Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy Birthday, Grant

December 31st is an important day for everyone. After all, it marks the yearly anniversary of the birth of my eldest brother, Grant. Today Grant turns 35 and I'm sure this year's festivities will be no less spectacular than those of past years. I can't put my finger on it, but for some reason the G-Man is extremely popular. Do you know how I know? Because people get together all over the world to celebrate the last 10 seconds of his Birthday. Everyone celebrates in a different way: Some kiss, some watch magic balls go down the tops of buildings, some watch buildings blow up on the Vegas strip, but one thing is certain: everyone has a good time.

It's not just regular people that seem to enjoy this day, either. Really, really famous people get together and toast Grant and kiss. They even wheel out Dick Clark's half-dead corpse for the celebration held on TV every year. And you can be sure all the Johnny-come-lately Pop Stars of the moment will serenade Grant on his special day.

So here's to you big brother. I hope this Birthday is as good as the rest have been.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Predicting the BCS Bowls

Before I get to the BCS Bowls, I have two important things to get to. First, this website will be going through some changes in the next little while and we’ll keep you posted on what’s happening. More to come later. Second, and I think I can speak for The Strap as a group here, I sincerely hope that we’ve seen the last of Brett Farve in an NFL uniform. Just put on your Wranglers and go Brett. Please don’t put us through the constant updates on SportsCenter and NFL Live. Just get it over with.

Because the BCS Bowls are coming up in the next week and a half, it’s preview time. Before the season started I wrote a college football preview and picked Oklahoma to beat The Ohio State in the BCS title game. I’ll get to the title game later, but at least I got one of the teams correct. There are at least two or three non-BCS bowl games that are better matchups than the Orange Bowl, so I’m not even going to recognize that as a BCS game–therefore, it will be left out of this preview.

Sugar Bowl - Utah vs. Alabama
Before the season I said that Bama was overrated and didn’t deserve to be in the top 25. Clearly I am retarded. Alabama is absolutely the real deal. Utah didn’t play the toughest schedule, but they rose to the challenge and are the only remaining unbeaten team in college football. The Utes know how to win close games and they are a complete team–solid in all three phases.

Andre Smith deciding to go all Reggie Bush and being ruled ineligible for the game helps Utah tremendously. Smith is a definite top-5 pick, so his loss will be big. Alabama is a good running team and will try to pound the ball against the U. John Parker Wilson has only 6 touchdown passes all season, so don’t expect him to test the Utah secondary all that much, especially if the Tide is able to move the ball on the ground. How Alabama is 12-1 with only 6 TD passes from their starting quarterback is beyond me. If the Utes can make Bama one dimensional they have a legitimate chance to pull off the upset.

The Utah offense struggled against the best defense they’ve played this year in TCU. Can they do any better against Alabama? My gut tells me the answer is yes, but it won’t be enough to win the game.
Alabama wins by 10.

Rose Bowl - USC vs. Penn State
USC and Penn State have a combined 22-2 record, making this one of the more intriguing bowl games this year. USC’s defense is as good as it gets: they’re giving up 7.8 points per game. There are NFL players at every position on the Trojan defense, including Moala, Griffen, Cushing, Mays, Ellison, Maualuga... I could keep going, but the point is this: SC’s defense is flat out loaded.

Can Penn State score enough to win this game? Maybe, because the USC offense is nowhere near as dynamic without Norm Chow as the OC. With the talent they have on offense, USC should be putting up way more points than they have so far this season. The fact that USC doesn’t run it up like they have in past years bodes well for PSU. Penn State has a good offense with a mobile quarterback, the best offensive line in college football, and athletic wide receivers. The Nittany Lions probably won’t be able to march the ball up and down the field, so they’ll need some big plays from the wideouts for them to get the victory.

Nobody prepares for big games better than Pete, so I expect the Trojans to look awesome in beating Penn State. Plus, Penn State is from the Big Ten, which doesn’t prepare them well for a team like USC because the Big Ten sucks, is boring and overrated.
USC by at least 14.

Fiesta Bowl - Texas vs. The Ohio State
Is Terrelle Pryor the next Vince Young? I don’t mean that in the “is he going to take off in his car and have his coach call the police because he’s nervous his QB is on his way to commit suicide” kind of way, but is he the next big dual-threat college football quarterback? He certainly has the running skills. His passing is improving, but until he can show improved accuracy, don’t expect him to do what Vince did. Having Beanie Wells in the backfield sure doesn’t hurt (I’d like to see him in the Seahawks’ backfield next year). Wells has been injured at times this year, but when healthy he’s the best running back in college football. The Ohio State offense would be much more dangerous if Pryor were a better passer. Expect Texas to load up on the run because of this. The Buckeyes still have a very good defense that should keep them in the game.

Texas has a more diverse offense than The Ohio State and Colt McCoy has been awesome this year. McCoy might even run for more yards than Pryor in this game. Texas can score through the air, on the ground, defensively, and on special teams. It will be interesting to see how the Texas offense does against a good defense–something they didn’t see in the Big 12 this year.

A lot of people were pissed that The Ohio State University got into a BCS game, but I think they’ll show up for this one. I’ll pick the upset and go with the Buckeyes to pull this one out by a touchdown.
Ohio State by 7.

Monday, December 29, 2008

NBA Player Rankings

Well, I was going to post my top half of the league commentary last Wednesday, but then T-Bone went and posted his "Power Rankings", thus covering many of the teams I was going to speak about. Thanks a pantload, T-Bone. So today, I'm going to look at the top 5 by position this season with a little commentary. Remember, this is a top 5 for the first third of this year only.

Point Gaurd
5. Rajon Rondo-Celtics 11.1 ppg, 7.6 apg 5.0 rpg 2.3 spg 52.4% FG
Rondo has been a steadying force for the Celtics and barely nudges Jameer Nelson for the 5th spot. Rondo's defense has been stellar, and his offense is ever improving, leading the C's to a 28-4 record.
4. Tony Parker-Spurs 22.1 ppg 6.6 apg 50.3 FG%
Tony is having a great season thus far for the Spurs. He has taken over as the team's top scorer. Parker has been very efficient, despite battling injury.
3. Chauncey Billups-Nuggets 17.9 ppg 6.9 apg 5.0 rpg 40.3% 3pt FG
Chauncy has saved the Nuggets season. They are 19-8 with him in the lineup, leading the Division. Chauncey's leadership and defense have been great, and his offense has been solid as per usual.
2. Devin Harris-Nets 23.7 ppg 6.4 apg 1.6 spg
Harris has taken a jump into elite status as a scoring point gaurd. Who knew he would make the Jason Kidd trade look completetly lopsided for the Nets? I did. Harris has, along with a rejuvinated Vince Carter, lead the Nets to a surprising .500 record.
1. Chris Paul-Hornets 20.1 ppg 11.4 apg 5.2 rpg 3.0 spg 49.7% FG
Paul is, once again, not only in the discussion for best point gaurd in the league, but in the discussion for best player in the league. And Jazz fan, don't come at me with Deron Williams smack, he can't even hold Paul's jockstrap when healthy, let alone on a gimpy ankle.

Shooting Gaurd
5. Joe Johnson-Hawks 23.2 ppg 4.7 rpg 5.7 apg
Did you know the Hawks are 19-10? Did you know that Joe Johnson has gone for over 30 points 6 times this year already? Did you know that the Celtics drafted Joe Johnson, then traded him for Rodney Rogers and Tony Delk after less than one season? Did you know that I am crying a little bit right now?
4. Vince Carter-Nets 23.0 ppg 4.9 rpg 4.6 apg
Vince Carter is apparantly not dead. Ok, Vince's last few seasons haven't been that bad, but the big difference this year is that it looks like Vince is actually trying on both ends. How he and Harris have lead this band of misfits to a .500 record thus far is beyond me, but I'll give props where they are due.
3. Brandon Roy-Blazers 23.0 ppg 4.5 rpg 5.3 apg
Stop it, Blazer fan. Don't put this guy anywhere near the MVP this season. Roy keeps getting better and better though, and I love his game. I like his makeup. He seems to be pretty cool and collected, which serves this young team well. The scary thing for teams in the West is that this guy and this team have tons of room for improvement. Watch out.
2. Kobe Bryant-Lakers 26.3 ppg 5.4 rpg 4.2 apg
Bryant is having another spectacular year, and it seems as though the improvement of his team will allow him to get some added rest the last month of the season. Bryant is still spectacular in the 4th quarter and I suspect we will see him in the finals again this season.
1. Dwayne Wade-Heat 28.9 ppg 5.1 rpg 6.9 apg 2.2 spg 1.6 bpg
Wade is simply amazing. He is carrying a team of misfits to a respectable season almost single-handedly. Dude is averaging 1.6 blocks per game. He has 13 games over 30. If it weren't for LeBron and the fact that his team will probably finish middle of the pack, Wade could be having an MVP season.

