- Okay, so the above picture was from Boston's improbable and memorable 2004 World Series Championship, but just know that they have gone on to win it all again this year, after sweeping the Colorado Rockies.
- While the Rockies were not all that great of a team to begin with, but rather the bearers of a hot streak throughout much of October, this series may have proved that the American League's superiority over the National League in baseball is greater than the AFC over NFC in football and the West over East in basketball.
- Alex Rodriguez informed the New York Yankees that he will opt out of his contract this year. What nice timing. I am a man of numbers, but these blow my mind: A-Rod will opt out of a $252 million contract originally signed with the Texas Rangers for ten years. He is walking away from the last three years of that deal, worth $91 million. I repeat, he is walking away from $91 million, in the hopes of earning more.
- I found it interesting how the NFL did not schedule any marquee Sunday Night Football game as to not conflict with the World Series, but came close to holding Monday Night Football a mile away from where Game 5 would have been played in Denver. So much for that.
- Oh, of course, there was a lot of football played today. The San Diego Super/Flaming Chargers burned the Texans, and are suddenly clicking and dangerous.
- The Patriots head to Indianapolis next week. These two have been the best two teams for years now, and everytime they get together it is a shootout, thriller, and instant classic. Each team is undefeated at 7-0, and each are coming off of a series of impressive blowouts. The Patriots have been far more dominant though, setting up a rarity in sports: An undefeated defending champion will be the underdog playing at home. Think about that for a moment. The Colts are at home. The Colts are undefeated, they have not lost since 2006. The Colts are the defending champions. And yet, the Patriots will be the favorites Sunday, and they should be. Go figure.
- Thank goodness the NBA tips off this week, otherwise the hype of this NFL showdown on ESPN and the likes would drive us all nuts.
Sunday, October 28, 2007
Friday, October 26, 2007
- The Boston Red Sox and Colorado Rockies World Series has once again proved that success in sports is based on confidence and momentum. The rusty Rockies are no longer as red hot after a nine day layoff while the Sox are playing at their peak.
- I had a chance to finally watch HBO's Inside the NFL, and Bob Costas and company made the excellent point that, a week from the showdown of the year in Pats at Colts, it seems that the other 30 teams are simply playing for naught. It is odd to every see promotors of a major sport essentially dub an entire weekend of sports insignificant.
- ESPN's Page 2 columns are brilliant. We already know the greatness of Bill Simmons, (that top 8 potential biggest sports stories is laugh out loud stuff) but a new favorite of mine is Greg Easterbook's Tuesday Morning Quarterback, where this week he kicked off the hyping of the Pats-Colts showdown.
- Ironically enough, while the NFL may seem all about two teams, college football has adopted the parity that the pros once held, as pretty much everyone in the top 10-15 has reasonable national title hopes. Should be fun.
- The reason why I picked Houston and Boston to meet in the NBA Finals is not because I am really that confident in them. Rather, I just wanted to be refreshing and bold. It is boring to pick San Antonio and Chicago, and for the sake of basketball, I hope we get some pleasant surprises this season.
- Speaking of bold predictions, back to football: The Chargers, who were already gaining some steem before the fires, are going to rally behind the situation and make a strong run. Do not be surprised if they catch fire and knock off the Colts or Pats in the playoffs.
- One more you ask!? Everyone looking ahead to Colts next week, the Pats finally show some weakness and stumble against the great secondary of the Washington Redskins.
- Finally, by now everyone has heard J.K. Rowling's stunning revelation that the brilliant godlike figure of the Harry Potter series, Albus Dumbledore, is gay. While I am sure this rocked the worlds of many, in my household we have used this news item to institute a new trend: Instead of saying the common phrase, "that's so gayyy!" we now say "that's so Albusss!" Brings a whole new meaning to the term, "Dumbledore's Army", no?
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Phoenix Suns – The world’s best offense is poised to run away with the Pacific yet again. New general manager Steve Kerr traded away Kurt Thomas and two future first round draft choices in order to free up some cap room and sign Grant Hill. With an aging Steve Nash and a strong likelihood of the team being broken up soon for salary purposes, the window of opportunity is closing fast on the Suns. If Nash can stay healthy, the Suns will be right back in the conference finals again.
