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Wednesday, June 02, 2010

And You Can Bet On It...


BEAT LA! BEAT LA! BEAT LA!

Surprised to hear me say that, are ya? Well you should be, and you should likewise be comforted by the fact I'm merely chanting it because it's currently stuck in my head, not because I've gone all "pink clover hat" on ya...

But fear not, loyal readers, even I won't be rooting for the Lakers in this one. Believe me, just as in the previous round against the Magic, I'd love to root for the opposing team just to spice things up and keep the status quo, but just like the hapless Magic Kingdown dwellers, rooting for the Lakers just doesn't hold any appeal. Besides, there was a point in my life when I actually did have an NBA soul, so for me to take the Lakers in the latest chapter of this legendary rivalry just wouldn't be proper...

No matter how much I may continue to scratch my head over the now meteoric rise of one Glen Rivers MD, I just tell myself that I'm doing it all to one day see Sheed waiving a title belt from the top of a Duck boat, and it makes it all that much more tolerable. Hell, it'll make it downright enjoyable! Even more so if they somehow happen to take that sucker down without King Sheed ever taking the floor. Now that would be a trick only a true pimp could pull off, and I feel I'd almost be forced to quit my job and dedicate my life to studying how the Hell he was able to pull that off. That Sheed, he's quite the character...

But unfortunately, for those that think I've pulled the ole flip-flop and gone over to the Green side after my prediction of Lakers in 6 last week, I have to ask that you remember the wise words of one Mr. Winston Wolf. He put it as bluntly as I've ever heard when he warned a blood spattered Vincent and Jules that they shouldn't be counting their chickens before they've hatched. In other words, "Let's not start sucking each other's dicks quite yet, gentlemen."

When it comes down to it, I'm still picking the Lakers to take this thing down. I'm taking the Lakers in 6, not because I doubt the Celtics have the talent, but just because the Lakers sport the rare combination of being the defending champ, while still having something legitimate to play for. REVENGE. That '08 Finals defeat at the hands of the Celts is still rather fresh in their minds, and alleged talent disparity be damned, I think that's gonna be the little extra they need to give them their second consecutive title. That, and the fact that they're healthy this time around. That's probably not gonna hurt them, either...

It'll be close, and it should be entertaining, but I think the Lakers will have just enough of to pull out their second consecutive Championship. So sorry, Ray Allen. The next time you see MJ, he's still gonna be able to say you were lucky to get the one ring you got...

Lakers in 6, kids. Lakers in 6...


OH, but should the Celtics happen to win, and I've been saying this since the Playoffs started, get ready for an EPIC mail-it-in year from my man Sheed in the 2010-2011 season. You'll be able to open to dictionary to the term "mailing it in", and see Sheed lyin' on his back next to the bench, covered in towels, with possibly a gold plated fro pick dangling pimply from his head. NOW that might be even more fun to watch than the Duck Boats. Especially if the C's have some new, inexperienced coach at the helm...

But hey, who am I kidding? I'm gonna be watchin' the Red Friends the whole time, anyway...and in lieu of that, probably King of the Hill reruns. What? Give it a week, maybe two, and I swear you'll be hummin' that theme song, too...

Those Red Sox, I'll tell you what...


Red Sox Update
Overall: 30-23, 5 games back in AL East

This Week: vs OAK (6/2-6/3), @ BAL (6/4-6/6), @ CLE (6/7-6/10)

I know I'm one of the few pimps out there that's actually paying attention to the Sox right now, but there's one Hell of a horse race shaping up in the AL East as we hit the first week of June. And while I'd usually take this opportunity to skew off into a tangent about the upcoming Belmont Stakes, I'll hold to form and get this complete thought out of the way before it goes the way of Erin Andrews journalistic credibility (ESPN now paging, Heidi Watney...)...

