Tuesday, July 29, 2008

You know,...

....your mention of the minor league brawl was the first I had heard of it. Seriously. My mother asked me had I seen it before I had. My mother! I am slacking as a sports fan. When I finally did catch footage of it, I was in awe. Nearly every basebrawl looks the same: One on one at the mound until both benches clear and there is ruckus on the mound. Yea, been there, done that. Never have I seen a pitcher whip a fastball toward a dugout inadvertently hitting a fan, and then getting his back jumped on by Michael J. Fox. Unbelievable.

The WNBA "brawl" was significant for two reasons to me: First, I am a fan of Candace Parker. We're getting married one day; She just doesn't know it yet. Second, in the 10 or 11 years of the WNBA, do you ever remember a brawl? Even a minor scuffle? I don't and this is one of the main reasons the WNBA will never succeed the way it could. The NBA is more competitive which leads to better games. Is it because men are more competitive by nature or because they are being paid more so they damn well better win a fight every once in a while? It could be some of both but one major brawl in over a decade is a bad sign. It's not like there aren't disagreements in the WNBA because disagreements happen in every pickup game all over the world. Fights happens, they just do. So why is this the first memorable brawl in the WNBA's history? I'm also not so sure it would be memorable if the WNBA's poster girl Parker, wasn't involved. And yes I do agree with you, I didn't turn my head to the screen until I heard "And this is where Rick Mahorn shoved Lisa Leslie to the ground."

<span class=

This ad was pulled by Nike because of complaints of it's blatant racism against Blacks and Homosexuals. How dare Nike show a man getting dunked on? Who do they think they are? Your thoughts?

Favre has officially been reinstated? I'm not surprised at all because we all knew it was coming but I really do wish he would have reconsidered and stayed retired. On his way to New York?


Friday, July 25, 2008

Baseball and Chick Fights

Fantastic point about LeBron. Personally, I don't think he'd ever do it, but you bring up a very convincing argument. With Childress jumping over, it could open the door for a number of other players to cross over into the European league. Like you said, there's no salary cap, so, if a team had the money, they could pay whatever they darn well feel like. LeBron does have the goal to be a global icon. Like I said, I can't see it happening...but it is an interesting point, and it does open the door for other players who are talented, but not quite able to crack a starting line-up. I, like you, have been a fan of Childreen since he entered the league. He's not flashy, but he gets the job done. I hope he does well over there.

Glad you liked "The Dark Knight". I was amazed at how much I laughed at The Joker. After all, he was such a deprived character, thriving in a world of chaos and anarchy. He killed people. He mutilated people. But he seemed to be having so much fun doing it, that I couldn't help but laugh. I'm wanting to go see it again. Soon.

I'm surprised you didn't mention the minor league baseball brawl. That has to be one of the craziest things I've ever heard. In the middle of a brawl, the pitcher fires a ball into the opposing dugout, misses, and hits a fan. The fan ends up in the hospital, and the pitcher ends up in prison with a 50K bail. Now that's a brawl.

So the WNBA brawl, while fantastic, takes a backseat. However, I did enjoy it. Something about a whole bunch of crazy looking women pushing each other around was pretty entertaining. My favorite part of the brawl, though, was Rick Mahorn getting suspended for pushing Lisa Leslie to the ground. Just take a second and re-read that last sentence. That's why I love sports...you never know what's going to happen next.

The Brewers are looking good. I wouldn't want to play them right now. And the Cubs are kind of self-destructing. I keep thinking that they'll go on a run when Soriano comes back...but he has a history of taking longer than originally thought to come back from injuries, and slumping a bit when he finally does come back. I'll still take them to win the division, but doubts are beginning to creep into my mind.

I'll tell you why we didn't talk about the Mets: because they completely blew up last year, and I figured that would have some lasting effects. I had given that division to the Phillies, with the Braves finishing second. The Braves have been less than spectacular, but the Phillies have been playing pretty well this year. The Marlins have played better than anyone could've predicted. The Nationals are...well...the Nationals. By the way, have you seen Dmitri Young this year? He has to weigh in the 300 range. Why have there not been more articles written on this?

At the moment, my two favorite Cool Kids tracks are "What Up Man" and "88". The entire album is pretty much along those lines, so, if you like those songs, you're sure to love the album. (By the way, it took me a couple of listens to get into, but, once I did, I loved it. "What Up Man" kind of got on my nerves at first, but now it's one of my favorite songs.)


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Cleveland Globetrotter?

I'll start with this: I saw "Dark Knight' a couple of days ago. Amazing. One of the better movies I have seen in a while. Ledger was unbelievable. Any talking or laughing in the theater ceased whenever he came on the screen. He was that captivating. Aaron Eckhart also did a great job of playing Harvey Dent/ Two-Face. I have but one gripe with the movie, and it's nitpicking really, but here it is: Harvey Dent is on the top of the world as the DA of Gotham City. Bruce Wayne is a billionaire who could do whatever and whomever he pleased. Yet they both go crazy over Maggie Gyllenhaal? Really? Jessica Alba or somebody like that wouldn't have been better suited for that role? Ok, I'm done nitpicking. Fantastic movie.

