Postgame Spread
You guys hangin' out? I'll hang out.

Friday, March 31, 2006

Business of kicking your ass, and let me tell ya, business is booming. I'm open for business, business of giving you the business... up your butt.    

this is dumb as hell.
justification, anyone?

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Kerry Wood's Annual Rite    

So Kerry Wood is hurt.  Again.  I think it's time to trade Kerry Wood to the Yankees, just so we can expand the old joke from Small/Wang to Small/Wang/Wood.  Oh, and how could we forget the Big Unit.

Interesting that one can make (sorta) amusing dick jokes about pitchers while excluding Hall-Of-Fame "members" Jimmy Gobble and Dick Harden.  (Well, we could do it without them if we wanted to... which we do not.  Gobble Gobble Gobble!!!)


I think either New York and Boston could... could... finish last.

Part of this is that for the first time in Tampa's existence, they have good reason to expect a finish above last place.  But while the Toronto/Baltimore/Tampa arguments for improvement (free agency, Mazzonification and de-Lou-sing, respectively) are far from sure things, they each have a good argument on paper.  Mix in the unpredictability of baseball and I could see any of them making The Leap to .500 or even beyond.

Combine that with the aging roster of both Boston and New York... the Yanks are far, far older, but both teams rely on pitchers who are either questionable (Foulke, Beckett, Farnsworth) or elderly (Schilling, Johnson, Timlin, Seanez, Rivera, Mussina, Fat Man Wells).  If either team succumbs to age or injury, that combined with some bad luck could put them in danger of finishing behind the three lesser AL East teams.

Not saying it will happen... just saying it's not inconceivable anymore.  Something to think about.

Play Ball!    

Predictions for the 2006 season. * indicates wild card

AL East
New York

AL Central

AL West

AL Champions: Anaheim

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

It Can't ALL Be Good News In Fort Myers...    

It was a love-fest for a week.  Wily Mo Pena arrived.  Keith Foulke has rolled through his relief appearances since reemerging.  Schilling is healthy.  Beckett's on fire. Coco Crisp is hitting like 1700 on the spring.   The lineup is scoring runs at an alarming rate.  Sure, David "Baleen" Wells is being a pain in the ass, but in related news, the sky is blue, hell is hot, and fried chicken is delicious.  Really, the only significant negatives thus far have been a) Mike Lowell's bat speed, which I don't think makes or breaks anything right now, and b) the abysmal bullpen ERA, which can be chalked up to any number of factors before realizing that spring ERA isn't necessarily an indicator of anything.  The point is, no soap operas, no outrage, no controversy... just baseball.

That's why it's doubly disappointing to see that Julian Tavarez is back up to his old tricks.  I've never liked him, dating back to his Cleveland days, primarily because he's a gutless bitch.  I can't really substantiate that, mostly head-throwing stuff like what he did to Bagwell a couple years back.  He'd been on good behavior in recent years, though, plus or minus a broken dugout phone here and there.  I do know one thing for certain... he's an asshole.  (Dan Shaughnessy, here I come!)

Anyway, the streak of good behavior is over.  Tavarez has officially joined the six-year-old Devil Rays/Red Sox feud by sucker-punching Joey Gathright in the face.  The Globe has posted before and after photos here, which are terribly helpful in diagnosing the crime.  Let's see if you can decide whether Tavarez is guilty or not:

(If that wasn't enough to determine guilt or innocence, here's a hint.)

Normally, I'd say attacking Devil Rays is a good thing.  The Devil Rays are punk bitches, as immature and bush-league as it gets.  They carry themselves like losers, and it shows in their track record.  In fact, I'm surprised Tavarez hasn't signed with them yet, because they'd be a perfect match.  But this is just silly.  Tavarez didn't even wait for the season to start before making me give up on him.  What does he have to prove to a bunch of nobodies like Tampa?

Anyway, the whole thing is embarrassing, and I'd rather forget it ever happened.  Which I'll do now.  Hey, wha' happened?!?!?

Monday, March 27, 2006

Fat Baby Davis    

Glen Davis should open a buffet restaurant.  Not to make money, just so he gets enough to eat.

Can I just call a halt on the Glen Davis pro-potential talk?  barring a physical reinvention, a jumper-shooting 6'7"/310 forward does not have NBA prospects.  Dude ain't shit unless he hits the weights.  Robert "Tractor" Traylor proved that.  He's a solid college player, but Tyrus Thomas is the only guy who should be thinking about the draft.

The Damndest Thing    

We are all Patriots.
-- Bob Kraft, February 2002

To say this was the biggest upset I've ever seen doesn't do this game justice. It wasn't always pretty, but no underdog has ever been as lovable and exciting as George Mason University. I've spent the last half-day trying to come up with an analogous situation to what they've done. The only situations I find appropriate are:

1) Team USA beating the Russians in 1980 at Lake Placid.
2) The Pawtucket Red Sox winning a berth to the World Series by beating the Yankees.

I think it's most analogous to #2. GMU is playing a lot better than a minor-league team would, but in the public's eyes, that's what we just saw. We saw a minor-league team beat the best that big-league basketball had to offer. They did what Gonzaga was supposed to do all these years... prove to America that the most talented team in America could lose to the little guys. Seeing them with the regional championship trophy is the most unreal sight I've seen in 20 years of sports addiction.

The other great thing is that Jim Calhoun had just turned UConn into the undeniable worst-guys-left-standing of the tournament, and Mason took them out. Calhoun was last heard whining about being placed in George Mason's bracket. I mean, come on. How can you read this guy complaining, in the wake of being GIVEN the Washington game no less, and NOT root for George Mason to clobber them? Calhoun was a lot more gracious in defeat than I expected, but there are better ways to emulate Coach K than bitching about the refs not handing you games more. I'm so glad the People's Champions beat their sorry asses.

