Now here's the real Kobe video that features a priceless inquiry at the very end. Enjoy.
(Via: Our Book Of Scrap)
Thursday, June 28, 2007
A bunch of us got together over at Awful Announcing once again for a little Mock Draft. This time of the NBA variety of course. I took on the Bobcats as I wanted a spot in the lottery and what a good decision it was. Both of Charlotte's picks are in the first round this year at 8 and 22 so they're was definitely some potential for improvement. Then again isn't that the Bobcats mantra this time of year anyway? AA's even handing out grades this time around. Yours truly, somehow picked up the only A+ handed out after taking Corey Brewer and Sean Williams. I maintain that basketball is the only sport I really know anything about. Anyhow, go check it all out, folks. As it was a great success with only one "WHAT??", to be spoken of.
For the picks click here, the grades here, and for my individual lottery mock here.
Friday, June 22, 2007
The problem with Mock Drafts tends to be that by the time you get around to doing one. You've already looked at about 800 others. I will try and fight Chad Ford and all the other Mock Drafts as I take a look at this from a little different perspective. What if I were these GM's, sitting in my swanky office and printing money on that cool machine you see in drug related movies (ala Blow or Rush Hour). Here I go, looking at every roster millions in my pocket. What am I going to do? To keep those millions coming in...
(NOTE: I'm going with just the lottery here as I don't know many of the international players well enough to slot them with teams.)
1. Portland Trail Blazers - Greg Oden
The Blazers winning the lottery to begin with was probably the best evidence we'll ever see that the Lottery is not rigged. As far as the pick goes, it's an absolute slam dunk can't-think-twice-about-it kinda pick. As great as Kevin Durant was last year at Texas will he be that good at the next level? Who knows swing-men are a dime a dozen in this league. Big men however, are not. When you get your shot at one like this, you absolutely have to take it. Consider how dominant he was in the National Title game against TWO lottery caliber players. Al Horford and Joakim Noah had no answer for Greg Oden and if the rest of his team had shown up. Maybe those Buckeyes raise the title. The Blazers will settle their SF issue another time. They MUST take Oden or risk that Bowie/Jordan situation all over again.
2. Seattle SuperSonics - Kevin Durant
This is an easy pick here. The potential is certainly there for KD. But will he be able to tap it at the next level? Is he strong enough? Like Oden's injuries, Durant's toughness has been called in to question quite regularly since he couldn't bench 185 pounds at the "combine". I'm not convinced Durant will be the mega-star that many others are. The biggest question for me, is how will be adjust to be pushed around in the early going? That should let us all know just what kind of player he's going to be. As I have no doubt that he'll be pushed around a little bit in the early going. If he responds well at the very least he has the tool to become a second tier level superstar (ala Tracy McGrady, or Vince Carter). Regardless, with Lewis certain to leave this is another no-brainier.
3. Atlanta Hawks - Al Horford
While Mike Conley Jr. is probably the most fitting pick in this spot I as the Hawks have plans for pick #11. Thus, it's Horford time in Atlanta. Considering only Marvin Williams is worth the ink on his contract this actually makes sense. This would push Sheldon Williams (way too many Williams') into the 3rd/4th big man off the bench role he belongs in. As I'd expect Horford to take the starting job from the slow-developing Marvin quickly. And, as Billy Knight my fear of losing my job makes Horford's NBA ready body an easy pick. I liken him a lot to Carlos Boozer with more pure talent and he puts the work in. Horford has what it takes to the second best player in this draft if Durant fails to excel at the next level.
4. Memphis Grizzlies - Joakim Noah
Operating under the "keeping Pau Gasol" umbrella missing out on Horford certainly hurts. And while Brandan Wright's potential is intriguing I don't know that he'll be much better than Hakim Warrick can be. Nor do I want to wait for Pau's prime to expire before he's ready to contribute. With that in mind I'm reaching a little bit and taking Joakim Noah in this spot. While many think they have to take Conley here, I disagree. Damon Stoudamire is still solid and I believe Kyle Lowry will contribute at some point. At least as a serviceable backup to Damon this year (sorry Chucky). I like Noah here as he's a long, defensive energy guy who can score around the basket and has shown some promise with his jump shot. His emotion alone should provide a boost to this sad bunch and his size inside along with Gasol's provides an immediate defensive juggernaut upfront. Now only if they could get those guys on the perimeter to stop somebody once in a while they'd be in good shape. Just imagine their defensive front if Rudy Gay can do his best Tayshaun Prince. The length would be absolutely overwhelming. This is a reach I can admit that, but I believe it's the best fit for Memphis whether it happens or not.
