Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Phelps Makes History Again

Congratulations to Michael Phelps who won his 19th Olympic Medal today making him the most decorated athlete in Olympic history. If you've been keeping track, he's got 15 golds, 2 silvers and 2 bronzes. Let's take a look back at all 19 of his medals:

2004 Athens

1) Gold - 400m Individual Medley - 4:08.26 - World Record
Photo Credit: dosomething.org

2) Bronze - 4x100m Freestyle Relay - 3:14.62

3) Bronze - 200m Freestyle - 1:45.32

4) Gold - 200m Butterfly - 1:54.05 - Olympic Record

5) Gold - 4x200m Freestyle Relay - 7:07.33

6) Gold - 200m Individual Medley - 1:57.14 - Olympic Record

7) Gold - 100m Butterfly - 51.25  - Olympic Record

8) Gold - 4x100 Medley Relay - 3:30.68 - World Record

2008 Beijing
Photo Credit: sports--today.blogspot.com

9) Gold - 400m Individual Medley - 4:03.84 - World Record

10) Gold - 4x100m Freestyle Relay - 3:08.24 - World Record

11) Gold - 200m Freestyle - 1:42.96 - World Record

12) Gold - 200m Butterfly - 1:52.03 - World Record

13) Gold - 4x200m Freestyle Relay - 6:58.56 - World Record

14) Gold - 200m Individual Medley - 1:54.23 - World Record

15) Gold - 100m Butterfly - 50.58  - Olympic Record

16) Gold - 4x100m Medley Relay - 3:29.34 - World Record

2012 London

17) Silver - 4x100m Freestyle Relay - 3:10.38

18) Silver - 200m Butterfly - 1:53.01

19) Gold - 4x200m Freestyle Relay - 6:59.70
Photo Credit nbcolympics.com

Phelps still has three more events in London where he can add to his record: the 200 meter IM, the 100 meter fly and the 4x100 Medley Relay. Who held that record for most medals in Olympics before Phelps broke it today? That'd be Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina. Latynina won 6 medals in Melbourne in 1956, 6 more in Rome in 1960 and then 6 one more time in Tokyo in 1964 at the age of 29.
Photo Credit: rte.ie

Friday, July 27, 2012

Smitty's Mailbag

Can you explain the MLS's designated player rule? The most I know about it is that teams are limited to 3 designated players. Which seems kinda odd to me cause I would think everybody on the team would be a designated player. - Cory L., Raceland, LA
Photo Credit: zimbio.com
Nicknamed "the Beckham Rule," the Designated Player Rule was adopted as part of MLS's salary cap regulations for the 2007 season. The rule allows each MLS franchise to sign up to three players that would be considered outside of the team's salary cap (either by offering the player higher wages or by paying a transfer fee for the player), allowing MLS teams to compete for star players in the international soccer market. In a nutshell, it's a way for the league to either bring in talented foreign players or keep our better domestic players in the league by being able to offer them more money without incurring a penalty.

Each club has two Designated Player slots and clubs are allowed to “purchase” a third Designated Player slot for a one-time fee of $250,000 that will be dispersed in the form of allocation money to all clubs that do not have three Designated Players. Clubs will not have to buy the third DP roster slot to accommodate Designated Players 23 years old and younger. Designated Player slots are not tradable.

Here's a list of the league's current designated players:

Álvaro Fernández (Uruguay) - Chicago Fire
Sherjill MacDonald (Netherlands) - Chicago Fire
Oswaldo Minda (Ecuador) - Chivas USA
Hamdi Salihi (Albania) - D.C. United
Fabián Castillo (Colombia) - FC Dallas
David Ferreira (Colombia) - FC Dallas
Julian de Guzman (Canada) - FC Dallas
Oscar Boniek Garcia (Honduras) - Houston Dynamo
Landon Donovan (USA) - Los Angeles Galaxy
David Beckham (England) - Los Angeles Galaxy
Robbie Keane (Ireland) - Los Angeles Galaxy
Marco Di Vaio (Italy) - Montreal Impact
Shalrie Joseph (Grenada) - New England Revolution
Jerry Bengtson (Honduras) - New England Revolution
Thierry Henry (France) - New York Red Bulls
Rafael Marquez (Mexico) - New York Red Bulls
Tim Cahill (Australia) - New York Red Bulls
Freddy Adu (USA) - Philadelphia Union
Diego Chará (Colombia) - Portland Timbers
Kris Boyd (Scotland) - Portland Timbers
Álvaro Saborío (Costa Rica) - Real Salt Lake
Javier Morales (Argentina) - Real Salt Lake
Fredy Montero (Colombia) - Seattle Sounders FC
Mauro Rosales (Argentina) - Seattle Sounders FC
Danny Koevermans (Netherlands) - Toronto FC
Torsten Frings (Netherlands) - Toronto FC
Eric Hassli (France) - Toronto FC
Barry Robson (Scotland) - Vancouver Whitecaps FC
Kenny Miller (Scotland) - Vancouver Whitecaps FC

Michael Bradley just made a move to AS Roma. Chievo Verona got $4.6M and half-ownership interests in Romanian Adrian Stoian. Who got the better end of that deal and is that a good move for Bradley? - Cory L., Raceland, LA
Photo Credit: espn.go.com
There's no question that Roma is a better team than Chievo Verona and the addition of Bradley makes them that much more competitive and a favorite to grab a spot in a postseason tournament. In that regard, Roma is getting the better end of this deal as they get a starting central midfielder while giving up less than $5M and a 21 year old prospect who spent last season playing in Serie B. Stoian may turn out to be sensational, it's too early to tell, but for what Roma's looking to do right now and what the addition of Bradley means for them this season, it was an easy decision to pull the trigger.

As for how the move affects Bradley, I love it. After a terrific debut season in Serie A he now goes to a better team which, assuming he can win a starting job, will only help further his development as a player. And that is exactly what the U.S. Men's National Team needs from him right now. The move seems to be working out well so far as Bradley tallied a goal in this week's exhibition game against Liverpool.

There's been a lot of talk as to whether or not this Spanish National team is the best team ever to be assembled. Pele seems to think his Brazilian team from the 70s was better. How do you see it? - Cory L., Raceland, LA
Photo Credit: wired868.com
That's a tough one. Pelé's 1970 World Cup Champion Brazil team outscored its opponents 19-7 in 6 games en route to a perfect tournament. Three times in the tournament they scored at least 4 goals led by Jairzinho's seven and four more from that guy Pelé who you might have heard of. On the other side of the coin you have the 2012 Spain squad. Spain went 8-0 in Euro 2012 Qualifying outscoring their opponents 26-6, and then went on to go unbeaten and conceded just one goal in six games en route to the Euro 2012 Championship. It's worth noting though that Spain did draw with both Italy (1-1 in group play) and Portugal (0-0 before winning on penalties in the semifinals). If we're talking best team ever, I don't think you can have those kinds of slip-ups. Advantage: Brazil. However, don't forget that Spain won this last tournament without David Villa and without Carles Puyol. If they'd had both of them healthy then you might have a real debate on your hands.

There are plenty of rumors rolling around the Deuce may be headed to Liverpool. It's also widely reported that Deuce wants to play Champions League ball. Liverpool is not going to be playing in the Champions League this season. Something is not adding up. Can you  help me to understand the "logic" involved here? - Cory L., Raceland, LA
Photo Credit: guardian.co.uk

To me Liverpool doesn't make a lot of sense. Well, let me rephrase. The move makes a lot of sense to Liverpool. Dempsey would pair nicely with Steven Gerrard in the midfield and this move coupled with a couple others could make Liverpool a serious contender again. But as you said, Liverpool isn't playing in the Champions League this year. Maybe Dempsey grew up a huge Liverpool fan and that's who he's always wanted to play for. Otherwise, I'm as confused as you are. I'm still waiting for PSG to swoop in and make Deuce an offer. I could see him and Zlatan Ibrahimović teaming up to be quite a tandem. And yeah, PSG is playing in the Champions League this season.

That does it for this issue. As always a special thanks to everyone who wrote in. And remember, as the great G$ Meyer says Reading is for Winners, especially when you read Smitty's Mailbag.