Something on my mind today is the Josh Childress deal. A great 6th man signs a deal to play in Greece in an unprecedented move. Good move for Josh. Living in Georgia allowed me to unfortunately watch many of the Hawks game and I can tell you that Childress can play. He is a very fundamentally sound player so the international game should come easy to him. The money is guaranteed, he has the right to opt out of the contract after every year, and the team is paying the taxes for him. What's not to love? Many people will mention that inflation and gas prices drove him over there, and I'm sure it played a factor, but I seriously doubt a guy who made 3.6 million a year last year as Childress did, is bargain hunting for gas in the $3.90's. Will he be a star who averages a 30-10-10 and leaves a trail of broken bodies in his way? Doubtful, but you know who could do that? LeBron James. His contract is up in a couple of seasons and he has all but packed his bags to leave Cleveland. The Knicks or Nets seem to be likely destinations, but why not overseas? When asked a few years ago what his ultimate goal was at the end of his career, James responded," To be a global icon." What better way to be a global icon than to, you know, play around the globe? The contract offered to Childress was the largest in Euroleague history and there is no salary cap, so a team could potentially match any offer a NBA team gives to LBJ. Not to mention the perks of the team paying the taxes and the option of opting out after each season would sweeten the deal. I'm sure LBJ's sponsors, namely Nike, would grease his pockets for a little extra marketing overseas. The deal would be worth his while financially. Also, LeBron is 23 now. By the summer of 2010 when he is a free agent, he will be 25. He could play 3 full years overseas, then come back to the NBA to hit his prime at age 28. There's the whole transition thing, but I'm sure he could afford to move a good number of his family and friends with him to keep him company. Of course, there is a 1 in a trillion chance any of this happens, but there is a chance.

The Brewers are 5-0 since the All-Star Break. The Cubs are 1-4 and have scored 4 total runs in those 5 games. Sabathia is 3-0 with two complete games since being acquired. Harden has pitched well has no wins in his two starts since joining the team. The Brewers have won 2 straight against the Cardinals and go for a third win tonight with Sabathia on the mound. The Cubs have lost 2 straight against the .500 Diamondbacks are trying to avoid getting swept tonight. The Brewers have won their last 6 games to pass the Cardinals for second place in the NL Central. The Cubs now have only a one game lead on the Brewers. A 4 game Cubs-Brewers series, in Milwaukee, looms at the end of the month. The Takeover is now!

We haven't talked a lot about the Mets, but I'm curious as to your thoughts about them. They acquired the best pitcher in the offseason, yet neither of us picked them to make the playoffs. I just watched them split a series with Cincinnati and they just gave up first place in the division to Philly and are tied for 2nd with the Marlins. What's the deal with a team with that much talent?

PS- Thoughts on the WNBA "scuffle"?


Saturday, July 19, 2008

WWFD- What Will Favre Do?

I gotta disagree with you on "Dr. Carter". It's not the best song on the album or the most original idea for a song ever but it's something new. Would you have preferred a song dedicated to the watch he loves so much? Cut him some slack. He stepped out on a limb and it worked well in my opinion. How often have you heard a song with a concept like that? Jay-Z himself claims he wishes he would have thought of something similar. Then again, you hate Jay-Z, America and apple pie so what can I expect?

You're the second person to recommend Cool Kids to me, so I guess I'll give them a listen. Any suggestions on a few songs to get me started.

I really don't know what to think about the Favre thing anymore. He wants to play again but won't apply for reinstatement because he'd have to sit on the bench. One side of me wants to tell him to sit his old ass down somewhere, but the other side of me wonders if the Broncos would have ever did that to Elway or the Dolphins to Marino? Clearly not. At this point, the damage has been done, so why not trade him? If the unthinkable happens and they bring him back to start for Green Bay, the tension between the team would be unreal. Why not trade him? The Vikings and Bears are out of the picture for obvious reasons. The Ravens wouldn't be a bad destination but I can tell you this: The Ravens are not the Ravens of the past. They are in our division so I watch as much of the Ravens as I can and they are not the same team that was "A quarterback away" for so many years. The defense has slipped and the offensive line has taken a big hit with the retirement of Jonathan Ogden. Also the competition of the Steelers, Browns and even my Bengals play well against the Ravens, don't guarantee Favre a playoff spot, nonetheless one last shot at the Super Bowl. My pick? The Chiefs. They have an easy schedule playing only 5 games against playoff teams from last year, 2 of them against the division rival Chargers. The Broncos and Raiders will provide little opposition and the Chargers fail in the post season year after year. Why not the Chiefs? An improving defense, receiving weapons in Dwayne Bowe and Tony Gonzalez, and Larry Johnson coming off of an injury plagued season with something to prove. LJ is ecstatic to get a competent quarterback and Gonzalez catches passes from a legend, as opposed to Damon Huard. Favre could groom Brodie Croyle as the QB of the future but here's the big thing: The Chiefs don't play the Packers in 2008 or 2009, in case Favre decides too add one more year to his original one more year. The Packer's get a conditional draft pick and everybody wins.

I enjoyed "Hancock" for the most part. The part I didn't enjoy was this: I can not stand movies where the plot is not at least a little bit conceivable. Aliens invade the planet? Eh, it could happen. A child breaks his arm and ends up throwing 100 mph fastballs for the Cubs? Stranger things have happened I reckon. An alcoholic with the potential to takeover the universe if he could put the bottle down? Not so much. We've discussed this before but "Teen Wolf" is a fine piece of cinema, if you can get past the fact that the plot could never happen. All 5 foot 2 of Michael J. Fox turns into Julius Erving at the sight of a full moon. I'm supposed to believe that? I know movies are where fictitious things come to life but I like movies I can at least believe have a one in a billion chance of happening. Other than that, "Hancock" was cool though.

