Monday, April 25, 2005

The Duel of the Tall


   Some people do series previews. Not me. I'm a teacher, and I prefer mid-term progress reports. Never buy the corn until it grows, as they say in farm country.  

   The NBA Playoffs are in full swing, so we may as well see who is messing with who:

EAST


Boston-Indiana

   Boston took game one by sh***ng on the Pace so hard, they had to get out the plunger after. Indy came back to win a tight one in Game 2. Boston is a young team (take away Payton, and Reggie is older than everyone on the Celtics combined), and they are capable of such things. This one could go the distance, and that home court advantage thing seems to be working out for the leprechaun. If Artest fought Wallace instead of everyone else in Detroit, Indy would have home court.

   If Pierce/Walker/Davis outscore Miller/Jackson/Jerm, Boston takes it. If Jerm starts abusing Walker inside, Boston will be lucky to take 2 games.


Detroit-Philly

   Think there'll be a fight in this series? Hell, Allen Iverson just might go to the locker room....then come back out and shoot someone. It may not be safe in the arena....even in the Heavens, because Mr. Iverson may let off a warning shot or two. This is why they invented cable.

   I had Ben Wallace's hairdo once. While I don't like to reveal too many personal details in this forum, let me just suggest that you never try to turn off a lightswitch with the wine glass hand in an old New England farmhouse.

   Detroit won the title last year, improved their bench this year, and seem to be peaking at the right time. They look to be a good bet to steamroll over anyone short of the Diesel.



Miami-Jersey-

   New Jersey already had a little playoff series just making the playoffs, and they look as spent as an empty purse. Vinsanity better start throwing in 45 a game every night now, because the Daddy is a good bet to shoot 12-16 every time out against Nened Kristic.

   Richard Jefferson has made a comeback that should get a surgery named after him (a la "Tommy John surgery"). Jason Kidd must find Jersey more tolerable now. If they can put someone serious in the middle, they can make some noise next year.

   Depending on how things shake out, either Wade or Jefferson will have lost 2 playoff series and the Olympics in the last15 months or so. I will then blame that person for the disgrace of Athens, and then purge it from my memory.



Washington-Chicago

   Two young teams. Ol' Antonio Davis looks like a guy with 4 really tall sons out there. Eddie Curry's wurries and the poor Harley skills of Jay Williams are all that is keeping this from being a 1986-style nine-man-deep team out there.

   Washington has a tweener PF against a team with sizeSizeSIZE in the frontcourt, although a Kwamification is long overdue from Brown. Chicago has a more balanced attack, but if the Large Three from DC all have good games at the same time, few squads can score with them.

    Larry Hughes has been with so many teams, he was actually traded for himself by Golden State in 2001. I may be wrong here, but Jamison- a prime talent- has been on 4 teams in 3 calendar years. Had he entered the NBA as a high schooler, he could lap the entire league by 2018 at this rate.

   The next time you see Kwame working in the post against Tyson Chandler in this playoff series, keep in mind that this is exactly what their teams had in mind when drafting them a rookie deal ago. They are the Upper Middle Class of high school early entrants, and the learning scale looks like about 3 years or so. When this season ends, at least one of them will have gone two rounds deep in the playoffs...and each have about 10-15 good years ahead of them.




WEST

San Antonio-Denvahhh

   Denver took game one, and Tim Duncan is simply not 100%. Denver- like Detroit- is on a roll. Don't you just want to hug Earl Boykins? OK, maybe some of you don't....but the man is a Funk Smurf.

   Denver is led by Carmello, who was still getting benched as recently as a month ago. K-Mart is a beast, although I think he goes 22-10 over a full season only if the NBA expands to 40 teams. Marcus Camby has been injured while watching someone else get injured. Still, they fast break like an avalanche, and I'd pity any team that had to go into theRockies down0-2.

   San Antonio has been there, and won't fall apart in fear when they fall behind in a series. It's an easy series to call. If Duncan isn't able to do his thing, they won't get by the Nug.



Memphis-Phoenix

   Memphis is led by 3 white guys, which should tell you all you need to know. It may be Walter McCarty time early and often in what looks to be a 4 game spanking.



Seattle-The Sac

Mike Bibby highlighted a 1-16 or so of a night with the ugliest air ball I done ever seen. The man very nearly missed the floor. This series is the cultural and geographical opposite of the Houston/Dallas series.



Dallas-Houston


"Houston is a cruel and crazy town on a filthy river in East Texas with no zoning laws and a culture of sex, money and violence. It's a shabby sprawling metropolis ruled by brazen women, crooked cops and super-rich pansexual cowboys who live by the code of the West -- which can mean just about anything you need it to mean, in a pinch."

   I loved Houston. Every time I sat down, someone would run over and give me a bottled water. At the mall with the rink, some Tupac-looking kid- who was trying to be polite- threatened to shoot someone who wasn't getting out of my way fast enough.

  The NBA was no sure thing for a few decades, and I doubt that George mikan ever imagined a two Texas teams would be going at it in an international league.....let alone teams led by a German and a 7'6" Chinese guy....and the Dallas team sure could use the Canadian they let get away last summer.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Mock Draft

1) SF- Alex Smith

2) Miami- Ronnie Brown

3) Cleveland- Braylon Edwards

4) Chicago- Cedric Benson

5) Tampa Bay- Cadillac

6) Tenny- Antrell Rolle

7) Minnesota- Mike Williams

8) Arizona- Aaron Rogers

9) Washington- Pac Man

10) Detroit- Derrick Johnson

11) Dallas- Demarcus Ware

12) San D- Shawne Merriman

13) Houston- Alex Barron

14) Carolina- Troy Williamson

15) Kansas City- Thomas Davis

16) N'Awlins- Carlos Rogers

17) Cincy- Travis Johnson

18) Minny- Erasmus Jones

19) Slewy- Jamaal Brown

20) Dallas- Marcus Spears

21) Jax- David Pollack

22) Baltimore-Khalif Barnes

23) Seatown-Dan Cody

24) GB- Matt Roth

25) Washington- Shaun Cody

26) Oakland- Fabian

27) Atlanta- Mark Clayton

28) SD- Roddy White

29) Indy- Justin Miller

30) Pittz- Heath Miller

31) Philly- Brodney Pool

32) Your Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots- Odell Thurman

32)

 

Friday, April 22, 2005

Ohhhhhhhhhhhh Canadaaaaaaa

   Canadian
National Anthem


   If you've been to a hockey game or watched the Toronto Raptors when Vinsanity played there, you know the routine. Everybody stands up, the organ music starts, and the lights shine on the big red maple lef flag above the rink. It's O Canada time!!!

   "O Canada" is not some Scot. It's the Canadian national anthem. We take O Canada for granted, but it pays to know everything we can about our chilly friends on the Northern half of our continent. You may trust them....I don't.

   Only those who study military history- and I do so to the point where I catch myself referring to the NFL running back by typing, "Marshall Foch"- understand the true danger the Molsonites pose to us.

   Canada shares a lengthy border with us, and not a lot of it is under any sort of supervision at all. It is an ideal invasion platform, as opposed to the horrific conditions encountered when crossing our heavily-guarded border with Mexico. Many attacks on the United States were launched from Canada. The War of 1812 burning of the White House is only the tip of the iceberg, trust me.

