Tuesday, December 31, 2013

12-4 is below average for the Brady/Belichick Patriots

Last year when the Patriots still had Wes Welker and Aaron Hernandez, as well as a healthy Rob Gronkowski, Vince Wilfork, and Jerod Mayo, they finished 12-4 and earned the 2nd seed in the AFC playoffs behind a 13-3 Denver squad.  Sound familiar?

Maybe even more impressive than repeating the same level of success this season without all those guys is the fact that during the thirteen-year span of the Tom Brady/Bill Belichick era in New England, 12-4 is actually a subpar record for the Patriots.  Take a look at the table on the right: Since 2001 the Pats have averaged 12.15 wins per season (not counting the playoffs), and that includes both the 0-2 start in 2001 before Brady got the job, and the 11-5 Matt Cassel campaign of 2008.

As I mentioned a couple years ago, I wish somebody with more resources and research capability than me would find out how many NFL teams have never had a twelve-win season over the 13 years that New England has averaged more than 12.

1/2 UPDATE: Over the last 13 seasons, 9 of the NFL's 32 teams (28%) have never won 12 games in a single year: Miami, NY Jets, Buffalo (all the other teams in the AFC East, which New England has led in wins every time), Cleveland, Cincinnati, Oakland, Washington, Arizona, and Detroit.

Thanks to TeddyO for researching.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Awesome Old Song of the Week: "I Love Your Smile" by Shanice

This song came out in 1991, and made it as high as #2 on the Billboard pop charts.  "I Love Your Smile" was the only big hit of Shanice's career.  It featured Branford Marsalis on saxophone, who I always remember as the guy who was the head of Jay Leno's Tonight Show band around the time I was in high school.

My favorite thing about this video is how perfectly 1991 it is; that outfit she's dancing in during the chorus at the 1:00 minute mark is straight from the wardrobe of either AC Slater or the Fresh Prince of Bel Air.  Shanice also has a bit of an En Vogue thing going on in that all black ensemble (I highly recommend clicking the link, it's a post that hits on a lot of the key components of LucidSportsFan.com).

Sunday, December 29, 2013

The San Diego Chargers should be Super Bowl favorites. Really.

Back in August I wrote a blog entitled "The San Diego Chargers are going to win the Super Bowl?"  The premise was simple: In each of the last four seasons, the team that the Philadelphia Eagles have played in their home opener has gone on to win it all (the Saints in '09, Packers in '10, Giants in '11, and Ravens last year.  Speaking of the Ravens, how's their playoff bandwagon feeling today?).

The Eagles first home opponent this season was San Diego.  And now that the 9-7 Chargers have just barely managed to squeak into the postseason as the 6th seed in the AFC, their title chances are better than ever.  The NFL's last three champions all finished the regular season with a record of 10-6 or 9-7, had to play on Wild Card weekend, and each won multiple road playoff games in order to get to the Super Bowl.  San Diego (and maybe the Dallas/Philly winner tonight) is the only team in this year's postseason that might fit that profile.

And for the record, two weeks ago when the Chargers were 7-7 I sent this email after somebody asked me to pick a Super Bowl winner and final score:

Saturday, December 28, 2013

"Andrew Bynum suspended by Cavs" is about the least surprising headline ever

Just before the Cavaliers were set to take on the Celtics at the Garden this afternoon, Cleveland announced that it had suspended center Andrew Bynum indefinitely for "conduct detrimental to the team."  Shortly afterwards Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski (who may be the most reliable NBA source there is) sent out this tweet:

If that sounds eerily familiar, there's good reason.  Over the summer when the Cavs signed Bynum I called him a "sneaky basketball hating genius" for manipulating them into a two-year $24 million contract, despite the fact that he sat out the previous season for no good reason (minor injuries he "couldn't" recover from), and once had a teammate say "I’ve never met another player in the league who likes basketball less.”

I also set the over/under on number of games Bynum would play this season at 35, with a clear bias towards the under.  At the moment the total stands at 24, and I like my chances.  The crazy thing is that Cleveland can decide to cut Bynum by January 7th and only pay him $6 million.  All he head had to do was suck it up and behave for another 10 days to earn the rest of his money.  Maybe he's not such a genius after all...

Friday, December 27, 2013

If I played in the NFL, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't rent out my place for the Super Bowl

If I were Cooper Taylor I wouldn't want strangers in my kitchen.
One of the top stories today on ESPN.com is about Cooper Taylor, a New York Giants rookie defensive back who is planning to rent out his Rutherford, NJ condo for a week during the Super Bowl (which will be played less than one mile away at MetLife Stadium).  He pays $2,700 a month for his two-bedroom, two-bath unit, and he's looking to get $9,000 for the week according to an ad on Craigslist.

