Tips ? Suggestions? Praise? Death Threats?

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Randy fucking Moss

I love the NFL Draft. I mean, who doesn't these days? The cottage industry (hello, Mel Kiper) has turned into the NFL's second biggest event. It's endless fun, waiting to see who your favorite team will select while also hoping your rivals draft stiffs. Throw in a little human drama like Brady Quinn yesterday and you've got riveting stuff. The Pats had picks #24 and #28 in the first round yesterday. They used #24 to draft Brandon Merriweather, safety from the U. (Miami) as Michael Irvin would gleefully proclaim. Good pick, the Pats need help in the defensive backfield since Eugene Wilson is a ghost these days and Rodney Harrison is pushing Ken Griffey Jr. and Grant Hill for most injuries in professional sports in the past few seasons. Merriweather you might remember for his stomping of hapless FIU players last October and also from shooting at an intruder in his off-campus house who had shot his teammate in the butt. Why didn't I go to Miami? The Pats traded #28 to the Niners for their first round pick next year and a third-rounder this year (which they later traded to the Raiders). Merriweather was the only guy that the Patriots selected in the first three rounds of the draft, tying a club record for fewest on day one. The local media obviously had a field day with Merriweather's past history but other than that, yesterday was pretty quiet.
I went out to breakfast this morning and I came back to find a message from my buddy: THE PATS SIGNED RANDY MOSS. I rushed to the nearest tv and watched a few minutes of the fourth round (no mention of the trade). Then I hopped on, which didn't disappoint. It was true, the Pats had pulled off one of the great steals of the 21st century: a fourth round pick for Randy Moss. I had only one reaction, complete excitement. I can already tell you that this will be the topic ad nauseam for the next few months for talk radio/internet and bar sports talk. Moss comes with baggage: after seven unreal years in Minnesota, he was shipped off to the Raiders-the purgatory of the NFL-and spent the last two years there rotting away (though not as fast as Al Davis). It's a no lose for the Pats. They're making Moss take a pay cut and restructure his contract while also telling him that if he has a a bad attitude here, then see ya later. Sounds like a familiar story. Hmm? Talented veteran who has been on a losing team, getting his last chance to win a Super Bowl and cement his legacy in New England. Rodney Harrison and Corey Dillon would be the most recent and worthy examples of this trend. Both came from bad teams (the Chargers and Bengals) respectively and had reputations as jerks/me first guys. How'd that turn out? They both helped the Patriots win two Super Bowls in their four years here. Well, Moss is better than both of them and has more upside. He's only 30 so he theoretically could have 5-7 good years left in him. It's enough to make a guy crazy with football fever in late April.
After blowing a lead and losing in the AFC Championship to the Colts, the Patriots have been on a spending spree: they've brought in Adalius Thomas, Kyle Brady, Sammy Morris, Kelley Washington, Dante Stallworth, Wes Welker, Tory James and finally Randy Moss. All the while, only losing Tully Banta Cain (a 7th round pick who finally got some playing time this past year), a worn down Dillon (who supposedly has retired) and Todd Sauerbrun, who played here for a few games. Tom Brady who had few weapons in the passing game last year, now has nearly too many. Can you say 5-wide receiver sets? Damn, it's good to be a Patriots fan right about now.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Kooky Met Game Last Night

Whenever a team comes back in the bottom half of the last inning, it's something special. Fans chatter about it to one another, co-workers comment the next morning about how great last night's game was, strangers tip their caps to other strangers wearing similar caps.

But when a team can come back to tie the game when they're down to their last strike? Now we're talking.

Before the good though, the bad.

After squandering seven shutout innings from El Duque, Troy Tulowitzki (Tulowitz? Tuliwitznewski? Tulewinkenstein?) laced a ball to right center that should have been caught by Carlos Beltran. I'm going to harp on this for a quick second. Is it just me or did Beltran sort of short arm the ball? I know that Sean Green is closing fast, so Beltran sees him out of the corner of his eye and tries to avoid another career-shortening collision, but shouldn't he put his arms out and reach for that ball? Maybe I'm just a lunatic, which is actually more likely than Beltran short-arming a ball in center.

Aaron Fucking Heilman. I've absolutely had it. You've got to be fucking kidding me with this guy. I honestly cannot understand why any person in their right mind would defend Aaron Fucking Heilman. Here's why: He gave up the homer to Yadier Molina in last year's NLCS, and in three games this year, he's been responsible for game-changing runs. Tonight it was more of the same. He gives up hard hit balls far too often for me to be comfortable with him pitching in anything close to a big situation. He fell into the set-up man role last year since Willie couldn't figure out what to do with him. He's somehow being rewarded for being terrible at his job, which I feel is completely unacceptable.