   The day will come when the Canadians abandon the socialized health care stuff. It will break the country... and when that day comes, they'll be looking South. We're fat, rich, complacent, and right there under their border. Hell, they just lost a year of hockey....they're already angry.

   Sure, we have the Stealth bombers and the nuclear weapons...as well as the gargantuan standing army. We take it to whoever bothers us. Bush can make a phone call, and cities in Iran simply vanish in an unholy irradiated holocaust. The Canadians, with their funny bacon and Dudley-Do-Right looking mounted police, seem like no threat at all. But I'm watching....and not a lot gets by me.

   

   Oh yeah...the anthem.

   O Canada first rocked the charts in 1880, in Quebec. Sir Adolphe-Basile Routhier wrote the lyrics (in French), and composer Calixa Lavallee came up with the beat. Many English versions have been put forth, with the one you and I know best hitting the paper in 1908.

   It took about 100 years for it to officially become the National Anthem (neither Lavallee or Routhier's obituaries even mention the song), but it's definitely the marching music for a raid on, say, Upper Michigan. Skate right across Lake Michigan, armed with hockey stick rifles, slap-shotting grenades at our lakefront property....I can see it now.

   But I digress. Many people come to me for translations of French stuff they encounter. Now, I return the favor. Here are the unadulterated French lyrics to the Hockey Song:

O Canada! Terre de nos aïeux,
Ton front est ceint de fleurons glorieux.
Car ton bras sait porter l'épée,
Il sait porter la croix.
Ton histoire est une épopée,
Des plus brillants exploits.
Et ta valeur, de foi trempée,
Protégera nos foyers et nos droits.
Protégera nos foyers et nos droits.

   Catchy, huh? I'm sure many a prom dress has been ankled by those stirring lines. But wait....there's more!

   Here;s the first English translation, from about 5 years after it was performed for the future King George and Queen Mary, thus introducing it to English speaking audiences :

O Canada! Our fathers' land of old
Thy brow is crown'd with leaves of red and gold.
Beneath the shade of the Holy Cross
Thy children own their birth
No stains thy glorious annals gloss
Since valour shield thy hearth.
Almighty God! On thee we call
Defend our rights, forfend this nation's thrall,
Defend our rights, forfend this nation's thrall.

 

5 years later, a magazine named Collier's Weekly ran a contest for new English lyrics to the song. Mercy McCulloch won it with:

O Canada! in praise of thee we sing;
From echoing hills our anthems proudly ring.
With fertile plains and mountains grand
With lakes and rivers clear,
Eternal beauty, thos dost stand
Throughout the changing year.
Lord God of Hosts! We now implore
Bless our dear land this day and evermore,
Bless our dear land this day and evermore.

 

That didn't catch on, so a whole bunch of versions started popping up, including the "Buchran Version"...and it goes a little something like this:

O Canada, our heritage, our love
Thy worth we praise all other lands above.
From sea to see throughout their length
From Pole to borderland,
At Britain's side, whate'er betide
Unflinchingly we'll stand
With hearts we sing, "God save the King",
Guide then one Empire wide, do we implore,
And prosper Canada from shore to shore.

 

   One version finally gained prominence. Written by Robert Stanley Muir, it underwent several modifications before becoming the Canadian National Anthem.

  ]Official Lyrics of O Canada!

O Canada!
Our home and native land!
True patriot love in all thy sons command.

With glowing hearts we see thee rise,
The True North strong and free!

From far and wide,
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

God keep our land glorious and free!
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

 

In case you can't read, here's a web page that plays the song for you...sans lyrics:

http://www3.sympatico.ca/goweezer/canada/cananthem.htm

 

If you didn't know....now you know. If you didn't care, you are free to continue not caring.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Time Wasters

 

   We here at High Above Courtside strive to be cutting edge. We also exist to give the people what they want. And what they want is to be entertained. They want to not only read High Above Courtside, they want to interact with it.

   While my interest in reciprocal interaction varies from reader to reader, I still aim to please. So...

   Here's some fun stuff that came to my attention via my friends in the Blogosphere:....

A Rose By Any Other Name....

- from Mr. Irrelevant's blog, I give to you the "Ron Mexico Name Generator"

http://gorillamask.net/ronmexico/

   Micheal Vick felt a burning sensation when he urinated, so he made up a fake name and went down to the clinic to get a shot. Things happened, and "Ron Mexico" turned up in the papers.

   The name generator turned me into "Ariana Tunisia," which is tolerable. My husband became "Peter Qatar." Gabrielle and Melissa became "Linda Serbia" and "Mercedes Tajikistan." My sister Shea became "Missy Angola."

   Other fun "change your name" tricks include:

The Action Hero Name

..............take your middle name (preferably shortened to one syllable) and add onto it the name of a rock/mineral/metal.

   I learned this from MST3000, where one of the robots ended up being, "Vic Tungsten." I may or may not be "Anastasia Adamantium," depending on which name I use.

The Porn Star Name

........take the name of your cat as a first name, and match it up to the name of the street you grew up on. This came from the Howard Stern show.

   I couldn't get a job in a Bukaki film with "Sloppy Ocean" as a name, but my friend Tammy was able to generate the much more marketable "Misty Lake."

 

The NFL Mock Draft on AOL

   What does Mel Kiper know? Trust me....real NFL types goof on him all the time. Ever think you could do better than Mel, Al Davis, Coach Belichick and the gang? Step up to the NFL Mock Draft. If you get the draft order right, you win......absolutely nothing!

http://sports.channel.aol.com/rankings

   I have this one on favorites, but my instincts are telling me to get high before I try my hand at GM duties. I do better in the smoke-filled room environment particular to NFL War Rooms.

   Besides....people tend to hop up and down  on draft boards, and what looks like a given on Thursday quickly becomes nonsense by Friday. I can wait.

   If I missed something, and you absolutely must have the million dollar award AOL is offering....try to play as close to the deadline as possible.

   I did this stoned last year, and I kept choosing Ricky Williams and Priest Holmes a lot.

 

Natalie Portman is prettier than I am....but I can kick her ass

   Ever wonder how your wife would fare against the hot neighbor down the road if things got fistic? Has the subjext of your girlfriend having a kickboxing match against Katie Couric ever come up? Do you just want to know how you'd hold up against Jennifer Aniston if you were both fighting over Brad Pitt?

   Wonder no more....and behold the Catfight Simulator:

http://www.catfightworld.com/interactive.html

   Now.....send the kids off before you try this one....catfights are rarely PC, and the stakes are pretty high in this one. NC-17 may be too easy on this site.

   In case you're wondering...I beat Couric, and lost to Aniston. Damn Greeks.

   Update: Tammy scored an impressive victory over Courtney Love via the dreaded Camel Clutch.

   Another Update: Jennifer Aniston and I now share a cottage in Provincetown.

 

20 Questions

   This machine can guess what you are thinking about by asking you less than 20 Qs.

http://y.20q.net:8095/btest?AXdag8YHn5AXq7LiHYU0iI5jTz2

   I lost to it using "turtle," "printer," and "Bong," but I scored victories using "Wolverine (one of my students gave me a Wolverine doll as a present when he graduated, and old Logan does a mighty fine job of policing my bookshelf), "a globe," and, ironically, a worksheet with John Henry on it.

   No...it can't be tricked into finding the car keys you lost. I tried.

