Sometimes you're Peter, and sometimes you're the frog...
Friday, May 29
After hearing about Tyrese Gibson altering the national anthem I immediately was reminded of an old SNL sketch called 'Comedy Killers' that appeared way back when the show had some of its greatest episodes. That week, the show was hosted by Roseanne Barr and this sketch was a Jeopardy-like game show for comedians in which they had to guess the inappropriate joke that would kill the room. This led the opportunity for Roseanne to address her infamous national anthem incident from San Diego. Here is part of the script from the sketch:
Chip Bodecker: Uh-huh. And I understand you have a doozy of a comedy killer story for us?
Lori Turkin: Oh, yeah. Well, you know, I'm pretty big down there in San Diego and everything. So, this one time, they asked me to come and sing the National Anthem at a Padres game?
Chip Bodecker: Uh-huh?
Lori Turkin: Anyway, I thought it would be sort of funny to do a wise guy rendition of it, you know?
Chip Bodecker: Uh-huh. And, did the audience like it?
Lori Turkin: No. No, they hated it.
Chip Bodecker: Did they laugh?
Lori Turkin: Oh, no. They just hated it.
Chip Bodecker: So, the National Anthem is a real comedy killer?
Lori Turkin: Well, in my experience, I'd have to say yes.
Nice that she could own up to it and put a comedy twist at the same time. You can read the entire sketch here since I could not locate the video. The whole sketch is pretty funny.
Now we turn to Tyrese, years later, who thought it would comical to change some words of the Star-Spangled Banner. Instead of saying "the flag was still there" he said, "Our Lakers were still there." Now aside from the patriotic implications, you are inserting a team (Lakers) into a spot in a song where an inanimate object (flag) is in the song. The story of the song is about how America withstood the bombarding of the British during the War of 1812 and how the American spirit prevails over a land of people who are free. What in the name of Kurt Rambis does that have to do with a basketball game.
I am not going to get all conservative redneck on Tyrese here, I just want to state how ignorant doing something like this is. Yes, this is America and you (supposedly) can say whatever you want, but this was a subject better left alone. The gall of him to assume he could just tweak something to play to a home crowd while he is promoting a movie, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. It is one of those situations where it really has no value to anyone to do it, and it should be interesting to see how he responds. So far it has only been in twitter form. Considering he plays an Air Force Technical Sergeant in the Transformer movies, you would think he would develop some kind of patriotic understanding. From this picture though, it seems he was not in his right mind for this to being with, just look at the way he is posing in this picture as he sang:
You should never look like you are trying to get a girl in the front row to sleep with you when singing your country's anthem. This of course will blow over in time, but it does not excuse the stupidity of Gibson in this instance. Just days after we observed Memorial Day, a day for all the men and women who have died so people like Tyrese can make millions and live in luxury and freedom, it was simply bad form. But at least he did not pull a Carl Lewis:
Thursday, May 28
That's what I say to myself every time my low-paying internship grates on my nerves. This is what I signed up for after all. I went back to school a few years ago, paid the graduate tuition out of a loan in my name which I'm certain will take me a over a decade to pay off, and knew it would be an uphill climb. But it is what I signed up for. When I interviewed for my present position they told me that sometimes you have to do the mundane, the minuscule, the minutia and without hesitation I told them I was their man. "Whatever it takes to get the job done" I said, head held high, confident chin, firm handshake and all that. This was an important stepping stone I believed; my 3rd internship in three years and fresh off of getting my master's degree I just knew that with the sheepskin and the work experience finally a rewarding, full-time job in the sports field would be waiting for me when I completed my year here.
That was last July and as I began my job with as much zeal and energy as a young, single man could I thought I was making a good impression and building solid relationships. In truth I was and still am, but the problem has been the economy. Working in college sports I have seen blow after blow that the current situation has dealt to athletic departments and conferences. The big names have not been left unscathed but it has been the smaller entities that have really felt the crunch and inevitable crush from the downturn. Teams have been cut left and right, a few athletic programs for an entire school hang in the balance. This was not the job market I was looking to enter once my current internship was finished.
The best I can do now is, as Bob Dylan said, "...keep on keepin' on like a bird that flew," and that has to be your attitude in times like these. Wallowing in woe is me thinking will not get you any closer to your goal. Even when this internship had me cursing the fates and shaking my fist angrily at unknown forces that put me in this position, in the end I was still thankful to at least be somewhere, mostly because I have been nowhere, and it is not too fun. Sports are one of the main forms of entertainment we have in this country so many assume they career in sports will be just as radiant when they enroll in Sports Management programs. I had no illusions but I love sports more than just about anything on this Earth so I felt I had no choice.
Below is a New York Times article by Ken Belson highlighting the current situation for recent graduates who are hitting the job searches just as I am this summer. I wax poetic more on my situation but I have to go run errands for my bosses and print and stuff nametag clips. Just living the dream my friends, just living the dream.
In Sports Business, Too Many Hopefuls for Too Few Positions [New York Times]
Tuesday, May 26
Dan Wetzel's a hawk and this time Alamo Executive Director Derrick Fox is in the crosshairs. Fox told Congress that nearly all bowls are put on by charitable groups, but as Yahoo! reports:
In fact, 10 bowl games are privately owned and one is run by a branch of a local government. The remaining 23 games enjoy tax-exempt status from the Internal Revenue Service, but combined to give just $3.2 million to local charities on $186.3 million in revenue according to their most recent federal tax records and interviews with individual bowl executives.Dr. Saturday weighs in with some additional links.
note: The guy without a cutout of himself had to stand there for three days, until it was fight time.
I stayed up until 5 A.M. to watch Dream 9 (or at least the first half) to see the Super Hulk Tournament. In no small part thanks to this promotional video, which is chocked full of unintentional comedy. Nelson Mandela, the World Cup Trophy, Fidel Castro and Harrison Ford all make appearances. If Morgan Freeman was in it, it may have moved into my top ten all-time movies.
Fortunately, I didn't have to wait long to see the debut of Jose Canseco, who according to the announcer, "Unless you've been living the life of a Nepalese sherpa for the last twenty years, you know who Jose Canseco is." In the pre-fight presser Jose admitted to being scared of his opponent, Hong Man Choi and after attempting to land a big overhand right to start the fight, he looked it. Jose apparently didn't realize in fights you're gonna get punched. Tapping out in mere seconds after a series of punches rained down (mostly missing) when he fell to the mat. I suppose it makes sense why he wrapped his wife's car around a tree now. He was terrified she'd punch him if he confronted her directly. Canseco's performance (minus the fleeing around the ring) was no more embarrassing than Bob Sapp continuing to trot his freakazoid frame into the ring only to end up weeping at the hands of a much smaller man. All in all, most of the hulking giants were more comedy than anything, but it's hard not to enjoy 300+ pound men swinging wildly for ten seconds and then getting winded as the smaller fighters take over. HDNet will be re-airing the fights Friday night at 10 PM ET and are at the very least worth a DVRing.
After going to a bar with K-man, XM, and Catfish to watch the last WWE PPV, 'Judgement Day' I wrote in my little daily milieu, the random thought/quote/fact of the day, that I was done with pro wrestling. Sure I was a fan of the Attitude Era, who wasn't, but the storylines are not well-executed, the action in the ring is horrible when it comes to the big names, and the characters are stale. Oh, and in my opinion John Cena can not even sniff Stone Cold and The Rock's jockstrap.
