Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The week in pictures and video

Call it creativity. Call it a change of pace. Call it a combination of lack of time and abundance of laziness. Call it whatever you want, but this week's post is the week in picture and/or video form. Click the links to match the headlines with their visual counterparts!

Sure Hillary Clinton is tough. But does she have the balls to take it to the rack on Psycho T?

Dolphins elect to not trade Taylor in Draft. Taylor, however, elects to trade dignity.

I pity the fool who said the Sixers would get swept!

What? You think just because a guy's name is Zaza he can't start some shit?!

Okay, we suck again. Someone tell Van Gundy he can have his job back.

I can't wait to pen a trash-talking, French rap about making the Suns my bitches!

Boy, I sure hope Al Davis offers performance bonuses for amount of children sired!

Maybe the best way to intimidate LeBron is with professional wrestler-like entrances.

That's right. Let's just both pretend to be proud of holding this jersey and get it over with.

Most Improved Player. Least Improved Face.

Yeah I smoke weed, so what? Wait... when did we lose the series?! I have no idea what's goin' on...

What's that you feel? The shame of a sweep?

All I really want is to embarrass the Knicks as much as is humanly possible.

You bet your ass I'm happy, all I have to do is not run a sordid ring of unfathomable animal cruelty and they'll love me!

Sure I'll paint myself blue, but there's no way I'm paying twent-five bucks for the Super Bowl t-shirt. I'm no idiot.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

This just in...

Jake Long is a number 1 pick
Taking a massive step down on the animal coolness scale, from Wolverine to Dolphin, offensive lineman Jake Long and the Miami Dolphins officially reached an agreement to make him the first overall selection of the 2008 NFL Draft on Tuesday. Is this the right pick for Miami? Only time will tell. All I know is that any move that allows for me to use this picture again, seems like the right move to me.

While it is obvious Long may not be the most talented overall player in the draft, he certainly seems like a logical fit for the Dolphins. With Bill Parcells essentially running the show now in Miami you can bet the Dolphins will likely become a run-first offense, and with talented all-purpose back Ronnie Brown coming out of the backfield bolstering their pathetic offensive line became priority one.

Finishing at 1-15 last year, however, implies the Fins might just have a few more needs they’ll want to address at some point as well. Just a suggestion, let’s not hope for one OT to turn it all around.

Chris Paul is the man
After taking a commanding 2-0 lead in their best of seven first round playoff against the Dallas Mavericks, the New Orleans Hornets have shown they may just have all they need to be a contender… Chris Paul.

The 6-foot point guard has played like an absolute giant in the first two playoff games of his career, running opponents ragged and making an absolute mockery of the Mavs defense. Paul became the first player in the history of the NBA to put up consecutive performances of at least 30 points and 10 assists in his first two post-season appearances (35/10 in game 1, 32/17 in game 2!).

This guy has poise the likes of which is rarely seen in any sport. He seems completely unafraid to take any shot while also completely able to free himself up for those opportunities. His precision dishes allow for an obscene amount of open looks for teammates and his wrist-flick alley oops have made Tyson Chandler look like Dr. J.

Not only does Paul have my vote for MVP this year, but I also vote they change his position on next year’s Topps card from Point Guard to Point God.

The Jackass doesn’t fall far from the tree
It is year one of Hank Steinbrenner’s run as ego numero uno in the Yankees front office, and he is already mouthing off to everyone who will listen. After a mediocre 10-10 start (with a very difficult schedule along with some injuries mind you) Steinbrenner voiced his opinion on Joba Chamberlain becoming a starter: Anyone who wouldn’t start this kid is an idiot.

Newsflash Hank… you’re an idiot. Putting into question the authority of your first year coach 20 games into the season isn’t exactly the best way to unite an organization. And making the switch from reliever to starter isn’t exactly flipping a switch either. Joba has been in the bullpen for quite some time now, so making that transition would inevitably take time as well. Time he’d likely have to spend in the minors while the Yanks would be forced to look elsewhere in the bullpen to get through the late innings.

