Wanna hear the most annoying sound in the world?”, but it goes on for two hours straight.

So going in, I had set my expectations pretty low.  Third world country, lack of security, a sport I don’t really care for and annoying instruments the whole time.  Cheers.

I can say with ease that all of my expectations were blown away.

First, the country is just flat-out gorgeous.  We stayed the majority of the time in Cape Town.  The city is just like San Francisco, right down to the island prison (Robben Island, where Mandela was jailed for 18 years).  It’s very modern and very clean and the people are exceptionally friendly.  They have their wine country, which is about a 2 hour drive out and it’s really something to behold.  Cape Town’s main attraction is a hike up Table Mountain.  On a clear day it has spectacular views.  There’s other standard touristy stuff like Cape of Good Hope and Boulders Beach where they have a penguin colony (that’s right, there are penguins in Africa and in the summer you can actually swim with them).  These were all great experiences.

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Dear Que-Rod,….

July 19, 2010 by

Where has my fastball gone?

Dear K-Rod,

Remember that time you had 62 saves that year?  Yeah, that was awesome.  Also, remember that time you used to throw 97 or 98mph?  Those were some good times too.  I love how earlier in the year, you looked great with the glasses on again.  It brought out the intimidation again that your game had.  But you know what?  It’s just not working right now.  Maybe if you need to keep your mind fresh, you can start-up another tomato garden out there underneath the Shea Bridge?  When you are in the game, I’ll tend to it and make sure it gets plenty of water.  When you are on a road trip, I’ll have the grounds crew throw a little extra Miracle-Grow down for you.

I know nobody is perfect, but can you do all of us a favor and please stop blowing games for Johan?  Its one thing to blow a game for R.A. Dickey or Jon Niese, but every 5th day, we are counting on a W from our ace.  I remember when everyone loved the move by Omar and thought that 3 years at $39mil was a very fair contract for you.  Well honestly, do you think that was fair?  With the money we are paying you, we NEED you to pitch like K-Rod, not “Que”-Rod.  No question marks, no nail-biting, just lock it down.

We NEED the K-Rod from the early days with the Angels.  We NEED the blazing fastball and that insane curveball.  And please, can we stop hearing from you that you need to pitch a lot to be effective.  So if the Mets have a save situation tonight after your 47 pitch disaster, (I mean outing) yesterday, you need to be in there?  I don’t think so Frankie.  Bobby Parnell can come put your fire out.  He CAN hit 99mph on the gun you know?

I’ve seen you pitch in person for about a season and a half now, and I’m no pitching coach.  But can you please listen to Dan Warthen or whoever is coaching you, and start following through towards home plate instead of into Ike Davis’s back pocket?  How many times have you had a ball hit like a missile back up the middle and you are nowhere to be found?

Listen, I’ve had to endure the likes of Wagner, Looper, Benitez and Franco in the past 20 years.  Hell, I’ve even had to endure Anthony Young saving games for us.  So please…I’m begging you…for all he Mets faithful.please go back to being K-Rod.


Mr. Met

Takin' it back to 1776!Let’s party like it’s 1776!

In quite possibly the most anticipated opening round game in World Cup history, the US takes on England in a battle that can be traced back almost 250 years.  Just like back then, the US are the underdogs….just the way they like it.

Back in December, FIFA held it’s World Cup draw, live on TV with much pop and circumstance.  Important/famous people like David Beckham and Charlize Theron, selected the ping-pong balls in which would determine what teams would join the 8 groups headed by the top 7 ranked teams in the world (S. Africa was the 8th seed due to being the host nation).  When it was England’s turn to find out who the first team to join them in Group C was, there was one team, and one team only, that they were praying was not going to be called.  “USA” was said.  ESPN cut quickly to a live video feed it had at famous soccer bar, Nevada Smith’s, in Manhattan.  You would have thought that the US had WON the World Cup.  The place went crazy.  David Bechkam almost crapped himself on stage.

