Archivo de la etiqueta: Player of the Year

A Catch Outside the Rulebook

They say God works in mysterious ways, and so seem to do the referees at last Sunday’s game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Green Bay Packers.

With close to four minutes to go at Lambeau Field the Dallas Cowboys had to go for it on 4th and 2 since they were trailing by 21-25. Probably running the ball was the safe bet with DeMarco Murray on the field but you also had Jason Witten who almost never fails to catch a ball and the “X Factor” named Dez Bryant.

Tony Romo would have thrown an interception if the game was happening in any of the past four seasons. But  a solid performance despite a heavily injured back and knees plus having some of the best stats in the fourth quarter around the league this season suggested otherwise.

The ball was snapped and Tony looked for his target. Number 88 was running full speed down the left sideline and jumped into the air to make a catch of a ball that seemed almost impossible to go after. Even harder, to control it considering the momentum of the run and the man to man pressure that Sam Shields was creating.

Viewers around the globe saw Dez coming down with the ball as one of the most impressive plays a football player has ever made. Unfortunately the Green Bay coaching staff, referees in New York and on the field saw otherwise. They believed Bryant did not have complete control of the ball. Days later #IStillThinkItWasACatch.

Here is why. Dez grabbed the ball mid air and came down with it with full control. He took three steps with full control of the ball before trying to reach for the endzone. After those three steps he lunged for the goal line instead of playing it safe but that is just what Dez does. Here comes the part I never understand.

If Mike Pereira, FOX expert analyst for officiating says the refs made the right call, even if Obama said it was the right call I would not agree. When did the ball touch the ground? His knees did, his elbow did, his hands did, but the ball never ever did. The referee closest to the action never saw that ball touch the ground. I’ve seen the videos and I’ve seen the pictures. That ball did not pop loose because of contact with the ground. How is that considered losing possession?

Obviously if you are falling with your hand below the ball and just grabbing it with one hand the force that the ground has on your hand will be greater and anything might move. That was the case. The ball popped but it never touched the ground. Even after it came “loose” he recovered it in the endzone.

Mike Pereira did not agree it was a football move to stretch out his arm and reach for the 1-yard line. He simply did not because he might have never seen something like that. No one had, it was a catch that maybe only Dez Bryant can do. Even Odell Beckham Jr. from the New York Giants considered that a catch, and he knows a thing or two about big plays.

Apparently It was a catch too good to be true. Even the Green Bay Packers know it but by not admitting it their chances to win the game and make it to the conference final grew exponentially. Both teams had played a great game that did not deserve to end in controversy.

If it was ruled a catch we would be looking back at Romo’s most clutch throw, Bryant’s best ever catch and a possible win by the Dallas Cowboys to play the Seahawks at Century-Link Field.
dez-pbp-catch-gb

Running Out of RE2PECT

It was the bottom of the ninth inning at Oriole Park at Camden Yards when Kelly Johnson hit the ball hard to deep center field and pushed the Orioles past his old team, the New York Yankees for a 3-2 final score.

No only that meant that the game would not go into extra-innings, it pretty much meant the team from Bronx, New York is out of contention for a post-season ticket. The New York Yankees have to win almost every single game out of the 15 remaining in the regular season to get a miracle as they are now 5 games behind the Orioles in the East Division of the American League. Apparently we are looking at a post-season without Yankees, Red Sox and Texas Rangers.

It also means we may only be 15 games away from saying goodbye to one of the best baseball players of all times. Derek Jeter has taken the spotlight of this season on what he is calling it his “farewell” season. Everywhere the captain of the NYY goes, there will be some kind of ceremony in his honor. The 40-year old shortstop has spent 19 years as a professional baseball player and he has always belonged to the same team.

Jeter has played in over 2,700 games adding up 3,450 hits (259 home runs) with a batting average of .309 throughout his whole career. Jeter was destined to become one of the game’s greatest from a very young age as he was awarded “High School Player of the Year” in 1992 and was drafted by the Bronx team immediately before even thinking on going to college. Just two years later the skinny right-handed player was named “Minor League Player of the Year”. On May 29, 1995 Derek Jeter would make his professional debut against the Seattle Mariners. In 1996 he was awarded “Rookie of the Year”.

Success kept coming towards Jeter that continued to amaze everyone that saw him play either at the ballpark or on television. Consecutive World Series titles in 1998, 1999 and 2000 just added gold letters to his legacy not only to his name but the whole game of baseball. It was in the 2000 World Series when he accomplished his biggest personal title, he was then named “Most Valuable Player” of the Fall Classic and also the All-Star Game.

In 2009, almost 15 years after his debut another record was added to his curriculum, with his 2,722nd hit surpassing Lou Gehrig’s record as the ball player with the most hits wearing a Yankees uniform. Today he is the active-player with the most hits and occupies the sixth spot on the Major League Baseball  All-Time hit list. He also hold the Yankees records for games played, stolen bases, at-bats and singles.

