Saturday, August 20, 2016

Awesome Old Song of the Week: "Teenage Dirtbag" by Wheatus

"He lives on my block, and drives an I-Roc."
I don't remember when exactly I discovered Wheatus' Teenage Dirtbag, but I think it was long after the song's release in 2000.  Regardless, I find its lyrics quite entertaining.

Until I looked up the video just now I had no idea that it was featured in the Jason Biggs/Mena Suvari movie Loser from the same year (a "loser" itself that attempted to ride the coattails of 1999's American Pie, which also starred the same two actors).

I can't say I've ever heard another song by Wheatus, but I assume some do exist.   

Friday, August 19, 2016

Contributions to's Celtics Summer Forecast, Week 3's Chris Forsberg put together a Celtics Summer Forecast in which he asked local writers/bloggers to make a series of predictions regarding the 2016-17 team.  Here are my contributions for Week 3 (with links to the full articles):

What's the most intriguing game on the schedule?

October 27, at Chicago:

It's the first TNT game of the season and the whole country will be watching. Not only that, but it's also the debut of the new Dwyane Wade (and Rajon Rondo!) Bulls. Plus, Boston will be tested with the second night of a back-to-back on the road right out of the gates, a situation it has excelled in under [Brad] Stevens. Assuming the Celtics handle Brooklyn in their opener, this will be a chance to immediately establish themselves as one of the East's elite.

What will be the biggest story of training camp?

Danny Ainge trying to avoid cutting anyone:

If [Abdel] Nader is there (meaning he didn't agree to a D-League contract), he'll either need to make the 15-man roster or be cut or traded. The same is already true for [Ben] Bentil and his partially guaranteed deal. In addition to those two, [James] Young and [RJ] Hunter will likely be fighting for the final spot on the team. Assuming Nader does sign with Maine in the D-League and Hunter wins the battle for 15th man, Ainge will have to find trade partners for Young and Bentil or release them outright -- something you know he doesn't want to do.

I also wrote about the Abdel Nader conundrum for CelticsLife.

What are you most concerned about wih the 2016-17 squad?

What if (Evan Turner + Jared Sullinger > Al Horford)?:

Sullinger was the Celtics' leading rebounder last year at 8.3 per game, even though he only logged 23.6 minutes a night. Before Isaiah Thomas' arrival in Boston, there were times when Sully was arguably the team's best player. Turner was the backup point guard and the only guy besides Thomas who could create his own shot in crunch time. What if the loss of Sullinger and Turner is a bigger deal than we expect? Is it possible the addition of Horford won't make up the difference? Rebounding is at the heart of this concern. Horford pulled down just 7.3 boards per contest last season, despite averaging 8.5 more minutes than Sullinger.

What postseason award might a Celtic win?

Stevens, Coach of the Year:

[Steve] Kerr isn't going to get it again unless the Durant Warriors win 74 games (not happening). [Ty] Lue? Come on, LeBron James is the real coach of the Cavs. Gregg Popovich? Tim Duncan may have been the Tom Brady to his Bill Belichick. Quin Snyder could be a trendy pick if the Jazz make some noise out West, but if Stevens guides Boston to 50-plus wins and the East's No. 2 seed, he should have as good a case as anyone.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Team USA basketball is failing to use it's obvious advantage, I blame coaching strategy

The United States men's basketball team got back on track in Rio yesterday with a 105-78 quarterfinal victory over Argentina.  However, after winning their previous three games by a combined total of just 16 points, the Americans fell behind Argentina 19-9 right out of the gates.

While some countries clearly play better as teams than the U.S. does, talent-wise our squad is astronomically better than everybody else.  The head coach, Mike Krzyzewksi, isn't taking advantage of this.  All of these games should be blowouts.  Krzyzewski has unparalleled depth that is going to waste--other nations have a few NBA players on their rosters, but nothing close at the end of their benches.

Here's what Team USA should do: Try to run as much as possible from the opening tip.  Full-court press on defense on the very first possession.  Substitute continuously and use all 12 guys on the roster.  A "no jumpers in the first five minutes" rule might be useful to promote getting to the rim.  Opponents will be exhausted after the first quarter, with the U.S. likely already way out in front.

