Friday, June 20, 2008

PARADE DAYS

I have to admit, it is kind of odd not being in Boston for a victory parade, but being so much closer to home makes life so much easier and remains a trade-off. Not having accumulated the vacation time to take a day off, I had to catch the celebration replay on tv.

In a brief phrase: Not quite the same thing.

In my case, I've found myself re-watching the comeback in Game Four over and again (game 5 still angers me due to the blatant attempt to extend the series by the referees and game six was over in the second quarter). I think that in the future, this series will be defined by the game four comeback. For all the series had going for it as the return to glory, the 24 point comeback in game four on the road by the Celtics is unmatched in NBA Finals history.

Monday, June 16, 2008

6-Pack of Miller Lite

Hot summer nights and a cold Miller Lite for Hal B. as the thunder and lighting make more sound and fury than the L.A. crowd did in three games combined...

1. Putting aside the Kobe "non-steal" (see previous post), the Celtics have got to feel damned good coming home for two games to win one and take the damned NBA Championship back to where it rightfully belongs. The Lakers have shown only that they rank at about the Cleveland Cavaliers level of play right now, and in fact, would not even be treading water against Detroit right now. I do not see the Lakers beating Boston in the New Gahhhhdehnnnnn anytime soon. Party on Tuesday night!!!

2. Let me see, the Red Sox have Big Papi back soon (Hopefully!!!), Manny Ramirez fully healthy soon, Clay Bucholz returning soon to the rotation, 8-0 Daisuke Matsuzaka returning soon to the rotation, and hopefully Curt Schilling back again in the fall. How is anyone not excited about them right now? A little better health and they're running away with the AL East.

3. The UEFA Euro 2008 is simply addictive. I cannot wait to see how Group 3 finishes right now. The Netherlands is in, but with France, Italy, and Romania all alive for that last spot, the thought of the French or Italians going home is just thrilling to think about.

4. Seriously, did everyone review that damned "steal" by Kobe in game 5 with 37.4 seconds left? He never freaking touched the ball and fouled Pierce twice! Simply a horrible call that swung the game for L.A. No, I swear, I am not shutting-up about that terrible call.

5. One month until the NFL training camps open for business. Seriously, only one month to player profiles on the undrafted free agents and in-depth analysis about Junior Seau weighing his options to return to New England. Here are the three biggest reasons for optimism for the Patriots defense this fall:
  1. Tank Williams - Call him Rodney Jr., because the Tank will bring back the Big Nickle package and decapitate many a receiver crossing over the middle. Living up to his name, Tank should allow Rodney Harrison to platoon (and keep him fresh) in addition to joining James Sanders and Rodney in the Big 3. Also, if Brandon Merriweather moves to cornerback, Tank takes his reps as well.
  2. Jason Webster - The new number two cornerback steps in next to Ellis Hobbs and holds the fort until Terrence Wheatley can get onto the field. Webster is a legit starter at cornerback and should help stabilize the position after the losses of Randall Gay and Asante Samuel. Look on the bright side: No Otis Smith, Michael Stone, Duane Starks, Tyrone Poole, Artrell Hawkins or ever-ready stand-in Hank Poteat at corner this year.
  3. Victor Hobson - The former Jet allows for insurance if Junior Seau retires, but also gives rookie Jerod Mayo more time to learn and not be thrust into a situation he is not ready for on the field. Hobson has the size and experience to adequately fill in inside and most importantly allows for the maximization of the skills of Adalius Thomas on the outside.
6. The Tampa Rays I can handle. Johnny Damon turning into 2004 Playoffs Johnny Damon all of a sudden concerns me. Fortunately, the Yankees are riding Mike Mussina and Andy Pettite into the ground (and its only June). With the Wanger out until September and Joba no longer closing the door in the seventh and eighth innings out of the pen, the Yankees need some serious wheeling and dealing to stay in the Wild Card race this summer. Something tells me that Brian Cashman no longer is concerned about the long-term future of the Yankees as he searches for a job this winter. Again, the Yankees scaring off Cashman is the best news out there for Sox fans. Cash is the real deal and the ONLY reason the Yankees have been so good for so long.