 

NBA Stuff

All Missing the Playoff Team:

PF- Kevin Garnett

SF- Lebron James

SG- Kobe Bryant

PG- Stephon Marbury

C- Zydrunas Ilgauskus


Mark Cuban Questions

- Did you get rid of Steve Nash because he'd corner you on the team flights and try to talk about hockey all the time?

- Does Shawn Bradley invent fictitious Mormon religious holidays to skip team events with? "I can't do the United Way thing tomorrow, Mark....it's Steve Young Day."

- Is there any truth to the rumor that Josh Howard is so dumb, he got caught sneaking into Mexico?

- Did Mark Cuban have to buy an extra-large metal detector for the RoyTarpley "Give me my job back" interview? Was anything missing after he left?

- Do the Dallas guys still call the Mavericks the "African Handball" team?

- Mr. Cuban.......Jim Grey told me to ask you if people are still mad about the Nash fiasco?

- Will Dallas be retiring the number of any other moderately talented white shooting guards soon?

- I have an idea for a reality show.....this billionaire steals some other guy's idea, and his show ends up in the can after half a season.

- When he dumped Raef LaFrenz and his 60 million dollar contract on Boston, did Cuban have a cigarette after the trade went through?

- I heard that Dirk Nowitzki threatened to quit when Cuban insisted upon featuring him in the media guide with the nickname, "the Diggler." True?

- Does a vein still pop up in Cuban's forehead the instant someone says, "Micheal Finley's contract" any more?

- Does Nowitzki still celebrate Hitler's birthday?

- Does he have special Tall People furniture he breaks out when Dirk or Erick Dampier come over?

- How many wives does Shawn Bradley have?

- pronounce the nae of the Russian guy Dallas took in the first round last year (Pavel Podkolzin)

- If Pavel Podkolzin doesn't work out, will you hire him to play Frankenstein at the Benefactor II Halloween party?

- When Micheal Finley stops by the office to pick up his paycheck, does he wear a bank robber mask?

- If you somehow could have worked the Jerry Stackhouse parking lot attack on Kirk Snyder into your reality show, you would have got Cosby -like ratings.

- .


Suggested Dismissal Lines For Benefactor II

- "I'm sorry....the other contestant has nicer breasts."

- "You can only ride the Token Black Contestant for so many episodes, son..."

- "Get to steppin"

- "Go try Amazing Race II "

- "You're actually quite talented, but I already have a Jew."

- "If I ever start a show called Ruin My Business, I'll be calling you."

- "You're fired.......now if you don't mind, I have to go interfere with Avery Johnson's huddle."

- "Try to care what I think while I light a cigar with your resume."

- "If it makes you feel better, tell yourself I fired you because you're Catholic."

- "If you have any surgery you need done, I'd suggest doing it before my secretary terminates your health care plan."

- "If you grow another 2 feet, I have a basketball team you could try out for."

- "You're fired....but I am a kind man, and I'll be generous when I tip you at the IHOP that's in your future."

Worst. Drafts. Ever.

The NFL draft is this weekend, and it provides hope for many fans who watched teams suffer through bad years. It is a coincidence that it is held in the Spring, but it is truly symbolic of the rebirth of hope. Easter is very similar to the NFL Draft.

   Look at the Dolphins...they have a proud history, they were favored to make a run at the playoffs, they had picked up some new talent, and big things were expected from the Fish. Then, Ricky Williams goes all 4:20 on them, and before you can say "awful season," the team has stunk it up to the tune of the #2 pick overall.

    Miami now gets to pick pretty much whoever they'd like. The 49ers, with a similar sob story, own the #1 pick. They get their choice of the top players in the nation. If things work out right, both proud franchises will be on the road to recovery. But things don't always work out right.

   The worst draft ever was conducted in 1993, by the Indianapolis Colts. They were coming off a year when they had drafted mega-failure Jeff George with the #1 overall. They decided to shore up their defense the next season, and had the #1 and #2 overall picks to do so with.

   They selected a DE, Washington's Steve Emtman, and Texas A+M linebacker Quentin Coryatt. They could fill holes in their D, and give George Jeff game situations where he didn't HAVE to throw every down. The future was bright for the Baltimore Horses.

   Instead- in what may have been the ugly side of Karma in relation to the Colts sneaking away to Indianapolis in the middle of the night- both players were injured. Emtman was out of the league in 3 years, and Coryatt had a career almost entirely devoid of distinction.

   NFL teams spend a lot of money researching the top players in the college ranks. They run a detailed scouting combine, where they test how fast/strong/smart a player is. They send scouts to watch certain guys play every college game. It should almost be as easy as cooking a microwave dinner.

   It isn't. Cooking times may vary, as they write in the instructions of most Hungry Man, Swanson and Stouffers meals. Likewise, some QBs won't be able to make quick decisions in the face of an NFL blitz, some offensive guards simply can't handle a pro rusher, and some cornerbacks go to the NFL and get torched like a Waco cult building.

   With that in mind, let's look at some of the really bad draft picks since 1980 or so.

- 1982....The Patriots take Ken Sims #1 overall. He flops out of the league, even breaking his own leg on a play where he had fallen and attempted to leg whip a 250 pound fullback.

   Taken ahead of Marcus Allen and Jim McMahon, "Game Day" Sims sets the standard we'll be using in this article- he was a high pick that flopped. If some Hall of Famer was hanging around the draft board when the Flopper was chosen, it just hurts that much more.

- 1983.....Keeping it New England, the Pats pass on Dan Marino to take Tony Eason- who John Hannah suggested play in a skirt.

- 1985.......Our Patriots trade down with San Francisco to select Trevor Matich. SF takes Jerry Rice with the NE pick.

- 1989.....In the worst individual draft move ever, Green Bay passes on Barry Sanders, Deion Sanders, and Derrick Thomas to draft eventual flop Tony Mandarich.

- 1990........Jeff George and Blair Thomas go 1 and 2. Both are flops of the highest order. They are both taken before certain HOFer Junior Seau. The Patriots, continuing their woes, trade down from #1 to get Chris Singleton and Ray Agnew....passing twice on Emmitt Smith todo so.

- 1991........The Pats trade down again, getting Pat Harlow and Leonard Russell. In doing so, they twice pass on Brett Favre.

- 1993.....Seattle takes Rick Mirer- called "the second coming of Joe Montana," according to Bill Walsh- and he sucks up the NFL for SEattle and Chicago. They pass on Micheal Strahan to take Mirer.

- 1995......The Benglas take Big Daddy Wilkinson ahead of Marshall Foch, and Heath Shuler and Trev Alberts are yanked off the board before anyone bothers picking the score of Pro Bowlers from that particular draft class.

-

1996.......St. Louis refuses to buy into the hype, and drafts troubled RB Lawerence Phillips ahead of Eddie George, Marvin Harrison, and Eric Moulds. I think Lawerence actually ended up sexually assaulting himself, he was so twisted.

- 1998....tough year. Ryan Leaf goes ahead of Charles Woodson. Curtis Enis goes ahead of Takeo Spikes. New England takes Robert Edwards ahead of Randy Moss. NE then takes Tebucky Jones ahead of Patrick Surtain.

- 1999....Teams needed QBs. Tim Couch goes ahead of Donovan McNabb. Akili Smith walks to the podium before Egderrin James or Ricky Williams or Duante Culpepper do. Cade McNown goes ahead of the Freak.

