Thursday, May 31, 2007

A Chick Named Kobe Bryant


Think you had a bad day at your job?

Try spending the Memorial Day weekend making demands that your company hires a new boss that you like.  Then, when that boss says he's really not interested, you leak out that you may want out of your place of employment.

Then, imagine going on national radio to say you never said that ... only to go on national radio the next morning, blubbering, to tell the world that you are unhappy.  Then, as everyone in the sports world is talking about you ... you go back on the radio a few more times to say that it could be worked out if they fire someone.

Now, get back to work!

So goes the Kobe Bryant saga.  I am a Laker fan and I think Kobe Bryant is the best player in the NBA.  Easily.  However, he may be the biggest jerk, too.  And ... no ... this isn't something that is just coming out of my mouth now. 

Do I blame him for Shaq leaving?  Yes and no.  See, unlike everyone else in the world, I think it was a combination of a lot of people.  Shaq was breaking down, not worth $30M a season or $80M for three seasons; Kobe was a free agent and there was a feeling that if Shaq stays, Kobe leaves; the team had to do what it had to do. 

The irony is that Phil Jackson talked Kobe down off the ledge.  Cuz, ya know, Kobe trusts Phil.  The same Phil that wrote a book and called Kobe "uncoachable". 

Kobe is right about one thing:  the front office is a mess.  You have Dr Jerry Buss who loves having the spotlight team; his son, who has no basketball experience;  his daughter, who's dating Phil Jackson;  Phil Jackson, the coach who feels he has a voice in the franchise's dealings; Mitch Kupchak, the guy in charge of the personnel decisions for the team and who's a protege of Jerry West ... the guy Kobe wants back.  This power structure has gotten nothing done since the shakeup of 2004. 

My Lakers consist of Kobe Bryant, an enigmatic Lamar Odom, a castoff of Smush Parker, the youngest player in the NBA in Andrew Bynum, one of the biggest busts in Kwame Brown, fool Vlad Radmanovic, cast off Shammond Williams, and youngsters Jordan Farmar and Ronny Turiaf.  They've used the midlevel exceptions on Vlade Divac, Aaron McKie and Vlad Rad. 

The biggest bargaining chip they have is Andrew Bynum, which could've netted the team certain big time players ... especially Jason Kidd that coulda put the Lakers in position to be on the right track.  Since Bynum is sorta untradeable, that's a message to Kobe that his best years are being wasted and he does have a right to gripe.


Kobe does what Kobe does.  Instead of making his demands to the team [which has said they haven't talked to him], he calls Dan Patrick, Stephen A Smith and whomever has radio air time and airs out his laundry there.  Listen to the interviews and it sounds like one of those psychologist's shows where they try to solve people's problems. 

He says he can't trust the franchise.  The same franchise that bent over backwards for him during his entire rape allegations in Colorado.  Trust?  This is from the same guy that cheated on his wife in that Colorado resort.  Trust?  The same guy who threw Shaq's name out of his mouth during questioning after being arrested.  Trust?  The same guy that will run to ESPN instead of the people who actually have control on his problems.

He's a jerk and will always will be.  But this jerk can ball and I want him staying in the purple and gold. 

Kissing The Girls ... OUCH!

If she was on the juice ... this coulda happened:

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Where's My Stanley Cup Finals?

Of all of the postseasons, the Stanley Cup playoffs are the best.  They are (a) easy to follow, schedule-wise, (b) reseed between rounds, (c) filled with more tradition than anyone else and (d) nowhere to be seen.

That's a shame.

I'm not going to hate on VS.  VS [formerly OLN] did a great job getting the NHL and trying to take a niche sports channel into more of the mainstream.  When watching the games on VS, they do a good job with the entire broadcast that it is a shame that they get dumped on.  It's not their fault.

The problem lies with the fact that no one knows where it is ... and no one cares to find out.  I love watching the Stanley Cup finals ... but until I went online to check out something, I forgot they were on.  I then had to search through my myriad of DirecTV channels to find where it was [channel 608].

Screw it.  I'll watch the Spurs and Jazz.