Los Angeles Lakers – Six years later, the Lakers organization is still reeling from the loss of Jerry West, and has gone from the premier sports franchise to a complete mess. While owner Jerry Buss’ admission that he is listening to trade offers for Kobe Bryant may very well be the beginning of the end of the Kobe era, coach Phil Jackson has quietly made a brilliant move in making Bryant the facilitator of the Triangle offense. The complex offense that has produced nine championships has drifted away in the last few years, but with the ball in Kobe’s hands more, he will emerge as an effective distributor and more of a versatile threat, a la Scottie Pippen of the Chicago Bulls’ dynasty. The Lakers are always a Lamar Odom injury away from missing the playoffs again, but look for former Bruin Jordan Farmar and a motivated Andrew Bynum to finally break out as the next great Laker tandem.
Golden State Warriors – The Warriors were the league’s Cinderella story last year, developing into the pride and joy of the Bay Area. Head coach Don Nelson receives most of the credit for having his former team’s number in route to a stunning upset of the first seeded Dallas Mavericks in the first round of the playoffs last April, but will his coaching style still be effective coming off such a fun run? GM Chris Mullin raised some eyebrows trading away Jason Richardson for 8th overall pick Brandan Wright, out of North Carolina, in a trade that should pay off in the long run. However, in the tough west, the Warriors will narrowly miss the playoffs, sadly reverting the Bay Area back to its former status as a pro sports doormat.
Los Angeles Clippers – The Clippers had their Cinderella run two years ago, forcing owner Donald Sterling to finally open up his wallet and shell out the dough. Then last year, the Clippers reverted back to their status as, well, the Clippers. By re-signing much of its roster before last year, the Clips’ hands were tied heading into this offseason. Throw in Shaun Livingston’s freak knee injury and the loss of Elton Brand for most of the year, and the Clippers are destined for the lottery…again.
Sacramento Kings – New coach and former King himself Reggie Theus hopes to bring a renewed attitude to a team seemingly in a downward spiral. Good move in extending the contract of stud scorer Kevin Martin, but they do not have much hope when their best offseason addition is signing Mikki Moore, who is going to be lost without Jason Kidd pitching him easy layups.
Denver Nuggets – The Nuggets’ Achilles heel has been injuries. If, and this is an enormous if, Allen Iverson, Carmelo Anthony, Marcus Camby, and Nene can all stay healthy, head coach George Karl can develop the team chemistry to lead this team to the league’s elite.
Utah Jazz – The Jazz were a pleasant surprise last season, reaching the conference finals behind Carlos Boozer and Deron Williams, reminding Salt Lake City of the Stockton and Malone days. If the Jazz can somehow get the most out of Russian brat Andrei Kirilenko, the supporting cast led by Mehmet Okur should fuel Utah to the playoffs, where head coach Jerry Sloan is at his best.
Portland TrailBlazers – The loss of Greg Oden for the year is a fatal blow, and there is already talk that he may end up closer to a bust like Sam Bowie than a gem like Shaq. That being said, the Blazers still have a bright future, and the departure of Zach Randolph allows Nate McMillan to hand the team over to its promising youth in Brandon Roy, LaMarcus Aldridge, Josh McRoberts, and Martell Webster. Remember these names, folks, because they are going to become a championship contender sooner than later.
Seattle Sonics – The not-so-super Sonics cleaned house this past year, as everywhere from management to coaching staff to the roster has been replaced or revamped. With ownership fighting the city government in a determined effort to move the team to Oklahoma City, the team wisely decided to trade away Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis while building a team designed to win in a few years, rather than now. The new GM is Sam Presti, formerly of the San Antonio Spurs, and is the genius who discovered Tony Parker in Europe. Similar to their Pacific Northwest rival in the Blazers, the Sonics are going to have a losing season again this year, but have a very promising future.
Minnesota Timberwolves – GM Kevin McHale was never able to build a consistent contender around Kevin Garnett, so the Wolves shipped the athletic superstar to Boston for the largest package of players and picks ever traded for a single player in NBA history. The Wolves will now have to build through the draft around Al Jefferson, Gerald Green, and Ryan Gomes. And they will be picking high, because they are easily the worst team in the west.