But Easley's homer with two strikes in the bottom half of the 10th was the real story, at least until Endy Chavez's perfect bunt single to score the winning run in the bottom of the 12th. With Reyes at the plate (Endy came in to pinch run for Dukes), I told my dad to watch for a drag bunt single. Chavez would make me a soothsayer.

Wait, I got it. Tulewitzonoff. Got him.

Monday, April 23, 2007

The last time this happened, I was in 1st Grade

As the title refers to, the Sox did something they haven't done since 1990 (sweep three from the Yankees at Fenway). Let's not get ahead of ourselves, it is April 23. Last time I checked the playoffs start in October. With that out of the way, I've got to admit that it felt pretty sweet to beat this injury-depleted version of the Yankees.
Each game featured a Sox comeback. Friday was most impressive, coming back down 6-2 in the eighth and knocking around Mariano Rivera en-route to the 7-6 win. A-Rod hit two homers and a double for four RBIs but the Sox still pulled it out. Reliever Hideki Okajima (the much less heralded new Japanese import) got the save since Papelbon had worked two games in a row. Saturday (a game that I was lucky enough to attend) looked like a big mismatch: Josh Beckett vs. Jeff Karstens (a rookie scrub the Yankees sacrificed since Pavano, Mussina and Wang are all on the DL). Beckett gave up four runs in the first two innings and ultimately battled until the seventh, only giving up one more run. Ortiz put the Sox up three with a big two-run blast and Papelbon closed it out (7-5). Finally, last night's game featured another mismatch: Dice-K against Chase Wright (another stiff the Yankees rushed up from Columbus). The Yankees got to Dice-K early with two in the first. The Sox woke up and hit an MLB record-tying four home runs in a row: Manny, Drew, Lowell and Varitek. Lowell later added a three run bomb and Papelbon once again closed it out in the ninth (7-6).
I could go on and on about these three games but the previous paragraph is enough. The bigger question is what does this series mean for the season? The Yanks and Sox meet 15 more times over the course of the season so it's a little early to start printing AL East champion t-shirts and talking about playoff rotations. The Sox capitalized on a very vulnerable Yankees team, much like the Yankees absolutely stomped the Sox in a demoralizing five game sweep at Fenway last August. Those Red Sox were complete frauds as their team was falling apart with injuries. The same could be said for the Yankees at this time. Despite what George, Cashman and the assorted stooges think, it's pitching and timely hitting that carries teams through seasons and deep into the playoffs. My dog could have dissected what the problem was for the Yankees in last season's playoffs: no pitching. When at full power, their lineup is one of the best in history but that doesn't matter when you start facing the Detroits (or Boston now) that have more than 1 or 2 quality starting pitchers. Yankee fans will say, they have Phillip Hughes waiting in the wings. Mussina and Wang will get healthy. And Pavano....... I don't think even the biggest Yanks fan could say much good about that clown. For once, they have a lot of question marks.
The Sox are in a unique position. They look like the team to beat in the AL East and possibly baseball. For most of my rooting days, we're always chasing much more talented and free-spending Yankees teams. Not the case this season. A-Rod is unstoppable. Jeter, Damon, Abreu and Giambi to a lesser extent can still do a ton of damage but they can't always be counted on to put together double digits runs (which is what this pathetic staff needs).
The Orioles are currently hot (11-7, four wins in a row), Yankees are 8-9, Toronto is 8-10 and Tampa Bay is 7-11. You just know the Yankees will be hanging around at the end of the season. They have too many great hitters and money to let this season slip away. The Orioles are not going anywhere, a .500 season would be good for them. Toronto could be a threat but without B.J. Ryan, they're much less fearsome. The Devil Rays are only useful for fantasy baseball.
It's April 23 and 80 degrees outside. The Sox just swept the Yankees, it's a good day to be alive.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Only 150 More Games!

Last night the Phillies dropped to 3-9 after loosing to the Mets at home. Overshadowing another poor performance is the post game hooplah between 610 WIP-AM's Howard Eskin and Phillies manager Charlie Manuel, but I'll get to this later....

More importantly, prior to the start of the season, MLB analyists and myself included thought the Phillies would be a real contender. Now I am left with the question; are the Phils underachieving or are they just not good? Regardless of the answer, who is to blame? The players, management, coaches, or ownership? As of right now, I believe the team is not that good and most the burden should be put on the players. The coaches are not the ones hitting .200 with runners in scoring position. Ryan Howard alone is hitting 4-19 with RISP with an overall batting average of .238. The same flaws that plagues the team last year are present this season. Specifically, the inability to manufacture runs, unreliable bullpen support, and timely hitting. Our starting pitchers have been adequate this season, but our bullpen is huge liability.

