Sunday, June 22, 2008

A few questions for you...

Another thing to put to bed with Kobe: The myth that he’s a great teammate. A great player? Absolutely. A great teammate? Not at all. Patting my teammate on the back two minutes after I insinuate he has intercourse with his mother does not make me a good teammate. The NBA: Where Winning Masks Everything. Same with Paul Pierce. He did ask for a trade, but he’s not the first to do it. Iverson, Kidd, McGrady: Anybody who’s anybody has demanded a trade. In his defense, some of those Boston teams were terrible. Much worse than the teammates Kobe has been with the past couple of years. Pierce also had the misfortune of playing in Boston. Bill Russell, Charles Barkley and Michael Wilbon have all spoke out against the racial overtones that went on in Boston and still happen to this day. I also think Pierce was frustrated from a lack of respect. He was always viewed as a good player, but not a superstar. I’ve liked Pierce since Kansas and thought he was underrated and this Finals proved he can score with anyone and is a criminally underrated defender. Does this excuse him for calling out his teammates? No. But to his credit he never sat out games like Kidd in an attempt to get traded. He never showed up late to Fan Appreciation Night as Iverson did in an attempt to get traded. He never sulked and demanded a trade after a season in which he led the league in scoring, yet only won 21 games (Fun Fact, Doc Rivers was coaching part of that season the Magic won 21 games. Now he is an NBA Champion. Go Figure.) So in that sense he does deserve credit for sticking with the team, whether he liked it or not.

I’m just glad Garnett didn’t get the MVP. I really thought it was coming with his Game 6 performance and how everyone loves KG and discredits the fact he choked in the clutch his entire career. I’m still not sold on him. Yes, he had a great Game 6, but would they have won if he has another 12 point, 13 rebound night? Absolutely. I think Allen and Pierce should have shared it at the least. Pierce was more explosive through the series but Allen was more consistent and they wouldn’t have won without either’s contributions. Here’s something I’ve been hearing lately: Does that Finals MVP put Paul Pierce in the Hall of Fame?

Another basketball question for you: If you are starting a team and get each player in their prime, who do you select: Shaq or Tim Duncan?

I’m still keeping hope alive for the Brewers. In my last entry they were 3 games above .500, and now they are 7 games above .500. They are only 6 games behind a Cubs team that has lost 3 of its last 5 games. I refuse to give up on them yet, especially behind a Cubs team I don’t trust yet.

Also, give me a rough estimate of how much money you think C.C. Sabathia has cost himself this season: 20 million? 25 million?

-Tyler

Friday, June 20, 2008

So Long, Kobe

As I sit here, watching the Tigers bullpen blow yet another game, I thought I would write something. Rodney came back during the last series. Zumaya came back tonight. I figure they'll finally get back into a groove right around the time they get injured again.

Jordan willed his team to victory more times than I can count.

Kobe, on the other hand, melted down in the biggest series of his career. Bombed. If he somehow comes back in the coming years and single-handedly wins the Finals, then he may be viewed in a different light in the coming years. For now, I'll say this: never have I seen a player fall so far in such a short amount of time than Kobe. I mean, even during LeBron's meltdown in last years Finals, there were reasons for it: he was a young player in his first-ever Finals, playing with less-than-desirable teammates. Kobe, on the other hand, has been there 4 times already (winning 3), and had some great teammates this time around. Granted, none of them had a great series either, but the blame has to fall chiefly on Kobe.

(For the record, I'm done with the comparisons. From now on, I won't even write Jordan's name in the same paragraph as that joker.)

Congrats to the Celtics, though. They played at a high level for the entire series. They were the more physical team, and it showed. (I'm still a bit upset about the foul calls, but I'll get over it.) I have an assignment for you. Find a picture of Paul Pierce, taken during the Finals, in which his mouth his closed. Bet you can't do it.
I've also heard a lot of stuff about Pierce recently. Most of it has revolved around this statement: "He's a true Celtic. He has been there through thick and thin, without any complaints." And so on, and so forth. Have people forgotten about the whole, "I wanted to get paid as a franchise player, but, now that I am, I have decided that I don't want to play in Boston anymore. My teammates are terrible. I mean, really bad. I demand a trade." He sang this little song until Ainge decided to trade everyone but Pierce for Garnett (after swinging an Allen trade, that is). How has everyone forgotten about this? I have not read a single article on this subject.

