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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The King Of Summer...



Summertime, and the livin' is easy. So easy, in fact, that sometimes it's hard!

And the older I get, the harder it gets. Maybe not hard, per say, but with Summer comes the increased likelihood that in any given sun drenched day you're going to be tempted by a friend with a good time. One that will more than likely deter you from your days tasks, or at the very least, send you off to work in a frame of mind similar to a deranged serial killer. Probably more towards Patrick Bateman than Ted Bundy, but seeing as one of them is named Ted, we'll say you go to work in a Ted Bundy state of mind. OR, wait, I got it! Ted Van der Sloot! A Perfect blend of 2 of my favorite things to talk about (Teds + hilariously named Dutch people), and no doubt a perfect description of how you will no doubt be feeling...

Then, after you've transformed into the aforementioned RoochNation serial killer of choice, you end up wasting your day anyway, watching your Facebook wall get updated with all the fun your friends are having! Phrases like "Get a real job" and/or "Who are these Teds kidding?" get tossed around, and once again, you're reaching for a blunt instrument of destruction, and contemplating which of your colleagues is the most disposable....

Hmmm, is anyone gonna miss the cleaning lady? Or what about that Ted in the sales department? I bet I could take them both out with 3 paper clips, an erasable pen cap, and a promotional vuvuzela key chain...

So in the interest of keeping you distracted while your friends frolic in the sun, while at the same time keeping your janitorial staff out of a rolled up carpet in a blood soaked dumpster, allow me to present to you this relatively quick-hitting, and Summer friendly version of this week's Rooch Nation. "Relatively" because these things always end up being longer than I intend, especially when I try to keep them short. And "Summer friendly" because again, I'm saving you from committing murder. Let's not forget that...

Now let's do it!..

First, let's start with LeBron James. It's the eve of his long awaited jaunt into free agency, and his impending decision has half the GM's in the league more anxious than an armless man in a rocks/paper/scissors contest...

In my opinion 1 of 3 things is gonna go down here...


1) LeBron stays in Cleveland. They can pay him the most money ($126 mil/6 years), it's his hometown team, and it would probably just all around be the easiest/least stressful thing for LeBron in regards to his personal life...


2) LeBron goes to Miami. They can only pay him $96 mil, but with no state income tax and the lure of at least 1 other established star to play a straight Robin to his pimp, Christian Bale-esque Batman, it more than makes up for it. After all, he is after rings, right? And with D Wade the only elite free agent that seems to control his own destiny, Miami would seem the perfect landing spot and a place that a deal could easily be reached. Not that a deal would be hard to reach with any team that has the cap room, but you know what I mean...


3) Shit hits the fanbox, and absolutely none of the common theories on where he lands come to fruition. This would include, but is not limited to, LeBron buying the Cavs, LeBron being dealt to the Lakers or Celtics, or LeBron deciding to forgo his basketball career (a la MJ) and take a shot at playing in the NFL...

I don't see him going to Chicago, I don't see him going to the Knicks, and I certainly don't see him doing whatever people claim he's gonna do with Jay Z in Brooklyn/New Jersey/Diddy's House in the Hamptons. I know people think that somehow if LeBron teams with Jay Z then they'll be able to form some sort of new super sport that looks like an "iced out" version of Slam Ball, sounds like a Jesus Christ remix of Numb/Encore, and smells like a blend of baby powder and Rocafella cologne, but I'm afraid that's just not going to be happening. Sorry. Sounds cool, it's just not all that likely. Then again, maybe that makes it a perfect fit for option # 3? Hmmmm. I like it! Baby Powder for everyone!...

Now for the most par, this quirky 3-way theory is new for me, as I've been saying all along I was about 75% that LeBron would stay in Cleveland. But I think my gambling and sports-drama loving nature is getting the best of me as the deadline nears, and I can't help but bring a few more, perhaps tastier options into the fold...

Hey, I'm a sucker for a good story, I'll be the first to admit it. I mean, I am writing a blog from the basement of my childhood home, am I not? Right. So while my mind may still be 75% that the King remains on his MidWestern throne, my heart and my curiosity are equally as sure that something totally unexpected will go down. Either way, whatever move is made or not made, LeBron's eventual signing will set off a series of dominoes and start a chain of events that won't likely be edited from the consciousness of any sports fan for quite some time to come...

There is, after all, a reason they call him The King. And when the King's makin' moves, it's bound to effect the landscape of the league...

---

Sticking with the NBA for a second, I was remiss in last week's post when I didn't mention the Celtics/Lakers, but in the wake of Boston's loss I really only have one thing to say. And no, it's not "I told you so" or anything even remotely along those lines...


No, all I have to say in the wake of the Celtics 2nd Finals appearance in the last 3 years, and the Lakers second consecutive title, is that the now likely departed Dr. Glen Rivers MD's *career in Boston has yet again taught me a valuable lesson about the sports world we live in. Much like you often hear that an NFL coach is the most important and valuable head coach in the 4 major pro sports, I'm here to tell you that Doc's performance over his tenure in Green is proof positive that the NBA coaches are on the opposite end of that coaching "importance" spectrum. Which is to say that in the NBA, more than any other league, it's the player's that win the titles, and not the coach...

*Obviously, within hours after publishing this, Doc went against the common opinion and decided to stay. You screwed me again, Doc!)


Call it sour grapes if you must, as I've been a notorious critic of Doc's since he landed here in '04, but believe me, the only problem I've ever had with Glen is that I've never been impressed with anything he's done on the court. I'm not saying they won in spite of him, I'm just saying they won because they added 2 Hall of Famers and the league's best new PG during his tenure, and their success was based almost 100% on that. It's similar of the criticism that people often lay on Phil Jackson, that he only wins when he has stars, and I think it's becoming increasingly clear that's indeed the only way any coach can win in this league, talented or not. Sure there may be guys like Larry Brown that prove time and again they can make competitors out of underachievers, but in order to win rings, it's the players that need to be the ones with the majority of the talent, not the coach...