Usually with big movies, I can find at least one naysayer. Not the case with the "Dark Knight". All I have heard is how amazing it is and people echoing your sentiments on Ledger's final performance. A friend told me that if they come to a sequel, there is no way they find anyone to play The Joker as well as Ledger. He was that good. Powerful words like that make me want to see it and hopefully I'll get around to that soon.


Lil Wayne & Favre Meet The Dark Knight

Explain my reasoning? I don't really feel like I have to, but I'll try.
"Dr. Carter" is just plain obnoxious. The actual idea of the song is terrible. "Hey guys...I'm going to make a song where I act like I'm a doctor. This nurse will come in from time to time and give me another patient, suffering from...oh, let's see...lack of concept, originality, etc." You can't tell me that that is a good idea. Do you know why you can't tell me that? Because it's not.
Here's the deal: I'm kind of coming around to the album a little more. I put it back on my iPod, and I'm listening to it a little more. His voice is growing on me a little bit, but I still hate that song. I hate it, and I'm pretty sure that will never change. I'll keep you posted.
I think I'm a fan of the Cool Kids. It's two guys that have decided to embrace old-school rap. The beats are relatively simple and sparse, but never boring. They're not as good as Black Star, but it's the same general concept. Check 'em out, if you get the chance.

I'm on board with Gilbert Brown joining up with Sabathia and Fielder. With any luck, Brown is still in the neighborhood of his "playing weight". This would surely be an upgrade over the majority of the reality shows that are currently sapping the life out of television.

There's still a lot of weird stuff going on with Favre, and I'm having a hard time figuring out where I stand on it all. It seems like there is new information surfacing a couple of times a day. Now the tampering charge against the Vikings? Guess where Favre won't be playing. It's just all a bit too crazy. Favre looks bad. The Packers organization looks bad. No one looks good in this situation. It's just sad.
I am, first and foremost, a Packers fan. I will cheer for the Packers regardless of how this situation pans out. But I'm also a Favre fan, and will likely cheer for him on whatever team he ends up with. Here's what makes me cringe, though. Who would be a perfect fit for Favre? The Ravens. I don't know that I could bring myself to cheer for the Ravens, even with Favre behind center.

I have not seen "Hancock". Not yet. What did you think of it? I've heard good things about it, but I currently have a list of movies to see this summer, and "Hancock" is a little ways down the list. The new "X-Files" movie comes out next week, with the new "Mummy" movie coming out the next week. I still want to see "Hellboy II" and "Wanted", as well. There have been way too many good movies coming out this summer.
I did see "The Dark Knight" last night. Holy crap. Just...holy crap. I know everyone is giving it glowing reviews, so I'll spare you a long one here. Suffice it to say it may be the best superhero movie ever made. It's so dark and intense. Just fantastic stuff. And I know that everyone has been making a big deal about Heath Ledger as The Joker, and I didn't want to be one of those people, but...unbelievable. He really was the star of the movie. He was absolutely fantastic. I can't say enough good things about him in that role.


Saturday, July 12, 2008

Elton vs. Baron: Where Uncommon Names Happen

I’ve heard “Dr. Carter” described with many terms but obnoxious was not one of them. Please explain your reasoning sir.

Good point on the A’s selling high on pitchers. I remember a time when Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder and Barry Zito were a scary trio of pitcher, yet since breaking up, none have pitched that well. Mulder had a good season with the Cardinals, Hudson has had some solid years with the Braves but nothing spectacular, and nothing needs to be said about Zito. Billy Beane and Moneyball are faring pretty well. Like you said, anytime you can get a guy like Harden without giving up anything major, it’s a good deal but I can still see the Cubs falling by the wayside and the Brewers winning that division. The Cubbies have been playing well lately but the Reds and Giants are hardly competition.

Sabathia and Fielder absolutely need a television show. I’m thinking Gilbert Brown as a neighbor (He’s gotta still live in Wisconsin right?) I can only imagine our protagonists going to the movies and ordering the entire popcorn machine as opposed to a single box. It’s funny because their fat.

The Elton Brand situation is a tough one. I want to believe Brand but I just can’t. Something tells me he had an underground agreement with Baron Davis. Yes, Davis wanted to play in his hometown but he also wants to win. He’ll always be from LA and have a chance to reside there but he only has a limited window to win a championship. He could have gone back to Golden State if he wanted to play on an above average team. I think Brand told him that he would re-sign if Baron came to town, then split on him. Brand is a good player but lest we forget he played in 8 games last year and has only made the playoffs once in his career. He will improve Philly but I honestly don’t see him pushing Philly into the top 4 of the Eastern Conference of Boston, Detroit, Orlando and Cleveland. Everything fell together at the right time for the Sixers last season, and they still didn’t even hit .500 last season. They won 2 against Detroit but that was more on Detroit’s focus, or lack thereof, than the talent of Philadelphia. I think Elton knew all along he was leaving but once Baron opted out he had to tell him something. A NBA player will never blast another for getting paid, so Elton took that option rather than telling Baron he wanted to leave LA. Now Baron has to toil away his final NBA years in mediocrity.

