Well, let us just say that the trip to Ohio did not disappoint. There was not even that many Buckeye fans around, perhaps because we were closer to Pennsylvania than Columbus, but whatever the case K-man is now a happily married man and Catfish and I are safely back in North Carolina. While recounting the details of the weekend would possibly incriminate all those involved and since some people who read this blog know me personally, I sadly cannot divulge all that occurred. I will however give a rundown of what I learned over the weekend though.
-Youngstown, Ohio is apparently the marriage capital of the Midwestern United States. There were weddings everywhere and when I informed people I was here for a wedding they all told me what to expect and looked upon me as if I was an simple tourist in some kind of marriage destination.
-Catfish throws a strong right hand and somebody got on a plane yesterday with evidence of that on their face.
-If you have upwards of 200 people at your wedding but less than 4% of those attendees are single ladies, that is wrong.
-Despite popular belief, I am not in favor of chasing after cankles.
-There are few words better in the human language than "open bar".
-Lighting is a very important component in owning/operating a strip club.
-Four guys in the back of a compact Mazda is not a good idea, but can be done with the proper body angles.
Each one of these revelations has an interesting story behind it but I will leave it to your imagination. Catfish and I stopped by the Pro Football Hall of Fame like we planned yesterday. It was a good experience and I'm glad we decided to go. While we were gone some crazy stuff went down.
Billy Mays is gone? Wait this stuff is only supposed to happen in 3's. [Tampa Bay Online]
The U.S. Soccer team came oh so close to pulling off the huge upset while we drove through the hills of West Virginia. Even though they came close and lost, the story is not all bad. [Soccer Haus]
The Yanks swept the Mets at Citi Field, Rivera picks up his 500th save and Jerry Manuel is sending out an SOS. 3 of your 4 best hitters, a starting pitcher, and you're setup man on the DL will do that to you. [New York Post via TBL]
Roger Federer continues to roll at Wimbledon. It appears only Andy Murray can stop him now. [SI.com]
The Mountain West is not letting their dream of a playoff in FBS college football die. [Salt Lake Tribune via CGB]
Traveling in Ohio this weekend meant we got a taste of Cleveland sports radio, the talk was all about Shaq and the Cavs. [Cleveland Plain Dealer]
Monday, June 29
Well, let us just say that the trip to Ohio did not disappoint. There was not even that many Buckeye fans around, perhaps because we were closer to Pennsylvania than Columbus, but whatever the case K-man is now a happily married man and Catfish and I are safely back in North Carolina. While recounting the details of the weekend would possibly incriminate all those involved and since some people who read this blog know me personally, I sadly cannot divulge all that occurred. I will however give a rundown of what I learned over the weekend though.
Thursday, June 25
This coming Saturday our friend and faithful reader of the blog(!) K-Man is getting married. Yes, we all tried to talk him out of it, but it turns out he has found the right one. Therefore, at the asscrack of dawn Catfish and I will embark on a journey to a place I never thought I would venture: Ohio. Now it is not a mystery how I feel about the state university of Ohio, but I am not going in angry. I do not assume that every single person in the state is an annoying Buckeye fan, but I'm certain most of them are. However, to keep the occasion joyous I will refrain from entering any arguments, especially ones about the 2003 Fiesta Bowl. Of course, you never if you can keep a promise like that if you are provoked. Who knows what dastardly plans Catfish has for an alum of the U in such a place. Hopefully such an incident will not occur and I can focus on the open bar.
We do plan on stopping by the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton on our way home Sunday. I will give a rundown of our trip there on the blog next week. As we mentioned before, things may be changing around these parts but that is still yet to be determined. Luckily we have been able to keep up somewhat with the blog and we plan to continue that until our new course of action is taken.
Before we sign off for the weekend, a few stories. And for those of you wondering, yes there will be a "It's Friday" posted tomorrow.
The NBA Draft is tonight and the excitement is palpable. If you have any interest in this already I cannot tell you anything you do not already know about who might be picking whom. But perhaps you did not know this: UConn center Hasheem Thabeet's name roughly translates to "Carlton Banks" in English. [HHR]
I do not know if they used Winston Wolfe like I imagined, but the Cavs have acquired Shaq in a trade with Phoenix. They probably didn't use the Wolf because they had to give up a second -round pick in addition to Shasha and Big Ben. [Ball Don't Lie]
Finally, a word on number 90. Julius Peppers finally signed his franchise tag tender and plans on reporting to camp from here on out with the Carolina Panthers. Interesting language going on from both sides on this issue. Peppers says he is ready to play ball for the Panthros and GM Marty Hurney expects the all out effort from him. Maybe it's just me but am I missing something here? Pep also said he is interested in a long-term deal now? Something smells in the QC my friends.[CBSSports]
Well, it is time to hit the road. Who knows what adverntures lie ahead for the ASD in Ohio, perhaps we will run into these guys.
Until next week, stay thirsty my friends.
Wednesday, June 24
With UFC 100 amazingly just around the corner TBL points to this article by the Minneapolis Star Tribune where Brock waxes poetic on the WWE, the president, and steroid accusations in a Maxim interview. Here are just some of the gems.
On the WWE: "The guys who get out are the smart ones, really and truly."
On Obama: "But if Obama keeps spending our money like this, I'll have to fight till I'm 50."
On steroids: "I bet you I've taken over 60 steroid tests. In college, I had 15 random drug tests in two years. I've taken drug tests for the NFL, the WWE, the UFC. I must be pretty good at masking steroids. God gave me this body: Are you jealous of it or what?"
On...um, how he is built: "I got the genetics of--not to get into racism or anything--but I'm built like a black man. Would you say so?"
I don't know what to say to that Brock to be honest. I'd probably have to ask Sable.
Brock Lesnar: "I Like to Punish People" [Maxim]
Tuesday, June 23
The battle continues between the NCAA, colleges, professional ball clubs, and Native Americans over the use of racist nicknames, logos, and mascots. The Redskins recently had a ruling in their favor because of a technicality. In the college ranks, the College of William & Mary was allowed to keep its name, the Tribe, but their mascot had to be changed. So far among the leaders is an asparagus. Now it appears a new fight is about to be waged over the use of mascots and logos, but the group fighting the discrimination is an unusual source. A legion of devils and demons are preparing to take legal action over the appearance of their incarnations in college sports.