- 2000........198 teams pass on Super Bowl factory Tom Brady.

- 2001....Gerald Warren and Justin Smith go ahead of LaDanian Tomlinson and Richard Seymour.

 

Notes...........

 

- New England was the worst drafting team of the 1980s, while Indianapolis has it covered for the 1990s.

- Never take a Penn State running back. In just 20 years, three of them (Curtis Enis, Ki-Jana Carter and Blair Thomas) all flopped out of the league.

- Warren Sapp and Randy Moss both fell into the teens of the draft  because of marijuana use. Both then proceeded to tear up the NFL. Drugs are good, kids.

 

"I'm gonna need a lot of painkillers if this 300 pound pothead ever catches me."

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Sunday Sports

   "I love war," wrote Gen. Phillip Kearney. "It brings me an indescribable pleasure, like that of taking a woman." If the feisty Army of the Potomac leader were alive today, he'd probably be keeping an eye on Cleveland, Jersey, Memphis and Minny.

   Those four teams are locked into battle over the remaining NBA playoff spots. Each conference has an 8th and 9th seed, and there are benefits to being number 8. They make the playoffs, while the other bunch has an early summer. While the Emekas and Eltons of the world can relax a bit, it means the end of the paydays for a lot of benchwarmers on teams with high draft picks.

   They will fight the coming of Summer with every resource at their disposal. Kevin Garnett fights to maintain his status as an impact player. Lebron fights to escape the malaise his team is suffering. Vince Carter is fighting to redeem his good name.

   The playoffs have already started for New Jersey and Minnesota. They simply can't afford to lose. They chase Cleveland and Memphis for the final conference playoff spot with losses they still need to overcome.

   Consider this week to be a sort of Wild Card series with really tall guys. Here's how the matchups break down:

 

Cleveland vs New Jersey-

   Cleveland has the edge, and must back out of the playoff picture in a manner that will leave 20 year old Lebron James with a choker rep that Bill Buckner would laugh at. Cleveland was playing for the division title before the bottom fell out about 20 games ago. Paul Silas was shown the door, and it's been night after night of Ls for the burgundy-clad giants of Drewcareystan.

   Cleveland is 40-39, and in a dogfight with Detroit as I type this. If Lebron were older, he'd know that he is in the Driver's Seat. New Jersey is is 39-40, with Mr. Iverson and the gang awaiting them after they let Brunch settle.

   Cleveland has Boston and Toronto remaining. Joy-zee has Washington and the suddenly very influential Boston Celtics on their schedule. The Cavs get the Celtics in Ohio after mutual two day rests, while Jersey plays them in Boston the following night.

   Cleveland has been in free fall, but would make a dangerous playoff opponent. James can score at will, and Cleveland is currently letting him jack up 27 shots a game over the last 5. He hurled 28 up in 3 quarters today, and only an ugly collision may keep him from cracking a 40. Look for that to be the pattern against whoever Cleve draws in the Dance.

   Jersey has been riding Vince Carter, who has been throwing in 30 a game for most of April. If they make the playoffs, if Jefferson returns, if they can outgun Shaq....Ifs all around for the Brooklyn Nets.

   At least Vince is out of Canada. He's a whole new man, like we in Boston say about Ricky Buckets. No more scuffling with the coach. No more bad passes from Skip To My Lou. No more giving Seattle's bench the Raptor plays. No more dogging it like a schnauzer. Vince is playing like a guy who has to win every game to make the Playoffs....which he essentially is.

   Jersey has a fun future. If they keep Kidd, they will run some amazing fast breaks whith VC and Jeff on the wings. They have some draft picks to play with, and things don't look as dark as they did when they dumped K-Mart- and in doing so, upset Jason Kidd so badly that his wife would wash the dishes like three or four times.

   Look for maximum effort from all parties when the Nets go to Washington and try to take the Wiz.

Detroit 90, Cleveland 87. The Collapse continues....even the Great have to pay dues, Lebron.

 

Memphis vs Minnesota

   One out of nine people still think the Grizzlies (44-36) play in Canada, where they actually have grizzlies. They don't get a lot of respect. Their coach was the former TV analyst, while their ex-coach is the current TV analyst. Before that, they were both TV analysts. If the Tsar dies, maybe Barkley will finally get his chance.

   People say, "I thought you were in jail..." a lot to Jason Williams, and those who do recognize him mostly ask him what Randy Moss was like in high school. While there is no "L" in Pau Gaol, there should be an extra "I". The man is injured like few others, and Jeb Bush may try to take custody of him if he keeps pulling hamstrings and stuff.

   The Griz do have one thing that All-World Kevin Garnett doesn't have....the elusive eigth playoff spot in the West.  KG hasn't strangled Spree yet, but he is proof of just how far you can ride one man in today's NBA. 

   Minnesota (42-37) was the top team in the West last year, but the bottom fell out of McHale's Navy this year. No one wants to start the playoffs with a series against the freakishly talented KG, but he is on the wrong end of the W-L equation with Memphis, and he has but 3 games left to be meeting Kobe and the Senorita in Bali on April 22nd. 

   Minnesota needs to rebuild. Look at it like they already had the bad year, and they got KG. Now, they need to fill the other 11 spots with people who can actually play.

 

The Boston Marathon

 Every Patriot's Day, the Boston Marathon comes to Massachusetts. It starts in the wee town of Hopkinton, winds through the Naticks and Wellesleys of the world- essentially mirroring the Massachusetts Turnpike- and ends beneath the towering Prudential Building. People get all worked up for it, but I could give a hoot.

   I'm just glad that it doesn't run through Monponsett. I'd be too tempted to spill gallons of Wesson Oil on a main drag, then sit there with a few friends and a stack of numbered cards for when the Slipping started:

"...and the French judge gives Ntambo a 7.8 for his austere triple gainer into the O'Hearn's rhododendron..."

 

   My idea of a race was the late Gurnet Classic Beach Run that used to go 6 miles on Duxbury Beach every summer. Many of the best runners (including Boston Marathon winners Bill Rogers and Alberto Salazar) ran right by my house in Duxbury.  

  We used to have these two drunks- Tommy Leonard's personal emissaries from The Eliot Lounge - who would sit in front of my house every year and get heavy into the Crunk Juice. They used to shout, "Epic " a lot when the races got good...and the races got better and better every beer.

 

   The Boston suburbs on the Marathon route aren't the kind of places  for good, large-scale public drinking. It's also held on a Monday morning, which puts all but the most serious drinkers off their game.

   Some Ethiopian usually wins it, and the two finishes people still talk about around here concern some German girl (Utta Pippig?) defecating all over herself, and Rosie Ruiz riding the subway to a shady win in the 1980s.

   If you go to it in person, you are stuck in traffic all day while streams of sweaty people run by you. Short of being in Boston as two runners (or rollers...a sprint to the finish would look cooler if it were between two of the wheelchair racers) have it out over the last quarter mile, it is hardly more entertaining than shopping.

 

Famous Wives of Athletes

 

Halle Berry-Justice.

He is Berry, Berry sorry that he screwed up THAT marriage.....or DJ is so cool that he told an Oscar winner to hit the bricks? This marriage missed Catwoman and Bat-Man status by a decade.

 

Marilyn Monroe-DiMaggio-

Joe took it altar-style to Norma Jean. He called it his 3,000th hit.

 

Vanessa Williams-Fox

My grandmother used to think the world of "Brick" Fox. "What nice teeth he has," she used to exclaim. I think the media outlets my grand-mere frequented tended to not discuss the marriage to the shamed Penthouse girl.

Victoria Adams-Beckham

The Becker landed the hottest Spice Girl. If he and Nomar traded wives, the brood might win a World Cup by it's own damn self....and Nomar would have the hotter wife.

 

 

Left-Eye Rison

She was taken from us too soon, this crib-torching freak of a dead R+B singer. If she's in Hell, it's quite possible that she's running the place. If Andre Rison is the reasonable one in a marriage, the marriage is an ugly one.

 

Carmen Electra-Rodman

I lost a $500 bet when police reports revealed that SHE was the one who assaulted HIM.

 

 

Janet Jones-Gretzky

As Bobcat Goldthwait said, they made Police Academy V  because there were too many unanswered questions left after Police Academy IV.

 

Mia Hamm-Garciaparra

If she kicks Nomar in the Nogads, he'll be caved in through 2017.

 

Robin Givens-Tyson

She gets points for just surviving the Honeymoon.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Pro Athlete Tax Exemptions

Top Attempted Tax Deductions by Your Favorite Athletes:

- Dry Cleaning the beer out of my jersey after I fight the city of Detroit (Ron Artest)

- Fees paid to doormen so that I can illegally enter a club (Lebron James)

- Supporting an Entourage Exemption (Carmello Anthony)

- Token White Guy exemption (Austin Croshere)

- Work Stoppage exemption (NHL)

- While I was on steroids, I aggressively paid 127% of what I owed, and am due a sizable refund (Jason Giambi)

- Senate Hearing/Book Promotion travelling costs (Jose Canseco)

- 350 hypodermic needles (Mark McGwire)

- Mistress Relocation Fees (Barry Bonds)

- Agent Switching Early Withdrawl Fees (Carlos Boozer)

- Shutting Up My Wife With A Fat Diamond Exemption (Kobe Bryant)

- Declares himself a National Park (Leonard Davis)

- Registered as a National Historic Site (Red Auerbach)

- 14 million dependents (Latrell Sprewell)

- Currency transfer losses (Vince Carter)

- I only pay taxes in odd-numbered years (multiple)

- God told me not to pay (Deion Sanders)

- Prostitutes and legal fees (Denny Neagle)

- Booster income (Maurice Clarett)

- I don't live in Texas, so I don't pay....Oh, taxes? (unknown)

- Books, Tuition, Room/Board......just kidding (Dwight Howard)

- Failed Record Label losses (Ron Artest)

-

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Does a Mile Walk With A Stroller Cancel Out A 5000 Calorie Sundae?

Ahhhhhhhh....Spring in Monponsett. The full extent of my day today is pushing Gabby down to Mea's Ice Cream and geting myself a disgustingly tremendous Black Forest Sundae. Gabby, on the other hand, tends to prefer neon coloring to her ice cream. I'll straighten her out soon enough...

Before I get to that, we have the Sunday Spors to get to.

Returnabull

   Chicago enters the playoffs for the first time since whatshisname retired, and it may be the shocker of the NBA season. These guys were awful right up through the first 9 games of the season. Then, things clicked.

  Scotty Skiles finally found kids who are motivated by screaming. Ben Gordon had a fine rookie season, and Luol Deng wasn't shabby, either. Tyson Chandler and Eddie Curry shed the flop labels they were wearing. Antonio Davis has been a stern force, and bears some credit for Curry and Chandler's development(and at $13 million a year, he'd better).

   The Bulls also trusted Kirk Hinrich with the pill, and he has been superb. Jamal Crawford was never forgotten so fast. Throw in some unexpected key performances by guys like Othella Harrington and occasional starter Chris Duhon, and voila....playoff team.

   There is a bright future in Chicago. Gordon, Hinrich and Deng are signed for a few years. Imagine how good they'd be if Jay Williams had bought an X-Box instead of a Harley? Chandler looks like a keeper, but he and Curry's contracts expire this year.

   This is where it gets tricky. Eddie Curry had a fine year, and is the best low-post scorer not named Shaq in the East. He seemed to play well with both defensive specialists (Chandler and Davis). He doesn't rebound or defend, but you just can't find low-post scoring centers these days.

   His problems began just recently. He was diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat. This immediately sends Reggie Lewis-like chills up the backbone of whoever will be invested in his future- especially the owner who will be paying out the long term contract he wants.

   Heart troubles in hyper-athletic millionaire kids are not unheard of, but it does raise a flag. If you read the rumor mills enough, you'll know that Curry was hitting Antonio Davis up for a loan at the beginning of the season. Ocaine-cay?

Don't hit my nose, man...

 

The New Master Tournament

   Tiger Woods is rallying to make things really interesting at the Masters tournament in Augusta. Tiger has been off his game lately, and many people are using him as a benchmark in the case against Taking A Hot Young Wife. This really takes the soul right out of a man...and a golfer just can't afford that.

   Tiger, who can hit a ball into a camera at 50 yards if asked, has been chasing the elusive ninth major for a long time now. He must enjoy winning the Masters....because up until 1990, the only black guy you'd see at that club would be tending the bar.

   Wood's 1997 Master's win (in which Fuzzy Zoeller told reporters to "get ready to eat chicken") was a landmark cultural event on a tier with Hank Aaron's 715th, Jesse Owens making Hitler look stupid, or Jackie Robinson's dignified smashing of the baseball color line.

   Will he win today? Who knows? But every time some white guy carries his clubs or prepares his 19th Hole dry martini, he's already won.

Notice how the white guy still looks all bossy?

 

Cole Blooded Shooting

   In case you were wondering why the ex-Raider kicker Cole Ford let off a few blasts with the shotty at the home of Seigfried and Roy, the sordid details are leaking out to the press this week.

   Was it a gay thing? No. Was money owed? Nope. Was Cole Ford a ringer for the big touch football game against the cast of Blue Man Group, or something. Nada. Animal rights? Well....kinda. Pure insanity? Ka-ching!

   Before I begin to explain, understand that schizophrenia often fails to manifest itself in one's exterior personality until their 20s. Mr. Ford was probably viewed as "eccentric" by his fellow Raiders, and he couldn't have been much more strange than Barrett Robbins or Warren Sapp. While I have no proof, I'd imagine he was drug-tested more frequently than, say, Jerry Rice was.

   The Associated Press lists the reason as:

   "Ford maintained he never intended to harm anyone and his actions were only intended to "warn the world of the illusionists' unhealthy danger to them and to animals," Ford's psychologist said.

"While watching Siegfied and Roy, he had a sudden realization that what was wrong with the world was linked to the illusionists' treatment, dominance and unhealthy intimacy he saw them having with their animals," Dr. Norton Roitman wrote in the report.

Ford told Roitman that he thought the entertainers' contact with their animals was related to the development of viruses such as AIDS.

"Mr. Ford was completely unguarded in his report of his beliefs of unhealthy sexual contact being committed by the illusionists against their animals," Roitman wrote."

   So.....now you know the truth. No wonder that tiger was so pissed. He was king of the jungle before he became the big fluffy pillow for the swishy illusionists.

   Cole Ford will never have to buy a beer at any circus he goes to for the rest of his life.

