Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Bizarro New Yorker

Back on February 21st of this year, I entered into a friendly wager with Gutsy Goldberg, one of my co-Editors-in-Chief. The terms of the bet were clear: if the Phoenix Suns didn’t advance into the Western Conference Finals, I would have to write an article that was 100% complimentary about Boston sports.

Thanks to Phoenix’s utter refusal to play defense and Steve Nash picking the worst possible time to play one of the worst games of his career, here I am, stuck in the unenviable position of having to write this article. But since I won’t welch on a bet, here goes...

* * * * *

My estrangement from baseball over the past several months has been a very difficult one. Yet here we are 30 games into the new season and I never bothered to post a “2008 Preview” or talk about all the interesting moves that happened during the offseason. I still follow the Yankees every day and I own a number of fantasy teams that require my daily attention but my love of major league baseball in general is pretty much over. Until Commissioner Selig is dead and buried and I can go to his grave and piss on the tombstone, I don’t see myself ever being as passionate about America’s Pastime.

That’s why I’m so grateful to the Judges, Brandeis University’s baseball team! It’s refreshing to know that there’s a baseball team that plays in Boston that I can root for and be proud of. After all, if you can’t get behind a school named for Louis D. Brandeis then you’re not down with baseball or American history. And if you’re not down with the great game of baseball or American history then chances are we’re not friends.

Despite an uneven 17-16 overall record with only two games left to play, Brandeis tied Emory University as co-champions of the University Athletic Association! The team was powered by four players, each of whom was honored with All-Association honors. LF Tony Deshler and 2B John O’Brion were elected to the UAA’s first team, and they were joined by 1B Nick Gallagher and C Artie Posch, both second-team honorees. The post-season honors don’t end there, as Deshler, a freshman, was also named UAA Rookie of the Year with his impressive batting line of .331/.360/.486. Deshler led the Judges in triples, RBI, and steals, and finished second on the team in runs scored and home runs.

I’m really sorry that I didn’t know more about the Brandeis Judges during their 2008 championship season. My most heartfelt congratulations to the Judges and their fans for bringing home a championship and for enriching the championship pedigree of one of America’s most historic cities.

* * * * *

You have no idea how hard that was for me. I always heard suicide was painless...maybe I’ll test that theory.

Clock Has Struck Midnight

Well the Suns are out after the first round which means the countdown clock has struck zero and Gutsy has won the bet. Began the praising of Boston MJ. May Odin have mercy on your soul

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Explaining My Hatred of the 2007-2008 Celtics

I realize that in my NBA Playoff preview, I really avoided talking about the Celtics. Not only that, I've actually avoided them all season. I feel as though the time has come to explain my utter hatred and rage over these Boston Celtics. I've always been a fan of KG, but not really a fan of the older versions of Paul Pierce or Ray Allen. Just because you team all these guys together does not get me excited, and I just became even more annoyed as most of America hopped on their bandwagon almost immediately. Moreover, I felt like this plan was flawed due to the rest of the bench. While some of my initial concerns with the Celtics, described in my NBA season preview were defense and point guard play, the Celtics certainly proved me wrong during the season, as they played great defense and Rondo was a great defensive asset. Plus, the Celtics added Sam Cassell for additional offensive punch (and because they really had no depth at PG). The Celtics proved me wrong during the season, but I could not escape my hatred from growing as they became even more successful throughout the season.

Nonetheless, my other concern with the Celtics still remains- Doc Rivers is the coach. Here is a man who already lost four playoff series (including once with Boston)- including blowing a 3-1 lead once (albeit to a young Pistons team w/ Billups, Rip, and a healthy Ben Wallace). What's bothered me to no end this entire season as the Celtics continued to win was the simple fact: would it even matter who the coach was? At this point, I think it's safe to say it does matter. In high school, you could possibly get by on all talent, but not in professional basketball.

Currently, for those not aware, the Celtics-Hawks series, is now TIED AT 2 games a piece. Even if the Celtics do somehow end up winning in 6, I still feel like that this shows, at least one some level, that coach Doc Rivers' ineptitude could eventually cause the Celtics to have an earlier exit than anticipated.

Kelly Dwyer, a former Sports Illustrated contributor, documents Doc Rivers' latest faux pas - leaving the older, slower Ray Allen on Joe Johnson, as Joe Johnson proceeds to score 20 points in the 4th quarter. As Dwyer alludes to, Coach Phil Jackson (and probably most other championship coaches) would never let the situation continue - especially when there were other defensive options on the Celtics roster... and even on the floor for the Celtics (Pierce? Posey?)

I also must say that I think it is entirely possible that Kevin Garnett may actually be the coach of the Celtics. By coach, I mean "motivator." If Garnett yells at someone to do something, or to learn how to help out on defense, the player probably will do it, or face the Wrath of Garnett. However, even if Garnett is somehow influencing the Celtics' play like a coach... Garnett can't possibly help out with the rotation, the time each player is on the floor, and even having someone else guard Joe Johnson. So, even if the Celtics can survive the 1st round, their exit before the NBA Finals is still an eventuality in my mind, not a possibility. And you know what? Despite the fact that I've always rooted for KG since his days in Minnesota, Boston's eventual early exit is something I am rooting for, as it will restore my faith in the theory that NBA Coaching does indeed have an effect on the outcome, especially when a complete moron is at the helm.

