Monday, June 30, 2008

Where the Sox Stand Heading Into July

Everybody gets to do a Red Sox midseason report and I want to too! Maybe you are sick of these and maybe you aren't but whatever, I feel like writing one. I'll try and bring some new insights to the fold here but that may be difficult. Regardless, here you go.

(Note that I meant to get this up on Friday, but that didn't work out. I have updated everything to reflect the numbers through Sunday's 3-2 loss at Houston. We are now 84 games in)

Through 84 games...

Record: 50-34 (2nd place in AL East by .5 behind TB and T2nd in AL with LAA, .5 behind TB)

Run Differential: +73 (2nd in AL behind CHW, +85)

Thoughts:

Let's play the "If I told you in March" game.

If I told you in March that the Josh Beckett, Mike Lowell, Papi, Dice-K, and Clay Bucholz would all log time on the DL in the first half of the season, what would you say? A cuss word probably. Well of course they have and the team is still in great shape so there is really no way to consider the first half of the season anything other than a great success.

Some other thoughts:

1) Josh Beckett has now officially rounded into form going 2-1 with a 2.38 ERA, 1.18 WHIP and 26 Ks in 34 IP in June. I see these numbers maintaining themselves throughout the year and a monster second half awaiting him. Without any other real contenders emerging in the AL Cy Young race except for maybe Roy Halladay, (gasp!) Rich Harden, and (gasp x2) Ervin Santana he may even be able to bring home the award this year. We'll see. As long as he does not have too many more starts lined up against the Orioles, I think he'll be fine.

Speaking of Beckett and the Orioles, this year he is 0-1 with a 5.60 ERA, 1.64 WHIP, and .311 BAA against the Orioles in three starts. These are by far his worst numbers against any team that he has gone against this year with the exception of Toronto and his one start against Toronto was his first since coming off the DL in April so that poor outing can certainly be excused. More interesting though is that if you recall, Pedro Martinez in 2003 and 2004 struggled against the Orioles as well. In those two years, he compiled a 2-3 record in 7 starts against them with a 6.75 ERA. I could understand his struggles against the Yankees in those days, but his problems with the Orioles always seemed to dumbfound me. I hope the same does not hold for Beckett because until Baltimore is fielding a better team, I like to believe that every time Josh Beckett takes the mound against the O's, the chances of victory are strong to quite strong.

2) I have absolutely zero faith in Dice-K. Yes, he has had some good and great games this year, but I still feel like it is a crap shoot whenever he takes the hill. The fact that his WHIP (1.39) is currently higher than his K:BB (1.36) tells you all you need to know. Seriously, think about that. As a point of reference, Josh Beckett's WHIP is 1.12 and his K:BB is 5.05.

3) Has anybody else felt like EVERY big hit this year has come from either Lowell or Youk and that Dustin Pedroia has gotten an inordinate amount of "table-setting" singles and doubles? If you answered "yes" to either of these questions, then you are correct! In close and late situations, Pedroia has an outstanding .355 Avg. and a good .885 OPS as well. Youkilis has a solid .290 Avg. and a great 1.062 OPS. But Mike Lowell is the real star here with his ungodly .459 Avg and 1.311 OPS in close and late situations. Wow. No seriously, wow. No seriously!!! That is freakin' insane! If David Ortiz was putting up numbers like that he would probably get the park named after him. Sure the sample size is small (37 ABs) but that number still represents 15% of his total for the year. And .459 is .459 you know? I'll stop now, but please do yourself a favor and ruminate on just how good Mike Lowell has been in those situations.

On the flip side, Manny clocks in with a pedestrian .220 Avg. and .799 OPS in these situations and even more embarrassing is JD Drew's .100 Avg. and .567 OPS. Still the point of this was to prove my first point about Lowell, Youk, and Pedroia and I think their numbers speak fine for themselves.

4) From the "For What It's Worth" department, Craig Hansen made 13 appearances in June and only allowed runs in 2 of them. Granted both of those appearances were out and out debacles - 4 hits and 3 runs (2 earned) in 1 inning on 6/10 against Baltimore and 2 runs on 2 hits plus a walk on 6/18 at Philly, an outing in which he did not retire a batter. I know it's kind of cheap to do, but I'm just saying that if you disregard those two stinkbombs you'll find Hansen only allowing 5 hits over the other 12.1 innings he pitched while striking out 11. The only troubling piece I can find in his body of work for the month - save for the aforementioned shellackings he took - would be the six walks he issued in his good outings. Call me crazy, but I don't like my relief pitchers to average about 5 walks per 9 innings. That just begs for too much trouble. Also, with his stuff as it is, I'd think he would be able to raise his K rate a tick. He's just about at a strikeout per inning now, but I see no reason why he can't improve on that some.

And for the record, the Mike Timlin to Hansen's Alan Embree, Manny Delcarmen actually posted phenomenal numbers in June allowing just 3 runs, 6 hits, and 3 walks - while striking out 16 - in 12 innings of work. Of course all three of those runs came Saturday in a not even remotely shocking outcome so I don't know what to say. Right now, I think I trust Craig Hansen more than Delcarmen even if the numbers don't bear that out but regardless at some point these two need to find consistency. Right now we are looking at Year 4 of the Delcarmen/Hansen Era and you would hope by now that they would have "figured it out" a bit better than they have to date.

And that is that. All things considered I think you have to feel pretty good about where the Sox stand now. Still, they really need Big Papi to come back and come back healthy. That is by no means a given and considering that the Red Sox can probably expect a bit less from Youkilis, Ellsbury, and Drew - and probably about the same from Manny - finding another consistent run producer to take the strain off the team as a whole could be of the utmost importance. Ideally you hope that guy is Papi, but there is really no way that you can bank on that. With all of that being said, I would be shocked if the Sox do not find themselves playing in October for the 5th time since 2003.
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Sunday, June 29, 2008

Weekend Thoughts

I actually started work on a couple of things last week that I was never able to complete which I hope to get up here over the next couple of days. Because of that I'm going to be kind of brief right now.

1) Slowly I am becoming a Craig Hansen believer. His past few outings he has looked great. Meanwhile, Manny Delcarmen has taken over Mike Timlin's role of the reliever that comes in in the late innings of a close game and gets rocked turning a lead into a deficit or a small deficit into a laugher. Quite honestly, for as long as Delcarmen has been around he may even be as old as Mike Timlin.

2) Lance Berkman is having a monster year for the Astros. You heard all about it all weekend. Lance Berkman also probably cost me at least a shot at a fantasy title last year with my last second decision to use my first round pick on him over Matt Holiday back in March of '07. Hey no hard feelings though. Anyway, I write, just to say that I was curious to see if he was one of those guys that puts up huge stats but does not really scare you in big spots - Vlad or A-Rod are a couple that come to mind - of if he was one of those guys like Gary Sheffield in his prime who absolutely terrified you whenever he came up, especially when the game was on the line. Well I can officially report that Berkman is carved entirely of the Sheffield mold as opposed to the A-Rod/Vlad mold. Whenever he came up in a big spot over the weekend it seemed like he delivered, the one exception being against Papelbon on Friday night. While I can't say I endorse the nickname ("Big Puma"?) I can fully endorse the player.

3) I think now is a good time to point out that when Omar Minaya pointlessly acquired Bartolo Colon in 2002 while acting as the GM of the Expos, three of the players he gave away - Cliff Lee, Brandon Phillips, and Grady Sizemore - will all more than likely be All Stars this year. It kills me, living in the city which houses the former Expos that nobody here knows enough to blame Minaya even partially for the shit product that the team has put on the field since coming to DC in 2005.

4) Speaking of Omar Minaya, it also bears mentioning that he has saddled the Mets with paying Johan Santana almost $138M through 2013 for the downside of his career. You know it worked out well with Pedro right? In this, the final year of his 4 year, $48M deal, Minaya has gotten out of him 1 good year in 2005, half a mediocre year in 2006, a lost season in 2007, and now what is looking like a bad year in 2008. Great contract there. If he had even paid the slightest bit of attention to his diminished performance his last two years in Boston and his historic frailty, maybe he would have for once eschewed the big splash and made the practical decision. That's not how Omar rolls though and of course the media loves him for it.

5) So why do I hate Omar Minaya so much? It's pretty simple, the media fawns over him and constantly tells us what a good guy and GM he is despite him never putting together a World Series winner and being the architect behind one of the most dysfunctional teams in recent history. Also, I heard he talked trash about not wanting to trade with the Red Sox for a stupid reason which I cannot recall back in his Montreal days and I have held a grudge ever since. I don't care how true it is, I am holding strong to that grudge.

6) So this is TV related, but does anybody else have a tough time taking Krayzee-Eyez-Killah (Curb Your Enthusiasm if you are confused) seriously as Joe Everyman on the Progressive and KFC ads he constantly finds himself in? Just too weird for my tastes.

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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Getting Paid: What Some Notorious Celtic Draft Busts (and others) Have Made

I loved Pricning Boy's bit yesterday about draft busts. Mainly, I liked the stuff about how much cash the guys have made in their careers, basically proving the point that you can be a sucky NBA player and still get PAID. With that in mind and thanks to the invaluable basketball-reference.com I decided to peruse through their pages to see a few things:

1) Of the great Celtic draft busts from the Rick Pitino/Chris Wallace Era, who has made the most and who has made the least.

2) What have notoriously outrageously paid guys made for their careers?

3) Who has made more, Ray Allen or Paul Pierce?

4) How do these guys stack up against notoriously high paid baseball players?

The answers....

Infamous Celtic Draft Busts:

(We gotta get this started with the 2001 draft. The botched draft by which all other botched drafts must be measured.)

Joseph Forte - $1.95M over a whopping 25 career games. This was of course the infamous "Ode to Red" pick where the Celtics selected him over Tony Parker because Red was infatuated with Forte's game. WHOOPS! Furthermore, Forte gains even more distinction for being the worst pick of the Celtics 2001 draft, a pretty tall order considering Kedrick Brown was also involved.

Kedrick Brown - $7.26M over a 4 year career which ended in Philly in 2005. Kedrick Brown was a poor man's Tony Allen and without Kedrick Brown, my dislike of Tony Allen would probably have been much more tempered. You see their games were basically the same - all athlete, no basketball player - and their supposed value on the court came in their coach seeing them as defensive stoppers. While Tony Allen is definitely better than Kedrick, the lasting scars of all those times Kedrick bricked threes from the corner and looked totally lost in all walks of basketball on the court just hit too close to home with Allen's game. Because of this, I've pretty much said since day one with Tony, "trade this guy because he is a rich man's Kedrick Brown". I still for the record stand 110% by that statement.

