Friday, June 26, 2009

He made Thriller...Thriller

I've had a day to digest the Vince Carter trade and the verdict is: I still have no idea how I feel about this. None.

-Vince Carter is a better player than Hedo Turkoglu. Turkoglu's breakout season from last year, would have been a below average year for VC. Vince also owns playoff averages of 26 ppg, 7 rpg and 5 apg. Not too shabby.
-I'd rather pay a 32 year old Vince Carter for two more seasons, than a 30 year old Hedo Turkoglu for 4-5 more seasons. In two years, if the Vince era doesn't work, we get his 15 million dollars off of the book to go after another free agent. Worse comes to worse, if this season is a complete disaster, he becomes great trade bait for the following season. Signing Turk to the 5 year, 50 million dollar deal he wants would lock up the core of this team into their mid 30's.
-Vince Carter has supposedly been wanting to play close to his hometown of Daytona. Welcome to Orlando.
-We also get Ryan Anderson, a young big man that can rebound and shoot the three. Should we lose Marcin Gortat, he could come in handy.
-Speaking of Gortat, this deal makes it more likely we sign him back, which is essential.

-This move will likely cost us Turkoglu. I hate to see him go because a Howard, Lewis, Turkoglu, Carter, Nelson lineup could have been deadly.
-This move cost us Courtney Lee. That one hurt. He was a good character guy, could play/defend multiple positions and gave it all everytime he was on the court. Even in New Jersey, he'll still have a fan in me.
-Its no secret that Vince do I say, motivationally challenged. But that's usually as the first option of a bad team. Here he comes in to be the third/fourth option on a championship contending team. The good with the "motivationally challenged" players like Carter and Lamar Odom, is the fact they usually thrive when they are demoted. When Odom was a first/second option in LAC/Miami/ early LAL, his inconsistency killed teams (usually the one he was playing for). Now that the Lakers bumped him to the bench and made him a third/fourth option when he's in with the starters, he played lights out ball. I'm hoping this holds true for Carter.
-This likely puts Pietrus in the starting lineup. I prefer him off the bench because he provides offense and defense for the second unit, and now our sole perimeter player off the bench is JJ Redick. We had no draft picks yesterday, so we need to fill out our bench in a bad way.

I really can't say how I feel yet. Try me in October.

I agree with you on the Shaq trade: It sounds nice, but I don't see it helping them a lot. Orlando beat Cleveland because Cleveland could not defend the pick and roll and the Cavs had no one to guard Turk or Lewis. The Shaq trade solves neither of those problems. Like you said, anytime you can get a guy like Shaq without giving up anybody in your top 6 or 7, you have to do it. It will make for some nice, overhyped Shaq-Dwight matchups. With the frontrunning Shaq has done lately and his constant trashing of Dwight/SVG, Shaq is dead to me. I wish ill will on he and the Cavs. I wonder how this affects the Cav's chemistry though. Of course Shaq is a jokester, but any team he's on instantly becomes his because of his personality. How will LeBron handle this and more importantly how will Mike Brown handle this? Shaq ripped Phil Jackson and Pat Riley and repeatedly undermined Stan Van Gundy, so what will Mike Brown do? I've heard that back in their Miami days, SVG would make a call in practice and Shaq would hold up "4", then point to SVG and hold up "0", referring to the number of rings they've won. SVG is more vocal than Mike Brown will ever be so I wonder how he and the team will react once Shaq, the only guy on that team with a ring, undermines Brown or even LeBron.

I caught a good portion of the draft, but unfortunately missed the part where Brandon Jennings was sitting at home watching the draft, then had a change of heart and decided he did want to attend the draft, and showed up a little later and blew kisses to his fans. At first I was confused, like everyone else, about why the Wolves drafted three point guards in the first round, and then their plans revealed themselves. Lawson will be traded for a first in next years draft, which should be better than this one. Johnny Flynn will be their PG of the future and they will trade Ricky Rubio. Brilliant. Aside from Blake Griffin, Rubio has the most trade value of anyone in this draft and Minnesota holds all the cards. At the very least, they should be able to get a solid player and a pick in exchange for Rubio.

Jodie Meeks went to Milwaukee which should be a good fit. They are stockpiling young talent so he has a good chance to make the team and even get some playing time. Michael Redd isn't getting any younger so he could be moved soon to let the Bucks build around Brandon Jennings, Meeks and last years first rounder Joe Alexander. I wish all the best to Jodie.

This has been a big week of trades in the NBA, but I notice that the common denominator in all these trades are expiring contracts. The Richard Jefferson, Shaq, Carter, etc trades all involved expiring contracts. I have to wonder whether its the economy of the summer of 2010 motivating teams to take on several expiring contracts, or a little of both.

On to baseball for a second.

I've been hearing word of teams beginning to experiment with a 6 man rotation. All I've heard is old broadcasters ripping this idea to shreds because it kills everything baseball represents and yadda yadda yadda. I don't think it's a bad idea, especially if you've got a young arm you're trying to protect. I'd rather have a guy pitch every 6 days for 10 years, than every 5 days for 4 years. How do you feel about it?

Of course I'd be remiss if I didn't note the passing of Michael Jackson. There are very few celebrities that would make me bat an eyelash and think, "Wow" when they pass away. Michael Jackson is definitely one of them. Rest in peace to one of the most influential artists/songwriters/dancers of all time, Michael Jackson aka your favorite singer's favorite singer.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Wheeling, Dealing World of the NBA

There is no way that Rondo deal was serious. Was there? That's one of those deals you try to pull off in NBA Live, but you can never do it. Rondo is a good point guard, and Allen is a great shooter. But they were trying to get Rip Hamilton (still a darn good player), Tayshaun Prince (one of the better defenders in the league) and Rodney Stuckey (didn't do much this past year, but it's too soon to write him off completely).
To add to that, Allen is in the last year of his contract, so, while the money would come off of Detroit's books, they would only have his services for a year. Also, I don't see him getting nearly as many open looks in Detroit as he did in Boston.
Rondo's deal would have to be restructured within the next year, and he would want big money (especially he plays as well this next season as he did this past season).
Add everything up, and you have a deal that Detroit would have to be stupid to make.
Don't get me wrong...I wouldn't mind having Rondo running the show in Motown. But Detroit would be giving up far too much in that deal. Sorry kids. Try again.
One final thought: I thought the Celtics loved Rondo. Guess I was wrong.

