Lijit Ad Wijit

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Hey ladies, how 'bout this Phelps picture?

Seriously, PLAY Magazine, couldn't you get a better picture of Michael Phelps?

The story.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Rick Gosselin: Closet Eagles fan?

I like that the Dallas Morning News did a story on the Eagles defense, but can we teach Rick Gosselin what the hell a synonym is!?

Paragraph excerpts in order:

The Eagles aren't going to take any chances with health in 2008.

Even though Philadelphia had two Pro Bowl-caliber cornerbacks in Sheppard and Sheldon Brown, they signed a third – Asante Samuel – away from the AFC champion New England Patriots in free agency. He led the NFL with 10 interceptions in 2006. Counting the playoffs, Samuel has intercepted 19 passes in his last 37 games. He has six career touchdowns on interceptions.

The Eagles drafted safety Quintin Demps, who intercepted 17 career passes and scored four defensive touchdowns at UTEP. He set a school record with 404 career yards on interceptions.

The Eagles also heated up their pass rush, signing end Chris Clemons (eight sacks in 2007) away from the Oakland Raiders in free agency and drafting tackle Trevor Laws from Notre Dame in the second round.

The Eagles now go five deep at both end and tackle – a depth chart that includes three first-round draft picks (tackles Brodrick Bunkley and Mike Patterson and end Jerome McDougle), two seconds (Laws and end Victor Abiamiri), a third (end Bryan Smith) and a couple of big-money free agents (ends Clemons and Darren Howard).

If the Eagles can increase pressure on quarterbacks and make them throw the ball out of rhythm, turnover opportunities should increase. Johnson feels he has a cast capable of finishing off those opportunities.

The Eagles, in related news, can also be referred to as Philadelphia, the Birds, Philly, they (on second reference) and Tony Romo's daddy. That is all.

LeBron supports Obama

Despite the advice and blueprint of his idol, Michael Jordan, LeBron James has endorsed a political candidate.

Cleveland Plain Dealer:

James has lavished a little more than 0.1 percent of his 2008-09 salary of $14.4 million on the presumptive Democratic presidential candidate, Barack Obama, according to Federal Election Commission records. In June, the Cavaliers star donated $20,000 to the Democratic White House Victory Fund, a joint committee set up by Obama and the Democratic Party for the presidential race.

I'm glad to know that LeBron and I have more in common than a 40-inch-plus vertical.

More annoying? Michelle Wie vs. Britney Spears

Does Michelle Wie's saga remind anyone else of Britney Spears'?

Whose parents are worse?
Michelle's parents control her every move and shop her around the world to pad their wallets.

I don't even know who Britney's dad is, but I know her mom sold out Jamie Lynn for money from Gossip.

Edge: Spears

More money for doing less:
Wie definitely works hard on her game although she has sponsorships in the $10 million range and isn't a full-time member of any tour. (She has one LPGA exemption left.)

I think Spears has just one Grammy nomination for "Toxic," but she was very attractive early in her career and put out multiple albums.

Edge: Wie

Bigger fall off the map:
Wie hasn't won anything that anyone cares about since taking the Women's U.S. Public Links Championship when she was 13.

Spears shaved her head.

Edge: Spears

I'll give Britney the final edge as a younger Wie still has a chance to redeem herself. I just hope it doesn't come this week.

Iowa tickets for disaster victims are also disastrous

This is a nice gesture by the Iowa Hawkeyes, but I don't think I'd want to watch another natural disaster after experiencing one.

From the Des Moines Register:

Victims and those who who supported victims of recent natural disasters in Iowa are eligible for free tickets to home football games at the University of Iowa, officials announced today.

Two tickets for either the Aug. 30 game against Maine or Sept. 6 against Florida International will be given to people who provide completed FEMA disaster assistance application forms.

Head coach Kirk Ferentz is the highest paid state employee in all of Iowa, but that doesn't mean he has any control over his players.

Can we get some real golf reporters?

I can't stand when casual reporters analyzing golf tournaments. Surely this stems from my own dedication to and scrutiny of the sport, but I get upset when people like Bill Plaschke blabber on Around the Horn about how Michelle Wie will be overswinging this week by trying to keep up with the men. Those are the stupid statements that eat away at the credibility of general sports reporters trying to give insight into golf.

Then I read this column in the Cleveland Plain Dealer by Bill Livingston, who I had never read until today (unlike Plaschke who I like otherwise.)

Still, I wish we could put the lasers back in the science lab.

Lasers are what designated volunteers use for a PGA Tour media service called ShotLink. The shot-trackers use lasers to determine a shot's distance, then record on PDAs (personal digital assistants) the yardage, the spot on the course where the ball lies, and maybe the golfer's astrological sign.

I, and I'm sure many other tournament golfers, like to know exactly how far a tour golfer hits his shot so we know how they play in different situations. But that doesn't have to take away from the traditional lingo we're used to:

The sports world, including the PGA Tour, has gone stat crazy. But Tour golfers still use the formula that sufficed for years. From one to six feet, they measure putts by each foot. At eight, 10 and 12 feet, they measure two feet at a time. Then it's three, for 15- and 18-footers. Back to two feet to reach 20, but then it's a quick march in five-foot increments to 40 feet. After that, 10-foot increases stretch to infinity and beyond.

So I thought maybe Bill did know a little more than he let on -- until he came back with these ridiculous comments:

Once, we (who do you mean by "we?") had lingo. Now we have lasers. Monster putts were "snakes," and sometimes, for truly vast distances, "anacondas." Around the cup and out was a "U-turn," and around and in was a "victory lap." A missed gimme was "afraid of the dark." Hacking it back and forth across the green was "Army golf -- Left, right, left!" On the green, more than three putts was going into the "hockey mode."

Only hackers talk like that, Bill. But don't worry, that's exactly what most reporters are in the sport. And since golf isn't as commonly played of a sport as baseball, basketball and football, to name a few, it's understandable that most reporters don't have a good grasp on the nuances of the sport. Please, though, don't remove all doubt with this annoying posturing.

No more disrespecting Philly fans

After reading this story, I don't want to hear any more comments about how rude Philadelphia fans are until they overtake Chicago fans with an incident of their own.

From the Chicago Sun-Times:

The 34-year-old Chicago-area man also received a municipal ticket for assault and battery after police say he punched his sister in the mouth as she tried to intervene in the fight.

Police believe that the Cubs fans were so drunk that they took the Brewers fan/victim as Steve Bartman.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Greatest regular season day in LA Angels history*


I don't know much about the history of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, but I don't need to before declaring that July 29, 2008 was two outs from being the greatest non-postseason day in franchise history. First they give up Casey Kotchman and a minor league pitcher for Mark Teixeira**, then John Lackey almost no-hits the Boston Red Sox in an act of revenge for Jon Lester doing the same thing to the Angels on May 19.

Dustin Pedroia broke up the no-hit bid with a seeing-eye grounder between third and short before Kevin Youkilis launched a hanging Lackey pitch over the Green Monster.