5. Boston Celtics - Corey Brewer
Before I sat down to do this I'd have never thought I'd slot the three Gators 3-4-5, let alone with Noah going before Brewer. That said if Boston cannot swing some kind of deal for Garnett Brewer is the best fit. With Jeff Green a close second. Wally Szczerbiak has been completely useless and will likely continue on that path. Brewer is a very different kind of player than Wally is. And I think he'll fit in much better than Wally ever did. He'll provide solid defense on the perimeter the minute he steps onto the floor. Eventually he could develop into a defensive stopper in the mold of Tayshaun Prince, using his length and athleticism to slow down opposing ball handlers. Offensively he's pretty raw but he's fearless going to the basket and has a decent, though easily block-able jump shot. He's got a good shot to be a Josh Howard/Prince mix though a little worse offensively then Howard. Along with Pierce and Jefferson I think Brewer can get Boston back into the playoffs in the horrid Eastern Conference.
6. Milwaukee Bucks - Mike Conley Jr.
This would be a dream come true for the Bucks. And could save them millions in the long run as they prepare to offer free agent Chauncey Billups a max contract. Would drafting Conley be enough to deter them from chasing Chauncey? Who knows. But it would be enough for me. With the young nucleus they have they might as well toss Conley directly into the fire immediately and Earl Boykins is a solid backup at the point. Conley can take time developing his jump shot and concentrate on getting to the rim and facilitating for his teammates. With Redd, Villaneuva, Bogut and an improving Charlie Bell Conley won't have to score at all. And can pick his spots and develop into the Tony Parker like PG I think he will become. I think this is a great fit for both Conley and the Bucks. All they'll be missing is a true PF so they can move Villaneuva to the three where despite his size he plays better and put Bell into the 6th man role.
7. Minnesota Timberwolves - Jeff Green
Whether Garnett stays or not Green will fit in nicely in Minnesota. With Garnett still around he can develop into the player they wanted Wally to be. Like Brewer he should be a solid defender on the perimeter from day one and in a situation where he'll defer to KG he should thrive in his first year. He, Foye, and hopefully McCants will provide a great group moving forward when KG leaves via free agency. Should KG leave via trade, (especially in that deal with Boston) Minnesota will be an exciting team. And Jeff Green will become the face of the franchise in just a few years. As the most polished of the young group.
8. Charlotte Bobcats - Al Thornton
Charlotte is in need of three things: defense, scoring and publicity. Well "two out of three ain't bad" with Al Thornton another small forward who's just about as good as Green and Brewer but not quite as marketable as either. At this point anyway. Adam Morrison cannot play defense and he struggled offensively last year as well. He's probably one of the worst #3 picks of all time. But that pick was based a lot on marketability. This one should not be. With Gerald Wallace and Matt Carrol both likely headed for the door (Wallace almost for sure) Thornton can step in and do his damnedest to pick up that slack. He's good enough right now to lead the team in scoring and if the Bobcats do manage to pick up Rashard Lewis. Thornton, Lewis, Felton, Okafor and Brezec should be a solid core moving forward. The biggest issue will be that they'll overpay for Lewis and regret it when Thornton turns out to be the better player.
9. Chicago Bulls - Yi Jianlian
I don't know much about Yi at all. I've never seen more than a few video clips of the guy. But the Bulls can offered to take a flier here and reap the benefits if he's anywhere near what many think he will be. Chicago is the ideal market for Yi as well so it's a perfect fit all around. This pick should signal the official end to Andres Nocioni's tenure in Chicago. Not to mention Tyrus Thomas and Thabo Sefolosha can pick up the slack while Yi develops. This is all assuming the Bulls don't gut the team for Kobe Bryant. That would be a huge mistake.
10. Sacramento Kings - Spencer Hawes
For the Kings it all depends on whether or not they believe they can unload Ron Artest. If not, and I suspect not Spencer Hawes makes sense. Brad Miller's getting older and he's a similar player to Hawes. Which could be beneficial in his development. While Hawes should spend a lot more time in the post then Miller does he's an excellent passer for a big man, much liker Miller. The only other real option here for the Kings is Julian Wright. But if they're keeping Artest Wright doesn't fit.
The Hawks Trade the #11 Pick to Portland for Jarrett Jack
Chad Ford mentioned this as a possibility and I'd say the Hawks have to do it. If not Billy Knight will be hoping Crittenton or Law can be impact players immediately. While Jack has developed into a serviceable point guard and should only get better. This trade makes sense all around as Portland fills their SF slot. Though that makes Sergio Rodriguez their starting PG.
