Bad idea

Montgomery wants to coach in the NBA. Why? It's not like Stanford can't pay him a mint. And unlike college, the pros is a players' game. College is domianted by coaches and systems. With today's transient talent pool, even moreso. But the NBA? It's all about isolation and star players. Such is the nature of the game. The only coach who can control NBA players is Phil Jackson, and that's only because he's won more titles than Michael Jordan. And even he can't really impose his will, he just has to hope the players like him enough.

Golden State is a bad team. They've always been a bad team. They always will be a bad team. They haven't had a winning season since 1994. And it's not like it's been near misses. This team is a complete mess. Their best player is Jason Richardson, who probably isn't among the league's top 20 or 30. The number two option is who? Erick Dampier? Nick Van Exel? Guh.

Sometimes, it's not worth the money. Stay in school Mike. Coach for decades, be a legend. Have a street named after you or something. But this? This is a bad idea.
posted by Poseur 5/20/2004 02:44:00 PM

Game Seven

Don't let anyone fool you, Game 7 was a bore. I flipped back and forth between baketball and hockey, and even in the last five minutes of the game, I was more interested in hockey. Well, the fact I'm a longtime Calgary fan (more on that in a second) probably played into that. It was like watching the Kings try and give away the game for 48 minutes and the T-wolves never took it, time just expired. The fact it came down to a last second shot should make Flip Saunders so mad that he can't speak in complete sentences. Only one player bother to show up, and his name was Kevin Garnett.

Jesus H. Christ, did that man have a great game. You knew Minnesota wouldn't lose when he hit a fadeaway three as the shot clock expired. As bad as every single player played last night, that's how good Garnett played. 32 points and 21 rebounds? Those are video game stats. No one actually does that in real life. Garnett scored 38.6% of his team's points, grabbed 44% of its rebounds, made 40% of the steals, and accounted for 62.5% of its blocks. T-wolves not named Garnett shot 37.5% from the field and 20% from three. They sucked. Garnett earned every cent of his contract and every vote for his MVP last night.

If the Wolves find a big man in the couch cushion in the next few days, they may have a chance against the Lakers.

So, like I said, I was watching hockey because I'm a huge Flames fan. I'm not a Canadian, and I've never been to Calgary. But when I first started watching hockey in the mid-1980s, they were the only team that stood between Wayne Gretzky's Oilers and total domination. Rooting for the favorites simply isn't any fun, so I took up the cause of Calgary, following the team via boxscores and the occasional late night game on SportsChannel (remember them?). 1986 broke my heart, but 1989's Stanley Cup seemed to make up for all of those years of Gretzky ruining the Flames, MY Flames' seasons.

Since then? Nothing. Talking heads keep going on about the Flames seven-year absence from the playoffs, but it's much worse than that. They haven't won a playoff series since that Stanley Cup in 1989. That's 14 years of total misery. And in my spare time, I root for the Caps. Both teams have blown 3-1 series leads THREE times, an NHL record. The worst, for me, was 1994, when the Flames blew a 3-1 lead to the Canucks, only to watch those bastards make the Stanley Cup finals against the Rangers. I almost swore off hockey, but I kept coming back, only to watch the Flames lose in more spectacular ways.

By the late 1990s, Calgary was just a bad team with a miniscule payroll, unable to compete against free spenders like Colorado and Detroit. I no longer cheered for Stanley Cups, I just cheered for a playoff appearance, and as you can tell, for seven years, I ended the season unhappy. I would cheer for former Flames to success in other uniforms: Gary Roberts, Joe Nieuwendyk, Theo Fleury, Joel Otto, Mike Vernon, Gary Suter, Al McInnis, and so on and so on. It's a depressing list of talent.

And then, something strange happened. This offseason, Jarome Iginla didn't take the usual route of ditching the Flames for a payday or a shot at winning somewhere else. The best player actually re-upped with the saddest sack franchise in hockey. Then, star goalie Roman Turek got hurt and the Flames, who had traded away top prospect Sebastian Giguere to the Ducks (good job!) a few years back, floundered around and took a little known back-up goalie name Kiprusoff from San Jose. They didn't exactly storm through their schedule, but they qualified for the playoffs with ease, and entered a s chic pick to pull a first round upset.