I know we're all thinkin' the Jays are gonna drop off, but until they stop hitting like 4 homers a game, we're just gonna have to keep believin'. And seein' as they are still in the mix until they likely pitch themselves out of it, the 4 teams bunched within 5 games of each other are goin' to make for some pretty interesting scoreboard watchin'. Granted standings in June are about as useful as a ZigZag filled with Earl Grey tea bits (another true story for another time), but when things are so tightly packed, it's kind of hard not to notice, even for a critic like yours truly...

I'm usually the first to tell people not to look at the standings until much later in the season, and while I know it doesn't give any of these games any more importance, it's still just another interesting thing to track and keep an eye on. Hey, if you're a baseball fan you're probably at least a little of a numbers geek too. And having another number to keep an eye on can't be a bad thing...

As for the Sox, I'm still more focused on Theo Epstein and the front office (AKA - Theo & the Trio) than I am about anything that's actually happening on the field. And in that respect, I've come to an important conclusion:

Should Theo do nothing to improve the offense and stabilize the lineup, then it will be rather evident that he has been treating 2010 like a "bridge year" all along. No matter what happens to be the result...

Translation? Well it's something I've been preaching since day 1, but essentially I'm saying I don't believe Epstein thinks this offense, as constituted, can win a World Series AND at the same time I'm not 100% he's dedicated to making sure it can by the end of the season...

In other words, I just don't believe that when Theo put this offense together, that even he thought it would be enough firepower to survive in the AL East and make it to the post season. It certainly seems like enough right now with Adrian Beltre and Big Papi hitting the colective cover off the ball, but I just don't think this is something Theo envisioned happening. And Heaven help us if this is what he was "counting on" happening. I mean, I know it is happening and this team is scoring a ton of runs, so that kind of proves he was right, but as an astute baseball observer, I can't help but think he's just getting a little lucky right now. Not lucky, I guess, but fortunate. And despite all that good fortune, they're still 5 games back...


Adrian Beltre, for example, hasn't had an average, on base percentage, or slugging percentage this high since his now wildly assumed roided out free agent year of 2004. Matter of fact, other than his Ruthian .629 slugging percentage in that same 2004, he hasn't had a season where he's even come within 30 points of where he's slugging right now (.515). And I'm not trying to harp on Beltre, believe me, even though I've made it rather apparent in posts past that I'm not a huge fan. I'm just using his current numbers to support the fact that I still believe this offense has some issues in the consistency department to iron out before it can expect to compete for a Championship...

For all of you that want to point to slumps by Pedroia + Martinez, injuries in the outfield, or change of ballpark for Beltre, and point to all of those as reasons for hope, I can only say I hope you're right. I hope it all works out, I really do, I just can't bring myself to believe that it will until the lineup is much more stable, and at least markedly more dangerous...

No matter what happens from here on out, however, that's officially the last of that diatribe you'll hear from me for a while. Sure I may drop it in here and there as the occasional "I told you so" snippet if I deem it worthy, but this is the Sox, not the Celtics or Bruins. This is a team I actually want to win games, my ego be damned. Should the Sox not add a bat and go on to score a million runs and win the World Series, I'll be the first one to tell you I was wrong and Theo was right. Until then, I'm just gonna keep my mouth shut, enjoy the current run the team is on, hope it continues, and see what move, if any, the prodigal GM makes in order to answer my myriad of questions...

After all, the Major League Baseball season is a long and arduous process, with still many twists and turns yet to come. Actually, to make a direct comparison, it's like an inning from Dice K. And we all know that with the way Dice K's innings go, you can't judge it til it's over...

That crazy Asian bastard...

Now a few more tidbits to round out the week...



Got the Belmont comin' up this weekend, and seein' as I'm about $30 in the red after the Derby and the Preakness, I figure I'll be puttin' a straight $20 down on whatever wagers I make for the 3rd leg of horse racing's Triple Crown. Win or lose, I like to deal with even numbers, and if I'm not gonna win, I'd rather my debt be a more appropriate number like $50 than some scraggly lookin thing like $44. Sorry, Syracuse. I know that's your number and all, but it just doesn't look good in my checkbook...