Big BIG trades over the past couple of days though. I know you're focusing on the Vince Carter to Orlando trade. How do you feel about that one? Vince has always been a guy who has never played up to his potential. I didn't catch many Nets games this year, but I heard that he finally seemed to put it together this year, and even became somewhat of a leader on that team. But pardon me for having a hard time thinking that a 32 year old with motivation problems has finally figured it out.
However, the Magic didn't give up too much to get him. Alston, Battie, and Lee. Alston played pretty well in Nelson's absence this past year, but, with Nelson back as the full-time starter, I don't think Alston would've liked that. I like him, but he's not amazing. I'd be a little concerned about giving up Lee...but, when you get a taste of the Championship, you have to make some decisions you might not have otherwise made. Lee played well, but not terrific. It'll be a couple of years before he realizes his full potential, at which time the Magic may be in the downturn. If you can grab a player with the talent of Vince Carter without having to give up too much, I say you do it. Good trade for the Magic.

Shaq to the Cavs I'm a little more wary of. I understand the excitement in Cleveland, but it seems a little premature. You're excited over the prospect of a 37 year old overweight center with bad knees coming in and helping to deliver a championship? Keep in mind that this is the same guy whose team lost in the first round of the playoffs two years ago, and missed the playoffs altogether this past year.
Still, I can see him fitting better with the Cavs than with the Suns. The Cavs play the kind of defensive, grind-it-out game that suits Shaq. At least, it suits him better than the run-and-gun style of the Suns.
I don't see this as putting them over the top, but it certainly couldn't hurt. Again, they gave up next to nothing for him (Ben Wallace and Sasha Pavlovic), and he's in his last year. If it doesn't work out, they say goodbye at the end of the season. If it does work out, the Cavs win big. Good trade for the Cavs.

The Wizards got Foye and Mike Miller for nothing. Good trade for the Wiz.

When is the last time you've seen so many big trades in such a short time frame? I can't think of a bigger week than this.

Granderson taking PEDs? I talked about that briefly in this spot before (here), but it's worth saying again. If I found out that Granderson was juicing, a part of me would die. I love baseball, and, to me, Granderson represents what is best about the game. He is a great player. He doesn't talk trash or try to show anybody up. He hustles down the first base line. All of his teammates love him. He is an active member in the community. All in all, just a very nice guy, who happens to be a great baseball player. If it came out that Granderson had been juicing, I'm not sure what I'd do. I may take a break from baseball for a while. I know I would look for excuses. I believe it would devastate me.
But, since that won't ever happen, we can stop talking about it.

Draft is tonight. You watching?

Friday, June 19, 2009

Rondo in Motown?

I haven't watched as much Aaron Rodgers as you have, but in the time I have seen him play, I've never thought "Man, they really miss Favre." The numbers you posted are excellent numbers for anyone, nonetheless for a first year starter. He seems like a good guy on and off the field so I think the Pack is in good hands for the next decade or so. Aaron Rodgers is not the reason the Pack had a down year last season.

That's the thing about the offseason that I hate the most. People will write anything just to get a story. Aside from the Rodgers talk, I've already read multiple articles outlining what Orlando should do this offseason. Among them include:

-Firing GM Otis Smith and Stan Van Gundy and replacing them with Bill Laimbeer. I mean he did lead a WNBA team to success and all. Lets hand him the keys to a team that just made the Finals.
-Trading Hedo Turkoglu, JJ Redick and Rafer Alston....for Dwyane Wade. Hmmm, 3 so-so players for a future Hall of Famer in his prime?
-Trading Jameer Nelson and keeping Rafer Alston as the point guard of this team. Hey, anytime you can trade your 27 year old All star, to build around a 32 year old journeyman, you have to make that deal.
-Getting rid of Turk, Alston, Gortat and Redick, essentially tanking a season, to enter the LeBron sweepstakes. I'm sure LeBron would sign for the veterans minimum to play in a small market like Orlando.
-Bringing back Shaq for one last hurrah. I don't even have a sarcastic comment: People aren't even trying anymore.

There are hundreds more but those tickled my particular fancy.

If Detroit signing with Ariza made you uneasy, how does this make you feel? Basically Detroit would send Stuckey, Hamilton and Prince to Boston for Rondo and Allen. Boston gets rid of Rays expiring contract, which is good, but trades a 23 year old Rondo who has improved every year. That's bad. There are talks of Rondo being stubborn, hard to coach and being a bad teammate in Boston. Um, that was the knock on him at Kentucky. This isn't news and it will only get worse with him entering a contract year and shooting for big money. This years champions and Finals MVP proved you don't need saints on your team to win. Detroit would be giving up their core to clear more cap space for 2010, but what top tier free agent would go to Detroit? LeBron's not leaving Cleveland for Detroit. That's a lateral move. Wade's not leaving South Beach for Detroit. Bosh may sign with Detroit but if he's your best player, you're not going anywhere. Stuckey is the guy the just traded Billups for and they're ready to concede that he's not that good already? Word is, that Boston made the offer and Detroit refused. I have to wonder how this makes Rondo feel. He can use it for motivation and become better or take it as a slight and play selfishly to get himself a big contract. I'm praying for the latter so that Boston will self implode, hereby knocking another contender out of the East. How do Detroit fans feel about this?

You know, after reading your last post, I don't know that I've ever really watched Granderson play and I don't think I've seen a Tigers game since that forgettable World Series a few years ago and even then I was barely paying attention to the games. You say no positive steroid test would surprise/hurt you, but what if it came out the Granderson was using PED's?

Chad Johnson/Ochocinco is running his mouth again...and I love it. He guaranteed a playoff berth, which isn't out of the question, and he and Carson Palmer have actually been talking favorably about each other. They had a great relationship a few years ago, but it has been noticeably strained these past couple of years. This year, I'd say they are somewhere in the middle and that's all we need. If Carson Palmer plays 16 games this season, we'll make the playoffs. With nothing but golf and tennis on TV, I'm counting the days until football season.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Kobe, Rodgers & Granderson

Speaking of movies you've seen...
I just got done watching "Role Models". Very funny stuff. A perfect cast. It was funny through the entire thing...a rare feat these days. There were some cheesy parts (especially near the end), but they still managed to sneak some humor in. All in all, a good watch.

