Friday, June 17, 2005My Column...
NBA, NFL Switch Commissioners [The Ledger]
Phil Falls Flat...
Running U.S. Open [ESPN.com]
Thursday, June 16, 2005Gibberish Part III: Game 4 Edition..
-- Game 4 is much more cruicial in a 2-3-2 format than a 2-2-1-1-1 format because the home team MUST win. There's no way the Pistons can win back-to-back games in San Antonio and in general it's easier to win 2-of-3 on the road than two consecutive. At least that's my word and I'm sticking to it.
-- Spurs have already called their second timeout in the first quarter. No energy from the team right now. I haven't really checked Ginobili's status but one can assume he's not healthy. Which means the Pistons will have played Indiana without Artest, Miami with Shaq and Wade at 50% and San Antonio with a banged up Ginobili. Man even the Patriots must have envy for the Pistons luck.
-- I'm a little slow on the dial tonight because I'm reviewing applications for my goph---err assistant at work to help me with book research. Needless to say it's a large pool of unqualified applicants. One guy didn't even know where the Starbucks is...C'mon people.
-- Meanwhile the Spurs have spent the better part of the first half rolling over. Apparently they've decided to throw all their eggs in the Game 5 basket. Odd. When was the last time either of these teams lost three games in a row?
-- For two teams that are so evenly matched the closest game thus far has been 15 points. Now granted it's usually close until the 10-minute spot in the fourth quarter but I'd have no problem if Game 5 were a LITTLE closer down the stretch.
-- Not to say that I'm writing off Game 4 yet.
-- Well...okay maybe I am.
-- So far what we know is that Ben Wallace and Manu Ginobili are the two most important people in this series. Who would've thunk the Pistons could win any games without significant contributions from Rasheed or Prince?
-- Meanwhile Duncan is as good as Parker and Ginobili are. Yet he doesn't have the same fire he had when he and David Robinson could take over games on the inside. Sometimes I think he needs to remember how dominant he can be. No need to put the game squarely in Ginobili's hand. He did this last year with Parker and the Lakers rallied from a 2-0 deficit.
-- Game 5 is going to be VERY interesting. Right now I don't see how the Pistons are going to lose at home unless the Spurs make some serious adjustments.
-- Pistons 82-58 and this game wasn't close past the first two minutes. There's no sense of urgency on the Spurs. And since they aren't playing, I should be wasting my time typing so we'll close this sucker up.
-- Before I go, if you haven't seen Jessica Simpson's new video...Well I won't say it's required watching but it's definitely worth a peek or 20 if you have the time.
Wednesday, June 15, 2005FSU's Stance on God..
In case you're under a rock and didn't hear this story, here are a few excerpts from the Orlando Sentinel story written by my very talented friend Emily Badger.
One of Sexton's friends, Eric Reid, told police on Monday that Sexton had been "very stressed out" during the past week about his status as the starting quarterback, according to the police report.
Sexton, Reid and two other friends had just returned to Tallahassee around noon on Monday from a weekend Dave Matthews Band concert in Tennessee. They spent the afternoon together around the house that Sexton's three friends shared, according to the police report, and all three friends told police they did not think Sexton had been drinking or taking drugs.
They told police that they had been napping and did not realize when Sexton left the house Monday afternoon.
Curtis Hayes, a 57-year-old lawn-care worker, was mowing a lawn down the street on Spoonwood Drive when, he said, he saw Sexton come running down the
hill. Hayes said Sexton stopped suddenly in the middle of the road and started pointing his hands at him in a threatening manner.
"I got scared and started shaking," Hayes said Tuesday. He called police because of a "vicious look" he said he saw in Sexton's eyes. He said police responded after his third phone call, within about 25 minutes.
Among other things in this bizarre incident is Sexton calling himself "God" and the "son of God" when asked for his name by the authorities. He was only wearing wet athletic shorts so I can assume at some point he was trying to walk on water.