We’ve had our discussions on Favre and you know where I stand on this. I think he should stay retired. It appears the Packers are ready to move on without him, and honestly I can’t blame them. This isn’t baseball where Roger Clemens can decide he’s ready to pitch in June and sign with a squad. Football is a much more difficult sport. A team needs to know what it’s going to bat with as early as possible. This team has committed to Aaron Rodgers and it’s time to evaluate their investment. I know things change and people change their minds but what made Favre decide this was it? He lost to Eli Manning, a quarterback we can agree isn’t an upper echelon QB in the league. What made him think after a couple months off that maybe he can make one last hurrah? Obviously he’s got enough in the tank; especially for a team that doesn’t need him to do much (Is that Minnesota on the line?) So as a Packers fan and Favre faithful, if he must be traded, what would you like in return for him? Or would you rather see him cut for nothing, without the obligation of the franchise that wouldn’t give Brett Favre one last hurrah?

I, Mr. I haven’t seen a movie that’s came out within the past 10 years, saw a recent movie. Its title was “Hancock”. Have you seen it?


Friday, July 11, 2008

Citizen's of Chicago...Hold Your Breath!

Yes, Lil' Wayne's voice really grates on me that much. On top of his voice, he doesn't really seem to "feel the flow" all that well. Translation: half the time, he doesn't seem to be rapping with the beat, but just slightly off. I also can't stand his little laugh. I'll try to listen to it again, but I'm not thinking it's going to turn out well.
Also, "Dr. Carter" is terribly obnoxious. I'm sorry, but it is...it really is.

Sabathia to the Brewers (where he had a great first start). What do the Cubs do? Why, they trade for Rich "Glass Man" Harden, of course. If he can stay healthy, this is a great move for Chicago. They get a great pitcher without giving up too much. With the talent they have, they should be able to do some serious damage. Zambrano came back and pitched a great game against Cincy, and Soriano should be back after the All Star Break. I think it'll be tough for the Brewers to win this division.
Even if Harden breaks down at some point this season (which is highly likely), they still are in pretty good shape. Like I said, they didn't really give up too much to get him, so their team is still pretty well in tact.
One more thought on Harden. If the A's let a pitcher go, chances are they know a little something. Dan Haren is playing well in Arizona, but, after letting Bary Zito go (and watching him tank in San Francisco), I'm forced to believe that the A's have some inside information into their pitchers. "Let's not pursue Zito...he won't be any good next year." Let's just say that, if Harden's arm falls off within the next year, the A's won't be too surprised.
I do like the image of Fielder and Sabathia going to a buffet together. In fact, I like the image of those guys just hanging out together. Going to a movie. Playing ping-pong. Mowing the lawn (Fielder mows while Sabathia takes care of the edging). This is a reality series in the making.

It's time for a little bit of "He Said, He Said", starring Elton Brand and the LA Clippers! First off, I would like to say that I was pretty shocked by this whole thing. After the Baron Davis signing, I (like many others) assumed that Brand would be returning to the Clippers. All the reports were that Brand was taking a pay cut so that the Clippers could pursue from free agents (mainly Davis) and make the team better.
Well, something happened, and Brand is now in Philly. I can't blame him, really. Even with Davis on board, the Western conference is bound to be tough next year...it's not a given that the Clippers would have made the playoffs. However, by Brand jumping ship to Philly next year, he's all but guaranteed to be in the playoffs again. The Eastern Conference is definitely the weaker of the two conferences. There are three big teams in the East (Boston, Detroit, and Cleveland), and that's it. And those teams have their flaws: Boston has a great team, but they're old, and one injury could make them a lot less dominant. Detroit is getting older, and, from the sounds of things, is pretty close to blowing up their team and building around a core of Prince, Hamilton and Stuckey. Cleveland has LeBron and...well, that's about it. Philly took Detroit to 6 games in the playoffs last year. If Brand comes back from his injury with any force at all (and I think he will), he will automatically make this Sixers team a contender in the East.
But who do you believe? I think I'm going to side with Brand on this one, mainly because Mike Dunleavy looks like a used car salesman...and a bad one at that. Frankly, I don't believe a single word he says. It all seems a little strange, and we'll probably never know who is telling the truth, but I'll throw my hat in with Brand. Best of luck in the East.