Houston Rockets – The Rockets made the best offseason move that no one noticed in signing Steve Francis, and are now in position to win the deepest division in basketball. Remember, Francis was developing excellent chemistry with Yao Ming before being traded for Tracy McGrady. Now that T-Mac and Yao have a legitimate number three, Houston is poised for a deep playoff run under new head coach Rick Adelman’s aggressive offensive style.
San Antonio Spurs – When healthy, the defending champions are poised to win it all again. Problem is, Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobli have a tendency to break down as the season wears down. If Tony Parker develops a mysterious shoulder injury due to a ‘bedroom accident’ with hubby Eva Longoria, then the Spurs title hopes will be more desperate than housewives on ABC.
Dallas Mavericks – Sure, they may have won a whopping 67 games last year, but another choking performance by Dirk and company is sure to deflate the spirits of the Mavs, who will find it hard to be motivated to make another run at a top record. While Avery Johnson is a great coach during the regular season, he lacks the ability to make the necessary adjustments during the playoffs, as seen in the 2006 Finals and 2007 first round series. Dirk Nowitzki lacks the killer instinct to take over in the fourth quarter of big games, and until the Mavs get someone who can win those close games (Kobe…?), Mark Cuban has a better chance of winning Dancing with the Stars than he does winning a ring.
Memphis Grizzlies – Look for the Memphis Grizzlies as the most improved team this upcoming year. Unfortunately for new head coach Marc Iavaroni, they will not overcome the Texas three-step ahead of them in the division, but should be able to at least make some noise with the return of Pau Gasol and the drafting of Mike Conley Jr. to join a promising supporting cast in Rudy Gay, Stromile Swift, and Darko Milicic.
New Orleans Hornets – The full time return to New Orleans this season may be enough to spark some early success like their football counterparts did last year, especially with Chris Paul and David West emerging as the league’s next great duo. But Tyson Chandler and Peja Stojakovic are injury prone, and as good as Byron Scott is, there is no way he can get them ahead of the stacked teams above.
Orlando Magic – The Magic made the NBA offseason’s marquee free agent signing by acquiring all-star Rashard Lewis and guaranteeing him a $110 million over the next six years. While they certainly overpaid, the Magic now have a legitimate cornerstone to go alongside centerpiece Dwight Howard. New coach Stan Van Gundy has brought in Patrick Ewing to help Howard develop a post game, and if J.J. Redick also develops into a consistent offensive threat, the Magic can run away with their division.
Miami Heat – The defending champions were not able to flip the switch and turn the heat on again last season, and consequently were swept out of the playoffs. Remember the name Dorell Wright, as he will emerge as the Heat’s new star. Dwayne Wade and Shaquille O’Neal are still ailing from lingering injuries, so look for Miami to hover around .500 before catching fire and sneaking in the playoffs to make some noise.
Washington Wizards – In the eastern conference, one superstar such as Gilbert Arenas is good enough to make the playoffs. Problem is, this team is nothing without him.
Atlanta Hawks – On TNT’s Inside the NBA, which is filmed in Atlanta, Charles Barkley is fond of declaring that the Hawks will contend in a couple of years. Kenny Smith then routinely asks, “Why, is Shaq a free agent in two years?” referring to the fact that the Hawks need someone huge before they become good. Rookie Acie Law IV will help, but not that much.
Charlotte Bobcats – Michael Jordan’s team has just been set back a year because of the season ending injuries to Sean May and Adam Morrison. For a team that already lacks depth, look for them to remain at the cellar of the division.
Chicago Bulls – Ten years after the completion of the Jordan era, the Baby Bulls finally break through and win the best division in the East. No need to trade for Kobe here, because Ben Gordon and Luol Deng continue to develop into all-stars with Tyrus Thomas and Joakim Noah providing energy and coming on as established role players.
Detroit Pistons – The Pistons are locks to contend in the East as usual, but look for them to be on cruise control through the regular season before making a deep playoff run. Chauncy Billups will need to have an MVP caliber year in order for the Pistons to break through.
Cleveland Cavaliers – The Cavs mysteriously did nothing to improve their clearly flawed team this offseason, and it will be even more difficult for Lebron James to carry the Cavs in a much improved eastern conference that will be gunning for them. Daniel “Booby” Gibson is now the permanent starting point guard, but must develop into a consistent number two option. Head coach Mike Brown has plenty to prove after being exposed as a terrible coach during the playoffs.
