Monday, May 21, 2007


Ducks put the Wings on the brink of elimination

This will be a tough one to overcome for the Red Wings.

Some games just hurt a little more than others, and this one fits into that category for the Wings, who were 48 seconds from being one victory from the Stanley Cup Finals.

But, just like that, the Wings saw everything go haywire.

The Ducks' Scott Niedermayer had the tying goal off the stick of Nicklas Lidstrom, then in overtime a turnover by defenseman Andreas Lilja led to the winning goal by Ducks forward Teemu Selanne at 11:57, and the Ducks won, 2-1.

The Ducks lead the series, 3-2. They can win the series Tuesday in Anaheim (9 p.m. on Versus).

What a turnaround in this game. After having carried the play for most of the game, and with a victory seconds away, the Wings were forced to talk afterwards about staving off elimination Tuesday night.

"We've been through it before," said Lidstrom, remembering a similar circumstance in 2002 when the Wings lost Game 5 of the Western Conference finals in overtime to Colorado but won the next two games. "We did a lot of good things in this game. We have to take those and move on to the next game."

But it won't be easy. The way Anaheim tied and won this game stung.

"It hurts," said Lilja, who went from hero to goat. Lilja scored the Wings' goal, his first playoff goal ever. "But you have to put it behind you and win the next game."

Spurs spank Jazz in Game 1

Tim Duncan admitted the Spurs had been outplayed in the second half. He heard how his coach had said they were "too satisfied." He even talked about the physicality of the Utah Jazz and their 21 offensive rebounds.

So when someone peppered him with another question about the Spurs' sluggish performance in Sunday's final two quarters, Duncan politely answered one more time that, yes, they had been outplayed. After a pause, he leaned again into the microphone.

"We played good enough, by the way," he said, reminding his listeners in case they had forgotten.

After overwhelming the Jazz in the second quarter, the Spurs kept them at bay long enough to walk out of the AT&T Center with a 108-100 victory in the opening game of the Western Conference finals.

The Spurs leaned on their three stars and — much like they did two days earlier in the team's closeout victory over the Phoenix Suns — all three delivered. Tim Duncan totaled 27 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and two blocks. Manu Ginobili provided 23 points and a playoff personal-best 10 assists and Tony Parker added 21 points while offsetting his six turnovers with six assists.

"They're named the Big Three for a reason," Michael Finley said. "When those guys come out and put up numbers like that, we're a tough team to beat."

What is this???? Spurs cannot sell out a Conference Final?????

When the Spurs knocked out the Suns to set up their meeting with the Jazz, more than a few people speculated the nation's viewing public wouldn't be too interested in watching the two small-market teams.

Apparently, San Antonio isn't all that interested, either.

For the first time in the five-year history of the AT&T Center, the Spurs didn't sell out a playoff game.

The Spurs listed their attendance as 18,300, about 500 short of the 18,797 capacity.
One section in the arena's southeast corner was nearly empty at tipoff and the top two rows in the north end zone also looked empty. They filled in somewhat by game's end, but not to capacity.

Perhaps we need to consider eliminating the franchise. Lack of interest is a terrible thing to accept in San Antonio.

Our former intern, Mike Bacsik gets back to the big leagues …and earns another chance…

Before he stepped onto the pitcher's mound at RFK Stadium yesterday, Mike Bacsik had already been released once by the Nationals, re-signed, and demoted to Triple-A.
He may have been unhappy with the Nationals' 3-2 loss to the Baltimore Orioles, but he could deal with a no-decision in his first major league start since August of 2004. After fighting to return to the big leagues for three years, the 29-year-old left-hander was just happy to be back.

Bacsik shut out the Orioles for six innings in his Nationals' debut, but Baltimore rallied for two runs in the top of the 11th inning off of reliever Winston Abreu, handing the Nationals a painful loss in front of an announced crowd of 30,661--the largest crowd since opening day.

For six innings, however, Bacsik was the story as he helped give the Nationals' ragged starting rotation a boost.

He arrived yesterday afternoon from Triple-A Columbus, walking into the Nationals' clubhouse moments after a jersey with Bacsik's name misspelled "BASCIK" was removed for a quick fix-up.

But any fan who hadn't heard of the lefty probably knows at least a little about him now. He scattered five hits over six innings, turning a 1-0 lead over to Washington's bullpen in the seventh inning.

