Monday, April 30, 2007

Weekend Recap

Thoughts from the weekend, in no particular order...

Brady Quinn was drafted where he should have been drafted, if Cleveland hadn't traded up KC would have taken him at 23. But I predict he will stink as a pro. I just don't see him doing well. Not just stat-wise, I just see him as a guy who doesn't have "it." Whatever "it" is, he don't got it. Everytime Quinn played a really good team, a team that will have a lot of players drafted into the NFL (i.e. Michigan, USC, LSU, etc)...his team got smoked, and he wasn't great.

Let's look at Notre Dame's schedule...three losses, to Michigan, USC, and LSU. Average margin of defeat: 24.3 points. Brady Quinn's average against those three teams: 20 for 43, 219 yards, 3 TDs, 2 INTs...not awful numbers, but definitely not top 5 or top 10 pick numbers. Cleveland getting him at 22 is perfect for Quinn, because now he plays for his hometown team, with the pressure of the 22nd overall pick instead of the 3rd. And he has Joe Thomas protecting his blindside. That said, I just don't see him becoming a good NFL qb.

What the hell was Miami thinking with Ted Ginn Jr at #9?! I mean, fine, you don't like Brady Quinn, I have no problem with that. But to draft Ginn Jr at 9? A guy who is still rehabbing the left foot sprain he suffered during the BCS Championship? If that's the guy you want, why not trade down? Why not pick up some more draft picks, then get your guy Ginn later in the first round? Maybe they tried to, but I haven't read anything to prove that. Bad job by Miami.

Yankees are in the hurt box. 9-14?! These are not your father's yankees....or maybe they are. They did struggle during the early 90s. So maybe it's better to say these are not your older brother's yankees. Or your older sister. Or your uncle who's younger than your parents. Or aunt, for that matter.

Whatever relation it is for you, these Yankees are struggling...and the Red Sox look awesome. Josh Beckett with 5 wins, Schilling and Matsuzaka both with 3, Papelbon looking solid as the Closer, and the bullpen doing a good job getting to Papelbon. And the offense is, well, the Red Sox offense. Big Papi, Manny being Manny, plus JD Drew, Julio Lugo, Mike Lowell, Coco Crisp, et. al....like a fantasy team! Barring injuries, Red Sox will be in the playoffs...

Warriors up 3-1 over the Mavericks. Don Nelson is a genius. Mullin and Higgins have put together the perfect team for Nellie, and Baron Davis is playing like the leader Golden State wanted when they traded for him. I don't think they will close out in 5 or 6, I think this series will go to a seventh game, but as a Warriors fan who didn't have faith in the team or the coach or the front office, I am officially eating my words. Great pickup of Matt Barnes, who hit a huge three pointer late in the game last night. Great trade to get Stephen Jackson and Al Harrington, perfect for Nelly's system. Got to hand it to Jackson, even with his baggage, he has playoff experience, and if he can keep his emotions in check and his head screwed on straight, he can be devastating.

The Warriors were pretty much the worst team to get the 8 seed from the Mavericks opinion. GS is led by a coach who knows all the Mavericks players inside and out, they always play the Mavericks tough (GS won 6 of 7 against the Mavericks the last two years before the playoffs), and right now the Warriors shots are all falling for them. I expect this series to go 7, and then the Mavericks will pull it out in a hotly contested game.

Not surprised Bulls swept the Heat, not surprised Suns are up 3-1 on the Lakers, and certainly not surprised that Cleveland is up 3-0 on the Gilbert-less Wizards. I think Houston pulls away and wins the series against Utah 4-2, I don't think Denver wins another game against the Spurs, and I think the Raptors win game 5 at home before falling to the Nets in game 6.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

A Letter to Cho Seung Hui

Dear sir:

Mr. Cho Seung Hui, you suck. You are a scumbag. An awful person. A pathetic excuse for a human being. Because you got upset over a girl, you ended the lives of 32 people. Because of a girl. Am I missing something? Was this Helen of Troy that got you all hot and bothered? I gotta say, I've been turned down by my fair share of girls, and I never once thought to myself "you know what would be a good idea - shooting random people for no apparent reason."

