Sunday, May 29, 2005




1-Milwaukee:  Andrew Bogut [C]-Utah.  They need a front line guy that can dish to those perimeter guys.  Redd should like that. 
2-Atlanta:  Marvin Williams [SF]-UNC.  Apparantly, they feel that Williams is the best player in the draft and will select him regardless of need. 
3-Portland:  Gerald Green [SF]-HS.  With Marvin gone...the Blazers will draft the blazing promise of Green.  Expect the Blazers to trade down in the draft for a chance at a 2-guard [McCants] 
4-New Orleans:  Chris Paul [PG]-Wake Forest.  The Hornets drafted JR Smith last year as their wing guy, so they may look to get a guy to run their team after dealing Baron.
5-Charlotte:  Deron Williams [PG]-Illinois.  They value Williams and Paul...and may trade up to get one of them.  If they stick and stay, however, Williams may fall in their lap.

6-Utah:  Raymond Felton [PG]-UNC.  The Jazz really, really need a PG and Felton can make this team exciting again.  He brings a nice shot along with his awesome leadership ability.
7-Toronto:  Fran Vazquez [PF]-Spain.  The Raptors need some inside help badly.  Vazquez, though offensively raw, brings defensive intensity and a hard nose work ethic to a franchise that really needs it.
8-New York:  Martell Webster [SG/SF]-HS.  With Houston ailing, Penny's contract in it's final year anda ton of smallish PF, the Knicks may look to this HS phenom who can shoot the lights out. 
9-Golden State:  Martynas Andriuskevicius [c]-Lithuania.  It may take a year or two, but this guy could pay off big time for the Warriors.  That is if he stays in the draft.
10-LA Lakers:  Channing Frye [C]-Arizona.  The Lakers have Mihm, Grant, Divac and Medvedenko at their power spots.  If Phil comes back, Frye's nice touch will be a nice addition.

11-Orlando:  Tiago Splitter [PF]-Brazil.  If the Magic feel that Howard can be a center...they Splitter may be picked up to be a shooting PF (think Gasol) to play alongside him
12-LA Clippers:  Sean May [PF]-UNC.  Not so much a need, but May adds an athletic power player if the team really decides on dealing Brand for shooting.
13-Charlotte:  Antoine Wright [SG/SF]-Texas A&M.  The Cats are really high on Wright's ability.  And barring a surprise, he should fall into Charlotte's laps.
14-Minnesota:  Chris Taft [PF]-Pittsburgh.  His stock is dropping tremendously.  But if he shapes up, he still could find his way into the lottery
15-New Jersey:  Charlie Villenueva [PF]-UConn.  A nice Big East low post guy who has a jumper and an excellent ball handler.  Good pick for the Nets.

16-Toronto:  Danny Granger [SF/PF]-New Mexico.  A hard working guy who could really develop with Bosh and could be a steal in this draft.
17-Indiana:  Rudy Fernandez [SG]-Spain.  Reggie Miller's replacement.  Will fill the role of long range gunner nicely. 
18-Boston:  Jarrett Jack [PG]-Georgia Tech.  They really need to get a PG to take Payton's place.  Jack's stock is rising, but hopefully will be around at this point.  . 
19-Memphis:  Hakim Warrick [SF]-Syracuse.  They'll lose Swift, so Warrick will fill the leaping freak role.  He's also a solid defender and comes from winning backgroud.  Grizz may go big here instead.
20-Denver:  Rashad McCants [SG]-UNC.  They have twopicks in here, and they need shooting guards badly.  McCants is small for the SG, but he has awesome athletic ability and can handle the rock [just not a great distributor].  McCants is a guy that will slide up and down this draft. 

21-Phoenix:  Andrew Bynum [C]-HS.  The Suns need big men badly.  Doing that could move Amare to the PF and Marion to SF and make a really tough front line for stretches.
22-Denver:  Johan Petro [C]-France.  A project that could pan out like Nene did.  And he could replace Nene down the line.
23-Sacramento:  Wayne Simien [PF]-Kansas.  With the trade of Webber to Philly, they could use Simien's power and finesse.  Sound kinda like C-Webb, huh?  Well, he does get injured a lot as well.
24-Houston:  Monta Ellis [PG]-HS.  A perfect pick for the Rockets.  He's a "tweener" where he's short for SG but not the handle of a PG.  But, with T-Mac there, the ballhanding shouldn't be as much of an issue.  Dude can score!!
25-Seattle:  Ike Diogu [PF]-Arizona State.  This depends on Ray Allen's intentions, but if he stays then Seattle will work on getting some athletes inside. 

26-Detroit:  Joey Graham [SF]-Detroit.  The Pistons need some wing depth and Graham provides that.  He is the kind of guy the Pistons love.  Hard worker who is smart and not flashy.
27-Utah:  CJ Miles [SG]-HS.  Utah really needs some shooters....and Miles can develop into a deadly NBA assassin.  He looks and plays like Ray Allen.
28-San Antonio:  Kennedy Winston [SG/SF]-Alabama.  Winston can score a variety of ways.  Good athlete that runs the break extremely well. 
29-Miami:  Randolph Morris [C]-Kentucky.  Morris may be in over his head right now, but as Shaq's understudy, he could learn and develop his game aroundhis big body.
30-New York:  Ronny Turiaf [PF]-Gonzaga.  Turiaf is a hard nosed big man who works around the basket, has a decent jumper and gives the Knicks a legit PF.

MOVING UPFran Vazquez.  He is the Euro getting the buzz this draft season because of his wicked defense and hard nose play...from a EURO!!!  Rudy Fernandez's stellar shot make him attractive to many teams looking to fill that need.

MOVING DOWNChris Taft.  He held an impromptu workout for lottery peeps while they were in New York and it went very, very badly.  People are calling him lazy.  Charlie Villenueva and his effort are being questioned as well. 

JUNE 7-10:  NBA Pre-Draft Camp
JUNE 21:  Early Entree Withdrawl Deadline
JUNE 28:  NBA Draft



More good news NHL fans.

ESPN....who has stuck with the NHL just as the NHL has stuck with them...has declined next year’s option to televise games. It was a $60M option to keep the NHL on ESPN.

This doesn’t mean that the NHL and ESPN are splitting. Just as in any sport with an option year...ESPN wants a better deal. And they know they have the negotiating power. With the NHL’s damaging lockout....the sport will be on extreme life support when play resumes. It will need to kiss many butts just to get back the small amount of TV fans it had. The NHL will need to get as much air time as they can....and ESPN can and has provided it. Knowing this, ESPN made a smart move.

Still, this is a big blow for the NHL. The financial hit alone further diminishes the pie that the owners and players have already been squabbling over. In the United States, the NHL still has a deal with NBC. But that deal really is nothing. NBC paid nothing up front...and only would pay anything once the network showed a profit. And they were only televising 7 regular season games and Games 3-7 of the Stanley Cup Finals. So, if the NHL was willing to get a sweet deal like this to NBC...then why would ESPN overpay??

                              What would Barry Melrose do a-boot this??

And the honeymoon with NBC could be short-lived. Heck, they are doing much better with the Triple Crown, golf, tennis and even Arena Football than they could with the NHL. And, NBC will have the NFL back in the fall of 2006. They don’t need the NHL as badly as they once did [though NBC Sports still is lagging].

The truth is that ESPN doesn’t need the NHL as badly either. Both grew up as partners....but ESPN has outgrown the NHL. During this shutdown, ESPN had NCAA hoops, NBA, MLB and various other sports they televised in the NHL’s place. Hey, they televised a ton of poker tournaments!!!!  Sure, the Stanley Cup playoffs are usually a nice time for ESPN as they tend to be wall-to-wall hockey [ESPN2 turns into hockey HQ]...but they still are doing alright.

                                       ESPN's NHL OG...the late Tom Mees

The ESPN option decline will really effect the financial impact of the league, due to the actually agreement and the fact that no ESPN means a very limited national NHL slate in the States. NHL fans can still get their local games on Fox Sports or whomever carries their team’s games. You can still get the Center Ice package from your cable or satellite providers. You can still get your hockey fix. Well, that is when they decide to fix hockey.



*NJ State Assemblyman, Craig Stanley,is pressuring the New Jersey Devils into changing their devilish nickname.  Stanley is a Baptist deacon.  He doesn't like the satanic overtones of the team and team gear that is sold to his constituants.  The Devils have no plans to do anything with their name.  In all actuallity, the name derives from the "Jersey Devil", an 18th century mythical being that terrorised South Jersey citizens. 

*The Phoenix Coyotes are in talks to make Wayne Gretzky their new head coach. 

