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Westsider Rider

Monday, July 31, 2006

Big Moves for the Blue Crew

Just when you thought the Dodgers were out of it, they start turning it around on the field with their 3 game sweep of the Washington Nationals over the weekend, and then they pull the biggest trade of the trading deadline acquiring Greg Maddux for Cesar Izturis. They also picked up Julio Lugo for Joel Guzman, a top prospect, which doesn't make much sense considering Lugo is just a rental as his contract is up at the end of this season.

The Dodgers currently sit only 5 games out of first, but they are last in the NL West. Izturis became expendable with the acquisition of Betemit last week and Furcal over the off-season so it's not as big of a loss especially since the Dodgers pick up an arm necessary in Maddux. However the trade of Guzman for Lugo is very surprising since Guzman has been considered at the top of the prospect list for the Dodgers and to get him for amounts to a rental in Lugo is confusing. With Jeff Kent out for a little bit Lugo could play 2nd, which is what the team was planning on having Izturis do but what happens when he gets back? Maybe move Kent to first if Nomar keeps having problems?

Obviously this signals that management believes this team is not that far off if it makes two trades here for players that probably won't be with the club next season, let's hope they're right and the Dodgers can make a run deep into the playoffs.

Smart, really smart

So on Friday before I took off for work I made this genius of a prediction regarding the Reggie Bush contract situation "I do expect an extended holdout..." Then of course on Saturday night we get word that Bush agreed to a 6 year contract. In the words of Homer Simpson "I am so smart, I am so smart, S-M-R-T."

Brian from MGoBlog has made it to the second day in the WSOP Main Event, good luck to him as he'll continue playing on Tuesday.

Cal has launched their Heisman Trophy campaign for Marshawn Lynch with Marshawn10.com. As much as I think Marshawn could make a run at the trophy, he'll have to split some carries with Justin Forsett and Cal would have to make a run at the National Championship for him to get the recognition he deserves. He'll get his chance to let his presence known to the nation with the opener at Tennessee. (HT: The Wiz)

Friday, July 28, 2006

All over the place

Got a bunch of random stuff to go over today and we'll start with NFL news as training camps start to open across the country. Starting with my squad the Oakland Raiders the news isn't that great to begin since Jerry Porter has demanded a trade. It is unfortunate to hear considering Porter's talent and he could have a great year since there's so much attention paid to Randy Moss but if he really wants out I would rather not have him on the team. We shall see what happens though as Porter has demanded a trade from the Raiders in the past and nothing came of it, hopefully he will get on the same page as Coach Shell and the Silver and Black can have a successful season.

The Raiders got their first round pick Michael Huff signed and in came on time as did Vince Young, who got a ridiculous contract and Vernon Davis who is now the highest paid TE in the league without playing a single game. It is extremely important for Vince to get into camp on time as he has more to learn playing in a pro style offense than other QB's so it is good to see him in. There are still quite a few other first round picks that have yet to sign but the one negotiation everyone will be watching is that of Reggie Bush. There had been early rumors that he was willing to sit out the entire 2006 season if he didn't get the deal he wanted but I highly doubt that will happen. I do expect an extended holdout especially considering the deal that Vince Young got yesterday. Bush's people wanted more than Mario Williams and with VY's deal possibly being bigger than that I expect the Bush camp to up their demands.

Turning our attention to one of my other favorite subjects is some album reviews. I had been waiting for anything half decent to come out since there was nothing worth buying lately and finally I came across some pretty good albums. First is is the Miri Ben Ari album, which I picked up from yourmusic.com with their $5.99 for any CD deal, entitled The Hip-Hop Violinist. I first saw Miri on Showtime at the Apollo back in the day as she played her violin along with some hip-hop classics and it sounded real dope. I've always been a fan of good hip-hop beats with classical music influences so I figured this would be right up my alley. As expected with most albums nowadays it has its high and its low moments but overall it's a solid CD. She does have a lot of heavy hitters on her album as Kanye West, Scarface, Anthony Hamilton, Fabolous are among the guest appearances. It's definitely worth a listen, my favorite track would have to be "Sunshine to the Rain" which features Scarface and Anthony Hamilton. I'd recommend to download some tracks to see if you feel this style, but for me it's now in my regular rotation.

