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Thursday, July 28, 2005

Its Not How You Start, But How You Finish

AP - Magnolia, WA

As game time approached last night, The Fog were battling two fronts: the Past and the Present. The Past as the team was still clinging to the disappointment of their loss Monday night and subsequent #5 seed and The Present as they only had 8 players to start the game. With a make shift infield and outfield, the Fog surrendered 7 runs largely to being understaffed on defense.

The final two pieces of the puzzle arrived just as the Fog recorded the third out and prepared for their response to Kenny's seven runs. Needing to quickly answer, the Fog managed but a whimper. Boyd reached via error and after consecutive fly outs by Nolte and Graeme, Carlson singled him to second. Nate singled to the first baseman, beating him to the bag. Instead of a bases loaded situation for Houser, confusion reigned supreme on the base paths as Boyd attempted to score from second and was thrown out at home for the third out of the inning.

After holding Kenny scoreless in the second with their defense finally installed, including all three outs recorded by right fielder Peter Watson, the second on a nice sliding variety, the Fog again put up an goose egg in the bottom of the second. Between the second and third inning, something snapped in the Fog. Kenny appeared to be cruising to an upset as they posted two more runs, including one on a four base error to lead 9-0 as they headed into the bottom of the third. They had no clue what was about to happen.

Daunte lead off with a single, he would finish the day 3-3 with a SF, Boyd singled, Nolte doubled and then Graeme hit a HR. Now it was 9-4 and still no outs. Carlson singled, Nate singled, Dan forced Nate out at second and Brent hit into his second consecutive fielders choice for the second out. Suddenly any momentum built from the first 6 batter was spent or so Kenny thought. Peter singled, Cook singled and then Joe hit the second three run bomb on the inning - tie ball game, the Fog was back. Daunte singled for the second time in the inning, as did Boyd, Nolte singled and Graeme lofted a long fly to right that Kenny decided to drop and then boot towards the little league field scoring everyone. Carlson flew out to end the inning, but not before the Fog had delivered a gut punching 13 spot to Kenny.

Kenny responded by sending only four batters to the plate in the fourth, and most importantly failed to score. Nate singled to lead of the fourth, Dan reached via error and then 2005 ROY Brent shook off any lingering playoff jitters by hitting his first Fog home run, fittingly another three run shot. After one out, Cook doubled, Joe singled him in, Daunte doubled, Boyd drove in Joe with a sac fly and Nolte drove in Daunte. After four it was Fog 19-9. In the fifth, Kenny scored 4 and the Fog answered with 5 more. Kenny added one in the 6th before the game was called due to time. Fog 24 Kenny 14. Kenny was done for the season.

Despite the 14 runs allowed, Joe pitched quite well. The Fog reverted to playing more station to station ball, keeping the pressure on by hitting many more line drives. Likewise, the Fog was buoyed by the appearance of Vitamin C for the last few innings.

Fog Stars:
Graeme, Joe and Brent for the three run bombs. Joe and Graeme drove in 5, while Brent followed with 4. Nate and Daunte were perfect at the plate.

The Fog return to action this Monday at 6pm on Mag 3. Fog members are strongly encouraged to arrive early to avoid another undermanned first inning. Likewise, Fog members are strongly discouraged from going to Wild Waves the day of games, too much exposure to the sun leads to lapses in mental judgment.

2005 FOG PLAYOFF STATS
Player AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SF GIDP AVG Total Bases Slugging Percentage On-base Percentage OPS
Steve Boyd 4 2 2


1

1
0.500 2 0.500 0.400 0.900
Eric Nolte 4 2 3 1

3 1


0.750 4 1.000 0.800 1.800
Graeme Hanson 5 2 3

1 5



0.600 6 1.200 0.600 1.800
Mike Carlson 4 1 2







0.500 2 0.500 0.500 1.000
Nate Watson 4 2 4 1






1.000 5 1.250 1.000 2.250
Dan Houser 4 2 2


1



0.500 2 0.500 0.500 1.000
Brent Amsbary 4 3 2

1 4



0.500 5 1.250 0.500 1.750
Peter Watson 4 2 3 1

2



0.750 4 1.000 0.750 1.750
Matt Cook 3 3 2 1

1 1


0.667 3 1.000 0.750 1.750
Joe Gerlitz 4 2 3

1 5



0.750 6 1.500 0.750 2.250
Daunte Gouge 3 3 3


2

1
1.000 3 1.000 0.750 1.750


Zoom on...

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

2005 Fog Post Season Award: ROY

AP - Fog HQ, Seattle, WA

With their 11th regular season complete, the Fog turns it's eyes towards the playoffs. As the 5th seed, they take on nemesis, Kenny at 6:15 tonight at MAG 4. Following in the rich tradition of recognizing select players for awards, the Fog wasted no time in bestowing the 2005 Fog Rookie of the Year Award to Brent Amsbary.