And now, the topic I've been avoiding.
I am an unashamed Favre apologist. Has he made mistakes? Yes...but I don't throw a massive amount of blame on him. If I see something is clearly his fault, I'll claim it as such. But, when a lot of people are saying terrible things about him, I'll back him up.
For instance:
I got so sick of everyone saying that Favre was manipulating the media by going through his "Should I retire?" routine for the past four years. I don't put that on Favre. I put that on the media. After all, he wasn't calling press conferences and saying, "I don't know if I'll retire...any questions?" He had to do press conferences, and everyone kept asking the same question: "Are you coming back next year?" He didn't know, so he told them so. Since that's the only question that members of the media knew, it's all they asked. Retirement is a big decision, and he wasn't quick to make that decision, so he kept saying, "I don't know." And they call this media manipulation? Spare me.
Now, to the issue at hand.
I blame Green Bay management. Favre showed last year that he can still play at a high level. He made a mistake during a crucial time in a crucial game...I know that. I also know that he isn't perfect...not by a long shot. However, I also know that Favre is a legend. He has been the face of the Packers franchise for a loooooong time. For management to sit back as silently as they did really says something. Maybe they wanted to go in a different direction. Maybe they truly feel that Rodgers gives them the better chance to win. But don't they at least owe him an explanation? Tell him that to his face. Tell him they'll do whatever they can to make sure he goes to the team that he wants to go to. I think he's earned that much. If they still wanted him, they should have done everything they could to talk him back into coming back.
So he announced his retirement, and it was sad.
But now he wants to play again. And what does Packers management do? Why, they sit back and say nothing. Granted, I know no one wants their vacation interrupted. But, if your quarterback (a living legend and a god in Green Bay) lets you know that he is having second thoughts and wants to come back, you call him back. You let him know exactly what's going on. "I'm sorry Brett, we've moved forward. What can we do to make this move easier for you?" It doesn't take much.
The silence told Favre all he needed to know. For whatever reason, they didn't want him back, and they apparently didn't respect him enough to tell him face-to-face.
So he'll now seek a new team to play for. I keep telling myself, "Montana played for the Chiefs," but it doesn't make it any easier.
I am a Packers fan. I will always cheer for them, no matter who is on their team. That's what a fan does. But I'm also a Favre fan. Wherever he ends up, I'll be cheering for him, and hoping that he is able to make a run at another Lombardi Trophy. But it just won't feel right watching him play in another jersey.


Monday, July 7, 2008


Not surprisingly, I loved the Lil’ Wayne CD. His first album came out when I was in 5th grade and I’ve been listening to him every since and I believe this is one of his best efforts. You hated it so naturally I loved it. I think the first 6 songs, bar one, are one of the better starts to an album I’ve heard. “Three-peat” built a nice pace for the album. “Mr. Carter” was a great beat and both artists ripped the track, yet I’m sure you disagree since you are fans of neither Mr. Carter. I’ve heard “A Milli” played in neighborhoods from Ohio down to Georgia and it doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon. “Comfortable” is a great track and a response to Beyonce’s “To the left, to the left” demands. And did you even think Babyface knew who Lil’ Wayne was? Nonetheless perform on a track with him. “Dr. Carter” is one of the more creative tracks that I’ve heard in a long time. After that, the album does fade in quality a little bit but there are enough gems (“Let the Beat Build”, “Playing With Fire”) to keep the album interesting. Is his voice really the only reason you don’t like it? He sounds like that all the time! He keeps a cup of syrup with him and has been arrested for having various drugs on him. Him sounded drug out isn’t news and frankly I’d be a little worried if he hopped on a track completely sober.

Yes, Shaq is my favorite player of all time and his personality would help sell tickets, which is something to consider when building a team. Shaq was easily more dominant in his prime than Duncan and just about anyone else in history, but I’ll take Duncan. You say Duncan has been slowed by injuries and age but his stats certainly haven’t showed it. Duncan has only averaged more than 25 ppg once, while Shaq has 10 times, consecutive at that, but Duncan has never averaged less than 18 ppg, which Shaq has for his last three seasons. Both are great rebounders, defenders and passing big men but the consistency is what gives Duncan the nod for me. Good point, on Shaq and wasted potential. I wouldn’t say “wasted” per se because his career resulted in 4 rings and numerous accomplishments but I see where you were going with it. Just think, in his rookie year, Shaq averaged 23 ppg, 13 rpg, and 3.5 bpg. No one has done that in the past 5 years, and Shaq did it in his rookie year. The sky really was the limit for him, but he got content. He became content with coasting through the regular season and milking injuries and then turning it on for the postseason. Not a bad strategy considering Lamar Odom can’t even turn it on for two straight games, but still: The greats would never grow content. Duncan hasn’t. He hasn’t had trouble stepping aside to let younger players star, as Shaq has. If Shaq would have only realized that deferring to Penny and Kobe at times could have extended his career, he might be my choice but he never realized it. Also, when was the last time you heard Duncan rip a teammate in the press. Shaq has ripped Penny, Kobe and even Ricky Davis in the press. Ricky Davis is a saint, how dare Shaq? My point is Duncan will be a model teammate and will not alienate anyone as Shaq has. There’s a reason Shaq is on his fourth team and Duncan is the face of San Antonio. Duncan’s the choice here.

Sabathia to the Brewers. My sleeper pick lives! Huzzah! They have won 5 of their last 6 and moved in to second place at only 3.5 games behind the Cubs. The Cubs are 3-3 in their last 6 games and only 4-6 in their last 10 games. What a great move by the Brewers. After the season they likely lose Ben Sheets to free agency so why not roll the dice? If it works out, the NL is up for grabs and they might as well go for it. If not? They lose Sabathia, Sheets AND Eric Gagne to free agency. Even then, not a total loss because Gagne’s corpse is off the books. They give up some prospects for a guy determined to make himself a lot of money over the last few months of the season. Sabathia is 6-8 in a much tougher division as well as league. 6-8 in the AL is like 9-5 in the NL. He gives them a nice 1-2, righty-lefty combo with Sheets and his presence could boost the whole team’s morale. He’s won his last three starts and a change of scenery could be what he needs to get his stuff back. You don’t lost stuff like that in a year, unless you’re Dontrelle Willis. In a best case scenario, the Brewers do make a playoff run and Sabathia and Sheets decide to re-up AND Gagne comes off the books. Plus, isn’t Milwaukee the nation’s fattest state? Sabathia is listed at 290 pounds but I just need to know which side of his ass that was. Do you think if Golden Corral sees Sabathia and Prince Fielder coming they just shut off the lights, unplug the floor and lay on the ground? How does that work out? A rare win-win-win situation if I’ve ever heard one. He'll fit right in.