The next CD was the long awaited debut of Rhymefest. Another decent but not spectacular album. "Brand New" had been out for a long time and it's an ok track that didn't blow up but it's catchy and will get stuck in your head and it doesn't hurt to have Kanye on there. Highlights of the album include "Dynomite," "Devil's Pie" and "Bullet." Those tracks are worth downloading to see if you'd like the rest of the album. Overall it's ok, but I would be hesitant to recommend people to go out and buy it, I'd say just download those tracks and go from there.

Finally there is the new Jurassic 5 album that just dropped this past Tuesday entitled Feedback. I've only been able to listen to it all the way through once but it sounds pretty good so far. But who knows since 99% of the stuff that's coming out right now is garbage it could just sound that much better even if it would be average normally. If you like J5 you'll probably want to cop it, especially at the $6.99 price that it sold for at Best Buy.

There's a great post from Badger Sports everyone should check out, especially my favorite part of the post:
The UW System administration saw UW-Milwaukee, with its doctoral status, large size and urban setting, as a place to address the needs of students rejected by UW-Madison. It envisioned turning UW-Milwaukee into a Wisconsin version of Michigan State University or the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Time to head out for the weekend, it's my brothers last weekend in Cali before he embarks on the trek towards Ann Arbor, it's gonna be a wild one.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Only 39 days left

We're closing in on one month until college football season and I've been stuck in no-man's land as to what to cover since the Lakers have most likely, although hopefully not, finished with their offseason moves, the Dodgers in a ridiculous slide where they can't seem to win a single game and I don't want to start previewing this Michigan team yet for fear of getting myself worked up too early for the season. Luckily not everyone is in my boat as there's plenty of great stuff out there to read.

Starting with The Realests who came up with their All-Name team for this season and it's a good one. Although it does not include Michigan RB Mister Simpson it is a very good list, my other favorites would have to be Vincent Chase TE from SMU and LeQuantum McDonald from Baylor.

In other college football news Texas RB Ramonce Taylor will transfer. He had run into problems on and off the field and there was some talk that he may not be allowed back on the team but those questions won't have to be answered as he will be leaving Austin. I doubt it will have that much impact on the Longhorns as they still have Jamaal Charles, Selvin Young and Henry Melton not to mention incoming freshman Vondrell McGee. I've seen some of McGee's clips on YouTube and he looks like a player.

After a few weeks ago when supposedly O.J. Mayo committed to USC some people started referring to the USC basketball program as a sleeping giant that was awakening but that talk may have been premature as UCLA has landed Kevin Love considered the #1 post player in the country for the 2007 class, and some services have him ranked as the #2 player behind Mayo. UCLA who returns the majority of their NCAA Final team from last year looks to be the real power to be reckoned with. Next year they will be highly ranked and throw Love in the mix the year after and it looks like the Bruins are back among the elite.

Finally I came upon a very interesting bit of information while reading EDSBS's latest installment of their college football viewing guide which covers Week 3. There are a number of big games that day which include another Bowden Bowl, Clemson at Florida State, an interesting intersectional game, one I wish both teams could somehow lose in Nebraska at USC and Florida at Tennessee. But the extremely disappointing thing to read was that the three big games of the day are all at the same time. Miami at Louisville, LSU at Auburn and Michigan at Notre Dame will all start at 12:30 pm, Pacific Time that is. Now I don't have a multi-TV setup but this could be the best reason I would ever need to get one. I'm starting to get way too excited just thinking about these games already, September can't get here soon enough.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Welcome Back Alex Legion

Didn't expect to see that one coming. After Alex Legion decommitted in November I wrote him off the recruiting board thinking there was no way he would recommit to Michigan. Am I glad to say that I was wrong. With all the talk regarding his guardian taking charge in his recruitment and his transfer to Oak Hill Academy I thought we would be better off without him but from what he's said in his interview I'm going to retract that statement. It seems like he is taking control of what he wants to do and not letting his guardian/coach make decisions for him.

