Monday, June 30, 2008
and they write about Notre Dame a lot. I like that.
A little over 2 months until the Irish open at San Diego State.
Needless to say, I can't wait.
Friday, June 27, 2008
So Kevin Love and O.J. Mayo are switching caps after all. Minnesota GM was just infatuated with Kevin Love but felt like he wanted to draft Mayo to get some other assets with Love.
Two league sources told ESPN.com that the Wolves have reached an agreement in principle with the Memphis Grizzlies that will send the draft rights to Mayo, Marko Jaric, Antoine Walker and Greg Buckner to the Grizzlies in return for the draft rights to Kevin Love, Mike Miller, Brian Cardinal and Jason Collins.
That certainly is a lot of players to be dealt in this blockbuster of a trade. Hard to pinpoint who exactly gets what in terms of advantages because both teams have so many holes to fill. The Grizz get another scorer besides Rudy Gay and the Wolves get another big man with Al Jefferson. The wild card in this deal is without a doubt Mike Miller.
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Also, interesting point: That potential trade we heard about on Monday between Portland and the Knicks could still happen. I kind of think the Knicks are not done in the first round.
I now have to hear Gallarari puns from my buddy Brad all night. That one in the title, thats from him. Heres a taste: Spagetti was the first word after a moment or two of silence between us.
He's the second player to bring up bringing leadership to the team. I know its nice to say, but how much of a leader can 19 and 20 year olds really be in the NBA? If these guys try and be leaders in their first year, they'll get laughed at.
Westbrook just taken by Seattle at 4. First shock of the draft. Is this trade bait?
If not, it could be trouble for the Knicks
Also, interesting side note: It still does not seam as if Pat Reiley was in love with Michael Beasley. He said on ESPN that he was basically cornered in a room and told to take Beasley. Doesn't seam like he loves the pick.
Van Gundy on Timberwolves pick at 3- "They need NBA Starters"
"I wonder if he'll actually faint", says my buddy Brad.
Prediction: Miami picks Mayo. Reily apparently really doesn't like Beasley.
ESPN also said that the Knicks will take a guard who they believe will be there at 6. I think it is Westbrook.
The Spurs sent an e-mail to every team in the league at 3:30 p.m. saying that they were willing to move the 26th pick. The e-mail asked league executives to "E-mail us your interest and your offers to 26."
This is the NBA equivilent of "OMG, Text me!"
1. Chicago Bulls - Derrick Rose PG, Memphis
2. Miami Heat - Michael Beasley PF, Kansas St. (personally I think they trade out of this spot)
3. Minnesota Tinberwolves - O.J. Mayo SG, USC
4. Los Angeles Clippers (if trade with Seattle goes through) - Eric Gordon SG, Indiana
5. Memphis Grizzlies - Kevin Love PF, UCLA
6. New York Knicks - Russell Westbrook PG, UCLA
7. Seattle Sonics - Brook Lopez C, Stanford
8. Milwaukee Bucks - Anthony Randolph PF, LSU
9. Charlotte Bobcats - Joe Alexander SF, West Virginia
10. New Jersey Nets - Danillo Gallinari SF, Italy
11. Indiana Pacers - D.J. Augustin PG, Texas
12. Sacramento Kings - Jerryd Bayless PG, Arizona
13. Portland Trailblazers - Darrel Arthur PF, Kansas
14. Golden St. Warriors - Kosta Koufos C, Ohio St.
Any other trade rumors and or transactions we will have here as close to up to the minute as possible...It will surely switch around who goes where tonight in New York City.
Reports comming in are saying that Richard Jefferson is on the move to the Bucks for Yi Jianlian and Bobby Simmons. This isn't all that surprising considering we've heard for a few weeks that Milwaukke was itching to ship RJ out.
But they couldn't get more then this?
Jianlian played 66 games and averaged 8.6 points in 25 minutes. Simmons averages 7.6 points a game.
Jefferson is old and injury prone, but he's also an all star. The Nets could have gotten more. I find it hard to believe otherwise.
Also- From Matt Suldano via ESPN.com:
The Clippers and Sonics have agreed to swap picks as long as the Wolves take O.J. Mayo at No. 3. If Mayo isn't drafted at 3, the deal is off according to two sources close to the information. With the No. 4 pick, expect the Clippers to take Eric Gordon of Indiana. They've coveted him as the type of dominant scorer that they've been looking for. The Sonics will take Brook Lopez or Jerryd Bayless at No. 7. However it seems like Lopez will be the guy.