So as he more than likely leaves the Celtics to spend time with his children and rake in the cakes on TNT, I guess I have just one thing left to say to Dr. Glen Rivers MD. Thanks. Thanks for proving to me, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that no matter how inept the coach in the NBA, it will always be the players that determine a team's ultimate destiny...

So enjoy, Glen. Enjoy your time away, and have fun with your family. Honestly, I really hope you do. It's a great luxury to be able to take a hiatus away from work at age 48 to enjoy your family, and it's one I would hope I too would want to take advantage of if I were in your shoes. Just be leery that upon your return (because we all know you'll be back), I'll be here waiting for ya. And unless my diagnosis is incorrect, there will probably be a lot of "maybe it was that Thibodeau guy" comments when your next gig doesn't exactly work out as swimmingly as this one has. Those people will be wrong, too, because it's all about the players. But believe me, that won't stop them from making that the most popular theory as to your demise...

OK, maybe that last part was sour grapes. So sue me. At least I'm not a fake doctor! Not yet, anyway. I still am a Reverend with the Universal Life Church , though. I remember I really wanted to be a White Wizard (no joke), but that was like $40 beans or somethin' so I went with the free Reverend title instead. I also made up a bunch of Revernd certificates for my Jewish friends and put them on the doors to their rooms in my frat house. They were pumped. Well, not the ones whose names I had hilariously altered, but for the most part it seemed to go over pretty well...

Ahhh yes. Religion and the Internet. A combination unlike any other...

---

Next up, we have a few observations from my Saturday excursion to visit my good friend Josh at his new digs in Long Beach, NY...


First and foremost, that place is a rare little piece of earth. I've been up and down this coast of ours, and to beaches and beach communities from here to LA, and I've never come across a place quite like that. I won't waste time describing it to you, but if you ever get a chance I recommend you getting down there. There's just something about it, I don't know, but you should definitely check it out. If for no other reason than the beautiful vistas. See that photo there? Yeah. My buddy Sean, who accompanied me on the trip, told me to take a picture of that...errr...great view? Yeah, there were a lot of great views all over the place, and when they weren't busy PDAing it up with their respective man partners, they were even more pleasant to enjoy...

But seriously I have no idea who that chick is, but Sean said I should just try and take a shot of her rack and put it in my blog. And that's the best I got. So there it is. If any of my female fans think they have a better entry, I'd love to see it. Not trying to steal the "Smokeshow" shtick from the Barstool boys, but hey, if wanna send me a picture of you in a scantily clad bikini, I'm not exactly gonna throw it away. Just one rule. NO DUDES. Other than that, snap and flash away, my fair ladies, and fill my inbox til your hearts desire...

The only other observation I have about Long Beach and it's inhabitants is that I wouldn't go walkin' around there talkin' about the World Cup. And I wouldn't go around bashing the World Cup either, unless you want to then be handed an invitation to a KKK rally...

What? Yeah. It was pretty wild stuff...

While sitting with Sean at a beach side seafood shack about an hour after the US had lost to Ghana, I chirped at a white guy blowing on a vuvuzela and said something to the effect of "World Cup's over, buddy". Well needless to say that got the attention of our female server, a woman who I would say was probably in her mid 40's, and caused her to launch into a rant that would have made Clayton Bigsby blush, and left both Sean and I nearly speechless...

I don't want to quote her word for word in fear of furthering my own potential damnation, but let's just say that in her remarks about fans of the World Cup, this apparently religious Caucasian female used the word "monkeys" not once, but twice, and even somehow got onto the topic of how many death threats President Barrack Obama receives. Oh, but don't worry. She prefaced herself several times by saying that she "wasn't even like that", so I'm sure she's not really a rabid racist at all, and just a normal person with a legitimate beef...

Right. Well I'm not "like that", either, so lemme get my crab cakes so I can get the Hell out of here. You crazy bitch...

So in closing, if you're a white, and you don't like soccer, then Long Beach, NY, may very well be the place for you. And if you don't fit that description? You can still go, I guess, I just don't recommend frequenting any of the beach side seafood establishments. Not without a gun, at least...

---


Red Sox Update
Overall: 47-31, 1 game back of NYY in AL East

This Week: vs TB (6/29-6/30) vs BAL (7/2-7/4) @ TB (7/5-7/7)

I'm still not sure what I'm supposed to write here in any given week. Every week it seems like I point out reasons why the Sox shouldn't be winning, and every week they continue to win. But hey, just because I don't understand it doesn't mean I'm not allowed to enjoy it. And no, that doesn't make me a temporary pink hat...

I'll tell you this, though. With Martinez, Buchholz AND Pedroia all going down with injuries this week, it'll be interesting to see how this surging bunch of scrappers continues to narrow what's now just a 1 game deficit in the AL East. And hopefully, it'll continue to be interesting in a good way. They'll have to defy logic to continue doing it, but that's just going to make it all the more enjoyable...

Come on Sox! Don't let these injuries RUIN MY SUMMAHHHHHH!


So there you have it, my Summer lovin' friends. A couple predictions, a few jabs at Glen, a dash of racism and even a little bit of hopeful optimism for the Red Sox. All 'n all, not a bad little summary of what's goin' on these days in my nape of the woods if I do say so myself. Now, in keeping with today's message, I'm headed out into the bright sunshine of yet another beautiful early Summer's day here in New England, to pick my fresh jalapenos and soak up all the rays I can before I go into work. And don't worry, whatever fun I do manage to have in this short, sun bathed window, I won't tease you with on Facebook...

Have a great week, everybody, and have a great 4th of July weekend. An ideal weekend, by the way, for snapping a few of those aforementioned bikini shots. Hey, just sayin'...


Teddy Williams...
vuvizuli...
Burr!...
100...

#$>

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

ENOUGH ALREADY, JOHNNY MILLER!..



Summer is here, my friends, and with it comes some of the greatest events the sporting year has to offer. And for me, there's one event above all others that not only gets my fanatical juices flowing, but truly signals the start of Planet Earth's most glorious season...

The US Open...

