The Small Market Superstars

The Atlanta Braves and the Oakland A’s are definitely not the sexiest teams in Major League Baseball, but they sure are good. They have quietly put together very respectable seasons, and both teams are in excellent position to make moves in October. Nipping on the heels of the Boston Red Sox, the Braves and A’s maintain the second- and third-best records in baseball. Atlanta and Oakland aren’t the most glamorous markets in baseball, but their fans are passionate about their teams, and rightfully so. With home-field advantage throughout the playoffs in sight, the A’s and Braves are looking to make it to the World Series. The ratings would be terrible to the disdain of Bud Selig, but neither team could care less.

Let’s start with the Braves. After winning 14 consecutive division titles, the Braves have been in a drought. Until this year the Braves have not won the NL East since 2005. The Braves have cruised throughout the entire season, without any obstacles in the way. They have avoided serious injuries all year and every other team in the NL East has been very disappointing. The Nationals were many experts’ World Series picks. Boy, do they look wrong now. The Phillies are old and hurt. The New York Mets do have some talent, but an underachieving season in Queens took place yet again. Finally, the Florida, I mean Miami Marlins do have a rising star in Giancarlo Stanton and a colorful new baseball stadium, but the team is pathetic. They will be sending thank you cards to the Astros for helping them avoid even more shame and embarrassment. All in all, the Braves played well enough to win the division, but many teams could have taken advantage of their weak rivals.

The Oakland A’s path to the AL West division title has been a little more challenging than the Braves’. They actually have a decent team that plays in their division, the Texas Rangers, who are fighting for a Wild Card spot. The Los Angeles Angels are just as disappointing as the Nationals and the Phillies, proving that having a big payroll only matters in the United Nations. The Seattle Mariners are a lost franchise, with no direction or identity. They have even caused their manager to have cardiac problems because they are so heartbreaking to watch. Hope you are doing okay Eric Wedge.  And as foreshadowed earlier, the Houston Astros make the word awful seem attractive. They have lost more than 100 games and probably every last fan of baseball in Houston. That organization is so desperate that it has to pay their fans to come to the games. The players are the ones asking for the autographs. The days of the Killer B’s are gone, and the Astros are grateful that this season is almost over, too. These disappointing and poor teams have paved the way for the A’s to claim the division, but this should not hide the fact that the A’s are a hell of a ballclub.

The Braves are led by rising star Freddie Freeman. His left-handed bat represents the most intimidating presence in their lineup. Justin Upton and Brian McCann contribute with their clutch bats as well, doing it in a nonchalant way.  Veterans Dan Uggla and B.J. Upton have the same story. They won’t hit for average and they strike out more than Pete Weber, but are capable of hitting some deep balls in October. They have a pitching staff full on young studs. Julio Teheran, Kris Medlen, Mike Minor and Alex Wood are inexperienced, but capable of shutting down any offense. Their bullpen is solid and they have the best closer in baseball in Craig Kimbrel. I feel bad for McCann’s hand when he pitches. Ouch.

braves

Bottom line is the Braves are like that nice coworker that performs well all the time. You cannot really say a bad word about him. He is too nice to want to criticize. No ego at all, very humble. Like that coworker, the Braves are not flashy, they do not search for attention and in return none is really given to them. However, they win, win, and win. Whether we notice is irrelevant. Led by Fredi Gonzalez, the Braves head into October with a lot of confidence in themselves and chances in winning it all. Do they have the real superstars, hitting or pitching that it usually takes to win it all? Only time will tell.

Similar to the Braves, the A’s are a quiet group of ballplayers that only the avid baseball fan knows about. If you thought the Braves lacked stars, then the A’s would be a lunar eclipse near a black hole. We know Billy Beane likes science with his beliefs in sabermetrics, a numbers approach to baseball. Each year, they produce players that most teams have discarded. This year’s A’s include leading hitters Josh Donaldson and Yoenis Cespedes. Cespedes is like the A’s version of Yasiel Puig, minus the cocky attitude, ego, boneheaded mistakes, sliding into home plate on a walk-off and tardiness. OK, so maybe the similarities only lie with their Cuban heritage and use of interpreters.