This unprecedented cooperative of demonic forces have strategically filed suit against a host of NCAA institutions that use the likenesses of devils or demons in a manner which "presents a false representation of the darkhearted and mean spirit of the evildoer community," according to court documents. As of right now this evil faction is being led by none other than Satan himself.
"As demons we have spent thousands of years projecting a certain intimidation and sense of fear into the general population of countless dimensions and worlds. These incarnations are nothing more than tasteless caricatures that demean our existence as well as our purpose," Satan told us from his icy throne in the 7th circle of Hades. The Dark One cited specific schools that he and his army were targeting. "Take for instance the 'Blue Devils' from both Duke and Central Connecticut State,"
Mephistopheles said "the goatee for the Duke one is so 20th century and that skin tone is all wrong. As for the Central Connecticut portrayal, never have I ever seen a demon or devil wearing a gym shirt and shorts." Duke will get particularly heavy heat from the lawsuits since it is such a big name school in a major conference. The Lord of Hell does have some reservations about attacking the institution since many graduates of Duke go on to places like Wall Street and while he has professed he is a fan of their Lacrosse team, a stand must be taken.
Other targets of Beezlebub and the other members of his suit include Northwestern State:
In which the suit states "does not capture accurately the pitchfork or the fires of damnation." According to the plantiffs the pitchfork is not really used in torture or combat. "It is as derogatory a symbol as a tomahawk or feathers", Satan claims. Mississippi Valley State is also another target for the group:
"Do I really have to explain this one? Way too effeminate. Despite popular opinion I am not a collar-popper," the Morningstar pointed out. These are only some of the more stronger opinionated examples, while schools such as DePaul are targeted but merely because the legion thinks all of these demonic mascots must go. This lawsuit also begs the question though, why go through the judicial system to rectify this? If the devil and his demons are so evil and powerful why not force the school's hand? "Are you kidding me?" Azazel told us "I am one of the biggest proponents of the U.S. legal system anywhere. Do you have any idea how many lawyers I get a day? I feel like this is our home turf."
Opening arguments are expected to begin next week when the dark legion will take on the first school on the list, Arizona State. This case will give a good indication of whether Satan and company will succeed across the NCAA to eradicate schools using demonic monikers. "Our legal team will hold nothing back when it comes to Arizona State," Leviathan pointed out, "while I enjoy their co-eds and their hand signal, their logo is beyond offensive. It is a grotesque caricature and appears even to have ethnic slants contained in its image. It is even wearing footsies for Judas' sake."
While some may speculate just how many are backing the Devil on this case, he remains confident. "We are legion and we are many. It is not just demons from my neck of the woods, we have great old school demons like Illidan Stormrage from Outlands and Vexiplass the Incinerator from Vorpal Dimension 45XF7, we have a very strong case. We are all huge sports fans; O.J., the Black Sox, Ty Cobb, Rae Carruth, but we do not feel these mocking images have a place in amateur athletics." Asked if the group had any plans to go after professional franchises like the New Jersey Devils Satan said one group at a time. "Rome was not destroyed in one day my friends, give it time."
Monday, June 22
No need to recap the U.S. Open. It's not over yet. This morning Ricky Barnes will attempt to hold off the other players charging toward him including Tiger and Phil. [Update: He didn't, but the guy he was playing with did.]
You can follow the coverage live on your computer though thanks to the genius of the internets. [NBC Sports]
Former QB at the U and Miami-area steakhouse owner Bernie Kosar has filed for bankruptcy. He blames the economy, others his foolish spreadthrift ways. All I'm wondering is why the hell his ex-wife Babette deserves $3 million. [Miami Herald]
The U.S. Soccer team pulled one completely out of their backside by advancing to the semifinals of the Confederations Cup. [Rumors and Rants]
The Wimbledon preview this year begins and ends with Roger Federer. It is extremely dissapointing that Nadal had to withdraw because of injury which really only leaves two compelling stories on the men's side: Federer going for the record 15th Grand Slam title and Andy Murray becoming the latest hope for the Brits. [SI.com]
Hope everyone enjoyed their Father's Day, unless you hate your father or can't stand your kids. [HHR]
Warren Sapp says the youngins don't listen to the old folk nowadays. Insert lawn joke here. [PFT]
Sabathia hurts his bicep as the Yanks fall to the Marlins 6-5. The Fish took the series from the Yanks at Landshark Stadium. It was like 2003 all over again. [Sporting News]
Jason Campbell speaks with dolphins. We have to get him and Darren Dalton together. [DC Sports Bog]
Friday, June 19
Thursday, June 18
THE LEBRON SITUAITON
Scene: Cleveland GM Danny Ferry's office.
Ferry: You've got to appreciate how explosive this LeBron situation is commissioner.
David Stern: How so?
Ferry: Imagine you're LeBron, and you're coming home from a hard couple months touring and promoting yourself and find a bunch of front office suits having done nothing in the offseason, ain't no tellin' what he's liable to do.
Stern: Relax, Danny but I am just contemplating that in 2010 we might be facing some "if"s.
Ferry: I don't want to hear about no mother fucking "if"s! All I wanna hear from your ass is 'You ain't got no problems Danny, I'm on the motherfucker, go back in their, chill them suits out and wait for the calvary, which should be coming directly.'
Stern: You ain't got no problems Danny, I'm on the motherfucker, go back in there and chill them suits out and wait for The Wolf who should be coming directly.
Ferry: You sending The Wolf?
Stern: Is there a better motherfucker?
Ferry: Shit bro, that's all you had to say!
Scene: Cavs owner Dan Gilbert waits in the lobby of Quicken Loans arena while Danny and Mike Brown wait eagerly in the Cavs front office.
(An Acura Nsx pulls up to the curb outside the arena. Seconds later the door bell rings and the door subsequently opens)
Winston Wolfe: You're Dan right? This is your franchise?
Gilbert: It sure is.
Wolfe: I'm Winston Wolfe, I solve problems.
