Thursday, March 03, 2005Late Night Rambles: Naughty Words
NFL Hates "Gay"...
...and 1,120 other words according to this list from Outsports. I also attached the story behind the investigation. All in all this is one of the rare times that the NFL can be laughed at for being a little anal and a little silly. Oddly enough "Carruth" and "He Hate Me" are on the no-no list. I wonder if the latter was a request from Carolina Panthers return specialist Rod Smart.
Some of my personal favorites (done in hidden print so the kiddies won't catch it)
AXING THE WEASEL
BACK DOOR MAN
BEAT YOUR MEAT
FLOGGIN THE DOLPHIN
LUCKY CAMEL TOE
Don't you feel better now? I know I do.
Kobe Settles Suit...
...But he's still a prick.
Say what you want about this "bad image" of the NBA but Kobe has screwed it up as much as anybody. He was pretty much that "can't miss" star of this generation until he became an idiot and then drove the good guy Shaq out of the neighborhood.
Shaq, the honorary policeman, the guy with probably the biggest charity organization in the city (remember he spent most of Christmas after the Lakers game with the kids he buys toys for) and the million dollar smile. The one guy who probably could've helped Kobe with an image makeover and he was run out.
No wonder everyone wants to see this guy fall flat on his face. Thankfully we have LeBron to follow now.
Both sides were afraid of personal information going public but let me ask this question. Who cares about the chick's personal life? She's 20, married, pregnant and at this point just wanted a starter's fund for her family. So what, she boned the quarterback when she was a sophomore, who cares...
But at the same time, I'm sure Vanessa might've had a small interest in if her husband was rolling around with any more skanks. After all that 4.5 million dollar ring could always used a matching necklace.
How did Kobe celebrate his settlement? A loss to the Celtics. Couldn't have happen to a nicer guy.
A couple of sites to check out.
Pardon the Eruption is one of the best around right now. It's loosely based off of the ESPN cult favorite "Pardon the Interruption" and it's funny, smart and the guys are pretty witty. Granted one of them said that Baron Davis/Jason Richardson is a better combo than Allen Iverson/Chris Webber while not taking into consideration that a) Iverson with one leg is better than Davis and b) Davis is softer than a newborn taking a nap. However, I suspect one of them got into Skip Bayless' stash and I'm willing to forgive and forget.
Blood Ballet is all about one of my favorite sports...Boxing. And even better the blog author is a female fight fan -- a true rarity. I'm no stranger to Vegas and the fight scene so this blog is a necessary daily stop for me.
Wednesday, March 02, 2005The Morning Toast: Mid-Week Edition...
Chaney Puts Himself Out
Not surprisingly John Chaney put himself on the shelf for the rest of the season yesterday. It was coming and I think the only way for this to blow over is for him to back away.
Now don't let anyone fool you, this isn't like the Woody Hayes incident. Now even close, Hayes grabbed an opposing player by the face mask after a play and struck him. He tried to assault a player on the opposition. Chaney sent a player out to deliver fouls and "send a message", unfortunately he sent a kid who didn't know the difference between hard fouls and reckless play.
Unfortunately John Bryant was injured, that's something that shouldn't happen. I agree with Kevin when he says the referee should've put an end to it. All of Ingram's fouls were flagrant so he should've been tossed after the first two. And while its not the Hayes incident, Chaney did a lot of bad things that are deserving of the punishment he has received. He endangered a lot of student-athletes and he added fuel to an already tense atmosphere at the Palestra.
As for Ingram's pending suspension. Does it matter? He doesn't play anyway and if he did play he'd be timid as hell. They could suspend him or not, won't matter.
Very good USA Today story on the whole situation and the Newsday's Joe Gergen suggests that Chaney still do the honorable thing and quit. I'm convinced I'm in the only business where quitting is considered honorable...
Also special props to St. Joe's for a 15-point road win over GW last night.
NFL Free Agents Get Shown the Money
The NFL is such a well-organized league that it's occasionally enjoyable to monitor the free agent situation, which is the closest the league comes to losing control.
Most of the hot free agents were slapped with a franchise tag, traded (Randy Moss) or accepted an extension from their current team. So what's left is a decent second-level set of prospects out there. ESPN rates their top 32 available and this was before the Patriots released Troy Brown.
Speaking of Brown, I wouldn't be surprised if he stays in the northeast or within the division. Both Buffalo and the Jets could use his leadership on their team.
