Tuesday, April 17, 2007

4/16/07 - 33 Dead at Virginia Tech

I honestly don't know what's worse. The fact Virginia Tech student Cho Seung-hui brutally mowed down 32 of his classmates before taking his own life, or the fact that stuff like this doesn't even seem to faze me any more. Think about it. My mom asked me "Can you even imagine what it must take to make someone do something like this?", and my simple response was "Yes, I can easily imagine." Maybe it's because I've seen every documentary out there that goes inside the mind of a killer, or maybe it's just because I grew up in a era in which Columbine, WACO and 9/11 are all fresh on my mind. To be completely honest, when I first heard about this tragic event, the first thing I thought was not "oh my God", but more like "Uh oh, wait till all the shit hits the fan and we really find out what went on here". Thirty three people were dead, in a setting that I myself could have very well been in, and all I could think about was the reaction in the media. Is it pathetic on my part? Or is that just the society we live in today? One that is completely desensitized, one that takes tragedies like this in stride and one that continues to have more deaths due to guns (over 30,000) than any other country in the world. We're supposed to be the most civilised country in the world, yet events like this one seem to be more commonplace than we would like to admit. It's really a shame, that it always seems to take an event like this to force people to refocus on what truly matters. We shouldn't be focusing on how the University mishandled the event, or why this lunatic did what he did, at least not now. Now is the time to focus on how to cope with the loss of 32 innocent students, and how to help their families and community move on from this tragedy. These kids were doing what they were told, they were bettering their lives, and they had their lives taken from them. Imagine that, they were doing what they were told to do. I bet there were kids skipping those classes, that were disobeying their superiors and not trying to better themselves, yet they are alive. How can that be fair right? Fact is, none of this is fair, nor is it supposed to be. It's just life. And in life, tragedies happen. Eventually, the full story will come out on what did or did not happen at Virginia Tech on Monday April 16th, 2007, but until then, we're all just left to wonder, and hope that the school, the students and the community can recover. My thoughts go out to the people of Blacksburg, all the injured, the deceased and their families. That day will go down in history on a growing list of Black days this country would much rather forget.

Red Sox Update
Overall: 7-4, 1st place AL East
Status: Josh Beckett (3-0, 1.50 ERA), Curt Schilling (2-1, 2.84 ERA), Tim Wakefield (1-1, 1.38 ERA), Daisuke Matsuzaka (1-1, 2.57 ERA), 2007 Boston Red Sox pitching staff (7-4, 2.72 ERA). Needless to say, when you get pitching like that, you gotta like your chances. Especially when you've done it with below average production from your lineup. Hitting .254 with only 7 dingers in 11 games usually won't get the job done, but it's nice to know that even when you are struggling at the plate, your pitchers are holding the opposition to a .210 average and only 6 dingers of their own. I mean look, we got Manny hittin' .200 here. Anyone really think Manny's gonna be stuck at .200 for the entire season? Yea I didn't think so. And while I am worried about Coke Ho Crisp hitting a "crack head" like .111, and Jason Varitek seeming to age several months every time he takes the field, I don't think their inconsistencies are enough to drag this team down. Crisp may blow, but Tek's value behind the plate makes his offensive output somewhat moot. Don't get me wrong here, I'd love at least a backup catcher with some pop, but as long as the front office is convinced Doug Mirabelli is the only man on the planet that can catch a knuckleball, and Varitek is locked into his 5 year $50 million deal, this is pretty much what we're forced to work with. So be it. And while I'll probably revisit this area of weakness if the team starts to tank (you always gotta reserve that right don't ya?), I'm willing to deal with it for now. Make sure you check back on Friday morning for the complete preview of this weekends first meeting between the Sox and Yanks, the first time they meet this season.

