Saturday, June 8, 2013

Riding the Bruins bandwagon

While I was at the bar watching the Bruins sweep the Penguins on Friday night, I told my buddy that it didn't seem appropriate for me to get too excited.  I take my sports fan-dom pretty seriously, and I don't think I've really earned the right to celebrate and cheer for the Bruins as if I've been rooting for them all along.  Earlier this season when the lockout happened, I admittedly barely even cared.  Four weeks ago as they trailed Toronto 4-1 with eleven minutes remaining in Game 7, I'd completely accepted their fate, and wasn't the least bit upset about it.

Rask's glove save as the final horn sounded was a fitting end.
But when Adam McQuaid ripped that slapshot into the upper left corner of the net to break a scoreless tie 5 minutes into the third period, the bar exploded.  Most of the people there hadn't even really been paying attention.  Everybody jumps on the bandwagon in the playoffs, and it just keeps filling up more and more the longer they last.  It's human nature, and I might as well accept it.

Having said that, here's a few of the more impressive/amazing stats from the series:

  • Sidney Crosby, arguably the best player in the world, was held without a point for 4 consecutive playoff games for the first time in his career.
  • Before the series started, Crosby (15), Evgeni Malkin (16), and Kris Letang (16) were 2nd, 3rd, and 4th in the league in total points this postseason (behind David Krejci).  After combining for 47 points in their first 11 playoff games, the three of them registered a grand total of zero vs the Bruins.
  • The Penguins 2 goals were the second fewest ever scored in an NHL best of 7 series.
  • Tuuka Rask stopped 134 of 136 shots, a save percentage of .985.
  • In rounds one and two of the playoffs Pittsburgh score 47 goals over 37 periods, for an average of 1.27 goals each period.  Against Boston the Penguins netted only 2 scores in 14 periods; an average of just 0.14 goals per period (a drop off of 89%).


Friday, June 7, 2013

Stephen A. Smith goes too far on "First Take"

I'm not a fan of the ESPN show First Take.  Most of the time it consists of two guys arguing back and forth, each trying to win simply by being louder and more outrageous than the other.  Its goal appears to be to gain viewers by being controversial first, and contributing intelligent insight second.  I stopped watching it a long time ago.  But this week ESPN2 has been airing the French Open, bumping First Take to ESPNNews instead of the Mike & Mike rerun that I normally watch.

I'm not sure whether or not this is commonplace for the show these days, but yesterday Stephen A. Smith "debated" an opinion of his by saying those who think otherwise are idiotic, ignorant, and "need to be drug tested immediately."  Since I happen to be someone who disagrees with his view on the topic (whether or not Tim Duncan is one of the ten greatest NBA players ever), I took personal offense; and I don't understand how it's acceptable for him to say things like that.  I explained the whole situation in detail in an article I wrote last night for Celtics Life, please take a look.


Thursday, June 6, 2013

LSF37 content beyond this site

It's been a while since I wrote a straight up "self promoting" post.  If you enjoy reading this blog from time to time, but haven't followed @LucidSportsFan on twitter or "liked" LucidSportsFan on facebook, there's a lot of good stuff you're missing out on.  For example, just from today:

Here's an article from last September detailing my annoyance with Washington for shutting down their ace before the playoffs.

And if you noticed from the title of this post, I think I'm going to start abbreviating "LucidSportsFan: 37 seconds of sports and other stuff i care about" as LSF37.  What do you think?  Leave a comment somewhere.


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The absurdity of Jose Iglesias' .431 batting average

Jose Iglesias has been a highly touted up and coming Red Sox prospect for years.  He's always had a reputation for spectacular defense, but his weak hitting has kept him primarily in the minors thus far (it's worth noting that he's still only 23 years old, a perfectly normal age for a player to break into the majors).  In 68 at bats for Boston last season Iglesias batted .118.

