What Rob Manfred Needs To Address As MLB’s New Commissioner

The MLB introduced Rob Manfred Thursday as the new Commissioner of the MLB. Bud Selig, longtime commissioner, is retiring in January.  Selig accomplished many great things during his tenure that affect the game today, like interleague play.  Manfred was the most ready out of the three candidates.  We ask ourselves come draft time in sports, who is the most professional ready?  Well, Manfred was most ready for this spot.  A sidepiece to Selig over the years, Manfred was like Adam Silver was to David Stern.  But enough about Selig, Manfred has many issues he needs to table now or this Winter in San Diego.

The home-plate collision rule is the number one problem in the majors right now.  As we saw last week, there were four instances where the umpires were either confused or wrong.  The rule is not understood by ALL the umpires in the game.

Rule 7.13, addressing home-plate collisions
Rule 7.13, addressing home-plate collisions

The real issue is the second part.  Umpires are not understanding the correct meaning of the pathway.

In the video above, Tyler Flowers foot is blocking the plate. Even though Gregor Blanco never touched the plate, and Blanco was tagged, and the umpires called him safe.  This is what the rule says. The umpires followed the rule.  However, Ventura lost it. Why? It’s simply unfair.  If the catcher isn’t allowed anywhere near the plate, how is he supposed to field the ball, and tag out the runner? It’s nearly impossible.  His outrage was part defending his catcher, and the fact that the night before, almost the same play occurred.  The Giants, again got the advantage, but it was opposite possession.

The rule has done it’s main job, which is preventing home-plate collisions.  The emphasis on the issue really came about after Buster Posey’s horrific injury a couple year ago.

I believe that the confusion on this rule needs to be addressed before the playoffs.  They could just abolish it until Winter, and re-due it.  I don’t think it is smart to change a rule during the season, especially since this is a rule that affects the game.  But then there is the counter to that, if it affects the game, then doesn’t it need attention as soon as possible?  It’s a complicated issue.  The other thing people need to realize is that we all knew that replay was need last season, but we went through last year’s postseason without the system that we have this season!  We watched the obstruction call in Game 3 of last year’s World Series go by….

Just think about that.

And that leads to the next issue, which is nowhere near as urgent.  The new replay system this season is a massive relief. It has made the stress on umpires decrease (Umpires seem to be a common factor so far, more on that later), and it gets the calls right. It does need tweaks, though.  Many of these issues overlap, like time.  The length of the replays are sometimes ridiculous.  Anything that is over 3 minutes is a little to much, and in a age where the goal is to make the game shorter, it needs to be addressed.  I know it’s about getting the call right, but the shorter time, the better it makes it look. Again, this isn’t major, but it needs to be looked at this Winter.

The next (it’s not a issue or problem) topic that Rob Manfred needs to address is the fact that baseball is fading.  Ticket sales are fine, and revenue exploded during Selig’s term, so much that a salary cap isn’t needed, but the people of my generation are not interested.  They care more about their twitter feed.  They even play the game! They don’t watch it.  Honestly, to them (not me) it’s boring.  The pace of the game is simply to slow.  Do I agree? Yes and no.  Let’s put it this way. Sports that are more popular among my generation are football and basketball, by far.  These are up-beat, fast paced sports. Action is taking place while that clock is running.  Baseball, action happens every 15-20 seconds, for 5 seconds, then it stops.  That’s the problem. People my age aren’t interested.  And if they play the game, why aren’t they watching?! They should be watching every little thing that happens, wanting to understand more.  Baseball isn’t boring.  People have cared about this game before any other major sport.  It just needs some more action.  We can’t help that pitchers are dominating right now.  It’s totally a pitchers league.  Do people like hitting more than pitching? Nobody knows that!  The fact is that the MLB needs to do something to speed the game up.  That’s be the real issue.  I have my ideas, but most of them have been floated by other personalities.  This is a topic that should be tabled this Winter.  It’s definitely a long-term situation.

We cap this by talking about the umpires.  Umpires are great, and most of them know their stuff.  This gets back to the home-plate rule.  We need to know that all the umpires understand the rules.  It’s just a check-up.  Come playoff time, the umpires need to know the details of each rule.

Rob Manfred is definitely capable to tackle these issues.   It’s just a matter of what is tabled when.