Small Forward
5. Paul Pierce-Celtics 18.2 ppg 5.7 rpg 3.8 apg
Pierce is having one of his worst statistical seasons, but has been a big part in a 28-4 start, usually taking the brunt of the big 4th quarter shots. Pierce gives up a lot of shots to his teammates, but has been a very efficient scorer this year, averaging 1.4 points per shot. Just edges out Josh Howard, Carmelo Anthony, Andrei Kirilenko and Gerald Wallace
4. Kevin Durant-Thunder 23.7 ppg 5.5 rpg 44.8% 3pt Fg
This guy could be higher if his team were any good. Having lousy teammates actually hurts KD's numbers, as there is literally no one that defenses need to worry about other than Durant on the Thunder. Has improved his game in every facet and should continue to blossom as he is, after all, only 20 years old.
3. Caron Butler-Wizards 21.0 ppg 6.5 rpg 4.5 apg 1.6 spg
I love Caron Butler. He has improved so much over the past few years. He plays extremely hard and is a tenacious defender. I can't believe he is the third highest paid player on the Wizards, as I would take one of him over two Gilbert Arenas' and 6 Antawn Jamisons.
2. Danny Granger- Pacers 24.9 ppg 5.1 rpg 3.2 apg
The Small Forward position is not loaded admittedly, but look at Granger's scoring average! Some guys sign big contracts and rest on their laurels, but Granger looks like he's trying to prove that he deserves another raise before he is even getting paid for the extension he just signed. I saw dude get his two front teeth knocked out against Boston and he kept playing, helping to hand the C's one of their 4 losses. I have a lot of respect for this guy.
1. LeBron James-Cavs 27.5 ppg 6.7 rpg 6.4 apg 2.0 spg 1.1 bpg 50.9%FG
I don't know how you can watch basketball and say this guy is not clearly the best player on the planet. He's finally started to hit his free throws, and has figured out that no one alive can stop him if he heads to the basket. LeBron has at least one "Oh My Lord" highlight every single game. Oh, and he is playing excellent defense. Please, some one, take this team out before they get to Boston. Pleeeeeeeeeeeeease.

Power Forward
5. Amare Stoudamire-Suns 22.5 ppg 9.0 rpg 55.6% FG
I have to admit, Amare is having a little bit of a down season for him. His scoring, rebounding and field goal percentage have all suffered this year. Maybe he needs to shut his damn yapper about where he is going to play in the future and focus on the present and get back to utterly dominating fools. That being said, he's still 400 times better than Pau Gasol.
4. Dirk Nowitzki-Mavs 25.8 ppg 8.9 rpg
Can you believe this guy one an MVP one season? The league has gotten much better since, I would have to say. All that aside, Dirk is having a classic Dirk season, shooting very well, rebounding at a respectable rate, and not shooting enough damn threes. Say what you will, but the Mavs were better when Dirk was launching threes. He is after all a career 38 percent gunner.
3. Kevin Garnett-Celtics 16.6 ppg 8.8 rpg 1.4 bpg 53.9% FG
KG is having a bit of a down year, particularly on the boards, but his defense is still the stuff of legends, and he continues to take the opportunities given him on an extremely balanced team to shoot a very high field goal percentage. Oh, and we don't need to add all the intangibles in. I mean, dude either inspires or has the bench so scared of his wrath, that they play hard when, like last night, they were up by 40 damn points.
2. Chris Bosh-Raptors 23.4 ppg 9.7 rpg 49.3% FG
I feel a little sad for Bosh. For so long everyone called him so underrated that now I think he is actually a little bit overrated. I mean, he is a great player, but in watching him I don't think he goes at it hard enough. He just seems a little soft to me as all. Still, he is terrific and needs to get the hell out of Toronto as soon as he can.
1. Tim Duncan-Spurs 20.7 ppg 10.4 rpg 3.2 apg 1.7 bpg 51.6% Fg
What is going on with Duncan this year? Yawn. 20 and 10 with stellar defense, leading an injury plagued team to a very respectable 20-10 recrod in the West. Yawn. Best Power Forward ever. Yawn.

5. Al Jefferson-Wolves 22.1 ppg 10.2 rpg 1.9 bpg 49.4% Fg
Jefferson makes this list by default. Center and Small Forward are the 2 weakest positions, and Jefferson has been only so-so this season. He doesn't look to be working that hard in the games I've seen. Perhaps all the losing has him down. I know he has good numbers, but something is off and I feel he could do more. 20 and 10 ain't bad, though.
4. Zydrunas Ilgauskas-Cavs 14.0 ppg 7.1 rpg 1.2 bpg 51.5% FG
Old Z has turned back the clock and is playing terrificly for the Cavs thus far, helping to stretch the floor for LeBron, and otherwise being extremely solid on both ends of the floor despite playing fewer minutes for playoff conservation.
3. Shaquille O'Neal-Suns 16.4 ppg 8.6 rpg 1.4 bpg 58.5% FG
I gotta give Shaq his credit. I don't know how his ass tastes, but I know that he is palying with a lot of effort and intensity for the Suns this year. They are doing a good job of keeping him rested by not having him go in most back-to-backs, and he is repaying them with improved conditioning, better free throw shooting, and a solid inside presence on defense.
2. Yao Ming-Rockets 20.3 ppg 9.7 rpg 1.8 bpg 53.3% FG
Everyone knows what Yao is capable of when healthy. I think that the decreased offensive burden (shooting 2 less shots a game, playing 3 less minutes) will all help to keep Yao fresh as the season drags on, as he has a lenghty injury history. The Rockets have been good so far, and we'll see if the second half can bring on a further gelling of their talents for a run at the title.
1. Dwight Howard-Magic 19.6 ppg 13.7 rpg 3.7 bpg 55.1% FG
I've given Howard crap for not having enough post moves the last few years, but in the games I've seen, he has really improved in that respect this year. I know that his numbers are a little bit down from last year, but the team is better overall, and the opposition is now really focusing on Howard more than ever. I've been impressed by his improved (believe it or not) offensive rebounding as now one can box this guy out it seems, and by his defense, which has gone from great to otherworldly.

(sorry for any misspells. Spell checker down. Peace.)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

'Twas the Night Before Christmas

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house,
Not a creature was stirring, not even Eddie House;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes the Commissioner soon would be there;
The Jazz were all nestled a snug in their beds,
They dreamed of Milwaukee and that damned Michael Redd:
And Pacman in his 'kerchief, and Ray Lewis in his cap,
Had just settled down for some VIP dances, lap.
When out on the filed there arose such a clatter,
‘Cause the Yankees bought all the best pitchers and batters.
Away to the window Usain Bolt flew like a flash,
He needed more light to inject roids in his ass.
Warren Moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow,
Make you question his morals, but you never know,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But Kim Kardashian with Reggie Bush slapping her rear,
Devin Hester was there, so lively and quick,
Returning kicks he was awesome, catching balls he sucks (well you know).
More rapid than eagles every kick was the same,
He whistled to blockers, and called them by name;
"Now, Vasher! Now, Forte! Now, Briggs and Rex Grossman!
On, Orton! On Urlacher! On, Kreutz and Greg Olsen!
From Historic Soldier Field, to the snow in old Lambeau,
But enough about football, let’s talk about Rondo.”
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
Rajon is unstoppable when he mounts to the sky,
He dribbles and rebounds, to the backboard he slashes,
He scores or to KG, to Pierce, or Ray Allen he passes.
And then, in a twinkling, he steals the ball from your point,
Then he throws down a dunk and blows the roof off the joint.
On Christmas the Celtics will play in LA,
A-listers will go ‘cause they’re down with Yahweh.
Rondo will run circles ‘round Fisher like a dancer,
He won’t use his kid to leverage a trade with his cancer.
And if Andrew Bynum puts the ball on the floor,
Rondo will strip him ‘cause his dribbling is poor.
He’ll spring to the backcourt, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they’ll all fly like the down of a thistle.
The Celtics will run up the floor to their spots,
Sugar Ray to the corner ‘cause his shooting’s been hot.
He’ll look to the left and then pass to the right,
And KG will jump toward the rim, out of sight.
He’ll catch the sweet oop, throw it down with some thunder,
The Lakers will cry, their dreams torn all asunder.
And Rondo will yell, ere he drives out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night."