Brent made his Fog debut in 2001, going 1 for 3, driving in two with a triple. Though it would be another three years before he appeared again in Fog uniform, he always remained on the Fog's short list of top prospects. Following the 2004 season, Brent was the #1 off season priority for Fog management. Said XA Steve Boyd, "We always have a wandering eye for talent, especially those that are younger." So, coming off a championship in 2004, the Fog looked to add on to a deep and talented roster and made an offer to Brent that couldn't be refused. Though the terms of the deal were kept confidential and are contractually enforced by team lawyer Daniel S Houser, internet rumors have led to speculation that the deal centered around having his jersey logo centered towards his navel.

Brent did not disappoint, driving in 13 while hitting .636, he even silenced his critics who said he had no speed by hitting a triple that would have been a double for most men.

As Brent makes his first appearance in the post season, I would encourage each member to pull him aside and share with him one or two pieces of wisdom of how they deal with the additional pressures.

Coach Watson
Zoom on...

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Fog Split, Earn 5th Seed

AP - Magnolia, WA

In typical Fog fashion they split their third double header of the year. Crushing yet another undermanned opponent, Quellos, 24-5, while dropping the night cap 6-5 to Bacardi's Bombers. The lost to the Bombers was crushing as it caused the Fog to drop from the #2 seed to the #5 seed.

Joe's earlier recap hit all of the highlights and I will include it again for those that don't read Joe's emails. One point Joe failed to mention was Nolte's called strike three with the bases loaded in game 2. Ouch.
"As I iced my arm last night after our game, I thought to myself: do i play softball for the victories, or for the memories?
Then I considered that, 20 years from now, I'm not going to remember if we won our second game last night.
What I will remember is this:
- Nolte living up to his Pizza Time billing, and falling down while making the catch at 2nd.
- Boyd throwing out the "Come on" taunt to the baserunner on 3rd, bringing a few "easy, catcher"s from the other bench.
- great plays by Pete Watson and Any Given Monday
- Cook and I talking on the bench. It's time to take the field. As he finishes talking, Cook puts on my lefty glove backwards on his left hand. He then realizes his mistake and finds his own glove.
- Gouge, making a great catch, and then yells out in a high pitched, Punky Brewster-like voice to Watson at first: "NATHAN!"
- me, asking a few guys on the other team before the game started if the brand-new gleaming white softball was white enough for them. They took me seriously and gave me their approval.
- another successful play at the plate for my battery mate and #1 on my booty call drunk dial, Steve Boyd."

2005 Offensive Leaders:
BA - .647, Joe Gerlitz
HRs - 2, tie, Eric Nolte and Graeme Hanson
RBIs - 14, 4 way tie, Nolte, N Watson, P Watson and Hanson
Runs - 15, tie, Dan Houser and Eric Nolte
Walks - 6, Peter Watson
Hits - 18, Eric Nolte
Doubles - 4, Steve Boyd
Triples - 2, 3 way tie, Nolte, Houser, Hanson
GIDP - 2, Steve Boyd
SF - 2, Peter Watson
Total Bases, 31, Eric Nolte
Slugging Percentage, 1.048, Hanson
On-Base Percentage, .667, Peter Watson
OPS, 1.656, Hanson

2005 FOG REGULAR SEASON STATS
Player AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SF GIDP AVG Total Bases Slugging Percentage On-base Percentage OPS
Eric Nolte 32 15 18 3 2 2 14 3 1

0.563 31 0.969 0.600 1.569
Steve Boyd 31 12 15 4

5 3 1
2 0.484 19 0.613 0.529 1.142
Nate Watson 29 14 16 3
1 14 2 1 1
0.552 22 0.759 0.563 1.321
Dan Houser 28 15 15 2 2 1 12 2
1
0.536 24 0.857 0.548 1.406
Matt Cook 24 7 10


3 4


0.417 10 0.417 0.500 0.917
Daunte Gouge 23 7 10


5 1


0.435 10 0.435 0.458 0.893
Mike Carlson 23 7 11 1
1 9 1 1

0.478 15 0.652 0.500 1.152
Brent Amsbary 22 9 14
1
13



0.636 16 0.727 0.636 1.364
Peter Watson 22 11 14 2 1
14 6 1 2 1 0.636 18 0.818 0.667 1.485
Graeme Hanson 21 11 12
2 2 14 2


0.571 22 1.048 0.609 1.656
Joe Gerlitz 17 2 11
1
10



0.647 13 0.765 0.647 1.412
Jody Wilkins 15 3 3


0



0.200 3 0.200 0.200 0.400
James Owen 8 0 2


2



0.250 2 0.250 0.250 0.500
Kris Browne 8 1 4 1

1



0.500 5 0.625 0.500 1.125
Craig Weaver 7 3 3


4



0.429 3 0.429 0.429 0.857
Curtis Feddern 7 3 3


0



0.429 3 0.429 0.429 0.857

Zoom on...

Monday, July 25, 2005

Keller Leads US to Gold

While the US is flush with young talent, Freddy Adu, Landon Donovan, DeMarcus Beasley, the sole reason for the continued rise of the US MNT is their keepers. Kasey Keller was the star in yesterday's 3-1 Penalty Kick victory over Panama for the Gold Cup.

Like Brad Friedel in the 2002 World Cup, Keller manned the goal and shut out Panama during two 45 minute halves and two 15 minute overtime periods. Despite the 0-0 final score, the game was but a defensive struggle. Both Panama and the US made repeated offensive advances, and each had gold opportunities to score. Of course, the game also displayed the two best keepers in the tournament with Panama's Jaime Penedo earning goal keeper of the tournament and Keller earning honorable mention.