I have rented short term furnished apartments from other people many times on Craigslist in the past, but I've always said I'd never want to rent out my apartment to someone else in that manner.  It's just not worth it to have to worry about people you don't know using all your stuff.  But, if somebody offered me nine grand for my place for a week I might have to rethink my policy.  On the other hand I also don't get paid $405,000 a year, the NFL rookie minimum salary which Taylor is making.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

My favorite childhood christmas tree ornament is even cooler than I realized

When I was little, every December my family used to go to a Christmas tree ornament fair in our town.  Each year my sisters and I got to pick out ones we liked and have them labelled with our names on them.  They always fit into the same theme; one year we got ceramic gingerbread men, another we chose little wooden figurines of different sports players.  But the greatest ones we ever ended up with were diamond shaped glass mirrors with our names painted on the back, and a picture of an animal on the front.  Here's mine:

It wasn't until many many years later that I first became aware of people using the expression "rainbows and unicorns" to describe something that is perfectly fun/happy/friendly/nice/sweet etc.  As much as I loved this ornament as a child, now it's even better.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

The NBA's Christmas Day games are pretty terrible, they should have stuck with the Celtics

Bad games in strange uniforms.
For the last 5 years the Boston Celtics have played on Christmas Day.  My league sources tell me they were supposed to take the floor again this year, but after trading away Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett over the summer the NBA decided to pull them from it's showcased December 25th lineup.  That explains why they're off for nearly an entire week (which in the horrible Atlantic Division may actually help Boston regain first place), and also why a Celtics version of the official Christmas jersey was created (pictured on the right -- yeah, short sleeves, weird).  Anyway, here's the schedule:

12:00 pm: Chicago (10-16) at Brooklyn (9-18)
2:30 pm: Oklahoma City (22-5) at New York (9-18)
5:00 pm: Miami (21-6) at LA Lakers (13-15)

The night games get better with 18-11 Houston visiting 22-6 San Antonio at 8:00 pm, and the LA Clippers (20-9) taking on Golden State (16-13) at 10:30.  But the marquee matchups are supposed to be in the afternoon, and the 12-17 Celtics have a better record than half the teams playing.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

My all-time favorite Christmas video: Donald Duck's snowball fight

In 1983 Disney released and animated version of "A Christmas Carol" (Mickey's Christmas Carol) starring Mickey Mouse as Bob Cratchet, and obviously Scrooge McDuck as Ebenezer Scrooge.  It was awesome.  Before the feature came on Disney also included three animated shorts -- one was The Art of Skiing (featuring Goofy, originally released in 1941), and another was Pluto's Christmas Tree (from 1951, where Chip and Dale live in Mickey's tree).  But the best of all was Donald's Snow Fight (1942), in which Donald Duck engages in a vicious snowball battle with his three nephews:

Random side note, who are Huey, Dewey, and Louie's parents anyway?

Monday, December 23, 2013

The roles of Carmelo Anthony & Jason Kidd in the sad state of New York basketball

Last year the New York Knicks finished 54-28.  Through one third of this season they are 9-18, almost a completely inverse record.  They have virtually the same roster, including Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler, J.R. Smith, Raymond Felton, Pablo Prigioni, Kenyon Martin, Iman Shumpert, and Amare Stoudemire.  Granted the Knicks have had more than their fair share of injuries, but they also expected to improve after adding Andrea Bargnani and Ron "please call me Metta World Peace" Artest.

New York has played 27 games so far, and Carmelo Anthony has been their top scorer in every single one of them; that's probably the first sign that they don't have a very good team.  To make matters worse (or better?) Anthony just sprained his ankle Monday night and may miss some time.  Last year they had seven different players lead the club in scoring at least once.

That team also led the NBA in threes (a huge part of their success), averaging 11 per game while shooting 38% from long range.  This season they are down to 8.9 per game and 35%.  The Knicks did lose two of their best three-point shooters from a year ago, Steve Novak and Jason Kidd.  Can that really be the difference?

There's also another team in New York that began the season with lofty goals and has stumbled to an identical 9-18 record.  Among other issues, the Brooklyn Nets have suffered through an embarrassing display of head coaching by none other than the very same Jason Kidd.  It's quit possible Kidd's transition from Knicks player to Nets coach has played a big part in sinking both NYC franchises.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Awesome Old Song of the Week (Christmas Edition): "All I Want for Christmas is You"

While thinking of my favorite Christmas songs I guess I sort of assumed this one wasn't old enough.  So I was a little shocked just now when I found out Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas is You" was originally released 19 years ago, in 1994.  I'm partial to the decade old Love Actually version however, from Olivia Olsen in 2003.

