Sunday, April 30, 2006
The 1989 Chicago Bulls started the playoffs as a #7 seed, and drew their division rivals - the Cleveland Cavaliers. We all know what Michael Jordan did in Game 5, and these heroics by this "basketball creature from another planet" didn't stop after "The Shot". Jordan then led the Bulls past the Atlantic Division Champs - the New York Knicks - in 6 games. They won game 1 in N.Y., and were able to hang on by winning all of their home games. Next for these Bulls were the mighty Detroit Pistons, the "Bad Boys" who had the best record in the NBA that year. The Bulls, led by the 26 year-old Michael Jordan, won game 1 again. After losing game 2, they then won a thrilling game 3 behind Jordan's clutch shooting. This team, that nobody really expected much from in the postseason, had the deep and talented Pistons on the ropes. Alas, the Pistons won the next 4 games, and the Bulls playoff run was over.
This Bulls team featured an up-and-coming Scottie Pippen, who was more of a defensive player in the late 80's. It had Craig Hodges, a 3-point specialist. It also had Bill Cartwright, a veteran center who could make chaos for opposing players who drove to the lane. In other words, it didn't have the depth it did in the 90's, and relied heavily on its superstar who gave Chicago fans its first playoff excitement in team history.
The 2006 Lakers are very similiar to that team, and after seeing the 27-year old Kobe Bryant drain 2 shots in the final second today, I compared his impact to that of Jordan in '89. This Lakers team really doesn't have much around their shooting guard, except for maybe a Lamar Odom or Kwame Brown. Realistically, they are all role players in Kobe's basketball world, as the '89 Bulls were all role players to Jordan's greatnes. And this current #7 seed can - and will - ride Kobe's back as long as possible.
I see the Lakers closing out the Suns in 6 games, and then playing their cross-town rivals. The Clippers better find a way to control Kobe Bryant, because if they don't, then this Laker team might also have the deep and talented San Antonio Spurs - "on the ropes". Keep you posted, as there is more to come from the 2006 NBA playoffs.
My draft recap with a reminder that I don't watch college football nor do I pay attention to draft previews.
Cheers: New York Jets
Let me get this out of the way. They avoided the glamour pick and ended up with the two highest rated offensive linemen. In the second round they took quarterback Kellen Clemens. On a night I couldn't fall asleep I heard a "draft expert" on the radio (the guy runs gmjr.com). He said Clemens was the best quarterback in the draft, so the pick must be good.
The Jets need a lot of help so it made sense not to trade away a lot of draft picks and a top rated offensive tackle for Bush.
Cheers: Matt Leinart
Sure he lost millions of dollars by staying around USC for another year (although last year's bad elbow may have pushed him back). Also when the Jets passed on him, millions in endorsement money went away too. However, in a few years people forget where a guy was taken. Bottom line: Leinart's got a good coach and three great weapons at wide receiver and running back.
Jeers: Texas Houstons
They thought Mario Williams would help them the most and I won't argue with that. A smarter team would have taken better advantage of that number one spot.
Jeers: Denver Broncos
They traded up in the first round to draft a backup to a 31 year old quarterback. Let the quarterback controversy begin.
Jeers: Buffalo Bills
The players they picked may turn out to be fine, but all the "experts" say they drafted their first two guys way too early. Double-jeers to the Bills for drafting Brad Butler, a despicable cheap shot artist (see video).
Jeers: San Diego Chargers
The spent their number one pick on a guy who played as much as I did last year. Antonio Cromartie did look great in workouts. So did Tebucky Jones.
Jeers: NC State
You would think a team with three defensive linemen going in the first round would do better than a 6-5 record.
Cheers: Torry Holt
In the ESPN studio, he was cool with his shades, calm, well spoken, informed, and thoughtful.
Jeers: the rest of ESPN
Only Mel Kiper does his homework. The rest add nothing but mindless bluster.
Cheers: the Patriots
I'm mandated to compliment them. Tom Brady has several new weapons to play with. Garrett Mills of Tulsa will be a big contributor.
Cheers: Mel Kiper's hair
Stunning as always.
Friday, April 28, 2006
How else do you explain them deciding on taking Mario Williams the night before the draft? Even if they didn't want Reggie Bush, they could have peddled that number one pick till tomorrow at noon and get a lot more than Mario Williams.
