Saturday, February 28, 2009

28 Sentences to Describe a Week

I can't believe I went a whole week without posting anything about sports!

Do you believe February is the longest *and* the shortest month of the sports year?

Denver 90, LA Lakers 79: The Lakers played the single WORST game of the season last night, by far.

All that hoopla for Tiger Woods return for nothing?

Jim Calhoun might be The Jerk, but he has a point.

Nothing excites me more for baseball than when I see a glimpse of a spring training game.

The Redskins are out of their wit signing a free agent to boat loads of dollars... again!

This weekend might be the most trying weekend in sports yet.

Why are we talking about the NFL draft in February?

I still think Denver is going to be a dark horse in the NBA.

Larry Benifest, why would you give the Marlins such a hard time about infield defense in the first game of Spring Training?

The LA Hockey Kings are a much worse team than I thought, so when they say "rebuilding" they mean "losing a lot of games."

Celebrity Jeopardy is a dumb idea, unless they use the "answers" from the regular show.

Santa Barbara is back to being good weather central.

Could the Red Wings now be the team to beat in the West?

UCLA basketball is, always has been, and always will be overrated.

Marvin Harrison is the quiet receiver (save a gun incident), such a shame to see him cut but also a good move by Indy.

Johan Santana missing a start due to a sore elbow: early, but not a good sign.

Are the Academy Awards like Super Bowl commercials, where there's so much hype going in but the results are never great save for a brief moment in the Mid-90s?

American Idol is ruining TV schedules!

The Phoenix Suns still look like a mess.

Wow, another solid road win for Cleveland, even though the Cavs beat half the San Antonio Spurs.

Why in the hell did the Boston Celtics sign Stephon Marbury?

The C's without KG are a much weaker D.

Will somebody please just SIGN Manny Ramirez already?!

Charles Barkley is a human being, remember that.

MLB Extra Innings ought to be a waste of money this year.

Isn't it always the hardest thing to find a great snappy closing line to an article or an essay?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

We won a game!

Hockey??? I'm going to write a whole post about Hockey? REALLY?!?!

I have to... everyone's heard enough about A-Rod (see El Hebrew Hammer's post below). Everybody got blown out in the NBA. The Trade Deadline is full of gems like "Chandler to the Thunder.... uh never mind!".

And the biggest story in the NFL, is unfortunately, an untimely death, that of Brad Van Pelt.

So the most positive story tonight is the plight of my own hockey team, the L.A. Hockey Kings, as they finally rose up and won a game. They won a game!! Against the Ducks! Finally!!

Always extra sweet to beat the quacks... honestly do they still have a team? I thought they were a new Disney Pixar presentation. Who thought that was a good idea? Actually everyone did, they get good attendance.

Anyway, it was good ol' Anze Kopitar who sinked the game winner in the 3rd period, after which the Kings held on to win 4-3. Finally, a win! The Kings came home after that blazing hot road trip, then put up a donut in regulation. Officially they went 0-1-2 on a three game homestand, but still tip toed to Anaheim having won 7 of 11.

A much needed win for the Kings. The Kings are a young team, but more losses like that would have ended their playoff run for sure. Outside of that, we had some fun over in DC with the Caps beating the Canadiens in a shootout. Go Ovechkin!


People in New York City are really up in arms about the New York Rangers. They got off to a blazing hot start, at one point near the top of the East standings. Now they're on the ropes and coach Tom Renney is already looking behind his back for the ax. Had they lost tonight to the Islanders at home, it would have been the absolute nadir to an underachieving season. Instead they dominated and beat the Isles 3-1.

I'm surprised Steve Somers didn't have more to say about that. Turns out "ice" disappoints less than rock any day of the week, doesn't it? The Isles have no money and no audience... what's the Rangers' excuse?

That's the latest from the NHL... and I'm sticking to it!

Needles and Balls!!!


Did you know Arod did PEDs???
I KNOW!!!!

WHO KNEW?!?!?!?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

We Cheat to Win and Wonder Why

I tell you, this whole scandal with A-Rod and Steroids and other things is starting to bring a little reality to the game of baseball. Why are many folks disturbed by this? We know cheating has been a part of the game as long as there was a game. Granted, we now deal with legally banned substances, inasmuch as the products used are not only illegal in baseball, they're illegal in society at large!

Nevertheless, I think the onus is on Bud Selig. I've been saying this forever, but if you don't enforce anything, things are not going to correct themselves. Don't try to tell me Selig never knew all of these things were going down. I'm pretty sure this is the case, but let's face it, I get the impression that Bud Selig is a puppet of the ownership group and owners could care less what gets tarnished in the record books.

That brings up another point. Why do we care so much about these records? Do we ever get all upset when some hot-shot sets the "youngest to 20,000 points" or "most Assists in a season" mark? Did anyone start throwing ceremonies for Tom Brady when he set the mark for most Touchdown Passes in a season? Seriously, why did baseball single itself out as a venue to write big novels about silly statistics.