Oh...Ray Allen definitely should have won the MVP. Pierce had some bigger games, but they wouldn't have won the series without the shooting of Allen.

(I switched my pick after watching the series. I figured the Lakers would win Game 5 in LA, but knew they wouldn't have a chance in Boston. Thus, Celtics in 6. I know it's a cop-out to make a pick halfway through a series, but we don't really have rules here.)

I'm not sold on the Brewers. Their pitching is suspect...and that's before Gagne comes back. They have to get him out of the closer's role, right? In fact, since they only signed him to a one-year deal, why don't they just release him? Take the hit and be done with it.

I'm a believer of Tampa Bay. They have a great combination of offense, defense, and pitching. If the pitching falters (which will be the first thing to go), they'll have a tough time. It's hard to tell if they'll make the playoffs this year or not (I think they'll make it), but, even if they don't, they're a much better team this year than they were last year. They could be trouble over the next few years.

Yup.

-Dusty

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Kobe's the next MJ, right?

Great article by Keown you posted, but at some point, but if he can point that out, doesn’t Phil Jackson HAVE to notice that? Phil Jackson is getting badly outcoached by Doc Rivers of all people. Doc used to coach the Magic so I have experienced him first hand. We had a 3-1 lead on Detroit when Rivers and T-Mac were part of the Magic, and blew the lead. Now he’s one win away from outcoaching one of the best and most decorated coaches of all time. Is this a testament to Rivers getting better or to Jackson getting worse? I really couldn’t tell you.

This has been on my mind but Game 4 really brought it out: Never in the history of basketball should Kobe Bryant ever be compared to Michael Jordan in any way other than “They are both black.” Jordan would never blow a lead like that at home. Kobe is a douche to his teammates, much like Jordan, but things are different. Kobe will cuss his teammate out one possession and then put his arm around him and buy him dinner after the game. He wants people to see how good of a person he really is. Jordan would cuss a teammate out on possession…and that’s that. Jordan’s sole focus was winning: Feelings be damned. He didn’t have to play the “See? I’m a good guy card!” because he didn’t care if his teammates liked him.

Allow me to blow your mind for a minute. Right now at age 29 and in his 12th season, here are some of Kobe’s accomplishments: 10 time All-Star, 3 time Champion, One regular season MVP Award, 2 Scoring Titles and 8 All NBA Team Defense selections. Great stats. Here are a few of Jordan’s accomplishments at the same age of 29, but in only his 9th season because of three years of college (By the way, this includes a season where Jordan played 18 regular season games because of a broken foot): 9 time All-Star, 3 time Champion, 3 time Finals MVP, 3 time Regular Season MVP, 8 Scoring Titles, 7 All NBA Team Defense Selections, all first team and a Defensive Player of the Year Award to boot( The last shooting guard to do so). Yet some would argue Kobe is on the same plateau as MJ? Hell, one could argue, Jordan was a better player and had accomplished more at 29, than Kobe ever will. Do you see Kobe winning 4 more regular season MVP’s? How about 6 Finals MVP’s? What about going 6-0 in Finals appearances? Kobe is 3-1 now and staring down the barrel of 3-2. Anyone, PLEASE stop the comparisons.

While I’m on Jordan, statmeister John Hollinger ranked the Top 50 NBA Finals performances . #1? Dwyane Wade. Are you kidding me? Even Wade thanked the referees who made it all possible as he accepted his MVP award. That’s not even the most ridiculous part of that article. I understand putting Jordan as #1through 6 would be boring but this is out of control. The #14 ranked Finals performance of all time belonged to Jordan. A Finals in which he averaged 41 points, 8.5 rebounds and 6.3 assists a game on a Barkley led Suns team that won 62 games in the regular season. Really? There are 13 better Finals performances than that?

Ok, I’m done with MJ….for now.

You and I both made the jokes about how old Ray Allen was (I heard he went to prom with Bea Arthur) but if the Celtics win one more game, doesn’t he have to win Finals MVP? Pierce has looked good but had a terrible Game 3. KG was decent stats but anyone watching the game can tell how terrified he gets in the 4th quarter. (Sidebar: Why is Vince Carter crucified for settling for jumpers, but KG is treated with kid gloves for doing the same thing?) If the Laker’s come back, I think Sam Cassell has to win it.