Saturday, July 5, 2008

Lil' Wayne vs. Duncan vs. Shaq

I've got a music question to lead things off:
What's up with Lil' Wayne? I've heard nothing but great stuff about his new album, Tha Carter III, so I listened to it. My review? At first I was just annoyed, but then I got severely confused. "Why do people like this? Why does he sound so terrible? Was he even coherent as he was recording this? He really likes his watch...I gotta see this thing." I think he was a combination of drunk, high, and asleep during the recording of this album. If Conor Oberst got drunk and decided to rap, I think it would sound like this. The production wasn't terrible, but I don't like his voice. I just don't understand, I guess.

Duncan or Shaq in their prime? We all know where this is headed. I'll take Duncan (for reasons to be explained shortly), and you'll take Shaq (because he's one of your all-time favorite players). Even though I know the answer, it's still a good question.
I'll take Duncan. He's one of the greatest power forwards of all-time. He's tall, he can rebound and alter shots, so he's basically a second center. However, he has great mobility, excellent defensive skills, and a combination of great post moves (his perfected bank hook is a thing of beauty). He also has good shooting range for a guy his size. Give him the ball anywhere within 20 feet of the basket and it's pretty much a given that he sinks it. He doesn't have the prettiest shot, but it works more often than not. He's been slowed in recent years (both by age and his ankle injury), but he has so many tools to work with that he's still been effective.
The most amazing thing about Duncan, though, is his ability to turn it up in the playoffs. Just about every year in the regular season, you start hearing the rumblings: "He's lost it. He's just not the player he used to be. This might be it for him." Then, without fail, he puts up at least one 40/15 game in every series. Unbelievable.
The biggest knock on Duncan is his free throw shooting. He's a career 68% free throw shooter, so he hasn't exactly been setting the league on fire with his performance from the line.
Hey, speaking of that...
Shaq has been great throughout his career. Up until the past few years (when his knees were all but gone and he ballooned in weight), he still was able to take over a game with his size and ability. He was strong and quick, and just seemed to want a rebound more than the other guy. Outmuscle? You betcha. That was Shaq, through and through. Shaq in the post was one of the most intimidating presences you could imagine. He would back the defender down like it was nothing (he was the best player at doing that since Barkley). If he got to the rim, he would throw down a thunderous dunk (some of the biggest dunks I have ever seen have been Shaq dunks). If he couldn't get to the rim, he would take a little jump hook, which he was surprisingly accurate with.
He was a physical presence, to be sure. A talented player who knew how to overpower his opponent.
However, when I look at Shaq, all I see is wasted potential. He was amazing in his prime...I know that. But can you imagine what he would have done to the league if he just kept himself in shape? Orlando Shaq was a force to be reckoned with. On top of all the things I mentioned above, he was pretty quick in Orlando. If he kept an eye on his weight, he wouldn't be having as many knee problems as he's having now.
And the free throws. I say Duncan wasn't amazing. What is Shaq's career free throw percentage? 46%. In his entire career, only once did he have a season in which he shot above 66% from the line (62% with LA from '02-'03). For someone who has been in the league as long as he has been, and for someone who used brute force to get to the basket (drawing a number of fouls in the process), there's no reason for him to be shooting so low a percentage. If he had worked on his free throw shooting a little more, he would have been a much more dangerous player.

This is short, but hey...I have nothing else to talk about at the moment.


Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Top hats you say...

For a minute I thought you just discussed, top hats, Baron Davis and Tom Waits in the same entry. I gotta lay off the PCP.

Yea, I think Griff is mailing it in until he gets traded. Between that and the missed diving catch last night, I think it’s time for him to go. His .240 average just isn’t appealing to teams that need a big bat I suppose. He has however played in 79 of 84 games this season and I really do think that average will increase if he is allowed to DH full time. We shall see.

Davis to the Clippers was a given. For years he’s always wanted to play in his hometown of LA, and the Lakers had no space to get it done. What I wonder is how Davis gets 5 years, 65 millions and Gilbert Arenas gets 6 years, 127 million. Is Arenas 62 million dollars better than Davis when Arenas has ended his past 2 seasons on the bench due to knee injuries? If Brand does come back they have a solid foundation with veterans Brand, Davis and Kaman, as well as some young guys in Eric Gordon and Al Thornton. At this point, anything they can get out of Livingston is a plus. He is a free agent and would likely stay in LA because they stuck with him, as well as the fact that injury killed any market value he had going for him. However, the Clippers still have a bad coach in Dunleavy and don’t be fooled by the Davis signing: Their owner is still terrible. I could see everything clicking and this team getting a low playoff seed or Brand and Davis’ old injuries could flail up and they could win 30 games. No in betweens.