Sixty years ago, the United States stunned England in the World Cup in one of the most storied upsets in sports history. A win in South Africa might not prove to be as legendary, but could be more significant.

England has been the Boston Red Sox of international soccer. Think of the post-Babe Ruth untill 2006 era.  In that time, the Red Sox  had so many good teams, but never won a championship.  Same thing with England.  Every 4 years, they get hyped up so much as having a great team, but fall short.  The tabloids and newspapers in Britain are England’s biggest fans and biggest haters.  There is so much pressure on England to beat the US that it’s almost impossible to believe.

Team USA is no slouch.  Let’s be honest.  The Red, White and Blue are ranked 14th by FIFA and England 8th.  Sure, the US doesn’t have the big name players that England has (Wayne Rooney, Joe and Ashley Cole and Frank Lampard to name a few), but the US is a very good defensive team.  Tim Howard is the US goalkeeper who has been playing in the English Premier League for about 7 years who is respected as one of the top goalkeepers in the league.  Clint Dempsy is perhaps the US’s most creative and exciting player.  He’s played for Fulham of the Premier League and is loved in England.  Then there’s Landon Donovon.  Ahhhh Landon.  The best player for the US has been the subject of much ridicule over the past few years for the dud he laid 4 years ago.  He’s the all time leading scorer for the US with 42 international goals.  So he is going to be heavily relied upon to put the ball into the net.

We’re about an hour and a half from kickoff and I can honestly say that I am pumped up for a soccer game.  Many of the analysts today are calling for a 1-1 draw or a USA win. Former USA Defender Alexi Lalas,  just said that he feels as if the England squad is “ripe for the picking”.  Obviously he’s a homer, but he said that England has too many good players and just haven’t shown the chemistry as a group.  I hope he’s right, because if he is, look for Jozy Altidore to put the ball in the net for the US.  He’s the 20-year-old striker that has been hot in qualifying.

Game time is approaching.  I gotta go get my vuvuzela ready….

Robbie Lawler will take on Babalu in Strikeforce Live on June 16th

Robbie Lawler Faces Off Against Babalu Sobral to Headline Strikeforce Live 

By Alexia Krause 


With Strikeforce Live only weeks away, the heat is getting turned up for a showdown between two hard-hitting opponents. “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler will take on former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion Renato “Babalu” Sobral for a fight that is bound to go beyond the cage and strike at the hearts of the two fighters. In fact, Sobral was quoted as saying that he has “hate in his heart” leading up to the fight and his trainer is making it clear that his hate will be taken out in the ring against Lawler. This type of bad blood will make the upcoming Strikeforce Live a MMA event to remember. The two will face each off in a 195-pound catch-weight bout on June 16 in Los Angeles. 

This is an interesting turn of events, as Sobral wasn’t initially slated to fight against Lawler. The main card had originally been Jason “Mayhem” Miller vs. “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler, but after being rebuked by Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker, Mayhem was later pulled from the card. Miller is under review for a possible suspension due to the brawl that had broken out following a post-fight interview with Jake Shields at Strikeforce Nashville. 

The next Strikeforce event (Wednesday June 16th in Los Angeles) will be the first ever to be scheduled during the middle of the week (in order to correspond with the video game expo, E3, and the subsequent release of EA Sports MMA). Most fans are going to the event to see the main fight between Sobral and Lawler. The main card is bound to set the tone for the evening and possibly the rest of Strikeforce MMA. 

“Ruthless” Robbie Lawler is considered by most to be somewhat of a quiet figure outside of the ring, but once inside the cage he’s as merciless as his nickname. Lawler is known for completely annihilating his opponents by means of his all-or-nothing fighting style. This type of intensity will be a large part of his upcoming fight. This 5-foot-11 middleweight may be a reckless fighter inside the cage, but his fans love him for exactly that reason. 