Earth to crazy guy, we've all been down that road. Did you think that you were the only one that's felt crappy because you were rejected? Poor, sad you, this girl didn't return your affection, wah wah wah. Every single man and woman has been rejected by someone else. It happens. And it sucks when it happens. But you know what us real human beings do? We move on. We laugh about it with our friends. We find someone else. There is no one who should be that damn important that you would want to kill all those people for. Grow up, and grow a pair.

I'm guessing that you couldn't even name 30 of those people. I'm guessing you had no idea who any of those people were. Sure maybe you had seen them around campus, but did you actually know them? Did you actually have a reason for killing them? For example, did you know that the R.A. you killed (after you shot the girl who apparently ruined your life) was a 23-year old, majoring in English, Biology, and Psychology, with a 4.0 GPA? A guy who everyone loved and respected? A great guy, now gone, because you are a scumbag.

You even wrote notes venting about corruption and the privileged. So this is how you fix both problems? Shooting 32 people? I'm not a rocket scientist by any stretch of the imagination, but I think there's a flaw in your plan. Not only did you kill all the wrong people, you are now the bad guy. You are the guy that we all hate now. That's right, you, Mr. anti-corruption, Mr. other-people-have-stuff-that-I-don't-and-therefore-I-hate-them, Mr. she-doesn't-like-me-woe-is-me-life-sucks, you are now the corrupt. Not only that, you're also the privileged - privileged to be dead, because now you don't have to face the music. If you had been any kind of a decent and kind human being, you would have reversed the order of your rampage, and shot yourself first.

That's what upsets me the most about this situation - that you were such a p*ssy that you took your own life. You couldn't even be man enough to stick around and see the damage you caused. You ended your own life, leaving 32 people dead, and countless others grieving. What a weak way to leave this world. At 23 years old, you are old enough to be considered a man, but there is no way in hell I'm thinking of you as anything but a child. A weak, whiny, brat of a kid who couldn't get what he wanted and so he took his frustration out on everyone around him. And then when you realized the damage you had caused, you decided that instead of facing the music, instead of facing the friends and families of those you killed, instead of facing the world, you would take your own life. Was it our fault that nobody liked you? Was it our fault that life wasn't going the way you wanted? Guess what - sometimes life sucks. News flash! This just in! "This is TRL reporting live from the world, and what we know right now is that life can get you down sometimes!" Holy crap, alert the media!

You know what the rest of us do when life gets tough? We work through it. We cope, we deal, we move on. Now, because of your actions, the friends and families of 32 people are going to have to do just that - cope, deal, and eventually, move on. I don't necessarily believe in Heaven, Hell, or God, but Mr. Cho Seung Hui: I really hope and pray there's a special place in Hell just for you.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Imus[sed] up

Let me start by saying I am not a Don Imus fan. I don't find him funny in any way shape or form. Sometimes the people around him are funny, but Imus himself doesn't do anything for me. That said, I'm trying to understand what the big deal is with his comments regarding the Rutgers Women's Basketball Team. I understand that what he said was insulting, and probably not in good taste, and probably not the smartest thing he could have done, but when has Imus ever been in a) nice, b) in good taste, or 3) smart? The guy makes a living off saying stuff to piss people off, regardless of whether it's factually based or not. When you think Imus, or Howard Stern, or Mancow, or any other so called "shock jocks," you don't really think of people who say nice things about everything, who always have a pleasant demeanor - these guys aren't Pleasantville. They humor us by saying stuff that we might have thought at one point in time, but either didn't have the balls to say it out loud, or had the common sense to keep it to ourselves.

I know people are upset with Imus, but do they realize that by yelling all they are doing is driving up Imus' ratings? And does Rutgers realize that they are getting more press than a Women's Championship Runner Up has ever received? Let's be honest, there aren't many people who care about women's basketball. People probably have heard the name Pat Summit, they are probably aware that Tennessee won the Women's championship, but I would bet that without Imus' comments, a very small percentage of the US would be aware that Rutgers was in the Championship game. Somewhere on the Rutgers campus, someone is doing backflips at all the press the University is receiving.

