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Archive for December 2009

This Week In Sports & Life

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Today is  Thursday December 17th, 2009. It is the fourth day of a week that has had it’s up and downs for me and the sports world.

A couple years ago when I was doing a draft pod cast I had the opportunity to interview a very talented wide receiver out of West Virginia. He was an explosive player with great size and speed but there were questions about his attitude and off the field manners. His name was Chris Henry.

Chris was polite, articulate, funny and sincere. He seemed like a guy I would hang around with everyday. Our “interview” seemed like two friends talking about football and how exciting it is to see someone you know getting ready to live out his dream, to be an NFL player.

Tragically, Chris Henry passed away today after falling out of the bed of his truck during an argument with his financè yesterday. He was just 26 years old.  

Henry was drafted in the 2005 NFL draft (83rd overall) by the Cincinnati Bengals. The Bengals were the only team to interview him and told Henry that he would have to change his life style in order to be productive in the NFL.  He didn’t listen to them, at first.

Henry had 5 off field issues and a suspension by the NFL during his brief career. But after being brought back by the Bengals last year, he seemed to change his life for the better. There were no more “off the field issues” for Chris, instead he was planning a wedding in March. There were no more arrests, rather time spent with his three kids.

Chris Henry was living proof that a Bengal can change his stripes.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the Henry family, friends, loved ones and of course his kids. They also go out to the Bengals organization and his teammates.

My Life: 

On Monday I interviewed at a station in Southern California for a sports talk host opportunity. It would be the ideal job for me. I know the enviroment both in the work place as well as the community and the “media market”.

The person that would be my boss is a person I greatly respect and would relish the opportunity to work for. He is a person that knows how to groom “talent” and gets the best out of them.

I thought the interview went better than I ever could have hoped. He asked me questions both in radio philosophy and sports and I was honest and most importantly, me. I didn’t try to be someone I’m not. I didn’t give him the answers he wanted to hear or lie about anything. I was 110% honest. I was “The Open Book of Joe Arrigo”.

The way I figure it, I would rather be 100% me and NOT get the job knowing I did my best then a person that is fake and still not get the job because I didn’t lay it all out on the line. That is just not me, as my friends and family know, I wear my heart on my sleeve and call it like I see it.

As I told my wife, and friends across the internet, it is in god’s hands know. If it is his will, than I will be at that station, if not, then I will strap up my chin strap and move on to my next play.  But I will say this, if I do get the job there will not be a person that works harder than me and puts the amount of time and effort into the job as me. I am the right person for the job. I know that in my heart.

The Sports World This Past Week:

Tiger Woods. My how fast “icon’s” fall when they show their true colors.

Look, I have no issue with Tiger Woods. What he did is morally wrong and the ONLY people he needs to answer to is his wife, Elin and his kids. Not his mom, mother-in-law or any other family, just Elin and the kids.  They are the ones most effected by his choices, not his sponsors, co-workers or friends.

I like the way NIKE has handled the situation. Stand by him and take a wait and see approach. He is not the first person or athlete to have an affair, nor will he be the last.  I personally lost all hope for athletes to be faithful once Michael Jordan was caught cheating on Juanita.

I do think the doctor that was caught trying to sneak HGH in the USA from Canada is a bigger story then Tiger’s cheating. This doctor treated Woods, Jose Reyes (the Mets All-Star short stop) and other athletes.

It’s time to let Tiger and Elin try to heal, but if he wants the media to start to go away he needs to have a press conference and accept responsibility for his actions. Until he does that, he will be on TMZ  and other celebrity rumor sites. Tiger, take a page out of Alex Rodriguez’s book this past year and look your wife, kids, fans, sponsors and fellow golfer’s in the eye and apologize.

MLB’ Hot Stove: 

The Boston Red Sox fans can no longer complain about the way the Yankees spend money on free agents. They have been just as guilty as the Yankees when it comes to over spending in the past and now this off season. I have no problem with teams spending on free agents, but the  Red Sox and Red Sock Nation are quick to cry and complain about the Yankees but don’t have a problem when they do it.

The Sox signings of John Lackey and Mike Cameron were about $97 million dollars. The Red Sox payroll is around $170 million and they still are looking to add Padres first basemen Adrian Gonzalez. I like both moves by the Red Sox, but don’t want to hear any complaining about the Yankees and their moves any more.