Saturday, May 28, 2005


*Kudos to the French Open. I’m not a big tennis guy...but I do know that the French Open is to tennis what Coors Field is to major league pitchers. A complete albatross that is tough to conquer. Pete Sampras won 14 Grand Slam events...but never even got to a French Open Final. The tournament is nearly a week old and the Americans have crapped out at Roland Garros. Venus Williams was just shown the door [sis Serenas sat out the tourny with a bum ankle]. Only Lindsay Davenport and Marissa Irvin are still alive in the tournament singles [Davenport has barely advanced to Round 4. Irvin is still in the 3rd]. No American men even made the third round...matching last year’s failure. So do we suck at tennis?? No. We just suck on the red stuff. Tres desagreable!!!

*Mark Prior took a line shot off his elbow....which became fractured. Another Cubbie pitcher down. Kerry Wood has been out with a shoulder injury. Mike Remlinger was just placed on the DL with a finger injury. Scott Williamson has yet to pitch this year after elbow surgery. Carlos Zambrano has "tennis elbow". In three years, it will be the 100th anniversary of the Cubs last World Series championship. Now there is a curse!

*Bill Romanowski will pay Marcus Williams $415,000 for making his face look like a Picasso. I still say Romo got off easy. That is a small price to pay for basically ended a guy’s career by going into Roid Rage [allegedly].

*There is an arrest warrant out for Plaxico Burress. Seems the new Giant didn’t pay his local taxes...and then failed to show up for his delinquent tax hearing yesterday. Hey Jamie....did ya know that SBL guest Drew Rosenhaus was his agent? Maybe we can run him down again [since he doesn’t like talking about holdouts] and ask about why his guys can’t obey laws??


*The NFL season isn’t for another few months...but who’s on the NFL’s hot seat? My top choice has to be New Orleans Jim Haslett. He does have a winning record [a rarity in Saints Land] but his teams tend to forget to do the little things. They have the parts....but just don’t seem to have the will. Mike Tice is on the list, along with Mike Martz and Norv Turner.

*I said it before and I’ll say it again. Tampa Bay is 3-18 away from Tropicana Field. Houston is 3-22 away from Minute Maid Park. That is a combined 6-40 when they get off "the juice".

*Playoff update. As of now, Baltimore, Chicago and Los Angeles are AL division winners with Minnesota as the wildcard. In the NL, Florida, St. Louis and San Diego are the division winners with Atlanta as the wildcard. Ah...a postseason without Yankees or Red Sox....and possibly one without Braves. Of course, there are 4 more months where those franchises will find a way to get back to the postseason.

*The Yankees have won 16 of 18. Are they back yet??

*Nascar Basketball Association??? The NBA is considering letting ads show up on player’s uniforms. This from a league that doesn’t even like to show the manufacturers logo on the unis. Yet, you could see Shaq run down the court with a "Chico’s Bail Bonds" logo on the front of his jersey. In recent years, ads have plastered the walls that border our sports sidelines, plastered atop the arenas that house our sports, plastered the TV screen as we view the sports and are even digitally presented on magic screens during broadcasts [the worst are those ads that appear in the free throw lane]. This could pose a very interesting dilemma. You could have Dr Pepper’s logo on a jersey of a player that has an endorsement from Sprite....but is playing inside the Pepsi Center in Denver....where the logo atop the scoreboard is of Budweiser.

*The New Orleans Hornets FREAKING SUCK!!!!! First, they have the worst franchise owner in sports. Second, their horrible attendance in their new home of N’Awlins kicked in a deal that forces the state of Louisiana to throw cheese at the Hornets’ owners. And now comes word that employees were forced to work overtime but not paid for the extra hours. There has been a lawsuit filed in federal court.


*The logo rights to the Grambling "G" that adorns the famed football program helmets has lapsed. This enables vendors to use the logo for whatever and owe the school nothing. So, the university is scrapping the "G" [which is a discolored version of U of Georgia and Green Bay’s logo] and looking for a new logo. Most likely, the "G" will remain but with a modification that could have a tiger lurking thru it.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005


                                   Larry Harris

So, the Milwaukee Bucks win the NBA Draft Lottery and will pick first in the upcoming NBA Draft. That’s nice for Milwaukee, who need some good news to come their way. They had a tough season after a surprising playoff run in 2004. But, starting point guard TJ Ford missed all of last season with his injury....and Michael Redd may split via free agency if the Bucks don’t do something with their roster to get better.

This helps.

The last time the Bucks had the #1 pick....they drafted Glen Robinson out of Purdue.

So, what does this mean really?? Well, Milwaukee, picking first, can get the prize of the draft....Utah center Andrew Bogut. Bogut would bring to the Bucks a sorely needed post presence and could be a player that helps keep Redd around. Or, they could deal the pick elsewhere [Charlotte has two lottery picks] for a player or some more picks.

Atlanta, the favorite to get the top pick....slides down to the #2 spot. They really don’t need Marvin Williams as far as position they may be more apt to take Chris Paul at the point guard spot. They really need one...after having really nothing to speak of in that spot after dealing Jason Terry away. They also could look into dealing away that pick.

Portland also seems to be a big they move up to the #3 slot. Right now, Marvin Williams seems to be the pick here if the Bucks go with Bogut [Milwaukee could be enticed to select Williams]. Williams will bring an exciting athletic forward who can hit the boards, play defense and brings a winning attitude to a team that really needs it.

New Orleans was staring down the #2 pick...but instead will fall to #4. Still, they can get the point guard they need with Deron Williams. Williams brings toughness and a high basketball IQ...something this franchise needs. Healso has great range and fills a position the team lacks [they traded Baron Davis mid-season]. He, along with JR Smith, could be a lethal backcourt that will develop over the years.

Charlotte fell to #5...and that really hurts. They were hoping to draft local stars Marvin Williams or Chris Paul.. Neither will fall to #5. They also own the #13 they could package the picks to get up into the top 3 slots. If they don’t, they could go different ways. They could select center Martynas Andriuskevicius if they want to deal with a project. They could draft Gerald Green, an awesome swingman that is the top high school player in the draft. They could go after local hero Raymond Felton if they want to reach a bit.

Utah drops to #6....and are looking for help all over the place. Conceivably, they have their frontcourt set by signing Mehmet Okur and Carlos Boozer last offseason. They need to look for backcourt help. Maybe Felton goes here. Or Rashad McCants. Maybe Green if he is still around.

Here is the rest of the lottery:

#8-New York
#9-Golden State
#10-LA Lakers
#12-LA Clippers
#13-Charlotte [from Cleveland]