The coaches and players stressed getting out to a good start in April, but the team is off to its worst start since 1997. With Philadelphia salivating for a team to get behind, the Phillies squandered a golden opportunity to give the fans something to embrace and set a tone for the rest of the season. Now the team is almost begging the fans to turn their backs and has cast a dark cloud over the season. The games have become unfun and as they enter a series with the Nationals tonight, the team has entered desperation mode. As opposed to routinely beating a bad team, now the sentiment among fans is that they better beat a bad team!

Now onto the "confrontation" between 610 WIP radio personality Howard Eskin and manager Charlie Manuel. Eskin was asking Manuel whether the team would benefit if he got more fired up? Manuel then seemed to take this personally, and then claimed he does get fired up and challenged Eskin to come in his office to see him fired up. So Eskin took him up and Manuel wanted to fight! See for yourself below.

Eskin is widely known to get be annoying, pompous, even a striking resemblance to the Burger King character,
but he also is a dam good journalist. I've listened to the audio of the exchange and I don't think Eskin was out of line. In fact, initially Manuel and Eskin seemed to be having a light hearted riff. Clearly Manuel snapped, and it almost seems as if Manuel used Eskin as a vehicle for lashing out. Charlie might believe that if he creates a stir anyway possible, the team will respond and play better? Its one thing to be pissed about your team a la Lou Pinella and the Cubs, but don't make an ass of yourself. This team does not seem to have any plan for the future and might be content with just being close each season. I truly hope the Phils can get out of this early slump and right themselves of their flaws.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Steve Francis was on the cover of NBA Live 2002

(Note: Most of this post is fun to read to yourself in the Little Penny voice)

I love the NBA. I regularly defend the league from sports talk radio-influenced, ESPN-ticker regurgitating know-it-alls. But man, this season has been a bummer. I can't even call myself a Knicks fan. I've watched zero games this year. I never felt compelled to watch Steve Francis and Stephon Marbury argue about whose neck tattoo is bigger. Watching Eddy Curry play basketball reminds of how I was when I stood 5'0" as a 14-year old and weighed 165 lbs. Like he's got a fanny pack on turned backwards underneath the jersey. Can't do it.

It's that song - the Pussycat Girls song that plays in between timeouts on ESPN. It's the worst. It doesn't even come close to setting the mood the way it was set in the early 90s. Everytime I heard NBC's jingle, goosebumps sprang up on my calves and forearms out of reflex. Imagine Marv and the Czar breaking down a pick and roll, teasing each other as they go. Remember the hair styles, the high tops, and the stars. Remember when Penny Hardaway was the next Magic, when Scottie Pippen carried Mike off the Utah Jazz floor, when Hakeem the Dream gave Patrick Ewing a lesson in grace.

Now imagine the Pussycat Dolls singing their annoying , overly campy faux-swing tune.

Yeah, I know. They're hot. But they're just vapid marketing objects, models who were told that they could make money by singing. Fine, I know, they're really, really hot. But they're tooling around with my NBA. The only reward for listening to Mark Jackson call a game on ESPN is the knowledge that sometime soon you'll get the blissful pleasure of hanging out with Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith, dissecting NBA playoff basketball.

Now for that, I can't wait.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

your 2007 Red Sox

It's only eight games into the season (4-4) but it's never too early as a fan to start forecasting how your favorite team will do. So far, the Red Sox have been pretty inconsistent as their middling record indicates. They won 2 of 3 at the Royals (who you might not know are still a major league team), lost 2 of 3 to the Rangers (who still don't have pitching) and have most recently split-1 and 1-with an average Mariners team.

It's been famously said that a baseball season is like a marathon, a grind, horse race, etc. With that said, I think at different times in this long season, you can point to possible weaknesses and troublespots that almost certainly will arise at some point. For the Red Sox, the two biggest problems are quite obvious: 1) the bottom of the lineup and 2) the back end of the rotation.

