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Monthly Archives: June 2009
BERLIN (Reuters) – A Polish couple living in Germany fell out after tying the knot and decided to end their marriage on the same day.
“He said he never wanted to see her again and wanted an immediate annulment, and she said the same thing,” a spokesman for police in the northern city of Hanover said Thursday.
Right after the civil ceremony Wednesday, the 50-year-old man began arguing with his bride and tried to cut her hair with a kitchen knife, police said.
The 34-year-old woman called police, who issued the man with a restraining order, which he readily accepted, police said.
Two attempts at a rapprochement later that evening by telephone ended in more shouted exchanges before the man went to spend his wedding night in a local shelter for homeless people.
Better late than never! Although I think any time you take a knife to your bride’s mane, that’s a relationship that has the spark and intensity to last a lifetime. This restraining order and divorce surely won’t be the end of them. I’m willing to bet they get married (and possibly divorced) again some day. Although the next marriage may be more likely to end in a murder trial rather than an annulment. Glückwünsche!
Man, there are so many comedic elements in this video. From the unintended sexual inuendo, to the kid getting male and female mixed up, down to the fact that he bares resemblence to the fat boy scout duck from Duck Tales, I never thought I could sit through 3.5 minutes of some nerd talking about his homemade NERF gun. The worst part is, he never even demonstrates it working! Shoot a goddamn foam ball or something! I like how he explains that the leak was made on purpose, going so far as to call it a “safety valve.” Yeah, I meant to crack that tube. Anyway, pay close attention toward the end when he starts talking about shooting zombies. He was hunting two of them, but they got hungry and went to get food so the game was over. Speaking of food, good segue into the fact that he hasn’t eaten in 12 to 14 hours. Is that how long he spent making that PVC concoction? I could’ve hammered that out in 20 minutes.
The 2009 NBA Draft featured something we haven’t seen since 1998: Three California teams picking in the top 10. That year was highlighted by the Sacramento Kings’ selection of Jason Williams, an unfortunate swap of Vince Carter of Antawn Jamison (which didn’t really turn out that bad) and a Clippers’ pick we’ll touch on in a minute. Once again this year, the San Diego Clippers chose first, the Kings picked fourth, and the Golden State Warriors held the 7th selection.
Los Angeles Clippers #1: Blake Griffin, Oklahoma
From the producers of Michael Olowokandi, in came the consensus #1 pick. I’ve been a long-time skeptic of Blake Griffin. This past season, I was finally sold on Griffin being a solid all-around player. He’s been dubbed as the “can’t-miss” selection of the draft. What I’m not sold on is him becoming a great player. Most will agree he’ll be a “long-time NBA starter.” What that will translate to, I’m not sure. All we can go on is the facts. They are the Clippers. Elton Brand managed to lead the Clippers to one postseason berth in his time in LA. He set the bar pretty high. I’m not sure if Griffin can lead them to the postseason, but they do also have Baron Davis, Zach Randolph, Eric Gordon, and Al Thornton. Problem is, the losing culture of the franchise will overshadow all, including Griffin’s performance.
Sacramento Kings #4: Tyreke Evans, Memphis
Local sentiment favored Ricky Rubio, for the simple fact that many around here saw him as the next coming of Jason Williams. J-Will didn’t single-handedly turn the franchise around – he had some help – but he was probably the most responsible for generating excitement and fan support. It seemed like a match made in heaven. Sac needed a point guard, and Rubio wanted to come here. The Kings, however, instead opted for Evans. I have to agree with the pick. I have stated for a while now that Evans probably has the most star potential in this year’s draft. How he’ll work out at PG I’m not sure, but he gives the Kings a much-needed scoring threat. While I definitely see them improving on their impressive 17 win total from a year ago, the possible outcomes are many. His production will constantly be compared with Rubio’s, as many will wonder what could’ve been.
Golden State Warriors #7: Stephen Curry, Davidson
I have wondered for a long time if Curry would be able to succeed at the elite level. I’m still not sure if he can. He impressed everywhere he worked out leading up to the draft, but many of those workouts are based largely around shooting displays – something we know Curry exceeds at. The Warriors’ front office proclaims that he is the perfect fit for their system. His game is so similar, yet different from Monta Ellis. He does give them a much needed shooter. Regardless of what happens, I love this pick for two reasons. He’s not Jordan Hill, who was probably the W’s backup choice. Second, I loved it simply for the reaction it got from Knicks’ fans. I loved seeing their player get snatched up right before their pick, and then watching them settle for Jordan Hill. Many thought Curry would be dealt, most likely to Phoenix. However, Don Nelson today stated on the record that Curry could “unpack his bags, even buy a house,” because he “ain’t going anyplace.” Problem is, Nellie’s word doesn’t carry much weight.