Milwaukee Bucks – Andrew Bogut is set for a breakout year, and the addition of Desmond Mason to go alongside sharpshooter Michael Redd provides a solid trio. However, Chinese phenom Yi Jianlian has a long way to go before he even comes close to living up to the hype.
Indiana Pacers – Danny Granger was a pleasant surprise last year, but the rest of this team is not as promising. Expect Larry Bird to finally pull the trigger and move Jermaine O’Neal during the season.
Boston Celtics – What is with Boston and greatness? The Patriots, Red Sox, and even Boston College are all contending for championships. Danny Ainge’s bold moves were the story of the year, acquiring Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett to go alongside Paul Pierce. The Celtics’ trades were so momentous, the NBA postponed its release of the schedule in order to give Boston more games on national television. The question is not whether the Celtics are going to dominate, but rather the question is to what extent. In the otherwise weak East, this stud trio could combine for 60-70 points a game, in route to just as many wins if all stay healthy. Critics point to the lack of a supporting cast and a potentially weak link in head coach Doc Rivers, but remember it only took one great player in Lebron James to carry Cleveland out of the East and into The Finals last year. Imagine what Boston will do with three.
New Jersey Nets – With Jason Kidd running the show, the Nets are always going to be in the mix. Vince Carter has never shown the ability to win games come playoff time, however. Look for Jamaal Magloire to break out with Kidd feeding him.
New York Knicks – Like the Lakers, this once prominent and classy franchise has evolved into a dysfunctional mess. If the players do not rally behind Isiah Thomas for a playoff push, expect the axe to finally come down on him. The real problem though, lies with Mason Square Garden Chariman James Dolan, so do not be surprised if he gets fired first.
Toronto Raptors – Andrea Bargnani shows flashes of brilliance towards the end of last year, so look for him to combine with Chris Bosh to form one of the most dangerous frontcourts in the NBA. If the Raptors were not hidden up in Canada, they would get a lot more attention and respect.
Philadelphia 76ers – Similar to Minnesota in the West, Philadelphia is still in rebuilding mode after trading away their superstar.
Most Valuable Player – Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers
Most Improved Player – Andrew Bynum, Los Angeles Lakers
Coach of the Year – Rick Adelman, Houston Rockets
Sunday, October 21, 2007
Matt Hasselbeck, on pulling his oblique mussle in today's 33-6 win over St. Louis:
It was tough. I think it’s a great thing, I’m actually kind of excited. They told me I tweaked my oblique, which is awesome because I didn’t know I had any obliques. It’s good news, honestly. It’s in there somewhere, so I am really happy about that. I’m going to go home and tell my wife.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
On TV being too intrusive, demanding of players time."I don't think so; not to me. I think it's great, I think it's great for our games. High def television is one of the best things ever invented; second maybe the wheel – or fire, maybe."
On being teased about the falling camera incident in Sunday's game:"I've actually been on my teammates a little bit. I've heard where they saw it coming at me and they were laughing. What about throwing a block or something, you know? Isn't that really your job?"
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
In light or Mark Cuban's overanalyzed remarks on Dancing With the Stars, I was wondering why we do not see any all-star for all-star trades. If a Kobe trade is indeed in the works, it is likely that it would be for less value, similar to the Kevin Garnett, Allen Iverson, and Shaq trades. That is, a disgruntled superstar traded for a couple of young role players and draft picks.
If you are a team like the Dallas Mavericks though, what would stop you from pulling the trigger on a superstar swap? There is no doubt Dirk is just as vital to the Mavs as Kobe is to the Lakers, but I cannot imagine Kobe letting the Heat come back from 2-0 in the Finals or letting the Warriors run all over his team in the first round. While we can forever debate Kobe's character and teamwork, but there is no doubt that in the fourth quarter with a big game on the line, he is the best player to win the game.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Baltimore 22, St. Louis 3 - After such a terrible showing by the backups, Marc Bulger is determined to come back next week in search of their first win.
Minnesota 34, Chicago 31 - Adrian Peterson and Devin Hester stole the show in one wild game. If only the Vikings had a decent quarterback, with a beast of a running back and a superb defense, they would be quite a good team.