The events of the past week though pulled me back in as I had to tune into see what Vince was going to cook up after moving Monday Night Raw to the Staples Center in L.A. after being double booked with the Nuggets' hosting of game 4. Vince talked a big game, insulting E. Stan Kroenke and putting up a 5 vs. 5 tag match as the man event with a Lakers versus Nuggets team and a mystery 5th man for the Lakers' team. I was excited to see how the WWE would incorporate this during the entire night since they had done such a great job setting it up all week.
In the end it was a tremendous letdown. Vince came out to confront a fake, dressed-up Stan Kroenke and revealed the E in his name stood for "Enis" and then let the crowd participate in the dickjoke connection of the name. Of course, it made me think of former Penn State draft bust Curtis Enis. Then Vince merely pushed the fake Kroenke down and his music played. No stunner? Not even a DDT? Lame.
Then we had this abomination of impersonators ring side:
That is supposed to be from left to right: Lakers' owner Jerry Buss, Jack Nicholson, and NBA Commissioner David Stern. First off, the fake Buss looks like a woman in a red wig. Is it really that hard to find a good Jack impersonator in LA? He had a speaking part backstage and sounded nothing like the real thing. The Jack Nicholson voice is an easy one to imitate, and every white man can do a halfway decent one. It is a few steps down from being as universal to an Arnold voice. The one that makes me shake my head is the David Stern "look-a-like" and by look-a-like I mean looks not a damn bit like David Stern. This is David Stern:
They got old white guy and glasses part right and that is pretty much it. You might say that most wrestling fans would not know the difference but this edition of RAW was supposed to bring in the casual viewers and gain new followers. It instead showed why wrestling, while popular, is not as big as it was and continues to shrink as MMA expands.
The final straw was the mystery tag-team partner. It was some guy named 'Mr. Kennedy' who I had never heard of but apparently has been gone for awhile with injury. Another fail, this was a time for a celebrity, someone tied to basketball, The Rock since this was in Hollywood (I can dream can't I?), or some other long lost wrestler not seen in a long time. I refuse to waste my time with it anymore (even for Kelly Kelly), although game 4 over on TWWL was almost as unwatchable with the constant whistles, 84 free-throws and technical fouls.
The attention paid to the 65-team college baseball tournament is minuscule compared to its basketball counterpart, but the same elements exist in both. Last year, Fresno State became the lowest seed ever to win the NCAA Championship during an improbable run just like Villanova did in 1985. There are the familiar powerhouses in the tournament: Texas, UNC, Florida State, Arizona State, Rice and Cal State Fullerton. They are akin to the UCLA, Kentucky, Carolina, Duke, and Michigan State of hoops. There are incredible streaks similar to Arizona's long run in basketball; the University of Miami is in the tournament for a record 37th consecutive year.
The action begins this Friday at 8 regional sites. In each regional 4 teams play a double-elimination tournament. The 8 hosts of the regionals are:
1. Texas (41-13-1)
2. Cal St Fullerton (42-14)
3. LSU (46-16)
4. North Carolina (42-16)
5. Arizona State (44-12)
6. UC Irvine (43-13)
7. Oklahoma (41-18)
8. Florida (39-20)
You can see the full bracket here. Many shun the college game because of the PING! factor but the games are just as entertaining as any baseball playoff and perhaps even more so. I can admit that I do not follow much of the regular season in college baseball but this time of year my eye always turns to the road to Omaha. It has always been on my list to travel to Rosenblatt stadium and see a CWS and those that have gone have told me it is well worth the trip. I was fortunate enough to work the regional last year hosted by Coastal Carolina in South Carolina and the energy of the teams and fans was unbelievable. Coastal is the Davidson of college baseball if you will out of the Big South Conference. They made it to the Super Regionals last year but fell short to North Carolina. The Chanticleers will start their quest to become the George Mason of college baseball in Chapel Hill as the two seed as the Tar Heels host the regional.
Among the many story lines is the story of San Diego State pitcher Stephen Strasburg, the projected number one pick in the upcoming MLB draft. Some scouts are touting him as the "best baseball prospect ever" and he has already signed with
Lucifer Scott Boras himself. Strasburg leads the nation with a 1.34 ERA and 174 strikeouts in 94.3 innings pitched. It is also reported he can hit 102 on the gun but as a co-worker of mine wisely said, "They said the same thing about Todd Van Poppel." The Nationals have the number one pick but considering their horrible team, attendance, spelling ability, it will be hard to fathom them successfully signing Strasburg. Aztecs manager Tony Gwynn (Tony Gwynn folks!) has not said for sure whether he will pitch Strasburg Friday against Virginia, who just won the ACC tournament, or he will rest him until the likely match-up with regional host UC Irvine. The Anteaters are the favorites to move on so it might behoove Gwynn to rest Strasburg but if they do not beat UVA they face elimination. It is all part of the strategy of baseball which takes on a new dimension when it comes to the college game which is part of the reason it makes it so captivating to watch.
Just like basketball, a field of 64 teams (after the opening round game) that will be narrowed down to one after a long hard-fought battle of blown calls, great plays, role players becoming stars, and a little bit of good fortune.
Texas grabs No. 1 baseball seed [ESPN]
Monday, May 25
3 second-half points for Mello and another bad pass that will undoubtedly earn Trevor Ariza $5-10 million extra dollars when he signs his next deal are things I should have foreseen. I'm not sure exactly why the Gasol hate has continued through these playoffs. He played very small in the middle part of the Rocket series, but from game seven of that series he's been the best big man in the playoffs. He's been a force on the offensive boards (more so than any of the "tougher" Denver big men) and unlike Dwight Howard, he's stayed on the court playing just as many minutes as Kobe. With Bynum playing like a big Tracy Morgan, Gasol's performance has been vital to their 2-1 series lead. Lamar Odom has been definition Lamar Odom. He scored 19 or more in 3 games against the Jazz, but since he's scored more than 10 only once. Midway through the Rockets series, it became apparent that Kobe would have to be on for the Lakers to win any game the rest of the way out. At the time, asking if he could do it ten more times seemed like a long shot, but now we're down to six "on" games for the Mamba, which seems much more doable.
On the flip side, if the Nuggets lose this series, it will be having an advantage in talent and owing it almost exclusively to mental miscues. Nene, his name is four letters long, can we please agree on a pronunciation. It's not as if he's got a Russian-Bulgarian hyphenated name. There are as many pronunciations as letters floating around currently. A guy that I believe can help swing this series, if he can get on the court: Renaldo Balkman. The energy that the Birdman typically provides has not been apparent in this series, but Balkman is another guy capable of making a difference without scoring (something the Nuggets have lacked thus far). I don't care if George Karl has to call Larry Brown to e-mail over some in-bounds plays on his Blackberry, if one more clutch in-bounds play is botched, he's going to lose this team, for good.
In the east, I couldn't be happier that the entire nation is getting to see the Orlando Magic's cheap-shotting, moving screens and constant arm-barring of Hedo. People want to sing their praises, but this has much more to do with LeBron's supporting cast playing like they just got done with ten rounds of drunken dizzy bat and go sell the Magic's defense somewhere else because I'm not buying. They are collapsing on the King and they're not paying for it. The Cavs guards have become intimidated (although Delonte has shown flashes) and they continually settle for jumpers. This, along with the horrendous officiating has resulted in the free throw disparity that so many people are talking about. Watching LeBron he's still an MVP caliber player, but he's looking much more man than myth in this series. He's certainly adept at scoring, but on the defensive end, he's ended up in no man's land on several plays, and I keep waiting for him to get mad to fire up his teammates, but when Mo Williams was face down bloodied, LeBron looked concerned, not incensed. Kobe, Larry, or Michael would've made the other team pay. To this point, the King hasn't. I do hope the Cavs pull this out, so we can call Turkgolu "Turk-Ehlo" for the rest of his career.