Now I know this might sound strange, but Sexton is a very smart kid, consistently winning academic awards for his high grades. That being said he's also very much a free spirit, to the dismay of his coaches he was always classified as laid back and not overly serious about practice or anything football.
He was suspended two weeks ago for unspecified team rules (the speculation is that he missed a drug test) so he wasn't at voluntary team workouts either. I would expect Sexton will take some time off from football and his return to the sport is doubtful.
FSU Quarterback Hospitalized [Orlando Sentinel]
Dr. Z Rules the Roost..
Once you wade through the first page of NZ stuff he's got a terrific story about gadget plays that includes Doug Flutie and Bill Walsh and an apology to the hearing impaired people of the world. He also hits on Cowboys who were snubbed from the Hall of Fame and the Patriots drafting unknowns and avoiding criticism for it.
Dr. Z's Mailbag [CNNSI]
Tuesday, June 14, 2005More Gibberish: Game 3...
-- The pace of this game is already a positive for Detroit, the more they can force the Spurs to take it slow, the better.
-- I'm disappointed the Pistons didn't come out with more fire. This is a must-win and the game the Spurs are most likely to mail in if they are going to mail any in.
-- San Antonio is definitely controlling the pace at 25-20. Duncan is out of the game yet the Pistons have folded defensively in the last three minutes.
-- Four minutes into the second quarter and I'm really not feeling this one tonight. In spite of me its been the best 16 minutes of basketball these two teams have played together.
-- We're hitting a wall in the first half, both teams passing up open looks (especially Robert Horry) and we're in about a two-minute stretch where neither team has scored. Putting Ben Wallace on Ginobili in certain areas has worked so far.
-- Spurs so far in the second, 3-of-13 FG with five turnovers...Make that 4-of-14 FG. There's a fine line between good defense and poor shooting.
-- AWESOME block by Horry which leads to a turnover and a three at the other end! That's a five point turnaround right there courtesy of big-shot Bob.
-- Not that I condone violence but Billups' hack on Parker is something Detroit needs to do on occasion....just to keep 'em honest.
-- BTW, no one believes me but if you see Michele Tafoya in person...She's got a terrific body and she's pretty smart. Nice lady, my co-worker has an unhealthy obsession with her. Shelley Smith is really nice too...Serious man hands though, they are like clubs...
-- With 8:30 left in the third quarter Detroit has finally realized this is a MUST-WIN game and have started trying to push the action. This quarter is crucial if the Spurs stay within 7-8 points you know they are going to really push the action in the fourth. Like R.D. said, the Pistons must take advantage of every cold spell...
-- Detroit's missed lay-up count is in the 50s.
-- Billups ends a Spurs 9-0 run to give the Pistons a 57-56 lead. With all this good basketball I'm wondering if Dan Crawford is going to do a wrestling-style run-in and 'T' up the whole Detroit bench.
-- Rip Hamilton has 16 this game which probably equals his output for the first two games.
-- Ben Wallace has had an excellent game as well...Which means Rip is out of his funk and Big Ben is back to normal...Yet the Spurs only trail by a possession.
-- Spurs have only two fast-break points.
-- All this time I've really underestimated Big-Shot Bob. I knew he was always the right place, right time guy but in the last two series I've started to appreciate his willingness to contribute anywhere he can. Of course I'm still mad because he sucked in the Lakers series last year.
-- I hate working when these reports come across the wire.
BC-APNewsAlert,0023 EUREKA, Calif. (AP) _ A major earthquake has struck off the coast of northern California.
-- Pistons 73-69 with 9:45 remaining.
-- Billups is starting to play in his 2004 Finals MVP form, five straight points for him gives the Pistons their biggest lead.
-- My net at work went down for about 15 minutes...The Pistons have a 19-point lead and have wrapped this game up. Reasons why? Ben Wallace had a monster game and the Billups/Hamilton tandem found their stroke. Game 4 becomes huge.
