Monday, March 31, 2008

Nats Walk-Off with W in New Ballpark!

The first game of the 2008 Major League Baseball season to be played on U.S. soil took place last night at the brand new Nationals Park in our nation's capital as the Nats hosted the Atlanta Braves. President Bush threw out the ceremonial first pitch, and even spent some time in the announcer's booth with ESPN's Jon Miller and Joe Morgan. Our President spent just enough time in the broadcast booth to call the stadium's first home run - a solo shot by the Braves' Chipper Jones. Also in attendance at the game was my friend, 2006 Miss D.C., Kate Michael, who gives a very nice account of the game on her K Street Kate blog.

The Nats went into the bottom of the 9th nursing a 2-1 lead. Closer Chad Cordero had some shoulder tightness and could not come in to do his usual duties, so set-up man Jon Rauch was brought in to close things out. Rauch gave up a one-out double to Mark Teixiera. Matt Prado ran for "Big Teix" and would score on of all things a passed ball with two outs! Rauch retired Brian McCann to end the inning. The sell-out crowd of Nats fans would go home happy though. The familiar chant of "ZIM MER MAN" rang through the air after Ryan Zimmerman hit a dramatic two out walk-off home run in the bottom of the frame to give the Nationals a 3-2 win. With the win, the Nationals now have the best record in baseball at 1-0. :)


Sunday, March 30, 2008

It's Time To PLAY BALL!!!

Are you excited yet? I know I am... just hearing the electicity in the air flowing from the L.A. Memorial Coliseum into my radio on the way from my home from my brother's place last night got me into it for sure. 115,300 people!!! Is that crazy or what??? That's how many were there to witness the Boston Red Sox defeat the Los Angeles Dodgers 7-4 last night in an exhibition game. It's the most people to EVER attend a baseball game of any sort.

Tonight, the first REAL game is played on U.S. soil as a couple of my favorite teams do battle. Mark Teixiera, Jeff Francoeur, John Smoltz, Chipper Jones and the rest of the Atlanta Braves are in the brand new stadium in Washington D.C. to take on the Nationals. The game will be televised live on ESPN beginning at 8pm ET/5pm PT. If you haven't set your lineups in your fantasy leagues yet, you better do so!!!


Saturday, March 29, 2008

Bruins "X Out" Xavier to Reach Final 4!

After a close first half battle in tonight's NCAA Tournament game in Pheonix, the UCLA Bruins held a 33-24 halftime lead over Xavier. The Musketeers closed the gap to 34-28 early in the second half, but then Kevin Love and the rest of his Bruin teammates took command as the Bruins then went on 14-0 run to extend the lead to 20 points! Xavier never got any closer than 12 points after that, as the Bruins cruised to their third straight Final Four appearance with a 76-57 win. Love led the way again for UCLA, scoring 19 points and grabbing 10 boards.


Another Day, Another #1 For Leona!

Leona Lewis' "Bleeding Love" rose from #7 to #1 this week on VH1's Top 20 Video Countdown! Yet another #1 on another chart for this fabulous singer. Congrats to Leona!!!


Friday, March 28, 2008

Danica Patrick's Unfair Advantage???

This perhaps must be the most ridiculous thing I've EVER heard in the history of sports. Danica Patrick (who has yet to win a race in 47 IRL events) is being penalized by the IRL because she weighs too little! Yes, it's true! The preposterous notion that Robby Gordon off-handedly mentioned (and deservedly got lots of flak for) last year has been adopted by the IRL! Is it her fault that she stays in shape and has a small frame? Should a driver that weighs 250 pounds be allowed to take weight out of their car because they weigh too much? I guess so, if we follow this logic. Sheesh!!!

Needless to say, this is sure to stir up a hornet's nest. For more on this story, please read Roy S. Johnson's Blog Baller's, Gamers & Scoundrels... The entry on Danica and the IRL's crazy decision is entitled To The IRL, Size Matters (Too Much).


Bruins Gut Their Way To Elite 8!

The UCLA Bruins jumped quickly to a 41-20 halftime lead against Western Kentucky in the NCAA's "March Madness" regional in Pheonix yesterday. They then had to hang on as a furious rally by the Hilltoppers, some poor play and a few questionable officiating calls helped whittle the lead down to a four point margin (61-57) with just under seven minutes to play. The Bruins though regrouped, and thanks mostly to some good defense and timely shooting from Kevin Love (29 points, 14 points, 4 blocks) won going away 88-78. Next up for the Bruins in the round of 8 is Xavier, which romped to a relatively easy 79-60 win over Tennessee.


Thursday, March 27, 2008

Leona Lands at #1 on U.S. Charts!

What a week it's been for U.K. singing sensation Leona Lewis here in America. She makes her first late night T.V. appearance on Jay Leno on Monday, and now three days later, her single, "Bleeding Love" has found it's way to #1 on no less than three of Billboard's charts! With nearly 220,000 digital sales last week, "Bleeding Love" outpaced the #2 song by more than 76,000 downloads to capture the #1 position on this week's Hot Digital Songs Chart. Her 82% increase in sales over the previous week along with her continued HUGE airplay gains also fueled jumps from #8 to #1 on both the Pop 100 and Hot 100 charts!

Speaking of the radio story for "Bleeding Love," there's even MORE good news to report!!! The first call-out scores (where radio station listeners are polled) for the song are now in from and "Bleeding Love" debuted at NUMBER 1 on the chart!!! For a brand new song by a brand new artist to debut at #1 on this chart is a pretty rare accomplishment, and it truly speaks volumes for just how well-liked "Bleeding Love" is here in the U.S.

Here's the complete top 10 list this week: by Mediabase
W/E March 20, 2008
12+ Rank By Sorted Column
Title, Artist, Pop (Fam), Fam%, Burn% (Fam)

1 Bleeding Love Leona Lewis 3.97 78 12
2 No Air Jordin Sparks w/ Chris Brown 3.96 92 20
3 Apologize Timbaland f/ OneRepublic 3.89 98 50
4 See You Again Miley Cyrus 3.86 93 26
5 Don't Stop The Music Rihanna 3.83 98 36
6 Love Song Sara Bareilles 3.83 97 34
7 Stop & Stare OneRepublic 3.82 90 25
8 With You Chris Brown 3.80 95 33
9 Feels Like Tonight Daughtry 3.73 89 23
10 Never Too Late Three Days Grace 3.72 85 24

So, what's next on the table for Leona Lewis and "Bleeding Love" here in America??? Well, one goal is probably to get to #1 on the pop airplay charts at some point. "Bleeding Love" has ascended all the way up to #12 on the Mediabase Pop chart. When you sort the chart by estimated audience instead of spins, she ranks #10! Look for "Bleeding Love" to reach #10 on the official chart (ranked by spins) over the weekend. The ascent up the pop airplay charts for new artists is usually long and hard, though a couple of other new and notable female artists (Colbie Caillat and Sara Bareilles) have had #2 hits on the chart over the past several months with their debut releases. Perhaps Leona will be able to break through and get to #1 there in another month or two.

On April 8th, Leona's album Spirit will be released. With the astounding success of "Bleeding Love" here in the U.S., and with no real competition that week, there's little doubt that Spirit will debut at #1 on the Billboard 200 Album chart. The only question is how many copies will it sell in it's first week and beyond? Don't be surprised if the album sells out very quickly at many retailers! As Oprah Winfrey said so eloquently after Leona's appearance last week there "A Star Is Born!" Indeed!