Previous AOSOTW Christmas Editions by:
The Chipmunks
Bruce Springsteen

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Why do people think the Baltimore Ravens are a contender? They're going to struggle just to make the playoffs...

I've heard a lot of talk this week about the 8-6 Baltimore Ravens, how they can win their division and be a serious threat in the postseason.  The other day CSNNE's Gary Tanguay even said he thinks they are one of two favorites in the AFC (with Denver).  I'm not buying this at all, not for one second.

All of the hype is coming because of what they did last season -- getting hot down the stretch and winning the Super Bowl as a Wild Card team.  If anything I think that makes them less likely to go on another playoff run.  They already had their luck a year ago; it's called "regression to the mean."  It's also funny to me that the Ravens bandwagon is gaining so much momentum the week after they failed to score a touchdown.  Kicking a whole bunch of field goals isn't going to get them very far.

But the main reason I don't think anybody has to worry about Baltimore is because the odds of them making the postseason just aren't very good.  In order to take the AFC North they have to beat 10-4 New England tomorrow, and then win at 9-5 Cincinnati next week.  That is no easy task.  If they lose one (or two) they still have a shot at a Wild Card, but the 8-6 Dolphins finish against Buffalo and the Jets, and could easily win them both.

Regardless, I like the Patriots' chances tomorrow in Baltimore, even though the Ravens are hot (4 wins in a row culminating in that ridiculous 61 yard field goal "buzzer beater" pictured above) and the Pats are coming off a tough loss.  The NFL is a week to week league, full of ups and downs, highs and lows.  The pendulum is due to swing back in New England's favor.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Barney screws up spectacular video game reference on "How I Met Your Mother"

One of my all-time favorite original Nintendo games (along with Baseball Stars) was Super Off Road.  So when Barney fantasized about it on a recent episode of "How I Met Your Mother" I was pretty psyched (I recorded it crap-ily on purpose, the first time I tried to upload the clip to youtube it got banned for copyright infringement):

"Surprise!  Beautiful dinner, family and friends, free game tokens, and an 'Off Road' arcade game that's rigged for unlimited turbos!"

Unfortunately, Barney got his terminology wrong; it's "nitros," not "turbos."

Ah, memories...

Mallrats, flavored scotch, and How I Met Your Mother
Things that suck about being lefty (It really is related, I promise!)

Thursday, December 19, 2013

"Brian Boitano announces he's gay." No, that's not a headline from 1993

This is going to be short blog, because the title really says it all.  I just saw this story on Yahoo Sports; apparently 1988 figure skating gold medalist Brian Boitano has come out of the closet, shortly after being named to the U.S. delegation for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics next February.  Honestly my only reaction to this is that if you told me that was a twenty-year-old headline, I wouldn't have doubted you for a second.  I guess I'm glad he feels comfortable enough to do this now, but it's too bad he didn't a long long time ago.

But really the best part of this story is that it gives me an excuse to post this South Park clip:

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

So in the new NHL format, the Western Conference only gets 7 playoff teams, right?

I've never really been a hockey guy, and with my increased NBA writing of late I have paid a particular lack of attention to the NHL this season.  While looking at the standings today something caught my eye that I wasn't previously aware of (no, not the fact that there is actually a division that goes by the name "Metropolitan"):

There are now 16 teams in the Eastern Conference, and just 14 in the West.  When 8 of them make the playoffs in the East, 50% get in.  However, out West every club has a 57% chance (8/14) of reaching the postseason.  How unfair is that?  I know other major sports have had similar discrepancies in the past, but at the moment they're all fixed.  Maybe the NHL offices (who were ahead of the times on instant replay) are working on some sort of complex 7 team round robin tournament for the Western Conference playoffs in order to even things out.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Facebook's photo recognition software is just plain creepy

Recently I posted a picture on facebook from my family's Thanksgiving.  Immediately afterwards it said the photo was taken "with" both myself and my sister, and tagged each of us in it.

What the hell facebook?!  Do you think you're the CIA or something?  I'm fairly certain neither of us is any sort of terrorist threat that needs to be immediately identified.

