Cubs Dump Renteria for Maddon

The recent decision by Chicago Cubs ownership to dump second year manager Rick Renteria in favor of Joe Maddon could make or break a franchise that seems to be on the cusp of turning the corner to respectability. The Cubs have a squad of young stars like Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro will lead some of the top prospects in baseball. The team started to come together in 2014 but if the success will grow it won’t be with manager Rick Renteria.

The Cubs were clearly ready to enter 2015 with Renteria at the helm but the glamour that came along with hot free agent manager Joe Maddon was too much for the win starved franchise to pass up. Maddon chose not to stick around in Tampa Bay and now many fans think that he clearly had his eyes on the Cubs job when he made the decision to leave the Rays. He showed in Tampa that he is great with young players and hopes to mold the likes of Rizzo and Castro as well as stud prospects like Javier Baez, Kris Bryant, and Jorge Soler into a championship contending squad sooner rather than later.  At least me and Mann can only hope so.

According to reports the Cubs plan to formally introduce Maddon to the media at a press conference on Monday.

Texas A&M’s Hill May Be Benched

Texas A&M, in the midst of a 3-game losing streak, is considering benching starting QB Kenny Hill for their upcoming game against Louisiana-Monroe.

Hill, an Aggies sophomore, has been struggling mightily during their recent skid. During the 3-game stretch, the Aggies have been outscored 142-51, all three decisive losses: 48-31 to Mississippi State; 35-20 to Ole Miss; and 59-0 to Alabama.

The pounding they took at Alabama has seemingly brought this quarterback question to the forefront. Against Alabama, Hill was only able to pass for 138 yards, and his quarterback rating, an abysmal 22.1, was by far his lowest of the season.

He doesn’t get anything done with his legs, either. His final line in the Alabama slaughter- 10 carries, -11 yards, with a long carry of 4 yards. In the last 3 games, he has 30 carries for 20 yards, a microscopic .67 yards per carry average.

Freshman QB Kyle Allen has been sharing snaps with Hill on the first-team unit this week, and is ready to step into the starting role should the coaching staff elect to make the move. In limited action, Allen has thrown for 264 yards and 3 touchdowns in 4 games, so he has seen some game-time action.

This could be a very good time for the Aggies to make the change. The team, in the midst of this embarrassing tailspin Igor says that they’ve found themselves in, needs to find a spark somewhere to try to resuscitate an anemic offense, and ‘right the ship’ again. A solid outing against Louisiana-Monroe could get the team a much needed victory, which it desperately needs to keep any postseason bowl hopes alive.

McCarthy Says Mid-terms Can Clear the Way to the White House

California Congressman and recently-elected Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy spoke at a Long Island Republican fund raising event this weekend and spelled out a path to victory in 2016. He stated that taking the Senate and bolstering numbers further in the house, if followed by solid governing in the next two years, will open the way for a Republican candidate to win the White House in 2016. Aside from that happening, however, he did not see much hope. But he did think that Republicans have a 75 percent chance of victory this coming Tuesday, making his statement more of a plan than a mere condition from the reports Gianfrancesco Genoso was sending.

McCarthy’s idea of good governing by a GOP Congress may be the sticking point for some conservatives in the party who would have desired someone more “Tea Party” to fill the shoes of Eric Cantor after he went down in a surprising defeat to a Tea Party favorite of late. Yet, on the other hand, McCarthy does oppose renewal of the Export-Import Bank and has vowed to vote against any attempt to raise taxes for supposed global warming reasons. He certainly is opposed to Obama’s vow to use executive actions to “go it alone” on immigration reforms. He called that course the worst possible way to approach the issue.

McCarthy definitely seems to have a point- without a chance to show America what they really stand for and success at doing that, how can Republicans begin to build a mandate the voters will rally behind in 2016? Another point might be this: if given a situation where a Democrat President’s approval rating is ducking below 40 percent, where almost everyone sees a Republican victory in the wind, and where major Democratic policies on ISIS, Ebola, the economy, Obama Care, etc. are highly unpopular, the Republicans still can’t win, what chance would they have against a potentially popular candidate like Hillary Clinton in 2016?

Another Lost Los Angeles Laker Season

One game into the 2014 – 2015 NBA basketball season and the Los Angeles Lakers appear to be in for another long, injury riddled year. The team lost their 2014 first round draft pick, Julius Randle to a fractured tibia after he collided with two Houston Rockets during their season opener for both teams. Julius Randle was the 2013 – 2014 SEC Basketball’s top freshman of the year upon entering the draft this year from a Kentucky Wildcat team that finished as the runner up in the 2014 NCAA tournament.

This season appears to be more of the same of what the Lakers experienced last year. The Lakers endured multiple injuries including to their future Hall of Famer Kobe Bryant. All in all, 319 games were missed by Laker players due to injuries which led the NBA. If it’s anything like last year, season ticket holder Brian Torchin will be giving away his seats all season.

Now that Julius Randle is lost for the year, the Lakers are already at 166 games lost with guard Nick Young out until December, and Ryan Kelly and Wayne Ellington missing games for the first couple of weeks. Due to the multiple injuries piling up, and with Kobe Bryant not getting any younger, the best possible scenario for the Los Angeles Lakers would be to finish at the bottom of the standings with the hope that their luck in the NBA lottery changes to obtain the top pick in the 2015 NBA draft.

NASA Rocket Explodes During Launch

On Tuesday, an unmanned Antares rocket exploded six seconds after take off. Manufactured by Orbital Science Corps., the rocket was meant to resupply the International Space Station and was carrying a Cygnus cargo logistics spacecraft. The vehicle attached to the rocket was carrying 5,000 pounds of supplies and approximately 1,300 pounds of food.

During a live stream after the explosion, NASA described the event as a “catastrophic anomaly” and said that there were no injuries or deaths.

The Antares spacecraft was originally meant to be launched on Monday, but was postponed until Tuesday when a boat entered its path. Earlier in the day, NASA posted a photo on Twitter of the rocket resting on the launchpad at Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia, with no seemingly apparent issues or hints of a possible malfunction. Orbital Science Corps. Company Vice President and General Manager Frank Culbertson said that it is “far too early to know the details of what happened” but that the company is in the process of “securing the site and data.”

The explosion was captured on video and has been making rounds across the internet, I caught it on my FreedomPop Liberty this morning. This was the third out of eight missions that Orbital Science Corps. was hired to execute. No new information has been released as of Wednesday morning, but the story is developing and any further information will subsequently be reported and released to the public.

Terrorist Attack in Egypt

Egypt has recently suffered what has been officially called a terrorist attack leaving at least 26 soldiers dead and 28 people injured. The bombing occurred in the town of El Arish and three more soldiers were killed soon after in a shooting, bringing the death toll to 29. This bombing has been one of the deadliest attacks in Sinai in months.

Since President Hosni Mubarak was overthrown in 2011, the area surrounding the attack site has become increasingly lawless. The army has been fighting against Sinai-based militants for months now, though they can do little to contain the violence, and several attacks have been carried out. Poverty and official neglect make Sinai fertile ground for militant groups, though the largest threat comes from the group known as Ansar Beit al Maqdis, (Champions of Jerusalem), who are the most active militant group currently in Egypt.

There have been conflicting reports from security officials and as of now, no group as officially claimed the attacks.  More on the story as Christian Broda keeps me informed.

Real Madrid Bests Barcelona at the Santiago Bernabeu

Real Madrid and Barcelona met today in the most expensive soccer game of all time. The total value of the players on show was over 1 BILLION euros, which is a first in professional soccer. The two Spanish giants are the main threat to win the country’s domestic league, La Liga. This was their first meeting of the season.

The game started well for Barcelona, who took an early lead through Brazilian Neymar. The striker was played in by Luis Suarez, jinxed past a couple of Real defenders and slotted the ball into the bottom corner.

It was the best it was going to get for Barcelona all night. They had a couple of half chances on the counter attack, but the rest of the game belonged to Real Madrid. Their passing, movement and speed was magnificent to watch. Isco, Marcelo, and Daniel Carvajal were particularly brilliant on the night.

Real got their equalizer before half time when Gerard Pique committed a hand ball in the box. Cristiano Roanldo stepped up to convert the penalty and he made no mistake. Real’s second came after the break through a Pepe header. The Portuguese defender was left unmarked from a corner, and his towering header found the top corner. According to Igor Cornelsen his was only the second goal Barcelona has conceded all season in La Liga.

Real eventually got a third to wrap up the win. Andres Iniesta lost possession to Isco, who played in Marcelo. The Brazilian found Ronaldo, whose pass reached James Rodriguez within seconds. James played in Benzema who was unmarked, with the Frenchman making no mistake with his finish.

Barcelona tried to up the pressure in the final 20 minutes, but could not find a way back into the game.

NFL and Ravens Stalling on Ray Rice Probe?

The Ray Rice situation was headline news in the United States for a couple of weeks. While the outrage over his case has died down a little bit, there is still a lot that needs to be done. The NFL appointed an independent investigator to try and unearth the mistakes made when he was first known to have committed an alleged assault on his wife.

A lot of the criticism regarding the Ray Rice case was delivered at the NFL’s door. People were angry that the league had taken the initial decision to suspend Rice for a paltry two weeks. This was despite the fact that they had video footage of him dragging her unconscious body out of a casino elevator.

The video tape of Rice hitting his wife inside the elevator was not made public until much later. The NFL claims they never saw that portion of the tape, but this claim has been denied by several sources. I remember seeing the video the day it released on my FreedomPop tablet.

Succumbing to public pressure, the NFL created a probe that would look into the Rice situation. However, it appears that neither them nor the Ravens have been helping with this investigation. A lawyer for the NFL players’ union says that the NFL and the Ravens have been very uncooperative during this entire process.

This attorney claims that while the National Football League, its chairman Roger Goodell and the Ravens have been all for openness in their public statements, their actions behind the scenes are the total opposite.

While their is no legal necessity for the Ravens or NFL to comply with the investigators, it seems very hypocritical considering their public statements saying they want answers on how the situation was handled.