1-Milwaukee:  Andrew Bogut [C]-Utah.  They need a front line guy that can dish to those perimeter guys.  Redd should like that. 
2-Atlanta:  Marvin Williams [SF]-UNC.  Apparantly, they feel that Williams is the best player in the draft and will select him regardless of need. 
3-Portland:  Gerald Green [SF]-HS.  With Marvin gone...the Blazers will draft the blazing promise of Green.  He can come in an be a factor now. 
4-New Orleans:  Chris Paul [PG]-Wake Forest.  The Hornets drafted JR Smith last year as their wing guy, so they may look to get a guy to run their team after dealing Baron.
5-Charlotte:  Deron Williams [PG]-Illinois.  They value Williams and Paul...and may trade up to get one of them.  If they stick and stay, however, Williams may fall in their lap.
6-Utah:  Fran Vazquez [PF]-Spain.  The Jazz are disappointed in their investments of Boozer and Okur.  The Jazz may trade down from this spot since taking a guard here may be reaching.
7-Toronto:  Raymond Felton [PG]-UNC.  The Raptors need to get a good PG in to run this team.  And he can make this team into a running style attractive to fans and teammates.
8-New York:  Martell Webster [SG/SF]-HS.  With Houston ailing, Penny's contract in it's final year and a ton of smallish PF, the Knicks may look to this HS phenom who can shoot the lights out. 
9-Golden State:  Martynas Andriuskevicius [c]-Lithuania.  It may take a year or two, but this guy could pay off big time for the Warriors.
10-LA Lakers:  Channing Frye [C]-Arizona.  The Lakers have Mihm, Grant, Divac and Medvedenko at their power spots.  If Phil comes back, Frye's nice touch will be a nice addition.
11-Orlando:  Tiago Splitter [PF]-Brazil.  If the Magic feel that Howard can be a center...they Splitter may be picked up to be a shooting PF (think Gasol) to play alongside him
12-LA Clippers:  Chris Taft [PF]-Pittsburgh.  Not so much a need, but Taft adds an athletic power player if the team really decides on dealing Brand for shooting.
13-Charlotte:  Sean May [PF]-UNC.  It will be interesting to see where they go here, but May gives them a local love who can mix in minutes at C/PF alongside Okafor.
14-Minnesota:  Antoine Wright [SG/SF]-Texas A&M.  With Wally's future uncertain and Spree on the way out..Wright adds to a definite need.
15-New Jersey:  Charlie Villenueva [PF]-UConn.  A nice Big East low post guy who has a jumper and an excellent ball handler.  Good pick for the Nets.
16-Toronto:  Danny Granger [SF/PF]-New Mexico.  A hard working guy who could really develop with Bosh and could be a steal in this draft.
17-Indiana:  Rashad McCants [SG]-UNC.  Small for a 2-guard, but has excellent range and playmaking ability.  Reggie Miller's replacement. 
18-Boston:  Hakim Warrick [SF]-Syracuse.  That is under the assumption that Walker leaves.  Warrick is a defensive stopper with athleticsm. 
19-Memphis:  Joey Graham [SF]-Oklahoma State.  With Wells gone and issues with their shooting, Graham is a nice addition who will bring intensity to a team that needs it badly.  A Fratello guy.
20-Denver:  CJ Miles [SG]-HS.  They have two picks in here, and they need shooting guards badly.  Miles plays and looks like Ray Allen. 
21-Phoenix:  Andrew Bynum [C]-HS.  The Suns need big men badly.  Doing that could move Amare to the PF and Marion to SF and make a really tough front line for stretches.
22-Denver:  Johan Petro [C]-France.  A project that could pan out like Nene did.  And he could replace Nene down the line.
23-Sacramento:  Wayne Simien [PF]-Kansas.  With the trade of Webber to Philly, they could use Simien's power and finesse.  Sound kinda like C-Webb, huh?  Well, he does get injured a lot as well.
24-Houston:  Monta Ellis [PG]-HS.  A perfect pick for the Rockets.  He's a "tweener" where he's short for SG but not the handle of a PG.  But, with T-Mac there, the ballhanding shouldn't be as much of an issue.  Dude can score!!
25-Seattle:  Ike Diogu [PF]-Arizona State.  This depends on Ray Allen's intentions, but if he stays then Seattle will work on getting some athletes inside. 
26-Detroit:  Jarrett Jack [PG]-Georgia Tech.  The Pistons need some guard depth and Jack provides that.  He is the kind of guy the Pistons love.  Hard worker and not flashy.
27-Utah:  Rudy Fernandez [SG]-Spain.  The Jazz are already the All-World team.  This Spaniard has range, touch and knowledge of the game that Sloan will love to have out there.
28-San Antonio:  Kennedy Winston [SG/SF]-Alabama.  Winston can score a variety of ways.  Good athlete that runs the break extremely well. 
29-Miami:  Randolph Morris [C]-Kentucky.  Morris may be in over his head right now, but as Shaq's understudy, he could learn and develop his game around his big body.
30-New York:  Ronny Turiaf [PF]-Gonzaga.  Turiaf is a hard nosed big man who works around the basket, has a decent jumper and gives the Knicks a legit PF.

JUNE 7-10:  NBA Pre-Draft Camp
JUNE 21:  Early Entree Withdrawl Deadline
JUNE 28:  NBA Draft

Tuesday, May 24, 2005



*The Cincinnati Reds finally made a bold move by canning "closer" Danny Graves.  Graves was 1-1 with a 7.76 ERA and has become the focal point of Reds fans ire.  He has been booed every time he's taken the mound at Great American Ball Park   The final straw came after a fan supposedly cussed him out...Graves gave him the ol' #1 salute.  Read more reaction to Graves dismissal at Sportz Reds Baseball Bunch.  Also, go to the Baseball Bunch to check out a quick take on the MLB Draft.

UPDATE:  Does it get even worse for Graves??  The Reds called up Randy Keisler to take Graves' roster spot on Monday.  In Tuesday's game against the Nationals, Keisler came on to pitch in the 13th inning [he also pitched the 14th].  In two innings of work, he allowed just one walk.  Oh, did I mention he got the win??  Yeah.  The Reds won the game in the bottom of the 14th for Keisler's first career win.  Oh, did I mention that Keisler drove in the winning run?  Yeah.  The Reds ran out of position players, so Keisler had to hit for himself in the bottom of the 14th.  With runners on 2nd and 3rd with one out....the Nats infield was in.  Keisler grounded one past the shortstop for the game winner. 

*Think about this.  The Detroit Pistons and San Antonio Spurs both won Game 1 of the Conference Finals on the road.  If both teams do advance to the NBA Finals...this will be the first meeting of the last two champions since 1987's matchup of the LA Lakers and Boston Celtics.  It has been nearly two decades since two "championship teams" have met in the Finals.  In fact, it is rare no matter when it is.  Since 1987....the only time two "championship teams" met in the playoffs was theLakers-Spurs matchups in 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004.  That's it. 

*It looks as if the Orlando Magic are ready to announce Brian Hill as their new head coach.  Hill was the Magic's head coach from 1993-1996 when the Magic reached their lone NBA Finals appearance [I think having Shaq around had something to do with it]. 

*Up the coast...the Philly Sixers canned Jim O'Brien [who had been under fire all season] and quickly hired Mo Cheeks.  Mo ran the Sixers in the 1980s as their point guard.  He looks to be a perfect coach for Allen Iverson.  Really, this move has been in the making for quite some time.  The Sixers have bugged Portland about talking to him about their head coaching job over the past 3 years.  After the Blazers fired was only a matter of time before Philly and Cheeks hooked up again. 

*My fantasy baseball team is going off!!!!  I currently have 3 of the top 4 home run hitters [Alex Rodriguez, Bobby Abreau, Derek Lee] and 3 of the top 8 RBI men [the same guys].   I have the top two run scorers [Rodriguez and Johnny Damon] and I have the MLB leader in strikeouts [Johan Santana].  My team [which gaines pts for pitching Ws and Ks...HRs, RBIs, hits and runs] is made up of: Sean Casey, Lee, Ray Durham, Michael Young, Rodriguez, Damon, Abreau, Gary Sheffield, Mike Piazza and Santana.

*The Redskins signed FS Corey Hall.  I'm sure SPORTS BLOGGERS LIVE guest Drew Rosenhaus is rethinking his client's [Sean Taylor] financial tussle with the team, eh?  And word is that the Redskins will try to bring in former Bears CB/KR R.W. McQuarters. 

*Looking at the North Carolina Tar Heels football slate.....UGH!  The new ACC will be tough for the Heels to crack and they did themselves no favors by the non conference sked.  They have to go to Louisville and host Utah and Wisconsin.  As far as ACC play goes...the have roadies in Miami, Georgia Tech, NC State and Virginia Tech....while hosting Virginia, Boston College, Maryland and rival Duke.  Duke and Virginia look to be wins....but nothing else does.  When does hoops season start??

*The Indianapolis 500 is this Sunday.  Who cares.

*The Coca-Cola 600 takes place later that night.  Go to The Diecast Dude's (Mostly) NASCAR Blah Blah Blog and The Unofficial Everybody's NASCAR Nextel Cup Blog for all the haps!!

*Tom Benson, owner of the New Orleans Saints, is at the owners meetings dodging questions about the team's inability to get a new stadium deal done.   The state sees no reason to replace the Superdome [it is ugly, but it is big and does the job.  So, Benson has to now here questions about possibly becoming the Los Angeles Saints.  Uh, Tommy've been talking to people in SoCal, the Colts and Cards got their stadium deals done and the Vikings have been sold [pending] to a guy that wants to keep the team in the Twin Cities.  You are gonna keep getting these questions, dude!  Oh, he also stated that he was offered $1 billion for the franchise [only the Redskins are even worth that]. 

*Speaking of that, SI's Mike McAllister lists which cities should be atop each major sports league "expansion list" [ - Writers - Topping the expansion list - Tuesday May 24, 2005 11:58AM].  He says that MLB needs to go to Portland, the NBA needs to go to Las Vegas, the NHL to Houston and the NFL, of course, to Los Angeles.  Let's see.  The Portland Marlins, Las Vegas Kings, Houston Sabres and LA Saints. 

*Who is better??  Kobe or Wade??  Fight about it here:  L.A. Lakers

*By the way.....I called Afleet Alex winning the Preakness!!!  Look in my blog under INTERLEAGUE PLAY MUST STAY to see it. 

*I might not like the Yankees...but I do have two of them on my fantasy team.  Gary Sheffield and A-Rod.  Keep knockin' 'em out guys!!!!

*A guy dressed as Darth Vader went to a theatre in Springfield, Illinois that was showing Star Wars Episode III: Revenge Of The Sith and robbed the concessions employee [read: popcorn jockey].  Vader fled the scene and ran into a nearby wooded area.  Classic!!