I'm completely with you on the Kobe thing. I'm not a huge fan of Bill Simmons anymore, but his article about this very thing this week hit the nail on the head. Kobe didn't change his game; his supporting cast just played better this year. Pau Gasol doesn't get the credit he deserves in this win. He's extremely talented, and there's no way the Lakers win without him. He doesn't really talk. He doesn't complain (even when he's getting only 10 shots a game). He's a perfect compliment.
I had to mute the end of Game 5 because the announcers wouldn't stop the Kobe lovefest. "He changed his game to win. He does whatever it takes to win. He's a coach out there. He motivates his team. He's a great teammate. Blah blah blah." It doesn't take a genius to see that he is not, in fact, a great teammate. Most of his teammates hate him, but tolerate him because they know they can win with him. He's a great doubt about that. But he changed absolutely nothing to win this year. Nothing. But he has somehow fooled a ton of people to think otherwise. I just don't get it.

I'm with you on Ariza...and I read a report the other day that said the Pistons are interested. Please, let that be a false report.

I agree with Meeks' decision to go pro, but I can't help but think what the Cats could've done with him. Spread the floor. Surround him with other shooters. Get him some open looks. They have talent...but it's young talent. It would've been nice to see him out there next year.
Great guy. I wish him nothing but the best in the NBA. I'm pulling for the Pistons to nab him in the second round.

I will now come to the defense of Aaron Rodgers. Again.
As you know, I love this guy. I think he's terrific. Ever since his first preseason appearance with the Packers, I was excited for this guy to start. Even then, in his first preseason game (a rainy game against San Diego, where I believe he completed roughly 33% of his passes), I knew we were in good hands. Needless to say, I was not suprised when he threw for over 4,000 yards last year, completed 63.6% of his passes, and threw 28 touchdowns to 13 interceptions, for a passer rating of 93.8. That, my friend, is a great year. Those statistics did not warrant a 6-10 season.
So it bothers me when people talk about how he needs to improve. Sure, he can get better. There are areas of his game that he needs to improve. Who doesn't? But, overall, I'd say that's a great year...especially for a first time starter.
Here's where I'm going with this.
Recently, I have read a couple of articles saying how Rodgers needs to improve his fourth quarter performance if he wants the Packers to have a better season. Here are his stats in the fourth quarter last year:
Completion Percentage: 60.8%
Yards: 1,063
TD/INT: 8/5
QB Rating: 87.8

It's those TD/INT numbers that people focus on. He threw more interceptions in the fourth quarter than he did in any other quarter. I can see how, looking at those stats alone, you could be led to believe that he wasn't spectacular in the fourth quarter of games (when it is most important that you are at your best). But I watched those games. I watched every single one. Here's what I saw: I saw a Packers defense that blew a ton of games in the final minutes, leaving the offense with hardly any time to mount a comeback. I saw Rodgers throw interceptions in the waning seconds of the game, throwing a pass that had little-to-no chance of being completed...but he threw it because he had to try to make something happen.
So when I read columnists saying that Rodgers needs to get better in the fourth quarter, I know they didn't watch those games. Rodgers played better than most people would've expected. He will be better this next year. You can count on that. But he had a great year last matter how those stats look.

I don't think I've said this in this space before. Curtis Granderson is, far and away, my favorite player in baseball right now. He's just terrific. He's the best center fielder in the league at the moment. He has speed. He's hitting well. He's extremely intelligent. Plus, he's one of the nicest guys in the league. Just a great player all the way around. I'm glad he plays for the Tigers and I get to watch him play as often as I do. If you haven't watched him play very often, try to catch him. You'll be glad you did.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Final(s) Countdown

I'm not taking the loss as hard as I should have because after the Derek Fisher loose ball moment I wrote about last time, I knew it was over. Also, this gif helps get me through the day.

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I am a little sick of the "Kobe just wanted it more than anyone else. He imposed his will!" talks though. Really? He shot 43% for the series and didn't have one game of shooting at least 50% in the Finals. He wanted this just as much as Dwight Howard did: He's just better than Dwight Howard and his teammates are better than Dwight Howard's teammates. That's all. The more talented team won. People are so quick to discredit Pau Gasol as being another soft, Euro big man and it's bogus. This guy is a top 15 talent in this league and has lead some terrible Memphis teams to the playoffs in a brutal Western Conference. He's no slouch. I don't know whats worse: Losing 2 games you gave away in route to losing on your home court, like Orlando did, or taking a strong lead and losing the championship on your home ice, like Detroit. If the Tigers and Reds somehow meet up in the World Series, I don't think it'd be good for the health of either one of us.

In my attempts to find any kind of silver lining in the loss, I came up with this: If we won this Finals, Dwight Howard quits progressing as a player. He would have no reason to develop a post game, because what he has got him a championship. Now he sees that his moves won't cut it , hopefully he's in the gym as we speak working on that hook or adding a drop step. Yea, that's what I'll keep telling myself until next season.

Now Orlando has a difficult decision to make. Hedo Turkoglu can opt out and become a free agent. Do we re-sign him and commit to the style that made us unique and got us this far, but failed us in the Finals? Or do we bid him adieu, sign a more traditional power forward and play the game just like every other team in the league. I'd love to have Hedo back, but he's on the wrong side of 30, and had a down year. If we could somehow get a power forward that could stretch the floor for Dwight, grab a few rebounds and play solid defense (Chris Bosh comes to mind), I'd do the deal in a heartbeat. I'm very interested to see which direction the team goes in.

I'd like to keep up our tradition in warning teams of not drafting/overpaying for players, so here is this month's plea: Any team not named the Lakers that gives big money to free-agent to be Trevor Ariza will rue the day. He had a dynamite Finals, but let's break it down. He guarded Hedo Turkoglu, very well might I add, but Turk might be one of the least athletic starters in the league. He doesn't expend any energy on offense because he stands at the three point line and waits for the kickout. Kobe usually draws two defenders and Gasol can take 2 guys out of a play so nearly all of his shots are wide open shots. I can usually spot a guy that's playing for a contract from a mile away and my spidey senses are tingling. A career 29% three point shooter hits nearly 50% in the Finals? I'm not buying it. There's a reason this guy has been traded twice before. I'm not saying this as a bitter Magic fan who watched Ariza torture us: I'm saying this as a bitter Magic fan who used to watch Ariza suit up for these same Magic. I complained the day we traded him for scraps, but never would I want us to overpay for him. He has flashes of great play, but is inconsistent and I don't think that putting 60 million in his lap will bring that drive to be great out of him. You've been warned, NBA teams not named the Lakers.

