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Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Snatchural: From Grand Slams to Slam Pigs...

Greetings and salutations friends. After taking last week to focus on just Tiger and the Celts, I've returned back to form. I got some Sox news for ya, some NBA draft shit, and of course the latest news on all things relating to sodomy, steroids, and how Stuart Scott reminds me of the rectal anatomy...


Red Sox Update
Overall: 49-32, 1st by 1 game

-While it seems the Sox can't catch a break these days when it comes to injuries and weather (4 of last 6 games affected by rain), it hasn't seem to stopped them from winning games. And thats always a good thing. With the first half of the '08 season in the books, and Big Papi just a few weeks away from returning to the lineup (fingers crossed), there are a lot unexpected positive developments that should have every Sox fan anxiously anticipating a deep run into this year's post season...

-Doesn't hurt that when the roster seems to be getting a little thin, guys like Justin Masterson and Chris Smith step up and seize their opportunity. We know what Masterson has done, but Smith has been impressive of late as well. He picked up his first Major League win this week, and is 1-0 with a 1.50 ERA, 4 K's and just 1 walk in the 6 innings he's pitched. Just something to keep in mind next time you feel like trading away pitching to get a mediocre bat at the trading deadline. Pitching depth is the best weapon a team can have, and at least right now, it seems the Sox have that young pitchign in abundance...


-Speaking of, Jon Lester was once viewed as a great prospect, but may have already arrived as the talented, top of the rotation lefty we were all promised. Once a start-to-start anomoly, Lester has become so consistent you could argue he's currently the ace of the staff. In the last month, Lester is 3-0 with a 2.20 ERA and 30 K's in a shade over 32 innings. As impressive as that is, look for Theo and Tito to give Jon some rest before the stretch run. With 103 innings pitched in '08, he's on pace to top the 200 inning mark. Granted that should be expected of one of your better starters, but not of a guy that had only pitched 145 innings total coming into the '08 season. Gotta keep those guys fresh, man...

-In a recent poll, MLB players ranked both Derek Jeter and Kevin Youkilis as the two most overrated players in the game. With Jeter, it's obviously jealousy, as the guy has the rings and the stats to back up all the praise he gets. And in a poll involving the same players, asking who you would pick to start a team, Jeter finished in the top 3. So, like I said, it reaks of jealousy. With Youk, I have to admit that assessment sounds rather spot on. Or at the very least, well deserved. As I've mentioned here before, Youk rubs basically every baseball purist the wrong way. I'm not exactly hating on the dude, but the way he acts after making any out is bound to get opposing players pissed, and this is just a way for them to voice their frustration. Personally, I would have voted for Miguel Cabrera or Travis Hafner, but all those votes for Youk should let Sox fans know how the rest of the league views their "Greek God of Walks"...Most underrated? I'd have to throw my support behind either San Diego 1B Adrian Gonzalez, Pittsburgh C/1B Ryan Doumit, or possibly Chicago White Sox veteran OF Jermaine Dye...

-And just a little heads up. If you're looking for the Sox to get your weekend off to a great start on Friday, I wouldn't hold your breath. Despite being 49-32 and atop the AL East, the Red guys are only 4-8 on Friday's, including losses in their last 3. Yea I was too busy drinking to notice too. 8 beers deep, and they all look like wins. If only the weekend could start on Tuesday, where the good guys are a stellar 11-2. Eh, maybe it's just a sign that we should all start drinkin' on Tuesday. A strategy that I'm all for by the way...


Diamonds...She'll Pretty Much Have To
-Hell, pretty much have to? How about, wants to! The picture above is of Alabama special needs teacher, Julie Pritchett. Or should I say, former, special needs teacher Julie Pritchett. I say former, because the woman, who appears to be the bastard child of Peter Griffin, Shelley Smith and Patriots center Dan Koppen, has been fired for having sex with members of the schools baseball team. And not just one, mind you, but 8! She now faces up to 20 years in prison for sodomy, and a lifetime of living down this myriad of hilarious nicknames, courtesy of the fellow basement dwellers at deadspin.com

"The Snatchural"

"69*"

"Sandcrotch"

"Field of Creams"

"A Beav of Their Own"

"Eight Men In"

and of course

"Innings Eater"

Hilarious. And allow me to add another hysterical, yet oddly appropriate nickname that she might hear in the not too distant future....."Alyssa Milano". She's up to 8 MLBers by now, and she used to be jail bait! Ha! But seriously, all I could think about when reading those nicknames was in Field of Dreams, when Kevin Costner described Shoeless Joe's glove as the place "triples went to die". Julie Pritchett's vag, is where frozen ropes go to LIVE baby! Tag that mound boys!!

...oh, and "The Snatchural" is one of the funniest things I've ever heard in my life...


-Ben Sheets told the Brewers on Wednesday that he will opt out of his deal at the end of the year and test the free agency market. The oft injured righty is 9-1 this year, but hasn't made more than 22 starts in a season since 2004. No matter. He's got the talent, and the Yankees have an open spot in their rotation. Translation? Cha-CHING!!! Welcome to the Bronx, Benji, and say hi to Carl Pavano for me...

-And speakin' of funny shit that takes you back to high school, Cito Gaston is back coaching the Toronto Blue Jays. And in this case, when I say "high school", I obviously mean "elementary school". And by Cito Gaston, I mean Cito Suave. Paging Joe Carter and Kelly Gruber...


News and Notes

-Probably one of the funniest stories to surface in quite some time is the recent revival of the Kobe Bryant/Shaquille O'Neal feud. Now I've always been a full fledged member of "Team Deisel", and if anything, this latest incident has motivated me to start paying Team dues. How freaking hysterical. Not only is the rap Shaw performed at a New York night club thsi week hilarious and obscene, but it has all the catchiness of the latest sugary-teen-pop hit that keeps the tune in your head all day long. Like one minute your gettin' some work done on your computer, and the next you find yourself bobbing your head, and asking Kobe how Shaq's asshole tastes. Was it offensive and/ or out of line? Perhaps. But seeing as Kobe is a douche, and Shaq is the always entertaining Wilt Chaimberneezy, then there's really only one way this thing can go. Rap on Diesel, rap on...