Renato “Babalu” Sobral, on the other hand, is a complete technician within the squared circle. Widely known for his amazing grappling and submission moves, Babalu doesn’t need to be ruthless in order to dominate. This type of process has helped Sobral rack up victories over such fighters as Kiyoshi Tamura, Mauricio Rua, and Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou on his way to becoming the light heavyweight champion. It has also made him one of the hardest fighters to defeat in all of Strikeforce MMA. 

Many fans seem to think that if Lawler can keep the fight on his feet, he will have the advantage. Robbie Lawler has a history of being smart on his feet, throwing calculated punches. However, if the fight shifts towards more grappling, and Babalu is careful, he could use his superior BJJ (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu) skills to his advantage. Over half of Sobral’s wins have stemmed from his masterful use of submission fighting. 

Other matches for the evening feature Marius Zaromskis vs. Evangelista Cyborg and Trevor Prangley vs. Tim Kennedy. Both fights are bound to have their fair share of attention at the event, but nothing will compare to when ruthlessness meets technical dominance via Lawler/Sobral. Then we shall see exactly how much hate is flowing through the veins of these two fighters at Strikeforce Live on the 16th. 

Alexia is a self-described sports-nut. She particularly enjoys martial arts. Recently, she joined up with MMA Industries- retailers of highly popular MMA equipment and shirts. Alexia has been blogging about the latest trends in MMA gear for the past few years, and continues to provide you with the latest news in the MMA universe. 

On the afternoon after another reliever started a game for the Mets, R.A. Dickey took the ball knowing that he needed to go deep into the game to help out a depleted bullpen.  For some unknown reason, Fernando Nieve, who is the most used and abused reliever in all of baseball, started last night’s game for the Mets.  Not surprisingly, he only lasted 2 innings and the bullpen was called in again to throw 7 innings.

The Mets took a 1-0 lead in the first inning and Rickie Weeks immediately erased it with a homer to lead off the bottom half for the Brew Crew.  Angel Pagan looked like he might have a chance bring back the would be homer, but the ball was just out of his reach and bounced off the top of the wall and over the fence.

In the 4th inning, with the Mets down 2-1, Dickey helped himself with an RBI single that tied the game up at 2.  After R.A. laid down a sac-bunt in the 6th, Jose Reyes drew a walk off of Mets nemesis Jeff Suppan to load the bases.  On a 3-2 count with 2 outs, Louie Castillo smashed a grounder up the middle to plate Frenchy and Henry Blanco to give the Mets a 4-2 lead.

Dickey held the Brewers at bay for the next 2 innings and the Mets padded his lead to 6-2 in the top of the 7th, after a David Wright ground-rule double and an Angel Pagan 2-run homer.  Angel Pagan is quietly becoming the Mets best all around outfielder.  This season, Angel is hitting .295 with 4 homers 22 RBI’s and 9 steals.  He projects to drive in 70+ runs and have around 30 steals.  It’s nice to see a player take advantage of the opportunity to play everyday.

In the bottom of the 7th, Weeks struck again with a 2-run homer for his second of the day.  But all in all, R.A. did exactly what the Mets needed.  He gave them 7 quality innings and let the bullpen rest.  Dickey left the game with a 6-4 lead and his third good start in as many tries since being called up from Buffalo.

The Metsies tacked on 4 more runs in the top of the 9th inning off reliever Zach Braddok, and K-Rod pitched a scoreless bottom half for a 10-4 Mets win.  The Mets 5-6-7-8 hitters (Wright/Pagan/Frenchy/Pagan) went 11 for 17 with 6 RBI.  It was great so see the team as a whole, taking pitches from starter Randy Wolf and recognizing that he was not able to get that 65mph curveball over the plate.  In total, the Mets drew 8 walks and saw over 200 pitches from Brewers pitchers.

The Mets head out to San Diego tomorrow night to start a 3 game series versus the NL West leading Padres.  Hisanori Takahashi faces off against Kevin Corriea at 9:30 pm.  It would be nice to see the Mets pitchers pound the strike zone and play to contact.  PETCO park is huge guys…let’s play like we are at home.  Let’s go Mets!