Brandon Moss, Jed Lowrie and Coco Crisp round out the rest of the meat of their lineup and nobody could tell you they have watched more than one of their at-bats this year. The only thing catchy about their team is that they have a guy named Coco Crisp. The A’s are the only franchise left that shares a field with another team, not worth spending money on a new stadium. Where they play doesn’t matter to them and neither does who watches them. Point being is that the A’s are not rating-friendly. Even with the Moneyball movie, most fans do not regard them as a must-see team to watch. They are not shown on Sunday Night Baseball and the A’s are perfectly content with that. They are a feel-good Cinderella story that always makes the tournament, but never makes noise. They are the Boise State of baseball, minus the blue turf. Bartolo Colon may be more bloated than the Goodyear Blimp, but he is dominating this year and leading the pitching staff. For the A’s, they will get another crack to make Beane’s dream come true for a real Hollywood ending.

The Braves and A’s have a lot in common and the same goal. They lack the big names and market that most World Series teams have. From their manager (head) to their toe (closer), their squad is full of guys who only fantasy experts and statisticians recognize. When a viewer sees Oakland or Atlanta on the TV guide, the channel is skipped over way more times than not. However, they play the game the right way. They get the runners on, over, and in, and it does not matter who does it. Winning is most important and both teams, I emphasize teams, have done it a lot this year.

The real question now is do they have what it takes to win it all this year? It is possible, but history says it is unlikely. Even though the Braves won 14 consecutive championships with solid ballclubs from 1992-2005, they only won one World Series. Even though Beane and the A’s had a movie written about their unconventional success story, there actually has been very little success for them in October. There is a reason Ralph Nader had no chance in his Presidential aspirations. The big names always win. Superstars are made in October. Who knows? This year’s World Series’ superstars might not be superstars after all. The Atlanta Braves and Oakland A’s would not have it any other way.

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Paul Culley
Sports Activist for The Cover 4
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The Cover 4 Introduces “Would You Rather….”

Welcome to the new Cover 4.com

We are rolling out a new series called “Would You Rather…”. The new video debates will consist of The Cover 4 team debating hot topics and key issues in today’s sports headlines. They might be serious, funny, or even awkward, but our content will be refreshing to our views.

 

Please let us know what you think and thanks for following along!

 

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Thank you for reading The Cover 4! Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook & Twitter.

Oh yeah, tell your friends too!

Long Island Sound & Tye Masters
Chief Sports Activist for The Cover 4
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The Cover 4 Bracket: Champion

Congratulations goes to Ellen Hoog for winning the inaugural Cover 4 Bracket: The Hottest Female Athlete (Post 2000).  YOU have chosen a 4 seed over the entire field, who defeated women from Anna Kournikova to Alex Morgan.

It was a close battle, but in the end, this international Field Hockey star has taken the title of Hottest Female Athlete.

Here is your winner:

(4) Ellen Hoog (Field Hockey)

(4) Ellen Hoog (Field Hockey)

NHL Debate: MVP, Postseason & Outdoor Games

sid

Through most of the season, Sidney Crosby appeared to be running away with the MVP title, but since missing the last quarter of the season with a broken jaw, has Alex Ovechkin now become league MVP?

Pat: I’m of the belief that Ovechkin has done enough to at least garner significant MVP consideration, if not possibly winning the award.

James: Ovechkin has definitely been on a tear recently but Sid is the MVP. He still leads the league in points and had the Pens on one of the greatest winning streaks in hockey history. He is the MVP.

Pat: While everything you said is true and impressive, the Pens have not missed a beat without Crosby, or Malkin for that matter, and their team depth is coming through. The Caps go as Ovechkin goes as both their slow starts proved this season.

James: One could argue that the Pens are missing a beat without Crosby. He is the greatest player in hockey. Look at his wingers and the statistics they put up when he is around. Crosby is the MVP due to his body of work. If needed, he would be out there.

Pat: Crosby’s body of work is out of this world but the award isn’t for the best player, it’s for most valuable to his team, and Ovechkin is that guy. Early in the year as struggles plagued Ovechkin, they in turn plagued the Caps. The Caps looked cooked early but Ovi regained his old form and now the Caps are knocking on the door for a division title

James: I don’t disagree with you but how many times does the award actually go to the most valuable player to his team? The award goes to the best player, and a lot of the time, the best player on the best team. Sidney finishes first with Ovi a close second.

leafs

Who is the team to watch this postseason?

James: Your preseason pick is on fire right now. The Rangers look hot and have turned up the heat even higher as of late. Great goalie, solid defense and the team is scoring goals. They could be deadly in the playoffs.