Len Pasquarelli has some thoughts:
Ladies and gentlemen, your Houston Texans, an outfit that might do better were Mr. Magoo executing its lottery selections. Hand out the darts, folks, and take cover. Even quarterback David Carr, throwing from his back, which is where he has been for most of his four seasons in Houston, has better aim than his bosses.
Thursday, April 27, 2006
It now seems funny, when you think back to all
of those times the Rocket would come back to Fenway
- as an opposing pitcher - and he would get shamefully
booed by a boisterous crowd. All people saw were those
Yankee pinstripes and the greed that came with that
Toronto contract that he signed in late 1996. Nobody
in their right frame of mind would ever think that
this athlete - beloved by Red Sox fans for years -
would ever come back, right?
Well, it is becoming more and more realistic. Several
people close to Roger have mentioned that this will be
his last year - albeit a short one. Once school gets
out for the summer, Roger will probably sign with one
of these teams: Rangers, Astros, Yankees and Red Sox.
Since the Rangers won't be a contender this year, it
appears unlikely he will sign with Texas. And in Peter
Gammons ESPN Insider blog, he mentions that the Astros
simply do not want to "spend the coin for Roger Clemens."
They will stay with their rookie starters, and when the
Rocket signs elsewhere, he will be "painted as a
So this leaves Boston and New York. With the Yankees ready
to offer a blank check, and his "reverence for Joe Torre,"
it would immediately appear that the Yankees will land
him. Yet....for most of the reasons listed here in this
Gordon Edes Globe article about Al Nipper's influence on
the Rocket the Red Sox would almost have to fumble away
this public-relations gift from heaven. This reunion would
help out the Red Sox in so many different ways - on and off
the field. It would also give the Sox fans an unprecedented
opportunity to make amends with a departed superstar.
Besides the short-lived return of Bill Buckner in 1990, I
can not think of any other situation similar to this.
The Red Sox, in conclusion, will have a new franchise leader
in wins,and will have elevated themselves as a serious World
Series contender. Plus, they will be sticking it to the
Yankees again. My message to Al Nipper, the current Red Sox
pitching coach, is: "If it don't look promising, than please
go ahead and 'kidnap him'".
Saturday, April 22, 2006
Some thoughts on the game:
- In uniform: 6 future Hall of Famers (DJ should be the 7th), 5 future general managers (including masterminds McHale and Isiah), one future WNBA coach, one future NBDL coach, one future Best Damn Sports Show Period host, one future winemaker, and a future movie star.
- Speaking of Rodman, 1987 was his rookie season and back then he was actually a well rounded player. In this game he made a brilliant athletic fast break layup -- something he would never even try when he decided to make himself a rebounding specialist.
- Breaking news: the game was so much better then. Even in this defensive battle, the pace of the game was quicker (there used to be this thing called a quick outlet pass).
- The three point shot was available, but it seemed to be an afterthought for offenses. Because of this, the offensive game was so much different. I'd love to see the NBA look into removing the three point shot. Poor Raef LaFrentz wouldn't know what to do with himself.
- Celtic worse than I remembered: Danny Ainge: often out of control, jumping and not knowing what to do with the ball. Maybe that's the same mindset he still uses for his free agent signing. "I need to sign someone quickly before I land, Brian Scalabrine, here's $15 million!"
- Celtic better than I remembered: Dennis Johnson: Throughout the game he was doing a good job containing Isiah. Then Parish leaves the games because he badly sprained his ankle for the 27th time in the game and McHale fouls out. So DJ then goes on to guard Adrian Dantley, who was a very good post player.
- Parish decks Laimbeer. Earlier in the series Laimbeer took several cheap shots at Larry Bird, so Chief was already grumpy and his gimpy ankle probably made him grumpier. So after one too many elbows by Laimbeer, Parish forearms Laimbeer's face and throws him to the ground. As Laimbeer was looking for his teeth, the refs did call a foul -- on poor Darren Daye who couldn't get away with breathing. The game then went on like nothing happened. A few minutes later it was halftime, and Parish and Laimbeer calmly walked almost next to each other to the locker room area.