  

 

More Sports Star Mug Shots

- Daryl Strawberry, after managing to test positive for cocaine at a cocaine addiction treatment center. They did a fine job of editing the cop out of the picture....the cop who must have been pressing Daryl's face against the glass wall. All but the experts fail to notice it.

   Either that, or a Sleestack(?) walks among us.

 

- Al Unser Jr, who punched his GF in the face and left her on the side of the road at night. NASCAR guys just punch each other.

 

- Andre Rusminof(sic), aka Andre the Giant....who beat up a cameraman. Imagine the size of the posse that must have been sent to arrest this man, whose head is the size of a Mini Cooper.



 

- Don King, variously for Murder, Arson, Manslaughter and Extortion, I think...this was before he got Big Hair. You can kind of see him grow up in these photos, for all you Mothers who read this page.

 

- Dwight Gooden, OUI


 

 

- Charles Barkley, punched out a Milwaukee bar patron.

 

 

- Skater Alexi Yagudin was arrested for violating a Connecticut statute prohibiting, "Wimpy Haircuts."

 

- Brock Lesnar, after getting mail that may or may not have included steroids. Incidentally, he was also given an award by Avon, Connecticut authorities for "Beating Up A Man With A Wimpy Haircut."

 

- Jennifer Capriati, shoplifting or reefer


 

- Ray Lewis, after a fight in which two men were stabbed up on. He looks innocent, but I've always been a sucker.

 

Tonya Harding, after she hub-capped her husband's grill....or after the Nancying.

 

- Jeff Garcia, after he posted a Rasputinesque .237 blood alcohol level

 

- "Big Show" Paul Wight....wrestler and former Witchita State baller, who, to his dismay, had an indecent exposure case dropped due to "lack of evidence."

   His was that rare case where it is actually to one's benefit to be able to say "I was falling down drunk" in court. Either that, or they had to use the tranquilizer gun on him.

 

- Kobe Bryant, who had the fashion sense wherewithal to wear a black/white striped shirt to his booking.

 

- Kirby Puckett, 5th degree sexual assault. Keepin' In Shape Kirby has glaucoma...but try to avoid winking during the mug shot.

 

 

NBA Alternative Regular Season Awards

Most Difficult To Subdue- Micheal Olowokandi, Minnesota.... He got out of line at a nightclub, and had to be zapped twice with a Taser.......still the funniest thing I haven't been able to acquire a video of.

Best Practice Fight- Nene' of Denver (sounds like a hairstylist or a photographer) gets his wig split for no good reason at all by Kenyon Martin.

Best In-Game Fight- Micheal Olowokandi again, trading hands with Denver's splendidly-named Nene`.

Best Punch Post-Game......... Dallas' Jerry Stackhouse busts up Utah's Kirk Snyder in the parking lot.

Best Punch on a Fan- Stephen Jackson, Indiana....Artest was more fun to watch, but Jax absolutely tooled on one guy. He's the feistiest Jackson since Andrew.

Best Drug Suspension- Clifford Robinson, Golden State....he and Robert Parish in the same room is 14 feet of Pot Smoking Old Basketball Players.

Best Thing Arrested For- Qyntel Woods, Portland....Still trying to explain why his pitbull was implicated in several Portland area professional dogfights.

Best Quote- Latrell Sprewell, Minnesota.."I can't accept $14 million. I have a family to feed."

Worst Business Venture- Ron Artest's TruWarrier Records produced the debut album for Allure, a pop diva-type band. The last time I checked, they had the 233,237th spot on the Billboard charts all but locked up.

Blackest White Guy- Kirk Hinrich, Chicago (Jason Williams and Brent Barry were eliminated by prior wins)

Whitest Black Guy-  Josh Childress........You can grow an afro big enough to smuggle drugs past Customs for the Raptors games....but Stanford is Stanford. You can take the Man out of the Stanford, but you can't take the Stanford out of the Man.

Rookie Flop Of The Year-  Shaun Livingston- who has Penny Hardaway's game AND his knees- is playing to well to pin this one on him, so well go with that guy in Toronto named something almost nothing at all like Rafeal Aruajo. He is that rare tenth overall pick who can't get 10 minutes a game for a 25 win team...and every time he flies to an away game, Border Agentsthink he's a tall, clever Mexican trying to sneak into the US the really long way.

Best Sneaker Ad- LeBron James....billions of Chinese still resent his Game Of Death-like cartoons.

Best Anti-White Racial Slur- Larry Bird, saying that the NBA needs a new white superstar.

Best Anti-Black Racial Slur- Darius Miles managed to stump even me when he hurled a racial slur at fellow gentleman of color Mo Cheeks.

Best Anti-Asian Racial Slur- Kirk Snyder of Utah crossed the line after dunking on Houston's Yao Ming. To the credit of Dutch people everywhere, Houston coach Jeff Van Gundy got in his face.

Goofiest Look- Steve Nash, Phoenix.....even surfers would beat him up with that haircut. He's still Canada's Greatest Athlete.

MVP.....We have a tie. Kirk Snyder spit both racial slurs and his own blood, while Micheal Olowokandi was in a fight AND shot twice by a Taser. Nene simply refuses to fight anyone under 6'9" tall. We have a Three Way Dance....let 'em fight for it.

Friday, April 8, 2005

The No Layup Rule

   Advice is generally worth what it costs....nothing.

   That said, the best things in life are free.

   It's supposed to be that confusing...otherwise, people would figure it out, and spend their days robbing what innocents were left.

   Work, religion, family....it's all a plot by the Man to keep you down. They want you passive and easily led, slaving for a pittance. Charity is a weakness in man, as are sympathy and remorse. All through history, rulers have encouraged these traits that they themselves lack.

   In order to truly seize power, you have to be able to act without worrying about the harm you do. You have to think of the greater good. Sure, it isn't fair to have serfs toiling on your lands for sustenance earnings, while you have 100 virgins fanning you as you eat entire turkeys. But otherwise, society would lack order, and we'd all be dead in a generation.

   Very few people rise to the top without crushing some innocents. One might take that for granted when examining Saddam Hussein's rise to power....but one might not think of it when looking at George Bush, the Pope or an American Idol winner.

   Simply put, there are dozens of losers for every winner. The difference between winners and losers is often miniscule, and usually related to the winner doing whatever was needed to emerge on top of the losers.

   I knew this when I was seven years old. I learned it from my father, who used an example from the sporting world to illustrate his point. From that moment on, I trained myself to remove pity/charity/fair play from my playbook.

   I was my father's daughter, as they say....and we liked to watch sports together. We were both Celtic fans of the most vehement kind, and I can honestly say that I missed no Celtic playoff games for the entire Larry Bird era...even his rookie year, where I was still young enough to believe that a Christian saint would land  his reindeer on my roof and give me presents.

   It was 1984 when my life took a turn to the Machiavellian. The Celtics were playing the Los Angeles Lakers in a seven game series, and the first game was an outright drubbing of my team by the Los Angelesos.

   The Lakers had Kareem, Magic, Worthy, and the gang. They would eventually become the team of the decade, winning 5 NBA titles. They were the heavy favorites to win the series in 1984. They won the first game by 30 points, and were beginning to kick the tar out of us in Game 2. As Laker forward Kurt Rambis took the ball and went in for an easy layup, things looked bleak in Boston.