On a related note, I also would like to address the Cleveland Cavaliers' coach, Mike Brown. I have complained a lot about Mike Brown over the years, for the main reason that he has no offensive system. While this is dumb in my mind, Mike Brown does coach defense and coaches it well. I realize the Celtics did well defensively during the season, but I can't honestly say that the success at either end of the floor has anything to do with Doc Rivers.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Late Night Thought Round Up

Well as always a few thoughts to get out of the writer's block that plagues the inhabitant of the Columbus Fortress of Solitude.

In Mighty World 12 AM is when work starts

NFL Media Draft Thoughts
Well the NFL Draft as overhyped as it is gets maybe 4000 hours of live tv. There are entire legions of sports writers, technicians, editors and producers that make the draft run on ESPN before they are summarily executed and placed in a tomb much like the ancient warriors of Egypt. On the plus side I like Jaws break down and explanation of why a prospect who may have done well in college isn't worth it in the minds of a scout. I also liked Marcus Wiley who was respectful and insightful as opposed those used to cross-fire drooling with rage and idiocy (ahem Steve Largent). The biggest negative was Todd McShay, who took every opportunity to take shots at the Living Legend that is Mel Kiper Jr. McShay was arrogant, rude, and showed thinly veiled opportunism for making a name for himself. He single handedly made me turn the channel several times.
Todd McShay pre-haircut

End of an Era
Slightly under-reported during the draft was New England's youth movement at linebacker. First round ILB Jerod Mayo, 3rd Round OLB Shawn Crable and Late Round LB Bo Rudd. Yes the era of Bruschi, Vrabel and the other slow geriatic LBs is obviously drawing to a close. Given that its Belichek, in thanks for their service all will be given golden showers and left afloat in the Atlantic Ocean.

Thanks for the help Tedy
NBA Youth Movement
Hey remember when all those writers kept saying the Pistons and Celtics would sleep walk their way to the Eastern Conference Finals. Don't look now but the young and hungry ATL and Philly teams have it a series. Both series stand at 2-2. While Boston and Detroit might eek out victories given the dramatic gulf in age, the Hawks and 76ers will only get better while Boston and Detroit only getting worse. This year might be the last window of opportunity for both at this rate..

Anyway consider this an open thread for our Australian commentators....

Sunday, April 27, 2008

It's a Boy

Congrats to Uncle Gutsy. His sister gave birth to a 6'4 250 pound outside linebacker. Well my information was a little sketchy but that's the gist of what Mel Kiper told me (he knows everything). Nonetheless congrats to the Gutsy clan.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

NFL Draft First Day Thoughts

Thoughts for the Columbus Draft Day Impenetrable Fortress
File Photo of Mighty Mike

Lineman v. Skill Positions

Outside of the near record trades the story of the day was of lineman and skill positions. Offensive lineman scored a record number of picks while not a single wide receiver was drafted in round 1. What does this mean? It might mean that this was the true distribution of talent. It could also mean that teams somehow feel that lineman are better values now and hence the run on them (this belief of course will push down the percentage of solid picks)

Value v. Need- Pittsburgh, Carolina
One of the great questions in the draft is do you go with the best player or a position of need. Pittsburgh certainly went with the best players available. Mendenhall and Sweed were the 2nd best at each of their positions arguably. However the Steelers biggest need was an improvement in the o-line while both WR and RB weren't critical positions. Similarly Carolina and its drafting of talented RB and OL but leaving the QB position untouched.

Too Much of A Good Thing - Green Bay, Washington

Green Bay now has a whole stable of QBs that hasn't played a full season. Somewhere Aaron Rodgers is crying in the corner. He's one of Fare unretirement rumor away from committing suicide via Arby's. While not the same situation Washington drafted 3 receivers (2 WR and 1 TE) in the first 2 rounds. Each drafted has a different skill set and each talented but too much of a good thing?

First Day Winner - KC
Herm Edwards did something right. What next Matt Millen able to finish a child's coloring book? KC has a crazy idea of going super young. This is possibly because of they have need at every position thats not RB or water boy. So they addressed interior d-line, o-line, and corner. Of course they still need a QB and a defensive end but hey its a good start and frankly 3 starters is a haul anyway you define it.

First Day Loser - Detroit (easy) , Chicago (mayb
Detroit always does something stupid and this year was no different. Trading down to ensure that they got a crap player, well done. On the plus side I think the management avoided stabbing itself in the eye while making the actual pick. Chicago gets on the list because they had such an obvious need at QB and bypassed 3 QB choices. Are seriously going to subject Bear fans to another year of Sexy Rexy and Neck Beard Orton? Add in that they reached on their two picks and you get near the bottom of the barrel for the Chicago Bears Presented by Visa or whatever it is.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Good Idea , Bad Idea

So its near the end of the week and we all need a few guidelines on how to spend the weekend so let me try to lay down a few ones, good idea, bad idea style

Good Idea: Hanging out with Megan Fox FHM's 2008 Sexiest Woman

Bad Idea: Hooking up with Star Jones. Dear Lord Dwayne Wade . What are you thinking? Your a star. You have money. You know Charles Barkley. And all you can do is the person formerly known as Star Jones? She looks like the dessicated remains of a drowned rat.

Good Idea: Re-signing the Big Hurt for next to nothing. Seriously if your putting in the cleanup spot instaneously you know your offense needs it.

Bad Idea: Interacting with the Big Hurt at any time. I assume as part of the contract Thomas agreed to be tranquilized in between games and stored in a Hannibal Lector like restraining device.