Also notable is that none of the three big-conference teams are mismatches for George Mason. UCLA's a half-court team, which suits GMU. LSU/FLA are both dependent on their frontcourts, which also suits GMU. The worst that could have happened to them is if Villanova and their four-guard attack had advanced, but they dodged that bullet. So I think they have as good a chance as anyone of winning it all, especially based on their accomplishments thus far.

The Gators are clearly playing the best basketball of the remaining teams, but based on their Jekyll/Hyde act this season, they could easily throw up a stinker. What's working in their favor is that they'll have almost a full week to work specifically on George Mason film study. Billy Donovan will have a chance to break them down, a luxury that neither UConn nor UNC had. And he's a very good coach. But after what I've seen, I have no idea what to expect anymore. (Well, I do know one thing: Jim Larranaga will get a HUGE advance on his book deal.)

Anyway, this has been the best tournament in a long, long time. Not the best-played, for certain, but the most exciting by a wide margin.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Shocking Development    

Anyone who's been following Wichita State should be able to figure this one out.

Luc Richard Mbah A Moute For President    

Barack Obama my ass!  Mbah A Moute, bitches.  You can't tell me that you, the undecided voter, would look at Luc Richard Mbah A Moute's name on a ballot and not impregnate that chad!  Speaking of chads, Mbah A Moute is from the African nation of Cameroon, which puts the kibosh on any presidential aspirations the kid might have... but that's an all-time classic name.

But man... big, big props to UCLA.  What an ending.  They overcame a 17-point deficit, one of the worst calls of the tournament (the non-continuation on that layup with 3:00 left), and a stretch in which they scored 5 points in 8 minutes.  Despite all that, they kept the Zags within striking distance, hung tough, and struck in the last 5 minutes.  Without their opportunistic, shut-down defense, they lose.

Despite UCLA's heroics, though, this comeback didn't feel forced to me.  Gonzaga flat-out collapsed.  Two turnovers in the last 15 seconds... 0 field goals in the last 3:13?  Sigh.  Adam Morrison's supporting cast was downright incompetent, with J.P. Batista leading the goat parade.  (Would the Wolf Parade eat a goat parade?) Making matters worse, Mark Few was outcoached in the last five minutes by Ben Howland, as the Zags were content to waste the clock away on offense and then just dump it to Morrison for a token shot, rather than actually trying to increase their score by moving the ball and looking for an open shot.  Poor Adam Morrison... so little to work with.  It makes him angry.

Every year, no matter when Gonzaga bows out of the tournament, they always seem to look like they're out of their league when it happens.  They look so convincing as a big-time team for an entire season, and maybe for a couple rounds of the tournament, knocking off good teams (Xavier and Indiana) in convincing fashion... then something like this happens.  They're like an extreme microcosm of the paradoxical state of the mid-major school... one minute they're the little engine that could, the next they're collapsing in spectacular fashion.  They're the best example of what's great, and the best example of what's weak.  You watch the Zags dominate a real team like Indiana, and you think "wow, they're gonna prove to everyone that the mid-majors are ready for prime-time!"  Then they collapse worse than any of their mid-major brethren would have in the same situation.  They so much better in general that the fall is that much more stunning.

Ah well, enough of that.  But wow, what a game.

Thursday, March 23, 2006


Hey Duke...


What A Difference A Day Makes...    


Nah, just kidding.  I still feel it was the wrong move, but I'll back off any accusations of incompetence, any blanket statements about it being an indefensible decision (I'm downgrading it to 98% indefensible), and any threats I might have made regarding the retrovirality of certain franchise employees.  Furthermore, I will give the Patriots a little bit of credit, for obvious reasons.  I've read some counter-arguments on the World Wide Web... here and here are good ones, albeit not entirely valid given the free pass the Pats brass gets on being a bunch of dicks.  The take-home message is that they have not screwed up royally on a single thing, nor quasi-royally, nor semi-royally, nor even consort-ly, since this run began.  That means something, I guess.

But despite giving them some credit, I won't give them the benefit of the doubt.  There's a difference.  I don't think they know about some big secret that would change the situation in any meaningful way.  I still think it came down to a small amount of money that they decided would be better spent on "Big Play" Chad Scott.  Easiest question of the week: who would you rather have... Paul Edinger and Chad Scott, or Adam Vinatieri?  I refuse to defend the Pats' decision there, and it would take some spectacular-ass revelations to change my mind.  I won't dismiss them entirely for this one mistake, though.  They have earned the right to a mistake, even a grave one like this.

That said, it still hurts.  First the aura-busting loss to Denver, now the aura-squishing absence of Vinatieri.  My three Super Bowl rings in four years are rusting over from all the tears.  I may be a champion (even though I don't drink like a champion) and I've definitely gotten my money's worth, but I still have feelings and loyalties that I want to honor.

On A Brighter Note...    

... two Yankees are back in the steroid limelight!  At least today has a happy ending.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Time To Take Your Temperature!    

Don't worry, it's an oral thermometer. Or, I should say, a verbal thermometer.

1) Should the "grace period" concept protect the Patriots from criticism about the Vinatieri situation, and to a lesser extent the Givens/McGinest situations? Isn't the grace period meant for the players and coaches who won the Super Bowls, and not the management scumbags who, despite assembling the championship roster, have since torn it to shreds?

2) Even if you believe the grace period is intended for the team as a whole, doesn't the cruel and unusual treatment of the players who won those games eventually outweigh the credit I'm supposed to give the franchise?

3) Am I justified in rooting for the Pats to lose to Indianapolis, on a last-second field goal, purely out of spite? Should I remain loyal to the three rings, and not to the players who won them?

4) The major development of the offseason thus far has been that Bill Belichick is tanning himself in Florida, taking in Celtics and Red Sox games, while his top three UFAs all bolted... McGinest and Vinatieri without receiving so much as an offer. Should I trust that there's a plan, or is this a post-dynasty franchise on autopilot? Bill Belichick enjoying himself is a very bad sign.

