Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Clemens and McGraw?

I'm with you on Melo. I think the Nuggets should keep him and build another team around him. How can you possibly think of trading Melo when he's so young? I'm a big Iverson fan (and have been for a while), but, if there's a choice between Melo and AI, I will trade AI. Plus, as you said, they also have a 32 year old Marcus Camby. He's a good defender, but how much better is he getting? With everyone salivating over his defense and rebounding the past couple of years, his trade value isn't getting any higher than it is now. Package AI and Camby together and get a great player in return. Defense is contagious, but who on that Nuggets team is pushing anyone to focus on defense? Melo really needs a KG type player to come in, take over the team for a bit, and get on everyone about playing defense. With as athletic as Melo is, you can't tell me that he's incapable of playing defense.
I also really think that that Melo needs a good point guard, someone who is completely unselfish. You know, the opposite of Iverson. Can't you just see Melo and Nash teaming up and tearing through the league? (Of course, they would need someone to play defense, but...)
Also, I think Karl is gone after this season. How many more times can they lose in a first round series before it happens? With two superstars together, you really have to win a first round series every now and then.

That being said, I don't know who was going to beat the Lakers in the first round. After seeing the Lakers set the Nuggets on fire (and after watching the Jazz get torn up by the Rockets tonight), I'm starting to second-guess my "Utah beats LA" prediction. I'll stick with it, though, and just hope Utah doesn't get swept and beat by more than 20 points a game.

I had Boston coming out of the East (by default, pretty much), but, after being reminded of the genius of Doc Rivers the past couple of games, I'm having my doubts. They still have enough talent to beat anyone in the playoffs, but there have been some MAJOR mistakes in the past couple of games. Seriously, how do you continue to let Ray Allen (with whatever is left of his ankles and knees) guard Joe Johnson one-on-one, when anyone watching the game could see he couldn't handle it. I was watching the gamecast, and I just kept thinking, "I bet Ray Allen is guarding Joe Johnson one-on-one." Someone needs to make sure than Doc Rivers still has a brain left.
Not that I wouldn't love a Boston crash-and-burn, but it's pretty ridiculous to see a coach absolutely blow a game for his team. Then again, Garnett has never been known as a big game player. I fully expect Boston to win this series, but it does leave some doubt as far as the "clear path to the Finals" thought is concerned.
If they do lose, Garnett may kill no less than 10 people.

Aaaaaaannnddd...the Spurs win. The Suns gave 'em a fight, but San Antonio prevails. They always do.
So, where does this leave the Suns? Will D'Antoni be back next year? Will there be a roster shake-up? How do you see this playing out?

I don't know about you, but I think it's pretty ridiculous how much the Wizards are still talking. They won one game in this series. Granted, they won it by a lot, but they're still down 3-1. They're hammering at LeBron (who is still killing them), then they say he's whining. I heard that press conference, and it didn't sound like whining. It sounded like, "They only way they know how to beat us is by beating me up...but they're still losing." There's confidence, there's swagger...then there's talking for the sake of hearing yourselves talk. That is currently what the Wizards are doing.
Cavs in 5?

Congrats to your Magic. They have a good shot to beat whoever comes out of the Pistons/Sixers. (Random observation: Bosh looks like an extra from The Wire)
I still expect the Pistons to win that series (especially after seeing them rip up the Sixers tonight), but it may go 7. The first loss didn't wake them up like I thought it would. They need to put it in gear...they just do.

Way to close it out, New Orleans. Now we'll see what they can do in the second round. As long as West is knocking down shots, Chandler is patrolling the middle of the flooer, and Paul is playing like he has been, they'll be a tough team for anyone to beat.

I agree to skip baseball for the moment. However, the Tigers are looking like they're starting to put things together. Granderson is back in the lineup, and he has picked up exactly where he left off. He's generating runs with his speed and his bat. The hitters are starting to hit. The pitching is still a bit off, but no one expected that to be their focal point. They're getting things going. Finally.

As much as I enjoy Andre Woodson and Jared Lorenzen on the same team, I do wish he went somewhere he could be used. For instance, I would have loved to see him go to the Chiefs, or, possibly, Jacksonville. The Chiefs still don't have a great option at quarterback (picking between Huard and Croyle is like picking between an ice pick in the eye or a firecracker in the eye), while the Jags number one quarterback is David Garrard. Is Garrard good? You bet. But, with a quarterback who likes to run, injuries are always more likely. Plus, he's no spring chicken. Many people don't realize this, but he's 30 years old. Would you feel good about your starting quarterback if he was a 30 year old running quarterback? Yeah...me neither. I could see Woodson backing him up for a couple of years.

I'm not sure what to think of Green Bay taking two quarterbacks. I like Brohm well enough, but I've never been a big Flynn fan. Oh well. Hopefully Rodgers stays healthy and it won't even matter. If he doesn't, it may be a long season...or Brohm could come in and light the place up. I don't know.

I found out about the Clemens thing from CNN. The headline was, "Report: Clemens had affair with country singer." I immediately thought, "Holy crap...he slept with Tim McGraw." By comparison, Mindy McCready looks fantastic. Still, it's really creepy that a 28 year old major league pitcher would invite a 15 year old girl back to his hotel room. I mean, that's SEVERELY messed up. Here's the crazy part: I didn't even bat an eyelash. I read the story and said, "Yeah...that sounds about right." At this point, a report could come out saying that it was Clemens who kept his daughter secretly in his basement and fathered seven children by her, and I would just nod and think, "Yup."

This is long, and I know you don't care about hockey, but I have to throw this out there; Pittsburgh has looked fantastic. They're up on the Rangers 3-0, and have looked pretty impressive doing it. I expect the Rangers will win the next game, but Pittsburgh should win this series 4-1. They're rolling, and they look amazing. I wouldn't want to play them right now.

And the Wings are up 3-0 on the Avs. I have to admit, I like where this is headed. Still, I can't shake the feeling that this series should go at least 6 games. After all the great games and series these teams have had, it seems almost anticlimactic for it to go less than 6. I'll take a sweep (or a win in 5), too.

The Stars and Sharks have had some close games, but the Stars are up 3-0. I wouldn't put it past the Sharks to win a game or two, but there's no way they win 4 in a row against this Stars team.

One final to go.


New Roots album came out today. Pretty ridiculous stuff. I said before that Black Thought is the best MC currently working, and this album does nothing but reinforce that thought.

Finals Week Madness

Finals week. You know how that goes, so just a few random thoughts:

-Orlando in the second round in 5 games. I am absolutely ecstatic. Good teams don’t close that series out that quickly and we somehow did. And we didn’t even play our best ball. Turkoglu and Lewis show terrible from three point range and we only went 7deep. But Dwight Howard stepping up (22 points, 18 boards and nearly 4 blocks a game) and good defense got us to the second round. Now we await the winner of the Philly-Detroit series. A part of me wants Philly because I feel we are a better team but a part wants Detroit. To be an elite team, you have to beat an elite team. If only the Pistons would realize they are elite.

-Also, Chris Bosh would be the perfect complement to Dwight Howard. He’s a good player but I don’t think he’s a number one option good. He can’t carry a team on his own. Then again he did just turn 24 years old.

-Darren McFadden and Jamarcus Russell? I’ve found my team on Madden for the next few years. While I’m on Madden, how about Favre making the cover? I’m just waiting for the Madden Curse to live on as Favre burns his tongue on some soup…before an avalanche of sand kills his family.

-Andre Woodson going in the 6th round disgusts me. He went behind Colt Brennan who was annihilated by superior talent when he faced Georgia. Georgia from the same SEC Woodson threw for 40 touchdowns to just 11 interceptions against. He went behind Dennis Dixon, a run first-run second quarterback who tore his ACL! You have got to be kidding me. Teams must have found out he can’t read or something the night before the draft. Yes the Giants won the Super Bowl but now he has to sit behind Eli, Jared Lorenzen and his hefty ass, David Carr and Anthony freaking Wright. I hope he gets out of there because he can play and given the opportunity he will be a successful quarterback in this league.

- The Reds are 4th place. The Tigers are in 5th place. You know what, let’s skip baseball.

-The Lakers looked amazing. The Nuggets aren’t big competition but the Lakers absolutely decimated them. Gasol is stepping up, Odom is playing to his talents and Kobe is Kobe. They look dangerous.