As the second overtime period progressed, both teams began to show obvious signs of fatigue and it was clear that both were looking to the penalty kick show down.
Penalty kicks are down in sets of 5, with each team picking 5 kickers. Panama went first and Keller guessed right and denied the shot. The US converted it's first shot. Panama then missed their second, sending the shot over the posts. Panama blocked the US's second shot and Panama made their their. The US made their third to take a 2-1 lead. On their fourth attempt, Panama again missed the goal setting the stage for Brad Davis. Davis, playing in only his second game for the US MNT, sent in the kick for a 3-1 victory.

2005 CONCACAF Gold Cup All Team from the US:
Oguchi Onyewu
Landon Donovan
DeMarcus Beasley

The US MNT next action is August 17th vs Trinidad and Tobago in a world cup qualifier.




Zoom on...

Saturday, July 23, 2005

GM Fantasy Land Poll

It's late July, and for the second season in a row the M's are playing for pride from here on out. Because of this, I thought it might be interesting to put a poll before the Zoomstick faithful.

Here's the question: If you could add any 5 players to the M's roster today, who would you take? Here's my list:

Pedro Martinez
Rich Harden
Johan Santana
A Rod (SS)
Vlad Guerrero

My lineup:

Ichiro RF
Bloomquist 2B
A Rod SS
Vlad LF
Sexson 1B
Beltre 3B
Ibanez DH
Olivo C
Reed CF

Pedro
Santana
Harden
Moyer
Franklin
Zoom on...

Friday, July 22, 2005

Gold Cup Final Is Set: US vs Panama

Last night the US over came 30 minutes of sloppy play and a one goal deficit to defeat Honduras 2-1. The US looked like anything but the 6th ranked team in the world for the first 30 minutes last night, capped off by a sloppy pass by Frankie Hejduk that was converted into a goal by Honduras. Had keeper Keller not stopped a point blank shot 1 minute into the game it would have been 2-0, again a Honduran opportunity set up by a mistake by Pope.

After scoring in the 31st minute, Honduras was content to sit back, kill time and hope to milk their one goal for a place in the Gold Cup Final. Heading into the half, both teams had taken 5 shots, but coming out into the second half the US switched to a 3-5-2 formation and came out the aggressors. Out shooting the Catrachos 8-3. John O'Brien tied the match at 1 with a goal in the 86th minute and then just seconds before the end of regulation, in injury time Oguchi Onyewu scored his first ever goal for the national team on a header. The Catrachos were stunned by the dramatic US comeback.

Early in the second half Coach Arena was ejected for protesting call meaning he will be suspended for the final. This was not the first time he has taken issue with the calls of Jamaican referee Peter Prendergast Despite playing in New Jersey, the crowd was clearly pro-Honduran, 80 to 90% of the 41,721 fans in attendance.




Landon Donovan sends free kick over the Honduran wall

In the night cap, Panama shocked Columbia, scoring twice in the first 30 minutes to take a 2-0 lead. Things got worse for the guests from South America when Humberto Mendoza was sent off with a red card. Panama failed to capitalize on the man advantage and early in the second half they too had someone sent off, now it was 10 on 10. Columbia quickly scored to half the lead, but Panama added another. While Columbia would put one more in the net, it wasn't enough and the surprise of the tournament, Panama, won 3-2 and eared a place in the finals versus the US.



Zoom on...

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Fog Split Double Header

AP - Magnolia, WA

This past Monday, The Fog took the field as the visiting team for both ends of a double header. First up was The Sunset. A team that joined the league last year and ripped off 7 wins in their first 8 games to start the season, only to lose the final two games, including the last game of the year to The Fog and choke away their lock on a first place seed. The 2005 version of The Sunset came into the game looking to right the ship with a 3-4 record.


The Fog put 3 on the board to lead the game off, after Boyd and Nolte started the game with outs, Graeme singled, Carlson singled (Mike is finding his stroke), Nate walked, Dan singled and Peter singled. The Sunset answered with 2 in their half of the inning. The Fog put 4 more on the board in the second and the Sunset were retired in their half, only scratching out a single with two outs. From there on out, the Fog played add on, while The Sunset struggled to send more than 4 batters to the plate in an inning. The final nail in The Fog's victory over The Sunset was the brilliant double play turned by Graeme to Cook to Amsbary in the bottom of the 7th. The Fog won 12-2.

Other highlights from the game included Nate Watson watching strike 3 to end the 4th inning, just like Carlson's backwards K, it occurred in the 4th inning and was the last out of the inning, as well, like Mike, Nate disputed the call, and like Mike, received no support from the bench. Rather, like Mike, received more than his share of cat calls. The other funny incident happened in the 2nd inning. Joe lead off with a single, Cook singled hard to right, jogged to first like a pitcher, the right fielder seeing Cook take his time getting to first, attempted to throw him out, only to throw the ball past the first baseman. This overthrow woke Cook up, who put his head down and headed to 2nd only to see Joe standing on the bag admiring the view. Unlike camp, only one runner is allowed per bag, thus Cook was tagged out and left wondering what went wrong.