Good Idea: Trading down in the NFL draft. I always encourage, especially this year with few super-stars but super-star down payments. Move lower (I also tell my masseuse this)

Bad Idea: Drafting Matt Ryan. I have bust written for whoever gets the booby prize

Bad Idea: Being attacked by a man-eating Pokemon. Definitely Bad.

Good Idea: Being attacked by Pamela David. Definitely Good

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Draft Picks, Geography and Conferences

Via elevenwarriors

USA Today did a breakdown of where NFL draft picks come from both geographically as well as collegiately (i.e. what university and what conference). By far California, Texas and Florida are the leading football factors. In fact they over-produce relative to their populations. Given the current southward population trends it bounds ill for fans of the Big 10.

You can find the breakdown graphic HERE

What Are You, Fuckin' Nuts?

The title of this post says it all. Neither the Redskins nor the Bengals front offices can be taken seriously anymore at this point. How can the Redskins continue to eschew the draft in favor of free agency and trades? Isn’t it clear that this strategy isn’t working? And as far as the Bengals are concerned, the Redskins offered them a way out of their nightmare with “Ocho Cinco” – and a gift at that – and they turned it down? Sure it’s probably expensive to have four top 20 picks in the next two seasons but isn’t it better to build a winner with four premium players while you still have a Pro-Bowl caliber QB in his prime?

I just can’t understand these two idiot teams. They deserve as many 5-11 seasons as their stupidity will bear.

Monday, April 21, 2008

NBA and Probabilities

I saw a statistic flash across my teevee which noted that in the NBA the team that won game 1 went on to win the series about 70-80% of the time. Now I'm sure there's lots of reasons for that but the bottom line then is that after game 1 only about 1-2 of the teams that lost, on average, should be expected to rebound. So who are the most likely to win the series after losing?

1) Detroit
Detroit is obviously lazy, complacent and headed by a coach who obviously gets confused by shiny objects. That said it did have the second best record in the East for a reason. I think Philadelphia matches up well with its length and speed but its inside game still leaves something to be desired. An under-reported fact was that Andre Miller abused Chauncy Billups which will be the key to the series

2) Phoenix
Yes I know the Spurs always seem to win against the Suns but before painting too dire of a picture lets remember that San Antonio needed a come behind 2 OT with Duncan hitting a 3 to win a game at HOME. Its a long series and a Phoenix win in game 2 suddenly swings the big MO in a major way.

3) Dallas
Dallas still has experience and Dirk. That has to count for something? Right? Hello is this thing on?

4) Washington
Yes I know they're down 2-0 now but the other teams with losses don't have a prayer. The hard fouling Wizards team just needs an injury to Lebron or Arenas to get back into this series. Seriously is there any one player thats caused bigger problems for the Wiz than Arenas? If the Cavs play the way they did in Game 2 not only is this series done but they'll test Boston in a major way.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Mock Draft 2008: The Power of the Internet

The Internet is so damn powerful that no one in the NFL can keep any secret same from the hordes of fans, reporters, and bloggers. Even Matt Stover’s email is not safe. Of course, an NFL GM could just hold a press conference, have your face turn red, AND make a Freudian slip.

In case anyone missed it, the Miami GM, Jeff Ireland, said at a press conference last week: “Of course I want guys that have great upside. This is the first pick in the draft. This guy is going to be -- you hope that he's a pillar of your defense for a long time."

Oops! After a reporter explained to Ireland his slip-up (that he just said he was drafting for DEFENSE), Ireland quickly tried to recover by saying:

"Pillar of your defense, or offense, or team. That's a Freudian slip." After digging an enormous hole, one of the reporters said that this might all be a smoke screen. Finally, Ireland was given a way out and said: "I'll let you guys decide!”

Anyways, time for my unqualified predictions. I actually had fun going through my old predictions where I praised WR Mike Williams and said Aaron Rodgers sucks , where I just realized that it’s already been 2 years since Reggie Bush took money in school and the investigation is still not complete , and where I praised OT Joe Thomas. See, I may be right only half the time, but at least I can entertain without wrecking the future of a franchise.