The 2003-2005 Sox teams were all stacked lineups, a big reason why they reached the playoffs all three years. Last year though, the wheels started to fall off as a ton of injuries happened and the Sox could never recover not to mention guys were getting past their prime (Trot Nixon, Jason Varitek I'm looking at you). This past offseason the Sox went out and got Julio Lugo and J.D. Drew. Both moves were met with criticism as Lugo has never played for a winner (other than sitting on the Dodgers bench for the 2nd half of last season) and Drew is only slightly less injury prone than Ken Griffey Jr. So far so good from these two though, Lugo seems to be a capable leadoff man and shortstop and Drew is very talented. Right now the batting order goes: Lugo, Youkilis, Ortiz, Manny, Drew, Lowell, Varitek, Crisp, Pedroia. 1-6 is top-notch, Lowell proved last year that he can still hit. The question lies in the last three. Varitek got hurt last year and was out for a long stretch of the season (coinciding with the Sox completely folding) and it looks like he has completely lost his way at the plate. He swings at everything (and misses) and can't drive anything. But he's still an outstanding defensive catcher that does so much for our pitching staff and Doug Mirabelli is the backup so he's not going anywhere. Coco Crisp is a complete bum. He broke a finger in the beginning of last season and has never really recovered since then. He was supposed to be our leadoff guy last year but he's not suited for it so now he's buried at the 8th spot. He has no paitence at the plate and to compound that, he's just not a good hitter. He's fast but given that he can't get on and the Sox never run, that doesn't matter. Which leaves us with Dustin Pedroia. The young second baseman must have incriminating pictures of someone in the Sox front office because he got called up last season (and did absolutely nothing to impress) and yet the Sox let Mark Loretta (a cheap, reliable, veteran 2B) walk to the Astros. Pedroia is the equivilent of Turtle on Entourage. He has basically been given a golden ticket and he's just happy to be along for the ride on a MLB team. A little harsh? Probably but if you had to watch this guy regularly, you'd wonder how he's gotten here. There doesn't seem to be much to hope for other than the Sox somehow dumping Crisp and Pedroia on some unsuspecting team, pretty unlikely.

As for the back end of the rotation. Schilling has looked terrible and great in his two starts. Beckett good and great and Dice K great and ok. All three of those guys should be fine, all could win anywhere from 12-20 games. Tim Wakefield to a lesser extent and whoever is number 5 (currently Julian Tavarez aka Freddie Kruger) are the guys I would worry about. Wake had a good first start against the Rangers, only giving up two runs but the Sox once again forgot to provide support. Something that they haven't done for Wakefield in years. Tavarez is just the answer while Jon Lester recovers from cancer in the minors or maybe Roger Clemens decides to come pitch for the Sox again. There are very few rotations that can touch this one still you want something more reliable than Tavarez and Wakefield, who can give up 8 home runs on any given start. Bottom line: this is a good team and could be great. The Orioles and Devil Rays are still awful, the Yankees have zero pitching and the Blue Jays are unproven. The AL East is right there for the taking. Other than that, we'll worry about it later.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Thanks 76ers...

I would like to thank the Philadelphia 76ers for proving that when you put a group of hardworking, talentless players together for a while, your team can acheive mediocrity status. As teams are dying to lose to increase their odds on drafting Greg Oden or Kevin Durant, the 76ers have decided to take the Rudy approach to the season, and play .500 basketball by out hustling and outworking everyone. As every Celtic lost slightly increases their chances on getting one of the 2 aforementioned future superstars, the Sixers are diving for balls out of bounds, racing down the court for an uncontested layup and playing an in your face defense that nobody really cares to try to score against.

If you prorate the success of the 76ers since the Iverson trade, the 76ers probably would be a 7 seed in the playoffs. If they continue to build great team chemistry, maybe next year they can get a 6 seed. And as the Sixers battle for a 6 seed next season, teams will be figuring out how to avoid Greg Oden on their way to the basket.

Chemistry and hardwork can only get you so far in the NBA today...You need talent. Talent eventually puts teams over the top. With the current structure of the NBA, it is nearly impossible to obtain talent via free agency. Thanks to the Larry Bird rule, teams can resign their own Superstars for more money than any other team. You need to get bad before you get good, and the Sixers chose to get mediocre. And, because of this philosophy, they will remain mediocre.

Where's John Franco when you need him?

Aaron Fucking Heilman. This guy haunts my dreams. In fairness, I'm probably just looking for a scapegoat to blame for the Mets dropping two of three on the road to Atlanta, and since he flung frisbees at the Braves hitters to finish up today's game, he's the most obvious choice. Still, when you're pissed off about going four out of six to open the season, on the road, sweeping the World Champs in the process, you know the bar's set pretty high.

It's hard to be upset when El Duque can give you 6+ good innings allowing a run, and John Maine and Oliver Perez have both been lights out so far. Even though Glavine gave up five the other night, only two were earned. You forgive him for that.

