Sunday, May 9, 2010

Will Taillon Buck His Commitment to Rice?

(Photo courtesy of

Jameson Taillon is going to have quite a decision to make after this June's MLB draft.

Taillon, who is expected by many to be the first right-handed pitcher taken in the draft, will be looking at a signing bonus worth millions. However, the 18-year-old phenom from The Woodlands High School in Texas, has been a verbal commitment to the Rice Owls since his junior year.

Rice baseball head coach Wayne Graham says he's keeping his fingers crossed, even though many doubt they'll be able to actually sign Taillon:

“Obviously, there’s one player on there that nobody thinks we’ll be able to keep,” said Graham. “Too bad he’s so good,” said Graham, laughing. “We’ll have our fingers crossed until August 15th.”

In addition to his blazing fastball, which is consistently clocked from 94-97 mph and can reach 99, Taillon also has brilliant command of a "spiked curve," that comes in from 82-84 mph, a slider that sits between 85 and 90 mph, and a changeup that will come in around 80-82 mph, according to Taillon himself .

Look no further than the kid's personal website— — for an unbiased description of his arsenal: "Plus Fastball, Plus Curveball, Plus Slider, and Great Change-Up." Had Bryce Harper not enabled himself to be draft-eligible , Taillon may have been taken first overall by the Washington Nationals , giving the team quite a duo of right-handed pitching prospects with 2009 first-overall pick Stephen Strasburg.

Taillon hasn't given any indication that he is going to sign with the Major League club that selects him, but said in an interview with Jeff Sullivan of 2010 MLB Draft Blog that his college decision was never really in question:<

"I have always had a twinkle in my eye for Rice. Rice University is 45 minutes from my house, they have a great baseball program with a winning tradition, first class coaches, facilities that are second to none, and incredible academics..." Taillon said. "...I got a lot of letters and invitations to attend practices and games from schools like Texas, North Carolina, Vanderbilt and LSU. However, there was no doubt in my mind I wanted to be a Rice Owl."

Many MLB mock draft experts, including RivalsHigh's own Dallas Jackson have Taillon going third to the Baltimore Orioles. However, if the Orioles are to retain Taillon, it may take much more than the $3.2 million it took to sign 2008 first-round pick Brian Matusz, who is now a staple of the O's starting rotation.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Disgruntled Rangers Fans To Host Anti-Sather Rally Outside MSG

Prior to a matchup between the New York Rangers and Buffalo Sabres at Madison Square Garden on March 7, a growing number of Rangers' fans are planning a rally imploring Cablevision owner James Dolan to relieve Glen Sather of his duties as team president and general manager.

Sather, who is in his 10th year in the Rangers' front office, has often been criticized by fans for bringing in a number of high-priced players that have failed to live up to gaudy expectations and left the Rangers very little room under the NHL's salary cap.

Mike Zippo, a junior at Sacred Heart University, created a Facebook event that has has immediately gone viral. In just under a week, the event has reached over 3,600 Rangers fans, with roughly 950 already ready to attend.

"We're still deciding on what we are definitely going to do, but I think we are going to have a prepared statement to make about why Sather needs to go and what we would like to see happen," said Zippo, who is currently in the process of getting a permit from New York City officials. "We will have large signs and we're also working on getting T-shirts made for the event. As of right now, it's looking really good."

Zippo, a season ticket holder since 2006-07 who works a summer job while off from school to pay for his tickets, says he created the Facebook page because he is "growing sick and tired of this mediocre team we put on the ice year after year. Sitting at the game Monday night, I had enough."

The Rangers fell last Monday to the Carolina Hurricanes, who currently sit last in the Eastern Conference, 5-1.

Through the use of a famous photo editing site based off Barack Obama's ad campaign in last year's election, Zippo created a polarizing photo of Glen Sather, with the words "Failure. Fire Sather" written under it.

Ironically, the photo seems to have united Rangers' fans against Sather, for the sake of future Blueshirt squads.

Over the course of Sather's tenure, the team has failed to make it out of the second round of the playoffs.

Chants of "Fire Sather" have been heard inside for a number of years, well before Knicks' fans started demanding that Isiah Thomas be relieved of his duties. However, until now, there hasn't been a major rally against Sather's regime held outside the arena.

In addition to the Facebook event page, Zippo has also created an electronic petition that he continues to urge fellow Blueshirt fans to sign. In the petition, he states:

Dear James Dolan,

For the past 10 years, loyal Rangers fans around the world have watched our beloved team go nowhere due to the leadership of the clubs President and General Manager, Glen Sather. Our franchise has been in a state of disarray for 10+ years, and there is no end in sight. This here petition is being signed by Rangers fans around the globe who are asking you to remove Mr. Sather from his job, and to replace him with someone who will restore our hockey club to the top of the NHL with hopes that we will become Stanley Cup Champions. This petition is being signed by people who want Glen Sather removed whether they are attending the rally March 7th outside Madison Square Garden or not. Remove him please James!

Yours Truly,

Loyal Rangers fans around the globe.