I love statistics. Stats make my day and help me evaluate talent. However I don't value them so much that I'll be telling tall tales to kids about how "The Great Alex Rodriguez set x, y, and z mark".

I'll be honest. I was really mesmerized when Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire were setting new home run records in 1998. BUT, years after it happened (McGwire's 62) I realized "boy what was the big deal about that?" I loved the nature of McGwire's moon shots, but then when I saw Cesar Izturis hit opposite field home runs or Brett Boone lifting balls into the upper deck, I realized how relatively unimpressive home runs were.

I'll be honest again. I don't think I'd be following baseball full time if it weren't for that home run chase. I'd be fooling myself if the chase didn't drive us back to the game. That it was driven by foreign substances is unfortunate, but you know what? I can live with it. It's just a sport, and as good as it got, home runs really became a joke entering the 2000s.

A guy by the name of Ben Maller (awful sports host but interesting guy) was on the radio one day in 2000 and he was talking about how great it was to see the myriad of home runs lately. Maller said something like "I used to remember when I was a kid you'd have to wait forever to see a home run, and now it's great because there's home runs all the time." Maller thought it was cool to relax and soak in the fun.

Then it got out of hand. When the skinniest guy on the team, Luis Gonzalez hit 57 home runs in 2001 after not sniffing 35 in any other season of his career, we knew something was up. Something was up when in 2000, Major League Baseball teams combined to hit 5,693 homers, the most home runs in its entire history, and not by a little.

GRANTED, its important to note that from 1998 on, Baseball expanded to 30 teams... so automatically one can expect more home runs because there are more games.. Still, observe the peak at that point and compare to 2007: 4,957 HRs. That is over 700 fewer home runs accross the board. Something was up all right, but it took way too long to take action.

Finally the Mitchell Report was released. Cold hard facts, which took down the abusers like how Richie Roberts brought the Lucas Empire to its knees (Frank, not George Lucas). Now it seems like baseball is much less of a slugfest, but also a more three dimensional experience.

Then again, I think if there's anyone that we should blame, it's ourselves. We were too naive to simply accept the increased power as fact. BUT, with that said, it's better late than never, and seeing home runs become more of an event than a formality is a good thing.

The game is now, once again, a game.

Monday, February 9, 2009

What to do on a Monday night when there's no game

Tough, boring night last night. The best the sports world had to offer was a decent game between Memphis and Kansas.

Blase, Jose. I do like how A-Rod just came out with it (granted, half-assedly) and admitted he took the "stuff". So what did I do?

I went to Chubbie's. Their hamburgers are amazing... they're so good, I might go back tomorrow. I couldn't believe how juicy mine was last night. I ordered a double chubbie burger with regular onions. If you're ever in SB, gotta check them out on De La Vina Street. That hamburger made my night!

Oh wait, what were we talking about again...?

Sunday, February 8, 2009

23 and out!

CLEVELAND -- 23 Cavalier home wins to start the season were snapped with one ball of fury from the Lakers in the 2nd half over at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. The Lakers won 101-91 to go 5-0 on their road trip and end a long ride of home success for James' Kingdom.

Why is Kobe Bryant not shown in the picture above? First of all, Kobe was deathly ill from apparently the nastiest flu of the year. After the game, Lamar Odom told ESPN Reporter Lisa Salters that Bryant had moments of vomiting and IV's throughout the game. In scenarios like this one it's up to the team mates to step up. ENTER Lamar Odom.

Can you believe the way Lamar Odom is playing lately? He came on like a big Gila Monster in the second half on Sunday, dominating the game like Neo dominated the Matrix. In all, Odom was clearly the player of the game, scoring 28 points on 13 of 19 shooting. Best of all, he collected 17 rebounds! Without question, this is the best performance of the season for Odom, who now takes an opportunity and runs with it.

Kobe wouldn't be completely silent this afternoon. Even though he was held without a point through most of the 4th quarter, his first field goal of the 4th was a killer: a high rainbow shot that nearly grazed the ceiling and fell in to break the Cavaliers' back. One could sense that after this last gasp, Kobe was spent, and surely enough he retreated for relief after a timeout.

Last season, the Lakers went 9-0 on the longest road trip of that season. This year, the Lakers go on an East Coast swing against the two toughest teams in the NBA and beat both. This is an incredible run for the Lakers, who figured to reel after losing Bynum for extended time.

A Missed Opportunity...

LeBron James is, unfairly or no, compared to Kobe Bryant every day. The Cavs were riding a great home court advantage that dispatched the Celtics in short order and stomped the Jazz on the drop of a hat. After Kobe dropped 61 points on the Knicks at Madison Square Garden, James did his best imitation with a 52 point, 9 rebound, 11 assist effort.

This year, James has some King's Men to assist the King. Williams and Szczerbiak chipped in with their first full season with the Cavs. On Sunday, they had a chance to really make a statement with a win against the Lakers.