11. Portland Trail Blazers - Julian Wright
The Blazers make out beautifully here if this all happens. They get the SF they're looking for in Wright and don't have to trade Randolph if they really don't want to. Wright much like the other swing men in this draft should be solid defensively from the get-go. His offense can develop as it won't be needed in the early going. With Oden, Randolph, Roy and Aldridge and Sergio should do a solid job running the offense for the time being. Who knows though, maybe Portland spins Randolph for a PG at some point this summer and treks out a young albeit loaded roster that can grow together. I've heard people call Wright Ron Artest without the headache's and while I agree to a point I think Wright can be much better offensively than Artest ever will be.
12. Philadelphia 76ers - Brandan Wright
Talk about a team that needs everything. Outside of Andre Iguodala no one on the roster is really worth mentioning. Andre Miller would be the exception but he won't be apart of the future and could be moving on before to long. Given the youth on the roster taking a "long view" pick such as Wright would be fine. Especially in this spot where his value is high. If he slides as he should I think Philly has to take him here. The potential is there and if he meshes well with Iguodala they could develop into a solid tag-team moving forward. Not to mention Dalembert and Wright up front would be an imposing defensive presence in terms of length. Hate to try and get a jump shot off in the lane with these two roaming.
13. New Orleans - Nick Young
Young is the ideal fit in this spot and from the Mocks I've seen there's a good chance he's going here as well. He should fit in well with Chris Paul and Peja out on the perimeter and leave the Hornets with only one concern, defense. If Young and Paul work well together the two of them and David West would make a nice threesome to go with Peja in the Western conference. If all goes well they could crack the playoffs next year and avoid the fringe where they've spent the last two years. Young's presence alone should put extra pressure on defense's and allow the Hornets to put up points in bunches. Now they just need to address their perimeter defense. Maybe Peja can play some...maybe not.
14. Los Angeles Clippers - Acie Law IV
Their are two situations in the league that I think are ideal fits for Law. This is one of them, the Pistons would be the other. Law will get the opportunity to learn from what of basketballs most experienced point guards. Who also happens to have a similar skill set to that of Law. After Shaun Livingston's injury last season his future remains up in the air. Drafting Law could
provide some stability at the PG spot and a ready-to-play one at that. Cassell isn't far from retirement and it wouldn't shock me to see Law steal the starting job by mid-season. As long as Law doesn't get to crazy with his shot attempts and just facilitates in the early going he should be in good shape. He needs to learn to pass more and his game will be about as good as it can get. He can defend and shoot already. Why in the world would anyone take Crittenton over him right now?
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Could you imagine no longer being allowed to watch your favorite team play? Because of a medical condition, of all things. That's the case for this guy:
Jim Coan, 46, of Ulnes Walton Lane, Ulnes Walton, near Leyland, hasn't watched a single Liverpool FC game for more than 10 years after being diagnosed with heart rhythm disturbance which knocks him unconscious when he gets too excited.
Because he suffers from Atrial Fibrilation he has missed nail-biting games like this year's disappointing Champions' League Final defeat against AC Milan and the victory in the same tie in 2005, the UEFA Cup win in 2001, as well as the Reds' FA Cup victory against West Ham last year.
This guy need to turn his attention to baseball. Mainly those perennially bottom-feeding Royals in Kansas City. The excitement and blackouts would surely subside. As I don't know anyone who gets excited watching the Royals play. That is, unless their a fan of the opposing team of course.
Football fan 'banned' from games (Lancashire Evening Post)
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Based on the coverage of the Yankees on the WWL (among other outlets), you'd think it was a similar situation to the British. It however, is not. As those Yankees are still 8 games out as of this morning. And despite finally playing up to their potential their only the 4th best team in the American League AT BEST. In reality they're probably closer to 6th.
I've grown to expect the over-coverage of the Yankees and even the Red Sox for that matter. But generally they've been atop the AL East or at the very least, within 5 games or so. Yet as soon as they'd won 4 in a row according to "expert" (I use that as loosely as possible) Steve Phillips, the Tigers should be worried, as the current leader of the wild card. This to me is an absolute joke. Were about 70 games into the season and you think teams should be worried about who's behind them in the standings? Are you serious? Baseball is a game of ups and downs, they plays 162 games for a reason. To offset such slumps and so on. To make sure, in the end, the best teams make the playoffs. Not the team who gets hot for a month and contends when they'll get destroyed come playoff time (I'm looking at you Mariners).
I understand that New York and Boston are bigger markets than Detroit, Cleveland, Oakland etc. And that ratings make the world go 'round. But at some point the top teams outside of those two places deserve to lead Baseball Tonight and SC without one of their pitchers having to toss a no-no.
I guess I'm just tired of it. Until the Yanks are within a game or two I'd rather it wasn't discussed at all. I don't hear the WWL talking about how many games out the Twins are in the Central. Let alone how close the A's are in the West. And Steve Phillips isn't telling the Mets to worry about the Phillies. Or the Brewers to worry about..uh.. well, you get the point.