Just remember both series are 2-1, hardly insurmountable leads, there's plenty of chance for more egg on my face this week.
Please take a moment to think about all the people who have given their lives for our country. Whether you agree or disagree with policy, citizens of this country have given the ultimate sacrifice to ensure that we can continue to live our way of life and enjoy the sports we follow.
Friday, May 22
Excluding the Doris Burke interviews, there is no more ridiculous, annoying, and hair-brained question in postgame analysis than 'What was the difference in tonight's game?' After both the Cavs-Magic and Nuggets-Lakers games this question has been posed, but the obvious, "Delonte/Fish missed the final shot." is never the answer, oh nooooo. Instead we listen to babble about how great the winning team played and we get to hear about the problems the losing team needs to fix. It's amazing that night in and night out, these talking heads can find no better questions to ask, other than generic BS questions that completely fail to, ya know, analyze the game.
Speaking of the games, if I were a betting man, I'd be all over Denver for game three. They haven't gotten to play in front of a home crowd in what will be ten days when the lace 'em up for game three and the Pepsi Center will be rocking. I anticipate the Nuggets getting a big lift for the game, potentially followed by a letdown in game four (much to the delight of Vinny Mac).
Speaking of Vince and the WWE, how epic is he going to try to make that Monday Night Raw? Nothing would give him greater satisfaction to outdraw the game in the ratings. Likely a pipe dream, I wouldn't be surprised if he pulled out all the stops, possibly involving a special guest (if you smell what I'm cooking).
Meanwhile back on the hardwood, are J.R. Smith and Sasha Vujacic competing to see who can get yanked back to the bench fastest by their coach following an atrocious shot? It was good to see 'The Machine' stay in long enough to do his trademark ball hug after getting a foul called. Sasha, it's the first quarter, you get six fouls and you haven't made a difference yet this playoffs, please stop with the melodrama. It's also hard to fault J.R. Smith for shooting every time he touches the ball, because every time he passes he turns the ball over or nearly does. At least with a shot, it's not a direct pass to the Lakers.
All this discussion about Kobe v. LeBron for the league's best player has me wondering where this puts Carmello in the discussion? If people want to say the Mamba and the King are on a different plane, I have no objections, but doesn't he have to be creeping into the discussion with Dwayne Wade, CP3, and Dwight Howard on that second tier? With two ad campaigns focusing on Kobe v. LeBron does anyone else get the sneaking suspicion we're heading for another Dan v. Dave disaster?
The LeBron 'clutch' questions need to be put on ice. Asking them after game one because he passed up a shot, is nothing more than trying to rile up the natives. If LeBron isn't clutch because he passed the ball to Delonte West, is Phil Jackson not clutch for deciding to pass the ball to Fisher at the end of the game? Was Paul Pierce not clutch when he passed the ball to Big Baby? Of course not, because Davis made it. It's cliche to throw out the Jordan to Kerr pass, but if it had been Game Seven, Jordan never passes the ball to Kerr and I firmly believe if it was Game Seven, the King wouldn't have passed it either. The team lost that game because they played lazy defense, not because LBJ wasn't clutch.
When the Tar Heels went to the White House, Bobby Frasor videotaped in the White House recording some candid moments with his teammates for ESPN. Bobby may not have an NBA career in his future, but he can go into broadcasting if he desires. Poking fun of Ty Lawson's pants and lack of a belt and Mike Copeland's humor make this video a must see for any Carolina fans. This is Catfish O'Hoolihan... ESPN.
It is really hard for me to pinpoint the best part of this story. Dropping alleged N-bombs for a woman crossing you path is fantastic because we certainly do not live in the digital age so I'm sure she wasted good film on the picture. Maybe it is the fact that it is two mothers in their 30s going after it mui tai style because one of them walked in front of a picture the other was taking. Perhaps it was the fact that the fight was precipitated by racial slurs being tossed out right after the picture-crossing took place. Big consideration must be given to the husband of the picture-taker, James Mela, because after he got knocked down by "several men" he got up and spit in Ronika Brooks' (the picture-crosser) face; not a wise move as Mela was taken to the ground and "stomped" again. But then I look to the fact that this happened in the children's playground area while a bunch of youngsters looked on.
However, after much thought my favorite part is the local reporter in the video below, Amy Anderson. The local reporter visual aid is always a classic and in this story, notice Amy holding a camera up and even taking a picture (with flash!) to illustrate how a picture is taken. Thanks Amy, I was having a hard time imagining what it would have looked like when Mela's wife attempted to take that photo of her child, now I know! I can completely understand and dissect the story in my mind now. CNN on line 2 for you Amy. Also please notice the advertisement for bail bonds during the video.
Two charged in brawl at Kauffman [KC Star]
Wednesday, May 20
When the wind fails, take to the oars. When real life calls, take to the links.
You're a monkey, I'm a monkey, we are all monkeys. Scientists say they found the missing link in the form of a monkey-lemur. [Sky News]
The Citi Field toilets are no place for the ladies. [NY Post via TBL]
Dirk I would ask what you were thinking, but clearly you weren't. [Sportress of Blogitude]
A poll shows that people would rather watch Raw next Monday than the Lakers steal another game from the Nugs. [WWE.com]
Never too early to be looking at SOS in college football, unless you vote for the Harris Poll, then you can used the retarded monkey throwing darts routine that works so well for you. [CollegeGameBalls]
You have to love someone being upbeat about the Clippers and would you even say the Clippers have a "Nation"? Isn't more like a small principality? I mean you are stuck in L.A. sharing the same building as the Lakers. You are the Luxembourg, Lichtenstein, and/or Monaco of the NBA. Blake Griffin is going to have to pull a Anne Sullivan to make an impact on the "listless" Clips. [Clips Nation]
As a Mets' fan, I have written and erased about five versions of this sentence blasting Steve Phillips, but I am just going to call him a douchebag and let Joe do the rest. [Joe Posnanski]
Most people cannot name one person on the Blue Jays after Roy Halladay, but they are leading the vaunted AL East. Can we please start giving Cito some dap?!! [FoxSports]
Finally, some ecards for the average person out there. [Yesbutnobutyes]
Monday, May 18
"Among other things, Mr. Gewirtz has learned that Kerouac played an early version of the baseball game in his backyard in Lowell, Mass., hitting a marble with a nail, or possibly a toothpick, and noting where it landed. By 1946, when Kerouac was 24, he had devised a set of cards with precise verbal descriptions of various outcomes (“slow roller to ss,” for example), depending on the skill levels of the pitcher and batter. The game could be played using cards alone, but Mr. Gewirtz thinks that more often Kerouac determined the result of a pitch by tossing some sort of projectile at a diagramed chart on the wall."