1. Miami – DE Vernon Gholston, OSU – As said above, the Dolphins are taking a defensive player for sure. So… go Buckeyes!
2. St. Louis – OT Jake Long, Michigan – Even in the NFL draft, the Wolverins can’t top the Buckeyes!
3. Atlanta – DT Glenn Dorsey LSU- The Falcons are not going to reach for a QB at this point.
4. Oakland – RB McFadden, Arkansas – You hear that awkward uncomfortable silence? That’s the silence Howie Long will hear when he calls Al Davis to convince Davis to pick Howie’s son, Chris. Al Davis responds, “yeah… I don’t think we’re going to do that.”
5. KC – OT -B. Albert, UVA - O-Line help is a must for the Chiefs. Or so the internet tells me.
6. NY Jets – QB Matt Ryan, Boston College – The Jets finally draft a successor for Chad Pennington. Coach Mangina of the Jets is very pleased with his new QB’s double-masculine name.
7. New England – CB Leodis McKelvin , Troy – The Patriots make a move to replace the departed Asante Samuel. However, this is probably too straight forward of a strategy. A more plausible scenario may be that the Pats instead trade down in exchange for a bundle of hooded sweatshirts so that they can pay their draft pick less money.
8. Baltimore –DE Chris Long, UVA – GM Ozzie Newsome doesn’t miss his chance to take the free-falling Chris Long. Meanwhile, proud father Howie Long then rips off his Raiders shirt, Hulk Hogan style, and puts on a new Ravens shirt.
9. Cincy – DT Sedrick Ellis, USC– A lot of websites say Cincy likes this DT. I assumed that they have to choose a receiver in a later round as Chris Henry was already released and Chad Johnson is demanding a trade. However, I assume they will wait until the 2nd round, because there are no highly rated receivers.
10. New Orleans - CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Tenn St. - The Saints are still desperate for a CB, and draft this guy, because the CB Cromartie on San Diego played so well last year. The two Cromarties actually are cousins , so the Saints also decide to also keep a hair sample of Cromartie just in case the NFL ever allows teams to clone their own players.
11. Buffalo – ILB Jerod Mayo, Tenn – The corporate Mayonnaise executives, including Hellmann’s and Miracle Whip, have been disappointed with the explosion in the last few decades of people eating Bleu Cheese and wings. Finally, the Mayonnaise executives find a way to penetrate the chicken wing market – and getting people to eat Mayonnaise and wings together at last – by having the Buffalo Bills draft Jerod Mayo and having Mayo promote chicken wings! Corporate America can be so evil. Anyways, the Mayonnaise executives are smart, because I’m sure Bills fans will try mayo on chicken wings, if for nothing else, than for promoting team spirit. Editor’s Note: Personally, I hate Mayo and don’t like it anymore, and find it repuslive. Please don't tell the Mayonnaise executives.
12. Denver – OT – Ryan Clady, Boise St. – The Broncos draft for their line. Yawn.
Later Picks
15. Detroit – RB Felix Jones, Arkansas – In a double-shocker, the Lions do NOT take a WR, and the Lions take the sweet RB from Arkansas not named McFadden, who averaged 8.7 yards per carry last season (and a whopping 7.6 yards per carry for his career as a backup to McFadden).

16. Arizona – RB Rashard Mendenhall, Illinois – The Cardinals make a move to replace Edgerrin James. That’s how it works in the NFL.

Round 2 – Atlanta – drafts QB Joe Flacco from Delaware whose helmet looks like Michigan’s.

Round 2 – Baltimore – drafts QB Brian Brohm from Louisville.

Round 4 – CAR – drafts QB Chad Henne from Michigan whose helmet looks like Delaware’s.

Corrections Week of 4/13-4/20

Dammit all.... you try to make a few posts and a few more errors come out. To avoid a blogger ethic panel being convened (since obviously the television media is far more transparent ) here's a further listing of corrections that I need to make.

1) It was incorrectly noted that Nick Saban is a paranoid ruthless dictator who revels in crushing the media in an impoverished nation. Nick Saban is in fact a paranoid ruthless COACH who revels in crushing the media in an impoverished state.

Not Nick Saban

2) It was incorrectly noted that Pete Carroll does not rock. Pete Carroll does in fact rock according to his facebook entry. We stand corrected.

(h/t EDSBS)

3) It was incorrectly reported that Bill Simmons was arrested for public masturbation at a recent Boston Celtics game. It was Peter King at a free Starbucks Charity Event.

4) It was incorrectly reported that the public buffoon looking into running for political office in Pennsylvania was Charles Barkley. In fact the public buffoon looking into running for political office in Pennsylvania was Chris Matthews. Barkley is considering it in Alabama.

5) It was incorrectly reported that the Mavs experience would help contain the Hornets and Chris Paul. The report did not include the sentence "assuming Chris Paul is also stricken with typhoid and therefore unable to use his superior athletic skills against the geriatric and clearly over-matched Jason Kidd."

6) It was incorrectly reported that David Stern would use his connections with the Free-Masons to control the outcome of the NBA playoffs and thereby insure a LA v. Boston Championship. In fact it is David Stern's connection to the STONECUTTERS that allow him to turn the NBA playoffs into a re-enactment of a Don King boxing match.

David Stern pictured above

7) It was incorrectly noted that Victoria Vannucci is currently dating Mighty Mike because of his hit show "Head-butting Sharks" and his general bad ass image. Victoria Vannucci is in fact only friends with Mighty Mike because of his hit show "Headbutting Sharks" and his general bad ass image.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The End of Reds Young Pitchers: Enter the Dusty Baker Era

I was just gamecasting and was annoyed at the managing of Dusty Baker so I decided to blog a little about how much of an idiot I think he is in managing. The Reds this year have two top prospects that are starting to pitch and are so far pitching well. Thomas Alva Edinson Volquez and Johnny Cueto. Today against the Cubbies, Volquez was pitching and through 4 innings he had 97 pitches, which is a rather large amount for a rookie. Dusty decided to put him back in in the 5th inning to the heart of the Cubs lineup. Volquez got two Ks and was able to get through the 5th registering 112 total pitches. In the top of the 6th, Volquez hit for himself for the last out and it looked like he was going to come in for another round, after 112 pitches??? Dusty took him out in the 6th but why even allow him to pitch after 100 pitches when you are a rookie? I am fearful that both Cueto and Volquez will have to have shoulder replacement surgery before they are allowed to drink. I did a little research on how Dusty goes through pitchers and here is what I came up with.