Gilbert: Good, we got one.
Wolfe: That's what I heard. May I come in?
Gilbert: Yes, please do.
(They walk to the front office)
Wolfe: You must be Danny, which would make you Mike. Let's get down to brass tax gentlemen, if I was informed correctly the clock is ticking is that right Dan?
Gilbert: Uh, 100%.
Wolfe: Your NBA MVP/marketing superstar comes to training camp in a few months?
I was lead to beleive that if LBJ comes here and finds nothing done with the roster, he won't appreciate it none too much?
Gilbert: You bet.
Wolfe: That gives us..(checks watch) just a few months this summer to get this team to the finals which if you do what I say when I say it should be plenty. Now we've got a failed playoff run and a bare bones roster in a city desperate for a title; take me to your office.
(They walk to Ferry's office where the current roster and salary information is laid out on the table, with lots of blood stains on it.)
Wolfe: I thought I smelled some coffee back their in the lobby, could you go get me a cup?
Gilbert: (pauses) Uh, yeah. How do you take it?
Wolfe: Lots of cream, lots of sugar.
(Dan the leaves room)
Wolfe: So about the team, is there anything I need to know? Is there a locker room cancer? Player sleeping with another player's girl? Bad chemistry?
Ferry: Besides the lack of support for James it's cool.
Wolfe: I better not get to moving the roster and find out somebody's got an ACL tear or something.
Ferry: As far as I know we are all good.
Wolfe: Let's go back to the lobby.
(Brown, Ferry and Wolfe get back to the lobby where Dan Gilbert is waiting with the coffee. Wolfe is handed the cup, takes a sip, and acknowledges the quality to Dan.)
Wolfe: Ok, very simple, we move a few bodies in the trunk. Dan, this looks like a good arena so am I correct in believing there are computers and calculators and NBA guidelines on trades and free agency?
Gilbert: Yeah yeah.
Wolfe: What I need you two to do (points at Brown and Ferry) is to clean up the books, I'm talking about getting all the information in order on who's contract is running out and getting rid of them and who we can use as trade bait. Now you don't have to go Daryl Morey on them, just give them a good once over. Get on the roster and remove the pieces that are not going to get this team to the finals.
(turns to Dan)
Wolfe: We need to raid your private jet Dan, I need champagne, I need cigars, I need hookers...classy ones, I need a suitcase full of cash. We are going to bring these with us to Phoenix. We need to have all this ready so if any NBA execs come looking in the plane, we can keep them distracted. Dan lead the way, boys get to work.
Brown: A please would be nice.
Wolfe: Come again?
Brown: I said a please would be nice.
Wolfe: Get it straight buster I'm not here to say "please" I'm here to tell you what to do. Now if self-preservation is a instinct you possess you better fucking do it and do it quick. I'm here to help, if my help's not appreciated, lots of luck gentlemen.
Ferry: No Mr. Wolfe it ain't like that your help is definitely appreciated...
Brown: Mr. Wolfe, I don't mean to disrespect you ok, I respect you. It's just I don't like people barking orders at me that's all.
Wolfe: If I'm curt, it's because time is a factor. I think fast, I talk fast and I need you guys to act as if you want to keep your jobs. So pretty please, with sugar on top: clean the fucking roster.
(Wolfe and Gilbert exit. Ferry stares at Brown.)
Brown: Don't be looking at me like that, alright, I can feel your look.
Scene: Mr. Wolfe is on the phone in one of the private suites at the arena, Gilbert comes walking in with a suitcase and a dozen hookers who are each carrying champagne, Cuban cigars and cocaine.
Wolfe: (Into the phone) It's a 1974 center and a Serbian shooting guard...nothing, except for the mess they made this year...in about a couple hours...nobody who will be missed...you're a good man Steve thanks a bunch. (Hangs up phone) How's it coming Dan?
Gilbert: Good Mr. Wolfe, but you gotta understand something...
Wolfe: Winston, please Winston.
Gilbert: You gotta understand something Winston, these are our best hookers. They are usually used for bribing government officials and schmoozing clients. And the cigars and champagne were a gift from my Uncle Conrad and Aunt Jenny for a special occasion and their no longer with us.
Wolfe: Let me ask you something Dan, your Uncle Conrad and Aunt Jenny (lights cigarette), were they millionares?
Gilbert: Well, I never calculated their net worth but...
Wolfe: Well your commissioner David undoubtedly is.
(Wolfe pulls out a fat roll of hundred dollar bills)
Wolfe: Now your commissioner is going to furnish you with a new cellar full of champagne and the best cigars this side of Cuba. I'm a Pernod-Ricard Perrier-Jouet man myself Dan what about you? Are you a Pernod-Ricard Perrier-Jouet man?
Gilbert: Pernod-Ricard Perrier-Jouet is nice.
Scene: Danny Ferry and Mike Brown are in Ferry's office with a laminated roster making notes with markers and calculations.
Ferry: Oh man, I will never forgive your ass for not making the finals this year this is some fucked up shit.
Brown: Danny have you ever heard the philosophy that once a man admits he is wrong he is immediately forgiven for all wrongdoings? Have you ever heard that?
Ferry: Get out of my face with that! Anyone that ever said that never had to watch their team get the best record in the league and lose in the Eastern Finals!
Brown: I've got a threshold Danny for how much abuse I can take. Right now I'm a Coach of the Year and you got me in the red. And I'm just sayin', it's fucking dangerous to have a Coach of the Year in the red that's all. I'm ready to blow.
Ferry: Oh you ready to blow?!
Brown: Yeah I'm ready to blow.
Ferry: Well I'm a mushroom cloud-laying-motherfucker motherfucker. I won an NBA title in San Antonio! Here's my ring bitch! Everytime my marker moves over Szczerbiak I'm Superfly TNT, I'm the Guns of the Navarone. In fact, what the fuck am I doing on the expiring contracts. You the motherfucker that sat there with your thumb up your ass against Orlando, you should be getting rid of the money coming off the books. We're switching, you are marking off expiring contracts and I'm working on the player options and re-signings.
