Monday, June 30, 2008

Assault Is Now Part Of Manny Being Manny

Nothing in baseball irritates me more than the ridiculous double-standard that surrounds Manny Ramirez’s anti-social, selfish, narcissistic, petulant, and attention-seeking behavior. At this point, ESPN has practically trademarked the phrase “Manny being Manny” as the catch-all excuse for anything he does that would be considered irregular or unacceptable behavior for anyone else.

I want an answer to this question: how is this so different than this? How come ESPN didn’t waste any time reporting the Shawn Chacon story but waited nearly two days before telling us that Manny Ramirez did the same thing? Where are the editorials calling for Manny to be dismissed from the team? Where are the hordes of writers unleashing their inner Republican on Manny Ramirez’s most recent act of total insubordination and unprofessionalism?

Manny is a first-ballot Hall of Famer and one of the best hitters in baseball history. Shawn Chacon is a totally forgettable pitcher who will now be remembered more for physically assaulting his GM than for anything he did on the field. That’s the only difference between these two individuals; that, and the double-standard which now has Chacon sitting at home as an ex-ballplayer and Ramirez hitting cleanup for Boston in tonight’s game against Tampa Bay.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

And Now For Something Completely Different

I just figured we hadn't had enough music videos from India lately on the blog....

Friday, June 27, 2008

More Baseball Quickies

1. I am goddamn sick and tired of people unleashing their inner Republican every time an athlete makes a mistake. In some cases, yes, a law-and-order point of view is totally warranted. Trying to bring a handgun through airport security? You’re an irresponsible asshole and you deserve to be punished. Beat your girlfriend and stiffed her on child support payments? You should be locked up for a few months until you realize that real men don’t beat on women. Beat up your GM? You ought to...

What Shawn Chacon did was irrational and extreme. One should only resort to physical violence in self-defense. But Pearlman’s article is offensive. Why is this guy insulting Chacon? Why is he calling him names? When did we forget that there are two sides to every story? Just as Chacon was totally wrong for throwing his boss to the ground, Ed Wade was way out of line in his tone with the pitcher. You can’t talk to people that way. You can’t demean your employees and curse at them.

I don’t condone violence but I also don’t condone employers being verbally abusive in the workplace. In some twisted way, Ed Wade (and PJ Carlessimo before him) got what they deserved. They’ll remember their run-ins the next time they decide to use their position of authority to talk down to their employees.

And to Jeff Pearlman I simply say this: John Rocker is an asshole, but he’d have had every right to clean your clock, you self-righteous little shit.

2. I’ve railed time and again that MLB has a different standard of treatment for the Yankees. Because the Yankees are good for business – both attendance and TV ratings alike – I’ve noticed that they are given an inordinate amount of night games. Now, as a person who works during the day, I don’t mind getting home knowing that most of the weekday games are on after I get home from work. But from a labor justice point of view, this is pretty unfair.

Case in point, the Yankees recently played an interleague series with the Pittsburgh Pirates. This will likely be one of the only times (if not the only time) the Pirates are able to sell out PNC Field. The Yanks have a day/night doubleheader scheduled today against the New York Mets. The first game (2:05 pm) will be at Yankee Stadium and will be a makeup of the rain-cancelled game originally scheduled for May 16th. The second game (8:05 pm) will be at Shea Stadium and will kick off the normal three game “road” portion of the series for the Yanks.

At any point over the last month, MLB could’ve moved up the start of last night’s finale in Pittsburgh from 7:05 pm to 4:05 pm and still guaranteed a better-than-average turnout for the Pirates. Moving up last night’s game would’ve allowed the Yanks to leave Pittsburgh at a decent hour in order to prepare for today’s taxing doubleheader. Further complicating matters is the fact that last night’s game had a 2.5 hour rain delay before the game was finally cancelled. So not only did the Yanks have to stick around Pittsburgh knowing that they’d get back to New York in the wee hours, they had to sit through a rain delay only for them to be forced to come back on an off-day on July 10th.

Other teams are given “getaway” games at earlier hours. Considering the fact that MLB has known about the Yanks tight schedule for a month, it would’ve been the right thing to do to let the Yanks play earlier on Thursday.

I’m tired of the Yanks being used as baseball’s meal-ticket. I’m tired of every other team taking advantage of what a home series against the Yanks means to their bottom line. There needs to be a tradeoff. You either take our money (revenue sharing/luxury tax) or you schedule games more equitably for the Yanks. Why should the Yankee players suffer one iota so that rich owners in other cities can get richer?

Thursday, June 26, 2008

2008 NBA Draft Instant Analysis - Rush Family Reunion

Here are some thoughts on the 4th annual NBA Draft roundup on some of the moves:

1) Rush Brothers Unite!

Brandon Rush got drafted by the Trail Blazers, then traded to the Indiana Pacers... where his brother, Kareem Rush, was playing! Apparently, Kareem still needs to sign a contract this offseason. I wonder if the Pacers want to reunite the Rush family, or if they just wanted a younger Rush brother. Of course, they could just go out and find oldest brother JaRon Rush, who was a stud at UCLA before declaring for the NBA draft... and not getting selected. Seriously though, Brandon Rush seems better than either of his brothers. We shall see.

2) Milwaukee Bucks Get a Steal

The Bucks were able to trade Bobby Simmons, who only has 2 years left, and the great unknown in Yi Jianlin to New Jersey in exchange for Richard Jefferson. Jefferson was a bit banged up last year, but it's an excellent trade for Milwaukee, and they really have absolutely no excuses for not making the playoffs this season.

The internet rumors are rampant with the theory that the Nets dumped Jefferson with the sole goal of clearing out even more room for LeBron James in 2010. Clearly, I can only hope that LeBron wants to stay in Cleveland, but it's funny that the Nets are going to essentially throw away this season and next for their chance at LeBron. Of course, you could also subscribe to the theory that the Nets believe that Yi is going to blossom into a dominating superstar!