Again, Manfred was most ready, and was probably the right choice.  However, it would’eve been very interesting to see Tom Werner get the job.  Werner would’eve added a prospective to the office that no other candidate would.  That would be the fact that he worked, as a major figure in one of baseball’s best franchises, the Boston Red Sox.  He has a prospective that no else had.  He would see it through a baseball franchise’s eyes.  He would make his decisions not for the Red Sox, and not benefiting them, but he would go, “How would a team feel about this?” I feel like this should of been going through the owners minds while voting.  Again, Manfred was probably the right decision.

Baseball’s got a bright future.  Hopefully Manfred can make the right decisions and power baseball through the next 15 years.

What Are Reasonable Expectations For The Media’s Teams?

There are teams in the NFL that media loves.  The teams that have the starry names, the teams that have the players who can’t shut up.  The media loves them.  They usually aren’t great teams, as you will see below.

Who are these teams? New York Jets, Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys.

See? Are any of these teams great? Even good?  No, not really.  This is where this gets confusing. How can the media become attached to bad teams?  It’s because of who they acquire (Browns), where the franchise is located (Jets), and the story lines the produce (Cowboys).  So what are their expectations?

Cleveland Browns

This team has had a media firestorm since they drafted Johnny Manziel.  It’s a constant story line.  Predictions, analysis, debates.  It’s all about him.  He needs to start Week 1.  I believe he is the better quarterback.  The issue starting him is that you can’t bench him.  You will ruin his confidence, and could lead to other issues.  If you start Brian Hoyer, which may be the smarter decision, you’ll have the crazy fans screaming “PUT IN JOHNNY!!!!!!!!!!!”.  It easily could be a lose-lose.  Josh Gordon will be gone at least six games.  I hope he would be.  It would be completely ridiculous if he got anything less. The media and other personalities are way to high on this team.  They have a good defense, but your quarterback is important, and the Browns don’t have one that could take them over seven wins, yet.  This team will probably go 6-10, and could be worse.  Cleveland has a lot to look forward to.  Now, they just have to be patient

New York Jets

The Jets brought in Michael Vick this offseason.  They did this to set a standard for Geno Smith.  It’s a threat.  It’s not serious though.  Geno Smith has the talent to succeed.  He needs the right teacher. With some help, he can be very good in this league.  Otherwise, this team is set.  With a top five defense last year, a reliable running back, the X-Factor is Geno Smith.  If he goes sideways, they have a very good backup in place.  If he plays well, this team may contend for a playoff spot.  The AFC is the right conference to do so.  The question mark resides in the secondary.  They lost their 3rd cornerback (depth chart wise) in practice for the season.  Dee Milliner suffered a sprained ankle, but should be ready for Week 1.  Again, they need to stay healthy.  If Geno Smith plays well, and the secondary holds up, watch out.  I think this team can get nine wins, given what I said above.

Dallas Cowboys

This team is one that nobody cares to talk about.  The Cowboys just feed the media, and can’t preform on the field.  Reports are suggesting that Tony Romo is no where close to 100% after a back surgery this off season.  This team’s defense is going to be horrendous.  They could be the worst in history.  It’s a complete cluster there.  The offense could put up points, but you need defense.  (This puts me in bad mood when I talk about them) Anyways, this team will win six games.  Vegas should put their over/under at 6.5.  I can’t really decide.  Their not going to be good, lets put it that way.

More NFL Preview To Come……


College Football Bowl Season and Playoff Predictions

As we enter a new era of college football, a even more grand column is written.  Previewing the “Bowl Season” games on top of the “at-large”, committee picked bowls, and the Playoff is a lot of predictions.  I highly doubt that even 80% of them will be right, but this is for fun.  The “Bowl Season” games still consist of a conference vs. conference format.  The “committee” picked bowl games are strictly at-large. The best teams who didn’t make the Playoff.  Then we have the new, updated, and fair playoff system.  The committee picks the top four teams in the nation, seeds them, and they play two semi-finals games.  The winners advance to a National Championship game.  This should provide more excitement and certainly more fairness among the teams.