Got a question for the mailbag? Click on the link at the top of the page or email us directly at smittysports.blogspot@hotmail.com.

Monday, July 23, 2012

NBA All-Summer League Team

The 2012 Las Vegas Summer League wrapped up on Sunday night. Here's a look at the 13 players who made this year's All-Summer League Team:

Co-MVP - Damian Lillard - Portland Trail Blazers - PG
6th overall pick, 2012 NBA Draft (Weber State)
26.5 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 5.3 apg
Photo Credit: usatoday.com

Co-MVP - Josh Selby - Memphis Grizzlies - PG
49th overall pick, 2011 NBA Draft (Kansas)
24.2 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 3.2 apg
Photo Credit: facebook.com

Malcolm Thomas - Chicago Bulls - F
Undrafted, 2011 (San Diego State)
11.4 ppg, 12.4 rpg, 1.4 apg
Photo Credit: bleacherreport.com

Bradley Beal - Washington Wizards - SG
3rd overall pick, 2012 NBA Draft (Florida)
17.6 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 1.8 apg
Photo Credit: cbssports.com

Tobias Harris - Milwaukee Bucks - F
19th overall pick, 2011 NBA Draft (Tennessee)
20.8 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 1.6 apg
Photo Credit: bleacherreport.com

John Henson - Milwaukee Bucks - PF
14th overall pick, 2012 NBA Draft (North Carolina)
18.3 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 1.5 apg
Photo Credit: bleacherreport.com

Jeremy Lamb - Houston Rockets - G
12th overall pick, 2012 NBA Draft (Connecticut)
20.0 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 0.8 apg
Photo Credit: thedreamshake.com

Dominique Jones - Dallas Mavericks - SG
25th overall pick, 2010 NBA Draft (South Florida)
16.4 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 5.0 apg
Photo Credit: nba.com

Cory Joseph - San Antonio Spurs - PG
29th overall pick, 2011 NBA Draft (Texas)
17.0 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 5.2 apg
Photo Credit: nba.com

Jimmy Butler - Chicago Bulls - SF/SG
30th overall pick, 2011 NBA Draft (Marquette)
20.8 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 2.0 apg
Photo Credit: bleacherreport.com

Kemba Walker - Charlotte Bobcats - PG
9th overall pick, 2011 NBA Draft (Connecticut)
15.8 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 5.8 apg
Photo Credit: dimemag.com

Donatas Motiejunas - Houston Rockets - PF/C
20th overall pick, 2011 NBA Draft (Lithuania)
16.3 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 0.8 apg
Photo Credit: ridiculousupside.com

Jae Crowder - Dallas Mavericks - SF
34th overall pick, 2012 NBA Draft (Marquette)
16.6 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 1.6 apg
Photo Credit: probasketballtalk.nbcsports.com

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Introducing Your 2012 MLS All Stars


Dan Kennedy - Chivas USA
Photo Credit: ruralhobbyfarm.com

Jimmy Nielsen - Sporting Kansas City
Photo Credit: soccerbyives.net


Steven Beitashour - San Jose Earthquakes
Photo Credit: sjearthquakes.com

Aurélien Collin - Sporting Kansas City
Photo Credit: thesoccerroom.com

Ramiro Corrales - San Jose Earthquakes
Photo Credit: sjearthquakes.com

Jay DeMerit - Vancouver Whitecaps FC
Photo Credit: news.sportsinteraction.com

Heath Pearce - New York Red Bulls
Photo Credit: newyorkredbulls.com

Justin Morrow - San Jose Earthquakes
Photo Credit: sjearthquakes.com
Carlos Valdés - Philadelphia Union
Photo Credit: philly.com