-Lackey's career numbers in seven games at Fenway Park before tonight: 1-4, 35 IP, 7.46 ERA, seven HR, 12 BB.
-The last no-hitter in Fenway Park was thrown in 1958.

This also would have served as redemption for the Angels after their no-hitter by committee on June 28 was not only deemed unofficial because it spanned just eight innings, but also turned into a 1-0 loss to the Dodgers.

What's great about this is that Teixeira didn't play tonight (although he is optimistic that he will tomorrow) and the Angels still dominated their closest competition in the American League (and probably all of baseball.)

As a sidenote, Kotchman must be pissed.

**That's the story I wrote for The Sports Network.

Men's Basketball breathing easy in Beijing

With all the dirty laundry aired by the NBA this year -- the Tim Donaghy scandal, Josh Howard admitting he's a pothead and the ups and downs of Kobe Bryant -- I think the men's basketball team will best cope with Beijing's poor air quality:

The heavy haze was among the worst seen in Beijing in the past month, despite drastic pollution controls put in force July 20 that included pulling half the city's 3.3 million vehicles off the roads.

It is not known how much the measures, which also included halting most construction and closing some factories in the capital and surrounding provinces, have helped.

Maybe they should have U2 concert to raise funds to buy a giant air filter for the city.

Derrick Mason: "I guarantee you we're going to win more games."

I'm glad Ravens wide receiver Derrick Mason is feeling spry. So well, in fact, that he guaranteed Baltimore would win more than five games (its 2007 total) this season. Thank you, Derrick, for such a bold statement to give all the Purple Faithful hope for at least a six-win season.

From the Baltimore Sun:

And it's with his usual confidence that he predicts the Ravens will be much better than last year's 5-11 record despite so much youth on offense.

"You can't go off what you did last year, whether you were an 11-5 team or a 5-11 team," Mason said. "You can't do it. This league changes so fast with free agency, so just because you were at the bottom of the league the previous year doesn't necessarily mean you're going to be in the bottom of the league the following year.

"I believe we're going to prove that. We're not going to be the same team. I guarantee you we're going to win more games than [last year]."

In related news, Bart Scott plans on hurting as many of those young offensive players as possible between now and the Sept. 7 season opener vs. Cincinnati.

A separate Sun story:

Until the season starts, though, the pain apparently will stay in-house. In the past two days at McDaniel College, Scott, an inside linebacker, has delivered hits hard enough to knock the helmets off two running backs.

When he separated rookie runner Ray Rice from his helmet yesterday, Scott quickly retrieved it and tossed it downfield. It was reminiscent of last season, when Scott picked up an official's flag in frustration and heaved it into the stands in a December loss to the New England Patriots. That toss drew another Ravens penalty.

Enjoy the season, Ravens fans!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Sports Network Stories: 7/18/08 - 7/20/08

July 20
Verlander's gem helps Tigers split with Orioles

Connecticut beats Sky to end skid

July 18
Gamer: Scott leads HR parade as O's down Tigers

Molina carries Cardinals over Padres; unlucky 13 for Maddux

Monarchs weather late Atlanta rally

Jags WR Porter undergoes surgery

A dignified Daly and no reason to miss Tiger

At least for today, John Daly was a role model.

Maybe not during one of his divorces, his rehab stints or his being accused by Golf Digest’s No. 1 teacher, Butch Harmon of not taking the game seriously, but today, yes.

As Daly was walking up the 18th hole massaging his right wrist, his score of +28 may have had viewers thinking they were watching The International, the Stableford scoring PGA Tour event, instead of the British Open.

He didn’t explode like in the 1999 U.S. Open at Pinehurst, he didn’t rush his par putt on the 18th green that he would miss and he didn’t react negatively to the sarcastically cheering fans as he holed out.

The only consolation I can think of to offer Daly for his effort is that he didn’t finish alone in last – Jamie Howarth shot 85-84 to match Daly’s 80-89 – tying for 153rd.

But the two-time major champion behaved like one at a time when it was least expected.


With Greg Norman, Rocco Mediate and David Duval all in the top five at the halfway point there’s no reason to put an asterisk on the excitement surrounding the Claret Jug. The only people who have a problem with Tiger Woods not being at the tournament are Tiger himself and all the non-hardcore golf fans that didn’t follow the sport until his 1997 Masters triumph.


Norman used to be my favorite golfer until he started chicken-winging his elbows after a round at the Kemper Open and knocked me out of the way. To be frank, he’s a jerk.

But that doesn’t mean that it wouldn’t be a great story if he, Duval, Mediate or even the far and really-far behind Sergio Garcia (73 today, +5, six shots back) and Phil Mickelson (68, +7, eight shots back) won.

And they’re all chasing K.J. Choi who has seemed poised to win a major for awhile. Don’t stay out late tonight or tomorrow, you’ll want to get up early so that you don’t miss the weekend, even though Daly won’t be taking any more shots. Well, at least not on the course.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Derby shmerby ... can we get a rule change?

My heart rose with each baseball that Josh Hamilton deposited into the oblivion last night28 in all for the first round.

That he was the top slugger in that round by 20 homers, left five outs (give or take one) on the table in the second round and still didn’t win is a travesty.

He was at a big disadvantage to begin with by selecting Grandpa Simpson to pitch. By Erin Andrews’ count he threw 42 pitches – absolute seeds for sure – in the first round alone.

Wouldn’t you expect the geezer to be winded by the time Hamilton faced winner Justin Morneau in the finals? That late night pitching delivery of Grandpa Simpson, whose real name I couldn’t care less about, looked like the next Comcast Digital commercial to go along with that turtle couple.

If Morneau didn’t want to decline the trophy, someone should have stolen it from him. Instead of wiping the slate clean for the final two players, they should keep the totals with the low man going first. He should hit for at least five outs, and if he hasn’t tied or taken the lead in five outs, he should finish out his allotted 10 outs. If he does tie or pass the leader in five outs or less, then the leader should go for five outs, or ten if he doesn’t pass the new leader. If he does the former new leader should get to use his last five outs to reclaim the lead.

Basically, since Morneau trailed going into the finals last night, he should have had to use all 10 of his outs and, since he didn’t pass Hamilton, lost without Hamilton ever having to hit in the final. If this seems like it would suck the fun out of the Derby by depriving the fans of on more round by a home run hitter, then look no further than the record-setting tear Hamilton went on in round one and tell me they didn’t get their money’s worth.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

NASCAR driver on steroids!

Kyle Busch has to be on steroids. I don't know much about NASCAR, but I do know that nobody wins seven races by July without a little performance enhancement.

Yeah, right, Busch is probably cleaner than his engine. And I'm glad we have a sport where someone can dominate and nobody can accuse that person of getting an edge with steroids.

So wait a minute, you're telling me a driver could be in better shape than the rest of his competitors and the only advantage he would have is being able to defend himself against Tony Stewart after running him into the wall?

Well then why the hell do some people still call race car driving a sport? Sure, being in shape has its advantages: staying focused longer, being able to do a backflip off your car or climb a fence after a victory and of course actually being able to fit inside your car.

