Wednesday, May 31, 2006
Kansas City...Kansas City Here I Come
One thing I haven't heard very much about is the Chiefs' abandoned bid to host the Super Bowl. KC taxpayers had already approved renovations for Arrowhead and Kauffman, but the owners wanted a moving roof that would make either one climate controlled. The plan was eventually scrapped, but it sounds like one of the dumbest things I've ever heard.
First, there is no reason to put a dome on Kauffman. None. As for Arrowhead, I would think the Chiefs would want the weather to come into play during playoff games. I saw the Big XII championship game there in a snowstorm, and it was an incredible venue. (In case you are wondering, yes that was the game in which the Sooners beat K State and went on to dominate FSU in the Orange Bowl). Getting one Super Bowl just isn't worth the cost of creating the most idiotic stadium feature I've seen in a long time.
Around The Web:
Here's an interesting piece of legislation:
Just when you thought it was safe to eat a muffin, the terrorists had to go and ruin everything.
Tuesday, May 30, 2006
- Despite what The Chuckster may think, the Suns aren't done yet. I've learned my lesson with these guys. Just when you think you are finally going to be rid of them, they find a way to steal a win. They remind me so much of the Steelers...average team with glaring flaws led by a wildly overrated white dude. Well, we know how that ended for the Steelers. The lesson? I have no idea, but I'm just saying that the Suns aren't done! If they lose Game 4, however, they will then be done.
- The Pistons, however, are done. Let the Flip Saunders bashing begin. Oh, I'm sorry, it already has. Thanks Sheed!
- Thank God the first Monday without "24" was a Holiday...it softened the blow a little bit.
- I bought gas for $2.57/gallon in Marion, SC yesterday. This is the cheapest I've seen gas in weeks!!! I've got no problem with the gas and oil companies charging a lot for gas, but when they decrease the price on one of the most traveled weekends of the year, that just offends my sensibilities as a capitalist, and that really pisses me off.
- Don't miss VH1's countdown of Maxim's Hot 100 tonight. You are welcome.
- Just as a heads up, the final round of this year's U.S. Open at Winged Foot will be played on Fathers' Day. If you'd like to bet against Tiger please call me. Please.
- Gilbert Arenas finally made the leap to super star this weekend as he was arrested on South Beach! He reportedly said "you can't arrest me, I'm a basketball player. I play for the Washington Wizards and I'm not leaving my teammate." Now, if only the Wizards could take translate that mentality to their team defense, they might have something.
- Paris Hilton is reportedly releasing a hip-hop and reggae album. Are you kidding me? I don't even have a joke here!
- Don't look now, but Nomar is hitting .362 with 34 rbi's. Is it possible that he can stay healthy for an entire season and regain his standing as one of the best hitters in baseball? I hope so.
- Finally, congratulations to Coach Bobby Cremins for being named as an inductee to the Atlanta Sports Hall of Fame. This is a long overdue honor. He will be inducted on June 9. For all of you Tech fans out there, when you walk into Bobby Dodd Stadium on September 2 to watch the Jackets square off against Notre Dame in what is expected to be the highest rated regular season college football game in ABC's history, you should remember that none of this would have been possible if Dr. Rice hadn't plucked the prematurely grey haired man from Boone, N.C. back in 1981. Even more than all the wins, the Final Four, and the three ACC Championships, Bobby Cremins should always be remembered as the man that saved Georgia Tech Athletics. Not just basketball, but athletics. And yes, that's a fact.
Friday, May 26, 2006
The NBA held its annual draft lottery on Tuesday night, and for the first time in its twenty one year history, I wasn’t watching. Seriously, I am a HUGE fan of the draft lottery. Even in the years I was estranged from the NBA (1999 – 2004) I always loved the suspense, the anticipation, and the very real possibility that David Stern would rig the Lottery each year. Well, this year, I was tied up with the family stuff so I couldn’t watch the proceedings, but at least with the Knicks not owning the rights to their lottery pick, I knew I wouldn’t miss the greatest conspiracy since the allegedly frozen envelope that later became Patrick Ewing. At any rate, with a diluted draft this year (after all, with the new age limit, and with the influx of all the great high school players into the league over the past few years, the quality of eligible college players is…well…not so good!), the only real suspense was where the Hawks would end up. Fortunately for me, Shalls was still awake when I called close to midnight to get the run down of the Heat/Pistons Game 1 and the Lottery. Unfortunately, he informed me that the Hawks actually fell one position to number 5. After lamenting the fact that the Hawks can’t catch a break, Shalls and I, as only the two of us can, embarked on an hour long conversation of what this meant for the Hawks. More specifically, we batted around about twenty possible trade scenarios because, well, let’s not kid each other…nothing good can come of the Hawks actually drafting a player with that 5th pick. Let’s just say that has J.J. Reddick written all over it!
Well, ultimately, Shalls and I decided that it was too hard to figure it all out at 12:30 on a Wednesday morning, so we tabled the discussion. Needless to say, however, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. After running countless scenarios and running them against the requirements under the Collective Bargaining Agreement (“CBA”), I’ve finally come up with a plan. Actually, I’m not sure I’d go as far as to call it a plan, maybe just a proposal. Before giving you the details, I do want to lay out several rules from the CBA that you may not be aware of:
1) There is a thing called the Traded Player Exception. The nuts and bolts of this is that in a trade, a team that is over the cap can only take back 125% + $100,000 of the salary that they trade away. So, think of it like this: If a team is over the cap and they trade away a player making $10 million the next season, the maximum salary they can receive in return for him $12.6 million.
2) The salary cap is determined by a formula that involves a percentage of what is called the League’s Basketball Related Income (“BRI”). If you want a definition of the BRI, google it. This past season, the cap was $49.5 million or 49.5% of the BRI. This coming season, it’s set to be 51% of the BRI, so we are going to assume a slight increase in the BRI and assume this year’s salary cap will be around $52 million.
3) When you trade a draft pick, it’s “trade value” for the purposes of salary matching is $0. If, however, you draft a player, and then you trade that player, his salary for salary matching purposes is the minimum salary set by the CBA for his draft position. In other words, if the Hawks draft a player at #5 and then trade him, his salary will be calculated at $2.6 million, his minimum salary for next season under the CBA. If, however, they trade the pick before the draft, the pick has no salary for matching purposes.
4) When orchestrating a trade, one team is allowed to give up to $3 million cash to the other team, but this amount doesn’t count for the purposes of salary matching.
5) Don’t be misled by the term “salary cap”. When a team is attempting to re-sign its own free agents (and in limited cases, other team’s free agents), there are a myriad of exceptions (i.e. The Larry Bird Exception, The Early Bird Exception, The Non-Bird Exception, The Mid-level Salary Exception) that allow a team to sign free agents while exceeding the salary cap. And, it’s also important to note that if a team exceeds the salary cap, it is not really penalized (except for possibly hamstringing itself in future free agent markets) until it exceeds the luxury tax level. This, again, is a figure based off the BRI. This past year, this figure was just shy of $62 million. Or, about half of the Knicks’ payroll. God Bless Isiah.
6) Finally, you need to know that making a trade in the NBA is slightly less complicated and convoluted than nuclear power. The Collective Bargaining agreement is hundreds of pages long, and for every rule there are at least 20 exceptions, so I’m not claiming to be an expert. While I think I’ve got a pretty decent grasp on things, there is a chance that I’m missing something in the CBA that would stand in the way of my grand proposal, so if you spot a problem, don’t be shy about letting me know. Also, it’s important to keep in mind that this proposal assumes a perfect world. In other words, this assumes that the other teams involved would go for these deals, and that Billy Knight is actually interested in making the Hawks better. Admittedly, two very big assumptions.
