Monday, July 03, 2006

Isiah Thomas for President

Oops...He Did It Again
Just when you thought Isiah Thomas had done all he could to to bury one of the NBA's most storied franchises, he goes and drafts Renaldo Balkman! Nobody is saying that Balkman is a bad player, but if the Knicks really wanted him they could have probably got him in the 2nd round, or at the very least with their second 1st round pick. But according to Isiah, the Phoenix Suns were ready to pounce on Balkman with their next pick, so if New York wanted him they would have to act fast. Not so if you listen to Mike D'Antoni, who says Balkman wasn't even on the Suns radar screen. To make things even stranger, the second point Isiah made when defending this pick was "go ask Billy Donovan how good this guy is", referring to the fact that Balkman and South Carolina beat National Champion Florida twice last year. Since when was that a freakin criteria for picking players in the draft?! So maybe he provided a matchup problem for one team that happened to be really good, does that alone make you look over the fact that at best he had a mediocre career and didn't wow anyone in workouts? I guess if you see the guy as a cross between Ron Artest and Dennis Rodman, which is the description some say the Knicks had of him. That's just the player I'm looking for with my first round pick. A loose cannon that spends more time promoting himself than working on his game, and spends possibly even more time suspended. Maybe Isiah secretly always hated the Knicks when he was a kid, and he is now exacting ultimate revenge. Anything short of that just makes him not only an idiot, but possibly the worst GM in all of sports.

Just a few more notes on the NBA Draft...
*The Boston Celtics had the #1 shooting guard and the #1 point guard in the draft in their reach and what did they do? They traded Randy Foye and passed on Marcus Williams. Nowe I've been told that a lot of the moves the C's made on draft night were to position themselves to make a run at Allen Iverson in a trade. Personally I think that's an awful idea. The last thing the Celt's need is another guy who needs to ball in his hands on every possession. AI is a great player, but wouldn't you rather have added Foye and Williams to a backcourt with Delonte West? Is this a young team rebuilding or what? I think Danny Ainge might be feeling the heat, knowing that anything short of a playoff birth and he loses his job. But Celtic's fans have waited for this group of young guns to turn the corner, and just as they are finally showing sings of improvement, and have a chance to add arguably the two best players in the draft, Ainge makes moves like this. One thing is certain, if they don't make some sort of trade for a superstar this offseason, you can officially label this draft as a bust.

*I'm still not sure why Portland passed on LeMarcus Aldridge only to trade for him a few hours later, but then again I didn't understand why they made so many trades period. Either way, they helped make the draft entertaining to watch, and probably made themselves better in the process. By acquiring Brandon Roy they enable themselves to part ways with the volatile Darius Miles, and with Aldridge they finally have a legit center to compliment Zach Randolph down low.

*I will be the first to remind you that I ripped the Raptors last year for their pick of Charlie Villanueva, and he turned out to have a great rookie season. But you are going to have a much tougher time telling me it was smart for Seattle to select Mahmoud Saer Sene with the 10th overall pick. After selecting Johan Petro and Robert Swift the past two seasons (both raw centers), why would they get yet another guy who is at least 2 years away from contributing? I just don't get it, and something tells me the fans in the Pacific northwest feel the same way. On the bright side, if all three of these guys pan out, Seattle will be able to trade them for pretty much whoever they want. But history tells us they will be lucky if one of them becomes a stud, meaning they just wasted 2 first round picks.

Vive La France
France pulled off the biggest upset of the World Cup on Saturday, knocking off favorite Brazil 1-0. That leaves us this week with the semifinals, which feature host Germany vs Italy and France vs Portugal. I've posted before how big a let down this World Cup has been in general, and I stick by that now especially that the most entertaining team is out. Of the few players most American's could name, most of them played for either England or Brazil, and now both those teams have been sent packing. So while all those soccer nuts out there will tell you that this has been a great World Cup, I have this to offer. No it hasn't. Just like every other cup, the host team made a run deeper into the tourney than expected (See Japan/S. Korea in 2002 and France in 1998), and the Americans sucked. But if I had to make a prediction for the remainder of this thing, I would go out on a limb and pick Portugal. They actually do have a player I find exciting to watch in Cristiano Ronaldo, who has the speed to outrun anyone and the creativity to score from anywhere 20 yards and in. Of course France and Germany have to be the favorites to advance because of who they just beat and where they are playing, so expect to see that matchup in the final. No matter who comes out on top, I think we all know who the real winner has been at the 2006 World Cup, and that's whoever manufactures those stretchers they use to drag those whiny punks off the "pitch" every minute or so.
World's Biggest Dopes
Still think Lance Armstrong didn't use drugs? I'm not saying that the suspensions of several favorites in the Tour de France because of blood doping indicates Lance at all, but it shows us all how tainted the sport is. And it makes me wonder, if these guys were using illegal drugs, and Lance was still beating their ass, you need to draw one of two conclusions. 1)Lance Armstrong is a superhero or 2)Lance himself was using performance enhancers. Now of course I personally don't have any proof, but I think it's naive for Americans to think that the international cycling community is simply out to get Lance, when it's obvious the entire sport has issues with doping. On the plus side for the US, with favorites Ivan Basso and Jan Ulrich being kicked out, it paves the way for perhaps another American to carry the torch for Lance. But just a guess here, if it took a guy surviving cancer and winning the thing 7 times in a row to capture the interest of our country, it may drop off our sports radar sooner rather than later no matter who wins. Which I personally think is good news. Now I won't have to pass 40 year olds in unitards on the street anymore with their US Postal logos and their 15 Livestrong wristbands. Take up a real hobby people, like bowling or poker. Those are man's games.

