Wednesday, May 31, 2006
Thursday, May 25, 2006
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
Rosco's Lotto Fever
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
Leave 'Sheed Alone, You Retarded Zebras!
Monday, May 15, 2006
Whah Joe Thornton izza CANADIAN?!?!!? Him too!?!? Sheesh.
Saturday, May 13, 2006
The Lonely Life of the Real Superman
Wednesday, May 10, 2006
Killing Brain Cells One Dunk at a Time
Tuesday, May 09, 2006
We be doin' it 24/8/23
An interesting bit of incite from Free Darko today, talking about Kobe Bryant and the now apocryphal Game 7 against the Suns. They particularly attack Skip Bayless, who eviscerates K.O.B.E. for the same reasons as our own esteemed Bopcity did in his most recent post. For one thing, SilverBird5000's point about Jordan is astute: as much as we believe in the myth of the man, we can never know what Jordan would have done without the conceptual impossibility of a time machine or other such ultimately impossible metrics.
(As an aside, Skip Bayless is a douchebag contrarian whose screechy screeds are derived from assuming the stance of devil's advocate for whatever story might be considering current in the scope of the Worldwide Leader. I have seen people praise Bayless on the basis of his voice being "different" from the majority of views offered up in the monolithic field of sports reporting, which is a bit like praising a child who shits on the floor for not feeling constrained by the pressures of society. To have him ranting against Kobe is almost enough to sway my sympathies entirely, which is a lot to say for a Warriors fan.)
The crux (crunx) of all of this distate with Kobe is the unavoidable comparisons with Jordan. The most diabolical part of these comparisons is that they are all based on Kobe's own desires and dreams. He has, in the literal sense of the phrase, brought this upon himself by comparing himself to Jordan, by framing himself within the context of His Airness, he has given a free pass for every basketball writer to treat him as Hardwood Icarus, his wings melted by firey self-righteousness fueled by his own arrogance, which is second only to that of the man whose shadow prevents Kobe from developing his own iconic silhouette.
FD takes a basketball realist approach to the whole problem, pointing out that as much as was attributed to Kobe and Nashty, the tides of battle rested more on the shoulders of the supporting casts. When Kwame, Luke and Smush played well, the Lakers won. When Shawn Marion woke up and Barbosa started getting hot, the Suns won. Whether connected or not, each team had a hot streak with a certain amount of overlap. While Nash and Bryant were the catalysts for their teams, they were ultimately beholden to the performances of their lesser-talented teammates. This seems to be a reasonable, and wholly unsatisfying, summation of the situation.
Unsatisfying, because we will never really be able to tell whether Kobe's viewed capitulation was actually an attempt to show up his teammates, whether he just shut it down once it was clear the game was out of control or if he was honestly just trying to get his team to play well as they had earlier in the series, subsuming his own numbers in a futile attempt to get the engine running again. The second option is non-Jordan, the third option is psuedo-Jordan and the first option is probably closer to Jordan than most people would like to admit.
We can't tell because Kobe's character has been warped by the funhouse mirror of his public persona. His actions on the court can never be interpreted as pure basketball because there are always other contexts forcing their way into the scene. Because he is defined through his relationships with his teammates and his coach, he has become larger than the game and thus impossible to gauge as a pure player of the game.
Perhaps the clarity of history and perfect vision of hindsight analysis will reveal more about Kobe, in the same way that it has created a much more nuanced picture of Jordan. Until then we will be unable to see Kobe winning except as Kobe feeding his own ego and unable to see Kobe losing without seeing Kobe sabotaging the team for the sake of his ego.
I apologize for being so Kobe-centric in my first two posts. He doesn't consume my imagination as much as he might seem, it's just that he was the last truly interesting story of These NBA Playoffs. The Once and Future King is going to get ground beneath the heel of the Pistons and after that, it's the usual suspects, as the Pistons and the Spurs have their hands on the tiller, Dallas and Miami have outside chances if they can get through this round and the Suns will invariably fall on their sword, the fabled blade of Nobigmen. The only thing that I'm really looking forward to at this point is the possibility of Sheed getting another ring, this time for the middle finger on his left hand.