So, here we go. Here’s my grand proposal, which consists of 2 transactions:
Step One: The Hawks sign Al Harrington to a max contract. Under the CBA, a max salary for the ’06 – ’07 season for a guy at Harrington’s experience level is $14.4 million. Now, this signing will be done under the sign and trade exception of the CBA which allows a team to sign a free agent and trade him as long as the contract guarantees that he will be traded within 48 hours of signing the deal. This is the only circumstance under which a team can sign a free agent and then trade him before December 15 of the following season. And, it’s worth noting that you can only do this with your own free agent. In other words, no other team could agree to sign and trade Al Harrington. Okay, that’s too much information. Moving on…
Step Two: The Hawks send Harrington, Josh Childress, and the #5 pick to the Timberwolves for Kevin Garnett. So, the Hawks will be giving up $17.26 million in salary ($14.4 million for Harrington, $2.86 million for Childress, and $0 for the draft pick), and the Wolves will be giving up $20 million for Garnett in ’06 – ’07. At this point, because of the way the CBA accounts for exceptions (trust me, this is waaaaaayyyyy too complicated to get into…just take my word for it), the Hawks will actually be over the cap. If not, they will be close, but they won’t even be close to the luxury tax line. However, because they are taking on well less than 125% + $100,000 of the salary they are taking on, they will be well within the traded player exception. As for the Wolves, by the time they sign the draft pick, they will still be over the cap (since they were over the cap to begin with, they don’t have special accounting for exceptions…again, just take my word for it), but since the total salary they are taking on, $19.86 million ($17.26 for Childress and Harrington + $2.6 for the draft pick) is less than they are giving up, they are within the traded player exception.
Okay, so that’s transaction #1. Now:
The Hawks send Josh Smith and $3 million in cash to the Blazers for Sebastian Telfair. (Listen, I know this is a stretch since the Blazers have like five Josh Smiths, but I’m trying make magic happen!) So, the Hawks will be sending Smith’s $1.46 million in salary to the Blazers in exchange for Telfair’s $1.8 million (remember, the $3 million cash doesn’t count for anything). Again, because of the accounting for exceptions, the Hawks are going to be over the cap, so they have to use an exception. Fortunately, they will be taking on only 123% of the salary they are sending away, so the traded player exception will get the job done. As for the Blazers, they are way over the cap in pure salary alone (remember, the accounting for exceptions doesn’t matter for them), so they are going to have to also use the traded player exception, which of course they can, because they are actually taking on less salary than they are giving up.
Okay, so where does this leave us? Well, if my proposal some how came to fruition, The Hawks roster would look like this:
Kevin Garnett ($20 million)
Sebastian Telfair ($1.8 million)
Joe Johnson ($12 million)
Marvin Williams ($4.175 million)
Zaza Pachulia ($4 million)
Esteban Batista ($664,000)
John Edwards ($1.1 million)
Donta Smith ($745,000) (if they exercise their option)
So, that’s an eight man roster at a total salary of approximately $44.5 million. Since the accounting for all the remaining exceptions will most likely push them over the cap for accounting purposes, the Hawks will ultimately have to take advantage of one of the myriad of exceptions (i.e. Bird, Non-Bird, Early Bird, Ugly Bird, Dirty Bird, Lady Bird, etc..) that would allow them to exceed the cap to fill out the 12 man roster with their own free agents like Royal Ivey, Tyron Lue ( I can’t believe I just wrote that!), and Salim Stoudamire. Or they could even make use of the mid level exception to go out and sign a guy like Jaron Collins to serve as a back up center? Or maybe there is somebody out there that is actually a decent player that would qualify.
At the end of the day, forget about all the exceptions…this shit is so confusing that it is amazing that any deals ever get done…here’s the take away of my grand proposal:
With a starting five of Sebastian Telfair, Joe Johnson, Marvin Williams, Kevin Garnett, and Zaza you’ve got the Phoenix Suns of the Eastern conference. Sure, you still don’t have a true center, but you’ve got an electric backcourt, a potential phenom at the three, a Hall of Famer at the four, and a 22 year old center that averaged 12 & 8 in his first year as a starter. Guess what? You might have the best starting five in the Eastern Conference. Find a way to plug some holes off the bench, and you might have a team that is capable of playing into June.
At the end of the day, the odds of this, or anything similar to this happening, are probably somewhere close to 1 in 1,000,000, but you can’t blame a guy for dreaming. Plus, speculating on what your team should in the off-season is just another reason why the NBA is Faaaaaannnnnnnnnnntastic!
Now that I’ve probably put you all to sleep, I’ll shut and wish you all a happy Memorial Day Weekend. I’ll be back on Tuesday. Go Clips! What? They actually did blow that series? Unbelievable.
Thursday, May 25, 2006
One serious note before the guest blog. The WAD’s father is having a minor procedure this morning, and unless you’re a pagan bastard it would be nice to take a moment and send a quick prayer his way.
Jellybean provides a Spark
For those of you that don’t follow the WNBA, the big news of the season is that Joe “Jellybean” Bryant is coaching the LA Sparks. It would be easy to joke about this, making comments that Mr. Bryant raised the best female basketball player on the planet. I will not make such comments as this article presents disturbing evidence that Mr. Bryant is a sexual predator. I am no longer surprised that Kobe had problems in Eagle, with a father like this he had no other choice.
Mr. Bryant clearly treats the Sparks not as professional athletes, but as his personal harem. Bryant claimed that “I keep the players nice and loose.” Lisa Leslie agreed, claiming that “the team is a lot more loose than last year.” What is disturbing is that the players seem to have accepted Mr. Bryant’s advances. He has said that he enjoys “to have just a handful with many different options off it, they [the Sparks] really accept that and really appreciate that.” Some of the more “experienced” players seem to welcome his advances. Mwadi Mabika said that Bryant allows her the freedom to “do whatever you want to do.”
Kobe never had a chance.
Plummer’s Road Rage
Jake Plummer may or may not have had a little case of road rage the other day. I don’t care. The only interesting thing about this story is that he was driving his 2005 Honda Element. No wonder he doesn’t get any respect around the league, he drives a [insert favorite derogatory term/body part here]-mobile. The guy that rear ended him said "I thought it was some 19- or 20-year-old kid driving a car that his dad gave him, and maybe he needed to be talked to by his dad.”
Sounds like a leader to me.
I Love the ACLU
I know that the WAD is a place where we can all relax and not mention politics, but I keep getting the feeling that the WAD is a conservative establishment. In order to present a more fair and balanced view, I’ve decided to include a feel-good story about the ACLU.
The ACLU is a liberal group that champions individual rights and freedoms. The ACLU firmly supports your freedom of speech. In fact, they have been doing great work recently. Many cities and states have tried to enact laws that would make it illegal to protest at a funeral. These laws are the result of a conservative backlash against those who want to protest the funerals of soldiers who died in Iraq. Find the ACLU’s version here: http://www.aclu.org/freespeech/protest/25433prs20060502.html
"We cannot prohibit free expression because we don't like certain activities, nor can we suppress the speech of groups or individuals simply because we find their message distasteful," said Lili S. Lutgens, ACLU of Kentucky staff attorney. "The First Amendment applies to everyone."
This is an excellent point Ms. Lutgens, the first amendment does apply to everyone and you should always have the freedom to express your opinion. That’s why I was so disturbed by this article:
Check back later for the caption contest. If you’ve got anything good, send it to Big Ern.
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
(I will neither confirm nor deny that this is my hometown. Let's just say that I may have eaten at this McDonald's several hundred times.)
Here's an interesting interview with gay Vito. Is there anybody on the Sopranos without a criminal past?
Reggie Bush gets treated like number 2 by the NFL:
Speaking of number 2, that's the name of the new Jackass movie:
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
Well, I guess we finally know what the Chinese think about Jack being alive. Before I get to that, however, let’s take a look back at the season gone by:
We lost a lot this season. We lost President Palmer, Tony, Michelle, Edgar, and we gained and lost the miserable hobbit all this season. We also gained a lot this season. We gained Karen Hayes, we gained a new appreciation for Aaron Pierce and Mike Novak, we gained a loony but somehow courageous First Lady, we gained a new understanding of syntox nerve gas (Great, something new to worry about), and most of all, we gained a new intense attraction for Chloe! Okay, maybe that was just Hans, but you get the point. With all that was gained and lost, two things remained constant: 1) to be a fan of “24” you have to just ignore a few things and not ask a lot of questions; and 2) Jack Bauer is the baddest 5’6” man to ever walk the planet.
As to the first of these two constants, we had possibly the greatest example of this in last night’s season finale. I am, of course, referring to the fact that not only was the pilot of the President’s chopper more than willing to relinquish his sidearm and control of the chopper to Jack, but there is apparently no button that can be pushed on Marine I to alert somebody that it’s been hijacked. As Hans so aptly put it, sometimes there are more holes than Swiss cheese. You, however, just have to remember that the good far outweighs the absurd, and move on. Just move on.
