Archive for June, 2012

MIZZOU PLAYERS GET DRAFTED

Posted in Basketball, Sports with tags , , , , , , , on June 30, 2012 by A-Train

Even though it wasn’t the biggest shock of that night…it still is worthy to note that two Missouri players were drafted in Thursday night’s NBA Draft. BIG UPS to guards Kim English and Marcus Denmon, as both were selected in the second round. English was chosen as the 44th pick by the Detroit Pistons. Denmon was chosen 59th by the San Antonio Spurs.

English should be a good fit for the Pistons, I think he can be a great role player turned to an eventual starter. Remembering how he came off terrible in his junior season, he (for the most part) redeemed himself in his senior season averaging close to 15 points/game and knocking down 46% of his 3-point shots. If he is able to create his own shot, he will have a great future in this league, even if it doesn’t work out in Detroit. The last Mizzou player to be selected by Detroit was Rickey Paulding back in 2004 when Paulding was selected 54th by the Pistons.

Denmon, on the other hand could be like Ben Gordon of the Charlotte Bobcats. The former 1st teamer of the Big 12, averaged close to 18 points and 5 rebounds a night for Mizzou in his senior season. It may be tougher for Denmon to make the squad as San Antonio that’s crowded with shooters like Stephen Jackson, Danny Green, Gary Neal, Matt Bonner and super reserve Manu GINOBLI!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (In my Charles Barkley voice).

My hope is that both Mizzou players can make their respective rosters and be dynamic players in the NBA.

The A-Train

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Evgeni Malkin Deserves the Crosby Payday

Posted in Hockey, Sports with tags , , , on June 29, 2012 by nthezonestl1977

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The Penguins and Sidney Crosby are finalizing a contract worth $104.4 million over 12 years. Being only a handful of years removed from bankruptcy, The Pittsburgh Penguins probably can’t afford any type of extension to give Evgeni Malkin some Sydney Crosby-like contract money. The Penguins, a few years off of winning and losing a Stanley cup in back-to-back seasons should have a slight a boost in profitability and sales that could put a dent in helping pay for Sidney Crosby’s and perhaps Malkin’s deserved money. Crosby, who has played only 30 games, including playoffs, since the beginning of 2011 better get healthy to be deserving of this contract.The 26- year old Russian compiled a 109-point season along with steady leadership which was even more impressive considering all the Penguins’ injuries and Crosby missing all but 22 regular season games.

Malkin had a career-high 50 goals and 59 assists while taking the brunt of the offensive load for the Penguins during the elongated injury and absence of Crosby. Malkin was the NHL’s only 100-point scoring player this season and the first scoring champ in a decade to win a second title despite being practically every opponent’s top defensive target whenever they faced Pittsburgh. Malkin also did a coming of age of sorts and into a more prominent role outside of Sidney Crosby’s shadow in this last season.

Although Crosby is the face of the franchise and the league for that matter Malkin is really the true leader of this hockey league and not just as of late but as of the last two seasons. PAY the mighty Russian man! Or at least delegate some of the cold hard cash from other injured players and into Malkins golden hockey hands.

BK

CONGRATULATIONS TO BRADLEY BEAL

Posted in Basketball, Sports with tags , , on June 28, 2012 by A-Train

We at N The Zone STL celebrate and congratulate St. Louis’ own Bradley Beal for being selected by the Washington Wizards with the 3rd pick in the 2012 NBA Draft. The 6’5″ 202-lb. guard played one season at the University of Florida, and was named a member of the All-SEC First Team and the All-SEC Freshman team. Beal finished 2nd on the team averaging just under 15 points/game, and just under 7 rebounds a game. CONGRATS TO BRADLEY BEAL!

A-Train’s 2012 MLB All Stars…Part 2

Posted in Baseball, Sports with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 28, 2012 by A-Train

Alright, I gave you last night. Here is part 2, now with the American League All-Stars for manager Ron Washington of the Texas Rangers.

NOTE: All stats are up to date as of 6/28/2012

Catcher – Joe Mauer (Twins) – I don’t see too many people other than Mauer (maybe Mike Napoli of the Rangers) to be starting the game here. The guy is still an amazing hitter batting .321, of course the home runs are down (3) but he’s still worthy of an all-star berth despite his Twins being in last place in the AL Central. I would be surprised if Mauer is not the starter in KC.