Jodie Meeks declared for the draft today and I honestly can't blame him. He had a career year and his numbers would only decrease in Coach Cal's offense. This is a weak draft and he stands to be at least a second round pick. He'll be a nice player off the bench for some team and I wish him the best.

Donte Stallworth got sentenced to 30 days in prison for killing a man while drunk driving. Read that last sentence again. 30 days? Mike Vick did over a year for the dogfighting ruckus yet Stallworth kills a human and gets 30 days? What is it with the NFL and drunk drivers? Leonard Little killed a woman in a drunk driving accident, then got another DUI and is still playing in the league. Unbelievable.

The Reds and Tigers are holding up surprisingly well for it to be this late in June. Detroits in first place and Cincy is only 3 games back, even though Votto and Volquez have missed considerable time. Our problem is scoring runs. In the past we had plenty of offense and no pitching. Now we've got acceptable pitching and no offense. Before last night, we hadn't scored 5 runs in a game in two weeks. I hope Votto's return will bring some pop back to the offense. Jay Bruce is looking like Adam Dunn minus 14-150 pounds, instead of the savior he was hailed as and Micah Owings has a higher batting average than most of our starting lineup. Only the division is so mediocre, we're still in the thick of things. Go figure.

I have seen "I Love You, Man". I think that's the first time you've ever asked me if I had seen a movie and I replied Yes. Good job by me. I don' remember too much about it, but I remember a few funny parts here or there. You'll get your dollars worth.

PS= Please tell me you saw this.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Sackcloth, Ashes, and Finals Losses

Sorry man.
It was a tough week for both of us.
First the Wings got completely outplayed on their home ice in Game 7 (really...they only played well for about 10 minutes), then the Magic melt down in two straight games (also at home) to lose the series in 5. I know you don't want to talk about it, so I'll spare you. Perhaps we'll get around to it next year sometime.
And yes...I'm a big fan of soup.

A couple of words about the Wings loss. I'm assuming we'll start reading stories about how they are old, and that's why they lost. They didn't have the energy to keep up with the Pens. That's not what I saw at all. Their normally crisp passing was gone. The Wings are masters of puck control...but not in this game. Passes were wide, or the player receiving the pass didn't get it cleanly, making their offense look lost. Energy had nothing to do with it. They looked...nervous? I'm not sure what it was, but they didn't look like themselves. They also had a number of bounces go against them. They had a flurry of shots at the end, and I really thought they would tie it up with less than 10 seconds to go to send it to overtime...but it was not to be. The Pens fought hard and deserved that victory.
But it sure would have been nice if Hossa had seen fit to score a goal in the Finals. I mean, c'mon. That's just sad.

We are now entering into the baseball only zone. Up tonight? Two games. That's it. Someone needs to plan a little better.

I think we're going to see "I Love You, Man" in the dollar theater at some point this week. Have you seen it?

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Finals Hangover

There, there friend. That was a tough loss last night, but I hope you find solace in:

1. This video

2. The fact that you can't possibly feel any worse than Marian Hossa does at this very moment.

3. I am on the verge of knowing exactly how you feel. If you fell out of your chair after the Packers-Giants loss a couple of years ago, surely you're still on the floor somewhere. Just know that sometime next week I may be over to join you. I'll bring soup. You like soup?

Years later I will I look back at this NBA Finals and remember one thing. Not the 25 point drubbing LA put on us in Game 1. Not Courtney Lee's missed layup at the end of Game 2. Not our record setting shooting game in Game 3. The moment I'll remember is toward the end of the third quarter in Game 4, LA was still fighting back from a 12 point deficit at halftime and there was a loose ball. Derek Fisher (who I will officially stop referring to as the corpse of Derek Fisher) hits the deck for it. There are no other Magic players around. The closest person is Dwight Howard and he's at least 10 feet away. Everyone else just watches Fisher. It was at that point, I knew we would lose the game and the series. We just didn't want it bad enough.

Even after playing the worst individual quarter of basketball I've seen us play this season in the third quarter, we had three chances to win in the final minute of the game.

1. 87-84 Orlando. Dwight Howard goes to the line for two. Dwight has been unbelievably clutch at the line in the playoffs so I'm thinking he hits at least one. Nope, bricks em both.
2. After the missed free throws, Stan Van Gundy chooses not to foul. Derek Fisher proceeds to hit a three pointer to tie things up. Why would you not foul? At best, Kobe hits two free throws, we get the ball back and turn this into a free throw shooting contest. Yes we had been shooting free throws poorly that game, but on the year we're solid at the line. Imagine Mike Tomlin telling Ben Roethlisberger in the Super Bowl, " You know what Ben? You threw an interception earlier and have taken a few sacks. We're just gonna run the ball and hope Arizona's offense won't be able to score and tie this thing up." I've defended SVG to hell and back, but that's one decision I may never get over.
3. After Fisher's three we have the ball at half court, 4.6 seconds left and two timeouts to burn. LA sniffs out our first attempt at an inbound play so we burn a TO. LA sniffs out our second attempt at an inbound play, yet Turkoglu inbounds the ball anyway to Mikhael Pietrus. The Lakers were all over us so I figure we call our last timeout and regroup with our season on the line. Nope, Pietrus takes a couple dribbles, ignores a wide open Rashard Lewis and puts up shot that of course doesn't go in. I like Pietrus but I'm convinced he has the worst basketball IQ of all time. I've never seen one man blow more fast breaks, take more terrible shots, or dodge contact when it can easily send you to the line.

Three chances to win and we blew them all.

I will give credit where it's due though. LA played a fantastic game. We got every call in the first half and couldn't capitalize. Kobe will get all the credit, despite shooting 11-31 in that game, but Ariza, Odom and Fisher absolutely killed us. I will tip my hat to Kobe for his defense though. He guarded Rashard Lewis perfectly. I've talked about stars hiding on defense but Game 4 was not the case. Despite giving up 4 inches and around 20 pounds, Kobe refused Lewis the ball, access to his favorite spots and was all over him in the rare occasion that he did get the ball. Results? Lewis shot 2-10 and finished with 6 points. Yes Kobe elbowed Jameer Nelson in the face on Fisher's second dagger three in overtime, but I can't even complain. We got damn near every call and did nothing with it.