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

NBA Power Rankings

To go along with Boyd’s post about the L, I decided to hop on the NBA bandwagon this week. How could I not, with the Lakers-Celtics on Christmas day? I don’t watch the league as much as PlayBoyd does, but here are my power rankings for the NBA for Christmas week (I’m only going with the top half of the league). Am I the only one who thinks that the East might be better than the West top to bottom? The West has been so dominant for the last several years that it’s strange to see so many crappy teams in the West.

1. Boston Celtics
The Celtics certainly appear hungry to repeat. As long as they stay healthy, it seems that there are only be two realistic threats to a repeat. Well, maybe three if they have to face Atlanta in the playoffs (second round matchup perhaps?). Rondo is playing out of his mind and the defense continues to be impressive.

2. Cleveland Cavaliers
LeBron James has been ridiculous this year. I’ve been a proponent of Kobe Bryant as the best player in the league for the last few years, but LBJ has me rethinking this. He’s playing at a different level this year and it shows in Cleveland’s record. Cleveland is really putting opponents away in the second half this season, outscoring opponents by a wide margin. They look legit.

3. Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers haven’t looked as impressive in the past few weeks (just suffered their first back-to-back defeats of the season) but are still the class of the West. Bynum and Gasol are meshing well together so far, but Kobe has not been as dominant as he was last season. The offense doesn’t seem to be as precise as it was last year from what I’ve seen, and the injury to Farmar could be big. With all those questions, the Lakers are still the best team in the West and have the potential to win the NBA Championship.

4. Orlando Magic
I picked Atlanta to get the upset and win the Southeast division over Orlando. While it could still happen, Orlando has looked really freaking good so far this season. They just had a three game winning streak, beating Portland, San Antonio, and the Lakers. Impressive. Dwight Howard is an absolute beast, as evidenced by the way he destroyed Greg Oden last week. That was awesome—welcome to the league, rookie.

5. New Orleans Hornets
The Hornets have won 11 of their last 13 and Chris Paul is being Chris Paul. New Orleans doesn’t look that great on paper but the pieces they have just fit so well together. I’m interested to see what happens in the NO-LAL game tonight.

6. Houston Rockets
The Rockets look good for not having been all that healthy so far. If Houston is healthy come playoff time they will be dangerous for the Lakers. Artest plays Kobe as well as anyone in the league.

7. San Antonio Spurs
Tony Parker is playing at a high level this year (see his 55 and 10 game earlier this season) and Tim Duncan is taking care of business as usual. Ginobili has been pretty solid since coming back from injury and we can expect him to only get better. I still hate him, but when he is on offensively he is as close to unstoppable as anyone in the league.

8. Denver Nuggets
Chauncey Billups has transformed this team. Denver is playing defense better than they have in forever. Well, they were until they gave up over 105 in their last three games. If the MVP goes to the most valuable player and not the best player, Billups deserves some consideration if the Nuggets continue like this.

9. Atlanta Hawks
The Hawks could contend with Portland as the team of the future. Horford, Johnson, Williams, and Smith are all 27 years old or younger and Bibby can bring it when he needs to. This team can be dangerous in the future, and maybe sooner.

10. Portland Trail Blazers
The other trendy pick as team of the future is better than I thought they would be this year. Brandon Roy is going to the next level and becoming a star. He dropped 52 the other night and he does a little bit of everything. Aldridge is underrated, Outlaw is awesome off the bench, and Oden and Fernandez are getting better. Blake is playing well at the point, and Martell Webster is coming back from injury. The future looks very promising for the Blazers.

11. Phoenix Suns
Amare’s pimp hand is way strong and Nash continues to put up good numbers. Shaq hasn’t been great this year but he hasn’t sucked either. The addition of Jason Richardson could be big for this team (he’s averaged 18 a game since the trade).

12. Utah Jazz
The Jazz have been decimated by injuries but still have a decent record. If the Jazz can ever get and stay healthy they’ll move way up this list.

13. Dallas Mavericks
The Mavs trading Devin Harris was a stupid move, as Devin’s 41 points against Dallas last week proved. Jason Terry is going for 21 per game off the bench and Dirk is playing well so far. Dallas is currently sitting in 9th place and would miss the playoffs if things stay put. I, for one, would love to see the Mavericks stay home.

14. Miami Heat
Dwyane Wade has been a monster and he outplayed Kobe last week in their head-to-head matchup. Beasley has been good so far, but I expected more after what he did in college last year. The Heat have 14 wins right now, only one less than their total from last season.

15. New Jersey Nets
Devin Harris is becoming a star. I found an impressive stat yesterday: Harris has gone for 30+ in 8 of 23 games this year. In the first four years of his career he had zero 30-point games. Also, Brook Lopez went for 22, 13 and 5 blocks against the Heat last week, the first Nets player to go for 20-10-5 since Derrick Coleman. Vince is playing like the champ I know he is and the Nets look good.

Monday, December 22, 2008

NBA Review, Part I

The NBA season is now a little over a third of the way finished, and I have seen every team play a number of times except the Miami Heat. For some reason I still have not caught them. But I will. No matter. I decided today to go back and look at my pre-season thoughts on the NBA, found here and here, to see if I where I was right, where I was wrong, and any other thoughts I have on all things NBA.

Oklahoma City Thunder: I have seen 2 games from these guys, and they are even worse than I thought they would be. I was right when I predicted PJ would be a goner by New Years, and the drafting of Jeff Green and Russel Westbrook has not worked out thus far. Durant has not looked very good either, by the way.

Memphis Grizzlies: I caught them the other night and they played a really competitive game. I really like OJ Mayo and Rudy Gay. They both take and make some crazy shots. I was wrong however, about Mike Conley. Doesn't look like he will be anything special, as he has had plenty of opportunity and hasn't done much with it. I also like Marc Gasol. He's a real banger and could be a good role player for years to come. Memphis is definitely on the upswing.

Minnesota Timberwolves: I predicted the axe at some point for Whitman if this team did not improve, and he got that axe sooner than even I thought. This team has been extremely disappointing. The main problem is that their guards are just awful. Foye can't shoot, nor can Telfair. McCants couldn't throw it in the ocean from the shore. Gomes hasn't shot well. The only two guys shooting well, Jefferson and Miller, have to watch game after game as McCants and Foye jack up horrible shot after horrible shot. I take bake my prediction that this team is on the upswing. Kevin Love appears over matched and is not a good fit for this team at all.

New York Knicks: Thank goodness for Mike D'Antoni. I've seen 3 Knicks games this year, and although they lost all three, at least they were watchable. Make no mistake, the Knicks are not a good team, but they are much better than the last few years. They have a similar problem to most bad teams: Bad shooters. Other than David Lee, none of them can shoot with any accuracy.

Milwaukee Bucks: I was wrong about this team. They have been much, much better than I expected, and actually decent to watch. They still let Redd, Villanueva, and Jefferson huck up too many bad shots, but the defense has improved, bless Scott Skiles' little red ass, and overall, despite a brutal starting schedule, the Bucks might have a shot to gel and fight for the 8th spot in the East, much to my surprise.

Charlotte Bobcats: This team is a microcosm for all bad teams. Case in point: Raymond Felton, shooting 39% from the field, shoots 12.6 shots per game. Emeka Okafor, shooting 59% from the field, shoots 9.0 times. It isn't that hard, coaches: Make the players pass the ball to the guys who can shoot and let them shoot. If they won't, get players that will. I still hold that Larry Brown is out of touch with today's players and in the long run this is going to end badly for Charlotte.