Here is what went down on Imus' show:

DON IMUS: So, I watched the basketball game last night between -- a little bit of Rutgers and Tennessee, the women's final.
SID ROSENBERG: Yeah, Tennessee won last night -- seventh championship for Pat Summitt, I-Man. They beat Rutgers by 13 points.
IMUS: That's some rough girls from Rutgers. Man, they got tattoos and --
BERNARD McGUIRK: Some hard-core hos.
IMUS: That's some nappy-headed hos there. I'm gonna tell you that now, man, that's some -- woo. And the girls from Tennessee, they all look cute, you know, so, like -- kinda like -- I don't know.
McGUIRK: A Spike Lee thing.
IMUS: Yeah.
McGUIRK: The Jigaboos vs. the Wannabes -- that movie that he had.
IMUS: Yeah, it was a tough --
CHARLES McCORD: Do The Right Thing.
McGUIRK: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
IMUS: I don't know if I'd have wanted to beat Rutgers or not, but they did, right?
ROSENBERG: It was a tough watch. The more I look at Rutgers, they look exactly like the Toronto Raptors.

Ok so yeah, what the guys said were stupid, inappropriate, not very nice, and racist. They were making a joke. An insenitive joke, but a joke nonetheless. A joke that wasn't very funny, so we don't laugh. Do we really need to make a big deal about it? Is the world going to change because we called out Don Imus on a joke gone wrong? Does having a tattoo really make one "tough"? Do we think for one minute that because Imus and his crew called these women "ho's" that they really are? Did anyone think that Imus had ever met any of these women? And again why do we give a rat's ass what Don Imus says? Are people going to hear him, and say "yeah you know what, those girls are ho's"? Even if they think that, what happens then? The world comes to a screeching halt?

Racism exists - I know that. It's still out there. But what Imus said - was it racist or just stupid? Most of the time the two go hand in hand, but in this case I think they were separate. I don't believe Imus is racist, I just think he tries to say things that other people wouldn't. He makes a living out of making fun of every race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, etc. Should he hold back and not make fun of black people because it might come out racist? Is racism worse than sexism or homophobia? Rappers uses the terms "ho" and "nappy haired ho" in their music, so where is the kicking and screaming to get them to stop? Because the majority of rappers are black it's ok to use that language? A "no one beats up my sibling but me" kind of thing? So it becomes racist if someone of a different race says it? What Imus said was just plain stupid and not funny. No need to make this a national agenda.

And let's be honest about something, most women basketball players are not very attractive. I don't know what Imus was watching, but the Tennessee players aren't going to be winning any beauty pageants themselves. I'm looking at their pictures now, and...well, not so much. We're not talking about stunners here.

Again, I know there is still racism in the world, and I know that we have a long way to go, but I think one step is we have to relax and stop worrying about what stupid people say. Stupid people will say stupid things - that's what stupid people do. So what does that make those who listen to the stupid people and bitch and moan and complain everytime they say something stupid? Who's the bigger fool, the fool - or those who pay attention to the fool?

The bottom line is that the members of the Rutgers women basketball team are not asked to look like models - they're asked to play basketball. And apparently they play basketball quite well. Rutgers was a 4 seed that upset Duke and LSU on their way to the Championship game. They had an amazing run. They are a young team that will probably only get better. And nothing Imus said takes away from that.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Pay Attention to the Situation

This pisses me off. Yesterday the Marlins and the Nationals were deadlocked at 6 in the bottom of the ninth, at Washington. The home team Nationals load up the bases with 1 out, and Dmitri Young steps to the plate. He hits a long fly ball to left field, near the foul line, where outfielder Josh Willingham was waiting for it. Willingham just stands there and watches the ball as it bounces a foot or so fair, thus winning the game for the Nationals.