Monday, May 08, 2006
Poetic Thugs, They All Need Hugs (How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love K.O.B.E...failing.)
Fear and Self-Loathing in P-Town
|I debated with myself on the subject of my first post for TMFF, and it took me a long time to choose my beloved Blazers over the despicable Lakers. But in the end, I realized I love the Blazers much more than I hate the Lakers - and that is saying a lot.|
So, because I love them so, let me tear into them for a second. It is no stretch to say that Portland is currently in its worst crisis of its existence. What once was a proud and storied franchise has now become slightly worse than the Knicks (by two whole games). That, in itself, makes me shudder. Nevertheless, there's nowhere to go but up, right? Right?!
Alright, so we will have a top-4 draft pick in this year's lottery - yep, THIS year's, which I hope, I hope, I hope, I hope, proves actually to be full of chocolately goodness rather than the bread and butter it appears to be. Adam Morrison, please prove those bastards wrong. Andrea Bargnani, please be the next Dirk and not the next Tskasavkdajvdaillli. LaMarcus (you know you're my boy, right?), be Chris Bosh OS X, not Sam Bowie XP (ooooh, outta left field, a PC jab). For the love of all things basketball, please let the Blazers draft one of these fine gents, and please, please, please sell some goddamn jerseys.
Well, I am getting ahead of myself. This is all hoping for the future; but let's see what is in our immediate past that needs to be rectified. In order, the three real "cancers" of the team (in the world of sports, the term "cancer" is definitely benign rather than malignant, because, let's face it, it's sports):
1. Paul Allen (Owner): Yep, the Paul Allen, owner of the Blazers for the past 18 years. While I can appreciate the two trips to the finals using his sweet, sweet moola, it has become all too clear that this guy is not a real business man. I would liken him to George Steinbrenner, only without the eye for talent. He spent buttloads of money on talent, giving up a nice chunk of his earned fortune, and what did it get us? A lot of trades that ended up better for the other team (no need to thank us, Detroit). Paul Allen has two failing companies. His cable venture is deep in the red, and, by comparison, the Blazers are in the pinkish-white. If you look into his corporate past you'll see that his running a company has never been successful - his leaving a company has, however, been immensely successful for both him and the company. He knows how to make an exit, and all I can hope is that he can make another.
2. John Nash (GM): According to HoopsHype (an excellent NBA resource, by the way), Nash's best move of his tenure with the Blazers has been sending Rasheed to Atlanta for Ratliff and Shareef (there was some change thrown in, but that's the gist). That was his BEST move? Rasheed has been called the best player in the league by Scoop Jackson, Shareef has been called a good player playing on bad teams, and Theo, well, he's just Theo - he's a role player in a league where that role is ever-disappearing - and he's old. By the start of next season, neither Shareef (already a King) nor Theo will don a Blazer uniform. WHAT A MOVE! (Aside: Rasheed'll always be a Blazer to me.) So that ought to sum up the fine job John Nash has done. Oh, should I mention that previously Nash worked in the Nets' and Wizards'/Bullets' front office? Should I also mention the surge in both franchises post-Nash? Didn't think I needed to.
3. Steve Patterson (President): Grow a pair! So far his best accomplishment the "no duh" move to help Houston get an NFL franchise. What? Football in Texas? What a wash that'll be! Santa H. Claus, a friggin' retarded kitten could come up with that. C'mon, Stevie, let's get back to the way it was in the Rockets' front office during the Hakeem years - make some critical moves, like, oh, I dunno, promote Kevin Pritchard.
You better believe there is a whole lot more wrong with the Blazers, and usually, I am an optimistic sort, but if it keeps going the way of the douchebag some other city in the union is going to be cursed with this franchise. Changes need to be made, and from all indication, it appears as if the top two above will be shilling themselves in other ventures, but who will take their place remains to be seen.
So, I offer my fearless predictions for the coming months:
1. Kiki Vandeweghe named General Manager.
2. Blazers receive the 3rd pick in the NBA draft.
3. Blazers select Andrea Bargnani (aka the Genoa Salami of NBA meats).
Whatever happens, there is one constant, one surety next season. The Blazers will at least tie the season series with the Lakers, and really, that's all I ask for.