The 3 team trade that sent Roy Halladay to the Phillies, Cliff Lee to the Mariners and a slew of prospects to the Blue Jays was a deal that I think in the short-term has Seattle and the Phillies as the winners. But the Blue Jays and Mariners are the long-term winners in my opinion.

Bud Selig needs to intervene with the Dodgers. The divorce of Frank and Jamie McCourt is hindering Ned Colletti’s ability to add quality players to the Dodgers roster. They need a second baseman and more importantly some starting pitching.

The Dodgers signed Jamie Carroll, Angel Berroa and resigned Doug Mientkiewicz but hows does that make them better than what they had last year? I would much rather have Orlando Hudson and Juan Pierre. There is NO WAY the Dodgers should have NOT offered arbitration to Randy Wolf, who wanted to remain a Dodger and was willing to take less money to stay. But because of the divorce situation the Dodgers are handcuffed.

I do hear the Dodgers are close to pulling the trigger on a deal that would send Reds starter Aaron Harang to the Dodgers with short stop Chin-Lung Hu and another prospect back to the Reds. That would be an upgrade over the other choices behind Clayton Kershaw and Chad Billingsley.

Angels fans should be livid at owner Arte Moreno and the front office. Not only do they lose their starting third baseman and lead-off man in Chone Figgens, but they also lost their ace in John Lackey and likely will lose club house leader Vlad Guerrero. On top of that, they didn’t get a deal for Halladay done when they had all the pieces to do it.

I hope Hedeki Matsui can stay healthy for you and I hope that they land Jason Bay because if not, it will be a long season for the Halo’s because the Mariners are closing the gap in the AL West.

Kobe Bryant: 

Kobe Bryant is the best player in the NBA, period. Sorry LeBron James. Sorry D-Wade. Sorry Carmelo Anthony. Sorry Chris Paul. This is a no brainer. Kobe is the best “closer” in the NBA and more importantly the best leader in the NBA.

“Bean” is the best player on the best team in the NBA and has a will to win that rivals Michael Jordan. He plays hurt, tired, sick, with broken bones, torn legiments and still is the hardest working man on the court, all the time.   

“Bean” is a winner. His methods at one time seemed selfish, but he just wanted to win. Magic did it. Michael did it. Bird did it. Shaq did it (and left Orlando to do so), and LeBron is doing it. So why was anyone surprised that the NBA’s most competitive person was doing it when he wanted to win?

Since Kobe and the Lakers added Pau Gasol, Shannon Brown and Derrick Fisher, Kobe has been nothing but the best teammate one could be. He saw the Lakers trying to do what they told him they were going to do, try to win a title. Once he seen that, he was a good solider.

When the Staples Center chants “MVP, MVP, MVP” we all know that they have it right. I will say this right now, if the Lakers win another title (giving Kobe five), he should have his statue right next to Magic Johnson and Oscar De La Hoya’s in front of Staples Center.

NCAA Football:

It is time for the recruiting wars to be kicked up a notch. High School football players will be making their choice on where to go to school and play football for the next three to five years. No one does it better than Pete Carroll, Nick Saban and Urban Meyer.

USC’s “poor” 2009 season doesn’t seem to have an effect on a recruiting class that is one of the best. Carroll has landed 10 “prospects” that could have an impact right away in 2010. Florida is another school that, like USC, lands the nation’s top players yearly. Saban has built Alabama back into national prominence with three strong recruiting classes. 

This year there is a new cast of characters but the same story will be played out. Hundereds of kids will make a choice, some will regret it while others will thrive at their new schools. As quickly as we get to know their names, we will move onto the 2011 class and will start it all over again.

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Written by Joe Arrigo

December 17, 2009 at 18:14

Posted in Life, MLB, NBA, NFL, Sports In General

The College Football Coaching Carousel

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As the college football regular season comes to a close the college coaching carousel starts. Kansas, Louisville, San Jose State, Marshall, Memphis, UNLV, Virginia, Western Kentucky, Akron, Louisiana-Monroe, Florida State and Notre Dame all have openings.

I would like to weigh-in on this topic and a few select situations.

Florida State (Jimbo Fisher), Memphis (Larry Porter) and Western Kentucky (Willie Taggart) have filled their openings, but the rest of the schools listed above need to find “their guy”. Depending on who is hired there will be more vacancies and the domino effect will continue.