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Payola, Chart Rigging or Both? You Be The Judge!

Two longtime pop "divas" also made their latest singles available for download yesterday. Madonna did things close to the normal way, releasing her new song, "4 Minutes" to pop radio last week (where it's already risen to #22 on the Mediabase airplay chart). In the old days, before the era of payola and sales chart manipulation by the record labels, songs were always released to the radio stations and the public for purchase at the same time.

Which leads me to that other diva, the one who's record label has bought several "#1 hits" on Billboard Hot 100 chart via sales chart manipulation over the past several years. That of course would be Mariah Carey. Do any of you remember the songs "Thank God I Found You," or "Heartbreaker" by her? I didn't think so - I'd be shocked if you did actually. What do these songs have in common? Well, neither of them was a hit here in the U.S., the songs reaching #28 and #21 on the U.S. pop airplay charts respectively. What they also have in common is that Mariah's record label bought #1 positions for both on Billboard's Hot 100 chart by suppressing downloads for a very long period after the songs were released to radio. I don't have the exact sales figures, but long story short is that both songs received so many downloads in their first week of availability, that they reached #1 on both the aforementioned chart and on the sales chart. The same thing was also done with her semi-hit singles "My All" (#12) and "Honey" (#10). So, the Billboard Hot 100 record book may say that Mariah has 17 #1 hits. The reality is that only 13 of them can truly be considered #1's.

Fast forward to today. Mariah released her latest single, "Touch My Body" to radio on February 12th. It was not well received by most listeners, consistently finishing amongst the bottom quarter of the songs rated by pop music listeners at After a rapid ascent into the top 20 of the airplay charts, the song started losing steam quickly, looking like it would peak in the mid teen's on the pop chart. Songs with the sub 3.40 call-out scores that Mariah's new song have been garnering typically fall quickly on the chart... for some odd reason though, the song though managed to push it's way to it's current position of #8 on the pop airplay chart. There is widespread speculation within both the industry and on various music boards that something funny is happening with this song. Is it a case of payola? It may very well be.

To further matters, Mariah's label delayed the release of the single for download a full SIX weeks after it went to radio!!! In other words, the sales of the song which would have taken place over a seven week period, are now going to be compressed into ONE week! It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out what that means. Yes, Mariah's label by next week at this time will have purchased her 5th "#1 hit" on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. In two days, it's already dethroned Leona Lewis' "Bleeding Love" (which sold almost 220,000 downloads last week - it was released back in December '07) from the #1 spot on the iTunes sales chart. A pretty meaningless accomplishment when you consider that you effectively have had 44 days worth of sales crammed into just TWO! It's high time that Billboard reviewed their chart methodology so that this kind of manipulation will be ended once and for all. The industry will be better for it.


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Oglivy Slays Goliath AGAIN!

It wasn't at a major this time as it was in the 2006 U.S. Open, when Geoff Oglivy came from one stroke behind while sitting in the clubhouse to defeat both Colin Montgomery and Phil Mickelson on the 72nd hole as the two Goliath's both managed to double-bogey it, to go from one up to one down.

Still his accomplishment this weekend at the famed "Blue Monster" course in a rain-delayed event which ended on Monday afternoon was against just as stellar a field as that major win, and also included a player who hadn't lost in over six months! Yes, Tiger Woods' quest for a perfect season ended as he could only close with a four under par 68 to get to 15-under par - two strokes behind the winner and alone in 5th place. By the way, that top 5 finish was his 9th consecutive one, the most top 5's in a row he's had in his illustrious career.

Woods wasn't the only Goliath, Oglivy slayed this weekend. Vijay Singh, Retief Goosen and Jim Furyk (all of whom have been in the top 5 of the World Golf Rankings at some point in the past two years) finished a stroke back at 16 under to tie for second.

A little more than two weeks from now, the Masters begins... with Woods in top form, and Oglivy and many others looking to challenge it should be an interesing week.


Monday, March 24, 2008

LEONA LEWIS Live on Leno!

Yes, I just got back from the NBC Studios in Burbank, where the Tonight Show starring Jay Leno is taped. Leona Lewis performed an incredible rendition of "Bleeding Love" just before the taping ended at 5 pm PT. I got incredibly lucky with my seating location as I was randomly seated to left of the stage in the 4th row, about as close to Leona as I could have ever have wished to be - only about 12 feet away!!!

My day started very early today as I got out of bed around 5:20 am... left home at 6:20 am to beat the horrible traffic, and managed to be there by 7 am! 40 minutes! I even quickly found a parking spot... I then got in line while sipping on my morning coffee. At 8am sharp, the doors to the ticket office opened. I was 8th in line. I then decided to go on the NBC Studios Tour and that was pretty cool as we got to see several sets including the set which Johnny Carson used when he did the show, along with getting a pre-view from inside the studio where Jay's show is filmed. We were in there from around 9:40-9:50 this morning, and I listened intently as they keeping playing Leona's "Bleeding Love" so that the band would be totally familiar with the song when it came time for taping... I was hoping that Leona herself would come out and do some warm-ups, but I think it was too early for that. For you soap opera fans, we also got to see one of the "Days Of Our Lives" sets. The tour lasted about an hour and 15 minutes.

After grabbing some lunch, I got in the actual line for the show and found out that I was the 10th person. While in line, I quickly acquainted myself with one of Jay's biggest fans, Glozell Green. GloZell is a blogger who has a site completely devoted to Jay called GloZell Loves Jay Leno, where you can find several pictures that she took... that's her with me (below), and I'm also in two pictures on her site. GloZell knows all of the in's and out's of going to the Tonight Show. For instance, did you know that if you're amongst the first 30 people in line, you're guaranteed a seat for that day's taping? If you're any later than that, there is the possibility you won't get in. It was a lot of fun getting to know GloZell and all of the other great people who came to see the show! For the record, GloZell's been to 336 tapings of Jay's show since 2006! You go girl!

As for the show itself, I of course came to see Leona perform... Since it was a Monday, Jay of course did his usual "Headlines" skit... which was very good as always. The funniest part though may have been a parody that was done of Tiger Woods' latest Nike commercial where John Melendez loses a few teeth... If you've seen the commerical, you'll soon understand. :) Actor Peter O'Toole and Comedian Katt Williams provided some comic relief. Peter was his usual funny self, and Katt (outside of one unnecessary comment) was also very funny. Overall, they were both pretty enjoyable.

Leona then took the stage a little before 5pm in a stunning black and white dress. I had no idea when they opened the stage door that she would be right at the edge of it, only 12 or so feet away from where I was perched... Those four minutes of her performing "Bleeding Love" were simply AMAZING! She hit so many high notes, and people in the audience gave her a rousing ovation afterwards!!! I'm pretty sure she saw me as I was the closest one to her to stand first... Even Jay was VERY impressed, talking to Leona for several minutes after the taping was done. Leona then went off to the backstage area... and with that I hit the road about 5:15, being very thankful that things went so perfectly well!

Note: pics are screencaps from Tonight Show airing on NBC.


Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter & My 1 Year Anniversary!

I just wanted to wish each and every one of you a very safe and blessed Easter.

Kind of ironically, today also marks the one year anniversary of this blog! Has it really been a year? 440 entries later and I'm still going strong! I really had no idea when I started this thing that I'd still be doing this today and that I would be so prolific in writing. I guess I have a lot to say on the subjects that I'm truly passionate about - sports and music.

