Heres to one of Hoodwood's favorite players! Eric LeGrand!!!
Greetings from the hoodwood, where the locals are enjoying the full sports calendars these days.
NBA: Bye Bye Bulls, while the Knicks hang on
The Bulls is dead… I know that is a grammatically incorrect way of putting it. But after going down 3-1 to the Sixers in their first round playoff series that is just what the Bulls are. After losing Derrick Rose to a knee injury and Joakim Noah hampered by a bad ankle sprain, the Bulls are losing players fast and no one seems to be able to pick up the considerable slack. The Sixers who are an otherwise nondescript team have taken full advantage and have not only stolen home court advantage but have won the last three games. The Bulls dominated the first game but are a shell of themselves since the Rose and Noah injuries. The team that is the most happiest about this is the Heat who are now leading the Knicks 3-1 as the Knicks staved off elimination with a rollicking win at MSG. The more I watch games the more I become convinced that LeBron James is scared to take the big shot to win games. Oh he will dominate for the better part of games but did you see that last sequence in Sundays game. With the Heat down 2 and still with a chance to eliminate the Knicks. DWade frantically dribbled and dribbled and dribbled. No one was getting open and Wade had no chance at driving to the cup. LeBron was hiding in the corner so far away from the play he could have been hiding behind Spike Lee. Wade was forced to take an ungainly turnaround three that was way off the mark. The foghorn like buzzer at MSG sounded and the Knicks celebrated a win that broke a losing streak dating back 11 years and 13 playoff games. Will the Knick faithful see their beloved team at MSG again? Not this season, Im expecting the Heat to whomp the Knicks in South Beach come Wednesday. Meanwhile one of my colleagues continues to opine that with his 41 point barrage that staved off elimination Carmelo Anthony has done just enough to keep the boo-birds off his back. He will just shrug with palms after the Knicks take that expected beating tomorrow and in the old children's song will sing “I did what I could” The Knicks will continue to be the most potential laden team in the NBA, and are there rumors that a Zen Master might be interested in coaching them?
MLB: Albert breaks out, welcome to the Big Bryce
After 111 at bats and ESPN looking like they were going to have a collective coronary, it finally happened. Albert Pujols finally went yard, up until he went deep Sunday. I had more homers than he did. It seems like the erstwhile best hitter of the last decade or so was starting to hear the boo birds as he chopped one weak ground out after another. But finally he went deep, but after doing so added some more pressure to himself saying that it wasn’t about starting strong it was about finishing strong. At this pace, Pujols will have 6 homers and 45 RBI’s at seasons end and the Angel faithful will be ready to run him out of Anaheim. Pujols supposedly is still trying to get adjusted to life under the Hollywood microscope and life away from his family in St. Louis. (Question: why didn’t he bring them out west with him?) I think Angel fans will be satisfied to see Albert match his totals from last year .299 37 dingers and 99 RBI which were career lows in average and RBI. I don’t know what to make of why hes not playing good, but ill tell you this much if he has a bad year you can bet that the steroids talk will ramp right back up. That’s not a good thing at all.
Meanwhile Bryce Harper of the Nats is making quite the splash in his first weeks in the bigs. Hitting the ball good and making a stunning steal of home Sunday night was the first by a teenager since 1964…I like the question posed by Buster Olney…what were you doing at 19? I was trying to keep from flunking out of UC and obsessing over a girl who couldn’t decide if she wanted to be with me…but that’s another rant…Harper is playing like a never scared rookie and drawing the ire of Cole Hamels who drilled Harper with a pitch as a “welcome” to the big leagues. I never was big on Hamels and thought the media’s overhyping of him in 2008 was just too much. I think he reflecting what a lot of pitchers are thinking, “Uh oh…and he’s only 19???
NFL: Another tragic loss…Junior Seau (1969-2012)
I was at work on Thursday when I heard and I refused to believe it. Junior Seau who was for so long the linchpin of San Diego Chargers defense in the 90s committed suicide. Seau who was the vibrant high speed player that was respected and feared hitter, took his own life with a gunshot to the chest. To see his former teammates speak so highly of him and the ebullient Marcellus Wiley repeatedly choking back tears when reflecting on his teammate and friend. I wondered what kind of pain and struggle was he going through to feel that suicide was the only option. There is a real question on the lasting effect of concussions and how it affects pro players. Football is a violent sport and the NFL is its highest caliber. You start to wonder how much of a toll the hits take and how many players were affected before a serious look was even taken. Think of all the players that were playing with lots less protection and the hits that they took. You think the NFL doesn’t consider that? I used to own an old VHS tape called “Crunch Course” which had all sorts of bone jarring hits. How many of those players were feeling the effects of those hits? Dave Duerson was a big time hitter for the Bears in their 80s heyday and he took his own life. It was found that he had a form of brain damage. His teammate Jim McMahon who took some frightening shots as the Bears flamboyant QB suffers from some serious memory loss and worries that he might be headed down the same road as Duerson. I hope and pray that this isn’t something that we are seeing more and more of
Fowler: The New Phenom?
Well, it seems that golf has found its weekly phenom. The colorful (literally, have you seen this cats outfits?) Rickie Fowler won his first PGA tout event, outdueling fellow phenom Rory McIlroy and D.A. Points to win the Wells Fargo Championship on the first playoff hole. Now you will see the pundits and honks opine on how Fowler and McIlroy will be the new big rivalry in golf especially with Tiger Woods missing the cut and to them becoming so much an afterthought. Fowler is ummm quite the colorful player with his bright outfits and swagger. He makes quite the contrast to the modest McIlroy and I could see him as a foil for Masters champ Bubba Watson. But the media has been way way too quick to try to jump on possible rivalries. Rivalries don’t really get developed until the combatants go head a few times, I mean look at Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer their rivalry has developed over years but you really didn’t take note until they were playing for major titles. Ill reserve judgement on Fowler and any other name player for a while, especially while Tiger is still on tour.
PHAT DAP/HEAD SLAP
Greg Schiano is the new coach of the Tampa Bay Bucs and coming from Rutgers he wasn’t really obliged to give one of his former players a contract to the 90 man roster of the Bucs. But this one was special. Eric LeGrand was a defensive tackle who suffered a traumatic injury after colliding with a kick returner from Army that injured two of his vertebrae and damaged his spinal cord. LeGrand was told that he would like never regain use of any his limbs. Through intense rehab has been breathing on his own since five weeks after the injury and hopes to walk again. He told Sports Illustrated that he hopes to go to the spot that he was injured, lie down get back up and walk away. Schiano presented LeGrand with a custom jersey and though the gesture is symbolic it was a nice gesture to a person who is battling back after a devastating injury. Phat Dap to Schiano and LeGrand.
To Savannah McMillian-Christmas a deranged fan who wandered onto the court during Sunday Nights Lakers-Nuggets game.
She was allegedly shouting “Where’s Kenyon?” In reference to Kenyon Martin, the problem beyond her obvious breaking of law by trespassing on the court is that Kenyon Martin doesn’t play for the Nuggets anymore. He hasn’t in over a year. He plays for Los Angeles…but not the team that the Nuggets were playing. He plays for the Clippers. McMillan-Christmas had some stalker issues with the former Cincinnati Bearcat legend. McMillan-Christmas was arrested and taken from the Pepsi Center where she was later released to the custody of her mother. My question is how did a 20 year old get dope ass seats that close to the court?
That all from the Hoodwood this week, until next post fellow sports fans!