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Thursday, May 22, 2008

What's Brown Gots For You?

So I guess since the Celtics cruised to a game 1 win I'm supposed to start eating my words, and begging for forgiveness, right? Wrong. There have been a lot of misconceptions on my feelings about that Boston Celtics lately, and I'm here to set the record straight...well, kinda...


It was an impressive win for the C's on Tuesday night, as they took a 1 point halftime lead, grabbed momentum, and virtually breezed to a 9 point win over the Detroit Pistons. If you're the average Celts fan (which means you just realized in the last 18 months the Charlotte has a team again, and they're called the "Bobcats" now...you bandwagon trash), you're now thumpin' your chest and sayin' the same thing you did after the playoff's first two game 1's. "It's ovvaaaaah! This teams wicked beat and we're winnin' in 5 tops, dude". Arrogant? Yes, although that's what makes a good fan. Ignoring the facts? Of course, this is a Boston fan we're talking about, isn't it? But wrong? Ehhhh yes and no.


Before the series, I called this one for Detroit in 6 or 7, but that was before I saw Chauncey Billups limpin' around the garden like he'd been shot by a sniper. He's a big part of what that team does, and if he's not at 100%, yea....I wouldn't be shocked if the C's grabbed a road game and ended this thing in 5. It would pain me to see my man Sheed go home without another shot at a loud and obnoxious NBA ring, but like any good team, they can't win at this point of the season if they're not clicking on all cylinders with all their key players. It is after all, all about the players. Which brings me to this...


A lot of you out there have misunderstood my hatred of Glen "Doc" Rivers. I said when the season opened, that while this team had the talent to get to the Eastern Finals, they didn't have the coach to take them those final two steps to the title. He's never proven in my eyes to be any good at consistently changing his game plan to change momentum, playing the right guys the right minutes, or drawing up any sort of last second plays to win games. Plainly put, while he might be a nice guy that knows how to talk to players, I just don't think he can manage a game worth a lick. That being said, that description I gave for Doc would probably be one of the nicer things you would read from a Detroit fan about their head coach, Flip Saunders. I'm not saying Doc is lucky because the other coach is a tard too, I'm just saying in a situation where the coaches are basically a wash, it's gonna come down to talent, which with Billups out gives the C's the decisive edge...


So to answer a question I've been asked a lot recently, No. I won't get off Doc's back if he makes it to the NBA Finals. This team is so talented, a methed out lizard could coach it to the NBA Finals. And if he wins the title, No. That won't change my thoughts on him either. Naturally, if there are some key moves he makes to get either of these titles, then yes, I might have some sort of epiphany, but I don't see that comin'. Either he runs into a Laker/Spur team with a major injury, or he'll probably get flat out smoked by Phil or Popovic. Granted they're Hall of Famers, but that's only going to make it that much more obvious. Until this guy makes adjustments that to me even begin to resemble a good decision, no ring, and no championship parade will convince me he's a good coach. Are Rondo, Powe, Glen Davis and rest any better because of the coaching by Doc? No. These guys are better because of the presence of Kevin Garnett. If he's not here, Doc's long gone, and Danny & the MD are in the unemployment line trying to pick up the TNT scraps left behind by the analysts leaving for actual management posts...

I can point to PJ Brown and Eddie House in the last 2 games as positive plays by Doc, but for me that's more of a "uhhh what were you waiting for", as much as it was some sort of suave play. Also, those moves both came in home wins. Show me somethin' on the road when you're fighting momentum!! As unnecessary and cruel as it may sound, I think whatever this team achieves, it will be in spite of Glen Rivers, and not because of anything his crayon drawin' ass did on the bench. Maybe KG and the Truth knew all this ahead of time, and played that much harder to get home court. Damn! They knew Doc couldn't get them a road win this whole time!!...


I'm all for the Celtics winning, but until I saw the extent of Billups' injury I didn't like their chances. (that, and I like being the one guy not rooting for the Celts) I still don't think anything is remotely close to in the bag, but if Chauncey limps out there for game 2 for another beatdown, then I think Detroit has squandered their best chance of winning a road game (after their long rest). They'll be in for a steep, uphill battle against a loaded veteran team hungry for their first ring, and with a chip on their shoulder looking for that first road playoff win. Game 2 tonite will tell the story, and I for one know I'll be checkin' it out...Ya know, as long as there aren't too many Family Guy reruns on to distract me...

Now if you don't mind, I'd like to discuss a Boston team I actually like that's doing their fair share of winning these days as well...


