Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The Nightcap

Tonight's Nightcap is brought to you by Herradura Seleccion Suprema- the Heidi Fleiss Girl of tequilas. It might cost a pretty penny, but it sure does go down smooth.

-Raja Bell was just what the doctor ordered for the Phoenix Suns. I don't know if he had Mr. Miyagi (not pictured) or just a really hot nurse (pictured!) rub him down, but whoever laid their hands on him certainly had an effect. Bell flopped and hopped his way around the court for 31 minutes in what turned out to be a rout so big that even Nikoloz Tskitishvili got a few seconds of playing time. The series is now tied 2-2. Although I don't have Magic Johnson's credentials, I do have his level of insight; and can therefore tell you that whichever team is able to win two of the next three games will advance to Finals- and that's what every player dreams of.

-Roger Clemens followed yet another page in Brett Favre's playbook and managed to get a "breaking, wait a second, nevermind" release issued regarding his decision to play this year. So now the current status of Roger Clemens' career is that he still hasn't decided whether or not he will play this year, nor is there a timetable on when such a decision will be made. It's deja vu all over again.

-The Padres were six outs away from the first no-hitter in franchise history; but Chris Young threw a pitch right down the middle of the plate to lead off the 8th, and Rockies' RF Brad Hawpe lined it for a double. That ended up being the only hit of the game as Young settled down for the remainder of the 8th and Trevor Hoffman had a classic Hoffman 9th- deep fly out, deep fly out, deep fly out- to retire the side in order and preserve a one-hit, 2-0 Padres victory. (I'm pretty sure the Padres designed Petco Park to be so cavernous because they knew Trevor Hoffman would be their closer for the forseeable future.) Colorado manager Clint Hurdle summed up the game best: "It was a funny game. We were never in it but we were never out of it."

-Barry Bonds said in an interview with Jim Gray that if major league baseball were to put an asterisk by his records, "It would hurt." Presumably, it would hurt even more than say, a needle in the ass.

-Also, great move by Barry Bonds. Granting an interview to Jim Gray is a great way to assure that you aren't the most despicable man in the room at the time. Well played, Barry. Well played.

-On a somber note, rest in peace, Steve Mizerak. The billiards legend died Tuesday after complications from gall bladder surgery. The "Miz" helped popularize the game back in the 1980s, and (along with Minnesota Fats) laid the foundation for billiards to become a successful touring event. Were it not for Mizerak's charisma and cue skills twenty years ago, I may not be able to ogle Jeanette Lee today. And for that, I am forever grateful.

Monday, May 29, 2006

B.B. King

There's no point in trying to write a coherent blog entry tonight. I'm fairly certain that now that Barry has hit #715, the internet is going to be shut down as there will no longer be any use for it. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted. For what it's worth, here were my notes on the day...

-Bud Selig has announced that home run #715 for Barry Bonds will come with an asterisk afterall. Not because of any steroid scandal, but rather because it came off of Byung-Hyun Kim aka, "the human batting tee."

-I'm sure I'm reading too much into this, but did anyone else notice that hardly any of Bonds' teammates came out to greet Barry after his homerun? Either they've grown tired of the Bonds circus or all the guys in the dugout were just pissed because they had dates in June in their Bonds pool.

-Jason Bay hit his 10th HR in 10 days against the Astros. If he continues his one a day pace, he will hit #715 early in the 2010 season, 637 games from today. Of course, if he continues to hit one a day, then by 2010, he'll be making 50 mil a year. So he'll either be playing for the Yankees or Mark Cuban's Pirates. By the way, the Padres trading Jason Bay and Oliver Perez for Brian Giles looks like one of the worst trades of the last decade (hopefully that will be the subject of its own blog if I ever get around to writing a column that requires some of that "research" stuff).

-Speaking of which...the Minnesota Twins won their 3rd consecutive game today with a 4-3 victory over Seattle. The winning pitchers of those three games were Joe Nathan, Boof Bonser, and Francisco Liriano. The three pitchers are now a combined 7-0 with 7 saves, a 2.69 ERA and 79 Ks in 60 1/3 innings. What do they all have in common? They were all acquired from the SF Giants for AJ Pierzynski, who was later released by the Giants after one season. (Sorry to Zach of The Big Picture. I promise this will be the last time I mention that trade. Well, at least until I get around to writing my "worst trades" blog post. But if you just skip the "#1" entry, you won't have to worry about reading it.)

-Here's a little tip to anyone that finds themselves announcing a women's college softball game. If one team happens to be performing very well during that game, you should not describe the women as "feeling the flow," as one ESPN announcer did over the weekend. Just trust me on this one.

-During what I can only assume was called "Operation Buzzkill," Miami Beach police arrested 557 partiers between Thursday morning and Saturday night, mostly for intoxication and disorderly conduct. Amongst those 557 was Washington Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas (charged with resisting without violence) who reportedly said, "You can't arrest me. I'm a basketball player." I'd like to think that police responded by saying, "Well that depends. Have you ever won a playoff series?"