Shaq might be right. L.A. is a fake town and the Lakers are a team desperate for attention since they had no postseason to speak of. Meanwhile unless Phil can play the 5 and defend in the post, the Lakers will be lucky to crack 45 wins next year.
Of course Game 3 is now an afterthought with the basketball hacks. The Spurs and the Pistons deserve better...Ok, maybe just the Spurs deserve better.
Jackson Returns to Lakers [AP]
Peter King Goes Out on a Limb....
BTW Brems, Pete also thinks Shaun Alexander will be a mid-season acquistion for the defending champs.
The rest of this column is bad humor and inspired from lack of anything important to write.
Monday Morning Quarterback [CNNSI]
Monday, June 13, 2005Early Football Writings
Huguenin touches on the Alabama Booster issue and why this story will never go away; Tommie Frazier as a lead coaching candidate at an NAIA school; The Coaches' Poll without the support of ESPN and the embarassing number of black head coaches in Division I-A along with the embarassment of Myles Brand not knowing how many Division I-A schools there are.
Alabama Fiasco About to End [Orlando Sentinel]
Piniella Rips Owners...
Since I live in central Florida this is close to my heart. But the Tampa Bay area was very excited to get Lou Piniella in town (and rightfully so), unfortunately the ownership hasn't invested in the team they way they invested in the manager and Sweet Lou is finally sick of it.
"When I came here three years ago, we were talking about a situation where we wanted to win now, and we were interested in winning now," Piniella said before Sunday's 7-5, 13-inning win over the Pirates. "With a small payroll, we improved it from 55 (wins) to 63, and from 63 to 70. This was supposed to be the breakout year.
"The problem is we've got a new ownership group here that's changed the direction of where we're headed. They're not interested about the present. They're interested about the future. And that's their right. But when other teams are getting better presently and we're not, you're going to get your butts beat, and that's exactly what's happening.
"I'm not going to take responsibility for this. If I had been given a $40- or $45-million payroll and was getting beat like that, I'd stand up like a man and say it's my fault. Well, I'm not going to do it."
Now why is Piniella angry? Well the Rays are coming off of a BRUTAL 2-10 road trip in which they gave up double digit runs in seven games. Carl Crawford is the only real talent on the roster since Rocco Baldelli is out for the season with an injury. The pitching is downright brutal and its safe to say that none of their starters would be above Triple-A on any other rosters.
New Owner Draws Piniella's Ire [St. Pete Times]
The First to 10
Meanwhile the fans, who would have loved them no matter what, are experiencing the sort of baseball fever that the baseball cities like New York and Boston get to enjoy annually.
In the larger baseball world, what the Nationals did over these two weeks was to establish themselves as legitimate contenders, opening a 1 1/2 -game lead in the National League East Division with 16 weeks left to play and shocking a sport that viewed them as no better than a mediocre team when the season began.
"Nobody could have foreseen [such a successful] homestand," Nationals Manager Frank Robinson said. "I know I couldn't. It's just been an unbelievable homestand for everybody -- the organization, the players and the fans."
In equally impressive fashion, the Nationals are winning the race for the hearts of the local populace, which has been starved for a summertime sporting diversion since the old Senators left town in 1971, and which has been coming out to Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium in increasing numbers this month to witness what could be Washington's first pennant race in several generations. Yesterday's crowd pushed the Nationals' season attendance total to 1,056,642, surpassing the 1946 Senators for the highest overall attendance in Washington baseball history.
It's amazing what a fanbase and a real home stadium can do for a team's confidence.
Beguiled by the Boys of Summer [WP]
Sunday, June 12, 2005Running Gibberish: NBA Finals Game 2
-- Ok, when did Nazr Mohammed get his switch turned on? Another great trade Isiah.
-- The Pistons are already down 8-0, which means that they might actually have to score points to keep up tonight.
-- I'm at work so I have no volume but my nose will twitch everytime Hubie or Michaels gives us a lecture at how two teams shooting under 45% is really "good basketball".