Pat: No doubt that the Rangers are coming on, but my team to watch is the Toronto Maple Leafs. Their team speed may be the best in the NHL and that, on a well coached team, can translate into great team defense. Team defense plus goaltending plus timely scoring equals Stanley Cup, and the Leafs can compete in all three aspects with nearly any team.

James: You and I both know that if your goalie gets hot then it changes everything. On the flip side, if your goalie is streaking.. Cough cough Marc-Andre Fleury last year… It is gonna be tough for any team to get out of the first round.

Pat: Ouch too soon, but you hit the nail on the head. Goaltending is the most important thing come playoff time. Another team that has it that could make some noise are the Columbus Blue Jackets. Sergei Bobrovsky will win the Vezina IF the Jackets make it in to the playoffs, and if they do get in, don’t treat them like the Jackets of old.

 

winter classic

The NHL is finalizing plans to have six outdoor games in a league-wide series next season. Good or Bad idea? Which games would you most want to see?

Pat: I’m for it as long as the multiple outdoor game format is not an annual thing. The appeal of the Winter Classic has faded a bit but still holds meaning. I’d hate to see the NHL over-saturate the outdoor game idea. As far as the games I’d want to catch, certainly the Ducks versus Kings in Dodger Stadium. It would be great for the exposure of the sport in California.

James: I agree with you that it would be great for the sport to have the exposure to California but the more the merrier. The Winter Classic has lost a little fire but the outdoor games are great for hockey. Publicity, larger stadiums, different atmosphere. Obviously you miss the intensity of an arena but I’m really looking forward to six games!

Pat: I’m open to it once. It could be cool to see all these games back-to-back in unique venues. After the black eye that the lockout left on the league, it could be a great step towards bringing the game back to prominence

James: You’re exactly right on the fact that it is a step in the right direction to bringing the league back to prominence. The lockout was tough but the ability to host outdoor games creates a new audience for hockey fans. Do one a month!

 

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For the Fans. By the Fans. Period.

James Kaikis & Pat Davis
Sports Activist for The Cover 4
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Heat, Lakers & Quarterbacks, Oh My!

Lebron/Melo

Can anyone in the Eastern Conference knock off the almighty Miami Heat?

Sammy: Only one team can. And only one team will. And that is the red-hot New York Carmelos!

Tye: Carmelo’s playing great but he’s not LeBron. Melo can score but he can’t compare to LeBron on the defensive end. And JR Smith is nowhere near D-Wade’s level. The Knicks are like a poor man’s Heat.

LISound: The Heat will not be stopped, especially by a team in the Eastern Conference. LeBron has developed a killer instinct, and will stop at nothing to embarrass all of his critics from the last 10 years. Wade has been playing extremely well this season, but it has been overshadowed by LeBron’s dominance.

Sammy: No question LeBron is not a real human being. But the power inside game of the Knicks — especially the presence of Tyson Chandler — can (and will) cause problems for the driving game of James and Wade. Plus, it could come down to who makes more threes.

Tye: There’s no way in hell I bet against the Heat. LeBron had demonstrated he can do whatever is needed to win this year. The Knicks won 12 in a row. Miami more than doubled that with 27.

Long Island Sound: It will be hard for be Knicks’ inside game to be a problem when they get 5-10 shots a game. I don’t see a heat Eastern Conference playoff series going past six games.

Sammy: I’m more cognizant of the inside PRESENCE of Chandler on the defensive end. If he stays healthy he is a force, he will help with all the driving Lebron and Wade do.

Tye: He’ll help but it’s not going to be enough. If he tries to compete with LeBron and Wade driving, he’s going to pick up fouls early and be a quick out.

Long Island Sound: Gents, these are details that need to go right in a best-of-seven series. They won’t. Heat are going to roll the East.

Kobe

What is next for Kobe and the Lakers?

LISound: Bad time for all sports fans to lose such a star before the playoffs, but a positive of this would be for Dwight Howard to thrive and pave a future in LA.

Sammy: This is simultaneously a time for Laker fans to mourn the loss of a superstar and embrace a new one. Kobe’s injury, as a Laker fan, is incredibly tough to stomach. But can the inside-out approach of a Dwight-led Lakers work?