Very interesting and a tad disturbing at the same time. I used to pay made up games in my backyard and driveway of baseball and basketball games, but I would use the real players at the time. I took the Charlotte Hornets to many a championship with my friend Ian and I was somehow able to make the Mets of the early '90s winners. It seems old Jack wanted to have a whole dimension of his own. He kept it up late into his life, where his other obsession, alcohol, began to take over. The thing I noticed most from looking at the photos of the old team cards in the article: Jack's centerfielder for the "Philadelphia Pontiacs" was named "El Negro", not sure a name like that would fly anymore.
Another Side of Kerouac: The Dharma Bum as Sports Nut [New York Times via Deadspin]
Friday, May 15
Sad news today of the passing of former NBA player Wayman Tisdale. Here was a video Catfish posted back in September about his recovery after having his leg amputated due to his bout with bone cancer. This morning he passed away. From all indications a great man, teammate and musician. He was also on the original version of NBA Jam. I hope God greets you as a friend big fella.
Thursday, May 14
While the Nuggets dispatching the Mavericks in five games, it could be a carry-over from this series that ultimately short circuits Denver's chances at a championship. With the Kenyon Martin - Mark Cuban feud in the rearview mirror, will the NBA not have a hairline trigger with the Mr. Blue Light Special? I don't think so. The first time Kenyon and Kobe exchange barbs or the first time he puts Gasol on his ass, Stu Jackson is going to suspend K-Mart for a game and potentially cost Denver a game. The remaining series are too tight to give a game away, but thanks to an owner Martin finds himself in a position where either a) he can't play with abandon or b) he risks missing a game. Not an enviable position and one that could cost the Nuggets.
The Lakers will finish off the 13th seeded Rockets tonight. After the Rockets pulled off a March Madness-esque upset in game four, the Lakers took them seriously in game five and without Aaron Brooks and Shane Battier shooting lights out while
Jeff Teague Kobe Bryant struggled, Houston had no chance. Tonight will prove no different.
Orlando has allowed two straight games to slip through their fingers and while Superman wants to pin it on coaching, the players are just as much if not more responsible. Repeatedly ignoring Rashard Lewis's mismatch on the offensive end is a failure by both the guards and particularly, Hedo Turkeyglue. For the Magic, the answer isn't to get it to the Big Offensive Ineptitude in the middle, it's to not settle for jump shots, something they've failed to do in crunch time for two straight games. Turkeyglue, I know the step back three worked in crunch time before, but that doesn't make it a good shot. Boston will likely close this series out tonight, because good teams don't force their opponents to go scoreless for nine minutes in the fourth quarter and lose at home. Mediocre teams that rode officials to several regular season wins do.
Finally, the LeBron championship discussion. First answer these questions, would it surprise you if Kobe Bryant didn't win another title? Steve Nash never got one? Dirk never got one? How about Shaq, KG, Iverson, or Duncan? What about DWade? That's every MVP from the last decade (and the best player on the Redeem Team) not named the Chosen 1. If no one expects these players to win again or wouldn't be surprised if they didn't get to the mountain top again, how many rings will the King get? More than Kobe(3)? More than Duncan (4)? More than Jordan (6)? Or dare I ask, Russell (11)? Going after Russell would be an incredible longshot, but for a guy that is on the cusp of winning (and leading his team to) his first title at 24, chasing Russell, like Tiger chasing Jack, may be the only chance we get to seeing LBJ's full potential. If he gets a couple and gets complacent (think Shaq), we may never get to see the full extent of the King's greatness. Looking around the league, I don't see how he doesn't get in at least Jordan's neighborhood with 5, but everything will change in 2010. Even after 2010, playing with LeBron has to remain the best show in town for role players and aging veterans in search of a ring, doesn't it? Personally, I'd like for everyone to start taunting him with you'll never win as many as Russell, just to see how he responds and hope and pray his response is to prove us all wrong. He's the hybrid of Shaq and Jordan, with the speed of a track star thrown in. Dwight Howard might be Superman (and Clark Kent on the offensive end), but LeBron is part Hulk, Flash, Iron Man, and MJ (from Space Jam).
For obvious reasons, I have a love of all things Big South. Today, the conference announced that it will be adding Campbell University in July of 2011. Much like the mascot of Campbell, a Fighting Camel, mid-major conferences are trying to store as many resources as possible in this desert of an economic climate. The Camels come over from the Atlantic Sun just as current Big South member Gardner-Webb did a year ago.
The move is one that shows the Big South is ready to charge through the current harsh conditions of the economy and come out on the other side with momentum. Campbell will enter the conference in a multitude of their sports from baseball, basketball, softball, tennis, golf, track, and volleyball. Campbell was a founding member of the Big South and will surely help continue the conferences growth regionally as well as nationally.
The school will not enter into the Big South's football division since they do not offer scholarships. That does not mean that Big South football is not making headway though. After the FCS football tournament expansion to 20 teams was approved, the Big South received an automatic bid to the tournament for its conference winner beginning in 2010. So while the FBS division wallows in its own problems, FCS has not only provided a legitimate college football playoff, it has expanded it.
But I digress. The addition of the Camels now adds to the impressive mascot pantheon of the conference including the Keydets, Chanticleers, Highlanders, Flames, and of course, the PC Blue Hose.
Campbell University To Re-Join Big South Conference [BigSouthSports.com]
I would liken the Washington Capitals performance to our performance at trivia night last night: Not in it from the start and it became progressively uglier as the night went on. Hours later, after 6 Pittsburgh goals and missed questions on Sojurner Truth and robots in movies, both our hopes of $25 dollars off our tab and the Caps hopes of reaching the Eastern Conference finals were laid to waste. It was not pretty and Crosby answered any questions about who has the edge in the rivalry right now. Sid had 8 goals and 13 points in the series including two last night. I was expecting big things for the game but as your learn in life, you are never guaranteed a good time.
Crosby raises his game -- again [NHL.com]
Wednesday, May 13
I am obliged to post anything even remotely tied to Punch-Out. Soon, there will be a new release for the game that my Dad used to refuse to let me play due to the "violence". Well Dad, I'm sorry but I went around you back and played it anyway. I turned out fine, I mean look at me now...oh damn, you were right Dad, you were right.
[From our friend Echowood at Yesbutnobutyes]
Tuesday, May 12
Last night, the Atlanta Hawks were mercifully sent to the golf course. I'm quite certain the Malcontent was not happy about the outcome, but the Cavs' quest for fo, fo, fo can continue without any accipiters loose on the backboard. The Hawks fell by a combined total of 142 points in their loses or slightly more than 20 per game. Combined with the Hornets 123 point combined losses, they combined for the worst showing by two teams in one playoff in the history of the NBA.
The Cavs move on, but having watched this team sweep two straight teams I'm now convinced of one thing. LeBron James, who finished second in the Defensive Player of the Year awards is not the best defender even on his own team. Both Delonte West and Anderson Varejao are more critical on the defensive end for this team's success. LBJ leads the league in spectacular blocks (with all due respect to Dwight Howard, whose blocks are less-impressive based on his propensity to block shots out of bounds). He also leads the league in blocks on Sportscenter, partly because of the incredible nature of his chase down blocks, but also because of his status in the league. How many Lamar Odom blocks were on SportsCenter? Can people even recall one? I ask, because he had more blocks this season than the King. This is not to take away from LBJ's accomplishments (he deserved the MVP), but just to point to the dumbing down of sports (and sportswriters and broadcasters that vote on the award).
