Friday, May 2, 2008

The Official GDB Kentucky Derby Preview

Oh, Christ. I'm completely pulling this out of my ass since I don't really know ANYTHING about the Kentucky Derby (except that being in the infield is one of the greatest experiences of my life, highly recommended, if you can remember), much less horse racing. But here we are, the "Most Exciting 2 Minutes in Sports" (ya, like horse racing is a sport... I don't care what Seabiscut says). Lucky for this group, legendary Smarty Jones, as chosen by Young Porque 4 years ago to win the Derby (and did) is currently out to pasture eating and railing other horses. Here's a quick run down of everything you need to knew Derby-wise:


It's the 134th running of the Derby, so I'd say it's a little storied. It's called the "Race for the Roses" due to the fact that the winner is showered with 554 roses. Arguably the most important horse race in the world and the kick off of the Triple Crown series. Supposedly it is also the most difficult to win, but that's all here say. It is a 1 1/4 mile track that is built for speed from the beginning and the final straightaway.


This year's total purse is $2+ million, with the winner taking home around $1.4 million. On top of that is the eternal glory of being a Derby winner, weeks of speculation as to whether or not you can take the Triple Crown, a garland of flowers, and if you end up dying sooner rather than later, a huge memorial service and weeks upon months of Breaking News coverage on ESPN (cue pictures of Barbaro, tear).


The Kentucky Derby is a race for 3 year old thoroughbred horses and the climax of the two-week Kentucky Derby Festival. This year features an overcrowded field of 20 horses running in front of 150,000 (or more) spectators wearing ridiculous hats. Highlights include "Millionaire's Box" (home to the ridiculous hats and the "privileged"), the infield (you can't really see the race, but hey, it's a frat party down there), and wonderful Mint Juleps (a drink of bourbon, mint, and sugar syrup mix. Absolutely delicious and the ACTUAL cause of why most do not see or remember the race).


At this point, there are really 3 horses who are deemed as the favorites to win the Kentucky Derby this year, and all three have questions surrounding them.

1.) Big Brown, a lightly ridden horse, with a mere three lifetime starts. Is he actually the prodigal horse that so many people think he is? It should be noted that, although he only has three starts under his belt, he is 3-0. He may be the most talked about horse since young Barbaro, but will all the pressure get to his head? Should he take the checkered flag (?), Big Brown will most certainly deserve all the hype as to whether or not he can truly be the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978. He is coming out of the last post, number 20, with 3-1 odds.

2.) Colonel John, based out of California with 4-1 odds, has only raced on "Cushion Track", synthetic dirt. The Kentucky Derby is made of REAL dirt. Will he be able to copy his previous success from those synthetic surfaces to dirt surfaces? Based on his past performances, all signs point to yes. He will be coming out of the 10 post.

3.) "Young" Pyro, a Porque favorite and his pick to win it all, is also considered a favorite, at 6-1 odds. The question with him is if he can recover mentally from his most recent race, an absolute disaster. He finished a piss poor 10th out of 12, losing by 39 lengths in the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington. However, that course was raced on PolyTrack, a synthetic surface and, unlike Colonel John, Pyro has not finished below third on dirt surfaces.

A possible fourth question is if anyone else can steal some thunder from those three favorites. No other horse in the field is listed at odds better than 15-1, so eyes will be on whether any of them can shock the world and steal the Derby? An interesting subplot is Eight Belles, at a generous 20-1 odds, trying to become the fourth member of her gender to win the Derby. She has the tradition, will she let everyone else down?


I generally choose my winner based upon how dank their name is, and it has worked twice for me, most notably when I chose Smarty Jones on a hungover Friday afternoon at an Indiana University cafeteria with Young Knuckleballer, and most recently Barbaro because the name made me think of him as a warrior. So with that, here are my choices:

1.) Pyro:

The California stallion has shown the late, breakaway speed that so often dictates the outcome of the Derby. He is accustomed to racing on dirt and has already shown the ability to crank out the 1 1/4 miles with ease. Plus, he is a hometown boy, being trained in Louisville, so he should have the crowd behind him.