Tye: I personally like the idea of amnestying Kobe next year. The Lakers save big money and possibly improve the team. Kobe still gets paid and has the year off to recover, and then can come back on a cheap contract with a good roster to go for six.

LISound: No way Kobe will allow the Lakers to do that. What is best for the Lakers now is to start their identity with Dwight Howard. It’s needed for success now and in the future.

Sammy: And if Dwight bombs and the Spurs sweep the Lakers? Is his heart really into being “the man” in LA? Only the off-season will tell, but Kobe could conceivably be back by next season’s start. Is Dwight risking another hellish season? It starts (and ends) with Dwight, or else this is a team starting over.

Tye: If Kobe comes back next season then yes, using the amnesty won’t work. I think the team will be fine going through Dwight though. Diva Dwight gets his touches and the Lakers can still get good assets by trading Pau Gasol if they need more depth.

LISound: This entire Laker team looked good on NBA2K, but in reality their styles, especially with this coach, do not mesh well. As they near towards a first-round show down with the Spurs, not getting swept would be a positive at this point.

Sammy: The Lakers need to find a way to get some good young talent. They never do poorly enough to get a good draft pick and they rely heavily on free agency. It’s eventually going to stop being a good system.

Tye: I wouldn’t be surprised if they traded Pau to get a shooting guard and big man. The Lakers are one of the favorite free agent destinations and they’ll always be able sign players.

Quarterbacks

Would you draft a quarterback in the first round this year?

Sammy: This year, there is only one quarterback who I’d draft in the first round: Geno Smith. But only late in the first. Similar to how the Packers handled Mr. Rodgers.

Tye: Geno is worth a first rounder but if it was my team I wouldn’t want them to use it on him. There’s not a ton of separation between QB prospects and I’d be just as happy with a Matt Barkley or EJ Manuel along with using my first rounder for a different team need.

LISound: All the teams that need a QB are in the portion of the draft where it could be too much of a reach to pull the trigger, but if able to trade back; Geno Smith is well worth rolling the dice on. I view him very similar to Donovan McNabb. QB capable of running, but wants to throw.

Sammy: Are we sleeping on Matt Barkley? As a Raiders fan, I know to be wary of USC QBs (See Palmer, Carson and Leinart, Matt). But Barkley was a solid prospect before his injury and performance this year.

Tye: He was the unanimous number 1 pick before this year but he’s been pushed down to the second round by most teams. I watched him since I was a freshman at SC until now and I think that the team who gets him is getting a franchise QB for a steal.

LISound: Jake Locker was a steal too, right? Barkley needs to be drafted into a West Coast system and time to develop. USC QBs come in from college where they had a plethora of talent at that level, and are now looked to succeed throwing to a mix of talent at skill positions and less than 10 bubble screens a game. I’m not sleeping on Barkley, just napping until the third round.

Tye: Locker went eighth overall while Barkley is looking at the second round. A much safer pick for a team to take a risk on. I wouldn’t use my first rounder on him but I think a team in need of a quarterback that uses their first rounder for another need then drafts Barkley in the second could do much worse.

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Thank you for reading The Cover 4! Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook & Twitter.

For the Fans. By the Fans. Period.

Long Island Sound, Tye Masters & Sammy Scherr
Sports Activist for The Cover 4
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The Cover 4 Bracket: Final 4

Cleaned up your drool from last round yet?  We have made to the Final 4 voted and chosen by YOU.  The bracket has shaped up to an international final versus an American final, and it continues to get tougher.

Keep the votes coming as were near towards the hottest championship in sports.

Let the battle begin!

(1) Alex Morgan (Soccer) vs (6) Amanda Beard (Swimming)

(4) Ellen Hoog (Field Hockey) vs (1) Leryn Franco (Javelin)

The Cover 4 Bracket: Elite 8

There is elite, and there it e-l-i-t-e.  Through the first two rounds of extremely close match-ups, YOU have narrowed it down to the final eight ladies. The Cover 4 team is still debating this round, but it took us a while to stop staring.

Without further delay, the Elite 8:

(1) Alex Morgan (Soccer) vs (2) Lindsey Vonn (Skiing)

(4) Hope Solo (Soccer) vs (6) Amanda Beard (Swimming)

(4) Ellen Hoog (Field Hockey) vs (2) Maria Kirilenko (Tennis)

(1) Leryn Franco (Javelin) vs (2) Ana Ivanovic (Tennis)

The Cover 4 Bracket: Sweet 16

We are down to some very sweet, sweet ladies.  Keeping with the March madness form, there were some major upsets, and the participation has been amazing thus far.  For that, we turned up the heat a bit with the pictures, so we hope you enjoy.