-While we're on the NBA, I have a few thoughts on tonite's NBA draft. And instead of trying to eloquently weave all my thoughts into a few concise paragraphs, I've decided to cheat, and give you my opinions in list form. Peep it...

*Memphis PG Derrick Rose seems to be the consensus #1 pick, but not for me. Matter of fact, he's not even the best PG, or guard in general when it comes to making my big board. Touted as a player in the Chris Paul/Deron Williams mold, Rose did nothing in his one year with the Tigers that would suggest he even has the potential to match what those 2 are doing at the pro level. He's a great player, but he's no pure point. And if he isn't. then how valuable can he possibly be? My #1 player? Nope, not Michael Beasley, but Arizona guard Jerryd Bayless. In Bayless I see a lot of the qualities that former Wildcat, and 2nd round sleeper, Gilbert Arenas had when he entered the league. He's lethal off the dribble, can get to the rack, handle the pill, and while his jumper isn't quite there yet, neither was Gil's at this stage of his career. Simply put, in 3-5 years, when we look back on the '08 draft, it will be Bayless that people will be kicking themselves for passing on...


*As for Beasley, I've been making this comparison since he stepped on campus in Manhattan, Kansas. He's the next Derrick Coleman. For better or worse, that's the skill set I see him having, and that's the type of career I see him having. OK, maybe a little better, but I certainly don't view him as the game changer that many pundits have him pegged to be. That doesn't mean he's not the best big man in the draft, or even worthy of going #1, I just don't see him evolving into one of the league's best players any time in the near future. It would still be a mistake for Pat Riley and the Heat to pass on him if they stand pat at #2, but I can't blame them for trading out either. Just don't stay there and pass...


*Now what's going to help Big Bease, is the lack of any other decent big men in this year's draft class. Between the two dude's with chick names (the not so Lil Lopezers), DeAndre Jordan, Roy Hibbert, Kevin Love, Kosta Koufos, Jason Thompson, Anthony Randolph and a few Euro prospects, there isn't a single big man I'd touch before pick #20. Sure the upside is there for many of them, and guys like Love and Thompson should be able to contribute right away, but I think a lot of the appeal, as awlays, is potential. That's dangerous. Case in point. Why is Robin Lopez considered a first round pick with upside, when he never averaged more than 5 boards a game playing at Stanford? Head scratcher to say the least. My move, if I was a GM in desperate need of a big man, would be to either trade up and take Beasley, or trade down and take your pick from Marreese Speights (Florida), JaVale McGee (Nevada), or any one of the guys mentioned above that happens to be free falling. Unlike a lot of other sports (minus drafting a QB), if you whiff on a high pick in the NBA Draft, it could really cost you, so my startegy is always better safe than sorry. Trade down, take an established guard, or prepare to be paying Darko Milicic or Robert Swift (who?) a ton of cakes to sit on your bench...

(if you didn't get the Scarface reference in that last paragraph, then you need to watch that flick again...that line was damn funny!)


*As for the Celtics in this year's draft, it would be prudent for them to start filling out that 2-gaurd and PG spots. The ideal fit is Texas PG DJ Augustin, but seeing as he should be talking to Stuart Scott by the time the C's pick, I'd love to see them go with Western Kentucky shooting guard, Courtney Lee. Most people only saw Lee play in the NCAA tourney, but I'm tellin' ya, this combo guard has the goods to be an all-around contributor on both ends at the next level. Combined with last year's draft pick Gabe Pruitt, it would give the Green some good options to replace Ray Allen, the most likely of the Big 3 to be the first to go...


*And while this is usually only a tactic used in the NFL draft, here are the top 10 players I would take if "need" wasn't a concern. Read 'em, get frustrated, and feel free to tell me why I'm a total tard. Just remember, that when it comes to college hoops, I am the King, and you are my peasants....or serfs if that makes you feel any better...


The Top 10 Players of the 2008 NBA Draft
1. Jerryd Bayless, G Arizona
2. Michael Beasley, PF Kansas St.
3. Danilo Gallinari, F Italy
4. OJ Mayo, SG USC
5. Derrick Rose, PG Memphis
6. Eric Gordon, SG Indiana
7. Donte Green, F Syracuse
8. Chirs Douglas Roberts, F Memphis
9. Kevin Love, PF UCLA
10. DJ Augustin, PG Texas

just missed: Russell Westbrook, G UCLA; Courtney Lee, SG Western Kentucky; Joe Alexander, F West Virginia; JJ Hickson, F NC State; The Better Lopez Twin, C Stanford

Feel free to copy this list and keep it on your bulletin board. Just as I predicted that after his strip club incident Adam Jones would remove the "Pacman" from his name, I'm gonna be right about these guys too...


-Big news out the Roid world this week, and surprisingly none of it involves Barry, Roger, or some sketchy track and field star that you had previously thought was actually a member of Boyz II Men. Well, actually I guess one kinda has to do with Marion Jones, and that's Big Brown trainer, Rick Dutrow Jr. The oft maligned, and always outspoken trainer has been caught cheating yet again. Apparently, he was caught injecting one of his horses (not Big Choke Artist), with an abnormal amount of some legal horse roid, and will be forced to serve a 15 day suspension....karma much there, buddy?

And in football, Tery Bradshaw said this week that he too used roids in the 70's, but only to recover faster from injuries, not to build muscle. Hmmmmm, I can't say I buy that from you any more than I bought it from Andy Pettitte, but seeing as you weren't that good anyway, I''' cut you some slack. Plus, you;re bald, so I figure you've already suffered enough...


-So ESPN has a new ad campaign using it's personalities to help promote male health awareness. In theory, it's a good move and very responsible. In reality, it's hilarious. Like I said, I think the message is a good one, but how appropriate is it that at the end of the commercial, Stuart Scott appears next to a blown up picture of the human colon?! Maybe if he let his right eye smoke whatever his left eye's been smokin', he wouldn't suck so much, and I wouldn't have to rip on his ass. Then again, that wouldn't be much fun at all now would it?...