Osvaldo Alonso - Seattle Sounders FC
Photo Credit: sounders.sportspressnw.com

David Beckham - LA Galaxy
Photo Credit: articles.chicagotribune.com

Kyle Beckerman - Real Salt Lake
Photo Credit: bleacherreport.com

Dwayne De Rosario - DC United
Photo Credit: dcunited.com

Landon Donovan - LA Galaxy
Photo Credit: blog.eastbay.com

Graham Zusi - Sporting Kansas City
Photo Credit: pressbox.mlssoccer.com


Thierry Henry - New York Red Bulls
Photo Credit: mlssoccer.com

Eddie Johnson - Seattle Sounders FC
Photo Credit: bleacherreport.com

Chris Pontius - DC United
Photo Credit: bleacherreport.com

Chris Wondolowski - San Jose Earthquakes
Photo Credit: flair.wittysparks.com


Sunday, July 15, 2012

Smitty's Sunday Mailbag - Jilted Boston Fans Edition

How do you fell about Ray Allen’s decision to go to the Heat?  Disappointing certainly from a Celtic fan’s viewpoint. - Steve S., Scarborough, ME
Photo Credit: zimbio.com
Honestly, I was shocked. If the relationship between Allen and point guard Rajon Rondo had really deteriorated to a point that the two couldn't play together any more, then I can understand him opting to play somewhere else. For me the real shocker is that he opted to go to Miami, who is essentially Boston's biggest rival right now. The Heat eliminated the Celtics from the last two postseasons, and I didn't get the impression that there was any love lost between the two franchises. I guess it just shows how much the culture of the game has changed. Can you imagine Kevin McHale signing on with the Bad Boys Detroit Pistons late in his career? Isaiah Thomas running the point in Chicago? That's basically the equivalent. We're not talking about Steve Nash, who has 0 rings, trying to get one late in his career by joining the Lakers. We're talking about someone who has won a ring, leaving a championship-caliber team (the Celtics were one win away from the NBA Finals) and going to the team that knocked them out of the playoffs. The part that I find funny is that Ray Allen thinks that the Boston fanbase is going to be understanding. Have you met the Boston fanbase, Ray? You're Johnny Damon. Roger Clemens. Eric Mangini. 
Photo Credit: forums.realgm.com
The good news for Celtics fans is that while Ray Allen's perimeter game certainly makes the Heat more formidable, Boston is poised to make a run without him. The addition of Jason Terry gives them a veteran scorer who has embraced his role as super-sub (a la James Harden in Oklahoma City). Terry, who won a ring in Dallas, also has the ability to play both guard positions which is something Allen did not bring to the table. A healthy Avery Bradley gives them a substantial defensive upgrade at shooting guard as well. So Boston's going to be all right, and if they can stay healthy, they may even be better than they were this past season. The only real question that remains is who is going to get booed louder when the Heat come to Boston, LeBron or Ray Allen?

What is with the Sawx and their terrible trades this season? Earlier, Cherington traded for Marlon Byrd who has since been released and now Youk, who may have been slumping but is still Youk, for Lillibridge (batting under .200) and Stewart (ERA over 6.00). AND they paid $5.5M on top! Am I missing something oh swami of the sports world - The Dude, Chesapeake, VA

Let's review some of Red Sox GM Ben Cherington's trades since taking over:

*Traded Josh Reddick, Miles Head and Raul Alcantara to Oakland for Andrew Bailey and Ryan Sweeney.
Photo Credit: savannahnow.com
Sweeney hit .373 with 11 doubles in April. Since then he's hitting .224 with 6 doubles and has yet to hit a home run this season. Andrew Bailey has been out the entire injury with a thumb injury. By comparison, Reddick is 10th in the American League with 20 home runs. Meanwhile 21 year old Miles Head (1B) tore through the California League (.382, 18 HRs) and was promoted to AA. On the year he's hitting .362 with 27 doubles, 20 home runs, and 69 runs batted in. At least Alcantara hasn't blossomed yet. He's 5-8 in 17 starts with a 5.38 ERA in A-ball.

*Traded Jed Lowrie and Kyle Weiland to Houston for Mark Melancon.
Photo Credit: zimbio.com
Melancon managed to get himself demoted to AAA until early June after starting the season by compiling a 49.50 ERA in just 4 appearances; not easy to do. While he's pitched well in his return (1 earned run in 13 2/3 innings) and lowered his ERA to 6.89, he hasn't been pitching in pressure situations which is what Boston brought him in to do. While Lowrie and Weiland are both on the DL in Houston right now, Lowrie has put together a solid campaign for the Astros hitting 14 home runs and leading NL shortstops with a .343 on base percentage.