Cleveland 41, Miami 31 - Cleveland is reminding me a lot of Cincinnatti a couple years ago when Jon Kitna had a surprisingly good year so Carson Palmer had to sit. Derek Anderson is holding off Brady Quinn for now. Meanwhile, when is Miami going to win a game?
Green Bay 17, Washington 14 - Watched most of this game and am impressed with both teams in all facets of the game.
Jacksonville 37, Houston 17 - ESPN's Jaws says the Jags will give the Colts a game on next MNF.
Kansas City 27, Cincinnatti 20 - Larry Johnson finally gets going. How much of a mess are the Bengals?
Philadelphia 16, New York Jets 9 - I said that Oregon's Kellen Clemens is just as good as Leinart two years ago. We will soon see.
Tampa Bay 13, Tennessee 10 - Madden Curse kicks in on Vince Young.
Carolina 25, Arizona 10 - Vinny Testaverde wins a game at age 44. Kurt Warner goes down, so Tim Rattay steps in. Ouch.
San Diego 28, Oakland 14 - LT is back.
New York Giants 31, Atlanta 10 - Bold prediction: the Giants will contend for the NFC East title.
New Orleans 28, Seattle 17 - NBC’s Andrea Kramer quoted Mike Holmgren on Reggie Bush at halftime of last night’s game: “We knew he was quick, but we did not know he was that quick.”
Are you kidding me!? The supposedly football genius and fellow USC alum underestimated Reggie Bush’s quickness of all things? My great grandmother has no idea who Reggie Bush is, but even she would not be so dumb as to say something like that. What is next, are you going to reveal that you were not prepared for Mack Strong’s retirement sending the Seahawk running game down the drain? You were supposed to fix Seattle’s running game, not New Orleans’. Or are you going to tell me that you did not know that if you do not get much pressure on Drew Brees, he suddenly has the accuracy of Manning and Brady? Nothing that transpired last night should have surprised anyone. They are who we thought they were! And we let them off the hook! *Storms out*
Monday, October 15, 2007
Among the highlights:
For the record, being the most popular thing in the world, you gotta remember, 75% of the world lives in or near poverty. In other words, cheap and easy is almost always the most popular way to go. Is rice the tastiest food? No. But it is easily the world's most popular. Yes, soccer is the most popular sport in the world. It is cheap and easy.
Football is complex, it is expensive, it is not easy. American football is the best game, the most complicated, the most choreographed, and it means the most here, that matters more. We got the dough, we got the brains, and we got the options. Football is smart.
It is not arrogrant when it is true. American Football is better.
Sunday, October 14, 2007
The writers then proceeded to make a mockery out of the fact that Sean Payton thinks bringing in a new high profile kicker will help. Yes, that is the problem leading to an 0-4 record. The kicking game.
That being said, everything is set up for an upset this weekend. The Saints are no longer America's darlings. The pressure of Super Bowl expectations are long gone. Sunday Night Football. Primetime, NBC. All eyes on Reggie Bush, who excels in the spotlight.
Al Michaels: What do the Saints need to do to fix this?
John Madden: Well Al...uh...they need to stop all this turnover stuff.
Wow. Thank you, John.
The Saints are desperate for a win. But the Seahawks are sure to come out fired up after losing to the Steelers...again. More motivation? Mack Strong was forced into retirement this week, so the heart and soul of the Seahawks for the past 15 years will raise the 12th man flag before the game, firing up an already high-on-caffeine Seattle crowd.
If all else fails, we will borrow a page from Pac-Man Jones and make it rain. In Seattle, they are so used to precipitation that they do not even notice it anymore. And we all know how people from New Orleans react to a little water.
Mike Holmgren has never lost to the Saints, and there is no reason to start now.
Seahawks 24, Saints 7 .
- LSU lost in triple overtime 43-37 to Kentucky.
- California lost at home to Oregon State 31-28.
- USC lost its No.1 ranking two weeks ago after being exposed in a close victory against Washington. Then they were stunned last week by Stanford, 24-23. (That same weekend, Notre Dame got their first win against UCLA, and the Anaheim Angels were swept out of the playoffs. Throw in Lakers' owner Jerry Buss saying he would be willing to trade Kobe Bryant, and it was a terrible week of sports in Southern California).