Scene: Minutes later, Wolfe and Gilbert come walking in. The roster has been cleaned and of the blood and Wally Szczerbiak, Joe Smith, Eric Snow, and Lorenzen Wright have been taken off. Player options for Ilgauskas and Varejao have been higlighted and Ben Wallace and Sasha Pavlovic's salaries have been circled.
Wolfe: Nice job gentlemen. We may get out of this yet.
Gilbert: I can't even believe this is the same team.
Wolfe: Well let's not start sucking each other's dicks quite yet. We did phase one, clear off the roster, which brings us to phase two, add some help. Follow me gentlemen.
Scene: Wolfe, Ferry, and Brown arrive on the Tarmac at the Cleveland airport where they find Gilbert's jet waiting with everything inside.
Wolfe: Ok, get in.
Brown: We're going?
Wolfe: You guys are in charge of keeping the women in line. Quickly gentlemen, less than 3 months until Dan's better half gets back.
Brown: Is this completely necessary?
Wolfe: You know what you two guys look like? A couple of guys that just blew an NBA Championship now get in the plane.
Scene: Brown and Ferry are waiting outside the jet on the Phoenix airport tarmac. The private jet is empty, all the women, champagne, cigars, and blow are gone. Presently, Wolfe comes walking up with Shaq at his side.
Ferry: We cool?
Wolfe: He's yours, Wallace and Pavlovic are gone. It's like last year's inaction and playoff failure never happened once this hype machine gets going. Boys, this is Shaq. He is kind of old but will provide a dominant force inside to help with your needs for the upcoming season and the press and marketing you will get for having both Shaq and LBJ on your team will be monumental.
Shaq: Hi, so what's with the outfits? You guys going to an accountants convention or something?
Wolfe: Hahaha. I'm taking the Shaq back to Miami to collect some things. Maybe I can drop you guys off somewhere.
Brown: We were going to head back to Cleveland.
Wolfe: I see in your future... a commercial flight. Make your offseason residence someplace warm gentlemen. Say goodnight Shaq.
Shaq: Goodnight Shaq.
Wolfe: You stay out of trouble kids, and don't choke away your chance at a ring this upcoming year, it may be your last.
Ferry: Mr. Wolfe, I just want to say it was a real pleasure watching you work.
Brown: Thank you very much Mr. Wolfe.
Wolfe: Call me Winston. I hope you realize you guys can't just slack off and not do your jobs because I got the big guy for you. Do your best to resign Verejao and make smart draft-pick decisions.
(Wolfe and Shaq head into the jet.)
Wolfe: You see that Shaq? Respect for one's elders shows character.
Shaq: I have character.
Wolfe: Making funny tweets and you talking about how your ass tastes means you are a character, not that you have character.
(The jet takes off)
Ferry: Want to get some first-class tickets home?
Brown: I'm up for breakfast. You wanna have breakfast with me?
Wednesday, June 17
In the wake of the New York Times story alleging that Sammy Sosa tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs in the now infamous 104 player list of 2003, an anonymous source is now stepping forward and claiming that he has first-hand knowledge that former Cleveland Indian Pedro Cerrano used PEDs in the late 80s into the early 90s. The source is refusing to reveal his identity but says he was inside that Indians locker room and has no doubt that Cerrano was taking the doping.
Cerrano arrived in Cleveland in 1989 after defecting from Cuba in the year Indians owner Rachel Phelps performed a major salary dump with the team by bringing in players who were either washed up or that came from nowhere. She was threatening to move the team to Miami and brought in manager Lou Brown who had previously been working at a tire shop. When Cerrano arrived in Arizona for spring training he initially impressed the coaches with his hitting but failed to hit the offspeed pitching. He also ruffled feathers in the locker room. The source who named Cerrano said when he first arrived at camp, "He was practicing his voodoo right in the locker room, it freaked some of the guys out."
Cerrano made the team with the coaches hoping he would figure it out. The season started slowly for Pedro and the Indians as a whole. The teams had seen him in spring training and knew his weakness. "It was clear that on any other team, Pedro would have been shipped back to the minors, independent league, or hell even shipped back to Cuba, but with Phelps in charge, she was more than happy to let the whiffs continue.", the source says.
Then a chance meeting before a game changed everything. It was early in the season when the Indians faced the Oakland A's. The A's featured the 'Bash Brothers' and before the game Jose Canseco came over to Cerrano and they began a casual conversation in Spanish according to the report. It was at this time that the source believes Cerrano was hooked up with a steroids dealer by Canseco. According to the Indian's source Cerrano prayed at his voodoo alter to his deity Jobu for a long time before starting to take steroids, "He brought a lot of rum and asked Jobu over and over again, 'Shall I take the magic?' and after a week or so, I noticed him and one of our utility players in the bathroom injecting steroids."
After Cerrano began using the fortunes of the Indians as well as Pedro began to change. The team began performing better and Cerrano was able to handle the breaking balls. Inside the clubhouse everyone was very hush on the juicing, as many players were back then and through the entire steroid era. Pedro already had the power, this was just a psychological boost because he believed it was a "magic" of sorts. "We started winning so everyone just shut up," the source states. The Indians in fact went on a tear and ending up tied with the Yankees for the division. In the one game playoff Cerrano hit a two-run homer on a curveball in which it is rumored he was about renounce voodoo because he thought the steroids were all he needed to help his bat speed on the breaking balls.
The next year after the Indians failed to make the playoffs, Cerrano converted to Buddhism. His batting once again goes in the tank which many attribute to his placid nature but in truth he was off the juice. The source, which had moved from the clubhouse to management, said it was well-known in the organization that the steroids had been the boost to Cerrano the previous season, "I was no longer in the locker room with the guys, I moved up to...management at the start of the season, but we all knew that Cerrano just was not the same when he was not taking the juice." Once again the Indians struggled to open the season and Cerrano seemed a lost cause because he seemed intent on not taking steroids again. It was then that newly acquired outfielder Isuro Tanaka began to tease Cerrano about what his use had done to his body. Claiming that Pedro had no "marbles" due to the effects of the steroids mixed with his bad play, Tanaka had clearly gotten inside Cerrano's head.
