While trying to recover from the various long car rides I took the past couple of days…
And if you are wondering who the woman is leading off the column, keep on reading down to the Miscellaneous section.
Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter – @TheOneTrueJay
FATHER’S DAY ADDENDUM – At the start of last week’s column I made mention of missing my dad “on this Father’s Day”. A few weeks back, a former classmate from the school where my dad grew up contacted my mother through the school. He was trying to get in touch with my dad (obviously he didn’t know my dad had died.). He and my mom talked on the phone for a while and he ended up sending some photos of my dad from his time at the school. These were photos we’d never seen before and they were nearly 60 years old. The man was nice enough to not only send the photos but he made 7 sets of them. I wanted to share one of those pics of my dad here. He’s dressed up as a drum major in this one. It was such a great thing for the guy to send these photos and to see these images of my dad’s youth.
NBA – Even allowing for the need to fill the rapacious 24 hour news cycle, the NBA sure did own the large majority of the sports talk this week.
Yes, they had their draft this week so it was to be expected the league would have a lot of things to get the talking heads to pontificate about, but this was pretty amazing.
Carmelo Anthony is reportedly ticked off (to be fair, the Knicks fans booing of their draft pick indicates they would side with ‘Melo) due to how the New York Knicks drafted.
I might have a little sympathy for Anthony’s bemoaning of his fate if he wasn’t such a ridiculous waste of basketball talent. Instead, the only way he’ll get sympathy from me is if I hand him a dictionary.
In other draft related news, ex-Boston College scoring machine Olivier Hanlan ended up being picked up by the Utah Jazz as the 42nd pick in the draft. While I find it hard to follow other teams besides the Celtics, I am hopeful that Hanlan can make the team and provide a scoring punch for Utah.
The non-draft news of the week for me was the Atlanta Hawks unveiling their new uniforms. You can read the story behind the new look unis HERE. While I’m normally rather cranky about rebranding yourself in order to sell more merchandise, I do have to say that after living with the look of the uniforms for a few days, these aren’t half bad. I still think they are a bit unnecessary but at least they aren’t a crime against the gift of sight, like say this:
Now, the home whites are fine. Relatively boring but nothing wrong with it. The primary road uniform actually looks kind of cool. My biggest complaint would probably be with the alternate road uniform. While the color red is good (it being one of my favorite colors), the “ATL” design is a little off-putting to me.
But as I said, the overall rebranding efforts make Atlanta’s new unis the first that I’ve seen in a long time that I don’t actively hate.
But that hate came back fast and furious when the Charlotte Hornets unveiled their new alternate uniforms. Okay sure, on the picture below it actually looks pretty good. Except that the uniform has those abominations known as sleeves and that stupid “Buzz City” name across the chest. Is it too much to ask that a professional sports franchise have their names on the uniforms these days? “Buzz City” sounds like some fly by night organization that no reputable player would want to be involved with. Or a team run by Will Ferrell.
Washington Wizards – Despite finding a more satisfactory basketball home than he had when playing for Brooklyn, former Celtics star Paul Pierce has opted out of his contract with Washington to become a free agent.
Before the draft, there was talk that the Celtics upon the actual landing of Kevin Love in a free agent signing deal would also bring back Pierce to Boston as well. However, the Celtics have made it clear that they will not bring Pierce until after he retires.
So that dream died a quick and very sad death…again. The rumors now peg the Clippers (and former Celtics coach Doc Rivers) as a likely landing spot. I would prefer to see Pierce back in the green, but I’ll be happy for him wherever he lands. As long as it doesn’t involve putting on a Lakers jersey, that it.
The cavernous echo of silence you just heard was the trade rumor bus crashing into the side of a mountain.
The Celtics didn’t do a damn thing in regards to moving up for a better pick. And they didn’t really do much to improve their most glaring need, a rim protecting big man.
Instead we got four players that I’m not even sure will really make much of an impact on the team. And that’s assuming they even make the squad in the first place.
The first pick for the Celtics was Louisville’s Terry Rozier.