Some sports fans will tell you that while they understand it's importance, and appreciate what's at stake, they just can't stomach watching it. The narrow fairways, the jungle like rough, the greens so fast they draw comparisons to pavement and ice. For some, it's the "greatest test", but for others, it's just a little too much of a challenge, and one that often forces the play to seem plodding and unimpressive...

Needless to say, I'm not one of those pundits, and count the US Open as one of my favorite sporting events of the year. That's not to say I don't have beef, mind you, it's just that my issues have nothing to do with what we see on TV, rather than it is with what we're forced to listen to...

That's right. As I'm hoping you were able to decipher from my oh so subtle post title, my beef is with the event's commentary, centering around the always over critical, Johnny Miller. And if the title didn't do it for ya, then I'm sure this image, the first result for a search of "Johnny Miller Sucks" on Google Images, should give you a good idea where my head's at...


I can't help but watch every tournament Johnny Miller works on and wonder, does this guy actually even enjoy golf?!? Because if he does, it certainly doesn't come across in what he says...

Event after event, for the last 20 years, the man who was once pegged as the "Heir to the Bear", has nothing but negative comments and outright criticism for the game's greatest players. Hit it close to the pin? Johnny will tell you that you have a tough putt ahead of you. Hole out from 50 yards? You undoubtedly got a lucky bounce or had an "incredibly fortunate" lie. And for those oh so rare times that Miller actually does let out a "WOW!"? You get the impression that he wasn't impressed so much as he was "surprised" that one of these inferior golfers was actually able to pull off something impressive. Matter of fact, he usually follows those "WOWs" with a question to the on course commentators like "That shouldn't have happened, should it Roger (Maltby)?" OR "Heh, he probably couldn't do that again if you gave him a whole bucket from that spot". And while I may be paraphrasing there, you know I'm right in his wheelhouse. He's just ridiculously negative. And his on course lackeys seemingly feeding his ego and constantly backing him up certainly isn't helping the broadcast either...

Now believe me, I'm well aware that I can be even more critical than the next guy, but Johnny's standards are just way too high. Hell, he's even got Joe Morgan pegged. At least Morgan admits the other guys on his Reds teams were good! Granted he doesn't give a ounce of credit to any player since the demise of the Big Red Machine, but that's about 20 more guys than Miller's ever given props to...

And I can't help but to think when listening him, that his absurdly high standards are a result of some bitterness that he has for what he deems his lack of success. Granted, this was a guy that racked up nearly 25 career wins and 2 Major Championships, but that resume is merely a fraction of what could have been had Miller actually lived up to his hype. It's like me telling you in 1999 that Tiger Woods was only going to end up with 4 Majors and 1 sexual partner. Sure it might look great when looked at from a distance...and out of context...but for those that would have watched it all unfold, there would have been a definite sense of disappointment. It's like if Bill Walton, he too of the underwhelming pro career, were an overanalyitcal D-bag that did nothing but shit on the modern player. That's what Miller is, he's an angry Bill Walton! Or to put it more succinctly, he's Bill Walton minus the tee pee and the bong rips...

Now I'll be the first to admit that maybe I have Johnny's view of his career incorrectly framed, but for the life of me I believe it's gotta be the cause of his negative attitude. Half because it would make a Hell of a lot of sense, but half because, if that's not the case, then I truly have no idea why that guy is so critical! Maybe I was right from jump street, maybe this guy really just doesn't like golf anymore. Whatever the reason for his perma-puss and constant criticizing, the guy is ruining some of the greatest moments in golf, and needs to be replaced. I'm not saying I know who would be a perfect fit, I just know he's gotta go, if not for the sanity of the average viewer, than just for the good of the game...

Miller time. Never has a beer reference been done such an injustice. And for the rest of us to start living the PGA "High Life", some one's gonna need to cold filter his ass right out of the booth...

BAM!

Now, it's onto the Sox...


Red Sox Update
Overall: 43-28, 1/2 game out in AL East

This Week: @ COL (6/22-6/24), @ SF (6/25-6/27)

Here. I'll let someone else say what I've been saying for the last few weeks. Ya know, so I don't risk sounding like an uber-critical D-bag? After all, I have spent the night in a tee pee before, and I do recall my Mom commenting on the abundance of "water pipes" in my old fraternity house. Here, this is from ESPN.com's MLB Power Rankings...

Scraping by with the likes of rookie call-ups Daniel Nava, Felix Doubront and Dustin Richardson, the Sox inexplicably find themselves just one game from the division lead. (Mike Silver, Fire Brand of the AL)

See? I'm not the only one who finds the Sox current success rather "inexplicable". That's not gonna stop me from enjoying it, though. And lemme tell you, I enjoyed the shit! out the game I went to over the weekend. Box seats in the 8th row (I took that photo!), perfect weather, Manny hits a dinger, and the Sox still win with a Pedroia walk off hit with two outs in the bottom of the 9th? Yea, you can go ahead and sign me up for that every time I step into the park...

And as for my Manny report, I did end up standing and giving Manny an ovation when he stepped to the plate, as did one other member of my 4 person group. Much like the rest of the patrons in attendance, our group was split right down the middle, with passionate reasons on both sides as to why they did what they did. A passion that runs so deep, mind you, that when I informed my good friend Neal that his brother Scottie had been one of the ones booing, Neal replied with a the simple text, "Tell Scottie he's out of the will"...

That's just great stuff, right there, isn't it? Personally, my decision was based simply on the fact that while I understand that Manny doesn't care (he never acknowledged the crowd all weekend) I still feel he was deserving of a warm welcome for all that he did. And in my mind, waaaay more deserving of a standing ovation than Nomar Garciaparra...

I mean, if I told you that as a Red Sox fan you could either have a guy that was gonna pout, fight 65 year olds, but KILL the Yankees and bring you two titles, or a guy that was going to have a squeaky clean image, but QUIT in a big game against the Yankees, who would you as a fan be more likely to want on your team? Lie to yourself for a minute if you have to, but you all know who you would choose. It's all about winning, baby, and while Manny may not be the best role model, he knew how to win and helped us end the curse. For that, I'll be forever grateful. No matter how many times he may have cut off throws in the outfield...