The Mark Cuban-Kenyon Martin feud grew to unhealthy proportions, but with everyone looking to dole out blame, there's an important element no one is touching on. The word "thug" has been code to mean the N-word for several years, particularly in the arena of sports. I'm not asserting that Cuban was insinuating the N-Word, but a hyper-sensitivity by Martin should not be judged too harshly. Combining the danger his mother felt, the use of thug and an emotional loss, it would be difficult for anyone not to drop a couple F-bombs. Feel free to point to someone like Jackie Robinson's restraint and remember that's one of the things that made him an American Hero.
Plenty of usual suspects on the list like Dirk and Peja, but when I read this line, I knew I had to link:
"G Jason Richardson, Phoenix Suns: Another proud ex-Warrior. The Suns were a bad defensive team, but this time it wasn’t Nash’s fault. J-Rich helped the Suns’ offense and just ruined the defense–he never met a pick that couldn’t knock him completely off his assignment."
An odd sort of vindication for all the Bobcats fans that weren't upset with the organization when they sent J-Rich to Phoenix. The presence of Kevin Durant hurts me a little, but at least we'll get to see all the interviews about commitment to defense when he leads his team to the playoffs... you know, a new angle for a story about a star on the rise.
San Jose Mercury News (H/T SacTownRoyalty)
Around these parts love for Smith knows no bounds, but do people realize he's thirty? With the on-going Peppers saga, and aging Jake Delhomme and Coach John Fox seemingly on a year by year contract, Steve will not stay content for several more years if the Panthers do not continue to make the playoffs and start winning once they're there. I hope Smitty retires a Panther, but I also want to see him win a Super Bowl more than any player I've watched play in a Panther uniform. Here's to hoping that's his wish today and it comes true.
As an aside, we've been down on Pep for most of our existence, but watching this video of last season reminded me that sometimes we do forget just how good he can be.
While there actually has been attention on the series between the Capitals and Penguins, most of the sports viewing public probably has not been watching the games. If you haven't, shame on you because you are missing one of the most entertaining playoff series in recent memory. This series is on par with Bulls-Celtics tussle that the NBA pundits fawned over last week.
This has not just been a contest of rockstar Ovie versus straight-laced Sid, even though both have had their moments, but both teams fighting ferociously for the right to move on. Last night's game was played at a frenetic pace with the Caps fighting tooth and nail to stay alive while the Pens sought to end the series at home. Perhaps because tensions were so high, there were a lot of dives and questionable penalties, including one with 2:02 left in regulation with the score tied. The biggest goal up until the game-winner in my mind was Mark Eaton, no not that Mark Eaton, scoring with :34 seconds left in the second period to tie it at 2. In the end a deflection by Dave Steckel in overtime forced the game 7 on Wednesday. Even if you tune in for the conclusion, you have already missed an incredibly entertaining battle between the two teams. If it ultimately comes down to Crosby or Ovenchkin netting the game-winner we could be talking all-time series here if not discussing it already. Perhaps this will be remembered as the sports year of epic early-round playoff series.
There really is no argument against how great the series has been. Both superstars have played brilliantly (including dueling hat tricks in game 2), only one game so far has been decided by more than a goal, 3 games have gone OT, and the supporting cast have played tremendously on both sides. Is it just me or is it weird how there has been zero focus on Segei Federov? I know he is past his best days but he can still move on the ice and he is one of the all-time greats still contributing at age 39.
Hockey gods bless us with 7th game of this Caps/Pens madness [Puck Daddy]
You Should Really Be Watching The NHL Playoffs [Deadspin]
Capitals-Penguins Blog [NHL.com]
Monday, May 11
Accoding to NBAdraft.net:
"A rumor that has been gaining steam is that the Knicks will select Stephen Curry with their 8th pick. We've received word that there could be truth to this from inside sources claiming that Curry chose to put his name into the draft this year based on the Knicks assuring Curry that they would use their lottery selection to draft him."
Any time I post about Steph, I always have to check in on our friend, Jimmy Patsos. Inexplicably, he's paid almost $30,000 more than the dean of Loyola, but I digress.
We've been firmly on the Curry NBA bandwagon and think the Knicks would be a perfect fit for his skill set. Hell, maybe Donnie Walsh listens to the podcasts, because on multiple occassions we've said Curry would be the perfect fit for several reasons. There are several similarities between Steph and Steve (Nash), whom if you'll recall won mulitple MVPs in Mike D'Antoni's system. Neither is a tremendous defender or overly quick, but both are exceptional passers and can be deadly in the pick and roll. This is not to suggest Steph steps on the court and starts challenging The King or the Black Mamba for the crown, just that he'll be in a position to succeed. His friendship with LeBron will be used to attempt to lure LBJ to New York and even if the King decides to remain in Cleveland, Chris Bosh could be a tremendous consolation prize. At this point it's only a rumor, but the Knicks would be wise to re-sign David Lee, allow Nate Robinson to walk (because it's accepted one of them has to go), and draft their point guard of the future this June.
I am positive Big Baby did not mean to bear-swipe the little rich boy who had courtside seats to witness Davis's game-winning shot in game 4. He was just overcome with joy after tying the series at 2-2 heading back to Boston and the fact that his agent now has some more bargaining power for his free-agent contract next year. The NBA Playoffs: where Cha-Ching happens.
[Update: The kid's Dad wants an apology from Davis. If I were Davis I would not give him one no matter what. Grow up dude and teach your son about being a man instead of a douche.]
[Update 2: Sigh, he apologized.]
Yesterday the Mets beat the Pirates 8-4 for their 7th straight win and remained atop the NL East. Just over a week ago after the Mets dropped a 6-5 10-inning loss the Phillies, many were wondering if it was even possible for the Mets to contend for the division. The focus of the ire of Met fans and the doubt of prognosticators was the starting pitching. Before this win streak, New York starters had a 5.45 ERA. The lowlights of which were Oliver Perez's 9.97 ERA and 1.05 walk to strikeout ratio, the fact that they have already used 7 different starters and the weekend in St. Louis where no starter went to the 6th and gave up 16 runs over 3 games. It appeared if fortunes did not change on the mound the Mets would not even get a chance to possibly give the division away again this year.
Of course the one bright spot on the mound for the Metropolitans has been Johan Santana. He is 4-1 with a 0.91 ERA and opponents are hitting .168 against him. His run support has been severely lackluster (less than 2 runs a start), but it has not stopped his confidence or performance. Santana has guided the Mets on two occasions to 1-0 victories. That fact is bolstered by the improvements GM Omar Minaya made to the bullpen in the offseason headlined by the signing of K-Rod. Rodriguez is 9-9 in saves so far. The offensive firepower is there and with the bullpen is so much improved it was frustrating to the fans and players that they had plugged one hole while another gashing one opened up.
The Mets were relying on Santana to be the anchor while John Maine, returning from injury, and Mike Pelfrey would be a solid front three. They re-signed Oliver Perez for $12 million per for 3 years which now seems like a joke. They also signed Livan Hernandez, yes the same Livan who was 1997 World Series MVP, to eat up some innings which he is usually good for. Perez is now on the DL for
horrible pitching knee tendinitis and they have brought in John Niese from Triple-A and had Nelson Figueroa start a game as well.