You don't forgive Heilman for allowing three doubles in the bottom of the 8th to the meat of the Atlanta order. He threw nearly 45 pitches to get four outs. Puke-worthy. I can't stand this guy - some people think he should start, but why would you want more Aaron Heilman? We want less Heilman. In fact, I'd like to see him packaged in a trade. Of course, once we deal him, he'll turn into an effective starting pitcher or an overpowering closer. Thanks, Jason Isringhausen and Scott Kashmir. You guys don't haunt my dreams at all. Seriously.

Truth is, you wouldn't miss Heilman. Ambiorix Burgos should be setting up Wagner, anyway. Burgos throws gas, nearly hitting 100 on the radar on the regular. Why wouldn't you want him right in front of your all-star closer? Why would you want a bum throwing off-speed junk and 90 mph fastballs three outs ahead of the end of the game? No, we prefer Aaron Fucking Heilman.

Beautiful. At least we get the Phillies next.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Let the Countdown begin

- As of today, April 5th, the Phillies are only 42 losses from their 10,000th loss, which I'm predicting will occur sometime in July. This is a tremendous feat for such an inept franchise. They would become the first professional sports team to reach such a milestone, so this is kind of a big deal.

- Speaking of the Phillies, the worst possible scenario has occured. The Phillies were swept at home(despite great efforts by young guns Brett Myers and Cole Hamels), by a heated division rival to start the season. Ryan Howard could not produce in the clutch. The bullpen collapsed in two of the losses. Their big time aquisition, Adam Eaton, failed miserably in his first start. The Phillies did this last season. When we pay attention to them, they can't win. When something else is happening in the city(ie training camp, NFL preseason), they can't lose. In addition, the Phillies, much like last season, can only score by hitting home runs.

- Several members of the Penn State Football team are in serious trouble for participating in a altercation at an apartment down the hall from the residence of my girlfriend. The names of the players involved in the fight have not been made public, but from reading some more into the story, it seems some big time stars on the Nittany Lions could be in some serious trouble. My love for Penn State Football supersedes justice that some people receive if chargers are pressed against some of these players. I hope this story goes away.

- The Sixers did everything possible to lose to the Knicks, and they still won.

All in all, it's not a great time to be a fan of any of the Philadelphia teams(and Penn State!). The teams that are suppose to lose and winning and vice versa.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Passover madness

Passover is a terrifically awful holiday. #1. What seems more plausible? Manishevitz creating a holiday because they are fantastic profiteers or somebody actually parting an entire sea to flee persecution? And speaking of ridiculous shitty has 24 become?

And you got to just hate the Passover food. It all tastes like crap. It's terrible. I have to suffer b/c Pharoah was a dick. It doesn't make any sense to me. Pharoah enslaved a bunch of Jews, the Jews, led by Moses, escaped. They find the land of Milk and Honey after 40 years of wondering aimlessly, and I have to eat this crap for a week.
Although I do enjoy spending time with family I otherwise would not get to see, the overall Passover experience is something that I strongly do not look forward to.

Back to sports...I recently went to the home/season opener of my beloved fightin Phillies. It was like watching a terrifying episode of the Twighlight Zone. They got a strong effort from Brett Myers, the Phillies (borderline) Ace. When Brett is more focused on Baseball, and less on hitting his wife in the face outside of bars, he can be pretty damn good.

But, for some reason, Charlie Manual allowed Myers to pitch the 8th inning, and Edgar Renteria, who obviously has found a loophole in all of Baseball steroid testing policies, went yard to tie the game and once more to give the Braves the lead in the top of the 10th.

After the game, Brett Myers was whining about the fans. He said

"I was waiting for the boo," Myers said, but the opening-day sellout crowd liked what the starter had done too much. The crowd just sat down quietly and prepared for the rest.
"I hope they stick with us," Myers said, "because it's going to be a long year and it's not always going to be pretty. We need them to be with us through good and bad. They could make us or break us."
The players, unbelievably after only one game, are already concerned about the fans. Brett, please, play your game and don't worry about how the fans react. If the players are already worried about the fans reactions, then we are in for another disapointing season.
I just get this gut feeling that the Phillies are in for a slow start, Adam Eaton will be a miserable failure, Jon Lieber will be traded and consequently, become an All-Star, the fans, who are already as impatient as any fanbase I can ever remember, will turn on the team quickly, all hell will break loose and Endy fuckin Chavez will single handedly carry the Mets to the World Series. It sucks but it is inevitable.
How many days until training camp?

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Opening Night Mets Diary

Blow by blow, the first game of the 2007 MLB season:

7:57 We like stolen bases, goat cheese pizza and Chevrolet? Not exactly, buddy. Cram the goat cheese up your asshole.

