Thursday, July 22, 2010

Chris Paul, LD and Ricky Rozay

Chris Paul has apparently asked to be traded from New Orleans. Of course, he didn't come out and say this: A source close to the situation did, which means I'll take several grains of salt with it. But still, word is he's been unhappy for some time so maybe this is legit. Orlando was on desired team list, behind the Knicks and ahead of the Mavericks and Trail Blazers. First off, if I'm New Orleans, I trade him to Cleveland. You ask for a trade? Fine. You want to go to a championship contender? Not fine. Let him stew in Cleveland with Dan Gilbert for two years to think about what hes done. Part of me hopes New Orleans either does that, or calls his bluff and makes him play the two years left on his contract. Superstars teaming up could become an epidemic sooner than later if Paul is appeased and sent to the Knicks or Mavericks. The other part of me wants Chris Paul in Orlando. Badly. The Blazers are in the same conference and the Mavs are in the same division as the Hornets, so I can't see that happening. The Knicks are intriguing though. It seems the plan is for Paul to go to NY this year, and be joined by Carmelo Anthony next year. Here's the problem: In any trade, New Orleans is going to demand the contracts of James Posey and Emeka Okafor be taken on. I don't think New York would have a problem doing such, but would that leave them enough room for Anthony? Then again, maybe he plays for peanuts to team up with Amare and CP3. In that case, we are all boned. I can see Orlando taking on Posey's contract, but not Okafor's so I'm not getting my hopes up. Ok, I lied. My hopes were sky high until I realized we probably wouldn't take on Okafor's contract.

Speaking of the NBA, I thought of this the other day and I want you to tell me why it wouldn't work. Picture NBA All Star Weekend. You have HORSE, the point guard skills competition and the game where WNBA players, NBA players and NBA old timers team up to do God knows what. Picture a world where the latter two events are scrapped for a 2 on 2 tournament. The stars would likely decline entry, so you make it for guys with three years or less of NBA
experience. In just those three drafts, you could put together a field of:

-John Wall, Evan Turner, Xavier Henry, Paul George, Avery Bradley, Jordan Crawford
-James Harden, Tyreke Evans, Johnny Flynn, Stephen Curry, Demar Derozan, Ty Lawson,
Darren Collison
-Derrick Rose, OJ Mayo, Russell Westbrook, Eric Gordon, Jerryd Bayless.

Just to name a few. None of that predetermined team stuff either. You either shoot for first pick, or teams are assigned randomly. I like shooting for first pick, because all the guys you turn down put a price on your head. Then again I wouldn't be opposed to drawing names. Yet I digress, you wouldn't watch John Wall-OJ Mayo take on Derrick Rose-Stephen Curry? How about Tyreke Evans-Eric Gordon playing Russ Westbrook-Evan Turner? Of course you would! Winning team gets $50,000 a piece and bragging rights. Ego, pride and cash are on the line, so I'll hear nothing about potential injury concerns. Why wouldn't this work?

I was watching an old comedy special on HBO and Howie Mandel came up. Geez. Let me find out he fathered the style of telling wack stories in loud voices.


I've been watching a lot of "Curb Your Enthusiasm" lately. I just finished the second season, and I think all I have left are the third and sixth. It's all gold, especially the episode where Larry cuts the hair of executive's daughters doll, but I find myself hating Cheryl and everything she stands for. Every episode, I find myself wishing more and more ill will on her. Never happens though. Here's to hoping.

I've been listening to that Rick Ross just about nonstop. I don't like "No. 1" but the rest of the album is great. I would say Ross is an average lyricist with an above average flow, but with one of the best ears for beats in the game. The production is fantastic. "Free Mason" and "Maybach Music III are some of the best beats I've heard this year. I only have one gripe with the album. There are different versions of "MC Hammer", "BMF" and "Aston Martin Music", from previous mixtapes. The mixtape versions are superior to the one's on the album. I understand that because a lot of the songs came out before the album, they were touched up to make them a little different, but it wasn't change for the best in my opinion. I do like the brevity of the album though. I'll take 10-11 good tracks any day before 18-20 songs with a lot of filler. Good work, Ross.

Eek. The Nationals handled the Reds last night and Ed Volquez got rocked this afternoon. I mean "2 innings pitched, 4 walks, 5 hits, 6 runs" rocked. Not gonna lie. Between this and Rolen's hamstring acting up, I'm beginning to get worried about the annual collapse.