However, interestingly enough, the Nets had 3 draft picks, and all of them (Brook Lopez, Ryan Anderson (top scorer in the PAC-10, and Chris Douglas-Roberts) are known as offensive players who don't play much defense. It should be interesting at least this season!

3) 2nd Round Value Picks

I've really liked Bill Walker from Kansas State, who went to the Wizards, but then was traded to the Celtics for cash. Damn. I would have traded cash for Bill Walker if I knew that's all it took.

The Heat supposedly acquired Mario Chalmers from Kansas, who is a PG to take some pressure off D. Wade.

4) Portland Trail Blazers Trading for Darrell Arthur

At 11:30PM EST, the NBA executive goes to the podium, and says, "we have a trade to announce!" Everyone gets all excited. Suddenly, he explains that the Hornets are trading Darrell Arthur... "for cash considerations!" Immediately the whole arena gets quiet. The NBA is supposed to understand entertainment. Simply trading money for a 1st rounder is just not very exciting for any fan.

UPDATE: After getting traded to Portland for cash, Arthur was packaged to Houston to acquire Batum from France. Then Houston reportedly traded Arthur to Memphis. Arthur was in the leage for only 5 hours before getting traded three times! (from the Hornets to Portland to Houston to Memphis)

5) The Ugliness of Stuart Scott's Interviews of NBA GMs

Stuart Scott interviews GM Larry Bird and proceeds to ask him about the trade for Brandon Rush. Bird then explains that he can't talk about the trade because it's not official yet, and it's only "speculation." Stuart Scott then asks a follow-up question: "so, are you excited about acquiring TJ Ford?" Bird hesitated and seemed like he was going to rip Stuart Scott in half through the satellite feed. Bird continued to act professional though and just again explained that he can't talk about this trade either and that it's only "speculation." Finally Stuart Scott ended the painful interview... to only interview Golden State GM Chris Mullin. Instead of asking about Mullin's selections, Stuart Scott goes for the jugular and asks, "so what are your plans for free agency?" Honestly, does Stuart Scott really believe that Mullin can talk about this??? Mullin then gave a very nice answer about "improving the team." Someone at ESPN needs to prep Stuart Scott to make sure he's asking questions that people can actually answer!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Third Time's The Charm?

Although preseason predictions have all the value of an umbrella in a hurricane, one of ESPN’s college football gurus is predicting that The Ohio State Buckeyes will be back for a third try at the BCS National Championship Game. Will they beat the Georgia Bulldogs? Hey, who knows. But the Big-10 doesn’t seem like it’ll be much of a test for OSU this year which means that, barring any upsets, the Buckeyes have a great shot at going undefeated.

Oh, and for those of you that follow minor league college football, the University of Michigan is being picked for that super-sexy Champs Sports Bowl. Love it. This piece of crap bowl has had six name-changes in its 17-year history. Nelson Muntz says it best, Wolverines fans.

Karmic Eff-You To Shaq

“You know the kind of guy who does nothing but bad things, and then wonders why his life sucks? Well...that was me. Every time something good happened to me, something bad was always waiting around the corner. Karma. That’s when I realized I had to change. So, I made a list of everything bad I’ve ever done and, one by one I’m going to make up for all my mistakes. I’m just trying to be a better person. My name is Earl.”

Hey Shaq, don’t mess with karma, it’ll bite you in the ass. Works every time...gotta love it!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Random Thought Tuesday

Just a few random thoughts before a little analysis of the NBA Draft breaks out on Thursday

1) A little grossed out but I respect Steven Jackson's commitment to his sport. Not the path I'd choose tho....

2) Its that time of the year where the great trade 'o machine for baseball really revs up. Outside of CC I could really care less on who is traded but a more interesting question to me is if the trade volume will be larger than last year (i.e. lot of trades, interesting trades or mainly nothing?)

3) After long discussions and introspection I've decided it might not even be worth predicting the NFC this year. Wildcards? Really? You want to make guesses on Wildcards? If I had to guess its going to be status quo save for the return of the Saints. Come August I imagine I'll totally ignore what I say here but thats the beauty of blogging (or being President) is that you never have to say you are wrong

4) Umm how dead is the sports world if Don Imus and a rapping Shaq are the top items of discussion? Seriously.....

Monday, June 23, 2008


Can you think of a trade that makes less sense than this? What would the Toronto Raptors do with an unmotivated, overpaid, and injured Jermaine O’Neal when they already have his younger and more able-bodied doppelganger in Chris Bosh?

I’ll just assume this is a media-concocted rumor. There’s just no other explanation.

Jayson Stark Fiddles While MJ Burns

With the news that Curt Schilling's career might be done, attention has turned to whether #38 should be enshrined in Cooperstown. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Jayson Stark takes on all comers in his defense of Schilling's candidacy.

Although Stark's passion is a little more strident than my personal opinions on the matter...I think it's a very close call. He wasn't THE dominant pitcher of his era - that honor goes to the likes of Clemens, Maddux, Randy Johnson, and Pedro. Further, although he had some truly dominant seasons, primarily from 1997-2004, the rest of his career is not overwhelming (1992 notwithstanding). In the end, I think he'll make it in, but it won't be on the first ballot and if he doesn't make it, I won't be too shocked.

What say the ESPN/Red Sox-loving Back Seat Drivers?

Baseball Quickies

1. Straight from the No Shit Sherlock department: Nomar Garciaparra apparently has a genetic predisposition to slow recovery time. Um, ya think? Nomar can’t stay healthy to save his life and every single time he’s hurt it seems like he misses months at a time. This guy is beyond old news. If Nomar were a racehorse, he’d already be in the glue factory by now.

2. If Major League Baseball is a $6 billion dollar industry, why can’t it get its act together to pay the Oakland A’s for their trip to Japan? What’s taking so long? Players don’t trust management for a laundry list of reasons already. Not getting paid for services that took place three months ago is unacceptable. Imagine if MLB had an unpaid receivable that was three month olds. Imagine how quickly MLB’s bean counters and lawyers would be chasing down the deadbeat that was stiffing them. This is just one more thing that makes Bud Selig look unprofessional and sleazy.