The night cap of the double header pitted the Fog against undefeated Red Ox, who came into the game with a record of 9-0. Again the Fog scored early, putting 2 on the board in the first. Red Ox countered with 1. The game was a seesaw affair with the Fog leading 7-3 heading into the bottom of the 3rd only to see Red Ox score 4 more to tie it up. Each time a team took the lead, the other came back and either tied or went ahead. Trailing 9-7 heading into the 5th, the Fog scored 2 to tie, then scored 2 more in the 6th to take the lead 11-9. Red Ox answered with 7 to seemingly pull away 17-11. With the top of the order leading off the 7th, with one out, the Fog answered with a 6 spot of their own to head into the bottom of the 7th leading by 1, 17-16. This game was very reminiscent of a game against Little Red Hen two years ago, and like that game, the Fog could not hold the lead in the bottom of the 7th as Red Ox followed two singles with a home run to win 19-17.

The Fog have two games remaining in the regular season, a double header this coming Monday, July 25th starting at 6:15 on Mag 3.

Currently The Fog are tied for 2nd with Pinehurst Pub, a team The Fog does not play. Red Ox has secured the #1 seed with a 10-0 record. The best the Fog can do is a #2 seed and ensure not facing Red Ox until the championship game.

2005 Fog Stats
Player AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SF GIDP AVG Total Bases Slugging Percentage On-base Percentage OPS
Eric Nolte 25 12 14 1 2 2 13 2


0.560 25 1.000 0.593 1.593
Steve Boyd 23 9 10 3

5 3 1
2 0.435 13 0.565 0.500 1.065
Dan Houser 22 10 11 1 1
9 1
1
0.500 14 0.636 0.500 1.136
Nate Watson 22 10 12 2
1 10 2 1 1
0.545 17 0.773 0.560 1.333
Matt Cook 18 7 9


1 4


0.500 9 0.500 0.591 1.091
Daunte Gouge 17 7 7


5 1


0.412 7 0.412 0.444 0.856
Peter Watson 17 8 11 2 1
11 5 1 2 1 0.647 15 0.882 0.667 1.549
Brent Amsbary 16 5 9
1
8



0.563 11 0.688 0.563 1.250
Mike Carlson 16 4 7 1
1 5 1 1

0.438 11 0.688 0.471 1.158
Graeme Hanson 14 8 8
1 2 12 2


0.571 16 1.143 0.625 1.768
Joe Gerlitz 11 1 6


5



0.545 6 0.545 0.545 1.091
Jody Wilkins 9 3 3


0



0.333 3 0.333 0.333 0.667
James Owen 8 0 2


2



0.250 2 0.250 0.250 0.500
Kris Browne 8 1 4 1

1



0.500 5 0.625 0.500 1.125
Craig Weaver 7 3 3


4



0.429 3 0.429 0.429 0.857
Curtis Feddern 7 3 3


0



0.429 3 0.429 0.429 0.857



Zoom on...

Monday, July 18, 2005

Columbia Upsets Mexico; Panama Moves On

The other half of the quarterfinals of the Gold Cup concluded yesterday, with Columbia upsetting Mexico in front of predominant pro-Mexico crowd of over 60,000. Columbia dominated from the start, displaying an aggressive play not seen in their group play matches. After making the quarterfinals with a 1-2 record, the Columbia guests appeared for a quick dismissal by Mexico

Only the Columbians had other plans. Mexico was without their key forward, Jared Borgetti, due to picking up his second yellow card in their last group play match. Still, Mexico is ranked 6th in the world for a reason, and 25th ranked Columbia shouldn't have been a problem. It was tied at half, only because two early Columbia goals were taken off due to offsides. Columbia struck first, then Mexico answered a few minutes later. A 40 meter shot in the 75th minute proved to be the difference maker. Columbia now faces Panama, who defeated South Africa 1-1 (5-3) in penalty kicks.


Columbia Celebrates Their Victory

While guests Columbia advanced in the Gold Cup, their other invitees, South Africa, met a motivated Panamanian squad. After taking a 1-0 lead in the second half, Panama evened the match. Tied at the end of regulation, neither team was able to score during the extra half so it was on to penalty kicks, where Panama hit all 5, while South Africa was able to only convert 3. Panama advances to face Columbia. Panama, ranked 98th in the world, hopes this victory over a squad ranked 38th will rejuvenate a squad that still has hopes for a World Cup bid. This will be Panama's deeps advancement in Gold Cup play, as well, they have already beaten Columbia once, 1-0, in Group play.


Panama Celebrates Following Penalty Kicks
Zoom on...

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Another Solid Outing for Swift

Robert Swift is doing everything he can to show the Sonics that he is ready to step in and contribute next season.



Leading all rebounders with 8 boards, Swift played solid defense and scored 7 points to go with 1 blocked shot. Led by Alex Scales' 15 points and 5 assists, the Summer League Squad lost for the second day in a row. On Monday, Swift and Company take on Deron Williams and the Utah Jazz.
Zoom on...