- Larry Bird's steal. Yes, the Pistons choked. However, it's tough to think of a more impressive play in basketball history. The steal was amazing, the pass was amazing, and the lay up by Dennis-should-be-in-the-Hall-of-Fame-Johnson was amazing. More on the steal.
Thursday, April 20, 2006
Include the 2005-2006 season. I'll post the correct answer in the comments section on Monday night. No research allowed.
Recently, I'd rather watch tv, read a book, or enjoy the weather instead of writing about who deserves the NHL MVP (The fat guy in Nitendo Ice Hockey). That's bad news for the site. People go to Bartcop.com because it has a lot of new material everyday, and when people click on the Sports link they expect to see something new there too. Without me updating, people will click the link less often.
I don't want to weaken the Bartcop Empire, so I need to find a way to get more new material on this site while allowing myself to continue being lazy.
In other words, I'm begging for new writers. I've always posted e-mails, but I'm now making it easier. Send me an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org if you'd like to be a writer. You'll then become a team member, which means you can post whenever you'd like to without e-mailing me.
It's very easy to post on this site, you'll just need to register with Blogger.com (sorry Anonymous). Then you can write as often or as little as you like. Who knows what we'll get on this site -- soccer news, jai alai statistics, more curling, Yankee propaganda, more pictures, anything you want (as long as it's sports related).
As always, comments and suggestions are welcome.
p.s. The Guess the Athlete! tradition will continue,
Thursday, April 13, 2006
The Celtics have officially been eliminated from the playoffs, but my interest in them is greater now than it's been all year. The reason: Gerald Green. I'm now watching the Celtics just to watch him play. He's a tall natural scorer who can get his shot off anytime he wants, and he's already the best dunker the Celtics have ever had. Green will be a top ten player in the NBA within three years.
The last time I was this excited about a rookie's strong finish was when Sam Horn ended the season with a plethora of home runs.
David Stern's message to the city of Seattle:
...they're not interested in having the NBA there. We understand that, we understand that there are competing issues, and the mayor is free to make whatever decisions he needs to make and I support that.Mr. Stern isn't happy Seattle won't use tax money to build the Sonics a nicer stadium. You see, billionaire owners deserve taxpayers' money much more than schools or hospitals.
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
Monday, April 10, 2006
- When your hometown team lets you throw out the opening pitch, you should probably only say nice things about them, at least just for the day. Not if you're Batman.
"Look, I'd do it, too, if I were a businessman," said Keaton, a suburban Pittsburgh native known for his role as Batman. "But, at some point, you've got to win. I think fans have been gracious. And maybe not vocal enough. Maybe not vociferous enough with their displeasure. That's my opinion."
"I fear they will take advantage of the good will of the people who continue to show up," Keaton said of the Pirates. "For my money, that's disrespectful. At some point, you either have to write the check or do something and not assume, well, we're OK and, ultimately, the franchise is valuable, anyway, like Donald Sterling did with the Los Angeles Clippers."
Keaton also tweaked the Pirates with his apparel. Rather than wearing a Pirates cap to the ballpark, he wore a No. 86 hat in honor of Super Bowl MVP Hines Ward of the Steelers.
- David Ortiz is with the Red Sox for at least another 4 years, and all it cost the Sox was $50 million. A fresh of breath air after the Johnny Damon nonsense.
- Derrick Lee got $65 million for 5 years from the Cubs. He had one great season, but it's hard to believe he worth more than Ortiz.
- A repeat recommendation: Chad Finn's Touching All the Bases. He's another Bostoncentric writer who posts even less than me, but he puts much more effort into his posts and comes up with really good stuff, including classic baseball cards.
Sunday, April 09, 2006
Here's some of the finest analysis you'll get from someone who only watched the last hour of the tournament:
- Mickelson's won two of the last three Masters. Does Tiger have a real rival?
- Maybe it's his sick day, maybe he was frustrated with his play, and maybe it's married life, but Tiger starting to look old to me.
- Phil Mickelson just looks creepy. He's growing a second chin, and it looks like he's trying to pull off the Pat Riley hair look except he forgot to get a haircut in the last two months.
- On the other hand, his wife still looks good after three kids. Real good.