If those are the only benefits of being in good shape as a driver, then I still think the oversized Tony Gwynn could make a run at the Sprint Cup.

Congrats to Busch, but please don't call him an athlete.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

I need a haircut

I shot myself in the foot yesterday. I wrote on my Frederick News-Post blog that I wouldn't cut my hair until the Orioles get back above .500 (or when school starts on Aug. 27). Tonight's loss/demoralization to the Red Sox ensures that I'll be waiting until at least after the All-Star break to visit the barber shop.

I don't plan on the Orioles bailing me out before school starts so I'll go for the Rickie Fowler look and see if that helps my golf game for the rest of the summer.

The Orioles are two games below .500 with one game left against Boston before the break (that only one player, George Sherrill, will participate in. I think Sherrill has five blown saves in the last two weeks so he's clearly the best choice). Then they start an 11-game homestand. As I said in the blog, if they don't pull it off then I could look like Robinson Crusoe by the time I go back to school.

Sports Newtork Stories: 7/12/08

July 12
Gamer: Youkilis slams Red Sox to rout of Orioles

CFL: Cates's late TD lifts Saskatchewan over Hamilton

WNBA: Lynx defeats fizzling Comets

Friday, June 20, 2008

The Tiger inside of you

Are you feeling more capable lately? Staying up late to finish that project you had been putting off for weeks? Actually using that gym membership you paid for in January?

The credit is not all yours, my friend. You can credit Tiger Woods for the newfound worldwide sense of empowerment. Some people complain that he's yet to fulfill his father's prophecy of being a powerful social figure ready to change the world.

Based on the events between last week's US Open and this weeks surge of duty, I disagree.
You can't say with a straight face that you weren't inspired by a man with a torn ACL and a broken leg winning the most important golf tournament in the country under the toughest annual playing conditions in the world.

Suddenly that hangnail doesn't seem like a valid excuse take a break from typing that report. Get that finger out of your nose and get back to work.

I bet Big Brown's even feeling a little embarrassed for not giving it a better run in Elmont, N.Y. Then again, Tiger knew he wouldn't get shot for revealing a broken leg. The horse would've been in a tough position.

This should also muffle the naysayers who quip that golf isn't a real sport. If a sport's best player tears his ACL because* of that sport then its a real sport. (*I know he actually tore it running but the damage was done on the course.)

Remember the time you didn't feel like mowing the lawn because of a long day at work? Tiger probably didn't feel like playing a 91st hole against a middle-aged comedian after all he'd been through. For heaven's sakes, get a riding mower, sit on the damn thing, and turn the steering wheel, it's that easy.

But if what Tiger did were that easy, it wouldn't have meant so much to everyone who witnessed it.

It was his best win ever, and for me, it was the best tournament I've ever watched. The Monday playoff was the second-best same-pairing duel I've ever seen (next to Tiger vs. Bob May.) I'm only 21, but if I were 121 I don't think either ranking would drop much.

The 14th major title of Tiger's career was courageous, heroic, insane and above all -- inspirational.

You don't have to be a golfer to feel the fire from within to pursue what matters most to you.

Whether it's golfing, digging holes, crunching numbers or even mowing the lawn, watching Tiger this weekend probably made you want to do it to the maximum. That passion inside of you may become extinguished soon, but don't worry, Tiger doesn't have that problem.

So if you missed this weekend's performance, expect more like it in the future. Hopefully without the whole season-ending injury thing.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Low blow on Kobe by Denver columnist

Turns out the people of Denver still haven't forgiven Kobe Bryant, at least not Mark Kiszla.

Bryant scored 30 points last night (despite missing eight minutes due to foul trouble) and led what almost amounted to one of the greatest comebacks in NBA Finals history, yet Kiszla's Denver Post headline indicates that Bryant failed.

That headline turned out to be a prelude to a masked bashing of the greatest player on the planet.

Kiszla couldn't disagree more though, what with his apparent ranking of Bryant as the fourth-most valuable player in the league: "While there were probably more deserving candidates from among New Orleans guard Chris Paul, Boston forward Kevin Garnett and LeBron James of Cleveland, this season's MVP award was given to Bryant, apparently in recognition for finally reaching maturity at age 29."

Give me a break. (Personally my MVP ballot would have read: 1. Kevin Garnett 1-A. Kobe Bryant 3. Chris Paul 4. Tim Duncan 5. LeBron James.) But how can you honestly put Kobe anywhere outside of the top two, or even three players? And questioning his maturity? There's a big difference between being highly-competitive and simply immature (an unfortunate, but not overbearing facet of most competitive people.)

Here's another favorite line of mine: "Bryant did score 30 points in Game 2, but is shooting an unremarkable 41 percent from the field in the series."

Sooo, you're criticizing his field goal percentage "in the series," so far -- a series that is only TWO games long? That's a reach that Inspector Gadget couldn't even make.

And one final dig that made absolutely no sense: "But the league MVP never got a meaningful touch of the basketball again while the Lakers desperately searched for a way to steal a victory during the last precious ticks on the scoreboard clock."

Well no kidding, Mark. You're completely correct, the league MVP should have the ball in his hands at the end of a close game, but you have to blame Sasha Vujacic for shooting a hybrid fadeaway-side-shuffling-off-balance-desperation 3 as Kobe stood open on the right wing.

Did Bryant grimace at his teammate for taking the shot? Of course he did, but not before going in for a rebound looking more possessed than Arnold Schwarzenegger in End of Days.

Bryant scored nine of LA's last 15 points -- all in the final 2:53 -- and had 13 points and five assists in the fourth quarter. If that's not doing his part to help the team win, if that's failure, then LeBron was a failure when he scored 45 points in a game 7 loss to Boston on May 18.

OK, so Kobe's not perfect. But neither is the Pope. It would be nice if the analysis of his performance this postseason was not only objective, but inspired purely by his play on the court, instead of his foreplay in the past.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Ricky ticky tock, time's up on the clock

I'm giddy and it has nothing to do with the fact that the Penguins could even the Stanley Cup Finals at two games apiece tonight.
It's because after six long months, Rick Reilly is on the verge eligibility to write columns again. Reilly left Sports Illustrated at the end of 2007 to sign a five-year, $17 million contract to write for ESPN. But SI had a clause in his contract that forbade him from doing anything for another company in the first six months after he left the magazine.
It's been five months and 30 days since he left SI. It's been five months and 30 days since I didn't cry myself to sleep.
OK, I'm exaggerating, but don't think a small part of me didn't get torn up along with Reilly's expired SI contract. I don't know what ESPN has in store for his first column, whether it will appear online in the magazine or in some new medium they invent (What's next HD?), but my wit-deprived eyes will be looking for it.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

What can you do for Brown?