Chamberlain has absolutely filthy stuff, no question. The temptation to see him as a starter is absolutely justified, but don’t just yap that to the media in a hissyfit. This comes down to Hank being upset that the Yankees young starters have had shaky starts and he wanted to begin this year with Johan Santana on the mound (who has only started 2-2 himself with the Mets, by the way).

We all know you want to be the Big Bad Boss just like Daddy was Hank, but don’t forget all those years in the middle of his run when the Boss’s mighty Yankees were a perennial non-factor. There are certain footsteps you may be wise not to follow.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

And the weiner is....

Keeping in line with the negativity of last week’s wildly popular (3 more readers than usual) Errant Balls column, I’ve decided to award those who have found their way onto the wrong side of public interest in the past week. So be prepared to put your sarcastic hands together for the few, the proud, the goats of the week.

Mr. Clutch
It’s crunch time. The season is winding down. The late year playoff scramble is in full effect. It’s time to look to your superstars to carry you home… just don’t expect them to drive you. Early Monday morning Denver Nuggets star forward Carmelo Anthony was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence in the city of Denver. After his worst scoring performance of the year ‘Melo evidently decided the best way to reaffirm his teammates’ faith in him was to “weave from lane to lane and fail to dim his lights.”

Anthony issued the standard, yet always amusing athlete’s public apology on Tuesday noting “It’s kind of bad timing right now, due to the playoffs.” Well, at least we can say his shrewd perception hasn’t gone the way of his sobriety.

Mr. Consistency
Another victim of the sweet lures of the sauce, our second winner managed to convince his team he should no longer be a part of it. The eternally buzzed Scott Spiezio was released by the Braves AAA affiliate on Saturday, only two months after his release from a substance abuse center.

The former Cardinal had already seen his fair share of trouble when a drunken driving/hit and run (of the vehicular nature, not of the well executed textbook baseball nature) bounced him from St. Louis back in February. A bit more than a year later, the Braves went out on a limb and offered Spiezio a chance at redemption, signing him to a minor league contract. He lasted two weeks.

Arriving at a game in a condition that was discreetly described as “unfit to play,” Spiezio’s short stint with the Braves was over quicker than most of his benders. But to be fair to the Braves, who wouldn’t trust this guy with a second chance?

Service to the Community
On Monday night Madison Square Garden was the site for the final home game of the New York Knicks hapless ‘07-’08 season. It was also the scene for one giant gesture of generosity, or as many might call it… a collective “our bad”.

The once-revered Knickerbockers organization decided as a whole that the best way to apologize to their humiliated fans for their year gone awry was to offer free food and non-alcoholic beverages for the entirety of the game. Seems legit to me.

Coach got a hankering for harassment and a complete inability to run a team? Have yourself a hot dog. Owner got the intelligence and business savvy of Spaulding Smails from Caddyshack? Here’s a stale, semi-warm pretzel. Cherished franchise inexplicably driven into the ground? Drown your sorrows in a six-gallon Pepsi with a free bendy straw.

Maybe they should’ve considered lifting the “non-alcoholic” addendum to their offer. If you’re a Knicks fan, chances are you could’ve used a beer or twenty.

Bush League MVP
This one may just be unprecedented. It is a move so lame it will forever shine in the annals of the Total Dick Moves Hall of Fame. It is a move so juvenile it could be seen as the physical equivalent of the “I know you are, but what am I?” comeback. It is a move that reeks so heartily of bush-leaguery that it prompted an immediate rule change for the entire sport. Not the next season, not the next month… the next day. And perhaps most shockingly, it is a move that was so douche-tastic it actually made me bring up hockey.