*Traded Michael Bowden and Hunter Cervenka to the Cubs for Marlon Byrd.
Photo Credit: espn.go.com
Byrd lasted about a month and a half in Boston uniform. The former all star started the year in a 3 for 43 funk with the Cubs before getting traded. While he hit .270 with the Sox he struck out 21 times and walked just twice, he was released on the 12th of June. Bowden has posted a 7.45 with the Cubs since the trade and since been demoted to AAA but has started to find his form down on the farm. In 13 games with the Iowa Cubs Bowden has a 2.12 ERA and is holding opposing hitters to a .180 average while striking out 20 in 17 innings. The 22 year old Cervenka, who was a player to be named later in this deal, has an ERA of 2.00 in 14 minor league relief appearances since joining the Cubs' single-A affiliate Peoria. He's struck out 26 in 27 innings while allowing just 21 hits.

*Traded Kevin Youkilis to the White Sox for Brent Lillibridge and Zach Stewart.
Photo Credit: bleacherreport.com
In 15 games since the trade, Youk has hit .316 (18/57), is driving in a run a game and has an on base percentage over .400. Typical Youkilis numbers. Lillibridge is 2 for 15 in a Red Sox uniform which has actually lowered his average to .167 from .175 at the time of the deal. Stewart currently isn't on the Sox roster instead heading straight to AAA where he's made 4 starts (1-1 3.74 ERA).

So yeah, in terms of value, I think you could argue the Sox have lost every single one of those trades so far. There's a chance Andrew Bailey could change that, but even if he does, you're looking at a record of 1-3. And that's a stretch to say Bailey will be worth more than Reddick moving forward. I know the issue with Youkilis was driven by clubhouse chemistry (seems to be a common issue in Boston right now), but I'm shocked the Sox couldn't get more than Lillibridge, at best a utility infielder, and Stewart (career ERA 5.92). As for the other deals, I don't know what to tell you. It will be interesting to see what the Sox do at the deadline, and to see what exactly Cherington's plan is. I'll tell you what though, if he keeps making deals like this, he won't be around very long.

That does it for this issue. As always a special thanks to everyone who wrote in. And remember, as the great G$ Meyer says Reading is for Winners, especially when you read Smitty's Mailbag.

Got a question for the mailbag? Click on the link at the top of the page or email us directly at smittysports.blogspot@hotmail.com. 

Saturday, July 14, 2012

How Good Was the Dream Team?

Photo Credit: interbasket.net
Kobe Bryant made headlines this week when he said that his 2012 Olympic team would be able to beat the 1992 version, aka the original Dream Team. That's quite a statement. And some people were actually AGREEING! Is it possible that people have forgotten just how good that team was? Christian Laettner aside - that team was ridiculous. ELEVEN Hall of Famers. Let's review:

Michael Jordan
Scottie Pippen
John Stockton
Karl Malone
Magic Johnson
Larry Bird
Patrick Ewing
Chris Mullin
David Robinson
Charles Barkley
Clyde Drexler

Now Bryant made the comment that the Dream Team was past their prime and his younger, more athletic version would be able to take advantage of their more seasoned counterparts. Were the members of the Dream Team really past their prime though? AFTER the Olympics:

Jordan won 4 more scoring titles, and 4 more NBA championships.
Pippen made 7 all-defensive first teams and 3 all-NBA first teams.
Stockton led the NBA in assists for the next 4 seasons.
Malone made 3 all-defensive first teams, 7 all-NBA first teams, and won 2 MVPs.
Ewing made 5 more All Star Teams and averaged at least 22 points and 10 rebounds the next 5 years.
Robinson won an MVP, made 2 all-defensive first teams, and made 7 All Star Teams.
Barkley won an MVP and made 5 All Star Teams.
Drexler won a title and made 4 more All Star Teams.
Mullin averaged 26 points the next season.

So the only players on the team who were truly 'past their prime' were Bird and Magic. Let that one sink in. On the other side of the fence, you have Anthony Davis who has never played a game against an NBA player, Tyson Chandler (0 all star appearances), Andre Iguodala (1 all star appearance in 9 seasons), James Harden (0 all star appearances), and other than Kobe, Tyson Chandler and LeBron, the team has combined to win 0 titles. Kevin Love hasn't even played a postseason game yet.