1st Base – Prince Fielder (Tigers) – I smell the arguments of this pick heavily because Paul Kornerko (White Sox) is probably the best 1st baseman in the American League. Plus he is also on a 1st place team but I still dig Fielder’s numbers (.301 AVG, 12 HR, 50 RBI) and he’s still solid despite the Tigers being in 3rd place. I mean Albert could make some noise to get in the game. I hope so. But not to start the game. I choose the Prince of Detroit here.

2nd Base – Robinson Cano (Yankees) – What can I say? Another awesome season for Cano and he’s clearly the favorite for the start here.  How do you past up his .308 AVG, 18 HR and 41 RBI? You can’t. Unless you’re a hater of the Yankees. I choose Cano.

Shortstop – Derek Jeter (Yankees) – This may be the last hurrah for Derek Jeter but he’s still one of the best players to ever put on a Yankee uniform and it will continue as he makes another All-Star appearance. Even though the numbers don’t seem to be all-star worthy (.305 AVG, 7 HR, 25 RBI)…fans and haters alike can’t help but respect Jeter’s game. He’ll be at the #6 position in KC.

3rd Base – Miguel Cabrera (Tigers) – Cabrera is still one of the best hitters in the game of baseball today. Despite moving back to the third to make room for Fielder, he’s still solid (.304 AVG, 15 HR and 60 RBI). On the verge to another .300/30/100 season, Cabrera is a fan favorite and should be playing at third come that Tuesday night.

Outfielder – Jose Bautista (Blue Jays) – Two-time home run champ finds himself in the lead again (with 25) in that category but also has a paltry .237 average to go along with that. He will still find his way into the outfield in KC because of that home run power. Even though I really don’t dig an all-star who bats under .260 to get in the game, there is no other outfielder (other than Josh Hamilton) that has come close to the kind of power numbers that Bautista has. So I will have to give him this one.

Outfielder – Josh Hamilton (Rangers) – Despite his shortcomings, Hamilton still knows how to put a show for the fans and he’ll be in KC to start for the All-Star game. The AL leader in RBI with 67, slugging a league best .647, in addition to tied for the AL lead in HR with 24 showcases that he is a true and definite all-star selection by the fans.

Outfielder – Adam Jones (Orioles) – He is one of my favorites, I enjoyed playing with him on MLB: The Show on PS2 (I have upgraded since then) because he’s (IMHO) a dynamic player and future superstar and I believe that his time is now to soak in being an all-star. I would be very upset if he doesn’t start the game. An all-star back in 2009, the 26-year old Jones is indeed having one of his best seasons (.299 AVG, 19 HR and 41 RBI) and should see another all-star berth for the emerging, young and talented Baltimore Orioles.

Designated Hitter – David Ortiz (Red Sox) – I would be shocked if Adam Dunn (White Sox) is the starter here, even though he has 24 home runs (which is tied for 2nd in the American League with Hamilton), he also has that .216 average and that is not acceptable to start in the game. Really I think he’s going to be snubbed of being on the roster. Sorry. I dig Ortiz’s numbers (.309, 21 HR, 53 RBI) and he should get the nod. I think the Manager Ron will choose Edwin Encarnacion will back up Ortiz…this is a breakout season for him (22 HR, 54 RBI with a .286 average)

Those are the choices. Good luck to the rest of the all-star selections even if some of mine don’t make the team. I’ll be surprised to get 2/3 of both teams right. But here are mine. Check them out. Debate about them. That’s what they are there for. Have fun.

Hope you enjoy the All-Star Game on July 10th. One day before the birthday!!!

The A-Train

NBA 2K13 Cover Athletes Revealed

Posted in Basketball, Sports, Video Games on June 26, 2012 by A-Train

The NBA season is over but the fun is just beginning. If you are a sports gamer like myself, the 3 biggest games in sports will completely keep you in the game. I’ll get into the topic about sports games and its realism at another time.

But today, 2K Sports and it’s high profile basketball games series NBA 2K, has revealed its cover athletes for the upcoming NBA 2K13. Judging from what I have seen in social media, the cover athletes’ reception is VERY negative. Either way it goes, I will be getting my copy. This series has stepped it up tremendously and it’s only getting better. This game will feature (for the first time) the NBA All-Star Weekend from Houston…(audience applause) THANK YOU! THANK YOU! Yes, I am very excited about that! I haven’t seen that since NBA Live 2005 when they had the Rookie Challenge, 3-Point Shootout and the Slam Dunk Contest. But it’s making a dramatic comeback. I can’t wait. And oh yeah, I forgot one thing. THE COVER! Check it out below. I like it and not just because I’m a Bulls fan.