More throughout the night from the both of us
Possible Trade between the Knicks and Blazers:
Knicks would get either Jarret Jack or Steve Blake, The Blazers 13th and 27th pick for the Knicks 6th pick and David Lee.
Who knew that David Lee had so much value.......
Just a hunch, sell your D. Lee jerseys now. He won't be here come 10pm.
Travis Demurs contributed to this story.
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Wolf: Defensive back Adam 'Pacman' Jones, recently sign by the Cowboys. Here's a guy suspended all of 2007 following a shooting at a Vegas night club.
Imus: Well stuff happens. You're in a night club for God's sake. What do you think's gonna happen at a night club? People are drinking, they're doing drugs...
Imus:...there are women there and people have guns. Go ahead.
Wolf: He's been arrested six time since being drafted by Tennessee in 2005.
Imus: What color is he?
Wolf: He's African-American.
Imus: Oh okay. Well there you go. Now I know.
The statement wouldn't have bothered me if Imus didn't know who Jones is, and I believe he doesn't. But it was the way he said "Well there you go." He said it as if the revelation of Jones' race should have been obvious as soon as Wolf said that he was suspended and had been arrested numerous times. It sounded as if Imus was suggesting that Blackness is equivalent with criminality.
Another incident, in the news, involving racial comments is Shaquille O'Neal's freestyle rap at a New York club. In this freestyle, Shaq disses his former teammate Kobe Bryant and uses profanity, including the 'N' Word. Here is said freestyle:
Shaq's use of the 'N' Word and other profanities led to his honorary deputy's badge, in Maricopa County, being revoked by Sheriff Joe Arpaio. "I want his two badges back," Arpaio told The Associated Press on Tuesday. "Because if any one of my deputies did something like this, they're fired. I don't condone this type of racial conduct."
Personally, I don't like the use of the 'N' Word by anybody because I feel the original meaning of the word has been forgotten and the argument in favor of the use of the 'N' Word seems so ridiculous to me. Obviously, neither I nor Al Sharpton can stop everyone from saying that word, so I don't get on a soapbox whenever someone utters it.
That being said, I thought Shaq's freestyle was funny. How he immediately came after Kobe, how he repeatedly asked Kobe to describe the taste of his rear-end, and Shaq throwing Patrick Ewing into the fire as well. Hilarious stuff regardless of his use of the 'N' Word. He was having fun and entertaining people.
Now why does Shaquille have his badge taken away for one freestyle on his own private time and Don Imus gets away with directly associating a race with negativity while on terrestrial radio where he was working? Albeit, Shaq's badge was just an honorary badge but it seems like the results of these incidents don't fit.
Imus should have lost his position because this is the second time he's been in the news for racially insensative statments on the air. He's at work. If anyone said those things or anything similar in the workplace, they would be reported to Human Resources and disciplined.
Shaq made his remarks on his own time. He wasn't doing an interview. He wasn't on a sanctioned team activity. He wasn't at a charity event. Above all that: O'Neal never directed his use of the 'N' Word to demean Blacks in general. As stupid as that sounds, he didn't.
Imus then came out today and said that he was trying to "make a sarcastic point", and now it seems as if everything has been forgotten. Imus said he said it to point out that blacks are arrested for no reason. But does turning what he said into a "sarcastic point" really make him appear to be not insensative racially or socially? No. By twisting and explaining the intentions of his words, Imus suggested that all police and law enforcement officals are racist and out to get African-Americans. Way to replace one generalization with an even broader generalization.
Imus just keeps digging himself into a deeper hole, but he keeps getting pulled out by his employers and the majority of society. Imus getting off easy and Shaq getting in hot water perpetuates double standards and many people's views on this subject, minorities, and racism differ depending on their enviornment and upbringing. That's why Imus continues to say stupid things, Shaq uses the 'N' Word, and I wrote this blog. I'm interested to hear other people's opinions on these situations and my comparison of them.
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Possible Trade in the works between the Knicks and Blazers: Knicks would get Jarret Jack and Portland's 13th pick for David Lee.
This would mean the Knicks would have two picks in the top 15.
I know that people love Lee. But I don't see why you wouldn't do this if your the Knicks....
Source: The Oregonian
- Big NBA draft preview tonight on Edge. Mitch Lawence from the New York Daily News, Michael Hunt from the Milwaukke Journal-Sentinel, and Jonathan Abrams from the L.A Times will be joining us. As always, fun starts at 9pm.
Nick Malone and WCWP alum Travis Demers contributed to this story.