Diamonds Are Forever
*Something tells me that Chase Wright and Chris Britton aren't exactly names that ring a bell, even in the Bronx. Yet, thanks to injuries to Carl Pavano (shocker), Mike Mussina, Chien Ming Wang and Jeff Karstens, those are the two that will be taking the hill this coming week for the Yanks. Yikes. I guess you can't be too worried when your team is scoring almost 6 runs a game, even if they are 5-6, but I still would be a little stressed. On the other hand, might all these injuries carve out a nice rotation spot for a certain pitcher who is still deciding whether or not to come back this season? I'm not crying conspiracy here by any means, I'm just sayin'. The fact that the Yanks have all these injuries might drive the price of attaining Roger Clemens up, but don't think that would stop them from adding to their rotation when and if he comes back. And with several of the injured pitchers expected to come back sooner rather than later, adding Roger to that rotation would take a sub .500 team that scores 6 runs a game, to a World Series contender, still only scoring almost 6 runs a game. And for all you that wanna jump on Mariano Rivera for giving up a 3 run bomb to Marco Scutaro this weekend, just get over yourselves. He's still the man, and the Sox already own his ass, so why add more misery to the poor guy. Just because his last meaningful postseason memory will be of him losing the Series to the D-Backs all by himself, doesn't mean we should pile on the guy! Ha! Just kidding. He really still is the man, and until he struggles for a prolonged period I wouldn't look past him for a second. And even if he does struggle in the regular season, I'd still be weary of him in the playoffs for sure. See how I get sidetracked here? Wasn't I talkin' about Clemens or somethin'?

*I like to think that I witnessed, at least in part, the start of the current Chicago Cubs curse. After the Cubs took a 3-2 series lead over the Florida Marlins in the 2003 NLCS, one of my fraternity brothers, who shall remain nameless, ran around the house, telling anyone that would listen, that the Cubs were basically "in" the World Series. I know what you're thinkin', and yes you're 100% right. What kind of fan, that's not 8 years old or younger, thinks it's a good idea to count your team as a winner before they've actually won? Answer in this case, an absolute moron. You know how the rest of the story goes. The Cubbies choked, Bartman went Bartman, and the Florida Marlins went on to defeat the New York Yankees (a team that also trailed 3-2 in their LCS) in the 2003 World Series. (note: I didn't curse my Sox, who blew a similar 3-2 LCS advantage, and they went on to win the '04 World Series. Just sayin') So why do I bother bringing this up? Only to remind Cub fans of something which they need no reminder. YOU'RE STILL CURSED! HA! Since blowing the '03 NLCS, the lovable losers are 239 - 259 (.479), and haven't finished higher than 3rd in the sketchy NL Central. Now, not only have they again limped out to a 5-7 start, but they have already lost Kerry Wood and Mark Prior to the DL this year (what else is new), and now it seems they may have lost 136 million dollar slugger Alfonso Soriano. He limped off the field yesterday with a pulled hammy, and while it's still early and there hasn't been any report of his injury, seeing as he's a Cub, I'll assume he's out for a while. What luck these guys have. Last year it was Derek Lee (and Wood and Prior), this year it's Fonzie. Heyyyyyyyy, Mr. C! Injuries and falling short of expectations. Just business as usual in the city best known for pizza nobody likes, wind and the late, great, Wesley Willis. I Whooped Batman's Ass!

*Sketchy baseball stat. On his way to starting the season 3-0, Josh Beckett became the 3rd Sox pitcher of all time (Cy Young and Roger Clemens) to start a season with 3 starts with 6+ innings pitched, 5+ Ks and 1 earned run or fewer in each of them. God, only in baseball does anyone even notice that something like that happened. What's next? Manny becomes the first player to break his own streak of "games played between taking a whizz inside the Green Monster during a game"?

News and Notes
*Still think the Celtics are actually trying to win games? Well, Ryan Gomes certainly doesn't. When asked after the game about his performance (13 points in the first 3 quarters and then no playing time in the 4th), Gomes had this to say: "I probably (would have played), but since we were in the hunt for a high draft pick, of course things are different. I understand that. Hopefully things get better. Now that we clinched at least having the second-most balls in the lottery, the last three games we'll see what happens. We'll see if we can go out and finish some games." Now that's a great attitude isn't it? But where do we draw the line as fans? Would you rather have your team tank to get a good pick, or would you rather them try as hard as they can to win, and let the chips fall where they may? It's not a tough call for me, only because I'm not a Celts fan, or an NBA fan for that matter. I want the Celts to lose, because I want them to get Greg Oden, because I want them to be relevant again. Simple as that. Don't get it twisted, I won't become a fair weather C's fan when and if they start to win, but it will certainly make life more exciting to have another relevant sports team around again. But should the real fans be rooting for their team to lose? Not if you ask me. I honestly can't think of a situation in which I would want the Patriots or Red Sox to lose. Granted, I understand that the draft system in those other sports makes it different than the NBA, but isn't that the problem? In those leagues, the worst team gets the best pick, simple as that. None of this lottery crap. Honestly, how do we know they aren't fixing it? It would take a blind 12 year old magician about ten minutes to figure out how to rig that sucker, yet we just trust them on it. And that's not even the damn point! The point is, to create a fair system, and gee I don't know, a competitive league, you need to at least make it look like every team has the same opportunities. Either include every team in the lottery, or just go from worst to first like every other sport. You might still have teams tanking seasons to get the top pick, but at least then they'll definitely get it, and no longer suck!