Well, they've now pulled three upsets. The Stanley Cup finals for a team that last season was wondering whether they'd even exist. A team I'd practically given up on, who I still rooted for because old habits die hard, but I expected little return on my emotional investment. Well, the longshot's come in. I'm on Cloud Nine. Who cares if I've been staying up to 1 AM every night to watch them play? I'm not tired, I can't be. The Flames are going to play for Lord Stanley's Cup. And I'm gonna party like it's 1989.
posted by Poseur 5/20/2004 02:34:00 PM



What can you say? Randy Johnson is a first-ballot Hall of Famer, and this will just be another line on his plaque in Cooperstown. There's only been 17 perfect games in Major League history, and only 10 since 1900. These things are precious and rare.

So instead of focusing on Johnson, let's think of all of those people in the crowd lucky to see this. Man, I'd give an arm just to see a no-hitter, much less a perfect game. For these fans, this may well be the highlight of their lives as sports fans. Who even dreams of seeing a perfect game? It's just too rare to even contemplate. So I'm jealous of every single fan who packed into the park last night to watch history.
posted by Poseur 5/19/2004 01:17:00 PM


Color me Orange

Syracuse University has changed its nickname from the Orangemen to Orange.

OOOOOOOHHHHHHHH. They're named after a color. Or maybe a fruit--New York is known for it's citrus, you know.

But wait, it gets even more stupiderer...

"We are the only school in the country that has orange as its primary color. We want to accentuate that fact," director of athletics Jake Crouthamel said Tuesday at a press conference. He noted that Texas and Tennessee have a substantial amount of white to go with the orange in their uniforms.

Well, who needs a better explanation than that?

I suggest that St. John's, Syracuse, North Texas, Alabama, Georgia Tech, and Tulane form a new conference for people who dig colors.
posted by uberschuck 5/18/2004 11:19:00 AM

Peeler and Garnett throw down

Sacramento Kings guard Anthony Peeler has been suspended for two games without pay for throwing elbows to Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Garnett's midsection and head, it was announced today by Stu Jackson, NBA Senior Vice President Basketball Operations.

Correction: Peeler threw a punch at Garnett. After the game Chris Webber suggested that if Peeler is suspended for game 7, then Garnett should be too. I know Webber is standing up for his teammate, but please, that's nonsense.

This all got started when Wally Szczerbiak smacked Peeler in the face while setting a physical pick. By the time Peeler responded, Garnett had moved to the spot where Szczerbiak was. Peeler threw an elbow and the wrong guy caught it. Now pause & think--is there any way you could confuse Garnett and Szczerbiak?

Next trip down the court...Garnett throws an elbow into Peeler and Peeler responds by taking a swing at Garnett. Peeler gets tossed, but not Garnett.

The refs and the league got this one right. Peeler deserved to get ejected for throwing a punch, and he deserved the suspension. Garnett didn't throw a punch. He deserved the foul and the fine, but not a suspension. It's not favoritism to the MVP, it's just a sensible punishment. And the Kings can whine all they want, but Peeler is gone because he lost his cool.

And to make things more interesting, Garnett, apparently coached by Kellen Winslow Jr., said he'd bring uzis, 9s, M-16s, and a host of other weapons to game 7. What a guy!

posted by uberschuck 5/18/2004 09:07:00 AM

Flames take game 5

Calgary beat San Jose 3-0 to take the 3-2 lead in the Western Conference Finals. The road team is now 5-0 in this series, so expect Calgary to lose game 6.

posted by uberschuck 5/18/2004 09:06:00 AM

Martina returns to Paris

A couple years ago, when Martina Hingis retired from tennis, I predicted she'd be back in 18 months. Well, I'm still wrong, because we're talking about Martina Navratalova. That's right, it's been a decade since she played in the French singles, but she's back at age 138, or something like that (actually, she's 47, but now that seems younger by comparison). Even though Martina has played a little mixed doubles in the majors in recent years, this seems a bit ridiculous. But it will be even more ridiculous when she makes it into the third round

posted by uberschuck 5/18/2004 09:03:00 AM

10 days at the Giro

The Giro d'Italia has reached the first rest day, so lets review the first 10 days.

Alessandro Petacchi continues to dominate the sprints. He has won 4 stages already. With the aging Mario Cipollini crashing out of the race, it's more obvious than ever that the torch has been passed. The question for Petacchi remains...will he quit in the mountains, or try really hard and be disqualified on time?