"Couldn't have written it better," Nationals manager Manny Acta said. "He did an outstanding job, gave us what we wanted. You've got to give it up to the kid. He pitched a great game."

At 29 years old, Bacsik is hardly a kid anymore. He's pitched in the majors with the Cleveland Indians, New York Mets and most recently the Texas Rangers in 2004, and he's in his 12th professional season and second stint with the Nationals.

After Bacsik was released by the Nats in March of 2006, he signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Sent to Arizona's Triple-A affiliate in Tucson, he didn't lose a game, going 11-0 with a 2.79 ERA.

But when the Nationals called again in November, offering the opportunity to compete for a spot in the team's wide-open starting rotation, the chance to return to the majors was too good to pass up.

The chance materialized a little later than he expected, but with the Nationals' starting rotation in shambles, Bacsik was called up from Triple-A Columbus before Saturday's game to replace right-hander Jason Bergmann. He was 1-3 with a 4.00 ERA with the Clippers.

"I just wanted an opportunity and this was the best place for that," Bacsik said during spring training.

McCarthy with another nice start

Members of the John Danks Fan Club -- and there still are a lot of those among Rangers fandom -- will observe a day of silence today in honor of Brandon McCarthy, who earned at least 24 hours free of second-guessing with his performance on Sunday.
McCarthy won his third consecutive decision and evened his record at 4-4 with a sparkling four-hit, one-run performance in six innings. But he shared co-star status with the Rangers' offense, which erupted for a season-high six home runs in a 14-1 victory over the Astros before 39,938 at Minute Maid Park.

The Rangers took two of the three games in Houston after losing three in a row to the Devil Rays, and return home 10 games under .500 at 17-27. They open a three-game series against Minnesota tonight in Arlington.

McCarthy's fourth consecutive strong performance may have quieted critics of the trade that brought him to Texas and sent Danks and Nick Masset to the White Sox. In those four games -- three victories and one no-decision -- he's given up six earned runs in 23 1/3 innings for a 2.31 ERA in that stretch.

After a rough start against Oakland on April 20, his ERA was 10.21, but it has dropped to 5.82. McCarthy benefited from the Rangers spotting him a 4-0 lead after two innings, and he said that was important.

Hicks keeps a brave face

The Rangers are coming home today. Tom Hicks is going to Greece.

Hicks spent the weekend catching up with general manager Jon Daniels on Saturday and on Sunday watching his team drub Houston, 14-1, to win its first road series of the season.

It left Hicks with a clear conscience to head to Athens today to attend the UEFA Champions League soccer final between his Liverpool FC and AC Milan.

There is no need to rush back, he said Sunday afternoon. The Rangers won't call it a season after this week, regardless of what happens in six games against Minnesota and Boston. Or next week after games at AL West foes Oakland and Seattle.

Hicks said he and Daniels will wait until the All-Star break to make any decisions about whether the 2007 Rangers are buyers or sellers on the trade market.

"I'm not in a panic," Hicks said. "Our goal is not only to win this year, but to contend every year. I think we'll know where we stand by the All-Star break. But it's a process."

Said Daniels: "It's important we play consistent quality baseball, but there's no hard timeline for determining how we'll proceed in late July. There is still a lot of baseball to be played between now and then. I want our guys focused on 7:05 every night."

Meanwhile, Botts keeps raking

DH-OF Jason Botts is the latest Triple-A Oklahoma hitter to catch fire. He went 3-for-5 with a pair of RBIs in Sunday's 9-7 win over Iowa. Botts is hitting .366 with 19 RBIs in 17 games in May.

Major Changes at 24 coming ….

Doc Ellis and songs about him

Ride the Vader balloon ….

A new balloon from Bristol-based Cameron Balloons is bound to give you a fright if you ever see it floating over the city - it's a 86ft high Darth Vader!

Viewer Mail:


You are the only one i can turn to for this problem. With the premature end of the playoff runs for the Stars and Mavs and Cowboys training camp still a ways off, can you help get the word to the Rangers that if they are going to be the only local sports team on the radar, to at least have the decency to air more games in HD??!?

