Monthly Archives: July 2012

ninjasports (@Ninjasblog) has shared a tweet with you

Giants – Phillies Pence deal is completed pending physicals — JIM BOWDEN (@JimBowdenESPNxm)

Tagged , , , , , ,

Testosterone Replacement Therapy in MMA

Forrest Griffin MMA mixed martial arts TRT testosterone replacement therapy

Testosterone replacement therapy (TRT), is silently stirring up a storm in MMA. Many star fighters are getting licensed to use TRT, while other fighters, such as Tito Ortiz, are making very strong statements and urging the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) to stop granting exemptions. TRT has become an issue that must be addressed. Testosterone replacement therapy, a treatment to counter the effects of hypogonadism, is meant for use by middle-aged men who are declining in their body’s ability to produce a normal amount of testosterone, not for world class athletes who are in tremendous shape.

The first major case of an MMA star using TRT was Chael Sonnen, who tested positive and did not have an exemption. He received a 6-month suspension for the failed drug test, and more recently was granted an exemption for the drug to compete against Anderson Silva at UFC 148. According to BJPenn.com, Bloody Elbow interviewed highly touted MMA doctor Johnny Benjamin, and he stated, “if he has hypogonadism, it’s from one thing and one thing only; because he treated himself with steroids in the past and wrecked his testes. That’s it”. The question ultimately brought to the table, is: How many more fighters the commission will grant exemptions to before they realize these fighters shouldn’t be using it at all? Fighters such as Sonnen, Rampage Jackson, and Forrest Griffin have all been linked with exemptions. From a fan’s standpoint, none of these men seem to be lacking in testosterone, especially as we watch them grind through training camp, flex at a weigh-in, and go 3-5 rounds in a fight.

Most MMA fans aware of the TRT issue are in an uproar. They ask, ‘Where do you draw the line?’. The NSAC and other responsible parties are allowing athletes to use a drug that is an illegal substance, and to most considered a steroid. In the long run, these ‘exempted’ athletes are gaining an edge over their opponent. From an interview with Fighters Only Magazine, Rampage Jackson stated:

“I almost pulled out but then I went to see the doctor and he told me to talk to an age-management doctor. So I went and talked to them and they tested me and said my testosterone was low; they prescribed me testosterone, to bring my testosterone levels back up to levels where I can be like… so that I am the same as young people, like when I was 25, and it would help build my knee up. I hurt my knee like a month ago and I only did three shots of testosterone but it put a lot of weight on me, a lot of muscle on me but it healed me knee up good enough to where I could fight.”

Is it really fair for fighters who are at the end of their career, or have used steroids before, to be using a drug that makes them feel like they are 25? There is no early indication that exemptions and usage of TRT will stop, and if it does not, when will a fighter’s ‘prime’ really ever end? Dan Henderson, a known TRT user, is 41 years old, and he has shown no signs of slowing down. I’d venture to say he is feeling young again, as he in line to fight for the light heavyweight title of the UFC in 2 months.

There is no spot in MMA for this drug. A fighter that is granted an exemption for TRT has either taken steroids before, or are looking to extend their careers. If an athlete desires to take TRT for medical reasons upon retirement, then he or she should do so. Fighters such as Jackson and Henderson, already posses advantages in experience and fighting wisdom, to also “feel like they’re 25 again” is ludicrous. Honestly, I feel bad for the younger guys coming up, and aging fighters who are actually feeling old.

Thoughts/comments/corrections? Comment or tweet @ninjasports

Tagged , , , ,

Matt Ramsey (@rammer05) has shared a tweet with you

BREAKING: Dana Vollmer of United States wins Olympic 100 butterfly gold medal in world record time -RJJ — The Associated Press (@AP)

Tagged , , , ,

Watching the 2012 Olympics: A Beginner’s Guide

LeBron Kobe Team USA Basketball Olympic Preview

When the Olympics come around every 2-4 years (depending on how you look at it), I will be honest, I get very excited. Along with my excitement comes confusion. There are 36 sports (countless events) being competed at this years Olympics in London, and over 2000 athletes participating. So here at ninjasports, we want to give you a good start.  Covered here are key athletes, teams, and events that are must see for every sports fan.

Star Watch:

Ashton Eaton, decathlon:   Eaton is the clear favorite to win gold in the Decathlon. A fellow American, Trey Hardee, will push Eaton and likely win a metal as well. Key dates: 8/8-8/9.

Mariel Zagunis,  fencing: Already a champion twice in individual sabre, Zagunis will likely win gold. The tournament will be going on all day: 8/1.

Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walshbeach volleyball:  This pair is looking to 3-peat in London.  Dates: 7/28, 7/30, 8/1, Finals: 8/8.