New Jersey Nets: The Nets have to be one of the biggest surprises in the NBA. Devin Harris is playing out of his mind, and Vince Carter is actually trying, which I didn't think he would. He still may be traded, but this team is headed in the right direction because of solid coaching and great play from the role players. Don't get me wrong, the Nets are not a good team, but they are much better than anyone expected.

Sacramento Kings: This team is just awful. It can't defend anybody, which negates the teams relatively decent shooting touch. That being said, there is some good stuff for the future. Hawes and that rookie Thompson everyone thought they reached for look pretty promising, and Brad Miller should probably be traded for more talent. John Salmons is surprising everyone with his play. Kevin Martin has, for the most part been injured and disappointing when he did play. He may be this years player who was called so underrated that he actually became overrated.

LA Clippers: You may ask yourself how I ranked the Clippers 22nd in my preseason list, but if you check it right now, they have the 24th best record, so I wasn't that far off. This team is, however, even worse than I thought. They just can't guard anybody to save their lives. Baron Davis is shooting so horribly. 17 times a game at only 37%. How is that possible? Oh, partly because he shoots 6 threes a game at only 29%. Have fun the next 5 years as he only gets worse, Clipper fan.

Indiana Pacers: The Pacers have been about what I thought, but I think they might have a better future than I stated. Danny Granger is playing awesome. Once they get Dunleavy back, they could contend for the final playoff spot in the wide-open bottom of the East.

Miami Heat: It has to be said, Dwayne Wade is challenging LeBron for best player in the league. He simply wills this band of miscreants to victory waaaaay more often than any mortal should. The big question remains: will he stay healthy? I predicted no, but hope to God that I am wrong, because he is fantastic. The rest of the roster is only so-so, but if they can pick up Boozer in the off-season, they would vault back up towards the top of the East in my estimation.

Atlanta Hawks: Wow, the Hawks are showing what just getting to the playoffs can do for a team, and proving me dead wrong. Even though they lost to the Celtics in an epic 7 game series, they seemed to learn so much and gain confidence that is carrying over to this season. They have a very balanced starting five, and you can tell that Joe Johnson figured out that no one can guard him. The bench is still to thin to compete for a title, and lord having Josh Childress would help that situation, but I'll tell you this: The Celtics are glad they probably won't be an 8 seed this year. (By the way, the big difference between last year and this: defense. The Hawks claimed they learned that from the C's and it shows.)

Chicago Bulls: I'm not even going to talk about the Bulls. Just Derrick Rose. I apologize, Derrick Rose, baby, for what I wrote about you. You are the real deal and once you get a little bit of an outside shot, you will be completely unstoppable. Please forgive me, Derrick Rose.

Golden State Warriors: I was dead wrong on these guys, as well. They are just horrid. Don Nelson has done a terrible, terrible job with this roster. Better hope that Monte Ellis can play point, because no one on that team EVER PASSES. These guys are atrocious to watch. I might throw up.

Washington Wizards: Wrong about these guys, too. Brutal. Just brutal. Think Gilbert is going to turn this mess around? Me neither. They just signed him to a six year deal. Wizards fans, put the pistols down, you aren't the Bullets anymore.

Denver Nuggets: I guess we found out that Allen Iverson is a cancer, and like the cancer that Doctor's removed from Nene's nut last season, the removal of said cancer can be rejuvenating. I mean, this team is night and day from last year and early this season. Billups is a stud. If healthy, he's a top 5 point in my book. Nene is much better than I thought, and Kenyon Martin looks rejuvenated. This team is a better defensive team than I thought they would be, relying on a team concept rather than letting traded Marcus Camby try to do all the defending like they did last year. Still not a top notch championship team, they will be a tough out in the playoffs for whoever gets them.

Part II Wed.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Five Things

I've put a lot of thought into this week's post and struggled greatly with its content.  I am a fairly opinionated person.  I also like to talk (my father says I talk because I like to hear the sound of my own voice, and he's probably right).  Because of my talkative nature and my never ending opinions I tend to push people to opposite ends of the "What I Think About Jim Scale".  Some people like me and some people hate me, there aren't very many people in between.  For the record, either way is fine with me.  So with this in mind I forge ahead with a list of five things that I know, along with five things that I think I know.  Some may delight, some may offend, but such is the plight of this well intended author.  Dear reader, enjoy.

1.  I know I love sports and I think I know why.  Because of my choice of sports franchises I have suffered much over the years.  Listen to this, Peter Tom Willis, Will Furrer, Steve Stenstrom, Moses Moreno, and Henry Burris.  Ever heard of any of these guys?  Well neither have I, but apparently they are all quarterbacks who have started games for my beloved Chicago Bears within the last 15 years.  Go figure.  (By the way, the list of guys I have heard of isn't that much more impressive than these five douches).  I've suffered through Eric Montross, Mark Blount, and Milt Palacios. 
Somebody please save me from the likes of a washed up Bobby Bonilla, an overrated Victor Zambrano, and a trade that got the Mets Jim Fergosi and sent away Nolan freakin' Ryan.  I should totally hate sports, but instead I know that I love them so much.  Why?  I think I know.  Sports are unpredictable and for that reason we love them.  For every heavily favored Yankee team that didn't make it to the World Series there is a 2008 Tampa Bay Rays team that overachieves and thrills us.  On any given night virtually unknown NC State can beat the unbeatable Phi Slamma Jamma.  I can still see Dikembe Mutombo clutching the ball to his chest as his #8 seeded Denver Nuggets beat the #1 seed Seattle Supersonics, the first time such a thing had ever happened, ever.  I love sports because at the start of every season a true fan has new hope, a fool's hope most of the time, but hope nonetheless.  I love sports because Ryan Gomes, Al Jefferson, Gerald Green , Theo Ratliff, Sebastian Telfair, two first round draft picks, and cash considerations can turn into Kevin Garnett and Celtic Pride can rise reborn like a Phoenix from the ashes.

2.  I know the Germans love David Hasselhoff and I think I know why.  Check this out.


I mean come on, wiener dogs, baby angels holding hands, and the Hoff flying over a speeding motorcycle.  That shit's solid gold.  Danke shoen, Deutschland!  Danke Shoen.

3.  I know if you argue with an old timer about who the greatest athlete is in any given sport he is not going to say LeBron James, Peyton Manning, or Alex Rodriguez.  In his mind there is no way in hell Mike Tyson could have ever beaten Muhammad Ali, or Cassius Clay for that matter.  Put away your Joe Montana posters and lock up any thoughts you might have of anointing Dan Marino the greatest quarterback ever because everyone can just line up behind Johnny Unitas and Broadway Joe Namath and it don't matter what order you put 'em in after that, period.  Ted Williams would hit .500 in today's MLB and every game Bob Gibson pitched would be a no-hitter with the good-for-nothin' pansies teams run up to the plate now a days.  They don't want to hear about Shaquille O'Neal.  Shaq couldn't hold Bill Russell's jockstrap (oh wait, I agree with that one so if that makes me an old timer then pull my lower lip up to the bottom of my nose and hoist my pants up to my armpits because Russell is the beginning and end.  Shuffleboard anyone?).  I think I can explain this one too.  These athletes got these people through some rough times.  Sports were an escape from Wars, the Depression, and Presidential assassinations.  The heroes of these games provided unadulterated happiness and celebration during times when such things were rare.  Did they put these athletes up on a pedestal and ignore their shortcomings?  Hell yes they did, and why not?  Could most of the athletes of yesteryear compete with the monsters that roam the courts and fields today?  Probably not.  Are athletes getting bigger, faster, and stronger?  Yes.  But some of them would still be able to play in today's sports world.  A great athlete then would be a great athlete now.  Greatness, I think, transcends space and time.