This prompted Pedro to reestablish his relationship with Canseco and begin using steroids again. The results were the same as the previous season as can be seen from this highlight:
Following the season in which the Indians once again were able to make a late season push for the playoffs but unable to win the Series, Cerrano encountered unspecified injuries and retired. He was able to parlay his popularity into a successful career in the insurance industry however. Currently, he works for Allstate Insurance but he declined to comment n the recent allegations.
The source admits that he feels bad for outing Cerrano but says, "The truth has to be told. Sure it was part of the culture for some guys back then, but it did not make it right. Pedro was a powerful player without the juice but mentally he thought it gave him an edge. In the end, I think everyone that was using back in the day needs to come out and say what they did. The game cannot get clean and move on until all the dirty laundry is aired."
Monday, June 15
Hello? Is this thing on? The trophy has barely touched down in LA and already Kobe fans are clamoring that this proves Kobe's better than LeBron and even His Airness. Phil Jackson is being discussed as the best coach ever, Trevor Ariza's contract demands are on the rise, and somehow people forgot that Pau Gasol's good. All this and more after the break...
Kobe v. LeBron
It's easy to point and say Kobe's better than LeBron right now. Kobe's brand new ring serves to mute any and all debate, but not for long. It wasn't that long ago (think Sasha Vujacic bricking threes in last year's Finals) that Kobe apologists were saying, "He can't do it alone, he has to have help." A statement that they conveniently forgotten now that LeBron is the one lacking help from his teammates. With Phil likely to retire after this championship, Kobe fans may need to recognize that this could be Kobe's last trip to the promised land. While Kobe has four rings, he only has one as the Alpha Dog. Is there anyone alive that thinks the King won't get more than one ring in his playing career? Comparing the seasons the two had at age 24, LeBron leads in FG%, 3PFG%, Rebounds, Assists, and Blocks. Kobe leads in FT% and Steals. Stats can be misleading, but it's hard to deny the dominant performance that was LeBron this past season. While the window is beginning to slide shut for Kobe, it's only getting bigger for the Chosen One.
Also, this notion that the Lakers grew from a lottery team to champions due to Kobe's maturation is absurd. The Lakers team that was in the lottery had Chucky Atkins and Chris Mihm starting and the only starter remaining from that team is Kobe, himself. Two of the starters (Atkins and Caron Butler) were traded for Kwame Brown and Laron Profit! That team featured Jumaine Jones, Tierre Brown, and Brian Cook playing significant minutes and Rudy T at the helm shortly after surviving a bout with bladder cancer. Rudy's a great coach, but it was clear he no longer had the drive by the time he landed on the bench of the Lakers. That lottery was five seasons ago and the only two holdovers other than Kobe are Luke Walton and Sasha.
Kobe v. MJ
Oh Kobe fans, you only serve to embarrass yourselves when you dare try to put Kobe's name in the discussion with Jordan. Some fans come armed with the argument that Kobe has more rings at 30 than MJ did. Let's take a more accurate look at how many each after 13 years in the league. Kobe has four and MJ... six! How about the Kobe didn't have a Hall of Famer playing next to him each time argument? How many Hall of Famers did Kobe beat in this series, Dwight Howard certainly has the potential to be one, but at only 23, he's far from the player he can become. He's the only legitimate shot at the Hall that the Magic have and he didn't attempt more than a dozen shots in any of the five Finals games, hardly worthy of
Cooperstown Springfield. When MJ won his first title he went through Patrick Ewing, Charles Barkley, Isiah Thomas and the Bad Boys and finally Magic and James Worthy. This Laker team won in the most bogus year in the NBA since the Spurs won their first title in lockout season in 1999. I already compared LeBron and Kobe's stats, so let's take a look at MJ too. For their careers (this includes the Johnny Kilroy and the Wiz seasons for Michael) Kobe leads in only two statistical categories: FT% and 3P%, but only by a combined .19. Jordan, however, leads in scoring average, FG%, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks. Jordan was a better scorer, defender, and was better at distributing than Kobe... oh, I found something else Kobe does more of... turn the ball over. So Jordan takes care of the ball better too. I understand the euphoria of winning a championship, but the facts simply do not support the Kobe argument.
Phil as the greatest coach of all-time
He's undoubtedly a great coach, but having horses is a big part of successful coaching and he's had 4 of the NBA's 50 best in the last twenty years. No one else in the league can say that. Could he have won with the Lakers had he not won in Chicago? I don't know, because it was those six rings that gave him the credibility that his predecessors lacked. He'd been where Shaq and Kobe wanted to go and they respected him for that. It's not important, but with the egos of both players, it's hard to imagine them respecting the bad suit-wearing, goofy mustache-having Phil that first won in Chicago. I digress, I love basketball, but it's not the hardest sport to coach. Football has far more moving parts and egos and with an actual salary cap and so many injuries, it's much more difficult to navigate to the Super Bowl multiple times. Phil may have surpassed Red Auerbach for the most titles, but he's not the greatest coach of all-time, it's one of the coaches with multiple Super Bowl rings.
People forgot about Pau
When Pau got to the Lakers he was supposed to be the missing piece, but somewhere along the line people viewed him as a softie, instead of one of the top five big men in the league. When the Grizzlies traded him, everyone scoffed at how little they got... because he was damn good then. If I had to bet money on who would get another ring Pau or Kobe, I would take Pau.
The Lakers will regret re-signing Trevor Ariza
So this is a What I think instead of a what we learned, but it needs to be said. Ariza's benefited from playing with a veteran point guard, one of the top two players in the league, and two adept passing big men. He's been so far down on the opponent's priority list that he's had countless open looks and favorable matchups that his value has become artificially inflated. Add in the post-Finals loosening of the purse strings and if the Lakers aren't careful they end up with $115 million locked up in the tandem of Andrew Bynum and Trevor Ariza. He's a very good player and fun to watch, but he's an energy guy not someone that's going to take the mantle from Kobe. Overpaying here and with the departure of Phil possibly spelling the end of the triangle offense in LA, the team may find themselves with two albatrosses around their neck. Note: I would re-sign Ariza if I was the GM, but not at the price tag that so many believe he will command on the market.