So, just when we thought all was lost, we realized that Jack was one step ahead of everybody and had saved the day by making Logan FACE JUSTICE!!! We were all ready to ride off into the off-season happily awaiting the next worst day of Jack’s life when the Chinese reared their ugly head and whisked Jack off on a ship to Shanghai. We’ve ended seasons with semi-cliffhangers before, but never anything like this. We’ve never been asked to endure seven months wondering about Jack’s well being before, and quite frankly, I’m really pissed. In fact, I’m so pissed at how things ended that it’s going to take me a few days to process it all and be able to speak rationally. In the meantime, in the tradition that has become Television Tuesday, here are some lingering questions to ponder as we anxiously wait for Jack’s return in January:
1) Anybody else think it was strange that they dropped Chloe’s foreign ex husband on us at the end of the season? Seriously, who is this guy and where the hell has he been for the past three seasons? Am I missing something here? Should I have known about this guy? And one more thing…and I’m just asking here…should it be this easy for a foreign dude to get CTU clearance? I mean, they bitch, moan, and make life a living hell for anybody trying to “break protocol”, but some foreign dude that’s been selling women’s shoes in Beverly Hills waltzes right in? I know, I know…move on!
2) Is there any doubt that Bill Buchanan and Karen Hayes are going to be hooking up when the next season comes around? Can you say mortal lock!
3) Clemency? Are you kidding me? Karen thinks Logan is going to get clemency? No freaking way. If this all happened in real life, even the bleeding hearts in the Northeast would insist on watching this guy die. At least, I hope they would.
4) Was Elisha Cuthbert too busy to appear in more than two episodes? Really? I mean, she was damn near perfect in “The Girl Next Door”, but the movie roles haven’t exactly been pouring in since then. For God’s sake woman, come to your senses and come back for Season 6. Please!
5) What will Aaron and Mrs. Logan’s babies look like? Okay, that’s gross. I’m moving on.
6) Where do I pick up my Wayne Palmer for President in 2008 bumper stickers? Any doubt this is coming?
7) So, there are about 1.3 billion people in China, how many of you do you think will be left when Jack Bauer is done with them?
In all honesty, I don’t have a whole to say about this week’s episode except that something finally came of this whole Vito storyline. Now that he’s dead, and Sil finally found a good use for a dust buster, we’ve got ourselves what we’ve been waiting for: The North Jersey vs. Brooklyn war. If “The Godfather” taught us anything, however, it’s that mob wars are never limited to just two families. Brace yourself for a full fledged battle royal with all five families getting in the mix. It’s all very clear now…this entire season (the season finale in two weeks included) was just a bridge to get us to the final eight episodes. When it’s all said and done, the biggest challenge for Tony in fighting this war is going to be fighting the urge to kill the members of his own family. Seriously, if he doesn’t end up capping A.J. or Christopher, I’ll be stunned.
Monday, May 22, 2006
- I'm really pumped to have Martina Hingis back in our lives. I'm a huge fan of her backhand.
- Barry hit 714, and still I don't give a damn.
- Roger Clemens has narrowed his choices of teams down to four, and he plans on making the big announcement in mid June, and still I don't give a damn.
- Unfortunately, yesterday's Game 7 between the Cavs and Pistons was predictable. It really is true that the better team always wins a Best of 7 Series in basketball. Great run by the Cavs and just a prelude of things to come for the already legendary Lebron James.
- Why in the world did the NBA not have a triple header of Game 7's yesterday? This makes absolutely no sense. Just line up one after another, and let's get on to the Conference Finals. But no, now I've got to stay up until all hours of the night to watch the Clippers tonight. I'm sure this has something to do with the NBA's contractual obligations to TNT, but it still infuriates me.
- Speaking of tonight and television...2 Game 7's and the 2 hour season final of "24"!!!!! Let's just say that this one ranks up there in the all time nights of television. If you call me between 9 P.M. and 1 A.M., not only will I not answer, but our friendship will be over.
- Could somebody make sure that Michael Barrett gets his Midol? We don't want any ugly repeats of what happened this weekend. Get over yourself kid. You were blocking the plate and you got crushed. That's the way it's supposed to go down. It doesn't matter that the guy that ran you over is an unabashed a-hole, you've just got to strap it up tighter next time.
- There is no creepier place on Earth than the Apple Store at Lennox. Trust me on this. Those people are strange, and the music they pump is straight out of "Sprockets." And, despite the fact that they are working retail after dropping out of community college, they all think they are smarter than you. In truth, it's probably not much different than the Democratic National Convention. Just two dreadful places to avoid at all costs.
- Have you seen the new Gatorade World Cup Commercial with the "Go Home Yankees" signs? Man, this is a great one. I get really pumped every time I see it. I couldn't care less about soccer, actually, I think it's an intolerable sport, but when it comes to World Cup I'm on board. The level of outrage that everybody else in the world would feel if we somehow won this thing just makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
- R.I.P. Vito and Marissa. I mean, you both almost killed your shows, but you both died before you could finish them off. So, we have that to be thankful for.
Thursday, May 18, 2006
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
Barkley trying to one up David Blaine. Seriously, you are going to have a hard time finding anything funnier than this.
More from The Chuckster. How many drinks deep do you think he was?
Some classic NBA fights set to a 2 Pac classic. (We miss you Pac) Walt Williams crushing Shawn Bradley made my day.
Big George Muresan's SportsCenter commercial
SportsCenter montage of the best sports clips from the 20th century. Goes to a whole new level around the 1:30 mark when Aerosmith cranks up. Total goosebump moment.
Dave Chapelle does R. Kelly.
Baldwin v. Hannity. Baldwin is a dispicable human being. Honestly, he sickens me. Hannity, on the other hand, is one of greatest living Americans. It was never a fair fight.
A collection of great NBA dunks. Some of these are down right nasty.
These two guys doing their interpreation of "My humps" is high comedy.
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
Well, after all that build up about Monday night, we start with the best of Sunday night. The bad news is that this week’s episode was slow and uneventful. The good news, however, is that I’m going be brief. Here’s where we’re at: Johnny Sac has lost all credibility, Paulie claims to have cancer (don’t think for a minute that I believe this guy), Christopher’s wife still doesn’t look pregnant, Silvio is still unintentionally hilarious, Janice has officially won the title of the undisputed most repugnant character on television, Bobby looks ridiculous with an eye patch/bandage, Meadow is never going to marry Phin, Vito just keeps making things worse for himself, and we are slowly drawing closer to the inevitable Brooklyn vs. North Jersey war between Phil and Tony. Trust me! It’s coming.
The first nine minutes were tremendous. The deletion of the tape was discovered, Jack figured out it was Miles, choked Miles, Karen made the full fledged leap into the baddest woman on the planet, Logan set Bauer free, Bierko escaped, and the world was again under the threat of terrorists. In the words of my man Verne, YES SIRRRRRRRR. I like the “fighting terrorists” Jack much better than the “save my own ass” Jack. So, here we go, five burning questions after last night’s episode:
1) How long until Bill and Karen take it to the next level? I know I’m not the only one that caught the little arm brush and batting of the eyes when Karen said, “I trust your judgment Bill.” I bet you do baby. Live with that visual the rest of the day.
2) Has any fringe character ever made a greater rise to prominence than Aaron Pierce? Honestly, stop and think about this. Year after year, he stood by David Palmer’s side serving loyally and lending help to Jack whenever needed. Now, he has found himself playing the role of full fledged hero, and he plays it well. His “f off speech” to Logan was amazing. And, at the moment when I genuinely thought he was already dead, I was pissed. In fact, I wasn’t this pissed when Tony died. That just doesn’t happen with a fringe every day. I would go as far as to say that Aaron Pierce has built more admiration and loyalty in less lines than any character in television history. And yes, I actually spent thirty minutes thinking about this before coming to this conclusion. I have a sickness.
3) Is Martha Logan capable of having a scene where she’s not crying, shaking, or acting like a complete nut bag? I mean, even when she’s doing the right thing, she’s a mess. I guess I have to give her a free pass thought since Aaron is going to get with her. Doesn’t mean I have to like it.
4) So, are we supposed to like Christopher Henderson now? This is one of the biggest hurdles to overcome in every season of “24”. Just when you get used to liking someone, they turn evil. Just when you think someone is evil, they start working on our side. It gets to the point where you start suspecting that everybody might be a traitor. For example, am I the only one that was looking a little funny at the helicopter pilot flying Jack to the submarine? Maybe it was the goatee, but he just looked shady.
5) Is it really that easy to take over a submarine and arm its weapons system? I mean, Bierko and his men did all this in less than two minutes. If it’s really this easy, I may never actually sleep again.