Now before I bid you all adieu for the week, I'd like to give thanks to my man Neal Donahue for throwing a fairly ill BBQ at his pad in S. Attleboro this weekend. There may have been a sketchy homeless meth head that tried to trade a potted plant (that wasn't his by the way) for some sort of food/beer, but still a more than solid time was had by all. Good eats, good people, and free booze. Always a great combination. Plus, I got to see the shed that his brother, Scottie, locks himself in when he tells the rest of us that he's out on the Cape "fishing". Hey, just because you're gutting people in there and it smells like a bait shop, doesn't mean you're fishing. It does mean you might be a serial killer, but you're still my boy, so I'll let that one slide. Thanks again boys...

Next week I'll tackle the questions "Is it really embarrassing if you've never seen the Godfather movies?" AND "If you haven't seen the Godfather, should you be allowed to comment on anything having to do with pop culture?"....Only I have the answers, and they are YES and NO respectively...OK so now I won't need to talk about it next week, but I just needed to get that out there. That was an actual argument I recently had with a friend of mine, and you can most likely imagine how passionately I defended my side of the argument...

Leave the gun, take the canolis...

...and I'm out like Carolo Rizzi...

Thursday, June 19, 2008

A Tale of Two Titles



Wow, man. What a week. I mean what else can I even say? Well, I know a lot of things I could say, but being short on time this week I'm just gonna right right down to brass tacks...

There were two storied championships captured this week, and one of them was one of the most enbtertaining sporting events I've ever seen broadcast on TV. The other? Well it was supposed to be sick. But it somehow managed to fall flat, despite giving many their desired result. Here's my breakdown of said events...

I say we start with the second one first. Ya know, just to mix it up a little...


When the season started, I thought the Boston Celtics were a year of chemistry, and a new head coach away from seriously competing for the NBA Title. Well I was wrong. Congrats to the Celtics. They fought through a tough road to the get to the Finals, and really stepped up to take the hardware from the Lakers in a dominant 6 game clinic. It had all the look of a storybook ending that you'd think would create an electric atmosphere and a joyous aftermath. Only problem? It totally didn't...

"This is what happens with ready-made championships" was the thought running through my head as I endured the final 3 quarters of the no-doubter that was game 6. Again, not to take a single thing away from the Celts and their fans, but it just doesn't feel the same when the outcome was so inevitable, and the road to get there was so short. Sure, 22 years is a long time. But did this team go through 22 years of down times? Of course not. Matter of fact. Paul Pierce, the only "real" Celtic before the season started, had just been to the Eastern Finals a mere 6 years earlier. OK maybe that's not up to the standard set by Larry and Red, but as far as "suffering" goes, it's hardly of Red Sox proportions. And I'm not talking about how I felt, no, no, no. I'm talking about the reaction to banner 17 that I saw from a myriad of Celtics fans both during, and after they'd closed the series out...

It's like. "Yeah! We won!.....hey what are you doin' later?" As opposed to the wins of the Sox and Pats where you felt compelled to break down every aspect of their run to the title. Sure it was exciting, but I think new championship standard in this region has been set so high, that anything short of an epic or historic battle just wasn't gonna do. It was the Lakers, after all, and with all that hung in the balance, it just seems the series came out a little short on entertainment value. Basically. There was no real "curse" to be fought, or any underdog mentality associated with the Sox and Pats teams of recent memory. The Celtics were the best team, with the best players, and they took it down. For a city that often convinces itself it's the underdog, there was no denying early in this series that Boston was the superior team. I think that may have dulled the title a bit, and may have had fans thinking this was more of "another title", than cherishing it for the great single achievement that it actually was. And it certainly didn't help that game 6, the supposed culmination, had many surfing through channels and wondering when exactly they'd be able to go to sleep. This wasn't a team that we'd rooted for that finally pulled through, it was more a group of guys wearing Celtic jerseys, that thanks to free agency, were no more Boston Celtics than Spike Lee or Jack Nicholson...

But all 'n all you just have to give props and respect. Sure the traditional steps may have been missing in this teams march to glory, but to not give credit where credit is due? Damn, well then people might just start thinkin' I'm a Celtics hater or somethin'...

To KG, Pierce and Allen, for sucking it up and making it work together. It was all about their dedication to defense and their ability to share the rock that got each of them the title their resumes were so desperately lacking. It takes a lot to put your pride aside like that for the good of the team, and I commend them for it. They deserve everything they got. All of the Big 3 walk away with a ring, while the Truth and the Ticket also get their foot firmly in the door of the Basketball Hall of Fame. Not bad for a few months work...

To Doc, for not fuckin' shit up beyond the repair of the 3 previously mentioned gentlemen. I know I shit on this guy a lot in the past, but he did somehow manage to get the job done. Doesn't mean that all of a sudden I'm gonna change my mind about him. But maybe, just maybe, he's not quite as awful as I've thought. Even I have to admit he had a very positive influence on the team's chemistry throughout the season. And as much as it pains me to say, you also have to credit him for not being out coached by the Zen Master, Phil Jackson. I still think the talent was the overriding factor here, but he didn't blink once from the glare of Phil's 9 rings, and for that he deserves props. So while I've always hated on his in-game coaching ability, it was the galvanizing effect his leadership and example had on this group of established stars that was key to helping them bring home banner 17...

And to Danny Ainge. I still won't buy that this was his plan the whole time, but he made it work. He may have mortgaged the so called "future" for a 3 year window at a title or two, but now that they took it down in year #1, it makes it all worth it...

Maybe it's that I was looking for a little something more from the Lakers. Maybe it's that no matter how hard I try, I can't really fall in love with the NBA again like when I was a kid. Or maybe it's because I've just become way too spoiled. Whatever the reason, I just don't feel I'm nearly as excited as I should be, and I feel I'm not alone in my thinking. Sure it's good to win, but when the win itself has about as much drama as a PBS telethon, then was it really all that fun to watch? Not for this guy...

