Tuesday, October 27, 2009

NBA's Back ... All's Right with World

There’s so much negativity out there that can feed a column topic today. After all, we’re less than 12 hours removed from the Redskins’ nationally-televised spanking by the Eagles, in front of a stadium where many of the seats not left empty by boycotting fans were filled by either Philly supporters or protesters against ownership.

As usual, the intersection between sports and society is the scene of a gruesome pile-up. Mark McGwire is being waved back into baseball by his ex-manager and his big heart and huge blinders. Officials in virtually every sport are being raked over the coals, deservedly so, especially in SEC football (again). Bob Griese is being suspended for a mid-game “joke’’ that turns the clock on the so-called conversation on race back another 50 years. Larry Johnson did the same, maybe double, with the conversation on sexual orientation. Steve Phillips has joined the non-exclusive club of successful middle-aged men tossing their careers and families into turmoil for a pointless “indiscretion’’ (to use Rick Pitino’s term). There’s much, much more.

(Continue to The Steele Drum)

Lights On for Shaq's Debut with Cavs

The Shaquille O’Neal era debuts tonight at The Q, but nobody, even Shaq, can be sure what it portends for the Cavaliers.

After a trade with the Suns, he arrived here in early summer with a big smile and big promises. Shaq said he was willing to play the enforcer’s role – to be the man whose task it was to ensure nobody messed with LeBron James.

Shaq would be LeBron's sidekick.

The Cavs had tried to find complements the past couple of seasons. They brought in Donyell Marshall and Larry Hughes a few years ago, and Lorenzen Wright came here last year.

(Continue to Justice Is Served)

What Does Obama's Golf Game Say?

Of all the witty things that have been said and written about golf over the years, there is one that is true above all:

Golf doesn't build character, it reveals it.

A colleague, but a better golfing partner, sent along this clip yesterday. It has to do with President Obama's fondest for the game, and the fact that in the first nine months of his new job, he has already played as many rounds of golf as the latest President Bush did during his first 34 months in office.

As this significant finding seeps across the Internet, expect it to spark the predictable nonsensical furor that has always been associated with presidents and golf. In this case, how could the man be playing this stupid game when the economy is in the toilet, we are fighting two wars, health care is broken beyond recognition, and to this day, there are STILL starving children in China?!

(Continue to The Grill Room)

Yankee Haters Raise Your Hands

Enough Already: The Yankees win the pennant again
Photo: Associated Press

It was the bottom of the eighth in Sunday night’s closeout game of the ALCS and the Yankees were tacking on some extra runs on the way to another World Series appearance.

With Mariano Rivera coming back out to shut down the Angels in the ninth and preserve the victory, I was coming to the realization that my dream would not come true – that the Angels would actually take Game 6 and I would be able to say, "The Yankees lose … The Yankees lose … Theeeeeeeeeeeeeeee Yankees lose." No such luck.

The great American pastime, the World Series, begins Wednesday night, and I’ll be watching every pitch like every year. And you guessed it, I’ll be rooting for the Phillies. Sorry.

(Continue to DMA 7-22 Sports)

Yanks' First Series Without Scooter

The Yankees will play in a World Series for the first time since his passing. He has been gone a little more than two years now, but I can still hear his voice calling from the past, from some time in the late 1960s.

I hear the sound of so many of my baseball summers over the crackling static coming through a transistor radio in the back yard on a lazy July or August afternoon that seemed to last forever. No cares; just a boy, a radio and a baseball game.

I began listening to Phil Rizzuto when I was eight years old and he became a huge part of my life for the next 30 years. But even Scooter couldn’t live forever, though I actually thought he might.

The voice finally was silenced on August 13, 2007, a few weeks shy of his 90th birthday and 11 years after he retired. His 40th and final season as a Yankees’ broadcaster in 1996 coincided with the rookie season of a fellow shortstop named Derek Jeter.

(Continue to Bob Birge's Irish Eyes Are Smiling)

Kiss & Tell: The Magic-Isiah Fallout

The opposite of love is indifference, somebody with keener insights into human emotions than I have once said.

