Gosh, I hope so. There isn't a more fitting franchise in sports for an undead GM/owner than the Raiders. Their idiot fans already dress like Pirates of the Caribbean extras. And the logical conclusion of their cheating/dirty/dangerous/irresponsible persona is to actually BE ghosts and zombies and skeletons right?
Now that I've broken my blog duck for 2011, I can go back to tackling the question of what to do with myself now that all my teams have won. Hint: it includes less sports. But still, I'm curious as to why the biggest September collapse in history doesn't bother me much, while the mere mention of Rex Ryan makes me want to kick an infant. I'm accepting ideas for an explanation.
In case you're curious, though, here's a summary of what life will be like once your teams win everything there is to be won:
1. You'll have your life back. 2. You'll look for some exciting new sport on which to waste that life.
For me, that's been soccer. Which reminds me, I haven't watched soccer in almost two hours, brb! I'll leave you with this:
"You can like it or you can dislike it, but your grandchildren are going to be steroid users."
Essentially, BALCO et al = Disruptive Innovators, Barry Bonds et al = Early Adopters, and in the future, once the health risks are acceptably controlled, everyone and his uncle is gonna be on the juice. I suppose that makes Bill Platschke (sp?) a laggard.
Today we learn how to pay proper tribute to the memory of the most influential pop artist of a generation. Junior is doing it right.
On Tuesday, I received this:
From: Pita Pit [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] Sent: Tuesday, July 07, 2009 10:16 AMTo: Alex LehrSubject: Michael Jackson special
Greetings! Today Pita Pit celebrates the life of Michael Jackson. As all you card-carrying fan club members know, Mexican was the King of Pop's favorite food. To pay our respects properly, we're offering an MJ inspired $5.00 Thriller Fajita, a steak or chicken fajita pita! In honor of the late great one, we will also be changing the name of our Banana Very Berry Smoothie to the Smooth Criminal for the entire day. For those that don't know, the Smooth Criminal will have strawberries, bananas, frozen yogurt, orange juice and a little HEE hee.
To further transform the Pit into an MJ shrine, we'll be showing the TV special all day, beginning at 11am while blaring our Michael Jackson radio on Pandora. station. Listen with us... Ma ma se ma ma sa ma ma coo sa!
The upshot of the recent Pittsburgh-Atlanta trade of Nate Mclouth for Gorkys Park and a couple minor prospects is that I've learned that this year, the Pirates could tie the Phillies for the all-time longest streak of losing seasons, at 16. That's a long, long time to suck.
Adam LaRoche nicely captures the bleak, hopeless reality that is Pirates Baseball as he says, "It's kind of like being with your platoon in a battle, and guys keep dropping around you. You keep hanging on, hanging on, and you've got to figure: How much longer till you sink?"
Mr. LaRoche then returned to his task of painting his fingernails black and huffing paint.
As of this posting, the website of the Philadelphia Union is down, which is a mixed blessing - it means that there are actually people (or intarweb search bots) seeking out more information on this new and exciting sports entertainment business venture, or, more likely, it means that their web presence is for shit, which, since it is their SOLE presence, doesn't exactly speak well for their future prospects.
What the fuck is wrong with the Yankees pitching? If they bring up Hughes and/or IPK and they struggle, Dave Eiland should be fucking fired. He mentored both of them, as well as Wang (YPOS) in the minors, and is more responsible than anyone for the staff's early season failures. OK, Cashman is also to blame, and the organization as a whole for rushing and overhyping their prospects (TNSTAAPP, you shits). But still, we need a scapegoat here, people.
OMG THE PATS ARE A BUNCH OF TWEETERS! THEY HAVE TO TWEET TO WIN! NICE JOB COACH BELITWEET! MAYBE YOU CAN SET UP YOUR TWITTER IN THE OPPOSING TEAM'S LOCKER ROOM NEXT TIME, BELITWEET! AND SOME WOMAN IN JERSEY TWEETED ON HER HUSBAND WITH HIM! TWEETING TWEETY TWEETERS! TWEETEEN AND ONE!!!!! GAHHHHHHHHH!
Ahh, I feel better now.
