Sunday, May 31, 2009

One Puppet Down, One Left Standing

posted by IntrinsicBent

After a powerhouse best NBA record season, the biggest shock of the 2009 playoffs was the elimination of Lebron James' Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Cavs swept through their first two rounds of playoff action against Detroit and Atlanta without losing a game.  Then they ran into a gritty, live and die by the 3 point shot Orlando Magic.

The Cavs came within a second of being swept by the Magic when none other than King James nailed a 3 to win game 2.  The Cleveland team continued their slide until their must win game 5 when they rallied and beat the Magic.  They could not hold off Orlando in the next game though and now have to sit and watch.

It seemed a unanimous conclusion by NBA pundits everywhere that this year's playoffs would result in a Lebron v. Kobe championship for the ages.  Vitamin Water and Nike bet millions in marketing this inevitable duel.............too far in advance.

On the Western Conference side of the bracket, the Los Angeles Lakers have looked anything but invincible, struggling in see saw fashion against the talent depleted Houston Rockets and then the Chauncey Billups infused Denver Nuggets.

They looked like the championship possible team they have been billed to be when they decisively clinched their Western Conference Championship. 

Will the rolling Orlando Magic play Dr Jekyll, or Mr. Hyde when they begin play?  Will Dwight Howard show up in commercials now as a puppet with Vitamin Water in hand?

Who knows?

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Disappointing - to say the least

posted by BiCoastal Bias


We were promised the next Michael Jordan. But none of Jordan's Bulls teams would've gotten ripped like the Cavaliers got ripped tonight.

Really, this is not LeBron's fault. He obviously didn't dominate tonight - but he can't be all over the court and you can hardly blame one player for a double digit loss, even the league MVP. The Cavs had no answer for Dwight Howard, they couldn't even box him out - he made them look absolutely ridiculous.

At this point, I am not even going to complain about LeBron's supporting cast. The blame for this disappointing finish has a lot to do with Coach Mike Brown. Can anyone tell me how he was chosen as the NBA's coach of the year? For what? Not getting in LeBron's way for most of the season? Defensively, the Cavs often looked one step slow, like they either didn't fully understand the scheme or the Magic were just seeing through it. Offensively, does is seem like the Cavs are a little too eager to pass? Three years ago, I criticized Coach Brown for doing basically nothing in terms of offensive playcalling - now it seems like the Cavs would be better served by just firing the ball a bit quicker during each possession.

But really, even criticizing the coach is not fair - the Magic were the better team. And that's what gets lost in all the hype of the NBA today, in the search for the next Jordan, we forget that the better team often beats the best player. I cannot wait to see what happens once LeBron James gets in a system with a real coach and a supporting cast to match. But until then - we witnesses will have to settle for the flashes of brilliance and the promise of a better future.

As for the Finals, I am a terrible predicter win it comes to the NBA, so I will just say, I think the Magic will keep it interesting. They are the best defensive team in the game and they have the offensive firepower to go with it.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

ReDUNKulous

posted by IntrinsicBent

Textiles and Hardgoods are not the only export markets that China dominates. In the last decade, they have also become known for producing Giant basketball players.

Enter post playing Sun Mingming, who can dunk the ball without leaving his feet. Sun, who at 7'9" would be the tallest NBA player ever, is not an unknown commodity. In fact, he was declared eligible for the NBA draft in 2005 and tried out for the Los Angeles Lakers that year before discovering he needed surgery to remove a tumor next to his pituitary gland.

Sun currently is under contract for the year, but would like to keep playing ball for at least another 10 years. He doesn't rule out a stab at the NBA.

Story Source

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Manny an All-Star?

posted by BiCoastal Bias


The first round of MLB all-star ballots have been tallied, and the suspended Manny Ramirez sits in fourth place among National League outfielders.

You can write off his high finish to the fact that many of these ballots were cast before his suspension began (and I agree) - but many employees of ESPN (e.g. Wilbon & Kornheiser) expect him to end up in the top 3 by the time the all-star teams are chosen. They site websites such as this one - http://voteformanny.blogspot.com - and compare Manny to such cultural icons such as Sanjaya of American Idol.