At the moment Iglesias' 2013 batting average with the Red Sox stands at a ridiculous .431.  That's more than double the average of injured Will Middlebrooks (.201), who Iglesias has been filling in for at third base (rather than his natural shortstop position).  In fact, before regular shortstop Stephen Drew's huge 4-5 game last night, Iglesias was hitting for a better average than Drew (.213) and Middlebrooks combined.  The Boston Globe's Pete Abraham noted this morning that Iglesias' average is the highest in baseball for players with at least 50 plate appearances; reigning triple crown winner Miguel Cabrera is second at .370, sixty-one points behind Iglesias.

Does that mean Iglesias should keep the third base job, or be given Drew's shortstop position when Middlebrooks is healthy?  Because of Iglesias' current hot streak at the plate, Boston manager John Farrell announced today that they won't rush to recall Middlebrooks from his rehab assignment in Pawtucket, but will instead wait until he starts hitting well.

None of this is going to last.  Iglesias only has 58 at bats this season.  That is an incredibly small sample.  In 1209 career plate appearances at various levels throughout the minors he's got a career average of .257.  Abraham also points out that Iglesias is batting .511 on balls put in play, while the major league average is only .300; meaning he's had an incredible amount of luck in those 58 AB putting the ball where the defense is not.  But, even if when he regresses closer to his career norm, a .250 hitting Iglesias is still probably more valuable than Will Middlebrooks' .200.  Of course Middlebrooks may also return to form from last year, when he batted .288.


Tuesday, June 4, 2013

What are the "Skittles" people thinking?

I'm not much of a candy guy, but the other day I happened to find myself with a mini pack of Skittles.  My favorite thing to do with Skittles was always eating the lemon, lime, and orange ones all together for a nice citrus-y blend.  But last week as I was chewing on a mix of yellow, green, and orange, it became clear to me that something just wasn't right.

I looked at the wrapper and was stunned to find out that the greens were no longer lime flavored, but "green apple" instead.  Apparently the change happened earlier this year, and I'm a little blown away that anyone at Skittles thought this was a wise move to make.  I find it extremely hard to believe that any sort of market research or focus group would have been in favor of this decision.  Tell me what you think in the poll below.

Oh, and Skittles definitely needs to take the word "original" off of their package.


Monday, June 3, 2013

Jason Kidd steals Grant Hill's thunder

Two weeks ago after the Knicks were eliminated from the playoffs by the Pacers, I sent out this tweet:

Today Kidd decided to do just that.  He'll be remembered as one of the greatest point guards of all-time, but I wonder how much it will weigh on him to have ended his career in this manner.  I wrote a story about his record setting run of scorless-ness back on May 15th when it had reached 8 straight games; and then it continued for another 11 minutes over two more contests before his season came to an end.

I'm kind of shocked he decided to retire while in the midst of this incredible streak of offensive futility.  That's got to be an excruciatingly difficult thing for a professional athlete to do (like a healthy Derrick Rose choosing to sit on the sidelines and watch his team in the postseason?)

If it were me I think I'd come back next year for sure, score a few points in the first couple games, then think about calling it quits.  And I also would have waited another day or two to make my announcement out of respect for Grant Hill.


Sunday, June 2, 2013

Grant Hill finally calls it quits, 22 years after throwing down one of the greatest dunks ever

Grant Hill retired today.  I've always disliked Duke, and because of that I never became much of a Hill fan.  But if it weren't for constant nagging injuries, he'd likely be a surefire first ballot hall of famer.  In only his second NBA season (1995-96) Hill put up 20 points, 10 rebounds, and 7 assists per game.  But from '98 through 2006 he just couldn't stay healthy, missing an average of 37 games a year (including all but 4 contests in '00-'01, and the entire '03-'04 season).  Hill kept fighting back time after time though, and amazingly suited up for 243 out of 246 games from 2008-2011, even logging nearly 30 minutes a night at the age of 39.

 My lasting memory of Hill will always be his one-handed alley oop from the 1991 NCAA title game against Kansas.  I'd rank it among the 5 greatest dunks in basketball history, and he did it as a college freshman while winning a National Championship (it's at the 25 second mark of this clip):

Another of my all-time favorite dunks also happened in 1991; Dee Brown's no-look jam to win that year's NBA slam dunk contest.

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