at PO Box 26069, Austin, 78755 United States
Sports Commentary and Discussion
8 FB users likes The Sport Stir, set it to 4 position in Likes Rating for Austin, Texas in Sports venue category
Cowboys Take the Ball from Romo and Beat the Titans By Rick Appelt on The Sport Stir September 14, 2014 The Dallas Cowboys took the football away from Tony Romo Sunday and gave it to DeMarco Murray to beat the Tennessee 26-10 on Sunday. After an apparently rusty opening game against the 49ers last week, Romo handed the ball to Murray 29 times. Murray rushed for a whopping 167 yards against the Titans defense. Romo, coming off a horrific game where he threw 3 interceptions against the 49ers, only threw 29 passes this week, none of which were intercepted. Romo put the Cowboys in a hole so deep last Sunday against the 49ers with 3 interceptions that the game was over by the end of the first quarter. DeMarco Murray also fumbled his first carry against the 49ers giving the 49ers a 7-0 lead. Murray also lost another fumble this Sunday on his third carry of the game. After that Murray seemed to be a motivated madman, rushing for his 167 yards against the Titans. The Cowboys, who have been declaring for two years that they want to run the football, actually called offensive plays for the running backs and put a lot less pressure on Romo. The Cowboys had a much more balanced attack of running and passing this Sunday. It still amazes me that Tony Romo goes down like a sack of potatoes without being touched when pressured by defenses. I sit and watch defensive linemen simply touch him to record a tackle or sack because he is already on the ground before he gets hit. After another offseason back surgery, Romo does not have the agility and escape prowess he used to possess that made him an elusive scrambler. This week against the Titans he looked slow and still a bit rusty but he eliminated the very poor decisions he made in week one against the 49ers. The Cowboys need to learn from this week’s game plan and not allow Romo to go rogue and put the team in an unrecoverable hole each week. If the Cowboys get back to running the football with DeMarco Murray and lessen the load on Romo, they can create the ingredients for success once again.
Michael Sam Not a Ram; Look for Him to Wear the Star By Rick Appelt on The Sport Stir August 30, 2014 Today Michael Sam was released by the St. Louis Rams putting an end to one of the two biggest offseason stories in the NFL. After a pretty decent preseason showing for the Rams, including 3 quarterbacks, Sam was cut from the 53-man roster leaving his future in the NFL in doubt. Unfortunately Michael Sam was drafted by one of the NFL teams that was the deepest in defensive linemen. The seventh round draft pick was released on Saturday by Jeff Fisher stating that it was a football decision. Sam could pass through waivers on Sunday and still make the Ram’s practice squad. The second biggest offseason story was that of Johnny Manziel and the Cleveland Browns. After Manziel was passed on by the Dallas Cowboys with 16th pick in the first round, it stunned followers of the Jerry Jones Big Circus Show in Arlington. Manziel was passed up early in the draft and fell right into Jerry’s lap at number 16. The Cowboys passed and the Cleveland Browns picked up Manziel with the 22nd pick moving that media circus to Cleveland. Make no mistake about, Jones will not be outdone. I will guarantee everyone today that Michael Sam will trade in the blue and gold of the St. Louis Rams for the blue and silver of the Dallas Cowboys. You read it first right here, right now. Michael Sam will clear waivers and Jerry Jones will sign him this coming week to the Cowboys’ practice squad. Sporting the third worst defense in NFL history in 2013, the Cowboys need all the defensive help they can find. Why not add a defensive lineman, and not just any defensive lineman, one with a story and a following. I am one hopeful for a career in the NFL for Michael Sam. I think he is a very good defensive lineman and deserving to make some team’s roster. I don’t, however, want Sam’s future clouded by the media hound that is Jerry Jones.
Goodell Admits Dropping the Ball, NFL Gets Tough on Domestic Violence By Michael Brocker on The Sport Stir August 29, 2014 After a rash of public criticism, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has admitted in a letter to NFL owners that he made a mistake in the Ray Rice domestic violence case. Rice who was seen dragging his unconscious girlfriend, now his wife, out of an elevator in Atlantic City in February. Goodell suspended Rice for the first two games of the upcoming football season. Goodell admitted he was wrong in the leniency of the Ray Rice suspension and stated that the league is implementing harsher penalties for cases of domestic violence. A first offense will result in a 6-game suspension without pay, which is exactly what Ray Rice should have received. A second offense will result in a complete banishment from the league. This new policy covers all NFL employees, not just players. Goodell and the National Football League was scrutinized for not taking the matter of domestic violence serious enough with the Ray Rice decision. It was very upstanding to see Goodell admit he was wrong and that the league will take stronger actions in the future in the cases of domestic violence. Kudos to Goodell and the NFL for going back and reviewing what was wrong and making it right.