-- Last night ESPN Classic had on Game 4 of the 1984 Lakers-Celtics series. Not to let the cat out of the bag or anything, but the Celtics took that one. Bird had 29 points and 24 boards. Worthy was like 17-of-19 from the floor or something equally ridiculous.
-- I'm convinced Tim Duncan is a clone of Vijay Singh, they have the same exact mannerisms during a game.
-- It looks like both team might actually break 70 tonight.
-- Prince is going to have to play some major first half minutes with two fouls.
-- My mom has more offensive awareness in the paint than Ben Wallace. Slam the freakin' ball man.
-- The Spurs have decided they will attack the basket when they get the opening. The Pistons will have to make Parker and Manu pay for each drive.
-- And the Pistons are in the midst of another boycott on offense meaning that breaking 70 might not happen for another game. A lot of their problem is with rebounding, they aren't getting enough. Ben Wallace needs to have his defensive play of the year award revoked.
-- Spurs 42-29 and right now the Pistons seem content to drop the first two games and regroup at home.
-- Spurs up 57-42 at half. They are really pressing the matter on offense, knowing the Pistons either can keep up or refuse too. These are the moments when Larry Brown's coaching flaws are really exposed. He can't break out of his tight shell to help his team come back. It's still more about playing "the right way" then winning a game. He had the same issues in the Olympics.
-- My co-worker calls to say, "Man the Pistons are getting jobbed." And I reply, "Must be a Dan Crawford game." Next second I glance up to see Crawford giving Rip a technical for rightfully bitching him out.
-- Spurs up 73-53 and now I'm just hoping the game ends so I can leave the office by 12:10 p.m.
-- Sup Tayshaun? Glad to see you have decided to join us.
-- Up by 18 with 90 seconds left in the third, safe to say this goose is just about cooked.
-- The Pistons overreaction to every call that goes against them is becoming a very tired act.
-- There is no answer to the thing that is Manu Ginobili. 7-0 run gives the Spurs a 15-point lead and now I can say this goose is cooked.
Sunday Columns: Greg Couch
He tried to give us the old Tyson, the great fighter, one more time, but couldn't do it. He kept trying to reinvent himself, but he's permanently trapped in his persona now. He threw so much away, his talent, his fortune.
But the persona is all he has left to sell, and he'll fight until every last cent has been wrung from his credibility.
Tyson still filled the MCI Center with more than 15,000 fans. But as he sat there, people were yelling, women were crying.
"They mustn't be too sensitive,'' Tyson said. "I'm a cold and cruel and hard person. I've been abused any way I can be abused. I see people cry when I lose. Save your tears. I don't know how to handle that.''
Tyson's star status is something that's had me in awe. A few years ago I covered the Tyson-Clifford Etienne fight, his first fight after losing to Lennox Lewis, and I was amazed at how people flock to him. Men, women, children, ministers...He was larger than life even then.
Tyson's Circus Act Comes to Ugly End [Sun-Times]
Sunday Columns: Harvey Araton
While fellow coaching icons of the era like Pat Riley and Phil Jackson have held out for sure things, glamour cities, Larry has made the playoffs with the Clippers and the Nets, bad teams in big markets, and was not too self-important for the Pacers and the Spurs, good teams in small markets. He took on the daunting challenge of Allen Iverson and made the finals with the 76ers.
He has driven more than a few colleagues crazy with his wanderlust, but let's at least remember that pro basketball coaches do not have the job security of the pope. So maybe the characterization of Larry Brown as the most capricious man in N.B.A. history misses the larger point: he is the rare coach who has been able to play by his rules, who always stayed a few steps ahead of the scapegoat posse.
Interesting although I don't think he drives colleagues crazy as much as he does his own players. On the same note I'm sure Brown isn't on Rick Carlisle's cell phone address book.
What Brown Missed as a Child [NYT]