EDIT: I'd be remiss if I didn't mention my disdain for how advanced statistics are taking over sports. I saw an article yesterday that suggests Mickael Pietrus is best coming off the bench due to some data ran to measure chemistry. I came to the same conclusion. You know how? I watched him for the past two seasons! I read something that suggests Jameer Nelson is "above average to good" as a point guard passing to the roll option on pick and roll's 25.8 percent of the time. What? Who cares about that? Not me, that's who. I don't need advanced statistics in basketball or especially baseball, to tell me who is efficient and who is not. Jameer Nelson is a good player, but save me the statistics that suggest he's good because he hits the roll man a quarter of the time. We talked about it the other day, but Francisco Cordero is second in the Majors in saves but I don't trust him. Why? Because I've watched him. I don't need some stat to tell me he's prone to putting pitches in the dirt. I can see it with my own eyes.

Monday, July 12, 2010

LeBron and then some.

For the record, I agree with everything you said about Dan Gilbert, but let me play Daniel's advocate for a second. Word on the street is that LeBron wanted Bosh to join him in Cleveland but Bosh wanted no part of living/working in Cleveland. With the absurd contracts being handed out this summer, the cap room they have outside of LeBron would have only been able to get LeBron another third option type. Not the second option they sorely need to get over the top. They have no tradeable assets and certainly every move over the past 24 months has had LeBron's stamp of approval. Yes, Byron Scott is the coach. The same Scott who took a 26 win New Jersey team to the NBA Finals two years straight. The same Scott who took an 18 win New Orleans team to 56 wins. Scott is always fine in his first couple of seasons with a club. It's year 4 or 5 when you have to worry about the team tuning him out. Gilbert forced out Mike Brown, who I think would be a perfect coach for the Cav's current roster, and GM Danny Ferry despite fielding a team that led the league in wins the past two seasons. Why? Surely, LeBron's camp had to give him some sign that Brown/Ferry had to be moved before he would consider re-signing. Gilbert made moves. The move of writing a letter from the viewpoint of a scorned woman and doing it in Comic Sans font? Brilliant. The move of cutting the price of LeBron Jame's fatheads to $17.41 reflecting the year Benedict Arnold was born? A stroke of comic genius. This video? Hilarious.

I can't say a thing about LeBron's actual decision, but he couldn't have handled things more poorly. Refusing to meet/take phone calls from Dan Gilbert or Tom Izzo was a bad idea. The TV special that kept Cleveland fans on the edge of their seats, only to have their hearts broken was a bad idea. Playing the "Hey, I'm taking 110 million when I could have taken 125 million. It's not about the money with King James!" card when you are leaving a city with a downtrodden economy was a bad idea. At the end of the day he left to go play with his friends, which is fine. He also chose to go play with another superstar, and Chris Bosh. (Can we please stop referring to Chris Bosh as a superstar?) He wanted no part of being "The Man", which is fine. Notice how in every appearance, Wade is in the center and Bron is on his side. Also notice how uncomfortable LeBron looks. That was a recurring theme for me during his decision and during the fiesta held at the arena in Miami. He looked extremely uncomfortable which is surprising for a guy that has been in the public light that long and handled it so well. By doing so, I think he thought he could escape some of the pressure he'd have by being the man in Cleveland. Au contraire. All the pressure in the world is on that team. Boston's trio winning a ring in their first year gives them no time to try to put a decent team that can grow together. I think they have to win to now. And they can, because James-Wade-Bosh are all that talented.

Call me crazy, but I think the Cavaliers surprise people next season by winning 35-40 games and contending for an 8th seed. They have no pressure on them whatsoever. Byron Scott is solid in his first couple of years with a new team. Mo Williams and Antawn Jamison aren't bad players. They just aren't second options on a championship team. They are fine in the regular season. I honestly think a Varejao-Jamison-Parker-West-Williams will be alright. Of course the word is Dan Gilbert is so desperate to make a move that anybody on that team could had for a decent player. I wonder if he's interested in Vince Carter. Stay tuned because, as has been proven, Dan Gilbert is out of his mind. As far as the darkest day in Cleveland sports history goes, I think signing Jake Delhomme trumps the Decision and Art Modell's thievery.

I can try to rationalize this deal by asking "Who's coming off the bench?" or "Who's defending Dwight?" or "Who's playing D on that team?", but ultimately I don't think it will matter. They have three great players who can seemingly score at will and Pat Riley will find a way to put solid guys around them. I will say this though: While LeBron was meeting with organizations and promoting his brand, Kobe was in the gym. Dwight was in the gym. Durant was in the gym. They will get every team's best shot every night. Speaking of Dwight, I don't like him defending LeBron. On his twitter hes been defending LeBron, and talking about how he's not sure if he's feeling the love in Orlando. If he's greasing the skids to join Miami in two years with Chris Paul, I may be out on the NBA.