Red Sox Update
Overall: 30-19, 1st in AL East by 2 games


-I don't know what's more impressive. Jon Lester's no hitter, or the fact it was the 4th no-no (to go along with at least 4 one-hitters) that Jason Varitek had called as a catcher. OK, I do know who/what is more impressive, and it's Tek. Consider the guys that threw the no-hitters (Nomo, Lowe, Lester, and Buchholz) , and you can see that these were pitchers that were being put in amazing situations by an over-prepared catcher. And Lester, to his credit, has no-hitter stuff. But until he actually puts together two quality starts in a row, he'll still fall into the category of guys that need to be led, as opposed to a guy out there with a definite plan of his own. It's an amazing accomplishment for both of these guys, but like I said, I gotta give the nod to Varitek. Just remember this when he's hitting .147 in July, because he'll be just as vital to the club then as he is now hitting .286. Nobody handles a staff like this guy, and the Lester no-hitter is just another in a long line of notches in his belt...


-It's great to know that young righty Justin Masterson is knockin' around in our farm system, but let's make sure he stays there for at least another month or two. Red Sox scouting shows that the kid struggles in this 3rd time through a lineup (which he has yet to see in the bigs), and that he needs to work on a change up to compliment the rest of his arsenal. I like the approach. Let the kid work out some kinks in the minors, while Bartolo Colon et. al hold down the fort till the All Star break. Then Masterson will be able to ease into a role in the middle-back of the bullpen (a la '05 Papelbon), and could be available at the back end of the rotation if injuries or other issues arise. You know, like if Clay Buchholz's trip to Pawtucket turns into an extended vacation. Man, could you think of a worse place to spend your summer than the 'Bucket?...


-In general, the Sox are on another one of their streaks. For the 4th time this year they've won 4 in a row, to go along with losing 3 or more in a row 3 times. It's tough for me to imagine this kind of streaky play continuing for the whole season, but I do think their ability to string together this various winning streaks is a good sign for the long summer grind to come...


Diamonds...She'll Pretty Much Have To
-Mike Piazza officially retired this week after 16 seasons in Major League Baseball. Due to the constant media questioning of his sexuality, and the way his career sort of faded out in the AL, a lot of people quickly forgot just how good this guy was. He's a first ballot Hall of Famer that, while not being the best defensive catcher, set the new standard for a backstop that could annually provide you with 30 homers and 100 RBI. Not bad for a guy taken by Tommy Lasorda in the 62nd round of the '88 draft as a personal favor to Mike's father. Sixteen years, 427 home runs, and 12 All-Star appearances later, and it goes to show that some good deeds do go unpunished. I watched Piazza mature, from his Rookie of the Year in '93, and he served as an insipiration to me as I worked hard to become a catcher myself. Granted I was all-D and no bat, but thats beside the point. The point is, baseball lost a great guy when Mike decided to hang up the spikes. And while I'm sure he'll be back as an analyst or color guy for one of the million networks out there, it just won't be the same...




-My main man Josh Hamilton has beaten heroin, and now he's takin' out all his withdrawal rage on American League pitching. "Big H", as I coined him, was the former #1 overall pick, who dropped out of baseball after struggling with drug addiction. He made it to the bigs last year with Cincinnati, but this year in Texas he's the one providing the spike to the Rangers offense. In 47 games, Hamilton leads the AL in extra base hits with 27, RBI with 51, and is hitting .328 with 11 dingers. So, if you're reading this from the gutter, keep in mind that anything's possible...as long as you do enough H...



-I'd like to formally apologize to Cliff Lee was cursing him with my arrogant claims about his untouchable pimpness so far this season. After I lauded the Cleveland lefty for the second week, he promptly went and got spanked around by the NL offensive juggernaut known as the Cincinnati Reds. To make matters worse, Cliffy, the AL ERA leader, was up against Edison Volquez, the NL ERA leader. Geez. That almost seems like one of those "announcer curses". You know, when they talk about how this guy never misses free throws, and then bam he cranks two off the front rim? That's what this game was. It was a set up I tell ya! A Set up! Those things never work out the way you think you should, and it's the very reason I can never seem to make any good money betting on sports. I'm too sensible, and nothing ever goes as you think they should. Like Kenny Mayne said before he was relegated to being Hank Goldberg's sober living partner, "the games aren't played on paper, they're played inside televison sets". Hopefully for you Cliff, you'll get off the paper and starting playing inside TV's again in your next start...

OK enough baseball. It's time for me to rip the NBA a new one...


News and Notes
-In case you can't understand where a lot of my NBA hatred stems from, you need look no further than the off the court news making the rounds this week...