Bowl Season Games (Non-Committee Picked)

R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl- Louisiana Lafayette vs. Air Force

Gildan New Mexico Bowl- SMU vs.Fresno State

Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl- Boise State vs. Oregon State

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl- Bowling Green vs.San Diego State

Raycom Media Camellia Bowl (New)- Buffalo vs. Arkansas

Miami Beach Bowl (New)- BYU vs. Houston

Boca Raton Bowl (New)- Tulane vs. Ohio

San Diego County Credit Union Bowl- Navy vs. Utah State

Bahamas Bowl (New)- Louisville vs. Ball State

Sheraton Hawaii Bowl- East Carolina vs. San Jose State

Heart of Dallas Bowl- UT-San Antonio vs. Penn State

Detroit Lions Bowl (New)- Syracuse vs. Minnesota

BITCOIN St. Petersburg Bowl- Rutgers vs. Clemson

Military Bowl- Cincinnati vs. Virginia Tech

Hyundai Sun Bowl- Georgia Tech vs. Arizona

Duck Commander Independence Bowl- Miami FL vs. Marshall

New Era Pinstripe Bowl- Nebraska vs. Pittsburgh

National University Holiday Bowl-  Illinois vs. Utah

AutoZone Liberty Bowl- Oklahoma State vs. South Carolina

Russell Athletic Bowl- Boston College vs. Kansas State

Advocare Texas Bowl- Texas vs. Kentucky

Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl- Michigan vs. Texas A&M

Belk Bowl- North Carolina vs. Vanderbilt

San Francisco Bowl- Ohio State vs. Arizona State

Capital One Bowl- Duke vs. Georgia

Outback Bowl- Wake Forest vs. Ole Miss

Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl- Army vs. Central Florida

Tax Slayer Gator Bowl- Iowa vs. Mississippi State

Valero Alamo Bowl- TCU vs. Washington

Cactus Bowl- Texas Tech vs. USC

Birmingham Bowl- Tennesee vs. Memphis

GoDaddy Bowl- Northern Illinois vs South Alabama


Now we go to the big ones.  The committee picked, New Years Six.

Committee Picked Bowl Games (Part of New Years Six)


Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl- Michigan State vs. LSU

Fiesta Bowl- Auburn vs. Stanford

Discover Orange Bowl (Still conference tied)- Missouri vs. Wisconsin

AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic- Alabama vs. UCLA

Playoff Semi-Final Games
The Big 12 gets two teams. I don’t know what other teams are going to be good enough to get in to the Playoff. Baylor vs. Oregon was a incredibly hard decision. If this game actually happens, defense wouldn’t even be a word. This would be a shoot-out, with scores probably in 50’s. Florida State is a somewhat easy pick against Oklahoma. I thought Oklahoma was a little overrated this year, which is why I picked Baylor to win the Big 12. However, Oklahoma will better than Auburn or Alabama.

#1 Florida State vs. #4 Oklahoma

#2 Oregon vs. #3 Baylor

National Championship

#1 Florida State vs #2 Oregon

Not even going to try to decide…


Who are the NFL’s Most Unpredictable Teams?

The Preseason has started, and the NFL season is inching closer and closer.  As I continue my grand preview, I will go through this season’s most unpredictable teams.

Really any team with a new coach is a complete question mark. Most teams that have a new coach probably aren’t very good teams at the beginning of the season.  Teams that have quarterback battles in camp are also unpredictable, even though they aren’t a great start to the season.  The NFL Preseason is off, and players are showing why they deserve to be on the team.  It’s a exciting time.  Some could be just as good as last, or could fall apart. It matters where their holes and problems are.

Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals, who are my favorite team, had a great season last year at 10-6.  They missed the playoffs in a controversial matter, but mostly because of their division.  The Cardinals could go 10-6 again, but key losses on defense include Daryl Washington, Karlos Dansby and Tyrann Mathieu for half the season.  The Cardinals had a top five defense last year, and we can expect that to slip.  Arizona did add a couple of big name players on offense, including Ted Ginn Jr, Jared Veldheer, and Johnathan Dywer.  The Cardinals need Carson Palmer to be smart.  That’s the big issue.  Carson Palmer isn’t a issue, but he needs to limit his interceptions, after throwing 22 last year.  Palmer has a better offensive line, which should help Palmer make better throws.  Arizona could be 10-6 again, or they could fall because of poor QB play or a struggling defense. Their worse case scenario is 7-9. Best case is 10-6. I don’t expect them to be much better than last year, especially since they have a tougher schedule.