Translation: the Patriots are tweeting their draft picks on submit, which means the two minute lag between Chris Berman and Keyshawn Johnson shutting their stupid mouths up and the announcement of the pick is avoided! I can just watch @realpatriots when the Pats are on the clock, bypassing ESPN's self-fellative, unendingly annoying setup entirely. What the hell do I care whether Chris Berman is surprised by something? He'd be surprised to learn about Twitter! Why would his surprise at Sebastian Vollmer's selection mean anything at all to me?
On another note, the Pats are KILLING IT today. Through four picks, they get about an A-, all things considered. Traded their first-rounder twice and netted the #41 and two third-rounders from it. They'll likely turn some of those third-rounders into 2010 second-rounders.
Of today's four picks, S Patrick Chung and CB Darius Butler are high-profile super-athletic defensive backs, something this team hasn't had since, ugh, Tebucky Jones. (Let's never compare those guys to Tebucky again.) Either way, FINALLY, the defensive backfield's depth chart is full. I feel young again! If Terrence Wheatley and Jonathan Wilhite expand their roles appropriately in their second seasons, this is suddenly an area of strength. Best possible development of the day.
Outside linebacker is still a gaping hole shaped like Mike Vrabel, but that and fullback are the ONLY holes left on the team. And with four third-rounders tomorrow, I'd be stunned if they aren't both addressed within minutes of the opening bell.
Only one minor complaint: not crazy about letting Pat White go to the Dolphins. A team that loves trick plays like the Pats and uses them as frequently as they do could have really used a multi-positional Kordell Stewart/Seneca Wallace type weapon. But given that the reason to skip White is defense, I'm fine with it.
In summation, I'm happy. And presumably I'll be even happier tomorrow. Did I mention FOUR third-rounders?
I am psyched this year like I have never been before. Psyched and mortified, but mostly psyched. I have an odd feeling about this team, after having watched nearly every single game: hope.
Every time the Bruins have landed a top seed in recent years, there's always been a stench of overachievement all about them. The playoffs would arrive, the smoke and mirrors would dissipate, and an exhausted bunch of losers would fall to the Canadiens. I can't lie: this thought has crossed my mind several times once the Habs were confirmed as the Bruins' opponent.
But this time really is different. The B's have literally no weaknesses. They can win with the neutral-zone trap, and against it; they can win 1-0 over any team you can imagine; they can win in a track meet; they can overcome your clean checks, and they can overcome a Hanson Brothers-style brawl too, as they proved last week against the Habs. They have one of the NHL's best offenses, with three lines that can carry a team's scoring for the game; they have its best defenseman, in certain Norris candidate Zdeno Chara, and a front four that can absorb any offense in the league; they have its best goalie, in near-certain Vezina winner Tim Thomas, recent winner of the Jennings Trophy for fewest goals against on the season (despite Manny Fernandez's best efforts to blow it for him).
In short, there hasn't been any overachieving. It's not like their breakout players shouldn't have broken out; Phil Kessel, David Krejci, Blake Wheeler, Milan Lucic... these guys were all SUPPOSED to do exactly what they're doing. It's not as if Chuck Kobasew scored 50 goals or some bullshit like that. In fact, given that Lucic and one-time 30-goal scorer Patrice Bergeron have only been themselves the past couple weeks, I would say they underachieved. They could be rolling three lines full of 20-goal scorers, and they're not. How about that.
There's just no formula for beating this team. None. Your best bet is to a) hit them as hard as you can and HOPE that they, against their track record, don't feel like hitting back, and b) pray to Jesus Christ himself that Thomas doesn't have "it" tonight. You require goddamn divine intervention to beat the Bruins on paper. I've never been as happy with the Bruins' depth chart as I am now.
The only player bad enough to sink this team is Manny Fernandez, a goalie who figures to not play one minute between the pipes from here on out. If he does, it means Thomas is hurt, the playoff run is over anyway, and Fernandez's performance doesn't much matter anyway. Maybe Shane Hnidy is a true weak link, but he's the team's 8th defenseman now! Of course he's a weak link. But seriously, look at how far you have to go before there's a true weak spot. You're scraping the bottom of the barrel.
On top of all that, they've got a pretty nice draw as far as playoff opponents go. At reasonably full strength, the B's have only had a worrisome amount of trouble against Washington and San Jose, neither of whom will turn up until a couple rounds in. I'm not gonna say it will be a cakewalk, not when Philly is lurking, but they've set themselves up nicely for a long run.