-If the Celtics lose the series to the Hawks, how many bodies does KG leave in his trail? 14? 15? Thousands? Give me a ballpark figure here.

-While I’m here, is there anyway Tim Duncan loses games 3 and 4 to the Hawks? Just saying.

-Clemens and Mindy McCready in an affair when he was 28 and she was 15? Psh, that’s nothing. Barry Bonds and Beyonce` were smitten when he was 31 and she was 14. Nice try Clemens….But seriously, how disturbing is that Clemens story and the fact that his wife apparently knew about the affair?


Friday, April 25, 2008

I agree with your hockey assessments??

I see what you’re saying about the length of the playoffs, but I can’t agree with you. I love it. I get high quality basketball just about every night, with the exception of last night where I was had the pleasure of watching (Never know if the girlfriend is reading this!) the season premiere of Grey’s Anatomy. I’d watch it every day until December if I could. Too bad I can’t watch my favorite team because with because two of three games of the Magic- Raptors series has been on NBA TV. I’m in college; cut me a break NBA TV. The Magic-Raptors/ Jazz-Rockets appear to be the “No one cares” series of the year. Well I care damnit. For the Magic, I don’t care who wins the Jazz-Rockets as long as T-Mac ends up in tears somehow.

I think Bibby is absolutely right. His timing is a bit off because it makes him look bitter for losing to a better team, but is there ever a right time to say something like that? I agree with you: I’ve seen more Boston gear around town more this year than in any season’s past. To be fair, Rajon Rondo who played for UK and is a Kentucky native, is doing extremely well in his first playoffs so perhaps that contributes to it. I’d like to see him do well and I wouldn’t mind if KG won a ring…as long as the Magic are already out. KG seems like a good guy but if the Celts play the Magic I want Dwight Howard to devour KG and his newborn boy or girl. I think with the Red Sox breaking the curse, the Patriots doing well and now the Celts, it just gives bandwagoners a reason to make up a farfetched story of how they relate to Boston so they don’t seem like bandwagoners. What’s that you say? Your mother’s brother’s old coworker’s daughter likes the song Boston by Augustana and that’s why you like the Celtics? I guess.

Hornets winning it all? That’s going out on a limb and I like it. By the way, good to see our old prediction of Jason Kidd getting eaten alive by any young point guard in the West. Also, I may be the only one who wouldn’t like a Paul-Nash matchup. Paul would embarrass Nash. Kidd used to be a lockdown defender but now he’s old. Nash was never a defender and now he’s old. New Orleans went 4-0 against Phoenix this year. Nash averaged around 19ppg, 10 apg and 3 rpg. CP3 averaged 29, 11, nearly 5 boards and 4 steals a game to boot. I’m convinced Jason Kidd could score 20 on Nash’s defense now.

I like Melo getting trade, but I don’t like it. I like it because as we have discussed, first round exits are pretty much their ceiling with their current roster. I don’t like it because he’s only 23 years old and has a career average of 24 ppg. He had his best year shooting and rebounding wise and bad defense is contagious so maybe you can’t put all the Nuggets defensive woes on him. It just seems to me that if I’m the Nuggets I go the other way: I think about getting rid of 34 year old Marcus Camby and/or a 32 year old Iverson. Wouldn’t building around Melo/Kleiza/JR Smith and whatever you get for Camby/AI be better than keeping AI/Camby and building around what you get for Melo? I think so.


Before I forget: Matt Ryan will be a bust. That is all.

Playoffs? You talkin' playoffs?

Allow me a few rants before I (finally) get to my playoff picks.

Who in the world said it was okay for the NBA playoffs to extend for 5 months? This stretching out of the playoffs makes people lose interest by the time they're over. That's one of the big reasons the ratings for the Finals has been steadily dropping. Why do you need a day of rest inbetween each home game? Play two games in a row at home, have a day off for travel, then resume with the schedule. What's hard about that? It's the playoffs...it's not supposed to be easy or cushy. It's supposed to be a grueling schedule. That's kind of the point.

I hear a lot of people talking about wanting a Lakers vs. Celtics Finals. You know...for the history. I got news for all of you people: seeing a fat Magic and Bird sitting courtside won't make it a good series. It just won't. There is a possibility that it would make for a good series, but does the majority of America want to see Boston in another championship game? I am so sick of hearing about Boston sports...the Celtics in the Finals will only make it worse. I really don't think I'd be able to handle it. Plus, aren't there other teams you'd rather see in the Finals?

Last but not least: what do you think of Bibby's comments? I have two thoughts. My first thought is this: just because there were a lack of people in the stands last year doesn't mean that everyone at a Celtics game is a bandwagon jumper. It's a tough thing to watch your favorite team lose all the time. It's a rare team these days that can be terrible and still draw a ton of fans. Did you watch any Boston games last year? They were awful. I don't think I would ever turn down tickets to see my favorite team, but, if they're constantly getting beat by 20 points, it would make the decision difficult.
My second thought is this: he has a point. At this point, I just assume anyone who cheers for Boston sports has jumped over to that bandwagon. I have seen more Boston sports gear (in Kentucky) than any other pro team. And most of it is brand new. You can't tell me that all of those people have been fans their whole life. They just haven't. I know...it happens when a team is winning. People jump over to that bandwagon. They want to be associated with a winner...or something. To be honest, I've never really understood it. But you can't tell me that Bibby doesn't have a point. I think the truth lies somewhere in between these thoughts.

My (late) predictions:

I'll start with the East:
First Round
#1 Celtics vs. #8 Hawks
The Celtics are too good, and the Hawks are pretty bad. It's encouraging for them that they finally made the playoffs, but there is no earthly way they win this series. They'll be lucky to win a game...or to lose a game by less than 10.
Prediction: Celtics in 4

#2 Pistons vs #7 76ers
Big news for the Sixers to win the first game. The Pistons came out flat and were taken off guard. That should never happen, but it did. Now they're mad and playing hard. I don't see the Sixers coming close the rest of the series.
Prediction: Pistons in 5

#3 Magic vs #6 Raptors
So Dwight Howard absolutely dominated the first two games (throwing up 20+ points to go with 20+ rebounds), and the Magic still barely squeaked by? You said before the playoffs that these two teams matched up well, and I think you're right. Ford played well last night, but there's no reason he should be getting major playing time over Calderon. I see this being a close series, and I'll give a slight edge to Orlando, just because Howard is a beast.
Prediction: Magic in 7

#4 Cavaliers vs #5 Wizards
These teams have had some great games in the past. It appears that Eddie Jordan is telling his players to do anything they feel like to LeBron, short of jamming a shiv in his ribs (they're saving that for Game 5). They turned it on last night, with a great defensive plan for LeBron. They forced the rest of the team to beat them, which won't happen. I can see the Wizards taking another game, but I see the Cavs winning the series.
Prediction: Cavs in 6

Second Round
#1 Celtics vs #4 Cavaliers
With LeBron playing, the Cavs are capable of winning pretty much any series. Unfortunately for them, I can't see him winning the series by himself against Boston's incredible defense.
Prediction: Celtics in 5

#2 Pistons vs #3 Magic
The Pistons will be rested from their series, while the Magic will have just been beaten near to death from their series. The Magic could be trouble, but I can't see them winning this series. Not this year. Next year may be a different story, as Howard will average 37/29.
Prediction: Pistons in 6

Third Round
#1 Celtics vs #2 Pistons
The Pistons are still capable of another gear, but they still seem to think they can win a series without really trying. That will not be the case here, and it'll come back to bite them (just like the Cavs series next year). It'll be a good series, but (unfortunately), Boston prevails.
Prediction: Celtics in 7

Western Conference
First Round

#1 Lakers vs #8 Nuggets
The Nuggets can score points, but can't play defense. Unfortunately for them, the Lakers can score points and play defense. They'll win a game at home, but that'll do it for them.
Prediction: Lakers in 5

#2 Hornets vs #7 Mavericks
The Mavs made a huge trade for Kidd, and it's not panning out quite like they planned it. Dirk has turned it up another notch, but it won't be enough, not with Chris Paul doing what he's doing. I can see the Mavs winning the next two, then the Hornets getting fired up and destroying them in the next two.
Prediction: Hornets in 6

