Tubby to Philly?
Billy King, the new president of the 76ers, was out of the office yesterday, and several NBA sources said he spent the day with Kentucky coach Tubby Smith.
The sources said King was trying to convince him to take the Sixers' head coaching job a day after Smith referred to that job as a "headache."
After hours of negotiating, it appeared that a deal to make Smith the next Sixers coach was close to getting done.
If Tubby takes the Sixers job, every Kentucky fan desrves to be beaten with a large stick. They treated one of the best college coaches like dirt until he finally left them high and dry. Tubby should go someplace the fans appreciate him. That place isn't Lexington.
posted by Poseur 5/30/2003 10:43:00 AM
Sox rob D-backs blind
Epstein deserves credit for being able to get what he did in this deal. Rookie Freddy Sanchez, who has had an outstanding spring in Triple A, can spell Todd Walker at second, and Bill Mueller's other-worldly slugging has earned him the right to play every day at third. David Ortiz and Kevin Millar will platoon at first, and if Jeremy Giambi doesn't start hitting, the Sox will add another bat.
''I think the Sox did well,'' the NL scout said. ''The team is in the place in the standings where they want to be, and if I'm in your place, I'd do the same thing.''
Is the Boston Globe insane? Get what they did? Like the Sox barely got any value for a star about to skip town. Hillenbrand is a useful player, he hits for high average and is a prett steady contributer. But he ain't Mike Schmidt. Heck, he ain't Tony Batista. He provides little power and even less plate discipline. He's slow and he's not a very good defensive player. I'm not saying Hillenbrand sucks, he's definitely good enough to start for about a third of the teams in the league, but he's pretty much the definition of a replacable player. Hello, Bill Mueller. The sox don't even have to go the waiver wire, they already have the replacement on hand.
And Km might have some famous meltdowns, but his career ERA is below 3.50. That's good. He's also only 24 years old, so chances are, he's going to get better. And I just noticed something, the Red Sox need bullpen help. So the Sox trade a decent player with a replacement already on the roster (who is playing better for less money) and get a guy who shores up a team weakness.
How is this a bad trade again?
posted by Poseur 5/30/2003 10:40:00 AM
I've been a little remiss in giving credit to some of the most recent champions.
UCLA won the softball title when Keira Goerl threw a no-hitter. A no-hitter, people! In the title game!
Virginia won men's lacrosse against Hopkins. Hopkins was the #1 team in the nation for most of the season, and beat UVa earlier in the season, but they fell behind early and the Cavs held on for a 9-7 win.
Princeton won the women's title by beating UVa in overtime. Theresa Sherry scored the sudden death goal with a minute and a half to play.
Florida stunned two-time defending champ in women's tennis to snare the title. Julie Rotondi beat #16 Lauren Barnikow to secure the title.
Illinois took the men's title in convincing fashion, also taking the individual singles and doubles titles.
Golf is in progress, UCLA has a one-stroke lead right now. Baseball and track have just announced thier fields.
posted by Poseur 5/29/2003 12:11:00 PM
Tyson: Didn't Rape, But Would Now
Eleven years after he was found guilty of raping a beauty pageant contestant, Mike Tyson again denied he committed the attack but said the burden of the conviction makes him want to do it now.
In a television interview scheduled for broadcast Thursday, the former heavyweight boxing champion said Desiree Washington "put me in that state where I don't know."
"I just hate her guts," he said. " ... Now I really do want to rape her."
There's no reason to comment on Tyson, just sit back and enjoy his latest psychotic episode.
posted by Poseur 5/29/2003 11:58:00 AM
Monaco getting demoted due to financial irregularities
It's not often I get to link to Business World, so indulge me. Monaco finished second in the French first division and qualified for the Champions League. They are now getting relegated because of E87 million in debt. I'd like this to use this as an illustrative example of why Major League Baseball is full of crap about their fiscal problems. This is financial difficulties, not MLB's faux problems of being unable to con Minnesota to buy them a stadium.
posted by Poseur 5/29/2003 11:57:00 AM
Big East gets desperate
In a letter dated May 27 that was sent to Miami athletic director Paul Dee, Big East commissioner Michael Tranghese guaranteed the school $9 million a year in athletic revenue for the next five years if the Hurricanes commit to the conference for that long.