Washington Redskins

The Redskins had disappointing 2013-2014 season.  RG3 didn’t play well, and their defense was atrocious.  They added many players on defense, have a new coach, and added a stud wide-out on offense.  The Redskins are hard to predict because nobody knows how RG3 will play. Unfortunately, he’s the X-Factor.  If he plays well, this team could push 10 wins, if he plays poorly, and the defense isn’t any better, the Redskins could end up close to where they were last year.  A worst case scenario is 4-12, and a best case is 9-7.  They play in a weak division, which will aid them.  The Eagles should be favorited in this division, and this will be highlighted in my prediction column.

Carolina Panthers

This may be very controversial, but the Panthers may not be a great team this year.  Their defense is solid, no doubt.  It’s one of the best in league featuring  Luke Kuechly.  The problem is on the offensive side of the ball.  First, the Panthers are crunched money wise. They have about five million left on their cap, and have many holes on offense.  Carolina had four offensive lineman retire this off-season. The right side of their line is not good looking.  On top of this, QB Cam Newton has no one reliable to throw to. The Panthers wide receivers are Jerricho Cotchery, Jason Avant, and Kelvin Benjamin.  These are notable names, but they are old or run down, or rookies!  This is the real issue.  Cam Newton has no one to throw too! This team has some serious holes.  It could be a real disappointing season in Charottle.  The Saints should be the favorites, and I expect them to win the division.  If Carolina proves me wrong, they could be in the hunt for a wild card spot.  Their best case is 10-6, and worst is probably 7-9.

More NFL Preview to come….


2014-2015 College Football Preview

football usa

Send me you questions on Twitter @hippelsportshub, or email me at hunterhippel@gmail.com

It’s here. College football is back.  I’ve always liked it starting one weekend before the NFL. It’s less stress on me and the media.  Anyways, we have a new playoff system. Four teams, three games.  A committee picks the top four teams in the country, seeds them, and they play in two semi-final games. The winners play in championship game. In addition, four bowl games will also be played for teams who missed the Playoff, in a two span called the New Years Six. The New Years Six included the two Playoff Semi-Finals. Those teams will be picked by the committee too.  As well as our beloved bowl season, that gives smaller school teams a chance at a bowl win. I will preview the Power Five now, and do my Playoff Prediction later.

SEC: It the most decorated conference in football.  They have been dominate since I’ve been born.  It’s incredible what they’eve put together. The Western division has been dominate in the past seasons. With a lot of great quarterbacks in NFL now, it may weaken.  However, last year’s runner-up, Auburn, is still very skilled. They are my pick to win the SEC West. 

Who wins the East? Well, there are three real contenders, and anyone of those three could win it. It may come down to who is injured on each squad, or division play. My pick is Missouri. They have Maty Mauk, their breakout star last season. They lost many key defensive guys, but if Mauk plays well, it should be enough.

It’s Auburn and Missouri in the SEC Championship. I’m taking Auburn. Nick Marshall is a very clutch player, and he will lead them here.

PAC-12: Another great conference, and honestly could have three teams in the Playoff. The North and South both have two great teams. I’m taking UCLA in the South.  Brett Hundley is back and is one of the top quarterbacks in the nation. It’s hard to bet against this team.  Arizona State has a great team too, and they could threaten UCLA for the South.

In the North, it’s really a tough choice, as it was last year.  Oregon is most likely to make the playoff, so that’s who I’m going with.  Marcus Mariota is another one of the best QB’s in the nation, and has a amazing surrounding cast.  Again, there is a team that could upset Oregon, and that’s Stanford.  Another team hard to write off.  This is a more likely upset than ASU over UCLA.

Oregon wins the PAC-12. It’s hard to believe them not. This will probably put them in the Playoffs.

Big Ten: The reigning Rose Bowl Champions are in this conference. Michigan State would have made the Playoff this year with last year’s team.  They will win the Legends division again this year.  The Leaders division is a lot tougher.  Ohio State and Wisconsin are two very good teams, and they will butt heads all season.  I’m taking Wisconsin in the Leaders over Ohio State, though the Buckeyes could very well overlap them.  Michigan State will win the Big Ten again.

Big 12: I hate how they don’t have a championship game.  It takes the fun away from a great conference.  Baylor and Oklahoma are the favorites.  This is another nail-biter.  It’s so tough picking this one.  Baylor put up 52 points a game on average last season, and still have Bryce Petty.  Oklahoma is a great team too. They are ranked No.3 in the Preseason poll.  I think they will slip, and Baylor will rise. Baylor wins the conference, and possibly could make their way into the Playoff.