I’m an Oden guy so here we go: Did he dominate in college? No, but who was the last big man to truly dominate in college? Andrew Bogut won Player of the Year unlike Oden, but for the next 10 years would you rather have Bogut or Oden? Note that Shaq averaged 14 points, 12 boards and 3.6 blocks his freshman year. Duncan averaged 9 points, 9 boards and 3.7 blocks his freshmen year. Oden averaged 15 points, nearly 10 boards and 3.3 blocks his freshman year, while leading his team to the Championship game with his strong hand injured. Not to say he’ll end up among their company when it’s said and done, but center is a hard position to play especially in one’s freshman year. His numbers hold their own among the games most successful big men in the past 20 or so years. I think the main thing with Oden is not how high his ceiling is, but how low his floor is. Say Oden’s offensive game never develops and all he does is rebound and block shots. He’s a bigger Tyson Chandler who is doing quite well in New Orleans. The hard work he put in while his shooting wrist was broken leads me to believe he will develop an at least respectable offensive game. I’ve watched Oden in person on a couple occasions and he is an unbelievably hard worker. While other players were still laughing and joking around, he was shooting jump hooks with his off hand. If anything, in college he looked TOO serious, but after being drafted his personality came out. The presence of an offensively potent big man opens up so many things for everyone else. I laugh at the fact that Tony Parker won Finals MVP two years ago because none of those lanes are open without Duncan’s presence. The team won 41 games in that Western Conference with Joel Pryzbilla (yes THAT Joel Pryzbilla) as the starting center. Oden is an automatic upgrade. The surgery actually doesn’t bother me as much as it used to. Bill Walker out of Kansas State tore his ACL twice and has had three major knee surgeries and was still drafted. His game is predicated on jumping and little else, and he has bounced back three times. The legs of different lengths thing is a bit odd but you can’t tell me he’s the first big man to have that problem.

Rose has a tough order ahead of him. The only point guards with one year of college to do reasonably well in the NBA are Stephon Marbury and Gilbert Arenas. I doubt the Bulls want Rose to emulate Marbury and Arenas isn’t a true point guard.

My question from a couple of entries still stands: If you are starting a team and get each player in their prime, who do you select, Duncan or Shaq?


Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Rising From the Dead

I'm not dead. I apologize for my absence. I had a pretty big weekend, and it sapped me of any time and/or energy I might have otherwise had. Allow me to tell you about it...
Chad (my younger brother) got married on Saturday. On Friday, I went to work, then school, then came home and got ready for the rehearsal. After the rehearsal was the rehearsal dinner, which went pretty late. Since there was a bunch of cousins from out of town, we hung out after the rehearsal dinner, as well.
On Saturday, I got up, made some lunch, then headed out for the wedding, which was awesome (we had top hats). After the wedding, we went to the reception (I got to ride in a limo), which raged into the night. After which, of course, we went somewhere else to hang out.
On Sunday I got up and went to the post-wedding brunch. I was there until around 3:00, at which point I went home, took a shower, and took off to see a Tom Waits concert in Knoxville at 3:45. (which was ridiculously fantastic). I got back home at 2:30 AM, then got up the next morning to go to work.
I'm feeling a little more rested now, so that's good.

Cincy is threatening with yet another late rally. Griffey hit a walk-off two-run homer last night (after which he displayed the least enthusiastic celebration I have ever seen), and they now have men at the corners with two outs, down one run. Patterson is at the plate, so I don't have high hopes for this one. We'll see what happens...
Fly out. Game over. At least it wasn't a strike out.

Baron Davis to the Clippers? If Elton Brand resigns (which we probably will), how do you think that team will be next year? There are major question marks, such as: will Davis stay healthy over the course of the season? How will Brand come back from his Achilles injury? Will Shaun Livingston be back (and good) this year?
Chris Kaman had a great year last year, without a whole lot of help around him. If that team can stay healthy (and that's a big if), they could be capable of making some serious noise in what is sure to be yet another highly competitive season in the West. Plus, who wouldn't want to see Brand and Davis play together?

I'm not against the Trailblazers, but I can't say that I'm really excited about them, either. I'm sure a big part of that has to do with me not catching a single Trailblazers game last year. From everything I've read, they're a great team that has fun playing together (as you said, not something to be overlooked). I'll try to catch some games next year and see what I think of them.
I'm still not hooked on the Oden bandwagon. Blah blah blah...great player...blah blah blah...force of nature...blah blah blah...great in college...blah blah blah...great personality. And so on, and so forth. I'm pretty sure I've said this in this space before, but I'll say it again: I think Greg Oden was HIGHLY (I cannot stress that word enough) overrated in college. I know, he had a broken wrist throughout the year, but I was never impressed with him. I caught a number of Ohio State games, and I never caught myself saying, "Wow, that Greg Oden sure is better than everyone else on the floor." Never. Not a single time during a single game. In fact, I'm pretty sure Mike Conley Jr. was better than him in the majority of their games.
And please don't say, "He was spectacular against Florida in the Championship game." For starters, they lost. On top of that, his numbers looked good, but, if you watched the game, you would know that he should have fouled out roughly 3 times.
I'm not trying to knock the guy. He seems fairly nice, and I'm sure he won't be terrible. But to call a guy "a force" when he wasn't a force in college, and has already undergone massive surgery to his knee before ever playing in the NBA. All that without even mentioning the fact that one of his legs is shorter than the other.
All I'm saying is this: let's see how he looks in the NBA before we start throwing praises around willy nilly.

I just saw a commercial for the new X-Files movie. Holy crap...I'm excited.