There are a few people I'd like to personally thank for their support, encouragement and suggestions...

Casey Donovan. Casey is a young friend of mine who had a blog of his own for a time. A fellow fantasy baseball player, he pretty much drilled it into my head that I would be a good blogger for a good two months last year before I actually began this thing.

Dan Christopherson. Like Casey, Dan is a felllow fantasy baseball (and football) player and great friend. We've been in leagues together for almost 10 years now! Dan provided a lot of the imputus for getting this whole thing started. I first ran this blog idea by him a few years ago... He's a great guy, a great family man and someone I can always count on for support. Now Dan, just please let me beat you in our G2K fantasy baseball league this year! :)

Kate Michael. I have to admit that seeing Kate's blog really helped give me some ideas on how to add some personality and style to my writing. Kate was actually one of my first readers, and has always been supportive and encouraging of my work. Also, I need to thank Kate, Bill, her family and friends for helping make all of my trips to D.C. this past year such fun and enjoyable experiences. I hope to get back there again one of these days soon!

To everyone else... other friends and family scattered everywhere... Amy, Jen, Paula, Katie, Vinman, Reg, Barb, Sarah, Jon, the Daves, Bryan and so many more... special thanks to Carrie Underwood, Leona Lewis and Jennifer Paige for just being the great musicians and people you are and the inspiration for so many of my music blogs... Ron Shandler of Baseball HQ for helping drive my passion for fantasy baseball and leading me to soooooo many titles over the past few years! Dan Steinberg of the DC Sports Bog - thanks for for publishing me last year in the Post and also for your fun and witty columns... It's always enjoyable to read the Bog!

I know there are a lot of other people to thank, but I have another fantasy baseball draft coming up in a few hours, so I better get to studying! Thanks again so much for reading and as always if you have suggestions or ideas for future blogs please write me and leave comments!


Saturday, March 22, 2008

Bruins Escape vs Texas A&M

Coming into the NCAA Tournament, I made mention to several friends and acquaintances that I was little worried about my UCLA Bruins, even though they had won 10 straight games. Five of their final six wins prior to the tournament were nail-biters, but the bottom line is they did manage to win. Perhaps this adversity served them well this afternoon at the Honda Center in Anaheim as they took on Texas A&M. The Bruins got up early by a 15-9 margin, and led 24-19 with 5:45 to play in the first half. They then just went ice cold from the field, getting outscored 10-2 to end the half and 7-0 to begin the second half. In just 7 minutes and 18 seconds, the five point Bruin lead had turned into a 36-26 deficit!

Over the next ten or so minutes, the Bruins made little headway, as the missed shots and turnovers mounted. Nonetheless, they managed to hang in there, cutting two points off the A&M lead, and trailing 44-36 with 8:43 to play. From there, the Bruins defense stiffened, and a 7-0 run over the next 2:52 got them to within a point. The Bruins committed two shooting fouls over the next 2 1/2 minutes, but A&M failed to capitalize, as they only made one of their four free-throw attempts. A Kevin Love jumper tied the game at 45 with 3:03 to play. Love made another jumper to give the Bruins the lead, but Joseph Jones made a lay-up for A&M to tie the game at 47 with 1:19 to go. Darren Collison then made a lay-up of his own with 56 seconds to play to put UCLA back up by two, but Donald Sloan came right back with a jumper to tie the game at 49 just 13 seconds later. Collision drove and scored another lay-up on the ensuing possession with just 12 seconds to play to give UCLA a 51-49 lead. Sloan then tried to drive the lane with just about five seconds to play for A&M, but Josh Shipp blocked his shot and Russell Westbrook wound up with the ball for the Bruins. Westbrook drove the length of the floor and added a slam dunk as time expired to put an exclamation point on a VERY hard-fought 53-49 Bruin victory.

**EDIT** The NCAA reviewed tape of the game and said the final scoring dunk came after time expired, so the game goes in the books as a 51-49 UCLA win.


For One Day, Life is a Draft!

Yes, I have not one, not two, not three, but FOUR fantasy baseball drafts today... I'm posting this midstream - just completed my second one, and I have two more tonight. Good thing there is some of the other kind of March Madness on TV to keep me occupied between picks!!!


Friday, March 21, 2008

Bruins Rout Mississippi Valley State!

It was over before it started... and the school that is best known as NFL Hall of Famer Jerry Rice's alma mater will still remain just that and nothing more for another year. UCLA jumped out to an early 29-8 lead, and by the time it was over, the Bruins had held their opponent to the fewest points scored in an NCAA Tournament game in 62 years! The final score: UCLA 70, Mississippi Valley State 29. Kevin Love was once again the bright spot for the Bruins, scoring 20 points and grabbing 9 rebounds.

The only real upset in the tournament occured in the midwest region as the #11 seeded Kansas State Jayhawks upset UCLA's crosstown rival USC Trojans by a 80-67 score...

As for my brackets, my early gambles did not do well (again for the second year in a row)... and why I didn't go with my gut and pick Kansas State to beat USC, I just don't know!


Thursday, March 20, 2008

Let The Madness Begin!

Well, today is the day all college basketball fans have been waiting all year for - the official beginning of the NCAA Tournament - aka: "March Madness." Yes, I've done a bracket again this year, and after much thought, I've decided to be a homer and pick my Bruins to go all the way. Of course I did the same thing last year, and they came just a little short... Here's my bracket in case you're interested (Note: you won't be able to see it until the first game starts):

John's 2008 Bracket - UCLA All The Way!


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Target is "Bleeding Love" for Leona!

Yes, you can get a copy of Leona Lewis' hit single "Bleeding Love" at your local Target store now for only .99 cents! Best of all, you'll also get a $2 coupon which you can use toward the purchase of her album Spirit which is coming out on April 8th!


Leona Drops By KIIS FM!

On my way to work this morning, our local top 40 station, 102.7 KIIS FM had Leona Lewis on as a special guest. KIIS' drive time DJ, Ryan Seacrest (of American Idol fame) interviewed Leona on the show before launching into "Bleeding Love." You can hear the interview at this link: Ryan Seacrest Interviews Leona Lewis 3/19/08. Hope you enjoy it!!!

**EDIT** Leona made her debut on Jojo's top 9 at 9 tonight... at #5!


Lakers Escape Dallas With W

Without big men Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum, the Lakers struggled in their last two games, dropping road contests to both New Orleans and Houston this past week. Last night, the Lakers faced another tough road battle as they travelled to Dallas to face the Mavericks. For whatever reason, the Lakers have had the Mav's number this season and last night was no exception. After Dallas went up 12-7 with 7:49 to play in the first quarter, the Lakers took control, going on a 51-19 run to take a 58-37 lead into halftime. The Lakers stretched the lead to 25 points (76-51) on a Kobe Bryant layup with 5:44 to play in the third quarter to nearly put the game in the late Chick Hearn's proverbial "refrigerator."

The Mavericks weren't done though, as they staged a furious 23-3 run over the next 8:08, to draw within five points at 79-74 with 9:36 remaining in the game. Within two minutes, the Lakers got the margin back to 12 quickly, but the Mavericks pecked away at it over the final 7:36, trimming it to just one point as Dirk Nowitski hit a three-pointer to make it 98-97 with 41 seconds to play. Lamar Odom and Sasha Vujacic made three out of four free throws the next two Laker possessions to get the lead back to four points, but Jason Terry then hit another three-pointer with just four seconds to play to make it a 101-100 Laker lead. Derek Fisher was immediately fouled on the next Laker possession and made one of two free throws. You may recall the Mavericks lost their last game against the Lakers in Los Angeles as Nowitski's possible game tying three-pointer came up short in overtime. Almost the same thing happened this time - the Lakers led 102-100, and Nowitski had a chance to win the game, but his shot was short and right and the Lakers escaped with the win. The win moved the Lakers back into a tie with the Rockets at 46-21 for the best record in the Western Conference.