Has the league finally decided to call it a foul when Shaq throws an elbow into his defender's face? Will Shaq actually need to make a post move to get a shot off instead of just bulldozing his defender?
In case you missed it, after a loss last Sunday to the Nets, in which Shaq was called for three early offensive fouls, O'Neal offered the following as to the way the game was called: ''When you've got a guy like Stu Jackson at the top, it shows why those referees are the way they are. It starts at the top."
Miami coach Pat Riley, who has been monitoring cases of what he sees as Shaq Abuse since O'Neal arrived in Florida, said the big guy had a legitimate beef. Riley then contacted Jackson and made his case, which he presented to reporters prior to the Heat's Thursday night loss at home to Detroit.
''I have real concerns, genuine concerns about post play and how he's being officiated," Riley said. ''And I went through each and every item and made a great case for it. And [Jackson] made his case for it and we left it at that."
I guess next we'll hear Barry Bonds complain about how steroids are ruining the integrity of baseball.
''Last year was unbelievable," he said yesterday. ''The other day we're playing in Texas and I'm getting a strike 6-8 inches off the plate. The video shows it, everything I've been complaining about. All I do is hit, so that's all I care about...
...The umpires need to know we get paid a lot of money to perform out there. The fans don't come to the ballpark to watch them call balls and strikes. And I don't want to make it sound like all of them make bad decisions because there's one guy I can think of who has been perfect ever since I've been in the big leagues. Sometimes you make a ball or strike and I don't even look back. That's because the guy has a lot of concentration on what he's doing. But then there are some who might have a hangover from the night before and he screws you all day, just because he's not concentrating. He's not focusing...
...There's a bunch of good ones. I'm not telling you there's a bunch of bad ones, but it's always the same group that aren't [good]. I'm telling you, in this game people come to see the players. You never see commercials of umpires. You never see fans talking about umpires. You never see kids asking an umpire for an autograph. They are there to judge the game. That's one thing somebody has to let them know."
Saturday, April 08, 2006
"The Three J's"
Thursday, April 06, 2006
written by the Godfather
They still have that stupid apple right under the scoreboard
Plenty of room for scalpers
Carlos Beltran points to the seat of the one Mets fan who likes him.
Tuesday, April 04, 2006
Written by Patriotsy2k
At the beginning of the 1988 smash "Major League", a couple
of Indian fans in the coffee shop remark about how they
have never heard of half the Indian players. This is how I
felt when I saw the starting lineup in tonight's game against
Let me explain - with the following names I am sure few MLB
fans have heard of. Batting 4th.. 1B Mike Jacobs, 6th....2B
Dan Uggla,7th....Miguel Olivo, and 8th....Eric Reed. Telling
me you know about these players would be like telling me you
knew the White Sox were going to win it all last year.
I am leaving out Josh Willingham (LF, batting 5th), Jeremy
Hermida (RF, batting 2nd), and of course...Mr Hanley Ramirez
(SS, leading off), who most Sox fans have heard of. Willingham
and Hermida developed last year on the Marlins, yet I will
still give credit to anyone outside the Marlins fan base that
has heard of them. Hanley Ramirez is well known, mostly
because people outside of Boston and Miami see him in that
So 4 out of 9 players are unknown rookies. And if you add
Willingham and Hermida, that is 6 out of 9 players...or 6 out
of 8 positional players. Thank goodness for Miguel Cabrera.
Surprisingly, they are only down 1-0 in the 8th, mostly because
of Dontrelle Willis's strong pitching.
Not much is expected from the Marlins this year, so I guess
seats will be easy to find and I can roam their temporary
stadium freely. This article writer is hoping, however, for
the same success as the Willie "Mays" Hays-Rick Vaughn-Pedro
Cerrano-Jake Taylor-Roger Dorn led Cleveland Indians.
Monday, April 03, 2006
In Bill Belichick New Englanders trust, but this became tougher to do for some Patriot fans with Adam Vinatieri leaving. Many fans argued it was worth paying Vinatieri a little too much. The reasoning was that kickers don't make much to begin with, and having the comfort of knowing your kicker will make clutch kicks is worth the extra money.
Cold Hard Football Facts does a good job explaining the logic behind the Patriots letting Vinatieri go.