I've gone and forgotten exactly where I was going with all of this but the point is: it needs to stop. The glorification of second place is a joke. And the over-coverage of everything Yankees is exactly why so many of us hate them. So knock it off, dammit!
Otherwise flash this at the beginning of BT each night:
Saturday, June 16, 2007
For a rundown on the rules click here.
Eliminations thus far:
Ted's up first with the NL and I'll follow with the AL as usual.
Leaving The Diamond: Chicago Cubs
Reasoning: This whole 'Survivor' thing is starting to get tough (ironically, avoiding the song "Eye of the Tiger" by the band of the same name when working out is equally tough, although if you download the song "Tourist" by Athlete - from the Gilbert Arenas "Impossible is Nothing" ad - you have a pretty handy way to do it).
As for the Cubbies, in this month alone they've seen a clubhouse implosion (Barrett and Zambrano), an on-field shite show (Sweet Lou), multiple media sources confirming them as "sellers" as opposed to "buyers" (despite the 300 million they've already spent), and the annual summer ritual at Wrigley of "the experience" utterly transcending "the game itself."
Leaving The Diamond: Baltimore Orioles
Reasoning: Let's be honest with ourselves here, The Orioles are horrible, that's h-o-r-r-i-b-l-e! It's almost unbelievable at times how bad the O's are. Sure they occasionally have a good game but so do the Royals and Nationals, which is about on the level they are. In fact, they may be WORSE than the Nationals. Something I'd have never thought possible before the season started. The Nats just swept the O's in the alleged "rivalry series". That one was just as one-sided as that World Series re-match was.
The O's are one of few teams that have almost no players I'd be encouraged about going forward. The exception to that in Baltimore is Nick Markakis who has been absolutely killing the ball of late. And should be the best player on the team once Tejada finally leaves town. This is of course, as long as Tejada doesn't go giving him any B12's as he's heading out the door.
As far as pitching goes Erik Bedard is as good as it gets for the O's, he strikes out batters in bunches he just can't get any offense to go with all those K's. Adam Loewen everyone seems to think will be good. I haven't seen enough of him just yet to disagree and he's been out with a stress fracture in his elbow since May 1st. Chris Ray appears to have gone from damn good one year, to god awful the next. It's gotten to the point that O's fans are shrieking when he trots in from the bullpen. Probably the most interesting of the O's pitchers is Daniel Cabrera, the hard throwing righty who can't ever seem to find the strike zone on a regular basis. He lead the league in walks last season with an insane 104 free passes. This year he's got 45 thus far and climbing, though I don't think he'll catch up to that personal worst of 104. Cabrera is great when he's on, he actually hays somewhat similar stuff to Justin Verlander. The guy who tossed a no-no in Detroit on Tuesday. I can't help but wonder what Cabrera might be if he found some control, though at this point I'd say that's unlikely.
With that the greater D.C. area can move on to Redskins talk. At that letdown is a few months away.
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
It's funny, just last week my friend and I were discussing no-hitters after Shannon Stewart ruined Schillings bid in the bottom of the ninth. I vaguely remember mentioning how much I would love to be in attendance for one. Regardless of who's tossing it. As unimaginable as that was just a week ago. It's become a reality, as my favorite pitcher in the big's put on one hell of a show last night.
Even funnier to me now is this. The day I didn't get to see Verlander pitch because it was "too cold" here in Detroit. Until yesterday, I still hadn't seen him pitch, in person that is. But yesterday, I not only got seen him pitch. I got to see him etch his name into the history books, at just 24 years old (though older than I).
Now I'm going to attempt to re-hash what went on inside Comerica Park yesterday. To the best of my ability.
We arrived at the Park about 5 o'clock. Just in time for the gates to open as batting practice took place out on the field. It was a nice day, as many have been of late around here. But it didn't seem any nicer than Saturday was.
We scoped out our seating area and took a few pictures before heading down to the first baseline. To hopefully get a ball. No such luck though. We grabbed a little alcohol and headed for our seats. About 7 rows off the field behind Magglio Ordonez in right field. For $20 these were absolutely fantastic seats.
It was a pitchers duel early as both Suppan and Verlander started off well. Before Suppan surrendered a solo shot to Brandon Inge in the bottom of the third. Soon after, one of my friends and I hit a couple of concession stands as Verlander sat down Prince with a knee-buckling curve.
(Speaking of Prince, he was a big part of why I wanted to see the Brewers. Being Cecil's son and all I wanted to catch him live. We purchased the tickets a month and a half ago so Verlander taking the hill was just a bonus.)
We returned to our seats and of course, ate. But not long after (5th), one of my friends asked the other two of us if "we were aware of what was going on?" We both gave a nod and a "yeah," as we watched Verlander sit down one Brewer after another.