Also in 2009, MLB commissioner Bud Selig described the number two as Major League Baseball’s foremost champion and ambassador. You embody all the best of Major League Baseball. … You have represented the sport magnificently throughout your Hall of Fame career. On and off the field, you are a man of great integrity, and you have my admiration.”

Jeter won 5 World Series Championships with the Yankees
Jeter won 5 World Series Championships with the Yankees (fasthorseinc.com)

Selig said it best, Jeter has really sparked an interest in baseball not only in the United States but also around the world. His undeniable talent has always been backed up by unmatchable statistics across the plate. Even though his numbers may not be as hot in his last seasons, there is not much more Jeter can give to the sport of baseball, he has done enough already.

I could spend all day and write a whole book about everything that Jeter has accomplished with the exception of a University Degree, the man has done it all. He is sure to find a shortcut to MLB Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York whenever his career is over. Yesterday Johnson could have set that date for september 28 at Fenway Park against “Big Papi”and the Boston Red Sox, the NYY most fierce rival.

Post-season might be a more fitting finish for Jeter’s career, but even though it may all soon be over, his legacy to the Yankees and to the game will last forever.

Ronaldinho’s Joga Bonito

Media and soccer fans around the world have set their eyes on the city of Santiago de Queretaro, Mexico because a two-time “FIFA Player of the Year” has signed a two-year contract to play with Queretaro F.C. which is currently sitting in eighth place almost halfway through the season. Ronaldo de Assis Moreira, better known as “Ronaldinho”could be presented at the “Estadio La Corregidora” at any moment.

Ronaldinho comes to change many things about the poor conditions the mexican soccer league faces. The same league club owners pride themselves about managing are often facing payment problems. Just last season players from Ronaldinho’s new club were playing for free as the people who owned the team could not pay them. After the end of last season, “Grupo Imagen”, one of the leading media businesses in Mexico bought the team and now they even have the money to add one of the world’s greatest soccer players to its roster.

A team that struggled to get 20,000 people to watch its games can now almost guarantee they will have sold out crowds awaiting every two weeks when they play at home. Not only that, the impact of Ronaldinho will also benefit other teams that host Queretaro for the reminder of the season and the next three that are stipulated in his contract. This is where the LIGA MX will be grateful the most. Experts predict that the superstar has enough power to sell-out every stadium he steps on no matter how bad the teams are doing even if the prices go up.

It is almost a given that “Dinho” is not at the same level he was when Paris Saint Germain and Barcelona had him, but his ability to amaze fans did not die while he was in Brazil. Since then he has been mostly know for being a wild party animal. That was a costly mistake for him as it is said to be the main reason Luiz Felipe Scolari did not call him to be part of the Brazil 2014 World Cup Team.

As weird as it may sound, what the mexican soccer league is doing with the brazilian is something the Major League Soccer has been doing for a long time. Long time ago Pele played in the MLS for the New York Cosmos, Hugo Sanchez with Dallas Burn, David Beckham with the L.A. Galaxy, Thierry Henry is currently playing with the New York Red Bulls while David Villa is about to come stateside to play with the new team called New York Football Club just to name a few.

Even though the economic impact at stadiums has not been as high as many people expected it has raised the level of a league that years ago was nowhere to be found on a soccer map. The league has made huge leaps by either exporting many players to europe or building a strong base for its national team now coached by Jurgen Klinsmann who can threat the most powerful teams either at home or even on the road.

The only “limit” mexican teams have when signing a new player is that they can only have five of them who do not have a mexican passport. Queretaro wanted the brazilian so badly they sold uruguayan Diego Guastavino on the last day the transfer window was open for LIGA MX teams. He has just signed with Boston River from his home country.

United States professional teams operate under a set budget established by the league. They are not free to spend all their money the way they please, which I believe keeps a certain level of competition between the teams in the league. The salary cap for the 2014 MLS Season is $3.1million USD but bringing in players like David Villa does not comply with this cap, as they are brought in like designated players who can get a more flexible salary.

With that being said, mexican players usually receive a better pay than north american soccer players which makes them (mexicans) less interested on playing abroad as they could be sacrificing their own salary.

There are no discipline restrictions for the seventh brazilian world cup champion to play in Mexico, and his actual contract is not that expensive ($1.95 million USD), far far away from the close to $100 million he was worth while playing for the catalan club where he experienced most of his glory. Whatever it is, his style of play will for sure break the monotony of the mexican soccer league like only the 34 year-old player can.

If nothing goes wrong, the new number 49 player of Queretaro F.C. will make his debut this friday (September 12) against Puebla in his new home or against Chivas next weekend.

Queretaro le da la bienvenida al nuevo galllo (pulsolp.com.mx)
Queretaro le da la bienvenida al nuevo galllo       (pulsolp.com.mx)