We all have our beefs with ESPN, but they were making the NHL for the last decade or so.  ESPN poured a lot of money into the rights for it ... and they did a bang up job trying to sell it.  Without the NHL, ESPN has tossed it to the side and let the Arena Football League [which it now televises] take it's spot.  Now, NHL highlights are buried on SportsCenter, NHL2Night is dead and Barry Melrose's mullet doesn't get the TV time it once did. 

Imagine how big Sidney Crosby would be if ESPN was pimping him?

Sure, the Worldwide Leader didn't have the NBA and it blew up ... but the NHL ain't the NBA.  An overtime playoff game was dumped for horse racing.  Horse racing!!!!!  I mean, the one thing sports nets have done is keep showing a game until it's over.  Well, unless it is the NHL.

The NHL needs to come back to ESPN who helped keep it alive.  Sure, they can show games on VS too [just as the NBA has games on TNT, NBATV and ESPN] ... but use ESPN's marketing genius to help pull the league back up from the bottom of the barrel.

Bonds Isn't Sharing With the Hall of Fame


"I'm not worried about the Hall.  I take care of me." -Barry Bonds

Normally, this kind of statement would eat me up as selfish and ignorant of the history of the game he has the privilege to play for a living.  But then you look at what baseball is doing for Bonds.  Nothing, really. 

Again, I'm aware there is this stigma of steroids surrounding Bonds ... and, yes, I think he took 'em ... but he's not failed a test as of now.  Yet, as Bonds reaches the hallowed 755 mark, the bigwigs of baseball are acting like it isn't happening.

That's baseball for you.  There is an issue on the table and they are acting like it isn't happening.  Mr. Selig, that's how your league got into this predicament in the first place.  The ostrich technique isn't a great one.  For a league that touts being so progressive by having Jackie Robinson tributes every year [yet forgets that it still means that the majors spent more time being a whites only league ... 1876-1946 ... than it hasn't ... 1947-2007], they sure spend a lot of time hoping problems magically go away.

But I digress.

Bonds, I'm sure, is feeling the slight of the baseball rulers and feels this is the best thing to do to seperate himself.  While I see Bonds' point, it is a shame.  While baseball loves to think the Hall is about them ... it's really about the fans and I'm sure the fans would love to have some of these momentos up in Cooperstown.

So what should go into Cooperstown?  Lance McAllister had a few suggestions on his blog:

1. A syringe
2. His baseball caps from every five years of his career....with cap size listed
3. Copy of the book "Game of Shadows"
4. Video of his 37 hop throw to the plate as Sid Bream scores to sent Braves to the World Series
5. A live jackass
6. Transcript of his grand jury testimony
7. A slab of his body armor

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Boo Hoo! Oden and Durant are Going West


There are many blowhards whining about how the fact that Portland and Seattle will be drafting Greg Oden and Kevin Durant ... that it's horrible for the NBA. 


They say that East Coast fans won't get to see these two young stars play a lot because a bulk of their games are after their bedtime.  So?

Look, the furthest west I have ever been is Nashville ... and that was nearly 20 years ago.  I don't see the gripe.  Two of the NBA's current big stars are Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash ... and we all get to see them quite a bit, don't we?

Back in the 1990s, the brightest young star was some kid named Ken Griffey, Jr ... and he played in Seattle.  How's life been for him since he moved further east?  Oh, and 'roids or not, San Francisco has been much better to Barry Bonds than Pittsburgh ever was.  The NHL's biggest star, Wayne Gretzky, spent most of his career in Edmonton and Los Angeles. 

So, New York or Philly or Boston won't get these monstrous talents.  Who cares?  It makes those media outlets have to go outside their backyard to find where the talent is.  Call it the exact opposite of baseball ... where all you hear about is the Red Sox, Yankees and Mets and they rarely care what's going on outside those areas anyways.  Case in point: it was all about the Mets-Yankees interleague series last weekend instead of the World Series rematch between the Cardinals and Tigers.  ESPN can't go 10 minutes without uttering the word "Yankees". 

So screw 'em if the NBA's Western Conference has all the stars.  All the East really has is LeBron and Wade ... and a fading Shaq.  The West has Kobe, Nash, Dirk, Duncan, KG, Yao, T-Mac, Iverson, Melo, Amare, Paul, Parker, Boozer and soon ... Oden and Durant. 