-Dallas took back home court advantage with a 95-88 victory of the Phoenix Suns. The Suns really only scored 88 points? Are we sure they didn't only play 3 qtrs Sunday? The Mavs now have regained homecourt advantage, meaning it's up to Phoenix to hold serve at home from this point forward if we want to realize the dream of seeing the hot chick that sits behind Mike D'Antoni in Dallas televised for four games in this series.

-Finally, Ricky Williams signed a one-year contract for $240,000 with the Toronto Argonauts after he was misinformed that the C in CFL stands for "cannabis."

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Dallas 1, Phoenix 1.

I have no clue why I'm awake at 7:30 on a Saturday. This is very disorienting. But since I'm up, here are some belated, hungover, half-assed notes of Game 2 of the Mavs/Suns:

-Some people stand in the darkness (Van Horn)
afraid to step into the light. (Terry)
Some people need to help somebody (Nowitski)
when the edge of surrender's in sight. (Howard)

Don't you worry, Mavs fans, it's gonna be alright.

(The realization that this reference might be too dated for some of my readers makes me feel very old.)

-Steve Kerr was dead-on in his analysis of Steve Nash: "Nash is the only guy I've ever seen who can overdribble and still be unselfish." The difference between Nash and other 'overdribblers' (Arenas and B. Davis come to mind) is that Nash doesn't just stand in one spot while pounding the ball. He's constantly in motion, probing the defense, identifying mismatches, and looking for open teammates and passing lanes. It must be frustrating as hell to guard him, but it sure is a thing of beauty to watch. (This is the first time that Nash and beauty have been positively associated with each other.)

-I always liked Reggie Miller as a player. As a TNT in-studio analyst, well....I sure did like him as a player. Watching him trying to be witty with Barkley and Kenny Smith is like watching Barry Bonds trying to be respectful during a press conference. Just a really unnatural and uncomfortable experience.

-Has Chet Forte come back to life to direct the TNT broadcasts? The slo-motion cheerleader shot coming out of commercial was faaaaaaaantastic. More segments like that, and TNT will have to rename itself TNA.

-Finally, with a little over three minutes to go and the game still very much up for grabs, my left testicle started hurting spontaneously. From that moment on, Dallas went on to build a comfortable lead and close out the game. I'm sure it's probably coincidence, but if not, I'm not sure how to react to the possibility that I might have a clairvoyant left nut. One thing's for sure tho: I'm rooting for the Suns for the remainder of the series.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Reading this post may be illegal in the state of Washington

I didn't post last night because I was glued to my monitor playing online poker at Full Tilt last night. I know the consensus is that people don't really like to hear about poker stories from amateurs, but this hand on Full Tilt was such the epitome of an 'online special' that I had to share. But if you don't want to read it, I understand. Just look at the pretty picture instead.

I was playing $1/$2 NL Hold 'Em with around $150 at the table and was dealt pocket aces in the cutoff position (one to the right of the button). One player limped in from middle position, and I raised it to $8. The button (a solid, tight player) then reraised it to $20, and then the big blind (a maniac) reraised all in for $85. The limper folded, I of course called, and then the button called too! The button had me covered, so the pot was $150+$150+$85+$2(limper)+$1(small blind)-$3(rake)=$385. The cards were flipped over to reveal:

Me: AA (68% to win)
Button: KK (17%)
Big Blind J 8 offsuit (15%-I told you he was a maniac!)

The flop comes: K Q 10 mixed suits, giving the button a set
The turn comes: 9, gives BB a straight.
River....J.....I get the higher straight and the pot.

Unreal. I'm lucky I actually saw the river as I just about threw my laptop out the window on that flop. I'm sure this thing happens live too, but so far I've only seen a hand this crazy online. Slot machine poker at its best. back to the pretty lady holding one too many cards...
(btw, if you're not at work, I highly recommend clicking the pic to get a larger image)

Tankin' It

The Tampa Bay Devil Rays currently have a 21-27 record, which is good enough for last place in the AL East, a very familiar position for them. Since their inception in 1998, the Devil Rays have never finished above .500 and have been the last place team in the East every year but once- a historic 4th place finish in 2004, when 21 games under .500 was still three games better than the Toronto Blue Jays. But just because the DRays are mired in mediocrity (actually being mediocre would be an improvement), it doesn't mean there aren't changes on the horizon. Starting this July, there will be a new vibe at Tropicana Field, as filling those empty seats beyond the right centerfield wall will be.....a fish tank!!

According to MLB, sometime this July, Tropicana Field will install a 10,000 gallon tank in the stadium that will feature 20 cownose rays. Now when the team is down 6-0 at the end of two, those few fans who didn't come to the ballpark to root for the opposing team (especially during Red Sox or Yankees games) can now head over to the outfield where they will get an upclose look at their team's real life mascot. Once there, they'll quickly realize that all a ray really does is sink to the bottom and remain relatively motionless. Hey, just like the actual team! I guess it is a fitting mascot afterall.

