Saturday, October 19, 2013

Headed to Fenway tonight, hoping for better results than last time I was in this situation

I'm not afraid.
Just over 16 months ago a Boston team that had exceeded everybody's expectations was coming back home for Game 6 with a 3-2 series lead in the semi-final round of the playoffs.  I wrote that I hadn't been so excited to attend a sporting event in 4 years (since the Celtics title winning game vs the Lakers in '08).  Well, on that June evening at the Garden last year I watched LeBron and Miami crush the C's, and then go on to take Game 7 as well.

Tonight I'll be at Fenway with the Red Sox in the same situation, but I'd like to think the results will be different.  Clay Buchholz wasn't very good in Game 2, so I'm expecting a bounce back performance from him.  And Boston's league leading offense is averaging just 2.8 runs per game this series; I don't care If Scherzer is pitching, they're due.

NBA team previews: Southeast and Southwest

As I mentioned previously, I signed up for a network of NBA team preview blogs.  Here are the final set of links, for the teams in the Southeast and Southwest divisions (via Celtics Blog):

Southeast Division
Atlanta Hawks: Peachtree Hoops
Charlotte Bobcats: Rufus on Fire 
Miami Heat: Hot Hot Hoops | Sports Agent Blog
Orlando Magic: Orlando Pinstriped Post | Orlando Magic Daily
Washington Wizards: Bullets Forever
Southwest Division
Dallas Mavericks: Mavs Moneyball 
Houston Rockets: The Dream Shake 
Memphis Grizzlies: Grizzly Bear Blues 
New Orleans Pelicans: The Bird Writes 
San Antonio Spurs: Pounding the Rock

Friday, October 18, 2013

Nobody homers like Mike Napoli homers (with an assist from Monty Python)

Despite the Red Sox tension-filled 4-3 victory in Detroit last night (which sends them back home to Fenway with a 3-2 ALCS lead), my intention was to write about something non-sports this morning.  I usually try to vary my topics from day to day, and I've only had one post in the past week that falls under the "other stuff I care about" category.  However, while searching through my ongoing list of blog ideas, I stumbled across a draft I started back on May 1st called "Napoli home runs."

In a 10-1 victory over the Blue Jays that day, Mike Napoli became the first MLB player in 8 years to hit two home runs of 460 feet or longer in the same game.  The blast he hit last night was 460 feet on the button, a monster shot to dead center field that landed in the second level of shrubberies at Comerica Park.  Hearing the Sportscenter anchor describe it this way while calling the highlight brought to mind this great scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail:

"Another shrubbery!"

And I didn't even remember "you must place it here besides this shrubbery, only slightly higher so it gets a two level effect..."  Perfect.

Here's the highlights including Napoli's bomb, just in case you missed it:


Thursday, October 17, 2013

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

LeBron's mom stuck up for him while losing to Boston in 2010.
With the Heat and Nets set to meet in a preseason game tonight, LeBron James took it upon himself to criticize Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett for allowing themselves to be traded to Brooklyn; because of the way they were mean to his new buddy Ray Allen for bolting to Miami via free agency.  This inspired me to create a list (which I can't believe I hadn't done already) of everything I've written pertaining to LeBron's douchebaggery (sorry), starting with my CelticsLife post on his quote from yesterday.  Below are the rest in reverse chronological order, dating back to the inception of

6/21/13 - My stab at impersonating a sports headline from "The Onion": ESPN acknowledges the fact that other NBA players besides LeBron do exist.

6/19/13 - Most aggravating title I've ever written: "Did Ray Allen save LeBron's career?"

6/18/13 - Can a pair of LeBron shoes help San Antonio win the title?: James was a little premature with his title declaration.

6/12/13 - Does LeBron have the highest "basketball IQ" in the NBA? It's extremely unlikely.

5/14/13 - Why won't anybody call out LeBron for being a liar?: "I don't need to flop. I don't even know how to do it."

4/24/13 - The NBA has secretly eliminated the "no hanging on the rim" rule (probably because LeBron said so?)

3/28/13 - Does LeBron James think the rules of physics don't apply to him?: He ran through a guy and expected a flagrant foul to be called, but not on him.

6/4/12 - How long can the C's keep this going?: Featuring a spectacular quote from Rajon Rondo regarding LeBron and the Heat.

6/2/12 - It's funny that the Heat think acting like princesses is the way to go: Flopping all over the place...

12/2/11 - I don't understand how Lebron doesn't have smart people who tell him what to do: He mimicked Stevie Johnson's touchdown dance which mocked Plaxico Burress shooting himself in the leg.

10/19/11 - My anti-Lebron campaign is gaining momentum: Stephen A. Smith says "It's like he wants to be crowned with no rings."

8/4/11 - Don't worry Tim Tebow, "King" James has your back: James tweeted his confidence that Tebow would "succeed in the NFL" because he's a "winner."

6/26/11 - Brett Favre makes bid to regain the title of "most dislikable athlete on the planet": Guess who holds that honor?

6/15/11 - Some revealing numbers from the Lebron Finals Debacle: He was the 4th best player on his team in the championship series loss to Dallas.

6/13/11 - Heat schedule championship parade for Tuesday, plan to celebrate their second round victory over Boston

From CelticsLife, 12/21/13 - Don't worry LeBron, dunking on someone doesn't do them any actual harm

2/19/14 - LeBron James whines about not getting enough time off during the All-Star "break"

5/3/14 - The "LeBron app" commercial makes me want to vomit

7/28/14 - NBA planning to make All-Star break longer because LeBron said so; and No. 23 controversy

11/1/14 - Why can't LeBron James just be humble?