Big Brown, associated more with a delivery service than race tracks, has a crack in his front left hoof and may not be able to run in next Saturday's Belmont Stakes. If he doesn't race NBC's ratings will reflect what could very well have been coverage of a Muncie, Ind., PTA meeting.
All this time, those clever, seasonal racing fans are asking "What can Brown do for you?" Some say he can save the sport while others argue that he'll put it out of its misery by proving that a Triple Crown winner will do nothing to boost the sports popularity.
And while it has occurred to some of these racing "pundits" that this year's horse cannot speak for himself, it would probably be a lot easier if he could. What they don't know is that he can speak for himself.
Give me a mane brush and call me Robert Redford because I spent some time with the thoroughbred and it turns out I'm a regular horse whisperer. Here's what Big Brown had to say Wednesday afternoon:

Do ya know what it feels like to have a cracked hoof? Mah trainer tells tha reportas that it's like havin' a cracked cuticle in yer fingernail an' that it hurts. Hell yeah it hurts, but it's nothin' like havin' a cracked fingernail. Since when do humans walk on their fingernails? I di'n't think so. It's like someone slicin' ya three big toes open an' makin' ya walk around on dirt tracks all day. An' when you're not doin' that ya have to stand in yer own s--- with a cut on yer toes. How does that sound?
This whole Triple Crown bulls--- is tha equiv'lent of yer godfather enterin' ya an' yer smallest kid into piggy-back races against other parents. Ya win tha first race, but yer MILF crush from tha next neighborhood actually breaks her ankle crossin' tha finish line an' is euthanized right there on tha track in front of her 12-year-old son.
I mean sure, ya feel bad for tha kid an' his family, but for Secrectariat's sake, that could have been you dyin' with yer kid on yer back! Well I don't want to die, an' I sure as hell don't want to run another race a couple weeks later. But ya know what? Ya do it anyway because yer kid is crackin' ya with a whip an' says if ya don't beat Tommy an' his dad, godfather Mickey isn't gonna let ya sleep with Mommy anymore.
So let me get this straight, ya say. I'm runnin' this race an' not only might I die, but if I don't prove to be "breedworthy," I'm not even allowed to sleep with mah wife anymore? That's right, buddy, that's exactly what I'm thinkin' when I'm runnin' these damn races.
I don't even have a wife, but I'm sure I have a few kids around somewhere. How am I s'posed to find a gal out here when A. Tha one I planned to ask on a date after that Derby dies after I leave her ass in tha dust an' B. There's a hundred-fifteen pound anorexic dude ridin' around on mah back all day. Ya try havin' another guy rap his legs around ya on national television all day an' tell me how many chicks ya pick up. Not many, buddy, no siree. Mah best breedin' days are behind me. Once they make ya a "stud," an oxymoron if I ever heard one, ya only get to sleep with tha big burly women so yer kids are real big an' burly an' can go through all this s--- in three years. That would be like if someone told ya men that ya could only get with high school softball coaches after ya turned 24. Ya wouldn't stand for that now would ya?
I won that second Bal'more race, too, an' I wasn't even in much of a mood to be runnin'. Tha reason I went so fast is because everywhere I turned on tha infield there were 19-year-old boys drinkin' Keystone an' 17-year-old girls liftin' up their trainin' bras. I mean I can't even look at that legally. Can I? Anyway that's how I cracked ma damn hoof, I stepped on one of those beer can tabs comin' around tha first turn an' was tramplin' on it tha whole way aroun'. An' just when I decided it wasn't worth tryin' any longer to win this damn race, I remembered tha part about not gettin' to be a "stud" when I finish this Triple Crown. Well that high school softball coach type is better than yer right hoof any day. Just ask yer trainer to keep tha stable dark an' ya won't know tha diff'rence.
So back to this Belmont crap. Ya know why no horse has won all three of these races since Affirmed? It's simple, we don't really care. We win these races an' earn our owners what, like a million dollars? An' how much of it do we see? None. I still live in tha same dark stable an' ride in tha same trailor up the highways while little kids, probably tha same ones that would whip their parents in tha piggy back races, point at me an' make faces.
So now everyone wants to know, am I gonna to win next Saturday? Of course I'm gonna win if mah trainer lets me run. It was a freakin' beer tab. Yeah it hurts but its nothin' I can't fight through to get that stud status. An' ya know what else, I'm on HGH. That's right, Horse Growth Hormones. Yeah, I said it. Eight Belles was on 'roids but no one discovered that in tha autopsy did they? How do ya think she got those upper legs? Mmm, that's tha only reason I didn't race ahead at tha Kentucky one because I wanted a good look at those four pillars of beauty. Anyway, Affirmed, Seattle Slew, Secretariat, even Sea Biscuit, they all used steroids. They didn't put that part in tha movie, did they? There's no testin' in tha sport, an' they sure as hell aren't gonna bring a horse onto Capitol Hill, so why wouldn't we do it?
An' can I say one more thing? I love those people from PETA. I know they make 'em look bad on television, I hear mah trainer talkin' about it all tha time, but they treat me so good. When it's real late at night, I can be layin' down in ma' stable then alluvsudden I hear these whispers. An' do ya know who it is? It's tha PETA people. They brung me candy bars an' Kool-Aid since ma' trainer only gives me oats an' water durin' tha day. Sometimes I get peanut butter when I hafta do those damn car ads so it looks like I'm talkin'.
So that's about th' extent of it. I hate racin' I really do, but I don't wanna ruin tha rest 'a tha perks for mahself. Tha stud stuff, tha admiration, an' those Musketeers bars -- I couldn't live without 'em. So what should ya do with yer money on next Saturday? Put it all on me. If ma' trainer runs me -- an' I can promise he will -- it won't be close. Everybody wants to know what I can do fer 'em lately. Well this is it, I'm gonna win tha Triple Crown.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Bad case of Beli-mia

I'll remember Bill Belichick as one thing - a cheater.
If he wins the next five Super Bowls, the next three American Idols and an Iditarod, I won't think anything more of him.
Two years ago I would have told you that he rivaled Vince Lombardi as the best coach in NFL history.
Now, for two reasons, I'll tell you he rivals Barry Bonds. Firstly because he's simultaneously the biggest and most successful cheater in the history of his sport. Secondly because without cheating he still would have been one of the most successful figures in the history of his sport.
And it's the latter realization that perplexes me. What is it that makes someone's desire to succeed so high that he feels justified cheating to reach his goals?
Spygate tarnished Belichick's reputation for sure, but since all the tangible evidence has seemingly surfaced, it appears that his actions were overblown and in some cases falsely exaggerated (by The Boston Herald).
He and the organization were justly punished and like an old french fry the the scandal was swept under the rug.
Then this happens. Matt Walsh, the "third video assistant" who "doesn't know football" told Commissioner Roger Goodell that Belichick uses players on Injured Reserve in practice.
He reminds me of the people at the gas station who take six pennies out of the change tray so they don't have to break an extra dollar.
He takes every minute edge he can to get a leg up on his opponents.
Whether that means taping their signals, practicing with extra players or cutting the sleeves off his hoodies so he can throw his challenge flag a little farther, he'll do it.
And that's what I can't stand.
He's clearly a genius and without cheating his stats would undoubtedly make him one of the best coaches ever. But the cheating on his resume is the mustard on your favorite T-shirt.
That stain won't go away like the Spurs in late spring.
The only explanation I can think of is that Belichick has a sickness. Call it Beli-mia because every time he cheats I want to throw up.
When everyone said Belichick and his Patriots were in a different league, they were right - the league of cheaters.
Don't be offended by me grouping the whole team together because of Belichick's actions. After all, he preaches the team concept more than
anyone in the game. If they don't want to be cheaters they can find another team to play/work for.
That includes everyone from owner Bill Belichick to kicker Adam Vinatieri. They're all cheaters. Remember how angry you got when your sister used to always be the banker in Monopoly and somehow she would never run out of money? Multiply that anger and the importance of the game by 100 and you can understand where I'm coming from.
But with the talent that Belichick and the Patriots have, I'll never understand where they're coming from.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

