Thursday, October 30, 2008

Finally A World Series Finale

The World Series of baseball wrapped up last night with the Philadelphia Phillies edging out the Tampa Bay Rays in a three and half inning thriller. Just like that, it was over. I don't know if it's just me, but something didn't feel right about that ending. I'm not blaming Bud Selig for making a debacle out of a bad situation... And the city of Philadelphia does deserves to finally have a champion... All I'm saying is there was something cheap about that ending.

The players showed up, a couple of pitches were thrown, and then Wham Bam thank you Ma'am it was over.It was like paying a hooker for sex.

Not that I have, but I imagine you have the same dirty, somewhat satisfied, but empty feeling afterwards. Yes, mother nature wasn't friendly, but what do you expect from a Philadelphian November? Any purest would probably agree that concluding a World Series on a three and a half inning quickie is not how they wanted to see an otherwise exciting baseball season end.

Don't get me wrong, the better team won the Series. Philadelphia was without question deserving of the title. Their bullpen was nails and the Philly hitters, though terrible with runners in scoring position, hit when they had to and did enough to win games. Brad Lidge has completely redeemed himself as a closer, he was well...Perfect.

On the other hand, contrary to what many believe is the beginning of familair scene of the Rays in the World Series, I'm not there yet.

I saw a young and talented ball club that probably missed their best chance to win their first World Series. Yes, they have a solid pitching staff, a young blossoming closer in Price and a host of young talented everyday players, that much is obvious. Which means it's obvious to everyone else in the American League East, the toughest division in baseball. A division which includes both the Yankees and the Red Sox, teams that dwarf the Rays payroll and are guaranteed to go out and buy whatever they need to get better, but more importantly, whatever they need to beat the Rays. Yes the Rays will be competitive in years to come, but they missed one here, the Phillies were a very beatable opponent.

The Phillies are a good team, but they are'nt great. They went something like 10-67 with runners in scoring position and they really only have Hamels and Myers as legitimate starters. The Rays have to be stunned at how well they were picked apart by the grizzled veteran Jamie Moyer. The youth of the Rays really showed in their impatience and indecision at the plate and costly mistakes in the field.

The Rays looked like they were figuring it out as the series progressed and it would have been interesting to see what would have happened had the Rays been able to send the series back to Tampa.

Instead, in an anti-climatic warm up, the series was decided and the Phillies are the 2008 World Champions.

Well they say there's no crying in baseball, so you probably won't hear much about this again,
but I can't be the only one who was left feeling a little used.

I mean, you hang on for 162 plus games, two division series and then pffttt...Anyways I digress.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

NBA Tip Off

The wait is over...It's going to be someone's coming out party this year, we'll soon know who... A new star will be born this year and old stars will continue their quests for redemption. The West remains wild and the East is out for respect... Showtime is back.

We are just 24 hours away from the tip off of the 2008-2009 NBA season, a season that promises to be one of the most exciting seasons to date.

More so this year than in recent years, the NBA will be about one thing...Winning. For some teams, this was a foreign concept, and individual development trumped it, but this year, I think we will see all of that change. There are veteran players on veteran teams that are looking to establish their legacy and there are young stars looking to carve their names in the rich history of NBA superstardom. It will be on from JUMP this year.

The beginning of the regular season is usually a bit of a joke, teams don't go full tilt and at times the game play appears unspirited. It's terrible to bet on, if you do that sort of thing...Regardless, I think this year will be different. It certainly will be in the West.

Last year, winning 50 games in the West was a prerequisite to just have a shot at getting into the playoffs. And the West hasn't gotten any easier since then. Western teams are going into this season knowing there is no time to waste, every team will be trying to get out to a good start, a sloppy first half of the season could BE THE SEASON.

Don't slip on the East. While I don't think they have caught up to the West, it certainly has improved over the offseason... The top two draft picks, Beasley and Rose went to Eastern teams and D-Wade is back, healthy and plugged into the Matrix. Brand has a new turncoat on and is now part of a dangerous 76er team. Bibby and Joe Johnson will be playing a full season with a ridiculously athletic and raw Atlanta Hawks team, Calderon teams up with Bosh and Jermaine O'neal in the T-dot and King James got himself a scoring and playmaking Pg. Rip, Mr. Bigshot and Sheed along with the rest of the Pistons will be trying to make one last push as Superman and the rest of the Magic look to improve upon last years campaign.

It will be interesting to see what D'Antoni can do with the mess that was the Knicks and how quickly the former Spur teamates "Red Beans and Rice" Vinny Del Negro and Avery Johnson, can turn the Bulls around. Last but not least, can anyone see the Celtics?