Saturday, June 21, 2008
Don't look now, but the Mets are playing well.
Ok, its only been three games, but I have to say, I kinda like what I see. Not that anyone was paying any attention, but the Amazins took two out of three from the A.L Western division leading LA Angles of Anaheim. This coming just hours after their leader was fired under none too normal circumstance, their GM made an absolute fool of himself, and their owners hid under their desks like it was a cold-war air attack drill. This set up for disaster. This set up for the team to just give up. Heck, many already believed the team had given up on Randolph (me included), who could blame them for bagging the entire season. Prior to Thursday, this team didn't inspire anyone to remark on their incredible intestinal fortitude or ability to mussel through controversy. It certainly didn't seam like this Met team was particularly interested in winning for Randolph and who could really blame them for tanking it after the spectacle that was Tuesday afternoon in L.A? It sure looked like the season was sinking deeper and deeper into tank territory on Tuesday night. The team looked tired, listless, uninspired, and angry. Look no further then the first five minutes of that Tuesday game to see what I'm talking about. Jose Reyes hurts himself running to first base. Out trots Jerry Manuel and the two get into an argument about whether or not Jose should stay in the game. Being the consummate competitor that he is, Reyes wants to stay in. Manuel will have none of it. He calls Damon Easily out from the dugout and Jose stomps away like someone just stole his ice cream pop, throwing his helmet in the process.
Then it happens.
Not ten minutes into his first game as manager of the Mets, Jerry Manuel makes his mark on the team. He follows Reyes into the dugout and gives him a stern southern hardball talking to. This does absolutely nothing to inspire the club at this point, but you can sense something. Something different. I knew that something different was something good right after the game. Jerry says in his post game comments that Jose is a fierce competitor that loves to play the game (This is what I call "the usual jive"). Then Manuel uses the words that almost made me smile as a Met fan for the first time in what felt like forever, "but the behavior is unacceptable".
Point made, point taken, hammer down.
If their was any doubt that Jerry was any sort of disciplinarian (and I've had mine), that doubt took a significant hit after the press conference. Manuel seems ready to take the team and make it his own. Their was no grace period. No dancing and prancing around the issue at hand. Finally, their was straight talk from an authority figure. This concept has been a bit of a foreign one in recent months for the Mets. More importantly, it looks like Manuel wants to run this team. He wants control. He wants the reigns. Towards the end of Randolph's run, I wasn't all too sure he wanted to do this anymore. Manuel definitely does.
And through two games, it appears to be working. A rare comeback win against K-rod and the Angles to quietly take 2 of 3 from one of the leagues best on the road and then a solid win against one of the leagues worst, the Colorado Rockies, and the Mets look like this could be the beginning of a good run. And what a time to start one. Two more with the Rockies and three with the Mariners, who by the way, are in more turmoil then the Mets.
The best part? The Mets are not tremendously far out of it. At nights end, they were only 4 and a half games back of the Phillies. When you think about how this past month has been for the Mets, four and a half out seems like nothing. That being said, the team is out of long loosing streaks. Simply put, they can't go on any more. One more and that could be the end.
I'm not ready to take back what I wrote about Manuel earlier in the week, but I certainly feel a lot better about this Met team then I did 24 hours ago.
Thursday, June 19, 2008
But I am not for one to buy into "moral victories." To say the Lakers do not need to make changes this off-season and stay content and complacent with their current roster is complete ludacris. The thing that killed that them this series was defense. It's as simple as that. Yes, Odom and Pau did not play great, nor did the bench, and Kobe struggled mightily. The defense did not let these guys get into any sort of offensive rhythm while the Celtics were jellin the entire game. So my offseason proposal is simple. GET RON ARTEST!
Ron Artest is one of the most dynamic and feared perimeter defenders in the game. Paul Pierce absolutely went off on the Lakers, whether it be Vladimir, Kobe, or Odom, he had his way. Artest would definitely be a guy that could handle Pierce and at least contain him. Now Artest is a restricted free agent, he has the ability to opt out of his contract (like Gilbert Arenas) and talk with any team he chooses. Or the Lakers can do a sign and trade. Have no fear, I got a trade proposal already for the Kings. Ron Artest for Lamar Odom, Vladimir Radmonovic, and Jordan Farmar.
With Artest and Odom you are getting two of the most gifted athletes on both sides of the court.