Also, please explain to me how you change from picking the Lakers in 5, to picking Celtics in 6 after the Celtics take a 3-1 lead? C’mon Dustin, you’re better than that (Damn, I owe Mark Jackson a nickel for saying that).

The Cubs have looked great but I still don’t trust them. They are in a relatively weak division and to be honest, I couldn’t even see them beating the Phillies in a series. They’ve had some good years in seasons past and failed to get it done in the postseason and I’m still not sold on them yet.

Do you think Tampa Bay is for real or are they finally coming back to Earth? I want to say they are for real because they’ve had the first overall pick for like the past 10 years. It’s about time…but something still tells me they won’t make the playoffs.

I still haven’t given up on my sleeper pick of the Brewers. They are in third place now and with Pujols out, they can make a leap to second. They were 3 games below .500when Gagne went out. Now they are 3 games above .500. If Gagne’s injury turns into a season ender, pencil them in for the World Series.

-Tyler

Friday, June 13, 2008

Lakers, Celtics and...Cubs?

I have three plays that pretty much sum up the Lakers/Celtics Finals, and all three of them came in the fourth quarter of Game 4.

1. Lamar Odom has the ball in the paint, with two men standing between him and the basket. He does a headfake, then a nice up-and-under move. Both men jump forward, leaving Odom wide open, three feet from the basket. Instead of going up for the dunk, he opts for a lay-up. No big deal...except that he slams the ball off of the backboard, sending it flying into the arms of a Celtics player around the three-point line. I know he started out hot, but he really faded as the game went on...especially in crunch time. Who saw that coming?

2. An 80-year-old Ray Allen tried to put a move on Vujacic at the top of the key. When that didn't work, he ran right by him. You read that correctly. Ray Allen ran past Sasha Vujacic. Were there any defenders back there? No...apparently the Lakers have no idea how to rotate on defense. Gasol and someone else (forgot who) tried to get there, but Allen was already in the air by that point. Seeing as how the Lakers have one of the greatest coaches of all time, you would think the players would be rotating on defense. I have no idea why this is happening, but it is.

3. The Lakers missed a shot. Gasol and Garnett were vying for position. Garnett took his hand, placed it squarely on Gasol's chest, and shoved him backwards, knocking him to the ground. Free of the nuisance of an opposing player, Garnett easily grabbed the rebound. All of this happened directly in front of a ref. No call. Not even a second look. With the notable exception of Game 3, the Celtics have pretty much been given a free pass in this series. They're hacking and whacking, and the officials don't seem to mind. If they can get away with it, more power to 'em, but they need to be consistent. If they're going to let the Celtics bruise their way through the series, then they can't be calling every ticky-tack foul on the Lakers. Tim Keown at ESPN wrote a great article on this topic this past week. It's extremely frustrating to watch, and is one of the main reasons for the declining popularity of the NBA Finals.

That being said...
The Celtics had a HUGE comeback. I wasn't able to watch the entire game (I was playing a softball game at the time), so, by the time I turned it on it was in the third period and the Lakers were up by 5. The way they played in the fourth period, the Lakers didn't deserve to win. They looked terrible...and Kobe's 17 points at home was the worst part. Unless he plays out of his mind (read: 43/15/10) for the rest of the series and leads the Lakers to an improbable Finals win, he will never be looked at the same way. If he does make it back to the Finals and wins against another team (say, the Cavs), he will still be seen as a player who couldn't win against a team that was not vastly inferior (does that make sense?).
If the Lakers do go on to lose (I've changed my pick to Celtics in 6), who does Kobe throw under the bus? Gasol for playing like a little girl? Odom for not playing up to his talent level? Bynum for being injured? Vujacic for not getting a haircut? Himself for folding in one of the biggest post-Shaq games of his career? There are so many choices...

Every time we talk about baseball, we discuss either the Reds or the Tigers. How's about we branch out?
Have you seen the Cubs this year? Even with Soriano out with a broken whatever-it-is-this-time, they still look fantastic. As a team, it's hard to keep up momentum for an entire season, but the Cubs have looked pretty good this entire year. D. Lee is looking ridiculous (yet again). Aramis Ramirez is looking thin and powerful. DeRosa and Theriot are both hitting above .300. Fukudome seems to be well deserving of the hype. The pitching is solid. The offense is great...they're looking like the team to beat right now.