Lucky for me there was the 2008 US Open. This thing didn't promise nearly as much, but boy did it ever deliver...



The whole tournament was just magical. Not only did Tiger Woods battle through pain to lead after 54 holes. But just when it seemed like he had his 3rd Open, and 14th major well within grasp, he was thrown to the brink only to bounce back yet again. It unfolded unlike any Tiger drama we'd seen before, but had all the nuances of an Elderick win that we've come to associate with the greatest player ever to pick up the sticks...

On Friday, just when it looks like he's aggravated his surgically repaired knee, he goes on a run. He rallies to make 5 straight 3's on his way into the clubhouse, and makes it into the back end of the Saturday pairings. Well within striking distance...

Then there's Saturday. And oh was there EVER Saturday! After another double on the 1st dropped him off the leader board's first page, he began a charge for the ages. While limping around Torrey Pines, Tiger was able to stand upright just long enough to stick a chip, and drain an eagle. Two shots we won't soon forget, even if I only saw the first one as a taped highlight. Two eagles on the backside helped mask some of the bumpier moments in his round, but they were still good enough to give Tiger the 54 hole lead in yet another major championship. It was something he had never relinquished, and it was a thought that had most of us looking at the 4th round as more of a culmination, a formality...

Oh, but not so fast my fortune telling friends. While Tiger may have been "Big Brown" (yes, hysterical pun intended), set to make history, Rocco Mediate was that pesky Belmont horse out to ruin the day, and keep sacred the Triple Crown. But this long shot wasn't just there to ruin your trifecta, he was there to put on a show for the ages...

Good ole' Rocco. Guy just oozes Freddie Couples, doesn't he? He's got all the talent in the world, he loves and is great at relating to the fans, and he has a love for them game that can be seen by anyone watching him play. Too bad for him, much like Freddie, is that he's been hampered by back problems through the last 20 years that have kept him playing limited events, and held him to only 9 world wide wins. Ahhh, but he was the healthy one this time around, and after notching a top 10 in last year's Open, seemed poised to give Mr. Woods everything he could handle...

He fought hard enough to force Tiger to make birdie on 18 to send the Open to a Monday playoff. And he fought hard enough to make the World's #1 ranked player have to birdie 18 again on Monday just to force sudden death. All the while, he was crackin' jokes with the gallery, and making facial expressions that would make Jim Carrey jealous. Not only was the guy a walking "golf buddy", but he was putting the screws to the best player of All-Time! He came back from the dead, down 3 after 10 holes in the Monday playoff, only to fall just short in the most entertaining golf tournament in recent memory. It was his ying, to Tiger's yang that made the drama and the tension palpable. Yet it was also his likability that allowed you to cheer for him, while at the same time still cheering for Tiger. It was like you wanted the match to go on forever, you wanted them both to keep the clutch shots pouring on in...

But in the end, David wasn't able to slay Goliath, and a gimpy Tiger walked away with his 3rd Open, and 14th major championship. They took us to the brink of Cinderella, only to put another stamp on what's destined to be the best career of all time. Oh, and did I mention Tiger had to call it a season in favor of surgery after gutting out this epic win? Yeah, he's that good. And so was the 2008 US Open. One for the ages. Truly an event we won't soon, if ever, forget...

I just think from an event standpoint, for the sake of entertainment, the US Open takes it hands down. If you wanna talk simply Game 4 of the Finals against the Open, you might have an argument. But otherwise I think it's rather lopsided. One event had all the promise of a heavyweight prize fight, only to end like you're average...well...heavyweight prize fight. One fighter was clearly the better man, while all the tasty Don King like pre-fight story lines fell by the wayside. The other championship didn't have any such promises for history, yet delivered it in instant-classic fashion. The outcome didn't surprise anyone, yet everyone was left shaking their head, wowed at the way it had all gone down...

I'm tellin' ya, my bias against the NBA aside, the US Open was just a batter event to watch. Even with all that was on the line for the Celtics, Tiger and Rocco were able to flat out put on a better show. Does it speak to how weak the NBA is? Maybe. Does it speak to how high the standard is for sports teams in New England? Definitely. The bar is set high, kids. And I can't say that bothers me even the tiniest bit...


Now believe me, I wish I had more time but I don't. Between Willie and Javon gettin' knocked the fuck out!, and the surging Sox and Yanks starting to turn on the summer juice, I could go on for days. Lucky for us all I just ain't gots the time...

Time for me to chase those papes, and I suggest you get back to doin' the same. Catch you next week. Until then...

Peace in the Middle...

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Banner 17? Wicked Easy Kid...


Greetings and salutations my fellow pimps and possible pimpettes. How are you enjoying the NBA Finals? Are you as confused as I am on how the first 3 games have unfolded? Or are you sitting there with a Cheshire cat grin on your face, watching this thing unfold exactly as you had envisioned? Well, if you're the latter, then I have a hot tip for you in the Belmont. If you're the former, I have some reasons why this year's Retro Classic Finals isn't exactly shaping up the way we thought it might. And a few predictions as to why the ending might be drastically different than what you might think...Pimp it...


To start off, NO, I'm not surprised that Boston leads this series 2-1 going into game 4 in LA. And YES, I did expect the Celtics to win games 1 & 2, only to lose in game 3. Where I'm lost is how all this has gone down...


In Boston, the Lakers basically played only one good quarter, that being the 4th in game 2. Kobe and the boys not only seemed shaken by the smothering Celtics defense, but they also seemed to have been totally taken out of their comfort zone. A team that made the West it's bitch this year with great ball movement and timely shooting, was settling for mid-range jumpers, and not hitting them to boot. Kobe didn't have any answers, the LA bench didn't have any answers, and in the oddest occurrence of all, Zen Master Phil Jackson didn't seem to have any answers either. (Like did he really think Vlad Radmonovic was a good option to guard Paul Pierce?) It was truly odd to watch this team, that had seemingly steamrolled the best the West had to offer throughout the regular season and playoffs, had nothing to offer on the road, and limped out of the TD BankNorth Garden behind 0-2...