To put a capper on the evening, and the series, I talked to a fellow Magic fan that lives in Orlando about how we blew the game. He left to go downtown and drown his sorrows. Who does he run into while out and about? None other than Rafer Alston. Hammered drunk. After starting hot in Game 4 and then being yanked inexplicably for most of the second half for a cold Jameer Nelson, Rafer certainly had a right to have a drink or two, but championship winning teams don't do that. Not in public at least. There's no chance in hell you'd catch Derek Fisher bar hopping during the Finals, especially after a loss. We are not ready to win a championship yet.

I saw " The Hangover" finally. There were a lot of laughs, but no memorable funny moments from the movie so allow me to bring out the soapbox for a second. Today's topic? Male nudity in films. 5 years ago, if I go to this film and expect gratuitous female nudity and maybe, MAYBE a shot of male ass. Those days are gone my friend. There is more male nudity than female in this film and that's an equation that just doesn't add up. I blame Johnny Knoxville and his friends. Not until Knoxville and his buddies pranced around nude in "Jackass", was male nudity considered "cool". It was rare and that's the way I liked it. Now you can bet any "The Hangover" type film will have a fair share of male genitalia in it. Gone are the days of excessive female and scarce male nudity. Hello schlongfest. Damn you Knoxville. Damn you to hell.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Finals Finals Finals

Game 2 was a tough pill to swallow but we still had our chances to win that game. Lee's missed lay-up was hard to watch but I've heard people say he missed a "routine lay-up". Routine? Cutting toward the basket at full speed, off a brilliantly drawn up play where Kobe grabbed Lee at least once, catching the ball behind the backboard, switching to your off hand as a 7 footer runs at you to block the shot and doing this all in .6 seconds is not routine. Was the shot difficult? Yes. Could he have made it? Probably. Was it routine? Not a chance.

Game 3 was a joyous occasion for me, for no other reason than watching it with a bunch of Lakers fans. I had really forgotten how ridiculous some of them are. I actually got a text from another Lakers fan saying it was bogus how we were getting all the calls. Anytime Kobe touched the ball, LA fans want a foul called on Orlando. Not just the Magic, but the whole city of Orlando for allowing a star like Kobe's personal space to be invaded. This is an actual conversation I had:

LA fan: Kobe only missed those free throws because those three championship rings were affecting the spin on the ball.
Me: You mean the one's Shaq let him borrow?
LA fan: *Thinking of a comeback* Stop hatin' on the greatest ever!

I really thought Boston fans were the worst but LA has the title back. Congrats fellas.

I feel good about Game 3, but not great. We shot 63% percent from the floor, Lamar Odom and Bynum were off (Actually I don't even think it's fair to say Bynum was off. He's just not very good), Kobe missed half of his free throws and we still only won by 4 at home. It's definitely something to build on, but I don't know that we can count on any of those things happening again, sans Bynum being mediocre.

Some good things were the fact that Trevor Ariza shot the ball more than anyone not named Kobe Bryant. We only made 5 three's and still won. I hope we can keep us this style of play and not take too many terrible three's in Game 4 and beyond. Rafer Alston is notoriously streaky. He played poorly in Game 1 and 2, but played great last night. Usually one good game leads to a couple more by Alston so I'm hoping he keeps it up. People are criticizing Stan Van Gundy because Dwight Howard's lack of touches and it's unfair at this point. Yes Dwight is the best player, but until he proves he has a go-to move, there are going to be some games where he shoots the ball 6 or 7 times. I can't complain this series because he doesn't have a lot of shot attempts, but he's going to the line and converting at 68%. He's also passing out of the paint better than I've seen him do all season so I'm happy with Dwight's effort in the Finals thus far.

Game 4 is critical and dare I say that whoever wins it will probably win the series. We're a hot-and-cold team and if we can get hot in Game 4, all bets are off. As dangerous as he is, I want Kobe taking as many shots as he can. Last night he shot them out of that game because he tried to be the hero and I think that will happen again. If we tie it up 2-2, his teammates may revert to their scared play in last years Finals as a result of being afraid of Kobe's wrath. I'm praying he goes into "I'll take any shot I want, but if you take a questionable shot you're walking back to LA" mode. I think we shoot lights out and win Game 4 to turn this back into a series.

Speaking of teams coming back to turn things back into a series, I know you're nervous about Detroit. From what I've seen, Detroit is more so the veteran team but Pittsburgh has more pure talent. I could be completely wrong on that, but that's what I've picked up in the bits I've seen. I've caught parts of three games and I think Pittsburgh has won all of them so I'll listen to some financial offers for me to stay away from Game 7. I think Pittsburgh wins it. If I'm Crosby/Malkin, I'm watching Game 6 of last years Finals and seeing how Detroit won the Cup in our house and I come out ready to play. Gary Bettman won't let the face of his league lose in the Finals for two straight years. Expect Detroit to start the game without a goalie because of orders from Bettman himself. I say Pittsburgh 4-2.

"Gone Fishin" is a good listen. It's not so focused on old school like "The Bake Sale" was. I've been a longtime fan of Don Cannon, the producer for "Gone Fishin'" and he doesn't disappoint. I think you'll like it.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Some Quick Thoughts Before Dinner

Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals is tonight. I see the Wings winning 3-1. Should be a good game. Action-packed. And though I wouldn't be surprised to see the Pens win it, I still think the Wings will win tonight. In Pittsburgh. Again. Sorry kids. Maybe next year.

Tough ending to Game 2 of the NBA Finals. Between the ridiculous amounts of terrible fouls called to Courtney Lee's missed lay-up at the end...just hard to watch. And I'm not even a big fan of the Magic.

I mean, just a lot of awful fouls. The majority of them went LA's way. Touch fouls that weren't called earlier (and weren't called called for Orlando). Laker players running headlong into Magic players and getting the call. As I said, I'm not even a huge Magic fan, but it still made me angry to watch. Call it consistently on both ends, and throughout the entire game. I don't ask for much.

If I see Kobe make that terrible face again (especially after getting a terrible call in his favor), I'll stab it. I'll stab it right off.

Magic win tonight by 10. Just a feeling.

I don't think there are any songs on the Eminem album specifically about Hayley/Kim, but their names pop up from time to time. Other than that, fairly accurate description.
If nothing else, listen to "Bagpipes from Baghdad". It's a great reminder of why Dre is still considered one of the best producers in the business.

The Cool Kids' "Gone Fishin' Mixtape" is on my iPod, but I haven't had a chance to listen to it yet. Soon.