Manny's always gonna be Manny, and I'm always gonna be lovin' every second of it...


Now just a few more notes to round out this first official 2010 Summer edition of the Nation that you've all come to love...


Keeping you updated on the action at the Rio in Las Vegas, a familiar face has just hours ago added yet another World Series of Poker bracelet to his already hefty haul. You guessed it, it's none other than the "Tiger Woods of Poker", Mr. Phil Ivey. After last year's incredible run which saw him win 2 bracelets, millions in prop bets, and an appearance at the Main Event final table, Ivey's already added bracelet #8 here in 2010 with a win for $330K in Event #37, the $3K buy in HORSE event. Oh, and in case you're wondering if Ivey had any side bets running in this year's Series to see if he'd win a bracelet, you need look no further than the quote Ivey gave after outlasting a field of 477 top flight pros. "So how much is it for first place, anyway?" Yeah, I'd say he stands to collect slightly more than the $330K he's got comin' from the Rio. Just a hunch...

OH and Tom "durrrr" Dwan, he too of the high stakes cash games and even higher stakes bracelet bets, has yet to even come close to duplicating his 2nd place finish earlier in the Series. And though rumors of Dwan having already won so much this year that he's "freerolling" in his bid for $12 million in his own bracelet side bets, I bet Ivey's 8th might change things a little, with Dwan no doubt having to pony up for his close competitors latest triumph...

Like I've been saying all Series, the increased popularity in cash game poker over tournament poker almost makes these side bets necessary to keep fans like me involved, and with a 2nd from durrr and a bracelet from Ivey, you have to think the 2nd half of the Series is only going to provide even more fireworks...

Phil Ivey, man. A living legend, and someone to whom the phrase "It's your world, we're just all payin' rent", might actually apply. And more importantly, a Phil we can all get behind without the fear he'll show up in a tight, nip protruding t-shirt...

And finally, I couldn't help but bring this up after hearing it twice on the radio in the last 36 hours...


ESPN's Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic are now pumping the weight loss and fitness program, P90X, on their radio show. Really, Greeny and Golic? Really, P90X?!...

I mean forget the fact that Greenberg's about as fit to hock a fitness brand as I am to sell a line of Jheri Curl products, and focus moreso on the question, what the Hell is Golic, doin'? In the ad, he says something like "90 days ago I looked like a fat ex athlete..." AND "I went down from a 42 to a 38!" Now, is it me, or didn't he do a huge ad campaign for NutriSystem or Weight Watchers a year or so back? What do you think their take is on all this? Now for all I know P90X and whatever other product Golic was sellin' are owned by the same company, but I still don't think that makes the ads any less ridiculous. Like, what was that meeting like before they decided to go with those two. "Ummm, I say we get a skinny Jewish dude whose a proud metrosexual and a fat guy whose famously already tried and failed with another weight loss product. Yeah, that should reach the audience we're looking to target"...

Right. Real brain trust they got over there at P90X. I can only imagine their next ad campaign is gonna feature Oprah Winfrey and Phil Mickelson...


And there you have it, kids! I've fired my first shot of Summer across the bow, and now the onus is on you to keep this party goin'. I'll be doing my part this weekend when I travel to the Tri State area to visit my peeps and partake in the engagement party of my good friend, and fellow baseball enthusiast, Jared Hutter. I'll be eating well, drinking well, and basking in the glorious New Jersey sun, and my hope is that you're weekend is equally as fruitful...

Keep it real, pimps, and I'll catch you upon my return...


Teddy Williams...
100...

#$>

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

"Pass The Sloot" OR "Not Enough Shreks"...

What is up?!?!?! A tremendous Wednesday to you!...

The NBA Finals is headed to a game 7, college football's been turned on it's head, Tiger Woods prepares for the US Open, and fans of the World Cup are being accused of blowing on something that sounds like a piece of the female anatomy...

My name is Brett Ferruccio, and this is what I'm sweating today, June 16th, 2010...



And call me Chris one more time, see what happens...

First, let's start with the biggest sporting event in the World, and an answer to the question: Could millions of dirty Europeans and 3rd Worlders really be wrong? Why yes, yes they could...


"Soccer, huh? So you like sports...kinda?" - Hank Hill

Couldn't have said it any better myself, Hank. And seeing as you took care of the analytical aspect of the World Cup for me, I really only have one other aspect to hit on. Those freakin' horns that everyone keeps talkin' about! It's in all honesty the only reading I've done on the subject of this year's World Cup, and the only reason I looked into it was because I could swear my friends and co-workers were talking about people blowing on something called a "vulva" at the games. And so loud were these "vulvas", that there were times where that was all you could hear when watching the games on TV. Now, I'm no "sex horn expert", so this was something I definitely had to look into, but upon realizing it was just some annoying horn, and was not called a "vulva" and was not in fact some sort of celebratory tribute to the female genetalia, I officially called it a day for both me and my World Cup coverage...

But how funny is Cartoon Network's Adult Swim for airing that specific King of the Hill episode the same day the World Cup got underway? Any other network and I would say it were a coincidence, but those bastards are so clever I just gotta think they did it on purpose. Keep up the good work, you crazy mofos, and if you have any other anti-soccer themed episodes of shows, feel free to keep them hummin' down the line like a South African blowin' on a vulva...or whatever it is those things are actually called. I'm sure the Williams Brothers have their own line of them, so I'd ask them if you want some more info. That type of transgender celbratory tool seems right up their alley...at least I hope it's just their alley it's up...


Sticking with grassy sports for another second, the US Open gets underway tomorrow at Pebble Beach, and I've officially proclaimed this weekend as Tiger Woods' return to glory. Call it a hunch, but I say he takes this thing down, or at the very least, challenges right up til the end. It might sound like a sad commentary, but I get the feeling Tiger has gotten over whatever it was he "did" to Elin and his family and is ready to again make the PGA his #1 bitch. Matter of fact, screw "at least challenge" BS, I say by late Sunday afternoon, the story is not that Tiger's in the hunt, but how many strokes he is ahead. Bam! And wouldn't that just be so refreshing, too? Like a cold long neck on a hot Summer's day. Or in Tiger's case, like a hooker....on any day...Or in this case, a hooker a day for 4 days straight...