- The season's first BCS rankings feature the 6-0 South Florida Bulls and the 7-0 Boston College Eagles at No.2 and No.3 respectively.
Friday, October 12, 2007
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
Dallas 25, Buffalo 24 - What!? You mean to tell me the Cowboys won this game? Everything went wrong for Tony Romo - FIVE interceptions and a lost fumble. But Trent Edwards interception (why are you throwing up by eight late in the fourth quarter!?) led to a touchdown, followed by an onside kick, followed by a game winning field goal by rookie kicker Nick Folk. Last night's game was by far this season's instant classic, and was reminiscent of last year's Monday Night Meltdown by the Arizona Cardinals against the Chicago Bears. The Bears, seemingly destined to win even after such a horrible quarterback performance, rode the come from behind victory to the Super Bowl. At 5-0, the Cowboys are the clear NFC favorites with the big test looming Sunday against the seemingly unstoppable Patriots.
Houston 22, Miami 19 - Houston is not as good without Andre Johnson, while Miami is still searching for its first win. The story of this game was Trent Green's hit and the trashtalk that ensued after. I am all for being a tough guy and helping your teamates and all, but as a quarterback, he should not be blocking anyone.
Jacksonville 17, Kansas City 7 - The AFC South is the best division in the NFL, and whichever team comes out second to the Colts as a wild card has a chance to give a division winner a game come January.
New England 34, Cleveland 17 - 19-0, anyone? First test this Sunday at Dallas.
New York Giants 35, New York Jets 24 - This game should be played every year. Regional rivalries should be strengthened. Let us see the Jets-Giants, Raiders-49ers, Chargers-Cardinals, Steelers-Eagles, Dolphins-Bucs, Chiefs-Rams, Ravens-Redskins more often then every four years. All these teams practically share territory and fans, so why not spark the league with some intraconference rivalries?
Arizona 34, St. Louis 31 - Kurt Warner is back, and he has the offensive weapons and smart coach to make some noise again. Look for teams to blitz the heck out of Warner though, who is not as great without a clean pocket.
Washington 34, Detroit 3 - So much for my mancrush of Jon Kitna. As for the Redskins, it takes a year for a coaching staff to come together and have its full effect. All those high priced coordinators hired last year are having a positive effect now. Jason Campbell looks like the real deal.
Tennessee 20, Atlanta 13 - What an ugly win. The Titans are one of those teams like the Jaguars who can sneak into the playoffs and give a great team a game.
Indianapolis 33, Tampa Bay 14 - And this was without a lot of key Colts starters. Peyton needed a big win going into a bye after a couple of tough games.
San Diego 41, Denver 3 - Still waiting on Jay Cutler to prove himself. Meanwhile, are the Chargers back? Again, it takes a while for a coaching staff to come together and have its full effect.
Baltimore 9, San Francisco 7 - Eww.
Chicago 27, Green Bay 20 - The Packers lose their first game of the season, while Brian Griese does just enough to get the entertaining comeback win. Are Da Bears back?
Pittsburgh 21, Seattle 0 - People have told me that Seahawk fans should stop talking about that one big game against the Steelers. Okay.
Monday, October 08, 2007
Thursday, October 04, 2007
A couple of the article's highlights, written by David Fleming:
Since he signed a four-year, $11.5 million deal in March 2006, about 20 Lions have given their lives to Christ. Teammates, converted or not, credit Kitna -- and, in part, this religious awakening -- with helping change the previously poisonous attitude in the Lions' locker room. Says [backup QB] Orlovsky, "He is the pulse and the heart and the soul of this team."
Kitna: "My first responsibility to this team is to be a quarterback. But my priority in life is to be a man of God."
Wednesday, October 03, 2007
On Deion Branch getting more involved in the offense:
"I think the first week Coach Holmgren didn't have in on his fantasy team, and then he was able to trade for him and it really changed everything."
On him playing fantasy football:
"I got a real team. It's not fantasy. It's real, live."
On him studying the playbook with help from his wife:
"She plays Coach Holmgren, so to speak. She'll say the personnel group, then she'll say the situation, then she'll say the play. It's much like when you're studying for an exam in college or something. ... Just sort of (studying) during commercials at night when we're watching television, or after that in bed. It's very romantic."