OK, so they were outclassed in games 1 & 2, not totally unexpected when facing a great home team like the Celts. But then what the Hell was goin' on in game 3?! Again the Lake Show came out with very limited energy, and again the Boston defense was controlling the flow of the game. And in a series that I was sure would go at least 6, hard fought games, I found myself thinking it might be over just halfway through quarter #3 of game #3. Pau Gasol was being pushed around, Lamar Odom was confused and thought he was still on the Clippers, and Luke Walton was....OK he blows so I guess he was just doin' his thing. But where was this "great" team? The one that had rolled to 8-0 in the playoffs at home, and the one that was one of the top scoring teams in the league all season long?


Well I'll tell you where they were. They were there, and they were giving it their all. They just aren't nearly as good as the C's. And it's not even close! This coming from a non green-hat to boot! I mean can you really have watched those first 3 games, and really think the Lakers have a realistic chance of finishing the Celtics off, let alone on the road? I certainly can't. When it takes miracle performances from foreign dudes that sound like they should be playing hockey, then you really can't like your chances.

I'm always touting how I call it like I see it, and I don't think there's any way to view this thing as an inevitable banner 17 for Glen Rivers and the Big Three. It'll still be in 6, but now I'm thinking it will only be because KG and crew will want to put the finishing touches on this masterpiece in front of the same crowd that helped propel them to the league's best home mark. Celts win game 4, and they still win in 6, baby! And shame on LA for bringing such weak sauce to the table. Freakin' Eurotrash...



-And you have to love that amidst Phil Jackson (and the rest of the free world) complaining about the blatant home court reffing bias, that former mobbed-up ref Tim Donaghy is now deciding to spill all. He's claiming that the league and it's refs were easily influenced by coaches and GMs, and went out of their way to "fix" games and series to try and guarantee a desired outcome. Naturally both David Stern and a few of the officials in question have called out Donaghy as a crook and a liar, but it doesn't help that his story holds some water. One series in question, the '02 Western Finals with LA vs Sacramento, was so poorly officiated in a Laker game 6 win (to force a game 7, mind you), that even consumer advocate, Ralph Nader, spoke up in its aftermath demanding an investigation (I knew there was a good reason I voted for him for President). LA went on to win the series in 7, no investigation was ever put together, and David Stern still was the gaul to publicly ponder why fans think his game might be fixed. Get it straight, Dave. A lot of people think every game in every sport is fixed. It's just that your constant apathy when it comes to the issue has everyone believing that all this smoke is covering up a towering inferno of injustice. Is Donaghy ratting people out to save his own ass? Most definitely. Is he lying? Probably. But is your league's credibility enough to simply smash those theories as frivolous conspiracy talk? Not by a long shot...



Red Sox Update
Overall: 41-27, 1st in AL East by 2 games

-Well one thing is for sure. This Red Sox season has not lacked any drama or excitement. This week, the drama I'm referring to is obviously the tussle between Coco Crisp and the entire Tampa Bay roster. To put it simply, Coco is a punk, and got exactly what he deserved when he was pegged in the 2nd by Tampa starter, James Shields. I mean what did Coke expect? A night after an aggressive slide into 2nd base saw him take out the wrong guy (he was pissed at Bartlett but slid hard into Iwamura), of course Coco was gonna get dotted in his next AB! In fact, in his post game comments, Shields even said as much, saying he meant to do it, and that he thought it was appropriate payback. To quote Morgan Freeman in Seven when talking to Brad Pitt "for the first time ever, you and I are in complete agreement". It's the rules of the game, man! The only guy in the freakin' building that seemed to be put out or surprised by this whole thing, was Crisp! And while his charging of the mound and ducking of Shield's punch was an admirable effort, the whole mess left him looking like a a punk. Maybe the lack of playing time has finally gotten too him, I don't know. But I do know that it looked to me that he was acting out, more than he was trying to retaliate. That, makes him unprofessional. And that, my friends, makes him a punk who has officially outworn his Beantown welcome. God, what is it about those weird named outfielders from the Cleveland Indians farm system anyway?...

-Probably the only good news to come out of the David Ortiz trip to the disabled list has been the emergence of JD Drew. I still think he's a huge toolbag, but that toolbag has been on fire since Papi hit the DL, hitting .500 with 3 homers in just the last week alone. I'm sure he'll be dinged up himself again soon, but it's always nice to see at least some return on a multi million dollar investment...

-Julio Lugo is officially out of excuses. The one saving grace the guy might have had going for him was his speed. But after grounding into his 10th double play on Wednesday night, it's safe to say that too has gone wherever the rest of his talent is residing. He's not that likable, he's not that talented, and he's rather ugly to boot. I call him, "El Scalabrino" (said with that Spanish thing over the n). Get that guy off the field, and just pray he doesn't decide to show up on the bench wearing blue jeans that appear to be attempting to swallow his torso...


Diamonds...She'll Pretty Much Have To
-ESPN.com did an article earlier this week discussing how some of the players mentioned in the Mitchell Report are still without jobs. The main focus of the article was former Baltimore OF, Jay Gibbons. Gibbons had 3 years of 20+ homers with the O's, but after being penned in the legendary roid document can't seem to find work. Matter of fact, it's gotten so bad, that Gibbons recently wrote to all 32 MLB teams, explaining his plight, and asking for a second chance. He even went as far to say he would play minor league ball, or even donate his entire salary to charity if any team gives him a shot. Truth hurts, Jay my man. But unless you're a guy like Bonds that basically IS his whole team, then you're inclusion in the Mitchell Report makes you instant clubhouse poison right about now. You say you want a second shot? I say the minute that first "shot" hit your cold bare ass cheeks, that's when you lost you're right to deserve that 2nd one...

-Wanna make sure and give props to my man Ken Griffey Jr. for belting career homer #600 this week. Sure it may have been in front of about 16 people due to the rabid Florida Marlin fan base, but it was still a momentous occasion. I just think back to my younger years, how gracefully dominant that guy was, and how much fun he seemed to have playing the game, and part of me feels like his accomplishment is like a rite of passage. Not just for him, but for me. I grew up watching this guy in his prime, and while his 600th might be a signal that my youth is in the rear view mirror, it also signals to me that I've watched some great players, and some great plays along the way. And that, my friends, is just fine...