Despite what the television tells me, there are actually other free agents and teams in the NBA! Who knew? The Bulls have had a great offseason. Boozer and Korver fill big needs for them. They signed JJ Redick to an offer sheet, but I hope Orlando matches it. As I was typing this, I got word that Orlando signed Quentin Richardson to a multi year deal, likely signally the end of the Redick era. Orlando signed Chris Duhon and there are rumors we are about to sign and trade for Al Harrington. Pair that with Daniel Orton, who I'll get to later, and it has not been a good offseason. Perhaps the worst of all time for a team of our caliber. I have no idea what the Suns are doing though. They just gave Hakim Warrick 18 million in hopes that he replaces Amare Stoudemire. They traded for Hedo Turkoglu and gave Josh Childress 33 million dollars. And they already have Grant Hill at SF. I don't get it. First off, Miami had been trying to give Michael Beasley away. Minnesota got him for second round picks. Phoenix should have jumped all over that. I'd take my chances on hooking Beasley up to Steve Nash's rejuvenation machine any day before I give Hakim Warrick 18 million. Or since Amare went to New York, a sign and trade with them receiving David Lee could have been orchestrated. Also, Turkoglu struggled in Toronto because they had Jose Calderon to do most of the ball handling duties. He worked in Orlando because Jameer Nelson isn't a pure point guard. Now he goes to a team with Steve Nash, where he might end up playing power forward because they have way too many swingmen. Then you give a guy that hasn't played NBA ball in two years, 33 million dollars. I just don't get it.

Back to Orton. I had a chance to watch him play Summer League ball last week and he was terrible. Just dreadful in all five games. 3-27 FG shooting. More fouls per game than points per game. 9 total rebounds to 12 turnovers in 86 minutes of play. And he probably looked worse than that. I'm praying that working with Patrick Ewing and playing Dwight/Marcin Gortat in practice daily will help him but he had a long way to go.

I also caught John Wall's debut last night. Fact: John Wall is a very good basketball player. He had 24 points, 8 assists and 8 turnovers in a victory. He had at least two perfect alley oop passes that teammates couldn't convert. His speed is still unreal, for better or worse. A couple times he turned the ball over just because he was going to fast in transition and lost it out of bounds. Still, he got to the line 11 times and made 10 of them, including two to ice the game. A very solid debut. DeMarcus Cousins plays tonight as I ponder abandoning the Magic for horrid moves to jump ship to the Wizards/Kings.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

LeBron

Alright...so everyone (with the exception of the Miami Heat fans...all 50 of them) hates LeBron right now.  Cleveland hates him because he destroyed the Cavs.  The rest of America hates him because he left the Cavs (thus showing a lack of loyalty), and because he created an hour-long program to unveil his decision (aptly titled "The Decision").

I get the anger of the Cavs fan.  If I was a Cavs fan, I'd be mad, too.  Not just because he left...but because of the way he left.  He didn't just say, "I'm sorry...I'm leaving for the Heat, but I loved my time here."  When Karl Malone left Utah to play a season with the Lakers, he took out a full-page ad in a Utah paper, thanking the city of Utah for their support through the years.  That situation is a little different, because he played in Utah for 18 years (much longer than LeBron's stint of seven years in Cleveland), and because Malone was at the end of his career, while LeBron is still very much in his prime.  LeBron could have handled the situation much better (and that's an understatement).  As I said, if I were a Cavs fan, I would hate LeBron right now.

But do you know who I would hate more?  Dan Gilbert.  The incompetence of that man screwed up everything. Once the season ended, he knew that LeBron would be a free agent.  He knew that he needed to do whatever it took to keep LeBron in Cleveland...not just to put a good product on the floor, but to make sure that he kept the seats filled.  It made good financial sense to keep LeBron in Cleveland.  The crowds simply would not show up on a night-to-night basis if they were fielding a team consisting of Mo Williams, Delonte West, Anderson Varejao, and God-knows who else.  They would pay to see LeBron...but not the same team without LeBron.  And yet, what effort did he make?  None.  None whatsoever.  There were no stories of the Cavs pursuing any of the free agents available.  There was talk of LeBron trying to get Bosh to play in Cleveland, but Gilbert seemed to have no part in that.  For the past few years, the Cavs have had great regular seasons, but melted down in the playoffs.  LeBron's teammates just weren't up for the task.  He needed a legitimate second scorer.  They never got one (Jamison was supposed to be "the one"...but, as always, he melted down in the playoffs).  They didn't appear to be gunning for one this offseason.  The Bulls will only get better.  The Magic will be tough for as long as they have Dwight.  The Lakers appear to be set for a while, with Kobe and Gasol (at least another few years).  Add in the fact that the Heat resigned Wade and grabbed Bosh, and Gilbert needed to do something big to keep LeBron in Cleveland.