It also looks like the recent commitment of Corperryale "Manny" Harris" played a part into the recruitment as it looks like things are back on the upswing for Michigan basketball. Now we just need to get it done on the court and things can only go up from here. Legion's commitment probably means that Laval Lucas Perry will not be coming to Michigan. Lucas-Perry has a press conference set for tomorrow and there have been rumors that he was leaning towards Arizona. This commitment gives Michigan 2 SG's as well as a PG in Kelvin Grady in the 07 class, not sure exactly how the scholarship situation looks now but it is close to full, I would assume the last one would go to a big if available otherwise bank it for the 08 class which we are looking strong for some big men. We will have to wait and see but in the meantime it's great news to see Legion back in the fold and It's Great To Be A Michigan Wolverine!

Friday, July 14, 2006

Back to your regularly scheduled programming

Work's been busy since I got back from Dallas so I'm late to the boat on two of the latest commitments for Michigan, one for basketball and one for football. Also with NBA Draft and free agency almost finished and the World Cup now over it's time to get back towards what we wait for all year long and that's college football. Let's start with basketball commitment as Copperyale "Manny" Harris from Detroit Redford, same HS as Dion Harris, committed to the Wolverines this week. This is a big pickup as he is in the top 50 and rising after his play this summer at the camps. MGoBlog has much more in detail. With Alex Legion's decline in rankings and Manny's rise, it may not turn out to be a bad trade after all considering we no longer have to deal with Legion's shady AAU Coach/father figure Tim Green. The other thing I love about the pickup is every update I ever read about him from camps always mentions his defense which is something that no team can ever have enough of.

On the football side Steve Watson a TE from Colorado has committed to the Maize and Blue. Watson was completely under the radar as no one knew much about him and all of a sudden he became a commitment. Watson is the son of former Denver Bronco WR also named Steve Watson who is currently the Broncos WR coach. He is rated a 3/4 star by Rivals and Scout respectively and the #3 player in Colorado according to Rivals. He had offers from pretty much every single school on the West Coast and considering his pedigree it looks like a great pickup. With Watson and Martell Webb committed as TE's that should close that position for the year.

As the season approaches there's a lot of previews popping up and Dave over at Maize and Brew already has his up for Vanderbilt. One of my best friends went to Vanderbilt so I had been hearing the talk of Jay Cutler before last year and also learned of the greatness of Erik Davis and Earl Bennett, both returning. If Cutler was coming back I would be somewhat concerned about this game but we must remember this is the same Vanderbilt team that cannot beat Middle Tennessee State (0-3 in their last 3 meetings). I can't start thinking about this game too early or I'll get myself too excited too soon. Thanks to MGoBlue I've got seats on the 50 so I'm extra pumped for this game, it'll be my first game at Michigan not in the student section.
I can't wait to get back to AA.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Off to Dallas

Takin off early today to head to Dallas for a former roommates wedding. I have some friends that have gotten married already but this is the first one that I'm actually going to. It's sort of weird, makes me feel like I'm getting old. But I am looking forward to seeing everyone, should be a great time. I have a feeling I won't have any recollection of the weekend though, we'll see. Have a good weekend.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Makin Some Moves

Back from a not so long weekend, but at least it's hump day and aided by the fact I'm heading to Dallas on Friday afternoon it will be a very short week. Over the weekend the NBA Free Agency period started and although players can't sign the contracts until July 12th there have been a number of verbal commitments to contracts.

Starting off with the Lakers , in a somewhat surprisng move, got Vladimir Radmanovic to move across the hall from the Clippers with a 5 year deal at the mid-level exception. I had not heard anything about bringing Radmanovic in but I am happy with the move. Last season the front office did nothing with their mid level exception except spend half of it on Aaron McKie. Supposedly there was a master 2007/08 free agent plan which would need cap space for the Lakers to either make a trade, or outright sign a max contract player. Names that surfaced were LeBron James or Chris Bosh, but those were such long shots anyways. I think the combination of Kobe coming into his prime as well as management seeing that this team is not as far from contending as once thought, made them shell out the money for a player this offseason. Antonio Daniels was ready to come to LA but the team was not willing to give him a similar 4-5 year deal at the mid-level exception.