And, remember east coast fans ... it is fair that Portland and Seattle has the first picks in the draft.  After all the top draft picks in the last four drafts went to eastern teams:
2006-Toronto, Chicago, Charlotte
2005-Bucks, Hawks
2004-Magic, Bobcats, Bulls
2003-Cavaliers, Pistons

So, east coast lovers, enjoy the 70 games the Red Sox and Yankees play this year because once NBA season comes ... you can just buy tickets to the 15 times a Western team comes to town.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Bring Back These Brewers Uniforms!


I know that being a child of the 1980s, nostalgia for the baseball uniforms from yesteryear may cloud my better judgement.  Not right now.  The Milwaukee Brewers need to go back and stay with these uniforms. 

They don't need to go back to crappy County Stadium or even wear those ugly road caps [see below] ... but please go back to the blue pinstriped Brewer uniforms from the last time the team mattered. 

As the movie Mr. 3000 showed me, the Brewers uniforms over the past decade or so have been dull and monotonous [though they've changed, like, five times]. 


Again ... Why Don't You Want to Graduate?

FORT WORTH — Students who had been planning to walk across the stage at graduation ceremonies this weekend were instead walking a picket line Thursday morning.
For the rest click

Look closely at the sign the woman in the white shirt is holding.  Any wonder why her kid is not walking?

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Leave Barry Bonds' 756 Alone

Let me say this from the jump:  I believe that Barry Bonds has taken steroids.

However, when he hits home run #756, he should get all the trappings of the home run champ should.  Hank Aaron doesn't have to be there ... but Bud Selig does.  The game should be stopped.  His teammates should wait for him at home plate. 

Are some of Bonds' 756 home runs tainted?  Oh, I'm pretty sure they are.  But what can you do right now?  He's never failed a test. 

We could always put an asterick by his record ... but why?  Astericks only make people that love to say "yeah, but" feel better.  Asterick or not, history will define Bonds more than any asterick ever could.  If there was no asterick, don't you think that everyone would know that Bonds might have been a cheater?

To punish Bonds just because he has the record is hypocritical.  After all, Raffy Palmeiro's 569 home runs have no asterick ... and he has tested positive for steroids.  Mark McGwire, who has virtually the same cloud hovering over him, doesn't have an asterick by his 583 home runs.  Sammy Sosa will hit his 600th dinger soon ... and there is no asterick by him.  No astericks by Ken Caminiti's numbers [or MVP award].  Why should Bonds be the lone one with the asterick?  Because he's on top?

The biggest scandal in baseball history ... the 1919 World Series that was won by the Reds because it was thrown by the White Sox ... has no asterick.  Pete Rose and Shoeless Joe Jackson have no astericks anywhere near their names ... yet we all know what they've done.  

By the way, if baseball truly wanted to place astericks by shaky numbers ... why not put 'em around Ted Williams and the other major league players who sacrificed their lives and career to serve this country in World War II?  Williams' numbers could be up there with the Aaron's, Ruth's, Mays' and Bonds if he didn't take several years off in his prime to fight in wars.  I think THOSE numbers need astericks to remind people the good. 

And lest we remind you that 10 of the 16 players who have been caught with steroids have been pitchers. 

Should we erase Bonds' numbers?  If we do, then there will be a domino effect across baseball's record books.  Do we start erasing all the runs scored by players who were on base during Bonds' homers?  Do we go back and fix all the ERAs, walks, strikeouts and what not for all the pitchers who faced Bonds?  Imean, the same 'roided Bonds that hit those home runs was the same one that drew the walks and struck out.  How many Bonds HRs won games for the Giants?  Should we go back and look at team's wins and losses and adjust the standings and playoffs? 

The thing is you can't erase numbers.  You can't make something that did happen go away because you don't want it.  What you can do is let it be and pass the legend.  Let Bonds pass Aaron ... and if you don't like it, tell your kids to tell their kids. 

The fact that the number will be there is it's own asterick.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Portland, Go Ahead and Pick Greg Oden


Here is the thing:  Portland should use the #1 pick in the draft on Greg Oden.  Case closed.