Vinatieri is the best kicker the Patriots have ever had and arguably the best kicker they will ever have. He's also the best clutch kicker in the history of football, and it will be a long time before any team, let alone the Patriots, see another kicker like him again. And the Colts have a better kicker now that they replaced Vandershank with Vinatieri. When it comes time for Vinatieri to head to the Hall of Fame, we’ll write the application to get him in. So, yes, we agree: Having a trusted name at kicker helps.And, barring some sort of miracle, New England’s kicker this season will not be as good as the one they just lost. But … the Patriots could be a better team. We’re not saying they will be a better team. Just that they could. This is certainly what New England’s management is banking on.New England’s management strategy represents a new paradigm in football management – the Salary Cap Paradigm (SCP). Most people realize New England is looking for value in personnel. In other words, they’re not going to dish out top dollar for, say, a wide receiver who makes twice as much as another receiver but only provides 25 percent more production. That’s poor value. People understand value. But the SCP means that New England looks at BOTH sides of every personnel equation. Fans and most other management groups do not. They just look at the Big Name player in question. They figure if they pick up Big Name, they’ll be a better team, and if they lose Big Name, they will not be as good. It seems logical.But the SCP means that these seemingly logical conclusions are simply not valid. This is where New England is rewriting the football management book in the salary cap era.Instead of paying $2.5 million per season for Vinatieri – the minimum, apparently, it would have taken to keep him in New England – maybe the Patriots can get a kicker for $1 million to $1.5 million. For $1.25 million, they can get a solid NFL kicker who, perhaps, delivers 90 percent of the production that Vinatieri does – for half the money. So right away, they’re getting better value.But here’s where they Salary Cap Paradigm moves beyond value: For the $1.25 million they saved on a kicker, New England figures it can pick up, for example, a stud situational player who they otherwise could not have afforded. Perhaps this situational player comes up with a big sack, a long kick return, or a drive-killing INT at a key moment in a big game. Perhaps he bulks up the offensive line and fills in ably when a starter goes down. Maybe this play or this player eliminates the need for a major clutch kicker to come through at the end of the game. Maybe, because of this play, they win the Super Bowl by 10 points rather than by 3. This play from the situational player will never generate the same publicity as a last-second field goal, but it will certainly be no less important. The student of the SCP understands that a game-changing play in the middle of a contest by a backup linebacker is just as important as a last-second, game-winning kick – even if the play goes unnoticed by history.Maybe the Patriots are a better team because they find value at kicker and pick up an otherwise unaffordable player who bolsters them in a position where they had been weak in the past.Maybe it will work. Or maybe it blows up in their face. We will see. In either case, you can’t just look at what the team lost. You have to look at what they can pick up in return. That is the Salary Cap Paradigm.
Curt Schilling: 32 Wins
David Ortiz: 162 Home Runs, 486 RBI, 486 R
Jason Varitek: .500 AVG
Team Record: 162-0
Now Red Sox fans shouldn't the only happy ones. Kevin Millar will make Ted Williams roll in his frozen chamber as joins Varitek with a season batting average of .500. The Mets will be happy with their free agent pick up, Billy Wagner who gets 162 Saves, tying him with fellow record breakers Fernando Rodney, Chris Ray, and Derrick Turnbow.
The happiest fans will be in St. Louis. Albert Pujols is on track to hit 324 Home Runs, 648 RBI, and a 1.000 batting averages.
Saturday, April 01, 2006
- The Vikings did not match Seattle's offer for Nate Burleson. Nate Burleson and $49 million should never share a paragraph, but teams paying too much for a player is nothing new. Also, we should always take these contracts with a grain of salt because they're not guaranteed. Burleson getting all of that $49 million is as likely as it was for him making up for the absence of Randy Moss.
- The troubling thing about this story is the so called "poison pill" the Seahawks put into this contract. The contract says that if Burleson plays five games in the state of Minnesota, the contract would be guaranteed. Surprisingly the Minnesota Vikings did not match this. The NFL should be ashamed that they're letting this go on.
- Brett Favre says he coming back to play with the Packers for another season. In other words, ESPN, FOX, CBS, SI, and everyone else wasted everyone's time with Brett Favre retirement hype at the end of last season. Hopefully they'll be able to recycle it next year, and maybe even the following year too.