Zippo says the goal of the rally is for Dolan, "to hear the people that are supposedly the most important piece of the organization. We pay a lot of money to see this team and are proud to be Rangers fans, but for 10 years Glen Sather has been making terrible personal decisions whether it be via free agency, drafting or through trades. We want Glen Sather out of this organization as soon as possible."

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Dear Santa...

Dear Santa,

I know it's pretty late to be sending you a letter, and I've been kind of a prick this year, but this is a very special request. On Christmas Eve, when you're making your rounds, it would mean oh so much to me if you could please find it in your heart to run Glen Sather over with your sled.

Please do us all a favor in Rangerland, or as you may refer to it, the Island of Misfit Toys, and make sure you backup over him a few times as well. Make sure he's good and dead. Well, maybe "dead" is a bit harsh of a word, what with it being the Christmas season and all.
Let's make it easier for you, just make sure he's in a vegetative state and will be deemed unfit to continue as general manager of the New York Rangers. I'll even act really surprised and excited when I hear about it on the news Christmas morning!

I haven't been doing so well lately, Santa. Let me tell you why. You see, the Rangers and I have fallen out of love. Yes, the team I used to cherish with all my heart that's three sizes too small, has gone from perennial Stanley Cup contender to a mediocre collection of overpaid underproducers. I hate them. Of course I still love them deep down, but I'm ashamed of it, Santa. I'm ashamed! I tell my friends that I like the Blackhawks, because it's easy to make fun of a Rangers fan these days. And I hate getting picked on!

Mr. Sather is solely to blame for this transformation. He took a good team and made them unwatchable. He signed players like Wade Redden, Michael Rozsival and Chris Drury to long-term contracts that have killed his ability to surround them with a good supporting cast, sort of like Jonathan Taylor Thomas in I'll Be Home for Christmas.

I have a feeling that maybe without Mr. Sather in charge of things, in a year or two my Rangers can return to the form that made me fall in love with them after the lockout. I'm not going to get picky and ask you to let them win the Stanley Cup. I mean, if I was that desperate I would've went straight to Hell and just made a deal with the Devil. I just want them to be fun to watch again.

I'm sure you're a big hockey fan. It's pretty cold in the North Pole. Don't you see what he's done to this team? Don't give me that line about the Oilers in the '80s. He had Gretzky! And Messier!

Wait a minute, that reminds me. He's got Messier now too! Santa, if you take him out, the Captain will be back in charge! He'll never fail us!

If you can't come through on my one only wish this year, then at the very least could you please put me in touch with Mr. Ebenezer Scrooge? Maybe I'll try and scare Glen with the ol' Ghost of Rangers Future routine to get him to change his ways.

Also, could you please, for his sake, certainly not mine, bring John Tortorella a pacemaker this year? I don't think he asked for one, but he's going to need one pretty soon.

Thanks a lot Santa, I know it's last minute, but you've never let me down before. I'm sure you'll make this year the best Christmas ever!



P.S. - Merry Christmas!

P.P.S. - Um, Brashear may have eaten your cookies. Sorry about that.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Peter Gammons To Leave ESPN Following Winter Meetings

Peter Gammons, 64, has reportedly released a statement that says he will be moving on from ESPN at the conclusion of the 2009 MLB Winter Meetings later this week to pursue new endeavors.

Gammons, who has been with ESPN since 1989, said that the decision to leave was "conflicted."

"I owe a great deal of my professional life to ESPN, having spent more than half of my 40 years in journalism working for the network, and the choice to move on was made with nothing but the strongest feelings for the people with whom I worked," said Gammons. "ESPN gave me a great deal more than I gave it, and will always be a huge part of who I am."

In 2004, Gammons was honored by the Baseball Writers Association of America as the recipient of the J.G. Taylor Spink Award for outstanding baseball writing during the 2005 Hall of Fame induction ceremony on July 31 in Cooperstown, N.Y.

The established writer began his career with The Boston Globe in 1969 where he wrote a popular Sunday baseball column. From there, he moved on to Sports Illustrated where he covered a number of sports, including the NHL and college basketball in addition to Major League Baseball.

Gammons joined ESPN in 1989, as part of Baseball Tonight, where he worked through the 2009 season. Gammons provided years of analysis that helped the show win numerous Sports Emmys.

From 2006-08, Gammons also worked as a field reporter for ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball telecasts and provided "Diamond Notes" for Sportscenter in-game highlights.

"As a print journalist moving to television, Peter was a pioneer who became a Hall of Famer," said Norby Williamson, ESPN's executive vice president of production. "His contributions to ESPN will never be forgotten. We're sad to see Peter go, but understand his desire for new challenges and a less demanding schedule."

Click here to read ESPN's full statement regarding Peter Gammons.

Yankees Get Granderson, D-Backs get Jackson in Three-Team Deal

According to Jon Heyman of, the Yankees have added all-star center fielder Curtis Granderson in a three-team trade involving the Detroit Tigers and Arizona Diamondbacks.

The Diamondbacks receive starting pitcher Edwin Jackson from Detroit and former first-round pick Ian Kennedy from the Yankees, while the Tigers claim left-handed reliever Phil Coke and outfield prospect Austin Jackson from New York and starter Max Scherzer and set-up man Daniel Schlereth from Arizona.