I don't care if they already have Raef LaFrentz and Joel Pryzbilla signed to expensive deals.  I don't care if they drafted LaMarcus Aldridge last year.  I don't care if Zach Randolph is their highest paid player.  Draft Oden.

Just look at 1984.

In 1984, Houston had the #1 pick in the draft for the second straight season.  The year before, they took Ralph Sampson [who was a god at Virginia] with that top pick.  Yet, they went ahead and picked another center with the top pick in the '84 draft.  That cat's name is Hakeem Olajawon.  Olajawon brought two NBA titles to Houston and is a Hall of Famer.  What's up with Ralph?

Again: 1984.  With the #2 pick in the draft, the Portland Trailblazers drafted center Sam Bowie.  They didn't want Michael Jordan because they drafted Clyde Drexler in the previous year's draft.  That one really didn't work out for the Blazers.

It isn't just '84.  Despite having a Hall of Fame center in David Robinson, the San Antonio Spurs drafted Tim Duncan with the top pick in 1997.  Ask the Detroit Pistons if they would rather have drafted Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh or Dwyane Wade in 2003 ... instead of Darko Milicic [who isn't even on their team anymore]???

Draft the best guy on the board. 

LOTTERY TONIGHT!!! Oh, and the Conference Finals

I love the NBA, but the 2006-2007 season has been a dud.  And nothing points to that more than the fact that if you go to any sports website right now [Tuesday morning/afternoon], the front page story is the NBA Draft Lottery.

That's a coup of sorts for the NBA that has made an event out of nothing.  But is it cool that all anyone wants to talk about is the Lottery and not the Spurs-Jazz game that comes on after it?   The lottery is important.  You can watch the Spurs [who won two lotteries that gave them two Hall of Famers and three NBA titles] and Cavaliers [who won the lottery that gave them LeBron James] this week ... or look to the future to see what team Greg Oden will be doing the same thing for. 

Add to the fact that there is no NBA playoff game Wednesday night.  Why?  Oh, a little show called "American Idol" will be on.  And not just any "Idol" ... but the last one of the season.  LeBron James isn't bigger than that yet. 

Saturday, May 19, 2007

The NBA Needs To Get Rid of the MVP Award


I hate the MVP award.  It's too objective and the definition of the awards is different among every voter and fan in the world.

Dirk Nowitzki won the award this year ... then promptly was ousted of the playoffs by a team that won 25 less games than Dirk's team and qualified for the postseason on the last day of the regular season.  Dirk was the best player of the best team in the regular season ... that's why he got the award.  This isn't to say he didn't have a great season, just that he may not have been the most valuable. 

Especially when the playoffs come around and he disappears.  The award is for the season, but when the chips are down he wasn't there. 

The guy who won the previous two awards [and finished 2nd to Dirk this year] is Steve Nash.  In those three seasons, Nash hasn't sniffed the NBA Finals.  This year, they guy many still felt should've won the MVP, had:

*a first team All-NBA center
*the winner of the Sixth Man award
*an All-Defensive first team player
*another NBA All Star

Yet, the "guy who makes everyone around him better" couldn't bring it home with those guys.  And spare me the gripes that the Suns were robbed of Game 5 because of bogus suspensions of Stoudemire and Diaw [they both did break a rule].  MVPs elevate their games when the going gets tough.  Just ask Magic, Jordan, Kareem, Bird and the rest of those multiple MVP award winners. 

The award is a joke.  I mean, how else do you explain that Shaquille O'Neal has just one MVP award in his career?  Heck, how does Michael Jordan have just six?  Or Wilt Chamberlain have just 4 awards?  Kobe Bryant, whom many feel is the best player in the NBA, hasn't even come close to winning the award. 

Why must we have an award to celebrate the person who had the most "valuable" season even though we can't figure out what's "valuable"???  Take Kobe off the Lakers ... and where are they?   Check out how Steve Nash controls a game and his team ... and how about him?  Or how Dirk Nowitzki is a matchup nightmare for anyone ... so it's him?  Or how simply great that Tim Duncan plays the game ... so it's him? 