Stan van Gundy screwed up
Just want everyone to know I'm onboard with every other writer out there on this topic. The irony is, however, that Phil could've faced the exact same criticisms if the series had swung the other way.
Hi I'm Cleet and I'm a New York Mets fan. Yes I am aware that the above picture is how it is always going to be. I'd still rather live with this kind of crap than cheer for the Yankees.
Speaking of the Subway Series, no name Yankee reliever who is still on the DL called out K-Rod for celebrating too much after a win. Rodriguez confronted said reliever before the game yesterday because he is acutally a man and is nt afraid to talk face to face. Or maybe he just wanted to show this guy his ring. Video below. [MLB.com]
Speaking of rings, Phil Jackson now has more than Red, Kobe has one without Shaq, and yes Bobcats fans, Adam Morrison and Shannon Brown have one! [Yahoo Sports]
Speaking of semi-anonymous people getting rings, the Pens pulled the game 7 upset on the Wings on Friday. Marian Hossa is taking the heat, but he says "that's life." How profound [NHL.com]
Speaking of tough breaks, Jim Calhoun breaks his ribs but finishes bike race. He then did interviews, passed out and only went to the hospital at the behest of Ray Allen. [Hartford Courant]
Speaking of college basketball news, today is the deadline for players to withdraw from the NBA draft. Players like Luke Harangody have to make a difficult choice. [Sporting News]
Speaking of college athletes not everyone pays attention to, the IRA regatta to decide the men's rowing national champions took place last weekend (sorry forgot to post) with Washington taking the men's eight title. With that and the news about Nick Montana, the Husky faithful must be pretty content right now. [Row2k]
On a last note, I saw The Hangover this weekend. While I do think it was funny, I thought it went begging in several areas and would not put it in the upper echelon of epic raunchy comedies. I think it belongs in the second tier with movies like Road Trip, Euro Trip, and PCU but falls short of Animal House, Revenge of the Nerds, or Wedding Crashers territory.
Friday, June 12
Back when I posted the first Saved By The Bell related post on this site, I said anything involving the show would be post-worthy in my mind. Here we have a list here from Four Hoursemen Tattoo that pays homage to the characters that were not the major players, yet still added to the greatness of the show. Enjoy.
Saved by the Bell: Underrated Characters [Four Horsemen Tattoo via Extra Mustard]
Yesterday as I was washing dishes I took a gander outside my kitchen window and bam! A bolt of lightning exploded in my backyard. I was temporarily blinded and startled near the point of confusion by the boom as well. After the incident I have decided that flash grenades really are effective methods of combat, not just in FPSs. Unfortunately the strike messed up some of the electronics in the house, so this weekend I will attempt to become an electrician and fix them. After the break I wax unpoetically on events of the past week; mainly the Finals game from last night, Raul Ibanez, Mark Sanchez, and whatever floats into my brain while I punch the keys.
Magic better start with the Man in the Mirror
There comes a point where you cannot blame a loss on inexperience, it is not because you "haven't been there before", it is because you made systematic mistakes that just more than likely cost you a ring. First off, Stan Van Gundy knows more about basketball than I ever will, so questioning his moves is a bit like some local villager walking into the Sistine Chapel and telling Michelangelo, "Dude, I would go less with the cherubs and more with the pointing bearded guys." However, this is what is great about this medium we now use and peruse, opinion can be delivered from any source, no matter how smart or foolish and it can choose to be looked at and discussed or completely ignored. Mine will fall into the latter, but this is not being written from my mother's basement (we have crawl spaces here in North Carolina) and I am actually educated (Master's degree in Sport Studies) so take that grumpy old men in a dying medium. I told you I was going stream of consciousness on this folks.
Trying to get back to the issue, Van Gundo clearly differs with me in theory when it comes to Jameer Nelson. I love Jameer, love him. Rooted real hard for him and Delonte at St. Joe's but the guy has been out since before the All-Star break. No real, live game action for months and all of a sudden on the biggest stage with the most at stake he is inserted into the lineup. Not only is he getting some minutes, he played 26 last night. After game 1 the Gundo admitted he played Jameer too much. Now Nelson has not been atrocious but in my mind you do not suddenly jumble up a line-up that has brought you to the Finals and ousted the league's best team by record in the previous round. If anything, I would only play Nelson for a couple minutes at a time and if any garbage time comes along. He is a part of the team and you give him some minutes but he should not be in there getting the game-tying 3-pointer made on him.
Speaking of the 3-pointer, for the longest time I was not a proponent of fouling when you are up 3 to prevent the tie, but I have started to come around. Until basketball finds a way to deal with intentional fouls to trade free-throws for possesions, this strategy will remain integral to endgame stratagem. The Magic did right by getting the ball out of Kobe's hands but as we saw with Memphis a year ago, you cannot let the shot off. Funny how in that game as in last night's missed free-throws led to the great shot, but more on that in a moment. There is so much time off between series and games within the series nowadays that you should know absolutely everything about your opponent. Orlando should be aware that Fish is capable of stuff like this:
I don't know what my favorite part is: sad Bruce Bowen or sad Kevin Willis. Anyway, Fish getting that shot off sucked all the air out of the Amway and assured his place in Finals history if it had not been secured already.
Now we come to the free-throw line and pardon me if I beat a horse that has been dead for some time. 22-37, I will repeat, 22-37. That is simply inexcusable. I used to be decent for a white guy back in high school, I had my moments but lack of play in recent years has led me to the status of suck when it comes to playing the game of basketball. Yet, if you gave me 37 shots from the line, I bet the whole ranch I would make more than 22 of them. I know people will say, well they were pressure free-throws on the biggest stage. I'm calling bull, because these are professionals that are getting paid seven figures while unemployment in the country is heading for 10% and their job in life at the moment is basketball. With all pressure, bright lights, crowd noise (even though this game was in Orlando) and fatigue of playing the game, those shots should be automatic. Some will bounce out sure, but they are free shots, free points and when you miss them you cost your team the game. I am not here to completely dump on Dwight, the man is a beast but just one of those last two would have put the game to two possessions. Just one, that's 50% of the free-throws, but Dwight shot 42.8% for the game. Doubt I could make those free-throws? Meet me at the nearest court, I don't care if its double rim, the BDL. Perhaps it was fitting that Nick Anderson was on the mic before the game, just saying.