He did nothing.  In fact, he did less than nothing.  Mike Brown was fired...but they didn't find a replacement until recently...and that was Byron Scott.  Byron Scott...the man who coached the Hornets, and had every single player on that team quit on him throughout the year...highlighted by a 58 point loss (at home) in the playoffs that year.  Read that again: a 58 point playoff loss.  At home.  And this is the man that Gilbert brought in to convince LeBron to stay.  Personally, I was hoping that LeBron would stay in Cleveland...but once Scott was hired, I knew it was all over.  I've seen terrible decisions, but never so many at such a huge time in the franchise.  Look, Cleveland: I know you're looking for someone to blame, and right now that person is LeBron.  But take a closer look and you'll realize that Gilbert is just as much to blame as LeBron.

Now...about the decision itself.  Like I said, I was hoping that he would stay in Cleveland.  In an age where our sports heroes jump from city to city, in search of the most money, I was hoping LeBron would stay.  The hometown boy, playing for a small-market team.  I wanted him to reach down deep, work hard in the offseason, and come out ready to dominate, and lead his team to the championship that his city has been waiting for.  I wanted loyalty.  I am not a Cavs fan, but I wanted LeBron to be different.  I wanted him to choose loyalty over money.  When he went to the Heat, I assumed he was like the others.
But he's not.
He didn't go to the Heat for money.  Perhaps he went to the Heat for the chance at a championship...but I don't think that's the real reason.  He, Wade and Bosh are friends.  They became close friends during their time with the Olympic squad.  They enjoyed playing together.  They enjoyed hanging out with each other.  So LeBron went to the Heat...but he went because he wanted to have fun.  He wanted to play with his friends.  In fact, he even took less money to play with them.  All of them did.  All three of those guys could have demanded a max contract...but they didn't.  They wanted to play together.
We complain when our athletes leave for more money somewhere else.  We complain and say that it's all about the money for them.  They're getting paid to play a game...but it's never enough.  Sports used to be fun...but then the money got in the way.  Isn't it a little refreshing to see an athlete take less money to have some fun?  Isn't that something different?  LeBron left Cleveland...but he didn't leave for money.  He left in order to play basketball with his friends.
I know Cleveland will have a hard time forgiving him.  I doubt they ever will (until he comes back after his days with the Heat).  But what about the rest of us?  Can't we appreciate that?  Can't we say, "There's a guy who just wants to have fun"?  Maybe he's not wired like we want our superstars to be...but can't that be a good thing?

One more note on this: I've read a number of articles about this, and they say that this is the darkest day in the history of Cleveland sports.  Sure, it's bad...but it's certainly not the worst.  How about when Modell took the Browns and moved them to Baltimore...then won a Super Bowl.  He took one of your sports teams.  Just took it.  Now you're left with the Browns 2.0...while the Ravens are hours away, and are consistently better than you every single year.  You're telling me that a basketball player leaving is darker than a man stealing your team?  Not even close.

A little music talk:
The more I listen to that Big Boi album, the more I love it.  That dude knows what he's doing.  The production is solid, and he's still at the top of his game.  Just a terrific album.
I actually like the Eminem album.  Much better than Relapse.  The production is terrific, and he sounds angry again, something that had been missing for a little while.  He had his "joke" moment ("W.T.P."), but he sounded much more serious on this album.  I loved the track he did with Rihanna ("Love the Way You Lie"), but my favorite track is the track he did with Lil' Wayne ("No Love").  Sucks that you don't like it...but I really dig it.
I had not heard anything about the ?uestlove/Amy Winehouse/Raphael Saadiq album, but color me excited.  I know Winehouse is a mess, but that girl can sing.  Saadiq also has a terrific voice.  And ?uestlove is still one of my favorite drummers.  If it actually happens (a big "if", knowing all of the problems that Winehouse has), it should be amazing.
I've tried the Drake album multiple times.  I still don't think I've made it all the way through.  It's just not working for me.  I kind of dug the EP he put out before the album, but this full-length just isn't happening.