Friday, June 5, 2009

How to make an Eminem CD

You asked what I saw, and I'll gladly tell you:

1. I saw the Orlando Magic play our worst game of the year, regular season and playoffs included. New Orleans beat us by 32 earlier in the season, but that was post-Jameer Nelson, pre-Rafer Alston and the team was still obviously discouraged by Nelsons injury and what it meant for the rest of the season.

2. As you mentioned, we shot 29 percent from the field. 29 percent. Honestly, we were lucky to lose by just 25. Orlando will not shoot 29 percent again his series.

3. Before this game, I had my doubts about who was the best player in the league. I have my answer. Kobe proved why he was the best player in the world last night. He posted up a smaller Courtney Lee to no end. I mentioned that Kobe's size would let Lee see some minutes on him. What I neglected to mention was the fact that Kobe has a post game, one that few people his size have, that allows him to back down Lee while looking for open teammates. If all else fails, he just shoots over him.

4. Last night Kobe scored 40 and his next leading scorer was Pau Gasol with 16. In Game 1 against Cleveland, LeBron scored 49 and his next closest teammate had 17. Why no discussion about Kobe's lack of help? Because the majority of Kobe' points were used to stop runs by us. LeBron tends to score in bunches, which allows a team to make a run when he's not on. Kobe's consistent daggers kept us from ever really getting close after the first quarter.

Now onto why we can/should/must win Game 2.

1.We played our worst game of the season, against the leagues most talented team in their house, Good Lamar Odom showed up, we couldn't hit a shot to save our life...and we only lost by 25. Its hard to tell from the box score but we didn't give up. New Orleans faced similar circumstances against Denver earlier in the playoffs and they lost by home.

2. Dwight Howard, Rashard Lewis and Hedo Turkoglu combined to shoot 6-27. That won't happen again. Dwight passed very well out of the post, but only has two assists to show for it because we missed 71 percent of our shots.

3. Jameer Nelson played an excellent first quarter, with 4 points and 4 assists. He finished with 6 points and 4 assists. He still ended the game as our leading assist man. Stan Van Gundy will not hesitate to put Rafer Alston back in when Nelson isn't producing.

4. Luke Walton scored 9 points. I'll fly to LA myself and take out his knees if he scores 9 again.

5. I thought Finals experience was always overrated, but even I admit it played a role in Game 1. The trophy being painted over halfcourt, plastered on the warm-up uniforms and shown at every occasion has to get to a team that has no Finals expierence, outside of Tyronn Lue, who didn't dress last night.

6. Lee tried to let Kobe come to him and it got him torched. Hopefully he will be more aggressive on the defensive end. Pietrus played good defense, but Kobe hit some amazing shots. If he hits those shots for 4 games, there's nothing you can do.

After the first three quarters, I was ready to replicate your Packers-Giants post-game actions, until I realized it's just one game and if we play that poorly for three more, LA deserves the title. You may have to talk me off the bridge and confiscate my belt and shoelaces if Game 2 goes the way Game 1 did.

I haven't heard the Eminem CD and am a little afraid to listen to it. Marshall Mathers LP was not only the first CD i bought with the Parental Advisory sticker, but is also one of the better albums I've ever heard. Every album since then has just went downhill. Without having heard any song other than "We Made You", I can tell you this about the album:

-There will be another terribly corny single with a funny video that people will eat up.
-There will be one song blasting his mother.
-There will be 1-3 songs about his daughter and/or Kim.
-There will be one song about nothing. Absolutely nothing.
-There will be 2-4 songs where you think, "Man. Em hasn't lost a step. He's still got it!"
-There will be 4-5 hit or miss skits. They'll be funny the first time, and never again.
-There will be a track for the streets featuring 50 Cent and ________.
-There will be a D12 appearance, for better or worse.

I'll be looking for your review to see how right/wrong I am. For the sake of a great artist making great music, I really hope that I'm wrong.

Have you heard The Cool Kids mixtape "Gone Fishing" that came out last month?

Thursday, June 4, 2009

A Long, Rambling Discussion on my Sports-Related Pains

Here is something I hate in sports.
For some reason, there are a ton of NFC East games in primetime. Due to the overhyped nature of the division, the networks assume that everyone loves watching these games. That is incorrect...but, since they're the only games on TV, I watch the entire game. Because of this, I have seen more games from those teams over the past couple of years than I would like.
I've seen Eagles games. Lots of Eagles games. A lot of their close games end the same way; with poor time management, and terrible decision making by McNabb. This past year, they were in a close game with the Cowboys. I don't remember all the specifics, and I really don't care enough to look them up at the moment. I do remember that the Eagles were down a couple of points late in the game, but they had good field position (starting at their own 40, I believe). Despite playing pretty well for the majority of the game, McNabb had a typical late-game meltdown: he got sacked near the out of bounds line (he could have stepped out, thus preserving precious time...but I'm beginning to think that neither McNabb or Reid have any concept of time), then fumbled on the next possession. Cowboys recover. Game over.
McNabb blew the game. The defense had come up with a huge stop to get the ball back, and he had back-to-back terrible plays, the last of which sealed their fate.
And what was his reaction?
Why, to run around smiling like an idiot, of course. Giving out hugs like candy. Cracking jokes with the opposing players. And so on.

Contrast that with my fan viewing.
As you know, I'm a huge Packers fan. If I were forced to give up all sports but one for the rest of my life, that sport would be football, and that team would be the Packers. I love the Tigers, Red Wings, and, to a slightly lesser extent, the Pistons. But the Packers are my true sports love.
This past season was tough (as was chronicled here). 6-10, with most of those losses coming in the final seconds, against a defense who just couldn't hold on. But a loss in a 6-10 series doesn't compare to a playoff loss.
When the Packers made their incredible run to the NFC Championship game a couple of seasons ago, I was extremely excited. I knew they had a good team, but I didn't expect them to go as far as they did. Not at the beginning of the season, anyway. Yet, when they made it to the playoffs, I had visions of them winning the Super Bowl, the Pats perfect season be damned. I figured the Giants game would be a cakewalk. I figured wrong.
It was a winnable game. If two plays had gone in the Packers favor, that's a win. That's the Super Bowl (where I still maintain they would have beat the Pats).
So when that overtime field goal sailed through the uprights, I felt my soul being crushed. I was watching the game at my parent's house. When that ball went through, I fell out of my chair and stayed on the ground for a good 5 minutes. With the exception of my mom saying a couple of things about the game, there was complete silence among me, my dad, and my brother. After those 5 minutes, I got up, grabbed my hat, said, "See you later," and drove home in silence. I was in a funk for days. I couldn't snap out of it. That loss was all I could think about.
When the Tigers lost the World Series to the Cardinals, I was the same way. The thrill of the playoffs is fantastic, but a loss is crushing. When your team doesn't win that often, it's even harder to stomach. And the further they make it in the playoffs, the harder it is to take. To this day, I have a difficult time thinking about either of those games. They put me in a state of depression for weeks at a time. This may all seem to be a bit melodramatic, but it's what happens. I can't explain it another way.