In the West, it's the same old story with new characters. While everyone is jumping on the Lakers Bandwagon, there are a number of teams that might be contenders.

The Rockets should be legit if they remain healthy. The addition of Artest is huge and a healthy Yao makes them playoff bound. But for once, just once T-Mac, please tell me you worked out in the offseason, tell me your not made from glass this year... If he stays healthy and he should because he won't have shoulder the entire scoring load on his weak back... The Rockets are a dangerous and hungry team.

What about Phoenix? I caught a glimpse of Shaq in training camp and he looked in shape, yeah, I was shocked too, I thought it was old footage...Shaq in shape to start a season? What year is this?

But it shows that he's out to prove something, if not to his critics, then maybe to himself this time. And you have to believe that the clock on how long Kid Canada's body will hold up is ticking. Nash's ring finger is ready NOW.

We can't slip on CP3 and the Hornets, who only got better with the addition of the championship journeyman, James Posey. And then there's Denver, if they decide to play defense, which from watching their training camp, was a big focus for Coach Karl, they could also be dangerous with the offensive firepower they possess in Melo, AI and an emerging complimentary scorer in JR. Smith.

Sloan and the Jazz will be in the mix and so will the Spurs. It's an odd year 2009, and the Spurs tend to win championships on odd numbered years. That's the best I can do Spurs fans.

What about Portland? That is a team that we all can't wait to watch. IS Oden legit? Can he score? Can he play defense? I saw him getting posterized by Kevin Martin and the Kings in the pre-season, he looked a little slow, and was often out of position. He will have to learn to be an intelligent defensive threat and avoid fouling out every game, but I guess that type of experience comes with age... He should be good then... Right? How old is he really? Watched a game in HD and I swear I saw liver spots on this cat.

There's so much talent on that Portland team it's just a question of when.

For all the Lakers supporters coming out of the woodwork, I'l say this:

"The Lakers winning the championship is about as likely as America electing a black president..."

Ok, It's a little early, but make your calls now. Who's your sleepers, favorites?... Which team will tank? What players will have ridiculous years?

My team is Denver. I support the Nuggets. I'm hoping they learned a little from last year and they start stronger and play real team defense, but with that group of guys I can't call it.

My sleeper team is Atlanta. They are at 30/1 odds to win the Eastern Conference Championship. I think they are filthy. I love Bibby, always have since he was a Wildcat and Joe Johnson is one of the more under-rated stars in the game. Horford is probably going to average a double- double and so might Josh Smith. I even think Smith could be an allstar this year if he worked at all on his outside game and offensive skills in the offseason...

I'm not going to make any reckless championship calls till a little later in the season...
But that shouldn't stop ya'll.

Just so you know where Vegas stands on your team, here are the future odds for every basketball team according to Bodog Sportsbook, including college hoops.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Memoirs Of A Bitter Bluejays Fan

I hate the Red Sox. I hate the Rays. With the exception of saint Jeter, I hate the Yankees too.
I hate the Phillies because they are not the Jays and I hate the World Series because the Jays are not in it, I guess then I hate the Rays even more because they are in the World Series.

The Red Sox bother me and part of me is glad they lost. The other part of me wishes I could have seen Trail native Jason Bay play in the World Series, because that would have been special on a whole other level... And add additional bragging rights to the home of the Champions.

I know everyone is singing Joe Maddons praises in how he's got the Rays to this point. I'm not on that bandwagon. Not that I missed it, it stopped in front of me, and while everybody else jumped on it, I kicked the back wheel.

Why? Because I'm hater? Yes. But it's more complicated than that. Hate can only take you so far until at some point you have tip your cap to a job well done. But not me. I hate the Rays because they are doing what my Bluejays should be doing. And that type of hate is un-relenting.

As for Maddon...His willy nilly managerial style makes me sick. Yeah, yeah, I see the results, but hate is blind. The man must have the biggest horseshoe up his ass because some of the calls he makes...Percentage wise...Well to be frank, it's borderline outrageous.

He'll stick with right handers to get out power lefties with the game on the line, then in other situations he'll let guys swing for the fences when he should be giving the bunt sign, pushing runners into scoring position and playing for the sure run. He allows B.J Upton to play so ridiculously shallow in center field, he makes last second starting pitching changes for crucial games... He'll even bring in a rookie pitcher with no post-season experience to close out Game 7 of the ALCS against the Red Sox! Somehow he get's the job done.

Will he make me a believer? I'll tell you what...

Every pitch, every at swing, every call, every sign, every steal and every at-bat---I'll be second guessing Maddon the whole way.