*Good news for Detroit.  14 of the past 18 NBA Champions have had a North Carolina Tar Heel on theirroster.  James Worthy [1987, 1988], Micahel Jordan [1991-1993, 1996-1998], Scott Williams [1991-1993], Kenny Smith [1994-1995], Pete Chilcutt [1995], Rick Fox [2000-2002] and Rasheed Wallace [2004] are all former Heels with titles in the past 18 Finals. may be good news for the Spurs as well.  Two of the four non-Heels teams were San Antonio [1999, 2003].  AHHHH!!!  But the other two were Detroit [1989, 1990].

*The NFL is banning the horse-collar tackle....since I guess the NFL wants to have scores in the NCAA hoops range.  Look, I understand the "unprotected hit".  I can even sorta kinda get with the 5-yard chuck rule.  But no horse-collar tackles??  Why not just have the red flags hanging from receiver's belts??  Why not outfit wide-outs with those red mesh jerseys??  In the NFL's defense, they did see 6 injuries that were directly caused by those types of tackles [4 alone from Cowboys' safety Roy Williams]. 

*Not to be mean....but Jim Carrey's character, Vera De Milo, on "In Living Color" plays for the Washington Mystics under the name "Coco Miller".



Why Is The NBA Having Labor Issues?

The NBA is having issues with it's Collective Bargaining Agreement.  Really, there are four issues that need to be ironed out.  Below is the four issues with a quick rundown of what the deal is...and what I think of it. 


*"SUPER" LUXURY TAX: Right now, the luxury tax is designed to keep owners from going over the salary cap. As of now, there are some loopholes designed to allow teams to go over the salary cap [mainly by allowing them to resign their own players]. The Super Luxury Tax would take it even further. It would put harsher penalties on the teams that really spend money over the cap. Call it the Cuban Knicks Tax. The current luxury tax has been very effective in scaring teams from getting to rambunctious with their wallets. A Super Luxury Tax would scare even the billionaire owners that thumb their noses at the current tax. For the OWNERS, this is an even stricter checks and balances system so they really, really, really aren’t tempted to overspend. From the PLAYERS point of view, this is designed to really kill off free agency to the effect that only the elite can get paid. SPORTZ TAKE: This is dumb. It isn’t the players fault if an owner overpays a player. If an owner can afford to have a high payroll and pay the current tax...why punish him further? As I see it, the highest payrolls rarely win titles anyway. The owners will learn that this isn’t the MLB.


*AGE LIMIT: I’ve jumped the fence on this subject many times already. Right now, the NBA is looking into a possibly age limit of 20. This would mean that no one can enter the NBA Draft as a teenager. Some say this is wrong, since this forces players into college and doesn’t give them the opportunity to make a living playing hoops. Hogwash! There are leagues in the USA and all around the world that will pay for a teenager to play hoops. So you cannot get into the NBA? Go to Europe and play. They’ll pay you. Go tothe CBA or USBL....they’ll pay you as well. For the OWNERS, they claim this will keep the seedy agents away from high schoolers and junior high kids. Nonsense. What this really does is make the draft similar to the way it was in the late 1980s and early 1990s where you knew what you were getting in the draft. Teams are afraid to pass up on the next Kobe, KG, Jermaine or they draft Kwame, Chandler, Miles and Darko. What owners are doing is paying players to learn....when the NBA is designed to have ready made players come in immediately. The PLAYERS stance is the opportunity issue I just dispelled. These teens are doing fine. LeBron is awesome. Amare is awesome. And for every Kwame Brown that fizzles...there is also a Pervis Ellison that flamed. SPORTZ TAKE: I agree with the age limit. As a fan, I am tired of seeing "projects" taking up roster spots while guys who can contribute are losing jobs. Darko Milicic has no business on the Pistons bench if they don’t want him to play. Honesty, I would rather the NBA have a real minor league system in place that would allow teens to enter the NBA Draft and get drafted. If they need work, they get sent down to the minors to work it out.


*SMALLER SALARY INCREASE: Currently salaries raise from year to year at about 10%-12%. The NBA wants it down to 5%. While it isn’t is quite a huge chunk. That would mean if you signed a 6-year deal worth $10M in the first year....your increase would be $1M under the current format. That increase drops to $500K under the new proposal. OWNERS like it because it is another obvious way to save some money. PLAYERS obviously hate it because it keeps money from their pockets. SPORTZ TAKE: I see both sides. I wouldn’t want anyone screwing with my raise. But...I also don’t get a mandatory 10% raise either. At my job...if we reach every goal for this year....we get a 3.6% raise. Pretty standard in this tough economic time. Maybe they could meet in the middle for a 7.5% raise.


*SHORTENING MAX CONTRACTS: I feel this is the biggie. This is the one that will actually keep the agreement from happening. Right now, a player can sign with a new team for a maximum of 6 years....or sign with his last team for a max of 7 years. The NBA is proposing shortening it to 3 years for new teams and 4 years for old team. Quite a big move there. The OWNERS claim it will keep from having a bunch of dead weight contracts around...which really are killing the NBA. They are somewhat correct. There are some horrible contracts out there that are albatrosses for teams. The PLAYERS like the long term security and say "hey, you guys offered these contracts to us." They are right. Brian Grant can’t sign a deal for $15M if no one offers it. SPORTZ TAKE: I, again, would find a middle ground. I have yet to see a player in Year 6 or 7 really earning his money. I see maybe a 5 or 6 year max instead. If I was a Sports God that could force my will on this....I’d actually make it 4 years for a new team and 6 years to sign with your current team. This may entice players to stay with their current team...since they’d get more years and more guaranteed money.

Friday, May 20, 2005



*Today is the start of interleague play.....which also starts the discussion of interleague play. Let me say this: I hate when people bad mouth interleague play with "it isn’t exiting anymore." That is your argument?? It isn’t exiting?

Does the Royals-Tigers series excite you?? Or the Blue Jays-Devil Rays?? Or the Pirates-Brewers?? Or the Senators-Marlins?? All of those series are DIVISIONAL matchups we must endure all season long. I mean....the Yankees just can’t go around playing everybody!!

So, we get some Senators-Blue Jays matchups [last year it was the Battle Of Canada] in with out Cubs-White Sox series. It happens. I mean, they did play two Hawks-Hornets games in the NBA last year as well.

If I could change this whole flim-flam....I would. I’d make each league 15 teams with 3 divisions of 5 teams. That would force an interleague series twice a week. You’d have ONE rival....and that was the only interleague foe you’d face [or, if you want...have a few more interleague series down the road between divisions]. My ultimate MLB would look like this:

NL EAST: Atlanta, Florida, NY Mets, Philadelphia, Washington
NL CENTRAL: Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, St. Louis
NL WEST: Colorado, Houston, LA Dodgers, San Diego, San Francisco
AL EAST: Baltimore, Boston, NY Yankees, Tampa, Toronto
AL CENTRAL: Chicago WS, Cleveland, Detroit, Kansas City, Minnesota
AL WEST: Arizona, LA Angels, Oakland, Seattle, Texas

I know, Astros fans, that sucks. But, you were in the NL West for many years that I think you can hang back there. And I picked Arizona to go to the AL instead of Milwaukee because the AL already has enough Great Lakes teams. are your rivalry matchups.

Braves-Red Sox, Marlins-Devil Rays , Mets-Yankees , Phillies-Blue Jays, Senators-Orioles , Cubs-White Sox , Reds-Indians, Brewers-Twins, Pirates-Tigers , Cardinals-Royals, Rockies-Mariners , Astros-Rangers, Dodgers-Angels , Padres-Diamondbacks and Giants-Athletics

Just my little shout out on the interleague play.


Ricky Williams

*Ricky Williams and the Miami Dolphins are apparently speaking to each other about letting the stoner come back to the NFL. I’ve touched on this numerous times....and so have the Dolphins. I see nothing good to come out of any of this for Miami. Nothing. I could see a smidge of allowance during last season when the Dolphins were floundering. But, they drafted their back of the future, Ronnie Brown, with the #2 pick overall. Why do you need Ricky back? If I even let him back to the would only be to deal him away for something. Anything. He quit on Miami last year for the hippie lettuce...why wouldn’t he do it again? And with the recent drug issues going around sports...I wouldn’t want any part of this "a soon as the ink dries he’ll be suspended" behind.

*Speaking of the hippie lettuce, Onterrio Smith, the guy who got busted at the airport for having the "Whizzinator", has been suspended for one year by the NFL. I hope it was worth it O. Not only did you get smacked by the NFL and will always be labeled a dope-head....but you are also known as the guy who had a fake crank in your luggage at the airport. Good going!