I'm a fan. Aside from the time I spend watching/reading/following them (and the money I throw down for clothes and whatnot), I have nothing invested in them. I don't play for the team. I don't work for the team.
If I did play, I would expect myself to take a loss at least as hard as I do right now. That's why seeing McNabb laugh it up after a tough loss is irratating. I'm sure that loss killed the die-hard Eagles fans. But it made no difference to McNabb. It was as if that loss didn't happen...and, if it did, he certainly was not the cause of it.

That's why I don't really care what LeBron did after that loss. He walked off the court. He refused to to a press conference. I'm hearing the word "classless" thrown around a lot. I find it hard to use that term in reference to LeBron, seeing as how terrific he has been to the fans and for the entire league. He makes one questionable decision, and all of the sudden he is labeled as classless. That's pretty unfair.
I can't pretend to know what goes on in the minds of athletes, but I know that, for a competitor as fierce as Lebron James, a loss like that has to hurt. If I was a massive Cavs fan, I would want nothing more than to find a quiet place for at least 5 minutes. No congrats to the winning team. No talking to friends. So how does it feel for a player? After a difficult loss, how do you sit there and explain why you didn't win? And how do you explain that to a group of reporters who have probably never experienced such a bitter defeat?
After those tough losses by the Packers and the Tigers, I had a hard time talking to anyone. If someone had come up to me within 10 minutes of the game ending and asked why they didn't win, I would well up with anger. If I had just got done playing a game, with my adrenaline still flowing, and was being asked why I didn't win? I'm not sure how I would react...but it probably would not be good.

I don't care that he walked off the court. I don't blame him. Far too much has been said about this I'll stop now.

The Pens won tonight, tying the series 2-2. Am I worried? If you read my last post, you would know that I am. But I'm also realistic about it. The teams played pretty even tonight, barring that 3 goal barrage by the Pens in the second period. I know they're capable of such outburts...but that outburst was only made possible by the poor play of the Red Wings defense. You can bet on that not happening again.
The Pens still have to win 2 games...with only one more game in Pittsburgh. They won a game in Detroit last year, and, judging by how they've played, they could do it again. But I'm not seeing it. I can see the Wings winning a very tense Game 5, then cruising to a 2 goal victory in Game 6. I could be surprised...I often am. I just think the Wings have too much talent (and teamwork) to lose 2 of the next 3 games. With their poor defensive play tonight, you just know they'll come back with a vengence in the next game.

The Magic hung with the Lakers for a while...but things got out of hand in a hurry. I was primarily watching the Wings/Pens game, but I glanced over at the Magic/Lakers game from time to time (we went to BW3s to catch the games). At one point the score was something like 33-32...but, by the time I looked back, it was 80-55, and I had no idea how it got there. I saw some missed shots by the Magic. I looked at the box score, and saw some ridiculous numbers. Howard went 1-6 from the floor (10-16 from the line). Lewis went 2-10. Turkoglu went 3-11. Overall, they shot 29.9% from the floor tonight. Ouch.
Still, there's no way they shoot that bad again...right? They had a bad game. That's bound to happen. But I refuse to believe that a team that has been as good as the Magic can completely fall apart so quickly. They'll start hitting, and they'll make this a series. I hope.
What did you see?

Rodney Harrison to the booth? I have a feeling I'll be muting that show.

Glad you're digging on Doom. Love that Vaudeville Villian album. Great stuff. Pretty dark. "A Dead Mouse" is my favorite track off of that album.
As for Amy Winehouse...I definitely think that Back to Black is better than Frank, but that might be for one simple reason: the song "F*** Me Pumps" is awful. Just about every time I have tried to listen to that album, I get to that song and get so annoyed that I have to shut it off. Since that song is track 4, I usually don't make it past that. To be fair, I'm only lukewarm on tracks 1-3. If I liked any of those tracks, I'd give the rest of the album a try. As it currently rests, Frank no longer resides on my iPod. Sorry Amy. Back to Black is still kicking around, though.
I listened through the new Mos Def today. On first Big fan. He sounds invested again. The New Danger and True Magic have received a lot of negative reviews, and that's pretty unfair. They're not terrible albums. In fact, there are a number of great songs on each of them. But, since they don't quite measure up with Black on Both Sides or the Black Star album, they're labeled terrible. Granted, there are times on True Magic that he seems a little bored, but it's still a pretty solid album. On The Ecstatic, he seems to have a little more energy...a little more fire in him. I need to listen to it more, but I was very impressed on my first listen.
I'm still trying to make up my mind on the new Eminem album. I don't want to give too much away, as I'm planning on writing about this on my music blog next week, but I'll say a little something here, I suppose. As with most of his albums, it's a little uneven. There are some great tracks ("3 AM", "Bagpipes from Baghdad" and "Same Song & Dance" are my favorites), but there are also some pretty obnoxious songs, too ("Insane" being the biggest culprit). I think I like it...but I'm just not sure yet.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Finals-NBA and NHL

First a few notes about the Conference Finals and then my preview for the Finals.

-I think all the talk about Dwight Howard not having the heart to take over a game, can be put to bed. I said last month that this postseason would go along way in potentially determining the rest of Dwight's career. If he couldn't hold his own against other quality big men, we would be in trouble. He destroyed Philly, held his own against Boston/Kendrick Perkins and had his way against Cleveland capping it with a 40 point, 14 rebound performance in Game 6 against Cleveland. I think Orlando is in good hands.

-I think the talk of LeBron James greatness can be hushed for at least another year. He's going to be phenomenal: No doubt about that, but he's extremely over hyped for now. As I mentioned his defense leaves something to be desired. If he wants to be the face of the league, he has to step up and guard Hedo Turkoglu or Rashard Lewis in clutch moments, instead of roaming on Mickael Pietrus/Rafer Alston. He has to. I know he wanted to conserve energy for the offensive end but when the end of your season is staring you in the face, you have to take that extra step.