Only one pint of Guinness in the fridge, so that will be the bonus point here:

7. Tiger Woods. Simply amazing. The most revolutionary athlete (as far as changing the game/having an impact on the game/drawing non-fans into the audience/dominating the competition) since Babe Ruth. ‘Nuff said.

WHAT ABC/ESPN/DISNEY WANTS...

...they get! And in this case, they wanted game six.

The Celtics were able to fight back in game five, just as they had in game four, but this time the tide was turned by Los Angeles making shots and the Big Three systematically eliminated from playing defense due to the officials working their magic. Every ticky-tack foul on Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, and Paul Pierce was whistled in the second half, while Tokey Odom and the Human Chicken Pau Gasol hacked away with impunity.

No play was more game-turning or significant as Kobe Bryant's "steal" from Paul Pierce at the 0:37.4 mark of the fourth quarter with the score 97-95. Bryant swung his arm at Pierce, struck Pierce in the arm, and then in his stomach, never touching the ball (he missed the ball by about three feet). The play resulted in a four point swing and after that it was all over save the shouting. (And, yes, the replay cleary showed it. YouTube, where are you when I need you? I looked for the replay and only found: Laker Girls Dancers Jiggly Tits - adultblowouts and shots of the steal from 150 feet away. Hmm, that's right--no conspiracies allowed this year.)

Normally, I am not one to accuse the NBA of referees working to affect the outcome of games, but after the Tim Donaghy mess last year, they have left themselves open to criticism from all viewers. I watched, I was not impressed by the officiating and again thought the game was scripted by the WWE and not played out, and I want this series over in game six without any further shenanigans.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Mish and Mash

A couple quick hits while Hal B. folds laundry, thanks God for air conditioners (90+ degrees in the beautiful sub-suburbia of Boston), and tries not to wear a hole in the carpet while waiting for game two of the NBA Championship begins:

* First and foremost, let's review: Red Sox win World Series for the second time in three years, Patriots win 18 in a row and reach the Super Bowl, the Revolution reach the championship round again, and now the Celtics are in the Finals. If only there was a hockey team in Boston, we could dominate all sports!

* As a Sox fan, I applaud the Yankees for switching Joba the Hutt to the rotation. I just love watching Kyle Farnsworth blow games in the late innings. Mmmm-hmmm, it gives me that warm fuzzy feeling that makes up for the bile from watching Eric Gagne pitch for the Sox last year.

* Some plays I watch Kobe and think "This guy is the best in the game, even better than LeBron." Then, I watch him disappear late like he did in game one and think "Yes, they are still one player away right now."

*Oliver Ross, back-up tackle, great pick-up. The thought of Nick "pass the pills" Kazcur as the only back-up to Matt Light keeps me awake at two in the morning as often as dreams about aliens shooting up the greater New England countryside (quite a bit, actually).

* J.D. Drew, yup, I said it from the day of signing and never shut up about it. HOW ABOUT J.D. NOW, HUH?!? HOW ABOUT J.D. NOW, BEEEE-YOTCHES?!?!?

* (Hal has been emerged in a tub of ice-water for his own safety and to calm down. We'll have the cat, Slim Mimit, take over the posts going forward).

* Meow, meow, meow. (My favorite basketball players are Chris Mihm and Mehmet Okur.)

* Wow, that is about enough of that. I will never allow that again.

* The one horse race I don't get to the track for is the only one the 38-1 underdog wins. I believe I will somehow blame Gallagher for this since he didn't call and drag my ass to the track.

* Still in awe of Greg C.'s gold glove work during the first annual wiffle-ball home run derby at the Friedman estate.

* Justin Masterson, 3-0, not too bad at all. Let's hope he's more Jon Lester and less Juan Pena.

* Someone let Doc know that everyone's favorite muppet (Sam Cassell, not Kermit the Frog) needs a very, very, very short leash. At this point, when Rondo is on the bench, I'd rather see Ray Allen bring the ball up with Eddie House on the floor.

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