Vladimir would dump salary for the Lakers and perhaps be an enticing piece for the Kings because of his offensive game (but by God is his defense terrible). I was torn between whether to give up Farmar or Vujacic but I think the Kings may have more in an interest in Farmar than Vujacic. Farmar is capable of being a starter in this league right now. I do not know if Vujacic is. Also, the Kings are thin at the point guard position. Beno Udrih was the main guy last year averaging 12 points and 4 assists. I do not know if he is consistent enough yet to be the reigns of a team for the next five to seven years.
Artest is currently 28 years old. He averaged 20.5 points and 6 rebounds per game last year. For his career he is averaging 16 points per game. Lamar Odom, the main piece in the trade, is also 28 years old and also averages 16 points per game for his career. However, I think Artest will give you more consistency on an every night basis than Odom. Kobe Bryant has already said he would welcome a trade with Artest because he knows what another defender like that next to him could bring to this team. Artest has never been a guy who had demanded the ball on the offensive side. His best years were in Indiana when he was matched up with Jermaine O'Neal and Reggie Miller. In Los Angeles, you have a post up player in Pau Gasol and a perimeter guy in Kobe Bryant. You see the similarities?
Questions would surface if the Lakers really want to deal with a guy who has had so many problems in the past. Will the LA lights shine too bright for Ron? Artest has had no problems since he was in a Kings uniform. The bottom line is this, Artest is one of the most fierce competitors in the game and he wants to win and win now. For a team that was so soft and showed the most lack of heart, determination, and fire in the Finals, Artest brings all of that.
Finally, the West is filled with talented and all-star caliber guards and small forwards. If Kobe is expected to guard them on a nightly basis for the entire game, foul trouble may be an issue...and we saw that against Boston. Guys such as Carmelo, T-Mac, Ginobli, Durant, Deron Williams, Brandon Roy, and Josh Howard would be matched up with Artest. The Lakers would improve so much on the defensive end, not lose much rebounding because Gasol and Bynum will each average around 10, and even Artest grabs about 6 a game, and their offensive game will be fine.
The Lakers are going to be there next year and will contend, with or without this trade. It's just they will have a much better chance with Artest. Please Mitch, you've made one trade happen (somewhat unfairly) lets make another one happen.
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Leave it to the Mets to mess up a move that needed to be made. Willie Randolph needed to be fired. I detailed my thoughts on the matter on Saturday night after the rain out against Texas. The team needed a change. That change couldn't be a coach, or a group of coaches, it needed to be the manager. I had been saying this for almost a month and I was certainly not the only one. I think, like Willie or not, he had to go because significant change had to happen for the 2008 season to be saved. That leads me to the timing of the move. Why could this not have been done on Sunday night after the double header? It is obvious that Omar knew he was going to fire Randolph then because they won on Monday night, scoring nine runs in the process. Even if you aren't 100% sure, you have to be at at least 95%. If you aren't, Willie would not have been fired after a win. And assuming that Omar is at least 95% sure, why can't he make a conscious decision on Sunday night to either bite the bullet and fire Willie or at least give him one more series. But to make Willie Randolph go out to the West Coast for the third time in a month, manage one game, win that game, and then fire him afterwards is just unfair. It makes the manager look like a sympathetic figure and the organization look like a cold hearted machine. For a team that cares more about how they are perceived then any team in professional sports, you would think they would have consider this. But that's assuming that the Mets brass know what there doing. At this point, that's an assumption without foundation. An assumption that no one can make a legitimate case for believing.
But, as if it couldn't get any more embarrassing for the Mets, Omar had to speak. I think the Mets should put a gag order on Omar Minaya. Nothing the man says makes any logical sense whatsoever. This was not "G.M speak", this was idiocy. Between saying "ok" eighteen thousand times, contradicting himself, and exposing a major organizational flaw, Omar made the Mets look like clowns. Unfortunately, that statement may not be too far off from the truth at this point. Besides the obvious dumb statements (and I'm paraphrasing)- "I had two choices to fire him or let him manage the rest of the year (really?) and "Managers are usually fired over lunch"- Minaya said two things that stuck out at me as something a man who has lost control of his organization would say. First, he could not defend the timing at all. Of course, such a dumb error in judgement is difficult to defend in the first place, but he went from saying that he didn't know that he was going to fire Willie until he did it to saying that he knew getting off the plane and was worried about it getting out to saying he opposes firing a manager in uniform. Which is it? If you didn't know you were going to fire him until after the game- fine. I don't necessarily understand how, after a big win, you can make that decision, but I'll accept the premise. Though, if this truly is the case, then why bring up the plane comment or the comment about firing a manager in uniform. If you truly didn't know until 2am (est), then why would it matter that you have a personal policy about firing a manager in uniform or worrying about the info getting out. If Omar is telling the truth, then those last two points are moot. Why even say them? It just makes no sense.