2.) Big Brown

Big Brown has the lightening quick speed to get it down, but questions remain as to if he can take on the entire length of the course. Having only three career starts under his belt does not instill confidence, and he does have a history of chronic sore feet. But he is considered a freakish athlete and coming out of the 20 post, he may encounter a lot of bumping and traffic, and no one knows how he will handle it. I think he has the potential to take it, but it may be too much to ask right now.

3.) Gayego

A slight long shot, this horse is currently 3-2 with a one race winning streak. He has never finished below second, so this horse knows what it is like to feel the podium and certainly will want to taste victory again. He currently stands at 1-0 outside of his home state of California, so he definitely can deal with a hostile environment. He has blazing speed that will favor him, but he is coming out of post 19, a post in which no horse has ever won the Derby. Can he rewrite the history books?

Unfortunately, Chad Johnson was not allowed to enter this year due to contract negotiations and the fact that he wasn't allowed a head start. Maybe next year Chad.

Enjoy the Derby and let the official speculation and questioning of a possible Triple Crown winner begin.

Detroit: Where Winning Happens

Before we get started, lets acknowledge the city of Detroit is a dump. Now nobody can make fun of the city because its open knowledge how crappy it is. With that said, last night proved that Detroit actually is the greatest sports city in America right now, regardless of how badly, and loudly, Boston tries to stake its claim to that title. Three huge victories in 24 hours, lets recap the events.

NBA - The Pistons finished off the Sixers in dominating fashion, 100-77, to win their first round series 4-2. While most complain that the team is lazy at times, and this is in fact true, what is also true is that no team in the league has been consistently as good for as long as the Pistons besides San Antonio. While the Celtics got all the hype this year, the Pistons had their trademark near-60 win season and seemed as primed for playoff success as they've been since Larry Brown left town. The Celtics have as good a chance to beat D-Town as anyone, but even if they do their success will still be a flash in the pan compared to the Pistons decade of Eastern Conference dominance.

NHL - Last night the Red Wings crushed long-time rival Colorado 8-2 to complete a 4 game sweep. Once again the Wings had the top team in the regular season, earned the top seed in the brutal Western Conference, and appear poised to reach the NHL finals. No team can even come close to Detroit's 15 year run in the NHL, and what makes it more amazing is that two distinct generations of talent have carried on the streak of greatness. While the first wave featured players like Steve Yzerman, Sergei Federov and Igor Larionov, the new reinvented Wings feature superstars like Zetterberg, Datsyuk and Franzen.

MLB - The third victory was the Detroit Tigers defeating the Yankees 8-4 to complete a three game sweep. It was important sign that people who were quick to write them off after a 2-10 start are looking mighty foolish now. With pitchers like Verlander and Bonderman starting to turn things around, and a bullpen that has done much better than what people thought it would, it appears as if the Tigers are going to survive a tough start and brutal schedule and become the team people thought they could and should be.

All in all a great sports night for the D, and a sign that from top to bottom, no other city can compete with present day achievements or Detroit's longevity of greatness.

The Question Now Is Who HASN'T Experienced "The Rocket"

A tumultuous past few months for Roger Clemens just keeps on getting worse. After his name and credibility were run through the mud, it appears all of his skeletons are starting to really come out. We have learned that in the course of his career, Roger has taken aim to, not only break as many pitching records as he possibly could, but also arguably the most hollowed record of them all: Wilt Chamberlain and his 20,000 women of love.

First it was an alleged affair with country singer Mindy McCready, who would have been 15 years old when Clemens gave her the business (that's normal). Then it was John Daly's former wife who claimed that she received her own version of a Clemens "ball" (terrible pun). Now, evidently, there is a stripper coming out of the woodwork claiming that Clemens and her had their own little affair going on. At the rate this is going (and things can only get that much more bizarre from here), look for the following names to step up next:

- Andy Pettite (completely inevitable)
- Mike Piazza's wife
- Madonna
- Barbaro

(The office pool I started is paying 5-1 odds on Barbaro, but only 1-2 odds on Pettite).

In other news of grimy professional athletes, Karl Malone has a son, Demetrius Bell, who was actually drafted this past year in the 2008 NFL Draft. Buuuuuuuuuut, it appears that Demetrius' mother, Gloria, had him when she was 13. Hmmm. I'm no math major here, but if she was 13, and it take 9 months to have a baby, that would make her about the ripe age of 12 when the Mailman delivered his seed. Malone was a sophomore in college when they met back in 1984 (and I thought that high school girl from my junior year was... nevermind). Anyways, Karl had this to say to his son after they finally met when Demetrius was 18:

"It's too late for us to have a relationship. You will have to make your own fortune."