-Going along with my last point, Ric Bucher made a great point about LeBron's offense. He's not tired because he has to score 40 every night, he's tired because of the way he scores 40 every night. He dominates the ball so much and will dribble into the ground, fake a drive or shot before he actually decides what to do. Holding the ball for 20 seconds every possession will tire you out. Kobe figured out if he has to score 40, he has to do it efficiently in case he needs to lock down a guy in a clutch situation. LeBron's just not there yet.

-LeBron walking off the court without shaking hands was a childish move. He said he doesn't want to shake the hand of someone who beats him because he loves winning so much. My question is this: Who do you know that likes losing? Do you have one friend that no matter what you're doing, loves the agony of defeat? No one likes to lose! That's a weak point. He has no probably preening after a big shot or taking faux pictures before games, but after a loss he splits. I hate to bring Kobe into this again, but if he did the exact same thing, how badly would he be crucified? What's worse about the whole situation is that LeBron blew off the post-game conference, which is normally a $25,000 fine, but not for King James. He gets a pass because he loves to win? Weak.

-In an elimination game, LeBron had 0 points in the 2nd quarter and only 4 points in the 4th quarter? I haven't seen a star quit on his team like that since....last June. Maybe he learned more from Kobe during the Olympics than we thought!

Now onto the Finals.

-The top 2 college basketball players from 2005 are meeting in the Finals. The system works!

-This is the third consecutive series that we've found ourselves being the underdog, but this is the first time I feel we're playing a better team. The Lakers are for real and their actions after clinching a Finals berth proved it. Not one player touched the Western Conference Finals trophy. By comparison, we went a little to crazy after claiming the East. You can chalk it up to a bunch of guys happy to be here, or to a young team that's happy but knows that their job isn't complete. I'm praying for the latter.

-Everyone is picking LA, and I like it. Kobe's been favored in every Finals he's ever been to, and has been the best player in most of those series, yet he's 3-2. He knows that this might be his last chance because the likes of Portland,Denver and Houston are getting better in the West. Boston has another run, Orlando is relatively young and Cleveland is sure to be back in the mix next year. He has probably the best team in the league from top to bottom and one of more decorated coaches of all time. If Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom show up for 2 games a piece, LA is almost unstoppable. Los Angeles should win this series...

-But the Finals is all about who is playing the best right now. In the past month we've eliminated the defending champions and the team with the best record in the league, now the best team in the league stands in our way. Dwight a 25-13 against Cleveland and hit his free throws. Andrew Bynum will be harder to score against than Wallace/Ilguaskas/Vareajo, but not as tough as Kendrick Perkins. I think Dwight has a good, not great series.

-Derek Fisher has trouble with quick guards. Rafer Alston is not of the Aaron Brooks ilk, but he's no Chauncey Billups. If Skip can give Fisher trouble and not take ridiculous shots, that's a good thing.

-Great players will not be stopped (See James, LeBron, Eastern Conference Finals 2009), but you can make them work for their points. Mickael Pietrus did a hell of a job on LeBron and we need him to replicate his work in the Finals. Not only the defense, but the offense. He outscored Cleveland's entire bench for the series and hit many backbreaking three's. In fact his offense might be more important. Kobe will likely roam on D, instead of sticking to Pietrus/Courtney Lee so Pietrus needs to score enough to make Kobe work on defense. Kobe is much smaller than LeBron which will also allow Courtney Lee to see some minutes on him. Lee held Kobe to a 10-26 performance earlier in the year, so I'm hoping we can make Kobe work for his points.

-Yes we beat LA twice in the regular season. However those victories were with a healthy Jameer Nelson. (I won't include Nelson potentially playing in my preview because I don't know what the deal is. Any minutes he can give us would be a huge emotional boost for this team.) Nelson killed LA in those games and was our late game closer until he got hurt. He's hurt, so many Laker fans are assuming victory. Not so fast my friends. In Game 1 against Orlando, Derek Fisher scored 27 points to match Nelson's 27. In the a six game series against Denver, Fisher scored 42 points. I'm assuming he's not gonna hit that 27 again. In Game 2, Good Lamar Odom showed up, Vladimir Radmonovich hit 5 three's and Andrew Bynum even chipped in 14 points. Not to mention Pietrus didn't even play. Orlando still won both games.

-Stan Van Gundy has been criticized for being a "Master of Panic", so what does that make Phil Jackson? Master of Contentment? Has he called a play in 3 years? Does he even get off the bench anymore? Is he still alive? The only thing I've seen Phil Jackson do since the playoffs start is yank Bynum for Odom. Will that be enough to outcoach SVG, who probably hasn't slept a wink since last Saturday in preparation for the Finals? I sure hope not.

-Last but not least, LA has homecourt advantage, but is it really an advantage? Many have written about how LA fans show up halfway through the first quarter and duck out early. Will that be enough to rattle a team that won 2 games on Boston's floor including a Game 7 and was an amazing shot away from taking the first two on Cleveland's court? I really don't think so. I think Orlando can split the first two, take two out of the three in Orlando, and close things out in LA in Game 6. That's right. Picking Orlando in 6 hasn't failed me yet, so I'm sticking with it.

I caught part of Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals. Are you worried the least bit that Pittsburgh ties it up and perhaps makes a comeback? In the part of the game I saw, it appeared Detroit was two steps ahead of Pitt in everything they did. If Pitt was setting something up on offense, the Red Wings were right where Pitt wanted to be. I've also heard some talk of the Red Wings taking the easy way out by trapping the Penguins instead of settling things in the open ice. Any truth to this, or just talk from a bitter Pittsburgh fan?

You know, I was just thinking about what notoriously dirty player and jerk of a guy that I would like to retire from football and do some analyst work from the booth. Today, I woke up and my prayers had been answered. Rodney Harrison. I can't wait to get insight like, "That was a great run by Adrian Peterson. The Packers should take to his ACL with a rusty hacksaw....I'm kidding guys!"

*Smash cut to Bettis, Costas and Collinsworth over laughing nervously*

I remember we discussed Amy Winehouse's "Frank" and MF Doom a while ago. I liked both, but loved neither at first listen. I've gave each another listen and I'm big fans of both. I'd argue that "Frank" is slightly better than "Back to Black", which we both liked. I can't say a particular album of Doom's that I've been feeling because the songs are shuffled when I listen to them, but "Rhymes Like Dimes", "Let Me Watch" and "Gas Drawls" are becoming fast favorites. Thanks again for putting me onto Vaudeville's Villain.