Kim Rhodeshooting:  Rhode has went gold, gold, silver in her past three Olympics. Look for her to get four in a row.  Skeet: 7/29 – medal event

Other Favorites: 

USA Men’s Basketball: Key dates:  v. France 7/29, v. Argentina 8/6. Bracket play: 8/8-8/12. Final: 8/12.

USA Women’s Basketball: Key dates: Bracket play 8/6-8/11.

Women’s Eights Rowing: Enter the Olympics without losing in the past 6 years. Key dates:  Final 8/2.

 Women’s Soccer: They have won two straight golds. Brackets: 8/3-8/9.

These Ninjas love Alex Morgan.

USA Women’s Team Gymnastics:  At the 2011 World Championships, this team was barely touched. Look for them to get gold. Key dates: Final 7/31.

Keep an eye on:

Rau’shee Warren, boxing:  This Olympic veteran is savvy and should at least win bronze. Dates: Semis: 8/10, Finals: 8/12.

LaShawn Merritt, 400 meters:  This athlete is favored to win gold, and is coming off a nearly two year ban for drugs. Finals: 8/6.

Joshua Richmond, double trap: According to SI, his father bought him a shot-gun before he was born. Key date: 8/2.

Women’s Tennis Doubles:  Finals: 8/5.

Men’s Beach Volleyball:  It is a treat to watch 6’9 Phil Dalhausser play. Finals: 8/9.

USA Swimming:  

 Ryan Lohte and Micheal Phelps lead a strong men’s team: 

Men’s 200-meter freestyle final: 7/3o.

Men’s 100-meter backstroke final: 7/30.

Men’s 200-meter backstroke final: 8/1.

Men’s 100-meter butterfly final: 7/31.

Men’s 4×100 medley relay: 8/4.

USA Women’s Swimming Key Dates: 

200-meter freestyle final: 7/31.

100-meter backstroke final: 7/30.

200-meter breaststroke final: 8/2.

100-meter butterfly finals: 7/29.

4×100 medley relay: 8/4.

Look for the USA and China to be competing for the top spot in overall metal count!

Let me know if I missed anything crazy or got a date wrong… comment or tweet: @rammer05 or @ninjasportsblog

Tagged , , , , ,

‘It is worth the three minute watch’

Check out this video. It is worth the three minute watch. Ray Lewis has had a great career so far and he is a great leader.

Tagged , , , ,

Predictions: Busts and Badasses

ryan kalil makes bold superbowl prediction carolina panthers
As many of you Ninjas may have already seen, Panthers Center Ryan Kalil took out an ad in today’s Charlotte Observer. In this full page ad, Kalil guaranteed Panthers fans a Lombardi Trophy this season. There have been many bold predictions throughout the history of sports, and it remains to be seen where Kalil’s Superbowl prediction will rank. Often times, a prediction will fall flat on it’s face. In some cases though, athletes or coaches can back up a bold prediction with acts of badassery.

The Best:

5. Rasheed Wallace, Detroit Pistons, 2004 Easteren Conference Finals

The prediction: “We will win game 2.”
Success: ‘Sheed had enough power within the locker room to make the prediction work. His teammates backed him up and they went on to beat the Lakers in the NBA finals.

4. Plaxico Burress, New York Giants, 2007 Super Bowl

The prediction: Burress predicted that his 10-6 Giants will win 23-17.
Success: Plaxico caught the game winner in the Super Bowl XLII, helping his team along to a 17-14 victory.

3. Jim Fassel, New York Giants, 2000, Week 12

The prediction: “I am raising the stakes right now. If this is a poker game, I am shoving my chips right in the middle of the table…..Anybody who wants out, can get out. This team is going to the playoffs. Okay? This team is going to the playoffs.”

Success: The Giants, 7-4 at the time of the prediction, ended up making it all the way to the Super Bowl before losing to the Ravens.

2. Mark Messier, New York Rangers, 1994 Stanley Cup Finals

The prediction: Messier promised that his Rangers would beat the New Jersey Devils in game 6. The Rangers were behind 3-2.
Success: This was an intentional move to motivate his team. Messier answered on the first question he was asked the day before game 6, that they were going to win the game. Most importantly, Messier delivered on his prediction with a hat trick. The Rangers won their first title in 54 years, and Messier did this all before predictions were in style.

1. Joe Namath, New York Jets, 1967 Super Bowl

The prediction: “The Guarantee” as many call it, was straight to the point and simple. Joe Namath went down in history when he guaranteed his Jets would beat the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III.
Success: After a victory over the heavily favored Colts, Namath became an instant celebrity, and some speculate that this game and prediction is what brought the AFL and NFL together.

We can’t forget Babe Ruth calling his shot in the list above. Badass predictions are cool, but let’s be honest, we all enjoy a good bust.