If I want to tag myself in my photo that I upload, I'm fairly certain I can do that on my own.  And the same goes for other people in it as well.  I don't understand why this is a service someone would want; is anyone actually worried about not being able to tag people in their pictures because they don't know who they are?  Or is it a time/speed thing?  If anything I think it takes longer when you have to un-tag people because you aren't sure if they want to be tagged or not.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Another Patriots game decided by randomness, which now accounts for 79% of their season

NOT a game winner... this time.
Watching Tom Brady try five times (an offside penalty gave them an extra chance) unsuccessfully to get the ball in the end zone in the final seconds yesterday, it was painfully obvious how much he could have used Rob Gronkowski.  But, if Danny Amendola makes that grab the Patriots still win anyway (off topic, Amendola had 10 catches for 131 yards this week, how did Wes Welker do?).  Or if they get a pass interference penalty on that throw to Michael Hoomanawanui (that could just as easily have been called as the one last week vs Cleveland) they win as well.

New England's last 5 games have been decided by 4 points or less, as have 9 of the 14 they've played all season.  Two more were within a touchdown, meaning 11 of 14 have been one score games; 79% of their outcomes could have changed had one play per contest happened/been officiated differently.  

The Pats (10-4) have had three relatively easy victories this year (23-3 vs Tampa, 27-17 vs Miami, and 55-31 vs Pittsburgh), with all of them coming at home.  For the season they are 7-4 in close games, 4-0 at home, and 3-4 on the road.  But the good news is that in each of their four losses, they've had a chance to win on their final possession.

If the Patriots keep taking care of business at home and giving themselves an opportunity at the end on the road, maybe they'll make the play/get the call or maybe they won't, but can you really ask for anything more?

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Awesome Old Song of the Week: "Walking on Broken Glass" by Annie Lennox

I'm not exactly sure why I picked this song.  Honestly I can't even remember if I really liked it that much back in 1992 when it came out.  And without a doubt "Walking on Broken Glass" is not going to be very a popular choice with most of my readers.  But there's something about that instrumental background in the chorus that has stuck with me for the last couple decades; it's just sort of uplifting I guess?

Anyway, I'm going with Annie Lennox today, and that's all there is too it.  She also has a cover of Bob Marley's "Waiting in Vain" that I like way more than I probably should.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Rajon Rondo is practicing (hopefully won't pull a Derrick Rose) -- bad news for Jordan Crawford's All-Star campaign

Rondo was back on the court Saturday participating in practice fully for the time since tearing his ACL in February.  From this point he should return to game action within a month.  In a similar situation last spring Rose was medically cleared to play for the Bulls, but decided against it until the beginning of this season.

However, if we don't see Rondo take the floor again soon, it may not be his decision.  At 11-14 the Celtics are in first place in a terrible Atlantic Division.  But they're also just a few games away from having one of the five worst records in the NBA, which would likely mean a top player in the 2014 draft.  If Danny Ainge starts making trades to build for the future (and in turn make the team worse right now), the club could "encourage" Rondo to sit out a while longer.

Last week I posted a blog on Celtics Life emploring fans to vote for Jordan Crawford for the All-Star game.  I also wrote an article for Yahoo Sports making the case for Crawford, who statistically has been the second best point guard in the East so far.  But if Rondo does return soon, Crawford's All-Star long shot will all but disappear.  At this point Crawford is also a probable trade candidate, and if so Ainge would want to move him before Rondo takes his job away and lowers his value.  Another Yahoo article I wrote suggested Boston deal Crawford to Miami, and today the New York Daily News printed this:
"A few GMs have identified Boston’s Jordan Crawford as a player the Heat will go after in the coming days/weeks."

As of now no GMs have contacted me for further trade advice.

Friday, December 13, 2013

What if bars put every drink in the same glass?

Anyone who's ever worked in the service industry (or really any job for that matter) has had that moment when they think "if I owned this place here's what would be different..."

Well, for me, one of the things I'd like to see is a high end bar/restaurant that puts every single drink in the same glass.  It'd make life way easier for the staff, and save the establishment a lot of money as well.  I've had this idea for many many years, dating back to when I first came to the conclusion that martini glasses are about the stupidest thing ever.  They serve no function, are annoying to hold, and pretty much constantly spill all over the place.  So without further ado, here's the glass I've decided is best suited for everything a bar might serve:

In doing this research I've just discovered the official name for a glass of this type is a double old fashioned.  This particular one holds 13.25 oz of liquid, so you can pour a 12 oz draft beer (or bottle) in it no problem.  Standard mixed drinks would fit perfectly as well.  There's also a thick heavy base similar to rocks glasses for people who like to drink straight booze.  And it's vaguely the same shape as a martini glass, but it's design will make it much less likely to spill (also because a martini would only fill it up to about the LucidSportsFan line).  Similarly a glass of wine would pour to that same line as well.  But best of all, these glasses could be stacked one on top of the other to save space.

