My Princess...looking so much like one for her junior prom.
Greetings from the Hoodwood, where the locals wish that Tiger and Sergio would just get into a brawl and be done with it. But we all know it would just be a catty slap fight if they did.
NBA: Are the Grizzlies the team that could take the Heat down?
I still want to know what the fuss is about. I still think that the Heat is still the team to beat in spite of the rabble rousing series that they are in with the Bulls but it seems that all of a sudden that the Memphis Grizzlies have become the sudden “it” team in the NBA, with the Warriors rollicking series with Spurs going at least 6. The Grizzlies could actually be the team that awaits the winner of that series. The Grizzlies after spotting the Thunder the first game in OKC, the Grizzlies have won 3 straight including a thrilling 103-97 OT game 4 win. The Thunder have suddenly discovered for all his bad shooting foibles and reckless charges to the hoop. Russell Westbrook was a lot more valuable to the Thunder than a lot of people thought. He forced defenses to play straight up and Kevin Durant got a lot more clean looks than he does with Westbrook out. The Grizzlies seem to come at you in waves, Zach Randolph is one of the most underrated big men in the league who seems to roll off yeoman like performances every game. Randolph and Marc Gasol are two of the potent weapons in the Grizzlies game. The Grizzlies are in some ways the Anti-Heat. They play a grimy, gritty game and focus on defense much like the Bulls but instead of the yapping Joakim Noah or the ebullient Little Nate Robinson, they have a number of under the radar players and a bunch of a “Hey didn’t he used to be…” types. Gasol is quietly shedding his previous image of Pau’s dumpy baby brother and has been a real force in the blocks averaging better than 21 points, 8 boards, 4 assists, 2 blocks and 2 steals( take a deep breath) in the 3 games against the Thunder so far. How underrated is Gasol? He was named defensive player of the year, but left off of the All-NBA defensive 1st team. Huh? How does that work?
The Fed Ex Forum is becoming a house of horrors for opposing teams as the building gets and stays loud. The Thunder, who are used to having teams be intimidated by their own raucous fans in the OKC are getting the business themselves on Beale Street. The Thunder need to reclaim the home court advantage or they will be going home a lot earlier than anyone expected. But there are many that are liking the Grizzlies as the team that has the defensive power to slow the Heat down and the star power and scoring to stand tall with the defending champs
NHL: Wings keep on flying while the Caps and Leafs gaffle it…again
There was a point where many people wrote of the Detroit Red Wings. Being a long time fan, I was geninuely concerned late in the season when the Red Wings were on the outside of the playoff line. I heard some taunts from folks that hate the Wings that they were done for, but a late season burst got them into the playoffs on the final day. But playing against the Ducks many people figured that the Wings would be easy pickings for the Pacific Division champs, but the Wings kept coming back, losing the first game but won the second to steal home ice advantage, promptly lost it in game three, tied the series again in game four, faced elimination after losing game 5, and after blowing a 2 goal lead in game 6 was on the brink of going out in OT but won that game and stunned the Ducks in Anaheim a 2nd time to win the series and send #2 seed home. They now face the Blackhawks who swept aside the 8th seeded Wild in five. Aside from a late March blowout all the games were close. Many pundits figure the Wings will be easy picking for the rampaging Hawks, but playoff hockey is a funny bird in itself.
Meanwhile in the East, the Capitals were supposed to roll over the Rangers who were just happy to be in the postseason and avoiding the Pens, and after winning both home games looked like that they would roll over the Rangers but the Blue Shirts won the next two at MSG and evened the series but the Caps seemed to be in control with a thrilling OT win in game 5 but the dramatic goal by Mike Riberio was stunningly the Caps last…of the series. The Caps got shut out in game 6, and despite the Rangers horrid record in road game 7’s came apart like a weak bill in the Senate. The Rangers thrashed the Caps in game 7 by a stunning 5-0 tally. It was an ill coda to a tight series and yet another playoff flameout by the Caps. My friend John Walton is the play by play voice of the Caps and I just feel for him after another heartbreaking playoff loss. Finally up in Beantown, I was getting set to have to talk both Sully and Mo down from the ledges after Leafs roared out to a 4-1 3rd period lead in game 7 Monday. My buddy Guido, a big Leafs fan was already celebrating. He was saying that he knew that the Leafs could beat the Rangers. There was one problem, the Bruins got off the mat and scored, and scored and scored. Patrice Beregon scored in OT to complete the stunning comeback and while the Bruins celebrated being the first team to comeback from a 3 goal deficit to win a 7th game, the Leafs had to face yet another playoff disappointment. Oh Canada! The Senators are now Canada’s last hope to bring the Stanley Cup back north of the Border where it hasn’t been since 1993…
MLB: What is up with the umps these days?
For reasons I cant explain, I have problems with umpires when I play softball. I get annoyed real easily by them, invariably I will end up trading insults with them and get the gate. I couldn’t be a MLB player or manager because I would get run from way too many games by the way the umps will make the most bizarre of calls sometimes and then sit back with the mentality of unquestioned authority.
Item: Oakland loses a home run when an apparent blast in the 9th by Adam Rosales is reviewed and ruled to be a double off the wall. When replays clearly show that it hit a railing in the stands above the left field wall in Progressive Field. The A’s Bob Melvin is just about beside himself at the ruling and gets run by ump Angel Hernandez. Rosales doesn’t score though the A’s load the bases in the 9th and the Indians get the win.
Item: The Astros make a pitching change during the 7th inning in their game last Thursday against the Angels. Wesley Wright was brought into the game and was in the middle of his warm up throws when rookie manager Bo Porter ran on to the field to pull Wright before he faced a batter and replaced him with Hector Ambriz. Porter made the change because Angels skipper Mike Scioscia pinch hit Scott Cousins for Luis Jiminez. Scioscia argued that Porter could not make the pitching change until Wright had faced at least one batter. The umps led by crew chief Fieldin Culbreth disagreed and allowed the change to stand. Scioscia lodged a protest (why do they do these things when they are never upheld) which was made moot when the Angels won the game. It turns out that Scioscia was correct, Wright had to face a batter. Culbreth ended up getting a 2 game suspension. Umps blew another call that they should know the rules on.
Item: Ump Tom Hallion gets into it with Rays pitcher David Price telling him to “throw the damn ball over the plate” during a game on the 2nd, Price later recounted that Hallion cursed at him repeatedly. Hallion called Price “a liar” when asked about the sequence of events as recalled by Price by a reporter. Hallion and Price were both fined for their actions
For their part, the umps continue to have that mentality that they are
Now the umps scream that they are only human. We’re not talking about the Don Denkinger blown call in the ’85 World Series or Jim Joyce’s egregious missed call on the grounder that should have been the 27th out in Armando Galarraga’s perfect game. Those calls have been acknowledged as missed and in the latter case, Joyce cuts a sympathetic figure as someone who acknowledged that the missed the call and felt truly bad” NBA refs are getting that way as well. Joey Crawford being the most notorious of egotistical refs I know that umping and refing are tough, thankless jobs but in the case of more than a few umps, they let their ego get in the way of the “Im the ump and Im right.
PHAT DAP/HEAD SLAP
Ive always liked Matt Kemp, he has a cerebral game and is one of the more dangerous hitters in MLB. But I became a big fan of his after his act of kindness to a dying fan last week in San Francisco. Now keep in mind that the Dodgers are in the middle of a horrible start to the season, and were in the process of getting swept by their hated rivals. At the conclusion of a game, Kemp went over to the fan, Josh Jones and started out by giving him an autograph. Then proceeded to give him his uniform jersey, hat and spikes. Jones, who cant speak and is wheelchair bound due to his illness had a bright smile. Watch the video and if you get something in your eye, Im not one to clown on you for it, I had the same problem.
Classy act by Kemp who put aside his slow start to make a fan’s day. And Hoodwood hopes that Jones keeps fighting strong against cancer.
To former Lions wide receiver Titus Young. I was at first going to give him the head slap for getting arrested twice in a 24 hour period. Young was arrested on the 5th for suspicion of DUI in Moreno Valley California and then again 14 hours later for trying to break into the impound lot to try to get his car back. But it gets better. Young was arrested again just this past Friday in San Clemente for felony burglary and misdeamenor resisting arrest. Young was released by the Lions right before the Super Bowl might have a hard time finding gainful employment after these brushes with the law. What special kind of stupid does a person have to be to get arrested three times in a week?
That’s the view from the Hoodwood, until next post fellow sports fans!