Monday, July 5, 2010

CP3, Joey Votto and Amy Winehouse

On Chris Paul and Orlando, I disagree. You say it wouldn't make us favorites in the East. Maybe it's the homer in me, but I say why not? As is, I'd have to say we're the favorites in the East just because the Cavs/Celtics have a lot of decisions to make. The Lakers/Celtics of the past three years have proved you need good play from your big men and point guard to win a title. Pairing Dwight and CP3 would be the best C-PG combo in the league. Because nothing is certain, let's just assume the trade is Jameer Nelson/Vince Carter/Marcin Gortat for Chris Paul/James Posey. That would give Orlando a lineup of Howard-Lewis-Posey-Redick-Paul. I think that lineup definitely competes in the East. Boston has some tinkering to do with Sheed on his way out, Perkins injured and a couple members of their bench being free agents. Wherever LeBron goes is the wild card (For the record, I see him staying in Cleveland. I don't know why but that's the sense I'm getting. Also, if you think LeBron isn't going to drag this out like Brett Favre, I've got a beachfront condo in Wyoming I'd like to show you) . I honestly think that Orlando lineup could compete with any team in the East, unless LeBron and Bosh go to Chicago, or Bosh-Wade-James team up. I could see the former happening but not the latter. Factor in that Howard will be better next year and you are giving him one of the best PG's in the league. Not one guy on Orlando last year knew when/where he liked the ball in the post. That's a problem. Posey would pretty much fill Matt Barnes spot this season. Lewis is the x-factor though. Like you said, I wouldn't expect him to have a bounce back season, but he was clearly affected by Carter's addition/Turkoglu's subtraction. His shooting numbers actually weren't bad last season. It was his number of shots, rebounding and assists that dipped. Number of shots and assists can be contributed to VC's dribble heavy offense. With Paul at the point, Shard could definitely have a better year. Redick is an upgrade over Carter, for the simple fact that you know what you are getting out of him every night. Redick and Paul are the consistent outside shooters you mentioned that Orlando would need. Both shot above 40% from three last year and would be great kick out options for Dwight. Mickael Pietrus is still on the bench and he hit 46% of his three's in the postseason. Add in Lewis and Ryan Anderson off the bench as three point shooters and we haven't compromised any of our shooting. Paul would get everyone easy assists and is surprising clutch. He could be the crunch time scorer Vince was supposed to be. I'm not handing Orlando the title, but bar 2 or 3 stars teaming up, I could see that squad in the Finals next season.

Here's one thing I don't understand about this free agency stuff. Chris Bosh is allegedly angry that Toronto won't do a sign and trade with him and his next team that will allow Bosh to see an extra 30 million. Good for Toronto. Let him walk. There's no need taking back garbage contracts to give Chris that extra money in his pocket. However, say he does want to go to the Bulls, if I'm Toronto I demand Joakim Noah in return. Just play the "you're willing to let Jo Noah stand in between Bosh-James-Rose trio???" card. If it doesn't work, let him walk. No need to take back Luol Deng's awful contract to help a team in conference. Then again, Toronto is being poorly run. They gave big man Andrea Bargnani 50 million dollars, just gave PF Amir Johnson 30 million dollars and they drafted PF Ed Davis in the first round. No wonder Bosh is leaving. I'm fully convinced I could be a GM in the NBA. With Miami trying to clear as much cap space as possible, why not make a play for Michael Beasley? He's already better than the 6 ppg/5rpg Johnson gave last year, he needs a change of scenery and is still on his rookie contract. He's played well when Dwyane Wade sits out, so I'm not ready to give up on him. With that move, you get Beasley on his rookie deal for 3 more years and a chance to strike gold if he turns it around. If not, you can cut him lose after 2 years.

I agree on the Heyward hype. He's a good young player and he could be great, but he's a power hitter that strikes out a lot. I've seen the Adam Dunn story play out once before, so let's chill with the hype and Heyward being an All-Star is jumping the gun to me. Jackson and Boesch are a nice young tandem, and maybe it's a little better they fly under the radar. Honestly, if you told me I could add Jackson or Heyward to the Reds, I'd probably take Jackson. He's had some strikeout troubles, and he's still hitting .300. When he gets that down, you can pencil him as your leadoff hitter for the next 10 years, not to mention defensive plays like the one he made in Armando Gallaraga's...um....game. It has to hurt a little knowing Granderson is struggling in NY, but it appears you guys got the better end of the deal.