As far as I know this is the third blog I've written with which I used a picture of bar glass, here are the first two:
Snifters 101
"Can I get $7 of Patron?" 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Old MLB pitchers: Retired or Not?

In case you don't watch 6 hours of ESPN's (yes, plural - original, 2, news, etc.) a day and haven't been paying any attention to offseason baseball stories this past week, here's a brief recap of what's happened with some aging pitchers, along the lines of the "dead or alive" celebrities game:

ESPN should have had a special episode of "Baseball Tonight"
 with Mark Mulder reporting on Mark Mulder's comeback
Roy Halladay, 36, Retired - After going 4-5 with a 6.82 ERA for the Phillies last season, the two-time Cy Young Award winner has decided to hang 'em up.

Bartolo Colon, 40, Not retired - Colon's miraculous (and by miraculous I mean steroid aided) late-career renaissance continues, as he just signed a two-year deal with the Mets for $20 million.  Colon was basically washed up back in 2008 with Boston.

Mark Mulder, 36, No longer retired - Mulder quit baseball in 2009 after multiple arm surgeries, and has been working as a Baseball Tonight analyst since 2011.  Apparently he's figured out a new pitching delivery that makes him feel young again, and he's hoping to return to the big leagues in 2014.

Mark Prior, 33, Finally officially retired - It's crazy to think Prior is still just 33 years old.  The former Chicago Cubs fireballer hasn't pitched in the majors in over seven years, and will finish his career with a 42-29 record in just 106 total starts.  He had one spectacular season (2003) in which he went 18-6 with a 2.43 ERA and 245 strikeouts in 211.1 innings, but could never get his shoulder back to form after reconstructive surgery in 2006.  Prior had a cup of coffee with the Red Sox organization in 2012, and re-injured his shoulder attempting to pitch for Cincinnati's triple-A team last April.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Patriots have AFC East's best record for 13th straight season

At 10-3, New England can now finish no worse than 10-6.  The second place Dolphins (currently 7-6) can't do any better than 10-6.  Even though the Pats haven't officially cliched anything yet, they're still guaranteed to finish with the most wins in the division; for the thirteenth year in a row.

I alluded to this while discussing the Patriots NFL best win percentage since 2001 (when Tom Brady first took over as quarterback) last month, and now it's official.  They've won 10 (and about to be 11) AFC East titles during that span, but in the other two seasons they still tied for the top record in the division.  In 2002, the year following their first Super Bowl victory, there was a three-way logjam for first at 9-7 with the Dolphins and Jets (who were officially champions), and New England missed the playoffs on tie-breakers.  During the Brady-less Matt Cassel season of 2008 the Pats again lost out on tie-breakers (this time to Miami), and became the first 11-5 team to ever miss the postseason.

According to the club's official twitter account, they're also the only NFL franchise to post a winning record every year since the turn of the century:

Here's last year's version of this piece: The Patriots greatness that nobody is talking about

...and the 2011 edition as well: The NFL is full of parity year to year. Except for here.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Celtics vs Nets: Not your average game between 10-12 and 6-14 teams

Two rather shocking things that I can't imagine even the most die-hard of Celtics fans could ever have imagined:

1. That Jordan Crawford would win Eastern Conference Player of the Week.  The Celtics were the only team in the East to go undefeated last week (3-0), and Crawford (who averaged 23.3 points, 6.7 assists, and 3 rebounds per game) was deemed the conference's best player.  That is insane.

2. The first reunion between Paul Pierce/Kevin Garnett and the Celtics would occur with Boston in first place, and the Nets trailing them by 3 games in the standings.

For tank fans, at this point it's looking like the only way that can happen is if Danny Ainge starts trading guys away.  Here's an idea I wrote about for Yahoo Sports that would send Jordan Crawford to the Heat (the pro-Celtics commenters think I'm an idiot for proposing this, which is interesting to me because I'm fairly certain Boston would be much more likely to make the trade than Miami).

And for more on tonight's matchup (including a prediction and whether or not Pierce might make a miraculous return to action with a broken hand) check out my Celtics vs Nets preview for CLNS Radio.

Also, if you happen to read Polish (or have google translate, which is funny to read), take a look at this brief interview I did on the Celtics for a blog in Poland.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Why the Patriots can still win the Super Bowl without Rob Gronkowski

First I'd like to share a few tweets I sent out during the Patriots crazy 27-26 win over Cleveland yesterday:

Stephen Gostkowski celebrates his successful onside kick
Before New England's miracle comeback win I was still planning on writing a post with this same title.  I realize I'm being redundant and making the same two points week after week, but they're still true:

1.  The last three Super Bowl winners have been anything but favorites heading into the playoffs.  In fact, the 2012 Ravens (10-6), 2011 Giants (9-7), and 2010 Packers (10-6) were all Wild Card teams.  The Pats will be in the post-season this year, and their chances aren't going to be any worse than any of those teams' were.