   Then...things changed. Rather than allowing Rambis to score the easy basket, Celtic forward Kevin McHale simply caught him in mid-air, grabbed him around the neck, and threw him to the ground. It was brutal, and I was surprised to see Rambis get up afterwards. There was nearly a big fight, and McHale was assessed a flagrant foul.

   My father laughed briefly, then turned to me to deliver what I was sure was going to be a speech about fair play. Instead, he said, "That's the No Layup Rule, honey.....Never allow an easy basket in the playoffs." He didn't say anything else....and to be honest, he didn't have to.

   McHale's savage assault on Rambis set the tone for the rest of the series. The freewheeling Lakers were suddenly hesitant. Celtic forward Cedric Maxwell noted, "Before that hit, the Lakers were running across the street like kids. Now, they push the button, look both ways, and walk out holding their mother's hand." The Celtics won a tight series, and only the dense couldn't see that McHale had essentially cowed an entire basketball team.

   The Lakers were a fine team, and I'm sure that they would have swept the Celtics in that series if we had played nice with them. Instead, we set the tone, and made them skip to our tune for the rest of the series. Built forspeed  and finesse, the Lakers were at a disadvantage in the rougher game that the Celtics forced them into.

   The lesson stayed with me. The Lakers learned it as well. A few years later, they signed a brute  named Maurice Lucas, and they beat the Celtics easily. Laker coach Pat Riley never again built a team around finesse, and many great NBA brawls of the 1990s were instigated by Riley teams....including the hilarious Alonzo Mourning/Larry Johnson fight, which featured 5 foot 6 inch coach Jeff Van Gundy holding onto Mourning's leg as he was dragged across the court in the fight.

   At some point in everyone's life, they come across a problem that they can't handle. A debt too large to pay, a co-worker who is simply better than you at the job, a pretty neighbor who can catch  your husband's eye....we all become underdogs at least  once in our lives. 

   That's why the No Layup Rule was invented. The people who hold you down expect you to stand there like a goof while they dunk on you. When you instead smash them into a nice parquet floor, they'll learn the lesson I learned at my father's knee in 1984.

   The best thing about the No Layup Rule is that the logic is there for all to see. While I was able to rationalize the McHale clothesline due to my rabid following of the Celtics, I needed no moral gymnastics to watch the bullied Lakers lose the series in so enjoyable a fashion. The Celtic win was positive reinforcement.

   The No Layup Rule is advice that I already know I'd have accepted as a teenager, because I saw the wisdom of it as a seven year old girl in 1984. Kids, and especially teenagers, have a pretty sophisticated bulls**t filter in their perception. Schools, church, and finance cow them into playing along with the system. It takes a landmark event like the McHale clothesline to show us that sometimes cheaters do win, and the Low Road is often the best way to the castle gates.

 

http://journals.aol.com/johnmscalzi/bytheway/entries/3911

Weekend Assignment #54: Tell us all a single piece of wisdom you've learned from personal life experience. It can be a small thing, it can be a big thing, a simple tip or trick or the most important thing you've ever learned from life. But whatever it is, you should be able to state it in one sentence. That way people will remember it easier.

Extra Credit: Tell us: Would you have listened to your own bit of advice as a teenager? Be honest, now.

Wednesday, April 6, 2005

Too cold to swim, too warm to skate

 

   One of the terms I picked up when I was watching the Daytona 500 was “silly season.” It refers to the period between the last important race of one season and the first important race of the next season. It is the time that all the behind-the-scenes wrangling goes on. Teams are altered, coaches dumped, rookies brought in. It is a term that applies to almost every sport.

 

   The NFL has been hibernating for some time now, but the NFL draft is mere weeks away. If you want to see a sports fan at their lowest, watch them during the first round of the NFL draft. In what would be a slave auction in 1790s Virginia(excluding the quarterbacks and the Armani suits on the players), a succession of hulking men amble up to the podium as their playing rights are selected by various teams. Of course, no slave ever signed for $20 million, so I may need to switch metaphors before I send this baby off to the presses.

 

   A lot of women who know nothing about sports come to this column. They come to me either by word-of-mouth, by accident, or by me leaving a link in a Mom journal. Many ask me to make sense of certain sports-related things that go on at their homes. One girl just left a note about her husband, who was putting up a Babe Ruth shrine. I get these people a lot. I actually want to have their attention for a minute.

 

   DO NOT AGREE TO LET HIM WATCH THE NFL DRAFT!

 

   Even with the big letters, that is more of a guideline than a rule. Here is why I mention it…the first round of the NFL draft will take about a full afternoon to conduct. There are 30 or so teams, and while they are each given 15 minutes to make their selections (of which they have been thinking about for months)….I think they don’t start the clock for each pick till a guy named Mel Kiper Jr. finishes talking….and this boy can just go on and on.

 

   Of course, you can let him watch it if you have stuff you want to do. In which case, you could be having sex with the Domino’s delivery guy on the front lawn and he wouldn’t even notice. But if your plans are less sordid, you can count on 2 hours (or 6, if your local team played well last year, earning a later spot in the first round) of free time before he even begins to wonder why you haven’t interrupted him since lunch.

 

   I leave this to your discretion. If you are somehow trapped and forced to watch the draft, here’s a few things you should know:

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-         Mel Kiper Jr. is the guy who is supposed to know everything about everyone who is being drafted. Mel has no real experience in this field, and many NFL types openly scoff at his logic. Either way…when he starts talking, you may want to pick up a book.

-         A “war room” is where all the football guys sit and discuss the merits of this particular giant kid against that giant kid. Football, which is a majestically violent sport, is chock full of war analogies. “Blitz,” “Bomb,” “Sack,” and so forth. Even the plays look like little battle plans… which they essentially are.

-         Don’t perk up when they say “Detroit is now on the clock.” The team won’t be picking for 15 minutes. Drafting strategy involves sitting for 14 minutes waiting to see if someone comes out of nowhere with a trade offer that they simply can’t refuse.

-         If you’re looking for Cuteness, watch the 300 pound kids try to look cool while the surrounding mothers/sisters/girlfriends weep and act like Price is Right winners as they are drafted to teams that will pay them millions.

 

   The basketball universe is in a Silly Season of its’ own. The NCAA tournament is over,which means no more Dick Vitale. The playoffsfor the pros are a few weeks away. A lot of teams are mathematically eliminated, and they know it. Teams are playing rookies, starting different guys, and seeing if benchwarmers can actually play.

 

   If you’re looking for a visual representation of the word “desolate,” go to a Toronto Raptors/Atlanta Hawks game in mid-April. Other than the possibility of seeing Skip To My Lou go after his coach, you could better waste a Saturday afternoon watching the Major League Soccer draft.

 

   Hockey is not happening this year, and baseball has only just begun. The Boys of Summer look a little stupid out there while there’s still a chance of snow, but they are trying to squeeze every possible dollar out of the teams. Baseball players that don’t do roids take a few weeks to whip themselves into shape…. So you may see some bad baseball until May.

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   So…. sports watching options are limited in April. Bad hoops, worse baseball, and a 19 hour football draft…. Yikes. The sad part….they don’t put this part of the Sports Season in August, when you could at least get some outdoor time.

Sunday, April 3, 2005

Your World Series Champion Boston Red Sox

  

  I was going to do a piece about the Red Sox/Yankee game in my last entry, but I held off. There's a fairly good chance of the Beast taking over as I write on that subject, and there's no need for that kind of open hatred in an article that was also mentioning the passing of a man of Peace.