NBA = Not Business Acclimated

The NBA has become the punchline of professional sports organizations. I don't mean the players and the teams, I mean the business.
I got sick watching David Stern condemn Tim Donaghy through the most twisted-satisfied smile I've seen since Jack Nicholson in "The Shining."
Yes, you caught your man who was corrupting your league and you can't wait to see the law stick it to him. How convenient that you find joy in punishing one of your league's ex-authority figures.
This self-dignified celebration puts Stern on the same level as Bud Selig for his anti-steroids tirade.
It's not only that though. I'll defer to one of my favorite columnists, Gary Parrish, on why the one-year-in-college rule is a joke (even though I love watching these would-be lottery picks play for a college season.)
But there's also the calamity of the NBA Draft Lottery. How do teams like the Portland Trailblazers and Chicago Bulls deserve top picks in back-to-back years when teams like the New York Knicks have starters who would be in the D-League for other franchises?
The NFL is the model league for all things business in pro sports whether you like football or not. The teams with the worst records deserve the best picks. Just as pointless is the NBA's ordering of the rest of the draft lineup before postseason play finishes.
Last year, for example, the Golden State Warriors were the first No. 8 seed to win a playoff series. Under NFL rules they would have had the 23rd pick in the draft, dropping below all the first-round losers that weren't already above them. As it was, they selected 18th, five spots higher than they should have.
The reason you do the draft the NFL-way is for parity. That's why the NFL is so successful, David! People outside of the northeast don't like to see the Patriots win every year, but if they do it's damn impressive.
The things the NBA does to make a few more bucks is only turning the league into another P-word: parody.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Let's get Tek-nichal

As SportsCenter first pointed out, (for me anyway) Jason Varitek's role in Jon Lester's no-hitter was the fourth of its kind that he's caught in the major league's, good for first all-time. (By the way, he also hit a two-run homer Monday night.)
So it is in the midst of Mike Piazza's retirement as the greatest hitting catcher of all-time that I ponder Varitek's place among best game-calling catchers of all-time. It can't be a coincidence that he's caught each of the last four Boston no-hitters: Lester's, Clay Buchholz last year, Derek Lowe in 2002 and Hideo Nomo in 2001.
He's caught one for some diverse player personalities as well: from a former Asian savior in Nomo, to more of a veteran in Lowe, to the second career start of a rookie in Buchholz and finally to the gritty cancer-survivor turned walking inspiration in Lester.
Forget things like number of shut-outs or strikeouts caught by different catchers over time, we're talking about the biggest single-game defensive accomplishment possible for the man in position No. 2. It's the equivalent of how many times an offensive lineman has blocked for a 220-yard game by a running back.
You might argue that there have been more no-hitters (256 by my count) than 220-yard rushing games (I couldn't find a number) but remember that the number of games in a football season is less than 10 percent of the games in a baseball season, and that baseball has been around considerably longer.
By catching four no-hitters Varitek has done something more impressive than pitching one. The catcher is the only person that the pitcher looks at before every pitch, and in many cases, relies on to call those pitches. And most important of all, after about the fourth inning the catcher is usually the only person who communicates with the pitcher because of superstitions.
Varitek has done all these things perfectly (well, minus the nine walks in the games) four times. He's almost as important as a caddie is to a player in contention to win a golf tournament. In 2005, one of the years he actually didn't catch a no-hitter, he won the American League Gold Glove Award.
And don't forget that he's the team captain of a Boston squad that in 2004 and 2007 won its first world championships since 1918.
With someone who does so much right behind the plate, how can a pitcher ever be worried that something could go wrong?
Varitek is more than a great catcher, he's a team changer. He's the Tim Duncan of baseball. He's got that gritty look of a veteran with not always flashy but still sufficient stats that have done nothing but make his team successful.
Does his accomplishment with Lester further prove his value as a great game-caller? Yes, but more than that, it also propels him into the threshold of purely all-time great catchers.

Sports Network Stories: 5/19/08 - 5/25/08

Nationals shake up roster, option P Chico

Gold-medalist Hamm breaks hand

Navy AD Gladchuk gets extension through 2015

Marlins select OF Jones' contract

Mystics sign guard Smith

Chappell ineligible at North Dakota

MRI on Jones reveals fluid, tear in cartilage

Bouchie transfers to Evansville

Shave and a haircut: Cowboys extend Barber, Newman

Take a piece of Piazza

Mike Piazza's retirement should trigger a string of big-name players ending their baseball careers this season. It should, but I don't think it will.
Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, David Wells and Kenny Lofton are all free agents. Bonds and Clemens are arguably the best hitter and pitcher, respectively, of all-time if you ignore the likelihood of steroid usage by both.
And Wells is known for his bulldog toughness while Lofton's name is synonymous with base-stealing. So why haven't these guys been signed? Because they're old.
True that Bonds and Clemens would bring more baggage than their age but regardless of off-the-field issues, all five of the aforementioned players aren't valuable enough to be everyday players. Bonds would be an effective pinch-hitter, Lofton a pinch runner or defensive replacement, and Clemens and Wells would be a tough relief match-up, but why would anyone pay them upwards of an eight-figure contract to do something that a kid in triple-A will do for six figures?
Piazza did the right thing by going out on top, even if his numbers did fall off in his final two seasons with San Diego in Oakland. But it's May 21 not many teams are desperate enough to waste the cash it would take to sign a washed up All-Star in his 40s.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Do you really mean it, Papa?

