Monday, February 16, 2009

Monday Morning Java

Normally, I do have a cup of coffee with this blog entry, but today, I'm sans-cafe. Random thoughts from the weekend:
  • Loved the Daytona 500, until the rains came and washed out the remaining 48 laps. Enjoyed watching the Cup series drivers slice and dice through the traffic. Plenty of folks are creaming Dale Earnhardt, Jr. for his role in the lap 124 wreck that wiped out 9 cars. If you haven't seen it, a brief synopsis. Brian Vickers and Jr are a lap down, battling to be the first to get the free pass when a caution comes out. Jr. has a huge run on the #83 (Vickers), and Vickers slides in front of him to block, forcing the #88 (Jr.) towards the infield (but not to the grass). Jr. keeps the handle on his car, moves back towards the field (back inside the double yellow line), clips Vickers car, and sends him spinning into the field. Ripping Jr. for it is one thing, but there is blame to be shared by Vickers, too. Vickers has to recognize that a car is simply faster than he is. He can try to block all he wants, but at the base of this is that both cars were a lap down, with 75 laps to go. That's an eternity at Daytona. Maybe that was payback for a wreck at Talladega a few years ago (when Vickers drove for Hendrick Motorsports). Not likely, but it's kinda fun to think about. Bottom line--both are to blame, so stop trying to find fault with only one guy. Vickers should have been able to recognize the situation, and Dale Jr. should have been more careful when getting back in line. In the end, that's racin'.
  • The clock is ticking on the Panthers and their franchise tag. I don't know what the hold up is, and GM Marty Hurney isn't talking. So we won't know until he, and the team, actually does something. Perfect scenario: Lock up LT Jordan Gross with a long term deal, franchise DE Julius Peppers and then trade him for picks. Gross wants to remain in Carolina, Peppers wants out. Horrible move by Peppers and his agent by vocalizing their desires publicly. They handcuffed the Panthers big time by doing so, and now it will be tough for Hurney and company to get fair compensation. Peppers is a gifted and talented player, and Carolina will be hard pressed to get full value for him once a trade (which I think will happen) goes down. There will be some movement on this soon as the Panthers have to have the tag in place by Thursday.
  • The folks at Davidson are breathing a bit easier this Monday morning, as x-rays on G Stephen Curry's left ankle were negative on Sunday. Curry rolled the ankle Saturday night against Furman--it looked ugly. The negative x-rays mean Curry could be back sooner than expected, but with the Wildcats out to a comfortable lead in the Southern Conference, I wouldn't expect him to rush back. Get him healthy, and ready for the conference tournament. Davidson isn't exactly an at-large lock for the NCAA Tournament, so they need to guarantee their spot with a conference tourney win. He is most valuable there, not in their final 5 games of the regular season.
  • Charlotte 49ers baseball boss Loren Hibbs will join us in -studio for Sports Night tonight. Among the 49ers many diamond accomplishments in recent years, I throw this stat out for you to chew on. Since 2006, the 49ers have the 4th highest winning percentage in D-1 baseball, behind these schools: Rice, Florida State and North Carolina. 3 perennial powers. Coach Hibbs is a super nice guy, and fun to be around--should be a fun interview.

Mike Solarte

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