As usual, Kobe Bryant led the way for the Lakers, scoring 29 points, dishing out seven assists, and making three steals. Lamar Odom was his steady self, producing yet another double-double with 17 points and 17 rebounds. Vladimir Radmonovic also had a double-double, posting 21 points and 10 boards. The Lake Show travels to Utah where they will take on the Jazz tomorrow night at 7:30 PT.


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Leona Lewis Shines on Oprah!

I knew Oprah would fall in love with her after her appearance... and boy did she ever - and so did her fans! U.K. singing sensation Leona Lewis was on the Oprah Winfrey show yesterday and pretty much blew everyone away with her performance of her hit single "Bleeding Love." Simon Cowell of American Idol fame here in the U.S. proudly introduced Leona for her first ever live performance in front of a studio audience. Simon and Leona were on the first twenty minutes or so of the show. Oprah said "you're the real deal, girl!" Yes, she REALLY loved Leona! You can check out the entire interview and performance here (thanks to Gene from the fansite): Leona performs Bleeding Love on the Oprah Winfrey Show in the U.S.. For a full recap of the show and the entire first 20 minutes, check out MJ's Big Blog.

Just how big of an impact did the Oprah performance have on sales of "Bleeding Love" on iTunes? Well, prior to the show, she had a very narrow lead over Usher's "Love In This Club," for the #1 spot, but now that lead has grown to the point where "Bleeding Love" is almost getting twice as many downloads now as Usher's song!!! Additionally, you can visit your local Target today and get a physical copy of the single! It's hard to find physical singles here in the states these days, so this is an added bonus!

Also, you can now vote for Leona on Jojo's top 9 at 9 on KIIS FM here in L.A!!! Vote as many times as your heart desires! We want to see "Bleeding Love" turn the L.A. airwaves RED!!!


Monday, March 17, 2008

Fantasy Baseball 2008: Overrated

I covered some of the players who could be good draft day steals on Saturday. Now I'll cover some of the guys who are sure to be overvalued in your fantasy leagues this year.

1. Dontrelle Willis (SP - DET): How does a pitcher who is moving from the NL to the AL and with horrible numbers go on average at the 131 position in CBS Sportsline drafts? He put up a 1.42 WHIP in 2006 and was fortunate to escape with a 3.87 ERA that year. The luck ran out last year as hitters pounded Willis to the tune of a .294 batting average. His WHIP ballooned to 1.60 as did his ERA to 5.17. If you've had him on your team either of the past two years, you've likely finished near the bottom of your leagues. Going NL to AL typically hurts the ratios by about 7-8%... what does this mean? It means let someone else draft Mr. Willis and send them a "thank you" note after the draft's conclusion!!!!

2. B.J. Upton (OF - TB): Yes, he's a potential 30/30 guy, but he also could strike out 200 times and hit .240. How did he hit .300 last year? No one really knows, but when you whiff nearly a third (32.5%) of the time and you have only an average batting eye (65 walks in 2007), you're more expected to bat the .258 or .246 that Upton did in his partial tours of duty in 2004 and 2006. While I don't think he will bat that low, .300 won't happen anytime soon as long as he's striking out so much. Upton's currently going 27th on average in CBS Sportsline drafts. You'd be much better served taking someone like Lance Berkman, Curtis Granderson, Alex Rios, Troy Tulowitski, Aramis Ramirez, Nick Markakis or even Adam Dunn (who does walk a lot) ahead of him. Unless he slips to the late part of the 5th round, you want to let someone else take on his risk.

3. Vladimir Guerrero (OF - Angels): You may be surprised to see this perennial All-Star who drove in 125 runs and hit .324 last year on this list. For seemingly forever, he's been someone you could count on for close to 40 homers and a good number of steals. While his average number of steals the past 10 years has been great, the reality is that one two times has he stolen more than 15 bases in a season (2001 with 37, and 2002 with 40). Last year, he stole all of TWO bases! Even Prince Fielder had that many! Additionally, "Super Vlad" only hit 27 home runs last year - his fewest in a full season in his career, continuing a trend which started in 2006. In the eight years from 1998-2005, he averaged a home run every 15.5 at bats. The past two years, it's been one every 19.7 at bats. This is a sizeable 27% drop in his home run rate! If this were just a one year aberration (like with Andruw Jones), you wouldn't be that concerned, but this trend has now lasted two seasons! Over the course of a 600 at bat season instead of giving you 39 home runs, he will only give you 30. Yes, a 30 HR, 115 RBI season with a .300+ batting average is still a nice thing from the now scarce outfield position. Just don't go drafting him in the first couple of rounds (he's going 18th on average in CBS Sportline drafts) as you used to - the speed is no longer there, and the power is not what it once was!

4. Joe Mauer - (C - MIN): One of my biggest rules of fantasy baseball and the keys to my success over the years is to NOT draft the so-called "positionally scarce" positions such as catcher early. Why grab a catcher in the 5th or 6th round who might get you 10 home runs, 70 RBI's and a .300 batting average over a slugger like Paul Konerko or Adam Dunn who will get you 35-40 home runs and 100 RBI's? One player will not kill your team's batting average, nor will one make it. Yes, Joe Mauer has a career .313 batting average, and he did flirt with .400 for a brief time in 2006... other than that magical first half of that season, what has Joe Mauer given the average fantasy team? Not a heck of a lot! Why spend your 58th draft pick on the oft-injured Mauer when you could get just as much production out of someone such as Ramon Hernandez, Geovany Soto or Mike Napoli in the 22nd round? If you're drafting Joe Mauer (or pretty much any catcher early), then you're doing the other owners in your league a BIG favor!

5. Chien-Ming Wang (SP - NYY): Thou shalt not chase after WINS. There is no way to kill your fantasy team faster than going after wins. Dontrelle Willis may very well win 18-20 games with the Tigers this year... but at what cost to your fantasy team? 200 innings of a 5.00 ERA or a 1.600 WHIP will kill your team. Now, Mr. Wang is not going to give you those kind of numbers, but he's also not going to do much to help your team other than in the wins column. His ERA in 2008 will be around 4.00, his WHIP about 1.300. While these numbers won't hurt your team, they also won't help them. What will hurt is his inability to strike batters out. In his first full season he struck out an abysmal 76 batters in 218 innings for the Yankees. Many relievers do that in 70 innings! Last year he improved to 103 K's in 199 innings. Still, when your average starting pitcher in fantasy is giving you 140-150 K's, you know that despite his improvement, he's still hurting you in that category. Wang is going on average at 106th in CBS Sportsline leagues at the moment. The net effect is zero, and he doesn't get his projected 18-19 wins then guess what? He's hurting your team!!! You would be much better served using that pick on someone who might be able to double that strikeout total with similar or better ratios and maybe a couple wins less - someone like Javier Vazquez, Matt Cain, A.J. Burnett, Tim Lincecum, Rich Hill or John Maine would be a much better use of that 11th round pick if you're looking for a starting pitcher who will help your team!