3. Met dysfunction is apparently on full display now that team owner Fred Wilpon has thrown GM Omar Minaya under the bus. When the owner makes the GM look like a liar (and a heartless one, at that), you know the GM is now officially on the hook. If the Mets don’t make the playoffs, count on Minaya being slowly roasted on the media rotisserie before he’s finally carved up and served to a restive and blood-thirsty fanbase.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

2008 NBA Draft Preview

Rose or Beasley? That's what the Chicago Bulls have to debate at the #1 pick, which is a very enviable decision to have to be made. Other interesting stories abound as we approach draft night on June 26 (Thursday night)...

1) Where will OJ Mayo go?
I find OJ Mayo to be one of the more interesting players in the draft. Despite losing in the 1st round of the NCAA Tourney in his only season, he still has a lot of potential and teams are clamoring to draft him. The other interesting phenomenon is how he has tainted USC's basketball program by (allegedly) taking money, just like Reggie Bush tainted USC's football program by (allegedly) taking money.

2) Which teams like Kevin Love?
Kevin Love was fantastic in college... but as anyone may know who watched him this season, he can hardly move and is one of the slowest guys on the court. Of course, he knows how to shoot jumpers, make post-up moves (at least on collegiate players), and appears to know how to rebound. His speed is such a question mark that K-Love could go as high as #5 or drop to #10 or even lower.

3) Which team will get suckered into drafting Eric Gordon from Indiana?
Eric Gordon is a poor man's Allen Iverson, as he's small and likes to take a lot of shots. I just don't think he's nearly as good or as quick as Iverson ever was.

4) Brook Lopez or Robin Lopez?
The twin 7-foot centers will both be drafted in the first round. Brook is known as more of an offensive player, while Robin is known as more of a defensive player. I'm very curious to see where each get drafted as it appears from various mock drafts that the number of picks that separate the two appears to be less than originally thought a few months ago.

5) What kind of help will LeBron get?
An argument can be made for virtually any position for the Cavs. I would prefer a scorer who can create his own shot for the Cavs. Perhaps either Brandon Rush (Kansas) or Chris Douglas-Roberts (Memphis) would fit there, if they are still available at #19. If the Cavs decide to go big because B. Wallace and Z may be gone within one year, I just hope the Cavs avoid Koufos from Ohio State who is a real long-term project.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Miracle Man Guus Hiddink and his Guuseum

Guus Hiddink is currently the coach of the Russian soccer team. This past week, Guus Hiddink maintained his status as perhaps the greatest coach of the soccer world as he got the unheralded Russians through to the Quarterfinals at the European Championships (aka Euro 2008). Not only did he get the Russians through, they were simply relentless and attacked the entire game as they beat Sweden 2-0 (though it could have easily been 5-0 by my count).

I realize that most Americans may not know who Guus Hiddink is, so let's just go through his resume briefly:
1998 World Cup - taking the Netherlands to the semifinals
2002 World Cup - taking South Korea, a team that had never won a World Cup game, to the semifinals
2006 World Cup - taking Australia to the 2nd round at the World Cup (and possibly further had the refs not screwed up a call against eventual champions Italy)

Basically, Guus Hiddink does not fail. I really enjoyed this explanation by Grant Wahl of on the greatness of Guus Hiddink:

"Hiddink has mastered how to motivate players in short-term tournaments, but he also knows how to build teams over the longer haul, identifying talent (especially young talent), keeping one or two older players for leadership and experience and installing a balls-out attacking style. Bottom line: the man gets results when it counts"

As further evidence of Hiddink's impeccable resume and the fact that he does not fail, he has:
-a museum in his hometown honoring him, called the Guuseum
-honorary South Korean citizenship
-free flights for life with Korean Airlines

If only one day Hiddink could coach the US Soccer team!

Mariners Lost At Sea

Just like the age-old chicken and egg question, it’s always hard to figure out who between a GM and a manager should be fired first. Should the GM be fired for assembling poor talent or should the manager be fired because he’s not getting the most out of his players? Sometimes the answer is obvious and sometimes it isn’t.

In the case of the 2008 Seattle Mariners – a major league worst 25-47 (.347) – I thought they made the right call by firing GM Bill Bavasi on Monday. After all, he was the architect of a team that ranked 11th or lower (out of 14) in the following categories: FP% (11th), BAA (12th), WHIP (12th), AVG (13th), ERA (13th), DER (13th), OBP (14th), SLG (14th), R (14th). In short, this was a team that ranked in the bottom of every major mainstream hitting, pitching, and fielding statistic.

To make matters worse, Mariners management had deluded itself into thinking that the 2007 season indicated good things to come for 2008. After reaching their high-water mark of 18 games over .500 in the season’s 21st week (8/20-26/07) and leading the AL Wild Card by 2 games over the Yankees, the Mariners lost seven straight games and 11 of their next 13. While this losing streak and eventual ouster from playoff contention would seem to be a simple collapse and not indicative of any deeper problems, the M’s were outperforming their Pythagorean Wins projection by 8.5 games at their peak. In effect, they spent the entire 2007 season as a big fluke. Instead of realizing this, they traded their #1 (Adam Jones), #4 (Tony Butler), and #8 (Chris Tillman) prospects for Erik Bedard, thinking that the ex-Orioles ace would be the missing piece to a division title.

Fast forward to this year’s debacle where the M’s announced the firing of Manager John McLaren today. While McLaren may or may not be the right man for the job, it certainly doesn’t appear to me that he had much talent to mold into a division champion. The Mariners overachieved last year and management should’ve realized this and expected a regression. Instead, they fooled themselves into believing last year’s success was attainable, mortgaged the future, and are worse in the short and long term. McLaren shouldn’t be taking the fall for Bavasi’s ineptitude.