-Talk about bizarre. After hearing an announcer belittling him during a game on Wednesday night, psychotic Texas Rangers slugger, Milton Bradley, sprinted up the stadium stairs in search of the the guy, wanting to beat him down. Fortunately for Bradley and the announcer (but not for us), Milton was intercepted before he actually found the guy. And as if that wasn't enough, Bradley broke down after the game and began crying to reporters, asking them to stop picking on him. Man oh man is this guy unstable. I'd make fun of his mental status further, but he's on my fantasy team, and to be honest...I'm afraid he might actually read this, come to my house, and kick the living shit out of me.


-Oh, and just in case you still needed a reason to hate Canada, Deadspin.com gives you one. I'm all for heckling, but how many rings you got, you round bacon eatin' hick? Go smother yourself in the snow bank you call a mattress, and leave the baseball to those of us that know what we're doin' eh?


...What? Canada sucks...


-....and so do the Cubbies. Still think they aren't damned to be bad? Soriano. Out 6 weeks. A One! A Two! A Three!


News and Notes
-As far as sporting events go, the 2008 Belmont Stakes might have been one of the biggest letdowns in modern history. I mean what a load of shit. Not only did Big Brown not win to complete the first Triple Crown in 30 years, but that bastard, his midget, and his pompous trainer came in dead-fucking-last. Sound bitter? Well I am. I was ready for Big Brown and Casino Drive to duel it out in a race for the ages, and all I got was a lot of talk, a mysterious pull-up mid race, and a long-shot (Da'Tara) that took the thing from wire to wire.

I should have known somethin' was amiss when Casino Drive, the #1 contender, pulled out of the race after hurting his hoof on a pebble (yea....really). But even I didn't see this debacle comin'. And after dominating the Crown's first two legs, and his trainer talking all that smack along the way, how could I? Eh screw it. I guess this is what I get fro attempting to care about horse racing in the first place. Freakin' Big Brown and his pompous trainer, Rick Dutrow. No wonder nobody likes you man. No wonder you were living in a horse stall just a few years ago. You're a prick! And what's worse, is you can't even own up to your own failure!! You and your gay UPS horse got exactly what you had coming to you. I just wish it hadn't come at the expense of my wallet, and hadn't ruined what was setting up as the best day horse racing has seen in the last 30 years. Thanks for nothin'...


-Lucky for me, one event that's usually able to deliver of it's promise of excitement and entertainment is right around the corner. The 2008 US Open. Tiger is fresh off his recent rehab, paired with Phatty Boom Batty in the first 2 rounds, and eager to show the world that slightly dinged or not, he's still the best this little green planet has to offer. Oh, and did I mention they'll be tackling a picturesque, and ruthless Torrey Pines gold course? It's gonna be a beauty, kids. I can't say I feel as confidant as I usually do that T-Money's gonna take the title home, but it's unique situations like this that often bring out the true champions. Corny I know. But there's no truer champ than my man T-Woods, and somethin' tells me he will defy odds yet again, and find a way to rise above to capture the '08 Open Title...

-CNN.com is already slackin' on their "headline t-shirts" campaign. I told you a few weeks ago that the news website was allowing readers to grab headlines from their page and instantly make them t-shirts, but I feel they're really not taking advantage of their new weapon. Not only didn't they allow me to purchase a shirt talking about Ronaldo and a bunch of trannys, but now they've let this one slip through their all mighty grasp. I mean imagine the chicks I could be pulling if I had a nice, long white-T that said this...Police: Women Wanted Crack For Rare Japanese Machine Gun Trade. Like how are you gonna tease me like that, and then not let me buy the freaking t-shirt!?! It's a cock tease, I tell ya. A flat out virtual cock tease...


And that's it for me this week, kids. Enjoy game 4 of the Finals tonight, and make sure whichever team you bet on, is the one David Stern wants to win. Otherwise, you too might be living in a stall one day...

Peace in the Middle...

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Maybe Larry Bird IS Walking Through That Door...


What it is, pimps? It's time for the NBA Finals. And in case you didn't notice the Tommy Lee sized bulge in ESPN's pants, it's gonna be the Celtics and Lakers in a "classic" showdown for the league's top hardware. The NBA's two most storied franchises, who together have won half (30) of the titles this league has ever handed out, are gonna do battle over the next two weeks, and it should be mighty entertaining. Hey, it might not be a Hick vs some black dude with the everlasting HIV, but it's still gonna be a show worth watching. Here's how I see it breaking down...


What makes a quality columnist, or just a wordsmith for that matter, is being able to play both sides of the fence while seemingly taking a hard-line stance one way or another. For instance. While I picked Detroit to topple Boston in the Eastern Finals, it was right here a few months ago that I predicted, and outright begged for, an LA/Boston NBA Finals match up. I said then that the Celtics would have the edge, and though I'm notorious for second guessing myself on the eve of such events, this time I'm sticking to my guns. After all, the NBA is all about match ups, and despite what the brain trust in Bristol might think, I believe the Celts have several key advantages that will lead them to historic banner #17. Here they are...


1) Defense

-It's not secret that Boston was the best defensive team in the NBA during the regular season, and thanks to a very physical series with the Pistons, I think that defense is peaking at the perfect time. I understand that Kobe Bryant is the best player in the league and unlike anyone the Celts have faced thus far, but simply by forcing the Lakers to play a slower, more phsyical brand of ball than they've been used to, should in my mind be enough to throw them off, and expose some of their talented players as mostly one dimensional offensive players. You say Boston doesn't have anyone to match up with The Rapist, and I say the Lakers don't have anyone to match up with...well basically anyone in the Celtics offense. Phil Jackson and Tex Winter's Triangle offense is great, don't get me wrong, I just think that where they held offensive advantages in that set during their run through the West, will disappear when faced against the lockdown D of the NBA's best defensive team...