I'll get you a list of must-see movies at some point.

-Dusty

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

My name is Tyler and I haven't seen any movies...

Yea, hopefully I’ll get to experience a championship in my lifetime but it doesn’t look good. The Reds are rebuilding. The Bengals are the Bengals. UK Basketball is in a rough spot and UK football has never been mentioned in the same sentence as National Championship. Orlando is my only hope. Unless I inexplicably start liking Boston sports. Come to think of it, that’s much easier than rooting for my own a team and having a soul.

You know, after Game 2 I don’t know if the way the Lakers almost came back helps or hurts them. On one hand they were getting thrashed and only lost by a couple points. On the other hand, they played incredible ball the 4th quarter and still couldn’t come up with the one. They scored 41 points and hit 7 three’s in the fourth quarter alone. Duplicating that will be difficult, but not impossible. Especially at home. Especially with Tim Donaghy refereeing Game 3 after what happened in Game 2. Granted the refereeing was “questionable”, and I’m being kind, that’s not why the Laker’s lost. They lost because of atrocious defense played in the third quarter. Kobe started whining to the refs and giving up after plays, and his teammates followed. Only his teammates are not Kobe freakin Bryant. Kobe can whine because with his status, he’ll get a few makeup calls. Lamar Odom doesn’t have that freedom so whining only means he’s letting his man get back on the other end. With that said, if the Lakers win by anything less than 15 points in Game 3, I will be surprised. They desperately need to dominate this game because all Boston needs is one game in LA, and the title is practically theirs.

I’ll take the over on 14 days for Griff being traded and here’s why: It’s the last year of his deal. I could have sworn he had 2 more years on it but I was wrong. I don’t know if there is an option but I believe he is a free agent at the end of the season. Teams will be reluctant to part with anything, knowing they will have a chance to bid on him without giving up anything. I still think he’ll be moved to a playoff team looking to lease a bat for the rest of the season, but it may take longer than I originally thought. Side note: If you ever get bored, look at Griffey’s achievements sometime. They really are incredible. You forget how awesome this guy really was in his prime.

I know, I know. I need to sit down and watch all these movies. Any good ones I’m missing? I knew things got bad when my girlfriend gave me the “How have you not seen Scarface?!?” spiel.

-Tyler

Monday, June 9, 2008

The Griffey Countdown Begins...NOW!

It's a pretty fantastic feeling to see your team win a championship. There's a feeling of excitement and pure happiness for weeks on end. I remember when the Packers won the Super Bowl...you couldn't wipe a smile off my face. But there's something else, too: peace. All through the playoffs, I'm nervous and anxious. Even if my team is up 3-0, I'm still thinking, "The other team is still really good. If they get some momentum, they could come back." Sometimes, I get to where I can't sleep. If my team gets knocked out of the playoffs, I get mad and pretty depressed for quite a while (this depends on how far my team makes it: I'm still not really able to talk about the Packers losing the Super Bowl to the Broncos or the NFC Championship to the Giants, or the Tigers losing the World Series to the Cardinals). For the record, my youngest brother is much worse than I am.
So when they win it all, it's very peaceful. They won. No more games. That's it. They won it all. It really is a fantastic feeling...you should try it sometime.
As for the game itself...what an ending! With less than two minutes left, the score was 3-1, Wings. A penalty (along with Pittsburgh pulling their goalie) made it a 6-4 advantage. They scored with 1:26 left to cut the deficit to 1 goal. Shot after frantic shot was taken, the last of which was deflected by Osgood, then trickled inches wide of the net as time expired. I think my heart stopped for about 5 seconds. Really, it was one of the more exciting endings to a game that I had ever seen.