(For more awesome Blazer bloggin action check out the following sites: OregonLive Blazers Blog, BlazersEdge)
Image Courtesy of Build A Bear.
Saturday, May 06, 2006
There's always next year.
|This past year I moved across the country, from the heart of Philadelphia Flyers nation (the city of Philadelphia and it's surrounding PA/NJ suburbs) to the sunny west coast of California. While this journey has been nothing short of amazing, with the change in time zones it has been nearly impossible for me to sit and watch a complete Flyers game. As someone who had spent 23 years living and breathing Philadelphia hockey, this year has been quite a shock to me. Throughout the season I tried to stay on top of all their acquisitions and standings but it's never quite the same as actually getting to watch the team perform night in and night out. So when the playoffs started, I was finally excited for the hockey season. With only 16 teams and only half of them playing each night the ability to see a Flyers game had arrived. Of course, what I found when I was finally able to see the team had me stunned. |
When the lockout finally ended, the NHL decided new rules were in order to help open up the game, to help make the game more accessible and entertaining to the average fan. These rules included eliminating the two line pass, shrinking the size of the goaltenders pads, expanding the defensive zones/shrinking the neutral zone and adding a crazy trapezoid behind the goal. All of these rule changes meant that teams were going to have to move away from the bruising, slowed down, neutral zone trap game that had flourished in the 90's. No longer were teams going to be able to score one goal and then play dump and chase for the rest of the game effectively choking the other team to submission. Teams would have to sign younger, faster, and stronger skaters if they had any intention of competing in this league.
At the end of the lockout, the Flyers seemed in good shape; they had a core of young, talented and hard working forwards who could carry the team for the next 5 years. Once they added Peter Forsberg, Flyers fans around the country rejoiced. It seemed the Stanley Cup was within our grasp, for the first time since 1997, and a game hadn't even been played yet. In the previous playoffs, the Flyers were defeated in the Eastern Conference Finals by a much younger and faster Tampa Bay Lightning team. So when word got out that general manager Bob Clarke was looking to make changes to his defensive corps, it was not a big surprise. What was the solution from the brilliant mind of Bob Clarke?
Denis Gauthier, Mike Rathje and Derian Hatcher. Or as I like to call them slow, slower and rigor mortis.
The Flyers first round opponent for the 2006 playoffs was the Buffalo Sabres, a much younger and faster team, and suddenly Flyers fans were having deja vu. It's not possible they would make the same mistake twice in a row. Bob Clarke must know something, right? Apparently not. This is the new NHL and Bob Clarke didn't get the message. This is not to say the Flyers were completely man-handled during the series, in fact it took the Sabres six games to finally eliminate them, but had the Flyers focused on developing a younger, faster team they may have had a chance to go all the way.
There is a Flyers tradition, dating all the way back to December 11, 1969. Before important games during the season or playoffs, the Flyers play Kate Smiths' rendition of "God Bless America". Amazingly the Flyers are 69-18-3 when this is played. As a lifelong Flyers fan, who for the first time is away from his family and friends, it would have been nice to hear it played on national TV, as the Flyers prepared to take the ice in the Stanley Cup finals. I guess there is always next year.
Friday, May 05, 2006
Game 7, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love K.O.B.E.
Thursday, May 04, 2006
Welcome to The Middle Foam Finger
|We're Making This Blog Because Your Favorite Team Sucks.|
Your Favorite Player Sucks. Your Fans Suck. Your Team's Storied History Sucks.
2004 Red Sox? Sucked.
Ted Williams? Sucked.
Fenway Park? SUCKS!
Red Sox Fans? Suck Wicked Hard.
Okay maybe just the Red Sox suck, but at some point this blog is going to aimed at teams, fans, history, ball parks, stadiums, arenas, players, their wives, ummmm pets, shoes, rec league sports, regular olympics, special olympics, colleges, high school, little league, (Insert Sport) Parents, sports that no one cares about, fans of said sports, sports writers, sports bloggers (fake sports writers)....whatever. I kind of suck for writing this because it's not very creative, but that's not going to stop me from continuing to post about things that I hate, and right now it's really easy.