Gee, thanks for the pep talk, pops. At least I didn't have to get sex advice from you.

Anyways, this leads me to the following advice for all future and current NBA, MLB, and NFL stars (we don't have to worry about NHL so much):

"Don't be a fool, wrap your tool."

"Sex can wait - masturbate."

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Official Track Guide to "Luigi Raceway"

This post starts a 16 part odyssey through the racetracks that comprise the greatest racing game of all time, Mario Kart 64. Today's edition features the first track of the Mushroom Cup, Luigi Raceway. This preview will focus on track design, preferred drivers and overall strategies for victory.

Luigi Raceway Track Design

Luigi Raceway is one of the easiest tracks in the game, purposely designed for the simple Mushroom Cup series of tracks. It features two sweeping corners, a short section through a tunnel, and a long straight-away that takes up almost half of the entire circuit. The only real obstacle is a upside-down question mark that drops immediately after the first item series along the left edge of the track. This is not hard to avoid, and there are no other threats on the track besides your fellow competitors. What this means is that Luigi Raceway is all about speed. Power sliding is imperative through the long corners and top speed on the straightaways is a necessity. Furthermore, because the track is not that long, it means that speed items are invaluable. A star or super mushroom can easily cover half a lap if used right. The only real difficulty of the track is because of its short-length and easiness, it's virtually impossible to pull away from your enemies, meaning that tight racing and close finishes are pretty much an inevitability.

Luigi Raceway Preferred Drivers

Young Swole is always an advocate for taking fast drivers like Yoshi, Toad or Princess yet they are not needed for success at this track. Because of its long straightaways and close competition, the size advantage of DK or a Bowser not only gives the better top-end speed but will also help you bully your way through the corners. However, its pretty easy to win with any driver at this track if you know how to use items at the right times and at the right locations on the track.

Luigi Raceway Victory Strategies

Racers have to view Luigi Raceway like the Mario Kart version of Talledega. You are not going to be able to get away from your competition and close finishes are common. And just like in Talladega races, its not always best to be in first towards the end of the race. At Luigi Raceway, a banana or green shell will do no good if your opponent has a star or super shroom, because the speed difference will make it almost impossible to stop them. Therefore, I advise a strategy of staying behind the leader while hording items to make a last-turn pass once you exit the tunnel on the 3rd lap. This can be done in three ways. First off, if you have a speed item like a star or mushroom. you can simply jump off the left of the track and hug the inside brick wall, which will cut off drastic amounts of time and leave you in good position to out-sprint the competition on the last short straightaway to the finish. If you have an attacking item like red shells, this lets you wait until the final last straightaway to hit the race leader. Because of the wide dimensions of the track, red shells are extremely effective and are a virtual guarantee of a hit. Having a bunch of shells will also help you knock any fellow competitors out of the way that may be around you. Finally, if you are stuck with a garbage item like a banana or a ghost, being close to the leader will allow you one final item pickup before the last straightaway. Depending on what you get, you can either blast the leader or be close enough to outdrive them to the finish.


Luigi Raceway is obviously an easy raceway to traverse, yet to win there must be good strategy implemented. If you want to be a front runner, then you better know how to power-slide and and use secondary items like bananas or green shells to your advantage. If you hang out behind the leader, you cannot get too far behind the leader or else you will look like a fool. And finally, you have to be able to catch up really fast, because lap times are usually around 40 seconds at 150cc, which leaves no margin for error on the final lap of the race. If you stay close to the leaders and acquire the advantageous items for the track, winning is a distinct possibility depending on the level of competition you are playing with. Just make sure you have something left at your disposal for that last straightaway, because I can guarantee someone else will and may be waiting to blow you up and ruin your solid race.

Not Your Typical "Date"...

My ideal Wednesday night:

- Girlfriend comes over to watch movies...

- "Movies" turn into a porn...

- Girlfriend mistakes guy in porn as me...

- Girlfriend gets a knife, stabs me in the face, bites me in the chest, chases me around my apartment wearing only shorts and forces me to call the police when she ALREADY wasn't supposed to be around me for battery charges...