Following game 3 of a playoff series against the New Jersey Devils, New York Rangers’ left wing/perpetual a-hole Sean Avery prompted the NHL to form what is being referred to as “The Avery Rule” (the league majority refused to pass it under its original working name, the Pestering Dickhead Statute). In short, the rule states that a player cannot stand directly in front of the opposing team’s goalie and act like a seven year old trying to block his little brother’s view of the television.

Even for an uber-cock like Sean Avery, this is a little much.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Kind of a rough week for.....

A busy week in sports often means amazing plays, outstanding performances, and great accomplishments abound. But to be honest, all that’s just not that fun to write about. So this week I’ve decided to point out those who took the biggest hits. Frankly the mass media is far too bright and cheery for my liking, and if irresponsible, uninformed bloggers don’t call attention to all of the negativity, then who will?

John Calipari
“We’ll hit them when they matter.”
“Honestly, I’m not all that worried about it.”

Sound familiar John? These are the words of Memphis head coach John Calipari referring to his team’s inability to hit foul shots. Throughout the regular season and NCAA tournament everyone seemed to agree that the mighty Tigers would eventually fall due to this one fatal weakness, but the Memphis boys proved them all wrong… for awhile.

Up by nine points with 1:55 to play in Monday night’s championship, the game seemed all but locked up in Memphis’ favor… only, not so much. The Tigers’ two best shooters, Derrick Rose and Chris Douglas-Roberts, went a combined 1 for 6 from the line in the waning moments and allowed the Jayhawks to crawl back into the game. The ‘Hawks would eventually tie the score in the final seconds, take the game to overtime, and steal the championship right out from under Calipari and the Tigers. And it wasn’t just the foul shooting that lost them the contest either, it’s a wonder we never heard Calipari churn out any other foot-in-the-mouth gems like:

“I’ll call time out when it’s necessary.”
Or, “We’ll foul the opposition when it makes perfect sense, the championship is on the line, and it will assure us the win.”

Detroit Tigers
This off-season Detroit was the fashionable pick to win the World Series for many of the baseball world’s foremost experts. After one week of play, they’re 0-7.

When an already potent team landed the two biggest acquisitions of the winter, adding Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis from the Florida Marlins bargain bin, the Tigers looked like the team to beat. And apparently that’s exactly what they are… just not in the way they were hoping. Through their first run of games they have taken beatings at the hands of the Royals, the White Sox, and most recently the Red Sox. Their new star slugger, Cabrera, is batting a stellar .100 at the plate and is tied for third on the team in RBIs with 1. Although on a positive note he does seem happy to be in Detroit (and doesn’t look at all like he’s about to go Kenny Rogers on this camera man). Cabrera’s fellow former Marlin has also done his part to aid the Tigers’ unenviable streak. In one start Dontrelle Willis lasted 5 innings and started his year off with a 5.40 ERA (in this shot the ball is actually rocketing back up the middle for a single). So basically, he has made his transition from pitching in the National League to the American League seamlessly (he posted a 5.17 overall ERA last season). Note to everyone out there who was excited about the Tigers adding Willis… he’s not very good.

Now with all that said, there is no reason to panic just yet. After all, we are only one week into the season. However, if things continue to play out as they have, coach Jim Leyland is likely to extend his smoking habit to a carton a day (to be fair he is already 2/3 of the way there) and the Tigers’ grounds crew will be forced to cover the dugout floor in sand to create a giant, stress-catching ashtray.

The Collective Masculinity of Basketball Fans Everywhere
It’s okay to admit that you well up and get the chills each and every year when CBS airs their “One Shining Moment” montage at the end of the NCAA Tournament, it happens to the best of us. Nothing makes a man emotionally crumble like a well crafted sports montage. It’s a fact. It’s our kryptonite. Like a taste for Buffalo wings or the uncontrollable laughter that inevitably follows a good fart, it is encoded on our DNA, inborn, whether we like it or not.