Saturday, July 16, 2005

US Turns Back Reggae Boyz

US defeated Jamaica 3-1 to advance to the semifinals vs Honduras. The US had never lost to Jamaica and they were not in the mood to break the streak. After using the group play games as a chance to evaluate his players, Coach Arena put this best squad on the pitch in their elimination match against the Reggae Boyz.

Concerns that the US hadn't played a solid game, were put to bed early when Josh Wolff put the US on the board 1-0. Almost immediately after that, Jamaica earned a penalty. A score by Jamaica would have tied the game and wiped out any momentum the US had, fortunately keeper Casey Keller had other plans and he dove to side of the shot and blocked it. Later in the first half DeMarcus Beasley scored the first of his two goals to make it 2-0 at the half. Beasley would add another goal in the second half to make it 3-0. Jamaica put one on the board in the 88th minute, but by then it was too late.

Early in the first half, the US suffered another injury when Steve Cherundolo was tackled cleats up by Damion Stewart. Stewart was carded, a yellow, but should have been given a red. Cherundolo's availability for Thursday's match against Honduras is unknown. As well, the US will be without Ben Olsen who was given a red card when he pulled down a Jamaican that had a clear path to the goal. He was ejected from the game and is suspended for the next. Olsen's decision on the play drew the ire of Coach Arena. The US was down a man for less than 10 minutes when Jamaican Jermaine Taylor was sent off for his tackle on Beasley, see photo below..


Taylor ends his day with this cheap shot of Beasley

Earlier today, Honduras jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead over Costa Rica and held off the Ticos to advance to the semifinals. The Catrachos will play the US this coming Thursday in New Jersey. Expect a wide open game with each team running the full 90 minutes, always looking to attack. Costa Rica has only to look in the mirror for the reasons they are done in the 2005 Gold Cup. Mental mistakes lead to two of the three goals, including a lazy pass back to the keeper that was intercepted for a goal.


Honduras savors their victory
Zoom on...

Aussie Wins Record WSOP Main Event

A record 5619 players participated in this year's No Limit Texas Hold 'Em final at the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas. The huge turnout means a huge payday for winner Joseph Hachem, who earned $7.5 million for his efforts. The Australian pro poker player beat Steve Dannenmann with a straight on the final hand of the tournament to win the crown and the cash. With his second place finish, Dannenmann, a Maryland businessman, walks home with a whopping $4.5 million. In fact, all nine finalists earned better than $1 million, making the $10,000 buy-in seem like chump change.

Click here to see the list of players who finished in the money.

Zoom on...

Swift Looks Swift in First Summer League Game

Robert Swift pulled down 14 rebounds in a losing effort last night against the Charlotte Bobcats in the 2005 Reebok Rocky Mountain Revue.



Along with leading all players in rebounds, Robert had 9 points and 2 blocked shots. Alex Scales lead Seattle in scoring with 12 points. Complete boxscore here. On a side note, Johan Petro pulled a Jerome James in his first game by scoring 4 points with 1 rebound, 1 block shot, and 6 personal fouls in 11 minutes of action.

This afternoon the Sonics take on the Spurs at 2pm.
Zoom on...

Friday, July 15, 2005

Pitching, Pitching, Pitching

After last night's loss, the M's have kicked off the second half of the season exemplifying the traits that made them the lack-luster team of the first half. Sloppy AB's, making an average pitcher look golden, failing to get key hits, and my personal favorite, mediocre starting pitching.



The M's are 14 games back and much of it is due to there starting pitching. There combined ERA is 4.82. today's TFF list is how I rank the M's starting pitching. Here are my top five starters:
  1. Jamie Moyer - At 8-3 with a 4.64 ERA, Jamie is the best pitcher on the M's staff. Among the starters, he's struck out the second most batters and has given up the fewest HR's. By the way, did you know Jamie is making 8 million this year!
  2. Ryan Franklin - At 5-10 you wouldn't expect Ryan to be very high on the list. But among the starters, Ryan has the lowest ERA (4.35) and has worked in the most innings (113). Not bad for a guy who is theoretically the M's 5th starter.
  3. Aaron Sele - At 6-9 with a 4.77 ERA, Aaron has not been good. He's had his moments, but really this guy is done. However, throw him on the M's staff and you get the 3rd best starter. Ouch.
  4. Gil Meche - At 9-6 with a 4.94 ERA, Gil has been nothing short of blah the first half of the season. Over his last five starts, Gil has worked a total of 25 innings giving up 18 earned runs. Some quick math, his ERA over those five games is 6.48. Compare this to Ryan Fanklin (37 innings over his last five starts, giving up 14 earned runs for a respectable 3.4 ERA) and you can see why Ryan is number two and Gil four.
  5. Joel Pineiro - What can I say? This guy is starting to look like a bust...and I'm not talking about a bronze statue or female anatomy for those of you who still think The Naked Gun is the greatest movie ever made! Joel is 3-4 with a 5.44 ERA. After every outing it's the same story with him, "I felt great. I pitched well. Just made one or two bad pitches. Other than that I was pretty happy." Pretty happy? How about the M's designate this guy the team cleat cleaner and see how happy he is then! Joel has been a huge, huge disappointment.
Just for the record, I would rather watch Leslie Neilsen pitch than Joel!