Maddon has stuck with all his crazy hunches and the lucky son of a gun has been right almost every time. But I don't buy it. Yeah, I know there's a lot of superstition in baseball. And maybe he really is so locked in, so connected to his young players like a father to his children, that he feels the game. Maybe. And maybe, just maybe he can ride his hunches all the way to a World Series title. As much as I hate, I couldn't say that Maddon and the Rays didn't deserve it after the season they have put together.

If he does get that ring, and that bandwagon shows up at my front door...

I'll kick the tire again.

Cito for president.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

NBA Threatened By European Market

What do Josh Childress, Dee Brown, Earl Boykins and Boston Nachbar have in common?Apart from being role players in the NBA, they now share the distinction of having been the part of recent trend of NBA players migrating to Europe for bigger contracts.

The latest wave of offers threatens to shake the face of the NBA. The Greek suited Olympiacos- has reportedly stated that they are prepared to pay Kobe Bryant around 80 million for three years, perks included. It doesn' t take a beautiful mind to realize that paying that sum of dollars to any player at any time to play basketball for three years is just downright despicable.

Maybe this trend is what the NBA and David Stern should get used dealing with. Make no mistake, it's the NBA stars that Europe is after. Add LeBron James to that European wish list with his contract expiring in 2010; and we just might be looking at an international bidding war.

I think in the next few years we are going to be seeing more and more role players and even broderline stars heading overseas for big money. The NBA is slowly losing it's grasp on a game that has gone completely global. Basketball could very easily become like soccer, where you have several different leagues with the best players in the world spread out evenly.

It's a scary thought for those of us who love the NBA and its rich history.

David Stern is going to have to expand the league into major parts of Europe to be able to keep the NBA as the premier league. Cities like London, Rome and Paris are likely venues but after that it's anyone's guess and it could get a little dicey. The last thing you want is D-Wade waking up in Prague missing a kidney.

The salary cap is also a big issue. NBA teams simply can't compete with the outlandish offers being made by these European suitors. Throw in the struggling U.S economy and things get even more complicated. Higher salaries mean higher ticket prices, which means everything skyrockets while the American economy plummets.

Let's hope D- Stern has a plan, because the NBA is going to continue to lose players to the competitive european market and who can blame them, they have mouths to feed too. But without Kobe and LeBron in the NBA, there is no NBA.

Or am I wrong? Should I be happy that the sport is doing so well? Shouldn't basketball fans be glad that basketball has truly gone global? Or was it never about the sport... Is basketball to North Americans like a favorite tv show that we stop watching as soon as they kill off our favorite characters?

I can't call it. But I know I won't watch a game if Kobe suits up for the Olympiacos and I'll hate him for doing it.

What kind of guy would leave his team for 80 millions dollars and an European villa...

Friday, October 10, 2008

NFL: Who is for Real?

We head into week 6 of one of the most unpredictable NFL seasons in recent memory. Nothing has turned out like it was supposed to. The Patriots aren't undeafeated, the Chargers are struggling, the Colts are suspect, Cleveland is terrible, the Bengals are still winless and a Tennessee Titan team without Vince Young is perfect.

My question is, who is for real?

McNabb and the Eagles have shown flashes of brilliance but tanked last week. Dallas is looking good. With the exception of their shocking home loss to the Redskins, they have been dominant. But it's all about egos with that team, and I'm not sure that new stadium is big enough to house T.O's. It will be interesting to see how they deal with adversity, Mr Owens "me first" attitude might affect team chemistry.

The Redskins might be the flying under the radar, but they have beat some quality teams. They beat Philadelphia, Dallas and handled Arizona. In the next three weeks they play Detroit, St. Louis and Cleveland. We could be looking at a team that is 7-1 going into week 9.

Remeber the Titans. How could we forget them? Vince Young ends up on suicide watch and the next thing you know this team undeafeated heading into week 6. Bottom line, the Titans defense is THAT good. Perhaps the most shocking part is that they are being lead by Kerry "Tom Collins" . This is a guy who didn't quite get it done with the G-men--but then again he was reportedly a raging alcoholic at the time---looks like he's sobered up now. But can he carry them all the way? I'm not con-Vinced.

What about the G-men? Nobody wants to talk about how they are still quietly shitkicking teams. Can somebody please explain to me why they aren't the odds on favorite to repeat---I think I just answered my own question. Nobody rePats.

Who is for real? Who is flying under the radar--who's a sleeper? This season, it's anyone's guess, unless your picking a team from Ohio.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

NBA Top 5 Greatest Players Of All Time

The World is flat, upside down and pigs can fly. Everything that we hold dear to us dies and nothing sacred.

While holding an open gym basketball practice for junior and senior highschool kids I walked into a heated discussion about who the top 5 best of all time were...