8:02 Me watching Mets Cards tonight is like seeing your ex-girlfriend with her new boyfriend at the mall. You’ve been thinking about her, wondering what she looks like, and then bam! There she is, shuttling through Auntie Anne’s pretzel’s with some flipped-hair douchebag. Jon Miller’s voice is soothing enough to keep me from freaking out – “The Mets had a great season, but at the end…” Christ, this is going to be harder than I thought.

8:06 You want to celebrate Jackie Robinson day? Here’s a thought – change the name of the Cleveland Indians. Some people aren’t exactly thrilled about it.

8:10 Seriously, Jon Miller, everyone knows what happened last year. Let’s not beat a Barbaro over here, ok?

8:16 Bel-tran. Not Beltran, Bel-tran. Love it. At least until he couldn’t leg out a botched grounder to Adam Kennedy. Three up, three down. No score.

8:28 Preston Wilson, ex-Met, puts out Delgado, current Met. Still scoreless.

8:30 Moises Alou is going to be productive this year, judging by the fact that he hit the first pitch he saw tonight. Two on two out, and then Alou goes to third on a Shawn Green single. Chance to strike first here.

8:33 That ended quick, with a harmless grounder to Pujols.

8:34 Fine, I liked the XM commercial. I’m comfortable enough in my sexuality to admit that I like that techno, song, all right?

8:36 My first smile – hard hit grounder deep in the hole, and Reyes make a phenomenal play to get Rolen at first.

8:40 Wait, what’s a rally monkey?

8:43 My dad responding to hearing Braden Looper is now starting for the Cardinals this year: “Braden fucking Looper – he was a bum when he was a Met, and he’s a bum now.” Amen.

8:46 Howard Johnson is our third base coach? Awesome.

8:48 Delgado strokes one to left to score the first runs of the 2007 season, crushing a pitch on the outside part of the plate. Duke trots in ahead of Bel-tran – 2-0 Amazin’s.

8:50 As I’m watching the little kid squat and do drills, I think to myself – this must be an A-Rod commercial. Sure enough, he’s hawking some new Nike kicks.


8:55 More fatherly wisdom: “Another problem with Tony LaRussa, is he’s become predictable. If they’re seeing that up in the booth, something’s wrong.” This after everyone in the stadium realized he was going to try a squeeze to score a run and Lo Duca easily made the out.

9:06 Reyes walks the bases loaded for Dukes. According to my pop, “well, this is what we’re looking for.”

9:06 I’m insisting that it’s Dukes anytime Paul Lo Duca is up to bet, and for some reason, my dad says it’s Paulie Lo. Paulie Lo? You’ve got to be fucking kidding me. Dukes, end of story.

9:09 Two runs score on Dukes come-backer. Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Will Leitch.

9:11 Reyes scores on a Beltran single, and it’s now 5-0 Amazins. Not exactly making up for last October, but it’s helping.

9:15 Awkward question from Joe Morgan to Willie Randolph: “Tom Glavine’s your ace?” Willie thinks for a second, then replies, “yeah, he’s our ace.” Morgan responds, “what about Pedro?” Go fuck yourself, all right?

9:20 Steroids don’t make great athletes, they destroy them. (Cough, couch, bullshit).

9:21 Is LaRussa drunk right now? Gosh, he’s slurring his words.

9:22 Maybe that was unfair. But did you know he was wearing all his World Series jewelry when he was busted for DUI last week?

9:35 Yes, Jon Miller, Glavine IS dazzling them right now.

9:36 No we're not the jetset, we're the old Chevrolet set. 2-1 odds my first car's a Chevy.

9:39 Don't take your eye off the ball, kid.

9:41 nice play from Mr. Kennedy at 2nd to squelch a possible rally. Still 5-0.

9:45 Moises Alou makes a spectacular play in left. Somewhere, Cliff Floyd is weeping.

9:46 Glavine's the fifth all-time winningest lefty pitcher? Wow.

9:48 I hate David Eckstein. Unreal play from Bel-tran to throw out Eckstein at the plate, though, and keep it a mangeable 5-1 game.

9:51 Uh oh, things are starting to unravel here. Glavine's done, probably.

9:53 Bases juiced full of red birds.

9:54 Glavine's a stud, Mets lead 5-1.

9:57 Dad loved the Lebron commercial. Is it LeBron, or Lebron? It should be LeBron, French for, "the Bron."

10:06 More genius analysis from Pop - "So Taguchi is the guy from Major League, right? You have no mahbles!"

10:09 What a beautiful double play - I could get used to this.

10:10 I can't help but miss Harold Reynolds. Call me crazy.

10:17 Do we really need the in-game interviews? You know Tommy can't wait to get at the post-game buffet, and now he's got to answer questions from Gammons. I'm anti in-game interviews.