AL Central Painted Royal Blue By Rick Appelt on The Sport Stir August 27, 2014 Is the longest tenured team without a playoff game about to put that streak to bed finally? Maybe. The Kansas City Royals have not been in an MLB postseason playoff game since 1985. That’s the longest current drought of any team in baseball. Here it is August 27th and the Kansas City Royals are in first place in the American League Central. They have a 2.5 game lead over the perennial favorite Detroit Tigers. Yes, the Royals have a better record than the almighty Tigers. The season is far from over with all of September to play, but the Royals are playing inspired baseball. The Royals and Tigers still play two more series against each other this season, but even if the Tigers should pass the Royals, it looks as if that postseason drought will finally end this year. With the advent of an additional wild card team in each league, the Royals could at least position themselves to reach that one-game playoff as a wild card. If you are looking for this year’s Cinderella, look no further. We may have new blood in the postseason, and it’s a pretty Royal blue. I am personally predicting this team to make the playoffs and to do very well in the post season tournament.
Redskins’ Meriweather Gets 2-Game Suspension. Is It Enough? By Michael Brocker on The Sport Stir August 26, 2014 Safety Brandon Meriweather of the Washington Redskins is literally back on the attack again. After another vicious blow to Baltimore Ravens receiver Torrey Smith in Saturday night’s preseason game, Meriweather has been suspended for the first two games of the 2014 NFL season. On a pass route across the middle of the field, Meriweather put his head down, lead with his helmet and launched his body as a human missile at Torrey Smith, inflicting yet another helmet-to-helmet collision on a defenseless player. Meriweather has 5 previous fines including a 2-game suspension last season for the same offense in a game against the Chicago Bears. He appealed the decision and his suspension was lessened to only one game. The league suspended Meriweather on Monday for 2 games but is it enough? Meriweather has been fined 6 times for violations to the league’s safety policy for vicious hits on receivers. What does it take to learn how to tackle properly and play the game within the rules? Apparently Meriweather just does not get it and has no desire to change. What will the league do when the next time he lowers his helmet and launches himself at a receiver and breaks the guy’s neck? Then it’s too late. It’s like a drunk driver that has 4 DUI’s and still drinks and drives. The driver will end up killing someone at some point. Why is he still on the road? It’s no different with Brandon Meriweather. Apparently 6 times is not enough. Maybe a year suspension with no pay while attending proper tackling practice for 12 months will help. Brandon Meriweather….. You’ve Been FLAGGED by The Sport Stir!
Yu Darvish Shut Down for 2014 By Rick Appelt on The Sport Stir August 25, 2014 The Texas Rangers have shut down starting pitcher Yu Darvish for the remainder of 2014 baseball season. After being diagnosed with elbow inflammation in his throwing arm, the Rangers have decided to rest Darvish for the balance of schedule to not cause any further damage to the All-Star. The writing was on the locker room wall for this one. After being placed on the 15-day disabled list on August 13th, retroactive to August 10th, Darvish has not participated in any baseball activities. Manager Ron Washington insisted that Darvish would get treatment and be back with the ball team after his stint on the DL. Washington even made mention that Darvish would not “quit on his teammates” and has since retracted that statement, citing it was not his intention to think Darvish would ever quit on his team. After making the 2014 All-Star team, Darvish was the only bright spot in a rag tag pitching rotation decimated by injury and a lack of help from GM Jon Daniels in the offseason. Daniels announced today on KRLD radio in Dallas that it makes no sense to pitch Darvish again when clearly an MRI showed a problem with the elbow. You can count on his next start on the mound to be in spring training in Surprise, AZ. Now comes the concern that there could be more wrong with the elbow mirroring all the season-ending elbow injuries in MLB this year leading to Tommy John surgery. It will be interesting to see if Darvish will be able to pitch the entire 2015 season. While in Japan Darvish was used to pitching once a week. Maybe the strain of pitching every 5th day has finally caught up to that right elbow. Will the Rangers be the first team to implement a 6-man rotation in 2015? That would be interesting, but do not count it. Since Nolan Ryan left for the Houston Astros, Daniels has done little to bolster this pitching staff.
Bradford and Rams Done for 2014 By Kenny Easton on The Sport Stir August 25, 2014 The Rams are already playing against a stacked deck in the NFW West with the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers, and the up and coming Arizona Cardinals. After the loss of starting quarterback Sam Bradford, the Rams have been dealt another losing hand. It became official when the Rams announced yesterday that Bradford will miss the entire 2014 NFL season. After tearing his ACL in the seventh game of the 2013 season and missing the last nine games, Bradford reinjured the same left knee Saturday night. In a preseason game against the Cleveland Browns, Bradford was tackled in the first quarter, falling awkwardly to the turf, and once again injuring the ACL in the left knee. After posting a respectable 7-9 season in 2013 with the league’s youngest roster, the team was posed to compete for a possible playoff berth in 2014. Building one of the league’s toughest and stingiest defenses, the Rams were counting on Bradford to lead the offense after passing on Johnny Manziel in the 2014 draft. Backup quarterback Shaun Hill will move into the starting role for the Rams after playing the same role for the Detroit Lions the past 4 years. The Rams currently have no interest in trading for an established quarterback and will look to start Hill in the season opener at home in two weeks against the Minnesota Vikings.