The Worst:

5. Vince Young, Philadelphia Eagles, 2011 Preseason

The prediction: Vince Young gave his Eagles a ‘dream team’ label after the the Eagles signed a few highly touted free agents and implemented a new defensive scheme.
Failure: After a 1-3 start, Quarterback Mike Vick explained, “I think the “Dream Team” — that word is dead now. You can’t talk “Dream Team” anymore. Maybe it put pressure on some players, maybe it didn’t.”

4. Sam Cassel, Milwaukee Bucks, April 17th 2002

The prediction: PG Sam Cassel promised that his Bucks would would be the Pistons on the night of April 17th.
Failure: The Bucks did not show up that night, losing by 34. Horrid.

3. Rex Ryan, New York Jets, 2011 Preseason

The prediction: Rex Ryan predicted for the third straight year that his Jets would win the Super Bowl.
Failure: I understand establishing to your team that the Super Bowl is the clear goal at the beginning of the season, but failing on his prediction three years in a row just makes Rex look like a clown.

2. Lon Kruger, Atlanta Hawks, 2002 Preseason

The prediction: The Hawks head coach promised season ticket holders a $125 refund if the Hawks failed to make the playoffs.
Failure: Although Kruger was excited about the team’s attainment of Glenn Robinson, there is no excuse for publicly announcing a refund of any sort. His promise, along with a terrible record, lead to his termination midway through the season.

1. Ryan Leaf, San Diego Chargers, 1998 NFL Draft

The prediction: More like a quote… “I’m looking forward to a 15-year career, a couple of trips to the Super Bowl and a parade through downtown San Diego.”
Failure: With a career passer rating around 50, many consider Leaf the biggest bust in NFL history. The sheer boldness of his statement gives Leaf the top spot in this Ninja’s worst predictions list.

To follow a current prediction in progress, refer to Matt Kemp who mentioned the possibility of a 50-50 season.

Tagged , , , , , ,

Dream Team: ’92 vs. ’12

Editor note: Take this article with some imagination. This is game that will never happen. Check our match-ups and score predication and see if you agree!

Since the end of the NBA season, building anticipation, along with the formation of a superstar-filled Team USA Basketball roster, has lead to numerous arguments regarding whether or not this year’s Olympic team could beat the Dream Team of 1992. Both of these teams are star studded and full of talent, the Dream Team with 11/12 hall of famers, and three players who most would put in their top 5, Jordan, Magic, and Bird. This year’s dream team isn’t lacking talent either, Bryant, Durant, and James are most likely each hall of famers in their own right, and each may end up as popular choices in top 5 discussions upon retirement. One of the most exciting aspects of this game would be the battle waged between the pair of “Big 3s”.

The Dream Team takes this game. The main keys are their superior technique, size, and especially, their low post play. The ‘12 team has no star center, and since they are smaller ( Avg: 78.75 in, 220.5 lbs to the Dream Team’s 80.1 in, 223 lbs) they will be turned into a perimeter team. The undersized ‘12 team forced to the perimeter, has Kobe in his decline, and LeBron still lacking at his 3-point shot. Coach K would have to turn to other options such as Durant and Carmelo to do most of the scoring.

The ’92 team has a 6’9, versatile passer in Magic Johnson. Even with his best years behind him, Magic was still as deadly a passer as ever, and could still play good defense. Chris Paul and Deron Williams are great athletes, but how could they deal with Magic’s superior size and strength? Size would be a lot for the ‘12 team to deal with at pretty much every position on the floor.

There are two likely scenarios, and either way it would not be promising for the ‘12 team.

Coach K could sit Tyson Chandler, and have their best defender, James, play the 5, which he has done before and done well. However, this is almost laughable as it would leave Karl Malone to offensively attack Andre Iguodala or Kevin Love. I apologize to Love or Iguodala fans, but Karl Malone at this time is still “the Mailman” and neither one of those guys possesses anything in their defensive arsenal that gives me any reason to believe that they could stop him.

Coach K could simply leave LeBron at the 4 and Melo at the 3. This leaves Tyson Chandler to play the 5. At the 5, he would be covering two of the greatest centers of all time, and they are both in their prime. The match-up between the tandem of Patrick Ewing and David Robinson vs. Tyson Chandler is extremely unbalanced. Ewing was an 11 time all-star and was named to the Greatest 50 Players of All Time. David “The Admiral” Robinson is a man who once scored 71 points in a game, one of only four ever to record a quadruple-double in the NBA, and he was named to the NBA all-defensive team 8 times. This is all against Tyson Chandler…you make up your mind on that one.

If you still are not sold that the ‘92 team would win, let me remind you about Michael Jordan. The ‘92 team is captained by the greatest champion/winner/clutch performer of all time, and the person who many would rank as the #1 basketball player to ever live. It may not seem so on the surface, but MJ presents match-up problems all over the place against the ‘12 team. Two options to guard him, a slowly declining Bryant or an inexperienced Durant, would likely take turns watching him score. Put LeBron on him, and that would free up big men such as Malone way too much.

Jordan in ’92 was literally at his peak, and had just won an NBA championship. Even if this game ended up being close and competitive, do you really think “his airness” himself, the man who had more determination and will to win than any player in NBA history, would let his team lose in a win or go home situation? Jordan, a 9 time first team all-defensive selection and a prolific scorer, would rise to the occasion. He would rise up like in 1993 when he averaged 43 ppg in the Finals. Jordan wouldn’t let this team lose, I can almost guarantee it.

Prediction : ’92 Dream Team wins by 8

Tagged , , , , ,

‘I would kill my sister for an AFC championship this year’

A crazed fan

Earlier today on Reddit, I read an article on seven Denver Broncos players visiting hospitalized victims of the Aurora, Colorado movie theater shooting. Reading the article made me realize just how meaningless sports are in the grand scheme of things. To be more specific, how many times Tebow, ‘Tebowed’ last Sunday, or, who is winning the Yanks v. Sox series gets put into perspective when disaster or tragedy strikes. Honestly, the sports we love and follow are just games.

If they are so meaningless, why do we all watch? With the proper perspective, the people, players and fans involved in sports gives them all of their value, and can make sports mean everything to us at times.

Sports really mean nothing. Some fans may say crazy things like my friend recently did, “I would kill my sister for an AFC Championship this year”. Once this statement is put into perspective, it is ridiculous. The people who lost loved ones that night in Aurora would not recognize the humor in this hyperbole.

Enough of the obvious. Obviously, which team wins a sports game isn’t as important as friends or family getting shot and killed while peacefully watching a movie. Even so, sports are still important.

Sports mean everything, given the right circumstances. A nation coming together via countless sporting events such as baseball, football, and NASCAR helped to begin our healing process after the 9/11 attacks. Our unity showed that, although these games do not mean much past bragging rights, nobody can scare us out of doing our favorite things. It showed that people around the world would not let terrorism alter their plans, stubborn in the face of more potential attacks. The seven Broncos players showing their support for injured victims is just a small example of how sports can mean everything. I can only imagine the morale boost that meeting some players from my favorite team would give me.

Next time you watch a sporting event, live or on television, make sure you do so with the right perspective. There is, in all actuality, a lot of people who are allowing you to watch that you should be thankful for, or at least give them a millisecond of thought. You should be delighted to have the privilege of using your television, laptop, or smartphone to allow you to channel sports data or a live feed right into your cranium. You should be grateful that you have the freedom to support whichever team you’d like.

It is nice for your team to win, but is it really life or death? With some fans, you would think so. I recently had a commenter get offended when I posted a simple take: ‘”his” C’s wouldn’t beat the likes of the Heat, Thunder, or Lakers next season’. He got offended, and as it often times happens when people are behind a keyboard, he decided to attack me with verbal warfare, getting personal and rude. He asked me what I have been smoking, and even accused me of being a Heat fan (I like the Magic). If you are this type of fan, here’s some advice: enjoy sports for what they are, but if you feel your blood pressure rising too high, and you want to punch someone in the face, it may be time to chill out and remember, it’s just a game.

Tagged , , , , ,

Let Strasburg Pitch

It is ridiculous that the Washington Nationals are considering sitting down ace pitcher Stephen Strasburg when he reaches 160 innings pitched. Many are going to call me an idiot, and these people are worried about protecting Strasburg as a long term investment, rather than as a short term asset. I’m here to inform these cautious people that they actually have nothing to worry about if he keeps throwing. Countless pitchers have recovered from Tommy John surgery, and have carried large workloads as well. Tommy John pitched for 13 seasons after surgery and never missed a start.

Strasburg feels good, explaining to the media that management will have to “pry the ball out of his hand” in the event of a shut down. Any athlete would say this because of competitive spirit, but if his elbow was not in fact 100% ready and healthy, he would not have been cleared to play by the doctor. He also would not be throwing a baseball 95mph and putting up monster statistics, especially strikeouts. Strasburg would not have a WHIP of 1.15 and 11.42 K/9. Sam Miller, a baseball prospectus blogger, ranks a Strasburg change-up as the best pitch for the week of April 13th. If Strasburg was not fully recovered, he would not be able to throw this change-up pain free.

Some will use an example such as Chris Carpenter in 2008 with Tommy John surgery, and then suffered a shoulder injury which set him back. As scary as any situation where Strasburg injures himself sounds to a Nationals fan, let me stress to you that Strasburg would be able to pitch 3 times in a 7 game series. If the goal each year is to win the division, league, and eventually the World Series, then you have to let Strasburg compete each time his turn is up. The Nationals are trying to build their image and fan base, and there is no better person to have out on the mound during a pennant push than the phenom, Stephen Strasburg.

Tagged , , , , ,