It's funny that you asked who I would take to help the Tigers. It's also funny that you named Hanley Ramirez. I was hanging out with The Fam yesterday, and I commented that, instead of trading for Miguel Cabrera, the Tigers should have looked at getting Ramirez. There were a number of reasons for this not happening (I doubt the Marlins would have agreed to get rid of him, the Tigers already traded for Renteria to fill their hole at shortstop, etc.), but, at this point, Ramirez would probably be my pick as well. Anytime you can grab a young, talented shortstop who can hit for power, you don't turn that down.
If I could grab a pitcher, I would take Volquez. In my mind, I know that the league is going to catch up with him at some point...but my mind has been saying that since his fourth start. And yet, here he is, with a record of 8-2 and an ERA of 1.32 (I think). In fact, as I type this, I'm watching him carve up the Marlins line-up So far, he's pitched 2 innings of shutout ball. How impressive is this guy?!

The Celtics are up 2-0. I still don't see the Lakers losing, but it won't be easy for them to come back. They need to play better as a team...and they need to rebound. Get a little physical under there. I know Gasol is not known for his toughness, but they need to do something to get into the heads of the Celtics. Get Turiaf to knock some guys down. Institute a no-layup rule. Do anything and everything to get into the heads of the Celtics. Phil Jackson is a good coach, so I'm sure he'll figure this out before Game 3.
I hate to bring this up, but the foul calls have been ridiculous so far. I don't care who is playing...there should never be a 38-10 difference in foul shots. Ever. I watched the end of Game 2, and here's what I saw. The Lakers made a frantic comeback to get within 2 points. The crowd had gone silent. So what happens? Paul Pierce careens recklessly down the lane, picks up the ball, runs towards a Laker player while screaming about God-knows-what, then throws the ball towards the basket like a madman. No contact whatsoever. Yet, he gets 2 free throws (makes both) to make the lead 4 with less than 30 seconds remaining. That's a TERRIBLE call. Really bad. That was Wade at the end of Game 3 against the Mavs bad.
Now, if the Lakers were a little more organized after that, this might be a mute point...but they fell apart. So it's not the refs fault that they lost, but they certainly didn't help. So what happens if the Lakers start getting those calls in LA (which I'm sure they will)?

Griffey hit #600 tonight. How long until we start hearing strong trade rumors? We'll start at 14 days. Will you take the over or the under?

Vinnie Del Negro as coach of the Bulls? I forgot he even existed. I always liked him as a player. He was a great three-point shooting video game player, as well. I endorse this idea.

Wow. So you really haven't seen any movies. That's pretty impressive. I think we may have to have some sort of movie night and force you to watch a number of "the essentials".

Indiana Jones wasn't terrible. It wasn't fantastic, but it wasn't as bad as most people have made it out to be, either. As long as you know that the Crystal Skull is alien in nature, you won't be taken too off guard.
We saw The Strangers this past weekend. The first half of the movie was legitimately creepy, with a number of pretty terrifying parts. By the second half, it wears a little thin, with the same things happening over and over again. Still, it was one of the better thriller movies I've seen in quite some time.

-Dusty

(And to answer your question, yes, those old people were the young people. The sad, crazy version of the young people. Who knew Rachel McAdams would get so gross looking when she got old?)

Sunday, June 8, 2008

This may shock you but...

Sorry for the delay. Its summer, I often forget what day it is.

Red Wings are champs. Congrats to you my friend. How does it feel for a sp yours to be champs? The last championship I remember was when I was 10 years old and UK won the College B-ball title. Maybe the Reds will break my personal title drought this season.

I tend to agree with you on Ozzie Guillen’s act wearing thin, until I remember the Sox are in first place and are only a couple years removed from their first World Series Title since the Sox won it all in 1917 and were greeted on the White House lawn by Woodrow Wilson. Yes, THAT Woodrow Wilson. I don’t think he’s going anywhere. Maybe this stuff wouldn’t fly in a small market like Florida or Milwaukee but it’s just fine in Chicago. He’s not running his mouth because he can’t take the pressure of the city. He’s just insane. That’s all it is.