They are kidding, right? The Big East is now being reduced to bribing Miami to stay in the conference? Way to hold on to that moral high ground. The quicker the Big East dies a horrible death, the happier I will be. I've just been appalled by their incompetence and ridiculous behavior.
I hate to be the one to point this out, but college athletics are about money, and have been for a real long time. For a league founded on the principle of making money by creating a made-for-TV product to complain about the greedy ACC is just stunningly hypocritical.
posted by Poseur 5/29/2003 11:53:00 AM
Hantuchova fends off reports of eating disorder
It was obvious at the Australian Open in January that Hantuchova, 20, had lost a considerable amount of weight, and that her already willowy frame was worryingly thinner. Her British coach Nigel Sears expressed certain concerns about her weight loss at the tournament in Berlin, and after her defeat yesterday Hantuchova was confronted with more questions concerning her physique.
"I am really blessed that I can eat whatever I want," she said. "I've been working really hard before this season, because I wanted to be physically prepared as best as possible. I just burn more calories than I've actually got in my body. It [the weight] will come back soon. I'm really, really glad I can eat whatever I want."
I don't know of Hantuchova has an eating disorder and neither do you. But she does look dnagerously thin and if she does have problems, I would hope her coach, family, or friends would forget about tennis and get her to a doctor as soon as possible. Of course, we all know that people would never exploit a talented young athlete...
posted by Poseur 5/29/2003 11:47:00 AM
This just in: Italy plays boring soccer!
Marca's told-you-so tone on the morning after was echoed by rival sports daily AS.
'They should prohibit two Italian teams from playing in a European final because, as (Johann) Cruyff has said, the presence of just one Italian team is a tragedy for football,' it crowed.
Both were predictably sour reactions from papers that had attacked Juventus and Inter Milan for 'undeserved' wins over Barcelona and Valencia in the quarter-finals of this season's competition.
I hate Italian soccer. Every time I try to convince a non-soccer fan about the beauty of the game and why it actually is a really exciting sport, along comes the Italians to live up to the stereotypes.
It is thuggish, slow, uncreative, full of penalties, and full of just dead time of teams trying not to lose. It is like watching two boxers who refuse to come out of their corners for fear of getting knocked out.
The last few years, Spanish teams dominated Champions League, and they treated the world to great matches full of intrigue and get this, offense. Unfortunately, they lost to the drab Italian teams and we were forced to watch Ac Milan and Juventus play perhaps the most boring match in soccer history. The worst thing is that the Italians crank out more talented players than almost any other nation, but are then restricted by an unimaginative gameplan. They could play an exciting match if they wanted to.
Italian soccer is a scourge and must be stopped at all costs.
posted by Poseur 5/29/2003 11:43:00 AM
Breaking down the field...
2. South Alabama
The Noles are the clear #1 seed in the nation. They simply obliterate everyone in their path. We’re talking about a team with six players with a slugging percentage over 500. They’ve got serious mashers, as well as a three-man rotation with a combined record of 31-4. There as close to a perfect team as possible. Jacksonville is ridiculously outclassed, though Hauseman is really good. Rutgers is a good team, but you’d be hard pressed to find any of their players who would be able to start for FSU. We’re looking at an FSU-USA final, so it comes down to whether South Alabama can pull the upset. It’s certainly possible, they can hammer the ball as well. They can beat the Seminoles in a slugfest, but they don’t have the pitching to match up. So if they can get to the bullpen, they have a shot, but not much of one.
It’s an easy sub-regional, which is what Texas deserves after getting horribly screwed out of a seed by the committee. And they are paired with Florida State when they advance. Arkansas has a pretty lousy offense, particularly for a 2-seed. The real threat comes from Lamar, led by Jordan Foster, a .442 hitter. Even in the inflated offensive world of college baseball, that’s awesome. Still, Texas shouldn’t lose a game.
It’s hard to explain how much LSU and Tulane hate each other, but let’s just assume I did. Tulane took the season series 2-1, but that was before LSU decided they felt like hitting the ball. It’s a strange LSU team in that they can actually play defense, a rarity in the bayou. The Tigers are almost unbeatable at home. While Tulane’s Michael Aubrey is a Golden Spikes finalist, Aaron Hill is the SEC player of the year. UNCW and Northeastern don’t know what they are getting into, though the Seahawks are capable of pulling an upset, as Blake Cross anchors a tough bullpen, a necessity in tournament play.