Joe Johnson - $45.78 over 7 years (and counting). OK, so Joe Johnson is by no means a draft bust. As we saw in the Atlanta series this year, he is a really, really good player. I put him in here just because I need to keep it real and cannot just show the bad of the Celtics 2001 draft. I need to tell the whole story. And what is the whole story? Well the Celtics could have traded Kedrick Brown or Joe Johnson to Phoenix in 2002 (along with scrubs and a 1st round pick) for Rodney Rogers and Tony Delk. They elected to trade Johnson instead of Brown. Once again, WHOOPS! The Celtics don't make the Eastern Conference Finals that year without that trade so I'm not critical of the idea of the trade. However, the choice of who to trade certainly opens the door up for the pile of rightful criticism it has received.

And there you have the Celtics 2001 draft, recapped. For fun, they could have had Richard Jefferson, Troy Murphy, or even Zach Randolph over Kedrick Brown and Tony Parker or Gilbert Arenas instead of Joseph Forte. Obviously, those are a couple of horrible decisions. Conversely, at least when thinking on the draft itself and not the trade that came later, the Celtics did take Joe Johnson, one of only three first rounders from that year and five players total to make an All Star team. The other All Stars from that draft are Pau Gasol (3), Tony Parker (28), Gilbert Arenas (31), and Mehmet Okur (38).

And now the other biggy from the Pitino/Wallace Era, the one and Only Jerome Moiso! I'm not going to get into the 1997 draft here (Billups and Mercer) just because they were not draft busts per se. Sure they did zero to help the Celtics win anything - unless you consider trading Chauncey Billups for Kenny Anderson "helping" - but obviously Billups has had plenty of success elsewhere and say whahttp://www.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gift you will about Mercer but he did average 13.6 PPG over a nine year career that earned him $35.23M. Trying to lump those guys in to an article about draft busts just isn't right. Jerome Moiso on the other hand...

Jerome Moiso - $7.14M over a 5 year carer where he averaged about 3 points and 3 rebounds per game. What more can you say? The Celtics drafted him 11th in 2000 and while there certainly were some good enough guys taken after him, there really are not any players that have you drooling "what if???". This draft produced only three All Stars, Kenyon Martin (1), Jamaal Magloire (19), and Michael Redd (43) and of those three, the only guy that you'd really want on your team today is Redd. For as much as Moiso sucked, it is really tough killing the Celtics for this pick when you look at the . But then you realize that even if the guys taken after him were not and are not stars, they still have a place in the league as opposed to Jerome who is no longer around. Bottom line, you can't take a guy with the 11th pick, see him average 3 and 3 over the duration of an undistinguished career and not call him a bust.

Now for some more fun, let's check in on career earnings:

Michael Jordan - $93.8M over 16 years ($63.28M of that coming in 1997 and 1998)

Antoine Walker - $99.3M over 12 years

Gary Payton - $104.8M over 17 years

Reggie Miller - $105.1M over 19 years

T-Mac - $116.7 over 11 years

Allen Houston - $117.6M over 12 years

Tim Duncan - $122.1 over 11 years

Grant Hill - $126.1 over 14 years

Kobe Bryant - $127.1 over 12 years

Stephon Marbury - $130.3M over 12 years

Allen Iverson - $132.5M over 12 years

Chris Webber - $177M over 15 years

KG - $210.2 over 13 years

Shaq - $251.6M over 16 years

Crazy right? Look at those earnings. Can you think of anybody that could top C-Webb/KG/Shaq that I forgot?

Pierce vs. Allen:

Paul Pierce - $85.6M over 10 years

Ray Allen - $120.9M over 12 years

Can you believe that difference?! $35M!!! Crazy!

Now Some Baseball Players:

Mike Hampton - $106.6M over 15 years

Roger Clemens - $121M over 21 years

Ken Griffey Jr. - $139.1M over 19 years

Derek Jeter - $139.6M over 12 years

Mannny Ramirez - $143.4M over 15 years

Greg Maddux - $143.8M over 20 years

Randy Johnson - $152.4M over 19 years

A-Rod - $170.4M over 14 years

Barry Bonds - $188.2M over 22 years


Did I miss anybody? Keep in mind that these figures are just through 2007 so most of those guys will see significant bumps to their number at the end of the year. Probably the most shocking to me is the fact that Greg Maddux has significantly out-earned Roger Clemens. That, and how much Jeter has made in a relatively short time period. Everything else seems about right as crazy as that may sound. Still, I'd like to check back in on all these things after the baseball season.

This whole exercise was a lot of fun for me, I hope you enjoyed it.

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This Week in Baseball

Last night was crazy in the world of Major league baseball, we had the sox coming from 3 down in the bottom of the eighth to win on a Vartiek bust slumping double, an umpire in the Colorado Vs. Kansas City game started bleeding after being struck by a bat, and the New York Mets lost big and saw their manager and one of their best players ejected after the umpire started an argument. So since the Boston sports scene is a little slow now that the Celtics are done, here are some notes of my own from the world of Baseball.

- Can the MLB please just Ban the maple bats. So far this season there have been quite a few injuries although none truly serious who knows when there will be one that is. At some point soon someone is going to get killed and then MLB will be up shits creek. Ban the Maple and let the players use Ash.

- I am all for umpires kicking New York players out of games(whether it is Mets or Yankees I don't care) but last night was just embarrassing. Carlos Beltran was up at Bat and could be seen saying that was low that was low, the umpire Brian Runge came out from behind the plate and pretended to clean the plate while saying something to Beltran. Next thing you know Jerry Manuel the Met's new manager was out on the field arguing with the ump. Then in what took it from a normal run of the mill argument to a whole new level the UMP BUMPED MANUEL. There are all kinds of rules about not touching umps but what gives the ump the right to touch the manager. The ump of course tossed Manuel in attempt to cover his tracks and then tossed Beltran a couple minutes later when Beltran said something about the ump bumping the Manuel. The Ump should serve a suspension just like they would have given to a player.

- J.P. Ricciardi is a local boy who has been the GM of the Toronto Blue Jays for the last 7 years, and hasn't really done a whole hell of a lot to turn the franchise around. Last week on the Radio he gave a speech essentially calling Adam Dunn a bad player. Not the smartest move for a guy who may have to trade for Dunn to save his job.

- Bronson Arroyo got absolutely rocked last night. It was good to see I can't stand him, he reminds me of Kevin Millar and his unrequited love for the city of Boston.

- C.C. Sabathia is on the market and I truly hope that the Red Sox do not try and get him. Steve Phillips was on the radio last night saying the sox would have to give up Lester, Bucholz, or Jacoby, if they weren't willing to do it for Santana why would they do it now.

- They finally identified the guy who caught Griffey's 600 HR ball, he caught the ball then threw down a batting practice ball to fake everyone else out. He doesn't know what he is going to do with it yet though. I say he should just give it to Griffey, get a signed ball or bat in return try to finagle a way to get Jay Bruce's autograph to and he should be all set.

That's all for now.
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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

NBA Draft Busts


So as we all know the NBA draft is coming up and on all the sports websites are the obligatory Mock Drafts, stories about Len Bias, and Lists of Busts. I was to young to feel the effects of the Bias OD but I always wonder why he is not listed as a draft bust he passed away before he ever played a game? I will leave it at that to try to avoid any trouble I may cause by expounding on that thought, anyway here is my personal list of Draft Busts from my 20 years of being a Basketball fan.

Joe Smith - 1st overall selection by the Golden State Warriors in 1995

Notables picked after him: Rasheed Wallace(#4), Kevin Garnett(#5),Michael Finley(#21)

Poor Joe Smith. He started strong, and is still a starter in the NBA but never really lived up to expectations. Coming out of University of Maryland, he managed to make the all rookie team and came in second n the voting for the rookie of the year. Since then he has played for 8 teams, 9 if you count both of his turns with the Minnesota Timberwolves. He is probably best known for being tampered with back in 2000 when Kevin McHale convinced him to sign below market value with a promise of a big contract. The Team lost 3 first round picks, McHale was suspended for a year and they were fined 3.5 Million. Smith finished this past season with Cavs, and on his career has made $53,767,560, and averaged 15.2 points a games with 8.7 rebounds.

Michael Olowokandi - 1st overall selection by the LA Clippers in 1998

Notables picked after him: Paul Pierce(#10), Mike Bibby(#2), Dirk Nowitzki(#9)

I remember when his name started to be floated around back in 1998, and all I could say was who? A native of Nigeria, he grew up in London and didn't play serious Basketball until he was 17 years old, he had Bust written all over him. He lasted a total of 366 games where he averaged 9.5 points and 7.7 rebounds. He ended up playing for three teams in his short career including last year when he played for my beloved Celtics where he scored 40 points in 24 games. I am assuming that he has retired as I can't seem to find him anywhere, probably spending the $37,906,690 he made over the course of his career.

Jonathan Bender - 5th overall selection by the Indiana Pacers in 1999

Notables picked after him: Richard Hamilton(#7), Shawn Marion(#9), Manu Ginobli(#57)

Bender was acquired by the pacers in a draft day trade with Toronto for Antonio Davis, that was the highlight of his basketball career. He was drafted straight out of High school and lasted 7 seasons in the NBA before he was forced into retirement due to a knee injury and his 5.6 points per a game average. He still managed to make $29,748,785 playing for the Pacers.

Kwame Brown - 1st overall selection by the Washington Wizards in 2001

Notables picked after him: Pau Gasol(#3), Joe Johnson(#10), Tony Parker(#28), Gilbert Arenas(#31)

What was Michael Jordan thinking, I know he is the most famous athlete in the world but he doesn't know how to manage a team when you pick Kwame Brown with your number one pick. Kwame on the other hand maybe the stupidest person on the face of the planet. After three years in Washington he rejected a 5 year 30 million dollar contract only to play like crap later in the season. The best Kwame moment is probably back in 2005 when during the playoffs he sat out a game with a stomach ailment only to be spotted at a Chinese food restaurant later that night. He has also had three run ins with the law, but the $42,148,653 he has made helped keep him out of trouble, his 7.5 points a game though got him in trouble with Kobe and led to him being traded to Memphis.

Jay Williams - 2nd overall selection by the Chicago Bulls in 2002

Notables picked after him: Amare Stoudemire(#7), Caron Butler(#10), Carlos Boozer(#34)

I loved Jay Williams when he was in college, I had no real college team of my own and I thought that he would be a great player for years to come. Then in 2003 while riding a motorcycle severed a main nerve in his leg, fractured his pelvis, and tore three ligaments in his left knee. He tried to return in 2006 and was signed by the Nets, ended up getting released, and tried one last time with the NBDL before being released from there as well in December of 2006. He still managed to make $8,711,511 and last I saw him he was doing sign like work for CBS college coverage.