Red Sox Update
Last Week: 6-1
Overall: 50-29
Standings: 1st by 4 games

*It's always fun rooting for the hottest team in baseball. So I'm just going to keep on doing it.

Diamonds Are Forever - Midseason Awards
Manny Ramirez: .309 22 HR 60 RBI .618 SLG
*In my eyes it's a toss up right now between Thome, Ramirez and Ortiz, and I'm going with Manny. It may be true that Manny is doing what he always does, but the fact is that should be good enough for an MVP every 3 years, so I say he's due.

Cy Young
Francisco Liriano: 9-1 1.99 ERA 94 K 81.1 IP
*I know he has barely started 10 games this year, but if you win every time out in dominating fashion it makes up for it. It's arguable that he's already passed Johan Santana as the ace of the Twins staff, and if he can avoid a second half slide, it may be tough not giving him both the Cy and the ROY awards.

Rookie of the Year
Jonathan Papelbon: 2-1 0.43 ERA 25 saves 42 K 41.2 IP
*Apparently Bobby Jenks is also still considered a rookie, which means Liriano, Jenks and Papelbon may be duking it out for the rest of the summer. Papelbon gets my vote though and not only because I'm a Sox fan. He's done everything asked of him and then some, causing some to question not only if he's the best rookie, but a possible Cy Young and MVP candidate.

Most Surprising Team
Detroit Tigers: Everyone picked them to be in the AL Central basement, but instead they have the best record in the MLB. Enough said.

Most Disappointing Team
Cleveland Indians: After their impressive run last year came up just short, everyone was expecting the Indians to make a serious charge at the White Sox this season. Being 6 games under .500 and 18 games out of the division by the All-Star break can not be what they had in mind. At least Travis Hafner is still rolling along.

Carlos Beltran: .293 24 HR 64 RBI 12 SB .639 SLG
*Some people will tell you he's not even the MVP of his team, but Beltran gets my vote over Pujols simply because he is finally living up to the hype he had when he arrived in the Big Apple. And oh yea, he's on my fantasy team.

Cy Young
Brandon Webb: 9-3 2.72 ERA 97 K 132.1 IP
*A few weeks ago I told you about Webb, and since he's cooled off a little. But he still anchors the staff of a contending team, and although Glavine has more wins, Webb just has better pure stuff, giving him the nod.

Rookie of the Year
Dan Uggla: .307 13 HR 44 RBI .516 SLG
*On a team full of young studs, Uggla is the only Marlin rookie who has yet to hit the wall so far this season. His consistency, combined with the rather weak class of NL rookies, is what gives him this award in a landslide.

Most Surprising Team
Cincinnati Reds: Sure they have cooled off of late, but the fact that the Reds continue to lead the NL Wild Card and only sit one game behind the Cardinals makes them the biggest surprise on the senior circuit. Boston may not be missing Bronson Arroyo, but his 9 wins and 2.58 ERA have Cincy fans glad they traded him for Wily Mo.

Most Disappointing Team
Philadelphia Phillies: Ok so maybe they weren't even the favorites in the NL East, but they aren't supposed to be 11 games out already. They have enough hitting, and possibly the most talented young infield in the bigs, but with the 6th worst ERA (4.89) they can't get anyone out.

Fantasy Update
Last Week: 5-13-4
Overall: 134-114-38 (3rd place - 16.5 games back)

Week 14 vs The Ooo Ooo's (148-102-36)

*So Frosco took me behind the woodshed this week. He led for the whole week in a fairly close battle, until my trusty bullpen blew most of the pitching stats I had won on Saturday night, forcing me to try and grab some points with C.C. Sabathia and Kevin Millwood on Sunday. Needless to say Millwood got hammered (which seems to happen only when I start him), and my team was left for dead. But no worries, just a small bump in the road that leads to me winning this damn thing.


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