But by far the dumbest thing Omar did in that forty five minute meltdown is bring up the issue of organizational leaks. Every organization has leaks. You can't polish off a sports section these days without the words "unnamed source" or "a person close to the organization" popping off the page. But leaks in an organization can come from everywhere. Daniel Schnider is one of the biggest leaks in the NFL. Never heard of him? He owns the Washington Redskins. So leaks aren't just low level front office guys, often times they are higher ups. But to stand up at a podium and acknowledge leaks is a cardinal sin for Omar Minaya. Why? Because one of the jobs of a GM is to keep baseball info as safe and sound as possible right up until the moment it is supposed to be released. It is a scathing indictment of Minaya to acknowledge that people who presumably work for him have leaked information to the media without his consent. That's like saying, "Guys, I have lost control of my staff." Even if he has lost control of his staff, you don't admit it. Admitting that you have and are doing a bad job is even worse then the failure itself. It shows that you have lost control. I think Omar has.
One thing that I have changed my tune on since the press conference is Omar's feelings on firing Willie. It is obvious to me that he wanted to keep Randolph. The reasons are simple. This is now Minayas mess. Previously, when the team failed, Omar could go to ownership and say "What can I do, I put this "all-star" team on the field and Willie can't handle it. It's on Willie." Now you can't say that. You most certainly can't plug in Jerry Manuels name in that last quote either. That won't fly because if you say the manager is the problem, you remove the manager, and the team doesn't improve drastically, it was never the managers fault. Now it's on you. Omar knows now its on him. Manuel is playing with house money and knows it. Nothing will be his fault. I'm not on board with the hire (once again, see Saturday nights column), but you can't blame him if the team doesn't improve. a) he was not the right guy anyway and b) he didn't start the season. It's on Minaya. If the team doesn't make the playoffs, he's done. No more excuses for Omar. And he knows it.
To reiterate, it is a good thing that Willie Randolph was fired. I just wish it had been gone about with some coherent thought and common sense.
But people always say Met fans expect to much
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Oh and the great Albert Pujols has finally done what we all were were expecting to happen this year at some point. He had an injury that put him on the DL. The interesting thing here though is not that he's on the DL, but rather that it is a calf injury instead of the elbow injury we all expected. He first strained the left calf muscle on June 3, and then on Tuesday June 10th in the bottom of the 7th, he fell to the ground running out of the batters box and had to carried off the field by his teammates.
Hopefully you didn't draft him on your fantasy team like I did.
So it got me thinking, Albert Pujols and David Ortiz are both injured. Two of the biggest names in baseball today. And I wondered which player means more to their team and also who would I rather not lose to injury?
Now David Ortiz's injury is a little different. With him it's a torn tendon sheath in the left wrist that put him on the DL.
If I'm looking at the aspect of whose more important to their team, then I would say the Red Sox could probably survive a blow without Ortiz more than the Cardinals without Pujols. And here are the reasons why. The Sox have another superstar in a man named Manny Ramirez. Whose proven for years he can wreck any pitcher. While the Cardinals have someone named Ryan Ludwick or Troy Glaus. The supporting cast is much better for the Sox.
Here's some fun facts for your entertainment:
Albert Pujols was the batting champ in 2003 when he had a .359 AVG. In 2001 won rookie of the year. In 05 he won an MVP and in 2006 he won his first World Series. Became the only player in baseball history to start his career with seven consecutive seasons with a .300 batting average, 30 HRs, 100 RBIs.
David Ortiz in 05 and 06 he led the league in RBI and in 06 he led in HR. He has won 2 World Series. Tied with Babe Ruth for AL single season home run record in road games (32; 2006) First player ever to hit two walk-off home runs in the same postseason (against the Angels (ALDS) and Yankees (ALCS), 2004) First player in Red Sox history to hit 40 or more home runs in three consecutive seasons (2004-2006)
Now if I'm choosing whom I would rather lose if I had the choice of either, then I would probably pick Ortiz. Now both players are equally feared in their respected divisions, but here's one big difference. With Pujols he can play 1B, 3B, and OF or at least he has in the past. For his whole career he has dominated and for all we know we might not have even seen his prime yet. Pujols is the type of player you want to build your team around. Now I'm not trying to bash Ortiz because I love him. I really do, but when it comes to that one player who I would value at the utmost importance I would have to pick the great Albert.