*Pat Forde writes an interesting article [ - NCB - Forde: SECond citizens] about how the SEC has fallen in recent years.  Over the last 5 seasons they've had ZERO Final Four appearances [the ACC has had 6] and just 3 appearances in the Elite 8 [two of which were Kentucky].  Yet, 11 underclassmen have left the SEC and none look to be a lottery pick. 

                              Reggie Miller (R), Richard Hamilton

*It was a special moment in Conseco Fieldhouse last night as Reggie Miller played his final NBA game. With the Pacers clinging to a thread of hope...Reggie Miller had a look at a 3-pt shot that Ben Wallace got a fingertip on to pretty much seal the game. A few seconds later....Reggie Miller, during a stoppage of play, was subbed for and got a rousing ovation. Pistons coach Larry Brown [a UNC grad who also coached Miller in Indiana], called a time-out and walked his team over to mid-court to give Reggie a standing ovation. When the final horn sounded...opposing players and coaches, his own teammates, and even the officials...came over to give Reggie a hug. We always label people as they retire as "one of the best". But in Reggie’s case...he was one of the classiest. He has some great stats...but he will always be remembered as the guy in the 4th quarter. I doesn’t matter how he played up until that point....he could pull out a victory by running off a screen and popping a three in someone’s grill. He stayed in a small market even as his star grew brighter. And he was a main cog from the Vern Flemming/LaSalle Thompson the Chuck Person the Mark Jackson/Rik Smits the Jermaine O’Neal/Ron Artest years. So long, Reggie!

*Coztanza's Commentary has a great blog entry on the "Balco Brothers"....Barry, Jason and Gary.  It follows the story of three brothers who go off on the wrong path of infidelity. 

*I'm picking the Pistons to beat the Heat in 6 games.....and the Spurs to beat the Suns in 6 games

*I'm picking Afleet Alex to win the Preakness Stakes.

*Since I am in the picking mood...the NBA Draft Lottery is held Tuesday.  I think that the Charlotte Bobcats will win the top overall selection.  The Hawks will secure #2 and the Jazz #3. is a lottery!

*Again...there is nothing anyone can possibly say to me that would make me select Dwayne Wade over LeBron James in any draft. Nothing.

*It seems that Jerry Rice’s career may continue. He’s been talking to Denver Broncos’ coach Mike Shanahan about possibly joining the team. Shanahan and Rice worked together in San Francisco from 1992-1994. Denver needs some help in their receiving corps and Rice would most likely be a #3 or #4 wide out.

*NASCAR will be holding it’s version of an All Star Game this weekend in Charlotte. A difference between this and the NBA, NHL and MLB All Star Games is that the NASCAR event may even be more competitive. No points are on the line....just a cool $1,000,000. Stakes like that lead to better racing since no one is just trying to keep a holdof points. So while in the teams sports, defense is limited and everyone wants to put on a good show....there isn’t $1M on the line. One thing that is disappointing is the possibility that the race could move to different sites every the NBA, NHL and MLB All Star Games do. The drivers don’t like it....since most are based in Charlotte, and with the following race [the Coca Cola 600] also in gives many drivers a chance to enjoy themselves ‘at home’. Even if they weren’t born or raised in the Carolinas....most of their headquarters are based in the Charlotte metro area.

*Sargent Kellen are a freakin’ idiot!!!!


*A few weeks ago....Padres management were blase about giving Bruce Bochey a contract extension. His Pads win 16 or 19....and now they are scurrying to get this guy’s name on a dotted line. Smooth work, Pads!

*Former Utah Utes head b-ball coach Rick Majerus has stated he wants to return to coaching for the 2006-2007 season.  He's currently an analyst [not a great one] at ESPN.  If you remember, last winter he accepted the head coaching job at USC before quickly resigning...citing that he "wasn't ready".  He has lost 60lbs and is said to be taking his new diet and workout regimen seriously.  He's been working out the NBA Draft hopefuls and got that coaching bug back again.  Coach are missed in basketball.  But, you left because ofhealth concerns...not because you couldn't coach.  Please take careful consideration to your health when deciding to return to the sidelines. 

* is the NBA COACHING JOB SEARCH going??  I think that Flip Saunders will be in Portland since they are offering the most money....Brian Hill in Orlando since they can't get Flip....Phil Jackson in Los Angeles because it is obvious....Nate McMillian in Cleveland where Ray Allen could actually sign there to reunite...Herb Williams in New York despite all the rumors going around...and PJ Carlisemo inMinnesota [g'bye Spree]!!


Interactive Map

The Cleveland Indians arrived in Cincinnati tonight for their 3-game series dubbed "The Battle of Ohio." Right now isn’t a good time to be touting you are from Ohio in the sports world...especially if you are these two ball clubs.

The REDS are the only sixth-place team in the majors...with their pathetic 14-26 record. They’ve lost 20 of their last 26 games...and look really bad in doing so. They have the second worst ERA in the majors [only Colorado’s is worse] and opposing hitters are hitting a whopping .306 against them. Eric Milton, their big free agent addition, is 2-5 with a 7.16 ERA.

The INDIANS aren’t much better. They have a 17-22 record [not horrible] but they were a team that many thought could take the AL Central. They’ve scored an American League low 153 runs for the season and are hitting .238, the worst in baseball.

But that ain’t all. The University of CINCINNATI is going thru a crisis of sorts as well. In what was supposed to be a summer of celebration of heading to big time athletics [the Big East], head hoops coach Bob Huggins may not be around much longer. He had a rolling 4-year contract that had a "extension year" added at the end of every season. Well, after last season...they got rid of that after his DUI arrest. This season....they still didn’t offer him an extension. So, as of now, he is working with a 2-yr deal that, it seems, won’t be renewed. There is a new president at U-Cincy who is trying to clean the place up. The men’s team is one of those targets. Heading into Big East play....Huggins’ program is notorious for their low graduation rates and "thug image". Students and fans are screaming for Huggs to stay....but the prez wants him gone as soon as she can. Stay tuned...

{**UPDATE:  Just a few hours after I wrote this, Bruce Ivory [the associate athletic director of academic standards] resigned due to a DUI arrest.  This marks the third DUI arrest for the program in a year.  Huggins last summer, assistant coach Keith LeGree in March, and now Ivory.}   

At least they aren’t being investigated like OHIO STATE. The NCAA informed Ohio State that they found nine infractions. Most involved the basketball program where boosters had hooked some players up...but there were a few in the football program as well. This comes after getting a new AD and after the whole Maurice Clarett debacle.


Up the way a bit....the CAVALIERS marquee player, LeBron James, swiftly canned his agents in order to hire his friends and rap labels to represent him [it worked for Ricky Williams]. This coming on the heels of a total meltdown of the franchise. They fired their coach...they fired their GM...and basically players quit on the team. Not to mention that their All Star center may walk on them too. This was a team that was assured getting into the playoffs before totally choking after the All Star break. They finished the season 11-19 after starting 31-21....falling one win short of making the playoffs.

At least when football arrives the BROWNS and BENGALS will make everyone forget about this. Well, the Bengals are trying to have a winning season for the first time in 15 years. The Browns are just....uh....I don’t know?!? They are too busy figuring out what to do after their tight end just wrecked his career on a motorcycle [ask Jay Williams how fun that is].  Soldier Winslow's 1.5 game career won't get any longer for a while as he will miss the entire 2005 season.  And those BLUE JACKETS just watched the 2005 season go by without one puck dropped. 

The whole state seems to be in a funk.  But, at least someone will have to win this weekend's games at the "Great" American Ball Park. 

Read more of the highs and lows of Ohio sports on The Ohio LeBlog

Thursday, May 19, 2005



Yes...I was at the midnight showing of STAR WARS EPISODE III: REVENGE OF THE SITH.

I was there with all the nerds, geeks, fanboys, dorks and lightsaber wielding people who made last night [or this morning] a great event. [And, yes, I did bring a lightsaber with me].

I got to the theatre [AMC at Newport On the Levee, across the river from downtown Cincinnati] about 9:00pm and met up with my 4 friends. We kind of just chilled...taking in the atmosphere. We saw Boba Fett posing for autographs. Some dude in a nice suit was working on his lightsaber moves. There were tons of Jedis...a bunch of Padmes....a few Darth Mauls....a few Darth Vaders....some Ewoks...even a C3PO.