   Respect is an important thing. That's why the cops wear the gun on the hip. The Yankees are due more respect than anyone. They have a pile of pennants, and they have Randy Johnson on the hill for tonight's opener. A winter after last year's enjoyable collapse, the Yankees return.

   They may even be the favorite. They spent like $391 zillion in the free agent market last year. I actually looked it up for an old article, and the money the Yankees spent this year could be used to buy enough F-16 fighters to acheive air superiority over Kenya......with enough left over for a B-52 with which you could terrorize the populace.

    Every game matters this season. There's a cute story in the local papers here about a bunch of kids who, in the name of goodwill, want the Sox and the Yankers to shake hands before their first Fenway game. If one of my students tried that, I'd send them to SPED classes like immediately. If there is no Them, there is no lunger a need for Us. Once that happens, everybody sorts of just roams the street killing each other. Hatred is Good.

   There's no room in my Fenway for niceties. My people waited 86 long years to rule the world, and the only thing that gets you off after that is simply another year at the top. As the Blog Boy says, there's nothing like drinking an ice-cold Bud Heavy in front of a bunch of crestfallen New York City SOBs on a dark October night. Well....he didn't say that, but the theory is still a sound one.

   In order for that to be, we will at some point have to deal with the Evil Empire. The Yankees are already dressed in black like a villain, and are filled with all sorts of unlikable fellows such as Pretty Boy Jeter, Balco Giambi, Godzilla Matsui and Randy Johnson. Johnson may be the ugliest man in any sport, but his presence in the Bronx means that the true World Series will be the ALCS.

   There's a new dynamic at work now. The Yankees no longer have us under a Ruthian curse. We force fed thema Respect Sandwich that hit them in the mouth like Varitek pimp-slapping their zillionaire third baseman. Last year, we were the smiling faces, and they were the Bucknered. Only healthy birth of my children gave me a bigger sense of relief.

   There's two kinds of cities in this nation. There are cities where the champions reside, and there are cities where they sit around and wonder what went wrong. Boston is currently ruling every sport(Boston seems assured of winning the coveted Atlantic Division crown in the NBA), and the best part of it is looking at your hands and seeing Yankee blood on it.

   I plan to enjoy this season. We were second best long enough. This year, we're the Top Dog. We walk taller. We look better. We rock harder. We **** better. The Yankees are the wannabe, while the Red Sox have kissed all the girls and made them cry. 

 

 

Saturday, April 2, 2005

Early Edition

  

   We're doing the Sunday Sports page a day early, with the sad news of the death of the Pope playing on every media outlet. This Sunday will be reserved for More Important Stuff... and rightly so.

   The Pope was a powerful and famous man, and he's gonna be the big news for a few days now. The deaths of much beloved people- like the Pope, Lady Di, or Bon Scott- hit across borders both political and cultural. I'm pretty sure that the first Pope couldn't have imagined how huge Christianity would become, or what kind of worlds his successors would exert their office in.

   In fact, I'm actually sitting here with a few friends, talking about the Pope's life.....in a positive tone....while Big Ol' Butt by LL Cool J is playing in the background. The world's a different place now than when kings stood barefoot in the snow outside the Pope's place, begging for absolution.

   Still, you gotta like the Pope. You don't become the Pope for the wardrobe, or the fancy digs in the Vatican. The opportunity for an Urban II-style Asian Invasion simply doesn't come up that often. You don't really get a lot of chicks. Your theme song is 1000 years old. For all the fame, it's a low-glamour job.

   You become the Pope because you dedicate your life to God. You do this with full knowledge that you will spend life serving, helping and doing good. The papacy isn't the Super Bowl- few kids in Church are looking at the stained glass and thinking "Some day, this will be my house." While some Tammany Hall-style politcal wrangling will occur before the smoke that signals a decision on a new Pope wafts over St. Peter's Square, the priesthood is a profession where the good do truly advance.

   While I haven't read his history, I'd bet my bottom dollar that John Paul II spent a lot more of his 86 years living in poverty/serving poor than he spent lording over Vatican City and bossing those Swiss Army guys around.

   I can remember not agreeing with things that came out of the Vatican, but the first thing that pops into my head when I think of this guy was a simple act of goodwill. In 1981, some freak named Mehmet Ali Agca took a shot at gunning down His Holy See. The Pope, who could have easily distanced himself from the scene, sought Agca out and forgave him.

   That's how you gotta be when you're the Pope. The world would be a far better place if we all could learn to emulate that. So we cede Sunday to the Man of Men, and check in 6 hours earlier than usual for more secular developments.

   Time to shift gears. Let's delve into trash-talking, steroid-powered, bone-breaking discussions of our second religion.

 

Punk Dunk Debunk

  

   Jerry Sloan had to dole out some tough love this week. Rookie protege Kirk Snyder had come down the lane and sh***ed so hard on the Houston's interior defense that he had to flush twice. He then stared down the Rocket bench, reportedly uttering a racial slur that I would imagine may have been addressed to Mr. Ming...or perhaps he ridiculed Tracey McGrady's Scottish heritage.

   Either way, there was about to be a fight. Coach Van Gundy was off the bench so fast, he got a technical. He's been stomped on- literally- by Alonzo Mourning. He wasn't going to take any crap from some punk rookie on a Lottery team. But someone else had already begun to take care of business.

   Jerry Sloan gave the kid the hook, and fed him a good old fashioned drill sergeant ass-chewing right in front of the crowd. He basically told him that he until he has a Jordan-style ring collection, he really can't be staring down benches....except that he used the term, "f****ng punk" a bit more than I'm letting on here. He then gave the Rocket bench a look that basically said that they could be assured that the situation was well in hand.

   Mr. Snyder has quite a bit of talent, and it wouldn't at all surprise me to see him last in this league until he is in his thirties. Coach Sloan may be long-retired when old Kirk pulls some rookie aside and passes on a few hard-learned lessons on respect.

   L'enfant est le père de l'homme.

  

Brown's Town Wasn't Browns Town

 

Cleveland lost defensive end Courtney Brown to Denver. They had previously sent tackle Gerald Warren to the Rockies. They also scrooged Ebenezer Ekuban and some other dude out there. This is notable because:

- If the Browns had a terrifyng DE named Brown....he's the poster boy- by surname alone- for any rear-angle Cleveland publicity photo. So much for that.

- Denvahhh has the defensive line from a pretty rotten team.

- Cleveland has ditched 2 number one overalls and a number three overall for nothiing.

 Ol' Romeo has his work cut out for him.

 

We  Got us a North Carolina/Illinois NCAA Title Game

Illinois and North Carolina troops tangled several times during the Civil War, often in North Carolina (or off her shores) itself. Illinois ended up winning, but the Carolinans fought really well.

It's Chicago vs. Mayberry, R.F.D. Monday night. Illinois has Mrs. O'Leary's cow and the Great Chicago Fire. North Carolina gets hurricaned like Florida. AIr Jordan worked in both states. UNC is more of a power, but Chicago actually has all of the 4 major sports that don't involve Dale. Jr. 87% of US citizenspolled were unaware that there was once a Carolina Hurricanes hockey team.

vs

 

 

 

NONSENSE

A good lumberjack beard would probably improve Andrew Bogut's draft status by 1-3 picks, and he's already close to the top