A-Train

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A Train’s 2012 MLB All-Stars…Part 1

Posted in Baseball, Sports with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 25, 2012 by A-Train

As the 2012 MLB All-Star Game approaches, the A-Train has provided you the fan some all-star picks that you can use for your ASG ballots. Some you might agree with and others you might just think I’m crazy.

But here it goes…Part 1 begins with the National League All-Stars for manager Tony LaRussa (yep, this is his last one…remember he won the World Series last year)

NOTE: This is from the catcher position all the way to the outfielders. All stats are as of 6/25/2012

Catcher – Yadier Molina (Cardinals) – Molina is on his way to a breakout season as a catcher. His .318 average, 10 HR and 39 RBI should keep Brian McCann of the Atlanta Braves from getting the nod. McCann back in the 2010 game stole the show with his clutch 3-run single in the top of the 7th to help stop the American League’s string of all-star wins (since 1997) come to an end.

1st Base – Joey Votto (Reds) – Now that Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder are in a different league…Votto should be the starting 1st baseman of the NL All-Stars for a while. Another solid season for Votto (.359 average, 14 HR and 47 RBI) means that nobody couldn’t come close to getting this nod. Should be an easy pick for any NL ballot.

2nd Base – Brandon Phillips (Reds) – Here is another easy selection for this team. I mean come on…what other 2nd baseman in the National League is there…mind you…that qualifies to be on this all-star team. Maybe Aaron Hill of the Arizona Diamondbacks? Dan Uggla of the Atlanta Braves? While many people can’t stand this guy (mostly Cardinal fans), this guy is still an excellent fielder and hitter. To me, this was (like I said) an easy choice.

Shortstop – Ian Desmond (Nationals) – Yes, I am still not choosing Furcal. Desmond has the numbers which are the best of the NL shortstops (12 HR and 49 RBI)…all the other big names like Jose Reyes of the Marlins and Jimmy Rolllins…major disappointments. NOTE: Troy Tulowitzki (my first choice) is on the 15-day disabled list. So that would have made that pick irrelevant. Choose Ian Desmond.

3rd Base – David Freese – (Cardinals) – Now many people will disagree with this pick as well, but Freese, after his awesome postseason of last year is still doing a solid job (.279 average, 13 HR and 46 RBI). Don’t get me wrong, you have some good competition at 3rd like Pedro Alvarez of the Pittsburgh Pirates (despite the .229 average), Hanley Ramirez of the Marlins, and of course David Wright of the New York Mets, who is batting .360. His defense has been much better and has provided some fielding gems that could (in my opinion) earn him a Gold Glove. This is NOT  just because I’m a Cardinal fan…I’M CALLING THEM LIKE I SEE THEM!

Outfielder – Carlos Beltran (Cardinals) – STRAIGHT BEAST MODE!! I mean this is rejuvenated Beltran that we are seeing here. But if he doesn’t START the all-star game, every Cardinal fan should be ashamed of themselves. Despite his injuries, Beltran is having a wonderful offensive season, tied for the NL lead in home runs with 20 and 56 RBIs, no doubt in my mind that he should be the starter. Better yet he should be the leading vote-getter. GET IT TOGETHER FOLKS, there is still time to make that happen.

Outfielder – Ryan Braun (Brewers) – Even though I can’t stand this dude, last year’s NL MVP gets a nod from me. This “cheater” (yeah I said it) is still putting together a solid season (.319 average, 20 HR, 52 RBI) without the likes of Prince Fielder to protect him. He still has an all-star presence despite his shortcomings. I would be really surprised if he’s snubbed as a starter. I really would. But then again, cheaters never prosper.

Outfielder – Andrew McCutchen (Pirates) – This was very debatable but this 25-year old star deserves to get the chance to start in an all-star game and define his all-star status. It’s his time. His numbers compare with the others (.340 avg, 13 HR, 45 RBI, and even 14 stolen bases), I mean I can’t see why he shouldn’t start. I MEAN REALLY! This is a 5-tool player…unless you see something wrong that I don’t. Put the votes in for him, his team may not be  doing the best but this a team of solid, young players. His energy to the game is what most young players should have and (by George) he’s got it.