You can't make this shit up:

Look for Fox to premire this new reality show after next year's Super Bowl: "When Crazy Bitches Attack!

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

MLB Weekly Power Poll

We just completed the 5th week of the Major League Baseball season and most of the divisions still have surprise leaders (AL East- Baltimore, AL Central- Chicago, NL East- Florida, NL Central- St. Louis). So the question is, Should we start to accept that these teams are true contenders or will the cream eventually rise to the top. I'm a skeptic at heart and I'd be shocked in the White Sox, Marlins, or Orioles make the playoffs (let alone win their division), but the Cardinals may have some staying power. The problem is, there are 2 other teams that are just as frisky in the NL Central and it's going to be a battle. More on this in the coming weeks, but for now let's check out the power poll.

1.) Arizona Diamondbacks (20-8)- Like I said in the first edition of the poll, this team ain't going anywhere. They've still got the best record in the league, and they now lead their division by 6 games. No other division is separated by more than 1 1/2 games. I'm beating a dead horse here, but their pitching is insane. In the best matchup of the year to date, Brandon Webb outdueled Jake Peavy on Sunday to improve his record to 6-0 on the season. Brandon Lyon looked shaky early on, but since his manager said he had full faith in his closer, he hasn't allowed a run in his last 10 appearances. The D-backs could easily have this division wrapped up by mid-august.

2.) Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (17-11)- The Halo's just took 2 of 3 from the Red Sox and Tigers, and haven't lost a series in their last 6 chances. Two surprises for this team have been Joe Saunders and Ervin Santana. The "other" Santana has always been good at home, but lately he's been solid on the road as well to move to 4-0 on the season. Meanwhile, Saunders pitched 8 innings of shutout ball yesterday against the A's. I've said it before, but when John Lackey comes back, this team is going to be downright scary.

3.) St. Louis Cardinals (18-11)- The Cards have rolled off 5 of their last 7 against divisional competition (Pirates, Astros, Reds). They'll get their first whack at the elite in the NL Central starting on Friday when the Cubs come to the Arch. Remember how I bashed Braden Looper last week? Well he's quietly gone 4-1 so far. Guess who else is ballin'? Adam Wainwright (3-1) and Kyle Lohse (3-0). Albert Pujols is still smoking the ball and this team has to be taken seriously now as long as their health remains a non-issue. Unfortunately, Rick Ankiel has cooled off a little. It's a good thing the Red Birds don't need him on the mound.

4.) Boston Red Sox (15-11)- I'm probably still giving this team more credit than they deserve, but it's hard to slight the defending World Champs. They did just get swept by the Red Sox, but in one of those games Josh Beckett had an absolute gem (13 K's, 1 ER) and would have won 99% of the time, but James Shields had a career start with a Complete Game Shutout. Still, the Red Sox appear to be right where they want to be...tied for the division lead.

5.) Chicago Cubs (16-10)- I almost slotted the Cubbies ahead of the Sawx, but they are currently on a 2 game losing streak (and they've dropped 4 of 5) so I left them in the middle spot. They've got a big upcoming week of divisional play against the Cardinals and Reds (and they're currently finishing up with the Brew Crew) so we'll discover just how good these Cubbies can be in our next poll.

6.) Milwaukee Brewers (15-11)- This team has really been rather mediocre this year. They're just 5-5 over their last ten and they've really got to start putting together a string of victories if they want to overtake the Cubs and Cards. Prince and Ryan Braun, it's up to you to put this team on your back and score some more runs.

7.) Philadelphia Phillies (15-12)- It's pretty amazing that this team is right on the brink of taking over the NL East Division lead without their MVP from last year. They also have received next to nothing from Ryan Howard, the MVP from 2 years ago. It's all about Chase Utley. He continues to rake along with his buddy Pat Burrell later in the lineup. I gotta tip my hat to these guys for helping this team contend without so many pieces.

8.) Florida Marlins (15-11)- I know, I know. The Marlins are ahead of the Phils in the standings, but let's be serious, they aren't as good as the Phillies and they won't be ahead of them down the stretch (and probably not in the next poll). One thing can be said about this team, they've got the best player in baseball leading off for them. There, I said it. Hanley Ramirez is the best in the bigs right now in my opinion. Whichever contender gets him on their roster after he becomes a free agent is going to be very happy (and a lot less rich).