#3 Spurs vs #6 Suns
A great first round match-up. These two teams normally play each other very close, as was evidenced in the first two games. I see this one going down to the wire, but San Antonio prevailing in the end.
Prediction: Spurs in 7

#4 Jazz vs #5 Rockets
The Rockets had a great run during the regular season, and I was impressed with their win last night. However, when the best player is Tracy McGrady (in the playoffs), I just can't see them doing a whole lot of damage. Better luck next year, when Yao gets injured (again).
Prediction: Jazz in 5

Second Round

#1 Lakers vs #4 Jazz
The Lakers are fantastic, and they're playing great basketball right now. But they're going from playing the soft defense of the Nuggets to the rough-and-tumble defense of Utah. Boozer has had a great year, Williams is trying to give Chris Paul a run for his money, AK-47 is turning it up for the playoffs, and Ashton Korver will knock down any open shot he sees. This will be a tough series for both teams, but I think Utah will pull it out.
Prediction: Utah in 7

#2 Hornets vs #3 Spurs
This has the potential to be an epic series. A young New Orleans team versus the "aged veterans" of San Antonio. We'll continue to see Timmy astound people in the playoffs, but we'll also get to see Chris Paul run wild against a defense with old legs. It's hard to bet against the Spurs in the playoffs, but I'll do it here. New Orleans will still be fired up from their win against the Mavs, while the Spurs will be a little worn down from their tiring series against the Suns. Also, Paul is just that good. (For the record, I would love to see the Suns beat the Spurs in the first round, and see a showdown between Paul and Nash. Who wouldn't watch that series? It would be an amazing sight to see those two talented point guards work.)
Prediction: Hornets in 6

Third Round

#2 Hornets vs #4 Jazz
Paul versus Williams. Yeah, that angle won't be played out at all. The Jazz are good (and have played extremely well against the Hornets), but I don't see them winning. Should be a good series, though.
Prediction: Hornets in 6


#1 Celtics vs #2 Hornets
This should be fun. Boston has a great defense, while Paul can seemingly slice through a defense and throw lobs to Tyson Chandler at will. It should also be fun to see a fired up KG down low with a motivated (yet lanky) Chandler. Boston is good...but not good enough. This has a chance to be a classic.
Prediction: Hornets in 7

Ladies and gentlemen...the New Orleans Hornets...your NBA champions!

While we're at it, allow me to give my (short) hockey predictions.

Western Conference
Second Round

Wings over the Avs in 6. (This should be a great series. One of the great, under appreciated rivalries in sports.)

Stars over the Sharks in 5.

Third Round

Wings over the Stars in 6.

Eastern Conference
Second Round

Canadiens over Flyers in 7.

Penguins over Rangers in 6.

Third Round
Penguins over Canadiens in 6.

Wings over Penguins in 5.

There you have it.
One last NBA thought. Chad Ford has mentioned the possibility of Denver trading Melo, due to his inability to play defense. Thoughts?


Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Better late than never?

To my predictions, a little late, but rest assured these were my predictions before the playoffs started. First the West.

-#1 Lakers vs. #8 Denver- Lakers in 5. I can see Denver catching fire in one game, but other than that, this series could be laughable. Where does Denver go from here after another first round exit?
#4 Utah vs. #5 Houston- Utah in 6. Only because the Jazz are terrible on the road. McGrady cries again and as a Magic fan I LOVE it.

-#2 New Orleans vs. #7 Dallas- NO in 6. A lot of people are picking Dallas because of their playoff experience. You mean the playoff experience where they lost to an 8th seed last year? Or the experience that let them choke away a 2-0 lead in the NBA Finals two years ago?
#3 San Antonio vs. #6 Phoenix- SA in 6. What a first round matchup. I may be the only person who believes that even if Amare and Diaw hadn’t been suspended for coming off the bench last year, the Spurs would have still won. I will not doubt Tim Duncan and his beard in playoff time.

#1 Lakers vs. #4 Utah. Utah in 7. Upset alert. I don’t know if I necessarily believe this one, but I’m tired of everyone picking the Lakers. The Jazz have AK47 and Brewer to throw at Kobe. Boozer to equalize Gasol. The coaching matchup will be even and if all else fails, the Utah fans will boo Derek Fisher mercilessly anytime he looks at the ball. If the Jazz could steal even one game on the road, this could happen.
#2 New Orleans vs. #3 San Antonio- SA in 6. The up and comers versus the wily veterans. Gotta go with the vets here. I think Ginobli will be too much for NO to handle.

#3 San Antonio vs. #4 Utah- SA in 6. I will not bet against Tim Duncan. Not here at least.

Now for the East

#1 Boston vs. # 8 Atlanta. Boston in 4. Thanks for stopping by Atlanta.
#4 Cleveland vs. #5 Washington. Cleveland in 6. If Arenas was healthy, then maybe I’d go Washington because every Cavalier not named James, LeBron is terrible.

#2 Detroit vs. #7 Philadelphia. Detroit in 5. No way Philly should have won a game at all, nonetheless Game One in Detroit. I think this wakes Detroit up to win the next four.
#3 Orlando vs. #6 Toronto- Orlando in 6. We have to win Game 2 tonight. We play very well on the road so I’m not worried about that, but Game 2 is essential. Too bad TJ Ford isn’t any good anymore. Have you watched him lately? He’s turned into a shoot first point guard that could never shoot. I pray they keep Calderon on the bench.

#1 Boston vs. #4 Cleveland- Boston in 6. I can see LeBron winning two games on his own. Too bad you have to win four to win the series though.
#2 Detroit vs. #3 Orlando. Detroit in 7. Everyone says we don’t want to face the Pistons because they swept us last year. Lest they forget we are miles better than we were last year and I don’t think the Pistons are as good as they were. We are the only team in the league to win or split the season series with Detroit AND Boston. Their experience gets them the win in Game 7 but this is the start of something beautiful for us.

#1 Boston vs #2 Detroit. Boston in 7. I’m afraid to pick against them. Kevin Garnett might break in my house and kill my family. If Boston makes it this far, KG is too focused to let them lose now.

Boston vs. San Antonio. We finally get to answer the Duncan vs. KG question. I have been a Duncan advocate but KG is on a mission. I know Allen and Pierce want to win too but KG is more intense than I have ever seen anyone…and I think it will come back to hurt them. The Spurs have been here time after time and play with a quiet intensity. KG’s intensity may fluster some of the younger guys on the big stage. Add in the fact that KG is not very clutch and the Spurs have Duncan, Ginobli and the bones of Robert Horry and you get my pick. San Antonio in 6

What say you?


Sunday, April 20, 2008

Melo...My Man

I don't think that Kobe's teammates can cover up for a terrible series. After all, he is far and away, the best player on the team. However, he can have an off game or two and the Lakers can still be competitive. Plus, with a big man like Gasol in the middle, his teammates are capable of winning a game. That has not been the case in the playoffs for him the past couple of years. There's a little room for error now, and that was never there before.
I am curious about how Bynum will bounce back. He is young, and was playing extremely well before his injury. Still, you never know how an injury will effect a young player. Obviously, Amare bounced back from major knee surgery, but that seems like an exception to the overall rule. I'm curious how he'll play next year.
I don't share your hatred of Kobe. I never really liked him, but I love watching him play. I hated him during his Shaq days, but I find it hard to hate someone who has toiled in relative mediocrity for years. Sure, they made the playoffs, but they haven't been a major factor. Even now, I don't really hate them. I've always kind of liked Gasol, and I'm glad to see him on a good team. I've never seen him so happy. I will say this, though; if the Lakers crash and burn in the first or second round, I will be perfectly happy with that. And I, like you, will be waiting for Kobe to throw his teammates under the bus. I'm almost looking forward to it.

I'm a big fan of the fact that Melo's woman refused to pick him up after being arrested. "DUI? Seriously? Yeah...I'm staying in tonight. Sorry fellas. You're just going to have to bring him home yourself." Something tells me they're going to have a talk about that.
I'm with you on Melo's ceiling. I don't know how much better he can get. He may average 47 points a season, but I don't see him ever averaging more than 9 rebounds. He just doesn't fight. To be a good rebounder, you need to have a sort of feeling as to where to be. The great rebounders always seem to be in the right place at the right time. It's something that can't be taught. However, you also need to fight for the rebound. Look at Dwight Howard; not only does he know where to be, but he's also a freak of nature that will throw people out of his way to get to a rebound. And what did he do today? Oh...he grabbed 22 boards in a playoff game. Do you ever see Melo doing that? Nope.
Here's the thing: Melo is tremendously gifted, but he doesn't seem to apply himself to any part of his game other than his offense. Rebounds? Nope. Defense? Not on your life. He can be a great defender if he wants to, but he never really seems to want it that much. With his ability, he could be a great NBA player, but he seems a little too content to score a ton of points and not focus on much else.

I'm going to wait until you give your playoff predictions before I post mine. Take that.


(It's worth noting that, as I type this, I'm watching the Reds/Brewers game. Gagne just gave up back-to-back homeruns in the bottom of the 10th to have the game tied up. That's 4 blown saves this year. Ouch.)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Stacks Jacks/Ron Ron>>>Your life

I hear you on Kobe but I can just feel a “Bryant throws his teammates under a bus” story coming. Gasol was no slouch in the playoffs; he averages 20 a game in his playoff career. He was just stuck with bad teammates and bad draws of the Spurs fresh off winning a championship, the Suns in Nash’s first year there, and the Mavericks the year they went to the Finals. I’m more worried about Bynum. I’m going to go ahead and guess he’s going to miss the playoffs this year and who knows what long term effects could come from that injury. Maybe Kobe really is turning it around. Maybe it’s just because I don’t like Kobe. One thing with Manning though: We both agreed Manning put in a subpar performance the entire playoffs and a great supporting cast carried him to a Super Bowl victory and an undeserved Super Bowl MVP. Do you really think the rest of the Lakers can carry Kobe to a title if he averages 19 a game on 41 % shooting throughout the playoffs? I wouldn’t be so sure.

Hobe is probably one of my least favorite superstars, on par with your Manning. I can’t be the only person to do this but all things considering, I think about if I’d like to hang out with a person as a factor of if I like them. I could see myself hanging with LeBron, Chris Paul or even Shaq. I can’t see that with Kobe. He seems incredibly full of himself, as evidenced by his daughter’s elaborate “Daddy for MVP!” signs at the other night’s game. Add to the fact that he hasn’t won an NBA fight yet. He would be a TERRIBLE choice for your NBA fighting duo. He was thrashed by Chris Childs, Doug Christie if I’m not mistaken and even Reggie Miller. Reggie freakin’ Miller. I can’t find the Miller- Kobe throw down but I did find a potential fight between none other than Kobe and Vince Carter. Man I wish they would have let them duke it out. Kobe, who can’t fight, would have pretended he could to be “cool”. Vince Carter, who possibly can fight, would have started strong and then just walked away because he didn’t care enough to finish.

Marion and Dikembe stand no chance against my Ron “Spay and neuter your pets” Artest and Stephen “Not making the playoffs might cost me my life. Seriously. I have nothing but free time now until October” Jackson. They’d just offer Marion a shiny nickel to lose and he’d take it because he would much rather lose while getting paid than win at any costs. Stacks Jacks would just urinate in Dikembe’s fountain of youth and that would be that.

My take on Melo: You mean how he was arrested at the possibly worst time for his team? Or how funny it is that his lady wouldn’t even pick him up from jail? Or my thoughts on how an officer gave him a ride back to his hotel? *Cue Arnold Voice* But seriously, I actually like Carmelo but this event shows everything wrong with his team. Talent but no discipline. I liked him coming out of Oak Hill, just because everyone was all over LeBron. He had a picture perfect run in college and is successful in the NBA. But how much better do you see him getting? He can score...a lot, but so could Glenn Robinson. He doesn’t rebound for his size, doesn’t pass, doesn’t make his teammates better and he doesn’t play defense. When his shots not falling he sulks and as the star player it’s contagious. Same with the Nuggets: They have some talent but they are not getting out of the first round with that roster. They have lost 4-1 in the playoffs every year since Melo arrived and I see more of the same this year. Many labeled Melo as a “thug” by his demeanor and he never really gave them justification to say that. Until now. What say you?

I would give my NBA playoff predictions but this is running a little long. I’ll give them next entry.


My Team to Take Out the Crazies

A couple of years ago, I would have agreed with you on the Kobe thing. He was happy to have a team of his own, and to finally be out from under Shaq. He played for his stats, and he put up some nasty numbers. He even got the Lakers into the playoffs and had some competitive series against the Suns, with Kobe playing a game of one-on-five. He's just that good. But he got that out of his system. Screw the stats; he wants to win, and he wants to win now. He's still unbelievable, but he can feel his prime passing him by, and he wants to get at least one more championship out of it. Plus, I think he really wants to win one without Shaq. I think he knows the next couple of years are going to be his best shot to win another one, with Gasol (a quality big man), Bynum (young, but was really playing well before his injury), Odom (disappears in big games, but, when healthy, is a pretty good all-around player), and a great cast of role players. Now that they have clinched home court through the playoffs, I think he's really feeling it.
Does this mean that he won't throw his teammates under the bus if they lose? No...of course not. But, if his teammates choke in the playoffs, he has every reason to be pissed. Gasol and Odom aren't exactly known for their playoff prowess.
And let's not forget this (in fact, let's never forget this): Peyton Manning threw his entire offensive line under the bus after their playoff loss to Pittsburgh a couple years ago, and what was said about him? That he was a bad teammate? That he wasn't a team player? No. They said that he was a winner. He was hyper-competitive. That he had every right to be mad. (Nevermind the fact that it was his own protection audibles at the line that put his blockers out of position) The morale of the story: Peyton Manning is a tremendous tool.

They dug that shirt out, and the Red Sox are now winning (and Ortiz finally got a hit). Who was that curse on, anyway?

Two NBA players. I don't know that anyone could beat the dream team of Artest and Jackson. That's almost not fair. All bets would be off in that fight. "Artest killed a man with his bare hands, then Jackson stripped his flesh off clean to the bone." I wouldn't even flinch.
I'm tempted to take Kobe, if only to have a guy named the Black Mamba on a team. Plus, he has that "killer instinct" you always want. I don't know that he has it in him to go head-to-head with Artest and Jackson, though.
I also considered taking a team from the old Jail Blazers. The problem is, I couldn't choose a good combination, partly because I was sure that any of of those guys would just end up fighting themselves, and wouldn't even make it to the ring.
So, I will take Shawn Marion and Dikembe Mutombo, and here's why: We have seen that Marion is freakishly athletic. I'm convinced the man could play any sport he wants to, and do a pretty good job at it. He's quick, he's smart, he's strong, and he has pretty long arms for a guy his size, allowing him to keep the crazies at bay.
Mutombo may be old, but he also has a ridiculous amount of experience. Plus, he's built like a rock. He's a little slow, but he's very strong, and has a massive wingspan. He seems like a nice guy, but I'm pretty sure he knows how to disembowel a man with one hand. Just a hunch.
Sure, neither of them are certifiably insane, but they don't need to be. They know what they're doing. They'll know how to keep their head when the rage takes over Ron-Ron and Stacks Jacks.
Would they win? I don't know...it's hard to balance out that much crazy. But I think they'd have a shot, which is really all I'm looking for.

What's your take on Melo?


Monday, April 14, 2008

Hobe Bryant and more!

That’s my point exactly. The NBA is definitely more star oriented, as evidenced by LeBron and his goons even making it to the Finals last year. Does that same exact team even make the playoffs this year? Definitely not in the West. In the NBA you need a star to build around but college is what I’m referring too. The college game is much better built for a solid starting five than Michael Beasley and the Pips. I see your Kobe question and raise you this: What would KOBE rather see, Kobe averaging 40 a game in a first round loss or scoring 20 a game in a playoff run? I really had to think about that one because Kobe seems perfectly content to me to average 40 and lose. People claim he’s changed into a team player. Please. He’s the same Kobe he has always been. Wait until the second round and Lamar Odom chokes as usual, and Gasol struggles with a little playoff pressure. There won’t be a bus close enough for Kobe to throw his teammates under.