It wasn't until the 7th inning that I'd say any of us believed it might happen. After Verlander snapped Prince's one-hopper out of the air and Magglio made one of the sweetest catches I've ever seen live. It was beginning to feel like it was meant to happen, rather than might.
(Magglio's catch, by the way was absolutely amazing from my vantage point. I honestly didn't think he had a shot at it. But this is probably one of many reason I don't play baseball for a living.)
In the 8th, I've never been so happy in my life to have Neifi Perez in the lineup. Carlos Guillen doesn't make that play. Let alone the stop to begin with. As much as I love Guillen his defense tends to leave a lot to be desired. Anyway, the little Neifi flip to Polanco who finished the double play was one of those plays where you can just feel it. I've never been so nervous at a baseball game in my life. Especially one that I had absolutely no "real" control over.
(I actually complained when I seen Neifi was playing instead of Omar Infante. But, he's not making that play either. Score one for the defensive specialist. Who's bat is still in a FedEx warehouse somewhere.)
As Verlander took the mound in the ninth everyone in the building was on their feet. Watching in awe as he struck out Craig Counsell and Tony Graffanino again. The latter couldn't have looked worse at the plate all day, racking up an Andruw Jones like 4K effort.
J.J. Hardy was it, he was all that stood between the Tigers young "ace" and history. After hitting 102MPH on the gun in the NINTH inning. Verlander got Hardy to fly out to right. Directly in front of where we were sitting to give every one of us something to remember.
I'll never be able to truly explain what went on inside Comerica Park last night. But, my chest still hurts from my heart pounding through those last few outs. And I'm pushing 24 hours after heading to work after the game. But, I can say this.... I shared an experience with 33,555 last night that I'll certainly never forget. And I don't think they will either.
Note: Pictures are coming, my camera died after taking a few during BP and I'm waiting for one of my friends to upload them.
Monday, June 11, 2007
This past Saturday I descended upon downtown Detroit for a bachelor party, that included a baseball game, among other things. It was the second game of a three game set between my Tigers and the other team from New York, the Mets.
My friends and I decided to make the game a little more interesting. How you ask? Gambling, of course! The expiring bachelor's Uncle taught us a little game we could play called "Got 'Em." In which the participants rotate batters, on BOTH teams, predicting whether or not said batter will get a hit. HBP's, walks, and errors are pushes and no money changes hands. A single earns you a $1, a double $2, triple $3, and $4 for a big fly. The risk in this game however, lies in saying "Don't Got 'Em" and watching said player launch a home run into the left field seats. As you must then pay every participant in the game $4, and hate yourself the at least the next seven minutes. With the bases loaded it gets even better as for every guy on when a ball goes over the fence you add a dollar (i.e. bases loaded = 8 bucks a piece). The more players the more thought provoking each decision may be.
During the bottom of the second inning a contingent of Mets fans (5) sat down directly to my right. The most noticeable being the one women in the bunch who was an absolute rod-inducing stunner. Soon after a couple of my friends and I headed toward the Comerica Bar as it's $6.25 for a Jack N' Coke while it's 8.50 for a beer. Considering the Jack N' Coke is about 80% Jack I'll take that deal, every time.
When returned to our seats the stunner had swapped seats with one of the other Mets fans and was now sitting next to me. I sat down and immediately began chatting her up. Explaining our little game of "Got 'Em" among other things. Soon she joined the game, as did another of her Mets compatriots and our participants total had risen to seven. And I found myself debating Hanley Ramirez against Jose Reyes with both the stunner as well as what turned out to be her fiance. As, while my friends are sports fans they hardly engulf themselves in it as I do. And as these fans clearly did as well.
As the game wore on us Tigers fan were winning both the game and the "game" within it as the stunner's fiance asked if I wanted to put money on the outcome. With Todd Jones preparing to come in for the top of the 9th. I was weary but he immediately offered me 2-1 and I jumped at that. As the Tigers were leading 8-7 and Todd was bound to have a good outing at some point.
Sure enough, my faith was rewarded as Todd Jones picked up the save and I collected my $40 as promised.
While they're were plenty of ass-hole Met fans in attendance on Saturday, heckling as the Mets got off to a 1-0 start in the first. These fans were not any of them as they were fans of the game just as much as they were fans of the Mets. They were exactly the kind of fan's you'd like to meet at a game, especially considering they were from New York (Flushing) rather than Detroiters who had jumped on other bandwagons.
Interestingly I took a couple of Peanuts to the back and head from my fellow Tigers fans who were aiming for those Met fans. Which made me understand exactly how it must feel to go into a visiting stadium like this guy did.