Over the last 7 games however the starter ERA for New York has been 2.39 and no starter has gone less than 6 innings. Consequently, the Mets have shot up through the standings and confidence has returned as they are now where they though they would be at this point in the season. It has not been all pitching that has propelled the Mets; some bats have awoken as well. David Wright is over .300 now and hit two HR during the winning streak after struggling the previous weeks. "I think we just needed to get hot a little bit to realize how good we are," Wright said on Sunday. One player who has been terrific so far this season at the plate has been Carlos Beltran. With a .374 average, .600 slugging percentage, 24 RBI, and .467 on-base percentage Beltran has quietly been the most consistent hitter for New York.
132 games still remain in this baseball season so to say the Mets have permanently solved their pitching problems would truly be a cart-before-horse situation, but the recent stretch they have put together showed them that they could win consistently with their rotation and allowed them to avoid sinking into a deep hole with many more miles to tread.
Ron Artest's foul on Pau Gasol was reduced from a Flagrant-2 foul to a Flagrant-1 after review by the NBA's VP of Basketball Operations Stu Jackson. The initial call of Flagrant-2 would not, in my opinion, have been made if the game had been closer, but with an eight point lead in the final minute, the refs and league wanted to make certain things didn't get uglier. If the league were to downgrade the foul to just a foul, they would be saying the refs were completely out of line in ejecting Artest and they don't want their officials feeling threatened.
It's the same reason why the league saw fit to consider Rondo's face grab on Brad Miller "incidental." The refs decided not to call a flagrant, as that would've allowed someone else to step in for Miller at the free throw line. Had the NBA upgraded the foul, the league would've acknowledged that the Bulls should've had that option as a woozy Brad Miller stopped the bleeding. When Miller missed a free throw, any chance of the foul being upgraded disappeared as well. The NBA is so paranoid about the perception that the refs influence the outcome of a game (thanks Timmy) that they're painting themselves in a corner where the rulings seem more on par with the officiating of professional wrestling.
It's this image-first mentality that has everyone wondering what constitutes a flagrant foul. Rajon Rondo isn't facing a suspension with another Flagrant-1 as he should be, but Ron Artest has been ejected twice. Once for being upset that at Kobe Bryant's Flagrant-1 (determined after review) against him (while the officials on the floor called a foul on him) and for committing a Flagrant-1 (after review). The NBA needs to look at these plays in a bubble, with no regard for the outcome or situation, because it's clear that they're overly conscious of protecting their officials and not making a change to a call that might have had an influence on the outcome of the game. As long as they judge fouls based on these external factors it will continue to hurt the product on the court and frustrate, coaches, players and fans alike.
Politico ran a story late last week, that former congressman and Oklahoma quarterback J.C. Watts has been on the BCS payroll as a lobbyist to the tune of $620,000 over the last five years. While paying over $100,000 a year to a year seems questionable given that after all it's just a game... right? But its when looking at the NCAA's BCS revenue distribution report form last month that some questions are raised. From 2004-2009 the BCS has brought in between $122,000,000 and $148,000,000 annually, but according to the documentation 100 percent of the revenue has gone to schools or conferences. So where is the lobbying money coming from? If it is coming from hidden BCS coffers, why is it not reflected in the NCAA's document? Or is it coming from the big conferences under the auspices of being from the BCS? It's hard to imagine the eight conferences that made just $200,000 to $225,000 green-lighting an amount that's more than half of their share to a lobbyist. With reports that $200,000 (as of 2001?) go to the BCS poll operators and $120,000 going to Mr. Watts, that's at least $320,000 a year that is not accounted for per the NCAA documentation. If the NCAA's document is accurate, then can we assume that the big six conferences are paying $20,000 each to protect their cash cow? If they are and are doing it under the auspices of the BCS, they're attempting to present a unified front that clearly doesn't exist.
According to opensecrets.org the ACC, Mountain West and SouthEastern Conferences all employ or have employed lobbyists in the last ten years.
Friday, May 8
Earlier this week, I asked who would step up to protect the stars on the Lakers. After game 2, my Derek Fisher
guess assessment proved to be correct, although wondering if Fish had it in him proved fallacious. The bad news for the Laker faithful is this is only the 2nd round of the playoffs and Fish has already used one of his bullets, meaning he has maybe one more if and only if the team makes the NBA Finals. Fish's crosscheck of Louis Scola was not only intended to send a message to the Rockets, but also to his big men. It's virtually impossible for a guard to be an enforcer. Guards are like scissors in rock-paper-scissors, they cut through paper (officials) often earning fouls on others that they haven't deserved and big men are like rocks, they can crush guards (particularly in the message-sending department) and are often vulnerable to ticky-tack calls by paper--think Andrew Bynum. For a pair of scissors to even get noticed by a rock they have to hurl themselves in a conspicuous manner that cannot be ignored. Now that Fish is on the collective radar, it will be difficult for him to "protect" Kobe and Lamar(?) without earning, at minimum, an ejection. With plenty of games left, someone else needs to step up, because the physical play will only intensify through the remainder of this series and beyond. As it stands, I'm not sure if any of the Lakers' "rocks" are willing to throw.
SI.com is saying the Yahoo! report about Rick Pitino inquiring about the vacancy in Sacramento is bunk. This makes perfect sense of course after the debacle in Boston which netted Pitino some nice coin, but ultimately showed him he is best served in the college game. The only regret I have of the reports being false is getting to hear a post-game press conference from Pitino saying, "Mitch Richmond is not walking through that door fans, Wayman Tisdale is not walking through that door, Vlade Divac is not walking through that door, Chris Webber is not walking through that door and if you expect them too they are going to be gray and old."
Thursday, May 7
It is hard to be so critical of free tickets, but in this case I feel justified. Wednesday, the Charlotte Knights were hosting a game that was billed as a businessperson's special. Businessperson is a terrible term that has no rhythm and should not exist. The use of 'man' in this instance has no gender specificity and this term implies the need to distinguish between the genders. As if calling Oprah a tremendous businessman doesn't do her justice, she must be a tremendous businesswoman. By doing so, she's not compared to men, thus diminishing the praise. Like calling Martin Luther King Jr. a great African-American, instead of a great American. Identifying LeBron Jamesas the best small forward in the NBA is accurate, but pales when compared to LeBron James is the best player in the NBA. Anyhow, this game was neither a businessman or businessperson's special, it was middle school madness.
The entire lower bowl of the castle was filled with middle schoolers from various schools around Charlotte. I love kids, but when there's thousands of kids hopped up on Cotton Candy, Hawaiian Punch, and sugar cookies screaming with that "i should be in school, but I'm not' fervor, they lose the cute factor. The seats I was given were incredible, three rows behind home plate, but the result was being perfectly placed in the center of the cacophonous noise that was thousands of kids armed with... wait for it... THUNDERSTICKS! It was as if a fifty pound bag of popcorn was being popped in my ears for two hours, interrupted only by screams of excitement that accompanied a foul ball. While the kids were wired, they were far from the only annoyance associated with my trip to the ballpark.
Early in the game the Durham Bulls leadoff hitter, who clearly suffered from a Pedroia complex, was hit with a pitch and took two steps towards the pitcher. The hurler, whose name was drummed out of my hand, had been having control problems and lost the handle on a curve ball, but Mini-Pedroia was not happy and intended to let everyone know it. Really dude, you're gonna charge a mound in front of thousands of middle schoolers? Stay classy.