Why aren’t more people outraged about the build-tear down-rebuild for trivial reasons? People are stupid. We put a monkey in space yet there is no way to get that shirt without starting the process anew? People are stupid. Also, what curse is there? The Red Sox broke their “curse” and the Yankees have 26 Championships. So what they haven’t won one since 2000. I think I speak for you as well that I would LOVE. My team last won a ring when I was two and your team hasn’t won one in over 20 years. I’ll have some of that curse.

Other than Tiger, I like my chances fighting almost any other golfer. Many years ago my cousin and I had this argument: What two people in the NBA when tag teamed could beat up any other twosome in the league? The only rule was the people couldn’t be teammates because picking any duo from the Warriors, Don Nelson included, just wouldn’t be any fun. He went with Carmelo Anthony and Nate Robinson. Carmelo is a big guy who isn’t fond of snitching and Robinson is a crazy athlete with a low center of gravity that could take some by surprise. My choice was Ron Artest and Shaq at the time. I went with Shaq only because Artest and Stephen Jackson were on the same team at the time. Now they are not so out with Shaq, in with Stacks Jacks. What duo in the league is beating Artest and Captain Jack in a fight? They are both around 6’8 and legitimately crazy. Who do you got in the fight? Or who’s your dream duo?


Kicking Mickelson

I know that no one goes to the games to see the coaches, but coaches rarely get fired for winning. Haven't we learned yet that it takes more than one player to win a championship? The Pistons have been consistently great in the East, yet they don't really have a "star" player. Tim Duncan is amazing, but he rarely takes over a game anymore; the Spurs have been winning as a team for years.
The Bulls won 6 titles with Jordan as the superstar, and a great supporting cast behind him. The Lakers won 3 titles with Kobe, Shaq, and a great collection of role players. The Lakers are winning again now thanks to their renewed philosophy of team basketball.
I could go on and on about the importance of team basketball. It's true that no one wants to see their superstar shackled by a coach. It is also true that fans want their team to win, even if the superstar is putting up gaudy numbers. Kobe has put up some mind-boggling stats over the years. He hung 81 on the Raptors. That's all well and good, but what do you think Lakers fans would rather see: Kobe hanging 81 on a crappy team, or taking his team deep into the playoffs?
Yeah...that's what I thought.

I try not to talk about the Red Sox and Yankees (because everyone else does), but I have to say something about this. What do you think about the guy who buried the Red Sox shirt during the building of the new Yankee stadium? Here's what really makes me mad about it: the construction crew went back and tore up the place where it was buried, all to stop a curse. Does no one realize that the stadium (and, therefore, the money that is paid to the builders) is funded by the New York taxpayers? I have yet to hear one person say anything about this. If I lived in New York, I would be furious. Not only have I been paying more taxes to fund a ridiculously lavish stadium (that I'll probably never be able to afford to see a game in, anyway), but I'm also paying the workers to build something, tear it up to recover a shirt, and then rebuild it. How is this okay?
(I know that the stadium is not completely funded by the taxpayers. Still, the fact that a portion of taxpayer money is being used in this way is unacceptable.)

I'm right there with you on Patterson. He's not overpowering, but he does everything he can to help the team win. He's a good fielder, he gets on base, he steals bases, he lays down bunts, etc. The Reds hit a rough patch in Pittsburgh, but I see Patterson working for the Reds in the same way that Granderson works for the Tigers.
Speaking of which...
I'm now holding out hope that, once Granderson comes back, the Tigers will right their ship. Yeah, we're 2-10. We're already 5.5 games back. But it's still early. If we can get our offense going, we'll be scary. Unfortunately, the only guys hitting on a consistent basis are Brandon Inge and Clete Thomas (I'm a BIG fan of Clete Thomas, by the way). That'll change...right?
I'm getting worried. I'm getting extremely worried. But, if the offense can start clicking, I can see some 8-game win streaks in the not-too-distant future. Let's just hope those start coming before the All Star break.
One last note on this: the Tigers have been shut-out in 4 games this year. 4 games. Out of 12. Last year, we were not shut out until a week before the All Star break. Good thing we spent all that money this past offseason.

You know, about 4 years ago I thought I could take Tiger Woods in a fight. Put those clubs down, and we'd roll. Then he found out about weight rooms, and now he could literally rip Mickelson limb-from-limb with his bare hands. He's a scary man.
Now Mickelson? Yeah...I could take him. He's a big guy, but I'm sure his endurance is absolutely awful. Dance around a little bit, throw some jabs...he'll be on the ground in no more than 15 minutes.
Line it up.


Thursday, April 10, 2008

Derek Jeter has just as many home runs as I do!

I hear you on the coaching thing, but it comes with the territory. You can have a superstar and ride him as far as he will take you, but you have to let him do his thing. Or you can build a team, coach them the way you want them and hope for the best. I agree coaches need to clamp down on superstars but one wrong word could get you fired. Nobody is buying the coaches jersey. People aren’t filling seats to watch coach call the pick and roll. They want to see Durant get the ball 30 feet from hoop, clear everyone out of his way and watch the magic unfold. Texas did play much better as a team this year, but it was more so by force. They had no Durant to stand around and watch so they had to play. The offense with Durant would have worked well with Durant IF Barnes made Durant buy into the system. Who is to say its not the same exact story? We don’t know how good Augustin is or that Abrams is an assassin: We just watch Durant, one year older doing his thing game to game. It makes you really respect a guy like Dean Smith who coached great players yet no one averaged over 20 points per game. Not Jordan, not Vince Carter, not James Worthy.

I’m actually feeling good about the Brewers. It’s still April for crying out loud. They lost one game in a series they won over the Cubs. Their other loss came to my Reds so I can’t complain. I do however see this Gagne thing possibly hanging over them like Memphis’ free throw woes. He’s got to be replaced. There is no other way. He still looks like the portly Canadian that saved any and every game for the Dodgers a few seasons ago but he is not the same person. If I’m Prince Fielder I “accidentally” sit on Gagne’s throwing arm now to give the Brewers a chance to find an at least serviceable closer. Or I just eat him. If I’m Prince Fielder, I do what I please. The deal is only a one year thing so if it doesn’t work out they can just sit him and bid him adieu after the season, but that’s a looooooooooong way away.

You know, with Patterson it seemed as if every time I saw part of a Cub’s game he was making a great catch, stealing a base or doing something positive. The little things you need for a team to win. Now he’s hitting over .300 and on pace for 81 homers as well. He cures cancer and reads to the elderly on off days. By the way, I love “on pace” statistics in April. Mark Reynolds of the D-backs is on pace for 90 homers and 234 RBI’s! Alex Rodriguez is only on pace for 18 homers and 90 RBI’s: He can’t even hit when it DOESN’T count anymore! How long until the Mark Reynolds for A-Rod trade talks are whispered into Hank Steinbrenners ear?

Ever looked at Tiger Wood’s and think you can take him in a fight until they show him from the neck down and you realize he would annihilate you? Yea….me neither


Coaches? You talkin' coaches?

While I sort of agree with your thoughts on the college one-and-done superstars, I don't completely agree. If you're a college coach, how do you not recruit someone as talented as Kevin Durant, Michael Beasley, and so on? If you even have a small chance to land someone that talented, you do it, or you're fired. It's that simple. Not only does it give your team a massive talent, but it helps with recruiting in the future. "Hey...that's the school Durant went to. I'll go there." Having superstars helps to build a good reputation for your basketball program, which brings more recruits in the future. UNC has been a great college team for a long time. A lot of that has to do with their coaching and recruiting. Being a school that is known for winning certainly helps with the recruiting aspect. Being known as the school where Jordan played carries its own mystique, as well. I'm not saying people go to UNC because Jordan played there, but it certainly doesn't hurt their decision.
So coaches shouldn't stop looking for the next college superstar...but that doesn't mean the coach has to let the player take over the team when they get there. Rick Barnes had Durant. Does that mean he had to let him jack up 40 shots a game? No. No he didn't. In fact, Barnes admitted that he didn't really call plays when Durant was on the floor. "Just do what you do, buddy." It's the same thing we talked about earlier with Mike Brown. He has LeBron James, so he just lets him do whatever he wants. Is LeBron a monster? Absolutely (still my pick for MVP, by the way). While this is great for individual stats, it doesn't do a ton for the rest of the team. And those mistakes are further magnified for a college coach, who only gets a superstar for one year.
I'm sure it's a difficult thing to do, but these coaches need to clamp down a little on their superstars. They're still kids, and, while some of them want to showboat, most of them want to win. If the coaches were to realize this, they wouldn't be so hesitant about coaching them. Basketball is a team game. A great player can put up 50 points and still lose. He needs to involve his teammates, and it's up to the coach to make sure that happens. The superstar may not have the best of stats, but the team will have a better chance of winning. You mentioned Texas playing better this year without Durant. Can you imagine if they ran the same offense they ran this year with Durant? They would have been downright scary.
Coaches: do your jobs and coach. You'll be doing your team a great service, even though it may not seem like it. You'll also be teaching these kids how to play well with others once they take off for the NBA. It'll be better for all of us in the long run.
(Allow me to say that I have nothing against Durant. He seems like a great guy and I love watching him play. He just seemed like the easiest person to pick in this scenario, since it happened so recently.)