You can see that the two guys that should be at the head of the list, Joel Pinero and Gil Meche are actually at the bottom of the list. What gives? Are these two guys just working out their respective kinks, after all they are both young? Or are we really seeing what these two guys have?
Zoom on...

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Group Play Concludes, Mexico Rebounds: US to Face Jamaica

With their 1-0 victory over Jamaica, Mexico rebounded from their loss to South Africa to win their group. Mexico was able to slide into first when South Africa tied Guatemala 1-1.

Jamaica fell to third in Group C and earned a match up with the US. Honduras, the Group A winner, will face Costa Rica. Columbia rebounded it's first two games to defeat Trinidad 2-0 and move on to elimination play, facing Group C winner Mexico. Finally, 2nd place finishers South Africa and Panama make up the final two quarterfinal teams.

US/Jamaica and Honduras/Costa Rica play this Saturday in Foxboro and Mexico/Columbia and South Africa/Panama play this Sunday in Houston.

A little background on Jamaica: Rank 41st in the World (US is ranked 10th), Jamaica aka Reggae Boyz, failed to move beyond stage 2 of the 2006 World Cup Qualifying. Ironically, they were in the same group as the US, the US won the group with three wins and three draws. Jamaica only won on match, drawing four and losing one, finishing one point behind Panama for third place and an end to their dreams of qualifying for 2006. Oddly, two of the US draws were with Jamaica, both 1-1, August 2004 and November 2004. Quarterfinal play in single elimination, look for the Jamaican's to come out and aggressively challenge for 90 minutes and try to take down the US. They are playing with a degree of confidence after surviving a very tough group, surprising many as they moved on.


Zoom on...

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Next Jordan?

Since the greatest player to ever don a pair of sneakers and shorts jumped onto the scene with that infamous shot vs Georgetown to win the 1982 NCAA National
Championship, we have been searching for the "Air" apparent to his Airness.



Names like Harold Miner , Jerry Stackhouse, Vince Carter, and Kobe Bryant to name a few have been unfairly given the title of the "Next Jordan". Maybe it was because they jumped like him or went to North Carolina or even shaved their head. Whatever the reason was, not a one of them ever lived up to the billing and hype that Michael carried with him during his illustrious career. So who might the next one be? We may need to look no further than Loyola Academy near Chicago for the true next Jordan.

Jeffrey Jordan is the 16 year old son of Michael Jordan. This summer Jeffrey was invited to the prestigious Nike All-American Camp held in Indianapolis. He is not out to prove that he can play like his dad, he is just there to prove that he can play.

"I want to show that I belong here. I guess I'm not the top one or two or
three or four players from my state, but I want to show that I can play here
and that I'm not just a name.", said Jeffrey to AP sports reporter Michael
Marot


Jordan will be junior at Loyola Academy College Prep next year. He was an all-conference selection last year and was invited to last years Nike camp but chose to wait a year.

He wears 32, the flip of his dad's and he stands only 6 feet tall. He doesn't play above the rim or shoot the same sweet jumper that daddy did but he can still play. A few D1 schools have taken some interest in the young Jordan and it looks like he may have a future in the college game. About the only thing in common he shares with his dad is the name. But we may have the answer to the question of who "next" may be.



Zoom on...

US and Costa Rica Play to a Draw

Last night the US concluded opening round play with a 0-0 draw vs Costa Rica. Though both finished group play 2-0-1, the US enters elimination play as the group winner on the strength of better goal differential, +5, than Costa Rica.

Defender Frankie Hejduk picked up his second yellow card and will be lost for the next game. Coach Arena was not pleased with his decision making. The US will either play the third place finisher of Group C which could be Jamaica, Mexico or South Africa, depending on results of today's games. The elimination game will be played this Saturday in Foxboro.



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Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Return of the J's - Jody and Joe

AP - Magnolia, WA

The Fog returned to the diamond for it's first real game since June 22. During that time period, Boyd visited all 16 National League Parks, Curtis became a dad again and Nolte drank 167 Mikeys.

The Fog were pitted against SFCC, who had the advantage of playing a game prior to their match up with the Fog. The Fog showed a little rust in the first inning, giving SFCC a couple of extra outs and finding themselves down by 2 as they entered the bottom of the first.


Earlier in the day, a call was placed to the Elias Sports Bureau to find out what the single season Fog record is for walks. Turns out in 2002 David Burnett earned 7 free passes. Entering the game, Cook already had 4 and Peter was right on his tail with 3. So it was fitting that Boyd lead off the game with --- a walk, he would finish with two for the game. This drew the jeers from some members of the Fog, but as Boyd reached the bag he knew he had done his job, set the table. And it's a good thing he did, because behind him has been a big RBI eater this year, Eric Nolte, who drove a ball over the right fielders head for a 2 run bomb. As Nolte was rounding the bases, Fog members encouraged Nolte to run faster and "Don't Forget Your Cup." Faster than you could say, give me two rodeo burgers and a double malt shake, Nolte had tied the game. After a fly out by Graeme, Carlson singled and Nate drove a ball that tailed away from the right fielder for another home run, making it 4-2. With two outs, Peter walked for the 4 time this season, clearly putting pressure on Cook. Cook would have to wait until the 2nd for his first at bat as Joe swung at the first pitch he saw in 2005, a ball at his eyes and popped it up for the third out.

