I haven’t written anything since last Thursday as I just finished up school (finally). But, I am back for my final STD day until August. I will be spending the majority of this summer at a sleep away camp as a water-ski instructor. Writing is going to be a near impossibility, so my article this Thursday will be the last one for the next two months. Feel free though the shoot me some emails if you want to talk sports. Maybe I’ll be able to get you an answer.
It’s a nightmare, these NBA finals. Boston and LA; who do I want to lose less? If you read my May 17, article, The Greatest Rivalry, you would know that there is absolutely no way I can root for Boston, even if they are playing the Lakers. I mean, I just hate them. I hate the fact that the same people in attendance at the Celtics games also show up at Fenway. I hate Garnett and his un-reprimanded dirtiness. I hate Rajon Rondo and his monstrous hands. I hate the fact that it always looks like Paul Pierce just got smacked in the face (Seriously, look at him anytime he’s talking. His clothes are all over the place and his eyes are either glazed over or rolling around uncontrollably. Reminds me of Brad Miller after Rondo got him with the right hook in last years NBA playoffs. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EpPoZAxgYws ).
All this said, I love the “Freddy vs. Jason”-esque rivalry between the two teams; two evil beings, who, for some reason, just don’t get along. Then again, when you have KG, Ron Artest, Kobe Bryant, Paul Pierce, and Phil Jackson all in the same series, things are bound to get interesting. Apparently I should add Pau “The Llama” Gasol (shout out to Kevin for the nickname) to the list for his negative comments about Garnett. When I need to add Pau Gasol, the gentle giant who was more interested in being a doctor until he grew to seven feet tall, to a list of antagonists, you know that the intensity is of monumental proportions.
The win by Boston in LA Sunday night was the biggest win of the season for the team. Thanks to the disgracefully unjust 2-3-2 format (top seed gets the first two games, lower seed gets the next three, and top seed has final two) in the finals, Boston, the lower seeded team, now has an enormous advantage. The next three games will be in their home stadium. Now that I think about, it’s almost better to be the lower seed in the NBA finals. If we are working off the assumption that the home team is the favorite to win, which we obviously are since the top team gets more home games, then the team that gets three in a row at home can put serious pressure on their opponent. Anyways, the win has to be attributed to the ageless Ray Allen. Anyone that watches Sportscenter for at least twenty minutes a day knows that his 8 three pointers in the finals Sunday night were the most ever by a single player in one Finals game. As much as I hate Boston, I could not help but be in total awe of some of the shots Ray Allen easily made. I’ll admit it, I was getting exited when he started off the game 7 of 7 from behind the ark. I guess I just love steaks of any sort. Good streaks, bad streaks, whatever. It doesn’t matter to me.
Despite the major turn in the series, I still like the Lakers to prevail in 7, as I predicted at the beginning of the series. Tonight’s game is pivotal and I believe the Celtics come out on top by the score of 101-97, led by 24 points from the disoriented Pierce and another 17 from Rondo. However, the Lakers even the series at 2 in game four, when they win 98-90. I’m looking for Kobe to put up 31 in that effort, leading all scorers. In game five, the final one in Boston, I expect the Lakers to defeat the Celtics 114-110, after an additional 5 minutes of overtime. Game six, in LA, will be a surprisingly easy win for the Celtics. Their experienced players have their best games of the series (aside from Ray Allen, whose best game was Sunday). Celtics win 94-82. Lastly, game seven will be won by a super-fired up Lakers team. Bryant and Gasol both eclipse the 25-point mark, with Gasol contributing 13 rebounds as well. The Lakers get revenge on Boston for the 2008 NBA finals and Pau Gasol is awarded Finals MVP.
The Stan Van Gundy Face Creating Moment of the Week:
Back for the third consecutive week, the SVGFCMW is looking to be among the most prestigious awards in all of sports. One of the headlines of ESPN.com is “Clip shows boy with beer bottle.” Essentially, somebody took a video of a four-year-old boy putting a beer bottle, which most believe to be empty, up to his lips during the Phillies-Padres game from last Sunday. This situation is probably deserving of the award on its own, but as I continued to read the article, I realized that I may have encountered one of the most amusing articles on ESPN I have ever come across.
What is really bizarre about this situation is that everyone seems to acknowledge that there was no actual beer in it. So, what then, is the issue? I suppose it’s dangerous to be playing with beer bottles, but is that worthy of a front-page story on ESPN.com? And even if it had beer in it, a sip of beer is not going to harm anyone. It’s not as if the vendor handed out the beer to the four year old saying something like, “How was I supposed to know it was a fake ID?” The boy just picked it up.