Los Angeles Lakers #59: Chinemelu Elonu, Texas A&M
Does it really even matter?
As I read Simmons plea for Blake Griffin to run and hide from the Clippers, which probably isn’t the worst idea for him on the day of the NBA draft, I pondered what a list of the worst franchises of all time would look like. It’s not hard to think of a lot of really crappy teams, but narrowing that list down is tricky. The fields accounted for are; what they’ve done over their whole franchise’s history and to their fans. According to business journal in 2008 the worst five rated franchises (NBA, MLB, NFL) from worst to best of the worst were: Detroit Lions, Memphis Grizzlies, Pittsburgh Pirates, Minnesota Timberwolves, and the St. Louis Rams. Financially I couldn’t agree more, because I don’t know their books or care to. However, I do believe that some of the teams listed abouve are trying to do the right thing for their franchise. Well, atleast enough to stay out of the top five worst on my list.
#5 Memphis Grizzlies -They’re trying to make it to the Clippers status, but it’s tough to make up all those losing seasons that the Clips have on them. Their first four years yielded them a total of 56 wins in Vancouver, so why not move to Memphis! That move, coinciding with dreadful drafts have doomed the franchise to the depths that they are currently in and will be in for some time to come. Even this year with the second pick, they may have to settle for a role player since there is no clear instant NBA impact player in that spot. I’m sure this draft will yield them their next Big Country Reeves. When they do have a good player, they find a way to trade them for a poo poo platter of players and draft picks that they will eventually mess up on! I’m not just referring to the Gasol trade last year, but they also traded away Mike Bibby and Steve Francis just before their primes! Is OJ Mayo the next?
#4 Pittsburgh Pirates – Well, they have a nice park, and well, that’s about the only exciting thing that’s happened to them over the past 17 years. Since 1992, the Pirates haven’t had one winning season, and it doesn’t appear that one is coming anytime soon. They are now the proud owners of the longest string of losing seasons by any team in MLB history! Is it the curse of the Killer B’s (Bonds and Bonilla)? My guess is they are cursing themselves by continually trading players for prospects and never really letting any player play for any part of their prime.
#3 Los Angeles Clippers – Not only do they make the worst decisions possible, but every time they make a decent one it never works out. Their .365winning percentage in the Donald Sterling era shows their inability to make a streak of good decisions. He’s more interested in what prostitute’s he’s bringing to the game that night than who is on the court for his team. The dwindling fanbase has gone into a depression that may not be shakeable until they decide to move to their fourth location. The seats have been emptier and emptier as the seasons go by, except when the Lakers come to town to play them… I think Billy Crystal even stopped his season tickets this past season (don’t quote me on that, maybe he just didn’t go very much).
#2 Kansas City Royals – Owner David Glass should give the name “owner” an apology. He likes to play the small market victim card whenever he can, but he is always the first person in line begging to receive some of the revenue sharing from the commish. They never re-sign a star, and never puts a team on the field that is remotely competitive. Any team that averages a whopping 96 losses per season may as well make their vacation plans for October in April! There should be someway to kick out owners out of a league if they aren’t don’t even trying.
#1 Detroit Lions – It’s hard to pick exactly where to begin, but they capped off the number one spot with the first 0-16 season in NFL history, and only one playoff win since 1957 just shows the meaning of their sucktitude. It takes talent to construct these aweful teams. It must be fun for them to constantly have fans on the edge of their seats and brown bags over their heads wondering what terrible decision their franchise will make to set them back (insert amount of years). This continual three to five year re-building plan just makes me feel happy that there are people messing up franchises more than Al Davis is for my Raiders.
Maybe it’s no coincidence that the NBA Draft falls on June 25th this year, which happens to be my birthday. Since I’ll be getting crushed at a bar Thursday with my iPhone out, watching each pick unfold, and then going home and watching it again on DVR I figured I might as well come up with a mock draft. So, let’s get started………
Los Angeles (Clippers) #1 Blake Griffin: What can we say about this pick? Nothing really, it’s the brain dead easy choice in a parity driven draft. What we’ll be writing about it in a few years is anybody’s guess, especially with the Clippers landing the golden ticket. My hunch, Griffin is a three or four time all-star by the time his career is over. If he can achieve that in a Clippers uniform, then this is the best thing to happen to the organization since Don Sterling died….wait……never mind.
Memphis #2 Hasheem Thabeet: Speaking of the Clippers, I think the Grizzlies are the “New Clippers” of the NBA if that makes any sense. After GIVING away Paul Gasol last year, you have to wonder what motives this team has to field a quality product. Anyhow, the front line is the worst in the NBA, and the Grizz haven’t had any success with their other Spanish players (Gasol & Navarro), touching another doesn’t seem plausible. Thabeet and his 153lbs shot blocking force seems like the easy pick here.
