Friday, May 9, 2008

ESPN Looooves them some northeast baseball

(Typical action on a summer evening at ESPN studios)

This is not breaking news by any stretch of the imagination, but it just gets so frustrating to have to deal with ESPN's love affair with the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees. I bring this up because once again this weekend, Sunday Night Baseball will feature one of these two teams. This will mark the 4th time already this season that Boston has been on baseball's featured game of the week, and that doesn't even count all the times they've been shown on a mid-week game. What makes this frustrating is how ESPN puts them on TV against mediocre teams even though there are much better games available. This week they play against a decent Twins team, which is a good matchup but definitely not the best of the weekend. Instead, ESPN could have shown the Diamondbacks (Currently the best team in baseball) versus the Cubs (a team with a better record than the Twins), or possibly shown matchups like the Cardinals-Brewers or Angels-Rays, all of whom have over .500 records. Fox is also choosing to make Yankees-Tigers the featured game of their weekend. Both these teams have struggled greatly making this game much less interesting than originally thought.

This weekend's selection of games brings up the greater point of how narrow ESPN's baseball focus has become. The Sox or Yanks are pretty much guaranteed to lead off Baseball Tonight telecasts, often at the expense of more important and exciting games. Sportscenter barely mentions any other team on its telecasts, and buries games not featuring Boston or New York deep in its telecast. ESPN has also done away with showing any late-night games, which means west coast teams get virtually ignored. This is an especially dubious decision in 2008, because western teams like the D'Backs, Dodgers, Angels and Athletics are all solid teams and could very well factor in not only the playoff race but the World Series. Yet these teams barely get mentioned, while non-stories such as Joba Chamberlain yelling after a strike out becomes newsworthy somehow.

The Yankees and Sox have always been popular teams, but in recent years as their rivalry has become exceedingly overblown and overhyped, their nonstop coverage has begun to hurt the rest of the league. I bet 80% of fans can't name 5 hitters in the Diamondback lineup, or name any starter on the Angels besides John Lackey. While to some this may not be a big deal, isn't it the media's responsibility to completely cover a story from all angles to inform the viewer to the best of their power? And therefore shouldn't ESPN be responsible for informing their viewers to all of the best teams in baseball equally, so that viewers can be as knowledgeable as possible about the events taking place? I guess its too much to ask from a network more interested in creating the news than actually reporting it (Tejada, Clemens, etc.), but hopefully more voices can speak out so that ESPN realizes that baseball fans actually exist outside of the northeast, and that we demand a much more balanced description of what is happening in MLB on a nightly, weekly, and season-long basis.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Sir Charles Admits to being a Dumbass

The Chuckster has done many hilarious/stupid things in his life and many of them have been seen on "Inside the NBA" on TNT. Well, Barkley outdid himself last night. Take a look.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

MLB Power Poll

The League is bi-polar right now as half of the division leaders have leads of at least 3 games (AL East, NL Central, and NL West) while the other divisions all have at least one team within a game of the front-runner, and in the case of the AL Central, all 3 teams are within 3.5 games. What does this mean in the world of baseball? Well there's a pretty significant gap between the elite teams and the rest of the pack. Let's dissect.

1.) Arizona Diamondbacks (22-11)- The D-backs hold onto the top slot in the rankings for the 4th week in a row (constituting every week of the power poll so far), but their claws are loosening. Arizona has a .500 record in their last 10 games and they've failed to hold their opponents to under 4 runs in every game since last week Monday. Brandon Webb keeps rolling (7-0) and is the current top contender for the NL Cy Young Award. Keep an eye out for Mizzou Phenom pitcher Max Scherzer who will make his first career MLB start on Saturday at the Cubs.

2.) Boston Red Sox (22-13)- Boston is currently on a 5 game win streak going into tonight's game against Detroit. The Red Sox took the first two from the Tigers and have won 4 of 5 of them this season. After getting swept by the Rays a week and a half ago, the BoSox got redemption by sweeping Tampa Bay at Fenway in their previous series. Dice K has been surprisingly consistent this year with a 5-0 record to pair with his 2.43 ERA and 33 K's. This rotation is shaping to be better than most expected at the beginning of the season. Red Sox Nation happily welcomed back David Ortiz to relevence this month. Papi is 9 for 21 with 2 Jacks in May.

3.) St. Louis Cardinals (22-12)- These Red Birds are flying high by winning 8 of their last 10 games. It's all about the Cards starting pitching. The only pitchers with more than one loss are Jason Isringhausen and Joel Pineiro (2 each). My apologies to Rick Ankiel. Last week I said he was slumping, but that couldn't be further from the truth. He has 12 hits since last Monday. He's aided St. Louis in winning all but 1 game since my last post. Props to Tony LaRussa who's put down the bottle long enough to help the Red Birds surprise the nation with their inspired play.