Screw it.  That's why we have the postseason ... where real legends are made. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Suns Suspensions Are Not Fair ... Even Though They Are Correct


Point #1:  Amare Stoudamire and Boris Diaw should be suspended for one game for going out onto the court during that scuffle at the end of the Spurs-Suns playoff game.  It is a rule that's been in place for some time; everyone knows it; and there has been precendence set [Knicks/Heat nearly a decade ago] that this rule still applies in the playoffs.

Point #2:  There needs to be some common sense legislated into this rule.

Yes, I do believe the rule [well, it's intent] is justifiable.  The intent is to confine any kind of altercations to the least amount of people possible.  It tries to make small fights from spilling over into bigger ones.  Does it work?  Well, we have had that Pacers-Pistons brawl a few years ago ... but there isn't the on-court fighting like there was in the 1970s or 1980s. 

Personally, I like the rule.  I like smack talk and all of that, but I don't need fighting in the NBA.

However, the intent of the rule is to keep these fires from getting out of control, right?  When Stoudamire and Diaw walked closer to the Nash/Horry/Bell mosh pit, they were pulled back and didn't do much more than just puff their chests out.  That's the moment where emotion and reason meet and the intent of the rule is adhered to.  I don't think either player reached that line ... that "point of no return".  They walked up to it, but came back [albeit with a little help from coaches and teammates].

That's why I think the rule needs some updating.  Bruce Bowen knees someone in the junk and nothing happens to him.  There have been hard fouls all over the Warriors-Jazz series ... and nothing happens.  But taking two/three steps toward a fight, then returning to the sideline and getting a one game suspension makes no sense to me.

I think that is where the intent of the rule is being compromised.  What is to stop the Suns from telling Pat Burke [a little used player] from telling him to bait Tim Duncan or Manu Ginobili in a fight?  Or even worse, knocking down Tony Parker and baiting Duncan to come off the bench in defense of his teammate.  This series could get even uglier if Phoenix acts out on what they feel are slights against their team.  Especially if the Suns feel desperate or the game gets out of hand.  To me, if Stoudamire knew that taking a couple steps was going to get himself suspended ... he may as well got his money's worth and got into the ruckus. 

Tweak the rule so there is some judgement in there.  Look at the tapes of this occuring and if a player leaves the bench but quickly returns [without getting into the fray], turn the cheek.  If the player comes onto the floor and in any way gets involved in the action going on ... yes, rip a game from him.  If Stoudamire kept going over to the shoving match and (a) helped Nash up, (b) started shoving too or (c) just got in the way then he should be suspended. 

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Friday, May 11, 2007

Happy Mother's Day from Mr. T

If you've read over the years ... you know how much I love when people who shouldn't be singing ........... are.  Here is Mr. T singing to his mother and he thinks you should treat her right.

I pity the fool who doesn't!

Still ... it doesn't compare to the MOTHER of all videos.  Here ya go:

Thursday, May 10, 2007

ACC Championship Should Move

I know that ACC's football expansion [and, don't kid yourselves - that's what it was] meant the league was kissing Florida's butt.  Newbies Florida State and Miami were meant to pep up the league's standing in the nation.  It has worked.  Florida State gave us two National Champions and Miami gives us, well, the did give us a good look at it.

Well, the ACC decided to give Florida some love by staging the new ACC Championship Game in Jacksonville every year.  More love was shown when they created divisions that would magically give us Florida State v Miami in those title tilts. 

Well, a bunch of crap that was!

We've not see a Florida State/Miami matchup yet.  In fact, Miami hasn't even made the game [FSU has once].  Instead, Jacksonville has played host to out of state teams mainly who get to travel to Florida TWICE in less than a month.

Yep, the winner of the ACC title game moves from Jacksonville to Miami to play in the Orange Bowl.  The loser of the game get to go from Jacksonville to .... uh .... Jacksonville.  Yeah.  Lose the ACC Championship game, and you play in the Gator Bowl.  So how great is it to ask fans to pay for two trips to J-ville in a matter of a month????

Move the freakin' game!  Move it to Charlotte.  Or Washington, DC.  Or Tampa. 