6) Fine, I’m only asking this one more time: WHERE IS KIM BAUER???? I’m starting to think it’s just not going to happen, but I’ll be damned if I’m giving up that easy.
“Pistons vs. Cavs”
Yes ladies and gentlemen, we have ourselves a series. And yes Rasheed, consider yourself lucky because you are now a witness! Here’s the scary thing: Lebron only shot 8/23 last night, and the Cavs still won. Of course, those 8 boards and 9 assists didn’t hurt. If he finds a way to lead the Cavs to a victory in this series…well….I just really don’t even know what to say. We’ve finally found the person that leaves me speechless.
“Spurs vs. Mavs”
Good thing for Dirk the refs only let Bruce Bowen get away with 6 hacks a possession. In all honesty, the way they let him manhandle people is UNBELIEVABLE. It’s even more amazing when you consider that nobody else in the league can so much as look at a guy with the ball in his hands without getting a whisle. How did this ever happen? I mean, we’re not talking about Kobe, Lebron, or even a fringe All Star. We’re talking about Bruce Freaking Bowen! For the good of the League, could we hire somebody to get those pictures of Stern back from Bowen? Okay, I promise, that’s the last time I complain about this.
Luckily for the Mavs, they were able to pull this thing out in O.T. so the Bowen absurdity didn’t matter. What did matter, however, was how the Spurs played the last :26 of overtime. What was going on there? They were down five points and had to foul, only….they didn’t foul!!! It’s almost as if Al Skinner suddenly inhabited Pop’s body. I’m still absolutely baffled by this. If any of you have an explanation for this please enlighten me.
Boy, stealing an organ isn’t nearly as big a deal as I thought it was. Granted, I’ve never dealt with this area of the law, but I’ve got a hunch that there are some statutes that cover this. Oh, and, I had no idea that you could get a new heart and be sitting up professing your love to a beautiful woman in a matter of hours. This is the kind of stuff you learn on “Grey’s Anatomy”. Well, putting the sublime and the ridiculous aside, the three hour, two night season finale was great. Granted, I don’t think it was as good as I hoped it would be, but it was solid. Now that it’s all said and done, I don’t have too much to say. Well, except:
1) Put watching a dog being euthanized on the list of things I could have done without seeing on television.
2) O’Malley is lucky that he made up with his girlfriend, because she would undoubtedly beat him down. Seriously, a total mis-match.
3) Even though Janice from “The Sopranos” has stolen her crown, Dr. Yang is still absolutely disgusting. At this point, I don’t even think she could redeem herself by ending world hunger and curing all of Jerry’s Kids.
4) If Meredith wants people to stop calling her a whore maybe she should try not sleeping with a married man. Just a thought.
5) All of you with the “no way Denny makes it through this season” ticket please step forward and collect your winnings at the first counter. (Of course, it only pays $.10 on the dollar, but hey, you’re still better off than Denny.)
6) Everybody who wants to buy a “Izzy really quits the program” ticket, step right up, I’ll be happy to sell you one at a good price, and….
7) you can pick up your “Burke never performs surgery again” ticket at the same time.
8) Poor Chris O’Donnell. First Matt Damon and now Patrick Dempsey! This guy just can’t catch a break.
Monday, May 15, 2006
- I've been to Nashville a couple of times now, and I really don't see much reason to go back. It's a nice town, but not remarkable.
- This Clippers vs. Suns series is as entertaining as it gets. Lots of points, lots of dunks, and Sam Cassell is involved. Can you ask for more?
- What else could possibly go wrong for Vito? Seriously, it's just getting painful to watch his demise.
- What are the odds that Phil Leotardo tries to kill Tony at some point? I put them at 1 to 7.
- Is there anything more entertaining that sitting around drinking bourbon and tossing around quotes from "Hoosiers" with old friends? I don't think so.
- I had a conversation with a buddy this weekend that has first hand knowledge of Lebron's greatness. He said, "if he doesn't get hurt, he will absolutely be the greatest to ever play the game." Yes, we are all lucky to be witnesses.
- My buddy, Timmy, emailed me this morning about last night's "Grey's Anatomy", and I agree with his take: We could be seeing the first time in television history that an average season of a t.v. show is elevated to Hall of Fame status with the season finale. Last night was amazing, and tonight has the potential to be legendary.
- Let me get this straight, the Knicks have $125 million in payroll committed for next year, and they are going to pay Larry Brown $40 million to walk away? Seems reasonable. Again, I am begging, GIVE ME THIS JOB!!!!
- Nice hustle Adam Laroche. I appreciate the effort!
- This just in....Billy Knight thinks he's smarter than you. No, stop laughing. He's serious!
- 5 lbs. in your back pack, a gun in your console, and the best you can come up with is "it isn't mine?" C'mon Ramonce! You are a national champion, you can do better than that!
- Finally, let me put this in perspective: Last Wednesday, my best friend gets engaged. Then, on Saturday, one of my oldest and best friends gets married. Now, this Saturday, another one of my best friends is saying "I do." At this rate, I'm destined to be the George Clooney of my group of friends. Well, minus the good looks, the wealth, and the endless stream of hot women. But, I ask you this....does Clooney have his own blog or live on a sun porch? I think not! Seriously, congratulations to Colby, Kyle, and Alec. They have all undoubtedly out punted their coverage, and I'm very proud of them all.
- And, I'm gone....
Friday, May 12, 2006
I know that you might be asking yourself, “why should I care about Griffey hitting a game winner on May 11?” Well, I’m going to tell you why. Since the Summer of ’98, four things have happened to baseball fans: 1) McGwire and Sosa captivated us in the summer of ’98; 2) Barry Bonds launched a sordid assault on the record books; 3) BALCO; and 4) We forgot that Ken Griffey Jr. is the greatest baseball player of the last quarter century. The first three are topics for another day, but the last…well…it’s time to refresh our memories. So, strap on your seat belts, sit back and relax, and enjoy the ride. First stop…1989.
On April 3, 1989, a 19 year old kid with a chronic case of perma-grin and his hat turned backwards started in center field for the Seattle Mariners. At the time, we knew a few things about that kid. We knew his Dad was a pretty good ball player in his own right. We knew that the Mariners had taken him number 1 overall in the ’87 draft, and we knew it only took him a year in the minors to make his way to the Show. And, we knew that the kid was nicknamed, well, The Kid. That’s what we knew. What we soon learned was that The Kid was a gem of our generation. You know, a player that makes old men say things like “these guys today are good, but none of them compare to (fill in the blank).” Our Grandfathers had Dimaggio and Williams. Our Fathers had Mays, Mantle, and even Clemente. It quickly became clear for our generation there was only one true gem…The Kid.
By the time he was 20 years old, The Kid was already an All Star and Gold Glove winner. By the time he was 21, he had his first 100 RBI season, and by the time he was 23, he hit 45 homeruns. Remember, that was back when 45 homeruns meant something. As if the mounting numbers weren’t enough, he played the game with an ease and joy that I have never seen before or since. There was no ball out of his range in the outfield. The centerfield wall was a mere inconvenience, and his swing was so sweet that every little boy in America was begging his father to teach them to hit left handed so he could emulate it. And, through it all, he just kept smiling. I honestly don’t remember one interview from those Seattle years in which he wasn’t smiling and wearing that hat backwards. The Kid's combination of talent and charisma led to instant superstardom. Hell, aside from Michael Jordan, there was no bigger star in the world of sports. None!
As the 90’s wore on, somewhere along the way, the media stopped calling him The Kid and started referring to him simply as "Jr", but not much else changed. He kept hitting homeruns, driving in runs, winning gold gloves, and most remarkably of all…he actually put Seattle on the baseball map. Despite the fact that they played in an airplane hangar; despite the fact that it rains 320 days a year in Seattle; and despite the fact that 90% of the people in Seattle were more likely to spend their nights looking for the next Pearl Jam or Nirvana than attend a baseball game, Jr. actually turned the Mariners into a winner. By 1995, the Mariners were a playoff team, and they took out the Yankees in a classic come from behind 5 game series. In that series, Jr. hit .391 with 5 HR, 7 RBI, and 9 runs scored. Yea, he was pretty good.
.299 Batting Average
10 Gold Gloves
10 All Star Appearances
1 AL MVP
1 MLB Player of the Year
So, the 20th Century closed with little doubt that Jr. was the best player of the 90’s, and we had no reason to believe that his reign wouldn’t stretch through the better part of the new decade. In fact, when, on February 10, 2000, he was traded to his hometown Cincinnati Reds, it looked like Jr. would play out the second half of his career and ride into the Hall of Fame in storybook fashion. Things went according to plan his first season with Jr. hitting 40 homers and driving in 118 runs. In 2001, however, the roof suddenly started to cave as injuries began to mount.