                           Darth Vader

The movie didn’t start until midnight...but they began seating about 9:00. We got to our seats about 9:30 and just hung out. The theater was kind of like a huge classroom before the bell rings. People just hanging out...chatting...having a good time. A guy with a Jar Jar Binks costume walked into our theater and got a quick beat-down by a blue-sabered Jedi. They brought in "hype men" to come in every now and then and just keep us in on what is happening in the theater. They actually had a guy come in with bags of small popcorn....hotdogs...and 20 oz Cokes for $1 apiece. Not a bad deal to get a vendor at a movie theater. So I ate like a king for $4. The lobby was filled with people [unknowingly forking over too much money for concessions] just chatting and having a good time. It really was quite a site. People just getting along and having a good time. Though the crowd was big and the movie wasn’t for another 2 didn’t have a feeling of "waiting". It was just like just a big party. If you get past the "God, these guys are nerds" aspect of’ll enjoy it.

With about 30 minutes left until showtime...a couple of "fans" took it upon themselves to entertain us with a sword duel. This rather robust fella [we dubbed him "Darth Hog"] came out with his red saber to take on a kid dressed up as Luke Skywalker in Return Of The Jedi. I joked about this....but I really, really, really, really didn’t think that would actually happen. I took my digi camera out to film it so my wife could pee her pants watching it [my wife called me a geek extensively over the last week or so]. After Darth Hog lost his battle....he quickly had a new one against a guy dressed up as Mace Windu. After looking at him a bit...we realized that this was the guy we watched working on his moves in the lobby earlier. They had quite a battle...and Darth Hog lost again [he did win in a rematch]. favorite. Some guy came down with a NASCAR shirt and a trucker cap on with a lightsaber. We dubbed this guy "Rebel Scum". He lost his lightsaber wasn’t up to par.

With 10 minutes left...the theater was hyped. At midnight...the lights dimmed and the logos appeared on the screen. We watched previews for a boxing movie with Russell Crowe, a movie with Scarlett Johansson and Ewan McGregor, "Stelth" and that lion and the wardrobe movie. Then...the familiar 20 Century Fox logo came on....and the movie went.

I won’t discuss the movie or anything...go see it yourself.



                              Skulls of victims of the Khmer Rouge regime

from BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | Lion Mutilates 42 Midgets in Cambodian Ring-Fight

Tickets had been sold-out three weeks before the much anticipated fight, which took place in the city of Kâmpóng Chhnãng.

The fight was slated when an angry fan contested Yang Sihamoni, President of the CMFL, claiming that one lion could defeat his entire league of 42 fighters.

Sihamoni takes great pride in the league he helped create, as was conveyed in his recent advertising campaign for the CMFL that stated his midgets will "... take on anything; man, beast, or machine."

This campaign is believed to be what sparked the undisclosed fan to challenge the entire league to fight a lion; a challenge that Sihamoni readily accepted.

An African Lion (Panthera Leo) was shipped to centrally located Kâmpóng Chhnãng especially for the event, which took place last Saturday, April 30, 2005 in the city’s coliseum.

The Cambodian Government allowed the fight to take place, under the condition that they receive a 50% commission on each ticket sold, and that no cameras would be allowed in the arena.

The fight was called in only 12 minutes, after which 28 fighters were declared dead, while the other 14 suffered severe injuries including broken bones and lost limbs, rendering them unable to fight back.

Sihamoni was quoted before the fight stating that he felt since his fighters out-numbered the lion 42 to 1, that they “… could out-wit and out-muscle [it].”

Unfortunately, he was wrong.


I guess the entire Cambodia Midget Fighting League is effectively out of business, eh?  Thanks to my Wife...Mrs Sportz Assassin...for finding that nugget!

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

POSSIBLE NBA WAR!?!?.....Huggy Bear May Leave Cincy

*Be prepared for THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN BLOG coming very, very, very soon. A blog featuring me, Monponsett, Die Cast, Coztanza, Pre-Jock, Quick Slants and more.  This thing should blow everyone away!!!


*A few months ago, the NBA and the players association were saying all the right things about getting a new deal done.  They said they didn't want to follow the NHL's dark path.  Well, it seems that they just very well might.  Last night, the owners cancelled a meeting with players reps today...and haven't rescheduled.  Word is that sides are being drawn and that the owner's past moves may come back to haunt them.  Mainly, during the 1998-99 lockout, the main drive by the owners was to take the power away from the agents.  They won that battle [I mean, how much has David Falk's name been in the press lately?].  What came out of that were max salaries, a luxury tax, rookie salary scale and limiting where a player can go and make his money.  Despite what you think [and some issues], the system seems to have worked.  Since then, most of the biggest names in the NBA retired...and new stars have emerged. 

However, the NBA wants more.  They want to slash the max number of years in a contract [from the 6-7 years now to a 3-4 year max], impose a Super Luxury Tax that further penalizes billionaire owners, impose an age limit, and making the yearly increase smaller [from 10% to 5%].  Normally, when these negotiations go on, I side with the owners.  Not this time.  I agree with the age limit, but I don't think what is going on is ruining the game.  All those new proposals do is keep owners in line with rules.  Under the current rules, owners get trigger happy and sign marginal players to long bad deals...then are stuck with them.  Under the current rules, owners are scared to miss out on drafting thenext Kobe Bryant that they pick Kwame Brown #1 overall.  Under the current rules, owners can go over the high cap and pay a tough tax...which the billionairs [Cuban, Allen] don't mind. 

Why would the players agree to any of this?  They gave up a lot to get the system that is currently in place.  Why should they give up more so the owners feel better?  Billy Hunter, the NBPA head, recently gathered the 12 most powerful NBA agents and had them agree to tell their clients to reject the NBA's current proposal.  Again, the agents are willing to peeve off the owners and they effectively were wiped out of the NBA landscape.  This will be a war.

*Keep up to date on the NBA playoffs by going to or for quick little reviews and previews of each game/series....go to SPORTZ' HOOPS LAND


*Rex Chapman has recently told reporters that people around the Kentucky Wildcats program discouraged him from dating black chicks. They didn’t want to get fans riled up. NO! You are going to tell me that there is racism afoot in the UKKK program? I’ll never hear of it! I mean, so the SEC was made up of schools that famously wouldn’t even play other schools with black players. I still hear Kentucky fans use the word "colored" when describing certain players. This isn’t a blanket observation....not everyone is like this.  I love the TreeSoup's  The WildCat Blog....a great great blog for a team I really don't care for.  But, I’ve lived in the Bluegrass state for now 6 years [on the other side of the river from Cincinnati]...and I’ve never met a black Wildcat fan.

*Speaking of NCAA hoops in my area....the Cincinnati Bearcats and coach Bob Huggins have agreed to not agree...and Huggs will coach out his final two years of his contract.  Huggs had a "rollover" 4-year deal that basically added a year to his contract after every season.  But, after last year's DUI arrest...the university prez decided to delete that.  She's not really a fan of Bobby.  Their GM Goin is....but he's moving on after this season and the new guy may not bow down to Huggs wishes as Goin has.  It is a catch-22 for everyone involved.  Huggins brought back the Bearcats from the garbage in the 1990s into a consistent tournament team.  However, those teams are built on somewhat shady characters who are known more for their "thugness" than anything they've contributed off the court.  They also have one of the worst graduation rates in the country....and many people feel that he cannot recreate his C-USA success in the demanding Big East.  Does this mean the end of Huggins in Cincy?  Hard to say.  He could ride out his deal and head elsewhere [maybe to his alma mater West Virginia if Beline moves up to a cushier job].  Coaches in those upper-mid-major conferences [Atlantic 10, WAC, Mountain West, C-USA] may take a shot at him to get their programs off the ground. 

*Speaking of the Big East....Temple [who the Big East essentially kicked out of their football conference] has agreed to join the Mid American Conference.  Not a bad move for Temple in football....but a sad one for hoops.  The Atlantic 10 isn't an elite hoops conference...but with Xavier, Dayton, GW, Charlotte, St Joe's and Richmond...they have a very nice stack of talented programs.  If the A-10 could figure out how to dump St. Bonnie and Fordham [heck, La Salle too], they may turn into more of a bigger conference.   It is a coup for the MAC, as having Temple in their conference ups their exposure on the East coast.  For football, Temple gets to avoid the hell which is D-I independency. 

                         Dwyane Wade

*People are all of the sudden playing the game of "if you knew then what you know now....who would you pick #1 overall in 2003"?  LeBron or Wade?  I love what Wade is doing in I was predicting before their rookie seasons.  But, c' still have to go with LeBron.  Aside from making a bone-headed decision to fire his agents....what has LeBron done to not keep his King title?  Oh, yeah, he didn't make the playoffs.  But could Wade have made the playoffs with the cast that surrounds LeBron?  The media is giving a licking to LeBron just as they did on Melo....but all three of the guys will be All Stars for years to come.  In a couple years, LeBron will either have a nice cast around him in Cleveland or he'll be set on another team [uh...Lakers?].  And, hey, Darko Milicic has a ring and none of those guys do.  Ironic, eh? 