As I continued to read the article, the writer addressed an earlier issue where, “a drunken fan intentionally vomited on an 11-year-old girl.” Now that is really, really bizarre. How can he “intentionally” vomited on her, you may ask? Well, “Clemmens stuck his fingers down his throat and vomited on Michael Vangelo.” Apparently the two were arguing about some sports related issue and some of the vomit wound up getting on the daughter. That is a new method to arguing that I have never seen before. Let’s predict future uses of this practice.
Defense Lawyer: Your Honor, my client had an alibi at the time of the murder-
Prosecutor: Objection, that alibi was proven to be entirely unverified.
Defense Lawyer: What do you mean? He was at home with his wife!
Prosecutor: Well, this video (shows the tape) was taken at 9:42 PM outside of the Walmart located downtown. You can see here that the defendant’s wife is seen loading up her car with a full shopping cart’s worth of canned tomatoes, parsley, garlic cloves, capers, and fresh oregano, most likely for her spaghetti sauce, I believe. Is that correct, Emeril?
Emeril Lagasse: Yes, indeed. Mrs. Carter is a fine chef. In fact, if you looked more carefully in the cart you would have also seen a bottle of 1995 Quintarelli Amarone Della Valpolicella Classico Riserva.
Defense Lawyer: Ah yes, that is a fine bottle of red wine, is it not?
Emeril Lagasse: Bam! Right you are. In fact –
Judge: Gentlemen, if we could get back on track please! I have a lunch reservation downtown that I would like to make.
Emeril Lagasse: Where is it, may I ask.
Judge: Bistro Dulce. Ah, god-dammit, no Emeril, you may not ask. What the hell are you even doing here? Actually, don’t even answer that. Let’s just get back to the case, please.
Prosecutor: Sorry Your Honor. Anyways, Mrs. Carter was clearly not with her husband at the time of the murder, thus rejecting his alibi. In addition, this gun (shows gun) has fingerprints on it that appear to be consistent with those of Mr. Carter.
(very long pause)
Defense Lawyer: Bllleeehhhhhhh (chunks everywhere).
Judge: Interesting counterpoint.
Every sport seems to have an ongoing argument as to who is its best player. Kobe or LeBron, Crosby or Ovechkin, Manning or Brady. All three of these rivalries/comparisons get a fair amount of public attention. Sports highlights focus on them, even when they do absolutely nothing. “And Varejao gets the pass from Gibson and throws it down hard! LeBron, on the sideline, clapping and loving it!” The debates seem destined to continue between these pairs for at least the next five years. Then there is baseball. The most likely comparison is between A-Rod and Albert Pujols. However, my problem, is that I don’t think there is enough attention given to these two players and how they rank against each other, especially in the case of Albert Pujols. Perhaps it is not the nature of the game, but I don’t think the average person realizes just how good Albert is.
As of today, Pujols leads the NL in homeruns, RBIs, and is 9th in batting average. Last year he finished the year with the most homeruns in the NL, the third most RBIs, and the third highest batting average. On top of that, he has six stolen bases this year! He had 16 in 2009. That is an aspect of his game that gets seriously overlooked. Want to know what Albert averages each year? Well, I’m going to tell you regardless. 41 home runs, 124 RBI, .333 batting average, .625 slugging percentage, 7 stolen bases. When you add on the fact that he has never played less than 143 games in a season, he is the absolute definition of consistent excellence. At some point in his career, Pujols will probably win the triple crown, which has not been done since 1967. Add on that he has never been involved in the steroid scandal, and you have to put him down with Griffey as the most respected and feared hitter in baseball over the last 20 to 25 years. He is now in his tenth year in the league and only 30 years old. If he continues to exhibit the longevity he has shown thus far, the career home run record could be his. In fact, if he continues to average the numbers he is producing now, Pujols will go down as one of the 5-10 greatest hitters in baseball history. Everyone knows he is good, but does everyone know that a hitter like Pujols may not come around again for another 20 to 30 years?
Just for Fun:
Career averages, and HR,RBI,SB/seasons in the league(excluding 2010)
Pujols: .333BA, .625SLG, 41HR, 124RBI, 7SB
A-Rod: .305BA, .573SLG, 39HR, 114RBI, 20SB
Griffey: .284BA, .538 SLG, 30HR, 87RBI, 9SB
Bonds: .298BA, .607SLG, 35HR, 91RBI, 23SB
Babe Ruth: .342BA, .690SLG, 32HR, 101RBI
Ted Williams: .344BA, .634SLG, 27HR, 97RBI
Albert has the best offensive numbers of the four most recent players. He averages the most homeruns and RBIs per season and has the highest slugging percentage and batting average. His numbers are also comparable to baseball legends like Ruth and Williams. When he retires, Pujols will be in the conversation of the greatest baseball players of all time.
More STDs for my readers in August.