Corrections 6/19

It was tough to find corrections but our Ombudsman here at BSD still found a few....

We incorrectly noted that the picture below was in fact Omar Minaya. It was actually Matt Millen. We apologize for the confusion.

We incorrectly noted that Boston fans celebrated their Championship by dressing up as Native Americans and destroying an incoming shipment of East Indian Tea. Apparently that was something else. Boston fans in actuality destroyed a potted flower.

It was incorrectly noted that USC was thwarting Cal's bid to become a super power in Pac 10 football. In fact USC and hippies are blocking Cal's bid to become a super power. Apparantly dirty smelly hippies (which is a very different thing than dirty fucking hippies who have a powerful political machine) are blocking construction of Cal's new training facility.

It was incorrectly noted that of the literally 200 offers Ron Zook and the Fighting Alumni have made nearly 10 football players accepted that offer. The exact figure is 3 acceptances.

It was incorrectly noted that Sara Santos was found leaving the apartment of Mighty Mike with a big grin on Wednesday night. The above sentence was exactly correct except apartment of Mighty Mike should read Coldstone Creamery

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Tiger Woods' Risky Business

Let me start out by saying that Tiger Woods' performance last weekend was legendary. He battled through pain that caused him to drive inconsistently off the tee... but Tiger is so good he still ended up winning in dramatic fashion.

Now, it's been announced that Tiger tore his ACL back in July 2007 before his crazy winning streak. It also was announced that the cartiliage damage developed from the ACL injury.

I actually tore my ACL playing basketball a number of years ago. I just want to stress the fact that the fact that Tiger won so many tournaments on a torn ACL is not that amazing. I'm assuming Tiger tore his ACL and had what is referred to as a "pain-free" tear, meaning that he had not torn the cartilidge or anything else. So long as you do not perform any hard cuts (e.g. tennis, basketball would not work), Tiger could continue to be fine... of course the problem is that having a torn ACL and swinging a golf club as hard as possible inevitably will create strain on the cartilidge and eventually tear the cartilidge (as it happened to Tiger). Just to explain, the cartilidge is the padding in the knee, and as you tear it up, there's no known way to replace it, meaning that Tiger is losing the padding in his knee with each successive surgery. My doctor a number of years ago told me I could forego surgery, avoid sports like tennis, and hope that I ended up not tearing any cartilidge. I opted for the surgery of course, but it was not a hard decision since I was not in the middle of a professional sports season.

What's amazing for Tiger? These last two weeks, when he finally WAS IN PAIN, and yet still preservered. However, I can't help but think how foolish this all was. If he really did not have any cartilidge damage at first (in July 2007), then he basically risked his entire future golf seasons all for the last 10 months. Not a good tradeoff in my opinion, especially in golf where one can be dominant for many seasons. Nonethless, let's just all hope there's enough cartilidge left in his knee for him to return to his old form without any pain.

Who's Got Next?

The Celtics won, the Lakers lost, Phil Jackson got his coaching whiteboard handed to him by Doc Rivers, and the person that came out of this whole experience with a significant blemish was Kobe Bryant. For some reason we’re all rubbing the sleep out of our eyes this morning and “coming to terms” with the fact that Kobe Bryant isn’t (or wasn’t) the next Michael Jordan.

The concept of comparing Kobe – or anyone, for that matter – to Jordan was always more a marketing/branding ploy than anything else. The league has always wanted another Jordan because it’s easier to sell the NBA to people who are longing for the MJ years. And why not? The Jordan years were by far the NBA’s most compelling and appealing era. By constantly telling people, “Look! Here he is, the next Jordan!” the NBA (and its marketing and media partners) persist in trying to capture those glory days of yesteryear.

No one who seriously understands basketball should ever think that Kobe, Allen Iverson, Vince Carter, Tracy McGrady, or even Lebron James can be the next Michael Jordan. Kobe is Kobe; he’s a great player and a Hall of Famer in his own right. He doesn’t need to be validated as the next MJ because it’s neither true nor fair to him.

The truth of the matter is that there’s a very good chance that Lebron James never wins an NBA title, let alone six of them. By our narrow definition, Kobe or LBJ ≠ MJ. Tell me something I don’t already know. More importantly, will anyone out there ever be the next Kobe or LBJ? You can bet your ass that the answer is no.

Celtic NBA Champs

MJ upon hearing the news

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

3 superstars against 1

When the Cavs played the Celtics (it seems like eons ago), all the announcers could talk about was how 3 superstars would eventually defeat 1. This, I thought was perhaps the most absurd reasoning I had ever heard, and I don't know why Z doesn't get any respect. Now, with the Celtics playing the Lakers, they don't talk about this 3 vs. 1 thing as much, though it still exists in the back of my mind (in my mind Gasol is similar to Z). My final thought is... what if they're right... and they get away with such ridiculous reasoning.

Also, remember when LeBron kept talking about how the series doesn't start until a team wins on the road? And the Cavs lost without the series even beginning!

A few short notes

Basketball is on the verge of having reffing as bad as soccer. Every game there is discussion regarding how the reffing determined the outcome. In soccer, the yellow cards / red cards are so ridiculously arbitrary, and have such a massive impact on the game (watch more than 1 Euro cup game, and see how differently each game is reffed! - Oh, and notice also, that when the USA plays, all of a sudden, contact that usually receives a yellow card goes as a no-call). It does not even matter whether refs have been directed to fix games by NBA authorities. Simply the inconsistency of calls, the appearance of favoritism, and the seeming lack of oversight or accountability has led to the sport's increasing appearance of corruption. As was noted on the Freakonomics blog, collusion does not even require explicit direction by NBA authorities. If NBA officials perceive a desire for an outcome, they may act independently to ensure that outcome. As long as they are not explicitly directed not to achieve that outcome, or sanctioned for their poor performance, this can lead to collusion. It seems that all of our sports in the U.S. need some sort of independent monitoring authority in order to ensure fair competition. Seriously - with football, baseball, and basketball all tarnished within the last several years, perhaps I should start watching... oh wait, i can't think of a sport that hasn't had a scandal in the last few years... golf perhaps?