Turner Gill of Buffalo has Kansas on his radar. The two will meet as soon as soon as this Sunday (December 6th). He has ties to the Big 12, he is a former quarterback for Nebraska. He turned around a Buffalo program and is a tireless recruiter. Kansas could do a lot worse than Gill, who would give the Big 12 another gifted young coach.

Louisville likes Florida defensive coordinator Charlie Strong enough to make him the leading man to take over the Cardinals. It is only a matter of time until an announcement is made there.

But the big opening is Notre Dame. We are force-fed the rumors about the Irish hiring  Bob Stoops of Oklahoma, Phillip Fullmer, Jon Gruden or Cincinnati head coach Brian Kelly. Notre Dame is under the impression that they are still the preeminent college coaching job in America. It’s time they wake up and face the reality that USC, Florida and Alabama offer more to recruits.

Let me explain. The three afore-mentioned schools offer better weather, and just as much T.V. time as the Irish, something that Notre Dame used to have a monopoly on. Not only that, but the coaches at those schools are the very best recruiters in the nation and have a personality that sells ice to Eskimo’s.

The Irish need to hit a home run because of the lack of success they have had despite some very good recruiting classes by Charlie Weis. Kelly seems to be the name most mentioned with the Notre Dame job. He is a person that has the total package as a coach and in the living room. He also is a winner. My gut feeling is he will not be the next ND coach. I would keep an eye on Fullmer, the former Tennessee coach.

I would also like to digress a bit and talk about the Florida State situation. Jimbo Fisher was hired to turn around the struggling FSU offense and be Bobby Bowden’s replacement when that time came. Bowden is an institution and the for ever the face of Florida St. No matter when it happened it was going to be hard to see Bowden go off into the Florida sun set.

I don’t condone how the school handled the whole Bowden “retirement”, but I do agree that a change was needed. By “retiring” Bowden leaves a program that has under achieved for the last couple years. But he doesn’t leave it empty or void of talent. Fisher recruited (and landed) one of the best high school quarterbacks two years ago in E.J. Manuel. He stepped in for an injured Chris Ponder and helped make the Seminoles eligible for a bowl and allow coach Bowden one final opportunity to be carried off the field.

More NCAA thoughts:

USC had a “bad year”. But this was the year that if you had a chance to “pick them off” you better do it now. Pete Carroll has a team returning in 2010 with all kinds of playmakers. Joe McKnight, Stafon Johnson, Ronald Johnson, Blake Ayles, C.J. Gable, Brice Butler, Marc Tyler, Travon Patterson, Curtis McNeal and Matt Barkley. That is just the skill positions on offense and if Damien Williams also returns, look out.

The Trojans also have one of the top recruiting classes (again) and will only add to their already talented roster come February. UCLA and Notre Dame already have had two high-profile players “decommit”  and say they are looking to go to USC (amongst other schools). Carroll will not let a repeat of the 2009 season happen in 2010 and he knows it starts with the recruits.

Also, Barkley will be a year wiser and even more familiar with the Trojans offense. He had a great season considering he was/is a true freshman. That said, I fully expect a sophomore season that should catapult him into the 2010 Heisman race.

Tim Tebow is a great person. He is everything a college player should be off the field and a tremendous leader on it. I don’t see him being a great pro player, but as a college player, I can see why he may be the greatest ever. I do think though that the public (and non-Gator fans) are Tebowed out.

Colt McCoy is the Heisman front-runner and he should be. He has had a great year for the 3rd ranked team in college football playing the toughest position in sports. I also think Mark Ingram, CJ Spiller and Toby Gerhart have a legit shot at winning it should McCoy fall on his face against Nebraska.

Speaking of Gerhart, he said he plans on pursuing a pro baseball career rather than a career in the NFL. I know some team will take a shot on him late “just in case” baseball doesn’t work out for him.

 Give June Jones credit. He took a team in SMU who had one win in 2008 and led them to 7 wins and a bowl berth (some where). He also turned around a floundering Hawaii program in 1998 and led them to a BCS berth in 2007.

E-mail Joe @  joeslockerroom@yahoo.com

Written by Joe Arrigo

December 5, 2009 at 18:20

Posted in NCAA Football