With our next column I will look at sleepers. These are the guys that more than likely will get passed upon on draft day and will be available to you in the very last round, or as an afterthought in free agency.


And Let The Madness Begin!

There were some CRAZY results in the NCAA games this weekend. Who in the world would have thought a 13-16 Georgia Bulldog team would be able to somehow sweep through the SEC conference tournament?? A tornado at the Georgia Dome on Friday caused them to change venues and play a doubleheader on Saturday. They swept through both of those games and then defeated the Arkansas Razorbacks yesterday afternoon to become the lowest seed to win the league since the SEC split into divisions in 1992. The now 17-16 Bulldogs got rewarded for their efforts with a #14 seed in the West Region of the tournament against Xavier.

Meantime, my UCLA Bruins secured the #1 seed in that same West Region with a 67-64 win over Stanford in the Pac-10 tournment on Saturday. Noth Carolina, Kansas and Memphis are the other number one seeds. I'll be making my picks in the brackets shortly... should I go with UCLA vs Georgetown again? Well, they both made the final four last year, and both are 1 or 2 seeds again this year, so maybe. Then again neither team has impressed me a lot of late. Yes, my Bruins have won 10 straight, but consider five of their last six wins were very close games, all of which they could have lost!


Sunday, March 16, 2008

Tiger Makes Bart Go D'oh!

I'm not sure when or if Tiger Woods is ever going to lose another golf tournament. Just when you think he is hopelessly out, he somehow manages to show the intestinal fortitude that makes him Tiger and does something that amazes even me. As Saturday's third round started in the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Tiger started the day seven strokes behind a pretty good player in his own right, Vijay Singh. Singh stumbled badly to begin his third round, going four over par the first three holes to let a bunch of players (including Tiger) back into the tournament. When the dust had settled and the third round was completed, Tiger had fired a four-under-par 66 and was tied for the lead with Singh and three others including last week's winner, Sean O'Hair, who tossed up a 7-under par 63 to make up 10 strokes!

So what happened on Sunday? Well, Tiger did his usual Sunday thing, putting himself two strokes ahead of the rest of the field after three birdies on the first nine holes. Tiger looked to make the advantage three strokes on the next hole, but Bart Bryant a group ahead of him birdied it to take the margin back to a stroke. Tiger minutes later uncharacteristically three-putted the same hole for a bogey and suddenly the two were tied for the lead at 8-under par. Bryant bogeyed 11 and birdied 12 to remain even with Tiger. About 20 minutes later, Tiger rolled in a birdie putt on 13 to take another one stroke lead. Bryant matched that with a birdie of his own on 15.

As the holes dwindled, neither player relented, though both did probably play it safe on 18. With two strokes on the rest of the field (Singh, O'Hair and Cliff Kreske), there was no sense in either of them trying to take the ball over the water and at the pin. Bryant's shot landed safely nearly 40 feet from the pin. He got his first putt within 8 inches and made his tap-in par to get into the clubhouse at 9-under par. 15 minutes later, Tiger hit his approach shot to about 22 feet. During the tournaments first 71 holes, the longest putt Tiger had made all week was a little short of 19 feet. He was 0-for-21 on putts of 20 feet or more as he approached his possible tournament winning putt. The moment he hit the putt, it looked like it had a chance it curled and turned right and turned more as it slowed and just about as it's stopping it found it's way into the center of the cup for a dramatic birdie to win the tournament. Tiger was as pumped as I've ever seen him, taking his cap off and slamming it to the ground while doing his usual celebratory fist-pump...

There are many times with Tiger's victories seem routine and boring - this certainly wasn't one of them. With the 64th win of his career, Tiger tied Ben Hogan for third in the all-time list for PGA Tour wins, and it marks the fifth time he's won Arnie's tournament.


Saturday, March 15, 2008

Fantasy Baseball 2008: Bargains!

Yes, I know many of you have been waiting patiently to post about Fantasy Baseball. With opening day only 10 days from now, it's crucial to know who you should be investing in and who you should not be putting stock into on draft day. This is not a list of sleepers, rather it's a list of players who should either be targeting and avoiding on draft day. No, you're not going to likely land A-Rod at #5 or #6 as many of us did last year, but just like last year there are bargains to be had even in the first round so let's start there.

UNDERRATED (Draft Day Bargains)

1. Johan Santana (SP - Mets): Who has been fantasy baseball's most consistently productive player the past five years? No, it hasn't been Alex Rodriguez nor Albert Pujols. On the surface, 2007 may have looked like an "off" year for Johan the Great with a 15-13 record and a 3.33 ERA, but in reality it wasn't too much off his norm. Most of that record was due to some awful run support, particularly Justin Morneau forgetting how to hit the final 2 1/2 months of the season. He was also a little unlucky as a much higher percentage of his flyball's went over the fence last year. His K/9 ratio was the second-best of his past five years at 9.7, so he obviously still has his stuff. And now he's moved to arguably the hardest park to hit in in the National League, Shea Stadium. With the Mets, expect him to make a run at 20 wins, and an ERA perhaps as low as 2.50. On CBS Sportsline drafts, he's currently getting picked 9th on average, my projections have him ending 2008 as the #2 ranked player behind A-Rod. If you have the 6 or 7 spot, do just like last year and grab Johan if he's available and thank your lucky stars!

2. Miguel Cabrera (OF - Det): Another guy who has swithced leagues. "Miggy" has moved from a very poor offense to one of the most potent in baseball as a Detroit Tiger. He should fit in nicely and since he's only 25 years old, there's still lots of room for growth. Something like 40 homers, 150 RBI's and a .335 batting average is not out of the question. It's entirely possible that he out-produces A-Rod this year... Currently, he's going #10 on average on CBS Sportsline drafts. Needless to say, if he's avaiable a few spots before that, it wouldn't be a bad idea to grab him!

3. Scott Kazmir (SP - TB): Don't let the team this 24 year old plays for deter you. After a slow start this ace got it all together in the second half last year, posting an amazing 143 strikeouts, a 2.93 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP in 111 innings. With Johan Santana now in the National League, look for he and Erik Bedard to be the top two fantasy pitchers in the American League. Unlike that 4th round pick that Bedard would cost you, Kazmir can be had on average with the 73rd pick in CBS Sportsline drafts. If healthy, he could make a serious run at 275-300 strikeouts. Don't be afraid to take him with your 6th or even 5th round pick - he will be more than worth it!

4. Aramis Ramirez (3B - Cubs): Why does this guy never get any respect? Is it because A-Rod. Miggy and David Wright get all of the spotlight and hype when it comes to thirdbasemen? I don't know what it is, all I know is that when healthy this guy is EXTREMELY productive, yet he can be had for a fraction of the cost of the aforementioned players, going 43rd right now on average in CBS Sportsline drafts. Here's what Aramis has averaged the past five years: 32 HR, 104 RBI's, a .298 batting average. In other words he gives you third round production with a 5th draft round draft pick and at a scarce position to boot!