Here is your Sweet 16 for The Cover 4 Bracket.  Let’s go!

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(1) Alex Morgan (Soccer) vs (4) Caroline Wozniacki (Tennis)

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(3) Gretchen Bleiler (Snowboarding) vs (2) Lindsey Vonn (Skiing)

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(1) Jennie Finch (Softball) vs (4) Hope Solo (Soccer)

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(6) Amanda Beard (Swimming) vs (7) Ashley Force Hood (Funny Car)

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(1) Anna Kournikova (Tennis) vs (4) Ellen Hoog (Field Hockey)

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(3) Danica Patrick (Racing) vs (2) Maria Kirilenko (Tennis)

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(1) Leryn Franco (Javelin) vs (4) Malia Jones (Surfing)

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(3) Heather Mitts (Soccer) vs (2) Ana Ivanovic (Tennis)

Tiger Woods & NFL Free Agency – A Behind the Scenes Look

The Cover 4 is bringing you a different approach to today’s major sports topics.

This week James & Long Island Sound go toe-to-toe about Tiger Woods & NFL Free Agency moves.

Additionally, we are going to give you a special sneak peak in how we do our debates. When you have a team that is spread throughout the United States, it can be difficult to coordinate schedules for debate topics. James & Long Island Sound seem to have spent too much time debating the outline of the actual debate rather than the topics at hand. You will see the commentary between the two writers in red with the actual debate topic is in black.

We hope you enjoy this weeks special uncut debate.

Is Tiger Woods back?

tiger

LI Sound: The question is.. is Tiger Woods back?

James: By the way, this is 220 characters. Keep it 200/220 as I dont want us to go overboard. 

James: We will try 3 correspondences.

James: As much as I would love to say yes, I am saying no. Mr. Woods had a fine showing this weekend but “Tiger” isn’t back; the once invincible golfer is just part of the pack. I think Tiger is great for golf but he’s not back yet.

LI Sound: Unfortunately, Tiger will never be back to his old form, but we are all back to watching golf on weekends (that aren’t majors). This current run is his best since a 7 iron went through his back windshield, so I’m going to be bold and say he’s winning a major this year.

James: You think after one great weekend Tiger is going to win one of the four majors? I don’t buy it. Yes Tiger is on a better streak but he has shown he can’t handle it mentally anymore. One bad day on the course and his weekend is done.

LI Sound: Already forgetting Pebble Beach a few weeks ago, my friend! This is the first time he has strung together some wins before The Masters in years. Spoiler alert: he is winning at places with previous success. I’m pumped for The Masters.

LI Sound: Round 1 goes to me.

James: It was supposed to be 3 rounds, idiot. I will let this one slide since your dumb self didn’t take the opposite stance. SMH. 

James:  It’s a 1 on 1 debate. If I go first and say he isn’t back then you can’t agree with me. There aren’t 3 of us this time.

LI Sound: You called me out for the major… It’s obvious he won’t be back to old tiger. Not going to be an idiot just to oppose you. 

James: You have to! That’s why we are 1 on 1 this time. It’s like PTI with Tony & Wilbon. Those guys dont mean half the things they say. 

LI Sound: I think this debate about the debate should be included in the article… Totally raw debate. 

James: Come on, Skip [Bayless].  Don’t you know how this stuff works?

LI Sound:  Show a common ground at the end… We have to develop our personalities with the audience so we can be consistent.

James: Sure. Can you maybe stay up past 730pm grandpa so we can finish this tonight?

LI Sound: Of this commitment how many of us work off Hawaiian time bro?

James: I forgot daily light savings pushes you to three hours now.

James: Don’t hate me cuz you ain’t me….

LI Sound: Back to the debate 

Who will do more for their new team: Harvin or Boldin?

harvinboldin

James: Would you like me to pick the same choice as you this time?!

LI Sound: Good cases for both so this is a good one to have different stances. By the fans and for the fans, but we can’t be the ignorant stupid fan James. 