5. Wilt Chamberlain
4. LeBron
3. Iverson
2. Jordan
1. Kobe

I threw my ball away in disgust and made everyone jump on baseline. I'm still rattled.

One kid has the nerve to ask me "Coach, how many lines do we got"?

My response: As many as it takes for you to respect the game. Just run.

After practice I thought to myself, is it really that ambiguous who the top five players of all time are?

I mean clearly the list goes....

5. Jordan
4. Jordan
3. Jordan
2. Jordan
1. Jordan


Who do you got?

NFL Bottom Feeders: Who's Going Oh-For

The Bengals, Texans, Rams and Lions are all winless on the season. The Texans probably should have beat Indy last week, the Bengals look terrible, but you would think they have the talent to get one "W". As for the Rams, a coaching change and reinstating Bulger as your QB might get them going in the right direction. And then there is the Lions, a complete zoo, they could have two of the more gifted receivers in William and Johnson but no one can get them the ball.
So the question is...Who is going to run the table in reverse this year?

I still think that for at least one freaking game, Carson Palmer, TJ and Chad Johnson aka Ocho Cinco aka No Show Johnson aka Mouthpiece ---will blow up for at least on game. The Bengals have no excuse. They'll get a win, and Chad will start yapping again.

As for the Texans, they must want to kill Sage after his Evil Knievel impression against the Colts. Slide dammit, slide young man. Everybody wants to be a hero. Instead Sage Rosenfels ended up airborn, spinning like a helicopter, by the time his dummied body hit the ground the Colts had put up 6 on the scoreboard. Schaub is back in, the Texans have a shot at their first win at home this week against Miami.

I'm on the fence between the Rams and the Lions. I think Jim Hasslett is a solid football mind, and he should be able to get this team to the point where they can get at least one game. To me, the Lions jump out at you as the team destined for futility.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Lakers Bandwagon-Register Now

I just saw a picture of the mammoth the Lakers are claiming is Andrew Bynum.

Egads. Can you say "bench press".

He looks like Dwight Howard on steroids. No wonder he was "untradeable". There is only one other guy that I have ever seen that looked like that and his name began with Shaq and ended with "How does my ass taste Kobe".

Okay, so who is jumping aboard the Lakers bandwagon this year? You turncoat sellouts seem to show up around mid May every year. I'm thinking it's going to be a little earlier this year.

Trail AKA Championville

I don't think anyone can legitimately dispute that per capita, Trail BC is King of all sports towns in not only BC---obviously, but in Canada. I think right about now that is pretty much fact. Scoreboard.

Here's another fact. Trail is literally, not figuratively, The Home of the Champions, and I'm not just saying that because I'm from there. They're not just champions of Canada, but the WORLD. Yes, the World. The Trail Smokeaters have won not one, but two World Championships in 1939 and 1961. Two World Championships. Scoreboard.

There was a time--when you couldnt see Trail in hockey, baseball, and even basketball.

Unfortunately, a wave of second rate crack, (which I can only assume was planted by other jealous sports towns) is ripping through Championville and has slowed our dominance to small degree.

I could sound off forever but I don't have to----it's already documented in the WIKI.
Check it.

Here is a great link on the criteria to be a champion in Trail.

Oh and... Scoreboard.

What's your hometown saying?

Friday, October 3, 2008

Cubs In Deep Trouble

The Cubs are in deep trouble. But don't blame the game 1 one loss on the Cubs, that's on the fans at Wrigley. I have never seen a Wrigley crowd so quiet, check that, so NERVOUS! Nervous fans are the demise of every team, especially teams who are trying to break a century old drought. As if there isn't enough pressure on the Cubbies to begin with, not only are they expected to waltz to the World Series, which is absolutely ridiculous in baseball, but they walk into Wrigley Field and find their own fans sitting on their thumbs biting their lips. Maybe the night game threw the Chicagoans off. You know, they were'nt used to getting drunk so late in the day, maybe actually going to work on a Cubs game day might have tuckered them out.

Game 2 was terrible to watch, unless your a Dodgers fan. Zambrano actually pitched pretty well, it's a shame his defense was swiss cheese. The Cubs are in trouble. That is not the same Dodgers team that people think they are. Since Ramirez got there, this team has changed, they've loosened up in the dugout and in the clubhouse- and it has translated to their play on the field. They're having having fun. And why shouldn't they? They have the best hitter in the game which means everyone else is going to see great pitches to hit. It's a fun way to play baseball, just ask the Red Sox and David Ortiz! FYI Red Sox fan--get on your knees right now and pray you don't see No. 99 in pinstripes next year.