5) If the Pats are indeed running on autopilot, doesn't that make their hard-line stance on the Vinatieri financials even worse?

Duke Girls...    

ESPN page 2 is holding in incredibly stupid online voting contest to find the biggest college basketball fan. Or something.
This entry for a Duke fan absolutely has to be a joke by a UNC fan, but part of me holds out that it's for real. She's the Sasquatch of college basketball fans.
It's like that game in kindergarten- where you have to spot the things that don't belong in the picture?

Well, there are at least 8 completely hilarious things in this entry. How many can you spot?

Stephanie Longendyke
Age: 19 School: Duke University Hometown: Kingston, N.Y. Why I should be Miss Bracket: My father introduced me to Duke when I was a little girl, and the rest is history. It's hard to put into words the connection I have with Duke; the love, passion, and dedication. Watching them is pure bliss. Regardless of my lack of money, I traveled to North Carolina with no game tickets, Pennsylvania, and Atlanta just to experience the legacy. I am a CRAZIE fan who tells people how amazing Duke is, constantly!

Congratulations, Bruins!    

Now they aren't the cheapest bastards in town anymore.

Adam Vinatieri is gone.  He's leaving for what is likely a few hundred thousand dollars per year.  And not only is he leaving, but he's going to Indianapolis.  The Patriots basically cut the greatest kicker of all-time for no reason, and let him go to their main rival.  (Though at this point, calling it a rivalry is an insult to the Colts.)  Thanks for covering my memories in human feces.

Seriously.  Vinatieri to the Colts.  This is the nightmare scenario.  There are no excuses for this.  I hope Bob Kraft buys a really neat watch with the money he saved.

There's the small matter of the "grace period."  Technically I'm required to keep rooting for them.  Which I am... in fact, I'm rooting for them right now.   Rooting for them all to get AIDS and die, that is.  That counts.  In other words, I'm declaring this grace period shit over and done with.  The only thing I can do now is hope that the contract is 6 years long, so that my previously-described threat can become a reality, and I'll at least be keeping my word.  But the fact is, this is a nuclear screw-up, and it cannot go unpunished.  Far and away the dumbest, most unforgivable move of the Belichick Era.

Therefore, I hereby curse the New England Patriots to exactly 86 years of misery, idiocy, and blunders that would make Billy Sullivan look like Donald Trump.  I curse Tom Brady to erectile dysfunction and gonorrhea.  I curse Bob Kraft to a lifetime of listening to his wife rap.  And Scott "Traitor" Pioli can eat a bag of dicks.  Shitty dicks, at that.  (That's not a curse, that's an order.)

I think this is enough bile for one night.  In more positive news, I suddenly feel this urge to forgive Peyton Manning's sins...

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

This Post Is The Sound Of A Happy Boy    

The Globe's beat man Chris Snow's most recent post (from a couple hours ago) has some good Wily Mo stuff.

Short version: he's happy as the #4 outfielder, despite knowing he would have started in Cincinnati, and he considers himself a CF / RF, but played 1B in winter ball and has volunteered to play wherever Tito needs him. Notable quotes from Snow:

Wily Mo Pena just took batting practice. He hit some absolute bombs -- one off the scoreboard in left center, one over the scoreboard, and a smattering onto the field behind the left-field wall.


Pena, who was to start in left field for the Reds, said he's OK with a part-time role.

"That's ok," he said. "They told me they're going to give me a chance against the lefty. I'm going to play a lot against lefties. So I have to make the opportunity. When the opportunity comes I have to be ready. I know I was going to be a starter in Cincinnati. So I have to adjust my game and keep working hard."


Pena said he played first base in the Dominican during winter ball but Francona said he'll be strictly an outfielder.

"The best I play is center field and right field," he said. "Like I told them, if they need me everywhere I just need to be ready."


Asked how much he weighs, he said: "About 250. I guess." He stopped to wag his tongue, suggesting he could be a bit bulkier, though it looks to be largely muscle. "When I get here I was like 260. I said to myself, I have to get down to 250, 245."

While I recognize that there are issues to be determined (whether his "team first" attitude holds up through the season, whether his K/BB ratio is too infuriating to deal with on a nightly basis, whether "Trot vs. Wily Mo" becomes yet another media soap opera), the immediate concerns have been alleviated. He's crushing the shit out of the ball, he appears to show appreciation for Fenway and Boston, and he's OK with sitting behind Trot for a while and dealing exclusively with lefties. In other words, so far so good.

One other positive to Pena's arrival is it means more puns in the headlines. "Free Wily," "Wily Or Won't He," "Wily: Wonkah!" etc. I, for one, endorse the use of the word "Wonkah!" in any form, but I recommend its use as shorthand for a home run that clears the Monstah and breaks a windshield across Lansdowne Street. I suspect Wily Mo will do that a couple times this year.

Lightning Rod Carlos    

So just how much negative karma can one man accrue?
Carlos Boozer's gunning for the all-time record.

First he screws over an old blind man to get out of having to play with the most exciting young player in the league (apologies to DWade).

Now he tried to take on Prince.
I haven't learned a lot in my 28 years on this planet, but, my friends, I've learned one thing:
Don't mess with Prince.
Especially don't get in the way of Prince and his dream of a Wonka-style playhouse.

"Welcome to my world of toys, girls and boys."

In other news, Carlos Boozer's managing firm is called The C Booz Multifamliy I LLC.


Here's hoping the Nats bench Soriano for the whole season.
Apparently they can declare him disqualified to play, and not pay him a dime, nor lose him to free agency.
Do it now.
Do it!

Monday, March 20, 2006


thoughts while watching the final of the WBC.