4.  I know 80s music mostly sucks, but I love it anyway.  I think people can't help but love the things they grew up with (unless you grew up with a mean drunk father who lifted you by the short hairs on the back of your neck and kicked you in the ass all the way down the street for all your friends to see.  I can't speak from experience on this one as my father is a wonderful man and hero to me, but I'm sure if something like that happened to you when you were a kid it would have sucked pretty bad and definitely would have left you leaning toward NOT loving the things you grew up with, but I digress).  I know the lyrics suck and the guitar solos are lame and the hair and make-up for the women and men could not have been worse, but if I hear me some Def Leppard I get so pumped I just want to skateboard, play one-armed air drums, or lift weights, or something.  I know they only liked boys, but when I hear Erasure sing I can't help but think that together we will break these chains of love.  I know it was bad, but it was my bad and I loved it.  I love it still.

5.  I know I hate the Los Angeles Lakers with an undying hatred, and I think I know that I couldn't loath them anymore than I already do.

So that's it.  Five things that I know and five that I think I know.  Feel free to let me know what you think of the things that I know and what you think of the things that I think that I know.  Whoa!  Also, let me know about the things you know and the things you think you know.  Who knows, maybe some of the things that you know will be the same things that I know and maybe some of the things that you think you know will be the same things that I think I know.  Possibly so. 

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Who will win the NBA championship?

I was reading a recent poll taken by Sports Illustrated that asked 189 NBA players who would win the NBA championship this season. The results:

Lakers - 67%
Celtics - 20%
Cavaliers - 4%
Spurs - 2%

So what does this mean? It seems like the players would know better than analysts who the best team in the league is. The Lakers, Celtics, and Cavs have a combined winning percentage of 87.5. These teams are all playing at a pretty ridiculous clip. The only meeting between these teams to this point in the season was a game one win by Boston over Cleveland. So, who will win the NBA title? Both Boyd and I picked the Celtics before the season started, and I think it's pretty clear that Jim wouldn't pick against the Celtics even if he were being tortured.

I'm not only surprised that the Lakers won the poll, but the margin is pretty impressive. What do the players know that we don't? Defense led Boston to a championship last year and they've been equally impressive so far this season. Ray Allen is healthy and playing like a champ. The Lakers have been impressive thus far, but what has changed that leads people to conclude they will beat Boston this year? Are they better defensively? Does Bynum make up the difference from last year? Is Kobe playing even better this season than last? Do people think age will catch up to the Celtics (they aren't that old)? With Rondo playing the way he is so far this season, I can't see why anyone would pick against the Celtics. Can someone give me some ideas? I'm not ruling it out completely, because Cleveland and Los Angeles are both very good teams, but why the Lakers at 67% of the vote? Seriously, what am I missing? Boyd? Jim? Rob? Anyone?

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Dark Knight

I watched this movie for the first time on Saturday night, and found it to be quite enjoyable. There was really only one thing about the movie that bothered me. For the first hour and a half of the movie, I listened to Heath Ledger as the Joker and there was something so familiar in his voice that it was nagging at me every time he spoke. I couldn't place it, and it was starting to detract from the movie. Then, it hit me. Now listen closely to the Joker on this clip:

Who does he sound like? Well, unfortunately, I can't embed the video due to copyrights, so you'll have to click on This.

Yes, he sounds like Stuart Smalley. Maybe with slightly less of the lisp, but there is no denying the vocal resemblence. Now I don't want to trample on a man's grave, but there is no way Heath Ledger should win an Oscar for doing an even creepier Stuart Smalley.

Just one man's opinion.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Santa and His Reindeer

Again, for the holidays, I thought it would be nice to create a list of athletes who would be best suited to help guide Santa's sleigh all around the world delivering presents to good girls and boys. This is just in case Santa and all of his reindeer die in an avalanche or a flood (global warming melting all the polar ice caps and all) and have to be replaced on Christmas Eve.

John Daily as Santa Claus
I know that this one was easy, but just look at the guy and you can see that he was the obvious choice. He has rosy cheeks just like Santa (hell his whole canned-ham face looks pretty rosy to me), if you could see his eyes in this picture I’m sure that there would be a twinkle in them (if they weren’t too bloodshot from binge drinking before his round of golf), and we can all definitely see that his belly will shake like a bowl full of jelly and it doesn’t matter if he’s laughing, swinging a golf club, coughing because of the lung cancer, or just walking around, that humongous boiler of his is gonna dance regardless of what he’s doing. Merry Christmas John Daily and congratulations, you are the professional athlete that most looks like Santa. Keep it up and someday you could be pulling minimum wage at some mall letting kiddies piss in your lap and tell you what they want for Christmas. Of course you’ll have to live long enough for that to happen so you’ll need two lung transplants and a new liver, but here’s hoping. Better spike the eggnog mom and dad or this Santa is coming up to your bedroom more than a little agitated and probably a lot sweaty.

Maurice Greene as Dasher
Come on dude. You were a world-class sprinter and once, after winning the 100-meter dash, held the prestigious title of “World’s Fastest Man” (of course you were probably on the juice when you did that, but who isn’t on the juice in track and field). Now just look at you dashing around the dance floor in a skin tight red costume with the sleeves torn off, rocking a disappointing giant black afro wig, and getting criticized for slow footwork by a hundred year old British douche. FYI Maurice, when I ripped this image of you off the Internet it was attached to an article entitled, and I kid you not, “Am I with a gay husband?” And that is the question that everybody wants answered, Maurice. Am I? Am I with a gay husband? I think the answer is clear. Pictures tell no lies, Maurice. At least he might add some speed to Santa’s sleigh and heaven knows the Jolly Old Elf needs speed to cover the distances he needs to in a single night.

Jerry Rice as Dancer
Sticking with the Dancing with the Stars theme, I can only look at this picture of Jerry Rice and weep. Jerry Rice is the greatest receiver to ever play the game of football. There once was a time when you could walk down the street and ask any woman you met who Jerry Rice was and she would answer, “I don’t know.” This was for the best. Now if you were to do the same thing they would say, “oh, he’s that guy from Dancing with the Stars. I love him.” Damn you Jerry Rice. For all of your heroic acts on the football field you deserves to go relatively unnoticed by the female population. Your many catches, yardage, and touchdowns have earned you that right and with one little dancing show appearance you pissed it all away. It’s okay Jerry. I’ll still throw the ball to you every single time on Tecmo Super Bowl regardless of how many defenders are covering you and even if you are listed as being in BAD condition, I just won't ask your advice on if I should ruin my Hall of Fame Career by doing and ill-advised crappy reality show, that's all.

Warren Sapp as Prancer
I promise this is my last Dancing with the Stars reference, but it is necessary because Warren has the body weight and strength necessary to pull Santa’s sleigh and because of his recent and unfortunate choice to participate in the afore mentioned dancing show his new nickname, “Prancer”, fits right in. As you can see, even in his playing days Warren had an affinity for dance, but that still does not excuse him from mockery and ridicule for his choice to become a fancy pants on a nationally televised dance show. He went from putting terror into the hearts of NFL running backs by utilizing a tremendous bull-rush to plug the gaps, to having HIS heart full of terror that someone on the dance show might plug his gap with a tremendous bum-rush. Why Warren? Why?

Danica Patrick as Vixen
As you can see by the picture, this too was an easy choice. Danica is certainly capable of filling the role of Santa’s Vixen. Mrs. Claus, whom I imagine to be a dumpy old broad that kind of looks like Mrs. Doubtfire, would have a lot to think about while she sits at home and knits while Santa flies all over the globe with a superfox like Danica. Plus with her ability to drive Indy cars you know she can really handle a stick, and she could even be the one to steer the sleigh, as she would be able to go anywhere Santa told her to go (unlike NASCAR drivers that would only be able to go in an endless left handed oval, leaving out all of those children to the right hand side of the sleigh, be they naughty or nice).

I got nothin’ for this one. I would have to lower my standards and write about the WNBA’s Houston Comets and that is a depth to which I am not willing to sink. The only time I’ll mention those nags is if I’m talking about blowing wide open lay-ups or how most dudes think that their Rec team could easily beat a squad of these bull-dykes, which is sadly probably true.

David Beckham as Cupid
How could this guy not be Cupid? I think that the only reason Becks is successful is because he is a complete dreamboat. The defenders that are supposed to be checking him accidentally get caught looking longingly into his piercing eyes, or maybe at the sock stuffed down his trousers, and that’s when he takes off, receives the pass, and bends it into an uncontested goal. His job as part of the sleigh team would be to boost moral (for men and women alike) simply by striking a stunning pose in his undies with his sack bulging out. Oh, and his abs.

What the hell is a Donder? Does anybody know? I apologize to the three dudes named Donder that live in Poland and religiously frequent this blog, but I have to say that Donder is one stupid name for a reindeer or a person.

Joey Porter as Blitzen
Porter leads the league in sacks with 16.5 to this point in the season. This is not an easy thing to do as a linebacker. He is rightfully dubbed Blitzen in this post because that is exactly what he has been doing for the Dolphins this year. Brandon Marshall of the Denver Broncos may think he is soft, and he might be out of line defending the actions of former teammate Plaxico Burress (by the way, anyone stupid enough to shoot themselves should not have anyone in their corner when it comes to defending what happened), but Porter is a energized maniac and just what this sleigh team needs to get the job done. Plus he could supply everyone with NFL approved diet pills to keep them all trim, HGH, and probably some high quality blow, which is a bonus.

Steve Nash as Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
I don't even know what to say about this. I guess, "you'll go down in HIS-TOOOO-RY (like Columbus)!"

Thursday, December 11, 2008

What I Would Give If I Were Santa Claus

Tis the season, right? I was thinking about what I would want for Christmas and started feeling bad, because it’s about the giving. I then moved to what I would get my wife and children if I could afford it. Athletes can afford anything, but it sounds like they just get cars and a Jesus piece instead of what they really need. If I were Santa Claus and could give athletes what they need/deserve instead of what they can afford, things would be different. I made a list of gifts I would give as Santa Claus. It would start with Boyd and Jim getting coal for being perverts and then move on to athletes.

LeBron James: an improved outside shot.
Can you imagine how ridiculous he would be if he were a better shooter? My goodness.

Stephon Marbury: a coach that doesn’t hate him.
Remember when Steph was the man? He had the chance to stay with the Wolves and KG and form what looked like a duo that could do some things in the future. Steph could also use improved judgement.

Ricky Williams: weed.
I only want him to be happy.

Pacman Jones: his very own scrip club.
That’s how he pronounces it–scrip club. Classic. If he had his own, who would he try to kill when he frequents the establishment? I just want him to be safe.

OJ Simpson: a lethal injection.
The juice is seriously overdue.

Aaron Rogers: the ability to break all of Brett Farve’s records.
This one is completely out of spite. I’m fully on the Aaron Rogers bandwagon.

Vince Young: Prozac.
In honor of Boyd. He likes Vince better alive.

Michael Vick: better lawyers and a starting spot on Hell's football team.
When it comes to NFL players getting lawyers, Vick screwed up. How did OJ shred two people with a knife and get no jail time, but Mike gets two years for killing a dog? Vick’s lawyers suck, that’s how. I'm not saying Vick doesn't deserve it - he does. But if the Juice got off for killing two people...

Reggie Bush: absolutely nothing.
This guy is dating Kim Kardashian and he’s totally hot (I say this with an unblemished track record of heterosexuality). He doesn’t need anything else.

New York Yankees: more big money players.
The Yankees need more players that make a ton of money. Of course, this is conditional on them not winning a World Series with said players.

New York Mets: continuing meltdowns out of the bullpen.
This gift is purely for entertainment value. Especially after spending a ton of $ on relievers, continued failure would just be hilarious. Plus, it gives Jim the opportunity to come up with great nicknames.

Tim Duncan: some semblance of a personality/charisma.
I love Tim. He’s probably the best power forward to ever play the game. But he’s boring as hell.

Josh Howard: chronic.
See: Ricky Williams.

Soccer: to suck less.
This is self-explanatory.

Urban Meyer: some Oklahoma Sooners toilet bowl fresheners.
We all know that Urban likes to symbolically pee on his opponents...

BYU football fans: Rocky Long as defensive coordinator.
And less desire to wear socks with sandals.

Mike Leach: a bigger stage.
Lubbock is holding this guy down. He is truly amazing. Look it up.

Ocho Cinco: a touchdown.
My man Chad has only scored 4 TDs this season and that means we have been denied the opportunity to see creative celebrations. I miss the gold mohawk version of Chad.

Darko Milicic: anger management/coping skills.
The Human Victory Cigar. Here is why this gift is necessary. My sister thinks Darko rules.

Charles Barkley: whatever he wants.
I love Chuck. He can have anything.

Stephen A. Smith
: a muzzle.
Will someone please shut this guy up? It pains me to say it, but I actually liked him at first.

Brett Farve: a crippling disease, a severe injury, common sense, decreased love for the spotlight, etc.
He can select any of the above as long as it means he’ll go away.

Travis Henry
: decreased genital blood flow.
Travis has nine children from nine different women. I don’t know if he’s just not picky or has an insane libido, but something has got to change.

Now, this part is important. Please add to this list! What would you get a certain athlete? I know from the numbers that a lot of people read these posts. Add a comment - there are many more gifts that are needed.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

No, I am Your Father LeBron.

Who could forget this scene:

Not me. Even though I was like 5 when this movie came out, I almost crapped my pants when I found out that Darth Vader was the father of young Luke Skywalker. Well, I've got an inside scoop that is likely to make the sports world and blogosphere crap it's collective pants: LeBron James has found out who his true father is: Karl "The Mailman" Malone. (Not to be confused with Tyrone "The Milkman" Corbin.)

NBA players are prodigious at creating illegitimate babies, and Karl Malone, while not on a level with Shawn Kemp (7), is certainly at an All-Star, if not Hall of Fame level for creating 3 little lovechildren himself. We here at the Jockstrap have learned of a 4th illegitimate Malone child: LeBron James.*

Come on, people. It all makes perfect sense. LeBron and Karl are about the same height and weight, bare a striking physical resemblance, and are both extremely talented athletes, as are all of Malone's illegitimate children.

The Strap has learned that when LeBron found out about his true ancestry Tuesday Morning, his initial reaction was, unlike Luke, one of pure joy and jubilation. In fact, LeBron promised his father Karl that he would dedicate one of his dunks to the Mailman. And he followed through with it. Lebron payed homage to one of the lamest dunks in the history of the NBA (even some missed dunks have been cooler than this:

There really is no other explanation I can think of as to why LeBron would actually choose to re-create a dunk that should never have been created in the first place.

Congrats to LeBron, Karl, Karl's wife, and the James and Malone Families.

*this story is not true. Please don't sue me Lebron or Karl.

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Most Asinine Injuries In Sports

In the last few months there have been some interesting off the field injuries in sports. Derrick Rose just cut himself by laying down on a knife that he had just used to slice an apple. Plaxico Burress shot himself (Plaxico is an amazing name by the way. I’m assuming he was born with fetal drug addiction, for obvious reasons). Monta Ellis injured himself while riding a moped. I remember a few years back when Jeff Kent told the Giants he broke his wrist when he fell out of his truck while washing it. Come to find out he likely broke it while riding a motorcycle. Roethlisburger anyone? The point is, there have been some tremendously asinine injuries in sports, on and off the field/court. Here are some of the best, in the form of a top ten list. There are many good ones that will not make the cut, so please feel free to comment on what I missed…

10. Adam Eaton
Eaton was so excited to watch his new DVD that he got out his trusty paring knife and began to cut open the packaging. He also began to cut open his stomach. While he was slicing the security tape he slipped and gouged himself in the stomach. He ended up in the ER for stitches. As a side note, thousands of people end up in the emergency room each year from hand injuries sustained while cutting bagels. We attempt to educate here at the Strap. Enjoy that one.

9. Alex Stepney
I had to look this one up, but it was worth it. Stepney, a goalie for Manchester United, was screaming at his defensemen to play harder. Stepney yelled so hard that he dislocated what is apparently a glass jaw.

8. Glenallen Hill
This one sounds made up, but it's true. I did the research. Glenallen suffers from arachnophobia. One night he fell asleep and had a dream about giant spiders. Startled, he jumped up out of bed and took off, hitting and breaking a glass table, and then falling down the stairs. He apparently had shards of glass stuck in him everywhere and was placed on the 15-day DL. In the spirit of full disclosure, I once had a similar experience while playing hoops in the front yard of my parent’s house. A loose ball was headed for the garage and I dove to save it. I happened to land on the back window of a car; it shattered and I ended up sitting in glass while everyone cracked up laughing. FYI, the shower I later took was extremely painful.