2) Lack of Laker Home Court

-I'm not talking about the C's having the literal home court advantage, I'm talking about how Pierce, Allen and Garnett shouldn't be fazed at all by playing in the Staples Center. Allen and KG being Western Conference guys, and Pierce having grown up a few hundred yards from the arena might not guarantee the Celts any wins in the city of angels, but you can't say the experience hurts them either. Oh, and did I mention that ugly alien bastard, Sam Cassell, played several seasons for the Clippers? Who oddly enough play all their home games at the Staples Center? I'm not saying he's all of a sudden going to be a factor. But a guy that familiar with both the Finals, and that building, can't really hurt either. On the flip side, Kobe and crew have virtually zero experience playing in Beantown. They might have more Finals experience (although it's just Fisher + Kobe vs Posey + Cassell), but I think the overall experience Boston has when it comes to LA will be enough to help them grab at least 1 game when they travel out West...


3) Light at the end of the tunnel

-After the game 6 win against the Pistons in Detroit, Kevin Garnett could be seen with his head down at his locker chanting the words "4 more games, 4 more games" almost as if he was trying to contact spirits in the afterlife. This guy is freakin' possessed. I know, so I'm sayin' he wasn't as possessed or determined in the Eastern Finals? Not by a long shot. What I'm sayin' is, these guys are so close they can taste it. The "Big 3" have fought their entire careers just to get to this point, and to think they are just gonna let this one slip through their fingers is just a leap of faith I'm not willing to take...


4) 2-3-2 Format

-Ahh the good ole 2-3-2 playoff format. It used to be the gold standard before this 2-2-1-1 garbage took over, and I think it serves as a distinct advantage to the C's as long as they take care of biz in games 1 and 2. OK, that might be a big jump to assume wins in the first 2, but should it happen it really puts LA's collective backs against the wall. This isn't the same Boston team that couldn't buy a road win against Atlanta or Cleveland, and if they take a 2-0 series lead to LA, I would safely say that it would take an act of God (not a certain #8 that thinks he's God) for the Lakers to come away with the title...


-Now naturally I don't think the Celts hold all the advantages in the series, that would make me a blinded fan. Here are the areas I feel the Lakers hold the edge...



1) Phil Jackson vs Glen Rivers MD

-I've made to bones about how inept I think Nurse Rivers is as a head coach, but anyone short of Greg Popvic would be at a disadvantage when it comes to coaching against Big Chief Triangle. Dudes got 9 rings. NINE! And while you can argue that he had the help of 4 of the greatest players of all time in attaining those rings (Jordan/Pippen, Shaq/Alleged Rapist), you have to at least give him credit for not screwing those teams up. I've been thinkin' all year long that Doc would screw this Boston team up come playoff time, and while that hasn't happened, I think this could be the series it does. However. The one thing I should have seen this whole time, is that the NBA is the one league where awful coaching can actually be overcome by brilliant talent. In essenc, the Celtics will need Doc to screw up in order to lose, but if Phil isn't on his A game, then the Lakers won't have a chance in Hell. He has the ability to draw triangles around Glen, and if he does, he very well could be looking at historic ring #10...


2) Kobe Bryant

-Flat out, the guy is the most talented player in the league. And in a league where it's all about the players, and the team with the best player can ALWAYS find a way to win, that's not a bad guy to have in your corner. Sure he might buy his way out of one night stands gone awry, but that doesn't take away from the skill and the drive that he's gonna bring night in and night out. He's gonna be a handful, there's no way around it. And the closer the Lakers can keep these games, the more you have to like their chances. I love the Big 3, but when it comes to taking and making a clutch shot down the stretch, there's nobody on the floor I'd rather have taking the shot than Kobe...

....and when was the last time you remember the team with the "best" player losing in the Finals anyway?


-So there it is. I have 4 advantages for the Celtics, and 2 adistinct advantages for the Lakers. Granted there are a bunch of other important variables at play here, but I'm all about trying to simplify. Boston has the edge on my list 4-2, and I'm taking them to win the Finals in 6 games, 4-2. All the "experts" at ESPN are taking the Lake Show, but this guy's going with Glen's Gand Green! They'll take games 1,2,4 and 6, and close out banner 17 on the home court to the delight of thousands of pink jerseys loudly humming "I re-mem-ber, finding out about youuuuuu...". There will be a duck boat parade, and everyone will be snatching up their championship gear. Oh it will be gay, and tough for me to stomach, but it's gonna happen. Celtics in 6, baby! Celtics in 6!!


-And for all you "green hats" out there "Beat LA" doesn't mean what you think it means. OK, I guess literally it does, but it started as basically a concession chant. Celtics fans in 1982 (who actually knew the players on the team and didn't buy Shamrock shirts that said "Big 3" on them), started the chant while the Sixers finished them off in game 7 of the Eastern Finals right there on the Garden's parquet floor. The hatred for LA was so overwhelming back then, they the fans didn't care who beat them, as long as they freakin' lost (Lakers won the Series 4-2). I'd say that was back when fans were fans, but I think it was just more like when "fans" could actually afford tickets...


Now, it's on to baseball, kids. The Finals are exciting, I know. But there are some equally as entertaining things going on in the world of the Boys of Summer that I think you might find entertaining as well...




Red Sox Update
Overall: 37-25, 1st in AL East by 1/2 game

-Maybe I jinxed the Sox by talking about how injuries make or break seasons last week. Not only is Big Papi on the DL, but you can't even seem to get an answer as to how long! I know this sort of thing isn't an exact science, but it's bordering on meteorology for crying out loud. According to media reports, he's either out 2 weeks, 4 weeks, until the All-Star break, or needs season ending surgery! I'm all for getting second opinions and whatnot, but this is a little much, isn't it? And wouldn't it be reasonable to think that when Papi finally does come back, that he might not be at 100%? I know that's what I'm thinkin'.And while I still love the Sox depth and talent, I gotta say I don't really like their chances with such a big piece to their lineup puzzle either a little dinged up, or out of there altogether...