ACC: The ACC is a really great conference.  Both divisions have great teams.  The reigning National Champions are in the conference, the Florida State Seminoles.  This team will be great again, and honestly, will win the conference, and will easily make the Playoff.  That’s about it.  In the other division, the Coastal, Duke rose among the best teams in the nation, and will continue that, but not at a higher standard.  Duke may make the Championship game, but Miami is very good program with lots of talent.  I may be crazy, but Pittsburgh is my sleeper in this conference. I’m not going to further comment on that matter.

Again, Florida State will win this conference, no matter what.

If you lost me, my predictions are….

SEC: Auburn

BIG-10: Michigan State

BIG-12: Baylor

PAC-12: Oregon

ACC: Florida State

I will have a Playoff Prediction column that includes: Playoff, Committee Bowl Games, and other bowl games.


What NFL Teams Can Bounce Back This Season?


Send me your questions on Twitter @hippelsportshub or email me at hunterhippel@gmail.com

The Atlanta Falcons’s 2013-2014 season was a absolute train wreck.  The team had high expectations after making the NFC Championship Game the year before. The problem wasn’t a bad team, it was injuries that crumbled them. Matt Ryan fell apart after losing Julio Jones and Roddy White to injuries, making Harry Douglas their No.1 receiver.  The defense lost names such as Sean Weatherspoon and John Abraham.  They couldn’t get sacks, which put their defense at No.27 in the league.

Will they bounce back this season? Somewhat.  The offense should be functional again. When Matt Ryan has his receivers, he is unstoppable.  The real question is the defense. They have to improve.  They need to be able play without their stars.  I don’t believe they make the playoffs.  The Saints are a very talented team this year.  Carolina will regress, which might open up the second place in that division.

Other teams that had disappointing 2013-2014 campaigns were the Houston Texans and Washington Redskins.

Houston Texans

Matt Schaub is now in Oakland after a disastrous first six weeks last season.  I don’t believe he should have gotten trashed as bad as he did.  After the Texans benched him, Case Keenum took over, and from there, it went downhill.  The Texans drafted Tom Savage, and signed Ryan Fitzpatrick.  Honestly, the only question mark on this team is the QB spot.  This is the same team from two years ago.  Names include, Andre Johnson, JJ Watt, and Arian Foster plus, the newly drafted Jadeveon Clowney.  This team has a ton of talent. Unfortunately, none of the quarterbacks on their roster are the answer.  This team should win more than two games, but don’t expect them to be over .500.

Washington Redskins

The Redskins are in a similar spot as the Chicago Bulls.  The Bulls need Derrick Rose to be at 75% if what he was in 2011 if they want to be a real threat.  Same for the Redskins with RG3.  RG3 during his rookie season was flashy and took his team to the playoffs.  He got hurt, and hasn’t been the same since.  The Redskins, like the Texans, are very talented, especially on the offensive side of the ball.  Desean Jackson came over from Philly, which should boost the passing production.  Really, the Redskins need let RG3 do what he does. Let him make plays out of the pocket, but make sure he is smart.  The defense is better, which could make this team a threat in the NFC East.

The NFL One Player Per Position Team

This is pretty much a all-pro team. What I am really doing is listing the best players at their position, and putting them on one team.  Also, send me sports questions at hunterhippel@gmail.com.  I will put a column together once I get enough.

The NFL season is approaching faster by the day. In one of my many previews, this one will go through the best player at each position. Not by conference or division, one team. This isn’t based on stats or expectations, or fantasy, it’s simply talent.


QB: Aaron Rodgers-  Rodgers has so much talent.  He missed most of the last season, but there is no way Peyton Manning has the season he did last year. Tom Brady, well he’s kinda like the Spurs, you can’t count him out.  But, receivers are on a shortage in New England, and age is creeping up.

RB: Adrian Peterson- Peterson gets the edge over Lesean McCoy.  Peterson is faster and more explosive, but McCoy is your power.  In a position that is disrespected and undervalued in this age, Peterson has all.

FB: Mike Tolbert-  Why?  He’s got it all. He can block and catch screens and passes out of the backfield and he can run for power up the middle on 3rd downs.

WR: Calvin Johnson-  This really isn’t a debate. Calvin Johnson has been the best wide-out for the past three years.  He’s big and fast.  Throw the ball up and he will get it.

