Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Sort of All-Star

Thumbs down to Tony LaRussa for leaving Albert Pujols on the bench with the bases loaded last night in the bottom of the ninth. Given that one of us is a Phillies fan and the other is a Sawx fan, we have split loyalties. But hitting Aaron Rowand isn't going to give you a better chance that hitting Pujols (who hit .400 over his last 10 games, versus Rowand's .241 clip over the same span). Yes, you don't want to have a player aggravate an injury. But even though Pujols is a whining bitch at times (last year's NL MVP vote, for example), he has a point. If the player is injured, leave him home. While LaRussa argued that he needed to leave a player on the bench for extra innings, you don't go to the tenth if you can't tie it in the ninth. The NL wasn't given a chance to win because a better player was left on the bench.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Coach G, Dice-K, NBA playoffs

So much for a busy month of sports.

Coach G left Duke for Texas (a tough choice, but UT has TONS of revenue from football, something Duke will never have, plus Women's Sports have their own AD). Thanks for some good years. And for beating Carolina as much as you did.

Dice-K has lost two straight now for the Sawx. Guys, maybe a little run support for your import?

The NBA playoffs start this weekend. Ugh. Maybe they'll be done by July 4th.

- X

Saturday, March 17, 2007

More on Duke's exit

Jay Mariotti of the Chicago Sun-Times here on the glee surrounding Duke's first-round exit....

and Frank Dascenzo of the Herald-Sun on why we shouldn't be surprised at Duke's exit...and what went wrong as the season came to a close.

Maryland gets tired...Amaker gets fired

Thanks to all those Terp fans out there who bashed Duke after their loss to VCU, especially those who went on the Duke Chronicle's comment section. I'm sure they're feeling spunky after their team's inexplicable loss to Butler. What does Butler do? Shoot 3's. What did they do all day against Maryland? Shoot 3's. Nice planning and defense, Terps. Reminded me of Duke's revolving-door defense against its last 4 opponents.

Tommy Amaker was fired today as head coach at Michigan. Make that two programs he couldn't get off the floor (Seton Hall, remember?).

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Duke slows, State keeps going

Earlier, we told you that Duke would struggle this season, with 9 to 11 losses. That came true - Duke is 22-10 heading into postseason play. The only issue is whether it's NCAA or NIT. Just kidding. We haven't seen any serious discussion of bubble teams that mention Duke, so that means they're in. Of course, that's strictly on reputation. A win by State today against Carolina wouldn't jeopardize Duke's NCAA chances. Instead, it would mean Duke lost to a good team on a roll. On the other hand...

Duke just can't play defense right now. As John Feinstein notes in the Washington Post,

The change though isn't so much about numbers but about aura. In past years, Duke would have beaten State on Thursday night. Someone would have hit a big shot; someone would have taken a charge that would have left opposing fans screaming that the Duke kid flopped. An N.C. State shot would have rimmed out the way Greg Paulus's three-point attempt did in overtime for Duke. Fans
would have left the building grumbling about Duke getting all the
calls. Not anymore. These days Duke is symbolized by Josh McRoberts, who simply couldn't defend State's Brandon Costner (career-high 30 points) and spent much of the evening pulling the ball out of the net and screaming at teammates as if it were their fault that he couldn't -- as Bob Knight once eloquently put it -- guard the floor.

So it's obvious - Duke doesn't have any "motherfuckers" - as Feinstein once wrote about in A Season Inside. Players like David Henderson. Or Danny Meagher. Guys who the other team just do not want to deal with. And of course, there's none of the defensive intensity that marked most of their early-season games. Now, there's still a lot of people who hate Duke, don't get us wrong. The St. Pete Times wrote a customary article on the subject heading into the ACC tourney (including a quote from Michael Hemmerich, who we remember back from Prodigy's Duke message board, and from the Duke Basketball Report.

Don't look for Duke to go past the second round - assuming they even make it out of the first.

Monday, January 01, 2007


Bill Simmons had this to say about the sixth and final (?) Rocky movie:

For instance, let's say you have an uncle who became involved with a former stripper who cheated on him, became addicted to crystal meth, kept stealing from him and eventually bankrupted him before she was arrested for trying to run him over with a car. It was such a bad experience that he didn't date anyone else for five years and he's been in therapy the entire time. Then he announces to the family that he's showing up for Christmas with his new girlfriend... and everyone in the family is completely terrified because he's had such horrible taste with women. What happens? He shows up with a nice enough girl who's friendly and really seems to like him. Maybe she's a C-plus under normal circumstances, but given your uncle's history, she feels like an A-minus and nobody can stop talking about how nice she is. And that's what happened with this last Rocky movie. If "Rocky V" was the crystal meth stripper, then "Rocky Balboa" was the C-plus girlfriend who felt like an A-minus.