Dajuan Wagner - 6th overall selection by the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2002

Notables picked after him: Amare Stoudemire(#7), Caron Butler(#10), Carlos Boozer(#34)

Another player from the 2002 draft, I remember reading an article in SI about him back before he went to college at Memphis, I remember thinking he was an Ass. In some shady circumstances he played at the University of Maryland after his Dad was hired as a coach. He played for Cleveland and Golden State in his time in the NBA and averaged 9.4 points and never lived up to the hype. He did manage to make $8,185,051 during his NBA Career and is now playing for the Polish team Prokon Trefl Spopot.

Darko Milicic - 2nd overall selection by the Detroit Pistons in 2003

Notables picked after him: Carmelo Anthony(#3), Chris Bosh(#4), Dwayne Wade(#5)

Wow this guy was nothing but a work out wonder, he some how managed to squeeze his way into a Top 5 that many would argue is one of the best draft classed in years. He may have been hurt by being drafter by Detroit where he was buried on the Bench, but since he was traded to Orlando he hasn't exactly broken out. He is only 21 years old and who knows but he seems to be headed towards a life of being a mediocre NBA players. Over the last 4 years he has made $23,315,062 which probably makes him a king in his home in Serbia.
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Monday, June 23, 2008

Kill Time Until September

Sooooo, not surprisingly I'm having a tough time getting back into the swing of things as far as sports go. What do you really expect though you know? Sure it's been a week now, but the drop off from "NBA Finals" to "midseason, interleague baseball" is impossible to quantify. I mean the Celtics just took everybody on an exhilarating, two month ride of basketball which featured 26 games (or over 30%!!! of a regular season schedule).

It's not just the quantity either. In that time we saw two Game 7's, three Game 5's where the loser would be pushed to the brink, and six NBA Finals games to boot. I mean come on! Even if the Phillies and the Cardinals are two marquis NL teams, how am I supposed to get even remotely amped for those series and games? And now the D-Backs are in Boston and leading the NL West, but can I really get excited for a Red Sox/D-Backs game in June? Um no. Right now I need a steady diet of AL play to get my juices flowing for the upcoming pennant race because while interleague play may be a nice novelty, it's not going to fill my competitive Jones like a series with the Yankees, or Indians, or even Rays.


It's funny though because I remember writing after the Patriots demise in February about how there would be plenty of good things to distract yourself with sportswise until some salvation could come with the NBA playoffs. Some of those things were Spring Training, some huge west coast and Texas games the Celtics had coming up, the NCAA Tournament, fantasy baseball, and opening day. While the regular season basketball games were a matter of taste and timing so to speak, there was no denying that the other three events were landmark events of spring and are every year for that matter.

Despite all this, I'm going to rattle off some ideas on how to pass these next 2.5 months until football starts with the MLB playoffs right around the corner.

1) Craig Hansen: Good or Bad?

Did you see him in the 13 inning game on Sunday? My lord, he looked ridiculous. Can he find some consistency?

2) Aaron Miles: Red Sox Killer and Next Lou Merloni?

Shameless, semi-plug, a friend of a friend is a sports agent and Miles is one of his clients. Last summer I was in Philly during a Phillies/Cardinals series and he met up with the crew I was out with at the bar. (Chase Utley and Pat Burrell were there that night too, but not with us.) Anyway, he seemed like a pretty good guy and because of that I've always pulled for him. Therefore his destroying of the Sox over the weekend really was not all bad for me.

3) The Olympics

HA! I could honestly care less.

4) Golf

Ditto!

5) Young Red Sox Pitchers

This is fascinating to me. Will Clay Bucholz come back in July or August with "it" figured out and turn into the great pitcher it has looked like he can become at times? What about Jon Lester? Will he continue to be a quality start machine? Is Papelbon a LOT more vulnerable this year than in year's past or is it just me? Will Justin Masterson continue to get starts and produce? Will Craig Hansen and Manny Delcarmen find consistency and be vital bullpen contributors through October? Anything else?

6) For What It's Worth: Jonathan Papelbon

Right now his WHIP, ERA, and BAA are all higher than they've been the past two seasons. Meanwhile, his K ratios (:BB and per 9) are both outstanding. His K:BB is 8.6, far better than his previously outstanding 5.6 in 2007 and 5.7 in 2006 and his K/9 while lower than last year's 13.0 is still incredible - 11.6 - and higher than 2006's 9.9.

So what is the verdict? I say he'll be fine. He's still striking out a bunch of hitters and is not walking anybody which is a pretty good recipe for great success. It's not like he's been stinking up the joint lately, it's just that he has seemed a lot more mortal this year.

7) For What It's Worth: Josh Beckett

Beckett has been a lot more up and down this year than last. But guess what? If you look at the peripheral stats - not just ERA and W/L - he's performing almost the same. Yes his ERA is 3.87 now (prior to this 6/23 start) compared to last year's 3.27, but his WHIP and BAA are almost identical at 1.13 and .243 this year versus 1.14 and .245 last year. As for his K ratios, his K/9 is at 9.3 this year as opposed to 8.7 last year and his K:BB is at 5.24 as opposed to last year's 4.85. So, here like Papelbon I think it is safe to say that Beckett has not lost it and will not revert back to 2006 form. Again, striking out lots of hitters while walking few is a great way to be successful.

And for the record his stats in 2006 were as follows:

5.01 ERA
1.29 WHIP
.245 BAA
6.95 K/9
2.14 K:BB

See. Much better now.

8) For What It's Worth: Dice-K

HA!! I can't even begin to try. Once he stops walking people and starts consistently attacking batters, maybe I'll hop on his bandwagon.

That is all for now.


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Baseball and Football: George Carlin


With George Carlin passing away yesterday I thought I would post one of his funniest bits here for you to all read. Rest in Piece George.


Baseball is different from any other sport; very different. For instance, in most sports you score points or goals; in baseball you score runs.
In most sports the ball or object, is put in play by the offensive team; in baseball the defensive team puts the ball in play, and only the defense is allowed to touch the ball. In fact, in baseball if an offensive player touches the ball intentionally, he's out; sometimes unintentionally, he's out.
Also: In football, basketball, soccer, volleyball, and all sports played with a ball, you score withthe ball, and without the ball you can't score. In baseball, the ball prevents you from scoring.
In most sports the team is run by a coach; in baseball the team is run by a manager; and only in baseball does the manager (or coach) wear the same clothing as the players do. If you had ever seen John Madden in his Oakland Raiders football uniform, you would know the reason for this custom.
Now I've mentioned football. Baseball and football are the two most popular spectator sports in this country. And, as such, it seems they ought to be able to tell us something about ourselves and our values. And maybe how those values have changed over the last 150 years. For those reasons I enjoy comparing baseball and football:

Baseball is a nineteenth-century pastoral game.

Football is a twentieth-century technological struggle.

Baseball is played on a diamond, in a park. The baseball park!

Football is played on a GRIDIRON, in a STADIUM, sometimes called SOLDIER FIELD or WAR MEMORIAL STADIUM.

Baseball begins in the spring, the season of new life.

Football begins in the fall, when everything is dying.

In football you wear a helmet

In baseball you wear a cap.

Football is concerned with downs. "What down is it? Baseball is concerned with ups. "Who's up? Are you up? I'm not up! He's up!"

In football you recieve a penalty.

In baseball you make an error.

In football the specialist comes in to kick.

In baseball the specialist comes in to relieve somebody.

Football has hitting, clipping, spearing, piling on, personal fouls, late hitting, and unnecessary roughness.

Baseball has the sacrifice.

Football is played in any kind of weather: Rain, snow, sleet, hail, fog...can't see the game, don't know if there is a game going on; mud on the field...can't read the uniforms, can't read the yard markers, the struggle will continue!

In baseball if it rains, we don't go out to play. "I can't go out! It's raining out!"

Baseball has the seventh-inning stretch.

Football has the two-minute warning

Baseball has no time limit: "We don't know when it's gonna end!"

Football is rigidly timed, and it will end "even if we have to go to sudden death."

In baseball, during the game, in the stands, there's kind of a picnic feeling. Emotions may run high or low, but there's not that much unpleasantness.

In football, during the game in the stands, you can be sure that at least twenty-seven times you were perfectly capable of taking the life of a fellow human being

And finally, the objectives of the the two games are completely different:

In football, the object is for the quarterback, otherwise known as the field general, to be on target with his aerial assault, riddling the defense by hitting his recievers with deadly accuracy in spite of the blitz, even if he has to use the shotgun. With short bullet passes and long bombs, he marches his troops into enemy territory, balancing this aerial assault with a sustained ground attack that punches holes in the forward wall of the enemy's defensive line.

In baseball the object is to go home! And to be safe! "I hope I'll be safe at home!"
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Weekend Notes

It was a slow sports weekend here in Boston. The Sox hosted the Red Birds and managed to lose 2 out of 3, and only squeaked out a win thanks to Youk's two run homerun in the 13th. Other than that it was quiet, the Celtics are done for the year, although the draft is coming up this week although I can't see the team doing much with the 30th pick. The Bruins had their draft last week but as we know, no one really cares about the Bruins. So with all that said I am left to some lesser sports for this weeks weekend in review post.

- Nascar was on this weekend, I didn't watch Nascar as much as missing Rootbeer and Bacon writer Nick, but I will stop if it is on as I flip through. I did not flip by it this weekend, I will say that this young kid Joey Lagano is kind of intriguing.

- There was some golf on as well but I will not watch any Golf unless I am trapped at my inlaws and it is on, or Tiger Woods is back.

- I was sorry to hear that George Carlin died this weekend, I loved his humor and in particular his Baseball and Football speech I will post the whole thing here later today. I think his funniest movie role was when he played the bishop in Dogma which was a great casting job.

- I am started to get excited for the Olympics which will be coming up in August. Today they will announce the Basketball team today, they have begun to announce the gymnastic teams and the diving teams as well in the last couple of days. It is always fun to watch the Olympics and then see the still pictures on Sportscenter because NBC is so anal about protecting their copyrights.

- Hazel Maes last day is coming up I can't wait I can't stand her

- When will Jerry Remy's last day be cause I can't wait for that either.

- Right now you can bid for Doc River's Gatorade stained shirt signed by him and Paul Pierce along with the Gatorade Jug that Paul used to douse him. All the money is going to Charity, last time I heard about it on WEEI it was up to 10,000 dollars. It is raising money for the Shamrock Foundation and is a much better clothing auction than that stupid Ortiz Jersey.