Well, last season, much to my delight (and relief) Griffey gave the world an emphatic “not so fast” when he managed to stay healthy for 128 games, belted 35 HR, and drove in 92 runs. Consequently, as this season dawned, I was hopeful that, at age 35, Griffey could start one final push, in the twilight of his career, to leave no doubt that he was best player of our generation. Unfortunately, it only took eight games to realize that the final push is, in all likelihood, not coming. Griffey's gimpy knee forced another trip to the DL, and frankly, until I was flipping channels last night, I didn't even know that trip was over.
So, there he was last night…fresh off a month long stint on the DL, digging in with two men on base, down two runs, one out in the Bottom of the 11th. Six years ago, I would have put even money on Jr. coming through in this spot. Last night, however, I wouldn’t have taken 20-1 odds on this ending well. Suffice it to say, I’m lucky there were no odds makers in the house last night. As the ball soared out of the park, Griffey raised his arms as he started that patented trot around the bases, his teammates charged out of the dugout like they had just won Game 7 of the World Series, and as they mobbed Griffey as he crossed the plate something special happened…we saw that smile again!
Thursday, May 11, 2006
Over the past few weeks it has become very clear to me that one of the favorite things for WAD readers to do is hate on Kobe. I definitely understand. I mean, I used to be one of you. Well, since we don't figure to see much of Kobe for the next few months, I figured I'd give you one last chance to hate. So, I went back in the archives and found a photo that ugajules sent to me a while back. Hate away boys:
1) I've got to send a big shout out to the guys of "Mayhem in the A.M." at 790 The Zone here in Atlanta. Steak, Mike, and Chris host the best morning show in the city, and they were kind enough to have me on for a few minutes to talk about The WAD. It was great to sit down with these guys and talk a little sports and just see how the show works. I, of course, was a little nervous about being live on the radio, but once things got rolling it was a really good time. Thanks to all of you that listened. I had some really nice phone calls from a few of you, and I appreciate you waking up at the crack of dawn to listen. Just further proof that the best thing about The WAD is undoubtedly the readers.
2) The Heat and Clips both came back strong last night and destroyed the Nets and Suns respectively to even their respective Series at 1-1. Should we be surprised? Of course not. In a 7 game series, Game 2 is always a "must win" game. No team, I don't care who you are, can afford to spot the other guy two games in a race to four. So, it's inevitable that the team that dropped Game 1 is going to come out more emotionally charged than the other guy. Couple that with the fact that the Clips and the Heat are better teams than the Suns and the Nets, and last night's results were inevitable. The same, of course, was true for the Mavs in Game 2 against the Spurs. And yes, the Mavs are better than the Spurs. This rule, however, certainly didn't apply to the Cavs, because there is no level of emotion or motivation sufficient enough to overcome the difference between them and the Pistons!
3) Can you believe that Charlie Casserly resigned yesterday as the Texans GM? I'm floored by this. I know this has been rumored for months, but how in the world can you pull what he pulled on draft day and then walk away? It's incomprehensible. If I was a Texans fan, I would be out of my mind right now. There are only two possible explanations: 1) Charlie knew he was on his way out, he was bitter about it, and he decided to hose the Texans on his way out; or 2) This decision was made before the draft and Charlie wasn't calling the shots on draft day. If it's option #1, I don't agree with it, but I can respect that. If it's option #2, however, somebody better man up and take responsibility for passing on Bush. This, of course, won't happen. Regardless of the circumstances, if Reggie Bush ends up being the second coming of Barry Sanders, all we are going to hear out of Houston is "it was Charlie Casserly's call." The moral of this story? The Texans are a mess.
4) Okay, I'm still not emotionally ready to devote and entire article to the current state of the Braves, but it's time to briefly break my silence. I can't tell you how many times this season I've heard "I just wish we still had Leo." Listen, you won't find a bigger Leo Mazzone fan than me, and it pains me to see him on the Orioles bench. The problems with the Braves, however, go much deeper than the loss of Leo. When you are 11th in the National League in batting average, 13th in On base percentage, and when your lead off hitter is hitting .205 with a strike out every 4.68 at bats, you can't expect to win. You just can't.
Check back in this afternoon for the weekly Caption Contest.
Wednesday, May 10, 2006
1) Michael Corleone: I've always taken care of you, Fredo.
Fredo Corleone: Taken care of me? I'm your older brother, Mike, and you're taking care of me? Did you ever think about that?
This, of course, is Fredo’s feeble attempt near the end of “Godfather II” to explain to Michael why he felt compelled to betray him. Essentially, a life of being overshadowed and unappreciated had pushed him to the breaking point. Well this quote goes out the 11 guys on the Cavs not named Lebron. As the legend of Lebron has grown this season with 50 wins, insane statistics, and a first round playoff series victory, one thing we never actually hear about is the 11 other guys that wear the Cavs’ jersey. I often wonder how they feel about this. By all accounts, they seem fine with the fact that they are widely known as the Lebrons, but I can’t help but think they have to feel a little like Fredo. I mean, it’s one thing if the guy overshadowing you is a seasoned veteran that has fought the wars and paid the dues, but when he’s a 21 year old kid that has been dubbed a superstar since he was a sophomore in high school, it might be a little tough to take. Imagine if some kid straight out of college came waltzing into your office and started calling the shots. How would that go over? Yea, not so good. Well, at least the Lebrons can take comfort in the fact that this time around the younger brother is taking the bullet in the back of the head right along with them.
2) Tony Montana: You think you can take me? You need a f***ing army if you gonna take me!
This crazed declaration comes from Tony during the final shootout with Sosa’s assassins in “Scarface”. This quote goes out to Kobe Bryant. Just like Tony, Kobe’s rise was fast, but he couldn’t overcome his own paranoia and arrogance. Just like Tony, Kobe kept firing and firing and tried to do it all on his own. And, just like Tony, Kobe ultimately died a bloody death. Unfortunately for Lakers fans, unlike Tony, Kobe forgot to bring his gun to the second half of Game 7.
3) Richard Hayden: That guy may not call us.
Tommy: I can't believe he called me a psycho.
Richard Hayden: Hey, were you in there just now? You are a psycho... Good God. And fix your hair.
This classic exchange between Spade and Farley in “Tommy Boy” goes out to Chris Kaman of the Clippers. Look, there was no way I could go through this thing without calling attention to the fact that Kaman is the scariest looking man in all of professional sports.
4) Principal: Mr. Madison, what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.
Billy Madison: Okay, a simple "wrong" would've done just fine.
Who else could this exchange from Billy Madison go to the worst GM not named Babcock in the history of the NBA, Isiah Thomas. In all honesty, Billy’s ramblings out the puppy that lost his way made a ton more sense than anything Isiah did this season. Let’s just review some numbers:
4 point guards
$123.7 million in salary this year
$125.5 million in salary this year
1 coach that is more likely to kill his starting point guard than make the playoffs
1 public threat to Bill Simmons
On the bright side, Isiah is probably licking his chops to send Steph to Portland in exchange for Darius Miles and Theo Ratliff, and we will have the reunion of D&Q (Darius and Quentin Richardson for all those of you that haven’t been following the Clippers for the past five years). On a side note, does any one else find it offensive that Darius Miles makes $7.5 million/year and Theo Ratliff makes $11.6 million/year and it would take both their salaries to match Steph’s average salary for the next three years? By the way, I just conducted much more analysis of this deal than Isiah ever would. In fact, it might take me a full day to explain to Isiah why it’s important to make NBA salaries match up in a trade. NOTE TO THE FOLKS AT CABLEVISION THAT OWN THE KNICKS: I WILL DO ISIAH’S JOB FOR 1/10 OF ISIAH’S SALARY. THINK ABOUT IT. HONESTLY, I COULDN’T DO WORSE!
5) Will: Beethoven, okay. He looked at a piano, and it just made sense to him. He could just play.
Skylar: So what are you saying? You play the piano?
Will: No, not a lick. I mean, I look at a piano, I see a bunch of keys, three pedals, and a box of wood. But Beethoven, Mozart, they saw it, they could just play. I couldn't paint you a picture, I probably can't hit the ball out of Fenway, and I can't play the piano.
Skylar: But you can do my o-chem paper in under an hour.
Will: Right. Well, I mean when it came to stuff like that... I could always just play.