Duke lacrosse - the case drifts away

With state bar ethics charges looming, Durham DA Mike Nifong may recuse himself from the weakening Duke lacrosse case. The rape charge is gone - will kidnapping and assault charges also vanish?

Emily Bazelon of Slate sums it up:

There is so much else wrong with this case—Nifong's withholding of the DNA test results from defense lawyers for months, his statements on the stand that he didn't know about the results when it's now clear that he did, the all-lacrosse-player photo lineup that the victim looked at when she identified her three alleged assailants. These are all reasons for Nifong to do himself a favor, as well as the former Duke students, by tossing this case.

Instead, he says he can't because of the woman he calls "my victim."
As long as she says she's sure that these men hurt her, Nifong is saying, he's prepared to believe her, and that means a jury may, too. So, it's up to her. But this sort of stubbornness is just as misguided, in its own away, as that of the prosecutor who refuses to investigate a rape charge because he can't take a woman's accusations seriously. "You can't make everybody back away from a fight," Nifong says. Well, actually, if you're the prosecutor, you can. In fact, it's your job.

Or someone else's job if Nifong continues down this path.

Albert Pujols - New Year's Resolution

To get a better translator, after last year's reports of whining after losing the NL MVP to the Phillies' Ryan Howard. Pujols allegedly bitched that the MVP should come from a team that made the playoffs. Of course, the Phils had a better regular-season record than the Cards, but who's counting?

On the NFL Hot Seat

On the hot seat:

Probably about six teams will need new coaches after they are fired or resign, including Bill Cowher of the Steelers, who will likely announce his retirement tomorrow; Joe Gibbs in Washington, whose post-retirement job has been a failure, and Nick Saban, who has reportedly grown frustrated with lack of control over his two years in Miami (and with a huge, long-term offer from Alabama likely pending). The likely firees:

Dennis Green, Arizona: 16-32, 3 years; 5-11 this year
You know, "They were what we expected them to be and we let 'em off the hook. If you're gonna crown their asses, crown 'em." The Edge, two great receivers and Kurt Warner/Matt Leinert weren't enough to make the playoffs this year in a bad year for the NFC.

Jim Mora, Atlanta: 26-22, 3 years; 7-9 this year
Coach Jim Mora's status already was tenuous before he angered owner Arthur Blank by telling a Seattle radio station he would be interested in the University of Washington job, even if the Falcons were in the playoffs - and without the position being open*.

Per the AP:
Blank has the final say, but Mora should worry if Vick's opinion is solicited. Vick said he liked Mora and worked well with him, but said if Blank asked him if his coach should return, Vick said he'd give the answer some serious thought."Honestly, I really couldn't tell you what I'd say right now," Vick said. "I'd have to give it some thought and really evaluate what went down and what happened."

It doesn't look good. Especially when Vick was still playing in the second half of a meaningless game against the Eagles and got injured. Why did Mora keep Vick in there? Philadelphia's Andy Reid pulled almost all his starters as soon as Dallas's loss handed the Eagles yet another NFC East title. Mora kept his starters in the game.

And why is Matt Millen still a GM? They've gone through multiple receivers, QBs, some point, it's the GM.

Kudos to:
The Philadelphia Eagles, who lost Donovan McNabb and were 5-6 after getting blown away by the Colts, then won five straight to win their division (again). Especially terrific was their three division road game sweep over Dallas, Washington and New York.

The San Francisco 49ers, who finished 7-9 and knocked Denver out of the AFC playoffs. Big steps for Alex Smith, Frank Gore & Co.

The New England Patriots, who survived losing most of Tom Brady's receiving corps, discovered they couldn't play four tight ends simultaneously, used a rookie kicker, and still finished at 12-4.

The San Diego Chargers, who overcame the loss of Drew Brees and finished with the NFL's best regular season record this year at 14-2. Rivers hands off to Tomlinson. Repeat.

The New Orleans Saints, who finished 10-6 and won their division. Brees passed and passed with his new team and Reggie Bush was everywhere. What an uplifting story to an area that needs it.

The Baltimore Ravens, who finally have a reliable QB in Steve McNair, quietly finished at 13-3.

*Speaking of Ty Willingham, he just can't get any props....

"Charlie Weis has brought hope, he's brought direction, he's brought a plan, he's brought vision, and he's brought credibility," former Notre Dame coach Lou Holtz said.

And this says exactly what about former Notre Dame coach Willingham?