- I am heading to the cape in a couple of weeks and I will be attending a Cape Cod League baseball game. I have been going to the games for years whenever I am visiting my grandparents. I have seen some great players, just to give you an idea in 2007 there were 212 playes in MLB who had played in the cape league. Over the years I have seen some good players who became major leaguers, Tony Gwynn Jr., David Aardsma, Chris Ray, David Murphy, Craig Hansen, Andrew Miller, Evan Longoria, Tim Lincecum, Ryan Braun, Jason Bay, Joe Blanton, Kevin Cash, Pat Neshak, and Micah Owings. The games are free most of the time although they do pass the hat but it is worth it, and sometimes if it is the all star game Peter Gammons will be there to.

So that will wrap this up for now, I will try and post about the draft, and the Sox later this week.
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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Thinking on the Celtics

With the haze from the proverbial smoke cleared now that it has been almost 48 hours since the Celtics took number 17, I would now like to write on some lingering thoughts that I have about their season and just the entire experience of seeing them win a championship overall.

1) Let me be the 9,978th person to say that it was only fitting that Paul Pierce take the Finals MVP. My old roommate Jay wrote me and said that seeing Pierce up on the podium after the game thrusting the MVP trophy towards the sky and acknowledging the fans for sticking with him and the team while looking like the happiest and most satisfied person on the face of the earth was one of the top sporting highlights of his lifetime. I'd have to concur there. Personally, my favorite part was actually before that when David Stern was about to announce the winner and the whole crowd erupted in "TRRUUUUUUUUTHHHHH" chants. Awesome.

2) Just like it only seemed fitting for Manny to take home the World Series MVP trophy in 2004, it had to be that Pierce garnered the honor for the Celtics in 2008. There have been more celebrated athletes in Boston since the sports Renaissance started in 2001, but of all the people on all the teams now, nobody has been doing it better, longer than Paul Pierce and NOBODY has had to go through the "stuff" that he's been through.

When Pierce fell to the Celtics in the 1998 NBA Draft I remember being ecstatic. I remember thinking, "I thought this guy was supposed to go top 3, how the hell did he fall to us??!!". Since then I monitored his career like a hawk and relished his emergence in 2000-2001 and then his big time coming out in 2001-2002. The last time I was actually at the (new) Garden in 2005 when the team was in the middle of what would be a splendidly mediocre campaign I remember getting into a long discussion with a buddy of mine and we basically figured out that Paul Pierce was a no doubt Top 10 player in the NBA. Nobody believed us. Everybody thought we were crazy. Funny thing was - and this was before it even came to pass - that that season was actually Pierce's best. He averaged 27/7/5 and had that streak of 30 point games in January and February that got the whole league buzzing. I even got to sit courtside in DC for a game during this streak and see him hit a ridiculously difficult game winning shot with about five guys in his face. Pretty awesome stuff. Prior to this spring you could legitimately say that that January/February 2006 stretch was the high point of his career.

And then 2006-2007 happened, the team famously sucked, and Pierce only played in 47 games. This was last spring amazingly enough. I actually recall being at a party on Cinco de Mayo last year and talking to a few guys, telling them how badly I wanted Pierce to get traded in the offseason to a contender just so this spring people could see how good he really was as he made play after play for a championship caliber team. Furthermore, I wanted to READ and HEAR in the media, people talking about what a great player Paul Pierce was and what a tragedy it was that he withered away in Boston for the bulk of his early years. Little did I know that all of the above would happen this spring except that it would happen with the Celtics.

3) Paul Pierce and Manny Ramirez have been my two favorite athletes since they came to town in 1998 and 2001 respectively. The reason for this is really quite simple; I had followed them each prior to their arrival in town and when they each came on board there was legitimate shock. For Pierce it was the aforementioned, "how the hell did he fall to 10??!!" and for Manny it was, "holy crap, I can't believe the Sox are going to sign baseball's best hitter".

Long before Manny got into town I thought he was the best hitter in the American League and the idea of the Red Sox landing him (mind you this was at a time when NOBODY wanted to play in Boston and they had won a whopping 1 playoff series since 1986) was totally surreal. I was in college at the time and you would have thought the Red Sox won the World Series based on the reaction the Manny signing got. It really was that big of a deal.

Both Pierce and Manny have had some very, very famous ups and downs on their respective team's and have gotten ripped by both media and the public alike more than probably any other local athletes in recent history. Still, they hung around and kept doing their things. For Pierce it was carrying a bunch of wildly flawed basketball teams with the hopes of maybe getting a mid-level seed in the playoffs and maybe winning a first round series every year and for Manny it was going .300/35/120. It may seem strange now, but in Manny's first year in Boston, 2001 he was part of the most despicable team of my lifetime; a team where the steroids flowed like wine, almost every player of import logged some serious DL time, and the overall mood and feel could have best been described as toxic and horrible. In 2002, he played on the most frustrating Sox team of recent years; a team with an awful bullpen that could not win a close game to save their lives nor beat a decent team. And then 2003 happened, David Ortiz came on board and there is absolutely no need to finish the story because you all know how it ends. The thing is, Manny was there before all of that and Manny is the one guy who I can look at and play remember when and not just remember the good times. When I look at guys like David Ortiz and Tom Brady I can only think of the great times and the championships. This of course is not bad, but it's also not reality. When I look at Manny, I can see the good and the bad and also remember a time when things were not as blessed around these parts and I like that. It keeps me grounded but also makes me appreciate things more.

(Seriously, with Brady and Ortiz Boston has the marquis quarterback and marquis power and clutch hitter of this era. Those are arguably the two most glamorous "entities" to have in sports and both of them reside in Boston. Are you kidding me??!!)

With Pierce, it's the same but it is different too. I don't think I can accurately explain how it is different, but consider the fact that if you watch a basketball game, you are probably going to see the best players on each team for about 75% of the game. In baseball, you'll see your guy for a few at bats a game and maybe some plays in the field and that is it. While baseball players can become synonymous with their teams, it is not like they can be the be all and end all because they have 8 other teammates to contend with and it is very difficult to take over a game consistently. Even with once in a generation pitchers like Pedro Martinez, you'll still only see them play 30-33 times a year with maybe an extra 3-5 postseason appearances if you are lucky.

As for basketball players, as I have said, it is different. Basketball players have 82 regular season games a year and as I said before, the stars will be prominently featured on the court for at least 75% of each of those games. Furthermore, because of the nature of the sport and the amount of teammates they have, rooting for a basketball team with one great player can very easily become rooting for the one great player because he is the team. Paul Pierce has more or less been the Celtics since 2001. Yes, Antoine had a lot to say about the team's fortunes earlier on in that time frame, but Pierce more or less took control of the team in 2001 and then after Antoine left in 2003, he basically became the team. Sure he had some "names" around him before Garnett and Allen came on board but those were guys like Raef LaFrentz and Ricky Davis and a brief Antoine Walker resurgence so again, he was the team for all intents and purposes. Most people during this time tuned the Celtics out. I did not. I followed them. I followed them not because I thought they could win a championship, but because I loved the team and I loved Paul Pierce. Watching Pierce play was enough for me. So, when last summer some guys finally came aboard to help Pierce and lead the team to what was destined to be the best season the Celtics had seen since the early 1990's I was ecstatic. I did not think they would win it all, but shoot at least they mattered again. Well, they won it all and Pierce was obviously a huge reason. I got to not only fulfill my desire to see him playing in meaningful playoff games after years of watching him give his all during meaningless regular season games, I got to see him get to the highest point of his sport and assure himself a place in the rafters. Honestly, I never thought I'd see it and that is what I am the most happy about.

One last thing...

Before the playoffs I debated buying a Pierce jersey, something I've wanted for about 7 years. I did not buy it because I did not want to be confused with a bandwagon hopper. I still think I probably made the right decision but if you think for a second I don't wish that I could walk around the sweltering heat of DC all summer with a Paul Pierce jersey on, fresh off of a championship season then you are absolutely crazy. Sorry if that was incoherent, I am still trying to come to grips with my feelings regarding this championship and Paul Pierce appropriately. All I know is that I have never been happier to see an athelete win a ring than I was seeing Pierce get his. Not even close honestly.

4) Overshadowed by everything was the beauty of Ray Allen's game. I have never seen a smoother offensive player. Sure, he's probably not good enough to win a championship on his own but good lord is he a pleasure to watch play. We all know about his beautiful shot, but his ability to get to the rim and finish astounded me for most of the postseason. One of the Celtics biggest playoff Achilles heals were missed layups, namely by Rondo, Pierce, and KG. Ray Allen never seemed to miss them though. He could drive from the corner, into the teeth of the defense, take a hit, and still finish a reverse layup. This never ceased to amaze me. What a player he is.

5) It's funny, despite all the great things done by Pierce, KG, and Ray Allen, the Celtics fortunes always seemed to come down to Rajon Rondo. When he played well, they won. When he played poorly, they lost. During the playoffs, he had 11 games with 0-5 assists. In those games, the Celtics were 3-8. When he had 6+ assists they were 13-2. Pretty cut and dry there.

6) Another amazing stat to me is the fact that the Lakers went 14-7 in the postseason and the Celtics went 16-10. If this were the regular season, the Lakers would be ahead of the Celtics in the standings by .5 games. Too bad it's the playoffs.

7) I could not help thinking about Antoine when I saw Pierce up there celebrating. I really wish he could have been a part of this. I'd love the Celtics to throw him a bone this offseason and give him the minimum contract to be their 10th man. I still have a soft spot for the guy and I really feel like he needs to end his career in Boston.
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6 Parades in 7 years

So the Celtics won the title a few days ago and at the time I was eager to write a post about it. But then of course life interfered, I am moving, and getting married, and up for a new job and the list goes on and on. Now it is two days later, the parade is over, the team has cleared out there lockers half the bench are free agents and a little bit of the wind has been taken out of my sails.

I am ok with it though, in the past 7 years I have seen six championship trophies pass through the streets of Boston on duck boats. I have seen the Red Sox end the curse, the Patriots pull a last second upset over a heavily favored but flawed Rams team, and I have seen the greatest turn around in NBA history capped off with a Gatorade bath. I know that the Boston Sports writers get on us as fans all the time about how we do not appreciate what we have but I would like to take the time now to reflect on the last 7 years in Boston Sports and the moments that have been most important to me.