Atlanta is out of the question, because the SEC is pretty much keeping their title game there.  Miami isn't a viable option since, well, the the winner then stays in Miami for the Orange Bowl.  While Washington would be a nice gesture to Maryland and the two Virginia schools, would weather be an issue?  That leaves Charlotte as the only non-Florida site [Tampa and Orlando are also interested].

Charlotte has been the the defacto capital of the ACC.  Technically, it's Greensboro, NC ... but Charlotte acts as the ACC's "New York".  It's in the center of the ACC, geographically, and while it is close to the four North Carolina schools there is no hometown hero there.  The Meineke Bowl [which is played in Charlotte] does house an ACC team ... but that team wouldn't be competing in the ACC title game.

A smart move would be a rotation, with Jacksonville, Charlotte and Tampa in the mix. 

Below is a list of Pros and Cons from about each possible ACC title site:


Breaking down the cities that will be asked to bid to host the ACC football championship games beginning in 2008:

CHARLOTTE: Has great stadium and is located at geographical center of ACC, but has cooler weather than Florida sites.

JACKSONVILLE: Municipally owned stadium allows big financial bid. Attendance was good in 2005 but lousy on a rainy day in 2006.

ORLANDO: Anticipated Citrus Bowl renovations make tourist haven a darkhorse -- until 2010, when renovations might be finished.

TAMPA: Has beautiful weather and an excellent stadium, but some ACC fans grumbled about being far from home during the 2007 men's basketball tournament there.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

The NBA Playoffs Are Still Broken

Last year, we had the unfortunate joke that saw the #6 Clippers have the home court advantage over the #3 Nuggets ... while the Memphis Grizzlies had the Western Conference's 4th best record, the #5 seed, and got to face the Mavericks in the first round. 

Then, the second round saw the Spurs and Mavericks play ... the two best teams in the Western Conference.  Not really fair.

Because of that, the NBA decided to revamp the playoff seeding proceedures to make the top four seeds be the three division winners and the second place team with the best record.  Then, those teams will be seeded according to overall record. 

Not bad.  Except that we saw both #5 seeds have the home court edge over the #4 seeds [not that big of a deal] and we have a very ugly second round of the NBA playoffs.

Right now, there are two premiere playoff matchups and two duds.  If you told me that the Pistons-Bulls was the Eastern Conference Finals and the Spurs-Suns were the Western Conference Finals ... we'd all understand.  But they're not.  That's the round before.  We also get treated to the Cavs-Nets and Jazz-Warriors. 

This lends advice to go three ways with this:  just seed the teams 1-16 ... seed each conference 1-8 without using the division titles for anything ... or reseed between rounds.

These divisions are crap.  It's meaningless.  Right now, the Southeast [Heat], Atlantic [Raptors] and Southwest [Mavericks] champions are out of the playoffs.  Why reward these teams with a better seed when it means nothing more than bracket placement? 

Instead, just do what the NHL does and reseed between rounds.  That way, the Spurs would play the Warriors, Suns play the Jazz, Pistons play the Nets and Bulls and Cavaliers go at it. 

The 133rd Kentucky Derby

Friday, May 4, 2007

Josh Hamilton Doesn't Fair As Well The Second Time Around


Josh Hamilton's stats in first series the Reds face a club this season:
15-43 .349 6 hr's

Hamilton's stats in Red's second season series against a club:
3-29 .103  0 hr's

Thursday, May 3, 2007

At Least The Toronto Blue Jays Have Neat Commercials

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Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Rickey Henderson Tops Brock


It took a long time, huh? (Pause for cheers). First of all, I would like to thank God for giving me the opportunity. I want to thank the Haas family, the Oakland organization, the city of Oakland, and all you beautiful fans for supporting me. (Pauses for cheers). Most of all, I'd like to thank my mom, my friends, and loved ones for their support. I want to give my appreciation to Tom Trebelhorn and the late Billy Martin. Billy Martin was a great manager. He was a great friend to me. I love you, Billy. I wish you were here. (Pauses for cheers). Lou Brock was the symbol of great base stealing. But today, I'm the greatest of all time. Thank you.

That was Rickey's speech after breaking Lou Brock's record for stolen bases in a career.