With Griffey, I don’t think you can expect much in a trade. Hopefully a young pitching prospect because you can never have too many of those. The trade is more so to establish that a new era has come. As long as Griff is there, he is the de facto leader. He makes the most money and is the most recognizable face. He’s our oldest regular and without him I don’t think we have a regular position player over 31 or 32. You would begin to indentify the Red’s with Bruce, Volquez and the bunch as opposed to Griff. Sportscenter STILL leads our highlights with Griff. Not to mention freeing up the 8 million dollars Junior makes this season. Don’t get me wrong: I love Junior. I’ll never forget when and where I was when I found out the Reds traded for him. He’s one of the best I’ve ever seen play the game and I’m glad I got to experience him firsthand. It’s a shame the injury bug got him or we’d be counting down to his 800th home run instead of his 600th. I love him but it’s clear he and the team want two different things. He wants a ring to solidify his legacy and we can’t give him that this season. He’d be best suited going to DH for someone, the White Sox maybe, and hoping to get a ring. We’ll be better off playing our young guys everyday as opposed to getting a 38 year old Junior some at bats. It’s a win-win situation.

While I’m on baseball, I have a question for you. I asked you the same during football season: If you could add any position player in MLB to the Tigers, who would it be? If I had my druthers, I’d add Hanley Ramirez to the Reds. He plays a position we need a young guy in at shortstop, and is an absolute stud. He leads off now, but with time you can tell he’ll move down in the lineup to take advantage of his hitting. Last year, he hit .332, with 29 homers and 81 RBI’s from the leadoff spot. Not to mention his 51 stolen bases. He’s only 24 and watching him play, he seems to carry himself very well…at least until I find out he’s 36 and not 24. Who would you add to Detroit?

Now to Basketball. Boston looked great in Game One. Perkins and Pierce weren’t 100 percent for the while game, KG was 1-6 in the fourth quarter (Surprise, surprise) and they still won by double digits. Kobe genuinely looked baffled by the Celt’s D and I think he’s one bad shooting night from reverting to old Kobe. Let him go 7-24 in Game 2 and there won’t be enough buses to throw his teammates under! Granted no one on the Laker’s stood out in Game 1. Lamar Odom was his underachieving self. I’m convinced Jerry Buss pays Odom before each game. If his check is in the mailbox, Odom goes for 22 points-14 boards-5 assists. If Buss is a little short, he gets 12 points- 4 boards- 5 turnovers. I’m going to go with Lakers in Game 2. Kobe tried the “shoot my way out of a slump’ thing in Game 1 and it didn’t work. Tonight he gets Gasol and the boys involved before he takes over. I realized I forgot to make a pick for the series before it started so I’ll refrain from making one now. I don’t really care who wins, I just want a good series. I’d like to see if Kobe really has matured as a player and man and has shaped his legacy. I’d also like to see KG go all out for a chance to polish his own legacy. I don’t see the series going less than 6 either way.

No, I’ve never seen any Indiana Jones movie. Or Pulp Fiction. Or Scarface. Or The Godfather…any of them. I’m not a big movie buff as you can tell. How was Indiana Jones? I’m still trying to piece together The Notebook. So were the old dead people the same people as the the younger couple or what?

-Tyler

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Are You a Man, or the Opposite of a Man?

First off, I'll say this: I'm never comfortable with any sort of lead in a series. 3-1? I felt pretty good about it, going so far as to give the Wings the Cup already...but in the back of my mind, I'm thinking, "The Penguins can still come back and win this."
Now the series is 3-2 and heading back to Pittsburgh, where the Penguins have lost only one game this postseason. Could the Penguins win and force a Game 7? Possibly. As a Wings fan I would hate to see that. My nerves are on end after that triple-overtime game as it is. But as a hockey fan? There's nothing greater than a Game 7 in the Stanley Cup Finals. As you said, anything could happen.
With that being said...
I still see this series as Detroit's to lose. They're clearly the better team. How did the Penguins win two games? Their first win came because the Wings made some mistakes, and the Pen's played out of their minds...and they still only won by 1 goal. Their second win came because Fleury played the game of his life, and Osgood had a couple of meltdowns (as did the Wings defense). Seriously...52 saves? Granted, some of them were shots from the blue line, but a number of those shots were good, quality shots...shots that normally would've found the back of the net. With Fleury playing his best game, it still took the Pens until triple overtime to win. It was a great win for them, but I just don't see them taking the series.
Unless...
Fleury has to play like he did, and the Penguins have to step up their intensity at both ends. Also, Malkin needs to get going. If all these things happen, then they have a shot. If not? Well...you know.
Are you watching the Stanley Cup Finals?