9.) New York Mets (14-11)- That's right, 3 in a row for the NL East. The Amazin' Mets make their debut in the power poll this week at #9. I can definitely see this team making a move up the ladder as time goes on because of their superior line-up. They're stacked on offense and any time Johan's on the hill, you know it's almost always an automatic W. Right now, this club looks like they're primed for the playoff...but it's a long season.

10.) Oakland Athletics (17-11)- I almost left the A's off the list this week, but the record speaks volumes, even if the play on the field isn't exactly inspiring. They've still quietly won 5 of 7, but how long can this young squad keep it up. I would be a lot more sold on them if Rich Harden were healthy, but I guess you can't really count on that now can you. The Big Hurt was a big addition for them, and it should do wonders for this offense.

Also Receiving Votes: Tampa Rays (15-12), Baltimore Orioles (15-12), Chicago White Sox (14-12), Los Angeles Dodgers (14-13)

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The fall of FC Barcelona

Just about a half hour ago i saw Manchester United punch their ticket to the Champions League final by defeating Barcelona. What i also was was an end of an era for the most exciting club team in the world over the last half decade. While change is a constant in world soccer, the degree of change required in Catalonia over the summer will not only be undertaken on a grand scale, but completely needed.

Tuesday's game pretty much typified what Barcelona has become over the last year. There were the mind-boggling mistakes on defense that led to goals for the opposition. Despite having world-class defenders such as Gianluca Zambrotta, Carles Puyol and Eric Abidal, it never seems like they can play together and form a cohesive unit that is immune to the critical mistake. I also saw a great deal of possession, but most of it was without a clear direction. While midfield players like Deco and Xavi are excellent at moving the ball around, there just never seems to be the interplay between the forwards and the midfield that used to make the team so dangerous. Barca was at their best when Messi was running at defenders, yet i don't remember quality ball delivered to him from the midfield. Because of this, and despite of a ridiculous array of talented strikers, Barcelona could not score a single goal in their most important game of the season. I remember a few years ago when every moment seemed like a possible goal, yet now it was a struggle to even get a quality shot off at net. And while Manchester surely deserves credit for being a good defensive team, this has been happening for weeks and months to Barcelona which shows that it is a chronic symptom of their failures this season as opposed to a one-time deal.

We have seen eras come and go in club soccer over the last decade. The "Galacticos" of Real Madrid ended quickly when it was realized that none of them played defense. All of the Italian teams were decimated 2 years ago and are now slowly rebuilding. Barcelona has done this before too. They let superstars like Rivaldo and Patrick Kluivert leave the team and decided to rebuild around young talented players like Ronaldinho, Samuel Eto'o and Deco. Now the time has come for another re-start for the team. Here are the major players that should stay and who should go...

Ronaldinho - This man has been the face of international soccer and FC Barcelona for the last half-decade, but a myriad of events have made their parting inevitable. He doesn't work as hard as he used to, is injured more than he used to be, and is more of an egomaniac than ever before. No one is doubting that he still has skills, but he seems to be going the way of fellow countryman Ronaldo in that his best years are behind him even though he is still relatively young. Barca will try to get some good transfer money out of him with the 'Dinho probably moving on to Italy.

Thierry Henry - Sometimes great players going to great teams never quite works out. Whether it was because of Henry's ego getting in the way of things, or the Barcelona coaching staff not using him on the field properly, this has been a disaster from the get-go. Henry will definitely leave Camp Nou and will probably still be a quality player for another team, but Barca would be well advised to go with a younger, cheaper and less diva-like striker.

Deco - This guy has been one of the best offensive midfielders in the world for many years, but it seems as if his time has come as well. He can't control a game like he used to, and without Ronaldinho up front to link up with, he doesn't provide the service that the strikers up front need. Look for Deco to move to the EPL this summer, or wherever Jose Mourinho goes and coaches at next.

Gianluca Zambrotta - It could be claimed that Zambrotta was the best right fullback in the world after his performance at World Cup 2006. I thought this was an awesome move for Barcelona to pick him up, but it never quite worked out. Even in today's game he never seemed comfortable with his role in the team and with the other players surrounding him. Its evident that he tries really hard, but its sad that he never really worked out with the team. He'll probably move back to AC Milan or Juventus this summer, which will be much more comfortable for him.