Instead, LeBron James struggled, going 5 for 20 from the field and only 4 for 8 from the Free Throw line. That was a terrible performance, let's face it, and worse yet, James didn't have a flu to use as an excuse. Credit, of course, should be dealt to the Lakers for dedicating the game to containing James' attack. Despite a very good 12 assists, James +/- rating for the game was a lousy -12. Go figure.

Nonetheless, I'm disappointed. I thought the Cavs would have maintained their home court dominance and likely stamped their mark as "Best in the East". I thought LeBron James would outduel Kobe Bryant and post his usual terrific game. Things started promisingly enough for Cleveland, entering halftime with a ten point lead. The second half was when it fell apart. Their traps were opened up by quick moves to the basket, and Lamar Odom was after almost every ball in the Lakers end of the court. Holy moly!

Fortunately, the Cavs can take heart that despite one of the worse performances of James' season, they were within 5 points as late as 3 minutes to go in the game. It's just a matter of closing out on defense. The Cavs are fine.

Some teams have their day, and some days aren't yours. The only problem is, for Cleveland, it happened under a national spotlight!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

No WONDER They Called Him A-Fraud!!!!!

I do not believe this. Are you KIDDING???

A-Rod now hit with the stigma of Steroids? WHAT?!?!?!?!?!?!

This is not a "El Hebrew Hammer" I don't believe it, I really don't believe it. Not that he'd do the juice, A-Rod, but the fact that it would come down so damn quickly. Is this for real? No trial? No Jury? No elongated investigation? Nope, Nope, Nope!

Holy smokes. I already felt like we should have put an asterisk on most elements of his career, including his manhood. THIS now gives pretty much everybody a good reason to hate his guts.

...And would you believe that even all those performance enhancements couldn't get him one lousy hit that mattered in the playoffs?!! That's the real crime here, folks.

Water and Pot!!!!

Did you know Michael Phelps smokes pot?
I KNOW!?!?!?!

WHO KNEW!?!??!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Who's afraid of the Big Bad Celtics?

NEW YORK -- Boston this Boston that...

Last night, the Celtics beat the Knicks at Madison Square Garden, 110-100. BUT...

It took a 38 point 4th quarter to do it. The Celtics can thank James Dolan the Knicks don't have a defense. Ray Allen fouled out half way through the final period. Up until the 4th, the Knicks gave Boston ALL it could handle! The Knicks... let me repeat that, the "we gave up 61 to Kobe and 52 to LeBron" Knicks gave the C's everything but the kitchen sink. The Knicks LED 76-72 after 3 quarters!

Goodness, how the mighty have struggled. All teams go through rough patches, no doubt. But how about the Celtics defense lately? 101 points to Minnesota, 99 to Philly (a game where they practically pulled a houdini act to win), 110 to the Lakers, and now 100 to NY.

Has the rest of the NBA figured them out???

Probably not. The fact is, the Celtics are operating with Kevin Garnett at half speed. His flu has clearly been affecting his play. It also doesn't help that he's been getting called for a lot of the physical moves he makes this week. Fascinating.

Secondly, the C's have been turning the ball over a lot. 15+ turnovers 3 games in a row, several of them late. Rondo really needs to clean it up. He's very good with assists, he's having a very good season, but he makes some of the stupidest decisions. Why would anyone give the ball to anyone besides Paul Pierce or Ray Allen towards the end of OT on Thursday? Things like that.

No need to panic, Celtics fans. It's a rough patch and they'll get through it, but it looks like teams have formulated a nasty, Trojan Horse game plan. Can Rivers make the adjustments? That... is what will make or break championships!!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

I see baseball in your future...


No, no, no, I'm not going to start doing a goodbye speech like the folks at Baseball Toaster. Rest assured, there will still be content going into the indefinite future.

I love this place, and even with football over, we'll still get to cover lots of neat topics... especially (da da da da da daaaaa) BASEBALL!

Yep, get ready for some fun and good times coming up from me and some of our contemporaries here on LOCKS of the Week. Don't forget, our podcast is still up and running daily on the site. We likewise have a food show called "Dining with Dave" which comes on every Wednesday morning.

This was on my mind today: Who's the greatest hitting Rivera of all time?

The winner turns out to be the very first Rivera in Major League Baseball. Anyone remember "Jungle Jim" Rivera from the Chicago White Sox? He had a solid career from 1952-1961, OPS+ ing over 85 in every year but two. Not the greatest statistics ever, but in the 50's he was a solid hitter and a GREAT base stealer... the kind of player that Juan Pierre could only hope to be. But still... only about an 85 OPS+er.

Despite that, he had 422 career RBIs, the most of any Rivera to date. He also won the Triples Crown in 1955, finishing second in triples in numerous other years. Remember that folks, as we start watching Rising Riveras go up through the minors.

Monday, February 2, 2009

We did it Steelers... WE DID IT!!!

Congratulations Pittsburgh Steelers! 2008 Super Bowl Champions!!

I have one thing to say, to my friends who are Steelers fans...

Pittsburgh... WE DID IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!