Talkin' Baseball- Corey Sobel
Monday, June 16, 2008
This is without a doubt the most fun I've ever had watching golf. There was too much drama to not watch this.
Mediate was trying to become the oldest player to win his first major, going up against Tiger Woods: the top golfer in the world. Tiger Woods is playing in his first tournament since undergoing knee surgery, and the pain in his left knee was visible since Thursday.
Drama right down to the wire. In fact, there was so much drama that they needed an extra day to cover it.
That along with the great play of both men, could this be the greatest game ever played...?
Congrats to both men on a great US Open.
P.S. - The funny thing about Tiger's win is that he was not 100%, and he still won a major. It really says a lot about Woods and a lot about the field.
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Sunday, June 15, 2008
A 17 point lead was shrinking progressively throughout the entire 2nd period. After scoring 15 in the 1st quarter and looked to have another 45-50 point game, Kobe's offense became non-existent in the 2nd quarter. He scored as many points as I have the entire post-season. ZERO.
Paul Pierce dominated, Lamar Odom became aggressive, Pau Gasol became soft, and the second unit was just flat out terrible. If you want to have the slightest chance in coming back, guys like Tony Allen and P.J. Brown cannot be constantly making plays that just exploit weakness after weakness for the Lakers. In a word, the Lakers defense in the 2nd period was horrendous.
It'll be interesting to see what changes are made in the locker room for both of these teams. In the back of every Laker player and fan is the thoughts of the comeback of Game 4. That happened in the 2nd half, the Celtics got a head-start in this one...
And what the hell was Phil Jackson thinking when he sent Chris Mihm out onto the floor?!?!?!
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Saturday, June 14, 2008
But I'll take this non-game day opportunity to discuss a report in this mornings edition of Newsday. It appears as if the end of the line for Willie Randolph may be quickly approaching. Newsday reported that Willie most likely will not last the weekend, regardless of what happens against Texas. Obviously, nothing happened today so the situation shifts to tomorrows double header. As I have said over and over again during the last two weeks, I have no problem with letting Randolph loose. I think its what the team needs at this point. A team that needs a kick in the pants often gets one when the manager is canned. The old saying "you can't fire 25 guys" is quite true.
Anyone who thinks that this season can't be saved is just not paying attention. But on that same token, anyone who believes that the team can be saved by just staying pat, letting the slump play out, and not making any major change also needs an adjustment of the spectacles. The team needs a change. The only change of any substance they can make is the manager. The pieces fit so nicely that I don't see how anyone could disagree with this. Will firring Howard Johnson make a huge difference? Rick Peterson? Guy Conti? I don't think so. To see a huge change, you have to make a huge change. I'm sorry, firring Guy Conti or HoJo is not a "huge change." Firring Willie is.
That being said, I would like to comment on the rumored choice of a replacement- Jerry Manuel. Manuel is the bench coach and acts as Willie's chief confidant. He is also Randolph's clone. Needless to say, I think this is a bad move. When a ship is sinking, you don't put the first mate in charge. You bring in a captain with a proven track record of reviving sinking ships. If your plan is to hire Manuel, then whats the point of firing Randolph? Change for the sake of change only works if it is truly a change. Jerry Manuel is not a change. He's Willie Randolph with glasses and a slimmer frame. Don't let Manuel's outburst after the Delgado "called back home run" at Yankee Stadium fool you. From all accounts, this is not a fiery guy. Just because he was thrown out once after an embarrassingly criminal call doesn't make him Lou Pinella. Willie Randolph's been thrown out too. Just because Manuel got angry once in three years doesn't make him Mr. Blowup...and it most certainly doesn't make him the right choice to follow Randolph in '08.
If your asking "Who is the guy then?" have no fear. I have a name for you. Phil Garner. Yep, Phil Garner. I think its the perfect fit for one huge, super significant reason. Garner has experience turning around sinking ships. Remember when Houston fired Jimmy Williams mid season in favor of Garner in 2004? Garner went 48-26 and led the Astros to the NLCS,only to loose to a very good Cardinal team. One year wonder you ask? Hardly. The Astros made the World Series in 2005. Garner also has managed Carlos Beltran before. Not that Beltran is a hard guy to manage or the be all end all measuring stick when it comes to managerial fortitude, but it might be nice to have a guy who has managed your second best player during the highest point in his career. Those two facts alone should be enough to get Garner here. He's perfect. Forget Manuel. Forget Wally Bachman (remember when he was managed the D-backs? That was a fun two days).
The season can still be saved. Phil Garner can save it.