The Tigers are out of the cellar...but not by much. I still think that they can pull themselves out of this, but they need to win (and score) more consistently than they have been. The White Sox are at the top of the division, and they have a great team, but I can see them faltering after the All Star break. How much longer does Ozzie have to spout off like an idiot before he becomes a distraction to his team? He's calling out the GM now, one of the only guys who defended him over the years. If this was a terrible team, I might be able to understand it. But this is a team that is currently at the top of its division. How much longer is he the manager of the White Sox if this keeps up?

You mentioned a Griffey trade, which is something I've been listening for. Let him get his 600, then ship him out the door. He's getting older...we all know that. He's not as quick as he once was, but he's still a pretty good fielder, and he still has a gun. However, with the Reds mired in mediocrity (or worse) yet again, I can't see him finishing the season as a Red.
So here's the question: realistically, what can they expect in return for him? A couple promising prospects? They wouldn't want to get another old guy, and I doubt they could get a good, young, everyday player for him at this point.
Jay Bruce is looking really good, though. At some point, pitchers will figure him out and his average will start to level out a little bit. Even so, those numbers are impressive. Very impressive. With their young core, they could be very good in the not-too-distant future (you know, if Dusty Baker doesn't kill Volquez and Cueto).

I would like to see this Chase Utley steroid video. If Amy Winehouse is in the other room with a pipe of some sort, all the better.

Lakers/Celtics. I guess we all knew it was going to happen, even if I bucked against it for so long. I'm not a big fan of either team, so I'm just looking for a good series, which it could be. It also could be a terrible series. Let's not talk about the players for a second here. If you had to pick the game by looking at the coaches, who would you favor? On one side, you have Phil Jackson, the legendary coach with 9 championship rings. On the other side, you have Doc Rivers, who looks like he's not quite sure how he got to the game on most nights.



Even if the teams are dead even, the Lakers have a HUGE coaching advantage.
So how matched are the teams? Well, it decides on who plays on any given night. Kobe is Kobe...he'll get his stats and impose his will. He should be good for at least 2 wins by himself (if not more). Gasol has always been a good player, and he's showing that he's a fantastic second option. He'll be solid, and we can probably expect at least one fairly big game from him (fairly big = 25/15).
Then it gets tricky. We we've discussed before, Odom can be huge, or he can kill the team. I figure he has 3 good games in him. I imagine they'll match him up on Garnett, and he should do a good job.
Fisher will probably put up solid numbers, and he'll no doubt be on the floor at the end of a close game.
Who's after that? Walton? Vujacic? Farmar? They can come alive for a game or two, but none of them are great options. But, after Kobe and Gasol, do they really need anything other than role players?
The Celtics have (of course), Garnett, Pierce and Allen. However, as has been the case in these playoffs, it is rare to see all of them come alive in the same game. If they can put it together, they can be deadly. Pierce is a great player: he can drive to the hoop, he can hit outside shots, and, if he catches fire, he can be downright nasty. Garnett is fierce...there's no other way around it. He can put up points, he crashes boards, and he blocks/redirects shots. Allen? Well...he's a spot-up shooter. But, when he's on, he doesn't miss. He can be a true sharp shooter.
To go along with these guys, they have Rondo (capable of a fairly big game), Davis (more on factor on defense than offense), Posey, Perkins, and Cassell (granted, Cassell hasn't been that great, but he is more than capable of hitting a big shot at the end of a game. He's also more than capable of losing a game for the Celtics, but that's another matter entirely).
On paper, the Celtics have more firepower...but they're inconsistent at best. As I said, the combo of Pierce/Garnett/Allen rarely have a big game on the same night. Ditto for the role players. They can be good for solid numbers, but they can also be good for terrible performances.
The Lakers have the best player on the floor in Kobe. They also have a big man in the middle who can score. Odom can be good or terrible (depending on the night), but Kobe and Gasol are usually pretty consistent. When you play the Lakers, you know where their points are coming from...but that doesn't mean you can stop them.

After looking at all of this, I'm still taking the Lakers, and I'm still taking them in 5.

Oh yeah...Flip Saunders got fired. I can't say I'm surprised, but it's always a little strange when a team who makes it as consistently far as the Pistons have fire their coach. Do I give him the credit for their success? No...but I don't put all the blame on him for their failures, either. That's a team that obviously needs a stronger presence on the bench...the players just seem to coast through way too many games, thinking their talent and experience will guide them to victory. Apparently, you still have to play the game. I'm a little curious as to who they'll be going after to fill their vacancy, though. Should be an interesting offseason for the Pistons.