There's also this:

I don't see myself getting the Team USA coaching gig any time soon, but Paul Westhead (who's 1990 Denver Nuggets averaged 120 points per game) would be the perfect guy.  Or Rick Pitino, in particular the 1997 version.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Miami Heat shouldn't be allowed to re-sign Beno Udrih (it's tax evasion)

Back in February, the Nets bought out Joe Johnson's expensive contract, which enabled them to save some money and gave him a chance to sign a new deal with a better ballclub.  Brooklyn, a terrible team, had no use for the aging veteran and he didn't want to be there.  The scenario was win-win for both parties, which is the reason contract buyouts happen in the NBA.

Johnson joined the Heat (as apposed to the Celtics, who could've really used him in the playoffs), but his deal put them over the league's luxury tax line.  In order to avoid paying the tax, Miami turned around and bought out Beno Udrih.  Chances are the organization wouldn't have brought Johnson on board in the first place if it wasn't also able to dump Udrih's contract.

The thing is, there was no logical reason for Udrih to take the buyout.  He was injured and out for the season, so another club wasn't going to sign him.  What possible motivation might he have to give back money Miami owed him?

The Udrih buyout sparked anger and suspicion around the league as other franchises likely wondered if there was some sort of under-the-table deal between the Heat and Udrih:

"Hey Beno, you're not playing right now anyway, if you let us cut you and get under the tax line we promise to take care of you in the future."

Today, Udrih, who's been a free agent since February, re-signed with Miami, seemingly confirming the suspicions.  League commissioner Adam Silver should void the deal and the Heat should be considered tax offenders for last season.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

If you believe in run differential, the Red Sox are much better than the Orioles

The Red Sox (65-52) head to Baltimore tonight to face the Orioles (66-51) with first place in the American League East on the line (Toronto is also tied for first at 67-52).

Statistically speaking, it shouldn't be this way.  Boston is a better team than Baltimore--a lot better, in fact.  For the season, the Sox have outscored their opponents by 104 runs (tied with Cleveland for first in the American League), an average of 0.89 per game.  By comparison, the O's have only plated 38 more runs than their opposition (sixth in the AL) an average of 0.32 per game.  The Red Sox's average margin of victory is nearly triple what Baltimore's is, and more than half a run per game higher.  Considering AL teams are averaging 4.5 total runs per game this season, a half-run difference in margin of victory is an enormous amount.

Here's a quick NBA comparison: The Celtics went 48-34 last year while outscoring their opponents by 3.2 points per game.  The NBA-champion Cavaliers (57-25) won by 6.0 PPG.  In theory, the gap between the Red Sox and Orioles is greater than the one between the Cavs and Celtics.

Baltimore should fade in the AL East race, with Boston battling the Blue Jays (who are +87 in total runs, 0.73 per game) for the division title.

Monday, August 15, 2016

How did the skyball not dominate the Olympics?

This guy has already been eliminated from the Olympics, and sadly I never got to see him play.  I blame NBC for that--every one of his matches should have been promoted like crazy and then rerun in primetime, because what he does is absolutely bananas:

A video posted by NBC Olympics (@nbcolympics) on

Italy's Adrian Carambula and his partner were knocked out in the round of 16 in the Olympic beach volleyball tournament (by the other Italian team, coincidentally).  I was hoping the skyball would be the biggest story in Rio, but apparently it wasn't meant to be.

Also, whoever is in charge of writing snarky comments for @nbcolympics on Instagram should probably be axed (as well as the person who didn't think to show excessive amounts of skyballs in primetime).  That serve goes 100 feet in the air (literally) and Carambula is the only guy on the planet who can pull it off at this level.  It's a totally unprecedented thing to do, yet this person acts like it's a hanging breaking ball over the middle of the plate that he/she has seen crushed for a home run a million times before.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Awesome Old Song of the Week: "How Does a Duck Know?" by the Crash Test Dummies

The Crash Test Dummies are best known for their 1993 smash MMM MMM MMM MMM (yeah, it was kind of weird) off the album God Shuffled His Feet.  However, they also had a relatively big hit single two years earlier called Superman's Song.

God Shuffled His Feet was among my favorite CDs in high school.  In my mind, the best song on the album was one that was never even released as a single--How Does a Duck Know?  There's no video for it, but I found this 1995 clip from the Late Show with David Letterman:

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