Saturday, August 24, 2013

My contributions to ESPN Boston's "Celtics Summer Forecast" (Part 1)

Chris Forsberg of ESPN Boston has been publishing a two week long series of columns making a number of predictions for the upcoming Celtics season.  He asked several writers from various websites to contribute their thoughts as well, and here is what he's published of mine so far (with links to each article):

Who will be the starting center?:
"Brandon Bass: For two reasons: One, I think Brad Stevens is going to want to run a lot, and will follow the growing NBA trend of using two "bigs" in the frontcourt instead of a real center. I see an opening night starting five of Bass, Sully, Green, Bradley, and Rondo. The other reason for this is that he'll want to show the world that the Celtics are intent on playing hard and winning games; and going with a lineup that carries over from last season is a nice way to remind everybody you still have a talented roster. This may not last for very long however, especially if Olynyk impresses from the beginning."

What are your expectations for 1st round draft pick Kelly Olynyk?:
"A Jared Sullinger-like impact [one of the choices Forsberg offered]: Funny to use the phrase 'Sullinger-like impact,' because that is both what I am hoping for and afraid of. I expect Olynyk to have a lot of big moments that C's fans can get excited about, but this plantar fasciitis has me worried him could miss a fair amount time as well."

When will Rajon Rondo return?:
"Opening Night: I think Rondo desperately wants to prove all the doubters wrong. Time and time again you hear things like, "He's a great talent, but not a guy you'd like to build around." Now that he'll have the opportunity to be the undisputed leader and best player on the Celtics, I expect him to embrace the challenge and flourish in his new role. There's no better way to do that than to return opening night and show that this is his team."

Which player will overachieve?:
"Courtney Lee: I'm way out on a limb with this one, but I think most people have pretty much written off Lee. There were brief moments last season when it looked like he and Bradley were an All-Star-caliber defensive backcourt. If the Celtics choose to run a lot this year (and I believe they will), I envision Lee as a key component in a three-guard rotation with Rondo and Bradley. Maybe he becomes the knockdown shooter the Celtics thought they were getting in 2012."

Which player will underachieve?:
"MarShon Brooks: I'd like to say Gerald Wallace or Kris Humphries, but it's hard to underachieve when you have literally zero expectations. Of the 4 former Nets, Brooks is the only one people in Boston really seem to have anything positive to say about. While he probably has the most long-term potential/upside, I think this year he ends up buried on the bench at the 2-guard spot behind Bradley, Lee, and Crawford."

The series continues all next week, starting on Monday with "Who will emerge as team MVP?"

Friday, August 23, 2013

This is the weirdest flavor I've seen yet

I tend bar in a high end tequila and taco restaurant, and the two ingredients that come with just about everything on the menu are cilantro and lime.  When I walked into work last night and saw a bottle of Absolut Cilantro sitting on the shelf, my first thought was that at some point some drunk idiot is going to ask me to pour it directly onto their dinner.

My second thought was that all the people who are convinced they hate tequila (mainly because they threw up on Cuervo Gold back in college before good tequila was an actual thing) and order margaritas with vodka instead might be interested in this; especially that girl who wanted an "anorexic margarita."

I have to say though, I tried a taste of the cilantro & lime flavored Absolut vodka, and it's not bad.  If I decide to start seriously drinking martinis, this may become one of my go-to's.

Other LucidSportsFan blog posts about strange flavors:

Thursday, August 22, 2013

ESPN should take a lesson from Yahoo! with the Wild Card standings

To the right are the American League Wild Card standings as posted on this morning.  A quick glance would make you think that Tampa Bay and Oakland are tied; but after looking more closely at the records you can see that the Rays (Wild Card team #1) are actually 1.5 games ahead of the A's (Wild Card team #2).

A couple weeks ago I saw multiple Sportcenter anchors struggle with this on the air, misreading the standings on each occasion.  That was the moment when I thought of a simple idea to avoid this confusion.

Sportscenter has since decided to report two separate sets of standings depicting "first Wild Card" and "second Wild Card."  I got slightly annoyed with myself for not writing this post before then, but I still thought my idea was a much better one.  Because I had used a photo of standings for my post last week on the ridiculously hot LA Dodgers (who at one point won 42 of 50), I decided today for variety to use Yahoo's instead.  However, when I got there I discovered they were already doing exactly what I wanted:

Good work Yahoo!  This should be the standard going forward, and not just for baseball.  It would also be useful for NBA and NHL standings late in the season when showing the race for the final playoff spots.  Sportscenter please take notice.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

I can't stand HBO's "True Blood," but yet I keep watching

Um, she's not a vampire...
When True Blood debuted in 2009, it was a show about vampires trying to live among society by drinking synthetic blood instead of humans.  That was a cool premise.  It's gotten consistently less cool ever since.

This past season between Bill being some sort of god-vampire, and the introduction of Warlow the fairy-vampire, it pretty much became impossible to keep track of who had acquired which super powers after biting who.  The plot lines evolved to the point that just about anybody could feed their blood to anyone else to fix whatever ailed them, then have the same thing immediately done right back in return.  In fact, the show allowed itself to get so confusing that the writers themselves even forgot what was going on when they had the fang-less Sookie bite herself.

I thought True Blood might be taking a step in the right direction when it killed off Terry, (thus eliminating the incredibly boring and irrelevant Terry and Arlene plot line) but then it wasted half of the next episode with a funeral and flashbacks remembering him as if he was a lead character.  Allegedly this happened because the show is trying to simplify and return to its roots in the town of Bon Temps for season 7, as you could see in the second half of last week's finale.  I hope I can convince myself not to watch.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

So A-Rod can play next week, but Dempster can't? Yeah, that makes sense.

Earlier this month Alex Rodriguez was suspended for 211 games by Major League Baseball for his connection to the Biogenesis clinic, and his subsequent attempts to cover it up.  He then appealed the ruling, and will now likely be allowed to play the rest of the season before a verdict is reached.  The Red Sox were of the opinion that it is utterly ridiculous that the man who was handed down the single longest suspension in the history of baseball (other than the lifetime bans of the 1919 Chicago "Black Sox" and Pete Rose gambling variety) can still be allowed to take the field and effect a pennant race.  In protest of this, on Sunday Ryan Dempster intentionally hit Rodriguez with a pitch.  Dempster has just been suspended for 5 games.  There is only one logical conclusion here:

Monday, August 19, 2013

I found a dead dolphin on the beach

I was kayaking in Edgartown harbor this afternoon, a few hundred yards to the west of Fuller Street beach.  From a distance we thought maybe it was a seal; you see those at South Beach all the time.  I never knew dolphins even swam around the Vineyard, let alone wash up on the shore.  I'm torn about posting these pictures, but I also feel like it would be crazy not to.  The last one in particular is really sad and difficult to look at.  It's clearly not something I've ever seen before, and I doubt most other people have either.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Awesome Old Song of the Week: "Hey Jealousy" by the Gin Blossoms

Original cover on the left, well known re-release on the right.
In 1989 a band from Tempe, Arizona known as the Gin Blossoms released their first album, called Dusted.  It included the song "Hey Jealousy," but nobody paid much attention to it.  In 1992 they put out a second CD entitled New Miserable Experience, which also featured "Hey Jealousy."  Still it went mostly unnoticed.  A year later in the summer of '93 they re-released the same disc, but with a new cover.  This time it finally took off.

I remember hearing "Hey Jealousy" on the radio and deciding I loved it during the bus ride of a church youth group field trip to Canobie Lake Park at the beginning of my junior year of high school.  This was most likely due to the fact that I had just been introduced to a new crop of freshman girls on the same bus.

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