4.) Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (22-13)- The Angels are another streaking team, which is why they land in the top 5 for the 4th straight week. Like the Cards, LAA has had stellar starting pitching from some unlikely names. Joe Saunders and Ervin Santana both sport dazzling 6-0 records and each have ERA's South of 3.00. With ace John Lackey nearing his return to the rotation, this could be the cream of the pitching crop in the American League. It's not just the rotation that rolling though, the offense has scored at least 3 runs in every game since the last Power Poll. 1st Baseman Casey Kotchman has been the surprise leader of the charge placing in the top 5 in the AL in Average and Slugging Percentage.

5.) Oakland Athletics (22-14)- I can't ignore the A's any longer. They deserve the 5 spot in the poll and I've been shafting them the past few weeks. Can you blame me though, this is still a team without name value. Like the Angels, the Athletics are on a 4 game winning streak and have been within a game of the division lead (or on top) for the great majority of the season. They don't blow you away, but they get the job done every game thanks to smart baseball and great management.

6.) Los Angeles Dodgers (19-15)- The Dodgers are one of the hottest teams in the majors. They're 8-2 in their last 10 and have won 4 series in a row. Brad Penny was rolling before today when he got absolutely shelled by the Mets giving up 10 runs and 10 hits in less than 5 innings. The key for LAD has been their outstanding offense. Matt Kemp has led the blue wave with a 10 game winning streak. 7 of those games were multi-hitters for the Right Fielder. Juan Pierre has started to pick up his game, but what the hell is wrong with Andruw Jones? He's batting just .170 and only has 1 bomb all year.

7.) Philadelphia Phillies (19-15)- The Phightin' Phils sat just a half game back of the NL East Division lead going into tonight's game against the top seeded D-backs. The teams have split the first two games of the series. Philly is 4-2 in their last 6 and have played in close contests throughout the week (only one game was decided by more than two runs since the last power poll). Thanks to their strong bullpen, they're able to win these close games. Brad Lidge won his first game of the year on Sunday and still has yet to give up an earned run all year. He's got 7 saves on the season. The Phillies are looking for their starting pitching to get up to speed with their potent offense as their Top 4 SP's have a .500 record on the year.

8.) Chicago Cubs (19-15)- The Cubbies represent our first cold team of the power poll this week. They're a chilly 3-7 in their last 10 games. In Jon Lieber's first start as a Cub since 2002, he gave up 5 runs in 2 innings of work including 4 dingers in the 2nd. 5-1 Carlos Zambrano has been the bright spot in a pretty dismal rotation. Rich Hill looked like an up and comer last year, but he was demoted to Triple-A Iowa this week after another sub-par performance. Luckily, the North-Siders hitting has been prolific so far to make up for their pitching bretheren. Derek Lee is in the top 7 in runs, homers, and hits in the National league and young Geovonny Soto is tied for the league lead in doubles (13) while sporting a .345 average, good enough for 8th in the NL. The Cubs hitters will have to keep firing on all cylinders if they want to stay close with the dangerous Diamondbacks in a 3 game series starting on Friday.

9.) Florida Marlins (19-14)- The Marlins lead the NL East thanks to victories in 3 of their last 4 games. Scott Olsen (4-1) and Mark Hendrickson (5-1) each notched W's for Florida this week to help stabilize a shaky rotation. Kevin Gregg had been 3-0 as a closer until he lost twice last week to leave Florida second-guessing their situation. The Marlins have found consistency in their batting lately thanks to the top shortstop in baseball, Hanley Ramirez. He's tied for third in the NL in steals and ranks in the top 12 in hits and runs. After their final game with the Brewers tommorow, they've got a 6 game road trip against the Nats and the Redlegs.

10.) Minnesota Twins (16-15)- This may come as a shock to some, but the before falling to the ChiSox yesterday, the Twinkies had been cruising (winners of 5 in a row...they're also up big right now after a lengthy rain delay). Similar to the A's, the Twins don't have the brand name players that most of the other teams on this list have, but they're getting the job done thanks to some newbies like Carlos Gomez (tied for the AL lead in Steals). Joe Mauer is once again proving that when healthy, he's arguably the best hitting catcher in the big leagues. He's currently third in the AL in average at .337. Meanwhile, the pitching staff has mean pretty boo-urns, but they're doing enough to get credit. Look for Francisco Liriano to be back up in the rotation in the next couple of weeks after a pretty solid minor league stint so far. Big props to Ron Gardenhire for his brilliant managerial skills after losing so much in the off-season.