Of course it's inevitable that since the aquarium is in the bleachers, some shirtless guy will get completely wasted and then dive into the tank to give the rays some garlic fries and maybe pour them a beer. I can't wait.

In other baseball news: Frank Robinson revealed today that he was actually crying because he was shaken up by a bad dream he had in the dugout during the game. Also, the Nationals have upgraded their catching by signing Michael Waltrip to replace Matt LeCroy.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

If You Can't Take the Heat

I suppose I could write about the great pitch that Kyle Farnsworth threw to David Ortiz with the bases loaded in the 8th to strike him out and kill the Red Sox rally. I could then segue into the effortless job that Mariano Rivera had in closing out the game for the Yankees. Perhaps I could follow it up by wondering who would have thought that the two leaders in saves at this point in the season would be Todd Jones and Jose Valverde. Maybe I could even somehow give a nod to my favorite closer (at least favorite name), JJ Putz- and include all this in a post that praises the players that can come into a game when the pressure is high and "put out the fires" in the late innings. But I think you're all smart enough to realize that it would all be a thinly veiled ploy to have an excuse to post this pic I stumbled across tonight. So forget it. Instead, I'll just put the pic up for your viewing pleasure without any pretense. Enjoy!

(But if you're feeling guilty, then I can tell ya that 'fireman' Billy Wagner got the save against his old team last night. No, not the Astros. His other old team. The Shea crowd gave Wagner a standing ovation for his efforts. Gee, I sure do love someone that can show their appreciation for firemen.)

Another Night, Another Classic

Despite making it to the western conference Finals, the last few days have not gone too well for Josh Howard. First, he gets a cup check from Avery Johnson, then he gets dry humped by Mark Cuban, and finally tonight he sprains his ankle after a hot start in Game 1 against Phoenix. Dallas certainly missed his presence in the remainder of the game, although they did still play well enough to win. However MVP Steve Nash was a double threat tonight. He played like an MVP, and he was getting the calls that an MVP gets. When those two elements come together in the NBA, a star player is unstoppable. Nash led a furious comeback in the closing minutes with some big baskets, setting the stage for two last second shots- Devin Harris nailing the apparent game winner for Dallas with five seconds to go and then Boris Diaw making the actual game winner for the Suns with a half second remaining. The 4th quarter featured so many big shots that had Bill Rafferty been announcing, he would have set the broadcasting record for most uses of the expression "Onions!!" in a telecast. Just a phenomenal game.

In the end, Phoenix had stolen game 1 and home court advantage in what appears to the beginning of yet another amazing playoff series this postseason. (Note to the NBA- it's nice having you back. I'd forgotten how much fun you can be.) Regardless of which team you are rooting for, I think we can all agree that the best case scenario would be for this series to go the full 7 games. I say this not because we need yet another 'do or die' game in the west, but rather because we need all four games in Dallas to be played in order to view all the amazing eye candy on the Dallas sidelines. I kept hoping for crazy calls to go against Phoenix so that the camera would switch to Mike D'Antoni and the chick in the white spaghetti strap sitting behind him. It's obvious that when she went to the plastic surgeon, she was reminded that everything is bigger in Texas.

I love this game.

In other sports news: Cole Hamels took a break from his Steve Carlton impression to give his best rendition of Kerry Wood and went on the disabled list with soreness in his elbow. Sorry Phillies fan.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

In case it's gone later

Surprisingly ESPN didn't edit this out, but here's a line from Bill Simmons' article that actually made me laugh out loud today.

Was anyone else disappointed that Skip Bayless wrote a "LeBron choked!" column instead of a "Barbaro choked!" column on Monday? Barbaro had a chance to go down in history -- instead, he chose to splatter his leg all over the track in front of 25,000 horrified fans. Some horses embrace the pressure, other horses run from it. Or in Barbaro's case, limp from it.

I'm glad that even the people at ESPN realize what an ass Bayless is.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Hoop and the Harm

My biggest pet peeve in basketball these days is that anytime a player gets knocked to the ground, they have to lay motionless on the ground for a few minutes as if they're on the brink of death. If a skinny WR can bounce up after being drilled over the middle by a free safety, then Dwyane Wade can pull himself up from the floor after driving the hoop. Sadly, it doesn't look this trend will be ending anytime soon:


Game recap: The Manu giveth and the Manu taketh away. After hitting a 3 pt shot to break a tie with 30 seconds to go and give the Spurs their first lead of the game, it looked like San Antonio had somehow found a way to survive against a quicker, better shooting Dallas club. After a timeout, Dallas, now trailing by 3, ran a play for Dirk Nowitski in the post to get the quick two. However Ginobili had other ideas. He came from the weakside to commit a foul that was absolutely Mike Jensen-like (sorry Zach) and give Dallas the 3 point play to send the game into overtime. Once in OT, Dallas released their secret weapon, DeSagana Diop, who shut down Tim Duncan and had a few huge rebounds. Dallas took control of the OT, giving Mark Cuban the opportunity to dry hump Josh Howard on national tv, and the Mavs advanced to the conference finals.