Get some, Tiger! Restore the order, and knock that Phat bastard off his perch!...

Now, if you will, let's "sweat" over the NBA Finals...


I was prepared to come on today and congratulate the Celtics had they won last night, I really was. But win or lose, that wasn't going to change anything else I had to say about the C's, their fans, and the Finals in general...

I mean, have you ever, in all honesty, seen a team make it this far in their respected sports' playoffs with fans that have so little faith in them? I know I sure as Hell haven't. And this isn't me just trying to rip the Celtics, their fans and the NBA again, either. Believe me. I've just honestly never seen anything like it. Forget the fact that I couldn't get action on any 12 to 1 or 10 to 1 $10 bets throughout the whole post season (that's you put down $10, and had the C's won, I would have owed you $100 or $120) OR that the Celts fan that did bet me $100 the C's would beat LA, called up at the end of the 3rd quarter of game 4 (a game the Celtics won) and ended the bet by paying me $50. No, what boggles my mind, is that ever since the playoffs have started, Celtics fans have treated their team like an underdog with no shot in Hell, and are still walking on eggshells despite the fact the Green now have a second game in which to claim the NBA Title and historic banner #18...

I mean, aren't the Celtics supposed to be one of, if not the premier franchise in the NBA? It's like if the Yankees were in a game 6, up 3-2, and everyone in New York was "wishy washy" about their chcnaes of winning the title. Sounds unfathomable, doesn't it? Well it should, but that's exactly what's happening in Boston. Before game 6 in LA, the most confident thing I heard any Celtic fan say was "They need to win tonight, because if they don't, they have no shot in game 7". And that was the most confident thing I heard...

You wanna call their run "surprising"? Fine, I get that. Based on how they played in the regular season, sure, nobody really saw this coming. Hence why I was offering 10 and 12 to 1. But at some point, like I don't know, when you're UP 3-2 in the NBA Finals, shouldn't you be slighting heightening your expectations? I'm all for being cautious, but whatever happened to "-ly optimistic" part of that phrase? Where has the freakin' optimism been?! At best, it lasts for one game, and even then it doesn't come off as totally genuine. I get people don't want to jinx their team or sound ignorantly over confident, but if this is your team that shouldn't matter. It's the freaking Finals, for crying out loud!...

And cautious or not, caution should have gone right out the window at the very latest when they won game 1 and grabbed home court. Personally, if I were a fan, the second they showed they could even hang with the Cavs I would have been warmin' up the duck boats. Right then and there, they became legit contenders. I know each series has it's own flow, it's own personality if you will, but from then on out, when they proved they could tangle with the King, it should have been apparent to even the most casual fan that they had this type of run in them...

All this being said, I'm sure LA will go out now and take the whole thing down, ultimately proving all you Celtic fence sitters right, and more importantly, costing me a much needed $50. That is unless one of you Mean Green fanatics out there wants to bet $50 on tomorrow's game? Here, I'll make it easy for ya. I'll take the Celtics...

Too many donkeys, man, and not enough Shreks. Not enough Shreks, man. Just not enough Shreks...

Now, it's onto the Red Team. A team I won't count out til they're gettin' out their golf clubs. I sweat them like Joran van der Sloot sweats his Peruvian cellmates. I hear they're playin' "Pass the Sloot", down there, and from what I can decipher from the Peruvian version of The Onion, the Spanish translation of the rules of that game are fantastically hilarious....

Muahahaha. You're gonna get yours, you rich, Dutch Ted. You die in there, nobody out here bats a freakin' eye...

But for now, let's get to eyein' some freakin' bats! Ha! Bam!...


Red Sox Update
Overall: 38-28, 4 games back in AL East

This Week: 6/16-6/17 vs AZ, 6/18-6/20 vs MANNYWOOD!, 6/22-6/24 @ COL

Daniel Nava's (above) grand slam on the first ever pitch he saw in the Majors can essentially serve as a microcosm of Boston's season to date...

On the one hand, you're glad that a guy that wasn't expected to produce is stepping up, but on the other hand, you're not too pumped that he had to be in there. Ya know, because Adrian Beltre's takin' out left fielders like a mafia hit man...

It's injuries, and continuing to expect production from even the smallest of role players. That's what this season's been all about. I'll admit I've been encouraged by the play of guys like the aforementioned Beltre, but with the lineup yet to settle and the pitching staff still hampered by injury, the best hope is that they can tread water long enough and hope the Yankees and Rays don't pull too far ahead. 4 games is a remarkably small deficit, all things considered, but it's going to take a healthy, consistent lineup for that gap to get any smaller. And seeing as finishing 3rd in the AL East gets you nothing but a one way ticket to the first tee...

Granted I'm no doctor, nor do I play one on the Intraweb, but I guess I'm hopeful that Ellsbury and Beckett will return to form, and that whatever Dice K is able to contribute from here on out will essentially serve as icing on the cake. I know he's important to the rotation, and maybe it's his nerve wracking style, but I just don't see another prolonged shelving of the Gyro hurler as having a major impact on this team one way or another. Getting Ells and Beckett back to form, however, is much more important. Should they not make fully make it back, then that could go a long way towards altering my expectations...

But fear not, loyal friends, because I'll have a chance this weekend to get an up close and personal look at the team I follow so closely. On Saturday, when Tim Wakefield and the Sox play host to Manny Ramirez and the Dodgers, I'll be viewing the game comfortably from BOX 38 along the 1st base line with 3 of my very good, baseball lovin' friends. So be jealous, be very jealous...

Props to fellow Boston baseball fanatic, Jon Mugar, for hooking me up with the choice seats, and I promise to give you a full report, photos included, in next week's post. I've still yet to decide how I plan on greeting Manny, should he actually play, but rest assured I'll pull no punches when giving you all the details upon my return...