The team’s 2nd first round pick was Georgia State’s 2015 NCAA Tourney here R.J. Hunter.
The Celtics had two picks in the 2nd round as well. First they went with Jordan Mickey out of LSU.
Now, here’s a guy listed as a power forward but seeing as he went in the 2nd round it doesn’t seem all that likely that he’s going to be a dominant force for the Celtics right out of the gate. And while I have no practical knowledge of his abilities, the fact is I haven’t seen anything written about him online thus far that suggests he’s that missing rim protector we need so badly.
The team’s 2nd pick in the second round was a twist on the “everything old is new again” cliché. They drafted Marcus Thornton with the 45th pick. No, not this Marcus Thornton (that they already had on the team and got rid of):
Instead, they drafted THIS Marcus Thornton (a point guard out of William & Mary):
Keep in mind that the Celtics already have two point guards (at least) on the roster in Marcus Smart and Phil Pressey. And that doesn’t even take into account Isaiah Thomas, Evan Turner, James Young and Evan Turner either.
If the Celtics are looking to stockpile guards like an Amazon.com fulfillment center, they sure are off to a good start. The hope here is that GM Danny Ainge finally figures out what the hell he is doing and makes a move that will significantly boost the club’s fortunes.
While the playoff appearance was nice this past season, it wasn’t enough and it is time to figure out a way to return this team I love to legitimate contender status. What the Celtics did on draft night, on first glance at least, doesn’t do much of anything to point the club in that direction.
NEW YORK LIBERTY – After dropping two straight games last week, the New York Liberty got back on the winning side of the ledger earlier this week. They broke down the Atlanta Dream for a 74-63 win led by 18 points from Brittany Boyd (pictured below) and 17 points from Sugar Rodgers.
Tina Charles had a double double stat night in the game with 13 points and 12 rebounds. And my girl Carolyn Swords continued her huge start to the season with 12 points, 6 rebounds, 3 steals, 2 assists and a career high 5 blocked shots.
The thrill of victory was short-lived however, as the Liberty’s Friday night game against the Tulsa Shock boiled down to New York’s inability to take care of the ball. They had a season high 26 turnovers in their 71-62 loss. The Shock turned those turnovers into 18 points and you can do the math for yourself to see how the game turned.
Sugar Rodgers (pictured below) was the only Liberty player in double figures with 12 points.
Tina Charles had 9 points and 8 rebounds but remains ensconced in a shooting slump that has seen her go 15-64 from the field recently.
While the team did fall to 4-4, Carolyn Swords (see her, in black, attacking the basket below) continued to show why she is a frontrunner for Comeback / Most Improved Player of the Year with 8 points, 3 rebounds, an assist and 2 blocks.
BOSTON RED SOX – Those damn Red Sox. They just don’t want to give you any sustained sense of hope, do they? They’ll win a game in commanding fashion, like that 13-2 beatdown last week over the Royals. But then they’ll turn around and just be flat out awful for the next three or four games.
And this week, that up and down nature of the team was made worse by the injury and ineffectiveness bugs.
Hanley Ramirez ended up getting hit on the wrist by a ball during a mid-week game. While he was cleared with just a bone bruise, it appears Ramirez is almost as snakebit here in Boston as Carl Crawford was playing here.
But worse than Ramirez (one of the top offense producers, despite his struggles, for Boston) getting hurt was Dustin Pedroia pulling up with a strained right hamstring. He ended up being put on the disabled list. It is never good when one of the team’s leaders goes down hurt. And in a year where there seems to be a disturbing dearth of leadership for the team to follow, losing Pedroia hurts in more than one way.
Addressing the ineffectiveness bug, as one YouGab blogger reminded us in a post this week, pitcher Joe Kelly made start of the season claims that he would win the AL Cy Young award. If he’s to do that, he’s going to need one hell of a rebound to his season. Why you ask? It would probably be because he’s been rather pathetic on the mound so far this year. His utter ineffectiveness made more pathetic as he found himself demoted to Triple A Pawtucket this week.