Here's hoping the Mets can rectify last year's finish and meet these Tigers in the World Series like they should have.
Anyone else have a positive experience with some out-of-state Fans at your home park?
Friday, June 8, 2007
I definitely won't be updating tomorrow as I'll be downtown all day for a bachelor party. Said party includes tickets to the Mets/Tigers game (bonus!), here's a little something for the 6 of you to pass the time.
Congratulations U of A your entire team is hot, oh and you won the Softball World Series, too (Just Call Me Juice)
Amanda Beard plays it safe in Playboy, that means no snatch for you. Here are the pics. Obviously NSFW. (Via TBL)
I have the crazy feeling Elton Brand didn't fit in so well at Duke. (Awful Announcing)
Where's the value at the top of the MLB Draft? Pitchers? Or could it be those guys with the sticks? (One More Dying Quail)
So, you didn't watch the NFL Finals either? We're in the clear, nobody did. (The Big Lead)
Elisha Cuthbert says pussy on on Conan, now if only I could.... (Our Book Of Scrap)
Actors, as well as athletes can kill animals in the field of play. (Randball)
Parents get worse by the day... but should we be surprised? (Seal Clubbers)
Rick Reilly will stop at nothing to promote his new book. He also appeared on ESPNEWS and Radio. I won't be buying. I mean, c'mon it's a collection of all the stuff that's been in SI. And we complain about coaching retreads. (Signal To Noise)
Scott Pollard thinks you should do drugs. This is probably because not even his team president knows who he is. (The Extrapolater)
Mike Modano can't keep his women in check. Actually, that makes sense. (WBRS Sports Blog)
I'll believe it when I see it as well. (The Wayne Fontes Experience)
A little late on this, but if you found yourself confused while watching College Baseball today. This should help. (The College Baseball Blog)
I'm doing pretty good in the Blogger Fantasy Baseball league. Here's the latest update. (Seal Clubbers)
Here's a little Arizona bonus.... it's the "catcher" of course.
For a rundown on the rules click here
Eliminations Thus Far:
Ted's busy this weekend and in all his confusion sent me another AL elimination. No big deal though as he'll be picking up NL duties the next two weeks as I do the same over in the AL. As usual it's NL up first and then the AL.
Leaving The Diamond: Florida Marlins
Reasoning: While the Marlins are only a half game back of the Phillies for 3rd in the NL East they've got no shot at all to win the whole damn thing this year. While Hanley Ramirez and Miguel Cabrerra are fantastic and likely always will be the rest of the team is far to inconsistent to count on. The pitching especially.
I've always had a fond place in my heart for the Marlins after watching them knock of the Indians in 1997 and then the Yanks in 2003. But since then they've traded away the team only Ramirez has lived up to his potential on a consistent basis. The rest have been up and down, some just down.
While the pitching staff has been ok thus far it's likely to get a whole lot worse as these young guys add to their innings totals. I'd venture to say that with the way the Nats are playing lately the Marlins could fall into last place out east before this season is all said and done. Something most people wouldn't have even considered possible before the season.
I'd like to see Dontrelle Willis pitch a little better though. As the leader of the staff he needs to set an example for those untested behind him. Regardless, these fish are now "sleeping with the fishes" as far as this guys concerned. (Apologies for the very general reasoning on this one. I'm a little out of it tonight.)
Leaving The Diamond: Chicago White Sox
Reasoning: This was a tough one for me. I really wanted to do the Yankees, but then they had to go and start playing well. You might find it funny that I'm reluctant to do the Yankees when I'm currently picking a team who is just 1 game worse than them, and actually closer within their division than the Bombers are.
Look, the Sox have enough talent to probably win 85 games or so. Unfortunately, that's going to do nothing the way the Tigers and Indians are likely to finish, and with what the Twins are capable of if they get hot. So, Ozzie and company, see you back on the South Side... in '08.
Thursday, June 7, 2007
All the blood was rushing threw his body he could feel it, he was almost there. And then.... Shannon Stewart lined a fastball into left field and it was gone. At 40 years old Curt Schilling almost tossed a no-hitter. He almost had the second biggest orgasm of his career (outside of the world series of course). In the end he was left with nothing but a stinging pain in in abdomen as one of baseballs greatest feats was snatched from him in the bottom of the ninth with two outs.
*Curt had agreed pre-game to let Sports Show On Mute mic him. Irony I'd call it, as I got the post-game conversation between he and catcher/captain Jason Varitek.
Varitek: Well that sucked. Sorry buddy.
Schilling: My groin hurts.
Varitek: Gettin' a little old for 9 innings are ya?
Schilling: I was almost there Jason, I almost... finished.
Varitek: What do you mean, finished?
Schilling: You know what I mean.