Other notes on the game:
-On three consecutive possessions, TNT announcer Steve Kerr sang the praises for "unsung hero" DeSagana Diop.

-I know that Robert Horry hasn't been able to guard anyone in the last 10 years, but wouldn't you want him on the court in the last few minutes of a game 7? Doesn't he have a bit of experience in those 'big shot' situations?

-Spurs coach Gregg Popovich seemed genuinely happy for Avery Johnson's success during their postgame handshake. Pop did not seem quite as pleased when a reporter asked him in the postgame, "were you suprised that your team fouled Nowitski." You could see that Pop really wanted to go Bobby Knight on the beat reporter, but unfortunately he found some self-restraint and simply replied "yeah."

-In a preview for the Eastern conference finals, someone asked Shaq how this year's Miami team was different than last season's. He replied, "I think we're a little bit more smarter."

-Meaningless conference finals prediction: Pistons and Mavericks...both in 6 games.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Hit Me One Time

I'm not exactly what you'd call a SF Giants fan. I guess you could classify me as a Giants hater, although I don't really get to the emotional level of love/hate in baseball anymore- so let's just say that the Giants are my 30th favorite MLB team. Nevertheless, I'd like to give some recognition to a SF accomplishment that was basically overlooked yesterday. With all of the emphasis on Barry Bonds' pursuit of #715 yesterday, little attention was given to Giants' starter Matt Cain, who pitched a one hitter in shutting out the A's. Cain, who is technically a rookie even tho he started seven games last season, is one of the few Giants prospects who hasn't been dealt away (how's that Pierzynski for Joe Nathan, Francisco Liriano, and Boof Bonser deal workin' for ya?) However Cain has struggled this season. He started the year 1-5 with an ERA over 7.00 before being briefly demoted to the bullpen to work on his mechanics. Since that demotion he's now thrown 11 scoreless innings while only allowing one hit.

I was in attendance at yesterday's game and Matt Cain was dealing filth all day. His fastball was consistently in the mid 90s and he was locating it well. Aside from one inning of wildness, the A's batters never really stood a chance against him. However even during the proceedings, his dominance was basically an afterthought. The vibe throughout the crowd (which was pretty evenly split between Giants and A's fans) was "what will Barry do?" Actually to be entirely accurate it was more like, "I can't believe I'm going to be sitting in the freaking rain for 2.5 hours...I better at least see some history." Once Bonds was replaced in the 9th, what was left of the crowd began to file out, and virtually noone stayed to see Cain put the finishing touches on his masterpiece.

It was an old school display of pitching dominance that is rarely seen in these days of specialty relievers and closers. So when the game ended, I stood and clapped in appreciation for Matt Cain's performance. However under my breath I still muttered, "Giants suck."

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Closing Night

After a week in New York in which I went on a spending frenzy like I was George Steinbrenner and I'd just found out that a new mediocre pitcher was on the free agent market, it's time to end this east coast road trip. I was able to soak up quite a bit of the city, although I didn't come close to seeing everything. I never met the cabbie that tells Chris Berman who the Bills are about to draft and I never saw a NY'er in a Randy Johnson jersey. Perhaps those two things don't exist. I did actually catch some sports late last night thanks to the miracle of Slingbox. HUGE thanks to my buddy Nico (I feel so Simmons-y right now) for hooking me up with some streaming NBA, MLB and Sportscenter. Here's some reaction to what I saw in that lil' 320x240 window...

Nobody can complain about the Cavs being marketed by the NBA as a one man team. They are a one man team. If anyone other Lebron had stepped it up for the Cavs last night (even by just grabbing a rebound), Cleveland would be on their way to Miami. Instead, they have to try to win in Detroit against a Pistons team that might actually be starting to wake up.

The Mavericks also blew a golden opportunity in Dallas last night, but I don't think their fans should be quite as disappointed as Cavs fans. True, they'll have to win in San Antonio if they want to advance, but they've shown they're more than capable of doing just that. The Mavs were clearly missing Jason Terry in Game 6 and his return should be a spark to his team. As long as they aren't drawing up plays for Dirk Nowitski to launch fadeaway threes from the corner, Dallas should be just fine this Monday.

The Yankees' Carl Pavano is going to need surgery for a bone chip above his elbow and will likely miss the rest of the season. For those keeping tabs, that's 4 years, $40 mil for a 4-6 record with a 5.77 ERA over the first two seasons. I'm a bit surprised that the Yankees are actually going to send him into surgery. It seems to me that it might be more cost effective to just have him put down.