LI Sound: Boldin hands down. Name a physical, possession receiver not afraid to go over the middle on the 49ers? Vernon likes to go vertical (because he can), Crabtree is soft, Manningham stays outside, and we know what Moss does. This is a Harbaugh type guy through and through who will fit in. Does Ed Reed intercept that pass in the Super Bowl if Boldin is the intended receiver?

James:  What don’t you understand about a 200/220 character count? What happened to our earlier conversation and debate? SMH. 

LI Sound: Dude I turned it on but it doesn’t count for iMessages. Stop being a little pansy and just refute my point.  

James: Nah! You gotta do it right or we need to change how we are going to do these; it changes how we respond. 

James: You have 380 characters aka 160 over max. So are we switching to that word count sir?

LI Sound: If that’s 380 then just keep it under 400. That was simple. 

James: Smh

LI Sound: You are so Rediculous. This string would be very entertaining [to run with our article]. Consider it because it’s different…

James: Isn’t it ridiculous? BOOM! +2 James 

James: You really want me to add this RIDICULOUSNESS? 

LI Sound: I think it’s way different and really shows a unique side man. Again, it’s different. Take a chance! 

LI Sound: Can we continue the debate? 

James: Did you really just say hands down? Are you forgetting that PERCY HARVIN was traded to the Seahawks? Yes, the player many considered a possible MVP candidate. One of the most versatile players in the NFL just joined a dangerous Seattle team. Harvin is going to be a major difference maker. Do you realize this gives Seattle one of the most dangerous offenses in the NFL?

LI Sound: You are as frustrating as Percy’s migraine problem. The Seahawks needed to give up 3 picks and will need to pay him big time, when he is injury prone. They have an abundance of young talent at the receiver position already and back-up running back ready to thrive in Turbin. Is he dynamic? Yes, when healthy. Tavon Austin could put this team on the brink over the edge.

James: Way to sway your argument with Tavon Austin comment. We aren’t debating who received better compensation as we are debating who will do more for their team? Harvin!! He is upgrade at wr, rb, flex, slot, & special teams. No disrespect to Boldin but Harvin is going to make the Hawks offense that much more dangerous. Allow Wilson to by time and Harvin will ditch anyone guarding him. One of the top offenses, at the end of the season, just added arguably the most dynamic wide receiver in the NFL. As the MtV show used you say…NEXT!

James: Winner me!! 

LI Sound: Just 2 rounds?

James: You did it to me earlier… maybe you can try again next week? 

Thank you for reading The Cover 4! Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook & Twitter.

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James/LIS


James Kaikis & Long Island Sound

Sports Activist for The Cover 4

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Lakers, Warrior Uniforms, Manti Te’o & Oscar Pistorius

The Cover 4 is bringing you a different approach to today’s major sports topics.

Will the Lakers make the playoffs?

lakers

Sammy: I firmly believe there is a chance the Lakers will make the playoffs. With great energy from Dwight Howard, Kobe’s efficiency and HUSTLE defense, they can pull it out.

Tye: The Lakers are three games back with only 24 games left. They’re 10-19 on the road and 12 of those games are away. It’s not happening.

James: Although I chose the Lakers as preseason favorites, I don’t see it. Houston has the fourth-easiest schedule from here on out. James Harden is playing on a MVP level.

Sammy: This team is just now starting to jell. It finally has continuity and the veterans have settled into their roles. They need help, but the Lakers will be doing their part in the race.

Tye: It’s taken 58 games to jell? It’s a sub-.500 team and only 6-4 in its last 10 games. The Lakers aren’t suddenly going to dominate the league and roll past Houston.

James: The Lakers have shown that this group of players can’t get it done. Dwight doesn’t work in this offense, Nash isn’t the same, they have no bench and Kobe can’t do it all

Sammy: To get to a 45-win season, the Lakers need to go 17-7 in the final 24 games. It’s highly possible that Houston or Utah goes 14-10 in that stretch and the Lakers sneak in.

Tye: If Utah had traded Millsap or Jefferson I’d say they might slip, but not now. And Houston just beat a top western team in OKC showing it’s here to stay.

James: 17-7 the rest of the way? I see at least 10 losses on the remaining schedule. Final three games: GS, SAS, HOU. They will flop at the end. Kobe can’t do it himself.

Are the Warrior Sleeve Unis Legit? 

Sleeves

James: Absolutely! 26 percent lighter, trendy, stretchy, 360 rotation. Did I mention the $115 price tag? Soon all teams will rock these jerseys and money will be made on sales.