Man, I'll tell you this much: 1-7 sounds much better than 0-8. I'm still a little worried, but not nearly as worried as I was. Here's the thing: they beat the Red Sox (booooooo!) 7-2, but their big hitters never really got going. Miggy Cabrera had a homerun in his first game, and that's his only RBI this season. He's batting .125. Magglio Ordonez was the batting champ last year, and he's hitting .273 with 0 RBI's so far. Sheff is battling injuries (again) and is hitting .222 with 1 RBI. And on we go. You can say that Sheff is old, and he might have a down year. You might be right. However, even a down year should produce 15-22 homeruns, 65 RBI. Maggs had a slow start last year, too, but he ended up with a .363 average and 139 RBI. Miggy batted .320 with 119 RBI last year. So he's off to a slow start, too. Their bats will get going before too long, and they'll be putting up runs. There's no doubt about that.
Aside from one game, their pitching has been as bad as a lot of people were saying it would be. Their starters are playing well, and their bullpen hasn't been awful. I'm a pretty big fan of Denny Bautista, both from a pitching standpoint and from his look; he's tall and lanky, yet he wears baggy clothes. He looks like a cartoon character. Grilli is a bit scary, as is Bazardo. Hopefully they'll come around. Todd Jones is legimately terrifying, but he usually gets the job done.
We still have our problems. There's no doubt about that. But, seeing as how we put up 7 runs and our offense never seemed to "get going", I think we'll be in good shape.
I may be singing another tune by the All Star Break. We'll see.

Speaking of which...how are you liking the Brewers? Can you really pick a team to go far when they are paying $10 million this year to Eric Gagne? He blew a save for them the other night against the Reds. Granted, the Brewers ended up winning in the 10th, but that's not the point. The point is he is way past his prime, but, short of an injury, they'll keep trotting him out there. Why? Because they're paying him $10 million this year. Again. TEN MILLION DOLLARS. For Eric Gagne. For one year. My brain hurts.

How are you liking the beginning of Corey Patterson's season?


Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Jayhawks and Tigers and Losses...Oh My!

A great championship game indeed. It was a pleasant surprise because usually the championship game is a bit of a let down from the tournament games. This year, there were not a lot of “Ohmygosh!” moments but this has been one of the more solid tournaments that I can remember. A couple of underdogs, all four top seeds making it for the first time ever and for the most part good games from beginning to end.

I agree on the fouling at the end of the game scenario. Seems like it never fails where a team will attempt to foul a guy, then back off because they obviously fouled him, only the refs don’t call it so precious time ticks off the clock. Inexplicable.

Here’s my tangent of the day: Other than possibly Derrick Rose, there wasn’t a single potential NBA star on the court during the Championship in my eyes. And his team lost. My point is, when will college teams learn that the college game really is a team game? Look at Kansas: No player scored more than 13 points a game but they had seven players average at least 7 points per game. Look at Florida the past two seasons: No starter averaged more than 14 points per game or averaged lower than 10 points per game in either of their Championship seasons. Even the season before that, North Carolina had five players average between 11 and 17 points per game. So why do coaches still search for that one and done superstar? Kevin Durant was amazing in college but his team did significantly better this season without him. Adam Morrison and JJ Redick before Durant, found out that one player doesn’t win a championship. So why clamor for a one year wonder when your team could pay the price next season (Kansas State I’m looking at you)? That team was all Beasley this year and not much else. After his 26 points per game, only two other players averaged at least 9 per game. It could be to sell tickets, but its college. College kids will root for anyone, especially if it’s winning. I’m done I guess.

I'm glad you came around on Budden. He and Lupe really are two of the only young rappers I check for anymore. Ever since Flava Flav hit the wrong side of 30.

0-7? Worried yet?


PS- Lay off Rosie Perez. She's done very well for someone with Autism and an exaggerated accent. I'd think you'd show a little respect Dusty. Youre like school on Saturday...no class my friend

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Joe "NCAA" Budden

I've been slacking hard, and I apologize.
That was an exciting championship game last night. Taking it to overtime with a last-second shot was fantastic. However, if you were cheering for Memphis (as I was), it was also extremely difficult and frustrating to watch. Everyone had been talking about Memphis' troubles with hitting free throws, but that didn't even come into play until last night. How sad.
And now, of course, comes the railing on the refs.
How do they not call a foul on Collins at the end of the game? The entire Memphis team was hacking him like crazy, trying to get a foul call. Not only do they not get one, but Collins comes stumbling out of the hack circle and takes about 5 steps before dishing the ball to Chalmers for the game-tying shot.
So here's my question.
How is it that a foul as obvious as that is not called? If you're playing against Dwayne Wade, all you have to do is stand next to him with your arms by your side to get called for a foul. Yet, when a team is purposefully hacking an opposing player, they don't get a call. What's up with that?
I know I know...never blame the refs. Memphis had a number of chances to win it, but they didn't. Had they hit their free throws down the stretch, we wouldn't be having this conversation. Still, it makes it hard to keep the refs out of the conversation when they miss such an obvious call.

Which now brings me to my least favorite basketball foul that is called virtually every time.
I hate it when a shooter will pump fake, get his defender in the air, then jump into him (usually with their shoulder in his chest) and throw a wild shot at the basket. This foul is called on the defender every single time. I know the rules are geared toward the offense, but this is a ridiculous call, and it makes me mad every single time. They should either stop calling this, or call it an offensive foul. That would be my first order as commissioner.

Here are my thoughts on Favre: I love the man. I really do. He has been the quarterback of my favorite team for the majority of my football-watching life. That being said, I hope he stays retired. I don't base this thought on ability. He can still play, and, after last year, everyone knows it. I hope he stays retired because I hate it when an athlete makes a big deal out of retirement, only to come back within a year or two. I am a big Michael Jordan fan, but I hated seeing him come back with the Wizards. It kind of tarnished my view of him, and that's kind of sad. Favre seemed genuine in his desire to walk away from football. I would hate to see him backtrack on that, and I can see him regretting a comeback decision.

It is now that time. After many, many months, I'm ready to lay down some Budden thoughts.
I wasn't too impressed at first. I couldn't put my finger on what it was, but I just didn't like him too much. Sure, I liked him more than 50 Cent, but, seeing as how I view Fiddy as one of the worst emcee's in recent history, that wasn't giving Budden too much credit.
The more I listened to him, though, the more I started liking him. He has a great style, fitting of the mixtape culture, but better than most of the mixtapers I have heard. The production is a bit iffy at times, but, overall, I dig it. He's angry when he needs to be and laid back when he wants to be. He's a compelling lyricist with a great flow. I am now a member of the Joe Budden camp.
I do have one knock on him, though. There are a number of times (particularly on Mood Muzik 2) when he sounds like he puts too much emphasis on "the f-word" (it makes me feel dirty to actually type the word itself). It's like he's winding up before he says it. This bothers me a great deal. That word is extreme enough as it is; there's not really a need to put an extra emphasis into it.

Finally...how disgusting is the news that Rosie Perez and John Leguizamo are going to have a sex scene in an upcoming movie? I can't think of a scene I would like to see less.


Friday, April 4, 2008

Room left on the bandwagon...