Spring Training Opens Today
And with that I give you my predictions for the MLB season, at least my early predictions so I reserve the right to change them after spring (depending on injuries and the such).
AL East: Yankees
AL Central: Twins
AL West: Angels of Anaheim
Wild Card: Red Sox
AL Cy Young: Barry Zito (22-5, 1.99)
AL MVP: Vladimir Guerrero (.341, 41 HR, 125 RBIs)
AL HR King: David Ortiz (47)
AL Batting Champion: Ichiro (.367)
NL East: Marlins
NL Central: Cardinals
NL West: Giants
Wild Card: Cubs
NL Cy Young: Kerry Wood (21-7, 2.11)
NL MVP: Carlos Delgado (.308, 46HR, 129 RBI)
NL HR King: Jim Thome (48)
NL Batting Champion: Todd Helton (.353)
He Said It
Atlanta Braves GM John Schuerholz, who has claimed to confront players in his clubhouse he suspected of steroid use, gave the following defense:
"I want to make this clear: As general managers, we didn't turn our heads away from players who might be using steroids because it was a benefit to us. No, if we turned our heads, it was out of frustration because there was nothing we could do about it. Sadly, we didn't have the authority to test players or fix the problem."
I'll say it again, the owners, GMs and the league are getting off WAY too easy on this issue.
Blazers Can Cheeks
Not surprisingly, the renegade Portland organization fired the only redeeming thing about them in head coach Maurice Cheeks.
Cheeks has had to put up with a few years of front-office mismanagement by extending contracts of his biggest headaches (Zach Randolph) and trading the one valuable they had Rasheed Wallace (himself a headache on occasion, although he's calmed down considerably as he's gotten older) for much of nothing.
However, Cheeks' defining moment in Portland will not be a coaching decision or an interview but rather his decision to assist 13-year old Natalie Gilbert when she wasn't able to gather herself to sing the national anthem.
It could've been a life-altering embarrassing moment for someone and Cheeks had the good nature to stand in and turn a bad situation into a good one. It was probably one of the most important assists Cheeks made in his entire basketball career.
"I don't know why I did it, it wasn't something I thought about. It's one of those things you just do. I wasn't sure whether I knew the words myself. I just didn't want her to be out there all alone."
I hope another team takes a chance on Cheeks.
Sunday, February 27, 2005The Morning Toast: Super Size Edition
However, I'm going to find the biggest stories in sports since the last time I posted in a lame way to catch up.
Chaney Cracks Under Pressure
Temple basketball coach John Chaney has been all over the news for his usage of the "goon" tactic. Personally I feel bad calling any student-athlete a goon because it's not fair to the kid.
First of all, Chaney didn't break any new ground with this tactic (thank you Marc Jackson). Many coaches in the past have went with a "physical" lineup to deliver hard fouls and slow down a smaller guard. Hell the Detroit Pistons won two titles with such tactics. The problem is more with Chaney's post-game comments where he was almost antagonizing St. Joseph's and of course the injury to John Bryant ending his collegiate career.
"That's what happens. I'm a mean, ornery son of a -----. I see something wrong, I try to right it."
The move was called disgraceful and a miscarriage of justice. Personally I found it disturbing once the injury to John Bryant was revealed and he said the following:
"I grew up watching Chaney, I still admire him, but I don't really understand the situation fully. It was just weird. It didn't really hit me until now. Last night, I was up all night. I couldn't sleep."
Stephen A. Smith says remember Chaney for who he is, while ESPN's Pat Forde says Chaney shouldn't coach in the postseason. Meanwhile, Memphis coach and former rival John Calipari says why bother with it now?
Meanwhile the forgetton victim, Nehemiah Ingram is now and forever classified as a "goon" but the young says he's a nice guy.
"I just want people to know I'm good at heart. I was raised in the church all my life. My mama raised me in the church. She named me and my brothers with biblical names. I'm not what everybody thinks I am. I'm a really nice guy."
As for the way his coach characterized him, Ingram said he knew Chaney didn't mean it.
"I didn't take offense. I know he means well, and he loves me like I'm his son. ... I don't think he really meant it. He's like a father to me, and my father called me worse things than that."
Sometimes we forget that we're dealing with young men here. I hope the A-10 fans go easy on this kid during the road games and the tournament. And I hope Chaney is extremely broken up over the grief he's caused both Bryant and Ingram.