*Get ready to cut yourself America! As I told you several weeks ago, ESPN's morning show "Cold Pizza" is changing it's name to "First Take" and moving to Bristol the first week of May. I also told you, that seeing as they haven't found a suitable replacement (in their eyes at least) for Woody Paige in their 1st and 10 segment, they will be rotating people in and out to verbally spar with Skip "I seem to have accepted, dare I say embraced, the fact that I have no friends" Bayless. And who else have they brought in as one of the regulars, than one of the media world's all time biggest tards, Stephen A. Smith. What's that you say? Doesn't Smith already have some show of his own on ESPN? Well he sure did, but when people actually tried to watch it for a half hour, ESPN started getting calls that sounded like "lemme get those 30 minutes of my life back", or "who gave Webster's dad a sports show and why the hell is he so mad?"So they had no choice, but to can his ass. And I for one, can't believe they are even letting him do this show. I understand the guy brings a lot to the table in terms of the NBA, but that's it man! Maybe he's covered other sports, but I just don't see it in the way he discusses them. It's almost like ESPN signed this guy to like a 10 year contract and now they just gotta throw him somewhere. Smith with Skip Bayless? Not only will neither of them be listening to the other, but Smith will be shouting so loud it might actually scare a few pounds off of host Dana Jacobsen. Quite Frankly, ESPN's First Take is gonna make me puke so hard that even I'm gonna weigh less than Dana in a few weeks. Hahaha I know, I know, that's just not possible. But hey sometimes I try to make her feel good, I'm just a gentleman like that.

*Is it me, or does Steve Spurrier saying he wants the Confederate flag taken down from the South Carolina campus just sound weird? Of course I don't mean weird like bad, because nobody likes slavery (and yes, you in the south, that's what everyone else in the free world thinks of when they see it, so take that argument and shove it), I just mean weird like somethin' just ain't right. It's probably just the thick southern accent, but Spurrier talking about taking down the Confederate flag is almost like Tony the Tiger telling me to eat doughnuts for breakfast, or Joe Camel slippin' me a P-funk. It just doesn't add up, dammit! I know everyone with a southern accent isn't a rampant racist with more shotguns than kids, and more kids than dollars in the bank, but I just can't help but think it! Maybe it's just my inner Yank talkin', I don't know. But either way I think it's funny as hell to listen to him talk about it. I can't wait till next week when Spurrier promises to talk about cigarette reform, how much he hates NASCAR and of course, the dangers involved with inbreeding. I personally can't wait!

*With the NBA playoffs upon us, it's time to take a look back at my '06-'07 predictions to see if I've truly lost my mind, or if I actually still have a chance to get the champ right this year. My choice for MVP, was LeBron James. OK strike one on me. My pick for Rookie of the Year, Brandon Roy. OK, well all signs point to me being right on that one. Woop Woop! And finally, my NBA Finals pick was the San Antonio Spurs over the Cleveland Cavs in 6 games. The Spurs have become everyone's dark horse lately in the dangerous West, and while the Cavs sit at the 5th seed in the East, they have the Conference's 3rd best record (makes tons of sense). Of course they also have, LeBron James, my pick for the MVP. I always seem to whiff on my pre season predictions, for almost any sport, but this one looks like it actually has a chance to be right. Granted, I made the picks while purposely not looking at stats or trends, and I never watch NBA games, but apparently that's the key to picking the winner right? I mean seriously, I've watched basically every football game I could, and I still picked the Panthers to win the Super Bowl last year. I am constantly running into trends that basically tell me either A)I know nothing about sports or B)I know nothing about sports betting. Still haven't figured out if it's a good or bad thing yet, but then again I don't bet, so I don't really care. Oh yea, and make sure to check out my NFL picks next year.