The Raul Dilemma
Congratulations to Raul Ibanez for hitting the game-winning home run for the Phillies to beat my beloved Mets and take the series 2-1 at Citi. You may have heard about the uproar over an article written by blogger Jerod Morris on the site Midwest Sports Fans. This all stemmed from a writer from Philly Inquirer asking Ibanez about steroid allegations and using the blog post as a reference. Another writer for the Inquirer had written an article referencing the post. Ibanez did what anyone should do if they are innocent when posed this question: he denied and said that he could be tested by whatever means available. Bravo Raul, and I tend to believe he is clean, even though he is 37 and has 21 homers already this season. The part of Ibanez's response I did not care for was taking shots at the blogger and using the tried and true "mom's basement" statement. Morris never intended the article be anything more than a search statistically for why Ibanez was flourishing at his age. Most newspaper types are so quick to discredit the blogosphere but yet they use posts such as this one as fuel to write articles and ask players how they feel about them. This was not even a fly-by-seat-of-pants article, Morris went to bnumbers, even if he did not go as far in-depth as he wanted to. His appearance on OTL was merely a chance for the old guard to parade him out there and then bash him unequivicoably. Morris did not deserve the heat he got, but this is the reality of media and their feelings towards blogs, and it is not going to change no matter how much newspapers fade away. There will always be a 'traditional' media whether it is TWWL or other TV or writers online who scoff at the notion that they be known as bloggers. Joe Posnanski describes this whole situation more eloquently than I at SI.com.
Getting back to Raul, again I applaud him for being so vehement against PED allegations but as a 37 year-old athlete who is finding success on the diamond, he should not be shocked by those who question the cleanliness of his offensive output. It is not his fault and again by most people's indications he has not taken any PED during his career but look at what has happened in baseball over the last decade. Bonds, Mcguire, Ramirez, Rodriguez, Clemens, Palmiero, are a few of the players of the highest caliber that either tested positve or are just about as guilty without conviction as you can get. After the Mitchell report and the 2004 test in which A-Rod was pegged it is clear that steroids were (are?) part of baseball for at least the last 15 or so years. It is here where the origins of the accusations of Ibanez lie, not with Jarod Morris. That's why you are getting questioned Raul, not because some guy in the basement wanted to call you out and get on ESPN. It is how the players of the highest caliber fueled some of the great performances we have seen in baseball history. So from now on, players should expect to get questioned and if they look on the bright side, it means they are doing well, because no one thinks Big Papi is on roids this season.
Marky Mark and the Cocky Bunch
Mark Sanchez just inked a huge contract with the Jets with about $28 million in guaranteed money. Personally I hope the Jets are wrong about how enamoured they are with the former Trojan QB, but the New York media and the organization seems to have fallen in sweet sweet love with him. I do not see how his arrival is any different that Matt Leinhart's was a few years ago. Both failed to win the national title in their last year at USC, both were media darlings going into and coming out of the draft, both are linked to attractive women, and both had superior offensive lines and tremendous athletes around them which in my opinion will not prepare them for life in the NFL. Sanchez may be loved now but he has 4 games against the Dolphins and Patriots defense and the entire NFC South. Let's see how he does 8 weeks into the season when they are into their bye week. Let's see if he gets them into the playoffs? Catfish seems sold that they will indeed make the playoffs and foresees Joe Flacco-like numbers once they get there. This is all well and good but if there is something that the QB classes of the past 5 years have shown us, it is foolish to make bold predictions about the young arms until they go out on the field and prove it. Luckily for Sanchez, he is not all they are talking about in Jersey, Rex Ryan and Bart Scott have been jawing it up to the media and within the division. Good stuff and right there, just got that twang of longing for football season to get here.
Well that is all I have for now. Oh yeah, there is a game 7 tonight so that should be fun.
Thursday, June 11
A list of 15 of most awful video games. I have not played all of these but I did once beat Castlevania 64, but not in two nights like Tom Kenyon. I like how he did not state these are the worst ever, just 15 of the worst. While Hook for NES blew, Hook for SNES was an awesome game. Audio on the vids are NSFW.
Fifteen of the Most Awful Video Games [Gunaxin via Rumors and Rants]
Wednesday, June 10
If you have not seen this video yet, where the hell have you been? This clip drips with greatness. I had no idea Mark-Paul would still be willing to do something like this and frankly, I was blown away. I have to give mad props to Jimmy Fallon for trying to make this reunion happen but of course he had to laugh during the 'timeout'. One thing that angers me about this clip is how tame the studio audience is. It is Zach freakin' Morris people and this is the first time in over a decade he has reappeared. The jokes he made were not even appreciated; the Kelly divorce because of Jeff, the huge phone, the talking to the camera, when he says that he grew up in Indiana but then moved to California with his two best friends and his principal.
Whether the reunion happens or not, this clip more than made up for the void of new SBTB content. I still catch an episode every morning on TBS before I head to work.
A final note for you fellow SBTB junkies out there; On Gosselar's show, Raising the Bar on TNT, his co-star is Natalia Cigliuti who played Lindsay Warner on Saved By The Bell: The New Class. Sweet.
Monday, June 8
I have decided job searching is only as stressful as you allow it to be. Therefore I welcome my oncoming unemplyoment in a little over 3 weeks, it will give me a chance to do some figurative and literal housecleaning. I hope your weekend out there was enjoyable. I can't decide what the highlight for me was, witnessing cookie-tossing at Waffle House at 2:30am, or the girl being carried out An Officer and A Gentleman style from the bar and the EMTs flowing in soon after.