7. Jaromir Jagr
I’m not much of a hockey guy, but I know that Jagr was good. He also had a stellar mullet that has been discussed in past posts. Well, apparently Jagr was a tough guy too. Toward the end of a playoff loss Jagr was getting pretty fired up and he decided he was going to punch one of the New Jersey Devils. Jagr threw a big roundhouse left and got nothing but air. The miss also dislocated his shoulder. If this happened more frequently I would probably have more interest in hockey.

6. Marty Cordova
First off, any man who goes tanning is a wuss. Period. Men don’t lay out and they don’t hit the tanning bed to lay under the sun lamp. Well, apparently Marty Cordova deserves to have his genitals revoked. He once fell asleep in a tanning bed and burned so badly that he was ordered by doctors to stay out of the sun. Pretty soon he’ll be complaining to his teammates when they leave the toilet seat up.

5. George Brett
This isn’t really an injury, but I had to add this for obvious reasons. During the 1980 World Series, George Brett was battling more than just the Philadelphia Phillies. He was also up against a severe bout of hemorrhoids. Brett later commented the he would be remembered more for having 'roids during the World Series if it weren't for his exploding and attempting to murder an umpire over having pine tar on his bat.

4. Kevin Johnson
KJ will go down in history (for me) as having one of the best dunks of all-time. KJ has battled accusations of fondling 16-year-old girls to become the current mayor of Sacramento. As a reward for hitting a game-winning shot for the Suns, Johnson was given a big bear hug by the best analyst in sports, Charles Barkley. Chuck is a big son of a b, and he squeezed Johnson so hard that he dislocated his shoulder. As is true with Boyd, let there be no question about the awesomeness of Charles Barkley. Sometimes I wish he’d give Kenny Smith a bear hug…

3. Lionel Simmons
Lionel Simmons was a great college basketball player. I actually remember watching him play for LaSalle back when everyone wore a flat-top fade, big Karl Malone wrist bands, and Crocodile Hunter shorts. He could light it up. Simmons was just beginning to come into his own in the NBA when he had to sit out two games with wrist tendinitis. He sustained this injury from his rigorous playing of a Gameboy. Gameboys sucked, even back in the day. I can’t believe he admitted this injury—at least make up something better. Even Ray Barone claimed that his severe wrist injury occurred because he and his wife were getting frisky and they fell out of bed. Instead, Simmons admits to his being from playing Gameboy…

2. Bill Gramatica
It is really hard for me to not put this at #1. I absolutely cannot find video of this thing anywhere on the net. If you know where to find this, please let me know. It is essential. Anyhow, Gramatica kicked a field goal in the first quarter of a regular season game to put his team up 3-0. He decided to act like he just pulled a Vinatieri and won the Super Bowl or something—he starts pumping his fist and jumps in the air to celebrate… and promptly tore his ACL. Even with all his injuries, Greg Oden thinks that’s funny.

1. Gus Frerotte
Frerotte was taken off the field Sunday against the Lions for an injury, but at least he didn’t do it to himself. Back when he played (occasionally) for the Redskins, Gus ran one yard for the go-ahead touchdown and celebrated by spiking the football and slamming his head into a padded wall. While his celebration was not as creative as what TO, Ocho Cinco, or Steve Smith have come up with, the ramifications were tremendous. The wall was concrete with a thin padded covering. Gus immediately got dizzy and was taken to the hospital for treatment. Frerotte had to miss the second half and overtime. He ended up with a sprained neck for his efforts. To add insult to injury, Gus broke his hip in the following game.

So there you have it – feel free to add to the list or let me know what I did wrong. One of my friends just pointed out that I should have had Nancy Kerrigan on this list, but I don’t feel like adding any more. He’s right though, she belongs.

Friday, December 5, 2008

College Football-The Best Regular Season?

Every time you hear someone saying that the BCS is a good thing, the first thing always spouting from their lips as support for their absurd claim is "College Football has the best regular season of any sport. Period!" like it is some sort of scientific fact. But is it true?

I think not. In fact, you would be hard pressed to find a more irrelevant regular season in all of sport. And why do I find the regular season so irrelevant? Because the post-season defines it as such. There are currently 119 FBS Teams, and for how many of them does the actual post-season matter? Two. Dos. Are you going to tell me that the bowl games matter to anyone? Half of the teams are pissed off about the crappy bowls they got into and end up losing to inferior teams. How is this exciting? College Football is the only sport that says that the post season literally does not matter at all. They play all of those games for it to come down to 1 important game, usually with participants that are no more deserving to be in the game than a handful of other teams. (Just like this year.)

How does this make the regular season the best of any sport? The vast majority of the over 1400 games played each season mean absolutely nothing. Look at Boise State. They won all 12 games they played and what has it gotten them? An invitation to the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl! (In other words, to a big, steaming pile of horse shit.)

In FBS, there are 55 teams that are not in a BCS Conference. That means that no matter what, 46 percent of the whole of the FBS begins the season knowing that NO MATTER WHAT THEY DO they could NEVER play in a BCS title game. Utah could go undefeated for the next 5 years, and the pollsters would still NEVER put them in a BCS title game because of the conference they play in.

Every other sport knows that it is the post-season that defines true champions. I would argue that there has never been a legitimate college football champion in my life or perhaps in the history of NCAA Division 1 (FBS) football. Why? Because nothing has ever been concretely decided on the field.

Despite this, everyone loves College Football, including me. But can you imagine it if the powers that be decided to make the regular season matter and add a playoff system that eliminates the doubts that every BCS championship has led to? I mean, an 8 or 16 team playoff hardly cheapens the regular season, and adds weeks of exciting, good games for fans and players. Adding a playoff does not weaken the regular season, it gives it meaning and context, something that it currently lacks.

Shame on you, College Football. You limit yourself by choosing of your own free will to define the regular season as completely useless drivel. It's time for a change. It's time for common sense to rule.

Sportsman's Twelve Days of Christmas

It would seem that the holidays are upon us once more. By holidays I of course refer to the celebration of the birth of the sweet baby Jesus (sorry Jews). Christmas is a time to reflect, a season of giving, peace, and love. It is also a season filled with cheesy songs with syrupy lyrics that often times make me throw-up a little in my mouth. Unfortunately, my children love to listen to Christmas songs “from summer ‘til Santa comes down the chimney” (thank you Dr. Dre for that little tidbit). Because of my girl’s affinity for everything yuletide I got to thinking about my least favorite Christmas song of all time “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” I hate this song both because of its length and its gayness.

Though I will not attempt to completely rewrite the lyrics to this song, I will give a sports related rearranging of the twelve things my true love could send to me in order to make my holidays bright.

On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me Larry Bird in a pear tree...Because who really wants a partridge anyway? I mean David Cassidy was a douche and Danny Bonaduce is a train wreck. Now when I say I want a Larry Bird in a pear tree this would have to be Larry Bird in his prime, like the ‘85-’87 Larry, because what good would a 2008 Larry do me? He’s like 60 years old. Hell if I had to choose between the 2008 version of Larry Bird and any other avian named ballplayer I’m afraid I would have to take Brian Cardinal in a pear tree, or Sue Bird for that matter. But of all the birds I could choose for my pear tree Larry Bird would be the bird I love the most.

On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me two Johan Santanas…Turtledoves? Really? Does anyone want turtledoves anymore? Now if my beloved New York Mets couldn’t at least win the division with two Johan Santanas then to hell with the whole bunch of them. I’m tired of hearing about the rumors. Will they sign K-Rod? Will they get Brian Fuentes? Can Doc Gooden stay off the blow long enough to pitch 200 innings? Enough already, and I actually love the Mets. This whole New York saga must be mind numbingly brutal for those of you who hate the Mets but still have to hear about them in the media. Omar Minaya just needs to clone Santana and let the good times roll.