After five innings, the majority of middle schoolers had headed for the exits, allowing finally for some peaceful enjoyment. Two innings later the rains came, for a whopping fifteen minutes, or just long enough to require the entire infield to be treated before the game could begin again. During this time, one of the 'I used to be a player, but I couldn't hack it' scouts decided to use the opportunity to hit on any and every female that walked by. Somehow, he would always end up waving his White Sox (the Knights parent club) championship ring, which he wore on his pinky, around. The ring was fitting of a championship ring, the kind a man wants to wave around, you know, the opposite of a wedding band. Upon further review, it was not a Chicago White Sox ring, but a Kannapolis Intimidator South Atlantic League championship ring (although it did have the Sox logo). You think your stuff doesn't stink because you have a Single A championship ring? Who wears a championship ring from 2005 on a daily basis anyway? Congrats on being slightly cooler than 20-something varsity jacket wearer guy.
The Knights used a 3-run homerun to trim the lead to one, but before they had their final swings in the ninth, mother nature rushed in once more. Another 15-minute rain, 50-minute rain delay thanks to the entire infield being needed to be treated again. I should use this opportunity to point out that there were two women on the "tarp" crew, and needless to say one of them became the focus of attention for the remaining 50 men in the stadium. You have to give props to ladies that aren't afraid to get dirty... you know since this a businessperson's special, I feel compelled to identify the differences in men and women.
Charlotte fell short in the ninth, ending a nearly five-hour saga whose high points consisted of two $1 hot dogs with chili and cheese and a rather attractive groundskeeper. Perhaps because I had endured the Thunderstick torture, I found myself truly disliking the Durham Bulls and their team of jockeys who appeared to be have received their uniforms as hand-me-downs from their big brothers that they haven't quite grown in to yet. I can't wait to go back tonight!
I know I said I was taking it easy this week because of work but the overload of sports has given me the strength to go through my work quicker than expected, that and the commissioner is out of town for the rest of the week. No doubt everyone has heard the news about Manny's failed drug test and subsequent 50 game suspension and reaction has come quick with many people rushing to condem Ramirez and say they knew all along the bravado with which he played the game and dealt with the media was not naturally eminating from him. Here is the statement released by ManRam:
“Recently I saw a physician for a personal health issue. He gave me a medication, not a steroid, which he thought was OK to give me. Unfortunately, the medication was banned under our drug policy. Under the policy that mistake is now my responsibility. I have been advised not to say anything more for now. I do want to say one thing; I’ve taken and passed about 15 drug tests over the past five seasons. I want to apologize to Mr. McCourt, Mrs. McCourt, Mr. Torre, my teammates, the Dodger organization, and to the Dodger fans. LA is a special place to me and I know everybody is disappointed. So am I. I’m sorry about this whole situation.”
It really comes down to personal choice on whether to trust Manny on this or not. I was always of the thought that Manny was decently sized when he came into the league, his numbers are pretty consistent(especially at this stage of his career), he's always been a great hitter, and he was of the thought that he doesn't need them to compete based on his arrogance. Of course, I would love to know if he was on the 2003 list like Canseco says he is and the Florida doctor thing makes it seem kind of sketchy. Sitting firmly on top of the fence I would say to give him the benefit of the doubt at this point in time.
[Update: Based on the substance, human chorionic gonadotropin, starting to not look so good.]
[Second Update: Oye]
Once again, Rumors and Rants pointed us in the direction of this article from Dr. Saturday concerning the paucity of players drafted from FSU and Miami in this year's draft. Of course this is not news to me and Dr. S hits on an issue which I have been harping on for the 5 years with my beloved Canes; the offense sucks. With Jimbo Fisher and the newly hired Mark Whipple at the helm, the offenses should improve and that is the only way these two programs will re-ascend the college football ladder.
Yesterday I heard a local radio host who shall remain nameless put the blame for the lack of ACC football national relevance squarely on Miami's shoulders. I realize that the Canes' program has fallen into a state of disarray but there are 11 other teams in the ACC, is their lack of performance on the national stage due to Miami's decrease in football productivity? These are the kind of arguments that are inane and not worth the time to discount, but the bottom line is that these two programs want badly to re-enter the national conversation.
Can their fall from the top really be something of a mystery? Larry Coker, while a tremendous human being, was not the man needed to take Miami beyond their 2001 national title. Bobby Bowden, while he has earned the right to step down whenever he chooses, has not run the smoothest ship in Tallahassee. Add to that the poaching of top Florida talent by the other schools in Florida, mainly the Gators and coaches from all over the country invading the turf and the top guys were no longer seeking to play for the two programs in many cases. The talent level though cannot be seen as the main excuse, other programs have done more with less in recent years. This is a critical year for both programs; can Whipple mold Jacory Harris and the offense into a productive force? Can Fisher put points on the board consistently while preventing his players from having Battle Royals in the student union? If they prove to be successful, the Canes and the Noles will once again be churning out multiple first-day draft picks. As fate would have it, they open the season against each other this year on September 7 in Tallahassee. Miami's season could be decimated by the first week of October though as after FSU they have Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, and Oklahoma. If they go 0-4, XM better check his pond out back.
Have Florida State and Miami passed into irrelevance? The draft says yes (but not so fast) [Dr. Saturday]
San Francisco Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum is a fan of the movie "Rookie of the Year" and seriously, who isn't? Lincecum listed it as one of the reasons he loves pitching at Wrigley Field.
When I was a kid my mom took me to see the masterpiece of a movie at the local theatre. With Gary Busey (pre-psychosis) as pitcher Chet Steadman, a knockoff of Clemens, there was no way this movie could fail. Add to that the Cubs manager who I thoght was Sidney Portier but wasn't, and lines like "funky-butt lovin'" and you had cinematic gold.
Tim Lincecum relates to kid pitcher from 'Rookie of the Year' [Big League Stew via Rumors and Rants]
Wednesday, May 6
LeBron had time to peer into a few people's souls last night after he finished off this dunk in Cleveland's 99-72 victory in game 1 of the Eastern semis. Bron Bron had 34 points, 22 at halftime and was able to shake off any bad juju that comes with getting a statue presented to you before the game.
James accepted his MVP award before tip-off and while I immediatley thought of Kurt Warner being given his humanitarian award before the Super Bowl, the trophy presentaiton had no affect on the play of the Cavs. Please notice the "Don't touch me, we're not bros" smile LBJ flashes Stern at the 25 second mark.
A lot has been and will be said about how great a player James is, how much better he makes his teammates, and the quality of his character. To me the biggest factor is the look of his teammates as he addressed them. These guys would follow LeBron into the fires of Hades. I know Kobe put on a similar show last year, but somehow his sincerity does not completely convince me.
Tuesday, May 5
Yeah I know, blah blah blah Bill Simmons owns dominion over everything that involves Teen Wolf. I am calling bullshit. My parents gave me the VHS of it when I was a boy and I have watched it forever. I am not going to let the fact that Simmons mentions it everyday keep me from enjoying the awesomeness of this movie.
By the by, I know he is a werewolf, but can we get some defense on this play?
Monday, May 4
With the announcement that LeBron won the NBA MVP Award, he and Mike Brown have become the 9th pair in NBA history to win MVP and Coach of the Year from the same team in the same season. Of the nine previous pairs, however, only three went on to win the Championship.