First, you have the Chicago Bulls winning the NBA Draft Lottery on Tuesday night, despite having only a 1.7% chance of doing so. Now, forget how dumb the lottery system is for a minute, and focus on yet another chance for conspiracy fans to point out how an NBA "power" franchise receives seemingly yet another big break from the league at large. OH, and it doesn't help that the #1 slot puts the Bulls in prime position to grab Memphis PG Derrick Rose, who happens to be from?...you guessed it. Chicago! It's all about business, man, and a good team in Chicago, is good for business. A good team in Miami? Not so much. I'm not saying there is any legit fire to go with this smoke, but when you're draft ordering system resembles BINGO night at the old folks home, you're always gonna be opening yourself up to all sorts of legitimate criticism...


Then you have former NBA ref, Tim Donaghy, coming out this week and basically saying players, coaches and refs were all on the take when it came to fixing games. Again, this could just be a guy trying to save his own skin, but it doesn't look good. David Stern came out and called Donaghy (whose name he struggled to pronounce) a felon trying to save himself from jail, which in my eyes just made Stern look ignorant. Then the Commish went on to respond to a question about his officials, by saying the happiest day of his career, was when both the winning and losing teams in a game called to complain about the officiating. What the F?! You're happiest day? I mean is it me, or shouldn't the happiest day be when both teams call to compliment the officials? What an ass backwards approach. Again, it's shit like this that keeps the door of possible impropriety wide open, with a cash trail leading us all through to the other side. Just because you laugh it off by saying "sometimes even Jeff Van Gundy is wrong, or you dismiss Donaghy as a felon, itsn't enough. It all goes back to credibility, and in my eyes, the NBA is in getting pretty skimp in that department. You can keep telling me things are fine, and that it's all a bunch of media hype, but when my eyes are telling me a drastically different story I'm just not gonna buy it. I like how Stern always deflects to the great play on the floor, and the way he packs the stands you have to think he's right. But if this league is going to continue to stay relevant in the eyes of the fans that really do love it, they're going to have to at least show they are taking legit steps to clean it up, and regain it's credibility. Ditching the lottery would be a good start...



-One of the drawbacks to being in a college fraternity, is that sometimes you come back to your room to find someone has screwed with your computer. Whether it's meatspin.com, 2girlsonecup, or any kind of animal-on-hooker site, there's a lot of things you see on your screen that you'd rather remove from your memory using scotch, dope, and maybe a little Windex for good measure. That being said, I've seen horses do a lot of crazy shit on the Internet, but none of it compared to the aboslut horse raping performed by Big Brown in last weekend's Preakness Stakes. Not only did the colt named for UPS crush the field by 7 lengths, but he was held back for about 3/4 of the race by jockey Kent Desormeaux, and appeared to have plenty of juice left while he coasted across the finish line. So much so, that you thought he might head right into the far rail while trying to pull up after getting the W. That's a great sign for the Belmont, which at 1 1/2 miles is the longest test of the Triple Crown, and more than 3/10 of a mile longer than the Preakness (Derby is 1 1/4)...


Now a lot of you might not remember/care, but coming unbeaten into the Belmont is something we've sen quite a few times in recent history. Real Quiet lost the Belmont by a nose in '98, Charismatic broke his leg in '99, while War Emblem ('02), Funny Cide ('03) and Smarty Jones ('04), also lost the Belmont and were never really in contention. I was surprised when Real Quiet, Charismatic and Funny Cide lost, but not nearly as shocked as I'll be if Big Brown somehow manages to pull some sort of epic collapse. Those horses also had convincing wins in the Triple Crown's first two legs, but none nearly as impressive as Big Brown. He's dusted the lackluster fields in the first two races with distance to spare, and with another crop of weak also-rans likely signing up for the Belmont, the only horse that can stop Big Brown should be himself. That begs to question who will even want to race this guy after watching the first two races (there's rumor of some ringer Japanese horse coming in to make it a match race), but that's something I'll leave to the experts like the White Randy Moss.

In my eyes, this horse is unbeatable. I've seen weirder shit happen in the Triple Crown, but I think it's time for a new horse to claim the title. We've gone through the horses dying, breaking their legs, and losing by a nose. Now it's time for this generation of race fans to actually get to see what a Triple Crown winner looks like. It's been a long time coming, and it should be a sweet sight to see...


Alright, well that's it for me this week, kiddos. Got a long weekend comin' up, and my boy Frosco will be back in the states, so it should be a doozy. If I don't see you out, then it means you're not nearly as cool as you think you might me, and you should really get to work on that.

Stay pimpin'...