TE: Jimmy Graham-  If his tag on NFL.com says tight end, he’s tight end. Done.  Anyways, he plays like a wide-out. He runs wide-out routes and catches the ball.  Graham is a athletic freak, which solidifies the spot.

C: Alex Mack- The Browns recently locked him up, which is a good thing.  Mack destroys people on the offensive line.  He is a especially good run blocker, and will probably get better.

OG: Louis Vasquez- He is great in the pass block.  Very mobile for a big guy.  You can spread your line out and not worry about someone getting pass him.

OT: Joe Staley- Unlike Vasquez, Staley is better in run block, but is working on his pass blocking.  Staley is locked up until 2019, which is a great thing for the Niners.


DT: Haloti Ngata- No matter what, Ngata will make tackles. He is huge at 340 pounds.  Although he isn’t a sacker, he will still make plays.

DE: JJ Watt- Not many words are needed here.  He sacks and swats.  He is un-guardable. Watt forces turnovers and tackles anyone with the ball.

LB: Patrick Willis- Look, Luke Kechley is animal, no doubt, but he is still young and honsetly, isn’t close to where he will be in the coming years.  For right now, it’s Patrick Willis.  The dude is incredibly fast and can do it all. He makes the plays. Defending tight ends to sacking the quarterback.  Navarro Bowman, his teammate, is also a top 5 linebacker in the league. That’s scary core.

CB: Patrick Peterson- This has been in the news lately.  Lots of debate has taken place this summer about it.  Look, Sherman is really good.  No doubt.  Sherman has a attitude, and is very aggressive, but Peterson is faster and has better ball skills.  And yes, Darrelle Revis had consideration here. I don’t believe he will be Revis Island in New England, but he will definitely be a top five cornerback in this league.

SS: Kam Chancellor- Yup, we will see teammates in the safety spots.  Chancellor is huge.  At 6’3, 232 pounds, he’s the last guy you want to get hit by.

FS: Earl Thomas-  Unlike Chancellor, Thomas is tiny. However, the guy can cover, He reads the play faster than anyone. He is a key contributor of the Legion of Boom, and will continue to prove it.

P: Shane Lechler- Punters are people too.  Anyways, Lechler is known for his control.  Rarely does his punts go out of bounds.  After moving on from the Raiders, he went to Houston, a indoor stadium, which helps him even more with his control.

K: Justin Tucker- Tucker has played two seasons in the NFL, and has hit 91% of his attemps.  He is the next best in the league.

That’s it!  Again, this is one of many previews I will do.  It’s going to a busy next three weeks at hippelsportshub.

Andy Dalton Cashes In

Mike Brown, the Bengals Owner and GM, has been scrutinized in the past. Whether it be not giving up the GM spot or not cooperating with Government, he is known for not being very successful. His resume was really buried in the toilet by the media when he gave Andy Dalton $16 million a year on Monday. Dalton was entering a contract year, and talks surrounded his free agency next spring.

So what’s the real problem with the contract? It’s the length.  This contract could be terrible in six years.  Dalton in year five he could be on the bench, because the Bengals didn’t realize that he has flaws, or they thought he would get them to the Super Bowl.

However, it could also be a great contract.  Dalton could develop more, and become a elite quarterback. The could become real contenders.  The Bengals are super talented. Great defense and receivers to back up Dalton.  If Dalton plays well, watch out.

If I were the Bengals, I would’ve waited until after this season. It is risky, but what team would be so desperate to get Dalton to the point were they would over pay him? Oakland? Jacksonville? Exactly.  See what happens this season.  Make sure you know he’s the guy.  Then, if you feel that he is, sit him down and work it out.  Dalton’s value is probably in the $12-14 million range. It may not seem different than what he will make with this contract. But when you have a injury and need to sign a cheap veteran, that’s when the extra $2-4 million comes in handy.  Again, the Bengals didn’t completely lose their mind, but they went on the pricey side.

The next quarterback who will get a decent extension will be Alex Smith of the Kansas City Chiefs.  He is a free agent this Spring, and would’eve been more sought after than Dalton.  It sounds like they are close, but are struggling to find middle ground.  If I had my way, he gets more than Dalton, but I wouldn’t of paid Dalton $16 million.  You pay Dalton $13 million, and give Smith no more than what Dalton is actually making.  If you lost me, you give Andy Dalton $13 million, and Alex Smith $16 million. Why? Smith is more experienced, has more playoff success, and threw less interceptions than Dalton this year, way less.  Smith has the better arm, in terms of throwing down the field.  Smith is older, and Dalton’s best days are hopefully in front of him.