I almost packed my bags for a roadtrip to Cleveland on Thursday and it has nothing to do with the Cavaliers-Celtics game (which will be played in Boston anyway.)
It's because I can get a large pepperoni pizza for less than a quarter! If gas wasn't so expensive the trip would make sense financially. Wouldn't it be fun to drive to Ohio (I know, of all states) just to say you bought a Papa John's pizza for 23 cents?
If you ask me, this promotion is reason enough to forgive those blue-collared folks for picking Hillary in the primaries.
The concept of 23 cent pizzas I do love, but the reasoning for it is meager and reeks of a CYA retraction. Who cares if you upset a few people by sponsoring shirts that called LeBron James a "Crybaby"? He's a big boy in case you didn't see his triple-double in three quarters of play.
What's the worst thing that can happen, that guy in your commercials goes back to Pizza Hut? I can see it now: "Better T-shirts. Better pizza."
Once he tastes one of those Pizza Mias he'll realize he'd rather have his hands on your "dough" than theirs. Unless he eats a pepperoni and chicken Mia for breakfast the day after a rager, that guy isn't going anywhere.
And since my Jeep Cherokee got 16.3 mpg on my last fill-up, neither am I. Rest in Pizza.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

One before Two except after C and in the NBA

Two things are really bothering me today. The first one is the fact that the NBA starts second-round games before all the first-round series have played out. i.e. game one of Magic vs. Pistons followed by game one Suns vs. Spurs on TNT right now, which precedes Hawks vs. Celtics game seven tomorrow.
The second thing that bothers me is that I never realized the NBA did this in the past. I'm pretty sure MLB and the NHL don't do something so stupid. And obviously with one-game rounds neither does the NFL.
So how is it fair to have two mildly rested teams begin the second round while one of the teams on the other side of the bracket in the conference has to play a game seven before a quick turnaround to begin the second round themselves?
This is like walking a bride down the aisle with the best man ready at the altar, but not the groom.
This serves as one more reason why the general sports fan has a hard time putting the NBA on the same level as the NFL, and even MLB for that matter.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Led by a Sheppard

This is how you handle a sticky contract situation.
You don't talk if you haven't been traded, and you show up for camp until you're told otherwise.
Lito Sheppard is a model Pro Bowler playing for a model franchise that has been up front about its intentions for months. They wanted to trade Sheppard but since they haven't received an offer that would match his value they've held on to him.
No one needs T.O.-like distractions during mini-camp. Having players complain about their contracts in the preseason is as distracting as your biology teacher standing over your shoulder while you hide your cheat sheet under your non-writing hand. So I hear anyway.
Why should he leave anyway? The Eagles are going to have plenty of cap space and hopefully give him a little bit of a bonus for the way he's played in the last couple years, even if last year was a bit of a down season for him. Who can forget the interception he had against the Cowboys when he took a Drew Bledsoe pass in the endzone to seal the game and the NFC East Divisional title?
The Eagles will be deadly with Sheppard, Asante Samuel, Sheldon Brown and Brian Dawkins AKA Master Splinter in the secondary. And since they drafted about 73 linemen they should be deep enough to stop the run if they continue the eight to ten man rotation they've used in the past.
There's a reason Lito's last name is Sheppard and it has nothing to do with the "sheep"-ish grin he'll be wearing when the Eagles get back to the playoffs this season.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Kept in Beli-check

Bill Belichick obviously wasn't fazed by the Super Bowl loss as far as his composure with the media.
In his live NFL Network interview between the 13th and 14th picks of the draft, he was asked about his draft pick, the decision not to draft an offensive lineman to protect Tom Brady and of course the Super Bowl loss itself.
Not even coaching fraternity members Steve Mariucci and Brian Billick could penetrate the armor that is part of Belichick's brick wall. How could you expect to hear anything less than the fact that Mayo is a great player who likes football?
When asked why they chose Mayo over other potential players including an offensive lineman such as Brandon Albert he said they did what was best for their football team.
And finally when Billick had the chutzpah to ask Belichick about the sting of the Super Bowl loss, he said they had already moved on to 2008 and put the loss behind them.
How great would it have been if Rich Eisen asked Belichick about Spygate.
Potential dialogue:
Rich: What is your reaction to the NFL finding a middle ground to meet with Matt Walsh, your former video coordinator?
Bill: (Pause) Well we've gone through a lot of changes on our roster and our staffs since we beat the Rams in the Super Bowl and we're going to continue to do what's best for our team.
Rich: But are you concerned that he might have incriminating tapes from the past that provide further evidence that your team cheated?
Bill: The only video I've had a chance to look at recently is of Jerod and some of the other guys on our draft board.
Rich: Are you concerned that you could be fined or even suspended if further violations are revealed?
Bill: I'm concerned that we have a really tough schedule this year and if we don't draft the right players we will have a hard time getting back to the Super Bowl.

I can't wait to see what evidence Walsh provides. How great would it be if Belichick had to worry more about getting back to the sidelines than preparing for the New York Jets?

So far, so Goodell

Roger Goodell has proved to be a refreshing element of the NFL Draft for the second year in a row. Paul Tagliabue was often too stiff and concerned with his image and that of the league to pull off the charismatic charm that Goodell has exhibited.
From the casual demeanor with which he strolls to the podium to the way he said "OK, Jets fans" before announcing their selection of Vernon Gholston.
His interactions with Tank Johnson and Pacman Jones and the handling of the Michael Vick situation also displayed a disctinct ability to be a "player's commissioner," something Tagliabue may have possessed, but did not exhibit very well.

Vick left on the doorMatt

With the selection of Matt Ryan as the No. 3 pick in the draft the Atlanta Falcons sent a clear signal that they are done with Michael Vick. While Atlanta and other football fans are left with the question of whether Ryan will succeed as Vick's successor as the franchise quarterback, a bigger question looms.
What happens to Michael Vick?
While there have been conflicting reports, mostly because of Arthur Blank, as to whether or not Vick is playing football in prison, I'm more curious to see where he ends up when he's out of jail.
Vick could be back in time for the 2009 season and will probably land with a struggling franchise with lots of quarterback questions. With the parody in the league it's difficult to predict who will be coming off of a poor 2008 season, but looking at the ages on a few rosters could provide some clues as to who would be interested in Vick at a price that will undoubtedly be a bargain compared to his pre-jail salary that peaked at more than $23 million in 2006.
The Baltimore Ravens desperately wanted to have Ryan for themselves and now they may get stuck with a more questionable quarterback unless they attain Joe Flacco, Chad Henne or Brian Brohm. The team in general is aging, especially the defense, and may need a spark plug like Vick (who will only be 29 if he's back next year) to give them a push as they will be past the worst of their rebuilding stage by 2009.
There's also the Kansas City Chiefs, another team that was considering Ryan as their choice if Atlanta didn't take him. Damon Huard and his backups are not the answer in the midwest. Someone like Vick could be an ideal fit on a team that generally plays an up-tempo type of offense in which he could thrive. He'll also be away from the big-city lore of a location on the east or west coast.
Of course this all depends on whether or not Vick is even capable, physically and mentally, of returning to NFL stardom when he leaves prison. Whether he is discharged in 2009 is unclear. What is clear though, is that Vick will have some work to do when he gets out, and it won't be anything like the kitchen duties he's taken up in prison.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Wammi Youuu: Crank dat DeShawn