Oklahoma City #3 Ricky Rubio: Who knows what happens here. Sam Presti is a genius, and will take in every scenario before pulling the trigger on anything. The back court is young, dynamic, and flexible. Rubio seems to fit the mold of an upside-rich player who will have time to grow as the team continues to build over the next few years. Side Note: a trade here is very possible for a team that may have an offer which includes a veteran and salary cap relief.
Sacramento #4 Tyreke Evans: “It was a man beating up boys.” Strong words coming out of Sacramento…especially with the likes of Flynn and Curry he was apparently dropping whoop ass on. Evans strikes me as the type of player who gets drafted with little hype and immediately kills it in the NBA, leaving everybody saying “why the hell didn’t we see this coming.” I love this pick much more for the Kings, who don’t seem to have a situation that allows Rubio to mold his game into NBA form in the near term. Kings fans should be happy if this pick pans out.
Washington #5 James Harden: First things first, Washington trades this pick. But for simplicity (and because I’m not a wordsmith like Bill Simmons) we’ll just select Harden. I don’t have much to say about Harden….I’m totally at a loss after his NCAA Tournament showing, and I can’t shake his final game from my mind. I’m guessing the Wizards can’t either to be honest. His overall skills and ability can’t be argued however, and he makes a nice addition to the Wizards back court. Nick Young may not be the long term answer at SG anyhow.
Minnesota #6 Jonny Flynn: Flynn has been making waves in pre-draft work outs, and I can’t see him slipping very far. He may not be the best fit for Minnesota, but I think he has convinced enough GM’s that letting him slide would be at their own risk. He’s a ballsy East Coast point guard, who has the skills and moxy to step right in and be a leader. No other PG is on the table with so few questions (ie. holiday, Jennings).
Golden State #7 Stephan Curry: Cloudy times in Golden State, with Larry Riley taking over the helm for Chris Mullen in the front office, and Monta Ellis apparently speaking out that he wants to be the lone ranger at point guard or risk demanding a trade. If the Warriors were to take the easy way out, Jordan Hill from Arizona slides in here. But this is Golden State we’re talking about!! Despite Curry refusing to schedule work outs with the Warriors, his leverage to avoid getting drafted here is nil. Tons of buzz, deadly outside shooting, and an identical player to Ellis makes drafting him impossible to pass up for the always entertaining Golden State Warriors (oh and his gun slinging tendencies make Nelly want to break out another twelver of bud light).
New York #8 Jrue Holiday: I’m not sure who is more distraught here: Stephan Curry or the Knicks! Having said that, New York must immediately shift there focus to the remaining young point guards left on the board. Despite Holiday’s struggles at UCLA, he showed flashes of amazing skill, and it became obvious later in the season that Ben Howland’s system was reining in Holiday far too much. The fast pace, open floor offense of D’Antoni’s makes Holiday a better choice then Brandon Jennings, who lacks some of the physical attributes of Jrue. Not an ideal situation for the Knicks, but still a solid upside pick nonetheless.
Toronto #9 DeMar DeRozan: With Anthony Parker and Shawn Marion approaching free agency in July, addressing the wing position seems like the most realistic direction. Let’s assume Parker re-signs, and Marion walks shall we? Bringing in an offensive scorer at the two guard spot seems ideal, and DeRozan looks like a pretty good fit. His overall game is still extremely raw, but no other pick really jumps out here. An outside chance exists that the Raptors take Jordan Hill instead based on just the value of his slide, but not likely.
Milwaukee #10 Brandon Jennings: Ramon Sessions is a free agent this summer, and Luke Ridnour is not the answer in a full time role. Brandon Jennings is a great fit here, especially if Sessions bolts for more money elsewhere. Milwaukee would also be a low key franchise for Jennings to play as he adapts to the NBA. Although his struggles overseas were well documented, he may posses some of the greatest upside and flash in the draft. Picking him on the back end of the lottery is a low risk situation for the Bucks, and a great fit for Jennings.
New Jersey #11 Jordan Hill: Rod Thorn, the Net’s GM has been very public in his desire to draft a forward and get a bruiser in the process. I’m not sure Hill qualifies as any sort of enforcer at the NBA level, but his skills and size certainly outweigh the other limitations of say Tyler Hansbourgh. Hill and Lopez would actually be a solid young core at center and power forward, on both sides of the ball. This could be back to back draft coups for New Jersey if Hill in facts slips this far.
Charlotte #12 Terence Williams: I have to site my sources on this one. After reading Chad Ford’s intel on his buzz page over at ESPN I’ve gone ahead and taken this pick from him (hell the man get’s paid to know his shit right?). I’ve had Gerald Henderson slotted here from the day he announced he was entering the draft. In fact I’ve had any player from Duke or North Carolina in this year’s draft here as well for back up. Apparently much has changed in the last week, and Williams has impressed everybody in Charlotte with his workouts and interviews. With rumors flying that Gerald Wallace is on the trading block, Williams maybe an ideal replacement, and makes more sense over Henderson who comes with questions marks.