I like Derrick Rose as well, but I'm with you. I'm not sure how playing in his hometown is going to help him. A point guard needs to feel at ease on the court to be great. That's hard to do when you're playing point guard in the city where the majority of your family and friends live. I'm sure it's not easy to relax when your second cousin is breathing constantly calling you, trying to get tickets. That, coupled with his short stint in college should make this a hard transition. I hope he makes it...I'm rooting for him. But it's going to be hard.

I think I'm a fan of Goodell. He seems like he's really trying to make improvements to the league, which is good. Unfortunately, he kind of comes off as a egotistical maniac, which is bad. As we said before, I'm on board with some sort of rookie salary system. It would be extremely hard to get it past the players union, but I'm pulling for it to work. Huge rookie contracts paid to busts have made bad teams even worse. The system needs to change, but it won't be easy.

The Tigers lost tonight, but they had won 7 straight up until this point. They now sit 1 game over .500, which is amazing. We're just past the halfway point of the season. If the Tigers can continue to play as well as they have been for the rest of the season...well...look out.
The thing that's great is who has been contributing. Marcus Thames has been an offensive force. Both Clete Thomas and Matt Joyce have been solid. Zumaya came back, and, while he has struggled a bit, he also just earned his first save of the year a couple of games ago, retiring 5 batters without allowing a run. Granderson is playing really well. If they can get some consistency out of their bullpen, they'll be in good shape. If they can start getting some more hits and RBI's out of Cabrera and Sheffield (who has been playing better since coming off the DL), they'll be a tough team to beat in the last half of the season. Right now, I'll give them a good shot to make the playoffs.

The Cubs have fallen apart a little bit, but I don't expect that to last too much longer. They're too good a team to stay in their current funk for too much longer.


Just some random thoughts...

A few random thoughts about the world of sports among other things:

Are you still alive?

I’m seriously thinking about jumping on the Trailblazer’s bandwagon. It’s so much more than a talent thing. Watch them play and you can see these guys genuinely like each other and enjoy playing with each other. Look how far that got the Celtics, as opposed to the Lakers who have plenty of talent but appear to hate playing with each other, namely Kobe. Portland won 41 games in a tough Western Conference and have an All-Star to build around in Brandon Roy. Then you remember they get last year’s number one pick Greg Oden back. Even after microfracture surgery, he should be a force. They also get the point guard of the future they need in Jerryd Bayless. Many say he’s not a true point guard but look at the last four teams remaining in the NBA Playoffs: Spurs, Lakers, Celtics and Pistons. Neither Billups, Parker, Fisher or Rondo is a pure point guard. You could argue that Rondo is a pure point by default because he can’t score, but the others are combo guards. Bayless will fit in well. They add a French guy in Nicolas Batum who I admittedly don’t know much about but the consensus is that he would have been a lottery pick if he entered next year’s draft. They also add a guy in Rudy Fernandez described as a “Spanish Manu Ginobili”…whatever the hell that means. Kudos for the Blazers front office for making things happen. We long time Blazer fans have deserved it.

Derrick Rose is a fine talent and seemingly good enough guy, but if I were in his shoes, there is no way I would want to play in my hometown. It’s all good and well when you do well, but when you are playing poorly, where do you run to get away? How’s that working for LeBron James now? In a recent interview he listed his hometown of Akron as his fifth favorite city and New York as his first. When he bolts to the Brooklyn Nets in two years, how will his hometown feel about him? He didn’t demand a trade and fulfilled his contractual obligations, but will his hometown ever truly forgive him if he jumps ship? Yet I digress, Rose will need years to develop as the track record for point guards with less than 2 years of college experience is not very good. The ticket requests and family coming out of the woodworks could be too much for a 19 year old kid to bear.

The NFL Commish Roger Goodell wants to crack down on rookie salaries, but will he? We’ve both suggested a scale like the one in the NBA but I doubt it would ever work in the NFL. For one, the NFL is a far more dangerous sport and the average career is much shorter. Their contracts are not guaranteed, while NBA contracts are. In the NFL, if a player doesn’t work out, you cut him and his salary and move on. In the NBA, once signed, you must pay that contract unless he is traded. The Mavericks were STILL paying Michael Finley and Shawn Bradley over 22 million dollars, despite the fact neither play for them anymore. Second of all, while the NBA is on scale, the scale is adjustable. What I mean is this: For each spot in the draft there is a scale of what to pay that particular player. However, a team may pay from 80 to 120 percent of that scale. For example, if O.J. Mayo gets 120% of that, what’s to stop the next year’s pick from demanding the 120%? Then we have yet another conundrum as each pick will demand 120 percent year after year. I doubt anything will be changed but it should: The fact that Jake Long could retire today and still have 30 million dollars to sit on is ridiculous. Even more so absurd is that per year for the next 6 years, Matt Ryan will make more than Tom Brady. Read that last sentence again. Something must be done.

The Cubs are 2-5 in their last 7 games. The only two wins were against teams a combined 10 games under .500 in Baltimore and San Francisco. They were just swept by a White Sox team they swept a week earlier. I just don’t trust them. Of course they’ll reel off 12 straight wins as soon as I post this.

The Tigers are 5 games back of a division that appears to be up for grabs. Stoked?

The Brewers are hanging around, but blowing chances to make up ground with the Cubs recent struggles. I still haven’t given up on them yet though.

The Reds are…..still located in Cincinnati. Yep.