Designated Hitter – Matt Holliday (Cardinals) – Holliday is putting up solid numbers even without Mr. Pujols (.299 avg, 12 HR, 47 RBI) . I can’t see him not being an all-star in any other capacity. He should get the nod for Tony’s team.

This team looks solid and could put together a 3-game winning streak for the National League. But those other guys in the American League might have something to say about that. Next time, I’ll provide for you my American League All-Stars.

A-Train

AS A WINNER…LEBRON STILL LOSES

Posted in Basketball, Sports with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 22, 2012 by A-Train

The Miami Heat knocked off the Oklahoma City Thunder in 5 games to win their 2nd NBA title, the topic will always go around one man…LeBron James. LeBrick, who I love to call, played much better than he did in last year’s Finals. The primary purpose for this is to shut up his critics. Well…I got news for him. THEY WON’T and I WON’T! As a matter of fact, winning this “tainted” title (don’t thank me, thank the “god of basketball” David Stern), he still loses. LeBron haters will remain “the king” and not him. While Heat and LeBron fans will celebrate the title and proceed to try and shut up every hater. Some friendships will end when this happens. Just saying.

Switching to something every LeBron fan dislikes hearing…

THE DECISION: YES I’M STILL ON THIS!! I will not get over that. So what! You will live just like I will. Sorry. But for this man to be the BEST player in the NBA, he surely came off cocky for that ESPN program. People, understand why I’m upset at LeBron for this. LeBron and his agents (mostly his friends) milked the idea of putting together a one-hour special on ESPN just for 2 seconds of announcing his decision to play for the Miami Heat and run away from the Cleveland Cavaliers because he felt that he wasn’t going to get anywhere with them. FOR WHAT? That sounds like pure cockiness coming from an athlete. Now you know without shadow of a doubt this could have been handled much differently. YOU KNOW THAT! He didn’t need the ESPN cameras, he didn’t need Jim Gray, he didn’t need Mike Wilbon and whatever ESPN analysts to ANALYZE this decision. It wasn’t needed. I lost a lot of respect for this guy. POINT BLANK

He won a title…with an asterisk. The same way, the San Antonio Spurs did back in that shortened 1999 season. Look who they played in the Finals. They played an 8th seeded New York Knicks team with “I’ll Choke Your Coach” Latrell Sprewell, Larry Johnson and Allan Houston. I still wondered how they got there after beating the #1 seed, (the pre-LeBron) Miami Heat. But I respect them now because of them winning back in 2003, playing in an 82-game season.

Now, why did I see with asterisk? Oh, the A-Train is on something? He needs help. He needs to lay off the meds.

No, that’s not the case at all. This could lead to another thing but. LeBron played a 66-game schedule and won a title. Last season, played in an 82-game season and lost in the championship. So, it takes for him to play shortened seasons and win titles? It looks like it. In his 9 seasons, only this season he won a title.

WELL, THAT’S NOT FAIR. Sure it is. In his first 8 seasons, he has played in 82-game seasons and has come up short. Even last year, when he practically had the same team. LeBRON WAS DIFFERENT LAST SEASON. He wasn’t any different this season, just put up more statistics. There was nothing impressive about LeBron. He didn’t take over the last 2 minutes of a game like he’s supposed to do. HE DOESN’T HAVE TO DO THAT WITH THIS TEAM. But this is LeBron’s team now, right? Dwyane Wade has given it up.  Critical moments during these 2012 playoffs, he hasn’t shown up. Sorry.

However he did get some help from the black and white. Something about referees and their ways of calling games just boggles my mind. From Tim Donaghy’s nutty scandal some years ago to the old refs like Danny Crawford, Dick Bavetta, and Joey Crawford. The game that once was a game has now been tarnished. Once again, I thank the “god of basketball” David Stern.

Once last thing…stop with the comparisons of Michael with LeBron. They don’t match. MJ still is the GOAT. MJ won 6 titles and didn’t lose a single one of them. LeBron has been in 3 Finals and won 1. Tough luck for the kid. You not Jordan, never will be. Greater than he, forget it. HAPPY FAKE TITLE TO YOU, LEBRON! IT’S WELL DESERVED!

A-Train

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