OH and if Wakefield throws at Manny, I'm buyin' a round for all my buddies. Why? Because that's just how I roll. And I have a gut feelin' that's what Sheed would do, too. What Would Sheed Do? Oooooo, I smell a new t-shirt idea!...

Next up in the Sweat Lodge, we got a few notes on college football...

First up, conference realignment...


If Nebraska wants to go to the Big 10, fine, I could not care less. But when I heard Texas might be going to the Pac 10, that was the last straw. They're not, thankfully, but picturing the Horns in the Pac 10 was immediately taking me back to the early 90's when the Atlanta Braves were in the NL West. Right, because that made a lot of sense...

Listen, I don't care if you want Texas, and UCLA, and freaking Harvard to all be in the same conference, just then don't go calling it the Pacific 10. I mean, even the Big 10. They have 12 freaking teams now! I understand that the name is the brand and all that shit, but at some point aren't you just being ridiculous? And it's not like conferences haven't changed names in the past, either. I always joke about former Husker Lawrence Phillips trying to sell his Big 8 ring on eBay, and that's because before there was a Big XII, there was a Big 8. When they added 4 teams, they changed the name. What a freaking novel idea...

And for those that would turn and say they've never heard me bitch about the super power that is the "new" Big East basketball conference, and how expansion made their moniker less fitting, my only defense is this. College basketball is the bomb.com, Big East basketball is the atomicbomb.com, and nowhere in the name of the conference is their a number. And what, the team furthest West is in Chicago? Pffft, that's nothin'. The MidWest is more towards the Eastern side of the country anyway, and it was the freakin' trailblazers that named that gave it it's name. Damned if they knew how much more country there was to travel. They probably just did it to make it sound like they'd traveled more than they really had, anyway. Bragging pioneer, bastards. Ruining it for the rest of us...


Even more hysterical in the world of college pigskin, is Pete Carroll's response to the harsh punishment handed down to USC by the NCAA. Obviously Carroll was going to defend SC, and say he didn't leave because he saw this coming, but what I felt was most interesting was how he basically singled out Yahoo! Sports for bringing this thing to a head...

You have to read between the lines a little bit, but for those that have followed all of the Reggie Bush/OJ Mayo allegations from day 1, it's rather apparent who Petey's talking about. When the Bush allegations first came out, it was a running joke that Yahoo! Sports was the only one looking into it. Not to discredit them, or anything, it was just weird that they were literally the only ones looking into it, and it seems clear now that's who Carroll is directing his anger towards...

But whatever, Pete. I know you're taking the high road and whatnot, but we all know this stuff goes down. And we all know that you know this type of stuff goes down. IF you've buffered yourself from having to deal with it, and therefor are in some sort of denial that it does down, well then that's an issue you need to look into. I'm not saying you need to admit to anything, or even throw USC under the bus, but you'd be wise to do something other than trying to attack those who exposed you. Even if it is those shady, undeterred bastards at Yahoo! Sports. Or as I like to call them "the Jeremy Schaaps of the Intraweb". Just creepy...

Not quite as creepy as this next item, though. Not sure if this would make me sweat, or just make me boot...


I was recently alerted to the fad of "Getting Iced", so I had a look into it. For those also umfamiliar, it's a challenge as to where if a friend offers you one, and you don't have one somewhere in your possession, you have to immediately drop to your knee and chug it...

My first thought? This is something Teds do, probably has something to do with the movie The Hangover, and I want no part of it. Then, I read David Parker's piece in the Huffington Post, and realized that while I was 100% correct in my original assumption, like most Ted rituals, this could be one I could learn to use to my great advantage. Take a look at the article, and judge for yourself...

"You just got babied, bro!". Ha! Teds and the games they play. Gotta love 'em...

And finally, just because I've been talking about it a lot recently, here's a little update on the World Series of Poker, currently going on right now in Las Vegas...


Tom "durrrr" Dwan is still bracelet free, but a name even the most casual poker might remember just took down the 3rd of his career. Sammy Farha, or as I like to call him "The Rasheed Wallace of Poker". Not sure why, really, but I pretty much try to relate anyone I like to Sheed, so I guess it's not all that surprising...

Most of you may remember Farha as the infamous bluff victim and 2nd place finisher to Chris Moneymaker in the now historic 2003 Main Event. Sammy sat there, unlit cigarette dangling from his lips, and watched as a nobody, an accountant from Tennessee, took down the most prestigious prize poker has to offer. For those of us that follow the game more closely, we know Sammy to be one of the loosest high stakes cash game players around, with a talent for table talk and a penchant for 6 figure bluffs...

Maybe that's why it shouldn't surprise anyone that during the final table of event #25 ($10,000 buy in Omaha Hi/Lo), Sammy was heard to say that even if he takes down the $480,000+ 1st place prize, he would still only be breaking even for the last 36 hours in Vegas. Well take it down he did, after an epic heads up battle, for his 3rd bracelet and his 2nd in the past 5 years. And somethin' tells me, that after a quick nap, and maybe a lit version of one of his now famous cigs, Sammy was back at the tables and mixin' it up...

He's a true gambler man, complete with all the ups and downs. And while that's not a lifestyle I could ever lead without going completely insane and developing my own penchant for hard drugs and hookers, it sure is fun to watch it from afar. Congrats Sammy, you're fun to watch so I hope you can keep it up for years to come...


And there you have it, kids. Another 'Nache in the books. I hope everyone has a fantastic week, and an even better weekend. Just stay away from the World Cup, and you should be OK. Oh and make sure to look for me at the Sox game on Sturday. I'll be the guy on the first base line in the Manny wig, trying not to get "babied" by one of the guys I'm sitting with...

Peace in the Middle, and stop that freaking oil well already!

Teddy Williams...
100...

#$>

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Makin' 'Em Sweat...


"Don't sweat the small stuff, and it's all small stuff"

You hear it all the time. It's a call to keeping things simple. Dealing with things in a calm and sane fashion, and properly identifying things you can and cannot control...

All in all, principles I totally agree with. That is, if you're going with the standard definition of the word "sweat"...