On a night when Soulja Boy attends the Wizards-Cavs game, Carlos Boozer knocks Carl Landry's tooth out, a courtside Jazz fan gets tossed for reasons I still am not clear about and Tracy McGrady scores his first fourth quarter field goal of the series, I wonder why some people still refuse to accept the NBA Playoffs as one of the great sports spectacles.
Caron Butler even did a little crankin' after his and-one late in a game that was well out of hand at the time. I can't wait to see how DeShawn Stevenson responds to his own performance last night. He'll probably attribute the success to his mentor Soulja Boy while LeBron AKA Jay-Z was unable to carry his team to a 3-0 series lead.
Back to McGrady for a second though -- he is a sad excuse for a playoff baller. That brick he threw up at the end of the game was embarrassing. Charles Barkley's golf swing is pretty than McGrady's fourth quarter playoff performances.
I'm still not sure how the Rockets managed to win this game. After Kyle Korver hit that three to bring the Jazz within what I think was four points (93-89?), it looked as if the Western Conference Semifinals would only take eight games combined.
In the East, I think if the Wizards really want to have a shot, they should sign Frank Thomas and have him go Marty McSorley on LeBron and save Brendan Haywood the technicals. Otherwise he's going to come back more pissed off than ever for the rest of the series en route to a rematch with the Pistons in the Eastern Conference Finals.
And speaking of McSorley/hockey, can we just skip to the Penguins-Red Wings already? Someone tell me A. Who will stop Sidney Crosby B. Who will stop Detroit C. Who in their right mind would trade for Pacman Jones.
Nevermind on part C.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Rich for a price

Rich Rodriguez has me more worried than Ross in the season finale of Friends where they're at the beach and he has to choose between Rachel and that strange girl that shaved her head.
It's not like we can still pick Lloyd Carr (Rachel) since he's gone, which doesn't break my heart to begin with. What we have to do is learn to tolerate Rodriguez (baldy) because it's starting to get ugly.
I was watching SportsCenter this morning and Pat White starts talking about how much more free he feels with Bill Stewart running the Mountaineers. That he doesn't feel as if he's lost a first-born child every time he throws an incompletion or doesn't run for a first down, or something along those lines.
Sure I'm exaggering what White said, but not the general vibe given off by the bitter Mountaineer fans and the skeptically-stoked Wolverines fans. Apparently the spread offense isn't all that Rodriguez brough with him.
I'm not saying that he has to get along with Jim Tressel (who could with that damn sweater vest he wears?) but it's probably not good when he and Purdue coach Joe Tiller say he's already broken an unwritten code in Big 10 recruiting circles. I'm not against getting the best recruits possible, but how is it that Rodriguez is the only coach to be accused of breaking this gentleman's agreement?
And finally, Dave Letterman style, the No. 1 reason you know that something's up with Rich Rodriguez: one of Michigan's linebackers just transferred -- to the Buckeyes! Are you kidding me? Remember that ESPN commercial where the guy jumps out of his blind date's moving SUV because he's an OSU alum and she's a Michigan grad? This guy just said, 'You know what, honey, I love you so much I want to like the Buckeyes, too.'
I don't care if he is from Columbus, the fact that he left is the ultimate red flag, and if I had a red flag right now, I would throw it out to challenge Michigan's decision to hire Rodriguez.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Retired the non-retired?

Will someone explain this to me: How can you retire a player's jersey if that player himself hasn't filed for retirement yet?
If Brett Favre decides to play one more year this winter, there could be a couple interesting storylines developing.
If he stays with the Packers we could have the unprecedented scenario of a player having his jersey retired while leading his team to victory on the same night. No doubt that Favre would pass for numbers close to 350 yards, three touchdowns, and of course, three interceptions. The final touchdown would probably come in the last two minutes to give them a victory against the Vikings.
The second possible scenario is that if he gets traded to another team, and has to play in another city on the same night that his jersey is supposed to retired. Favre is so amazing that he could probably put up the same numbers for another team and still attend his jersey retirement simultaneously.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Number Two Tiger

Betting on Tiger Woods to win The Masters this week was, if nothing else, safe.
Safer than a five-shot lead with three holes to go for the next great South African major winner, who was, surprise, surprise, not Rory Sabbatini.
When Tiger shot even the first day, the trendy response was, 'He's just waiting for Saturday to really make his move. It's like Jack Nicklaus said, you can't win the tournament on the first day but you can lose it.'
So the modest 71 on Friday didn't raise any red flags, if anything it made viewers more inclined to believe that Tiger would be hunting for the yellow flags all weekend. And he did.
And he failed.
Failed in the sense that he didn't win the first leg of his secondary-to-elipsing-Jack goal of winning the calendar year Grand Slam.
But he finished second, a very Jack-esque consolation in a major.
He shot even par 72 on a Sunday in which only four players broke par.
Only Stewart Cink, Woods' Sunday playing partner, matched his impressive feat as the only other player to not shoot an over-par round during the tournament.
A second-place finish may mean Tiger will lose some sleep until the next major, but fans shouldn't lose sight of the fact that a second-place finish in The Masters is nothing less than impressive on a week that many say the safest statement of all was to call it a failure.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Championship No-Nos

Two things before this overtime starts.
First of all, why the hell didn't CDR get a tech for spiking that ball? That's ridiculous and Ed Hightower is terrible. P.S. Shut up, Billy Packer! I'm rooting for Memphis, but that was terrible.
And why would Roy Williams wear a Kansas logo on his shirt? He should definitely be scolded by the UNC AD.
Oh and one more thing. Why couldn't Oklahoma State wait until after the game to announce its offer to Bill Self? That's almost as bad as Scott Boras announcing A-Rod's opt out during the World Series.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Rock Chalk Jayhawk, damn

Clearly I don't know what I'm talking about. Congrats to the Jayhawks on a dominating win. I didn't expect to hear the "Rock-Chalk-Jayhawk" chant with a minute left in the game. I was anticipating the "Gooo-Heeeels!" chant that drowned out the rest of Carolina's opponents.
Hopefully the natives of Kansas will allow the Roy Williams controversy to rest after tonight. The Jayhawks got what the whole state wanted more than anything, to directly prevent Roy from winning a national title.
Now the Jayhawks will have a chance to do just that, which is something Roy himself could never do in Lawrence.
The last time Kansas was in the national title game they faced a Carmelo Anthony-led squad from upstate New York. Now another great coach with a team of overloaded talent stands in its way.
I'm not even going to pick that game because as we saw tonight, it wouldn't do any good. I hope it's a close game as the contests of the final two weekends of this year's tournament have probably been the worst I can ever remember for an NCAA Tournament.
The only games I've enjoyed since the first two rounds are ones that involved Davidson, and the West Virginia-Xavier overtime battle.
If Bill Self wins on Monday, I'd be happy to see the Phil Mickelson of college basketball coaches win his first title. And if it's John Calipari, there's nothing wrong with a Steve Stricker finally getting his due.
May the best team win.

They're grrrrrreat!

Congrats to the Memphis Tigers on the National Championship game berth. I didn't think they had it in them.
Unfortunately I didn't watch too much of the game because I was covering a story about a man exposing himself to women on our campus.
I did get to see CDR tea-bag Kevin Love on a baseline jam. Damn, Kev.
I don't know what it is that keeps UCLA and Ben Howland from getting over the hump but they're turning into the Philadelphia Eagles of the NCAA Basketball tournament.
This result is something many people may have seen coming with all the buzzer-beaters and assists from the refs the Bruins got in the last two months.
Nonetheless, take this one in while you can because you won't see Derrick Rose or Kevin Love in a college uniform again.