I wouldn't be totally stunned to see them lose earlier, but I don't see it. Doesn't make sense. This is the year.
On to the predictions:
(1) BOSTON VS. (8) MONTREAL
Last Thursday's old-time hockey exhibition was a good indicator of the sort of bush league nonsense we can expect Bob Gainey to pull over the next week and a half. But that kind of crap can distract the Habs as much as the Bruins, as their loss indicates. And although the B's went without a win against the Habs last year, and still managed to take the Habs to a seventh game, the Bruins were a disciplined, bring-the-game-to-us type of team even at their worst. Montreal is just a bunch of wandering, underachieving boobs. They're about to be thoroughly outclassed.
Prediction: Bruins in 5
(2) WASHINGTON VS. (7) NEW YORK
While I think the Rangers are a solid team, and have the potential to ride Henrik Lundquist as deep as they please, Washington is just too good at every position. Jose Theodore is merely a Flyers-caliber goaltender, but he doesn't have to be much more than that with the team in front of him. He only has to be Chris Osgood good, not Roberto Luongo good. I don't see this being much of a series, no matter what Sean Avery does.
Prediction: Caps in 5
(3) NEW JERSEY VS. (6) CAROLINA
While it's widely known that Carolina stinks on ice, that knowledge is nowhere near as wide as Martin Brodeur's ass. The Devs are struggling; the magic is over. Carolina, meanwhile, is hotter than anyone, and just as well-built as the Devils. They're a little too trendy a pick, but it's for a good reason.
Prediction: Canes in 6
(4) PITTSBURGH VS. (5) PHILADELPHIA
I really, REALLY hate to say this, but I don't see the Flyers NOT getting into the Pens' heads this year. Marc-Andre Fleury has been a mess, the defense is a sieve at best, and Sidney Crosby is like fresh fish to the scummy likes of Scott Hartnell and Mike Richards. Regardless of Philly's preposterously persistent porosity problems in the pipes, I don't see Crosby + Malkin + Nobody Else putting a dent into them. I definitely don't see Pittsburgh taking a Game 7 from them.
Prediction: Flyers in 7
(1) SAN JOSE VS. (8) ANAHEIM
I don't get why everyone's in love with Anaheim. Jonas Hiller is going to shut down the best team in hockey, is he? Just because the Ducks have pedigree? Give me a break.
Prediction: Sharks in 4
(2) DETROIT VS. (7) COLUMBUS
Columbus is the most annoying team in hockey. They have Rick Nash, and that is literally it as far as actual scoring talent goes. What, I'm supposed to be enthralled by the offensive exploits of R.J. Umberger?!? Give me a break. All they're good enough to do is delay the inevitable for no good reason.
Prediction: Wings in 6
(3) VANCOUVER VS. (6) ST. LOUIS
The Blues are the biggest story of the NHL season. From perennial playoff team to perennial doormat and, in the absence of their best players (Paul Kariya, Erik Johnson), have made the biggest leap of anyone. Not only did they sneak into the playoffs, but they have an eminently beatable Vancouver team as their opponent! I have literally no idea how Chris Mason and the Blues did this. And despite my pro-Vancouver sympathies, I can't help but root for St. Louis to take down the weakest of the six division winners.
Prediction: Blues in 7
(4) CHICAGO VS. (5) CALGARY
I can't think of one good reason to root for a team that blew a 13-point division lead over the phoenix-like rebirth of the Chicago Blackhawks. A fun team to watch and a fun team to root for.
Prediction: Hawks in 5
EAST BOSTON over Carolina Because the Canes never put up much of a fight against the B's this year.
PHILLY over Washington Because it wouldn't be the Flyers if they didn't piss you off.
BOSTON over Philly Because by now, Biron will be tenderized and ready to eat. And because fuck the Flyers.
WEST SAN JOSE over St. Louis Because the dream has to end eventually.
DETROIT over Chicago Because the Hawks aren't quite THAT good.
DETROIT over San Jose Because the Sharks always do this eventually.
FINALS BOSTON over Detroit
They've shown they can beat Detroit, and by a lot, too. If it were the Sharks, I don't think I'd have the same amount of faith in a Bruins victory. But a matchup with Detroit, a team craftier than it is talented, strikes me as a lot more favorable towards the Bruins.