And how would this year's team match up on the court against the Dream Team?

Let's start at the center position. You've got Ewing and Robinson, two of the best low post players in NBA history. And the only true center on this year's roster is Tyson Chandler. After that you have Kevin Love and Anthony Davis as your only real size. Advantage: Dream Team, big time.

Power forwards. Karl Malone, Charles Barkley and Laettner. If Love's your backup center, do you slide LeBron up to the 4 along with Davis? Durant? I don't know if Durant could guard Malone. Or even Sir Charles. Even if we say it's LeBron, I don't think that tips the scales. Malone and Barkley were both extremely physical presences and wouldn't be phased by LeBron's athleticism like a lot of players. Advantage: Push.

Small fowards. Pippen, Bird and Mullin vs Durant, Iguodala and Carmelo. Durant and Anthony are unbelievable scorers, but the Dream Team counters with Larry Legend and one of the best defensive players of all time in Pippen. At worst, this is a push for the Dream Team. People tend to forget just how good Pippen really was since he played his prime in Jordan's shadow. Advantage: Dream Team.

Shooting Guards: Jordan and Drexler vs Kobe and James Harden. I'm sorry, there's no way I'm taking 33 year old Bryant over 29 year old MJ. MJ was the best player on four more title teams. Kobe's no slouch, but he's not doing what young MJ was any more. And if you disagree with that, there's no way Harden is better than Clyde the Glide. Advantage: Dream Team.

Point Guards: Stockton and Magic vs Westbrook, Paul and Deron Williams. The '12 team has more depth, but Stockton, the NBA's all-time assists leader, wasn't exactly a slouch, and Magic is such a mismatch. Even an old Magic was still 6'9". The '12 team counters with athleticism, but how do you get into the lane when the other team has David Robinson AND Patrick Ewing? Advantage: Push.

So I don't really see any area that the '12 team has an advantage, except maybe in transition. But how many transition opportunities do you think they'd get against a team of this caliber?

And one more thing worth mentioning, the '12 team isn't even the best team these guys could've put together. Derrick Rose isn't there, Dwight Howard isn't there. Same with Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade and now Blake Griffin. How do you expect to beat the 'best team ever assembled' with less than your best?

Sorry Kobe, there will only be one Dream Team.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Tuesday-ish Trivia

This week's question:
Photo Credit: latimes.co
Last night's Major League All Star Game featured two pitchers with less than ten wins (Matt Cain and Justin Verlander both have 9) for the first time in a non-shortened season since 1993. Who were the starting pitchers in the 1993 All Star Game?

Last week's question:

The Kentucky Wildcats recently tied a record when they had six players drafted in the 2012 NBA Draft: Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Terrence Jones, Marquis Teague, Doron Lamb and Darius Miller. What other team had six players drafted in an NBA Draft and who were they?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Weekly Top Tens - 7/10/12


1. Andrew McCutchen - Pittsburgh - .362 (112/309)
2. Melky Cabrera - San Francisco - .353 (119/337)
3. David Wright - Mets - .351 (106/302)
4. Carlos Ruiz - Philadelphia - .350 (90/257)
5. Joey Votto - Cincinnati - .348 (100/287)
6. Carlos Gonzalez - Colorado - .330 (104/315)
7. Martin Prado - Atlanta - .321 (104/324)
8. Matt Holliday - St. Louis - .317 (101/319)
9. Michael Bourn - Atlanta - .311 (111/357)
10. Ryan Braun - Milwaukee - .306 (94/307)


1. Mike Trout - Angels - .341 (88/258)
2. Austin Jackson - Detroit - .332 (84/253)
3. Paul Konerko - White Sox - .329 (94/286)
4. Joe Mauer - Minnesota - .326 (93/285)
5. Adrian Beltre - Texas - .326 (104/319)
6. Miguel Cabrera - Detroit - .324 (111/343)
7. Alex Rios - White Sox - .318 (101/318)
8. Robinson Cano - Yankees - .313 (104/332)
9. David Ortiz - Red Sox - .312 (96/308)
10. Derek Jeter - Yankees - .308 (111/360)