Now in the popular quote above, "sweat" is used in reference to nervous perspiration. As in, if things were bothering you, you would be sweating. OR maybe if you were working out to a Richard Simmons tape. You'd be sweating then, too. You should also then be questioning your sexuality, but that's neither here nor there. But especially not here...

But what if the sweat in question was caused by another form of arousal? One that wasn't necessarily negative? And I don't mean sex, just because I used the word "arousal", either, so get your head out of the gutter. But what if it were something good and/or pleasant that was making you sweat? Something interesting? Then isn't it that very "small stuff" that you should be "sweating"?..

And believe me, I know how convoluted this sounds, and the ridiculous fine line I'm attempting to walk, but I've always been fascinated in literary and grammatical quirks such as this. And as is usually the case, the urge to contemplate these things ted to hit you like a lightning bolt, and at the most awkward times. For me, I was standing in line at a Dunkin Donuts in East Providence, getting ready for my daily shot of delicious coffee...

There I was, penning another stroke of genius on my first place fantasy baseball team on my Droid (put Nick Swisher in my lineup, he had a HR and 5 RBI), and I thought "Wow, it's the little things like this that are just awesome". Being able to stand there in and line while at the same time changing my fantasy roster? How does it get any better than that? I mean, sure, I could be Scrooge McDuck'n it in a huge vault of casheesh, and that might be better, but I was thinkin' just more in the every day sense. Besides, there's no way you don't dive right into those coins and get immediately concussed, so I don't know what kind of message that show was tryin' to send. Pantless ducks and ponds made of metal? I mean is that for real? What do they think we are here, children?!?...

So then, after I accepted the fact that Duck Tales was just a cartoon, I started thinkin' about the "small stuff", that popular saying, and how in a certain game I enjoy to partake in, the word "sweat" is also used in an unusual manner. Sounded like a blog post to me! See, in poker, "to sweat" someone, is to watch them play from over their shoulder and/or to anxiously await their results. It's like putting a positive spin on the phrase "Stop sweatin' me!". And seeing as there's a certain 23 year old poker pro at the World Series of Poker right now getting more sweat than a Bill Clinton Cankle Contest, I figured it would all come together in quite the nice little intro...

Ya know. We learn a lesson, I segway into what I really wanted to talk about, and I manage to get in a shot at The Williams Brothers and a shout out to how ill I am at fantasy sports. What? You're saying I didn't mention the Williams Brothers? Ohhhh yeah, you're right. Well they were going to figure prominently into that "more sweat than..." comparison, but what I came up with originally made me insta-boot onto my person, so I decided it probably wouldn't be the best idea to unleash it on the unsuspecting populous...

Instead you get Bill Clinton's Cankle Contest, and a sick little elf that has all of Vegas shaking in their "daddy needs a new pair of" shoes...

Ha! Get some...



Now I've caught a lot of flack over the years for paying far too much attention to poker, but God help me I just find the game really interesting. Especially when it's being played at it's highest level, and especially when the players involved add even more incentive to their games by introducing ridiculous proposition bets. Granted it's a very fine line when it comes to gambling, between genius and degenerate, but watching these guys walk that fine line can often be some of the best entertainment around. Like Charles Barkley said, "If you have the money, then it's not a problem". Add to that, "Hey, it's not my money", and you can see how watching people play for millions using nothing but mind games can be quite the entertaining event...

Last week, I told you how the World Series of Poker started, and informed you of a few interesting story lines to follow. Well, one in particular has already got the strip buzzing essentially like never before, and it's that surrounding the bracelet prop bets of high stakes phenom Tom "durrr" Dwan...

As I reported via hyperlink last week, Dwan made large bets on himself, giving 3.5 to 1 odds that he would win a bracelet in this year's World Series of Poker. Well, not only did Dwan finish 2nd in a 2600+ person, $1500 buy in No Limit Hold 'Em event after entering the final table as the chip leader, but it's now been revealed/leaked that had Dwan won, or should he win one of the 25+ events remaining, that he'll take home a sum in excess of $12 million! 12 freaking million! Talk about putting your money where your mouth is, right? If all these figures are right, then durrr's put up somewhere in the neighborhood of $3-4 million on himself to do win a bracelet, something mind you he's never done. Matter of fact, while Dwan is well known as one of the best cash game players in the world, his tournament resume is fairly incomplete compared to most of his high stakes brethren. Then again, maybe that has something to do with the fact that he's only 23...

No matter his age, the fact is the Dwan's got a bunch of his peers in the midst of a nervous sweat, whilst poker fans and gaming fans alike are sweating Dwan's results in a much more enjoyable fashion. He's proving my point that just because you're sweating, doesn't mean your worried, it more or less means your nervous. And just because your nervous, doesn't mean your scared. It's all about anticipation, the nervousness leading up to something big, something important. And if you're not gonna sweat that, then you're gonna miss out on a lot of the finer things in life...

Now, in a Jim Rome is Burning kind of way, here are a few of the other topics I'm "sweatin'" this week...

Brett Ferruccio Is Sweating. Doesn't exactly have a network TV type of ring to it, does it? Matter of fact it brings to mind images I'd rather not discuss. Hank Goldberg Is Sweating, on the other hand, works on just about every freaking level, and is a show ESPN should really look into developing before that drunkard of a pone-bettor drowns in a port-a-potty at next year's Kentucky Derby...

Until then, until the headlines read "Hank Takes a Drank", getcha sweat on, pimps. Getcha sweat on...


Red Sox Update
Overall:
35-25, 4 games back in AL East

This Week: @ CLE (6/9-6/10) vs PHI (6/11-6/13) vs AZ (6/15-6/17)

I'll probably be the only one sweating the Sox for another week or so, but that's perfectly fine by me. IT's funny, too. I was actually watching the Sox game last night while the Celtics game was on, and just had the creepy feeling that I was one of the only people watching it. But whatever, I'm sure every time someone watches somethin' on network TV they feel pretty much the same way, so that's not even really worth getting in to...