A Whole Lot To Say On A Whole Lot Of Topics

Here we go:

1. The 108th U.S. Open Championship turned out to be one of the most memorable Major championships in the history of golf. Tiger Woods, coming off of knee surgery two months ago, played a very uneven tournament, mixing in incredible eagles (3) and birdies (17) with bogeys (14) and double bogeys (3). As much as every story in golf is always somehow related to Tiger, I’d say the real story should be Rocco Mediate. Here’s a guy who has battled injuries for the last several years, a guy who is an unspectacular golfer by tour standards – seriously, have you seen an uglier swing than that? – and yet he plays scratch golf for the entire weekend and stares down the best golfer of all time...and almost wins!

Tiger has now won his 14th Major championship and is only four behind all-time leader Jack Nicklaus in that category. Technically speaking, Woods is still a perfect 14-for-14 when leading a Major after three rounds. But, as much as people want to praise him for winning an incredible tournament on a bad knee, I have to say that a lot of Tiger’s inconsistent play over the weekend came down to some uncharacteristic mental mistakes. Tiger’s decision to hit a fairway wood on the second shot of the 13th hole on Sunday will go down as one of the dumbest decisions of his professional career, made worse by the fact that he played to lay up on the following hole, despite having a drivable green off the tee. All told, those two holes cost him a stroke and forced him to make the dramatic birdie on the 18th green. I’m sure Team Tiger will look back at this tournament and realize that they dodged a bullet.

2. The Mets, in typically dysfunctional fashion, fired their manager (Willie Randolph), pitching coach (Rick Peterson) and first base coach (Tom Nieto) after weeks and weeks of dragging their feet on a decision. Since their troubles began, where the Mets squandered a seven-game lead with 17 games to play at the end of the 2006 season, the Mets have gone a disappointing 39-47 (.453). Obviously a payroll that is third-highest in the big leagues ($138M) and a roster with all-stars on the field and on the mound creates expectations. And certainly the Mets would seem to be better than the fourth place team they currently are. For those reasons, I think a change in leadership was at least justifiable (even if I don’t actually see the purpose of making an in-season change).

The real problems with the Mets’ managerial and coaching change are as follows: first, instead of simply taking decisive action, General Manager Omar Minaya and team ownership prolonged the decision for over a month, using a daily barometer of wins and losses, and fan and media input as their weather vane. Not only is a daily temperature-taking a ridiculously short-sighted and amateurish way to run a business, it misses the point that if the team was underperforming, perhaps ultimate blame resided with the man that acquired the talent and not the man asked to lead the team. Second, firing Randolph and part of his staff after a win on the west coast and making the announcement at 3:12 am local (New York) time is as underhanded and cruel a way to behave. Don’t make him fly all the way to California. Don’t fire him when the New York press has already gone to sleep. How cowardly can a management group be? The Mets suck and I hope they finish in last place this year. That franchise isn’t worthy of any respect.

Oh, this is the best part: Randolph was replaced by bench coach Jerry Manuel. Chicagoans may remember Manuel as the mild-mannered ex-manager of the Chicago White Sox. Considering one of the things that people hated about Willie Randolph was his perceived lack of emotion or fire and inability to motivate the team, I’m sure hiring an even more mild-mannered guy like Manuel is JUST what the team needs to give them a jump start...

3. Game 6 of the NBA Finals is tonight. As I said before the finals began, I just had a feeling that the Celtics would beat L.A., even if L.A. had every possible advantage on paper. Phil Jackson has been badly outcoached in this series and Kobe Bryant, for all of his talent, picked the absolute worst time to regress into a selfish ball-hog while also going through a shooting slump. The Celts will close out the series tonight. Yawn, another NBA season reaches the point of anticlimactic weariness.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Mental Health Break: Map of Pop, Soda, Coke

While MJ prepares his Tiger blog...I figure a mental health break is in order.
(click on picture for larger view. h/t to The Daily Dish )

I will only note that as always blue is right.....

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Sunday /Father DayThoughts

Well a long week, month, quarter of work has finally wrapped up which despite that stress and lack of sleep have taken their toll a few Sunday thoughts on the world of Sports is appropriate.

Baseball: Well the number of error calls on home runs has finally caught up to baseball so they're rushing to roll out some sort of instant replay. Given that its baseball I'm sure it'll some sort of half-baked idea that will only lengthen the time and not improve the accuracy but hey its at least a step in the right direction. And slightly better than the NBA's proposed rule that David Stern watches the video and then arbitrarily gives a thumbs up or thumbs down.

College Football:

Its fairly crazy to think about the Fall but its coming up quickly. All of the big programs are signing soon to be seniors feverishly and expectations on the 08-09 season are rapidly coming into view. A quick scan of the internet tubes has OSU #1 in the Big 10 (again) with Wisconsin and Penn State as the other major challengers. Must exciting of all Trev Alberts is back on tv as he was seen crushing a small city on Fox Sports.

I'm never entirely sure how to think about overcoming injuries in golf to win but surely Tiger's performance if he can hold on to win the US Open after just coming back from new surgery has to rank as one of his all-time best performances. Just saying...

Anyway happy father's day to all you dads, possible dads and people with dads....

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Euro 2008: Official Video, Song by Shaggy!

Check this out... if this video does not get you pumped for Euro 2008, I don't know what will. And, the song is by Shaggy! I never would have guess Shaggy was so popular in Europe.
For those unaware, Euro 2008 is a European soccer tournament held once every four years opposite the World Cup (e.g. World Cup is in 2002, 2006 ; European Championships are in 2004, 2008). Most countries will simply shut down when their team is playing, because the European Championships are just as important to the fans as the World Cup.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Too Many Questions To Ignore...

