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This is the archive for April 2009

It's All Hype And It's Bad For You. (Playoff Preview 2/2)

In a little under two and a half hours, the NBA Playoffs shall commence. In Part 1 of my annual playoff preview, I gave you rankings sans four teams (the Cavs, Lakers, Spurs & Rich/Creamys). In Part 2, I shall give you the remaining rankings, with the final two comprising what I think we'll see in June. So before I do that, a recap of the previous 12 teams and why I ranked them how I did.

From 8 to ??? (The Anti-Hype Playoff Preview)

In a matter of 24 hours, damn near everything changed in the East with word that KG's possibly/probably out for the rest of the postseason. All of a sudden, what was a possible Cleveland/Boston rematch now has taken on a 'pass the crown and get out of our way' feel. Something akin to Spinks/Ali when Ali was more or less on his way out, only he forgot the 'retire gracefully and save what's left of your face and all that' part. However, I don't think it's that cut and dry. Neither will be what is the traditional NBA Playoff preview from yours truly. 16 teams. 8 in each conference. I'm done reviewing series and all that, because I thought up something else overnight. I will rank the teams in descending order, from 8 to 1 for each conference. The first four will obviously be the ones that aren't around after the first two weekends of basketball.

The End Of An Era?

First Harry Kalas passes away, then John Madden retires. Two of the more famous voices in sports are no longer speaking. Who will replace them?

The sportscasters of the previous generations were (and are) legendary, and for good reason. For example, here's Vin Scully's moving tribute to deceased Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart as transcribed by Will Leitch. It's incredible.

If I may speak for every member of the Dodger organization, our heartfelt and deepest sympathies to the mother and family of Nick Adenhart, and to every member in the Angels organization, for the untimely accident and death of young Nick last night at the tender age of twenty-two. Nick, from Maryland, had pitched six scoreless innings and was in a car with three friends, and a driver apparently went through a red light and T-boned the car, killing three of the four, including Nick, and one other member is in critical condition. And if there is one thing I’ve learned in all my years — and I haven’t learned much — but the one thing I’ve learned: Don’t even waste your time trying to figure out life.

Ground ball through for Andre Ethier, and life continues for those who still have it. And with a leadoff single, Russell Martin will be coming up.

But I would say, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to take a moment and say a prayer in memory for Nick, especially for his parents. What a shock to lose a twenty-two-year-old.

Andre Ethier at first base, Russell Martin the batter, James Loney on deck, and the Dodgers try to strike in the second inning against Kevin Correia.

I won't make the argument that it's not time for Madden to retire, and I'm not going to say anything bad about his replacement Cris Collinsworth. I think Cris is going to do a great job in the color role on Monday Night Football, but... where are the great voices? Who are going to be the future of the industry? Not just to keep the seats warm, but to provide the voice of a generation? Who's going to be the next Voice of God?

Maybe that's an outmoded idea. There's no voice of a generation because we're too fragmented. There are no universal moments that we can all reference. Maybe the bland people behind the microphones these days are the voice of this bland generation.

Not a good day for baseball fans

It is a sad day in baseball: a legendary voice has been silenced, and a great character from days past dies unexpectedly.

First came the news that Harry Kalas, legendary Phillies broadcaster and the voice of NFL Films since 1975, had died at the age of 73 after passing out in the broadcast booth while preparing for today's Phillies-Nationals game. If you aren't familiar with the name, you do know the voice:

Then the breaking news, just as the word of Kalas' passing was being broadcast; former Detroit Tigers pitcher Mark "The Bird" Fidrych had been found dead under his truck in an apparent accident at his farm in Massachusetts at the age of 54:

Younger fans may not remember Fidrych, but in 1976, he was a baseball phenomenon and national celebrity, known as much for his skill as for his bizarre behavior on the mound. No one knew what to make of him; he talked to the ball, got on his hands and knees to clear cleat marks off the mound, he believed that some balls had hits in them and would throw those balls back. But damn, could he pitch. His career, like his life, was over far too soon; injuries killed his career after only four years, but he did enough in those four years to cement his name among those of us old enough to remember those days. As someone put it earlier, "He was the Bird before there was a Larry Bird."

Rest in peace, gentlemen. Your time with us was over far too soon, and we will cherish the time we had with you.

The Greatest Youth League Basketball Shot Ever

MY MIND JUST LOST ITSELF! Off the top of the backboard, off the heating duct, down the suspension line, and right into the basket! From 3/4 court, no less! I don't even think I could get the ball within a mile of the basket from there! Exclamation points! Shame the ref waves it off. I guess that counts as interference or something.

(I have to tag this post with something, so I'll tag it NCAA basketball. Right after making this shot, Billie Gillispie offered the kid a glass of whiskey and a scholarship to his next school.)

H/T: Deadspin

An Open Letter To Opie Frank...

Dear Opie Frank,

I had hoped the day would come when simply put, I wouldn't have to write this piece. I had hoped that much like with Coughlin, you'd have me eating crow and the Nets would be back where they haven't been in seven years. The Finals. But after an abysmal blowout to the Sucks (Bucks) and then the unidentified piece of crap that was a loss to the Wolves (which may as well be an AAU team wearing NBA attire right now, coached by Kevin McHale), I have come to the following conclusion...

You gotta go.

Soccer and America, the best of enemies.

If you don't read the Wall Street Journal, you would have never learned that soccer is ruining America. There are a lot of great points in that article. However, did you know that America is also ruining football overseas? I didn't know that for sure, but I could've easily guessed it the moment Malcolm Glazer bought a team in the Premier League.

Some of the second article's points aren't fair. I mean, blaming us for stupid stadium names? In a sport where most of the jersey is dominated by advertisements? It was only a matter of time before someone decided to sell the name and have it be Old Trafford Stadium Presented By Harry Ramsden's.

Have Neckbeard, Will Travel

It's a sad day for Bears fans. No longer will their quarterback position be the domain of sex cannons or neckbeards. Instead they get Jay Cutler and his diabeetus. Excuse me if I shed a little tear.

I know I might be the only one, but I love Kyle Orton. He's awesome, and he's not a terrible quarterback. I may be the only one who thinks he's serviceable in the NFL, and I'm okay with that. I watched a lot of Bears games last year and he was never outright terrible. Still, I think Da Bears got fleeced by Boy Blunder in this particular trade.

Team Ditka Gets:
Gay Cutlery
2009 Fifth Round draft pick

The New Team Neckbeard Gets:
The Roadie
2009 First Round draft pick
2009 Third Round draft pick
2010 First Round draft pick

Yes, I know Jay Cutler is the second coming of John Elway, etc., but I don't think I've seen a Bears team with a good, non-crazy quarterback in my life. Even Jim McMahon had a little maniac about him. But Jay Cutler is mostly sane, if a bit of a crybaby! Where's the fun in that?!