And while I don't think America will actually select him as an all-star, I like to think of the possible outcomes if they did. First of all, it sounds as if there is nothing that Bud Selig could do to bar him from the festivities - at least officially. Such a move would bring on some serious ire from the player's union.

What I think is funny is that Manny fans could go to great lengths to get him voted into the all star game - and there's a very strong chance that Manny wouldn't even show up! Remember, only 3 years ago, baseball fans made Manny the top vote getter in the major leagues; but he didn't show up to any of the all star game festivities because of a hurt knee, even though the knee was good enough to play in the previous regular season game.

So if Manny gets voted in this year, and pulls a no-show, does he then get praised for it? Do the stodgy baseball writers compliment him in "doing the right thing" and "preserving the integrity of such a historic game"? When in actuality he is blowing it off because he doesn't care - because he's never cared? Manny Ramirez, one of a kind.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Closeups Are Killing The NBA

posted by IntrinsicBent

Check out this email we received from reader Gabe:

"I don't have a blog but something has been killing me so if you want to put it on there go right ahead.


The NBA has been trying and succeeding to fix its image internationally and nationally ever since the Dream Team of the crotch grabbers (Kemp etc.).

With King James, KB24, D Wade, and Dwight Howard (the real Superman, Shaq was a fake) of the league doing right for the league, why does the NBA feel the need to zoom in on players that curse after every big shot they make?

When a bench player like JR Smith hits a big shot or two, not only does the camera zoom in on him live to see him say "This is my motherf------ house" three times in a row, but they feel the need to play it in slow motion.

Being a HUGE NBA fan and a father, maybe I'm being a prude, a goo-die good. But I doubt this is what Naismith had in mind when he made this game up. A game that at 35 year old with 2 bad ankles, 1 bad knee, and a bad elbow plays for free any chance I can.

Enough with the close up on players that we all know are going to do this. Is this really for the ratings? I get that at this point personalities drive the NBA's revenue and not just the game. But when is it going to stop? When will it be out of line?

This is not showmanship. This is a disgrace!

That's all I got. I could go on & on, but you get the point. Now you will all notice this more and more."

Reader Gabe gets it. Commissioner Stern take note.

Jose Canseco Has No Future

posted by MoneyMouth

I know I'm no MMA Daddy, but I do know that after I watched this clip that Jose Canseco has no future in Mixed Martial Arts. Sure, he was going against a man who is 7'2", but he could have just as well been 5'6" hopping on one leg. This fight made it rather obvious (which was more than obvious already) that Canseco is nothing but a chump looking for an easy paycheck.



On another note, does anyway else think these introductions look strangely similar to professional wrestling introductions? While I was watching this boring fight that lasted about a minute, I was waiting for the glass to break and Stone Cold Steve Austin to come running out. Quite frankly, if I were an MMA promoter, that is one similarity that I would be distancing myself from immedaitely.

Monday, May 25, 2009

NBA - Great Again

posted by BiCoastal Bias

This NBA playoffs - I can honestly say I am loving the league as much as I ever have in the last decade.

Normally, I complain about the absurd length of the NBA playoffs. But this year, every round has featured "amazing." In the first round, we saw the defending Celtics barely hold off the young Bulls. It was arguably the best first round match up ever, and yet it feels like forever ago because we have seen so much great basketball in the mean time.

Currently, I'm watching the Lakers lose game 4 of the conference championships to the Nuggets. The Lakers continue to play down to their opponents - it appears they are destined to win every-other game, which puts them winning game 7 to advance to the Finals.

On the other side of the ball, it appears that the Magic continue to play up to their opponents. Rising to the challenge against the Celtics, and now honestly looking like the better team against Cleveland.

Maybe the following opinion makes me an illegitimate basketball game - but an NBA Finals that does not include LeBron James would be a serious let down. This season has been defined by his elevated level of play (specifically on the defensive end), and by the amazing camraderie he has with his Cleveland teammates.