5. Andruw Jones (OF - Dodgers): This would seem like a no-brainer pick to many of you, I'm sure. Here's a player who AVERAGED 46 HR and 128.5 RBI's, 101 runs scored and a .262 batting average in 2005 and 2006 with the Braves. 2007 was a contract year for Andruw and he tried to play through nagging injuries the ENTIRE season. Watching the Atlanta Superstation, it sounded like a broken record hearing Chip Carey talk about Andruw's latest injury. In watching Braves games last year, it seemed to me that was just part of the problem. Andruw looked a little smaller to me - I found out recently he actually had taken off 20 pounds prior to the 2007 season. He also seemed like he was trying too hard much of the time, chasing balls that he normally wouldn't. You put it all together and what you got with him last year was a complete DISASTER!: 26 HR, 94 RBI's, 83 runs and a putrid .222 batting average. In the off season, Andruw put the 20 pounds of weight back and and switched coasts, moving to Los Angeles. Contrary to popular belief, Dodger Stadium is not the power-sapper many make it out to be. Shawn Green posted 91 home runs in the 2001-2002 seasons as a Dodger and Adrian Beltre (another underrated guy this year) posted 48 of them in 2004. Last year, it took a third or fourth round pick to get Andruw. This year, he's going on average around 97th in CBS Sportsline leagues. Don't be afraid to grab him a round or before that. Outfield is not as deep as it once was, and you may never again find a likely 35-40 HR source so cheaply!

In my next blog, we will look at some of the most overvalued players for the 2008 Fantasy Season.


Friday, March 14, 2008


It's very rare when you get to attend a concert where BOTH acts are amongst your absolute favorites. And when both of those acts just happen to be superstars, well needless to say only good things can happen when you put them together. Last night, the Carrie Underwood and Keith Urban Love, Pain and the Whole Crazy Carnival Ride tour hit the local Southern California area... and though it look almost two hours and 45 minutes to get to the Honda Center in Anaheim from my home in Thousand Oaks (but only an hour and 10 minutes to get back), it was so worth it!

Over the past few years since Carrie won Idol, I've made many great friends here locally who share the same love and passion for Carrie and her music. I got to hang out with three of the best of them before the concert - Reg, Vinman and Jeff (all of whom I've enjoyed previous Carrie concerts with)... we had a blast catching up on things for about an hour before the show and just talking about Carrie and her music. I even ran into Jaysmine from the Carrie Underwood fanclub (who bought my extra ticket for the show) and her Mom before the concert.

As for the show itself, Carrie opened about 10 minutes before 8 pm with what could well be her fifth single from her Carnival Ride album, "Flat On The Floor." Next up was one of her biggest hits from the Some Hearts album, "Wasted." Carrie then broke into several selections from the new album including her brand new single, "Last Name."

Perhaps the best moment of Carrie's solo show was when she performed the first of her six consecutive #1 Country hits, "Jesus, Take The Wheel." Nearly 50 minutes into the show, she broke into her latest #1 hit, "All-American Girl." In case you haven't seen the video yet for that one, please do so... it's definitely one of the best ones she's ever done!

Carrie definitely did save the best for last though. Her two song encore consisted of a cover of the Guns N' Roses classic, "Paradise City" and it closed with her multi-format smash hit "Before He Cheats." The crowd REALLY got into those last two songs, and she left everyone thirsting for more!!!

The intermission was a good 45 minutes and I got to catch up with some more of my friends including Sharkbait (Paula) and Katie from the fanclub. We also happened to run into our good buddy, morning DJ Shawn Parr from Go Country 105 (who's operating on a caffeine buzz as I type this) during the break!

Just before 9:45 pm, "part deux" of the show started as Keith broke into the first hit single from his Love, Pain and the Whole Crazy Thing CD. Keith thrilled the crowd with songs covering his whole career. Some of the highlights included "Raining On Sunday," "Days Go By," "Stupid Boy," and "Tonight I Wanna Cry" before closing his set with "Somebody Like You."

The highlight of the night for many of us though was when the band started playing the chords to the Tom Petty and Stevie Nicks classic "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around" almost the lyrics to the Tom Petty and Stevie Nicks classic "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around" almost an hour into his set. Carrie stepped back onto the stage and played Stevie's part. The crowd went wild! Some of us who've been following the tour already knew this was coming, but still it was great to see, and man did they pull it off!

What a concert, what a night... one that I won't forget for a VERY long time!


Thursday, March 13, 2008

Leona Turning U.S. Charts RED!

The remarkable run of British singing sensation Leona Lewis continues here in the U.S. The only question is to where to start with telling the story!

Well, on iTunes, "Bleeding Love" is currently the #3 most downloaded song! Next Monday, she's going to be on the Oprah Winfrey Show. I'm sure most of you know by now what an Oprah appearance does to sales. With Mariah Carey pushing the release of her latest single back to March 24th, there's little doubt that "Bleeding Love" will be #1 on iTunes after Leona's Oprah appearance!

How about the radio story? Well, that's developing as well. At the moment, "Bleeding Love" is at #25 on the Mediabase pop chart. Amongst all pop songs, "Bleeding Love" is the third biggest gainer in spins this week with an increase of 867 plays! WNOU 100.9 in Indianapolis is leading the way, being the first station in America to put "Bleeding Love" in it's "power" rotation, giving it 100 spins the past week! On Tuesday night, "Bleeding Love" was the #1 most requested song on New York's Z-100 Interactive 9 at 9 countdown. Boston's KISS 108 just added "Bleeding Love" this week, already giving it 42 spins out of the box this week! Washington DC's bleeding for Leona too, with Hot 99.5 adding her this week and giving her 22 spins already. Finally, and I do mean FINALLY I am happy to say that my local sorta top 40 station, 102.7 KIIS FM here in Los Angeles officially added her to their playlist yesterday. They've only spun "Bleeding Love" six times so far, but expect it to get as big there as it's getting everywhere else!

Billboard's Pop 100 chart combines sales and pop radio airplay to give you an idea of what songs are the most popular here in America. Leona had a huge week there too, moving from #36 to #19 this week! VH1 continues to support Leona as well, giving "Bleeding Love" 18 plays this week. Don't forget to vote for her on their Top 20 Countdown as well!

By the way, if you have not checked out her amazing fansite and forum, please do so at You get all the latest information about Leona, along with a great, interactive discussion forum about Leona all in one place!

And lest I forget, rumor has it that Leona's going to be performing on American Idol at some point during the coming couple of months. Yes folks, we are seeing a star being born in the U.S. right before our eyes!

**EDIT** This just in... Leona's going to appear on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno on March 24th!!! Thanks to gsj123 on the U.K. fanclub site for the find!!! Link to article on

**ANOTHER EDIT** "Bleeding Love" moved up to #2 on iTunes late today! She just might get to #1 there before the Oprah appearance!


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

A 5-day Weekend!

Finally, yes finally I've started to take some of my well-earned vacation time from work. Due to all of the fantasy baseball leagues I'm involved in (all of which usually draft in late March), I like to have some time off so I can fully prepare for my drafts. This year is no different, except I will have a couple of other things on my mind as well. First and foremost of course is tomorrow night as I get to see Carrie Underwood and Keith Urban in concert at the Honda Center. Oh, it's gonna be fun! Over the coming days expect a nice blog about the concert, another Leona Lewis update - did I mention my "top 40" station 102.7 KIIS FM actually added her this week???!!! Given they don't play many mainstream pop records, this was a VERY pleasant surprise! I'm also hoping that I will get a chance to post about fantasy baseball as well and some players I think will be great sleepers, and others who I think will be overrated. And well, that other March Madness gets under way next week, and this Sunday is when we know officially the 65 teams that will be making it into the tournament. Yes, March is ALWAYS an exciting month, and this one is no different!


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Am I Losing my Passion for Idol?