2000: Livan Hernandez (SF) #2 on the list of total pitches (I know that Livan is a workhorse and always tops the list, maybe this is where Dustys fascination with having pitchers pitch 120 pitches per game started, maybe he thinks everyone has the arm of Livan)
2001: Livan Hernandez (SF) #3, Russ Ortiz (SF) #28
2002: Livan Hernandez (SF) #2, Russ Ortiz (SF) #4, Jason Schmidt (SF) #15
2003: Kerry Wood (CHC) (at age 26)#2, Mark Prior (CHC) #4 (at age 22) , Carlos Zambrano (CHC) #11 (at age 22)
2004: Zambrano #3 (at age 23), Wood #16 (at age 27)
2005: Zambrano #2, Prior #3
2006: Zambrano #2

Volquez and Cueto are both screwed, and I would assume that Aaron Harang will have to have surgery too...I really hate Dusty Baker and wish he would have stayed off the field.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Gutsy's Biased NBA 2008 Playoff Preview

The year is 2008. And the NBA playoffs have never been as exhilarating, unpredictable, and exciting as this upcoming NBA playoffs! Typically in the NBA Playoffs, the exciting part is the anticipation of a great 2nd round matchup (e.g. Phoenix-San Antonio 2007, Dallas-San Antonio 2006) or the anticipation of the conference finals. This season, because of the depth of quality teams in the Western conference, every matchup is entirely unpredictable, and solid arguments can be made for any of the teams in the Western conference advancing or perishing in any of the rounds.

Western Conference
1-Lakers vs. 8-Denver – The Lakers have Kobe, Gasol, Lamar Odom, and spark-plugs off the bench in Walton, Radmonovic, and J. Farmar, plus, Coach Phil Jackson has a new hip, which will help him argue better with the referees (seriously, if you're sitting down, the refs just won't respect you). As for the Nuggets, they actually had 2 changes in the 2nd half to their lineup to help them make the playoff push (and beat out Golden State):

1) they started playing Anthony Carter at PG and

2) JR Smith started hitting his 3s at an even better clip than last season. Anthony Carter as a starting PG is one of the stranger developments for this season. He pretty much has been a journeyman, and I never even remember him excelling, even in his “better” days at Miami (they were never really great days to reminisce about). AC has been averaging a sick 10 assists per game, and even knocks down his shots if you tempt him. JR Smith is the biggest X-factor, because he is an extremely streaky 3-point shooter. He’s averaging like 16 ppg on 46% shooting from 3-point land in the 2nd half of the season… OFF THE BENCH. Yowsers. Of course the problem is that the Nuggets still don’t play defense and seem to go through the motions defensively.

Pick: Lakers in 5

4-Utah vs. 5-Houston- The Jazz started out the season a bit cold, like some kind of hangover from last season’s surprising conference finals run. However, since January, the Jazz have been one of the best in the league. They still are just as solid as last season, and they still have Deron Williams, Boozer, and their hard-nosed coach who is serving a life-term as coach and emperor of the Jazz, similar to a Supreme Court Justice. Another reason for the improved play? Mehmet Okur got out of his cold funk and started putting up great numbers in the 2nd half of the season. Meanwhile, as the Rockets were making their season-defining 22-game win streak, including 12 wins AFTER Yao was lost to injury, one thing kept going through my head: how would they ever adjust once they started losing games? The answer: not particularly well. The good news for the Rockets is that Coach Adelman has really changed the team quite rapidly. For those who don’t know: the Rockets are using a similar offensive system as the Kings did back in 2000-2003 when Adelman was coaching the Kings and the Kings had one of the best offenses. Actually, I read that the real reason that the Rockets unloaded bonzi wells at the trade deadline: it was to get PG Bobby Jackson, who was PG for 20+ minutes per game on those Kings’ teams. Jackson knows the offense, so Adelman felt more comfortable with having him chip in some minutes off the bench. Now that Rafer Alston is going to miss AT LEAST the first two games of the playoffs with a hamstring, Bobby Jackson's contributions will be very instrumental if the Rockets have even a prayer of advancing. Unfortunately, the Rockets made a big step forward this season, but I don’t believe it can translate to a playoff victory, short of Luis Scola playing out of his mind down low.
Pick: Jazz in 5

3-San Antonio vs. 6-Phoenix – Duncan. Shaq. Parker. Nash. Cue the John Tesh music!
The Suns have Nash, Amare Stoudemire, Raja Bell, Grant Hill, Shaq, Barbosa, and not a whole lot more after that.

Seriously though, there’s only one thing to say about this matchup: this is where the Suns lose and MJ loses “the bet.” For those who are unaware, “the bet” was made after the Shaq trade was consummated. Here are the details:
1) if the Phoenix Suns make the conference finals or do better: THEN MJ wins, and Gutsy Goldberg, a Cleveland Browns fan, has to write a serious article praising the Baltimore Ravens
2) if the Phoenix Suns lose in the 2nd or 1st round: THEN Gutsy Goldberg wins, and MJ, a New York Yankees fan, has to write a serious article "complimentary about Boston sports."
The Spurs are as good as always. I could write all day on their versatility, strengths, and lack of weaknesses. But in the end, there’s only one sure thing about the Spurs: they do not win championships in even-numbered years. There’s something psychological there, as if they just don’t exert the same amount of effort as they do in odd-numbered years. I'm really waffling on this one, but let's just assume a miracle happens and the Suns survive.

Pick: Suns in a game 7, triple OT buzzer-beater

2-New Orleans vs. 7-Dallas –
Dallas, took a giant step backwards at the trade deadline: when they got rid of Diop (who was splitting time at center) and speedy PG Devin Harris to pick-up the aging wonder, Jason Kidd. I stand by my analysis at the trading deadline: this was a dumb trade. It’s going to look even more dumb as Chris Paul runs wild on Jason Kidd (similar to how Tony Parker ran wild on the Cavs in last year’s finals when no one else was fast enough to keep up with him). The Hornets have been a huge surprise, even for those people cool enough to predict them to make the playoffs, no one could have predicted they would be a top-3 seed. Have to figure that the Hornets win unless Bonzi Wells starts a bench-clearing brawl resulting in Chris Paul being suspended.