Varitek: Yeah, I guess. You almost got the no-no I get it, Curt. But we got the win at least. You pitched a hell of a game today. Wh- Why are you limping?
Schilling: IT hurts.
Varitek: What hurts?
Varitek: I'll get the trainer...
Schilling: NO! There's a first time for everything. It's weird though. It almost feels.. as if Jessica Alba was giving.. (Varitek interrupts)
Varitek: Where are you going with this?
Schilling: Just go with it... she was giving me a beejer and she knew I was almost there and she just.. stopped. And walked away.
Varitek: Guess you shouldn't have shaken off that slider eh?
Schilling: I'm talking Alba, and IT! And your talking about sliders??
(Varitek walks away shaking his head)
Schilling: (clutching IT!) Where's CHB when I might actually need him?
*This is all completely false. As you all should have figured in the first place.
Wednesday, June 6, 2007
The NBA got exactly what it wanted over the weekend as one of it's most bankable stars advanced to the NBA Finals to take the team everyone loves to hate, the San Antonio Spurs. Though if I were David Stern I'd feel a lot better about Cleveland's chances if Wise and Co. were suiting up aside LeBron than the cast of misfits who are. That said, I do think Cleavland has a chance despite my snap reaction of Spurs in six.
Why do I think Cleveland has a chance? Simple. Last season Dallas looked like a slam dunk champion when Miami knocked off Detroit to advance to the Finals. Yet Dwayne Wade put his team on his back and took the trophy home to South Beach. I realize Wade had Shaq, along with many other decent, if not solid players around him. While LeBron has... well LeBron has himself and that's really all he needs, isn't it? The short answer would be no. As I'd take D-Wade's Jordan like potential over LeBron's Magic like potential any day of the week. But given what we seen against Detroit you have to believe Cleveland can beat San Antonio.
To do it though, those role players are going to have been even bigger and better than they were against a Detroit team that just doesn't have it anymore. Below is what MUST happen for Cleveland to even force seven games. Let alone win the whole damn thing.
1) Cleveland must out rebound San Antonio by a decent margin. I'm thinking 7-10 boards per game. As the more opportunity LeBron has to work against Bruce Bowen the better off Cleveland will be.
2) Daniel Gibson and the rest of LeBron's "sidekicks" (are they even worthy of being sidekicks?) have got to make all of their shots. And I mean all. One 5-5 from three game after another from Gibson is what it's going to take.
3) Varejao must flop convincingly against Tim Duncan. None of the obvious flop stuff. He's got to sell 'em like he never has before. Otherwise Duncan will routinely dominate every single big man Cleveland has on the inside. Not ONE of them can even hold his jock. Not one. Foul trouble is Cleveland's only shot.
4) Eric Snow, Larry Hughes and Daniel Gibson have got to keep Tony Parker in front of them. Something that they will not be able to do. Hughes maybe but with his bad ankle I expect Parker to abuse him off the dribble time and again.
5) Have Ira Newble take out Manu Ginobli in game 1. A major clothesline would do the trick. If all goes well Ginobli misses a game or two and Cleveland has a real chance to win this damn thing. Newble can afford the suspension. He doesn't play anyway.
Odds are only the rebounding is a possibility. Though if #5 becomes a reality anythings possible. In the end the Spurs are better, they have more "experience" (though I hate that argument), and Cleveland is over matched at nearly every position.
I'd have to think LeBron will win at least one game and just to cover myself I'll give the Cavs two. That's right, my snap judgment of Spurs in 6 is what I'm sticking with. But I've been wrong before and I'll be wrong again. And I sure as hell won't be shocked if LeBron finds a way one bias call after another to slay the giant that is the San Antonio Spurs. David Stern would certainly be happy. Now if only he hadn't helped cost Phoenix that series he'd be even happier. As they'd likely be ushering in the new generation of fast offense on the NBA's biggest stage against the NBA's more marketable star. Instead though, Stern must settle for this. Two small market teams, one superstar, and one loaded defensive juggernaut.
Disagreements? I'm dying to see someone pick Cleveland in less than seven. I need a good laugh.
Tuesday, June 5, 2007
Let me preface this by saying I am a Florida Gators fan as many of you know. And I couldn't be happier that Billy Donovan is headed back where he belongs. At the same time Billy's image has taken an asteroid like hit over the past couple of days. As he's joined the laundry list of wishy-washy, flippity-floppity coaches throughout the sports world.
All seems to be resolved now as Stan Van Gundy has been offered the Magic coaching job, and Billy D will sign a contract with the Gators. Yet all is truly not resolved. Anthony Grant the likely successor to Billy D's thrown at UF may take the worst hit of all in this. As he must return to VCU, and convince potential recruits that he's staying for the long haul. Something we all know isn't true. Grant will be heading to the land of the "Major" in the next year or two, whether it's Florida or not. I feel bad for Grant as I was excited to see what he could do with the Gators and expecting great things.