At this point, my opinion of Bill Simmons is no big secret: he’s a talented writer who has taken the easy way out. He only writes about his favorite teams and has a dubious pro-Boston justification for everything. Despite all that, I don’t think there’s anyone out there that knows and understands the NBA like Bill Simmons. His columns may be subjective, opinionated and boring but his knowledge of the inner workings of the pro game cannot be questioned.

Why do I bring this up? Because I was thinking about something the other day: of the three major sports leagues – NFL, MLB, NBA – only one league has referees that could be considered “visible.” Sure NFL fans know who Ed Hochuli is and I’m sure baseball fans can name an umpire or two (or more) but it has never seemed to me that ref/umpire assignments mattered that much in those sports. And while I can’t claim to know more than one or two NBA refs by name, I do know that more than any other sport, NBA refs carry with them reputations and definite trends in how they call games.

Back to Simmons now. On Monday, the morning after the Celtics beat the Lakers in Game 2 of the NBA Finals, he wrote this piece. In this piece, the following excerpt stood out:

“For Game 2, they had a valid unspeakable 38-10 free-throw disparity that I won’t even attempt to defend. At one point, my dad pointed to referee Bob Delaney, who was practically wearing a Celtics jersey and joked, “I like that guy. I want him for every game!”

If you’re a Lakers fan, take solace in the fact you’ll get every call at the Staples Center if the crowd shows up; not only do these things have a way of coming around, but if Bennett Salvatore doesn’t officiate Game 3, it will be the biggest sports upset of this century.”

Unless Simmons has an “in” with the NBA that we don’t know about and he gets to find out the referee assignments beforehand, is it not interesting that he predicted that one of the refs would be Bennett Salvatore? 24 hours later, his prediction came true.

Why is this significant? I don’t know anything about Salvatore but I can infer from Simmons’s tone that Salvatore is a ref who has a reputation for calling games in favor of the home team and may be unduly influenced by a vocal home crowd. One quick Google search later and I found that Simmons has indeed criticized Salvatore for that exact thing just two years ago. And if an astute and well-informed follower of pro basketball knows enough about referee trends and tendencies as Simmons does, does it not stand to reason that the league would know these same things as well? Remember, we may know the names of officials in football and baseball, but do we know them well enough to know how they call games on a consistent basis? Do we know Bennett Salvatore because we’ve heard his name or do we know him because we know that when he calls a game, there’s a good chance the calls will be imbalanced in one way or another?

Which brings us to yesterday’s bombshell allegations from disgraced former NBA referee Tim Donaghy that (1) he wasn’t the only ref fixing games and (2) certain teams were favored to win over others and that directives would be issued from the league in order to facilitate outcomes that were perceived as favorable or consistent with the league’s business and commercial interests.

If you read the Donaghy article, it specifically mentions that “top executives of the NBA sought to manipulate games using referees to boost ticket sales and television ratings” which falls in line with everything Bill Simmons has said on more than one occasion.

NBA Commissioner David Stern and others have predictably called Donaghy’s allegations baseless and have characterized his statements as the attempts of a man desperate for leniency from a judge who will hand down a prison sentence. I have to pause and ask why would Tim Donaghy lie? If his statements are exposed as lies, it stands to reason that he would not receive any leniency or favorable consideration. He pleaded guilty to the charges he was facing so this isn’t the case of a caught-and-trapped rat trying to bargain his way out of jail. I can’t see any reason why Donaghy would make this up.

When you take Donaghy’s statements and mix them in with what Simmons has been saying for years (and reiterated again on Monday morning), you really get the sense that there’s a lot the NBA has to answer for.

Conspiracy theories are typically a bunch of coincidences that add up to give the appearance of impropriety, even if improper actions may not have taken place. I admit that we don’t have much to go on here. But what does it say about league integrity when a big fan like Simmons – possibly the biggest fan – knows enough that he can correctly predict which ref will work what games? Doesn’t it raise any questions?

The upshot for the NBA is that they’re not the NFL or MLB: far from the heights they achieved in the 1980’s and 90’s, the sport no longer resonates with the masses the way it used to. And while that’s usually a bad sign, it’s always helpful in times of scandal. If you can’t get people interested in your product even when things are going right, there are fewer people you’ll lose to apathy or disgust when things take a turn for the worse.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Amazing Sam Wyche

What's more amazing? That Sam Wyche won a Republican primary so he is now running for a council seat in South Carolina? Or is it more amazing that Sam Wyche is only 63 years old, meaning that he was only 43 when he coached the Bengals in the Super Bowl?

Farewell To A Giant

Michael Strahan announced his retirement at a press conference today. In his honor, I’d like to send him off with this tribute:

This was your last sack in the NFL, big guy. Your #92 will be retired and your goofy gap-toothed grin will be on display in Canton, Ohio along with all the other all-time NFL greats.

Good luck to the best defensive lineman in Giants history. We will miss you for sure.

Well he lost my vote....

John McCain: "I will veto every single beer."

h/t (

LeCharles Bentley Back: Pretty Fing Cool

Today from the local branch of BSD LeCharles Bentley returned to the Browns practice for the first time in nearly two years. For those that aren't aware Bentley signed with his boyhood favorite team two years ago. However on the first play of the first practice blew out his knee. Afterwards a series of staph infections nearly cost him his leg. Today he was medically cleared to practice with the team. There's no guarantees he will make the team, let alone return to his former Pro Bowl form, but still an incredible accomplishment. Congrats big guy. Here's hoping he helps the Browns defeat the hated Yinzers this year

If A Tree Falls In A Forest, Does It Make A Sound?

As the headline intimates, an announced crowd of only 16,003 showed up at the ballpark to witness Ken Griffey Jr.’s 600th career homer.

