Tuesday, July 26, 2011


Oakland Raiders cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha is arguably the top free agent in this year's class.

We are finally ready for some football, so let the free agent frenzy begin!

At approximately 1:30 p.m. Central Time Monday, the NFL and its Players’ Association wrapped the longest work stoppage in the league’s history, paving the way in what should be a hectic free agency period.

In a normal year, free agency would begin in early March until the beginning of training camp. With the lockout taking place this year, four months worth of moves will be condensed into a week, further escalating the mayhem.

“It’s going to be very hectic, with a lot to get done in a short period of time,” agent Mark Bartelstein said to Bloomberg. “There’s a lot of moving pieces and you’ve got to get your guys in the right places.”

One free agent that looks to garner a lot of attention is Oakland Raiders cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha. Many teams are interested in him, such as the Houston Texas and the Baltimore Ravens. Asomugha is in his prime and is a great example of a shutdown corner.

On the offensive side of the ball, an intriguing name will be wide receiver Plaxico Burress. Burress missed the last two seasons due to serving his prison sentence, but his time with the New York Giants could be almost over. However according to team owner John Mara, nothing is set in stone at this time.

“I think that’s certainly something that we’re going to talk about and have talked about, and I know there will be a conversation with him at some point, but where that goes, I don’t know,” Mara said on the Michael Kay Show Monday.

It all begins Tuesday, when teams can sign undrafted free agents and their own draft picks, while they can begin signing free agents Friday.

Teams like the Ravens and the Dallas Cowboys are already planning to create salary cap space by releasing players.

ESPN reported Monday that Kelly Gregg, Todd Heap, Derrick Mason and Willis McGahee will be cut by Baltimore. On Tuesday, ESPNDallas.com reported that the Cowboys will release wide receiver Roy Williams and running back Marion Barber.

The cuts will be officially made Thursday, but this is only the tip of the iceberg as more moves will happen before teams open their training camps next week. It will be interesting to say the least.

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Roy Williams will be cut Thursday as Dallas looks to get under the salary cap.

Saturday, July 9, 2011


Shannon Stone, 39, died on July 7 after trying to catch a foul
ball tossed by Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton.

July 7, 2011 was supposed to be just another day at Rangers Ballpark for Shannon Stone and his son, Cooper.

Sadly, it turned tragic after a good gesture accidentally turned bad.

In the second inning of Thursday’s game between the Texas Rangers and the Oakland Athletics, Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton tossed a foul ball to Stone. As Stone reached out to catch the ball, he lost his balance on the railing and fell 20 feet to the ground.

Nearly an hour later, the firefighter from Brownwood, Texas was pronounced dead at the age of 39.

“We had a very tragic accident tonight and for one of our fans lost their life reaching over trying to get a ball,” Rangers team president Nolan Ryan said Thursday. “As an organization, and as our team members and our staff, we’re very heavy-hearted about this, and our thoughts and prayers go out to the family.”

Words cannot explain how the younger Stone feels right now.

Like most of us during our youth, going to a sporting event is an opportunity to bond with your father, uncle, grandfather, or any other family member. While doing so, you may get a chance to come away with a souvenir, in hopes of getting it signed by your favorite player.

I remember going to Fair Grounds Field as a kid to watch the Shreveport Captains play baseball.

The Captains were the Double A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants, and the team was filled with players working hard trying to make the big leagues. Players such as Rich Aurilia, Chris Singleton, Joe Nathan, and others played for Shreveport en route to having successful careers in Major League Baseball.

I remember getting signatures from the players once (sadly, I do not have the signature-filled card anymore) along with trying to catch a few foul balls with my glove in various games.

Sometimes I was successful, sometimes I was not, but it was all fun nevertheless.

For Cooper, this was that moment that he could cherish for life. Sadly, seeing his dad die is something that might take a while, if even at all, to get over with.

Another person that I cannot imagine how he is feeling is Hamilton.

The Rangers offered to let Hamilton regroup and take some time off on Friday, but Hamilton insisted on playing.

“There’s nothing that would benefit me from not being out there playing and trying to help these guys,” Hamilton said before Friday's game. “I’ve talked with Wash (Rangers manager Ron Washington). I’ve talked with (first base coach) Gary Pettis about if I feel like I need some time, I’ll take some time.”

The Rangers and Major League Baseball have set up a memorial fund in the honor of Stone and you can make a donation here.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the Stone family and to Josh Hamilton during this time of grief.

Here is the footage of Stone trying to catch the baseball (around the 1:00 mark).
WARNING: The video may be graphic for some.