1/29/15 - LeBron calls his teammates' 55-point game "one of the greatest performances by a person"

6/12/15 - It's funny that LeBron's constant pretending to be hurt finally got him legitimately hurt

From CelticsLife, 6/19/15 - Stein: 'LeBron's emasculation of Blatt unbecoming'

1/28/16 - LeBron wants you to know that he's not a coach killer, he's just smarter than them

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The fact that the Red Sox are up 2-1 in this ALCS is absolutely mind boggling

Napoli homers off Verlander, but Tazawa K's Cabrera. Wow.
The Detroit Tigers have carried no-hitters for 8.1, 5.2, and 5.1 innings of each of the first three ALCS games respectively.  Any one of those just on it's own would be extremely impressive.  Their starting pitcher's average stat lines are as follows: 7 innings, 2 hits, 0.67 runs, and 11.67 strikeouts.  I don't recall ever seeing teammates put together three such dominant starts in a row.

For the series the Red Sox are hitting a collective .133 (12 for 90), the lowest team batting average through three League Championship Series games in MLB history (amazingly breaking the record the Cardinals set the day before at .134, while also leading 2-1).  In addition the Sox have struck out a total of 43 times, 14.33 per game.  Looking at these numbers you'd assume Detroit had won every game so far, or maybe at worst case led 2-1.

Yet somehow the Tigers trail 2-1.  Mike Napoli was 0-6 with 6 K's in the series before his 7th inning solo shot that was the only run scored last night.  David Ortiz was 0-6 with 4 K's before his grand slam in the 8th on Sunday.  Meanwhile two of the games best hitters, Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder, struck out back-back with runners at 1st and 3rd to end the Detroit 8th yesterday.  The beard magic continues, and hopefully this all means Boston is due for an early offensive explosion tonight.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

It's weird how much better the Patriots are in reality than perception

If you've been watching the New England Patriots play this season, they don't seem like a very good football team, especially when compared to years past.  Tom Brady may finally be getting a little old, and he can't quite make all the throws as consistently as he used to.  And the guys catching (or not catching) his passes are definitely not on par with what we have become accustomed to (quick sidebar - I said this before the season started and I'm going to put it in writing now, I don't expect to ever see Rob Gronkowski put up Pro-Bowl type numbers again for this team).  As a whole the offense has been extremely unreliable and inconsistent.

Yet somehow they are still 5-1, a record that ranks among the 5 best in the NFL.  If you look ahead at New England's 10 remaining games, the Patriots will most likely be favored in all of them except Denver.  There's a very good chance we're watching another 12-4/13-3/competing-for-a-first-round-bye type of season.  Even if the Pats stumble to a 5-5 record the rest of the way, they'll still finish 10-6, and probably with another AFC East crown.

When you've been spoiled with greatness for so long, "really good" feels like a disappointment.

NBA team previews: Central and Northwest

As I mentioned previously, I signed up for a network of NBA team preview blogs.  Here all the links for the teams in the Central and Northwest divisions (via Celtics Blog):

Central Division
Chicago Bulls: Blog a Bull 
Cleveland Cavaliers: Fear the Sword | Waiting For Next Year
Detroit Pistons: Detroit Bad Boys 
Indiana Pacers: Indy Cornrows 
Milwaukee Bucks: Brew Hoop
Northwest Division
Denver Nuggets: Denver Stiffs 
Minnesota Timberwolves: Canis Hoopus
Oklahoma City Thunder: Welcome to Loud City 
Portland Trail Blazers: Blazer's Edge 
Utah Jazz: SLC Dunk

Monday, October 14, 2013

The reverse nightmare, and where was Quintin Berry?

As I mentioned the other day, when the Red Sox dealt Jose Iglesias for Jake Peavy I feared it could come back to haunt them in the playoffs.  Oddly enough in Game 2 it was an error by the slick fielding Iglesias that led to Boston's winning run; made even more notable by the fact that he'd been inserted into the game for defensive purposes just one inning earlier.

Jonny Gomes started off the bottom of the ninth with a slow roller between short and third, on which Iglesias clearly had no chance to make the play.  He attempted a ridiculous off balance throw that skipped into the dugout, putting Gomes on second base.  A wild pitch and a Jarrod Saltalamacchia single through the drawn in infield (ironically also just out of Iglesias' reach) sent Boston fans into a frenzy celebrating the second improbable comeback win of the day (statisticians estimate the chances of both the Patriots and Red Sox pulling out those victories at 0.16%).

And while Iglesias' error was a key factor in the Sox evening the series, I feel obligated to point out that Boston manager John Farrell easily could have blown it.  The Red Sox have Quintin Berry on their postseason roster for one reason and one reason only: to pinch run in key situations.  The winning run on second base in the bottom of the 9th inning seems about as obvious an opportunity as there is.  The instant Gomes reached I thought for sure Berry would replace him; even if Boston didn't score Berry could continue playing for Gomes in left field.  I was completely dumbfounded after Gomes took third and Farrell still didn't make the move.  Luckily the Sox won anyway, but it makes absolutely no sense not to put a faster guy on the base paths in that situation.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Awesome Old Song of the Week: "Badfish" by Sublime

Sublime became widely popular in 1996 with their album of the same name, led by the songs "What I Got," "Wrong Way," and "Santeria."  It's also the last disc they ever recorded, because their lead singer Bradley Nowell died of a heroin overdose two months before its release.

After Sublime earned mainstream success, people then started to gain interest in their 1992 record, 40oz. to Freedom.  One of it's tracks is a remake of and old Toots and the Maytals song, "54/46 What's My Number," but my favorite is "Badfish."

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