-On the opposite side of that coin we have Dice-K Matsuzka. He should be coming off the DL this week, and that crazy Asian should be ready to rumble. He didn't even think he needed to miss a start, let alone go on the 15 day DL! I like this kid's attitude, and I'm thinkin' he won't miss a beat when he rejoins the rotation...



-Speakin' of Asians. It looks like the biggest Asian rack since...well, since Asians started roaming the earth, might be headed out of Beantown. Word on the street is that NESN vixen Hazel Mae is pissed that Heidi Watney is so much hotter than her, that she's leavin' the Bay State on the next thing smokin'...Nah she's just after more loots from another network, but for real I think she's as good as gone. Sionara first Asian chick anyone in Mass liked since Kristi Yamaguchi. You were liked, but probably won't be missed...Oh, except for those guys that only dig Asian chicks. They actually might start stalking you now. So keep a look out...


Diamonds...She'll Pretty Much Have To
-Joba Chamberlain made his much anticipated starting pitching debut on Tuesday night in the Bronx, and while it didn't go exactly as scripted, I would say the positives far outweighed the negatives. His stuff was good, but I think he was just a little over-hyped for his first start at Yankee Stadium. A couple of his heaters clocked in at 99, which was a dead giveaway, and he even managed to throw a balk in there in the first inning. We'll see if it was just a case of jitters this Sunday when he makes start #2 with a slightly larger pitch count (it was 65). My guess is it was, and this burly kid with a dangerous fastball, devastating slider, and much improving curve ball, will help to further that stabilization of the Yankee rotation. I hope I'm wrong, but I doubt I am. And with his maturation coinciding with the emergence of the Yankee offense, they're gonna be a dangerous team even sooner than I expected...


-Oh, and Ozzie Guillen flipped out again. Which means tomorrow the sun shall indeed rise in the East, before sneakily setting in the West. God I love that guy....just don't let him near my team, my food, or any of my family members...



News and Notes
-So remember how earlier I was talking about how I make a prediction, but change it on the eve of the event? Well, I'm doing it again. It's been 30 years since Affirmed took down the Triple Crown, and next year we'll be sitting year talking about how it's been 31 years. You got it, just a few weeks after telling you the Belmont was Big Brown's to lose, I'm flipping the script. I know he dominated both the Derby and the Preakness in historic fashion, but a horse that shares my birthday, and has family history on it's side, is proving just too much for me to pass up. That horse, is American bred and Japanese raced thoroughbred, Casino Drive. He won the Peter Pan Stakes at Belmont park under Big Brown's jockey, Kent Desormeaux, and is closely related to the last two Belmont winners in Jazil ('06) and Rags to Riches ('07). It's especially intriguing to me that like Casino Drive, Jazil was a horse that was brought in specifically for this length of a race, and managed to stun a field that included "superior horses" like Bluegrass Cat and Bob And John...

Good enough for me! I've been burned too many times by the favorites in this race, not to mention the ones looking to set history. I might not like that Brown's on the inside post, or his little hoof problem he's been having, but neither of those are why I'm picking against him. MY gut's telling me he's just another one of these modern super-horses that can really only handle the shorter tracks, and like his predecessors will find some way to just come up short in vying for the first Triple Crown since Affirmed in 1978. It's gonna be close, and it might even be epic, but I'm siding with history and against Big Brown in order to try and bring home some Belmont Bling. Check the picks...



Trifecta
(5) Casino Drive: 7 to 2
(1) Big Brown: 2 to 5
(3) Macho Again: 20 to 1


Trifecta
(5) Casino Drive: 7 to 2
(1) Big Brown: 2 to 5
(7) Tale of Ekati: 20 to 1


Oh and if you're worried about the suggestion that some horses might simply be in the field to try and "bully" Big Brown away from his Triple Crown, you can put your mind at ease. His volatile trainer, Rick Dutrow, has let it be known that should some sort of ganging up on his horse actually take place, someone will likely be "assassinated" in the aftermath. Damn! Now I kinda want someone to fuck with that horse just to see this crazy bastard in action!..


-Speaking of drugged out animals put on display for our entertainment. The Boston Globe is reporting Patriots offensive lineman, Nick Kaczur, was involved a few months ago in a sting involving the prescription drug, OxyContin. The story, citing several anonymous sources and a police report, has Kaczur purchasing 100 pill at a times for $3,900, numerous times dating back to November of last year (looks from the pic that he was doind them in college @ Toledo too). Apparently Nicky Boy, Canada's prodigal son, told the investigators all this when he was pulled over in April and cited for possession of prescription drugs, but denied knowledge when approached by a reporter early yesterday morning. The report goes on to say that Kaczur even helped wear a wire in helping to gather evidence/snitch on the guy he was getting all the OC's from. Now I don't know about you, but I take two things from this. One, Kazcur needs to be released if any of this is true. The Pats have a bad enough image as is without some falsified Heroin addict trafficking his wares all over the Commonwealth. And two, apparently Nick is good friends with Rush Limbaugh...either that, or he's about to drop dead from an OC overdose in the next 10 seconds...


-And lastly this week I just want to give everyone the heads up on the new Discovery Channel mini-series starting up this Sunday called When We Left Earth. Why was I watching the Discovery Channel you ask? Well not that it's your business, but I was watching Deadliest Catch. Which by the way I'm gonna stop watching soon if someone doesn't actually "die" trying to catch these freakin' crabs. Morbid I know, but I didn't set the bar so high by naming it that, now did I? Anyway, this new mini-series follows the birth of the space program, and chronicles the highes and lows of NASA in it's infancy and at the dawn of the great Space Race. It's in gorgeous HD, and it's full of never-before-scene footage that should be pretty sick. Maybe I'm the only one looking forward too it, but it looks like it's gonna be pretty sweet, so I figure I'd throw it out there...

Well that's it for me this week, brosefs. It's time for me to head to work for an afternoon Yankee game, and then head to chill with my peeps'n'them for big ole Game #1. Sheed might not be in it, but I think it's gonna be a wild ride even he would admire...

Here's to hopin' both the Finals, and the Belmont live up to the hype...

Have a good weekend folks, and peace in the middle...