2. Southern Miss
4. Murray St.
What a brutal regional. Baylor gets a 1-seed but no home-field. Southern Miss is the host, and beating them is simple: shut down King and Cook, who combine for about 50% of the team’s offense. Easier said then done, as they also boast terrific pitching and a deep pen. Baylor, on the other hand, just hits the ball a ton, as they have one of the most potent offenses in the entire nation. But don’t forget about Southern, led by Richie Weeks who leads the nation with a, get this, .493 batting average. Oh yeah, they have two dominating starters who haven’t lost a decision all year. Murray State is the worst team in the field of 64, and they might lose games by scores of 10-0 against these offenses. 3-seeds coming out of a regional are rare, but it could happen here.
1. Georgia Tech
2. South Carolina
3. East Carolina
Jeez, why did they do this to the Yellow Jackets? Stetson as a 4-seed? It’s not often the 4-seed has more wins than any other team but they #1. And the Atlantic Sun isn’t a total chump conference, getting three bids. Let’s just say there are no gimmes. The two Carolina squads are polar opposites, one team (USC) based on pitching and just enough offense and the other (ECU) based on offense and just enough pitching. Both schools have had better teams, and while anyone in this region could win it, including Stetson, Georgia Tech is a cut above. They just can’t take any game lightly.
1. Mississippi State
4. Middle Tennessee St.
Just an underwhelming bracket. The Bulldogs have a bunch of slap hitters, and they’ll try and run their way through. Not a good strategy when teams have aluminum bats. UNC’s a solid team all-around with only Jeremy Cleveland standing out. Missouri is a bunch of overachievers with limited talent, and MTSU is just limited in talent. The winner is just waiting to lose to the winner of Atlanta’s regional.
3. Ohio State
Two weeks ago, OSU was a wonderful sleeper, but then Scott Lewis tore his ulnar collateral ligament. How good is Lewis? Here’s his statline: 9-1, 1.61 ERA, 83.2 IP, 48 H, 24 BB, and 127 K. That’s 72 baserunners in 84 innings of work. Auburn’s got lousy pitching, but a great #1 guy in Speigner. He needs to have a big weekend to help out the offense. Then again, Clemson’s not exactly boasting the best staff in the nation. They can hurt you from any spot in the lineup, particularly al-time Clemson home run leader Michael Johnson. Auburn is vulnerable, but they got a draw with teams unable to exploit their weaknesses.
2. Coastal Carolina
3. SW Missouri St.
4. Eastern Michigan
Speaking of easy regions… Matt Hopper is the Cornhuskers’ star, but Ledbetter carries a pretty potent bat as well. Coastal Carolina can run. A lot. Actually, so can SMS. Running teams just don’t fare well in the College World Series, so Nebraska should cruise. And the shield-your-eyes game of the tournament: Eastern Michigan pits their 5.61 staff ERA against a Nebraska offense that scored 480 runs in 60 games.
2. Ole Miss
3. Wichita St
4. McNeese St
Remember when the Shockers routinely went to Omaha? Those days are gone, but this is a pretty strong squad with speed, power, and some really good pitching. They won’t lay down for Ole Miss, a team built on pitching, and lots of it. It’s hard for a team so poor at scoring runs to be competitive in the smash and bash SEC, but Ole miss runs against type (so does South Carolina). Rice is just awesome. At one point, they won 30 straight games, and that wasn’t a fluke. They have a good offense which scores runs, but doesn’t boast much power. What they do have is just ridiculously good pitching. Their top three starters combined for a 31-1 record, they have four players with 100 strikeouts, and they have a staff ERA of 2.88. That would be good if teams still used wooden bats. Oh, and last year’s ace, Herce, is now healthy, giving the Owls another top-notch arm.
1. Texas A&M
4. Oral Roberts
Here’s your bizarre stat of the day: the Aggies bullpen has an ERA of 1.04 but no starter has an ERA below four. This is a team that wants it’s starter to get run. Good thing, too, because Alabama can hit. It’s rally a two team regional, as Houston has some power and some decent pitchers, but nothing special, and Oral Roberts is a typical 4-seed, completely outclassed. All in all, it’s a weak region, and no team can reasonably expect to take down Rice in the Supers.
Carlos Quentin is a Golden Spikes finalist for Stanford, though he’s not even the best player on the team. Ryan Garko is. John Hudgins was named Pac-10 pitcher of the year with fairly pedestrian numbers, but freshman Mark Romanczuk hasn’t lost all year. Richmond is also a tremendous team, with a trio of starters going 25-6, with all of them posting an ERA below 2.55. Jim Fasano won A-10 player of the year, and the team also can run like mad, stealing 112 bases. They are a real threat. Riverside’s been in D-1 for two years, and they’ve made quite a statement, even sweeping Long Beach this season. They could very easily win this region. UIC isn’t a complete chump team either, boasting an undefeated starter (Martin Ryan) and six starters hitting .325. They could ruin someone else’s time.
1. Long Beach St
OK, their pitching isn’t Rice’s, but it’s still real good, with a team ERA of 3.08 and the co-Big West pitchers of the year. Honestly, if you can’t root for the Dirtbags, you hate baseball. This Minnesota squad might be the best team to come out of the Big Ten in over a decade (which says a lot about the Big Ten). Luke Appert is the first two-time Big Ten PoY since Barry Larkin. Washington is the official contrast team: lousy pitching and tons of hitting. They can beat anyone, but they will not win if they don’t score a lot of runs. Pepperdine was scorching hot down the stretch and could pull an upset or two, but don’t bet on it.
1. Cal State Fullerton
3. Notre Dame
4. San Diego
Fullerton has great pitching and they score a ton of runs. That’s a pretty simple formula for winning ballgames. Arizona’s co-aces both went 9-1 so they should be able to play with anyone, and they’ve got some of the top hitters in the Pac-10. Most of last year’s stunning CWS Irish squad are back. It’s not the best team out there, but God I hate to say it, they are scrappy. San Diego won the WCC tourney, and have one of those players you only see in college, Tony Perez has 12 saves and a .496 OBP.
1. Arizona St
3. New Mexico St
4. Central Conn St
The Sun Devils have some good pitchers, not that anyone would ever notice. They average over 10 runs a game, so even a good pitching performance gets lost in the avalanche of runs. The key will be stopping ASU because there ain’t no way to outhit them. UNLV is not that team, scoring over 500 runs with an ERA above 5. They are a poor man’s version of ASU. And neither is New Mexico St, which has an even worse pitching staff, but they have Bill Bechler, who in 58 games hit .421 with 31 HR and 110 RBI. That’s not a typo. That means CCSU has the best pitching staff in Tempe, with a team ERA of 3.53 and a stud ace in Barry Hertzler. They have allowed 11 homers all season. Heck, ASU has 10 grand slams. No lead is safe this weekend.
2. Florida Atlantic
This is a really good Miami team, but it might be the weakest team they’ve had in almost a decade. That’s more of a testament to Miami’s program than this year’s team. They are workmanlike, scoring runs at a good clip and preventing them at a decent one as well. But unlike previous Hurricane squads, this one lacks star power, it’s just strong top to bottom. FAU is a real threat. They hit homers at an obscene rate, and they’ve got a star in Rusty Brown and an ace in Randy Beam. Florida has no business being in the tourney, but they do have one of the best players in the country in C Brian Rose. It’s a tough region, and I have a feeling Florida is going to win it. They still won’t have deserved a bid.