1- Gammons just mentioned that Ichiro routinely shows up at the park at like 1 PM for a 7:00 game. Apparently he has a very extensive warm-up routine, and complained last year that he couldn't get any teammates to show up that early to throw with him.
Seriously- he expects me to believe that Ichiro can't get anyone to come to the park for a little long toss and jogging? He's the best player on the team- the hot girl corrollary should apply (whereby no hot girl in high school ever goes without requested SAT tutoring). If I'm a hungry Mariners bench player, I make damn sure I'm there w/Ichiro early. This strikes me as typical Gammons over-dramatizing. That said, he's still the best of the mainstream baseball press, so I'll cut him some slack.

2- The early rounds of the WBC coverage on ESPN featured Orel Hershiser and this Orestes Destrade. Now, for the finals (and semifinals), they've gone to their A team, Joe Morgan and John Miller (w/Jose Mota and Gammons on the sidelines). Even though a lot of people (hi, A's fans) hate Morgan, I liked Morgan and Miller a few years ago, when I tuned into them almost nightly broadcasting Giants games over the radio. But I gotta admit, for the WBC, they're freaking terrible. They don't know anything about any of the players, so spend most of their time talking about Ichiro and Sadaharu Oh, Japan's manager (and also the Bo Jackson of video baseball). I say bring back Orel and Orestes. Orestes in particular is superb. Best I've heard in a while. Can I get a witness?

3- that said, Sadaharu Oh is a Pimp.

4- At some point this Spring, Jeff, no matter how much you pretend not to, you're going to get excited about having Juan Gone. Let me get this out of the way right now...
Money in the mattress. You want me to pull the memo?

Wily Mo? Bronson: Go.    

Goodbye, Saturn Balls.  Hello, Wily Mo.

Gotta say, I love this trade right now.  To take their starting pitching surplus, a surplus so huge that it became a negative, and turn it into a guy as talented as Peña is a huge coup.  At worst, Peña fills the righty side of the RF platoon, and uses the Monstah to his advantage.  At best, he's a 30-HR guy who is an offensive upgrade over Trot Nixon... provided he learns to act like a man instead of belly-aching.  They may have had more pressing needs that could have been filled, but the longview on the trade is protection against Nixon's likely departure in free agency.  Furthermore, Cincinnati ends the Peña/Kearns debate conclusively, and finds themselves a solid 15-win starter.  Everybody wins.

Well, almost everybody.  I feel bad for Arroyo, because he wanted to stay.  The Sox clearly screwed him... he signed a three-year deal for significantly less money in order to stay in Boston.  He clearly thought a) Wells would be traded, and b) Clement would be more likely to get canned than Arroyo given the salary considerations, moreso given that Arroyo signed for just over 1/3 of Clement's annual price.  And he genuinely liked being here, which says something.  Finally, we lose Saturn Balls, the best nickname on the team.  So it isn't exactly a celebration, bitches.  Another 2004 hero bites the dust.

But at the same time, the writing has been on the wall since the emergence of Pap last fall.  And it's clearly the right baseball move to move Arroyo elsewhere, since he's the worst of the seven starters.  He'll have ample opportunity to establish himself as a as a top-3 starter in Cincy, given that his colleagues (Aaron Harang, Eric Milton) ain't exactly Beckett and Schilling.

So happy trails, Saturn Balls, and good luck.  I hope you make the National League lick 'em.

Friday, March 17, 2006

NCAA Prediction Failures    

Through 20 games, the traps I failed to predict this year:

1) Arizona's too talented to lose to a gimmicky defense-only team like Wisconsin.

2) I picked Florida for a Final Four in 2002 and they got smoked by a 12-seed on day two.  Never trusted them since.  Whoops.

3) Syracuse was ridiculously lucky to win the Big East, relying 100% on McNamara, and as such is ranked way high as a 5.  A&M is too good to be a 12 seed.  How much more should I have expected?  Should've seen it coming.

4) Nevada is a textbook case of Reverse Bracket Buster Syndrome, from which Gonzaga has suffered ever since their entry into the Top 25 a few years back.  A team busts up enough brackets, you figure they're for real, and they can't live up to the respect they've been afforded.

This is only so far.  I won't second-guess my Utah State and Marquette failures, because there's no lesson to learn there.  Just random-ass picks (emphasis on "ass") that didn't work out.

(2:45 Edit: Syracuse isn't the only overachieving conference champion that I mistakenly put faith in. Iowa just bit the dust. First Elite 8 school to die on me this year. Damn. But they did it in comeback fashion, and on a game-winning three when two would have tied. So I give them 100% propers for that one. Wish I'd actually seen it. Stupid job!)

I Haven't Seen The Future    

But I've seen the past!  Yeahhhh!  O'DOYLE RULES!!!

Great games yesterday.  Didn't see any of Pacific-BC, which appears to have won game-of-the-day status, but GW-UNCW was ridiculously good.  Seeing GW come all the way back from an 18-point deficit all in one bite (19-0 run) was insane.  I felt bad for UNCW's point guard (hating on caucasian PGs appears to be the theme of the day) who carried the Seahawks late, but whose hurried penetration towards the end of OT resulted in a turnover.  He should've known better.

Gonzaga-Xavier was also very good.  But I have a major complaint: a quality, battle-tested program like Xavier should NEVER be seeded #14.  Those spots are reserved for happy-to-be-here teams.  Doesn't matter who Xavier played, who they lost to, what their RPI was or whatever.  They're way too good to be a #14, and they proved it.  When the A-10 was a real conference (three years ago people!!!) the Musketeers were a perennial NCAA team.  The A-10 hasn't dropped THAT far down.  You're telling me Air Force deserved a higher ranking than Xavier?  Total travesty.