I am tired of watching this team of underachievers stink up the diamond, but I could at least enjoy how nice the parks look in HD. THe Rangers are the worst in support of HD, I look forward to the afternoon sunday game so i get to see it in HD on Fox4, but the last 2 games have been bumped by NASCAR. I subscribe to Dish network and they have a Fox Sports Southwest HD channel but the only show Astros games in HD!! I have contacted both Fox Sports and Dish Network, and
Dish Network seemed to have no idea that there even was such a channel!!

I know I may be asking alot for the Rangers to turn it around and beat some teams, (cripes we just lost tothe D-Rays in the 10th inning at Disney's Sport Goofy F***ing stadium!!) but at least I could get SOME use out of my HD TV!!!

If they wont show the games, at least some in HD, I would then ask that the Rangers put in the same local blackout restrictions the Cowboys used to have, if they dont sell out the home games, they dont show them, because right now we need to ask the Rangers, YOU could use some baseball, when is that Grand Prairie stadium going to open?

Now THAT'S truth in marketing!!!


Frank in Arlington, stuck in a Standard Def Ranger Purgatory!!

Real Solid FA Cup Final, where Chelsea beats Man U on this winner:

Drogba’s winner in Extra Time

The All New I-Phone


arthur said...

no Sopranos talk, Bob?

Brad said...

I TOTALLY agree on the Rangers high def argument. I flipped by the Ranger game yesterday and saw it wasn't in HD and just kept going. What other reason would there be to watch?

Brad C

CFB123 said...

Your transparent jealousy of the Spurs is getting the better of you Bob. You really need to just let it go. Let's just try to enjoy the fact that the Red Wings are cratering yet again. Now there is a team that is truly fun to hate.

As for the Rangers, whether their games are in HD or not, they're totally unwatchable either way. Let's face it, once the NBA Finals are over, we've got nothing until Cowboys training camp starts.

Joe said...

No Steve Nash gets eliminated again with a stacked team and outplayed by Tony Parker for the 100th time talk Bob?

I know the sports world is in love with little Stevie Nash but why isn't he lambasted and called soft like Dirk? Nash, as is Dirk, is hidden on defense, and even then, allows his player to score points at will.
While Nash is great offensively, its funny how the players at his position continually scored and had career playoff games against his teams. Parker, Bibby and even Billips a few times in Minnesota.

Somehow though, the media sweeps that under the rug and makes excuses for Nash, ie trade Stoudemire for KG and complaining about the suspensions. (Simmons) The Mavs lost Terry for a Game 6 last year and still went down to a Game 7 and beat the Spurs. So cry me a river Suns fans.

Poncenomics said...


Friday's blog had a little tip of the hat to "win or you're done, Suns." Suns lose. Saturday...Sunday...Monday...


To his credit, at least Bob hasn't engaged in any whiny "David Stern stole this series from the Suns" B.S. like J.F. Engel in Sunday's Startlegram.

But still, WHEN will we hear the media dragging Stevie Nash under the bus like they did Dirk? Where are all the sudden NBA experts who wanted Dirk traded the morning after GS Game 6? Do all the armchair GMs still want Stevie back? Would he REALLY have gotten the Mavs to a title? Last I checked, he hadn't gotten his team to the Finals yet, even WITH Stoudamire on the floor.

And spare me the suspension excuses. As Joe said, JET was suspended for Game 6 a year ago, and somehow, the Mavs took it to, and won, a Game 7. Hmmm...I remember a certain Dirk Nowitski saving that Game 7 for them.

MK said...

Well, Steve Nash did show up on one end of the floor, I think that is probably the difference between him and Dirk in this year's playoffs.

andrew said...

Drogba's goal was even more impressive since he had enough body control to not kick the keeper in the face while scoring.

And I agreed on perceived presence of Bias Bob. The whole argument with Dan over the suspensions last week stank of Bias Bob being upset that the Spurs gained an advantage.

And Bob, if you're reading this, take comfort in that it's easy to spot when Bias Bob takes over because, in my opinion, it's so unusual.

andrew said...


I didn't want the Spurs OR the Suns to win that series, by the way. And I hope Utah wins. So this isn't some Spurs homer talking.

MrSimic said...

Baseball Talk: Here's a fancy little chart that shows the value that teams get out of their payroll. Kinda what we know already (so far this season: Rangers & Yankees suck, Red Sox & Mets do not), but with pretty colors and an interactive date thingy.

MrSimic said...

Correction: I should have pointed out the Indians and Brew Crew as two teams that do not suck on the value vs. performance chart.