Monday, July 28, 2014

NBA planning to make All-Star break longer because LeBron said so; and No. 23 controversy

Back in February I wrote a blog entitled LeBron James whines about not getting enough time off during the All-Star 'break'.

Over the weekend ESPN reported the following:

"The NBA is considering extending the All-Star break into a seven-day hiatus next season, according to a report by the South Florida Sun Sentinel.

Citing multiple sources, the Sun Sentinel reported that the league currently is using the week-long All-Star break as its 'model' while filling out the 2014-15 season."

And while I'm on the subject of Mr. James, here's what he said back in 2009 when he announced that he would no longer wear the number 23 (also via ESPN):

"I just think what Michael Jordan has done for the game has to be recognized some way soon. There would be no LeBron James, no Kobe Bryant, no Dwyane Wade if there wasn't Michael Jordan first. He can't get the logo, and if he can't, something has to be done. I feel like no NBA player should wear 23. I'm starting a petition, and I've got to get everyone in the NBA to sign it. Now, if I'm not going to wear No. 23, then nobody else should be able to wear it."

I guess LeBron is over that sentiment, as he's now planning to go back to No. 23 in his return to Cleveland.  Could someone ask him about this please?  Also, how very LeBron-esque was that quote about how if not even he is going to wear 23 then nobody should?  Classic.

Related: My "all the reasons why I can't stand LeBron" compilation blog

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Awesome Old Song/Movie Clip of the Week: Billy Madison's Musical

I got home from dinner last night and flipped on the TV.  The Red Sox were about to lose their fifth straight, so I started searching through the guide for something else.  Obviously I had to stop scrolling when Billy Madison came up.  In fact, in the very early days of I compared the film to a Sox-Yankees Opening Day matchup.

I'm proud to say that 19 years later I can still recite all the words to Billy's musical ensemble (I should warn you that it does contain some PG-13 language):

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Ice Cream Boat: Deluxe Edition

Last summer I wrote about an "ice cream boat" that some kids were operating along a beach on Cape Cod:

Today I saw the new and improved version:

And check out the menu:

Starbucks Frappucchino?  Credit cards accepted?  This thing is no joke.  I'm surprised it doesn't offer free WiFi...

Friday, July 25, 2014

The Red Sox outfield doesn't stink anymore

Back on June 11 Boston's five outfielders were batting a collective .215.  If the Red Sox are still trying to win this year (which they may not be after dropping a third straight game in Toronto yesterday to fall to 47-55), the common perception is that they need to bring in some outfield help before the trade deadline next week (July 31).  In reality that's no longer the case:

Since being introduced to the outfield Brock Holt is hitting .317 while player all three OF positions.  And speaking of team MVP Holt, how about this:

Daniel Nava got sent down to the minors due to his horrific April, but since being recalled in late May he's batting .314 with a .391 on-base percentage.

Shane Victorino is 8-for-19 (.421) in five games after finally getting healthy again.

Even Jackie Bradley Jr. has been an above average hitter of late.  Seriously.  He's hitting .298 over the past five weeks.

This is just some of what you can read in my latest Bleacher Report article:

3 Bold Predictions for the Boston Red Sox at the 2014 Trade Deadline

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Vladimir Putin and I are not on the same page when it comes to daylight savings time

In 2011 Russian President Dmitry Medvedev decided that Russia would no longer change its clocks for daylight savings time, and put the country on a permanent "summer" setting (where it's light an hour later in the evening).  Now Vladimir Putin has decided to go the opposite route, and will switch the country to a state of permanent "winter" (so the sun comes up an hour earlier in the morning).

Either way I like Russia's notion that changing the clocks twice a year is dumb, but I think that extra hour of daylight is way more valuable in the evening.

On the other hand, I don't live in Russia.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

It's impossible to judge the Celtics' Evan Turner signing without knowing the length of his contract

I'd always been under the impression that Evan Turner was a pretty talented NBA player, in large part because he knocked off the Celtics with a clutch buzzer-beater in each of the past two seasons (oddly enough by identical 95-94 scores):



Neither Jeff Green nor Evan Turner is the go-to guy you want.
With the Sixers last year, Turner posted 17.4 points, 6 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game.  But here's the thing: Philadelphia was a terrible basketball team.  It's easy for guys who aren't very good to put up big numbers on bad ball clubs; the points have to come from somewhere.

After Turner was traded to the Pacers his averages dropped off to just 7.1 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.4 assists.  So which guy is Boston getting?  Probably the second.

The Celtics are in line to have a ton of salary cap room next summer to go after big-time free agents.  I'll be a lot happier about this Turner signing if it doesn't mess that up.

For whatever reason, the details of Turner's contract still aren't known.  It's probably going to be around $3 or $4 million per season, but I'm a lot more concerned about the length.  If it's just for one year, or a two-year deal with a team option for the second, great.  But if it's guaranteed for more than one season, I think it's a very bad idea.  I'm a little shocked that this hasn't been mentioned more.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Some numbers behind the Red Sox becoming the hottest team in baseball

On July 9, the 39-51 Red Sox trailed the White Sox 4-0 heading into the bottom of the 8th inning.  Boston rallied for 3 runs in the 8th, 2 in the 9th (partially inspired by my tweet?), and beat Chicago 5-4.

The Sox have only lost once since (an annoying 3-2 defeat in Houston in which Boston actually pounded out 13 hits), and now sit at 47-52.  Winning 5 straight and 8 of 9 makes the Red Sox baseball's hottest team (although their fellow AL East basement dwellers down in Tampa have also won 5 in a row and 16 of 21, keeping the entire division just 8 games apart; things could get very interesting down the stretch).

The Boston outfield, which was so pathetic at the plate for much of the year, has suddenly come alive (more on this in the days ahead).  In each of the past two games all three Sox starting outfielders have posted at least two hits.

Yesterday the Red Sox plated 14 runs in just 5 innings.  Twice this season Boston went 7 full games without even scoring a total of 14 runs (May 16-23 and June 15-21).

The hot streak directly coincides with the release of catcher A.J. Pierzynski and the promotion of Christian Vazquez from Pawtucket.  Boston is undefeated (5-0) in games in which Vazquez has played.

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