On other sports gambling fronts, you'll be happy to hear that both of my fantasy baseball teams have hit the 1/3 pole in mighty fine standing. My big money ROTO team, The Naked Nixons, currently sits in 2nd out of 14, just 4 points back. While my smaller money head-to-head team, Pete Rose Haircut, has gone undefeated through the first 8+ weeks of the fantasy season and currently sits a commanding 14 games in front of the 10 team field. Unlike last year, every guy I "took a chance" on this year is money in the bizz, with guys like Carl Crawford, Ubaldo Jimenez, Justin Morneau, Josh Hamilton, Fransisco Liriano and John Danks paying pretty serious dividends for both of my squads...

It's a marathon, though, and one that I'm all too familiar with, so I'll stay diligent and make sure to bring the Nation a few more tiny Yahoo! trophies to add to it's already staggering collection. OK, I have like 10, but still. That's 10 more than you gots. Unless of course this is Aaron Danho reading this. in which case you can just disregard those last few sentences, and go back to your procreation...


Sticking with gambling, the 2010 World Series of Poker is already underway @ The Rio in Las Vegas, and though my interest in tournament poker has faded through the years, the Series still holds a lot of interest and intrigue to me. As someone who still strives to one day be able to spend a week or two at the Series and play in @ least 3-4 events, I can't help but marvel at those who are able to bring home those big bundles of casheesh and no doubt embark on a Vegas bender that would make The Hangover look more like Weekend at Ted's. Sure I may have made that movie title up, but I think you get the picture...

Already, with just a precious few events in the books, there have been enough story lines to beat the band, including two brothers finishing in the top 5 of the $50K buy in mixed game Player's Championship, and enough prop bets to make even the biggest "degen" marvel in awe. And I can't say I blame the high stakes pros for that outlandish wagers, either. If you're playing for hours on end in a $1,000 buy in tournament, when you'd usually be spending that time playing cash games at limits of $200/$400++, it only makes sense that you'd need extra action on it just to stay focused. And no matter the outcome, you'd probably win or lose just as much as you would have playing in a normal cash game, so why the Hell not?

Also, I recommend that if you want to monitor the Series at all, use the link I provided at the top to PokerNews rather than waiting to watch the edited versions on ESPN. Tournament poker on TV just isn't that much fun to watch, and knowing the results before all your friends isn't a bad thing, either...


Right. Now before I go, I just got one more thing. Remember last week when I did that whole "Imagine" thing with A Time to Kill? Well I was watching Rudy for a few minutes the other day, and other than the facts that I really do like the movie, and really dislike the fact that The Cider House Rules blatantly lifted it's musical score, I couldn't help but wonder if put to the "Imagine" test, that Rudy might not be looked at in such awe inspiring light. I mean again, not to disparage the guy, but imagine if I ran down all his credentials only to at the end say "Now, imagine he's 28"? 28 and playing college football?!? Who is this guy, Chris Weinke's dad? I know this isn't new info or anything, but small or not doesn't it take away from it a little that the guy was nearly 7 years older than most of the guys he was playin' with?..

Eh, maybe not. Maybe I'm just playing the role of killjoy, per usual, and looking deeper into something that should just be left alone. Tell ya what I am gonna do, though. I'm gonna look into the back story of Danny Almonte. For all we know, he was the Cuban Little League baseball version of Rudy! Wait, was he even Cuban? I know he played for a NY team, but he was Cuban, right? Whatever, screw it! Coming to a Magic Johnson movie theater near you in the next 5-15 years, Cuban Rudy: The Danny Almonte Story. And before you ask, yes, Denzel will be playing Danny's coach that pushed him towards his seemingly unattainable dream, and John Turturro will be playing Danny Almonte himself. Hey, I figure if the guy can play a Jew, a Puerto Rican and an Italian, than he can pull of bein' a 14 year old Cuban...

Cut. Print. See you at the Oscars...

Have a good week, everybody!

Teddy Williams...
100...

#$>

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