After an 0-3 night, Barry Bonds is still stuck on HR #713. Bonds has now gone 39 plate appearances without a homerun, hitting only .138 in that span. There are rumors that Bonds may have to move to the American League soon- not because he needs to play DH, but because the only way he can get another homer is by getting to face Randy Johnson. I'm beginning to suspect that those specially marked balls that are used for Bonds' plate appearances have been engineered by Bud Selig to prevent travel over 300 feet. Maybe there's some sort of weighted device that causes the ball to sink or something. Although realistically the only commissioner capable of such an evil mastermind plot is David Stern.

Thursday, May 18, 2006


Day 4 in NY and I still haven't been stabbed. I'd consider this trip a success thus far.

Some things I learned last night:

Reporters die. Producers cry. They wanna be down with the Kiiiiiiiiiing.

The only guarantee that I'd trust from Rasheed Wallace is that he knows where to buy some really good sh*t.

After watching Ben Wallace go 0-7 from the free throw line, including two huge misses in the closing minute, it's time to replace the "hack-a-shaq" defense with the "foul-a-fro." Everytime Wallace has to step to the free throw line, he looks like an elementary school kid who's been forced to give a solo performance in an assembly- and he's forgotten the all the words to his song.

While fouling 50% FT shooter LeBron James on a breakaway with two minutes to go may have saved his team one point, I'm sure the Pistons would have rather had Chauncey Billups available for the last second shot of the game than rooting for Rip Hamilton from the bench.

What happened to all the points the Pistons were scoring under Flip Saunders? I know it's hard to drive when you know that Sideshow Bob is going to flop anytime someone enters the paint; but still, you'd think they'd be able to put a few more baskets together...

I know Steinbrenner has a $200 million payroll to think about and all, but Yankees ticket prices are out of control! $110 bux a pop to see Jaret Wright pitch? The Yankees should be paying me to watch that softball pitcher take the hill.

Dmitri Young's been accused of domestic violence. Sometimes the tree doesn't rise far from the apple.

It's already time to get off the San Jose Sharks bandwagon? Really..ride's over so soon? Gee, that sure was a short trip. Should I just get in line behind the Clippers' fans and see if the Cavs bus will pick me up?

We are all witnesses. Swoosh.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Grace Busts Bochy

So, I know that last night there was more exciting sports news as a GuaranSheed went to Guaranshit, thanks to a 50% free throw shooting effort from the Second Coming. Later, the Mavs went to OT to beat San Antonio, putting them one game away from sending the Spurs back to Tony Parker's poker game for the summer. Unfortunately, I didn't see either of these events as the family friend in New York who was generous enough to let me stay at her place has neither TNT or ESPN, which is not only unbelievable, but un-American and should be illegal.

Needing to get a sports fix, I signed up for a month (plus 1 month free for using MasterCard) with MLBtv and caught the last half of the Padres/Diamondbacks game. By the way, I now understand why there is such an east coast bias in baseball coverage (Bonds aside). When it's midnight on a Monday and the west coast games are only in the sixth inning, it takes a pretty dedicated fan (or hopeless insomniac) to see how a game ends. So there I was, a little after midnight watching two teams from the worst division in baseball do battle in Arizona. Chan Ho Park had been rocked early, but once he had settled down was retiring the Diamondbacks with ease. After seven innings, the Padres had rallied from a 4-0 deficit and were now leading 5-4. While the Padres were batting in the top of the 8th, Diamondbacks commentator Mark Grace, whose only previous insight in his career was introducing the world to the term slumpbuster (def #3 is his), remarked that while it's usually Scott Linebrink's job to pitch the 8th, he'd leave Park in for another inning because the DBack hitters weren't even coming close to his pitches at the time. However, Padres manager Bruce Bochy was apparantly listening to the Pads Cox 4 broadcast instead of FoxAZ (possibly with the hopes that Tony Gwynn would stumble in drunk to the booth and talk about the good work that Brad Pitt is doing over there with that thing), and neglected Grace's advice, putting Linebrink in for the bottom of the 8th. With one out in the 8th, suspected supplement (Geritol) user Tony Clark blasted a solo shot into the right field seats to tie the game. The Diamondbacks then went on to win the game in extra innings.

I'd already had a feeling that this will be Bruch Bochy's final year managing the Padres. He's a decent manager, but it feels like this team has gone as far as it will under his leadership. But this seals it- once you've been outhought by Mark Grace, it's pretty much time to go.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Coley Moley

Alternate Headline: "Philly Phenom is Phuckin Phantastic"

Thanks to the magic of satellite television, I was able to catch the Phillies/Reds game and the debut of much hyped prospect and sock inventor Cole Hamels. While the game was played in a drizzle, and I was given the Reds broadcast team rather than the legendary Harry Kalas, Hamels did not dissapoint. Before making his major league debut, Hamels did not give up a run in 15 of his 36 minor league starts. After today, he is a perfect 1 for 1 in the majors. Hamels pitched five innings without surrendering a run- allowing only one hit and striking out seven (he did walk five). The lefty does not possess a dominant fastball (it tops around 93) but he did a great job spotting his fastball and changing speeds. In one battle against Ken Griffey Jr, he threw a 91 mph fastball and immediately followed it with a 61 mph offspeed pitch. I think the Fox speedgun was probably screwy, but if that was accurate, that's the kind of change of speeds that's usually only seen in Nintendo's RBI baseball.