Pick: Hornets in 6

2nd round –
1- Lakers vs. 4- Utah – This should be a fun one. Especially because I'm assuming the coaches hate each other. I also think it should be funny when Derek Fisher hits a game-winning 3 against Utah, his team from last year.
Pick: Lakers in 6

2-Hornets vs. 6-Suns– Chris Paul will make mince meat of Nash. More importantly, the Hornets have the big men (West, Chandler) to handle Amare and Shaq well enough to advance.
Pick: Hornets in 6

Conference Finals
1-Lakers vs. 2-Hornets – Lakers win. But, the rest of America will be stunned at the fine play of Chris Paul, Stojakovic, David West, and especially Tyson Chandler. Coach Byron Scott will get a chance at revenge, back from when his Nets got swept in the 2002 NBA Finals. If the Hornets pull off a miracle, it will be because Chandler may be the best defensive center in the league. More likely though, the Lakers advance yet again, unless Bonzi Wells starts a bench-clearing brawl and takes Kobe out with a double-axe handle followed by a steel chair to Kobe’s shooting hand.

Editor's Note: I considered having the Suns play the Lakers in the conference finals, just so that I could say "If there was any way for Shaq’s career to end, nothing would be more poetic than him getting schooled by Andrew Bynum, the man who was drafted to replace him!" Then I used logic and realized that would never happen because 1) Bynum probably isn't playing this postseason and 2) Shaq and the Suns aren't that good.

Eastern Conference
1-Boston vs. 8-Atlanta – Remember when Bird had that showdown with Dominique Wilkins in the playoffs? That was fun. As crazy as this sounds, I think the Hawks are going to actually make the Celtics sweat. Not sure how the Celtics are going to deal with the mobile, big-man in Josh Smith, or the man-child center of Al Horford. I also like the storyline of Joe Johnson going against the team that he started with.
Pick: Boston in 6.

4-Cleveland vs. 5-Washington – The Cavs have knocked out the Wizards the last 2 years. The Wizards will finally take this one, because the Cavs have been playing terribly for the last 20 games. No one’s been healthy, no one (other than Lebron, and even he has a bad back now) is in mid-season form and the Cavs’ blockbuster trade can only be successful if big-man Ben Wallace plays like 90% of his former self, not like a middle-aged man with a bad back.
#s before the trade for the Cavs (through 2/22): Record 31-24, Reb Margin, Point Differential: FG 43.9%, Opp. FG%, 3P 36.2%, Opp. 3P%
#s after the trade (from 2/23 through 4/12): Record 13-12, Reb Margin , Point Differential: 1.76; FG 44.0%, Opp. FG%, 3P 35.7%, Opp. 3P%

Editor's Note: I will fill these numbers in later, I couldn't find them anywhere surprisingly, and I already started a spreadsheet to calculate the numbers manually.

Pick: Wizards in 6.

3-Orlando vs. 6-Toronto – This should be the most fun series in the East. Who would have thought? Toronto has been atrocious since the All-star break but the losses mainly happened when Chris Bosh was injured. Meanwhile, Orlando has been relatively consistent all season, as Rashard Lewis has provided some points, and enough of a distratction defensively along with C Dwight Howard, to allow Turkoglu to have his best season.

Pick: Orlando in 6

2-Detroit vs. 7-Philly – The year after Iverson leaves, the 76ers still are able to make the playoffs! Even more surprising, the 76ers are actually one of the best teams in the NBA in the 2nd half! I actually think this will be a very entertaining series.

Pick: Detroit in 6.

2nd round
1-Boston vs. 5-Washington – Very interesting, because Washington played well against Boston this year, including back-to-back victories on consecutive days WITHOUT Arenas! Now with Arenas in the lineup though, Washington doesn’t have quite as much team spirit as they had during the season, as Arenas takes so many shots each night.
Pick: Boston in 7

2-Detroit vs. 3-Orlando – I think this will be an easier battle for the Pistons. Not sure how they are going to handle Dwight Howard. However, Orlando’s suspect PG play will result in a Pistons victory, and Orlando acquiring a new PG this off-season, as Jameer Nelson has not been very good nor has his backup.
Pick: Detroit in 5

Conference Finals
1-Boston vs. 2-Detroit – Screw Boston.
Pick: Detroit in 6

NBA Finals
1-Lakers vs 2- Detroit – A classic matchup, happening for the 3rd time since 1989. No one has the horses to deal with the Lakers. Not w/ Kobe, Gasol, and Lamar Odom. It will be really funny if they win, considering I'm assuming they won't even get Bynum back. And it won't even matter! I would even choose the Lakers over Boston, despite Boston’s gaudy 25-5 record against the West.

Pick: Lakers

Simmons v. The Man

Bill Simmons, who is obviously no friend of this blogger especially after that incident with the fried zucchini, attempted to do with a sports themed podcast with Barak Obama. Now I thought sports journalism was supposed to provide a forum to entertain, educate as well as get ratings. I'm not certainly no marketing expert but I imagine a presidential candidate would fill those 3 issues. Certainly ESPN has shied away from having Bush (and previously Kerry) on various forums for the same purpose. However higher up execs cancelled the Simmons podcast at the last minute (oh and coincidentally the ESPN president is a big McCain donor)

Now this isn't necessarily a pro-Obama let alone a pro-Simmons pitch but I for one would never want limitations on peoples access to a candidate on any forum for well any reason. Not to say I want McCain doing guest spots on 30 rock but interviews with a variety of different individuals might shed light on whats an important race. What's your guys take on the roll of sports journalist covering political figures and political activities?