South Koreans Too Much for Jackie Robinson West Little League By Michael Brocker on The Sport Stir August 24, 2014 As projected the Asia-Pacific Little League team from South Korea proved too much for the dream team from Chicago, Illinois. The youngsters from Jackie Robinson West Little League gave a valiant effort but fell short losing 8-4 Sunday afternoon in the World Championship game of the Little League World Series. Despite a last inning rally by the team from Chicago, the South Koreans held on to win the World Championship going undefeated in Williamsport. The team from Seoul was a power-hitting and power-pitching machine. It was their third World Championship and their first since 1985. The youngsters from Chicago have absolutely no reason to hang their heads. They made a city proud and a brought a community together while endearing the hearts of many baseball fans around the country. The dream run is over, the season ended with a U.S Championship, and the boys from Jackie Robinson West now turn their summer focus back to good old school time. Thanks again boys for an entertaining week in Williamsport.
Michael Sam Gets in on Manziel Act By Kenny Easton on The Sport Stir August 23, 2014 With the exception of number one overall pick, Jadeveon Clowney, the two of the most talked about draft picks in this year’s NFL were Johnny “Football” Manziel and Michael Sam. Well the two met in the third preseason game of the year and it was memorable. The two met alright - in the backfield of the Browns offense. On a third down and 21 to go, Michael Sam blew past Browns offensive tackle Martin Wallace on a speed rush and sacked Johnny Manziel. That was the first half of the memorable play. The second half came when Sam got up and showed off his version of Manziel’s “money” finger gesture. It was a thing of beauty and then he finished it off with his patented “punch” move. There were two things that became very evident tonight after Sam’s sack of Manziel. The first is that Manziel actually learned to control his emotions and save himself another $12,000 in fines by not flipping the bird to Michael Sam. The second is that it continues to show that many NFL defenders want their chance at hitting that huge target Manziel has put on his own back. Humility may come in the form of injury. Humility is a good thing.
Chicago Team Ends Dream Run at Little League World Series with U.S. Title By Michael Brocker on The Sport Stir August 23, 2014 A crowd favorite in Williamsport, PA, the Jackie Robinson West Little League team from Chicago, Illinois comes back in thrilling fashion to win the United States championship of the Little League World Series. With a come-from-behind 7-5 victory over the Mountain Ridge Little League team from Las Vegas, Nevada, the Chicago team made history Saturday afternoon in Williamsport. After losing to the Nevada team earlier in the week 12-3, the Chicago team avenged that loss in the championship game to advance to the World Championship game on Sunday. They will compete against South Korea on Sunday who won their championship game against Japan on Saturday. Win or lose to South Korea in the World Championship, the team from Chicago should be very proud and we are all proud of them. The Jackie Robinson West team was the first all-African-American team to make it to the Little League World Series in over 30 years and the first to win the U.S. Championship. It is a great story for a league aided by the MLB Urban Initiative to help bring baseball back to inner-city kids. I hope to see some of these young sluggers at the major league level one day. It’s fun to talk about baseball at any level in the city of Chicago again.
MLB Should Revisit Hiccups to Instant Replay By Rick Appelt on The Sport Stir August 21, 2014 It’s always been said, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” Major League Baseball did finally catch up with the times this year by implementing the new replay system. As the technology has increased in television viewing with high-definition, incredible slow motion action and playback, and number of cameras and camera angles in sports, MLB felt a need to get the calls on the field called more accurately. Welcome to the 21st century, finally. With this new technology, however, comes all the bugs and glitches that will need to be ironed out for next season. One of the greatest issues that continuously confronts baseball is the need to speed up the game. The new replay system, which is great for the game, has created another category of unnecessary game delays which is actually not the replay itself. Instead, it has to do with the delay of challenging the call on the field while the manager collects his “notice to proceed” or “notice to back off” from the internal team reviewer inside his small replay booth tucked inside the ballpark. As it stands, if a play on the field is close enough to warrant a review, the team manager automatically walks out onto the field. Of course this is a very slow and methodical walk in the direction of the umpire that made the call. The manager then engages in pleasant communications with the umpire about the health of his mother and sister while looking back to the dugout awaiting that notice from the dugout from another coach that is in contact with the team replay analyst. The manager then gets his thumbs up or thumbs down as whether or not to actually initiate a challenge on the play. The two baseball teams are limited to the amount of challenges they can perform during a game. Unfortunately, there is no rule to number of times the manager can walk out onto the field and stop play to discuss dinner plans with the umpire while awaiting that notice from the dugout. This needs to stop. Maybe the answer is actually enforcing a challenge once the manager has entered the field of play to congratulate the umpire on the high school graduation of his oldest son. I am not sure if this is the best way to solve this issue, but it definitely is one of the first hiccups MLB needs to address before the 2015 baseball season.