The pitcher Hamels replaced in the Phillies rotation is Ryan Madson. Phillies manager called upon Madson to pitch in the sixth to protect a 2-0 lead. Madson responded by giving up two solo shots to tie the game and give Hamels the no decision. If I were a Madson, I'd decline any invitations to hang out in a bar with Cole in the near future.

On another note, watching the Ohio feed, I saw numerous commercials for Skyline Chili and was quite intrigued. Has anyone else eaten there? If I'm able to make it out to Canton in August, I think I'm going to have make a sidetrip out there for a Coney dog and some chili spaghetti. Damn these commercials are really effective, cuz now I'm craving a chili dog (I've got baseball and beer, but no dog). I know some of my readers have Bay Area ties. Can you recommend a good chili dog place in Oakland/Walnut Creek/SF/San Jose? (And don't say Kaspers- there's gotta to be something better to offer than Kaspers out here.)

Sorry for that tangent. Where was I? Oh yeah- Rancho Bernardo prospect Cole Hamels. He's the next Steve Carlton and the savior of the Phillies franchise. No pressure.

Thursday, May 11, 2006


Forget what I said about Baker challenging Bonds. After Niekro hit a double, Bonds was intentionally walked with first base open. Pedro Feliz then made the Cubs pay by driving a ball off the wall. Of course it was only a single because with Bonds' gimpy knees, he was only able to advance to second base on the hit.

Also, you can forget the name Sean Marshall. The way he's going (5 runs in 1/3 inning), it's unlikely he'll even be around when Bonds gets his second AB. (update: The Giants almost bat around and Bonds will be due up 3rd in the bottom of the 2nd- so Marshall still has at least one more chance to get his name in the paper.)

By the way, Fox Bay Area counts the Intentional Walks to Bonds with a chicken dance....which is sponsored by Kentucky Fried Chicken. Everyone's always finding a way to make a buck. Well, everyone but bloggers that is.

Historical Day?

Quick thought as I head out the door.

Get to know the name Sean Marshall. He's the starting pitcher for the Cubs today and I think he'll be the answer to a trivia question. I've got a feeling that Bonds goes deep today as Dusty Baker has been pretty good about challenging Barry during the series, and I think he lets Marshall go after Bonds early in the game. Bonds hit #70 in 2001 against a young kid trying to make a name for himself (anyone remember Wilfredo Rodriguez?), and I have a hunch that Mr. Marshall will join Eric Show, Al Downing, and Ralph Branca as pitchers who are best known for giving up a milestone hit in baseball lore.

Oh and in unrelated news, the German police is worried about Eastern European women being smuggled into Germany to work as prostitutes during the World Cup.


Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Poker Post-Mortem

I feel like I was turked by a syphillitic bear.

Key hands (my holding is listed first followed by opponent)
all-in preflop:
KK vs AQ- Ace on flop
KK vs 99- 9 on flop
KK vs AK - Ace on flop

post flop:
holding QQ, board is Q A J...opponent holds K 10...toast
holding KK, flop is K x x...I'm pretty sure opponent has AA b/c of preflop action...we both go all-in and sure enough he has AA....turn is an A...death.

This was brutal. I need a shower, a drink, and some valium.

(But hey, if you want to join in on the fun, don't forget to click my Full Tilt link. Then you too can experience being sodomized without all the messy cleanup)

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Was I Hearing Things?

Yesterday during halftime of the Heat/Nets matchup, the TNT studio welcomed Ben Gordon as their special guest. After Ernie Johnson thanked him for showing up, Charles Barkley cut in, saying "He didn't have anywhere else to be." Everyone started laughing, and I swear I heard a voice say, "That's fucked up." It sounded like Kenny Smith, but maybe it was Gordon.

Did anyone else hear that? Am I losing my mind here? Maybe both?

Sunday, May 07, 2006

1 Rd down....6 WEEKS to go!

Somewhere in game 5, the Suns realized that rather than forcing any fast breaks and launching threes, the pick and roll was most effective against the Lakers' defense. So Nash and co. decided to run the pick and roll until the Lakers could stop it. The Lakers never did. It was a great adjustment made by Mike D'Antoni, and it saved his team from 1st round embarassment. That being said, I sure hope the Clippers can do a better job adjusting because watching the pick and roll for 100 plays a night isn't the most exciting basketball in the world.