Sammy: They can make shirts that have all the pros you just mentioned WITHOUT sleeves. Lookout Christmas sweaters, here come “ugly jersey” parties.

Tye: The Warriors broke into Lance Armstrong’s closet and stole all his yellow jerseys. They beat the Spurs because he had sweated PEDs into all of them.

James: Haha. Nicely done boys, but the sleeves are here to stay; the kids are gonna love it. Now you can put those guns away and rock the sleeves with your jersey.

Sammy: Honestly what are they thinking? It makes them look like little boys playing against the other teams, which look like beasts. They need to dominate to make a statement like that, not just win.

Tye: Going from short shorts to regular shorts was a good move back in the day, but the NBA jersey is something timeless. Some things shouldn’t be changed.

James: You guys are missing the point! This is about money. The almighty dollar reigns supreme as this is another selling tool for the NBA. Wait until every team wears them.

Sammy: It doesn’t matter about money. The NBA isn’t hurting for cash. What happened to tradition? Basketball holds on to tradition better than any of the major sports. It’s a damn shame.

Tye: I agree that the new jerseys will sell. Hell, NBA players wearing rimless glasses made them popular and sell. It doesn’t mean that the product looks good or makes sense though.

Is Manti Te’o worth a first-round selection?

teo

Tye: With his performance against Alabama and his 4.8 40 time, Teo’s chances of being taken in the first round are about as real as his girlfriend.

Sammy: I have trouble believing that a spotty performance in the National Championship game and the combine can affect a Heisman candidate that much.

James: Sometimes too much emphasis is on combine numbers. He’s a first-round talent but my problem is with how guys will react to him in the locker room. Definitely worth a mid-late first.

Tye: You really want to use a first rounder on a player who can’t be an every-down linebacker? The 4.8 shows he’s not going to be able to keep up with NFL receivers.

Sammy: AT THE COMBINE, Scouts compared him to Lance Briggs. Briggs is an elite LB on an elite defense without elite speed. Ball speed is different than running in a straight line, which he won’t be called upon to do.

James: Plain and simple Teo makes plays. Before the hoax we were talking about him being the first true defensive Heisman winner. Alabama showed some weaknesses but he’s still playmaker.

Tye: I see him going late first, early second. When you perform poorly against the best talent, it creates doubt at what you can do at the next level.

Sammy: Not enough doubt that he drops that far. He could go in the middle of the first to Tampa Bay or someone that could use the LB boost, or he could take over for Ray Lewis. Regardless, he’s a definite first rounder.

James: Reading Kiper’s mock draft, Sammy? The guy is a first rounder but only in the right situation. He needs to go to a team with strong leadership. Letting him slip may help.

If Olympian Oscar Pistorius doesn’t get charged with the murder of his girlfriend, is it safe to say that athletes get preferential treatment?

debate

Sammy: Pistorius, Lewis, OJ Simpson, Donte Stallworth…what do they have in common? All have been involved in a murder in some way, and all might be off without any major punishment, if any punishment at all.

James: Without a doubt athletes get preferred treatment in these situations. If Pistorius gets away with this it will be a travesty. He has a history of violence!

Tye: Do athletes get preferential treatment? Of course, but it’s up to the attorneys and juries to come out with the right verdict. So who is giving them the treatment?

Sammy: There have to be back alley type plea deals or behind the scenes agreements. There’s no other explanation. The process is corrupt, unfair and it goes against everything a government should stand for.

James: Pistorius’ camp is making all the right moves to get him off the hook. He committed a crime, was taking steroids and has a history of violence. He better go to jail.

Tye: Did you ever consider that his fame could lead to him being made an example of and increasing punishment? We shouldn’t automatically assume guilt either.

Sammy: This argument is based on the assumption he is guilty and not charged. And yes, I’ve considered fame. But that is the same boat the other athletes have been in. Fame has let others off the hook. It has to stop.

James: Guilty until proven innocent is the new system. At the end of the day, Pistorius is a local hero and will get away with murder. It’s terrible and pathetic.

Tye: Guilty until proven innocent is pathetic. Look how many people have been exonerated by DNA after people assumed they were guilty. Though if he’s found guilty, he’ll do time.

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James Kaikis, Tye Masters & Sammy Scherr
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