With these 4 players gone, who will Barcelona look to rebuild the team with? Up front, they have 3 of the best young strikers in the game in Leo Messi, Bojan Krkic and Giovanni Dos Santos. They probably need a reliable veteran striker to team up with the 3 young kids, because its highly questionable that Eto'o will be back whether they want him to be or not. A possible pick-up could be Freddie Kanoute from FC Sevilla. In the midfield, the team will need a replacement for Deco who will be able to link up with the strikers, such as someone like a Diego on Werder Bremen, as well as a wide midfielder who can provide speed down the flanks like a Jesus Navas on FC Sevilla. Finally on defense, there has been much talk of the team acquiring Dani Alves, but i'm hoping that they go back to defenders who are much more reliable and less prone to costly mistakes similar to how Oleguer and Thuram have been over the years. With a more stable defense, the entire team will be more stable moving forward, which will allow a more consistent effort to be put forth every night.

As it seems, future Barcelona teams may not have as much flash as previous years have possessed. But while the team used to be highly successful, it is painfully evident that its time has come and gone. So while next year's version will not have a Ronaldinho, it will hopefully be much more consistent and successful. And plus with players like Leo Messi around, there will still be plenty of brilliance on display, lets just hope its not as few and far between as it seemed to be this year.

Party Like It's 1993

I had to laugh tonight when I checked baseball box scores and saw two very contrasting, and thought-provoking things that have been produced by this young season:

"The Giants demoted Zito to the bullpen on Monday, the Associated Press reports."


A Frank Thomas (Oak-DH) line that read:
3/3, 2 RBI, 1 BB...with a triple??

My how the mighty have fallen in San Francisco. They lose Barry "The Hulk" Bonds, who is was their primary, perhaps ONLY, source of: national interest, talent (other than Tim Lincecum), offensive production, merchandise revenue, and of course, controversy. But now they also have the distinction of giving a contract the size of Bonds's head to the newest member of their bullpen, Barry Zito. You know, I love this guy because he reminds me that the Cardinals didn't wind up with the worst member of Oakland's Big Three...At least Mark Mulder is recovering from surgeries and wasting a minimal amount of money, not to mention NOT costing the RedBirds games, rather than posting a 0-6 record in 6 starts with a 7.53 ERA.

Meanwhile, The Young Hurt-Master Frank Thomas is still raking, despite what the Toronto Blue Jays thought. Oakland wanted The Old Man of the AL to return, and his Gary Sheffield-esque temper tantrum got him cut like a fish from the helpless Jays. Speaking of the Jays, aren't they trailing the Rays in their division right now? Wow, Rays before Jays. Is this another case of Oakland/Billy Beane/Moneyball-thinking overcoming the traditional view of baseball personnel management?

I'm not going to offer any deeper analysis that this, other than that ultimately, the guy who stole the 2002 Cy Young Award from Pedro Martinez has been a downward spiral of ability and trust on the mound, while a dude who was repped by my buddy J-Blunt (the guy who tried to eat a ping pong ball during a beer pong game at the 06 Little 5) , back in 5th grade, will look great in comparison.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Jay Z disses Stevenson

Of all the worthy rappers who have dissed Jay Z in the past and HOV refused to respond (I'm thinking Killa Camron especially), why the fuck would he go after Deshawn Stevenson...a ballplayer? posted this truly horrible freestyle by J where he big-ups Bron and, for some reason, Will Smith?

somebody needs to "blow the whistle" on this wack ass freestyle.

Weekend Recap

What an epic sports weekend we just experienced. This truly is the only one of the year in which all 4 sports are relevant, so lets look back and see what transpired.

NFL - The 2008 draft is complete, and the big story line is all the trades that took place. With 13 trades involving first round picks alone, this draft was one of the more topsy-turvy in many years. It sure does seem like teams like the Jags and Panthers overpayed to move up and grab Derrick Harvey and Jeff Otah, but the old adage is go and get who you want, instead of testing fate. The big winners of the draft seemed to be the Kansas City Chiefs, who acquired Glenn Dorsey and Branden Albert in the first round, and many more solid prospects in later rounds. Other teams that impressed me were Baltimore and the New York Giants. The best 2 picks I saw were Dorsey to the Chiefs and Sedrick Ellis to the Saints, who will make a huge difference on that team. Shout out to Georgia boys Marcus Howard, Thomas Brown, Brandon Coutu and Chester Adams for getting drafted.