After holding SFCC scoreless in the 2nd, they rebounded for 3 more to retake the lead 5-4 heading into the bottom of the 3rd. As if on cue, the Fog offense roared back. Graeme singled, Carlson flew out, Nate singled, Houser singled scoring Graeme, Brent singled scoring Nate for a 6-5 Fog lead. With Dan on 2nd and Brent on 1st, Peter hit a fairly deep fly to right, and just as the right fielder was settling underneath it, he lost his footing, though still able to catch the ball as he fell to the ground. Dan and Brent wisely tagged up, both advancing two bases on the sacrifice fly. 7-5 Fog. Joe redeemed himself and guaranteed he wouldn't have another ofer season by singling and driving in Brent for a 8-5 lead.

The Fog tagged on two more in the 4th and scored 1 run in each of the 5th and 6th innings for a 12-6 victory.

The 4th inning ended with Mike Carlson looking at strike three, the Fog quickly and quietly retreated to the field, less the Colonel erupt. As well, the 5th inning saw Peter again drive in Dan with a sac fly, thus ending the night with no official at bats, though driving in 2. Jody made his 2005 debut as well, and stroked three hard hit line drives right at the left center fielder. Joe Gerlitz delivered in the field as well, making a great leaping catch the killed a big inning for SFCC and then followed that up an inning later by throing a strike to Boyd, who ran up the line to make the catch, then tag the runner for his third put out at home this year.

The Fog return to action next Monday with a double header at Mag 3, 6:15 and 7:30

2005 FOG STATS

Player AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SF GIDP AVG Total Bases Slugging Percentage On-base Percentage OPS
Eric Nolte 17 8 10 1 2 2 12 2


0.588 21 1.235 0.632 1.867
Nate Watson 17 8 9 2
1 7



0.529 14 0.824 0.529 1.353
Steve Boyd 15 6 7 3

3 3 1
2 0.467 10 0.667 0.556 1.222
Dan Houser 14 7 9
1
8 1
1
0.643 11 0.786 0.625 1.411
Dante Gouge 11 5 5


4 1


0.455 5 0.455 0.500 0.955
Matt Cook 11 6 4


0 4


0.364 4 0.364 0.533 0.897
Peter Watson 10 6 8 2 1
7 4
2 1 0.800 12 1.200 0.750 1.950
Brent Amsbary 8 2 5
1
5



0.625 7 0.875 0.625 1.500
James Owen 8 0 2


2



0.250 2 0.250 0.250 0.500
Kris Browne 8 1 4 1

1



0.500 5 0.625 0.500 1.125
Mike Carlson 8 2 2


1 1 1

0.250 2 0.250 0.333 0.583
Craig Weaver 7 3 3


4



0.429 3 0.429 0.429 0.857
Curtis Feddern 7 3 3


0



0.429 3 0.429 0.429 0.857
Graeme Hanson 7 5 5
1 1 7 1


0.714 10 1.429 0.750 2.179
Jody Wilkins 3 0 0


0



0.000 0 0.000 0.000 0.000
Joe Gerlitz 3 0 2


1



0.667 2 0.667 0.667 1.333

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Sunday, July 10, 2005

Gold Cup: Mexico Rebounds, Columbia Could Be Done

Mexico rebounded to route Guatemala 4-0, while Columbia continues to disappoint, losing 2-1 to Honduras. Panama and Trinidad played to a 2-2 tie, likewise, Jamaica and South Africa played to a 3-3 tie.

Teams will play their final game within their group either Tuesday or Wednesday. Mexico needs a tie or win to move on and defend their title.
Zoom on...

US Defeat Canada 2-0

US defeated Canada 2-0, giving them six points in Group B and ensuring they will move on to the elimination round. All that is left is a match up with Costa Rica in Boston this Tuesday. Despite out shooting Canada 13-5, for first 90 minutes of the game it appeared as though an own goal would be in the difference. Then Landon Donovan scored in the 90th minute, his third goal in two games and third all-time on the American goal list with 25.

Match Recap


On one hand the US has six points, on the other, they have not looked sharp. They should have dominated Cuba and Canada, instead needed goals late in the game to finish them off. Just over a month ago, the US defeated Costa Rica 3-0 in World Cup qualifying, it will be interesting if they bring the intensity on Tuesday.


Casey Keller Keeps the Sheets Clean
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Saturday, July 09, 2005

Gold Cup Update

As teams enter the second game of the first round, as expected, some teams took care of business, while others provided a surprise.

Group A:
Panama upset Columbia 1-0
Trinidad and Honduras tied 1-1

Group B:
USA survived Cuba 4-1
Costa Rica edged Canada 1-0

Group C:
South Africa pulled the upset of the tournament, defeating Mexico 2-1
Jamaica upset Guatemala 4-3
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Friday, July 08, 2005

US Defeats Cuba 4-1

The US defeated Cuba 4-1 in opening play of the 2005 Gold Cup. Despite the final score, it was anything but a blow out. Without some last minute heroics from Landon Donovan, the US is looking at a 1-1 tie. Considering the US is ranked #10 in the world and Cuba is #70, that would have been very bad.