The embattled former Ohio St. stars 40 times: 4.82 and 4.72.
And I thought *I* was slow.
"I thought I was better prepared."
However, it looks like California's J.J. Arrington (4.46), Auburn's Ronnie Brown (4.48) and Michigan State's DeAndra Cobb (4.49) had that category controlled.
Later in the day Brown went all the way down to 4.32. So the top running back in the draft couldn't even start at Auburn.
Bracketology 201: 1 Down, 64 to Go
Congratulations to the Ivy League champions, Pennsylvania, hopefully they will be joined by at least two more teams in the Big 5.
This is the Quakers' fifth Ivy League title since 1999. I would peg them as a 14 or 15 seed with their less-than-gaudy 16-9 record.
Bears Make Free-Agent Splash
Mushin Muhammad couldn't work out an extension with the Carolina Panthers so they released him before being hit with a major cap penalty.
A few hours later the Bears snatched him up with a multi-year deal. Good move for the Bears who didn't have a receiver catch 50 passes for them last season. If Rex Grossman can get healthy and the defense continues to improve, the Bears can emerge from the weak NFC North division (a division without Randy Moss and...Brett Favre??).
Don Pierson of the Chicago Tribune agrees.
Meanwhile Jerome Bettis says he'll stick around for another year and the Redskins deny a swap of Coles-for-Santana Moss with the New York Jets.
NBA Beasts of the East
Two things jumped out of me right away during the second half of the season: Indiana beating Orlando, Cleveland and Miami -- all teams that should be in the playoffs -- and Detroit beating Los Angeles by 21.
Indiana is ready. They didn't make any moves at draft day but in actuality they didn't have too. They are the only team in the East that can go 9-10 deep when necessary and they have a lot of leaders on the floor. Will Ron Artest return? David Stern says you can never say never. If he does will they be a better team? Probably not.
As for the Pistons. They will go as far as Tayshaun Prince decides to take them. When Prince is feeling his game, the Pistons are unbeatable. His height allows him to bring a different dimension on both end of the floor and Kobe Bryant wanted no part of his defense on Friday.
Webber Is a Sixer
Speaking of trades, this was the biggest one. Not surprising that Sacramento traded Webber, they are 53-16 without him in the lineup and the Kings want to re-sign Peja, but the location was surprising.
In the end the Sixers decided that Allen Iverson is playing the best ball of his career. He's turned young guys like Kyle Korver and Samuel Dalembert into solid role players. Now he gets to have a finisher like Webber next to him.
As for Sacramento, it looks like a lopsided deal but Kenny Thomas is a great rebounding presence and the Kings are 2-0 since the trade.
Super Mario Says Players Misled Him
Interesting. He says he and Gretzky wouldn't have gotten involved if they knew nothing was going to come of last week's post-cancelation meetings.
"We were told by some of the players we were talking to that there would be a new proposal on the table at the $45 (million) level."
There wasn't and now Lemieux says he's not sure if it would have married. On the good side I do believe he will return next season, especially with the promise of the new rules.
Silly Red Sox-Yankees Feud
I didn't believe there would be any person or persons that would make Alex Rodriguez seem like a sympathetic figure. But damned if the Red Sox aren't trying.
First there was Curt Schilling, who certainly doesn't need any company in the group of "phony MLB assholes", with the assualt and teammate Trot Nixon jumped in next:
"I'm not going to talk about him. He's a great athlete, he's a great competitor, but ask my opinion, if you look at the Yankees, who am I looking at? It's (Derek) Jeter. I don't know if that rubs him the wrong way, or not. He doesn't care what I think. I know that. "
At least he knows that...I'm sure Kevin Millar knows that too but it didn't stop him.
"I played against him for 20 games. I know one thing. A lot of us in this locker room, when we watch a guy like Derek Jeter play over and over again, he's a winner, I don't know if (A-Rod) grasps for respect, but you don't need to tell people you're an upper-tier player. You don't need to tell people that you work out seven hours a day. That's an article that rubbed guys wrong. When you're a professional, you do your work. Everybody in this game works out in the offseason. Everybody comes in in shape."
It's obvious the Red Sox have made A-Rod a target, they started a brawl with him last summer and they are continuing to play little pyschological games by mentioning how much they respect Jeter. Are they trying to cause a rift between the two? You be the judge.
It's funny how none of the Yankees have jumped to A-Rod's defense.
“It just tells you how classy our organization is."