You've never seen an Indiana Jones movie all the way through? Are you a man, or a little girl, with little pigtails, and a little dress?

How about Iron Man? Or are you still trying to figure out all the subtle nuances of Sex and the City?

-Dusty

Playoffs coming to an end

A Laker’s-Celtic’s Final. Somewhere David Stern is slipping his referee’s an unidentified amount of cash for making this happen. I hear you on Kobe’s finger but if a team of wily vets, read: cheap shot artists, like Robert Horry and Bruce Bowen couldn’t take advantage of it, then I doubt the Celtics will. I actually think it will be a good series. Yes, Kobe is trying to cement his legacy as a great but the Celtic’s have three guys playing for legacy. Ray Allen is trying to prove the last couple rounds were a fluke and he is the greatest shooter of all time. Pierce is trying to prove he belongs in the Kobe-LeBron-McGrady-Wade level of stars as opposed to being thought of as second tier. Garnett is playing for everything. I literally mean everything. Is he worthy of “Best PF of all time?” discussion with Duncan or is he the “Best that never won a ring?” discussion with Barkley and Malone. If the Celtic’s lose the Finals, it may take weeks to scrape Garnett’s carcass of off the court. I really think this series will be a great one.

As you said the X-factors, come down to the supporting players. If KG guards Gasol, who guards Odom? Can Odom exploit whatever mismatch Boston throws at him? Actually, we know he can do it. The question is WILL he do it for 7 games. Also, who on the Lakers guards Kendrick Perkins? He’s no star but he looked good against Detroit’s interior defense and the Laker’s don’t have the bodies to throw at him that Detroit did. If he can duplicate his success there, it will be big. As you mentioned, will KG continue to settle for mediocre shots? Gasol is too slow for him and I don’t think Odom is big enough in the paint to defend Garnett. It may not matter if Garnett continues to take fade away jumpers from 20 feet for no real reason. Outside of players on Orlando, I get the angriest at KG and LeBron for taking shots like that. You have arguably the two most athletic people in the league settling for off balance fade away after off balance fade away.

Red Wings lost a tough one last night. Worried? Game 6 is back in Pittsburgh and if they can pull that one out anything can happen in a Game 7.

I agree on the refs calling floppers next year. It will probably eliminate the fringe players like Anderson Vareajo flopping, but what about the stars? I saw Chris Paul get tapped and do a 360 before hitting the ground like a lame duck. Will refs have the cajones to call a flop on a star player? What about Manu Ginobili who cries every time the whistle is blown his way? Will he just take the ball and go home if he’s hit with a Flagrant 3: Flop next season? Jeff Van Gundy had the best idea about the matter. Each flop is like a Technical or Flagrant and after a certain amount, not only are you suspended a game, but you have to wear a scarlet “F”.

Odell Thurman failed yet another drug test which led to his release. I knew there had to be something else to it. I often bash the Bengals for their decisions but I have to commend them for getting rid of Henry and Thurman, as well as standing pat when it comes to Chad Johnson. It appears Chad has come around and is ready to play this month. Here’s to a month of predicting what antics he’ll pull in July.

Jay Bruce. Good Lord. In 7 games, he has a .577 average, a game winning home run, scored a winning run and had at least 2 hits in 5 of the 7 games. I am ecstatic for the Jay Bruce era. I know his beginner’s luck won’t last forever, but with he, Votto, Volquez and Cueto, I am legitimately enthusiastic for the Red’s future. As soon as Griffey hits homer #600, he’ll be shipped out and we can really start the rebuilding.

Tiger’s are out of the cellar….so that’s good.

I have not seen the Indiana Jones movie. To be honest I haven’t seen any Indiana Jones’ movie in its entirety. I know, I know, woe is me.

What would you say if I were to tell you that I might or might not have video of
Chase Utley using steroids? Would it make me cool? Because if it would, I’ll let you see the video. Because I have the videos. I have them here with me right now. But if it wouldn’t make me cool, I’ll go away.

~Tyler..Walsh