The Bruins - No Comment

The Celtics - A year ago we were dreading the draft, the balls had bounced in the wrong direction and it looked like Yi was headed to beantown. Then Ainge pulled off the Allen trade, managed to still draft Big Baby and were headed in the right direction. Later he worked his magic again as former Celtic great Kevin McHale assisted his old teammate by serving up KG on a silver platter. Then 108 games happened and we were NBA champs, from worst to first. The best moment though was the big three coming out in the forth and celebrating with the fans. I also enjoyed the pretaped interview with Doc about how he just wanted to win and touch the trophy and then when they actually got the trophy the players passed it around and the most Doc could do was touch it with one finger.

The Patriots - I am still ignoring the Spy gate thing I find the whole thing to be embarrassing and will not acknowledge it and I am thrilled Old Man Spector finally let it die as well. When Mo Lewis leveled Drew Bledsoe I along with many others wrote off the season. 5 months later the Patriots pulled off the Super Bowl win with Brady at the helm. Since then they have dominated, won two more and lost a perfect season in one play. The moment that sums up my feelings for the Patriots is when Tedy walked back out on the field after his stroke, and everyone screamed.

The Sox - I am a diehard, I root for the Sox through thick and thin, I watch every game of the season or at the least listen to it on the Radio. On that night in October back in 2004 I was in my room at my parents house with my phone off, waiting, waiting for 86 years of heartbreak to end. I had graduated from college earlier in the year, I had all but broken up with my long time girlfriend, and I was living at home. I put off finding a job for the sole purpose of making sure that I would not miss one pitch of the Red Sox season, and it was worth it.

So we should appreciate it, Dan and Bob are right, this has been an amazing run. But I think as a Sports Nation we all have different reasons and moments that it has been special, I don't think we need two morons from the Boston globe to keep telling us, I think that the thousands that showed up for the parade and the thousands that watched on TV already know.
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Parade Day

Does anyone else think us fans are getting a bad rap around here? I mean, ok, so a few drunken Celtic fans tipped over a flowerpot in Fanueil Hall and some real morons smashed some windows on Canal St. I work in Boston everyday and I walk through Fanueil Hall every morning. If I didn’t know better, I would never have guessed that “mayhem” had occurred there about 7 hours before. I am yet to see what has been described as the “trashing of Boston’s downtown”. A few benches were knocked over and in total; about 23 people were arrested for various minor crimes around the city, mostly for public drunkenness. Call me crazy, but I would expect a whole lot worse. I mean, I’m surprised Red’s statue is still even in Fanueil Hall and not in some Northeastern dorm room right now being prepared to be used as the ultimate bong.
The most headline worthy story from this night of drunken “revelers” is that some guy People magazine said was one of the “most eligible bachelors” got caught peeing in public. Peeing in public is hardly a crime reserved for Championship celebrations. Unless of course it is and all those homeless people on the streets of Boston are just celebrating every day. All I’m saying is that the celebration that followed the securing of banner #17 was exactly as it should be. A few drunks making a mess while everyone else was celebrating in good cheer and awkwardly high fiving complete strangers. Wicked awesome!
And today we have a parade. I myself am looking forward to seeing the flatbed truck carrying the Celtics Dancers. I think it is safe to say that not only did the Celts prove to be a better franchise than the Lakers, but also we have clearly overtaken the Laker Girls for overall cheerleader hotness. I know that Red was against them but does anyone else think that maybe if he had lived to see them he might have thought “hmmm….maybe this isn’t the worst idea”. I am all for tradition and I know Red didn’t want the Celtics Dancers, but lets face it, if Red would roll over in his grave because of some hot dancing ladies, I can’t imagine what he would think about Gino.
I hope to get out there to see some of the duck boats today, but I am mostly going to hop on youtube and try to find the 86 Championship parade. You know, the one where Larry says the only place he’d rather be is French Lick? Why can’t we do it this way anymore!?!?! I also read that they are going to give the players microphones. As much as I loved it, would any television station be crazy enough to give KG a mic to speak into again? Has there ever been more f-bombs in a victory speech?
Currently, I can hear helicopters outside, which can only mean the parade has begun! Lets hope there aren’t anymore eligible bachelors with weak bladders out there today. Read more!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Man or Beast?

Pau Gasol....Man or Llama you be the Judge
Answer our poll question
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A few thoughts on #17

I would like to thank Shaq for providing the Celtics with some great storylines for this championship. First of all, we have him to thank for one of the best nicknames ever given a professional athlete. Paul Pierce truly is “The Mother f**king Truth”.
In addition, we have Shaq to thank for winning those 3 championships with Kobe. Because of those victories, Kobe looks like the biggest loser of all time with this defeat at the hands of the Celts. I wonder what he has done with those championship rings? I assume they are meaningless to him and are probably being shipped for a lucrative transaction to cashforgold.com right now.
Shaq can also be given credit for proving that Phil Jackson is a fraud as well. Phil may have won without Shaq before, but he had that guy that does all those awkward hanes underwear commercials on his team then. The symmetry of Phil losing in Boston is just too sweet. I hate hearing clichĂ© stuff like this, but somewhere Red is enjoying this victory. He may have even welcomed a few Celtics dancers near him for the celebration of banner #17. I love how Laker fans pretend that having Andrew Bynum coming back next season should turn things around. As if Bynum was the missing piece of the puzzle that just lost the NBA finals. I’d take Kendrick Perkins over Bynum any day. Perk Rules! Read more!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Number 17!!!!

Cue Homer Simpson...

"Can anybody say, PERFECT GAME!"

Seriously, could they have played any better. What an enjoyable finale to a freakin' CHAMPIONSHIP SEASON for the Boston Celtics!! Read more!

Monday, June 16, 2008

A Little Love to the Red Sox

The Celtics have been hogging all of the sporting spotlight lately and rightly so. However, do you realize that with the season almost nearing the halfway point (90 games to go) the Sox have a 44-28 record (a .611 clip putting them on pace for 99 wins) which is tops in the AL? What's more, only the Cubs have a better record in MLB than them at 45-25. Even better they find themselves in the top 10 in MLB in pretty much every significant hitting and pitching category with the exception of runs allowed where they are 11th. Sure, their bullpen looks shaky and their offense can be slump prone at times, but the overall numbers don't lie. Furthermore there is something I really like about this Sox team - I think a big chunk of that are the Bartolo Colon and JD Drew redemptions - and hopefully after we finish feting what could be the first Celtics championship team since 1986 we can start focusing on what is turning out to be a really good Red Sox team. No need to rush into that though because the Celtics deserve the spotlight. Still, to prepare you for the second half of the Sox season, below are their MLB ranks in some pretty important categories methinks.

4th in runs scored with 371, leader (TX) has 394

11th in runs allowed with 301, leader (OAK) has allowed 252

3rd in run differential at +70, leader (CHC) is at +108

2nd in OBP at .356, leader (CHC) is at .361

5th in HR with 84, leader (FL) has 103

T3 in SLG% at .450, leader (TX) is at .462

4th in SB with 64, leader (TB) has 80

8th in ERA at 3.83, leader (CHW) is at 3.33

T9 in WHIP at 1.33, leader (CHW) is at 1.23

5th in K's at 525, leader (CIN) has 568

Not too bad. You can't help but love the chances of a team this balanced and well-rounded. If they can get Papi back and effective, even better, but even without him I still like this team. Read more!

See You Tuesday Night

Let's wrap this thing up on Tuesday OK? The tragedy is that they wasted a brillaint Paul Pierce effort and probably could have and should have won the game. Why? Here's why:

1) The NBA did absolutely nothing to quell the shouts that they go out of their way to prolong marquis series. Pretty much every single call went LA's way including the play of the game, Kobe's "steal" (a blatant reach in foul where he slapped Pierce's side causing the TO). Furthermore, there were plenty of times where Paul Pierce got mauled around the basket early in the game that went uncalled. This isn't sour grapes either, the officiating was woefully one-sided here.

2) KG. Sometimes I feel bad picking on the guy, but when he clangs two free throws that would have tied the game late after splitting a crucial pair earlier in the fourth, AND missing an easy tip-in that would have made it a two point game with about :26 left, well that aint cutting it. For a guy who pretty much bases everything he does on the "warrior mentality" he certainly seems to find consistent and new ways to come up small when it matters most. Honestly, I thought that somebody as championship obsessed as him would be able to taste it by now and be trying to do everything he possibly could to get the Celtics #17. He has not shown it to me yet, but I'm really hoping for a revelation game from him on Tuesday. I think he can do it and I believe he really might pull out a career defining performance there to get his first title, but you just never know with that guy unfortunately.

3) I am not subtle about my love for Paul Pierce. He's been my guy since he came aboard in 1999. I think I even did a dance when he fell to them at 10. To think that he could have won his first championship on the road in LA - his home town, have you heard? - but did not despite a 38/6/8 game where he hit every single clutch free throw that he took in the fourth quarter really hurts me. I truly thought that they were going to pull out Game 5 and I just wish that could have been Pierce's 2008 finale. Of course he can still do something spectacular back in Boston to make up for it, but that would have been a really, really awesome high note for him to go out on.

And with that, I'll see you on Tuesday. God's honest truth, I think the Celtics blow the doors off the Lakers and win by double-digits maybe even 20. KG has a monster first half to set the tone and in the second half they pull off the coup de grace with some timely threes by Ray Allen and some big shots and drives by Pierce. I see KG with 28, Allen with 18, and Pierce with 30 that game and the Finals MVP. You heard it hear first. Now seriously, see you Tuesday. Read more!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Quickly..

So what is there really to talk about? I'm writing this during the first quarter of Game 5 as the Celtics once again - and for the third straight game - have come out like absolute trash. You can never truly count out these guys, but I will also say that heading out to LA I considered going back to Boston up 3-2 as something to be really happy about. Obviously we all got drunk with excitement over Game 4 and want to clinch things on Sunday, but if it does not happen then let's not get all apocalyptic. I certainly like the Celtics chances of winning one of two at home. I just hope that one comes on Tuesday because I want no part of Kobe in a Game 7. None. (Of course this whole paragraph could be blissfully irrelevant in about 2.5 hours. Not looking good now, but never say never right?)

In other news, I guess I could talk about how ridiculously on fire JD Drew is right now and how this perfectly timed hot streak combined with last year's infamous Game 6 ALCS Grand Slam should buy him some credit and love from Sox fans. The guy is never going to be a crowd favorite, but at some point everybody needs to come out and acknowledge how freakin' good he has been lately. Oh, and his OPS to date is .984, higher than Manny (.937) and Papi (.839).

So what else is going on....

1) Look, the Celtics are down 15 right at this very moment and that is mostly their fault, but I will say that the Lakers are getting every single call/non-call in this game. Personally I thought the refs in this game would swallow their whistles; petrified to look in any way, shape, or form like they may be trying to buy an extra game for the series. I was wrong. Clearly David Stern and the NBA's arrogance knows no bounds. (That's kind of a joke. I don't think the refs are openly giving every call to the Lakers, but I will say that Pierce has attacked the basket a few times, gotten absolutely hammered, and not received a call. Meanwhile, every time the Lakers have been sneezed on at the other end they've gotten the whistle.)

