Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Where are the priorities?

Let me be the 1 millionth person to weigh in on what is now affectionately being called "Headbandgate" around the sports discussion world. The only question that I can muster up is "Are you guys kidding me?"

Not even a quarter of the way into the season and this is what we have to deal with? I am still on the fence about whose side I'm on in this fiasco. I understand that team rules are team rules and that they are there to be followed. Scott Skiles is just following John Paxson's mandate and if someone can't follow them then you deserve to get what's coming to you. Ben Wallace knew the rule and still went out to prove whatever assinine point that he had to prove. It seemed that he had some kind of agenda to make known and it's going to do nothing but cause problems within the team as a whole.

When given the opportunity to offer up some sort of apology for his actions he comes out with the wording that he knows the team rules and is "not sorry" for what he did. Not exactly the words that instill confidence that all is well in the Bulls camp.

Skiles has a new job role that he needs to accept in order to right the ship...peacemaker. He's played the babysitter role well to this point in developing the young Bulls team into a playoff team. Now that role changes if the team is to take the next step in their progression.

My suggestion? Win. Winning games breeds contentment and that is just what the Bulls need at this time.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

When a loss is good

I am not one to make excuses for the effort put out there today by the Chicago Bears, they sure didn't deserve a victory by any means. But to me, I need to see the silver lining in this cloud of a pounding.

To make it through an entire season undefeated in this era of football parity is nothing but a pipe dream. Making it this far into the season with an unblemished record is truly something to behold. Naysayers may point to the mediocrity of the competition that the Bears have faced so far, but the schedule is what it is. The Bears have just gone out up until this Sunday and taken care of the business at hand.

A loss like this is the kind of thing that can help the Bears to refocus onthe task at hand to work towards the playoffs and then anything can happen. The hype over an undefeated season can now be put to bed and it's time for the Bears to focus on each upcoming game on the rest of the schedule.

It all starts with the next game on the national stage at the Meadowlands against a very tough and streaking Giants team. No doubt that this week of practices with be some of the most crisp since the start of the season. Time to look ahead and focus on the task at hand...handing the Giants their 3rd loss of the season.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

The fall of the mighty heavyweights

Apologies to those who have checked the site recently only to see an alarming lack of any updated postings. My vacation had ended awhile back, but my brain still had not been in sports mode...that is until this past Saturday. Something had been weighing on the back of my mind for quite some time and it finally needs to be brought up. The heavyweight division in the boxing world is on life support.

I long for the days of Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, and even Lennox Lewis. They were around back when heavyweight bouts had pull and actually meant something. As of this posting, there is only one current heavyweight title holder in the USA and that is Hasim Rahman. His title is being challenged by the #1 contender, Oleg Maskaev, this upcoming Saturday on HBO PPV. With how poor heavyweight bouts have been in the past couple years, what could possibly convince someone to fire down $49.95 to watch this?

Back in the not too distant past the heavyweight division was all that anyone ever talked about, from the hardcore fans to the casual ones. They had all the characters and people saw no problems with putting hard-earned money to watch Iron Mike take on all comers. Love him or hate him, her had the draw needed to bring in viewers. Since his emminent demise into insanity, the boxing world has been forced to move on.

These days the lower weight classes have been where all the good action is at. All the draw is now with the junior welterweight, middleweight, and light heavyweight divisions. This is where the rivalries are being established and the best fights seem to be coming out of. The perfect mix of speed and power are a big part of the increase in popluarity here. Withing the past 2 months there have been a slew of outstanding bouts starting with Jermaine Taylor and Winky Wright (middleweights) battling to a 12-round controversial draw and just ending last Saturday in another controversy filled 10-round unanimous win for Vernon Forrest over Ike Quartey (jr. middleweights). I can't vouch for the poor judging all around these days, but that is to be discussed at another place and time.

Whenever new bouts are scheduled and posted I used to always look forward to whomever had an upcoming heavyweight title fight. But now those days are long gone. I hope that in the future this changes, but I don't see any upcoming fighters with that drive and charisma to really grab my attention. For the time being I will accept what is given to me and enjoy every other title fight from what had been known as the lesser weight classes.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

NBA is over...

and baseball is in midseason form.

Sounds like a good time for this guy to get out of town for some much needed R&R. New postings will be back up promptly upon my return July 4th.

Keep sending any blog topic suggestions and I will be sure to get to them when I get back.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

I am a WITNESS

The saga had to play out this way. Destined from the 2003 NBA Draft to run head to head with LeBron. Picked 5th overall, Dwyane Wade was a rising star from the jump off. He had the slower rise to the top unlike the first pick in the draft who took the NBA by storm. Wade knew to bide his time and with a little patience and a lot of work, he would eventually get his. In just his 3rd year in the league, he did last night.

For one reason or another, I had my doubts going into the finals that a team featuring an up-and-coming star could win with a bunch of over the hill has beens. I was proven wrong. I should have seen it coming, but was too blinded to see that Wade could take the entire city of Miami and put him on his shoulders.

Anyone can say that he got all the calls, but that would only be a half truth. No doubt that he should have paid rent for all the time he spent at the line in the 6 game series, but this was something that he earned. Aside from the occaissional Shaq sighting, this series came down to Dwyane Wade's sheer drive to not lose.

I was fortunate enough to make a trip down to Miami back in March and watched him go toe-to-toe with Jason Richardson that night. Wade dropped in 42, only to be eclipsed by J-Rich's 44. How quickly I forget what the guy can do.

Fast forward to the finals and witness the coming of age of the next young superstar in the NBA. Please feel free the brush off all the comparisons to MJ...there will never be another player of his caliber in the League. D-Wade is his own man and that's just the way he likes it.

Bron-Bron has already come out and stated that with Wade drawing first blood in the rivalry that this just makes him hungrier. That is the kind of gold that David Stern hears to make him sleep better at night. The league is in good hands and I look forward to years and years of great rivalry between LeBron and Dwyane.

Wade drew first blood last night...now we wait and see what LBJ can come back with next time around.

Monday, June 19, 2006

So much for a good time at Wrigley

This may be one of the hands down funniest e-mail that I have ever received. To give you a little bit of background, this is an e-mail that I got from my Mom over the weekend recapping her Wrigley Field experience from the Tigers @ Cubs game last Friday. The result of the game was a 5-3 Detroit win and that still does no justice to the experience that she had at the game. Read on and enjoy...

I have always said that I could go to any type sporting event and have a pretty good time. Well, that changed at Wrigley Field yesterday. What the hell was I thinking????? My friend had Cubs tickets and called me after a couple other ladies already said Yes to going....that way she knew I wouldn't say No. What the heck....it's summer and I wasn't doing anything else yesterday. Plus I could even cheer for the Cubs since they were playing Detroit. I looked in the closets to see if my son had left a Cubs shirt behind after moving out. He had, but it said Sosa on the back...not gonna wear that.

So, off we go to the game and our $40 parking spot. Our seats were far off in right field, behind a post, on the aisle. All I saw for the first 4 innings were the butts of beer vendors, cotton candy vendors (3 in the same row at the same time), Super Rope vendors.....you get the idea. And do any of the Cubs fans ever sit down? Do they fail to comprehend the concept of going to pee between innings? It looked like a fashion parade up and down the aisle. And up and down. And up and down. Wayyyy too many yuppies who were totally uninterested in the game. The girl behind me asked when was the 7th inning stretch. The guy said AFTER the 7th inning was over.

Ok....so I'm sitting in my aisle seat, watching butts go by and thought I'd check the scoreboard that was 20 miles away and hard to read because it's so ancient. I was hoping it was at least the 4th inning but it was the bottom of the 2nd. Long time to go. I decided to walk down for a beer (the only vendors close had Budweiser....Yuck!) and to kill time. I swear you have to walk forever just to find a beer and an overpriced bratwurst. There were more yuppies under the stands than were watching the game. Why did they even bother to come??? The bathroom was crowded and smelly, two little girls were yelled at for using the exit and not the entrance, and there were 100 chickies primping at the sinks.

When I got back to my $28 on the aisle and behind a post seat, I saw that my bag of peanuts had been trampled by the fans walking past my seat to pee or whatever they were doing on the 20 trips they made. I can honestly say that I saw very little of the game. We couldn't hear or see anything.....not that I really cared about a Cubs game. I kept asking my one friend, who was keeping score, what had happened when the crowd cheered. We were sitting in the middle of many Detroit fans, so there was much cheering.

There were a few more positive highlights.......
1. I did cheer for Magglio
2. There were girls in dego t shirts that said "Sox fan. Only here for the bachlorette party"
3. My behind the pole aisle seat was in the shade
4. The game didn't go into extra innings.

Anyone up for a Sox game?

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

And then there were two...

All right, 1 out of 2 predictions isn't all that bad. Who wouldn't be happy hitting 50% of their shots from the field or in Shaq's case, 50% from the free throw line.

First off, before analysis and predictions on the NBA finals, I need to get a couple things off my chest. There are the two things that I absolutely hate the most about the NBA Finals schedule.

1) The 2-3-2 format for home games. How do you go the entire playoffs doing the 2-2-1-1-1 scheduling and then all of the sudden change it around in the finals? I never liked it when the Bulls were running teams off the court in the 90s and I still don't like it today.

2) What will it take to have games back to back or atleast every other day? Playing on Thursday and then not again until Sunday with no travel time needed is flat out ludicrous.

Ok....now I feel better. On to the games at hand.

First off the matchups as I forsee them. Of course this may change throughout the series, but I will start with what best fits positionwise.

Josh Howard vs Antoine Walker
I give Walker one game to shine and actually show up to play and the rest of the time that guy will be MIA for MIA. Josh Howard is going to become the biggest x-factor of this series. His ability to mesh perfectly as second fiddle to Dirk will be a big difference maker. The lack of defensive effort by Walker may cause all kinds of headaches for the Heat if Shaq ever gets in foul trouble.
Edge: Howard

Dirk Nowizki vs Udonis Haslem
Who knows if this will really be the matchup, but if Pat Riley had any braincells left under that oiled up do' then he will need to put a big physical body on Dirk from the get go. From everything proven so far, Dirk has the all-around game that can carry the Mavs and drive the opposing coach out of his mind. He is going to get his points, but the key for Miami is to make him earn them. Atleast Haslem can body Dirk up and force him into the outside shot. If that is not falling then he will be forced to drive and that can cause problems with bigs like Shaq and Alonzo Mourning waiting in the wings as backup. Expect big games and Dirk but he is going to have to earn every bit of it. Haslem on the other hand is going to have to continue to assume his role player position. Get your points where you can and be the rebounding machine that you should be.
Edge: Nowitzki

Diop vs O'Neal
I call this section "The Education of DeSagana Diop" (I needed the help of NBA.com to even get the spelling of his name right). Diop has been nothing short of a major underacheiver in his first 3 years in the league only to finally start to blossom with a new team and system. His primary goal should be to do what he can to go toe to toe with the Diesel and use all 6 of his fouls wisely. Up to this point Shaq seems to be on autopilot for a majority of the playoffs. He will get his typical 20 and 10 plus...just what is to be expected of a big big man on the downside of his career. The Heat will still lean on him to carry them on the court from time to time, but the less they have to force it into him the better. Shaq always seems to excell when he lets the flow of the game come to him around the basket.
Edge: O'Neal

Harris vs Wade
The slightly taller and bulkier (which is not saying much) of the 2 PG starting lineup for the Mavs should get first crack and Wade. Dwyane Wade (I got that spelling right all on my own) is the all-everything player that will need to elevate his game even higher on the games biggest stage. He will ultimately be the one guy for the Heat that controls the game in every aspect. If he can shoot over Harris or take him to the rack then he will need to do that. If he gets the double team, and I assure you that he will see plenty of that, then he needs to distribute the ball to the open man. Devin Harris on the other hand will not be expected to do much on the offensive end aside from his primary ballhandling. This is not a knock on him by any means, but his main focus will have to be on the defensive side of the court.
Edge: Wade

Terry vs Williams
It only took him 6 years, but finally Jason Williams has learned to play the PG position the right way. He runs when he can and now knows when it is best to slow things down and get the team into the offense. His outside shot has improved and he may see plenty of chances when Wade gets double teamed. As long as he continues to play within the flow of the game then he will be just fine. Terry on the other hand is more of the gunner who will do what he can to create his own shots. He is settling into his spot as an undersized SG and pulling it off pretty well so far. He emerges as the best outside threat aside from Dirk and if he can put up 20 a game then that will be a major factor in the outcome of the series.
Edge: Even

Bench
Both teams have had plenty of time to setup their substitution patterns and they have worked well up to this point. With veterans galore on both benches, a couple of games will come down to who from the bench can step up when needed. Jerry Stackhouse has put aside his previous malcontent ways and has been a big spark for Dallas. James Posey has also continued his role as a sub off the bench who can come in and hit the big 3-ball when it is needed most. Gary Payton is a shell of what he once was but can still play some solid minutes to spell J-Will when he needs the rest and Zo' has been doing a solid job up to this point in atleast clogging the middle and keeping the slashers out of the lane.
Edge: Mavericks

Johnson vs. Riley
Pat Riley is the crafty veteran versus the rookie in Avery Johnson. So far in the playoffs there has not been a better coach and in-game adjustments than Johnson. It seems like every move that he has made has turned to gold for the Mavericks. The big questions is can he find a little more of that magic to carry them to the title? Much like his center, Pat Riley seems to have been coasting his way through the playoffs up to this point. That will have to end now if he hopes to add another chanpionship ring to his collection.
Edge: Even

Now for the predistion. This is just the series that ABC has dreamed about getting. No more stale matchups like the Spurs and Pistons. I don't forsee any reason to believe that this one will be a knock down and drag em out 7 game series. I say Mavericks in 7. I can't wait to see footage of Mark Cuban making out with the Larry O'Brien trophy.