1. NC State
3. Western Carolina
Raise your hand if you have even heard of LeMoyne and know what state they are in. NC State has a pair of outstanding starters, and then a bullpen ace in Joey Devine. They are 9-1 in one-run games. The offense is ordinary. VCU has the best team ERA in the nation, 2.60. They’ve also won 19 of their last 20 games. They hit only slightly better than State. Western Carolina can also pitch pretty well, but they have a much better offense than the top two seeds. It’s a great draw for them.
posted by Poseur 5/28/2003 06:18:00 PM
CWS field announced
1. Florida State
2. Louisiana State
3. Georgia Tech
7. Cal State Fullerton
Wow, and we thought the basketball committee mucked things up. How does Texas, the Big 12 champion, not get a seed? How does LSU get a 2-seed despite having less than 40 wins? What are Arkansas and Florida even doing in the field? Look, I'm an SEC guy. I went to LSU, and I love my Tigers, but is the committee high? Are they on the SEC payroll of something? Arkansas ain't that good, and they get a regional two-seed? Florida didn't even make the SEC tourney and they make the field of 64?
posted by Poseur 5/28/2003 11:17:00 AM
Roy says enough
"With a veteran goalie, the mind will give out a lot faster than the body," Fuhr said. "Once a goalie loses that confidence, he can't ever get it back. Once you begin to doubt yourself, you're done."
The mind is the most powerful piece of athletic equipment in the body. And no Colorado professional athlete, not even Denver Broncos quarterback John Elway, has possessed a more beautiful mind than Roy.
Just as Michael Jordan relentlessly kept shooting until a foe waved hands of resignation in defeat, and Joe Montana was positively convinced there was no expanse of football field he could not travel in two minutes or less, Roy seemingly stopped pucks flying 100 mph, simply by staring them down, through pure force of will. Or, as Ray Bourque described his Colorado teammate: "Even at this level, some guys have a special gift. I don't know if it's cockiness. But it's an intense love of challenge. And Patrick Roy has the gift. You can sense it."
What can you say? Roy might have been the best ever. He'll be missed. And it takes a lot of guts to walk away from the game when you can still play at an elite level. Roy's no longer at the top of his game, but he's still one of the best in the world at age 36. He could play for another five years if he wanted, but instead, he walks away with his greatness still intact.
Hail to the king.
posted by Poseur 5/28/2003 11:10:00 AM
Hockey: The new soccer
A 1-0 baseball game can be exciting because yesterday's game, and tomorrow's, might have been 13-11. And also because every single pitch represents a chance to score. Scoring opportunities create excitement in the form of a goal or a great defensive play or a spectacular save. Those opportunities are lacking in the NHL.
The league has come to be dominated by trapping defenses such as the one employed by the New Jersey Devils. The Anaheim Mighty Ducks don't trap as much, but they too are a defensive-minded team that hopes to shut down the opponent and capitalize on whatever rare scoring opportunities present themselves.
I'd say this is a pretty fair criticism. For all of the talk that the nightmare scenario was a Vancouver-Ottawa finals, at least those teams play offense. Instead, we have two defense-first squads who play in large media markets. The result? No one is watching. Game One was about as entertaining as an Ari Fliescher press conference.
I'm happy the Ducks have made this run, and the Devils are the best team over the past few years. But let's not kid ourselves, this is some ugly hockey. My wife, who was more than willing to watch Olympic hockey, has banished me to the second TV to watch the Stanley Cup. She says nothing happens and there's too much guys hitting each other with sticks. And she's right.
I'll watch, I'll cheer. but I'm a die hard. i'm pretty sure everyone else is tuning this one out. So what to do? Eliminate the two-line pass rule. Widen the rinks (it'll never happen). Actually call obstruction rules. But do something.
posted by Poseur 5/28/2003 11:03:00 AM
First round action at the French Open
OK, it's not news if Serena Williams or Carlos Moya wins in the first round. Let's talk about who's gone.
Andy Roddick: Seeded sixth, Roddick lost a 4 setter to Armenian Sargis Sargsian. Holy cow! They play tennis in Armenia? Roddick's tanked out at both majors this year. We've been waiting for The Kid to become the new standard bearer for American men in tennis...Hey Andre`, don't retire just yet!
Monica Seles: Her first ever loss in the first round at a major. Well, it happens to everyone. Monica says retirement isn't out of the question. It seems like forever since she won a major tournament. Does anyone think she'll ever win another one again?
Michael Chang: I didn't even know he was still playing! Chang, a former French Open champ gave a teary-eyed goodbye to Rolland Garros after losing in straight sets. Well, it wasn't pretty but, I'm glad he got a final pat on the back from the crowd. Chang was really the forgotten man in his generation of American tennis players. Congrats on a solid career!
posted by uberschuck 5/27/2003 11:15:00 PM
Roy to retire
Whether you hate him or love him, if you like hockey, you've got to respect the career of Patrick Roy.