How do you know it’s time to get rid of a professional franchise? When fans in that city care so little about the game that they don’t even show up to watch Hall of Fame players from other teams achieve milestones. You want to tell me fans in Florida have been screwed over too many times to care about the Marlins? That’s fine, I’ll accept that. But if fans don’t even like baseball enough to be a witness to history then it’s time to close up shop in Miami. Enough is enough; baseball doesn’t belong in Florida. Never did, never will.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Cedric Benson Drinks; Chicago Bears Suck

I just couldn’t be happier about this. Why am I happy? Because I can’t stand idiots like Benson who make the same mistake twice in two months but then have the gall to say something like “I’m not guilty.” Drunk driving is not something that requires a CSI team. You’re either over the legal limit or you’re not.

When you consider that the Bears have exactly zero NFL quarterbacks or wide receivers on their roster, and now are down their starting running back, one wonders if they’ll be able to score even 14 points a game on offense. I’m being serious here: the Bears have a chance to be the worst team in the NFL on offense next year. The question now becomes, will they just stink on offense or will they be historically bad? At least the Lions are there to give the Bears a soft landing into third place.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Corrections 6/8

Another week another set of corrections.....

Unfortuantely we have to repeat the Guardian apology over the Mailer-Vidal Fight. In fact Gore Vidal was once head-butted by Norman Mailer, not the other way round."Norman Mailer did in fact respond with a scissor kick but this was only after the head butt provocation.

A Tuesday Post mis-atributed the cat-fight over writing requirements and pay to a bunch of teenage girls. The cat-fight over writing requirements and pay was actually a public fight between Bill Simmons and Rick Reilly

On Wednesday we mistakenly noted this photo provided evidence that MJ and his friends were sacrificing humans as a way of stopping Boston's hegemony over the sports world. Given inflation MJ and his friends could only afford to sacrifice a Wendy's Hamburger.

On Thursday we noted that this man was President of Kraft Foods and was discussing their new line of Jello. Apparently he's just some old crotchety guy that wandered onto the stage before the President of Kraft could talk.

On Friday we incorrectly noted that the new M. Night Shyamalan movie was about Les Miles, the world's biggest penis. Apparently the movie leaves it up to the viewers whether Miles is a bigger penis that Phil Fulmore, Urban Meyer, or Nick Saban.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

The Unbearable Indifference of the NBA Finals

See if I was to believe the hype you'd think that this was the greatest NBA finals matchup ever. Bird, Magic, Chamberlain and Russell will be playing or their functional equivalent. Its even possible that Bill Simmons life is on the line. Win and he will be carried around Boston in a golden liter, lose and he will be bound, gagged and dropped off in Compton. I should be excited like waking up with Kristen Bell in my bed excited to this series.

Mental Note: Don't throw her out of bed

But I'm not. Unfortunately there's no emoticon to show air masturbation so I'll just have to type more. Yes there's Kobe, the greatest player in the NBA. But outside of jumping over pits of snakes its hard to root for him. And then there's KG. Probably the most over-hyped player of his generation. Outside of his chest bumps, pounding his chest and odd penchant for snarling its hard to see when he made a dramatic difference.

Exhibit A on the type of people that chest bump/pound chest

Yes, yes KG never had help in the past but how many of the greats overcame that to win a series on a semi-regular basis? And now that KG has the help its Paul Pierce carrying the heavy load in the deciding games. And so outside of my respect but general indifference to Kobe and my ESPN/gatorade induced annoyance with KG all thats left is a cast of castoffs. Gasol, apparently spends his time off panning for gold and working on his lost in the wilderness for 2 months look. Rondo and Ray Allan spend time looking for jump shots. Lamar Odom? Really I'm going to tune in for Lamar Fucking Odom.
Nepal's first act as a Republic was to ignore Lamar Odom

Yeah yeah the uniforms say Lakers v. Celtics but this isn't Showtime v. Lunch Palers (did the Celtics of the 1980s have a nickname? What kind of assholes in the media couldn't come up with nicknames? Lazy ones thats who) In the 1980s hall of famers, all-stars, super specialists and even the occasional recovering pot addict (oh Bill Walton) roamed the court. And don't even bring in the earlier clashes. This time there are two good teams but nothing historic. So yeah I'll read the outcomes, watch the highlight reels and take my traditional dump on Bill Simmons lawn but otherwise its the unbearable indifference of the NBA finals.

Derek Jeter, Yankee Immortal

In an era of free agency, where milestones are achieved over the course of a career that spans several teams and cities, it’s always remarkable to see athletes approach immortality while playing for one team. At this point, it’s just so uncommon that it heightens the experience, at least in my opinion.

I’ve made it no secret that Derek Jeter, for all the great things he represents – hard work, selflessness, teamwork, reliability – isn’t my favorite Yankee. He’s a bit too perfect and a bit too standoffish and private to really embrace. Nevertheless, he’s going to go down as one of the greatest Yankees of all time. Last night, Jeter passed Mickey Mantle for third all time on the team’s career hits list. Jeter is now only 102 hits behind Babe Ruth and 305 hits behind the team’s all time leader, Lou Gehrig. The goal of 3,000 hits is now only 584 hits away and Jeter will be the first Yankee to ever hit that magic number*.

Anytime a player starts to pass names like Mantle, Ruth, and Gehrig, whether you love them or not, you have to tip your hat and congratulate them for a stellar career.

*Unless you count Dave Winfield, Rickey Henderson, and Wade Boggs, all of whom had Hall of Fame credentials with other teams besides New York and never got the magic 3,000 in Pinstripes.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

IOC Lies Like A Rug

There’s nothing more fun than a game of charades. I love how the IOC has listed Tokyo and Madrid as finalists for the 2016 Olympic Games. Be serious; there’s no way that Tokyo and Madrid get the Olympics when Beijing (2008) and London (2012) will be representing Asia and Europe over the next two Summer Olympiads.

This decision is an easy one. Chicago will get the 2016 games and 2020 will go to a representative from South America to make good for skipping Rio in this round of selections.

I’ll put up $100 bucks on this one. Anyone think I’m wrong?