The contract can go both ways.  But overall, it was a good move by the Bengals. A quarterback is very important in this league, and having one locked up is a priority.



Paul George and the Injury That Could Change USA Basketball


Paul George carried off Thomas&Mack Center
Paul George carried off Thomas and Mack Center court

First off, prayers to Paul George and his family in this tough time.  I can’t imagine a situation like that. 

It’s incredible how the spotlight was supposed to be on Derrick Rose, who is returning to the court after two knee injuries and surgeries.  And instead, the scrimmage was and will be known for a horrific injury.

Paul George sustained a compound fracture of his left leg Saturday night.  He was defending James Harden, which he had done multiple times in practice.  In a freak way, George’s leg was caught in the stanchion of the hoop, twisted, and well, pretty much snapped.  I’m not going to post it below. Look it up if you haven’t seen it. It is pretty gnarly.

This has two main impacts.

1. Indiana Pacers

2. Future of USA Basketball

1. The Pacers had a devastating collapse late last season. It included Roy Hibbert literally not recording a stat in multiple games, Paul George shooting terribly, and the whole team not playing defense.  The Pacers will be better than that in beginning of this season, but Paul George is their main scorer.  The Pacers need to sign someone.  Hopefully Solomon Hill can step up, but the Pacers bench was one of their many problems last year.  Overall, this injury is devastating for the Pacers.  This will make their playoff aspirations a struggle.

2. This injury only isn’t a terrible accident, but it may change USA basketball. First off, no one is to blame for this.  It’s a freak injury.  Don’t blame it on the stanchions.  Yes, they were a little closer than usual, but this is a scrimmage.  This is more of a practice than anything.  That same type of fast break or transition happens all the time.  Whether it’s a game or practice.  It’s so unfortunate that it had to happen to the NBA’s 3rd best player, let alone anyone else. So, what does this mean for USA Basketball?  Well, it could mean no more superstars.  Not a rule change, but guys simply declining to prevent injury.  Remember how I trashed Kevin Love for sitting out? (I couldn’t find the tweet) I somewhat take that back.  Love quit because of his trade value, not injury.  Anyways, USA Basketball could become a team of young stars. Not players like Lebron, KD, or Carmelo, but guys like Anthony Davis, Chandler Parsons, and Jeff Teague.  It could be a fun change, if it happens, but you have to worry about the competition.  Experienced teams like Spain would probably kill USA.  It’s a interesting idea, but concerns would remain.

Again, prayers to Paul George and his family.  Hopefully he comes back next season stronger and better than ever.




Wrapping Up the Insane MLB Trade Deadline

If you followed  @hippelsportshub on Thursday, you know it was a busy day.  Covering the 2014 MLB Trade Deadline from my iPhone on I-35 in parts of Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri and Kansas was the oddest combination of dullness and action.  Twitter blowing up, Ken Rosenthal and Jon Heyman having all the latest trades from a crazy day.  Unlike last year, where speculation ran high, and almost nothing happened, this year’s deadline provided big names and blockbuster trades.  It will certainly make a impact in the playoffs. Teams who are sitting in Wild Card spots will be boosted, and teams who made dumb moves will suffer the consequences.  I will go through all the trades that took place Thursday, and how they will impact the playoff race.

Oakland Gets- Jon Lester, Jonny Gomes and Cash

Boston Gets- Yoenis Cespedes, Draft pick

Thoughts- Billy Beane makes another huge move.  It’s a win-win trade for both sides. However, it could be fatal for Oakland.  Lester is a free agent this Winter. He stated he wants to return to Boston if traded.  If this happens, the A’s get Lester for two months, and lose him and Cespedes to Boston.  To counter, the A’s could make the World Series, and this trade looks great in the faces of A’s fans.  All A’s fans woke up to a shock Thursday morning. The trade happened around 8:30 AM.  It saddened the A’s nation, but most think it will pan out.

Oakland Gets- Sam Fuld

Minnesota Gets- Tommy Milone

Thoughts-SP Tommy Milone wasn’t happy when he was sent down to Triple A. Demanding a trade, he got his wish Thursday when A’s swinged him for OF Sam Fuld. Fuld a 7-year veteran and former Athletic, could replace Cespedes in the outfield.