I was recently informed that Chad Johnson’s 8 million dollar cap hit, will not count if he is cut/traded after June 1. I cannot find this in print so I am taking it with a grain of salt. If this is the case, things only get trickier. If we decide to trade Chad, I would like it do be for draft picks and the draft is at the end of April. In the NBA, many times trades are agreed upon and then finalized months later, with a team picking for the other team but this is extremely rare in the NFL and I doubt this would happen. I am starting to think about life after Chad though. Houshmandzadeh is a very good receiver, but as you said, it is a different story without a true number one receiver on the other side of you. The reason I am ready to rebuild without Chad is simple: Carson Palmer. He had his worse year since his rookie season…and still threw for over 4,100 yards and 26 touchdowns. While having Chad/Chris Henry has definitely helped him, you could say the opposite is true as well. Palmer is an elite quarterback in this league and it has been proven that a solid defense, good running game/offensive line and an average quarterback (Hellooooooooooooooo Giants!) can win ball games. Carson is more than average, our line is getting healthy, our defense is improving and will be helped with the picks/players in the Chad Johnson deal. The run game is question. Rudi is through. Kenny Watson is old. Chris Perry is fragile. Kenny Irons is untested but I have heard whispers his recovery is several months behind. Dede Dorsey is good, but far too frail to be an every down back. I am talking myself into a Palmer-McFadden-McFadden’s illegitimate children backfield more and more every day.

As far as the Reds go, the offense will get going. That’s never been a problem. In the past, it has always been a “should we trade some offense for another pitcher”? So far, that has not been the case. I am worried that once our young pitchers, hit the inevitable wall, they will be sent down to the minors and have their confidence jarred. It happened to Edwin Encarnacion a couple seasons ago and I honestly think he is still recovering.

Brett Favre suits up next season as a member of the.....Minnesota Vikings?? Your thoughts?? I know the Favre unretiring story is probably moot but at this point, nothing any "retired" athlete does surprises me.

One random thought: Bad acting by athletes cracks me up. LaDainian Tomlinson’s performance in the “My quick is quicker than your quick” commercial is one for the ages. Torii Hunter in the new MLB commercial on ESPN is up there too. Bad acting by athletes and terrible acting by children always slay me. That is all.


Thursday, April 3, 2008

Cincy Sports?

I'm with you on this Chris Henry thing. Still, I understand that they had to drop him. Is he innocent? Who knows. Knowing his track record, he probably isn't. If he is found guilty, Goodell with suspend him for all of next year (and possibly beyond). With the Bengals trying hard to get away from their criminal persona, dropping Henry was the only decision. We all knew he was going to end up with the Raiders at some point, anyway (if he's ever back in the league, that is). I tell you, Chris Henry has debacled his career (thank you Emmitt).

That's interesting that you bring up that Henry and Pacman Jones were on the same West Virginia team. I read a lot of sports, but I have never heard that mentioned before. It seems like a point that would have been beaten to death by now (beaten to death...you know, like someone will be by Pacman at some point).

If Chad Johnson wants out (and I mean really wants out), he'll find a way to get that $8 million cap hit away from the Bengals. No matter how much he acts out, there's no way the Bengals will trade him and take that kind of hit...is there? It is the Bengals, after all. They have made worse moves in the past, but I just can't see this one happening. Get the $8 million hit dropped, or there's no trade.

Let's imagine this happens, and that Johnson gets traded. That leaves the Bengals going into next year without Henry or Johnson. I like Houshmandzadeh (except for his rattail), but I wonder how good he'll be without an elite receiver on the other side.

I am a big Johnny Cueto fan...and not just because his name is fantastic. Between him and Volquez (I have to keep reminding myself that he has yet to start a game in the regular season), the Reds look to have some pretty solid pitching this year. Their offense is still a little iffy at times, but, if their pitching staff can hold teams to 4 runs or fewer, they have a good shot to win a lot of games.

That being said, they're still the Reds, so I don't trust them completely. They could be the team to come out of nowhere and be competitive this year.

Tigers story.

I've been over this before, but I'll add a detail here. Ever since I've been following them, the Tigers have not been good. There have been seasons where they started out well, and I'd get excited, only to see them go on a 12-game losing streak that completely killed them. This happened for a number of years in a row. When they started out so well in 2006, I was happy, but the whole time I was thinking, "They look good now, but their 12-game losing streak is coming soon." And I kept waiting. But it never came. They stumbled a bit down the stretch, but they still made the playoffs, and made it to the World Series.

That could be the Reds this year. They have young talent, and, from the looks of it, a pretty good pitching staff. Best of all, they're not really on anyone's radar. I don't want to jinx them (and I certainly don't want to read too much into a 2-1 start), but they could be "that team" this year. I guess we'll just have to see.


My quick is quicker than your quick...

Ok ok, I’ll give you that Sanders was a better rusher, but I still think Emmitt was the more complete running back. Pass catching, blocking, playing with dislocated shoulders, I think Emmitt has him beat. As a commentator? That’s a different story for a different book for a different library. I’ve never head Barry Sanders comment on anything but I’m positive he has Emmitt beat in that aspect of the game.

Chris Henry. *Sigh*. I am hurt to see him go but it had to be done. Some people really just never learn. If I’m Chris Henry/Odell Thurman/Pacman Jones I make it Blockbuster night every night for the rest of my life. Why blow such a great opportunity? One thing nobody mentions: Chris Henry and Pacman Jones were on the same West Virginia football team for 3 years. Good Lord. I can’t even imagine how many times Rich Rodriguez had to look the other way, yet I digress. With Henry, I wish he would have at least been proven guilty before we cut him but with his rep I understand why we did. If he ever gets his mind together, he will be a phenomenal player for someone but that is a big IF. I do give kudos to the Bengals for taking some action and cutting him. If we really are going to be a no nonsense organization, we have to eliminate problems, i.e. Ocho Cinco. I have come around on this trading Chad Johnson thing. He is a great talent, but being real, I do not think we would be better than 8-8 next season with him. He is becoming a bigger problem by the day and maybe it is time to get rid of him. Some high draft picks will do but I remain adamant that he drops his cap hit or he goes nowhere. An 8 million dollar cap hit is too much. Ever wish you could hit reset like on Madden and wake up and not be a Bengals fan? Oh you don’t? Um….me neither.

That walk-off homer was something else. I like Encarnacion and hope this is the season he can stay in the bigs for the whole season as opposed to being shipped back and forth. How about today’s performance by Johnny Cueto? Took a perfect game into the 6th inning in his major league debut! And held on to win the game, that’s what makes me more excited. I’m drinking the Red’s punch; we might not lose another game this season. 161-1 here we come!

I wouldn’t be too concerned about the Tigers slow start. The Royals of Kansas City pack a mighty wallop. That George Brett is something else and Bret Saberhagen is only scratching the surface of his potential. I see big things for this Royals squad…big things.