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

4th Annual NBA Finals Preview

Last year, I was overjoyed for the NBA Finals with my own team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, crashing the party. This year, I am dealing with the one matchup I have been dreading: the Lakers vs. the Celtics. I will do my best to avoid being negative and instead focus on the positives of this matchup.

Just as a recap, in 2005, my NBA Finals Preview used Star Wars quotes. In 2006, I used Indiana Jones quotes. In 2007, I used Back to the Future quotes... without further adieu, it is time to analyze the classic NBA finals matchup that is before us. Because I am not entirely happy about the matchup, I find the matchup similar to the Aliens vs. Predator movie as well as the sequel, from AVPR: Aliens vs. Predator - Requiem. Both the Lakers and the Celtics are dangerous and powerful. They each have crafty veterans that have enabled them to eliminate their opponents. I also believe that this matchup has nothing to do with the matchups from the '80s - kind of like how AVPR had absolutely nothing to do with Aliens vs. Predator!

1. Dale: This plan is stupid! Let's just leave town now.
Dallas: We're not gonna make it out of the playoffs without more weapons, dickhead. You're too stupid to talk Dale, shut up!
This goes out to Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak. After losing Andrew Bynum to injury on January 13, 2008, GM Mitch Kupchak realized he needed more weapons... and he suddenly landed Pau Gasol on February 1, 2008! Many have questioned the logic behind the Grizzlies giving up Pau Gasol for a large expiring contract (Kwame Brown), two low 1st round picks, a rookie PG (Crittendon), and Pau Gasol's younger brother, Marc Gasol. Hell, now the owner has even admitted he may not have gotten the most value! Well... at least the Grizzlies will have cap space this summer... and a spare Gasol! Granted, usually the "other" brother of two professional athletes is never that good. For instance there was Michael Vick who went to prison, but Marcus could only get in trouble for pot and hanging around 14-year old females ; Dominique "the human highlight" Wilkins but then there was Gerald "I'm a Jordan-stopper" Wilkins; Pavel Bure was great, but Valeri Bure could only marry DJ from Full House. Similarly, I see Marc as just one of those "other" brothers who just becomes part of a trivia question. Of course, this could end up more like the Mannings, the Barbers, or the Alomar brothers, where both enjoy some success. However, for some reason, I don't think it's happening. In the meantime, the Lakers certainly benefited from the decision, despite the great upside potential of Marc.
Advantage: Lakers

2. This whole thing was a trap!
I think that's what Doc Rivers will be saying at some point 10 minutes after multiple turnovers are forced by the Lakers and their defense. As much as I rip on Doc Rivers, the rest of the team is smart though and would probably make an adjustment before Doc Rivers realizes he needs to adjust, so then Doc Rivers can praise them for their "tenacity."
Advantage: Lakers

3. Gentlemen? It is my job to keep you alive on this expedition, and I need your help to do that. Since I don't have time to properly train you, I'm laying down three simple rules. One: no one goes anywhere alone, ever. Two: everyone must maintain constant communication. Three: unexpected things are gonna happen. When they do, no one tries to be a hero. Understood?
It sounds like a Doc Rivers pre-game speech. It's kind of inspiring but it really does not give you any kind of specific instructions on what to do, other than communicate with each other. On the "unexpected" front, one of the main unknowns in my mind is what kind of production Boston's center, Kendrick Perkins, will be giving. He torched Detroit at the end of their series, but he was awful at times against the Cavaliers. Which one will show up for Gasol and the Lakers?
Advantage: Lakers

4. Lex: I've never seen a gun save someone's life.
Rousseau: I don't plan on using it.
Lex: Then why bring it?
Rousseau: Same principle as a condom. I'd rather have one and not need it, then need it and not have one.
Similarly, this is why the Lakers have a deep bench and Phil Jackson as coach; so they can be prepared for any situation that they face. The Celtics? They will just panic and hope that they naturally discover a way to adjust to their problems. The Celtics do have a decent bench, but I still don't think Doc Rivers knows how to use it. Panicking and relying on things to simply "work themselves out" may work in the regular season and in the Eastern Conference playoffs, but not in the NBA Finals.
Advantage: Lakers

5. It's common in ritual sacrifice to take the heart of the victim.
If anyone is going to lose their mind this weekend, and start doing real crazy stuff, it's KG. This is a guy who always is in full-tilt mode, even in game #27 of the season. How are his crazed emotions going to affect his play in the NBA Finals? Probably positively, assuming he doesn't kill anyone.
Advantage: Celtics

6. We have to consider the possibility that we might not make it out of here.
In the end, I will try to enjoy KG's first trip to the Finals. However, short of him exerting his will on Lamar Odom, I do not see how the Celtics are going to make this work. During the 1st round, I expressed my interest in having the Celtics lose early to "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." Unfortunately, an early exit is no longer possible. However, I have to believe that Phil Jackson will find ways to expose Doc Rivers for what he is.
In addition, Doc Rivers has caused a great deal of damage, as Flip Saunders was fired for losing his 3rd straight conference finals, LeBron James was eliminated, and the Atlanta Hawks' gained a false sense of hope. The only good that can come from any of this? The fact that I initially thought the Pistons were hiring Mark Curry, from the sitcom Hangin' With Mr. Cooper as their head coach. I was mistaken though, and the Pistons actually hired Michael Curry, who I still will refer to as Mr. Cooper all next season.
In conclusion, Doc Rivers has already caused enough damage. It's only fitting that one of the greatest coaches, Phil Jackson, will be the one to eliminate Doc Rivers and the Boston Celtics.
Final Prediction: Lakers in 6


So for those us crazy people that stayed up late witnessed one of the great games in championship history when Pittsburgh not only score to tie the game with about 30 seconds to go but then won it in triple overtime. Their goal had 55 saves! I know hockey is so passe but I'm giving Game 6 the Mighty Seal of Approval which means quality watching (I also give the same for Lesbian Cowgirls Know How to Have Fun 7)