Boston Gets- Allen Craig, Joe Kelly

St.Louis Gets- John Lackey

Thoughts- I love how Boston is going to look next year. Allen Craig has had a poor year, but he can explode at anytime and is clutch.  Joe Kelly, another bum year, but has a super fastball, and a fast sinker.  Kelly is young, and will replace one of the many pitchers the Red Sox traded away.  Notice how I’m not talking about the what St.Louis got, because I hate the trade on their part.  They gave away too much.  Lackey, who’s 35, and in decline, has had a good season, and is definitely a short term move by the Cardinals.

Milwaukee Gets- Gerardo Parra

Arizona Gets- Mitch Haniger, Anthony Banda

Thoughts- Arizona wasn’t as big as sellers as I expected them to be.  They did trade OF Parra to the Brewers for Minors.  The move was more about the Brewers getting what they need for a playoff push.

Seattle Gets- Chris Denorfia

San Diego Gets- Abraham Almonte, Stephen Kohlscheen

Thoughts- Seattle needed a bat, and they ended up getting two (more on that later).  Denorfia will probably play some Center since Endy Chavez has Right. Denorfia is mostly about the bat, which Seattle wanted.  James Jones is currently playing Center, and he really steals bases, that’s about it.

Washington Gets- Asdrubal Cabrera

Cleveland Gets- Zach Walters

Thoughts- CBS Sports called this a minor trade.  Really? Asdrubal Cabrera is a big name.  I honestly thought the Giants were going to snag him. They ended up being quiet. Anyways, Washington will pay him at 2B since Ian Desmond plays SS.  Cabrera has dipped in his defensive play, and is struggling offensively, but playing for a better team might swing his season.

Baltimore Gets- Andrew Miller

Boston Gets- Eduardo Rodriguez

Thoughts-  Boston sold three pitchers, including Miller.  Miller has been great the past couple years out of the bullpen.  He knew he was gonna get traded. His value was high because he is a free agent this Winter.  Miller will be added to a weaker bullpen, but their Closer Zach Britton is very underrated.


Tampa Bay Gets- Drew Smyly, Nick Franklin, Willy Adames

Seattle Gets- Austin Jackson

Detroit Gets- David Price

Thoughts- 3rd Blockbuster of the day happened nine minutes before the deadline. It was the one we were anticipating. The fact Austin Jackson got pulled during the game was kinda ridiculous.  It must of sucked to have your manager tell you your traded during the game. Shouldn’t be like that. Anyways, Detroit’s rotation is scary. I can’t believe I forgot about them in the running for Price.  Watch out, they could easily be in the Fall Classic again.

New York Yankees Get- Stephen Drew 

Boston Gets- Kelly Johnson

Thoughts- The Yankees got Chase Headley a while back from San Diego. So trading Kelly Johnson made sense.  Stephen Drew is a very good defensive player, and with Derek Jeter retiring, it’s not a long-term solution, however Drew mostly plays 2B, where the Yankees could use him.

New York Yankees Get- Martin Prado

Arizona Gets- Peter O’Brien

Thoughts- Arizona continued to sell, and the Yankees continued to buy.  Prado was one of the most likely Diamondbacks to get moved, so it wasn’t a shock.  The Yankees made the move for hitting, which they need.  The moves the Yankees made a focused on their playoff push, which will be tough, but with their additions, it will make it easier.

Atlanta Gets- Emilo Bonifacio, James Russell

Chicago Cubs Get- Victor Caratini

Thoughts- My god, the Cubs sold so much this deadline. Some of the moves were bargains for some teams! It’s incredible.  We were pretty confident that Bonifacio was gonna get moved. He was benched for the fact, and the Giants (again) were the front runners.  The Braves are in a division battle with the Nationals, and this move will contribute to their run.

Miami Gets- Jared Cosart, Austin Wates, Enrique Hernandez

Houston Gets- Jake Marisnick, Frances Martes, Colin Moran, draft pick

Thoughts- The main name in this trade was Jarred Cosart.  This trade is like a blockbuster that has no big names.  The Astros recived many prospects in the deal. They are commited to rebuilding and tanking in the process of it.

It was a crazy day with big names on the move.  These moves will surely affect the playoff race, as Baseball enters it home-stretch.