I disagree.

I would counter that the opposite of love is hate, because hate hurts a man a lot more than indifference ever could. To look at it otherwise is to disregard what hate might force a man to do to a person he once loved.

I’m not talking about love in the romantic, Romeo and Juliet sense. I guess the MTV word for what I mean is “bromance”: the brotherly love between two male friends. When that love sours, indifference isn't what remains. Hate, though, does.

(Continue to Justice Is Served)

Cowboys' Miles Is Getting There

Maybe it's way too early to start breaking out the annointing oil for Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Miles Austin—who is beginning to emerge as Tony Romo's favorite go-to receiver.

He may not be on the same level as a Terrell Owens just yet, but the numbers that he's put up in the last two weeks for the Cowboys says a lot about his potential as that game-breaking receiver that the team was hoping to find in Roy Williams.

In the Cowboys 37-21 victory over the Atlanta Falcons last Sunday, Austin caught six passes for 171 yards and two touchdowns. The Falcons could do nothing to stop the speedy, 6-foot-3, 214-pound receiver out of Monmouth. Whether it was a comeback pattern or a crossing route, Austin had a penchant for turning big gains into big plays.

(Continue to NFC 'Easter)

Jets Victory Not All Good News

There was some bad news to come out of the Jets' 38-0 blasting of the Oakland Raiders - Leon Washington was lost for the season with a broken leg.

Apparently this was one of those gruesome football injuries. You can go elsewhere to read the bloody descriptions - I'm a bit squeamish. But it's not your run-of-the-mill broken leg. There are whispers that this could be a career-threatening injury.

The injury comes a week after a season-ending knee injury to Kris Jenkins, who has been a monster up front on defense for the Jets. That's two pretty significant injuries in two weeks suffered by the Jets...one on offense, one on defense.

(Continue to 200 Miles From the Citi)

OKC Thunder: Getting Our Bearings

The NBA season is less than 24 hours away, and the Thunder have their first game on Wednesday night. With everything that has gone on, let's get an idea of where we are, and where we are going.

Where we are:

We finished a dismal 23 - 59. Even with the end of the season 20 - 30 record, it doesn't look good. We were a top 10 rebounding team last season, but our Point Guard of the future committed the most turnovers of anyone in the league. The Thunder are lead by one of the league's best scorers in Kevin Durant, but we were in the bottom of the league in scoring.

This season, we are one of the youngest teams in the league. Oklahoma City has an average age of 25. If our young bench doesn't get better, don't expect much improvement this season.

(Continue to This Is Thunder Basketball)

Are These Suspendable Hits or Not?

Frightening scene in Philly on Saturday where David Booth of the Panthers was laid out on a hit by Flyers captain Mike Richards.

Any time you see a player motionless on the ice and then being taken off, immobilized on a stretcher, it give you pause for how dangerous a game this great sport can be.

Fortunately Booth is already out of the hospital, being released yesterday after sustaining a concussion on the play. But it was still extremely scary to watch Booth absorb the hard hit after dropping a pass to his left, and then hit the ice head-first, and remain motionless thereafter.

If you have yet to do so, check out the hit here.

(Continue to Jim Cerny's Rink Rap)

European Soccer Recap

English Premier League

The teams currently occupying the top two spots in the Premiership swited spots over the weekend, as Chelsea regained the top spot in the league.

Chelsea did its part on Saturday, as a brace by Frank Lampard helped the blues to a 5-0 rout of Blackburn Rovers at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea also got help from Liverpool, as they defeated Manchester United 2-0 at Anfield on Sunday.

The win not only stalled Manchester United, but brought a sigh of relief to Liverpool, whish was sliding down the standigs prior to Sunday'a match. Manchester United found itself behind the eight ball towards halftime, as Nemanja Vidic recieved two yellow cards in the first half, and Liverpool finally capitalized with a Fernando Torres goal in the 64th minute. David Ngog sealed the match with a stoppage time strike.

(Continue to Soccer 24-7)
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