Some other playoff notes:

-Kwame Brown's nickname should be "The Thing." Not because he's a beast or a superhero, but because his hands are made of stone. He fumbled so many passes during this series that the 49ers have just signed him to a 3 year contract.

-If the Lakers want to improve their chances for next season, Kupchak should get on the phone w/ the league and see if he can trade Smush Parker for a new ballrack. The last two games, he looked like a little kid who'd snuck in to see "Silent Hill." The only silver lining for him is that he didn't actually physically soil himself during the game.

-I don't know who it was, but an ESPN radio announcer said in an update, "The Lakers were hoping for a Sundown, but it's looking like the Lakers are letting the Suns go down on them." Thanks for the imagery. I guess it was no different than a Cavs game.

-I still can't erase the image of Lebron James and Damon Jones making out on the court after Jones' game winner. Save it for the hotel room, fellas.

-I'm torn on who to root for in the Miami/New Jersey series. On one hand, the Heat have the hottest cheerleaders of any team remaining in the playoffs. On the other hand, I don't know how much longer I can listen to fans shake those rattles before I completely flip out.

Quick, meaningless predictions for the next round of the playoffs. Pistons in 5. Suns in 6. Nets in 7. Mavs in 7.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Amen, Brutha

From poker pro Bill Gazes, during his online chat at

Paul (Lakeland, FL)
Bill how would you recommend playing against maniacs online who see almost every flop regardless of raise?

Never say anything bad in the chat to them. Always be nice. Compliment them profusely. You have to give the manaics action. Don't make the mistake of playing too tight against them. Show them some action, but not too much. Gotta give action to get action. Throw them some action back or they will cut you off some times.

I wish people would heed this advice. Too many times, I see players get pissed when a maniac has beaten them by playing something like 75s and then hitting bottom pair on the flop, sticking around despite any raises, and eventually making either two pair or trips on the turn or river. The beaten players starts cursing and insulting the maniac endlessly.

The last thing you want to do when there's a maniac at your table is scare him off. If he stays at the table long enough, he will give all his money back. Just say, "nice hand" and continue to play your game (assuming 'your game' is a winning style). If you scare him off, there's no way you're getting those chips back. I also like his advice to loosen up a bit (at least heads up against the maniac). If your opponent is going to stick around with bottom pair or 3 to a flush or a small pocket pair that misses the flop, then you shouldn't fold 2nd pair, or possibly even two overcards. Just don't get too caught up in the madness where you become a maniac yourself and you lose everything to an observant player at your table.

Raja's Got Nada

If tonight's Lakers/Suns game parallels the war of words (registration required) between Raja and Kobe, then expect the Lakers to win by an old-skool Ditka-like score of 112 to negative 4. This was such a beat-down that even an anti-Kobe guy like myself is starting to come around. Granted, Kobe may have borrowed some techniques from MJ and Zenmaster, but nevertheless, he showed that he learned well from the masters. Breaking the battle down:

Sound byte #1- Bell
What he said: "I have no respect for him. I think he's a pompous, arrogant individual."
What I heard: "He thinks he's better than me."
Effectiveness: Zero. Kobe is better than you, Raja. A player will be arrogant when he believes he's one of the best players in the game.
Advantage: Kobe

Sound byte #2- Kobe
What he said: "Does he know me? Do I know this guy? I don't know this guy. I might have said one word to this guy. I don't know this kid."
What I heard: I am Kobe fucking Bryant. He is Raja Bell. Quick anyone here tell me what number he wears? You can't do it, can you? Why should I care what someone so insignificant thinks.
Effectiveness: Moderate. The comment wasn't all that original, but the message was clear. I think I'm better than you because I am better than you. Deal with it.
Advantage: Kobe

Sound byte #3- Raja
What he said: "I think a lot of people let him get away with things and he feels like he's supposed to get away with them and I don't agree with that,"
What I heard: "Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa"
Effectiveness: Mild. You mean superstars get preferential treatment in the NBA? Are you kidding me? Why hasn't Outside the Lines covered this yet?? Stop whining and deal with the reality of the situation.
Advantage: David Stern

Sound byte #4- Kobe
What he said: "Maybe he wasn't hugged enough as a kid. I look at him a little bit, he gets a little insecure or something. I don't know."
What I heard: "You'll get no love from me. You'll get no love from the league. Hell, not even your momma loves you. No wonder you're so whiny.
Effectiveness: KO. Bell should be suspended for another game just for getting his ass whipped so bad.
Advantage: Kobe

Sound byte #5- Raja
What he said: "There's a reason both my cheeks are bruised right now and I can barely open my jaw. All right?"
What I heard: "I'm soft"
Effectiveness: Negative. C'mon now, if there's one thing Kobe's learned in the last few years, it's how to smack a bitch without leaving a mark (oh yeah, I went there).
Advantage: Kobe

Sound byte #6- Raja
What he said: "Every time you stick your butt out [in the post] and try to hit me in my genitals, you're doing it on purpose. That's something you don't do inadvertently and it was enough."
What I heard: "In Phoenix, they teach us to avoid contact at all costs. Also, I'm worried that I'm gay now."
Effectiveness: Negative. We've seen video of players fighting for position inside. We've also seen video of players assaulting the opposition's gonads. We know the difference.
Advantage: Kobe.