The good news out of Red Sox Nation, is that not only are the Sox continuing to win and score runs (averaging 6.1 runs per game while going 8-2 through their last 10), but that the Yankees and Rays ahead of them have at least looked beatable of late, allowing the Sox to climb to within 4 games. Passing Toronto is good for the mindset, too. Just a good way to start the Summer...

It'll be interesting to see what happens when Josh Beckett comes back into the rotation, but other than that it seems to be business as usual in the Nation of the Red Friends, with the day in day out grind in full effect, and the Boys of Summer doin' their thing. Hey, sometimes I'm short on analysis and numbers, but what can I say? I'm just enjoying the good play and trying not to rock the boat...Oh an I wanna be careful not to jinx any of the pitchers before the head to the National League later this week...

Oops!

See that? Reverse jinx insurance, right there. No Chien Ming Wang career ending toe stubs on this guys watch. That, and they're playing those games in the American League. So there's always that. Just keeping you on your toes!..


Sticking with baseball, if you weren't sweating Stephen Strasburg's debut last night, then you're just not a baseball fan. I know I do that a lot, calling people's fandom into question, but in this case I really believe it to be true. Kid dazzled last night in front of a packed house in Washington (right?), striking out 14 while walking none in the best debut pitching performance that any of us have ever seen. He delivered on all the hype and then some, and could actually help lift his woeful franchise right out of the gutter. If you haven't seen him, I'm sure ESPN will showcase him soon enough, but the fact is the kid has arrived. He's real, and he's spectacular...

On the other side of the coin, the Nationals also made news this week when the took already mythic college catcher, Bryce Harper #1 in this years MLB Draft. A move that I for one, don't expect to work out nearly as flawlessly. In Harper, I see a guy like Brian Bosworth, probably minus the roids. Or maybe like a Todd Marinovich, again probably minus the roids. Actually check that, it's definitely Bosworth, or to those of you that love crappy action movies, "The Boz"...

Harper's already been labeled the "Chosen One" by Sports Illustrated, a moniker they also gave LeBron, but unlike LeBron and more directly Strasburg, Harper already has a few questionable marks on his resume. Like how about the fact he was ejected and suspended for 3 games in the last ever collegiate game he'll ever play for yelling profanities into the opposing dugout? Yeah, cuz that's a good sign. And I don't even wanna hear about how the numerous ejections hes received or barbs he's drawn are more a product of other player's jealousy, either. As we see time and time again, people wired to be that competitive often have trouble reigning it in, and when it comes to an 18 year old kid that's being handed the world on a platter and having the people around him encourage that chip on his shoulder, that can make for a very dangerous combination...

Here's a prediction. Bryce Harper ends up in one of two places before Stephen Strasburg wins his first Cy Young Award. Prison, or A Ball. Either way, I'm sure 60 Minutes, Outside the Lines, HBO's Gumbel to Gumbel and Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew will be all over it. Although I'm willing to bet by that time Dr. Drew has an entire show dedicated to rehabbing athletes, so he'd probably just end up being on that. Tom Sizemore would still be for some reason, too...

Just gonna be one of those "two much, too fast" things, I'm tellin' ya. And while I'd love to be wrong, being right has some hilarious side effects, so I'd rather be right. And hey, maybe he can turn out like Josh Hamilton, and then we all win! Whoa! His last name starts in H, too! Big H and Little H! That's freakin' gold, right there. And in the opening credits they can have cartoon images of the two of them riding on a white horse. It'll be great!..

Ohh, Heroin. Next to meth, my favorite drug to joke about...


Quick check on the NBA Finals before I head on out the door, and I really only have two observations...

1) The refs in the NBA re just God awful. I know I've ripped them thoroughly in the past, but yet again their dreadful performance makes it worth mentioning. It's no wonder people think these guys are on the take! IT's all we can think to justify their pathetic performances night in and night out...

Then again, maybe we should give them a break. Most of them are pretty old, and these late night games are probably putting them way past their Earl Grey and fuzzy slippers time...

2) What's with the weird smack talk in this series? First Gasol calls out Garnett, which just didn't seem necessary. And then Pierce says the Celtics won't be coming back to LA? Huh? Did he not watch the first two games? I know you're the mans 'n them, Truth, but if not for 20 3's from Ray Allen you guys get sent home to Boston with your tails tucked between your collective over padded legs. And Pau, why call out a guy you've been thoroughly dominating? What good could possibly come of that?!...

I know smack talk, and all the post game press conference and locker room stuff, is what makes the NBA appealing to a lot of people, but if this is what passes for viable smack these days then that's yet another area in which I think the league needs to improve. Oh and Paul, just one more thing. You might wanna be a little more careful in the future that you're smack talk doesn't have a dreaded double meaning. You know, like "sweat"? Because now, you might not be going back to LA, after all, but not at all for the reasons you so boldly predicted...

The NBA. I don't know, man. Seems kind of pathetic. But that's just me. And I still have the Lakers in 6, in case you were wondering...


I'd be remiss if I didn't comment on the passing of legendary UCLA basketball coach, John Wooden, this week at the age of 99. Wooden helped shape college basketball into what it is today, and will always be remembered as one of basketball's all time greatest teachers and all time greatest people. Never heard a bad word said about the man, and I don't expect them to start comin' now. John Wooden. RIP. You had a great run, sir, and you will be sorely missed...

Now before I go, I'd like to congratulate my sister for narrowly avoiding Joran Van der Sloot on her recent trip to South America, and thank God that the dangerous man with the hysterical name is finally going to get what's coming to him. Sloot or no Sloot, nobody gets a free pass to kill young women, no matter how comically useful their last name might be...


And there you have it, boys and girls. All the news that's fit to sweat. I hope, as usual, that I was able to open your mind a little and maybe even provide you with a chuckle or two along the way, but if not, I won't sweat it. Or maybe I will, I haven't made up my mind. Well no matter how I decided to read into it, I'll be back next week with another exciting installment, so keep your web browsers at an arm's reach...

Have a great week, everybody!


Teddy Williams...
100...

#$>

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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