2.  Three weeks ago the Patriots lost a game in part because what looked liked an obvious pass interference penalty wasn't called.  Yesterday they won largely due to the fact that a very questionable PI flag was thrown.  That is what the NFL has turned into.  As I've said previously, I'm becoming more and more convinced that all close games are decided simple by what penalties the refs feel like calling that day.  Come playoff time this could either go New England's way or not, but it's out of their control.

However, the fact that they did come from behind again and win yesterday adds to my case.  There's something about this 2013 Pats team that can't be defined.  It's the reason they pulled out that game vs New Orleans, almost did in Carolina, and have somehow recovered from double digit deficits in each of the last three weeks.  It's an energy/karma/mojo/luck that pretty much all title winning teams have, and in this case its very reminiscent of the first championship squad of the Belichik/Brady era in 2001.  Whatever that thing is exactly, this club's got it; even without Rob Gronkowski.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

(Patriots inspired) Awesome Old Song of the Week: "Livin' On A Prayer" by Bon Jovi

Bon Jovi's 1986 anthem is frequently played down at Gillette Stadium, and today's game certainly qualified as "Livin' On A Prayer" for New England after escaping with a win despite falling behind by 12 points with two and a half minutes to go.  A great deal of Pats fans would also say that might describe the Pats Super Bowl chances after Rob Gronkowski's injury (I disagree however, more on that Monday).

I realize I'm kind of mailing this one in, and it's definitely not my best work.  But I was due for an AOSOTW today, and I've got some good Patriots and Celtics (win by 41 in New York?  Seriously??) stuff coming up.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Basketball Wives' (or not) Evelyn Lozado makes the rounds of Boston sports teams

In the early 90's there was an SNL skit with Mike Myers called "Coffee talk with Linda Richman."  One of its recurring themes was Myers' character becoming "verklempt," and saying "talk amongst yourselves, I'll give you a topic.  The ___  ___ was neither ___ nor ___."  If this doesn't ring a bell click on the above link, in which Myers says "transitional Romanesque architecture was neither transitional nor Romanesque" (about a minute and a half in, at the 3:00 mark).

Where am I going with this?  That's how I feel about the popular TV show Basketball Wives; it's neither basketball nor wives.  Case in point: today one of it's stars, Evelyn Lozado, was in the news for revealing that she's pregnant with former Boston Red Sox (baseball, not basketball) player Carl Crawford's baby (the two are not married).  Before that she was briefly wed to one time New England Patriot (still not basketball, but I guess she was a wife) Chad Ochocinco.

However, the original reason Lozado was on the show was for being engaged to retired Boston Celtic Antoine Walker (again not married, but at least that's the right sport).  You've got to give her credit though for putting together that impressive hat trick of local athletes from three different sports.  Speaking of "hat tricks," I wonder which ex-Bruin she's got her eyes on next?

Friday, December 6, 2013

"Perfect Polly" takes the cake for depressing "as seen on TV" product commercials

I thought the guy in in the "Forever Lazy" commercial who wears his adult one-piece pajamas out to a football game and needs to use the butt-flap while going to the bathroom was about as sad as it could get.  But the psycho lady who puts her fake bird in a cage and plays with it like it's real may be the lowest of the low.  So congratulations "Perfect Polly" ad, you've horrified me beyond belief.

I'm not sure whether or not this is more depressing than the "Mother's Day at Hooters" commercial.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Derick Rose "won't rule out a playoff return." Hahahahahaha

Ok, so I did a little "cut and paste" trickery with the photo, but that is the real number two headline on ESPN.com right now, and the quote is a screenshot from within the article.  I realize the average NBA fan feels bad for Rose suffering another major injury, but to me this is just laughable.

Really Derrick, you'll play if you're healthy?  You'll come to the rescue of your teammates in the playoffs if you can?  I'm not sure I believe you.  Hmm.  If only there was some sort of historical context to base this on; like a previous example of you being fully healthy and recovered from injury in time for the playoffs...

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Jacoby Ellsbury to the Yankees reaction: World Series ride comes to an abrupt halt

First off, I think leaving one team to go to their bitter rival defies everything I know and love about the competitive nature of sports, and I don't understand it.  For more on this concept I highly recommend reading my Clear Headed Ray Allen Reaction piece from when he spurned the Celtics for the Heat.