Now some of the national sports media would have you believe that Willingham screwed up, that he should have made a play for the ball, that he assumed the ball was foul and hence made an ass out of "u" and "med." My first thought when I saw what happened was that Willingham had absolutely no chance to gun the runner out at home, so he decided to let it bounce and just prayed it would bounce foul.

Pretty damn smart play, in my mind.

In that situation, what other option did he have? He catches it, Nationals win 7-6, because he didn't have a chance at throwing the runner out. If it bounces fair, Marlins win 7-6 anyway. But if he let's it bounce, and it bounces foul, then the pitcher Julio gets another attempt to get out of the inning. And it was close enough that there was a chance, in his mind, that it would drop foul.

Let's hear from Willingham:

"I knew it was going to be close," Willingham said. "[letting it drop foul] was the only play I had."

His manager, Fredi Gonzalez, agreed.

"He ain't going to throw him out at the plate there," Gonzalez said. "I thought it was a head's-up play."

Hey national broadcaster people - how about looking at the situation before you start judging how smart or not smart a play was? I mean heck I am not the most knowledgeable baseball guy, but I at least have some modicum of common sense!

Me: 1
National Broadcaster People: 0

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Gator Nation

I am an unabashed Florida Gator fan. Scratch that. I am a Florida Gator. I did not attend there, but I grew up there, 2 minutes away from the Swamp, 2 minutes away from the Rowdy Reptile section. I ate, lived, breathed Gator sports. (I still do, I just don't live as close as I used to.) I went to UF baseball games. Heck, I even went to a Gators gymnastics meet or two. So I'm trying to write down how this 2 year stretch affects me, as a Gator. The 2006 Men's Basketball Championship. The 2006 Football Championship. The 2007 Men's Basketball Championship.

I mean, holy crap.

That's a hell of a decade for most schools, and Florida did that in a year. A single year. Not a year and a half, close to two years - a year. From April 3rd, 2006, to April 2nd, 2007, the Florida Gators won two men's basketball championships and one football championship. Three championships in a space of 364 days.

I mean, wow.

I don't think it will ever get better than this. Maybe if the Florida football team wins the 2007-08 championship, but that will only make this run even better. This is as good as it gets. Champions in football and men's basketball. Three championships in 364 days.

Not too shabby.

So how does it affect me? It doesn't earn me money, or get me a promotion, or imbue me with any special talents or abilities. Being champion in both football and basketball doesn't make me a better person, or give me any sort of special knowledge. But it makes me happy. Really happy.

When your team wins a championship or a big game, people will offer their congratulations. Those who aren't big fans of any one team in particular will laugh at this, will scoff at this, wondering what we did to help the team win. These are the same people who laugh at us when we talk about how "we won," or why "they couldn't beat us." Laugh all you want, but we are a part of it all. You know what we did? We rooted for our team, and we suffered when they lost. We worried about our team, but we smiled and cheered when they were down. We yelled at them when they screwed up, we applauded them when they succeeded. We went through every emotion in the book watching our team game in and game out. We did the little things to help them win, wearing the lucky shirt, making sure we did the same thing we've done on previous games, asking any sort of deity we believe in to help our team out in their hour of need. We did whatever we could to help our team win. And when they do win, when they win the whole kit and kaboodle, we can say "we helped them get here, we were there every step of the way."

So now I smile every time I think of Horford's shimmy after his fastbreak dunk, or Noah's fist-to-chest bump after pretty much anything, or Green's calm, cool, collected demeanor even when Ohio State was making a run, or Humphrey hitting big three after big three, Richard doing the selfless duty of banging with Greg Oden, Hodge holding his daughter after the game, or Brewer with one of the greatest smiles in Florida history. I think of Billy D who sweats more from the armpits than any Coach I've ever seen. I think of Jeremy Foley who stuck with Donovan even when the basketball team wasn't playing up to par. And I think of all those Gator fans, the Gator Nation, who all had smiles on their face after our third championship in 364 days.

The Gators winning their second straight men's basketball championship didn't make me a better person, but it made me a happy person. And I think that counts for a lot.