So I thought of an interesting solution to the whole "I got upset because the seeders mistook my opponent for a chump" problem.  You seed only the top 32 teams, all the 1s through 8s... and have them select their own opponents, in seed order.  Duke would pick the worst team in the field, UConn gets second-worst, and so forth.  Wouldn't that be fascinating?  You'd have at least a week's worth of talking-head/second-guesser material for ESPN.  "I think Roy Williams made a mistake picking Hampton," and so forth.  You may wonder whether this allows for hijinks and tomfoolery regarding the selection of teams, but I don't think so... in theory, there's no reason for a school to do anything other than act in its best interest and pick the easiest remaining opponent.  It's not as if a #6 seed would pick a really hard team in order to take down everyone else in the bracket.  The whole idea of the tournament is that YOU take down everyone else.  Besides, if you get cute and pick a hard first-round game, and lose, you look like the #1 moron in America.  Best of all, it would make for absolutely riveting television.  The process would take a couple hours minimum, and we all know how people love drafts.  I think this should happen.

I have seen the future (NCAA update)    

Last night's NCAA action marked the passing of the torch in the proud hoops tradition of the skeezy white point guard hall of fame.
You remember, this was established by none other that the Don himself,
White Chocolate.

"Check out the hook, while my DJ revolves it!"

The proud tradition was carried on to glory, on the wings of Gerry MacNamara (with a little help from Carmelo Anthony and Hakeem Warrick).

"Please, Hammer, don't hurt me."

But last night the GMac smart lease went 0-6 from the field, and looked shellshocked. And if there's one thing that Don JWill taught us, it's that White Chocolate always gotta run smooth.

So, without further ado, I give you the future of skinhead point guards:

Derek Raivio, twink.

As I remarked last night during Gonzaga's come from behind win, he looks like a rich suburban kid who deals his mom's Xanax to his classmates so they'll hang out with him, only then he gets arrested and tossed into jail. While there, he shaves his head and dons some tats, and joins the Aryan Nation simply to avoid mass prison rape.

Here's to you, Mr. Undersized Skinhead Point Guard. You keep America rolling along.

Thursday, March 16, 2006


Good News: Team USA just needs to beat Mexico today if they want to advance to the WBC semifinals.

Bad News:  Roger Clemens gets the start.  Clemens just didn't look like himself out there for some reason tonight!  Another tough loss for the Rocket.  LOL, Rocket chokes!!!

NCAA Picks    

Thought this should go on the public record somewhere.

Sweet 16
Duke d. GW
Syracuse d. LSU
Iowa s. S. Illinois
Texas d. NC State

Memphis d. Bucknell
Pitt d. Bradley
Gonzaga d. SDSU
UCLA d. Marquette

UConn d. UAB
Illinois d. Utah State
Michigan St. d. UNC
Tennessee d. the Shockers

Nova d. Wisconsin
BC d. Nevada
UW-Milw d. S. Alabama
Georgetown d. Ohio State

Final Four
Duke d. Iowa
UCLA d. Memphis
Michigan St. d. UConn
Nova d. Georgetown

Nova d. Duke, evil defeated forever, until next April anyway

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

CTCer of the Week: Larry Brown    

Remember Rasheed Wallace's "CTC" comment in Portland, how he didn't care where he played as long as they cut the check?  This week's winner of the CTC Award is Larry Brown, who in addressing Stephon Marbury's recent comments, and indirectly his own inability to get through to his players, coughed up the following gem:

The bottom line is, I want us to rebound, defend, share the ball, play hard. That's all. Now if you can't do that, if that's not important enough to you, it's not on me.

Yup, "it's not on me."  Cha-chinggggg!  Cut that check!

Tell me, how is this you-won't-play-my-system approach to coaching any different than Marbury's you-aren't-using-me-correctly complaint?  Given the situation, I gotta agree with Marbury.  They've tried Brown's way, and it's not working.  Why not try some small-ball?

Sure, the Knicks' failures are clearly not on Larry Brown.  Anyone who can read knows Isiah Thomas is at fault.  The roster sucks, and Marbury is the worst kind of point guard, a me-first shooter.  But for all of Isiah's idiocy, Larry Brown still has a job to do.  The roster has talent.  Larry Brown's job is simple: maximize that talent, and put his players in a position to win.  He has no control over Isiah's idiotic roster moves, and thus is charged with doing what he can... given lemons, make lemonade.  Larry Brown has not done that.  He's thrown the lemons in the trash and demanded a '91 cabernet.  He's pushing square pegs into a round hole.  For $10 million a year, shouldn't he at least work with the players Isiah gave him?

Givens Away Now    

The Pats have absorbed their first, and likely not their last, body blow of free agency, as David Givens got the money he deserves from Tennessee.  A great signing by the Titans, and a great fuck-up by New England, who blew their Plan A by not moving fast enough Joe Jurevicius and are now down to at least Plan C.  How many plans do they have, exactly, before Terrell "Head Cancer" Owens and Keyshawn "Just Gimme The Damn... Whoops" Johnson become legitimate options at wide receiver?  In the words of Spaulding Smails, turds!!!

As you can tell, I'm not terribly thrilled about what has transpired thus far.  I'm not surprised, nor am I justified in complaining too too much (stupid grace period), but still not thrilled.  Can they survive without Givens, or Willie McGinest, or Stephen Neal?  Of course.  Losing people is part of the deal.  I'm OK with players leaving as long as a suitable replacement comes in.  But you gotta replace them.

There's one exception to that rule: Adam Vinatieri.  The Patriots' treatment of him thus far has been nothing short of insulting.  That's business-as-usual for the Pats, of course, but this guy deserves better.  Nobody has earned the right to grow old in New England more than him.  He has stated repeatedly that he wants to stay.  He even wanted the Pats to franchise-tag him again, thus guaranteeing him less money, but NE refused even that much.  Presumably it was to keep their money open until they knew what the new salary cap would be.  Fine, but they're playing Russian roulette with their franchise's most iconic player.  If Vinatieri leaves, that will be the official end of the run.  Between that, and the playoff choke-fest in Denver, the team's mistake-free crunch-time image will have been erased.  I can't imagine that the Pats want that... at this stage, it's in their best interests for people to fixate on the past instead of looking at the future.  (Monty Beisel?!?  Double turds!!!)