2) I fear for Steve Carrell. I really do. Actually, it's more like I'm worried. Between Get Smart which looks like an absolute piece of shit, last summer's massive bomb, Evan Almighty, and a shaky/sub-par season of The Office, I'm afraid his star is starting to fade some. Or maybe a lot? I love Steve Carrell and right now I'm not quite prepared to see him become Mike Myers.

3) Nobody has trashed Tony Allen more than me over the past six months so let me just say right now that he has been an absolutely vital cog in this Celtics second quarter run. (And conversely, nobody sung Rajon Rondo's praises more during the regular season than I did, but with the exception of his 16 assist Game 2 the Celtics have played their best ball in this series with him on the bench. It kills me but it's true.)

4) I just experienced briefly my own personal hell a few minutes ago: Sam Cassell passing to Tony Allen for a turnover. Now who could have predicted that result?

5) OK halftime and I'm signing off. Somehow it is only a 2 point game. That is truly amazing on account of what crap the C's played like in the first quarter and Dick Bavetta's shameless attempt to prove that all the rumors circulating around him and some Donaghy like "gamesmanship" which he has/does participate in are in fact true.
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Friday, June 13, 2008

My Intro (with apologies to the Celts)

Well, I am glad to be aboard the rootbeerandbacon crew. I hope my arrival does not cause any internal rumblings at rootbeerandbacon the way Rick Reilly’s arrival at ESPN has. Unlike ESPN, at least everyone at our website makes the same amount of money: none. It’s true, I used to work with the esteemed writers of this page in the real world and I believe it was that Sox game in April that put me over the top as a member of the blog world. My first post will include some thoughts from that night. (I know, I know, the Celtics just won an amazing game 4 and I should be blogging away about that. But I had already written most of this blog as my intro piece so shush and enjoy). It was at that first Sox vs yanks game of 2008 where I learned some things.
First of all, as I’m sure all of you rootbeerandbacon fans know, Ben has already written at length about the unruly fans in the bleachers that night. ( Back in Action ) . Yes, yes, most people could probably do without 4 drunken 20 year olds screaming all kinds of inappropriate filth about Joba Chamberlains mama. Most could probably do without the horrible things they were saying about his ill father as well (ok, maybe that was a little rude). These fans didn’t limit the filth flinging to opposing players; they made sure anyone wearing a yankee hat felt welcomed as well.
While Ben was not impressed by the vile these drunks were spitting out, I was quite impressed that there are still true fans that actually attend games. That’s right, I called these sad sacks true fans because at least they knew who the players were as opposed to the thousands and thousands of “pink hats” that attend the games these days. I was so much happier to hear things like: “Hey Joba! Your mothers (lady parts) smell like (blankety blank)!.” It was so much nicer than hearing some rich yuppie ask “What is a Joba anyway?” as they sip the fine (Fenway) wine and nibble the finest of (Fenway) cheeses. So yes, the fans were rude and inappropriate and probably should have been kicked out more than a few times, but that doesn’t justify the number of wannabe Sox fans that are able to attend games and get good seats because they can afford to pay for them.
Let me move on from the unruly fans, something else important that I learned at this game is that I would be a terrible baseball scout. I’ve watched millions of hours of game footage. I’ve been watching the Sox religiously since 1986 (7 years old). I have lost count of the number of times I’ve acheived World Series glory with a team I created from scratch…on Xbox. None of this has helped. At the aforementioned Sox game, my seat was directly next to the yankee bullpen and I was able to watch Chien Ming Wang go through his entire bullpen warm-up session. After watching the session, I was certain the Sox would give the yanks a good whuppin’. Every pitch the guy through was in the dirt or bouncing away from the catcher. I even saw the catcher leap for a pitch that crashed against the bullpen wall. I couldn’t wait until that ever so patient Sox offense started taking their walks and then running around the bases when Manny or Papi drove them in. I told everyone around me “are you seeing this? We’ll be crushing their bullpen tonight!”. Cut to 9 innings later as Wang was completing his 2-hitter and I was sitting there in realization that I better keep my boring insurance job.

P.S. I will try to have more current topics going forward. Read more!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

I'll Defer to Paul Pierce for Analysis

According to him, God was the reason for the comeback. Can't argue with that? It reminds me of one of my all time favorite lines from my all time favorite comedy series, Strangers With Candy:

"Dear God, thank you for giving this game your undivided attention".

Seriously, I can't analyze this game. Are you serious?? The Celtics just overcame a 24 point deficit on the road to win an NBA Finals game and push the series to 3-1. How can I possibly be rational? How can I say anything even remotely negative? I love everybody!! Posey and Ray Allen hit every single clutch shot they needed to, Pierce got to the rim and the line at the end of the game, and even KG hit a huge post bucket late. What isn't there to like???

Because I can't analyze, I'll tell you the god's honest truth about how I watched this game.

I watched the first 8 minutes of the game and then shut it off (as documented earlier) so as to preserve my sanity with the idea that I'd tune back in later and be pleasantly surprised. I dicked around my apartment for a while, let a buddy of mine vent to me for a half hour about his fantasy baseball team, and then talked to my wife upon her return from a night of drinks and the SATC movie (obviously some incredibly complex and world altering topics were discussed). By the time she was in bed, I was able to catch the end of the third and the fourth quarters and just like that my wish was fulfilled and events turned out far better than my wildest dreams.

Oh, and don't call me a bitch for turning the game off. I had to do it for my sanity. I watch all these games by myself with nobody to talk me down from the ledge so when things are looking as bleak as they were in the first quarter I NEED to take a break. My body can't handle it. You don't understand how vested in these games I get. Sometimes the timeout corner is the best thing for everybody.

Who cares about me though, the Celtics are one win away from the NBA Championship. For the 192nd time tonight, FUCK YEAH!!!!!!

PS...Ray Allen I officially love you. The Finals is 4 games old and you have been the most consistent player (on both ends!!)from either team. God bless you and your ability to drive the lane and finish. Seriously, I cannot say enough about how good you are at finishing around the rim. Read more!

ITS ALL OVER!!!!!!!!!

What a comeback I will leave the analysis to Neal on this one. Read more!

3-1 Folks!!!!!

FUCK YEAH!!!!!!!!!! Read more!

Sasha Vujacic

I'd make a joke about that tantrum, but his name is Sasha after all so the joke writes itself. Read more!

The best thing of the last two minutes

Sam Cassell in his warmups. Read more!

RAY RAY SHUTTLESWORTH!!!!

What have I been saying about Ray Ray being the best finisher on the team??? EXACTLY!! Read more!

Ray Allen

Beautiful move, takes off almost the whole 24 second and then beats his man like a rented mule. Read more!

Bottom Line...

If Pierce hits these free throws then the Celtics can ALMOST ice the game. No jinx. I said "almost". Read more!

STOP WHINING KOBE

Can he stuff it seriously, he whines, and complains and turns calls in his direction all the time. It aint going to happen now Kobe not with all the heat the league is taking because of Doneghy. Read more!

JAMES FUCKING POSEY

What else is there to say clutch three pointer even if Fisher answer with a 2. Read more!

POSEY!!!!

And who is that geriatric with Jack Nicholson? Read more!

1:23 left

Just so you know the host of the awfule game show Opportunity knocks this summer on ABC is JD Roth who also hosted Endurance a ridiculous survivor like show for kids that used to always be on Saturday mornings.

Celtics by 2, play some D on Kobe. Read more!

Piece 1 of 2 Aint Cuttin' it Now

1:44 left though Read more!

KG!!!

I am hyperventilating right now. I think I just nutted on myself. Holy shit this is fucking awesome. Sorry for the cursing. Read more!

2:10 to go

The momentum has swung the Celtics way, can they keep it for the last 2:10. BEAT LA Read more!

I hate Kobe

First MVP ever to whine himself to the award, KG finally takes it to the hole look at the results its AMAZING!!!!! Read more!

Ray Allen

How did he get that rebound? four big guys, and then gets the lead to three, he is out of this slump. Read more!

Dualing Live Blogs

This is what makes Rootbeer and Bacon great, best thing is that Ben is sleeping through this. Read more!

84-83 Celtics

FUCK YEAH BITCHES!!! Read more!

Let's Get A Live Blog Going!

Come on Pricing Boy, you and I have been carrying this site since March, let's have our moment in th sun.

11:33 PM EST...

Here is what worries me. The Celtics seem to be outstanding at missing layups. It's been a problem all postseason. Their best finisher is Ray Allen by a long shot and the rest of the team is iffy at best.

Another thing, The Lakers have Kobe who can legitimately end a game on his own. The Celtics don't really have anybody like that and in a game like this that really worries me.

Props to KG for being aggressive though. Read more!

Live Blogging the Rest of This

6:06 remaining, Why can't KG trash Turief he is a crap ass second round pick with a heart condition take him to the hole

5:53 Awful shot by Pierce then he hurts himself while Kobe puts the Lakers up by 4. Do you ever feel sometime when you actually pay attention that you are in fact jinxing them.

Commercial - I have no desire to see Jumper, is Acura truly luxury it seems more like an ugly second cousin of lexus, if the couch guy showed up to sleep on my couch I would kick him out and tell him to get an fing job this isnt a shelter, I love the new Coldplay song which is strange for me cause I don't always like the crap they come up with, Why is Mike Myers still making movies I think that it is time for him to hang it up. B ecause Steve Carell and Get Smart got to tell us why the NBA finals are great to tstart the game, Will Smith and Hancock gets to tell us who the heroes of the game are.

5:27 Posey makes it one point game after Ray Allen and KG look like a bunch of five years olds learning to play the game. Our best chance is Kobe being a ball hog

4:55 Gasol makes it a 3 point game

4:45 KG actually tries and takes it to the hole and ends up on the line for two. Two for two and we are down by one. Why does everything have to involve text message voting now?

4:22 Can they finally take the lead.

4:07 House gets them there first lead of the game. Where has he been all game, SAM CASSELL SUCKS Read more!

8:47 left

If the Celtics don't pull this out we will have to listen to how this was a huge victory just coming back after being down by 24. It is tied at 75-75.

I agree with Neal I hate the Taco Bell Commercial

I miss Tommy

I hate LA Fans

KG TAKE IT TO THE DAMN HOLE STOP FADING AWAY

That is all for now, and I just wanna say I hate Michael Wilbohn Read more!