Monday, April 14, 2008

So Much Love

Thanks to Matt Yglesias I was laughing for a good 15 minutes when he noted the URL for Pen Island. And yes I have obviously have the maturity of a 12 year old.

Basically, some organizations have names that, while totally vanilla and inoffensive, don't translate well to the space-free domain of the URL. Consider, for example, Pen Island "the best pens on the internet" and available at which if you, like me, have the emotional age of a twelve year-old will find hilarious.

I won't even attempt to connect it to sports.....

Saturday, April 12, 2008

So much Hate

(from KSK)

I'm uncertain whether this picture makes me hate the Steelers more or Hillary more. I do know anything associated with the Steelers deserves to have its ear canal penetrated with a pine cone.

Friday, April 11, 2008

I Smell A Crook...

Although I’m not a blind supporter of all labor unions, I’m as pro-labor as they come when we’re talking about the sports leagues (NFL/MLB/NBA). When the head of a player’s union is fighting to keep his job, however, there is something about that which strikes me as unseemly. Somehow I don’t trust a guy who is supposed to be an advocate for his players who fights too hard to hang on to a well-paying job.

Gene Upshaw has done some good things for the NFL Players Association. But he’s also demonstrated a very dark side in how he relates to former players (his peers from his playing days, incidentally) and I’m beginning to wonder if Upshaw isn’t more enamored with the power and the lifestyle than he is with doing his job on behalf of the people who pay his salary.

I just don’t trust this guy...

Thursday, April 10, 2008

April Corrections

Well the Madness is over and we can all get back to the task at hand of writing books (Mighty), providing prostitutes to various city mayors (MJ) or devouring the souls of men (Hitman). However before we can go forward we must look back. I'm not sure why but for reasons that I fully don't understand (mainly as I don't understand words like "cease" or "desist" or "pending lawsuit") our legal department has informed me I have to issue a few corrections.

1) It was incorrectly reported that FIA President Max Mosley apologized for taking part in a sado-masochistic Nazi theme orgy with 5 prostitutes. Mosley did not apologize and instead complained to Mel Gibson about those unfairly out to get him.

2) It was incorrectly reported that Bill Self demanded armed guards for more job security at KU. Bill Self actually demanded gold bullion be dumped on his front lawn as gold is obviously the only source of security. Self refused to accept silver KU offered as it didn't offer enough security.

3) It was incorrectly reported that Dick Rod at Meechigan had his star offensive lineman resign because of a lack of family values. According to EDSB the real reason was due to the mandatory work out to this exercise tape which continually resulted in epileptic seizures.

4) It was incorrectly reported that the Detroit Tigers won their first baseball game of the season. Apparently baseball does not officially start till June.

5) It was incorrectly reported that Joe Paterno went on an insane rant about not caring about his contract status. Joe Paterno went on an insane rant before attempting to feed on the brains of the living in reaction to the lack of progress on his contract.

6) It was incorrectly reported that Lance Allred is the first legally deaf player in NBA history. Lance Allred is actually the first NBA player to be raised in a polygamous compound. The deaf thing is just an act, that he's be doing his entire life.

7) It was incorrectly reported that the Pittsburgh Steelers Mascot, Steely McBeam, was arrested for intoxication. Steely McBeam was arrested for mopery while publicly intoxicated.

Whew I think thats everything. I hope that gets me off the hook.....

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

College Basketball Survivor Tournament

Editor's Note: This column was inspired by a conversation held during one of the tournament games last week, between Gutsy Goldberg, Nat McCarron, and Nat McCarron's fiancee.

In the spirit of competition, rivalry, and madness of the March persuasion, we submit to you, our esteemed colleagues, friends and peers, our proposal for a new college basketball tournament to coincide with the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship, the NIT, and the College Basketball Invitational (the "CBI"). For those who were unaware, the CBI had its first year, and was a 16-team tournament to crown a champion. And by champion, I mean the 98th best team in the land (because 65 play in the NCAA, 32 play in the NIT).

Our new college basketball tournament, the COLLEGE BASKETBALL SURVIVOR TOURNAMENT, will rival the more senior tournaments in excitement, skill, strategy, and funk. Yes, we said funk. True, many teams may be preoccupied with the so-called “premier” or “established” championship tournaments. But I think you’ll agree, after we set forth the components of this tournament, 114th Place never looked so damn good.

The College Basketball Survivor Tournament (the "CBST")
Mission Statement: To boldly go where no man has gone – 114th Place – in a truly Risk-meets-Statego style forum.

Participants: Any Division I team who wishes to put themselves to the test, accept a bid, and face the most exhausting, exhilarating, taxing, and ultimately rewarding endeavor college basketball has seen since the days before intentional fouls were frowned upon.

The Reward: Here's the part where we are really going to get some ratings and ticket sales. The overall winner of the College Basketball Survivor Tournament receives not only the distinction of being the 114th best team, BUT they also receive two other amazing rewards:
1) An automatic berth to the following year’s NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship. If the team is really bad the next year, they'll be in the play-in game. If they are really good, the Secret Selection Committee will seed them appropriately.
2) The winning team also gets some kick ass warm up pants with matching sweatbands for the next year.