*I wonder if Latrell Sprewell is rethinking his stance on the Timberwolves' preseason offer of 3-yrs and $21M??  He said he could barely take care of his family with that kind of money.  I guess he'll be checking into a cardboard box after this season. 

                                            Mark Fields

*Has an NFL franchise suffered the highs and lows as much as the Carolina Panthers?  They hold the record for longest losing streak in a season....the 15 in a row they lost in their 2001 1-15 season.  Two years later, they are in the Super Bowl.  Last year....they were 1-7 in the first half of the season....and 6-2 in the second half.  They've had one of their receivers convicted of murder [Rae Carruth], a running back gunned down by his wife [Fred Lane], their star QB quit on them [Kerry Collins], their original star and LB coach recently passed away from cancer [Sam Mills] and have had only two winning seasons in franchise history.  Heading into the 2005 season, they'll lose their All Pro kicker [Sauerbaun] in a cap move that was also designed to rid them of a pain in the rump.....they lose All Pro linebacker Mark Fields due to his Hodgkins Disease returning....they lost their All Pro wide out [Muhammed] to free agency....and they have a steroid cloud hanging over their heads.  But the team is still pretty good.  Aside from Muhammed...their offense will be pretty intact, including getting back Steve Smith after missing him for 15 1/2 games last year.  Their defense will be solid as usual....and they play in a division where only the Falcons are perceived as an elite team. 

*I'm still laughing at Saved By The Blog's line of "Kevin Federline is the luckiest piece of white trash in the history of mankind." [Saved By The Blog].  He also has a hilarious pic of Steve Nash on his draft day.  Dude looks like that actor Alan Cummings. 

*I said this before the season....but don't sleep on the San Francisco Giants.  Despite Barry not being around...the team has talent.  They can hitand have good enough pitching to hold up.  Not to mention that Felipe Alou is one of the better managers in the league.  If Barry ever does come back...look out.

*MLB has give the city of Miami [or the area of South Florida] until June 9th to come up with a stadium plan or...........uh......or....uh.  They didn't give any consequences for not getting a deal, but it is to be believed that if the Marlins wanted to bounce out of So-Flo than baseball won't stand in the way.  Even if it is Las Vegas.  Yep, To be honest, I would force the Florida Marlins to move to Tampa [they could keep their name] and force the Devil Rays to go to Vegas instead.  Then the Vegas team would add a 5th team to the AL West and the AL East could stay at 4 teams and everyone would get even more Red Sox-Yankees games they crave. 

*I really think that the "Big 4" commishes better wow Congress in their hearing or they will enforce a uniform drug policy that covers all sports....which is exactly what I think is the whole deal anyways.  Doing this would cover not only professional sports, but amateur ones as well.  While I don't think it should get into any kind of big raid....but I think putting scarlet letters on certain players that they cannot make a livelihood will be most effective.  Just look how the scarlet letter has effect both Jason Giambi and Barry Bonds....and the image of Mark McGwire. 


*The entry deadline has passed...and there were 66 underclassmen that declared for the NBA dratt.  Most of those that didn't sign agents can return to college over the next few weeks.  But, there are still some dumb people out there.  While it is sometimes smart to just test the waters to get a feel of what you need to work only can do that once.  You can only put your name in and then pull back once.  The next time you are in there.  Case in point, LSU's Brandon Bass.  He wasn't sure whether he should declare or not.  If he declared [which he did], he had to stay in the draft no matter what.  That's because he declared after last season as a freshman, foolishly, and then pulled back and stayed at LSU.  If he hadn't had done that...he could easily declare this year...and if things weren't looking good he could return and try again next year.  The poster child for this dumb move in 2005 is Kentucky's Randolph Morris.  He had a marginally alright freshman season in Lexington...but nothing to make anyone drool.  Next season he should have a chance to shine.  He may still get to play a soph season in KY...but what happens after next season?  If he declares, he must stay in the draft.  Again...dumb decisions abound. 

*How about this kid, Curtis Heroman, who also declared for the NBA Draft.  Trouble is, he didn't play college ball.  Well, sort of not.  He played hoops at LSU....just not for the Tigers and not in an SEC tilt.  He was on their intermural squad. 

*Word is that UNC will move to the Big Sky Conference in 2006.  Oh...not the UNC you think of.  It is the University of Northern Colorado.  UNC is also the home of the "Fighting Whiteys" intramural team.

*D'Angelo Williams' Heisman campaign has already begun.  Why wouldn't it?  I mean, he is one of the top backs in the country...but you gotta work overtime for people to take a long look at voting for a Conference USA player for Heisman.  I mean, with the current Heisman winner still in well as the main candidates from last year....this may be a tough sell. 

Star Wars and Sports


This coming Wednesday at midnight, "Star Wars Episode III: Revenge Of The Sith" will premiere to the masses.  And many a geek will be there.....including me, who has been holding onto tickets for over a month now. 

Uh, but that is neither here nor there.  As a Star Wars fan...and a known sports freak....I thought I'd check out where these two loves meet.


Most people have seen ESPN's commercial involving Star Wars characters.  Vader spooks Lennox Lewis; C3PO drops a racket;  R2D2 interrupts SportsCenter.  You can actually get Star Wars jerseys.  Just go to Activity Toys: Compare Prices at mySimon and check out some of there stuff.  You can get football or basketball jerseys with the names Vader, Fett or Yoda on the back. 

      Star Wars Paint Scheme

Star Wars has made appearances in NASCAR.  Elliot Sadler, who drives the M&Ms #38 car....drove a limited edition "Dark Side Chocolate" M&Ms car.  Sadler's teammate, Dale Jarrett, had his #88 car done up in the "Jedi Light Chocolate" getup.  Both cars appeared in the Phoenix race in late April.  In that same race, Jeff Gordon's #24 car [which is sponsored by Star Wars lovin' Pepsi] featured Yoda on the hood.


During halftime of the Pacers-Pistons playoff game this past Sunday, Samuel Jackson [who plays Mace Windu in "Sith"] speaking on the NBA in the NBA MINUTE.  That minute also featured clips from the movie.  The NBA is also teaming up with Star Wars in their NBA Star Wars Ultimate Battles segment...which links great NBA playoff moments in each of the years that the Star Wars movies debuted. 

The Altoona Curve, a Pirates AA team, held "Star Wars Night" last Tuesday.  The first 2000 fans to arrive will get "Let the Curve Be With You" bracelets.  The Newark Bears offered a $1 discount for people wearing a Star Wars costume to their game on Saturday.  They even had a Jedi Camp for the kids as well as appearances by Darh Vader and some Stormtroopers.  Several other minor league teams held a "Star Wars Night" of there own.  There was even a delay during the Peoria Chiefs game due to a lighted blue lightsaber being waved in the batters view. 

Even Barry Bonds mentioned that he was going to see Episode III [ The Official Barry Bonds Site] on his blog. 

If you remember back many years ago, baseball card maker Topps made quick a bit of cash on Star Wars trading cards. 



As I write this...there are three NBA playoff series tied at 2-2.  There have been some great individual performances in wins and loses in these series.  When looking ahead to what is essentially three best-of-three series, what should we expect?

            Steve Nash

WILL THIS 'LET NASH SCORE' DEFENSE KEEP WORKING?  I don't think so.  That kind of defense is hard to keep up on the road...which Dallas will be facing in Game 5 [and 7].  Also, if D'Antoni is truly the coach of the year, he should be able to find ways to free up his other guys.  But, that really isn't the Suns' problem.  They did score 109 pts with Dallas making that adjustment.  Their problem is defense and their bench.  Scoring 109 pts on most nights equal a comfy win.  Phoenix can't do that.  Aside from Marion [who is doing a fine job on Dirk], no one on that team is a good defensive player.  That is killing them.  But, like I stated back in November [Solar Eclipse], the lack of a bench in Phoenix will be their demise.  Their bench scored just 3 points on Sunday...and are hurting even more with Joe Johnson sidelined for, possibly, the rest of the series.  They have SIX guys averaging at least 32 minutes [7th in minutes is averaging 13 pg]...and one of those guys is Johnson, who played in just 2 games.  With such an up-and-down tempo....the question should be if these guys will hold up?  I called this series in 7 games...and it looks as if it will end up that way. 

          Ray Allen

IS THIS DEJA VU FOR SAN ANTONIO?  Maybe.  Last year, they won the first two games against the LA Lakers...only to lose Games 3 and 4 on the road, then Games 5 and 6.  Can it happen again?  It sure could.  This will be a dogfight until someone is eliminated.  And the sad thing for Spursfan is that this series could be in the bag if someone....anyone....could hit a shot in the closing minutes of Game 3.  However, Seattle has not looked good in either game in Texas....and they may be without Rashad Lewis again.  The SBC Center is a tough place to win a game....but the Sonics have the confidence to go in there and get it done.  I predicted that the Spurs would win in 5 [which won't happen], but I have faith that they can come up with the next two games of this series. 