Why is it this season, no matter how hard I seem to try, I'm just not getting into American Idol as much this year as in past years? Did Carrie Underwood and Bo Bice set the bar so high in season four that I've set unreasonable expectations for the show the past three seasons? Now I know season five had a lot of good talent - Chris Daughtry (who as we all know really should have won), Kellie Pickler, Bucky Covington and Elliot Yamin all have had quite a lot of success in their post-A.I. careers. Last year's contestants overall though have been pretty disappointing in their to-date post-Idol careers - though winner Jordin Sparks has had some success with two top 10 pop hits to date.

It's pretty clear to me (and many others) that David Archuleta is the man to beat this year. Tonight, the 12 finalists covered songs of the Beatles. Quite honestly, the contestants overall didn't do a very good job. Yes, there were a few good moments, but for the most part, the performances were (as Simon would say) a tad on the bland side. Even David had an off night... Perhaps someone will rise up these next 11 weeks and make me a fan.. or maybe they will have a special guest sing one night and totally blow my socks off. For now I'm just kind of watching, waiting for to someone other than David to truly impress me and stand out.


Monday, March 10, 2008

My March Madness...

Yes, if you know me you know what March means personally. Lots of fantasy baseball drafts! On Tuesday night, I have my second draft - it's a sabermetric dynasty league. I won't even get into the specifics, lest to say this is for the most dedicated fantasy baseball players only (i.e: fantasy baseball geeks). Over the next two weeks, my blogging will slow to a crawl, though I still hope to post daily... and yes, I know the one year anniversary of this blog is coming VERY soon! Of course I'm going to have lots to say about my upcoming Carrie Underwood and Keith Urban concert, and more Leona Lewis updates - she's #6 on iTunes now by the way and this is pre-Oprah appearance! I have no doubts she will be at #1 there after Oprah.


Sunday, March 9, 2008

An Uneventful Sports Sunday

I actually spent a good part of today watching a professional hockey game on TV... Not my typical Sunday activity. Then again, I did have my first fantasy baseball draft of the 2008 season and we all lost an hour of sleep, so I guess the day was not typical to begin with. As for my baseball draft, it went fairly well. Though I'd be lying if I said I was as prepared as I think I should have been.

Getting back to the hockey game... I watched about 50 of the 60 minutes of tonight's game pitting the Montreal Canadians and Anaheim Ducks at the Honda Center and I somehow managed to miss seeing all four goals that were scored!!! I turned the game on about six minutes in and it was 1-1... I watched the entire rest of the first period, and all of the second. I then missed seeing the Ducks score two goals in about a three minute span in the final period (I had switched over to the Lakers game against the Sacramento Kings for a few minutes). The good news is the Ducks did indeed win 3-1, but I missed ALL of the excitement! And to make it worse, the Lakers somehow found a way to lose tonight against the Kings 114-113. The Lake Show just seemed out of sync as a team the entire night. Despite this, they did have a chance to win, but Kobe came up short on an 18-footer as time expired.


Saturday, March 8, 2008

Lakers Clip Clippers' Wings!

For 24 minutes last night, the ENTIRE Los Angeles Lakers basketball team seemed to be taking a little siesta. I didn't see really anyone giving 100% effort... as a result, the crosstown rival Clippers were only down 49-41 at halftime. I'm not sure what coach Phil Jackson told the tropps during the intermission, but whatever it was it certainly worked. The Lakers blitzed the Clippers with a barrage of TWELVE 3-pointers in the second half, leading by as many as 40 points at one point before finishing with a 119-82 victory. All 11 Lakers that played scored between six and 17 points, and Kobe & Pau both got to sit on the bench the entire fourth quarter. With the San Antonio Spurs loss last night to the Denver Nuggets, the Lakers moved back into the #1 spot in the Western Conference standings!


Friday, March 7, 2008

Birthday Wishes to Kate & Carrie!

A couple of my favorite people outside of my immediate family are celebrating their birthdays over the next four days...

Today is my friend Kate Michael's birthday! Kate has been so very supportive of me and this blog since I first got it up running almost a year ago. In case you don't know, Kate was Miss District of Columbia in 2006 and participated in the 2007 Miss America Pageant. Somehow, I managed to make the coast-to-coast trek to D.C. five times last year. And on four of those occasions, I was able to meet up with Kate, along with many of her wonderful friends and family. Kate's spending her big day celebrating in Puerto Rico. I know she will have A TON of great pictures to share from her trip in the coming weeks.

On Monday, March 10th, a certain Country singer who hardly anyone knew about just three short years ago is celebrating her 25th birthday. Yes, that would be Carrie Underwood! Carrie really came along for me personally when I was really looking for someone to cheer for, and as she gained confidence and grew on American Idol, I knew that I had hit upon someone pretty special. Six straight #1 hits on the Country chart, nine million CD's sold in the U.S. alone... she's accomplished so much in so little time! I've had the pleasure of meeting Carrie twice and as I'm sure you devoted Carrie fans know, she is currently touring and will be heading to L.A. next week to perform at the Honda Center along with Keith Urban on March 13th. Now that is gonna be a BLAST! And of course, I will be there - lots of pics to come!

Happy Birthday to Kate and Carrie... I hope your special days are TRULY special and very memorable!


Thursday, March 6, 2008

Bruins top Cardinal!

For the #2 ranked UCLA Bruin basketball team, their game against the Stanford Cardinal tonight at Pauley Pavilion was definitely a test of intestinal fortitude. A minute into the game, Kevin Love made a lay-up to give the Bruins a 2-0 lead. Over the next 3 1/2 minutes, Stanford would go on a 12-0 run, and the Bruins would be playing catch-up the rest of the night. The Bruins trailed 30-18 at halftime and were still down 56-45 with only 5:37 to play. A 16-5 Bruin run over the next 5:17 tied the game at 61. Two free throws by Darren Collison with less than three seconds to play tied the game at 63 and sent it into overtime. In the extra five minute period, the home team dominated, routing the Cardinal 14-4 to win going away 77-67. With the win, the Bruins locked up the Pac-10 title, and more than likely the #1 seed in the West when the seedings are announced for March Madness!


Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Leona Lewis to be on Oprah!

The rumored appearance of U.K. singing senation Leona Lewis on the Oprah Winfrey show has been confirmed by her official website. Leona will be appearing on Oprah on Monday, March 17th and will be singing her #1 international smash hit, "Bleeding Love." Released just one month ago to radio stations here in America, the song is already up to #29 on the Mediabase pop chart, and also is currently the 12th most downloaded song on all of iTunes. Additionally, she was voted #7 on VH1's top 20 video countdown this past week. For more details, please visit the following links:

Leona's official website:

Leona Lewis fansite (U.K.)


Brett Favre Retires

I was so hoping that intercepted pass in the NFC title game against the Super Bowl Champion New York Giants would not be the last pass we ever saw #4 in that Green Bay uniform throw. Deep inside though, I had a feeling that it was. Yesterday, perhaps the greatest quarterback to ever play the game called it a quits after 17 great years. Few athletes have played at a level and with the passion that Brett Favre did for his entire career. When you watched him out in the field, you always got the impression that you were watching a kid who happened to be in an adult's body. Favre's joy and enthusiasm was very contagious. Even those who rooted against him had to admire and respect how he played the game. A great player, and an ever greater human being. He will now get to spend time with his lovely wife Deanna and their family.