Sound byte #7- Raja
What he said: "I thought that was kind of bush league from such a good coach," (referring to Phil Jackson telling Bell he deserved any elbows he caught b/c of the way he leans in on defense)
What I heard: "Phil Jackson sticks up for his players. That must be nice. Oh, I'm also a rat that's trying to throw everyone under the bus to excuse my actions."
Effectiveness. Negative. So Raja is soft, a squealer, and his mom doesn't love him. Rough night. (Also, great stuff from Phil confirming that, hell yeah, he said that.)
Advantage: Kobe

Sound byte #8- Kobe
What he said: "There's no need to whine about it. Just go out there and play."
What I heard: "Oh wait. You won't be playing, will you?
Effectiveness: Solid blow. Undertones may have been too subtle for Bell to catch however.
Advantage: Kobe.

Wow, this wasn't a fight, this was a mauling. The worst part of the massacre was how many of the wounds were self inflicted by Bell himself. This would have been the verbal whipping of the week, were it not for Stephen Colbert's appearance at the White House Correspondents Dinner. Fortunately for Suns fans, their team is lead by the league's MVP; so I'm sure he'll be able to give the team the jolt they need. But just in case I'm wrong, I wouldn't go crazy on game 7 tickets on Ebay.

Ring My Bell

For those who only caught the ESPN report on Raja Bell's comments after being suspended for Game 6 of the playoffs, you missed this line from Raja:
"Every time you stick your butt out and try to hit me in my genitals, you’re doing it on purpose. That’s something you don’t do inadvertently and it was enough."

Back that thing up, Kobe. That's a pretty bold strategy on Bryant's part. Just one miscalculation on the thrust, and you'll find yourself attached to the defender. I haven't ordered the Magic Johnson Basketball Camp video yet, but I honestly had no idea that slamming your ass into another dude's nuts was a recognized post move. Luckily, Reggie Evans has the perfect counterstrategy for that tactic.

Bell also told reporters that he had "no respect" for Kobe. I guess it's true what they say. You can ram your ass into another guy's junk for 3 hours, but don't expect him to respect you in the morning.

Wait, I've got more!
-Hey Raja, watch out for those backdoor cuts.
-That's not what coach had in mind when he called for a tight man to man defense.
-As for the next matchup, with Raja Bell suspended, the Suns will opt for a double penetration from Barbosa and Marion in game 6.
-Whatever the towel boy is getting paid, it's not enough.
-Kobe figured if it wasn't illegal in Colorado, it probably wasn't illegal in Phoenix either.

Should be an interesting Game 6. I'm not sure if the game will be on ESPN, TNT, or the Playboy channel.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Mea Culpa

In my reader's guide yesterday, I somehow omitted Chris's Sports Blog. His blog has a similar tone to mine- only it's well-written, smarter, and funnier. But I tend to have more pics of random chicks. So I've got that going for me.

Take It to the Hole

After David Aldridge reported on TNT the story of Kwame Brown being under investigation for sexual assault over the weekend, Kevin Harlan resumed his in-game coverage by saying,
"Despite all that, Kobe, I mean Kwame, leads the team with six points."

Don't worry about it, Kevin. Honest mistake. It could happen to any of us.

Much has been made of the way Kobe Bryant has deferred to his teammates the last few weeks, but I didn't realize just how many of his activities he was delegating. Fortunately for Kwame, Kobe should be able to refer him to a good lawyer. Kwame Brown has released a statement that he is innocent of all charges. In his defense, I think he was just following Phil Jackson's orders and trying to better understand the triangle.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Reading is Fundamental

I won't be near a pc again until late this evening. Here are some other great sites to read in the meantime:

Deadspin- My first stop every morning.

The Mighty MJD- The weekend writer of deadspin does his own thing during the week....only w/ more cursing.

The Big Picture- He's a Pacific Northwest writer w/ a pro-Bay area bias. He's got an evil twin/brother writing with him too now, so there's twice the fun with half the sanity.

Pacifist Viking- Vikings to the Super Bowl? Crazier things have happened. No on second thought, they haven't.

Desktop QB- Lucky for us the only sane Jets fan in the world has his own blog.

Paul Phillips blog- Even if you don't play poker, his social commentary is rather amusing and occasionally thought provoking.

The Hater Nation- NFL Adam actually had some positive things to say. I'm worried he may have been abducted and replaced by another writer. :)

Sports Blah- Yup...more sports! I've got a problem, I know.

I'm sure there are more that I'm forgetting, but I've got to jet. If you're a reader of this blog and have a blog of your own, drop me a comment and I'll check it out.