Archive for the 'Sports Blog' Category

Catching up with Jerry Rice

Thursday, March 27th, 2014
Shaun Savarese
  • Shaun Savarese
  • Evening Sun Sports Editor
  • Email: ssavarese@evensun.com
  • Twitter: @evesunshaun

 

As it is Dynasty Month on NFL Network and because it just so happens to be San Francisco 49ers week, I have been watching a number of specials on Jerry Rice. Rice is unquestionably the greatest receiver to play football, if not the greatest player. His work ethic and dedication was unmatched. Though the NFL has changed to open up passing numbers, there is nobody close to the statistical collection of Rice.

The six-foot-two-inch, 200 lb., 51 year-old, amassed 1,549 catches in his career, racking up 22,895 total yards. That is nearly 15 yards per catch. Rice is just three touchdowns shy of 200 for his career.

His best season was 1995. He had 122 grabs for 1,848 yards and 15 touchdowns. His best scoring season, was with Joe Montana in 1987, when he had 22 touchdowns.

These are just a few of Jerry Rice’s staggering statistics. To see them all click here.

While watching the Rice documentaries, Steve Young appeared. Young threw Jerry more total touchdowns than Montana. Sitting in awe, Young recalls 1995 and the Super Bowl and defeating San Diego, then he recalls Rice.

Three days after Number 80 caught ten balls for 149 yards and three touchdowns to lead the San Francisco 49ers to a win in Super Bowl XXIX, he was back at work. Young went to Candlestick park three days after the big game and nobody was there. He made his way back to the field and saw something unthinkable. Jerry Rice was on the field running routes.

That’s what defined him, his work ethic. I remember reading stories about his intense workouts and drills. He caught hundreds of balls from a left-handed assistant coach to gain a feel for the left handed spin of quarterback Steve Young.

His training sessions would begin earlier and occur more often than 90 percent of the league, and his attention to detail was unparalleled.

Starting a new job is one of the most stressful things a person can undertake. It can be difficult to remain motivated and at times I feel the euphoria of busyness cut towards anxiety. Scheduling, organizing, managing my time… in a new place, with new faces… its tough.

But, Jerry Rice worked hard year round. When he came to the league he set a goal for himself, he wanted to be the best football player he could be. Growing up, Jerry was my idol. I loved to watch him outperform everyone he lined up against. In an era in the league defined by toughness and grit, he was graceful. Gliding into position, under pinpoint passes, catching balls in traffic, deflecting hits that would be flagged today, and more often than most, ending up in the endzone.

Steve Young admitted that Rice was in the conversation for greatest of all-time, but he offered an explanation. Maybe when after you’ve accomplished a feat, a grand feat, you don’t stop working. That’s what Rice was doing three days after winning the Super Bowl.

I remember reading an article in Sports Illustrated about how quickly Rice recovered from an injury, and one part stuck with me. He was so fed up with being stagnant and unable to rehab, that he snuck into the garage in the dead of night and cut off his own cast. He was in physical therapy the next week, working harder than ever.

So, as I venture into the sports editors’ realm of early mornings at the office and long nights in the field. I look to my mentor, Jerry Rice and keep working.

Did you forget about these one-time fantasy studs?

Wednesday, July 18th, 2007
Patrick Newell

Did you forget about Sammy Sosa? What about Jose Guillen or even Derek Lee? Some players look like they’re ready for the scrap heap, and Sosa was out of baseball for a full year before a solid spring training landed him a one-year contract with the Rangers. At this point of his career, Sosa is no longer a high average threat. He has hovered in the .250 average range much of the season, but his power production is plentiful and worth a second look. If you need RBIs and home runs, he could be a nifty pickup. He leads Texas with 64 runs batted in and is tied for the team lead with 14 homers. At his current pace he’ll hit over 25 homers and drive in over 100 runs. Is that something to sneer at?

The there is Jose Guillen. For two seasons now, Guillen has languished with declining stats. In fact, a year ago in Washington, he was a low .200 hitter with minimal production. Much of that was due to a long-term stay on the disabled list. But what about 2007? He is a big reason for Seattle’s surge over the last month, and is on pace for 20 homers and 100 RBI. Not a bad turnaround for a guy seemingly on the downside of his career.

And in Tampa Bay, I’m still flabbergasted by Carlos Pena’s continued streak of steady hitting. He was never a high average hitter, but is currently at .297. He is also among the league’s best with 22 homers and 60 RBI. Pena still strikes out too much, but a .403 on base percentage cancels out those whiffs.

Derek Lee of the Cubs is a couple of years moved from a triple crown threat season. His 2006 season was so poor, though, based on a lofty standard, I personally forgot about him and valued him way too low. He is far off his 40-plus homer potential, yet a .337 average and 90-plus ribbie potential keeps a fantasy owner happy.

Hard to believe Ken Griffey is someone we would consider writing off, but his injury-prone nature in recent years has left many a skeptical fantasy owner. “Kid,” who is now 37, is having his finest season with the Reds since his initial trade from Seattle, and is on pace for over 40 homers and 110 RBI. We like those numbers; we like them a lot.

Among the pitchers who seem rejuvenated or at least vastly improved in 2007, there are Oliver Perez of New York, who won just three games a year ago and had an ERA well over 6.00. This year he is 8-6 with an ERA at 3.13 and a career-low 1.19 WHIP.

Ted Lilly of Chicago has chopped nearly a point off his ERA and a substantial chunk off his WHIP. Oh, and he strikes out about eight batters per nine innings and will likely win around 15 games.

Mark Buerhle’s no-hitter for the White Sox should have been the good sign fantasy owners were looking for. His 2.98 ERA is two full points below last year, and his staff-killing 1.46 WHIP of last year is down to a stellar 1.08. If not for the White Sox’s anemic first-half offense, he’d be an ace on most staffs.

And lastly, AL all-star game starter Dan Haren is perhaps the first-half Cy Young. Barely a .500 pitcher a year ago with an ERA over 4.00, he has dropped that nearly two full points, and his WHIP was below 1.00 until recently. Haren has needed to be good on the mound with the A’s sporting perhaps the worst offense in the big leagues.