From a "traitor to the fans perspective," Ellsbury picking New York is worse than Allen choosing Miami.  We had Ray for just 5 seasons when he was already past his prime, and after he'd been with two other organizations previously.  Jacoby was a home grown product who'd been with Boston his entire career, ever since they drafted him in 2005.  Former Red Sox stars gone Yankee Wade Boggs, Roger Clemens, and Johnny Damon also rank below Ellsbury on the treachery list.  Neither Boggs nor Clemens won a championship in Boston, Boggs was nearing the end of the line, and Clemens went to Toronto first.  Like Allen Damon came to Beantown as the third stop of his career, and was only here for four seasons.

But the biggest difference between Ellsbury and Damon is that Damon chose New York in 2005, a year removed from winning the World Series.  He stuck around for the encore/victory tour.  Jacoby just won it all 35 days ago, and now he's gone.  His 2013 championship moments are now decidedly over.  After the parade last month I suffered from a major post-title let down; what else was there to look forward to?  But the thought of next spring's home opener and the World Series ring celebration gives me goosebumps all over again.  I'd like to believe that's a major source of excitement for the Red Sox players as well.  On April 4th, 2014 they'll get the chance to relive their glory together in front of 38,000 screaming and adoring fans.  Ellsbury on the other hand will come back to Fenway 18 days later as a lone mercenary, to a mixed bag of boos and applause.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Over 1000 straight days of blogging, a variety of Celtics news, & another Toucher and Rich appearance

I just spent the last week travelling and visiting family for Thanksgiving, but still managed to get posts up everyday.  My string of consecutive days blogging for LucidSportsFan.com has recently passed 1000 (I believe this is 1,011 to be exact).  I'm sort of taking a break, and am going to share the variety of Celtics news I've written about today for other sites:

Around 1:30 am last night I put up a post on CelticsLife showing the statistical decline of Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce this season.  98.5 The Sports Hub's "Toucher and Rich" show interviewed Celtics announcer Mike Gorman today, during which they brought up my article, and asked Gorman his thoughts (at the 1:46 mark).  Rich is clearly a CelticsLife enthusiast, a few weeks ago on the show he actually read directly from one of my columns on the air (at the 23:30 mark).

This morning I also wrote a daily links post for CLNS Radio with all the top Celtics news of the day, and then an update about Rajon Rondo's injury status for CelticsLife.  And finally I just completed a game preview of tonight's Celtics vs. Bucks matchup for CLNS Radio.  A win is probably going to put Boston in first place in their division at 8-12, how ridiculous is that?

So yeah, I realize this blog isn't that great today, but hey, I've been busy.  And now I'm off to go bartend till 2 am.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Jump balls would be better if short guys never had to take them

While watching an NBA game the other day, I saw a point guard make a great play on defense to tie up the ball under the basket.  Unfortunately the opposing player involved in the ensuing jump ball was the other team's center.  The guy with the eight-inch height advantage easily won the tip, and the guard's efforts were all for naught.  This is dumb.  The reward for creating a jump ball is supposed to be an equal opportunity to gain possession, but unless the two players are of comparable heights that's not the case.

The NCAA realized this, so they got rid of jump balls in favor of an alternating possession arrow.  But that's dumb too, because if it's late in the game and the arrow isn't pointing your way, you have no chance of getting the ball in a tie up situation.

I have a much better solution: Why does the guy who created the jump ball have to be the one who actually jumps?  Why not just allow any player on the floor to take the tip?  This seems like a no-brainer, and I can't for the life of me figure out why it isn't the rule already.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Recycle Sunday: 10th Edition

Every few months I dig up several links to old posts I think are particularly good, and call it "Recycle Sunday."  On this occasion something really strange happened: I started working on it last night, just after the news broke of the death of actor Paul Walker.  As I went back to look at options to consider since the last time I put one of these together, the first entry I came across was this:

"The most oddly successful movie franchise I can remember," about the Fast & Furious films, starring one Paul Walker.  Weird.  Now on to the rest of the links.

LeBron James thinks his self-proclaimed royalty extends to the point that the normal laws of physics do not apply to him.

Back on Opening Day I speculated that the Red Sox had as good a chance as anybody else in the AL East.

Debating the issue of whether or not sports fans are cheated when superstars sit out games to rest.  My verdict: Not really.

The week of the Marathon bombing and it's immediate aftermath was unlike any other in the city of Boston: Monday.  Tuesday.  Wednesday.  Thursday.  Friday.  Sunday.

I was just speculating at the time, but the TD Garden PA announcer ruined Paul Pierce's final moment as a Celtic.

