Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Shaq Era Opens with Disappointment

Shaquille O'Neal had waited since June for this day, a moment in this man's storied NBA career where he could begin helping LeBron James and his hometown fulfill a dream. For their dream is also Shaq's dream; he wants what they have long wanted: a championship.

No team wins an NBA championship in late October, not even if it does have Shaq and LeBron in its lineup. To dream overly much about one now might prove a distraction with a full season and a long, arduous postseason left to play.

But after seeing Shaq, LeBron and the Cavs play Tuesday night, people will need to mute their talk of an NBA championship. They ought not discuss the topic just yet, because not much the Cavs did against the Boston Celtics, another team with title aspirations, suggested such talk was anything but wishful thinking.

(Continue to Justice is Served)

Yanks Haven't Won Anything Yet

This has been one terrific postseason run by the Yankees so far.

They took care of the Twins with ease, and defeated the Angels, the team they have had the most difficulty beating over the past 10 years, in six games.

The Bronx Bombers have been led by a resurgent Alex Rodriguez, who has quieted the critics who said he can’t do it in the clutch, along with the usual suspects, such as Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera. There were questions about C.C. Sabathia and A.J. Burnett and their lack of postseason credentials, but they have delivered as well.

All of which is great for Yankees fans. There is one other sobering thought, however, and that is this: the Yankees haven’t won any thing yet.

(Continue to New York Minute)

It's Like 1950 All Over Again

Here's the deal, so that you never have to read me go through it again - from now on, whenever I write about this, I'll just link back to this page (the day of Game 1 of the 2009 World Series) so that you can refresh your memory if need be.

The 2009 baseball season is dead to me.

If the Mets aren't in the World Series, I start rooting for matchups that have never happened before. So the Angels would have been a great fit in the 2009 World Series - they have only been to the World Series once before, and they didn't play the Phillies.

The Yankees? They've been, many times...and they've already played the Phillies.

So this season, in my crazy, muddled mind, becomes a waste. (Not like I didn't see that coming after watching the Mets play in April and May.)

(Continue to 200 Miles From the Citi)

Saints and Colts Sipping Success

As we head to the midpoint of the season, only two teams have proven themselves worthy of the Grill Room's best hooch.

But, my, aren't Indianapolis and New Orleans two very different customers!

The Saints? Well, they bust through the double-doors and act like they own the joint. Sure, this gregarious group takes some getting used to, and can get full-blown overbearing at times. Thing is, we notice nobody has the stones to throw down on 'em.

In fact, by night's end, people are actually buying THEM drinks! Did you see how generous those Dolphins were Sunday?!

(Continue to The Grill Room)

Slater Turns Tuskegee into Powerhouse

Willie Slater makes only a fraction of what Nick Saban makes ($4 million a year) to coach college football, but he’s proving Saban isn’t the only coach in the state of Alabama to turn a program into a national contender.

While Saban’s exploits in three seasons at the University of Alabama have been well chronicled since the Crimson Tide lured him away from the Miami Dolphins at the end of the 2006 season, Slater’s accomplishments at Tuskegee University have flown under the radar.

In his first three seasons at the helm of the Golden Tigers, Slater, 53, compiled a 32-3 record, captured the 2007 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) national championship with a 12-0 record, won three consecutive SIAC championships and twice was named SIAC Coach of the Year.

(Continue to Rue's Rant)

Iowa Lacks Style ... And Substance?

After the 2001 season, the BCS forced the computers remaining in the BCS formula to remove margin of victory (MOV) as an element in their respective algorithms. The reason, ostensibly, is that it discourages teams from running up the score since they wouldn't benefit from it.

Well, they should've asked all the pollsters to remove their eyeballs so they can only check the scores in Braille.

We're more than halfway done in the 2009 season, and the BCS Standings provides a clear picture: Style points matter. Why else would Iowa be ranked fourth despite being the near-unanimous choice as the top team by the computers?

(Continue to BCS Guru)

Agassi Makes a Confession

Andre Agassi confessed, in his autobiography that he tested positive to anti-doping tests but lied to the ATP to escape ban. The first player to complete the career Grand Slam in the Open era assumed an higjly addictive drug, the crystal methamphetamine: it’s not an enhancing-performance substance, but it’s meant for personal use, considered as a recreational drug like the cocaine.

He took the meth (possession of which carries a maximum five-year jail sentence in the US) in 1997, a period signed by doubts, falling form, and the ending of his turbulent marriage with the actress Brooke Shields. In his book, he so recalls the episode:

(Continue to ATP Tennis 360)

The Secret About Enver Lisin

Oh no. Our little secret has been discovered.

That was among my first throughts when I heard that 23 year-old Enver Lisin was being bumped up to play on the Rangers top line alongside star forwards Marian Gaborik and Vinny Prospal.

Oh no. Our little secret has been discovered.

I had the same reaction when Lisin scored a big third-period goal against his former team, the Phoenix Coyotes, last night at Madison Square Garden.

Oh no. Our little secret has been discovered.

(Continue to Jim Cerny's Rink Rap)

UFC 106 Makes a Switch

Just days removed from his thoroughly dominating performance over Yoshiyuki Yoshida at UFC 104, Anthony Johnson has agreed to fight another Yoshida victor in Josh Koscheck as a fill in for the Lesnar/Carwin main event at UFC 106.

The news comes according to which has a source close to Koscheck's camp. Koscheck even twittered that he would be fighting in the 106 main event.

(Continue to Fighter's Corner)
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