Barry Sanders is Better Than Your Dad

You bring up a point that a lot of people do when they talk about Barry Sanders. He lost a lot of yards. He scampered around behind the offensive line, and got tackled for a loss quite a number of times. You say Barry needed to learn how to run forward, get a couple of yards, take a hit, and live to play the next down. I will first say that Barry Sanders was a fighter. He knew that he wasn't going to break every single run for an 80 yard touchdown. But he was never content with falling down when he was converged upon (paging Shaun Alexander). I watched a lot of Lions games, so I feel I can say this with some sort of authority; Barry Sanders made a lot of lateral moves, but he didn't run backwards as much as some people seem to believe he did. So here's my point; his loss of yardage speaks to the quality of his offensive line more than it does his moves and decisions.
You brought up the differences in the offensive lines, but I'll go into this a bit more. The offensive line during Smith's time in Dallas was one of the best offensive lines I had ever seen. They had some absolute monsters on that line, and some surefire Hall of Famers. There were many times that Smith was not even touched until he was 5 yards downfield, and many other times where he wasn't touched for at least 10 yards.
Here are three names who made up the core of Smith's offensive line: Larry Allen, Nate Newton, Erik Williams. That's not even mentioning Daryl Johnston, a great blocking fullback. Of course, he had Troy Aikman (a Hall of Famer) as his quarterback, as well Michael Irvin (also a Hall of Famer) and Alvin Harper (in his three-year prime) as his wide receivers (as well as some speedsters who could spread the field), so the defense had to respect the passing game, opening more holes for Smith to run through. Oh yeah, and his coach was Jimmy Johnson.
Now, back to Barry.
I cannot count how many times Barry was hit in the backfield, often as he was receiving the ball. That leaves absolutely no room for a straight-forward runner. If that was his mentality, he would have been lucky to gain 500 yards a year on those Lions teams. He had to dance around behind the offensive line to have any hope of gaining yards on a lot of plays. Like I said earlier, he made a lot of lateral moves; he didn't run backwards very often.
Now...some names.
I have been searching for 15 minutes, looking for the names of the members of Barry Sanders offensive line. Guess what? I couldn't find any information on them whatsoever. However, I can find names from Dallas' offensive line within 30 seconds. His quarterbacks included Scott Mitchell (one good year, and a ridiculously huge contract for crappiness after that year), Andre Ware, Dave "Small Hands" Krieg, Erik Kramer, Rodney Peete, Chaz Batch, and, I'm sure, a number of other bad-to-slightly-mediocre quarterbacks. His receivers? Herman Moore (he was pretty stinkin' good), Johnny "Pretty Boy" Morton, and others that I can't recall right now (probably for good reason). He played the majority of his career without a fullback. Oh...his coaches included Wayne Fontes, and Bobby Ross.
Herman Moore was good, but the fact that the Lions ever made the playoffs (and that Sanders had a 2000+ yard rushing season) is a testament to his talent.
So...yeah. I have more on this, but I think that's enough for now. This is long enough.

I thoroughly enjoyed your comment on Joey Dorsey. I couldn't agree more.

John "Spider" Salley is still on the show. It makes me sad to see him yukking it up on that show, all these years later, when I can see in his eyes that he's slowly dying inside. It is unclear to me whether he still calls himself Spider, or if everyone else does it (either because they don't know any better or they're making fun of him). I'll try to find this out.

Two baseball comments:
The end of the Reds game last night was fantastic. Who knew that Encarnacion could hit a walk-off home run? Good for him. It was like watching a Molina brother steal a base.
Should I be concerned about the Tigers? They're 0-2, and are down 3-0 to the Royals in the 7th inning of today's game. They were shut out last game, and they're not looking great today, either. I know it takes a while for a new offense to click, and I know that it's a long season, but I can't help but be a little concerned. (Base hit RBI. Down 4-0 to the Royals.)

Joe Budden thoughts coming up tomorrow. I swear.


(Have you ever watched Dexter?)

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Hold your Horses

Not that I necessarily believe it, but this is a blog for debate so let the debate begin: Emmitt Smith was a better overall running back than Barry Sanders. I won’t mention that Emmitt is the All Time Leading Rusher because numbers can be tricky. I will mention that Emmitt was a more complete runner, better pass receiver and a better blocker. Don’t get me wrong, I loved watching Barry Sanders played, as did anyone within our relative age range. Everyone wanted to be Barry Sanders at recess, not Emmitt. The 80 yard scampers seemed routine for him, but in a sense he was a boom or bust rusher. He is the all-time leading rusher in negative yardage. Yes Emmitt had a better offensive line but every great running back has to realize not every play will be an 80 yard run, something Reggie Bush is learning now. Sometimes you have to take the 3 or 4 yards they give you, take the hit and try again next play. This is something Emmitt perfected. While Troy Aikman was better than the quarterbacks Sanders played with, I think he benefitted more from Emmitt/Irvin/the O-line than they benefitted from him. He was in the right place at the right time and he knows it. More exciting? Barry without a doubt. Better overall? Emmitt.

I wasn’t implying that you were implying that you didn’t like Curry. Like you said, I think just about everyone and their mother was rooting for him and Davidson. I just think he got the Hero Complex and shot them out of the game. Is that something another year in school will cure? Time will tell. He will be a superstar on campus for the next year and Dell Curry had a lengthy career so I’m sure he’s not wanting for cash. Why not stay? He also needs to decide if he is going to develop the skills to play PG in the NBA or be an undersized SG.

Another note about Memphis. Did you know Joey Dorsey is like 25 years old? Good Lord, why isn’t this mentioned more? Of course he’s dominating down low. Have you ever played pickup ball with men a few years older than you? They are all eerily strong and smell of Brut cologne: I imagine Joey Dorsey is no different.

I didn’t the Best Damn Sports Show Period still came on to be honest with you. Fox Sports is really gasping for straws I guess. Is John “Spider” Salley still on there? He’s kind of cool in an uncool way. Also, should anyone be allowed to be referred to by their college nickname over 20 years ago, especially when they weren’t that good in the pros? What’s the statute of limitations on something like that? Nobody tells me these things.


Tuesday, April 1, 2008

In Praise of Barry Sanders, and In Hatred of Chris Rose

I'm glad you approve of my Packer fandom. That being said, Barry Sanders is my all-time favorite running back. The things that man could do were beyond astounding. I hear running backs compared to Barry Sanders on a regular basis (LaDainian Tomlinson, Reggie Bush, etc.), but no one will ever be as amazing as Barry Sanders. I will probably fight the next person who tells me that Emmitt Smith was a better back than Sanders. There is no comparison.

I never meant to imply that I didn't like Stephen Curry. I think you'd be hard-pressed to find anyone who watches college ball right now that doesn't like him. My complaint on that final possession was more of a knock on the coach than anything. I can just see him saying something like, "Uhhhh...get open and take that shot, Curry. Even if three guys are on you, just keep dribbling and get a shot off."
I am surprised, though, that Curry is going back for his junior year. I don't know that his stock is going to rise any higher than it is right now. I can respect his decision, but, in an age where guys bolt for the pros as soon as is humanly possible, it's a little strange to see. Good for you, Curry...I just hope it doesn't hurt you too much in the long run.

My youngest brother is a massive believer in Memphis. He has picked them to win it all this year, and he also picked them to win it all a couple of years ago. I know they're a good team, but I didn't think they had a Final Four appearance in them this year. It's so hard to tell, seeing as how they play in such a weak conference. But they have looked fantastic the past couple of games. After Tennessee went down, I switched over to Memphis. It would be nice to see them win it.

The Best Damn Sports Show Period is on the in the background right now. I have been meaning to say this for a while, but I still haven't...so I'll say it now.
Chris Rose is a massive tool. I don't like most of the guys on this show (I don't know why I have it on right now), but I want to punch Chris Rose in the face every time I look at him.

Mr. Wildcat plus some

Ok, that’s fair enough. I just didn’t want to hear any “Well they were always on TV” or “Brett Favre is my biological father” stories, especially when you had a perfectly suitable father/sports idol in Barry Sanders.

Easy on the Davidson play. That was all Curry. I like the kid’s story, I like his meteoric rise, and I like his unlimited range: I just don’t like his chucker mentality. His game honestly reminds me of a game of NBA Live. I’m up a few points in the fourth quarter and have a guy like Kobe Bryant on my team. I could play safe and kill some clock and hold on to the win or I could repeatedly go for the dagger with the 30 foot three pointer. Of course, I’m going to take the three pointer. You would take it too and Lord knows the real Kobe Bryant would do it. That’s Stephen Curry. So many forced shots from too far out may have cost his team a Final Four berth. They had Kansas on the ropes and smart play could have put them away. He’s only a sophomore though and submitted an extremely impressive and unforeseen performance in the Tournament so kudos to him. Side note: I’m not switching picks or anything but Memphis has looked REALLY good these past few games. Just saying.

The Reds haven’t won a game all season. I give up. Get Dusty Baker out of here. When does the Bengals training camp start? I also think it’s safe to say the Tiger’s big trade was a failure. Tough break my friend.

I would also like to send thoughts and prayers out to Mr. Wildcat Bill Keightley’s family. Mr. Wildcat had just finished his 48th season as UK’s equipment manager and passed away yesterday evening at the age of 81. He served under Adolph Rupp for crying out loud. I didn’t realize how long 48 years was until I read the Mr. Wildcat has been on the sidelines for 57 percent of every UK basketball game ever. He witnessed over 1100 wins, 3 National Championships, and worked under 6 coaches. I remember going to games as a child and people pointing him out on the bench as if he were one of the players. You will be missed Mr. Wildcat.