Indiana #13 Ty Lawson: Unless somebody out of the blue falls to Indiana, the Pacers have said there looking to draft a point guard. Although Jeff Teague and Eric Maynor may have some more desirable upside, you can’t match the hard nosed, winning background of Lawson. He brings solid ability and ball handling, and an impressive resume of winning at the college level. He may not have some of the athletic flash NBA scouts covet, but you’re also not drafting a bust here either. Long term stability, and a productive NBA player isn’t a bad get at 13.
Phoenix #14 Gerald Henderson: Ugh, I’m not sure what Phoenix does here to be honest. There are a million different places that they can go, including the chance they move up the draft board or trade out of the first round entirely in a deal that includes Shaq getting shipped out town at the same time. If Phoenix is set on drafting completely on upside, Austin Daye from Gonzaga seems logical in the Sun’s system. In the end I think Henderson gets the nod, but nothing surprises me at this point if the Suns go a different direction.
I might be the only Warriors fan that likes Corey Maggette. Despite being in attendence for his low point in Oakland, going something like 2-12 from the line and getting booed throughout the game, I still like him. Is he my favorite player? Far from it. But I feel like you knew what you’re getting when we signed him, so no one should be surprised.
The first Doin Work MLB Power Rankings! Sure there may be a few surprises in here, but where else can you see a westcoast biased rankings!?! I would think it should be a little refreshing after always hearing an East Coast point of view! Feel free to rip the placement of any of the teams, but this is our rundown of the league through 6/18.
1. Los Angeles Dodgers – They have the best record in the league, with Juan Pierre leading the team in average after Manny’s suspension. The team hasn’t been hitting as well the last couple of weeks, but their pitching is the real story, as they lead the majors with a 3.59 ERA and are holding opponents to a league low .235 BA.
2. Boston Red Sox – The much maligned Boston squad has surged of late to become the second team to 40 wins. They’ve ridden the success of the best home record in the majors (23-8), as well as the best record against their division (20-8). We all know about their success against the Yankees this year, but what some might not know is they’ve struggled against the AL West (5-10). Only the Orioles have a worse record.
3. Texas Rangers – Somehow the Rangers and manager Ron Washington have figured out ways to win in Texas. Will it will last through the dog days of August when pitchers usually start getting blown up in Arlington? We will see. Everyone knows their offense will hit, but can Millwood and Feldman keep rolling the way they have?
4. Anaheim Angels – This might be a little high, but the Angels have the longest current win streak in the majors. They’re also a proven contender whose main concern in the early going was injuries. They were without John Lackey, Vladimir Guerrero, and Ervin Santana but managed to stay afloat. Now, all three are back and the Angels look poised to reclaim control of the AL West. Joe Saunders and Jered Weaver have combined for a 14-6 record. If Lackey and Santana can regain their form, this team could be dangerous.
5. Philadelphia Phillies – They are (36-28) with a 3 game lead in their division, but they have struggled at home (13-18), which has knocked the reining champs down a few spots in the rankings. The placement of Ibanez on the DL probably won’t hurt them as much as their bullpen has this year as they rank 26th in pitching. They’ve made up for the pitching woes with the fifth most runs scored and the 3rd most HR’s in the league.
6. Milwakee Brewers – They seem to be back on track, winning their last 3 at Cleveland in a series that saw them put up 30 runs. They gave up 25, which could be reason to be alarmed, but they came away with the W each time. Assuming they’ve bounced back from the previous stretch where they lost 6 of 7, Milwaukee should remain atop an NL Central that is very winnable. They currently have, by far, the best intra-divisional record at 21-10. Prince Fielder, who leads the majors in RBI, heads up an explosive offense. Their fate will lie with their rotation. Yovani Gallardo is pitching like an all-star, but Suppan, Looper, Bush, and Parra will need to pick their game up to help the Brewers win the Central.
7. New York Yankees – Since A-Rod came back from the DL, Teixeira is on a tear with 15 homers and 38 RBI’s since June 9th. The Bronx bombers still have question marks on the pitching side as they are currently ranked 26th in ERA. The main question is whether the new ballpark is evening out their superior batting lineup, as they give up nearly as many runs as they score in the new version of Arlington. So far they have fared well at their new home (21-13), and have gotten lucky at times as well (Castillo comes to mind). They are only 3 games back of Boston in a very tough AL East division.
8. Toronto Blue Jays – They’ve proved they’re for real this year, especially on the offensive side. If everything goes according to plan, they should finish 3rd in the AL East! The only question mark for the Blue Jays has been their pitching, and that just got a lot more complicated with the loss of Roy Halladay.