Friday, June 13, 2008
The cover of this months thrilling edition boasts none other then Billy Wagner. The headline offers "Takin' Care Of Business: Billy Wagner has been practically unhittable in 2008." Up until Sunday, this headline was the absolute truth. But given the events of the past few days, I have to let out a small, pained chuckle.
On to the game: Oliver Perez threw his best game of the year tonight. It's not even close. It's not even in that same room. Perez hasn't looked that good since midway through last year. He looked even better then his previous 2008 shining moment, the Sunday-nighter at Yankee Stadium in mid May. This is the Perez that won 15 games last year. This is the Perez that I thought could win 15-17 this year. This is the Perez I love. However, nights like this get a Met fan like me, who watches almost every game, frustrated. We know Perez has this kind of stuff. We know he can pitch like this. Heck, we saw it at least 17 times last season. We saw it against the Yankees and tonight against Texas. Why then can't we see it more often. It's purely a confidence issue. There is no two ways about it. What bothers the Met fan about Oliver Perez is that he can never seam to come back from a bad inning. The makings of that existed tonight and, for a change, Oliver did not let it get to him and blow up. Josh Hamilton hit a solo shot in the first and I got that "here we go again" feeling. But Perez must have realized that their is no shame in giving up a hommer to Hamilton. It is certainly not an uncommon ailment this year. Perez shook it off, was untouchable the rest of the night, and struck Hamilton out in the fourth.
At this point, you have to be very careful of using the word "momentum". This team has none. Not game to game, not start to start. The only player who looks to build on any kind of success is Johan Santana. That's not incredibly difficult when your fantastic. But I can't help but wonder if this start will bear any dividends for Perez. He's certainly a guy who can rattle off three or four great starts in a row. He has that kind of stuff. Perez also wasn't coming off a bad outing either. He went 5 and a third and gave up only one run on Saturday at San Diego. Maybe that, combined with tonight, will equal some more Oliver Perez gems and less of those head scratching games that make me go on air and ask why this kid is still in the rotation. His next start is against the Angles on Wednesday. That will be a good test for him.
It's Pedro tomorrow. That's always fun...
It seemed to be one of those remarkable turnarounds in the first quarter. Perhaps the biggest negative for the Lakers in the finals was becoming the biggest positive. The play of Lamar Odom was so awful the first 3 games that his coach went out publicly and called Lamar "confused." After scoring just 4 points in Game 3 and being in foul trouble in every single game this season, Lamar turned a switch on early starting out 7-7 with 15 points in the 1st half. Although Kobe was not scoring he was facilitating and playing excellent defense. The Lakers went into halftime with a more than comfortable 18 point lead.
Something happened in the locker room though for the Celtics. Maybe they took Michael's "secret stuff" from Space Jam...oh wait, wasn't that just water??? The inability for the Lakers to hold this lead at home was one of the most pathetic, embarrassing, and disappointing spectacles I have ever witnessed. One of the biggest reasons why the Lakers lost last night was due to the failure of the bench...again. After a Game 3 where the starters (besides Kobe) gave L.A. nothing, they all responded with double digits. However, the entire Lakers bench in Game 4 were OUTSCORED by James Posey, 18-15. As a whole, the Celtics outscored the Lakers 35-15 in bench scoring. Doc Rivers, has outcoached the Zen master in terms of substitutions in this series no doubt about it. It would be wrong to not place any of the blame on Phil Jackson for how this series has turned out. So coaching and bench play are reasons for the comeback for the Celtics.
Secondly, the lack of hunger and aggression by Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol in the 2nd half. Is it a coincidence that the Lakers played their best basketball when Odom played his best and that when the Lakers fell apart in the 2nd half, Odom only had 4 points??? No, of course not. Many of Odom's and Gasol's points in this series have either been gift wrapped by Kobe Bryant or on put-backs. Now I am not going to sit here and say I won't take those points, but how many times, not counting the first half of Game 3 have you seen Lamar Odom call for the ball, and make an aggressive move with it.? How many times have you see Gasol try and make a move on Garnett to try and get him into foul trouble? Minimally would be the answer. For the Lakers to have had a chance in this series, Lamar Odom and Gasol had to match the intensity and value as the Big 3 of Boston. The 2nd half of Game 3 was a clear illustration that the Celtics just had a much bigger desire to win that game.