            Chauncey Billups

ARE THE PACERS FOR REAL??  I think they are.  Remember, the team that is on the floor now is neither the team the planned of fielding in October, nor is it the team that played most of the season.  Due to the suspensions and injuries...the Pacers projected starting lineup played together ZERO games.  I think most people, before the season started, who have bough the fact that these two teams would be in a tussle in the playoffs.  And because of this...I keep earning so much respect for Rick Carlisle.  We already know that these guys are mentally tough.  But, they have guys that are willing to scrap to get a win [witness the ugly 79-74 game].  They've already won a road Game 7 in these who knows what else they are capable of?  However, put a gun to my head and I still see Detroit walking away from this one.  The problem is that they will go against a well rested Miami team that hasn't had to do too much to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals. 

                Dwayne Wade

MIAMI MUST BE LOVING THIS, HUH?  Not really.  Yeah, the rest is nice.  Shaq is nursing an injury and Wade had to exert himself to overcome Shaq's absense.  However, Miami really hadn't looked "great" against Washington.  They looked a tad rusty...yet still won the series.  Detroit or Indiana won't open the doors for Miami to walk all over they need to keep focus to reach their first NBA Finals. 

Monday, May 16, 2005

Old Dude Wins Survivor


Survivor is over.....and my wife has got it all covered.  Go to Survivor : Palau - Bravenet Web Journal to check out her take on the final episode, as the winner if announced.

Some exerpts: 

"5 hours go by before Katie calls it quits.
I was shocked that ho even made it that long."

"11 hours and 45 minutes in (the longest challenge in Survivor history) Ian comes up with his solution.
He says he will give up, and in return Tom must take Katie to the final two.  This will show Tom and Katie how much Ian cares and he believes it will redeem him for the backstabbing he did.  WTF?!  He stood 12 hours through rain, wind, and pain, then he wants to throw it?!  It's ONE MILLION dollars.  How could you walk away like that, when you're so close?!"

Also, feel free to go back thru her archives to see the goings on in the first months of the show.  Then throw up a take on her "tag board" if you feel saucy.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Shaq, Shut Your Yapper!!

                                                    Jonathan Skeete

*The Ohio State University took another hit. Kicker Jonathan "Awww skeet skeet" Skeete was arrested for trafficking the hippie lettuce. He has been suspended from the team...and most likely thrown off. This is just another in a series of PR hits the program has had to deal with over the past....uh, 10 years? Why don’t Ohio State, Miami, Florida State and a few others just form a semi-pro league and just drop the charade?

*Speaking of Ohio....can the Reds get any worse?? They have a horrible pitching staff [even though they attempted to throw money at it] and they cannot hit anything. Well, they can hit a home run....or just strike out. Already, the Reds Nation has given up on the team...and it isn’t even Memorial Day.


*About this whole Terrell Owens holdout: Let him sit. If I was a member of the Eagles brass...I’d just tell him the "kiss off" and play on without him. I mean, the team did navigate thru the playoffs without him....after three seasons of getting to the NFC title game without him. Let him sit. Especially when their first five games feature a rematch of the NFC title game [Atlanta], a game against TO’s former team [San Francisco], a game featuring the other biggest name receiver [Oakland], a game against one of the NFL’s bad defenses [Kansas City] and a big rivalry game [Dallas]. All games that Owens could excel in.

*The commissioners of the NHL, MLB, NBA and NFL will be attending Senate hearings about steroids [as well as commissioners of smaller leagues]. This will be a very touchy the NHL is in the middle of an ugly labor which the NBA is also facing. But...I think this is a setting where you will see David Stern shine. We’ve already seen what Bud Selig does under the heat....and Paul Tagliabue just looks and sounds like he’s reading from a script. Gary Bettman acts like a guy who’s trying to lie his way thru an argument. But Stern is a tad different. Stern has charm...something sorely missing in the others. Even if you hate Stern or don’t agree with what he says....he can charm you. He can sell it. He does give stock answers...but does so with lively embellishment. When backed into a corner...Stern can get snippy and unpleasant. But hedoes so, usually, with a smile. Remember after the Brawl in November...when Stern gave out his punishments. In a dark time for the NBA, Stern still got off the "it was unanimous. 1-0" slam.

*Not to long ago, I had a very distasteful blog entry about the massive amounts of people declaring for the NBA draft. It has gotten even worse. Duke’s Shavlik Randolph has declared. WHAT!?!? JJ Redick and Sheldon Williams stay in school....but ol’ Shav declares? This follows Kentucky’s Randolph Morris declaring earlier in the week. There are now 11 high school kids declared and dozens of underclassmen declared. Of course, today is the final day to put your name in the hat.  But, as of now...there are 66 underclassmen declared for a draft that has only 60 selections.  And that doesn't even count seniors and foreign players.

                              Watch Huggs get arrested

*The University of Cincinnati is getting set to enter the Big East. They may do so without hoops coach Bob Huggins. After meeting with school officials, Huggins did not get an extension or a rollover of his current deal. In fact, a buyout was discussed. Why? Well, the program has hit some tough times of late. Two players quit the team flunking out and one admitting to having a weapon on campus. This comes after years of disappointments on the court [mainly in the NCAA tournament] that many feel is the cause of playing in a secondary conference. The move to the Big East was to change that. Also, last year Huggins was arrested in an embarrassing DUI case, which was caught on tape. He was suspended for a time [his assistant coach also recently caught a DUI case]. What this all looks like to me is that Cincy may be looking to go in a new direction. With the move to the new conference, their program may look enticing to big name coaches. Huggins act may have worn out its welcome in the Nati. While he may work things on contractually, he may still have to work to keep his job.

*Isn’t it great when supposedly smart people don’t think things through? Marquette made an announcement that they’d be changing their name from the Golden Eagles to just "Gold". Yup....the Marquette Gold. I guess this was to capitalize on them going into the Big East. A little one likes it. Students were disgusted and fans were livid. Even Dwayne Wade was peeved. This would be the third different name in 11 years for ‘Quette [they were the Warriors until 1994]. Fans, students and faculty will vote on a new name.

*I guess the best way to keep them from fighting is to bury them underground. The Palace Of Auburn Hills has this nifty idea to offer underground luxury suites. Yeah....underground. This means that these suites will have absolutely no view of the action on the court. None. The suites provide access to the "nightlife" in the Palace....including a plasma TV showing the game above them. Just another sign of arenas trying to satisfy non-fans.

*Anaheim has a plan set to build an NFL stadium. But who do you move there? The Colts and Cardinals now have stadium deals in place. So who? Move the New Orleans Saints there. Do it. Nothing against New Orleans [except that they cannot support a team], but Tom Benson’s constant whining over his Superdome lease has just worn thin. He’s already threatened to move the team to San Antonio, Albuquerque or Los Angeles. There is an exit clause after the 2005 season that Benson could get out of his lease. He wants a new NewOrleans stadium....but will settle for a refurbished Superdome and some cash kickbacks. If I was the state of Louisiana [who handles this thing], I’d tell him to walk. With the current economy in N’ isn’t worth keeping the Saints around. I mean, all the Saints have given the community is one playoff win, Archie Manning and a club-footed kicker. The Super Bowl will still come to the Big they’ll cash in there.

*This whole Shaq vs Buss thing is just plain absurd. It is like two kids bickering. First off, they need to move on. Buss shouldn’t said anything about Shaq except "we did what we did...and I hope it works out for everyone." Not that what Buss said was really incorrect....but you don't tell a fat lady she is fat either. Shaq needs to move on as well. All year long he has quipped about the if it was an old girlfriend or something. I mean...HE DEMANDED THE TRADE! People tend to forget that with Shaq’s childlike playfulness...come his childlike emotions. He sulked when he didn’t get his way. I read someone who said "the trade from the Lakers [in favor of Kobe] ripped away at his Superman ego" which is true. The Lakers were prepared to turn the keys over the Kobe....and Shaq didn’t like it. And, really, what is different? He can go to Miami and go out of his way to say Wade is the man....yet couldn’t for Kobe. He is on a title contending he was with Kobe. He still hasn’t gotten the extension he so adamantly wanted. Yet his health is still in question [despite dropping the weight] and his stats steadily declined.  The only difference is that now Shaq is loved again....while people were still taking shots at him in LA about his desire, weight, injuries and attitude.  In Miami....he suddenly lost his fat, played out the season [until the Heat clinched], put together an MVP effort and says everything popular to the Miami media.  But Kobe's the skunk???