So when CBS takes clips of the year’s greatest sporting event and mashes them up with the rousing vocal stylings of that magical bastard Luther Vandross, we simply do not stand a chance. It doesn’t even matter that the lyrics are arguably cheesier than every Bryan Adams song combined. Or that at the 1:49 mark of this year’s mix they felt the need to include a clip of inane commentator Bill Raftery inexplicably yelling “ONIONS!” after a made shot (do you love it as much as I do?). It still hits every man’s heart, right at the core.

So judge yourself for your futile struggle to hold back your tears at the end of “The Notebook” you Nancy… but don’t ever, ever let anyone take away your “One Shining Moment.”

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Final Four Predictions

The greatest weekend of the year for any college basketball fan is fast approaching and it should prove to be one to remember. For the first time in the history of the NCAA tournament the Final Four is straight chalk. All four number one seeds have proven their worth and will battle in San Antonio for the right to play for the National Championship. So how will the match ups pan out? I could venture a guess…

UCLA vs. Memphis

Coach Ben Howland’s UCLA Bruins are attending their third straight Final Four, but this year’s path has been far from easy. While they remained among the nation’s top squads throughout the year they suffered two tough regular season losses and some might say won a few close ones with some “favorable calls.” Whether or not the refs are in the Bruins corner though, they have something else going for them this year that may finally push them into the championship game… Kevin Love. The freshman sensation could be the final piece that UCLA needs to come out on top.

The Memphis Tigers, however, are anxious to send the Bruins home early. Despite being a #1 seed and actually having held the nation’s top spot during the season, the Tigers have plenty to prove. Often criticized for the fact that they play in the less than stellar Conference USA, many argued they weren’t nearly as good as their record. And most agreed they’d be the first 1 seed to fall thanks to their poor foul shooting. But with the deadly combination of All-American Chris Douglas Roberts, and the freshman scoring machine Derrick Rose the Tigers have blitzed their tournament opponents and look strong and athletic enough to give any team, Conference USA or not, a run for their money.

This game will come down to one question: Will the refs allow them to play the game like it should be played? The Memphis big men will be essential in slowing down Kevin Love and the potent Bruin offense. So can Joey Dorsey be an absolute beast like he was against Mississippi State in the second round? Or will he be forced to the bench for bodying up the Bruins? If the Memphis bigs can manage to stay on the floor, the Tigers have a shot… but if I have to guess, I say the Bruins take a close one. I just hope, like any other true fan, the game is decided by the players and not the refs (but to be fair, this no-call could have gone either way).

UNC vs. Kansas

Coach Roy Williams is facing off against the team he built most of his hall of fame career on, and as Roy would say, it should be a dadgum barn-burner. His Tarheels came into the tournament as the #1 overall seed, and have since been its most dominant team. Player of the year candidate Tyler Hansbrough and his fellow Heels have absolutely blown through opponents, only being marginally tested by Louisville in the Elite Eight. With their lightning quick point guard Ty Lawson back from injury their potent offense has been pumping, and to make matters worse for their opponents, their often criticized defense has looked dominant as well.

The Jayhawks of Kansas, however, come in with one of the nation’s most balanced squads and are one of only a few that may match up well with Carolina. Having the unfortunate task of facing off with this year’s feel good story in the Elite Eight, the Jayhawks handled the pressure of staving off the Cinderella and escaped Phoenix with a 2-point victory over the Davidson Wildcats. Now they roll into San Antonio as another blue-chip program with another magnificent scorer with the talent to swing any game. If junior guard Brandon Rush can take over, the 'Hawks could easily find themselves in the championship game.

With defensive match-ups that could present problems for each team’s primary scorers, expect the team with the X-factor to come out on top in this one. Kansas center Sasha Kaun is one of the few players in the country who could give Psycho T problems on the inside, if he can keep up with him. While UNC will likely have stalwart defender Marcus Ginyard shadowing the talented Brandon Rush for most of the game. So look for UNC guards Wayne Ellington and Danny Green to step up their game and give the Heels the balance they will need to send the Jayhawks packing. In the end, I think Kansas puts up a fight but Carolina dances on.