On the other side of the coin you have the Magic, who have got to be wondering what's going on after being spurned post-press conference by Billy. Is the job really that bad? No. Is Billy scared Darko Milicic's inevitable lack of development will be his undoing anyway? Maybe. Did Billy catch Stuff kissing Smokey? Possibly. Or was this whole thing just a jealous man's attempt to make his wife pay after catching hew in the sack with Lee Humphrey? Unlikely, considering it's pretty clear Mrs. Billy calls the shots and she wasn't having' any of this moving bulls--t!
Regardless of why all of this took place I can say that I'm happy that Billy's heading back to Gainsville. And I'll be even happier if he agrees to put the NBA on hold for the next five years. Especially if he can't go to Miami and succeed Pat Riley, a man, and team that I despise. Not to mention I don't know that the Heat can handle another guy with a $500 per month gel budget. The five-year no NBA contract could also help recruiting over the next year or so. Though I don't expect Florida to be anywhere near where they've been recently for at least 2-3 years. SO that recruiting help may not help anyway.
All in all this whole thing is not that big of a deal. And as far as I'm concerned this wasn't quite a Saban as Billy never said he wasn't going anywhere. He always took the "I don't want to talk about that" approach. Which can be tough to do considering how often the media asks those pressing "Are you leaving?" questions when the rumor winds are swirling.
In hilarious news the Orlando Sentinel is reporting that the Magic are likely to lose out on Stan Van Gundy to the Kings. Of all teams!! It's safe to say the Magic are definitely the "catchers" this week.
Saturday, June 2, 2007
For a rundown on the rules click here.
Eliminations So Far:
As usual the NL is up first, that's me this week. Followed by Ted with the AL.
Leaving The Diamond: Houston Astros
Reasoning: I've toyed with the idea of knocking out the Astros ever since Roger Clemens decided to go back to Jeter's house. They start every year slow and then rebound to make the playoffs. Or at least get close ala last year. But this year that won't be happening, with Pettitte and now Clemens the Houston pitching staff is absolutely brutal. Outside of Roy Oswalt and maybe, and I mean MAYBE Jason Jennings I wouldn't trust any of those guys. Not to mention that awesome bullpen they run out there. What was it seven runs they surrendered in the ninth last night? SEVEN!!? That's ridiculous, it went from 1-1 to 8-1 in one inning and with that anemic offense the Astros have that one was over and everyone knew it.
Speaking of the offense, wasn't Carlos Lee supposed to solve a lot of their problems? They certainly paid him to. Yet the little he has done is far from enough. The Astros recently dropped 10 games in a row to fall even further back in the NL Central. A division that arguably no one is ever out of, the Astros may have taken themselves out already. Lance Berkman snapped his 19-game homer-less streak in the game that spanned the skid, coincidence? I don't think so. Berkman has been mediocre at best this season while Carlos Lee has more or less took over his production from last year. The Astros offense believe it or not may be worse. Recently called-up Hunter Pence has been fantastic though, stringing together two-hit games in bunches. He's already hitting 4-5 in the lineup most of the time. While he's been great he's not ready to be that guy just yet. And the Astros are going to continue to struggle.
Also worth mentioning, Roy Oswalt appears to have inherited Clemens problem this season. As the Astros just cannot score when he starts. Last night was an example of this as Oswalt went 7, giving up only one run and got the no decision as his bullpen blew it. Oswalt in my opinion, is one of the best pitcher in the game today. And I'd love to see him get out of Houston before the little run support he does get dries up all together.
So long Houston, here's hoping Matt Shaub can avoid linebackers with the moxie of David Carr.
Leaving The Diamond: Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Reasoning: It's funny that it took so long for this to happen, don'tcha think?
Unfortunately, right now it's 2007, and here's the most interesting thing about the D-Rays to me: by being as bad as they will end up being, they will prevent the Yankees from finishing dead last in the AL East. I think that's something everyone outside of New York has been waiting for on the order of 17 years, and the damn D-Rays are going to stop it from happening. As such, I need to get them out of here right now. Behind Scott Kazmir, there's next to nothing in that rotation.
Stay tuned, though. See, BD and I go back and forth here, so I've got the AL again in two weeks (roughly June 12th). If the Yanks are playing the way then that they are now, I'm completely and utterly willing to knock them off the Sports Show on Mute island BEFORE THE ALL-STAR BREAK. Who woulda ever thought that was possible? (Note well: once I do that, they will unquestionably win the '07 World Series, probably over the Nationals, which is the first team we bounced).