There's the small matter of this grace period.  Technically, I'm not allowed to lodge a real complaint against the Pats until the winter of 2017.  But screw that.  The prospect of Vinatieri leaving in exchange for a sheckle or two is too stupid to endure.  He embodies these championship teams like Bill Russell, Larry Bird, and Bobby Orr before him.  He's a legend, and still at the top of his profession.  No obstacle is daunting enough to force a mistake.  He and Tom Brady have earned immunity from the Pats' fuck-you approach to negotiation, and he's asking for so little (relatively) that it's just stupid to let him go.  So making the three biggest field goals in league history isn't enough?  What more does he have had to do to earn a little loyalty from ownership, win a game by kicking a 50-yarder with his dick?

Consider this an open threat to Robert Kraft.  If Vinatieri leaves, I will dock the Pats a year of grace for each year of Vinatieri's new contract with some other team.  Additionally, there will be a 2X multiplier if he signs with the Colts.  So if he signs a five-year deal with Indianapolis, I get to start bitching about the Patriots next winter.  And I think I speak for the other six people who read this blog when I say that nobody wants that.  Here's hoping they do the right thing.

Monday, March 13, 2006

David Stern's A Democrat    

Who knew.  According to this, not only is David Stern the most politically-active figure in sports, but he's a staunch Democrat, having given hundreds of thousands of dollars in soft money to Democratic causes.  What an upset.  I guess I'll have to stop calling him Der Fuhrer, and start calling him Uncle Joe.

On the other hand, the two least-surprising revelations are that both A-Rod and Bucky Dent are Republicans.  A-Rod, in fact, gave $2,000 to the Bush reelection campaign in 2003.  Gee, that doesn't fit his persona at all.  I can understand simply giving to local Republicans, or having that leaning; ballplayers are millionaires, so naturally their first priority will be to protect their money and go with the tax cuts.  That said, leave it to A-Rod to give money to the biggest Republican villain since Nixon.  Keep it up, dong.

Also of note is that Troy Aikman and Dan Marino, both of whom personify the image of the dumb-as-rocks quarterback, are also Bush contributors.  If that's not further proof that George W. Bush is the official candidate of retards then I don't know what else to tell you.  Hell, I didn't even have to include Peyton Manning to make my point.

Boston College    

I have written repeatedly about BC's weakness in big games.  They almost never win any games that they shouldn't, and never steal any close games from the jaws of defeat.  Typically, there's either a single stupid crunch-time decision to point to, or a lack of outside shooting.

Yesterday's ACC championship game, however, had neither.  Louis Hinnant was hitting threes all day, and their crunch-time play went through their best player, Craig Smith, in the low post.  He missed a game-tying 10-footer on an open-enough look.  Can't blame that on anybody, really.  It's refreshing to see them play so well against the best team in America.  Since I'm in a congratulating mood today, bravo to BC for looking good against the rest of the ACC.

The most encouraging development was Hinnant's monster game.  He showed me enough yesterday to make me think they have a chance.  Craig Smith and Jared Dudley aren't enough... they're too reliant on paint points, and too much of a risk for foul trouble as a result.  If Hinnant consistently gives them relief from outside, however, BC has a chance to do some meaningful damage in the tournament for the first time since the Billy Curley era.

Freedom Is On The March    

The C's are red-hot, and now they're healthy too.  Delonte and Perk are back to reinforce a club that was already beating playoff teams without them.  Delonte's return couldn't come soon enough, as Orien Greene has been totally overmatched playing 40 minutes a night at the point.  Hopefully the strong play from Captain Truth will continue.

Most importantly, not only are we seeing a legitimate nine-man rotation from Doc Rivers, but we're seeing the correct nine-man rotation based on recent play.  Greene, Allen, Perkins and Jefferson off the bench, with no sign of Veal Scalabrine or Michael Olowokandi.  Further, the only questionable move in terms of talent (Raef starting ahead of Perk) was almost certainly due to Perk's return from injury.  So, Doc, for the time being, you are not the Isiah Thomas of coaching.*  You're just the Billy King of coaching.  Congratulations!

* - Technically, Isiah Thomas is the Isiah Thomas of coaching.  I may have addressed that in my earlier Doc-hating post.  But it warrants mentioning that Doc's pre-trade rotations made about as much sense as Isiah's rotations while coaching the Pacers to repeatedly-disappointing finishes.

Friday, March 10, 2006

David Wells vacation photos    

From a recent trip to Australia.
He's already in mid-season form, and should be dominating the spread all summer long. But is he peaking too soon?

Thursday, March 09, 2006

What's That Uniform Say? Part II    

It says "Truth." Bow down and suck his knees!!!

Yes, that's the Baby Celts, 3.5 games out of the #8 spot, and just one game away from leapfrogging Chicago for the #9. They're the new sheriff in town... and sheriff gone getcha.

Many in Boston are backing off the "fire Doc" call. Not me. (Surprise!) But this little run begs the question... was Ryan Gomes buried because Mark Blount's presence filled up the depth chart, or was it because Doc is retarded?

The presence of Blount complicated things. Doc likely put a lot of effort into the futile task of "getting through" to him, and part of that task was to give Blount consistent PT, enough to demonstrate that Doc wasn't giving up on him. Blount and Kendrick Perkins taking up all the 5 minutes forced LaFrentz to the 4, which meant that between LaFrentz and Jefferson, there wasn't anything left for Gomes. And it's not like Gomes was the only victim: Veal Scalabrine couldn't get any PT either. So in a way, the trade didn't necessitate Gomes' ascent as much as it allowed it. It makes for a compelling "not my fault" argument.