Tiger Woods won a golf tournament yesterday, consider yourself warned. [Rumors and Rants]
I thought this girl winning the Texas state title in Track and Field was impressive, but Catfish was quick to point out, "It's only class A, isn't that the worst division?" [Deadspin]
I get the feeling the Stanley Cup Finals may be over tomorrow night after the way the Wings looked with Datsyuk back. [Yahoo]
Where was the security at Roland Garros on Sunday? [TBL]
Now I just think the Nationals are doing this stuff on purpose. [DC Sports Bog]
Ian Kinsler gets my vote for best player on a good team no one is talking about. [Dallas Morning News]
Southern Miss defeated Florida to advance to the College World Series. The Noles lost too so a win-win this weekend as far as I'm concerned. [CBSSports]
I have a feeling that the Courtney Lee missed lay-up is going to be the most memorable moment from the finals this year. Now where did I put my broom? [Ball Don't Lie]
Friday, June 5
While things are slow(er) here at ASD, I have decided to ramble a bit on a few subjects from this week in the sporting world. My thoughts would probably be more concise had I no eaten that Cuatro Leches cake at lunch. That's right, not the traditional tres leches, one extra leche for supreme immobilization of all physical functions and complex mental processes. I feel like I have been hit with a tranquilizer dart.
Roger Federer is, as I punch the keys, battling in the 5th set with Juan Del Porto in the semifinals at Roland Garros [Update: He won]. If Roger holds on and makes it to the final he has his chance at the career Slam and will tie Pete Sampras for all-time Slam titles. If eventually surpasses Pete would this make Federer the best ever? Maybe by the numbers, but one thing I would agree with Sampras on, even though he said it sounding like sour grapes, was that the level of competition in men's tennis was miles ahead of where it is today back in the late 70s, 80s, and 90s. While Roger is a master of his craft, up until the recent surge of Nadal, no one has challenged him. Pete and Andre had all they could handle in challengers early and late in their career. Right now as Federer's career is tailing off is when we could be witnessing a rise of stars at the top of tennis. Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal represent tremendous players who could beswtow us with great rivalries for years to come. If Roger wins the French, it will go a long way in the conversation of him versus Sampras, but pound for pound I still think Pete was the better and that is not all Roger's fault because he has not had the competition.
One story that should not be lost in the red clay of Roland Garros is the run of Robin Soderling. Even though he and Nadal had a verbal spat of words in the past, he pulled the unthinkable by beating Rafa on clay and then turned around and beat Andy Murray. If he faces Roger Federer in the finals and wins, he will have beaten the number 1,2, and 3 seeds. That would be akin to Arizona beating Kansas, Carolina, and Kentucky in the 1997 NCAA Tournament. You may notice I left one name out so far in this tennis conversation. While Andy Roddick shed the pounds, talked the game, and was winning handily, he did not even get the opportunity to face his old nemesis Federer. Instead he went out whining to Monfils in the 4th round. We should not be surprised by this performance by Andy, who has never done well at the French Open but is is nevertheless dissapointing. While Roddick wins at life, on the court his time is running out and that U.S. Open may be the only major he ever sees.
Tell Me How My Ring Tastes
Nice gesture by Shaq tweeting that he hopes Kobe wins. Would he be saying this if the Lakers were not likely to run away with this series? Who knows but the whole argument about Kobe's legacy on the line is pretty dumb. I have never liked Kobe, from the moment he pronounced he would not play for the Hornets (no I don't fucking care if you say that the trade with the Lakers was already in the works, he still initiated it with his statement. Would he have had the stones to sit out that year while Charlotte held his draft rights? Answer is no.) to his drama with Shaq, to his sneak attack on the brown in Denver, to his overall persona the guy is not someone I admire personally. But there is no doubt the dude can ball and is one of the ten best players ever in the NBA. The fade away shot he hit from almost three-point range last night made me just shake my head.
The argument over his legacy is pretty much a barroom argument that is being presented for lack of other storylines. In all sports there is a double standard that you must win a championship to vindicate your career yet players like Malone, Marino, Barkely, Bonds are given passes because of their greatness. Bryant has three rings no matter what happens in those series. Despite Shaq being the dominant player, it is doubtful the Lakers succeed time after time without Bryant. I stated earlier this week that to me this championship would be like Peyton Manning's for Kobe. Of course Kobe already had his three but it would be the total monkey off his back title. So while I cannot spurn the argument until Kobe probably puts it to rest in this series, his place in NBA lore is quite secure.
The Price To Pay
I have eluded to the subject of Florida Gators' legal troubles before so this is nothing new in my mind, but worth discussion. People have been talking about the 24 Gator players arrested in the last four years and also discussing how the major outlets (twwl leader mainly) are ignoring it. While the four-letter network has had fire side chats with Tebow and Pope Urban has been mum on the subject, Florida is now officialy a college football dynasty. It is unavoidable for a program to attain this level of talent with its players and success without some of the negative. In this light I am not bashing Florida as some renegade program, it is simply the price of multiple titles. If you are a young college man and everyone in your community is telling you how great you are and media outlets are dubbing you as righteous champions, your head is going to swell. Dave Hide of the Sun-Sentinel has the correct perspective on this in his article on the arrest situation of the big three Sunshine State schools. The Miami Hurricanes are always sensitive to issues like these and that is mainly because as Hyde states, "Once you lose your reputation, it's hard to get back." The U will never get any respectable reputation back and that adds to the edge with which its players carry themselves and a galvinizing force for all who have played for the program. The Gators have had problems with behavior since winning their 2nd title in 3 years but not "Tainted Title" or Luther Campbell problems like FSU and UM. That being said, it is not balanced coverage when one of the ratings giants' mistakes are swept under the rug while Meyer speaks out of how ever many sides of his mouth he has and Tebow is praised for his character. A football team is exactly that, a team and all members are answerable.
That's all I have for this Friday, it would have been more fluent had office interruptions not occured.
Tuesday, June 2
The crew here at ASD (does 2 constitute a crew?) are going through a transitional period this month and hence the volume of posts has been and will continue to be minimal until July at the very least. This is not the way we want it, but forces beyond control at this point prevent providing our rich insight into sports that all five of you that actually read this blog. Hopefully when the dust settles we will be able to get back on track in time for our one year anniversary on July 7th. There may be a few sporadic posts here and there before then so do not erase us from your internet browsing just yet. Thank you and as Kodos once said on the Simpsons, "...we must move forward, not backward, upward not forward, and always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom!”