In the Mouth a Desert

Just a few of my diamond-sharp observations about sports and culture.

-Congratulations Randy Johnson. 300 wins is impressive, and it may be a while before we see that done again. I still, for whatever reason, can’t fucking stand you, though. I know, it’s weird. And it has nothing to do with your Yankees stint. Maybe it was that fucking haircut you wore for so long. Or that you’re tall. I wish I was that tall. But you’re an accomplished pitcher, you’ve remained reasonably consistent for a long time, and you suffered in Montreal and Seattle for long enough. You’ve got your ring, you have your Hall of Fame credentials, and I expect you to retire at season’s end.

-I understand there are certain obligations a player has to the league, and to conduct themselves in a certain fashion. But I feel like it’s a little overboard to slap a $25K fine on LeBron because of his behavior at the end of Game 6. The Cavs were a heavy favorite to win that series, and it has to be particularly frustrating for LeBron who carried that team more or less singlehandedly. I realize he could have done the hand shake thing, talked the press, etc. But I don’t think it’s unfair for a player to do what he did, either. I’d rather see him disappear than voicing his frustration to the press and saying stupid things like “Sometimes the better team doesn’t win” and referencing questionable officiating, etc. He can always talk to the press the next day, when he’s had a chance to calm down and get his emotions and thoughts under control, and is ready to field questions like “How does it feel to be upset in the Conference Finals?” (Hint: It sucks … everyone thought you were going to win and you’re human and you probably started to think it was likely you’d win, too. And you didn’t.) or “Are you let down by your teammates inability to provide you with a semi-decent supporting cast?” (Hint: OF FUCKING COURSE. But I can’t say that, so … I’ll be vague and look down at the table and just reiterate that it was a disappointing series.) or “Do you feel like you’ve let down the city of Cleveland, who were hoping to end their title drought?” (Hint: No, and if you insist on me putting an entire city on my back and carrying it to glory, it sure as fucking fuck isn’t going to be Cleveland.)

-I just read that the Celtics may be shopping Ray Allen. This sucks, because I like Allen a lot. But it makes sense if they can get some youth.

-I just read that the Celtics may be shopping Rondo to sweeten a potential Allen deal. This is fucking stupid. Rondo is an All-Star caliber point guard who has potential to get even better in the next 3 years.

-Garnett supposedly guaranteed titles in ’10 and ’11 to Wyc Grousbeck. Now, I’m not sure this was supposed to be one of those things that stayed internal and got leaked because the owner got overly excited that his big money player said this, or if it was actually said to the press. But … well, I won’t go into all the ways this is dumb. This is a team built around aging stars. They need to develop or acquire some younger players (and/or not trade away their best young guy). Let’s just focus on being healthy for the beginning of this season. We will worry about ’11 some other time.

-I’m not sure what to say/do about Ortiz. (Ok. Should’ve left it at “say” … nothing I do would have any impact on Ortiz, unless he wants to go hit some cages with me this summer … this is my formal invite.) It’s funny, my father brought up a few weeks ago the age idea that Simmons wrote about in the magazine this week (that Ortiz is older than he claims). Maybe New England’s collective denial to accept that this guy was juicing. But I agree with Simmons … if he was taking PEDs when he was hitting the ball, he wouldn’t suddenly forget how to swing and make contact now that he’s off. But you watch him, he’s behind on (mediocre) fastballs, can’t turn on the inside pitches, and is pulling up on his swing. I think maybe having him play with that injured wrist wasn’t a good idea. It seems like maybe he adjusted his swing and can’t find his old one. I know he won’t go for it, but I’d see if he was willing to go to Pawtucket for a month. No pressure to win, or even to maintain a certain average. Just go down there and find your swing. If he starts tearing the cover off the ball consistently, you bring him back up. If not … I have no idea. If nothing else, though, teams won’t have to put that shift on anymore.

-I know it’s all irrelevant without seeing him in live action, but the news of Brady’s recovery is pretty exciting. Especially with his receiving corps, Fred Taylor, and presumably a huge drive to get back on top … this could be a really good year in New England.

-Joey Porter is an awesome player. I wish he were on “my” team. He’s outspoken, yes, and typically the outspoken guys eventually say something stupid and you start to take them less and less seriously each time they talk. I understand that what happened in Miami last year was great. And, I don’t see any reason why the Dolphins won’t be competitive again this year. I am NOT saying they can’t win the AFC East or at least get a Wildcard spot. But is it unreasonable to think that they are not the frontrunners here? Let’s review what happened last year. New England suffers maybe the worst injury to the franchise’s season since … I don’t know. A long fucking time. And, still ends up faring pretty well. The Jets gamble on an aging Brett Favre and get burned (I have to say, though, good for Pennington for getting the last laugh). The Bills get off to a good start and then go belly up. The AFC East was not the competitive, who-wants-it-most division we’ve seen it be before. I’m not saying it was a fluke. The Dolphins won a tight Divisional race and I commend them for it. The division is better when they’re a part of it, for sure. But to say “I don’t understand how you can put somebody in front of us”? Really? Does it really even matter? Is this a clever attempt to play the “Nobody gave us a chance/Everyone disrespected us” card THREE MONTHS BEFORE THE SEASON BEGINS? Sometimes it’s better to just write these things in your journal, instead of saying them out loud. Into a microphone. In a room filled with people who’s jobs are explicitly to rebroadcast what you just said. Just sayin’ …

-Oh, and I realize most people the world over probably hate the Patriots. And that’s fine. But if you had to be honest, wouldn’t say the Patriots are as good if not a little better than the Dolphins going into this season?

-So long Rodney Harrison. I know you were kind of a dick, but I was glad to have you on our team. It’s too bad you haven’t managed to play a full season in a while, but … I wish you the best in the broadcast booth. I have to admit, I was kind of hoping he’d become a defensive backfield coach or something.

-Funniest thing I’ve seen at work recently: Steve Brule in Wine Country, from Tim and Eric Awesome Show whatever it’s called. Sweet Berry Wine!!! Easily found on Youtube. (The Between Two Ferns series with Zach Galifiankis (sp?) is a close second … followed closely by Will Oldham on Poolside with Neil Hamburger.)

-TV Show I highly recommend: Party Down. It’s on the Starz Channel, but I believe it’s available on iTunes as well.  It reminds me of the British Office … subtle humor deeply seeded in loveable character traits, an intrguing love story, a jackass boss.  Lots of guest stars, though.  Tons of members from The State, Paul Rudd writing, Fred Savage directing.  I’ve enjoyed it thoroughly thus far.

-Lastly … We have some championship series still going on. We might be seeing a Stanley Cup where the home team wins every game. Pittsburgh looks totally different at home than they did in Detroit. Or maybe it’s Detroit who’s different? I can’t tell. But I like the Wings in 7 right now. The Magic need to put Game 1 behind them immediately. They’re going to have to win a game on the road, obviously, and I think Game 2 is their best chance. Howard is going to be worn down by the end of this series. If they can steal Game 2 tomorrow night, I still give them a chance to win the title, making one of the most memorable runs in playoff history.


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