Colorado's Patrick Roy is retiring, ending the 18-year career of one of the greatest goaltenders in NHL history.
Roy will make the announcement at a news conference on Wednesday, team spokesman Jean Martineau said.
A four-time Stanley Cup champion, Roy leaves as the NHL's career leader in victories with 551 and games played with 1,029. He also is the all-time leader in playoff victories, games played and shutouts
By the time I got interested in hockey, Roy already had a hall of fame resume. I knew hockey fans who adored him and others who despised him. By my perspective, I just got to learn to like hockey by watching the best in the business. I don't even know enough about Roy to do him justice. He revolutionized his position. He became the gold standard for goalkeeping. How many teams have been utterly shut down by Patrick Roy? As he leaves the game, I can't help but think, well, at least we've got Brodeur and Giguere...
posted by uberschuck 5/27/2003 11:03:00 PM
Devils take game 1: 3-0
Well, I'm surprised there were two goals scored (the third was an empty-netter). I just assumed we'd have a seven game series with only seven goals scored. Hey, winning game one is huge, but by no means should we consider this to be a sign that New Jersey will make short work of Anaheim. However, the Ducks have got to win game two--beating the Devils in 4 out of 7 is a tall order, but beating them in 4 out of 5 is down right nutty.
posted by uberschuck 5/27/2003 10:52:00 PM
Simoni in command at the Giro
The last week has seen two men turn the Giro d' Italia into their own playground. First, let's focus on Alessandro Petacchi. He grabbed the early spotlight by winning sprint finshes in the first week and wearing the leader's pink jersey for several days. After the race hit the mountains he naturally gave way to the real contenders for the Giro. However, he has maintained his lead in the points classification (cyclists earn points by being among the top places in each stage). In fact, it's not much of a competition. Petacchi currently has 208 points; Stafano Garzelli is a distant second with 130 points. He nearly lost it all on Sunday. In the individual time trial he was in a nasty crash. He finished the race, but was rushed to a hospital. He considered abandoning the Tour. The next day he won stage 16--his 5th stage victory in the Giro this year. Wow! Is Petacchi Italian for dominant?
The only man to grab more of the limelight is Gilberto Simoni, the man who has completed the first 16 stages in the least time. In the first mountain stage he stole the lead from Steffano Garzelli by a couple seconds. Since then he has continued to attack on every mountain stage, each time putting a few more seconds between himself and Garzelli. With everyone expecting Garzelli to strike back in Sunday's time trial and eat into Simoni's lead, Gilberto Simoni actually beat Garzelli by 39 seconds, extending his lead to 1:58. Simoni has a choke hold on the Giro. It's his to win.
In the remaining 5 stages there are two climbing stages and one time trial (the final stage). In order to beat Simoni, Garzelli must attack him in the mountains so that he can get within striking range for the final day. Simoni is already predicting Thursday's mountain stage will be decisive. Translation: Simoni will attack Garzelli & deliver a knockout blow before they even get to the time trial.
But there's more. In Tuesday's media day/rest day Simoni also talked about riding the Tour de France to challenge Lance Armstrong. Though his comments weren't as aggressive as those of Marco Pantani (on the outside & begging to be invited), Simoni's the second high profile cyclist to talk smack about ending Armstrong's reign in the Tour. On the one hand, the bravado is not surprising. Hell, Simoni's earned it. On the other hand, even Simoni knows that winning the Tour and the Giro in the same year is a near impossibility. And that's before considering Armstrong is just plain studly. No one has even gotten close to him in three years, and the USPS team is rock solid. But Simoni does make a good point in asking why Armstrong never rides the Giro. Lance only does one of the big 3 Tours each year--he doesn't even ride the Vuelta to help his teammate Roberto Heras in his signature event. No one can deny that what Armstong has done in the Tour is superb, but winning another major tour would be a worthy goal. The Tour is his turf and many elite riders don't train for it--the Spaniards prefer the Vuelta and the Italians prefer the Giro. Why not beat them in their own backyards just once to end all doubt about who's the best in the world?
posted by uberschuck 5/27/2003 10:32:00 PM