Sunday, August 26, 2012

Pacific Coast League Standings

By Keith Antigiovanni

There is just over one week left in the PCL regular season.

The Albuquerque Isotopes are 4 games up on the New Orleans Zephyrs with a magic number of 6 to clinch the PCL American South. The defending PCL Champ Omaha Storm Chasers have already clinched the PCL American North.

The Reno Aces are also 4 games in the PCL Pacific North over the Colorado Springs Sky Sox and also have a magic number of 6 to clinch. The defending PCL Pacific South champion Sacramento River Cats have a 5.5 game lead over the Las Vegas 51's with a magic number of 4.

There are no Wild Cards in the PCL and the first-round series will consist of  the PCL Pacific North vs South champion and the PCL American North vs South champion. The eventual PCL champion will face the International League champion in the Triple A championship game on September 18.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Arena Bowl XXV

By Keith Antigiovanni

The Arizona Rattlers wrapped up the 25th season of the Arena Football League and the franchises 20th season with a 72-54 win over Philadelphia in Arena Bowl XXV.

The Arena Bowl win was the Rattlers first title since 1997 when they defeated Kurt Warner's Iowa Barnstormers in Arena Bowl XI. The win also marked the return to dominance for the Arizona franchise which had been one of the league's great teams between 1993 and 2004.

The franchise began in 1992 as one of four expansion teams along with San Antonio, Cincinnati and New Orleans and were coached by former Dallas Cowboys' quarterback Danny White. White led them to the playoffs in 1993 and an Arena Bowl title in 1994 after they upset Orlando 36-31.

Arizona made the playoffs 12 straight years (1993-2004) and appeared in five Arena Bowls (1994, 1997, 2002, 2003, 2004) winning the first two. White and the team parted ways after the Arena Bowl defeat in 2004.The next four years (2005-2008) the best the Rattlers could do were 2 (.500) playoff seasons. The league went on hiatus in 2009 and returned in 2010.

Kevin Guy became the new coach in 2008 and stayed with the team throughout the hiatus. Guy led them back to the playoffs in 2010 with a 10-6 record, then returned to the playoffs in 2011 with a 16-2 record, a Western title and a return to the Arena Bowl only to fall just short against Jacksonville. Arizona posted another brilliant season in 2012 with a 13-5 record, second straight Western and conference title but this time finally won that elusive third championship.

Arizona can be considered one of the greatest franchises in the history of the league with a regular season record of 187-105, 17 of 20 years in the playoffs, 12 semi-final appearances, 7 Arena Bowls and 3 championships.

Today in U.S. History

By Keith Antigiovanni

August 17:

1943: USS Tang (ss 306) launched
          USS Wasp (cv-18) launched

Friday, August 10, 2012

Today in U.S. History

By Keith Antigiovanni

August 10, 2012:

1944: United States troops capture Guam

1949: United States Department of Defense is established

1956: USS Monticello (lsd 35) launched

1957: USS Hull (dd 945) launched

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Arena Bowl XXV

By Keith Antigiovanni

The teams for Arena Bowl XXV are now set with the National Conference champion Arizona Rattlers going against the American Conference champion Philadelphia Soul in New Orleans Next Friday (August 10).

The Rattlers clinched their 7th Arena Bowl appearance with a 75-69 victory over the Western rival Utah at home while the Soul path to the final was much easier in a 89-34 win over defending champion Jacksonville.

Arizona and Philadelphia did not meet in the regular season this year but both have prolific offenses.

The Rattlers are in their 20th season and have been one of the top three franchises in the quarter-century history of the league with a regular season of 187-105, 17 years in the playoffs, 12 conference title/semi-final games, 7 Arena Bowl appearances and fifth attempt at winning a third championship.

Danny White, the first coach in franchise history, led Arizona to the playoffs 12 straight times (1993-2004) which included the 1994 and 1997 Arena Bowl wins, three straight appearances (2002-2004) but lost two of them to arch-rival San Jose. After the 2004 Arena Bowl White and the Rattlers went their separate ways. The next four years the team would only go back to the playoffs twice (2006, 2008) but did not advance.

After the league went on hiatus in 2009 Arizona returned as a league power with three straight playoff years (2010 10-6, 2011 16-2, 2012 13-5). The Rattlers have won back-to-back division titles and now conference titles but are still looking for that elusive third championship this year.

Meanwhile their opponent began in 2004 and won the final Arena Bowl in 2008 before the hiatus in 2009 and did not return until last year.