This move gives more firepower to anyone questioning what the hell GM Ben Cherington was thinking going into the season with a rotation best summed up by the term “five guys”. Right now, the Boston rotation would have a hard time striking fear into a team of little old ladies…using walkers!
Virginia – I’m not a huge follower of college baseball. I usually only get mildly interested if the BC Eagles team makes the tournament and that doesn’t happen that often.
But I wanted to acknowledge the Cavaliers baseball team. They beat Vanderbilt 4-2 in the deciding game of the College World Series this week to capture their first ever national championship.
Tennessee – Hollywood will try to kill off the world once again on July 1st with the opening of a new installment in the Terminator film franchise.
Coincidentally or not, the University of Tennessee will use that same day to lay waste to the one saving grace of their mostly pathetic athletic output over the last couple of decades. You can read more HERE.
In a concession to their new deal with Nike, the school is branding their sports programs under the “Volunteers” moniker, thus negating the women’s teams “Lady Vols” nickname.
And while the Women’s Sports Foundation and feminists that care not a whit for the opinion of the female athletes who want to keep the name sound off on how great this move is, there’s been loud protests from Lady Vols fans making the news recently.
There was a protest outside of a trustee’s meeting where said board members barely acknowledged the group and didn’t bother to so much as discuss the issue during the meeting. You can read this article for more.
Only the women’s basketball team will be allowed to remain known as the Lady Vols, and that is due to the legacy created by coach Pat Summitt (see pic below). And knowing all the particulars about how he’s systematically broken down the machine powering the Lady Vols, I’m sure Tennessee AD Dave Hart is still screaming mad over that decision.
Why does this story bug me so much? Well, I’m one of those who doesn’t think the term “Lady” is an insult or denigration to the female gender.
And in sports, if you want to say that “Lady Vols” separates the teams from the men’s teams I would agree. But it is in a good way. The Lady Vols brand stands for integrity and top notch performance. And not just on the basketball court. A lot of the women’s teams are some of the best in their sport.
And then you have the men’s teams which are either pathetically bad or always in trouble with the NCAA (and sometimes, the law). Why wouldn’t you want the women’s teams considered as a separate unit from that mess?
I know it won’t make much of a difference to the school, but their women’s sports teams will always be referenced here as The Lady Vols…Nike contract be damned.
Syracuse – With Jim Boeheim set to retire in three years, the school announced his successor this week. It will be long time assistant Mike Hopkins. It was an interesting move to be sure.
Since the retirement is three years away, it isn’t likely that the move HAD to be announced now. And given that Hopkins is tied to the scandal that is essentially forcing Boeheim’s departure, he’s going to have no leeway when it comes to running a clean program once he takes over.
SI.com’s Brian Hamilton writes about why he thinks this is the right choice for the Orange men’s basketball team HERE.
NFL – After 9 years as a standout with the Baltimore Ravens, Haloti Ngata has moved on to become a member of the Detroit Lions defense. He talks with Jenny Vrentas about the move and the different adjustments he is making in his new football home in this TheMMQB.com interview.
LITTLE LEAGUE WORLD SERIES – The annual rite of summer known as the Little League World Series will soon be upon us. And the complaints from those who think the kids shouldn’t be on TV and the hosannas from those like me who love the event will be out in full force as well.
But thanks to the fraud perpetrated by Chicago’s Jackie Robinson West team, last season’s tournament is still not put to bed. And the flames under the story got turned up this week when the team filed a lawsuit against Little League for stripping them of the US title they won.
But here’s the thing: Jackie Robinson West was stripped of the title for using ineligible players. And in the lawsuit they aren’t even denying that they broke that rule. According to this Yahoo! Sports article, they are instead questioning the fairness of the decision.
I’m no legal scholar, but if I’m reading this lawsuit and they admit they broke the rules they were supposed to govern themselves under, then I’d be tossing this lawsuit out in a heartbeat.
But it is part and parcel of how life works these days. They not only cheated, they got caught with hard evidence of their cheating. But instead of accepting it, they are going around blaming everyone else. It is complete and utter crap on the part of all the adults from Jackie Robinson West. They won the games on the field but they never should’ve been there in the first place.