Rules of the CBST:
1. 64 teams, 6 rounds, classic NCAA tournament style.
2. First two rounds are played in one weekend with games back to back to back for just over 24 hours straight at only 4 venues.
3. Last four rounds are played in one weekend with games back to back to back to back for just over 24 hours straight at only 1 venue.
4. Each player gets 20 fouls to use throughout the course of the entire tournament. Once he’s fouled out, he’s done.
5. Each team gets 10 time outs to use throughout the course of the entire tournament. Once they’re gone, it’s up to the team to figure it out themselves. Chris Webber would be in some serious shit.
6. All players must wear microphones so that the audience can hear trash talk between players. (Obviously the microphones will be turned off during time-outs and team discussions.)
7. Flagrant abuse of the referee system (i.e. pathetically attempting to draw a foul by flailing about like a velociraptor as the ball drops to the ground going nowhere near the basket) results in a technical foul.

1. MVP of the Championship Game – rewards the most talented, intelligent player who has managed to make it to the final game
2. MVP of Duds – rewards the most stylish, trendy player who has managed to look good throughout the entire tournament
3. MVP of Trash Talk – rewards the most clever, articulate player who has managed to talk the talk without requiring any (bleep)-ing bleeps
4. MVP of Style – rewards the player with the most fly moves both on the way to the basket and after the fact (moonwalking is encouraged)

Clearly, this is a tournament that all teams will want to take part in and the NBA will take seriously into consideration when determining who to recruit.


On Saturday, when Memphis beat UCLA and Kansas beat UNC, a friend asked me “So, who are you rooting for now?” My answer to that question was that, basically, I was rooting for a tornado to sweep through San Antonio. I couldn’t bring myself to root for either team in large part because both coaches have such greasy personalities.

12 hours after winning a national title with Kansas, Coach Bill Self was revealing his true colors:

“What I’d like to have is like everybody’d like to have,” Self said. “I’d like to have some security...When I say security, I mean years, so hopefully that’ll happen.”...The school gave Self a five-year contract extension last season, increasing his annual compensation to more than $1.3 million with a chance to make another $350,000 each year if he meets incentives.

I believe in free agency and I defend an individual’s right to get the best deal for him or herself. I also believe in the value of a contract. If Kansas gave Self a five year extension last year, wouldn’t that mean he has four years left? Does four years at $1.3M per season not represent security? Scumbag.

The best congratulations I can give KU is if they do the right thing and let Self walk to Oklahoma State – where the program is in shambles – for his payday. KU won’t have a hard time replacing their head coach. A top program like that will have the pick of the litter.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Congrats Kansas

Rock Chalk Jayhawks (well the hell does that mean anyway?) defeated Memphis to win the NCAA Championship. Super Nintendo Chalmers hit a ridiculous shot to send the game into over-time where KU sealed the deal. An outstanding back and forth game. Kansas' comeback with about 2 and 1/2 minutes will go down as one of the better comebacks and certainly one of the more bitter bills for Memphis to swallow. That said I'm sure we will see at least half dozen of those players in the NBA at some point. I think Rose has certainly made the case as a possible number 1 over Michael Beasley for the draft. But that discussion is for another day, tonight congrats to KU (umm and hope you don't lose your coach to OSU (as in Oklahoma State)

Wednesday, April 02, 2008


So, I realize I never formally introduced myself to the other contributors on here. I am currently a Ph.D. candidate at IU. I went to school at Penn, and I'm from Cleveland. Thus, I have a particular interest in Cleveland teams, Philly sports, Ivy league sports, and Big 10 sports (and, most obviously, the Hoosiers). I will be contributing mainly on these, but I also have an interest in Sabremetrics and other statistically related sports analysis. So, Gutsy and Mike - who were big fans of the Cleveland trade - I'll give it another month (until the Cavs lose in the first round of the playoffs), but I feel like my instantaneous analysis of the Cleveland megatrade has borne more truth than your instantaneous analysis of the trade. Team chemistry matters, and a contributing Gooden is a hell of a lot better than a back-spasming, needs a cane to walk, Wallace. And why can't any perimeter shooters that Cleveland picks up continue to shoot once they get here? My theory is not enough PT or game situation shots. Wally is going the way of Marshall, and West is just as inconsistent and irrelevant as Larry Hughes was. All I can say is before the trade we were winning (like 70-80% of our games) when we were healthy, and we were a .500 team when we were not. Now, we're a sub .500 team. I haven't done the stats... but... the trade stinks.

The Crean and Crimson

Wow. Who saw this coming. I wonder what IU is paying Tom Crean? My guess is about 2.5 million (the announcement today said 2.3 million), I mean, I thought he was making about 1.7 million at Marquette - and to come to a school facing additional sanctions (though IU really doesn't deserve any additional sanctions), and a program is in complete disarray, with Dumbass Dakich kicking the 2 best remaining players off the team. So, my analysis of this - is that it made my day. All of a sudden it doesn't matter that my computer has booted for its last time - IU has a basketball program again - there is hope! I mean, Crean was my top choice when we were dicking around and ended up hiring Sampson. The rumor at the time was that we couldn't afford Crean. Thus, I am very pleasantly surprised that we came up with the money now! Anyhow - its a good day to be a Hoosier - and there haven't been many of those lately. And if I were Eric Gordon, I'd look at what Crean did with Dwayne Wade and consider staying another year.