Distracting Myself...

The time is 9:36 EST. Already I have shut off the Celtics for the night. Of course I'll be back, but those first 8 minutes of the game were SO brutal I decided to distract myself for a while, go back in a bit, and then hopefully be pleasantly surprised. Let's just say I'm not confident. Some other thoughts while I am at it:

1) I think I've had enough of the rapping Taco Bell ad. I'm probably not alone.

2) Boy, oh boy does ABC's summer reality lineup look like absolute s-h-i-t.

3) JD Drew, gotta give a brother his props right? The guy has been a beast for about the last month.

4) Honestly, if the Celtics lose this Finals and KG does not manage to show up once, I'll really have a hard time looking at him for the next few years. Seriously. Fair or not that is 100% the case.

5) Just checked the game track on Yahoo at 9:42. Down 31-12. Still not looking great. Don't really think I'm missing much.

6) Is anybody watching the Hollywood season of Real World? Anybody? If not, you are missing out.

7) I really don't have anything else to say right now that would not be mean spirited and unethical. I'm going to take a break now and get back to the game. I may be back soon. We'll see.



Read more!

Welcome to a New Writer

So I have a new rootbeer and bacon writer to introduce to you. As all of our 30 readers a day have probably noticed we have been losing momentum and our number of posts have been declining. Life seems to have interupted us some, Ben is busy having a baby, and Nick just seems to be busy, and while Neal and I still write we wanted to add more content.

So after half of rootbeer and bacon went to the outback last night for one last steak before Ben's bundle of joy enters the world, we made a decision. I would like to welcome Jeffrey Crowley to the fold.

Jeff went to the used to work with Ben, Nick, and I and has a sharp sports mind. He attended the Yankees Sox game with us back in April and is a perfect addition to our lineup. Hopefully he will make his first post soon and you can all welcome him. Read more!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Game 3 NBA Finals Instant Analysis: Why the Celtics Lost!

Pretty ugly game tonight so I'll keep it brief.

1) Props to Ray Allen for carrying the team for the first three quarters. Where would they have been without him? Probably losing by 25.

2) All the Pierce detractors will have plenty of ammo after this game as he did what he does when he drives people nuts namely out of control drives, forcing bad passes, fouling a lot, shooting a poor percentage, and turning the ball over.

3) Paging KG? Still not buying that Ben Wallace comparison?

4) Here's the deal. For the most part the Celtics played like garbage. Despite that they were in the game until more or less the end. The same thing happened in Game 3 in Detroit and in hindsight, despite the loss in that game and in this one the very fact that they could play poorly and still have a chance to win at the apex of competition is a great omen. Why? Because we all know the mark of greatness in sports is having the ability to give yourself a chance to win when you may not have your A Game. The C's showed that in Game 3 and even better their "bad" game in this series was better than their bad one against Detroit. They weren't going to sweep the Lakers and they most likely really weren't going to win Game 3. I actually thought it would be a blowout, but instead it went to the wire. These are good things in my book. There is no such thing as a good loss, but you certainly cannot call Game 3 a bad one.

5) Kobe Bryant. Wow. He would have had his 40 if not for some uncharacteristic shoddy free throw shooting in the early stages of the game. Still, he finished with 36 and proved once again that he is far and away the best player in the NBA. I know this is not news but the guy is a sight to behold on the basketball court.

See you Thursday. And here is the rest of it. Read more!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Some Thoughts, Some Instant Analysis on Game 2 (Celtics WIN!!)

Once again, more thoughts and less analysis. Still some, but I gotta change up my tactics some with the late start times. I have to work things out so I can continually type during the game and not have to do everything after the game at 11:45.

(This degenerates into more or less a running diary as the game degenerates in the fourth quarter, just a head's up. I know they won, but holy crap was that not the definition of "too close for comfort"?)

1) After that first half of his, I have to believe that Eric Montross is finally okay with Leon Powe wearing his number.

2) I guess what frustrates me so much about KG is his ability to turn himself into Ben Wallace. Yes, he always makes the hustle plays and gets on the glass which is good. But what about when he bricks his jump shots, forces passes, and gets handily outplayed by Pau Gasol on the offensive end? Is there a more apt comparison because if so, I'm all ears.

(Keep in mind this is being written in the first half. I reserve the right to change my mind after halftime if the situation dictates.)

3) I will fully admit that the Celtics got every single questionable call in the first half. Those two early fouls on Kobe were complete BS and his third came as a result of Pierce flop. Not that I'm complaining as I'm sure they'll be returned in kind in LA, but I do want to illustrate that I will admit when all of the luck and "external help" are both going the ways of the Celtics.

4) Great first half for the C's. They were pretty jumper happy (I'm actually just thinking about KG here), but they were falling namely from Pierce and Allen. Amazingly they also were getting to the line a bunch too thanks to the aforementioned Leon Powe and their ability to again get into the penalty and bonus. All in all, a really great first 24 minutes.

Also, Pierce's relentless attacking was getting easy buckets for people and another cause of all those fouls against LA. Still, I'd like to think that the team will realize that they will not be able to keep up a 12 point lead against LA without getting KG some easy buckets down low. Shoot, the buckets don't even need to be easy, he just needs to send a message that it is his house and he won't get dominated for a full 48 minutes by Pau Gasol. No disrespect to Gasol either, he's a great player. But he is not KG and KG needs to know that Pau Gasol is not better than him.

5) This is kind of weird to say, but I almost feel like the best thing to happen Ray Allen this postseason was his famous shooting slump. The reason I say that is because now it seems that whenever he hits a three both the team and the crowd gets extra amped like they did when he was famously struggling through his slump as they tried to will him back to normalcy. Well he's back now and his perseverance has made him the player who on offense fuels the crowd and the team more than anybody else on the team other than Pierce.

6) Keep in mind that I am saying this with about 6:30 left in the third, but I think Kobe is about to take this game over in a stunning fashion. I hope the Celtics are up to the challenge.

7) You wanna know the difference between the Celtics now and the Celtics as recently as the early stages of the Detroit series? Simple, in the third quarter the Lakers cut the Celtics lead to 9 after a few shaky Celtics offensive possessions. Earlier in the postseason, the Celtics would have panicked, rushed some jump shots, given LA even more momentum, and allowed them completely back in the game to the point where the lead going into the fourth would probably be 2 or 3 points. Instead of doing this, the Celtics continued to run their offense, got some great looks, clamped down on D, and even made an exclamation point play with Rondo's alley-oop to Powe which pushed the lead to 20 and forced Phil Jackson to call a timeout with the arena going nuts. Now that is how you win championships!!!!!

8) I feel wrong talking about another bench guy other than Leon Powe tonight, but what about PJ Brown continuing to be Mr. Right Place Right Time pretty much all the time? Is he the Celtics version of Kevin Faulk? I say yes.

9) Even though KG scored the bulk of his points in the fourth quarter with a comfortable margin, I give him 100% credit for coming out highly aggressive offensively in the second half. It did not necessarily result in a ton of points but he got himself to the line and helped set the tone for the Celtics best quarter of the playoffs in my opinion, the third quarter of tonight's (Game 2, NBA Finals) game.

10) I've always wanted a stat to fall back on to support my belief that Mark Jackson was a truly underrated and great player - loved him on the Pacers - and I must thank ABC for giving that to me tonight. I did not know that he was second all time on the NBA assists list. Think about that.

11) Announcer line of the playoffs so far courtesy of the one and only JVG, "So many reality shows, so little time". You gotta love that guy.

12) I can't be the only one who gets terrified watching the Celtics play with a huge lead can I? Every time down they seem to go for the highlight play which is fine against the Hawks but not so great against the Lakers.

13) In the fourth quarter, the Lakers catch absolute fire from three point range and cut the lead from 22 down to 11. Once again though the Celtics continue to run their offense and avoid panicking. Honestly, I cannot emphasize how big this is. Earlier in the postseason they would panic at the slightest bit of adversity and visually self destruct. Now, they brush it off, move on, and concentrate on winning the game. (In hindsight this seems kind of foolish, but it doesn't either. Their offense was not the problem in the fourth, it was their defense that went on vacation. However, the aforementioned highlight reel plays they go for with big leads need to stop.)

14) Is Jim Jackson on the Lakers coaching staff?

15) OK, it's a 4 point game now. The Celtics have not played D the entire fourth quarter. I have know idea what I will do if they lose this game. I really have complete confidence that the Celtics will win, but jeez. I was hoping for a double digit victory tonight. Preferably 15+. That aint happening.

16) Good f***ing lord this is not good. Two point game. :38 seconds.

17) Two huge free throws from Pierce. Shouldn't have come to that, but I'll take it right now.

18) Let's quickly forget about how the game ended and take a bit to reflect on what Leon Powe did. 21 points including 13 free throws in a bit under 15 minutes. Wow! And that does not include the three (I think) crowd erupting dunks he had including a (graceful?) coast to coast.

19) MVP of the game? Leon Powe is the best story but there is really no question who garners that. Paul Pierce running away with it. Not only did he answer any and all questions regarding his knee, but he also got himself to the line - and hit the free throws - when the game got to a 2 point margin and then came back down the court and blocked a three effectively ending the game. What a game for him. I really cannot adequately describe how much I love the guy as a player. I'll talk more about him later this week. Right now I want to take a few deep breaths and relish in the fact that the Celtics are currently up 2-0 in the NBA Finals and one of my all time favorite athletes is approaching ever closer to winning a Championship for the only team he has ever known while also showing everybody else out there what I've thought for a long time. What is that exactly? That he is a really, really, really good basketball player that has been stuck on some horrific teams. I'm not saying the Celtics are a cinch to win the Finals - still got a ways to go in LA - but I am saying that I am incredibly happy for what Paul Pierce is doing and showing the NBA watching public on the largest possible stage.

And for the record, his final line on the night - 28 points on 9-16 shooting with 4 boards, and 8 assists. All you Pierce bashers can crush on his 5 turnovers, but that is cheap. The guy was 110% what his team and his fan base needed from him in Game 2 and now he is a halfway to winning a ring. The hardest half is forthcoming however. But it will hopefully also be the most rewarding half.

That's a good note to go out on.
Read more!

Some Weekend Thoughts

The typical smattering of weekend thoughts...