Finally, most importantly, the play of Kobe Bryant. It would be a lie to sit here and say that Kobe has not struggled this series. But again, Lamar and Pau have not helped him. When you are facing the number one defense, they are all going to surround their gameplan around the star player and it is up to the rest of the team to contribute. Don't tell me Kobe is overrated, don't tell me he is a choker. Kobe shot 6-19 last night and was really at a loss on the offensive side. But he scored 36 in Game 3! What made him so successful that Game was his ability to drive early and often which eventually opened up his jumper in the 4th which basically sealed the Lakers victory. The Celtics defense, which is the primary cause for the Lakers collapse, stopped any sort of driving by Kobe Bryant and put many different guys on him so Kobe couldn't pick apart one defender and find a rhythm. Again, solid move by Doc Rivers. Paul Pierce and Ray Allen were stellar on defense last night. The rest of the Celtics defense was suffocating forcing turnovers and bad shots. The Lakers have made themselves a jump shooting team by getting away from their offense and it has really shown in the finals.
So now it is all about when the Lakers will lose this series because I do not see anyway how they can possibly win. They had their chance last night and I think they would have won Game 5 to go up 3-2 in the series. I still think they will win Game 5 however but lose in Game 6 in Boston. If you are a Lakers fan, like myself, I do not know how long it will take to get over this crushing defeat but you got to look forward to next year when a healthy Andrew Bynum joins Kobe, Lamar, and Pau. Then we may see the heart of a real champion, not so much this year.
If you need a shoulder to lean on, I am here for you.
"The Edge - Tuesdays" - only on www.mywcwp.com Tuesday 9-10pm
Nothing gets me quite as mad as when the bullpen blows a game for a starter. Your starter gives you a solid outing and it is whisked away by an awful pen. It almost seams like two different games. Whats worse about the last three Met games is that the culprit has not been any of the usual suspects. It was not Aaron Heilman or Pedro Feliciano. It was the normally lights out Billy Wagner.
In case you forgot (and I wouldn't blame you if you did), Wagner was having arguably his best year ever prior to Sunday. Wags had shown up in every situation and preformed. Four out saves were not the problem they were in years past. Heck, he didn't allow a hit until the third week of the year and a run until shortly after that. So why now is Billy Wagner of all people doing his best Aaron Heilman impression? Like many things this season, I am struggling for an answer.
One of the many signs of a team that is lost is that they find new and improved ways to loose games. That seams to be what is happening with this Mets team. If it's not the hitting, its the defense. If its not the starting pitching, its the bullpen. I find it quite upsetting that whats lost in this is the great starting pitching performances the Mets have been getting. Mike Pelfry was great again last night. I really think this guy can be a solid starter for years to come. Will he ever be that ace or number two guy? I don't think so. But there's no reason he cant win a team 10-13 games on a regular basis. Someone to put at the back of the rotation and not have to worry about all that much. Pelfry is throwing a four seam fastball now. This is significant because its a pitch that he has had for a while but never used all that much. Now that he's thrown it into the mix, he's a lot more effective. Coincidence? I doubt it.
I don't know about you, but I think Johan Santana looks better and better every time he starts. It doesn't surprise me, but I thought it was something of note to mention. He gave up three hits today. Three hits! When you don't win that game, that's inexcusable. You can't, if your the Mets, expect Santana to go more the 6+ to 7 innings per start. He's a strikeout pitcher and strikeout pitchers tend to throw a lot of pitches. Once Santana gets up to 100 pitches, his day is over. I often say that 100 pitches is a bad bench mark for pitchers to be taken out of the game. Not for Santana. 100 is actually the perfect number for him. Like clockwork, Johan mentally leaves the game after the 100 pitch mark. Remember that Dodger Sunday night game on June 1st. It was remarkable to see what this guy did before 100 pitches and then once he got to 105-106, he was gone. The bullpen came in and closed that game up. Not today.
Now, I think it would be wrong to sit up here and say that Billy Wagner stinks. He quite obviously does not. He's not John Franco towards the end of his career. He's not Armando Benitez. He's not Aaron Heilman. Closers go into slumps and Wagner is in a slump. It just came at an awful time. But the problems for this team go deeper then Billy Wagner. I still believe that it is a focus problem. It's not as bad as two weeks ago, but I still see a criminal lack of focus on this team. Until that is resolved, the team will continue to loose like this. Unfortunately, no one seams to have an answer. I think the Met have to revisit firing Willie Randolph. It would be a "kick in the pants". That, to me, is the only thing that can save 2008. I do believe this however, 2008 can still be saved. But its needs to happen now.
Texas this weekend. Back with thoughts on it throughout
I'm back, thanks for waiting.