Speaking of Boesch and guys that aren't getting enough press, what gives with Joey Votto not being an All- Star? I never care about this type of stuff, but this an exception. This is an outrage. Pujols has the starting job on lock. Ok. The backups are Ryan Howard and Adrian Gonzales. Howard is hitting .293, with 15 homers and 59 RBI's for the third place Phillies. Gonzalez is at .291 with 16 HR's and 51 RBI's for the first place Padres. Votto is at .312 with 19 homers and 57 RBI's for the first place Reds. How is he not on that team? If the Reds keep this up, he's a legit MVP candidate, but he's relying on a fan vote-in to make it on the All-Star team. Unreal. I'm with you on Strasberg though. No way he should be in that game. Not yet.

That Big Boi is album is great. I was hooked from the intro and it only went uphill from there. Have you heard the new Eminem? I gave it a shot and didn't like it. At all. I read many reviews that said it was his best stuff in years, so I thought I was in the wrong. Gave it another listen. Same thing. I can't say that there's one song that I "like". Some weren't bad, but I can honestly say I didn't "like" any of them. His content was solid, but I couldn't get into the production or nasally hooks. I didn't really enjoy "Encore" or "Relapse" either. I may be out on Eminem. I think that makes me a racist, but whatever. This week in "News That Only Excites Me", there is word that a ?uestlove/Raphael Saadiq/Amy Winehouse group is in the works. I'm stoked. Did you ever finish listening to that Drake?

Chris Paul & Orlando

Let's assume that the Magic are able to get Chris Paul:
The problem would be that they still would not necessarily be the favorites in the East.  I know, the free agents aren't settled in place yet, but I have to assume that LeBron is either staying in Cleveland, or heading somewhere else in the East.  I know that "LeBron" doesn't translate to "Title", but, depending on who he goes to, and who he pares up with, you would have to assume that they would be the favorites.  What would Orlando have to do to jump above LeBron's team?  What pieces would they have to add?  They would need a consistent outside shooter...you can't assume that Lewis will have a bounce-back year next season.

I'm pretty hyped about the Tigers.  They've been looking good.  However, they have a way of looking really good...then dropped 4 in a row.  As of today, we are tied with the Twins for first place in the division, and we're starting a series against Baltimore today.  C'mon boys...let's take over sole-ownership of the Central...and keep it that way.  It's going to be hard with Zumaya lost for the year, though.  I'm really going to miss that guy.
Here's a little beef with the sports media: we keep hearing about how great Jason Heyward is, but you rarely hear anything about Austin Jackson and Brennan Boesch.  Jackson is hitting .305, which far surpasses Heyward's .251 average.  Heyward has the power numbers (11 home runs to Jackson's 1) and the RBI's (45 to Jackson's 19), but, for my lead-off man, I'll take average over power.  Jackson's RBI numbers are down because the bottom of Detroit's line-up is abysmal (most of the bottom of their line-up is comprised of guys right around the Mendoza line).    People love power numbers, so I can see how Heyward gets the edge over Jackson...but what about Boesch?  Boesch is hitting .345 with 12 home runs and 46 RBIs.  All of those numbers are better than Heyward...and Boesch hasn't been up the entire year.  In less time, he has outperformed Heyward.  Why isn't Boesch getting more press?

Your Reds are looking terrific.  I was watching last night when they hit 7 home runs and destroyed the Cubs late in the game.  They're now 1.5 games ahead of the Cardinals in the division.  I know there is still a lot of baseball to be played, but but they're looking good, and they have a good shot to win that division.

Strasburg didn't make it into the All Star game.  I agree with that, but it seems like I'm in the minority.  Your thoughts?

Love the World Cup.  I'm not the biggest soccer fan, but there's something about the World Cup that I absolutely love.  I think it's the fact that the stakes are so high, and it only takes place once every four years.  It's an event.  After every World Cup, I always think, "Perhaps I should start watching soccer throughout the year," but it never really takes.

Glad you dig the Roots CD.  I think I need to lower my expectations.  I don't hate the album...I was just hoping that it was going to be fantastic, and it isn't.  There are some good tracks on it, and I definitely like it better than Rising Down, but it's not as good as I hoped it would be.  I think I like the Big Boi album better.

You're lucky that I'm not sure where you are right now, or I'd murder you for that Fallon comment.