As the schedule dictated, stage 3 ended on a mountain top. So, favorite Gilberto Simoni attacked and won, taking the leader's pink jersey and a 1 minute lead over rival Stefano Garzelli. Over?

Nope. The revelation of the Giro has been Damien Cunego. He won stage 7--another mountain top finish--to take the pink jersey by 10 seconds. Following two more sprint stages, a win by Petacchi, and a stage win by American Freddy Rodriguez, Cunego remains 10 seconds ahead of Simoni, and Simoni is a minute ahead of Garzelli..

With two weeks of cycling remaining, it's easy to predict Cunego will fade, but Simoni can't be happy that Cunego has won both a flat sprint stage and a mountain finish. And Garzelli can't be pleased that he's already dropped a minute to Simoni.

posted by uberschuck 5/18/2004 09:01:00 AM


Almost as good as the commercial

Hey, the NBA playoffs are finally getting as good as the Black-Eyed Peas commercial. BTW- Elephunk is a great album. Go buy it.

s the lesson learned everybody? When the home team is up 2-0, it's not routing the series, it is merely holding serve. Got that? If the western finals go 2-0 in favor of the home team, it's still not a rout either way, so everybody just chill out. It's not a rout until you start losing games AT HOME. Are we clear? Finally? This wasn't some epic comeback, this was just holding serve and pulling on out of their ass in San Antonio. But jeez, what a Game 5.

I am openly rooting for the Kings. They play, by far, the most fun to watch style of game in the league. And if they manage to make the NBA Finals, they would have gone through Dallas, Minnesota, and LA. That's pretty unlikely, but that's one hell of a playoff draw. I like how Garnett has come into his own, and I certainly respect that Minnesota is the ebst team in the league, who unfortunately have no big man to stop Shaq. At home, with the best player in the league carrying the best team, I think the Wolves win game seven. And that would be a just result. But for those of us who care about aestheetics, go Kings.

It's been a close series as far as the overall games are concerned, but each individual game has sucked. And most have been blowouts. Really, it's been almost unwatchable.

Is it me, or are most people already treating the Heat as if they've been eliminated? For all of the hype surrounding LeBron and Carmello, it's another rookie who is carrying his team through the playoffs: Dwayne Wade. Wade would be the rookie of the year if this were a normal year, which it isn't, but he's getting the best revenge: being the go-to guy on a team fighting for birth in the conference finals.

posted by Poseur 5/17/2004 12:24:00 PM

Smarty Jones is going to win the Triple Crown.

There, I said it. I feel better now. No hedging, no nothing. There is no three-year-old right now in the same class as Smarty Jones, and barring a horrific stumble a la War Emblem, just start cutting the check to Chappy now.

I liked Smarty going into the Derby because he had posted the best speed figures, had run some distance, and looking at his intervals, looked like a good closer. This is how having only a little bit of knowledge helps you. Because if I knew more about horse racing, I would have been scared off by his sprinter's bloodline and how he looked in those wins, looking more like a speed horse than a closer. Then again, I've been known to bet the ponies from time to time, and I apply the same logic to horse betting as I do to other sports: give me performance over tools every day of the week. Smarty Jones had performed better than anybody, so he was the logical pick to win.

And now he looks good, too. The bloodlines people will never jump on this train, but screw them. Seriously, did you watch the Preakness? It wasn't even close. We were eating crabs and drinking beer, and the room just went quiet. No cheering, no nothing. Just awe. Even if you know nothing about horse racing, you could tell this was an absolutely awesome ride. Lion Heart even forced Smarty Jones to run the first turn four horses wide, effectively making him run longer than anyone else. It was a suicidal strategy for Lion Heart, but it opened up the door for some of the other horses in the field. No such luck, Smarty Jones simply blew them away, and didn't even seem to be running hard. It was sickening how much better that horse was.

OK, so now people are mentioning Secretariat in the same breath. Stop it. No, seriously. Smarty Jones looks like he's going to win the Triple Crown, but he ain't Secretariat. Secretariat holds the speed record at two of the three Triple Crown races, and the only reason he didn't set the record at Preakness was due to a timer malfunction. You can't win in a comparison to Secretariat or Man O' War, and you just shouldn't do it. It's like trying to compare a baseball player to Babe Ruth, or a hockey player to Wayne Gretzky. It just doesn't work. Smarty Jones can be undeniably great and still not be anywhere near Secretariat.

posted by Poseur 5/17/2004 12:10:00 PM

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