10:21 Joe Smith in his MLB debut - not exactly stellar.

10:26 Bases juiced. Fuck. Rolen's the tying run.

10:31 Helluva double play to get out of trouble. Valentin was good last year, and it looks like he'll be OK this year, too. Fucking A.

10: 34 David Newhan singles in his first AB - is he Newman, like Jerry Seinfeld would say, or Noonan, like Chris Berman would say? These are the things I think about.

10:36 Newhan goes to third - I'm already high on this kid, except I don't like his number. 17 doesn't work for me.

10:37 Jose Reyes, you scamp. Good point from Joe Morgan here - stepping towards third and then throwing to first is obviously deceiving the runner - should have been a balk.

10:38 3 RBI's for Dukes. The building is silent. I'm smiling. 6-1 good guys.

10:46 "David Wright is getting better, Jose Reyes is getting better, Valentin is playing well, Delgado..." Joe Morgan calming my fears.

10:48 Fuck, 2nd and 3rd, 1 out. It's never easy, is it?

10:48 Let's go ahead and call this a dominating performance. Tommy gets the win, and the team played great. We'll leave you with a thought from Joe Morgan, "If they keep playing great defense, the pitching is never going to look bad." I'm into it. Let's go Mets.

Suns-Mavericks running diary (April 1)