Putting that aside, I think it is great that we have four teams all playing so well right now. I honestly think any four of these teams could win a match up with anyone else. Mark this down, because if the Magic end up playing the Lakers, the sporting world will talk as if the Lakers are already being fitted for their championship win. But if the Magic can win a game 7 on the road against Boston, and then handle Cleveland like they have so far - they can beat anybody.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Manny Tests Positive

posted by MoneyMouth

Dodgers slugger Manny Ramirez singles against the Colorado Rockies last month.If you haven't heard yet, Manny Ramirez has tested positive for a banned substance of MLB's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.  Manny has already accepted his 50 game suspension, saying, 
"Recently I saw a physician for a personal health issue. He gave me a medication, not a steroid, which he thought was OK to give me.  Unfortunately, the medication was banned under our drug policy. Under the policy that mistake is now my responsibility.  I have been advised not to say anything more for now. I do want to say one other thing; I've taken and passed about 15 drug tests over the past five seasons.  I want to apologize to Mr. McCourt, Mrs. McCourt, Mr. Torre, my teammates, the Dodger organization, and to the Dodger fans. LA is a special place to me and I know everybody is disappointed. So am I. I'm sorry about this whole situation."
Now, we can be as skeptical as we like about this statement, and rightfully so.  It's pretty hard to believe "the story" whenever something like this happens.  I personally tip my cap to Manny for probably the best handling of a positive drug test I've seen in baseball so far.  His affirming of the taking of banned substance and accepting his punishment as his responsibility upholds the integrity of his apology far and above some of the other pathetic apologies we have witnessed in the past. 

Did I just that about Manny Ramirez? 

But with that said, I'm willing to entertain the idea that Manny has been doping all along and the tests finally caught up to the chemists in this instance.  Which might mean that this isn't the last we've heard about significant players testing positive for banned substances this year.  Personally, I would be putting my money on Manny's closest Domican Republic buddies, David Ortiz and Vladimir Guerrero, to be next.  It's only a matter of time before we see how deep the rabbit hole goes.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Traitor-Rod

posted by MoneyMouth

The rumors and allegations surrounding A-Roid A-Rod keep getting worse and worse.  SI is reporting that in a new book to be published this Monday about Alex Rodriguez, there are allegations that A-Rod used to intentionally tip pitches to opposing batters when playing for the Texas Rangers.  According to the report, A-Rod would do it to "friendly opponents" who would then return the favor in the middle of blowouts (i.e. already decided games).  It functioned as a slump-breaker and a stat-builder for the star.  http://graneyandthepig.files.wordpress.com/2009/03/arodlove.jpg

If these allegations are true, then we are looking at a new low for both the images of A-Rod and Major League Baseball.  It's already been problematic enough that confidential test results were leaked to the public, outing A-Rod as a steroid user during his time in Texas, but now to possibly unveil that his stats were also the product of direct cheating (rather than indirect cheating of steroids) is not something MLB is going to want to face.  The game simply can't handle such a revelation, and I wouldn't be surprised if we hear next to nothing from Selig on this matter.  He'll just chalk it up to speculation if he has to and hope the story dies on its own.

As far as A-Rod, he now has some serious explaining to do.  I wouldn't be surprised if someone is accessing the archives of Texas Rangers' games in hopes of uncovering a pattern that would testify to A-Rod's actions.  Such a project will not be easy and will certainly have to be done by some derranged Rangers' fan who has a vendetta against A-Rod.  But if said derranged fan does see a pattern, you can be sure we'll be hearing about it.  And I can guarantee you that with substantial proof, A-Rod's career will be over. 

A few months ago I stood up for A-Rod and Tejada for their ties to performance-enhancing drugs given that they never tested positive again for a banned substance once MLB declared these substances illegal.  I think there is a clear difference of pre-2004 PED use and post-2003 PED use.  But tipping pitches to an opposing player so that they can throw you a bone the next time you are up is the most selfish act of cheating I have ever heard of.  This isn't like putting Vaseline on your cap or a file in your glove to give you an edge against your opponent in hopes of helping your team win.  This is conspiracy material simply to boost one's stats.  And for a team that habitually lost during A-Rod's tenure, there were plenty of opportunities to make this happen. 

Get ready for Pete Rose, 2.0; his name is Alex Rodriguez.