NBA - While no series have been decided yet, the fishing boats in TNT headquarters are getting primed for many teams as we speak. In the East, Detroit won a critical game 4 over upstart Philly, while Cleveland and Orlando will both have close-out games on Tuesday. Out west, most of the championship contenders are taking care of business. The top 4 seeds are all one game away from the second round, and have shown no signs of letting their opponents back into the series. What this means is we're looking towards an epic 2nd round featuring matchups like Jazz-Lakers, Hornets-Spurs, Cavs-Celtics and Pistons-Magic.

NHL - We're down to the final 8 in hockey, and the way things are going it could be 4 really soon. Dallas and Detroit are handling their business out west, sweeping the first 2 games of their series. Pittsburgh is still undefeated in the entire playoffs and may bring the first title to the Steel City since Lemieux was tearing shit up. The Flyers-Canadiens series is 1-1, but with the way the Flyers are playing I see them winning this series. Its too bad I won't get to watch another game until Saturday, because nothing beats playoff hockey in terms of intensity and passion, but thats what you get when you have a fuck-up like Gary Bettman running your league.

MLB - It sure does feel as if 2008 may be remembered as a changing of the guard season in baseball. While veteran-laden teams like the Mets, Braves, Tigers and Yankees are all struggling out of the gate, younger teams like the D'Backs, Brewers and Rays are all building confidence and are showing signs of being in the race for the long haul. Props to the Angels for winning 4 of 6 against the Red Sox and Tigers on the road. When they get Lackey back they are going to be really tough to beat. Hopefully we'll get to see some of these younger squads play on TV this year, but since they are nowhere near Boston or New York i highly doubt that.

UEFA - The 2nd leg of the semifinals in the Champions League take place this week. First up is Barcelona - Man United. Thanks to Man U playing like pussies in leg one, things are still scoreless heading to Old Trafford. And while they have played great all year, it is a lot of pressure to put into one game, especially against a team with the weapons that Barca does. While the first game was pretty boring, this second should be anything but, because both teams will need goals and both teams have the talent in players like Messi and Eto'o on Barca and Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlitos Tevez on Man U to turn this into a shootout. Meanwhile Wednesday's game features Liverpool heading to Chelsea. Thanks to John Arne Riise's own goal in stoppage time, Chelsea are in great position to advance. They will also get back Mickael Essien from suspension which will make their defense even tougher. Its probably too much of a challenge for the 'Pool to get a goal, which means Chelsea should finally advance to a Champions League Final.

Nascar - Kyle Busch won at Talladega. No one really cares about Nascar, but Talladega deserves mentioning because it is without a doubt the most redneck crowd you will ever experience. The fans throw all their beer cans and bottles at every driver who wins except for Dale Earnhardt Jr., who hasn't won in years at the track. They also hate Jeff Gordon so much that more babies are conceived in the 15 minutes after he crashes then at any other point in the year. Nothing puts Alabamans in the baby-making mood like gasoline, crashes and Dick Trickle.

College Football - A few quick notes from the best sport in America. UCLA starting quarterback Patrick Cowan tore his ACL and will miss the entire 2008 season. This guy is great when he's healthy, ask USC if you don't believe me, but its too bad he's the Rocco Baldelli of college FB. UCLA will struggle to be a .500 team without him. Up in Big 10 country, the big news is that Michigan offensive linemen Justin Boren will transfer to Ohio State. I guess losing important games in the regular season wasn't enough for him, but instead he wanted the ultimate satisfaction of losing in championship games to superior SEC teams much more. Finally, the commisioners of all the Division-1 conferences are talking today about plans to add a "plus-one" championship game at the end of the season. I'm all for the idea, because it will maintain the importance of the regular season while bringing finality to the end of the season. Unfortunately the neanderthal commissioners of the Pac 10 and Big 10 will probably never agree to the proposal, but at least this will help increase the public outcry for a true championship at the end of the college season.