This exchange between Damon and Minnie Driver in “Good Will Hunting” goes to Clippers 20 year old point guard Shaun Livingston. Most of you probably haven’t had a chance to really watch this kid play, but trust me when I tell you that he’s special. He’s 6’7”, has a sick handle, plays with a smoothness reminiscent of Andruw Jones in centerfield, and has an innate unselfishness that you just don’t see every day. Some people are eager to compare him to Magic, but I’m not ready to go that far. For now, let’s just say that this kid can just play.
6) Caine: First I get shot, then you're gonna drive me home? Somebody must want me to die.
This moment of levity from “Menace II Society” goes out to Denver Nuggets rookie Julius Hodge. Hodge got called up from the D-League just in time to get shot. Kind of makes getting punched in the junk by Chris Paul back at N.C. State look like a walk in the park.
7) ESPN Announcer: So Roy, where have you been for the last fifteen years?
Roy: Well, I uh, well, ya see, I uh... Drinking. Lot a drinking.
ESPN Announcer: I see. Well, are you still drinking?
Roy: No. I uh... I put... uh... Why, you buying?
One of my favorite exchanges from one of my favorite movies goes to Vin Baker of the Los Angeles Clippers. That’s right, Vin somehow managed to get himself back in the league for a little run with the Clips this season. How is this even possible? Even more astounding is the fact that he started a game. Reason # 4735 that the NBA is FAAAAAAANNNNNNTASTIC!!!
8) Alex Hitch Hitchens: Basic Principles - no matter what, no matter when, no matter who... any man has a chance to sweep any woman off her feet; he just needs the right broom.
This little sage advice offered by Will Smith to Kevin James in the mildly amusing “Hitch” goes to Tony Parker. Let’s just say that he must have had one hell of a broom to end up with Eva Longoria. Come to think of it, does anybody have a better life than Tony Parker? He’s one of the best point guards in the League, he’s rich, and he is dating one of the most gorgeous women in the world! Wait a minute…I forgot…he’s French. Oh well, nothing is perfect.
9) Little Bill's wife: Don't stop, Big Stud!
Just one of many memorable quotes from “Boogie Nights” goes to the now infamous Reggie Evans of the Nuggets. I think I’ll just leave it at that.
10) Peter Gibbons: You see Bob, it's not that I'm lazy, it's that I just don't care.
This gem from “Office Space” goes to both Lamar Odom of the Lakers and Darius Miles of the Clippers. Sure, their numbers were respectable enough, but if you watched both these guys for any extended period of time you certainly noticed that they both looked as interested as an atheist in church. Granted, with the Mamba all but swallowing the ball whole in L.A., Lamar may get a pass, but I do wish that just once we could talk about the player he is rather than the player he could be. As for Miles, well, maybe if he does end up in New York, that will be the fresh start he needs. After all, it’s worked wonders Steph, Steve Francis, and Eddy Curry!
11) Maverick: Jesus, this guy's good!
This quote from Maverick as he and Goose went head to head with Viper in “Top Gun” goes to Carmello Anthony of the Denver Nuggets. Just like Maverick seemed surprised at just how good Viper was, I’m constantly amazed at just how good Carmello is. When we talk about the class of 2003, we mainly talk about the greatness of Lebron and D. Wade and the failures of Darko. What we seem to always forget is the kid that was the third pick in that draft: Carmello. This was a true break out season for Carmello. He averaged 26.5 pts/game and led his team to the playoffs despite Marcus Camby’s injuries and Kenyon Martin’s insanity. No small accomplishment. And, according to 82games.com, Carmello hit more game winning shots (11) than any other player in the league. He’s truly become an assassin. When he came in the league, I thought he would end up being a new version of Glen Robinson. Well, now it seems he may be more like a new version of Reggie Miller. The lesson, of course, is that I’m a moron.
12) Tommy DeVito: Sure, mom, I settle down with a nice girl every night, then I'm free the next morning.
This quip from Pesci to his mother in “Goodfellas” as Billy Batts waited in the trunk goes to Shawn Kemp. Sure, Kemp’s comeback attempt failed, but it would be a shame not to give a shout out to the most fertile man in NBA history.
13) Henry Hill: For us to live any other way was nuts. Uh, to us, those goody-good people who worked shitty jobs for bum paychecks and took the subway to work every day, and worried about their bills, were dead. I mean they were suckers. They had no balls. If we wanted something we just took it.
Another classic from “Goodfellas” goes to both Penny Hardaway and Grant Hill. Listen, both these guys were two of my childhood favorites, but facts are facts. These two combined to play 25 games this year for a combined salary of $31.4 million. That’s $1,256,000.00 per game. Any way you look at it, that’s just plain stealing money!
14) Lou Gehrig: Today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth.
This famous excerpt from Gary Cooper’s tear jerking portrayal of Lou Gehrig’s real life farewell address in “Pride of the Yankees” goes to now back to back M.V.P. Steve Nash. So what if he is one of the worst defensive players in the league? So what if Kobe and Lebron had two of the most remarkable seasons of our lifetimes? So what if he’s now been placed in the rarified air of other two time M.V.P.’s such Bird, Magic, Jordan, Kareem, M.J., and Moses Malone? Let’s just forget about all these things and go ahead and make him the M.V.P. And yes, I’m growing increasingly bitter about this by the day.
15) Roger Murtaugh: Have you ever met anybody you didn't kill?
Martin Riggs: Well, I haven't killed you yet.
This exchange between Glover and Gibson in one of the all time underrated funny movies of all time, “Lethal Weapon” goes to Isiah Thomas and Larry Brown. I know I’m really picking on Isiah, but I couldn’t resist. Can’t you just imagine him and Larry Brown having a conversation very similar to this on this summer? Hell, I’d be surprised if it hadn’t already happened.
16) Prince Akeem: Fascinating. Semmi, look at this. America is great indeed. Imagine a country so free, you can throw out broken glass on the streets.
One day, I want to do an entire column based on quotes from “Coming to America”, but for now, just this one will have to do. Well, this one goes out to the San Antonio Spurs. I don’t know if the six foreign born members of the Spurs are fans of broken glass in the street, but I’m sure they would all agree that America is great indeed. There is no better proof that Czar Stern’s plan to take the game global has worked. Further evidence that he is in fact a genius. Must be that Columbia law degree!
17) Coach Norman Dale: Five players on the floor functioning as one single unit: team, team, team - no one more important that the other.
One of the greatest quotes from the greatest sports movie of all time, “Hoosiers”, goes to the Detroit Pistons. They’ve been a machine for the entire season, and they look unbeatable right now. With four guys averaging over 14 points/game and twelve guys averaging over 10 minutes/game, they are a tribute to the virtues of team basketball. Just a pure joy to watch.
18) Coach Norman Dale: If you put your effort and concentration into playing to your potential, to be the best that you can be, I don't care what the scoreboard says at the end of the game, in my book we're gonna be winners.
We’ll close with one of the real goose bump moments from “Hoosiers”, and I’m giving this one to the Cavs and anybody else that faces the Pistons the rest of the postseason, because a moral victory is all they can hope for. If the Pistons keep playing like this, there’s not a team out there that can even push them to a 7th game. It’s like Bird asked at the ’88 three point contest in Chicago, “Who’s finishing second?”
So, there's my 2006 NBA Awards. Remember, it's just the beginning of the list. I look forward to what you guys can add.
Tuesday, May 09, 2006
This week’s episode, like so many others this season, left us with more questions than answers. For example, who is this chick that Christopher just married? I mean, we’ve never so much as seen her before, and now she is married to one of the most important characters on the show? Bizarre to say the least. Even more bizarre is why a woman that is supposedly pregnant is swigging wine at the Soprano Sunday dinner. I’m certainly no expert on these types of things, but I’m pretty sure you aren’t supposed to booze it up when you are pregnant! So, is she really pregnant, or did she lie to Christopher to get him to marry her? Christopher certainly isn’t what most people would call…well…smart, but even he’s not dumb enough to take her word for it. Is he? Well, he is the same guy that thought it would be a good idea to slug an 80 year old woman two weeks ago, so I guess anything is possible.