On the third day of Christmas my true love gave to me three French Canadian Hockey players…I can’t think of a single instrument that I would want less than one French horn let alone three of them. I’m sorry if that offends all one people in the world who play the French horn, but three of them is about two and a half too many. There are so many Canadians to choose from that I can hardly narrow it down to just three, but I wanted to stick with the whole “French” thing so here goes. I’ll take Wayne Gretzky, Gordie Howe, and Mario Lemieux. And if hockey is not your thing I can’t blame you because it’s not mine either. In that case I’ll take three Ned Hanlans, French Canadian Champion Rower, played by Nicholas Cage in “The Boy In Blue.” That’s right, I’ve never even heard of that movie or that guy, but boy that Ned Hanlan sure could row.

On the forth day of Christmas my true love gave to me four guys who imitate birdcalls on really late night ESPN…Instead of calling birds I went with bird callers. Genius, and if you’ve ever watched those guys do their birdcalls it’s funny as shit too. I don’t think you can TiVo it and watch it in the middle of the day if you really want to get the most laughs out of it. In order for you to laugh until tears stream down your face you really need to watch these hayseeds do a goose mating call at three o’clock in the morning when the insomnia has really taken root and you would prefer death to being awake. That’s when the bird callers are solid gold.

On the fifth day of Christmas my true love gave to me five NBA Championship Rings…Now this would be really nice for most of the franchises in the NBA (like you Utah Jazz) but for me five Championship Rings would be about twelve too few. What I would really love is if this current group of Celtics could scratch out four more rings to go with their one they won last year. I know that’s a lot to ask for because some of those guys are getting older and it is unheard of in today’s NBA for a franchise to run off even three Championships in a row, but a guy can dream can’t I, especially on Christmas? I guess I might have to be happy with the second ring they are going to win this year and then the one they are probably going to win the year after that and then we’ll just have to see. KG, the Truth, and Sugar Ray deserve as many as they can get and in my song it’s “Fiiiiiiiive NBA Championship Rings!” Sung very angelically, so deal with it.

On the sixth day of Christmas my true love gave to me six Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition models a-laying around my house…I mean come on, if you’re going to have anything a-laying around do you really want it to be geese? Have you ever been to a park where they let geese a-lay around some pond so that kids can feed them some scraps of bread? Well I have and let me tell you the acres of goose poop that you have to walk through to get to the semi-aggressive geese, that will FYI try and take your kid’s hand off if they don’t think the bread crumbs are coming fast enough, is some repugnant shit. I’ll take Marisa Miller, Heidi Klum, et al a-laying around my house any day. Just imagine it. There’s one on her hands and knees on the couch, one pressed up against the refrigerator in high heels with one foot lifted off the ground and her head thrown back in mock laughter her golden tresses perfectly fanned out to let the light from the fridge shine through, and there’s one trimming the Christmas tree if you know what I mean. I don’t even know what the other three are doing, but it would be fun to watch.

On the seventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me seven Michael Phelpses a-swimming…Who needs swans when you’ve got Phelps? If the entire US Olympic swim team was made up of seven Michael Phelpses we would have like a gajillion gold medals and probably some in diving too. I know that the Olympics are lame and that swimming is even lamer, but you have to admit that seven Michael Phelpses a-swimming would be a tough team to beat. I probably could have gone with the Sports Illustrated swimsuit models again, but I already had them just a-laying around my house and my wife reads this blog so I went with seven Michael Phelpses a-swimming to keep things pleasant between her and I.

On the eighth day of Christmas my true love gave to me eight maids a-milking…Now this is one of the lyrics that I would not change because who in their right mind doesn’t want to see eight maids a-milking? I imagine them to be French maids in corsets, with bosoms heaving, all while they sit on three legged milking stools just a-milking away, but your visual might be something entirely different. If, after they were done a-milking, you could then have them compete in a lumberjack competition, also a staple of late night ESPN, all the better. They get done a-milking and then they have to compete in the underhand chop, the standing block chop, tree climbing, the Jack and Jill crosscut (minus the Jack), and the hot saw competitions. Throw in the log rolling balance thingy and I dare say this sporting event is as close to perfect as it gets.

On the ninth day of Christmas my true love gave to me nine ladies dancing…Again I stick with the original lyric and for good reason I might add. Over the years my wife and I have often had the argument as to what is and what is not a sport. Of course she says that gymnastics is a sport and I say that it is not because the score keeping is too arbitrary and nobody plays any defense. She will then go to ice skating, diving, and swimming. No, no, and no. All of these things are competitions and do require a certain skill set to be good at them, but they are not true sports. I will add to the list bowling, golf, and NASCAR so the ladies don’t think that I’m only disqualifying the things that they like. Then the conversation moves to dancing and this is where I will make a slight exception. I’ll sit down and watch “Dancing with the Stars” with my wife for two reasons; one, she thinks that I am finally enjoying one of her shows, and two, the ladies dancing on that show are hot and I’ll take nine of them please (not the fat one, give me two Julianne Houghs if we need to make up the numbers). Hey, it’s still not a sport, but I said my exception was slight.

On the tenth day of Christmas my true love gave to me ten former NBA Dunk Champions a-leaping…Tell me that this contest wouldn’t be the most awesome thing you’ve ever seen. Can you imagine the line up? Dominique Wilkins, Kenny Walker, Michael Jordan, Spud Webb, Kobe Bryant, Vince Carter, Jason Richardson, Josh Smith, Dwight Howard, hell I’d even let LeBron James participate so that I could make my ten lords a-leaping the best ten leapers of all time. The judges would be throwing up 50s all night long and I think the thing would finally have to be decided in a bare-knuckles boxing match which I think LeBron would win because the dudes a beast. And before you say what about Dwight Howard he’s a bigger beast than LBJ just look at how much the dude smiles out their on the court, he’s soft and LeBron would punch him once in the throat and the thing would be over. However, you should never underestimate the little guy in a fight. With little man’s complex running wild Spud Webb would probably fight until he was burger. Where was I? Oh yeah, the dunks. The dunks would be awesome baby!

On the eleventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me eleven guys on offense for the Chicago Bears who actually know how to play football…Eleven pipers piping? What the hell does that mean? It sounds gay whatever it is. I would just like to see the Bears put it together again like they did in ’85. Sure the ’85 team’s offense was not their strong suit, but at least they had some guys that you can remember (i.e. Walter Payton, Willie Gault, Jim McMahon). I love the Bears but would be hard pressed to name you six guys from their starting offense. Please sweet baby Jesus just let them put an offense together that doesn’t throw games away like the one they’ve assembled for the last twenty three years. A great defense should not be wasted the way that the Bear’s has been for as long as I can remember. You may want to keep your pipers piping, but all I ask for is a quarterback who can accept the ball from center without fumbling it, step back in the pocket with some confidence, survey the field with intelligence, and make an accurate throw to the guys wearing the same color jersey that he is wearing. Is that too much to ask?

On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me twelve Ray Lewises playing defense…Again the drummers drumming is nothing but lame, but think about twelve Ray Lewises playing defense. I know that he would have trouble covering fast receivers, but imagine the pass rush. The quarterback wouldn’t have time to take a three-step drop before at least four Ray Lewises were in the backfield pressuring the hell out of him. Running backs would be putting themselves on the “physically unable to play” list for the game against the Ray Lewises before the season even started. I realize that there are only eleven people allowed to play defense on any given play so most of you would think that the twelfth Ray Lewis would be completely unnecessary, but you’d be wrong. What if one of the Ray Lewises kills a couple of guys outside of a nightclub and then has to pin the rap on one of his entourage and while doing community service is forced to miss a couple of games? What then? I bet you wish you had another Ray Lewis to fill that Ray Lewis’ roster spot so that you didn’t have to bring in some other dude who might bring the intensity way down. I like to think ahead. That’s why in my song I asked for twelve Ray Lewises instead of eleven. Booya!

And so it is with great pleasure that I bring to you the Sportsman’s version of “The Twelve Days of Christmas”
Lyrics by me
Music by Frederic Austin

On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me twelve Ray Lewises playing defense.
Eleven guys on offense for the Chicago Bears who actually know how to play football.
Ten former NBA Dunk Champions a-leaping.
Nine ladies dancing.
Eight maids a-milking.
Seven Michael Phelpses a-swimming.
Six Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition models a-laying around my house.
FIIIIIIIIVE NBA Championship Rings!
Four guys who imitate birdcalls on really late night ESPN
Three French Canadian Hockey players
Two Johan Santanas.
And a Larry Bird in a pear tree.