The Cleveland Browns Choose Hoyer Over Manziel to be Starter By Kenny Easton on The Sport Stir August 20, 2014 The Cleveland Browns and coach Mike Pettine made it official today and announced that incumbent quarterback Brian Hoyer will be the starting quarterback over rookie Johnny Manziel. Make no mistake about it, Brian Hoyer did not win the position of starting quarterback for the Browns. Instead, Johnny Manziel just did not go out this offseason and preseason and win it. Although it was there for the taking, Johnny Manziel showed he is not ready to become an NFL starting quarterback. With lackluster performances in the first two preseason games, he showed he was not a better option than the incumbent starter Brian Hoyer. At least Hoyer started three games for the Browns last year before he tore his ACL in Week 5 and required season-ending surgery. He has experience and knows the system and the NFL. He will be more suited to start against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 1. This is probably a blessing in disguise for Manziel to watch the Steeler game from the sideline. Who knows if the offseason antics, trips to Las Vegas and partying on weekends were any hindrance to his progression as an NFL quarterback? It sure did not help his cause on the field and it also did not help him win any points with head coach Pettine at decision time. He probably did not win any brownie points either after the infamous finger gesture on Monday night against Washington. He has proven he is not ready to take over the reins as the starting quarterback for the Cleveland Browns. He was given his opportunity on a silver platter and did nothing to impress.
Manziel Fined for Monday Night Bird By Rick Lazarus on The Sport Stir August 22, 2014 Sure Johnny Manziel had a privileged lifestyle while growing up in Texas, but this was probably the most expensive “bird” he ever purchased in his life. The NFL has fined the rookie quarterback $12,000 for his infamous flipping of the bird toward the Washington Redskin sideline on Monday Night Football. Manziel better start growing thicker skin and tuning out trash talk from NFL defenders because, trust me, it has only just begun. First of all, he is a rookie quarterback in the NFL and with that come its own share of taunting and general harassment. Manziel’s antics and general overall personality has only given more fuel to the fire of intimidating NFL defenders that now have more reason to try and push his buttons and get under his skin. It’s time to keep those rabbit ears tucked inside that Cleveland Brown helmet just a little better. Johnny Football has not played a regular season game in his NFL career and has already been fined by the commissioner’s office. It took two whole preseason games to get the first one. Whether he’s partying in Las Vegas, taking selfies with Justin Bieber, or making a fool of himself on national television, Manziel never fails to give us something to write about, right or wrong. If the backup quarterback gig in the NFL loses its appeal, there are plenty of Kardashian reality roles that pay well on television.
Johnny Manziel Increases the Size of Bulls-eye on Back By Rick Lazarus on The Sport Stir August 19, 2014 If the offseason antics, college day antics, FaceBook money pictures and draft day hand signals weren’t enough to rub NFL defenders the wrong way, Johnny Manziel just increased the size of the bulls-eye he put on his own back. After a dismal display of quarterback play on Monday night, Johnny Football showed more of his immaturity by ‘flipping the bird’ to the Washington Redskin bench. The Cleveland Browns, searching for their starting quarterback on Monday night, were no closer to picking their starter after the pitiful play of both incumbent Brian Hoyer and rookie Johnny Manziel. Hoyer threw for a listless 2-16 for 16 yards and a sack and opened the door wide open for Johnny Football to swoop in and take over the starting quarterback position before the Browns’ third preseason game. Instead Manziel completed 7 of 16 passes for 65 yards performance and was sacked three times. He did throw an 8-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter against the Redskin reserve defenders but had several poorly thrown balls in the game. It was after one his signature scrambles across the field near the Redskin sideline, when Manziel threw up the middle finger toward the Redskin bench. After some heckling welcoming Manziel to the fast-paced, bigger and stronger NFL game, Johnny Football decided to show a different type of finger gesture, in lieu of his signature money gesture. ESPN caught it on camera for the national audience at home. While the Browns were left more confused Monday night about their upcoming decision for a starting quarterback, one team is at home salivating for week one to arrive. That team is the Pittsburgh Steelers who will be ready to show Manziel what big-time football is like in the NFL. If you are lucky enough to be named starter in week one against the Steelers and you decide to use that same finger, you will be probably be known as the Browns quarterback with nine fingers. Johnny it may be too late, but maybe you should start decreasing the size of that bulls-eye you have placed on your own back or hope that Brian Hoyer is named the starter to start the season.