- 2005 - Steve Nash and Mike D'Antoni (PHX) Lost Western Conference Finals
- 2003 - Tim Duncan and Gregg Popovich (SAS) Won Championship
- 2001 - Allen Iverson and Larry Brown (PHI) Lost NBA Finals
- 1996 - Michael Jordan and Phil Jackson (CHI) Won Championship
- 1990 - Magic Johnson and Pat Riley (LAL) Lost Western Conference Semifinals
- 1973 - Dave Cowens and Tom Heinsohn (BOS) Lost Eastern Conference Finals
- 1969 - Wes Unseld and Gene Shue (BAL) Lost Eastern Conference Semifinals
- 1966 - Wilt Chamberlain and Dolph Schayes (PHI) Lost Eastern Division Finals
- 1965 - Bill Russell and Red Auerbach (BOS) Won Championship
More pairs have been knocked out four games to one (4) in a series, than have gone on to win it all. If the Cavs make the NBA Finals like most anticipate, only the heavily over-matched 76ers in 2001 lost in the final round.
The feat was also accomplished three times in the ABA, but only the Connie Hawkins-led Pittsburgh Pipers won the championship.
- 1973 - Billy Cunningham and Larry Brown (CAR) Lost Eastern Division Finals
- 1970 - Spencer Haywood and Joe Belmont (DNR) Lost Western Division Finals
- 1968 - Connie Hawkins and Vince Cazzetta (PTP) Won Championship
As a believer in Larry Brown, I feel compelled to mention he's the only coach to be a part of a MVP/CoY tandem in the NBA, ABA, and the NCAA (1988, Danny Manning). He and AI still stand as the only pair in the history of the NBA to do so while not having the league's best record.
We've all gotten into
arguments disagreements with a loved one where we're trying to justify our actions, even if we know deep down that we're wrong. Here's three observations from the weekend and I need folks to tell me if I'm justifying or justified in my beliefs.
1. The John Wall Breaking and Entering story doesn't concern me one bit. Wall, was cited for B&E after being observed walking out of a vacant house. There was no forced entry and nothing appeared to be missing. To me this is little more than kids being kids. This pails in comparison to Wake Forest's Al Farouq Aminu being arrested for shooting a woman with a BB gun, but because of Wall's undecided status people will want to make a mountain out of a molehill. If anything, I'm betting on the officer that stopped them being a State fan.
2. The Denver Nuggets will prevent Kobe from winning a championship. Denver's playing with a
dash healthy serving of nasty these days and have already frustrated two of the best in the west (Paul and Nowitzki) and the Black Mamba could be next. When Dahntay Jones (or as I like to call him Gerald Henderson's defensive doppleganger) puts Kobe on his backside, who on the Lakers is going to step up and be the enforcer? Andrew Bynum in his first playoffs, Pau 'please don't touch me' Gasol, Trevor Ariza? The only possibility other than Kobe having the sole responsibility is Derek Fisher and no offense to Fish, I'm not sure he's got it in him. When these two teams meet, the series will undoubtedly take a toll on 24 and that won't bode well as they look forward. I'm not ready to say that Denver will win the series, but this team is underrated when it comes to experience. Both Chauncey Billups and Kenyon Martin have played in multiple NBA Finals, Carmello has performed well on big stages at the college and Olympic level, how nervous can Nene be before a game considering he conquered cancer and the same goes for Chris Anderson after beating his inner demons. That leaves J.R. Smith, who clearly has no conscious and would gladly hoist from near 30 with your life on the line. If the Lakers want to advance and have anything in the tank for the Cavs... er, I mean East Winners someone will have to step up to protect Kobe.
3. Boxing will never die. It will go dormant for long periods of time, but it will never die. When a great boxer is fighting, people will emerge from their two year pugilist slumbers and flock to TVs like moths. On Saturday with every sport but football represented, it was Manny Pacquiao that stole the show. He was better than Ovechkin v. Crosby, better than Bulls v. Celtics, better than the NASCAR Richmond race, the Quail Hollow Championship and yes, even the Kentucky Derby. Mine that Bird is a great story, but the race did have two favorites scratch, and the "sloppy" conditions were perfect for a smaller horse. A big part of upsets are who you beat and as it stands now Mine That Bird hasn't beaten any horse of note. Back to boxing, the sport has multiple problems, but when a great walks into the ring after a long night of hapless undercard bouts, all those problems melt away. When the Sweet Science is being practiced by a master, there are few things in sports that can top it and that's why when someone says, "Boxing is dead" from now on, I'll feel compelled to correct them.
This picture is going to be me this week at work, we are very busy here at the office so I am going to be slightly incognito from the blog this week. Below are some links from one crazy weekend all around.
The Nuggets looking more and more formidable. [CBSSports]
Tiger was here in Charlotte for Quail Hollow, but failed to win the title. The tournament has had 7 different winners in each year of its existence with O'Hair taking it this year. [Observer]
The Cowboys' facility collapse is just an odd story and not in any way humorous after finding out one person is now paralyzed. [LA Times]
Have no clue what MJ was thinking with this jacket choice for the Derby. [TBL]
The Ducks took out the Wings an classic 3 OT thriller to even the series at 1. Marchant played the role of Uwe Krupp. [Rumors and Rants]
Remebering the great moments from the Bulls-Celtics series, and of course that means not including game 7 which did not live up to the previous games. [The Love of Sports]
Carl Crawford became Stealy McStealerson yesterday. [CBSSports]
Time have changed, athletes cannot even expose themselves to women anymore without getting hassled. [Deadspin]
Friday, May 1
I give major props to this dude for breaking the Press Your Luck code, but if you see what he went through at the end of the video, it is kind of unsettling. Michael Larson was an unemployed ice cream truck driver from Ohio until he went on Press Your Luck and everything changed. The price of glory I guess.
Shame on Mark Titus for trying to run game on the NBA. The L apparently approached Ohio State's Director of Basketball Operations and informed him that the NBA felt Titus's decision to enter the draft despite playing in only two games for the Buckeyes risked making a mockery of the draft. More so than AL Davis and the NFL Draft? Well, not that much, but still a slight mockery. Here's the account from Titus himself at Club Trillion.
"How is this fair?" asked the subcommittee chairman, Democratic Rep. Bobby Rush of Illinois, who has co-sponsored Barton's bill. "How can we justify this system ... are the big guys getting together and shutting out the little guys?"
"I think it is fair, because it represents the marketplace," Swofford responded. (AP via TBL)
This exchange between a member of Congress and the head of the BCS illustrates exactly why college football is broken. Keeping the little guys out isn't because the Big Six conferences have the best teams, its all because of the money. The BCS Bowls and the National Championship aren't about rewarding the best of the best, its about the bottom line. This doesn't bode well for Tebow Haters next season. Be prepared to hear a lot more of this:
Perhaps most ironic is that teams from the Big Six are getting screwed just as often. USC has had the same record as the national champions the last two seasons, but have been left out. NFL teams have selected 21 Trojans in the last two years, 3 more players than the last two national champions (LSU and Florida) combined. Ability to translate to the next level does not make them more deserving, but that combined with having the same records during the seasons mean Captain Twitter's team should have an opportunity.
The NCAA loves to show their "most of us will be going pro in something other than sports" commercials, they love to play their sportsmanship spots, but as the cliche goes actions speak louder than words. They're being greedy at the expense of the product on the field, but if/when a player acts greedy just as they do every year, the NCAA is ready to crack down (unless he goes to USC... they weren't going to get off the hook). The NCAA is so tightly tied to fairness with Title IX, but when there's no legal ramifications they're ready to cash in the biggest check they can and the student-athletes be damned.