But there's one problem with that: the exact same thing happened with Delonte West mere months ago, and for worse reasons. West, you may recall, established himself as a solid NBA player during Gary Payton's brief absence last season. At the time, it was obvious to almost everyone that Delonte deserved playing time, but it wasn't so obvious to Doc. Coming out of training camp, Delonte found himself behind Dan Dickau, Marcus Banks, and even Orien Greene. When Banks and Dickau got hurt, Doc turned to Greene, a second-round draft pick, instead of Delonte. Once Greene proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that he was outmatched, the de facto reins were given to Delonte. The rest is history. Delonte is now firmly entrenched as the starter, to the point that his recent absence has been cause for concern.

So what does it all mean? Say what you want about the roster situation, but it's the coach's responsibility to put his best players on the floor, and Doc didn't. Two guys who, in all fairness, belong at the very top of the depth chart at their positions were instead buried at the bottom. He didn't even rectify the mistakes until injuries left him with no choice. Doesn't exactly inspire confidence in the man.

In short, Doc Rivers evaluates talent like Isiah Thomas evaluates trades.

But enough about Doc. I really like how this roster looks. I love that we got the better of the Davis trade, and that Szczerbiak is fitting in so well. The purging of so much bad blood (Banks, Davis, Blount) in one shot has done wonders for this team. When Jefferson and Perkins are fully healthy, the eight-man rotation looks fascinating:

PG: West
SG: Szczerbiak, Allen
SF: Pierce
PF: Gomes, Jefferson
C: Perkins, LaFrentz

The other spots are filled out by Greene, high schooler Gerald Green, and Veal Scalabrine, who should really only be used to absorb fouls or to spell anyone at the 4 or 5 who gets into foul trouble themselves. I don't think this is a bad roster. Given how Pierce is playing, this roster is no worse than Philly's, and not too far removed from New Jersey's. Next season the division title will return to the Celtics, barring a major upgrade by New Jersey or Philly, which I don't see happening.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

What's That Uniform Say?    

Celtics. That's right. Surprise, surprise, right in ya eyes.

Have I done it? Have I blown ya mind yet? Well get this. The Celtics turned the ball over 27 times in Delonte West's absence, and still won the game, all thanks to Paul Pierce. He hit two big ones in OT... then after he was done with tapping Gilbert Arenas in the nuts, he nailed a three to take the lead, and a buzzer-beating fall-away 20-footer to win the game.

You can have Gilbert Arenas. I'll take Paul Pierce.

Anyone Remember That Thing With The Pucks?    

I flipped between OLN and Comcast for a while last night.  Mostly I watched Caps-Isles... good God, the Islanders are terrible.  They totally quit in the third period.  Otherwise, the game was further proof that Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby are Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James.  Vech, like Melo, has been more stellar due to his instant offense, while Crosby, like LeBron, has survived on his passing.

And similar to the initial Bron/Melo debates, the Calder may be sewn up for Vech, but Crosby will probably become the better player.  I'm obviously biased towards Vech, just because his size and hitting ability (he can really hit) could lead him to become a Keith Primeau-type defender, which would elevate him above the diminutive Crosby.  But he'd need to resist the urge to follow the Jagr/Hull path before him, which I doubt will happen.  But what else should he think?  All of Washington's offense goes through Vech in one way or another.

It's funny to me that Vech IS the Caps' offense, and yet the only NHL player who has shown any ability to shut him down is P.J. Axelsson.  For example, Vech's second goal last night (that's 41 on the year, kids) came after his teammates held the puck behind the goal line as long as they could, holding out until there was only one second left on the clock, then passed off to Vech, who knocked it home just before the final horn.  The play (set up #8 for a last-second shot) was transparent to all, and must have been obvious to the Islanders, yet they still let him get it off.  What gives?  It's strange to me that teams don't just double-team him, and force guys like Matt Pettinger and Brooks Laich to beat them.  Hell guys, make Dainius Zubrus beat you!  He can't hit the broad side of an airplane hangar, let alone find the back of the net.

AAAANYWAY, I also watched the Flyers blow a 3-1 lead in the third, then win 5-4 in the shootout.  Robert Esche did not look very good, though he did make some incredible saves.  The overtime, however, was one of the most exciting OTs I've ever seen.  Constant legit scoring chances... I believe the breakdown was 5-4 in Scoring Chances, as opposed to shots on goal, which means there were nine really good opportunities denied by Esche and Cristobal Huet... including two different unmarked (and unsuccessful) breakaways by Mike Richards of the Flyers, who not only blew those but also flubbed his shootout attempt.  Young master Richards did not impress me, though he can certainly skate.

Pros > Joes    

So I caught the first episode of "Pros vs. Joes" last night, and here are my thoughts.
I had torn this show to shreds over the past couple months, claiming that either it would be terribly boring, or just sad to see the likes of Jerry GOAT Rice bested by a crew of obnoxious weekend warriors.
Not so.
The opening segment paired the normal guys as DBs trying to defend Rice. Keep him from scoring a touchdown, you win. Not only was no one able to do it, no one came remotely close. Rice was moving like 1/3 speed (even for him), and still made these guys look patently ridiculous.
Later segments included the chumps trying to grab 1 rebound against Dennis Rodman (they couldn't, despite the fact that Rodman was giggling the whole time), and trying to pin Goldberg (the wrestler, not the Liz).

All in all, very amusing to see a bunch of guys try their hand against some retired greats, and get beaten like drums.

But here's the thing...

The contest was who could do the best... so the normal guys weren't really competing against the pros, but each other, using the absolute 0 of their results against the pros as the yardstick. So like, whichever guy could get up quicker after losing to Goldberg and ring a bell won that round. Which meant that whichever guy Goldberg let up off the mat first would win.
Fundamentally flawed. It made the results of the competition utterly meaningless.
Still, I realized that fact immediately, and still watched for an hour.

So, the report card:
Show concept: B
Casting: A+
Execution: C- (for the meaninglessness of the competition)
Rodman shooting 18-footers while jogging on a treadmill: A+

Overall Grade: B+

P.S. Goldberg can golf. Well. Who knew?

Monday, March 06, 2006

What's That Fishy Smell?    