Granderson had 30 HR and 71 RBI near the top of the order last season for Detroit, despite hitting just .249.

The Tigers, who had the fifth highest payroll in the league in 2009, were the talk of the Winter Meetings thus far, as they looked to cut excess salaries by dealing some key players. Granderson is due just $5.5 million in 2010, but his salary could rise to up to $15 million in 2013 if he hits potential performance bonuses.

The Yankees gave up prospect Austin Jackson, who was expected to crack the team heading into 2010. Many people inside the Yankees' organization compared Jackson potentially to Granderson, so dealing a player who may become as good as the one you're getting back makes fiscal sense.

Granderson figures to start in center field for the Yankees in 2010, which may mark the end of Hideki Matsui's time in pinstripes. The Japanese-born free agent had been relegated to just DH duties in 2009, and Granderson's speed and versatility makes Matsui all the more expendable.

Phil Coke will join Jackson in Detroit. The lefty reliever had an up-and-down 2009 season with New York, finishing with a 4.50 ERA and 49 K in 60 innings pitched. The Yankees also dealt Ian Kennedy to Arizona. Kennedy has a career ERA of 6.03 in three disappointing seasons with New York after coming up as a highly regarded prospect.

The Diamondbacks will also add starting pitcher Edwin Jackson from Detroit, while sending Max Scherzer and Daniel Schlereth to the Tigers in return.

Jackson is arbitration-eligible this winter, and his salary could increase to up to $5 million from the $2.2 million he made this season. He went 13-9 with a 3.62 ERA, good for seventh in the American League. Jackson also had 162 strikeouts in 214 innings pitched.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Breaking News: Hofstra Eliminates Football Program

The Hofstra Pride football team's 52-38 victory over Massachusetts on Nov. 21 will be its last as the university chose Thursday to cut the program from its athletic department.

Hofstra president Stuart Rabinowitz announced at a press conference this morning that after 69 years of competition in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision, Hofstra will cut funding to the football team.

"This has been a two-year process, and has nothing to do with the win-loss record," said Rabinowitz. "It is a decision made by the Board of Trustees to better use in the long run those resources for academics."

According to Rabinowitz and Hofstra athletic director Jack Hayes, the amount of money that went into the football team, or any team in the Football Championship Subdivision for that matter, far surpassed the revenue it generated for the university.

The decision was announced just 11 days after Northeastern University, also a member of the Colonial Athletic Association, decided to shut down its' football program after 74 years. According to Rabinowitz and Hayes, though, Northeastern's actions did not play any role in their decision.

The resources saved will be put towards making the university more affordable to students in need. There is $2.8 million in scholarships awarded annually that will now be available to offer to other students as academic awards and grants.

Despite the rich tradition of Hofstra football, and a handful of alumni in the NFL, Rabinowitz says the board examined every part of the budget, including athletics, which they hadn't looked at in some time.

"We want to play at the highest level of every sport we are playing in," Rabinowitz said. "We even looked into making the jump to the Football Bowl Subdivision, but we would have to renovate the stadium, and nobody was inviting us to join a conference, so to be a 1-A independent was not feasible."

"The branding we want is 'Hofstra University: Highest quality in everything, but academics first,' " said Rabinowitz.

Athletic director Hayes met with both head coach Dave Cohen and the members of the 2009 team, who finished 5-6 to discuss the board's decision.

"We know it's hurtful to players and coaches," said Hayes. "But we are doing everything we can to make this as appropriate a situation as we can for those involved."

Hofstra players that choose to stay at the school will still be granted the scholarships they were promised when they enrolled. Hayes also said that he will aid any players that will look to transfer to other schools to continue their football career.

Read Rabinowitz's full statement.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Adelphi Men's Soccer Left Out of NCAAs

The Adelphi men's soccer team, despite its' 13-2-4 record, was left out of the the NCAA Division-I tournament when the 48-team field was revealed Monday night.

The Panthers, led by freshman sensation Issa Tall, breezed through the Atlantic Soccer Conference. On Sunday, they defeated Longwood, 2-1, to capture the school's second conference tournament championship. Tall, who led the team in scoring with 16 goals, found the back of the net in the second half to extend the lead to 2-0.

But winning both the ASC regular season title and the conference tournament proved to be too little to earn an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament, and a chance to play for the College Cup.
"We were hoping to get in, since we tied Princeton early on," said head coach Carlo Acquista. "But the NCAA is very meticulous in the way they grant at-large bids."

Despite good showings against tournament-bound teams like Princeton and Stony Brook, a key early-season loss to Brown University was one of the deciding factors that kept the Panthers on the outside looking in, as Brown secured one of the final at-large bids.

The Atlantic Soccer Conference is not one of the 21 conferences across the country who's tournament champion is granted an automatic bid.

Stony Brook University, who will face Brown in a first round game in Providence, Rhode Island, was granted a spot as the representative of the America East Conference despite finishing the season with a 6-9-4 record.