1) I've gotta say, I am 100% in the Ramirez corner regarding Thursday's Manny/Youk dugout throwdown. Thanks to his incessant whining and temper tantrtums regarding balls and strikes, making outs, etc Youkilis has fully embraced his role as the Paul O'Neill of the new millennium (poor man's Paul O'Neill BTW). These actions drive me mad as a fan and I am sure they drive other fans and players mad as well. Now, it looks like they probably drive his teammates mad too. You know how when you are on edge from a previous incident or just generally in a bad mood and somebody or something does something that usually annoys you but you let it slide for one reason or another most times, but then that one time the thing happens on the wrong day or at the wrong time and you just snap? Seems to me that is what happened with Youkilis' little dugout fit and in reading about the aftermath of the fight I think most people on the Sox were on Manny's side here. With that, I hope Youk learns to tone his act down some and amazingly Ramirez' actions here almost make him seem like a team leader by speaking out against a practice which so irked the rest of the club. Big stuff there I think.

2) The last Celtics game I went to in Boston was back in fall of 2005 when they defeated the Charlotte Bobcats on the day after Thanksgiving on a Paul Pierce buzzer beater. As far as I know, that was pre "Gino". Personally, I've never gotten the Gino thing. I guess he is some sort of disco dancing Italian guy that serves as almost the Celtics (gulp) Rally Monkey. This is distressing enough for me. It's not as bad as having the team pass out white towels or t-shirts or god forbid thunderstix but it's still pretty bad.

And then over the weekend I learned that the Wall Street Journal did a hunt for Gino and discovered that he is long dead. Can we stop the Gino stuff now, because it is just plain morbid. Would we feel okay watching a video on the jumbotron of Heath Ledger spitting on his hand to prep himself to enter Jake Gyllenhall on the mountain in order to represent some workmanlike determination in making a comeback or getting a few defensive stops? No we would not. As the great Geri Blank's mother may have said, "It's not the homosexuality that offends me, it's the death".

3) Something tells me that if per chance Nick Kazcur and Carmelo Anthony ever cross paths there will be some serious tension going on there.

4) So I saw a banner ad on boston.com today imploring people to become a "governor" of Red Sox Nation. What the hell?

5) When the DVD of the Coors Lite "Venting" ads cum out something tells me that every single deleted scene will showcase some serious man-on-man action. I really did not think it was possible to make a commercial more homoerotic than the Wrangler or "Gelling" ads but clearly I was wrong.

6) Bradley joined the Rangers' lineup in spring training, after the exhibition season already had begun, and he raced to a triple against the Seattle Mariners; standing at third base, he realized he would be fine. When Bradley returned to the dugout, he hugged a strength coach and thanked him, and shortly thereafter, presented all of the Rangers' trainers with gift cards from Starbucks. With their help, he is back to doing all he wants to do, back to playing baseball.

That is taken from Buster Olney's espn.com blog on Sunday, 6/7 and this absolutely cracked me up for some reason. "Hey man, thanks for helping me with my hitting and putting me in a position to make millions more dollars over the next few years. Next Frappucino is on me." Seriously, don't ballplayers - regardless of sport - normally reward people with things like cars or watches? A Starbucks gift card? really? I re-read that sentence over and over and could not believe that it was actually true.

And with that, let's hope that Pierce is raring to go tonight and effective enough to at least make the Lakers mind him on D. Because he probably will not be able to attack the rim with his usual ferocity it is of the utmost importance that KG takes it upon himself to make Pau Gasol his prison bitch and Ray Allen springs for 25-30. I still think 75 points from Pierce/Allen/KG is the magic number for them. I'll also say that probably needing about 30 minutes tonight from James Posey and having him hound Kobe Bryant for most of that time really is not the worst thing in the world.

Now, I'm out...but I'll probably be back later after the C's game for my wrap-up article.
Read more!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Coco Vs. The Rays


Last night as I sat on the couch resting my aching back(exercsing after years of being lazy can hurt like a bith when you are starting out), I sat up to eat my dinner of pasta and sauce with some vegetables(I don't know what kind of vegetables they were my Fiancé put them in) and I took this opportunity to change the channel from a rerun of Everybody loves Raymond to the Sox game which was on an hour earlier due to the Celtics game. And there it was number 10, Coco Crisp getting hit on the hip by James Shields acting like he was walking to first and instead running at the pitcher.

I will be honest with you I didn't think that Coco had it in him, you knew he was going to get hit yesterday, the manager of the Rays practically guaranteed it after his slide on Wednesday. As Jerry Remy said a thousand times in the next 10 minutes as the umpires tried to figure out who should be tossed "I thought he was heading to first". For those of you who are unaware of this here is a little recap.

Wednesday: 6th inning, Coco steals second base and in the process jams his finger when he slides into Jason Bartlett's leg that is blocking the second base. Coco takes offense to that.

Wednesday: 8th inning Coco attempts to steal second again, this time going in feet first unfortunately Barrett is not covering the bag instead second baseman Akinori Iwamura is and Coco completely takes him out.

Wednesday: 8th inning, Rays manager Joe Maddon yells at Coco who is in the dugout while he makes a pitching change.

Then Thursday in the Second Inning pitcher James Shields hits Coco like we all knew that he would, Coco faked to first to lose the catcher and charged the mound, he avoided the first punch and then kind of hit Shields in the head and then the catcher took him down. It was here that it got dirty, 4 separate Rays ran at Coco and started punch him while the sox tried to drag them off. Jonny Gomes came from the dugout and started punching him in the side, second baseman Akinori Iwamura went for his head, Carl Crawford arrived last and just hit what ever open spots he could find, and through it all Dioneer Navarro held Coco down. I would expect all four plus Shields and Maddon to be suspended along with Coco.

Some things that I think that Coco failed to think about. One why would you ever get into a fight with Big Papi on the DL, Manny isn't going to do anything to protect you, Big Papi is a force that no one would want to mess with. Two, you have pissed off half the Rays already and there is no one on base for the Sox so you are just going to take them on by yourself. It took awhile for the Sox to get there to help him they were all in the dugout, Jacoby was the first one there but he couldn't do it alone. If you want a fair brawl overreact to an inside pitch with the bases loaded then at least you have reinforcements instead of Jacoby and a very lost looking DeMarlo Hale. Finally I think Coco should have taken a page out of the great Izzy Alcantras booke, Karate kick the catcher so he falls down and charge the mound, it gives you the most 1 on 1 time with the pitcher and gives you more time to have reinforcements because its usually the catcher who takes down the charging player.
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Thursday, June 5, 2008

Instant Analysis: Why the Celtics WON!!

Wow, what a game. You would be hard pressed to make any sort of argument that these two teams are not clearly the two best teams in the NBA. I'm starting this intro as the game is still going and I have absolutely no idea who will win. The C's are looking good now, up 6 with about three minutes left, but with Kobe Bryant on the other side that deficit can obviously be erased in a heartbeat.

(And the game just ended. Hold on one second....F&CK YEAH!!! I know it's just Game 1 but the Celtics looked awesome tonight and I think we can safely say now that those stink bombs they were throwing out there earlier in the postseason were the aberrations we thought and hoped they were.)

Now let's get to the analysis...

I'm not going to do this under the guise of why the Celtics won or lost, I'm just going to throw some notes out there.

1) I know it's just one game and we got to see Lebron for 7 but right now, trying to make the "Lebron is better than Kobe" argument seems ridiculous to me. Kobe is better and infinitely more terrifying because he can kill you oh so many ways. The Celtics played OUTSTANDING defense on him and he still managed to get his 24. Yes he shot poorly but every time the ball leaves his hands I am terrified and many of the shots that he did make were insanely difficult ones. Again, great D by the C's but Kobe is a really, really good player and you have to tip your cap to him while also understanding that he'll probably get 40 sooner rather than later.

2) Holy freakin' crap, what a putback dunk by KG. I just caught that one while typing this during commercial breaks and free throws. Wow.

3) PJ Brown! PJ Brown! You look at the box score and see that he scored 2 points and grabbed 6 boards in 20 minutes. Lord, oh lord does that not even come close to telling the story. Whenever he is on the court he seems to do "things" that help the team win the game and tonight was Example B to the Example A which was his otherworldly fourth quarter in Game 7 against Cleveland.

4) If people ever wonder why I am so blindly devoted to Paul Pierce well I think the third quarter of tonight's Game 1 will tell you all you need to know. Absolutely vintage Pierce. And that's without even mentioning the awesome tunnel reemergence.

5) I don't want to jinx it, but Ray Allen is back baby. 19 points on 5-13 shooting and 2-6 from three does not sound too impressive, but he hit the shots when he needed to and that is absolutely what they need from the guy.

6) KG, I give you props. You played like a man possessed in the first half and while your production more or less disappeared in the second half, you made arguably the two biggest plays of the game with your halfcourt save to prevent a back-court violation and the aforementioned put back dunk. Not only that, but when the Celtics had the chance to put a dagger in the game at the end he was barking for the ball on the blocks. Then, when they dumped it into him and he had nothing, he kicked it back out, asked for the ball again, got the ball, drew a foul, and drilled the clinching free throws.

With that being said, KG went ICE cold in the second half missing jumper upon jumper. Why is that important? Well sometimes I feel like a jerk for always imploring him to play down low more and tonight he got going by dominating Gasol both inside and out but then he got away from that in the second half. Partially I blame this on the team for not getting him the ball more in advantageous situations, but KG also has to assert himself some and try and bang a little inside to get an easy hoop or two to break his shooting slump from the perimeter. Tonight is not a night for complaining though. He had a great first half and made the intangible plays in the fourth quarter that win games and winning games now means winning a Championship, so yeah, I'm pretty freakin' happy with the guy.

But in Game 2 let's remember once again that Pau Gasol CANNOT guard KG and because of that KG may need to try and pull out a 40 pointer that we'd all love to see.

7) Well, it looks like Sam Cassell is back to being the backup point gaurd. Do you realize that in 13 minutes he managed to take 9 shots. Yes he hit four of them, but in those five misses he had two three point shots that were well beyond his range and weren't close and a couple of early possession clangers. Remind me again why he should play? Can we get Eddie House out there please? Everybody (fans I mean) loves Eddie House and everybody hates Sam Cassell so that should make the decision easier right?

And for the record, Sam Cassell took 9 shots and scored 8 points in 13 minutes. Paul Pierce took 10 shots and scored 22 points. Exactly. Tone it down Sam. Can it please be Eddie House time?

8) Thank you Pau Gasol for that second half no show. That really made things a lot easier.

9) I'm leaving on a positive note and that note is a simple one. Game 1 was everything we could have wanted and more. The Celtics legitimately defeated the Lakers (no fluke about it) and while I had my doubts during the Atlanta and Cleveland series I am now back to fully believing that this IS a championship caliber team. Awesome. I really couldn't be happier. Actually I could. I could be writing this at 11:15 instead of 12:15 if the NBA could have just started the stupid game at 8:00. That's nitpicking though. I'm too happy to be tired.
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