[sniff sniff] Oh, it's just Coach K as usual.  What an ultra-maroon.

Now let's break this down.  At this point, we all recognize this as just another a lame Patriots-style motivational tool.  Furthermore, Coach K knows that we know that, and probably does realize how BS it all is, but doesn't care whether we think he's full of it because he also knows we won't like him, or his team of goody-goody pussies, no matter what any of them do.  These are known quantities, and are therefore no surprise to the four people who read this blog.

So why does this bother me so much?  Because impressionable young kids read this crap!  They learn that lying and playing dumb is not just acceptable, but preferable!  How amoral is that???  I don't want my kids growing up thinking that excuse-making and up-front disingenuity is OK as long as you spin it correctly.  It's not.  I don't want Coach K anywhere near my kids.  He gets the Michael Jackson treatment when it comes to the Doucette family, that's for goddamn sure.

Anyway, all this makes me wonder... where on the "I'm Tortured On The Inside, Because My Kid Turned Out To Be A ______, But I'm Required To Love Him/Her Unconditionally" scale would "proud Duke alum" rank?  After assembling the list, it looks a lot more favorabe than I would have guessed.  From order of most-to-least bearable...

* lawyer
* scat fetishist
* Duke alum
* conservative pundit
* crack addict
* Republican crackhead Duke Law alum with a scat fetish
* born-again Christian

Big News    

In fact, this is the biggest news in Red Sox camp, by weight... David "Golden Corral" Wells is staying put after all.  And I'm kinda impressed that he's been a grown-up about the situation.  So, good for El Tubbo and good for the Sox.

Not good for Jon Papelbon though.  We're now two bodies away from seeing Papelbon in the rotation instead of just one (assuming Wells was moving).  Bleech.  I like having a lefty in the rotation and all, and I'm fine with Wells, but I'm not buying that he'll put up better numbers than Papelbon.  The kid is ready for innings.

So, GMs of Major League Baseball, I beg you... someone, please, take Matt Clement away from us.  I'll take anything... really, anything at all.  Just pay for the MF.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Sparky McTorso?!?    

Intrepid reader Chas "Hot Budnikkels" Budnick alerted me to the Red Sox notebook in today's Herald.  Apparently the Sox' de facto bullpen lefty, Lenny DiNardo, lets his brother name each of his gloves.  Past names include Lance Uppercut, Sparky McTorso, and Lance Manley.  His current glove is called R. Chimps, which is stitched onto its thumb.

Now, there are two things to be learned from this story:

1) Lenny DiNardo is awesome.
2) Mike DiNardo's heart is in the right place, but he can do better than Sparky McTorso.

Don't misconstrue this as some kind of attack against Mike DiNardo.  I applaud even the smallest sign of creativity from professional athletes while doing their jobs, and this far exceeds that.  Bravo, gentlemen.  But I just want what's best for Lenny, and what's best for Lenny is an even more bizarre name for his glove.

Therefore, I humbly submit the Top 10 Names Mike DiNardo Should Have Given His Brother's Glove:

10) Melvin P. Nuggets
9) Horace O'Catchypants
8) Johnson Strudelstuffs
7) Philip Weinglass
6) Snifters McGee
5) Red Leather Nards
4) Scalene McWhoops
3) Bluntson LaChocolate
2) Cantonio Scrodriguez
1) "The Rhombus"

Lenny... you're welcome.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

quick thoughts    

1) Duke is soft. Last night vs. FSU, as soon as McRoberts fouled out, and the Landlord already had 4 fouls, I stated that they would lose. Without the Landlord they have 0 inside presence, which leaves them reliant on Demarcus "Free Mason" Nelson launching threes.

"Hey- got any houses you need built?"

2) Redick should be on the Olympic team. Playing the role of Steve Kerr. Let him shoot 3-5 threes a game. He'll be wide open on every single one, and make about 80% of them. Adam Morrison should not be on the team. He brings nothing to the table that Paul Pierce doesn't already have covered, and he looks too damn European.
Oh, and speaking of Olympic basketball....


3) FSU fans are the worst people on earth. Between the goddamned tomahawk chop at football games and last night's preemptive on court rioting, they've sealed the deal with me. Screw those guys. That said, Coach K rushing his starters off court before the game was over, leaving 5 walk-on scrubs out there to fend off the mob was hilarious.

Future FSU student/date rapist.

4) Real salary caps piss me off. I read last night that the Broncos are cutting Trevor Pryce, Mike Anderson, and Jeb Putzier. Three of my favorite players, gone. Damn. I understand all of them getting cut though- Pryce is past his prime (but still great- gets double teamed on every down), Anderson's not that stellar, even if I love his attitude, and Putzier's main credential is his resemblance to Easy Ed McCaffrey (mostly cause he has a penchant for getting decapitated over the middle, but also cause, well... you know).

Settle down, ladies, he's taken.

5) released their 2006 NBA draft simulator yesterday. I got really excited, until I went there and realized for the 1000th time this year, that no, the Knicks have no 1st round pick this year. So there will be no Gay jerseys filling the streets of Manhattan next year. Sorry Jeff.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Spring Training Sucks    

Bring on the football!!!

I've decided who I want the Pats to sign from the scrap heap... Sam Madison.  I've wanted to poach him for years, and here's our chance.  He'd shore up the secondary in a huge way.  He's physical, which should play well with Belichick.  And he shows up at #1 on the depth chart, whereas an incoming rookie would rank somewhere below Asante Samuel, and stay there all season.  That accomplishes nothing.  We need help at the starting positions more than anything.  I'm OK with Samuel and Eugene Wilson in the starting lineup, but they've gotta be complements to a better player, not the foundation of the secondary.

So please, Mr. Pioli, all I want for Christmas is.... thissssss guyyyyyyyy

A Modest Proposal    

I hereby propose that from now on, no reference be made to Barry Bonds on this site without this photo attached.

Ms. Abdul has been bulking up recently.