As for some other questions arising from this week’s episode, we’re also left wondering if Mr. Walnuts, in addition to being the bastard child of a nun (how funny does that sound when you say it out loud?), has prostate cancer? Is Carmella about to figure out that Adrianna didn’t just run away? Stop and think about this for a minute. How absurd is it that the writers expect us to believe that these people that live their lives surrounded by people that eventually get whacked simply took it at face value that a woman that was their friend, their family, and a part of their inner circle, just disappeared with no warning or explanation? We are supposed to believe that nobody found this the least bit suspicious? Nobody found it somewhat strange that she just fell off the face of the Earth? Again, further proof that even the greatest television shows require us to take a leave from our sense of reality from time to time. So be it. It’s a small price to pay.
Well, enough of the questions resulting from this week’s episode. As I watched last night’s episode, it occurred to me that everything that happened to Christopher this week represented a microcosm of what makes “The Sopranos” such a special show. Bear with me for a second as I break this down:
In a 57 minute span last night, we saw Christopher happily embrace the prospect of being a father and marry a woman we’ve never seen before. Then, we saw him ecstatic after he shot a man in the chest. Next, we saw him profess his love for Tony after recalling the memory of Tony commissioning the murder of his fiancé’. The look in his eye when he told Tony he loved him was the look of a pained and desperate man. Truly one of the most powerful moments in the history of the show. The exchange between Tony and Christopher seemed to clearly show that Christopher views Tony as a father, and he desperately seeks his love and approval. In fact, it can be argued that his entire life is dedicated to seeking Tony’s approval. Okay, that’s a little deep….I’ll move on while I still have my man card. Any way, the next thing we see is Christopher buying his dream house in the suburbs where he hopes to raise his family. Next, we see Christopher relapsing into his old junkie habits and ending the night stroking a stray dog as the Feast closes around him. Finally, we see Christopher in Tony’s basement in a clear attempt to confess his transgression and seek support from Tony. However, their exchange was awkward, and a painful illustration of just how little they have in common.
As should be obvious, this week’s episode was a roller coaster ride for Christopher. It, however, may have been even more of a roller coaster ride for us. In one episode, we saw his complete lack of morality on the one hand, and his capacity to take responsibility for his actions on the other. We saw a man that is weak enough to get strung out on heroin, but desperately wants to raise and provide for a family. And, we saw a man that wants nothing more than the approval of the man he views as his father figure…a man that is willing to do anything to gain that approval. Most of all, we saw a man that, despite all his faults (i.e. theft, murder, drug addiction), we root for. We want Christopher to succeed. We want him to stay off drugs, have a son, live in a nice house, have a happy marriage, and be appreciated and loved by Tony. And, therein lies the secret to “The Sopranos”: For some reason, no matter how vile these characters are, no matter whom they kill, who they steal from, who they lie to, how self indulgent and irresponsible they are, we are willing to forgive them. We want nothing more than for the series to end with Christopher, Tony, Carmella, Silvio, Paulie, A.J., Meadow, and the rest of the crew to somehow live happily ever after. Why? Well, at the end of the day, the answer is easy: Over the 7 years and six seasons we’ve been religiously watching the show, we’ve become part of the family, and nothing is more important than family. If nothing else, that is the one thing you should take away from “The Sopranos”. It’s so obvious that it almost seems cliché’, but if you have a problem with it you can take it up with the head of the family. Good luck with that.
Fasten your seat belts kids, we’ve got four hours to go, and a President to bring down. No time to waste, let’s get right to it:
Wow, we start off with a bang…shock of all shocks, Secretary Heller is alive. Remember what I said yesterday about maxing out the credit cards to bet on the Pistons? Well, suffice it to say, Secretary Heller still breathing ranks right up there in the hierarchy of mortal locks. So, aside from this less than startling revelation, here are the pressing questions that still need to be answered:
1) How am I ever supposed to get on another airplane? Seriously, are you kidding me? As if I wasn’t already a wreck on airplanes, now I have will be thinking of this scene every time I hit turbulence. Awesome!
2) How could Karen possibly think it was a good idea to trust Miles? Just to put this in perspective, I’m writing this sentence as I’m watching her tell Miles about the recording. I know it’s a catastrophically stupid mistake. You know it. But, of course, Karen doesn’t seem to know it. Why didn’t she just have him locked up until the situation was taken care of? And, of course, this comes back to haunt Karen and everybody else. Is it just me or are something like 80% of all people employed by CTU absolute dirt bags?
3) Raise your hand if you thought transferring Bierko in the midst of all this madness was a good idea? C’MON. Aren’t the folks at CTU supposed to be the smartest people in the world?
4) Who the hell is this little guy that is pulling Logan’s strings? I mean, who the hell is so powerful that he basically gives the President of the United States the order to kill himself. I’m honestly asking this question. Have I missed something? Am I supposed to know who this guy is?
5) What are the odds that somebody is going to hold Kim Bauer hostage in the next three hours? I put them at 100%. Anything less would just be silly.
Yes, I admit that I sat fixated on the couch staring at the television as this guy tried to hold his breath under water for 9 minutes while trying to free himself from whips, chains, and a gimp mask. Sure, I made up the stuff about whips and a gimp mask, but you get the picture. I don’t have a lot to say about his valiant attempt to do something that should never be done, but I do want to say this: Stu Scott’s commentary made this must see t.v. I mean, Stu’s effort to try to mix his usual antics with “serious” and “concerned” commentary was legendarily funny. The term unintentional comedy doesn’t even begin to describe it. I saved it on DVR just so I can watch it when I have a tough day and need a good laugh. God bless Stu Scott.
Monday, May 08, 2006
- I want to be very clear about something: Bruce Bowen is not a great defender! Bruce Bowen grabs people and holds on for dear life. He is dirty and a cheater. Bruce Bowen makes John Stockton look clean. Yet, for some reason, referees are petrified to blow the whistle against him, and sportswriters jump on his jock faster than they jump on the halftime buffet. I mean, the lead photo on ESPN.com's NBA page this morning is a picture of Bowen just before he mauls Dirk with the caption "With just two points in the 4th, Dirk played into Bowen's hands." No kidding? It's not hard to play into a guy's hands when they are constantly all over you. In case you hadn't noticed, this infuriates me. It has for years, and I just can't understand how it keeps on happening. I mean, sure Tyron Lue made millions off holding the living hell out of A.I. in the Finals, but I can think of no one that breaks the rules with impunity like Bruce Bowens has for the past five years. All I can figure is that he has incriminating pictures of Czar Stern locked away somewhere.
- Speaking of infuriating, for those of you that don't live here in Atlanta, you might not quite understand where I'm coming from on this one, but you have to trust me. Atlanta has the worst drivers in America. Where else is it possible to get road rage at 7:45 P.M. on a Sunday night? Let's just say that I almost went Johnny Drama on some guy's windshield with a 9 iron last night. I have no point here other than to rant....
- Okay, now that's out of my system, let's talk about the Braves. On second thought, being 8 back after one week of May is right in that range where I'm not exactly panicking, but I don't feel like I'm stable enough to talk rationally about things. Suffice it to say that I'm worried, but hopeful. Okay, that's not true...I'm panicked and anything but hopeful. On the bright side, people tell me I'm happiest when I'm miserable, so this season looks like it has a lot of promise!
- So, I'm watching "Grey's Anatomy" last night, and I keep asking myself, "Do you think Chris O'Donnell has ever contemplated killing Matt Damon?" I think the answer is obviously yes. Without Damon, O'Donnell would have been able to parlay his "Scent of a Woman" success into much bigger things. Unfortunately for him, Damon came along, and he looks like him, is the same age, and is clearly more talented. In other words, the ascension of Damon doomed O'Donnell to a career of lead roles in pieces of crap like "The Bachelor" and cameos on t.v. shows. Certainly not a bad life, but undoubtedly not what he envisioned a decade ago. And yes, these are the types of things I spend a lot of time thinking about. Who are you to judge me?
- Sometimes something looks so clear in your hindsight that you want to just beat your own ass for not taking advantage on the front end. Yesterday's Pistons/Cavaliers game is one of these examples. You just KNEW the Pistons were going to pummel the Cavs. I'm just kicking myself for not maxing out all my credit cards and filling up an online gambling account to cash in on this. I have no idea what the spread was, but I guarantee you it wasn't more than 27. Opportunities like this don't come along often, and I blew it. Nobody to blame but myself.
- I've got one more thing to say this morning, and I'm going to do it in all caps so the 13 people reading really get the message. This message is for the folks at ESPN and every other major sports media outlet: I DON'T CARE ABOUT BARRY BONDS HITTING 714 HOMERS. HELL, I DON'T CARE ABOUT BARRY BONDS HITTING 800 HOMERS. PLEASE STOP SHOVING THIS DOWN MY THROAT LIKE THE WNBA. THERE IS NOTHING YOU CAN DO TO CHANGE MY MIND. PLEASE JUST MAKE HIM GO AWAY!!!!
And, that's what's on my mind this morning!
Friday, May 05, 2006
OBLIGATORY LAKER COMMENTS
I suppose that the top story is that there's going to be a game 7 between the Lakers and Suns. I'm not quite sure why this is such big news, as neither team has a chance in hell of winning the title. Having said that, watching the first quarter I was sure the Lakers would win. They were down big, but their run at the end of the quarter, coupled with the Mamba's killer 3 pointer at the buzzer, pointed to a Lakers win. In fact, after Kobe's shot I was sure they would win.
Of course we all know that they lost, despite a 50 point performance. Seems like they lose in the playoffs when he scores a bunch, and they win when he doesn't. Why is that? Team basketball maybe? I made this point yesterday, but I think without Kobe the Lakers would have grown as a team this year. Having a superstar that you can rely on makes the other players less motivated, not only because they know that they have someone that will bail them out, but also because they know they will never have the chance to lead.
People like comparing Kobe with Jordan, so here's my shot. Kobe with the Lakers and Jordan with the Wizards both set their teams back in the long run. When he was with the Wizards, surrounded by young players, Jordan couldn't get them to realize their potential because his aura dominated the team. Same with Kobe. You might argue that either team won a few more games than they would have without them, but as far as developing players for the long run it did more harm than good. Kobe and Jordan get frustrated with developing players, and decide it is easier to try to do it themselves than teach others to succeed.
CHUCK DALY'S GAMBLING HABITS
Over the course of the week we learned that Daly claims $50 million in losses, and Chuck says he's dropped $10 million. The first thing that I think of when I see these numbers is that they represent about $90 million and $18 million in gross income. In his comments on SportsCenter Chuck doubted Daly's claim because he didn't think Daly had earned enough to lose that much. Yahoo! Sports gives Daly's career earnings at just over $10 million, which means that he would have had to have earned another $80 million off the course just to come up with the after tax cash to lose $50 million. Of course this number doesn't account for the roughly 10% that goes to the caddy, or the cigarettes, or beer. The only possible explanation for Daly's claim is that he won big, and then gave it all back. Of course this would be gross losses, not net. As any gambler knows, if you only look at what you lose and don't account for what you win you could "lose" $10K at a blackjack table in a few hours. The claim is crap, I'm sure he's lost a lot but the $50 million claim is just to sell books.
Barkley's claim, on the other hand, may have more to it. ESPN said that he earned about $44 million over his career. This would be about $25 million after tax, so it is at least possible that he has given $10 million to the casinos. On top of that, I'm sure Barkley is pulling down decent money as an analyst.
The real question that this brings up is how much has Jordan given away? His gambling is well known and has even spawned conspiracy theories that the commissioner made him leave the NBA for a few years (and, thus, his baseball career). I'd love to hear the dirt on Jordan. Unlike Kobe, Jordan was able to conceal his infidelity until the end of his career. I think we all know that public Jordan was a carefully constructed image, and that the real guy is infinitely more interesting.
Thursday, May 04, 2006
Look, nobody is more shocked than me. In fact, I'm angry at myself, but I just can't fight it. The guy is fascinating, and his game is without peer. Not to mention, this guy is the greatest competitor on the hard wood since.....well....I can't bring myself to admit that. I've come a long way, but not that far. Why, after years of unabashed hatred, do I now love watching Kobe? Well, here's a few reasons:
1) The 81 point game. C'mon. How could you not love this? If you are a fan of a sport, and something happens in that sport that has never happened before, you HAVE to be excited about it.
2) He willed an average team to the playoffs. The Lakers don't win 20 games without Kobe. Over 82 games, he showed up every night, and he did what had to be done to get his team in the post season. Did this mean that he took what we often consider too many shots, and that he probably pushed his teammates to homicidal thoughts at times? Of course. But, ultimately, he was taking the path of least resistance to get his team to the next level. Sure, he could have tried to operate in the framework of the triangle offense and deferred to guys like Odom and Brown. But, there was no guarantee things would come together in time for the Lakers to make the playoffs. So, instead, he took it upon himself to get them there. He took most of the shots, but he also took all of the burden. If they failed, he would have been skewered by every basketball writer, broadcaster, and fan in America. He was willing to take on that responsibility. That's onions you just don't see every day.
3) Now that the he got them to the postseason, he recognizes that it can't be a one man show anymore. He is deferring to teammates in these crucial games, and his willingness to do so is instilling confidence in guys that really have no reason to be confident. Hey, Luke Walton, Smush Parker, and Kwame Brown are all averaging double digits and playing the best basketball of their natural born lives. Not to mention that Lamar Odom appears more interested in basketball than, well, other recreational activities. This isn't an accident. Kobe knows he needs them, and he's made an effort to include them. He's carried them to the base of the mountain, but he knows that the only way they can all climb to the top of the mountain is to work together. That kind of recognition is rare. The ability to act on that recognition is even rarer.
4) Game 4 of this series took Kobe to a whole other level in my mind. He's always been great, but now he's joined the likes of the legendary assassins like Jordan and Reggie Miller. In other words, if he has the ball in his hands with a big game on the line, you better not blink or you are going to miss something special. Did you for one minute even consider the possibility that Kobe would miss that shot? Of course you didn't.
5) Finally, his transcendently funny punking of Raja Bell yesterday put him over the top with me. Anybody that can call a man two years older than him a "kid" with a straight face is Aces in my book. It's not good enough for him to own a guy on the court, but he must own him off the court as well. In other words, he has complete dominance over Raja Bell. If this were prison...well...you get the picture.
So, there it is. I'm out of the closet. I am now a huge Kobe Bryant fan. And yes, I just might go out and buy a Mamba jersey.
Wednesday, May 03, 2006
1) You simply cannot pass on a once in a lifetime talent like Reggie Bush. I've been an obsessive college football fan my entire life, and I've never seen anybody as good Reggie Bush. And yes, I do vividly remember Barry Sanders running wild against Wyoming in the Holiday Bowl, and I do remember Marshall Faulk making WAC opponents look foolish in Jack Murphy Stadium. Those guys were unbelievable, but Reggie Bush was better. What makes it even worse is that it wasn't just his play on the field that made him so special. He actually had an astounding individual workout for the scouts on USC's pro day. By passing on him, the Texans have made a statement that they think they are smarter than everybody else. Well, they may be right in the end...nobody can predict the future...but that doesn't excuse them from the shit they pulled Saturday. And, I refuse to let them hide behind that "we couldn't come to terms" b.s. Here's an idea...when a guy is this good, you give him everything he wants. That's how you come to terms. Yes, it's completely irrational on my part because I have no stake or real interest in the Texans or Reggie Bush, but I hope they live to regret this pick every day of their natural born lives. It was simply offensive.
2) The falls of Matt Leinart and Lendale White were outrageous. Granted, unlike Bush, they weren't what I call "combine freaks". Leinart may not test out with the strongest arm, and White may look a little too much like me right now, but give me a break. Do these NFL GM's not have television? Do they not watch ANY college football? Did they not notice that Matt Leinart was throwing bb's when it mattered most, in the second half of the greatest National Championship Game ever played? Did they not notice that White scored more touchdowns at SC than ANYONE? Let me remind you that O.J. Simpson, Charles White, Marcus Allen, and Reggie Bush all played tailback at USC. Finally, did they not notice that these guys were absolute winners? What more could they have possibly done? Should they have spent the past four years tanking it on Saturdays and putting all their effort into improving their bench press or their 40 time? As far as I'm concerned, 4 guys that were on the field at the Rose Bowl (Young, Leinart, Bush, and White) should have all been in the top 5 players taken. And yes, I'm officially rooting for Matt Leinart and Lendale White to have Hall of Fame Careers. Fight On!!!!
3) A.J. Hawk at 5? What? Are you serious? Do I really have to deal with another white middle linebacker getting sweated waaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyyy too hard? Aren't Brooking and Urlacher overrated enough to satisfy this quota for the next 50 years? Do we really need to throw A.J. Hawk into the mix? I can already hear Theisman saying something like, "sure, seven other Packers already had him wrapped up, but did you see the intensity with which A.J. Hawk piled on at the end? That's what makes him great!" I guess we are going three deep on the NFC Pro Bowl roster at middle linebacker this year. If Brian Bosworth makes a comeback we'll have to make it four!