Others Receiving Votes: Atlanta Braves (17-15), New York Mets (17-15), Houston Astros (18-16)

Yo Bro...Psycho T is EXTREME!!!

Looks like NCAA Basketball Player of the Year Tyler Hansbrough loves extreme frat sports. Maybe we can get him at DU's Fishin' on 3rd 2k9.

-for a larger look, check out this link.

We Have a Winner

In case anyone has not heard, Tim Russert officially announced the death of the Hillary Clinton campaign last night...Thank the Lord

Nike Euro 2008 Commercial

Nike always brings the heat with its soccer commercials (Brazil at the airport, Secret Tournament, Joga Bonito) and this spot for the upcoming European Championships is no different. Definitely the best commercial i've seen all year. Follow the link because i can't post the video in here right now.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

NBA X's and O's

Here's my thoughts on some odds and ends in the NBA right now

Kobe wins the 2008 MVP Award

I completely agree with this selection. After Young Swole's post on the NBA awards, I wrote that I believed that Kobe deserved the award over KG. In the playoffs, it's obvious that KG isn't as stellar as the other front runners for the award, CP3, LBJ, and Kobe. The C's looked fairly pathetic against the worst team in the playoffs, while Kobe torched a Nuggets team that won 50 games. Bryant won the award for his outstanding regular season play though and it was obvious to me that he was the best player during the season on the Western Conference's best team. I think CP3 can make an argument, but the bottom line is, Kobe was just a hair better. It's nice to see Bryant put his past behind him.

Mike D'Antoni and Rick Carlisle close to having new jobs

Over the past couple of days, ESPN has reported that Rick Carlisle is the leading candidate to take over the Dallas Mavericks job while Suns coach Mike D'Antoni appears to be on the verge of accepting a new role as coach of the Chicago Bulls. The Mav's decision baffles me a bit. I like Carlisle. He did an admirable job with the Pacers and Pistons (winning 50+ games with Detroit in 3 straight seasons), but he could never win in the clutch. He wasn't able to get either team to the NBA finals, let alone win one. How is this an upgrade for Dallas. Avery Johnson had the best winning percentage in the NBA the past 3 years and even though he couldn't get big D a title, he made it there in '06 and locked down a 1 seed last year. So they are pretty much replacing a coach who can't win big games for one who couldn't win big games a few years ago. D'Antoni makes sense from both angles. Chicago is an appealing place to coach considering their illustrious history. They don't have MJ anymore, but they do have a young talented core that could easily make the playoffs next year. Let's face it, it's way easier to win in the East than in the West. Phoenix was already fading this year, and next season could be their last year with Shaq and Nash. This was the second oldest team in the NBA and they are going nowhere but down. They also have an owner that gives away all of their draft picks for cash. The Bulls are hiring a guy who is a proven winner and will automatically upgrade a team that was picked by many to win the East this year (plus they have a lottery pick next year).

Pistons go up 2-0 on Magic after a controversial 3 pointer

If you've seen ESPN at all today, or watched the game yesterday night, you know what went down. Chauncey Billups nailed a Triple before the 3rd quarter buzzer sounded. The buzzer should have sounded almost a second earlier, but the Shot Clock malfunctioned and the Pistons were awarded the three. This put Detroit up by a point and they went on to win 100-93. I realize I'm a biased Pistons fan, but to be real, they would have won this game anyway. The Magic played terrible down the stretch and couldn't make any of the key shots that would have gotten them back in the game. Orlando is understandably pissed about what happened, but if they would have taken care of their own business this would have been a moot point. The big story here is that the Pistons are back like cooked crack. Early in the first round, everyone was picking the upstart 76's to win the series after going up 2-1. However, Detroit took the last 3 games in the series and have now won 5 in a row. They're just 2 wins away from reaching their 6th straight Eastern Conference Final.

Hornets win again to put the Spurs in a 2-0 hole

This headline shouldn't be as surprising as people are making it out to be. Sure, New Orleans isn't a name program and they finished outside of the playoff picture last year, but that was without David West and Peja Stojakovic for most of the year and Chris Paul missed multiple games with injury as well. Now that they are together and healthy, the Hornets are a team on a mission. They did win both of these games at home, but that's what your supposed to do when you are the higher seeded team. They are also playing the defending champs. Their strong defense has limited the Spurs offensive game especially Tony Parker who averaged well over 30 points a game against the Suns. One more thing, CP3 is literally unstoppable. Enough said.

Monday, May 5, 2008


This kid is more messed up than Young Swole after a weekend full of smoking crystal meth laced with Knowshon Moreno pubic hair. Be sure to note:
-how long the kids shorts are (in the first ten seconds)
-how he claims his friend (also age 7) likes to smoke cigarettes: