(Because of some technical issues I'm posting this for Bandit...Should have teh problem cleared up today)
Greetings from the Hoodwood, where as much as we want to see justice for our people in Boston we all want to see justice work the way it supposed to.
First off…our national anthem
If you don’t have either a tear or goosebumps you have no pulse.
NBA: Handicapping the playoffs
Well the chaff is gone, and as close as they came to folding the Lakers recovered enough to not only make the playoffs on the final day of the season but scramble to a 7th seed in the west avoiding the defending conference champ and #1 seed Thunder. Without Kobe Bryant one has to wonder how much a force the Lakers would be against the Spurs who stumbled badly down the stretch but still have the #2 seed. The Lakers found that they had made the playoffs before taking the court for their season finale against the Rockets as the Jazz played an absolute dog of a finale ekeing out a paltry 70 points in Memphis and getting hammered by the playoff bound Grizzlies who were nailing a franchise best 56 wins in an failed effort to snatch the #4 seed away from the Clippers. With the playoff berth secured, the Lake Show dawdled through most of the game rallied late to pull ahead get tied on a buzzer beater but pull out the win in OT. The NBA and the media conglomerate are quite happy. You have both teams from the NYC area both teams from LA as well as Chicago, Miami, Atlanta and Houston (all huge markets) in the postseason and the little guy franchise markets are well represented with Indy, San Antonio and OKC with strong playoff teams. Now who does your humble scribe have meeting in June? Same as I said in October, I see a finals rematch but this time Kevin Durant brings the trophy home this time to create a real rivalry and give the Heat some pause on their dynasty talk.
NHL: Is the end?
Where were you in 1990? Me? I was a smartass senior at Mt. Healthy Senior High School. I had just made my selection of colleges (You don’t know how close I came to being a Bowling Green student) and was marking time till high school was done. I liked Hockey but my team of choice was the Los Angeles Kings, they had Gretzky. I knew of the Detroit Red Wings but they weren’t that good, in fact they were a last place team. At 28-38-14 they had the third worst point total in the NHL at 70 and were one of only 5 teams NOT to make the playoffs in the NHL that year. Fast forward 23 years. Me, two kids the building that I went to High school in is gone and is a parking lot for the football field (the school is now about a mile drive away but 500 yards behind where the old school is.) The NHL saw teams in Hartford and Quebec disappear, teams in Dallas, Phoenix, Nashville, Miami, Tampa, San Jose, Carolina, Columbus, Denver and Anaheim appear and teams in Winnipeg and Minnesota disappear and reappear. But the one constant has been the Red Wings with the longest current playoff streak in professional sports. That streak is in the most jeopardy as it has been in a very long time as the Wings as of this morning sit in 9th place. They still control their own destiny as they have three games left to play and if they win out would make the playoffs but for this Wings that is the only thing of 1990 that he doesn’t want to be reminded of.
NBA: Is Kobe a fan not wanted?
For the first time in his career, Kobe Bryant is a spectator to a Laker playoff game. 220 Laker playoff games, Bryant wasn’t even in the building to watch the Spurs and Lakers tangle in game 1 in the AT&T center in San Antonio, but he was watching the game and tweeting. His rapid fire comments to the Lakers more or less lackluster play got everyones attention. The Lakers played like they were an overmatched 7 seed not the team that had handled the Spurs less than a week previous during their dash to the playoffs. Bryant was sounding like a fan, imploring the Lakers to get the ball inside to Dwight Howard who was playing like the invisible man. The Lakers played poorly and the Spurs took the game 1 by the easy count of 91-79. Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni looked visibily irritated when asked postgame about Bryants critical tweets during the game. D’Antoni called Bryant “a fan” Was Bryant throwing his team…and coach under the bus. Well it seems that the tweeter named Mamba wont be offering insight any time soon. Bryant hastily (and huffily) said that he wouldn’t make anymore tweets during games. You have to wonder how much of that game from the coach or front office. I for one thought Bryant’s insight refreshing. Dwight Howard did need to use his ass down low…
Phat Dap/Head Slap
Phat Dap to Manchester United who won their 20thEnglish League Soccer title The win with four matches left in the season was clinched with a natural hat trick by Robin Van Persie. Folks hate Man U like MLB fans hate the Yanks… but you got to give them credit. They just bloody win…
In two cases where the F word was used appropriately and inappropriately.
To those who were hyper critical of Boston slugger David Ortiz for his off the cuff speech before the Red Sox first game back in Boston after last weeks Marathon Bombing
I would only correct Papi on this is our country. We are all strong right along with Boston.
But here is where it wasn’t appropriate…rookie weekend anchor was less than 10 seconds in his first broadcast when this happened
I can understand being nervous but you never curse in a studio, all the years I was in broadcasting you always assume a mic is hot…
That’s the view from the Hoodwood until next post fellow sports fans!
"This jersey that we're wearing today it doesn't say 'Red Sox.' It says, 'Boston.' ...This is our effing city. And nobody is going to dictate our freedom. Stay strong."
It's been a trying week here at the Tavern. On Sunday, I was visiting beautiful Washington DC on the last day of the Cherry Blossom festival and made a crack about the scene being “the bomb.” (see definition #2). The next day, I wouldn’t have been so careless with my phraseology. Things have been tense in the 617 this past week, but as Lanz and Harry among others have demonstrated, Boston is a special place and there’s no place on earth I would rather call my hometown. Friday was particularly intense - with the entire city of Watertown locked down.
I worked for the city of Watertown for close to a decade (not in, FOR) - I love the place and her people. She holds a special place in my heart and I'm happy the deal was sealed a few blocks from my old office. You won't normally see me cuss here, but I'll rationalize it by way of the fact I didn't actually say the following:
David Ortiz, in the pre-game ceremony Saturday, basically laid it out there: "This is OUR effing City." You know what I love about that? This is a guy who lives in Green Bay, is from the Dominican, and he has the moral authority to call Boston his city. Boston is a place, it's people love her, but being a Bostonian is a state of mind and everyone is invited to be one. A team that some 70 years ago, had first dibs but refused to sign Jackie Robinson and was the last team to sign a player of color, sends out David Ortiz to honor the city and proclaim it his. We're a different place now, and I love the city Boston has become. God Bless Boston, God Bless the USA. And some phat dap (a term shamelessly pilfered from Black Bandit) for the FCC who is giving Papi a free ride on his expletive.
Since I drove past M&T Stadium on my way home from DC, I’d like to move forward to the NFL season (August IS only 4 or so months away) and to the 410, from where the Ravens will NOT begin their Super Bowl defense, but will do so in Denver, bucking the tradition that the Super Bowl Champion kicks off the season at home. Now, in my opinion, every team plays 8 away games so it’s not like they’ve been given a raw deal on that front, but it definitely compromises the ceremony the NFL wants and the Super Bowl Champion has rightfully earned – I mean, you SHOULD start the season where the last season ended. It’s a great story line, if nothing else, and really robs the game of what it does best – the pageantry. Growing up Catholic, pageantry and ceremony are important to me.
It turns out that the Orioles have a game scheduled that day and the details just couldn’t be worked out to make the situation work. I can’t believe I’m agreeing with Rex Ryan here, but seriously? The Orioles have 81 home games and 4-months to work out a plan – and it’s not like they should be planning a tough pennant race over there at Oriole Park. I hope the game is rained out.
M&T Stadium and Oriole Park sit in the same complex, and share parking lots – yes the logistics would be difficult, but you’d like to think someone at some point would’ve considered the idea that the two teams might play at the same time. With this in mind, I think I might actually root for a deep run by the Orioles just to spite the Ravens. Of course, Oriole Park was there well before the Ravens Stadium was so this was a consideration the football minds should have taken into account.
As an aside, I drove past Giants stadium July 2008 and they had made it very clear that THEY were the Super Bowl Champions. As of this weekend, the Ravens had no such pronouncement outside their home stadium.
Now, given the Ravens came into existence through the generosity or treachery (depending if you live in Maryland or Ohio) of Art Modell, it only seems fitting then to discuss the current Browns ownership. Jimmy Haslam owns not only the Cleveland Browns (or more appropriately, Cleveland Whites – I can’t remember the last time I actually saw the team take the field in Brown uniforms), but Pilot Flying J – the very truck stop gas-station at which I stopped to fill up my rental car on my way home from DC.
It seems the FBI has spent a bunch of time compiling a case against Flying J for fraud relating to discounts and credits or what not for diesel fuel. I had no idea the two were related. I know three things about the company: 1) the hottest cup of coffee I have ever purchased came from a Pilot station in Drums, PA – if water boils at 212 F, this stuff had to have been 211; 2) There’s a Pilot station at the Massachusetts/Connecticut border that prices its gas at least $0.20 cheaper than any station on either side of the border; 3) Jimmy Haslam, whose family owns Flying J, has apparently not only been screwing the fans of the Browns, but also truckers on diesel fuel. Other than the good people of Boston, I’ve come to learn there’s few folks you want to screw with less than Truckers and Browns fans and this cat has hit them both. Dealing with the departure of Phil Dawson will be the least of this dude’s problems.
Drive down the interstate at night. There’s no one but truckers out there. You learn the language and you play the game if you do this enough, so you know the rules. Now, get in the middle lane and run just about the speed limit. It won’t be long before you have a semi rolling up behind you. First, he’ll flash lights. Then maybe a horn. Then the relationship gets a little more real. Now, hit your brakes like you have some DB riding your bumper. Have a guess how that cat responds to that action? You don’t mess with a trucker.
Stay strong my Tavern dwellers - grab up some Fred Lite, watch the weeks' sports and remember that this is the best place on the planet.
WOO HOOOOOO!!!! Hey Gabbers and others!!! Welcome to my NASCAR update and other fast stuff. It's late late late. Just got back from the club. Walked down memory lane. The 3 amigettes (my sisters & me) got tickets for a local band from back in the day and off we went. Want to give a shout out to drunk UFO t-shirt guy. Lights out in London and maybe you later. Shout out to troll doll head guy. Yes, he had troll dolls standing all over his head. Amazing. Great evening. My heads pounding, my throats scratchy and dry and I think I might be deaf.
TEXAS CONTROVERSY CONTINUES
So there was a race in Texas last week. Then there were penalties handed out on Tuesday to the #56 team of Martin Truex, the #2 team of Brad Keselowski and the #22 team of Joey Logano. Truex was had for failing post race inspection. His front end was too low. Crew chief Chad Johnson got a $25,000 fine and probation till June 5th. Truex loses 6 points and Michael loses 6 owners points.
If you remember last week I wrote that Keselowski and Logano had some issues getting to the grid on time to start the race. Well, NASCAR impounded their rear end housings. Both crew chiefs got $100,000 fines, suspended for 6 points races and probation till Dec 31st. Keselowski and Logano had 25 points taken and Penske loses 25 owners points.
Penske Racing has decided to appeal. That means they go to the National Stock Car Racing Commission. Keselowski says the parts were approved. NASCAR says nope. All those in the garage say that NASCAR warned them all during the offseason not to alter the rear end housings in any way.
It was rumored that the #48 & #24 teams ratted out the Penske teams. Jimmie had a press conference to address this. He stated his team did not rat them out. He also said watching other teams in the garage is a routine thing and Keselowski's team has people just for that. Jimmie said that a team has 2 choices when they see another team do something new. They can try to copy it and make it work for their car or they can go to the truck and tell some one. He said Brad is a huge talent and we all know he says things and after he's in the garage for a while he'll figure out when to be more careful.
So the mystery is....Who told on the #2 & #22 teams.
I think Keselowski is whining too much. I guess he thought he was coming in to this sport and would be above reproach? Untouchable? My teams integrity is so huge? He needs to sit back, relax on the bench with Jimmie and Chad and.....have a Snickers. It's going to be awhile in that tech inspection line. Take it as a sign he has arrived. Take it as a compliment. Take it as a challenge every week. But quit whining about being targeted or that your team has the most integrity in the garage.
HAMLIN IS CRAZY
Hamlin is going in for a scan on his back. He really thinks the doctor will see new bone growth and let him race next week. Richmond is a mild track but the Talladega race after that is NOT so mild. He says he'd consider driving the first 6 laps and then pit to let the relief driver take over. Maybe he's not so crazy.
SUPPORT OF BOSTON VICTIMS
Swan Racing #30 will have a Pray for Boston paint scheme on their car.
Roush Fenway Racing will have B-Strong decals on all 3 cars (#99 - #16 - #17).
MWR racing will have bib number decals on their 3 cars (#15 - #55 - #56). Michael ran the marathon in 2000 and was proud to finish so he asked his sponsors if he could put the special decals on to support the victims.
KANSAS SPEEDWAY STP 400
We are off to the races once again. Kenseth has won the pole. I was hoping he would because I picked him in my Yahoo league. Points for me. Last year he came in 4th. I expect another top 5 from him.
Gordon. Just stay away from Bad Luck Schleprock. Just do it. He burns up his right front hub 28 laps before the end of Texas and in practice for Kansas this week he wrecks the car. He will start from 43rd in his back up. Last year in this race he was black flagged with 20 to go for not maintaining speed....STAY AWAY.
Johnson had a 3rd here last year. Always a threat is my motto with him.
Truex dominated this race last year only to see the win get blow out by the sun coming out of the clouds and giving Hamlin the edge. Hamlin is out this year. Could this be Truex's day? Could be.
Biffle. Top 5 last year. Doable for the Biff.
Edwards is coming back from last years slump. Top 10 last year.
Keselowski is probably distracted by the appeals mess or not. Had an 11th here last year. He too is always a threat.
Kyle B pan caked the right side of his car in practice and had to get the back up car. He did take his motor and swap it into the back up so that saves his 5th place starting spot. He's been hot again.
Break out star? Almirola has been knocking at the door. Had a 7th place at Texas.
Dale Jr has had 2 bad weeks in a row but he could turn it around here with a top 10.
Vickers will be in the #11 for Denny. Good equipment plus Vickers means a good finish.
Hornish is in the #12 this week. Good C list option folks. Possibly Kvapil or Mears.
So there you have it. It's almost 3:30 am and I'm beat. I got a breakfast date tomorrow. Maybe I'll ship my pants or ship my drawers or ship my bed. Funny video to watch...Dog Wants A Kitty. You won't be disappointed if you go to YouTube and look that up. I want a vintage troll doll. Maybe just a shower and a nap instead. Take care all and...
I'm outta here....
Occasionally the world of sports takes an unfortunate journey into the world of real news and public tragedy. When that happens like it did this week in Boston, it is sometimes difficult to focus on the task at hand of writing a sports blog. In the aftermath of a truly horrible event, however, sports can be an important outlet for emotional relief and expression of a response. In this case, the first home game of the Boston Bruins provided such an opportunity for the people of Boston. Their rendition of the Star Spangled Banner easily becomes the best of all time in my book. To the people of Boston, I commend you for your resiliency and for your strength in the face of adversity. We all offer our prayers to the families of the victims of the bombing and our thanks for helping the police capture the bombers.
This issue's theme originally was to take a look at some of the numbers that are part of the fabric of the game of baseball - I think I'll save that for next week. However, I do want to give you a few numbers to consider as Americans in the wake of the bombings, because we need to do more. Did you know that each year 32,000 people die in automobile accidents in the U.S.? Yes, the bombings were a senseless tragedy, but consider that about 100 of our brothers and sisters are taken each day and 1/3 of those deaths are due to drunk drivers. Be an advocate for safe driving...in Europe, one aspect we can all admire is there absolute adherence to any drink = don't drive.
A second number that should equally get our attention, 31,076. That is the number of deaths due to gun violence in 2010. That is 85 people a day that were shot to death. Twice a many were treated for non-fatal gunshot wounds in hospitals. I don't think anyone would advocate separating Americans from their beloved guns, but our Society needs to be aware that things need to be different. Tragedy is a part of a couple of hundred families' lives every day across this great land. I advocate doing whatever we can to make sure it does not touch any of our lives or the lives of our friends and loved ones. Don't be a spectator in life...get into the game.
OK...statement over...onto sports.
A Final Word on the Masters.
A lot of people in the World of Golf have been so anxious to have Tiger back on top, that they took any sign of success as proof that he is truly the Best Golfer in the World. Once again, Tiger came up short on Sunday at a major championship extending his title drought from 2008 through this year's Masters. One aspect of Tiger's career success that I find curious is that he has NEVER won a major championship without going into the final round with the lead. What part of Tiger's game, particularly his mental game, has prevented that from happening even one time? For everyone who thinks Tiger is the best ever, and I would say he may be the most talented ever, I ask the question as to why this is so? He may yet pass Jack Nicklaus' record of 18 major championships, but as the best all time, I would take Jack for a variety of reasons. Maybe Tiger will grow on me as he ages...nahhhhh.
Other story lines...Steve Williams, Tiger's former caddie, getting to the winners circle before Tiger, then true to form, rips Tiger over the foul. Stevie baby, just carry the clubs and shut up....A 14 year old kid finishes the Masters as low amateur. Think about that - what were you doing when you were 14? OK, sorry I asked...and finally, was there any greater show of sportsmanship than that of Angel Cabrera after Scott sank his putt? Walking off the green with his arm around the young champion - that is how it is supposed to be done.
NHL Hockey Moves Into the Final 4 Games and the Dash for the Playoffs
In the East, the Winnipeg Jets sit 2 points out a playoff spot and 3 points out of the SE Division Lead with 4 games to go. I don't know exactly what is going on in the 'Peg, but maybe based on the last couple of images I'ver turned up, it would not be so bad to have them in the playoffs..and yes, I know it is the old logo, thanks for noticing.
In the West, Detroit and Dallas sit 2 points behind Columbus with game(s) in hand. The Red Wings are not really playing that well, but it would be a surprise to see the Blue Jackets hold on to the 8th Spot. Nobody really wants to play the 'Hawks, but a Red Wing - Blackhawk series would be a fun one to watch.
The Playoffs Start on April 30, which happens to be my birthday. Hopefully the Caps won't choke off the rest of the season and give me something to root for over a piece of birthday cake...then again, there's Winnipeg.
The NBA Playoffs Start Tomorrow
NBA basketball is not my favorite thing in the world of sports. It is not a fair league - but that is a subject for another day. For now, I will just briefly comment on the first round matchups. In the last 10 years in the first round, the favorites are 58-3. Think abou that and compare it to any other league...oops, there I go. So in the first round, you have to go Heat, Knicks and Pacers. I like the Bulls to add to the upset list.
In the West, the Kobe-less Lakers would be a good story and in the fix'em up world of the NBA (there you go again, Bill)...nevermind. I'll take the OKC, Denver, LA Clippers and San Antonio.
Until next week, fellow Gabbers...when you're Man About Town will report from Chicago...have a great week.
A little girl prayed...
“Lord give me patience”...
“And give it to me right now”...
How do you make something bad even worse???
Just put it in the hands of the media...
And the political commentators...
That’s an easy blame, isn’t it???
It’s as if they are waiting...
It’s as if they even WANT something like this to happen...
Opportunists they are...
With zero evidence they make their claims...
How sick can you be???
You have those with zero IQ blaming right wing extremists...
It had to be one of those pro gun guys, didn't it???
The media tripping over each other...
Just to be the one to break a story...
“You heard it here FIRST!!!"
“Exclusive videos exclusively as we bring it to you FIRST!!!”
“Before everybody else does”...
Listen to me now...
The Boston Marathon is the race, NOT the news coverage...
I don’t give a rat’s rear end who breaks the story...
No need to "jump the gun"...
You broke the story 15 seconds before they did...
That and three dollars gets you coffee at Starbucks...
Enough with the self=aggrandizing...
It ain't about you...
Just get it right, please...
Keep your trap shut, Michael Moore...
Double-check your sources, CNN...
Before you look even more buffoonish...
Quit wetting your media diaper in order to beat everybody else...
Have some consideration for the victims...
Let the families grieve...
All we want is the truth...