*And at the risk of going NBA crazy, I'd like to take a second to talk about the incident between referee Joey Crawford and the San Antonio Spurs' Tim Duncan. While sitting on the bench in a 91-86 loss to the Mavericks on Sunday, Duncan was hit with his second technical foul in under two minutes and ejected from the game. If that weren't surprising enough (Duncan had only been ejected once during his 10 year career), Crawford ejected Tim for laughing and commenting on calls being made by the refs. Crawford simply looked over at the bench, pointed at Duncan and tossed him out. Well then. And some people wonder why a lot of experts say the problem with the NBA, is that the refs try too hard to make themselves a part of it. And I agree 100%. Baseball has it's issues with over zealous umpires as well, but the NBA is just ridiculous. I understand, if a player is out of line, then they deserve to be punished. But what did Duncan say? Crawford claims he was just being abusive, and while Duncan agrees, he also says he didn't think he said anything that warranted being tossed. This isn't Sheed we're talkin' about here, it's Tim Duncan. The same guy who, up until he called the new dress code "retarded", hadn't said a peep since entering the league! I'm not saying you should then let him do whatever he wants, but at least keep in mind who you are dealing with. Come on now Joey. Next time, instead of getting your striped panties in a bunch, just glare over at the bench and give Duncan a good 'ole "Timmmmmmmmaaaayyyyyyyyyyyy". That should get his attention, and change his laughter from being "at you", to "with you". Timmmmmmaaaaayyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!

*Take a deep breath fantasy football fans. LaDanian Tomlinson will NOT be on the cover of Madden '08. The cover boy will instead be...drum roll please...last year's offensive rookie of the year, Titans QB Vince Young. Young and his agent say they aren't worried about the "Madden Curse" that has sidelined the last 6 cover boys with injuries the season in which they have appeared on the cover. I guess that's the attitude you have to take when it comes to a superstition like that, but I would certainly be scared. At what point is it no longer a superstition? Six guys? Barry Sanders, Eddie George, Shaun Alexander, Ray Lewis, Michael Vick and Donovan McNabb? With the exception of Sanders, that's not exactly a group I'd be happy to join. Matter of fact, unless I'm looking to make some Chunky soup, smuggle buds onto a plane, or hide a sharpened tooth brush up my ass, it's not a group I'd like to associate at all!

*Finally, we have golf. No, not the NHL playoffs (yea I know, apparently those started already), but golf. Here's why. The NHL can only manage to get itself in the news when someone almost gets killed on the ice, or Gretzkys' wife drops a few Gs on a Laker game, while the PGA is constantly finding uplifting ways to make headlines. This time, it comes in the form of Boo Weekley. While his name probably got him some serious beat downs all through school, and his lack of friends caused him to take up the lonely game of golf, it still doesn't take away from his achievement. Three weeks after missing a 3 footer to win the Honda Classic, and eventually losing in a playoff, Weekley pulled off one of the greatest feats in recent PGA Tour memory. With Ernie Els hot on his heals, Weekley chipped in for par on both 17 and 18 to close with a one shot victory, his first ever on tour. Just awesome man. To go from choking like that on National TV, to pulling off one of the craziest wins ever? That man has a sack full of rocks hanging from his belt. And as for the $972,000 first place check Weekley received? He says "I got a spot picked out for a house. Actually it's right in front of where I live right now in my trailer." As if I had to tell you that the man pictured to the right lived in a trailer, there it is. You totally can't make any of this shit up, and even if you could, it's just not nearly as funny. Then again, should a guy living with his parents really be ripping on someone that at least has their own pad? Yes they should, and I'm still glad I just did. Boooooooooooooo

Fantasy Update
Last Week: LOSS, 10-12-2 vs worstmistakeofmylife
Overall: 6th place, 7 games back

*The only thing worse than losing in fantasy baseball, is losing in fantasy baseball to a guy that hasn't checked his team since more than a month before the "live" draft. That's right. Not only does this guy not adjust his lineup, he doesn't even know who's on his freakin' team! Apparently the kid is getting married soon (hence the team name), so I'll cut him a little slack, but let me just say this. If you don't want to do a fantasy league, then dont freakin' do it! It's one thing if someone nags you into doing one and then you're apathetic about it, but if you don't want to put your full effort into it, then JUST SAY NO! Some of us actually enjoy the competition, and you can only play withyourself for so long.

*If you don't like this commerical, then I think you're a huge tool. Chances are I think you're a tool anyway, so you might as well check it out and get a good laugh. You freakin' tool.


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