Coach Arena used the match as an opportunity to further evaluate his roster, thus Marcus Hahnemann started at keeper and Donovan was a reserve. Despite allowing a goal, Marcus didn't hurt his chances, and will be given another shot. For Others this is their last chance to make and impression, and after last nights mess, they didn't help themselves. The US MNT was embroiled in a labor contract dispute last winter, thus denying Arena key friendlies to make personnel decisions. Thankfully, the US is in the drivers seat for next summers World Cup qualifications.

Another disappointment was the crowd at Qwest Stadium, only 15,831 showed up for world class soccer, when you consider that the Sounders 1981 season opener in the NASL drew over 30,000. Fans will be given a second chance to support the Stars and Stripes this Saturday as Group B play continues with US taking on Canada and Cuba taking on Costa Rica.


Said Landon Donovan "Northlake Tavern is this way?"
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All-Star Series Selections Announced

A total of 3.2M votes decided this years All-Star Series, July 22-23. Six 阪神 Tigers were selected to the starting lineup for the Central League. Pacific League leading ソフトバンク Hawks saw four selected and second place ロッテ Marines placed three.

Here are your starters for the Pacific and Central League

Zoomstick favorite of the week, Kenji Jojima received the most votes in either league for the second straight year, let's hope that next year he is the starting AL All-Star catcher for your Seattle Mariners.

Kiyohara, who hit his 500th home run earlier this year, will make his 18th All-Star appearance as the lone representative of from the Giants. Shinjo received the most votes for outfielders in the Pacific League, despite not having All-Star numbers. Just goes to show that even in Japan, a players actual production on the field may take a back seat to overall popularity.


Shinjo proves, it's not what you do on the field that that always matters
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Break the Wrist and Walk Away...

Now that Mr. Sonic is no longer Mr. Sonic, it seems only fitting that today's TFF list should be devoted to the cause of finding his replacement. So, who are the best candidates for the head coaching vacancy of your Seattle Supersonics...

Here is my short list:



1. Marc Iavaroni - Among other attractive attributes, he'll come cheap. Plus, he gets along with Wally Walker - no small accomplishment in itself.
2. Eric Musselman - Jerry West is a big fan of this guy.
3. Mike Budenholzer - Greg Popovich's right hand man. Could be a diamond in the rough.
4. Flip Saunders - I'm not convinced that this guy is a great coach, but he does have some valuable experience.
5. Sam Perkins - Who better to teach our young seven-footers the art of the perimeter game?

Sonic fans need to break the wrist and walk away from the fact that Nate is no longer a part of Seattle Basketball landscape. Finding his replacement should be done quickly so that the business of resigning the rest of our important free agents can continue.
Zoom on...

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Nate-a-Claus is Coming to Town

One of the parting gifts I received as I was moving from Seattle to Portland was a Blazers hat. The people who gave me the hat meant well. They're nice folks who by their gesture were trying to say, "Portland is home for you now," even though I was thinking to myself, "There's a better chance of finding Jerry Fallwell sipping gin and tonics at a poker tournament in Vegas than of me wearing that hat." I was relieved when I tried the hat on and found out it was too big.

But now I'm second guessing myself. If Nate McMillan can pledge allegiance to the Trailblazers, why can't I? Sure they're the Jailblazers. Sure they were 27-55 last season, their worst record in 31 years. Sure the most exciting thing that happens in the Rose Garden when the Blazers are in town is when those creepy guy cheerleaders come out and shoot t-shirts into the crowd with air guns and water balloon launchers.

The Sonics really blew it on this one. Not only did they lose the heart and soul of their franchise, but he wound up in Portland, donning the black and red of their rival to the south. And I can't help but sense the excitement people in Portland must be feeling tonight. Treehuggers are dancing up and down Hawthorne Street. Women with Birks and hairy armpits are raising pints of Bridgeport IPA, celebrating the arrival of a new day in town. Anti-war protestors are setting down their "George W. Bush is a Moron" signs and are lining up at barber shops to get the Nate McMillan flat-top hairdo. This is big stuff in a town where the summer's biggest sports story is the finish of the Seattle to Portland bike ride. November can't come soon enough in the Rose City.

I wonder if it's too late to return that Blazers cap for a smaller size...


Zoom on...

Sayonara Olivo, Konnichiwa Jojima?

The Hawks won their 15th straight game, defeating Rakuten 14-3. Catcher Kenji Jojima made news both on and off the field. He went 3-4 with 3 RBIs and before the game announced that he would test the free agent market in America for his services next year.

Could Jojima be the solution to the M's problems behind the dish? Jojima is 29, and last year hit .338 with 36 home runs. He is currently hitting .315 with 20 HRs 18 doubles, and his 97 hits show that he is not just a swing for the fences power hitter.

While I do not know Jojima's skill with English, keep in mind a couple of things. I don't think Olivo has a strong command of the English language and Jojima has been handling English speaking pitchers for years.

For the time being, file his name away as the M's season continues to go down the drain.


Jojima hit cleanup for Japan's Bronze Winning Olympic Team
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