Big night in Baltimore

It's a big night for the Orioles. With the Blue Jays beating the Red Sox and the Rays taking another one from the Yankees, the Orioles are another win over the Mariners tonight from first place.
The Orioles in first and the Yankees in last would be as rare as an Easter in March, but since that's already happened this year, I say for at least one day, why not?
Baltimore will need a big debut from Adam Loewen and some hot bats to go off against Miguel Batista. This could provide the momentum they will need to face their former best player, Erik Bedard, in the third game of a four-game series tomorrow afternoon.

Something's Bru-in in The Alamo

I still have UCLA over Carolina, 83-79. That was my pick the day after Selection Sunday, even though The Mount played Carolina that Friday.
I have a valid explanation for picking against the team I work for and it's the same reason I picked Coppin State to beat us in the play-in game.
When we played at St. Francis (Pa.) on Feb. 23, and I asked coach Milan Brown who he had that night, he picked the Red Flash. He then picked Monmouth the following Saturday, and all of our opponents through the NEC Tournament. Those were all part of our five-game win streak that propelled us into NCAA's, and therefore I stuck with another one of my superstitions until it ran out in Raleigh.
And with my conscience clear let's shift to tonight's matchups.
I don't give Kansas a shot, not only because they're more overrated than Saw IV, but also because the top two teams they've played by seeds are 8 UNLV and 10 Davidson. Clearly Davidson didn't deserve to be as low as a 10, and while UNLV was a decent 8, the Jayhawks haven't had a thorough test.
I don't mean to discredit the 59-57 struggle they had against Davidson. The Wildcats, although carried by Stephen Curry, get contributions from all of their players. At the same time, they don't have a Danny Green coming off the bench, not to mention Tyler Hansbrough and Deon Thompson inside.
After seeing the Heels in person I didn't think that anyone would be able to beat them this year if they're firing on all cylinders, on top of the fact that Kansas is overrated and trying too hard to use the Roy Williams thing as motivation.
I had Memphis in the Final Four of my original bracket until I realized that I had put all four No. 1s in San Antonio and promptly slipped Texas out of Houston and into the Alamo. I believe that Memphis has the most talented starting five in the country. Derrick Rose, Chris Douglas-Roberts and Joey Dorsey are better than any top three including Ty Lawson, Wayne Ellington and Tyler Hansbrough.
I don't, however, see how leaving Andre Allen at home won't be a distraction for the Tigers. And most importantly, the Bruins are playing in their third straight Final Four and have Kevin Love who I believe to be the missing link.
My early final score projection of 83-79 could be a little high with UCLA's defense and Carolina's fresh emphasis on the same side of the floor.
I won't be disheartened if the Tar Hells win though. That would strengthen an argument for the Mount as the No. 2 team in the country.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Hellooo, Brooklyn!

This is funny. When I was home for Easter I was pleasantly surprised to find this year's Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue in my basket.

It wasn't until later that week that I had a chance to flip through the magazine and read some of the stories. Oddly enough, there are pictures in the magazine too, and one or two or three in particular caught my eye.

There was a girl my age named Brooklyn Decker. If her parents could have seen 20 years into the future they might as well have named her Dolly Decker and had her sing country songs.

There were three reasons I didn't start scouring the universe for her contact information. 1. I had just shook Erin Andrews' hand about a week before and there was no way I was going to cheat on her already. 2. She's from Ohio. 3. The whole Andy-Roddick-called-dibs-in-September thing.

Now it looks as if Roddick has joined Tiger Woods and Tom Brady as the happiest men in the world. Not only is he engaged to a relatively recently legalized and not-so-long-ago-teenager, but he finally beat Roger Federer again yesterday in the quarterfinals of the Sony Ericsson Open.

Like Roddick, I have anger problems, play a sport closely associated with country clubs, and once beat the No. 1 player in my sport (on XBox,) so does that mean I have a real chance with Erin after all?

(Didn't get the title? "Hello, Brooklyn!")

Swoop: The Alexa Rodriguez Story

Could the Red Sox-Yankess rivalry get any better than this? A 13-year-old girl named Alexa Rodriguez was attacked by a red-tailed hawk that swooped down and scraped her scalp with its talons while she took a tour of Fenway Park.
The girl is doing fine, thankfully, or I wouldn't be making light of the event. But what are the chances of something like this happening, really?
The girl's name is ALEXA RODRIGUEZ. Confused by the reports, Jose Canseco is already planning to write his third book about the incident. It will be called "Swoop" and feature a chapter about the performance-enhancing habits of the Philadelphia Eagles mascot.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

'Erin' on the side of caution

It looks like I have some competition for my dream wife.
A friend pasted me this link yesterday informing me that Playboy readers think that Erin Andrews is the hottest sportscaster on TV.
Tell me something I don't know, Hef & Co.
By now my recent surge of puppy love has been well-documented by none other than yours truly. But I was still holding out hope that the rest of you creeps hadn't noticed my former Florida-Gators-basketball-dancer-turned-tame-bachelorette was the hottest thing in sports since the Mitchell Report.
Too bad for you all that I've already met her and told her of my intentions to be her co-worker at ESPN someday, although I promise not to get the company sued.
What I did leave out though were my marriage plans. It's safe to assume she doesn't read my blog, so the element of surprise will be as strong as my heartbeat when I fall to one knee.

Gone, Jay G., Gone

The Orioles cut Jay Gibbons today to get their roster to the opening day maximum of 25 players.
I didn't see this coming with the delay of his season-opening 15-game suspension. It looked like the break Gibbons would need as the MLB considers granting amnesty to past substance abusers while putting a new system in place.
Now, not only have the Orioles released their second-longest tenured and most productive (although admittedly inconsistent) player over the past few seasons, but they will also owe him $11.9 million.
The $10+ million salary difference is worth eating to keep a younger player (utility infielder Scott Moore) who may be more useful this year and down the road.
The real question that remains though is, is this the end of the housecleaning? Already two of Baltimore's three best players from last year (Miguel Tejada and Erik Bedard) have been traded for a boatload of unproven prospects and chic pick closer George Sherrill, and now one of the biggest bats in the lineups (relative to the rest of the order) has been released for nothing in return but a little relief from the distractions his appearance on the Mitchell Report was causing.
Considering Brian Roberts was Gibbons' best friend on the team, I think the rumor of him being traded to the Cubs will become a reality very soon. Along with Tejada and Bedard leaving, that would mean that the top three players from last season would be out of Baltimore with Nick Markakis, Jeremy Guthrie and (gasp) Adam Jones leading the Orioles in their pursuit of finishing better than third place before Peter Angelos sells the team to Cal Ripken, Jr.
While the Orioles have been unloading, the other four teams in the AL East have been reloading. Consider it a huge accomplishment if the O's finish higher than fourth and/or within 25 games of first place this season.