I'm all done with coins.  They're dumb.

How to greatly improve "instant replay" in pro sports.  The NHL already does it, and MLB is going to next season as well; the NFL and NBA need to get on board fast.

Before becoming a head coach, Jason Kidd closed out his NBA playing career with an incredible record setting run of scoreless-ness.

The 18 greatest Boston Celtics of all-time, ranked in order.

Whoever invents the sunlight and glare proof computer/cellphone screen is going to be a gajillionaire.

Previous editions of "Recycle Sunday."

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Awesome Old Song of the Week (Thanksgiving edition brought to you by Crystal Pepsi): "Right Now" by Van Halen

In 1992 Van Halen released an album called For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge, with 'Right Now" being far and away the most popular track.  Shortly thereafter the song was used in this commercial for Crystal Pepsi.  I remember Crystal Pepsi tasted a little weird and not really all that much like regular Pepsi, or even cola in general; which is probably why they stopped making it after less than a year.

So what does this have to do with Thanksgiving?  The above ad spawned a hilarious Saturday Night Live commercial parody for "Crystal Gravy."

Gravy by kronosposeidon

Friday, November 29, 2013

Sprint's James Earl Jones and the guy from Entourage commercials are pretty funny

This is my favorite, and I totally understand the one guy getting annoyed with the other for not following proper protocol:

There is also another spectacular one that I wrote about the other day on CelticsLife, in which a guy attempts to sell his Celtics pajamas on ebay.  Until I watched all of these in a row I didn't even realize what the point of them was; Sprint trying to convince you that everything you do is important to them.  I guess that goes along with my theory that commercials don't really work, especially considering the fact that I can't even remember which company the other series of cell phone ads that I like so much are for.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving, and the one-year anniversary of the worst play in NFL history

Thanksgiving Day, one year ago, this happened:

Here's what I said about that game at the time, and my reaction to ESPN unjustly ending Mark Sanchez's reign atop the "worst of the worst" after just 40 weeks back in September.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The NBA's Eastern Conference is so bad that the Celtics might be good

Jordan Crawford: Surprisingly good point guard
Yesterday I had my second article published on Yahoo Sports, entitled "Boston Celtics: NBA Draft Lottery Favorite or Playoff Contender?"  Here's the 37 second summary:

The Celtics are 6-10, but they are only one game back of the final playoff spot, and also just one game behind the Raptors (6-8) for the division lead.  Boston has played a very tough schedule so far, 16 games in 27 days, with 10 of their first 16 on the road.  It's about to get a lot easier.  Eleven of their next 15 are at home, and 9 of those are against sub-.500 teams.  If they go 7-8 in that span they'll be 13-18 at the end of December, about the time Rajon Rondo should be coming back.

Unless several East teams start playing a lot better, the C's will remain on the cusp of the postseason race into January.  If they're still in the mix after playing nearly 40% of the season without Rondo, you'd have to imagine they'll continue to be once he returns.  So until Danny Ainge decides to start trading away players for future draft picks and expiring contracts (the subject of my first Yahoo Contributor Network article), you can expect Boston to stay in playoff contention for the foreseeable future. Sorry tank fans, I know that's not what you want to hear.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

50% of what I said about the Patriots last week was 100% wrong

Pass interference?  Who the (expletive) knows...
Last Tuesday I wrote that there were two reasons why I wasn't very upset about the Patriots potentially get robbed of a victory in Carolina on a pass interference penalty in the end zone that wasn't called on the game's final play.

The first was because I figured New England was pretty much locked into the #2 spot in the AFC either way.  But as it turns out, I was completely wrong on that one.  After Kansas City lost at home to the Chargers and the Pats beat Denver, if New England had gotten that W against the Panthers they would now be tied with the Chiefs and Broncos at 9-2, and in line for the #1 seed (although you can't really look at sports that way, if they hadn't been so angry about the Carolina game would the Patriots have been motivated enough to come back from the 24-0 deficit to the Broncos?  Everything may have happened differently).

Letting that one go, I have even greater confidence in the second part of my argument, that it's basically a toss-up once the playoffs start who wins the Super Bowl.  The more I watch the NFL the more I believe most close games are decided not by the teams on the field, but by which penalties the refs feel like calling that day.  Personal fouls, holding, pass interference, etc., can all be found or ignored on practically every play, and in turn dictate the outcomes.  If a single call that might be argued in either way was made differently on eight occasions (in contests decided by one score or less), the Pats could be anywhere from 11-0 to 3-8 right now.  Unless somebody wins all their playoff games in blowouts, the officials will be the ones to determine who becomes champion.

Back to homepage