They are responsible for their actions that took something as great a story as this was, and instead turned the kids into the latest definition of utter frauds. Not that I expect the adults to ever truly own up to their actions, but SHAME ON THEM!
It truly is a story that makes you go HMMMM…
Books – The answer to your question about who the woman leading off the column is shall now be revealed. She is author Ingrid Thoft. I had the distinct pleasure of attending a book signing for her on Friday night. She’s written three books in her Fina Ludlow series and the first two have been spectacular (both made my top ten lists). I haven’t read the third book in the series, which is entitled Brutality, but that would be due to the fact I just picked it up at the signing.
I plan to write an article on the signing so I won’t say too much here now, but it was a really good time listening to the author talk about the research she went into for the story in Book 3, hearing a reading of a couple of chapters from the book and the answers given in the Q&A. I also got some brief one on one time to chat with her after everyone else had gotten their signed copies.
An unexpected bonus for me was author Hank Phillippi Ryan attending the event as an audience member. I got some time to chat with her as well.
More details on the night when I get the article written. However, since the site the article will appear on doesn’t like to put photos of the writers in the articles, I’ll share the pic I took with Thoft here. (I swear I really tried to smile normally in the photo, but as usual end up looking like an idiot.) The photo was taken by Hank Phillippi Ryan (see a pic of the two authors together below too).
I ended up picking up 5 news books to go along with my copy of Brutality. Four of the books were the first in the series.
There was The Gray Man by Mark Greaney. It’s a thriller series about a rather adept assassin.
Next up is the Ace Atkins novel The Ranger. It is the first in the Quinn Colson series about an ex-Army Ranger who ends up as sheriff in his hometown.
I also grabbed the first Paul Doiron novel The Poacher’s Son. It is about a game warden in Maine.
I liked Rogue Island, the first Bruce DeSilva book, so much that I picked up the second in the series. That one is called Cliff Walk.
Oh and while my sister is exaggerating ever so slightly, she posted the following photo on my Facebook page saying it looked like my room.
Movies – As promised, here’s what I had to say about the Jurassic World movie after seeing it last Sunday.
“While it did manage to keep my eyes to the screen with the spectacle of everything going on, the movie was just so good gawd stupid.
It has gotten to the point that when of any of these big events get out of control movies come out, I root for the natural disaster or what have you to win.
Because the people in the movie (or rather the writers of the movie) are too stupid to be left alive to continue their incredible run of insulting even basic human intelligence.
Plot holes galore and the fact that this world seems to exist in a universe where no one has ever seen a disaster movie (even while acknowledging the previous Jurassic Park movies in this film).
And somehow the female lead manages to run the equivalent of at least a half marathon IN HIGH HEELS! Without them breaking or her breaking her ankles? And how does Vincent D’Onofrio deliver an Emmy award quality performance as the Kingpin in the Netflix series Daredevil and then appear in this movie?
Do you smell that? I’m calling BS!
I gave it a 5 out of 10 overall on IMDB but mainly because of the effects etc. The story was stupid beyond measure.”
I also saw, at long last, the Gone Girl movie. I didn’t think it came even close to living up the hype that the book and film received. Here’s what I wrote about the movie on Facebook:
“It was an OK film but I fail to see what made this (and the novel it was based upon) so freaking popular.
The movie would serve as the greatest propaganda film if there was ever a movement to outlaw all marriage, and proves that Chris Rock stand up joke about men lying all the time, but women telling the bigger lies.
Overall, I gave the movie a 6 out of 10 on IMDB. It is watchable but pretty much spoils the mystery halfway through the film. And it is not a movie you would feel the need to watch a second time.”
Music – I’ve got two new bits of music for you to check out this week. The first is the new Thunder song “Black Water” from their Wonder Days album.
The second offering comes with the news that after a four year break, Disturbed will return with their new album Immortalized on August 21st. While I’m not crazy about the video itself, the new song “The Vengeful One” was pretty damn good. Decide for yourself by checking it out below.