Saturday, August 23, 2014

Contributing to ESPN Boston's Celtics 2014 Summer Forecast (Part 2)

For the second year in a row I'm taking part in ESPN Boston's Celtics Summer Forecast panel.  This year it's a three week long series of daily articles with questions and predictions regarding the upcoming season.  Myself and a number of other Celtics writers each give our take.  Here's what's was published in week 2, with my short answers in parentheses (click on the links to read them in full):

Which player will be the C's biggest overachiever this year? (Chris Johnson)

The biggest underachiever? (Evan Turner)

What should we expect from lottery pick Marcus Smart? (All-Rookie Team, rotation regular)

And from fellow rookie James Young? (D-League)

Who will be the team's MVP? (Rajon Rondo)

Read week 1 here.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Why do you think these people have a dog stroller?

My attempt at discretion caused the poor photo quality.
I saw this contraption being pushed along the sidewalk of the Oak Bluffs harbor on Martha's Vineyard the other day.

Are dog strollers really a thing?  Do they apply in the same manner as with actual human children--too small to walk any distance on their own, but also too big to carry for very long?  I never heard of a dog being unable to walk as far as it's owner though, and from the looks of this person that explanation seems highly unlikely.

Is it for the dog's protection?  Who knows what potential puppy dangers are lurking on the Vineyard streets on a pleasant August evening...

As much as I mock this, in reality I fully support the concept.  Anything that keeps dogs better under their owners' control and less likely to come sniffing at my legs uninvited is definitely a plus.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Some numbers behind David Ortiz's spectacular under-the-radar season

David Ortiz crushed his 30th home run of the year last night, which puts him in some very elite company in Red Sox history:

Ortiz became just the 13th MLB player ever to hit 30 home runs at age 38 or older, and the first since Frank Thomas did it in 2006.  Papi now has 461 career homers, and 500 seems like a very legitimate possibility (is he the greatest DH of all time?).

His home run and RBI (93) totals so far this season put him on pace for personal bests since 2007 in each category.  Ortiz's 30 homers are tied for third most in the AL, but it's the 93 runs batted in that make his 2014 campaign so astounding.  Ortiz is leading all of baseball in that category (Jose Abreu of the White Sox is second with 90), and doing it for a Boston club that has scored the fewest runs in the league.  Nobody has led the league in RBI for a team that finished last in scoring since Wally Berger of the Boston Braves in 1935.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Advice for bar patrons: Don't be afraid to look at the menu before ordering

I promise it won't bite.
Couple sits down at my bar:

Me - "Would you like to see a beer, wine and cocktail list (as I reach for a menu)?"
Woman - "No thanks, we're just going to have some beers."

This amuses me because one, I feel as though a list of available beers might be a useful tool in the process of ordering them.  And two, I can already sense what's coming.

Woman - "We'll have two Miller Lites."
Me - "Sorry, I don't have Miller Lite (holding out the list), will Bud Light do?"
Woman - "No thanks."
Man - "I'll take a Heineken instead."
Me - "I don't have that either (shaking my head and still holding out the aforementioned list)."
Woman - "I'll just have a Corona then."
Me - "Nope (with a bit of a chuckle).  Maybe you'd like to look at this list?"
Man - "Stella?"
Me - "I'll come back in a minute (setting the list down in front of them and walking away)."

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

How exciting would "sudden death" overtime be in the NBA?

Take a look at this clip from an NBA summer league game in Las Vegas last month.  In an Atlanta Hawks vs D-League Select Team matchup, the powers that be decided that for the second overtime they would implement the old fashioned playground rule "next basket wins":

Did you hear the oohs and ahhs from the crowd?  How incredible was that?  And this was during a meaningless summer exhibition game.  I'm not advocating for all NBA overtimes to be sudden death.  It doesn't seem reasonable to decide a 48-minute contest by whoever scores next.

But if the game happens to go double-OT, why not?  Players are exhausted by this point, and the level of competition can get pretty ugly (check out this Celtics vs Mavericks affair back in 2012).

Bill Simmons recently discussed this on his B.S. Report podcast (the "half baked ideas" editions with Kevin Wildes are always spectacular, the topic comes up at the 18-minute mark), but they missed one key factor.  It should be like baseball or the new NFL overtime, where both squads are guaranteed a possession.  If the team that wins the tip scores first, their opponent can then keep the game going with a two, or win it with a three.

Monday, August 18, 2014

My new favorite Patriot: Wilson Van Hooser

For me the most exciting part of last Friday night's meaningless Patriots vs Eagles preseason game was when I happened to catch a glimpse of the guy wearing #81 on the sideline:

People have often called me "Doozer" or "Van Doozer," so to have a guy on the Pats with almost the same name is pretty sweet.  Only just now did I discover his first name is Wilson, and I think that makes it even cooler.  Here's what else the magical internet has taught me about him:

-New England signed the undrafted rookie wide receiver in May
-He played three years at Tulane before transferring to Troy for his senior season
-Van Hooser had one catch for 16 yards in the Pats first exhibition game, but nothing in the second
-The 23-year-old isn't going to make the team, but he could end up on the practice squad

Now I have a reason to show some interest in the rest of the Patriots' interminably long preseason.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Awesome Old Song of the Week: "Always Something There to Remind Me" by Naked Eyes

To be honest, I never even knew who sang this song until I just looked it up.  I'm not sure how that's possible, because I've been hearing it on the radio for basically my whole life (Naked Eyes released Always Something There to Remind Me in 1983), and every time it comes on it makes me happy.  I guess if Spotify had been around when I was a teenager I would have figured out the band's name a long time ago.

I also just found out that it was originally recorded two decades earlier, by Dionne Warwick in 1963.

And I promise it's only a weird coincidence that for the second time in two weeks I've chosen a synthesizer song from 1983.

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