Radmanovic brings someone who can hit the open shot and space the floor for the Lakers as teams could easily drop down on Kobe because there weren't many consistent shooters for the Lakers last year but that changes now. Radmanovic is deadly from the outside and will make teams pay if they decide to double/triple down on Kobe. But the work is not done yet as some other moves will have to be made for this team to be considered one of the better teams in the West. I expect Chris Mihm to be moved since he is an expiring contract with a low cap number and the Lakers still have the lower level exception to work with as well.

There were numerous other moves around the league as Predrag Stojakovic and Bobby Jackson have agreed to play for the New Orleans Hornets and that isn't the only move NO is making as they are close to trading P.J. Brown and J.R. Smith to Chicago for Tyson Chandler. Chicago also made waves by getting Ben Wallace to agree to a FA contract with them. I like the moves the Bulls have made, not so much with the Hornets. The Clippers, to make up for losing Radmanovic will sign Tim Thomas and have kept Sam Cassell so it isn't too big of a loss for them. There's a lot more movement to take place so we'll wait to see what else happens, after free agency my attention will completely turn back towards College Football as we're only 2 months away and I can't wait. To end today I'll leave you with this ridiculous 720 dunk, I think it's from the And 1 Tour which I used to watch a ton of but haven't that much recently since all the stuff is getting so redundant but a 720 dunk is just crazy.

Monday, July 03, 2006

EDSBS Roundtable

Since I'm one of the few that have to work today and with no real work to do what better time to do another Roundtable, this one from EDSBS. I'll discuss the Lakers signing of Vladimir Radmanovic later in the week.

1. Education. List the region of the country you were born in, what universities you attended and at least one other you would have attended if your alma mater didn’t exist.

I was born and raised in Southern California and I attended the University of Michigan. I never really liked the local schools, except UCLA, but I knew I'd live in So Cal for the rest of my life so I wanted to experience something different for college. If Michigan didn't exist I probably would have ended up at North Carolina or Texas.

2. Sports Affiliations. List your top 10 favorite teams in all of sports in decending order. For instance, your alma mater’s football team may be number 1, but perhaps there is a professional team that squeezes in before you get to your alma mater’s lacrosse team.

1a. Michigan Football
1b. Los Angeles Lakers
2. Michigan Basketball
3. Michigan Hockey
4. Los Angeles Dodgers
5. Oakland Raiders
6. North Carolina Basketball
7. UCLA Basketball
8. Los Angeles Kings
9. Whoever is playing Notre Dame, Ohio State, USC, Nebraska or Tennessee
10. Georgia/Texas/UCLA Football

3. Movies. List the movie you’ve watched the most, your favorite sports related movie, the movie you secretly love but don’t like to admit it (possibly a chick flick or b film), and the movie you were (or still are) most looking forward to from this summer’s season.

Not really a movie person but the movie I've watched the most would probably be The Mighty Ducks. Growing up I was really big into hockey with Gretzky in LA and watched the movie so much that I ended up memorizing the entire script since I watched it so much.

Favorite sports related movie would probably be Rocky IV or Friday Night Lights.

Movie I love but don't like to admit: Can't Hardly Wait

Movie I was looking forward to: Nacho Libre, and it met my expectations.

4. Music. List your favorite band from middle school, high school, college and today. Also, as with the movies, include the song you secretly love but don’t like to admit. If Nickleback is involved in any of these responses, please give a detailed explanation as to why, god, why.

Middle School: Boyz II Men, Hootie and the Blowfish, Bryan Adams

High School: Tupac, Gangstarr, Wu-Tang Clan, Brian McKnight

College: DJ Quik, Tupac, The Roots, Jay-Z

Song I secretly love but don't like to admit: O-Town - "All or Nothing"

5. Books. Favorite book you’ve finished, worst book you’ve finished and the book you really should read but haven’t gotten around to it.

Favorite Books: "Holla If Ya Hear Me" a book on Tupac and "Fab Five"
Worst Book: anything I had to read for school
Book I should read: the GMAT Prep books that are sitting at home

6. Travel. Favorite city you’ve every been to and the one place you still must visit before you shuffle off this mortal coil.

Vancouver/Victoria Island, I think that's what it was called, went there a long time ago with my family but it was real nice.

Place I must go: Brazil, I second EDSBS's statement.

7. What do you love most about college football in 20 words or less?

The connection with my school, the unparalleled highs and lows that no other sport can match.