4:03 pm-Mavs @ Suns, Mavs up 3 (29-26 after one quarter) in the last regular season meeting of the season between these two powers. I've never done a running diary before so I felt like this sweet matchup was as good a time as any to get it started. For my money, these two teams are the only teams that matter in the N B A (as Bill Walton would say). With apologies to the Spurs (solid and dull as usual), Utah, Houston and Detroit, Cleveland (gotta love LeBron), the Mavs and Suns are on another level. They have been all season too. They both play an offensive-minded and thoroughly entertaining brand of basketball that the NBA lacks. Too often, the NBA revolves around star players (LeBron, Carmelo, Wade, et al.) who are fun to watch but are usually filled with well-payed, freakishly-sized stiffs. Not the case with Phoenix or Dallas. They both have stars: Dallas-Nowitzki, Terry, Howard; Phoenix: Nash, Marion, Stoudemire; and they also have some great role-players. The NBA season like all pro seasons (except for the NFL) is too long. Therefore the product is watered down with too many bad games and bad teams. Can we just let these two teams advance to the Finals? I don't think anyone would complain.
4:10pm-foul on Dallas' Austin Croshere (a fellow PC alum and white guy).
4:13pm-as much as I love March Madness, I must say it's a nice feeling to be watching a meaningful basketball game and not have the insufferable Billy "Fudge" Packer and his boy Jim Nantz giving me all the details. CBS choice of game commentators has to be one of the worst parts of this year's tournament. No Gus Johnson past the second round? James Brown, teaming up with Len Elmore? Yikes.
4:16pm-Devin Harris just swished two free-throws. If you had told me three years ago, that he'd be a starter on a great NBA team, I would have thought you were crazy. Then again, I can't stand Big Ten basketball or football.
4:17pm-some of the producers of the broadcast decided to switch the camera angle to sideways, an innovative albeit semi-nauseating view.
4:18pm-along the same lines as the Harris comment, Howard just hit two FT's as well and who would believe what an NBA player he'd be? I saw him a ton at Wake but I guess I wouldn't be a good scout since I can't objectively guess how good many college stars could be. Then again, I should probably be on the Celtics payroll, the way that they've evaluated talent the last few seasons.
4:20pm- Is their a more versatile forward than Shawn Marion? OK, maybe he's on his team and his name is Boris Diaw.
4:21pm- One of the things that has always bugged me about NBA games in the last few years is the constant blaring of rap music during the game. Don't get me wrong, I love rap as much as the next white kid from the suburbs but I feel annoyed when a night of basketball has turned into a night at the club.
4:22pm-How old is Jerry Stackhouse, who just drilled a three? I feel like he is in the Julio Franco range. Maybe not, but since he's been a fixture in the Association since my formative years it feels like that.
4:23pm-Oden or Durant? I feel like this debate consumes my life these days thanks to my beloved Celtics. I feel pessimistic about getting either one of these studs. Like either, one of them won't come out and the Celts will get the number 2 pick. Or maybe something completely dumb will transpire: the Celts fend off all logic and scouting and pick Aaron Gray #1, forcing me to jump off a bridge. If you're wondering, I'd take Durant. I think he has more upside. Oden has been so hyped but I feel like against NBA big guys, he won't nearly be as powerful. But what do I know? The media sweats him almost as bad as I sweat Sharapova.
4:27pm-just had my first Cuban sighting, behind the Mavs bench but sadly minus the Mavs football jersey-must be at the cleaners.
4:28pm-the Mavs are 22-3 in their last 25 on the road? The Celts have 22 totals wins this year, no lie.
4:29pm-Barbosa is amazing, easily the best 6th man in the NBA.
4:31pm- The Reaping? Honestly, are there any good movies that come out these days? I'm no Siskel but I like a good flick as much as the next guy. It seems like there's so much garbage coming out of Hollywood these days. At least Eddie Griffin seems to be getting plenty of work.
4:33pm-in the How the Hell Did He Make the NBA Dept: I submit Devan George. After collecting rings on the Lakers, he's now on the Mavs. Sweet life.
4:34pm-Nash hits Barbosa with the backdoor pass, that's just fun to say.
4:35pm-Hey, Michelle Tafoya is here! Wish it was Erin Andrews.
4:36pm-Stoudemire with a pick and roll, And-1 dunk from Nash. I could watch those two all day, every day.
4:37pm-It's a beautiful thing when one of the best players in the NBA is German. The US needs more prominent Germans, they're so entertaining.
4:38pm-along with Diaw's standard info, they listed his favorite tv show as the Simpsons. The Simpsons in French? Interesting.
4:40pm-Finally figured out what ex-NBA player is doing the Color-Mark Jackson. He of the constant backdown move on helpless guards.
4:42pm- Suns up 60-56 at the half.
4:48pm- Wilbon doing halftime with Dan Patrick and Jon Barry. Love Wilbon. PTI is my drug of choice, I get the shakes when I haven't seen in for a while. And it would be nothing without Wilbon. I like Tony K but Wilbon brings a whole lot more to the table (see MNF this past season). Nothing in my life is more disappointing than when Wilbon is gone and Dan LeBatard is filling in. He's awful.
5:11pm-Nash hits Marion with an unreal assist. A three-time MVP? Get used to it.
5:13pm-Jackson seemed to have gotten verbal diarrhea. He can't stop spewing about Nash. And who can blame him?
5:16pm-first lame April Fools reference, I'm surprised it took this long.
5:19pm-between "Dancing with the Stars" and "American Idol", I don't know where anyone has the time to live their own life these days.
5:20pm-Stoudemire is 24 years old, makes me feel like I should do something with my life.
5:23pm-Barbosa with a nice drive to the basket. The Suns are looking unstoppable.
5:26pm-Howard gets poked above the eye, causing him to leave the game.
5:28pm-Suns up 89-82 after three quarters. I can't imagine being able to watch the Suns every night, must be nice.
5:32pm-Win or lose, I hope we get the obligatory Cuban shot/interview post-game. He is must-see tv in my book.
5:34pm-back to the crazy view, someone is taking a leak.
5:38pm-wow, there's a reason nobody watches ABC outside of Lost and Desperate Housewives. The other shows look brutal.
5:41pm-Barbosa hits a 3 and simultaneously gets clotheslined. Must be Wrestlemania night.
5:42pm-Suns up 98-88 with 7:28 left, think they'll make it close?
5:46pm-the graphics jinx worked like a charm; after making its first 15 Ft's, Terry bricks one for the Mavs
5:46pm-Nowitzki out after turning his ankle
5:47pm-after the Suns scored, they cut to the shot from behind some Suns fans, who are jumping up and down? weird.
5:47pm-Think Stackhouse was bald as a kid? I do.
5:48pm-Nash hits a shot (with some player yelling "bucket!") and gets fouled. Nash is from another planet. Aka Canada.
5:51pm-Marion hits a floater in the lane. Has he ever taken two shots that looked alike?
5:58pm-Oh no, with the season-opener Sunday Night Baseball promo featuring Jon Miller, I just realized that Joe Morgan will be there too. He is unbearable. It feels like he's never gone away even though we haven't heard him since October. Worst announcers in sports off the top of my head: Morgan, Tim McCarver, Packer and Joe Buck.
6:01pm-We have a Jose Barea sighting for the Mavs, from Northeastern (yeah that one). I don't know what it is but I have a fascination with garbage-time in the NBA. I love looking at the box scores or better yet the games and seeing the has-beens, never-weres and never-will bes that I've followed for years.
6:03pm-when you shoot 11-20 from 3-point land, even James Jones is drilling 'em.
6:04pm-Diaw hits a 3 from the corner. Suns 65% from the field for the game. Final score: Suns 126-Mavericks 104. This has been fun. Don't know when I'll be at it next, probably sometime later in the week as the Sox get the season started. Go Sox.