9. St. Louis Cardinals – Big Albert has been on a tear lately slugging 10 homers with 21 RBI’s over the last month which has helped them stay within a game of the division leading Brewers. St. Louis boasts the sixth best era in the league (3.47), which has been a key in their success. Carpenter has been stellar since coming off the DL giving up a total of 9 runs in 41 innings.
10. Tampa Bay Rays – Tampa has been strong lately going 12-5 over their last 17. They are currently 3 games over .500 for the first time this season. They are determined to show that last year wasn’t a fluke, and have added to the congestion atop the AL East. They currently are +72 in run differential which is the highest in the league, so you have to figure sooner or later they are going to go on a good stretch in the win column.
11. Colorado Rockies – They have been as hot as any team in baseball, since they fired Clint Hurdle and replaced him with Jim Tracey they’ve gone a solid 14-4 since the switch. Their early season schedule was one of the toughest in baseball, which is why I think they struggled out of the gate. Their recent power surge has raised them to 8th in runs scored and they are now tied for 8th in HR’s in the MLB.
12. Detroit Tigers – Granderson and Inge are leading the charge as the Tigers look to be what everyone thought they would be last year. I would’ve put them higher but they have lost four in a row including two to lowly Pittsburgh.
13. New York Mets – This is just about the area in the rankings where the contenders segue into the pretenders. The Mets are still in the upper echelon of MLB teams, but have yet to show they can put together a full season. Luis Castillo’s game losing drop seemed an awful lot like September foreshadowing though!
14. San Francisco Giants – The offense has been bad, as expected, but they’ve managed to stay above .500 for some time now, thanks in large part to Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain, who are likely to keep up their pace. Anywhere above .500 should keep the Giants in the wild card race.
15. Cincinatti Reds – They’ve managed to stay afloat despite injuries to Edinson Volquez, Edwin Encarnacion, and I guess Joey Votto. Add to that poor starts to the season by Bronson Arroyo and Micah Owings. If the Reds can get healthy, even they could make a run at the division.
16. Chicago Cubs – Currently sitting in 4th place, but only 4 games back of the first place Brewers. The Cubs need to figure out two things if they’re going to make any noise this season: how to win on the road and how to win in their division.
17. Minnesota Twins – The Twins have been extremely inconsistent thus far, but they always end up finding a way to win. At 34-34, they are still very much in the wild card picture, but they’ll need the team to click altogether to make a run at the postseason. Their pitching won’t dominate, but it’ll keep them close and games will be winnable with Mauer and Morneau leading the way at the plate.
18. Chicago White Sox – It appears that the starting pitching has turned the corner with many great outings lately, led by Jose Contreras only giving up 3 hits in his last two starts (16 IP). The offense will have to pick it up soon if they are going to contend.
19. Florida Marlins – Ten different pitchers have started games for the Marlins this year. However, Josh Johnson has been the only one to prove he belongs. They’ve made attempts to get back to .500 but can’t quite get there.
20. Seattle Mariners – The M’s started the season making some people believe they would be a contender in the West, but since the hot start they have struggled and look about the same as the last few seasons lackluster performances.
21. Atlanta Braves – They haven’t been consistent and don’t look to be taking the NL East anytime soon, with a few good teams now residing in their division. Chipper needs to break out of his slump for them to make any kind of a move.
22. Pittsburgh Pirates – Pittsburgh isn’t in last in their division for once. Somehow they have kept it going after trading away a top player (McClouth) for MORE prospects. I guess they’re just stockpiling them for something good to come along. Their pitching has kept them in games as they are currently ranked 13th overall in ERA.
23. Oakland A’s – A win against the Dodgers bumped them up a spot, but they have looked awful in the field and at the plate. Not the recipe for success for any team. Holliday, Giambi, and Cabrera seem to be battling it out for the biggest bust on the team.
24. Cleveland Indians – Like many teams at the bottom of the rankings and standings, breaks just don’t come their way. They look good for a week and terrible the next week. Their pitching has been awful this year which, makes it hard for any team to compete. They are ranked last in ERA.
25. Houston Astros – Tejada is the only bright spot on the team being 2nd in the NL in BA, and first in doubles (23). As we get closer to the All-Star break it looks as though we’ll see what players they are going to trade away. I saw the Vegas odds on a Houston firesale at 2/1.
26a. San Diego Padres – Not much to say here, except Adrian Gonzalez’s NL home run lead was just taken from him by Pujols. They had a ten game winning streak, but came crashing back to earth by losing 11 out of 17 after the winning streak.
26b. Arizona Diamondbacks – At least the weather’s nice there, and they have Danny Haren. It was basically a matchup of Gonzalez and Haren to take the coveted 26a spot! As close to a tie as you’ll see on a power rankings!
28. Baltimore Orioles – Being in the toughest division in baseball they have shown everyone how to struggle. They have been outscored by opponents by 56 runs. It’s the largest run differential in the league. Oh and Matt Wienters has arrived if you didn’t know, oh you did, cool.
29. Kansas City Royals – They probably don’t deserve to be this low, but they haven’t shown anything that would make any fan of them care what their rank is. They have some pitching as they lead the league in complete games (8).
30. Washington Nationals – They are 2nd to last in pitching and 20th in hitting. They need to sign Strasberg and get him on the mound this year for them to move out of the cellar. They’re on pace to lose over 100 games.
The MLB All-Star Game is less than a month away, thus kicking off one of my favorite pastimes…. speculating who will be the starting pitchers for each league. It probably has to do with the fact that the A’s usually have someone in the running – Josh Outman is 2nd in BAA! All kidding aside, it’s the NL that has me intrigued this year. There are five distinct candidates; few could argue that. Although I certainly don’t consider it to be the end all gauge for pitchers, look no further than the NL ERA rankings to find these five.
The first guy I rule out is Johnny Cueto. To be honest, I wouldn’t even include him had I not known he has the lowest ERA. His numbers are solid, but the 6-4 record is far from sexy and let’s be real, we just don’t hear a lot about this guy. He’s pretty much this year’s version of Edinson Volquez, and look where that got him.
The next guy I rule out is Matt Cain. A friend actually told me today he thought Cain is the front runner right now. His reasoning was that Cain leads the league in complete games (three), wins (nine), and is third in ERA. All good points, but I see some things that cancel those out. The glaring fault I see is his K:BB ratio. 68 Ks to 34 BBs. That’s 2:1 folks. Not only is that obviously the worst among these five guys, he’s also got the worst BAA and WHIP, not to mention the least amount of innings pitched. That 9-1 record looks a lot luckier to me now having said that. I’m happy for the guy though. He’s had notoriously poor run support the last few years, so it’s good to see him make up a few wins.
The other three guys, in my opinion, all deserve it, but I reluctantly cross out Chad Billingsley next. I’m a pretty firm believer in the old practice of taking the best pitcher on the best team. Billingsley and the Dodgers are that. His 9-3 record helps, but the numbers just don’t stand out above the rest of the group. A lot of his numbers, in fact, are similar to Lincecum’s, but Timmy comes out ahead in just about every category. Billingsley has also walked the most batters, however his 93 Ks keep his ratio out of Matt Cain territory. Aside from the win-loss records, choosing Billingsley over Lincecum just can’t be justified.
Speaking of Lincecum, I like him a lot for the fact that he’s the reigning Cy Young winner. Sure, that’s reflective of last season, but to me, that makes him the defending champion i.e. the “top guy.” He’s got 10 more Ks than the next guy on this list and his overall numbers are solid. That win total of six might be his undoing though. To his credit, I can see at least three starts that should’ve/could’ve ended in wins. I would give the nod to Lincecum if it weren’t for……
Dan Haren. Has a 5-4 pitcher ever been named the starter for the All-Star Game? There’s a good chance the answer is no. But, if you take a look at how he got to 5-4, you quickly realize he is FAR better than the record indicates. He has four starts where he went 6+ innings (7 in three of them) and only gave up 1 run. With any reasonable offense, he would be 9-2. Beyond the wins and losses though, you’ll find superior numbers. His 2.20 ERA is second only to Cueto, and he is head and shoulders above all these guys in WHIP (0.81) and BAA (.181) Those numbers are unreal! You know what else is unreal? 90 Ks to only 13 walks. That’s 6.92 K:BB people! Throw in 94 IP – second only to Josh Johnson‘s 98 – and Haren is the clear cut favorite for the All-Star Game start. The best part is… there’s still a month to go and this race could have five completely different guys!
With the conclusion of the NBA finals, we finally saw Kobe get the” he can’t win without Shaq” monkey off his back. Kobe’s career is far from done, but his window of greatness could be closing as he transitions to the jump shooting phase of his career. I say that for one reason, he has averaged less free throw attempts per game each year for the last three seasons (10+ from 04 to 07, 7.6 in 08, and 5.9 in 09), which makes me think he would rather not take it to the hole, so instead he’s pulling up for jumpers. Has Kobe had enough “greatness” so far to be considered close to Jordan? Kobe is turning 31 over the summer, so this should be a good point in his career to compare what he’s done so far to Jordan at the same age. I don’t think this is going to be close, but we’ll run it by two categories: stats and bio. I can’t say that Kobe’s resume is as impressive as MJ’s, but adding the fourth championship should make it close!
His Airness – Jordan at the age of 29, went into retirement after winning three straight Championships with Phil in Chicago. He left the game he ruled to play professional baseball, but many think that it was an undercover suspension for MJ’s gambling habits (I’m a believer in that theory). He was at the top of the game and his resume was impressive at his first retirement winning; 3 MVP’s, 8 first team All NBA awards, 88’ Defensive Player of the Year, 6 first team All Defense awards, and 3 NBA Finals MVP’s. He won the scoring titles every year from 87 to 93. Many felt that in 93 Jordan deserved the MVP, but they were tired of giving it to him, so they gave it to Barkley.
Black Mamba – I’m sure we’re all a little fresher on Kobe’s stat’s to date, but here they are anyways. Keep in mind that MJ took his year off at 30 years old. Which is when Kobe won his 4th Championship, and added his 1st NBA Finals MVP. He also rounded out the resume with 1 League MVP, 2 time scoring champion, 7 first team All Defensive awards, and 7 first team All NBA awards. At this point I don’t think their stats are comparable, but Kobe did win one more championship than Jordan.
His Airness – Jordan had his struggles coming into the league since he joined a team that basically sucked. He learned how to win in college hitting a NCAA Championship game winner in 1982. The early Bulls teams were terrible, so he had to compensate by forcing it at times. His greatness still allowed them to win and make the playoffs only to be knocked out early (1st or 2nd round) throughout his first five seasons. In his second playoff series, against the 85-86 Celtics, considered by many to be one of the greatest in NBA history, he made his first playoff mark by scoring 63 in one game (still the record). Two seasons later, Jordan won his first MVP, and the defensive player of the year award.
MJ’s first three Championship years were none other than domination. In the first championship run, it was the first time that Jordan realized he had teammates averaging 8.4 assists in the playoffs, and 11.4 in the Finals. Jordan’s stats seemed to go up when he was in the playoffs. He averaged 34.6 Points, 6.8 Rebounds, 6.6 Assists, and 2.3 steals in his first 9 playoff appearances.
Black Mamba – Kobe came into the league a couple of years younger and less experienced, but was put into the starting rotation in his second year at the age of 20, and showed that he would be a star in the league. Already being teamed up with a superstar in Shaq, he had the chance to figure things out in a winning environment, drastically different than Jordan’s early years. The strike season of 98, shortened Kobe’s first year as a starter to 50 games, but league wide everyone knew that he was going to be a star. The following year Kobe was given the greatest coach of all time in Phil Jackson. With an amazing core, the Lakers would go on to win 3 championships. Kobe would continually increase his all around stats each year, but never won a finals MVP. He became a fixture in the fourth quarter as everyone would wonder when it was going to be “Kobe Time”. At the age of 23, he was the youngest player in the history of the NBA to have three titles.
There wasn’t a fourth championship run, and that’s when Kobe’s struggles started. He wanted to be the “man” in LA, and basically forced the owners to decide what the Lakers future was, him or Shaq. The Lakers chose Bryant as they traded away their star center and gave Kobe the fat wallet he desired. Kobe, was the man and he won scoring titles, but just like Jordan in his early years, he couldn’t really trust his teammates since they weren’t all that good. Kobe was unstoppable, but teams realized he was playing selfishly and just like Jordan didn’t want to pass to a lesser player to let them miss a shot. Kobe’s playoff averages aren’t bad, but comparing them to Jordan’s playoff stats at the same point in his career makes me appreciate just how good Jordan was. Kobe’s playoff stats look like this 25.0 Points, 5.1 Rebounds, 4.7 assists, and .5 steals (His first two seasons totaling 20 games brought down those stats).
Since championships matter most out of all the stats, I guess we can say that Kobe wins! MJ 3 Kobe 4, at the age of 30. There, I said it. I didn’t want to, but I did. This ultimately isn’t a race to win 4 championships though! Kobe still needs two more championships to be standing on the same pedistal as Jordan. He’s going to have to be the Finals MVP for both before I will truly put him in another comparison to Jordan. Looks like Kobe’s got some work to do!
What a tool. When your kid is smarter then you are, going on national TV and proving it is just plain dumb!
Yes, I’m writing off the Orlando Magic. If you’ll recall, I wrote them off before the NBA Finals started. I felt that they lacked the mental toughness to pick themselves up off the mat after any knockout blows delivered by the Lakers. So far, I’ve been right. The Magic have played a surprisingly solid series, with the exception of game 1, but all they have to show for it is a 3-1 deficit. Any hope of having the slightest chance to make a series of this went away quicker than a Jameer Nelson closeout in game 4. The question now, isn’t whether the Lakers will win the series, but rather when. I’m pretty confident it’s going to be tonight. As much as I would love to see the Magic push this series back to Los Angeles, it’s not happening. Orlando knows it has no chance of winning this series anymore. Although I’m a fan of guys like Dwight Howard, Hedo Turkoglu, Rashard Lewis, Mickael Pietrus, Jameer Nelson, Rafer Alston, etc… I’m not expecting anything beyond a lay down and fold effort tonight. Typically, this is where a team that’s down comes out and gives it everything they’ve got just to live to see another day. Not this team. You’ll see. They know if they pulled out a win tonight, they’ll be rewarded with an all-expenses paid trip to Los Angeles to get dismantled in front of a hostile Staples Center crowd. They know they’re better off suffering a scrappy 7 point loss on their home floor then going back to LA to get blown out by 30. Well, it’s tipoff time. Don’t say I didn’t call it.
The most comprehensive fantasy football mock draft this side of espn or yahoo. Here’s who we’d pick and why….
#1 Drafting Under the Influence – RB Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings
This isn’t even a decision in my mind. He’s a threat every play to go the distance, and even when it looks like he’s stuffed he can break off a Barry Sanders-esque escape. Nobody is surprised when he puts up 200 yards and a score or two! His skill set is off the charts and better than every other RB in the draft. He vowed to come back this season bigger and faster, definitely scary for any of the competition he’s about to run over!
#2 TD’s Are My Forte – RB Michael Turner, Atlanta Falcons
Love having the 2nd pick, Turner is a no-brainer choice for me here. Atlanta has a dynamic offense which makes keying the run more difficult, and we know what Turner is capable of doing. I project him not only matching his offensive numbers last season, but slightly increasing them. Until I see Maurice Jones-Drew in a full time role, he doesn’t pass Turner here. Should be interesting to see who is left on the board on the way back in the 2nd round.
#3 Who Shot Plax? – RB Chris Johnson, Tennessee Titans
Titans have always been built as a run-first offense, as Conservative is Jeff Fisher’s middle name. Don’t quote me on that, could be Fred for all I know. As the Titans continue to employ a sub-par passing game, the two back system will flourish, and Johnson will receive the bulk of the carries on 1st and 2nd down. I was impressed with his receiving game as well last year, a great target with much better than average hands, shiftiness, and speed.
#4 White Russians For Breakfast – RB Deangelo Williams, Carolina Panthers
Looking at my options on the board, I’m intrigued by both DWill and MJD. I’m a bit hesitant about SJax, LT, and BWest in their current situations, Sjax on a shitty team, LT running close to empty (?) and Westbrook having surgery on his foot. I like Deangelo because they looked for extra ways to get the ball in his hands in the Wildcat and I think he’ll have a decent receiving year. A few vultured goalline carries will be made up in other areas like long runs and perhaps a passing TD or two this year.
#5 No More Madden For Me – RB Maurice Jones-Drew, Jacksonville Jaguars
I wasn’t happy about sitting at five, you typically watch the 3 sure fire running backs get picked, and are left with about 5 different players who all have there pros and cons (this years crop includes Steven Jackson, LT, Westbrook, Gore, and Portis). But holy smokes does a gift fall to me with Maurice Jones-Drew. With the featured role in the back field all his, and the experts putting him at 2 at worst 3 on there boards, I feel like I get a big time break here. More then likely I will be looking to match a catch happy MJD with a top tier wideout in the next round. Continue reading
Players have been going to the DL more and more over the past few seasons for some very curious reasons. Many cite emotional distress, which claimed Joey Votto. He recently missed five games due to dizziness related to an ear-infection. When he returned to the lineup, he thumped two homers against the Indians on May 23rd. A week later he met with the GM and Votto left the club. He has been on the DL since May 30th due to “stress-related issues”. Votto’s absence has the team hoping that he will figure himself out, they are giving him as long as he needs to come back to the Reds in the right mental state.
This isn’t an isolated incident; Dontrelle Willis got a lot of scrutiny league wide for his sudden leave of absence claiming emotional distress and heading to the DL. Same thing happened with Khalil Greene, Zack Greinke, and Scott Kazmir. Many have questioned the timing of these “anxiety disorders”. If a player struggles from anxiety, should a team really be able to put them on the DL? It’s a bailout for a player that isn’t performing on the field! Votto, has been the exception to the rule as he is the only one who was on top of his game when he was placed on the DL. Don’t get me wrong, I feel bad for any player that struggles, but I think it’s a cop out to blame it on a disorder.
I think Vince Young learned this lesson firsthand. If you’re not ready emotionally to play, you may just miss your opportunity completely. No matter who you are there will be people that don’t like you, and fans will get on top of you. That’s just the nature of sports! I don’t think many of them realize how lucky they are. They can just say they’re depressed/have anxiety and take a vacation to figure it out. Plenty of people deal with anxiety; I know I do at times. Don’t tell me that a pitcher (Scott Kazmir), needs a mental break from his issues with his delivery! Talk it out with your shrink or coaches and get back out there. It’s YOUR JOB! If you don’t like being a big league player, maybe you should try something else. I hear there’s no anxiety in golf!