As for Favre's accomplishments as an NFL Player, they speak for themselves. The most important NFL records he has set: 257 consecutive starts at quarterback, 61,655 yards passing, and 442 touchdowns. He has countless other marks as well, but what we will be remembered for the most for winning the Super Bowl in 1997 and for the way he played the game and lived his life. #4, thanks for all of the memories! We're going to miss you!


Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Lakers' Aces Trump Kings!

It started like the game against the Dallas Mavericks two days earlier. The Lakers fell behind the Sacramento Kings by a 7-0 score. Unlike the previous game, it was a road game and also the Lakers didn't come back so quickly. For most of tonight's game the Lakers trailed the Kings by about a 10 point margin, twice falling behind by as many as 13 points late in the third quarter. Even though they were down, you got the sense that the "sleeping giant" was going to wake up sooner or later. I could especially see it in the eyes of Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol early in the fourth quarter as the Lakers began their rally. The Kings had a 98-90 lead with 6:30 to play in the fourth quarter. After Kobe missed a jumper, Vladimir Radmanovic grabbed an offensive rebound. The ball found it's way into the hands of Derek Fisher who found a cutting Gasol for a layup. Pau was fouled hard, falling to the ground, but the shot dropped. He and Kobe exchanged high fives and after converting the 3-point play, I sensed a rally was on. Sure enough I was right. That was the start of a 27-7 Lakers run to close out the game, as they won going away by a 117-105 score. By the end of the game, not only had the Lakers taken complete control of the game, but the crowd was chanting "MVP" everytime Kobe touched the ball - and they even did so when as he was being interviewed after the game! The Kings fans hatred of the Lakers is almost on a par with that of the Boston Celtics, so to hear this kind of reaction was very surprising to everyone, most especially Kobe. Without a doubt, Kobe and the Lakers earned the Kings respect last night.

Last night just wasn't about Kobe though as three of the other starters had a big hand in the win. Asides from Kobe's 34 points and 10 rebounds, Gasol had another incredibly good and efficient game scoring 31 points on 10-for-15 shooting and grabbing 10 boards. "L.O." quietly had another double-double, posting 19 points and 12 rebounds. Derek Fisher tallied 17 points, including four three-pointers, and dished out six assists. With the win, the Lakers remain in a vitrual tie with the San Antonio Spurs for the #1 seed in the Western Conference.


Carrie Hits #1 AGAIN!

Did any of us ever imagine three years ago when we started following Carrie Underwood on American Idol that she would have the kind of success she has so far in the Country music world? I knew she would do well, but did I imagine a 7x Platinum debut album and six consecutive #1 hits on the Country chart? I don't think any of us could have imagined this kind of success for Carrie, but as those of us that have followed her on this 3+ year "Carnival Ride" have come to find, we know that trying to limit Carrie can be a fruitless exercise - she seems to always exceed our wildest expectations!

Yesterday morning, Carrie's latest single "All-American Girl" was at #1 on the Billboard/Radio & Records BDS Country tracker. This morning, she moves to #1 on the Mediabase Country chart!!! Carrie has released six singles to Country radio since winning A.I. and every one of them has made it to the top on one or both of the industries two major Country charts. Congrats to Carrie on yet another incredible accomplishment!!!


Monday, March 3, 2008

R.I.P. Jeff Healey

It's rare when someone can overcome as much as Jeff Healey did in his life and yet still manage to become as famous and well known as he did. From the time he was age one, when a rare form of cancer called Retinoblastoma claimed his eyesight, he bravely fought the disease.

I still remember the year 1989 very well. Scott Shannon had come over from New York to launch "Pirate Radio" 100.3 FM out here in Los Angeles, and though it was a HUGE success initially, the station (and the Rock 40 type format) didn't have legs, and Shannon was back in New York just a couple of years later. Scott brought many great artists to the attention of L.A. radio listeners, and one of those was Jeff Healey. Healey's single, "Angel Eyes" was one of Scott's personal favorites and he helped get the ball rolling in helping it become a HUGE hit. By August of that year, "Angel Eyes" was a top 10 national pop hit, peaking at #9 on Radio & Records' pop chart. Jeff's album "See The Light" went Platinum. He went on to be nominated for a Grammy award for that work.

Sadly, the cancer finally got the best of Jeff last night, and he succumbed to the disease after a 40 year battle. He leaves behind a wife, two children and also an album of new music entited Mess Of Blues which is scheduled for an April 22nd release. Jeff Healey was the epitome of someone with strength, courage, perseverance and a never-say-die attitude. He will sorely be missed. You can leave messages and condolences and read the messages others have left here:

Jeff Healey Wishes

Rest In Peace, Jeff.


Sunday, March 2, 2008

Lakers Show Mavericks The Door!

On paper, it looked to be a classic matchup as the Lakers took on the Dallas Mavericks this afternoon at Staples Center. Today marked the first time that the two teams played each other since their recent big trades - the Lakers of course getting Pau Gasol, and the Mavericks acquiring Jason Kidd. The game was close throughout as neither team ever led by more than 12 points. Dallas jumped to a quick 7-0 lead 1:13 into the game, but the Lakers would then go on a 47-28 run over the next 18:25 to forge to a 47-35 lead. The visitors closed hard though, going on a 12-3 run of their own at the end of the half to make it a 50-47 Lakers lead.

Last year's MVP, Dirk Nowitski, and this year's probable one, Kobe Bryant both struggled in the first half. Nowtiski only had five points, while Kobe had 14 points, but uncharacteristically missed seven of his ten free throw attempts. In the second half, the two of them came to life in what turned out to be a classic battle. Nowitski would score 25 points the rest of the way, including a 3-pointer with 2.0 seconds to play to send the game into overtime tied at 93.

In the overtime period, the Lakers and Kobe took control early as they scored the first five points. An 18-footer for Kobe's 50th point of the game put the Lakers up 104-98 with 1:34 to go, and it seemed the game was well in hand. The Mavericks would mount one final run though, and cut the Laker lead to 105-104 with 10 seconds to play on a Jason Kidd lay-up. Kidd was fouled on the play by Gasol, but he missed the free-throw way short. Kobe grabbed the rebound and was fouled immediately. He calmly sank both free throws, for his 16th and 17th straight makes of the game. Nowitski had a chance to send the game to a second overtime, but he threw up an airball on a 3-pointer from about 25 feet away. Lamar Odom grabbed the rebound, and made one of two free throws with two seconds to play to seal the deal. Final: Lakers 108, Mavericks 104!


Saturday, March 1, 2008

Lakers Finally Lose :(

Well, we knew it had to happen sooner or later and last night it finally happened - the longest Lakers winning streak in five years ended at 10 games. For the second time this week, I didn't get to catch any of the live action other than on my cellphone (I was at the Stornetta's playing Texas Hold 'Em - for once I didn't win). The Lakers trailed through most of their game in Portland against the Trailblazers after taking an early 10 point lead in the first quarter. Sasha Vujacic made a couple of 3-pointers to tie the game late in the fourth quarter, but after the latter trey tied it at 107, the Blazers went on an 8-0 run to close things out. Final: Portland 119, Lakers 111. The Lakers really didn't play a bad game, shooting 49% and committing only 12 turnovers. What truly won the game for Portland was their 53% shot-making (including 9-for-19 from distance) and committing only six turnovers. To beat the Lakers these days (even at home), you need to play an almost perfect game - precisely what Portland did last night.

The Lakers look to start a new winning streak tomorrow afternoon as they take on the Dallas Mavericks at the Staples Center at 3:30 ET/12:30 PT.