Monday, May 14, 2007

Today's Long Blog

Many options for the blog today, and we will get to plenty, but I thought we would begin with the latest from Green Bay …where Favre asked for a trade, according to reports.

I have been asked how I may feel about this, as well as how Packers’ fans feel about this in general. Well, here it is. I would submit to you that about 98% of us think GM Ted Thompson is an idiot. He has had loads of cap room for the last 3 off-seasons, and has done nothing with it. He appears unable to tell Favre to take a hike (which many would be fine with), but also does not have any intention of taking a risk to try to win with Favre. So, it is the worst of both worlds.

Nobody still thinks Favre is the MVP of the league, but if you have watched his games last season, you know he can still play. And at 8-8 last season with no weapons on offense besides Donald Driver, it stood to reason that with a decent addition or two, they could ponder a playoff run.

Instead, they do next to nothing. My buddy emailed me what Thompson might be thinking:

I wonder if we can get 3 7th rd picks for Brett than I can add to my core players, I know some good players at Montana St, Idaho and Wyoming I could pick up with those three.

and I would save 10 mil per year, that would give me about 22 mil under the cap this year.

with that money I could lock up three of my core players on the roster Tony Moll, Will Blackmon, and Johny Jolly to long term front loaded contracts.

Here is the report from ESPN:

The man who quietly but persistently lobbied hard for Green Bay officials to acquire Randy Moss during the offseason is apparently unhappy that the Packers' efforts to land the veteran wide receiver via a trade with the Oakland Raiders fell short on draft weekend.

In interviews during his annual charity golf tournament in Tunica, Miss., quarterback Brett Favre acknowledged that he felt the Packers missed an opportunity to add a significant piece to their offense. Preparing for his 17th season in the league, his 16th in a Packers' uniform, Favre never publicly articulated his support for a Moss trade this spring, but the consensus was that he wanted an opportunity to play with the wide receiver.

"It is disappointing," Favre said on Saturday. "We could have gotten him for less money than New England did. He wanted to play in Green Bay for the amount of money we would have paid him. It [was] well worth the risk."

But was the three-time MVP angry enough to ask his way out of Green Bay?

Amid public grousing from Favre about the state of his team over the weekend, a report on the Fox Sports Web site, citing anonymous sources, said Favre's agent called Packers general manager Ted Thompson to request a trade a few days after last month's draft.

According to the report, Packers coach Mike McCarthy later called the quarterback and was able to calm his anger, getting Favre to admit that he didn't really want to play elsewhere.

In the NBA, The Jazz win in Oakland …in CAN be done!

At the end, it was oh-so-sweet for the deliberate, not the swift. For the plodders, not the speedsters. For the collective, not the individuals.

Talk about two wholly opposite playoff stepchildren. Were they both really hatched out of Naismith's parentage? Do they even share one bit of the same lineage?

Never were their diametrically opposed features and tendencies and methodologies more evident than Sunday night in Game 4, when the Jazz beat the Warriors, 115-101, in Oracle Arena by taking the ball inside, and, then, doing it again, and again, and again, and, just for good measure, pulling away from the outside down the stretch.

The ever-diligent visitors mounted a 40-point fourth quarter, including a 29-14 run to close the thing out, taking a 3-1 lead in this second-round series and earning a return home with their bags eagerly packed. The Jazz were hugely upbeat in their postgame locker room, despite trying their hardest not to show it too much.

"This feels good," said Derek Fisher, who scored 14 points in that fourth, and 21 overall. "I want to see how far we can take this. You have to take steps, work hard, and earn it. Now, we have to close it out."

For that to happen, the Jazz will have to keep doing what they did here, which was in such contrast to Golden State: Get the ball to their big man, Carlos Boozer, and work the offense from there. The
forward had 34 points on 13-for-19 shooting.

"We couldn't handle Boozer," Don Nelson said afterward, adding: "It was a heckuva a game for a while. We just didn't have enough juice. . . . Their strength is our weakness."

Nelson was bang on.

The Jazz and Warriors couldn't be further removed from each other.

The biggest difference between them was supposedly more comprehensive than just style, although it allegedly was reflected in that. It's the level of freedom granted, which is true, and happiness gained, which is not true, in the way they play.

The Jazz work hard. Man, did they do that Sunday night. For instance, they outrebounded the Warriors, 52-36.

The Jazz’ performance has many laughing again at the Mavs

The bottom line, though, is that bullies can only intimidate and beat cowards, i.e., the Dallas Mavericks. And there's nothing cowardly about any team coached by Jerry Sloan.

Cowlishaw looks at Point Guard with the Mavs

But what is painfully obvious is the reason those four teams are playing and the Mavericks are not.

•Nash, winner of two MVP awards.
•Baron Davis, playing like a post-season MVP.
•Perennial All-Star Tony Parker.
•New kid on the block Deron Williams of the Colony.

Phoenix, Golden State, San Antonio and Utah, the teams with the four best point guards in the West, remain standing. The rest have fallen.

When Donnie Nelson and Avery Johnson sit down to figure out how to fix something we had no idea was broken until two weeks ago, they have to start at the point guard position.

Is Devin Harris the long-term solution?

Can anyone really afford to still be thinking that three years into his pro career?
Harris is at times a very good player. He is at times a very ineffective one.
He will never have the physical stature to contend with guards such as Davis or Utah's Williams. There's simply not enough of him.

Nash and Parker don't have size, either, but their careers have illustrated the special qualities they bring to a team.

Harris averaged 13 points and five assists in 27 minutes a night in the first round. He was one of the team's better players.

But those numbers – particularly the minutes – just aren't enough for a lead guard.
The four active Western Conference point guards average between 35 and 40 minutes in these playoffs. They average between 17 and 27 points. They average between 6.3 and 13.4 assists.

I don't see Harris ever being the Mavericks' leader in those kinds of terms.

Check this link: David Lord with an exhaustive study on the Mavericks summer goals and options

Nelson Cruz buys himself a bit longer in the big leagues

Nelson Cruz was the last guy anyone would expect to win a game for the Rangers with one swing, which is why it meant so much when he did.

Cruz pulled himself, and his team, out of desperation for at least a day with a walk-
off, opposite-field homer in the bottom of the ninth to down the Angels 7-6 on Sunday.

Texas won for the first time in six meetings against the AL West leaders. Cruz's homer was only his third hit in his past 31 at-bats.

After he reached out and drove a slider from Scot Shields to right field, Cruz gleefully trotted home, where he was mobbed by equally giddy teammates.

It's no wonder they were so excited, the Rangers, who came back from three separate deficits, are only 2-22 this season when trailing after five innings.

"It was a huge game for us," said Brad Wilkerson, whose two-run homer tied the game at 6-6 in the sixth. "You look at any successful team throughout a major league season, and they always have a lot of come-from-behind wins. Whether it be the fight in the club, or just how good they are, they really come through in the clutch situations."

The Rangers continually rallied, with a two-run homer from Ian Kinsler, a solo shot from Hank Blalock and an RBI double from Mark Teixeira providing their other runs before Cruz punctuated the afternoon.

Although Cruz is still hitting a paltry .193, he's hoping Sunday is a sign of things to come.

"I don't think I've lost confidence," Cruz said. "I come here and work with [hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo], I always keep working on my approach at the plate. I don't have a doubt about it, I know I can hit."

Cruz's home run was one of eight in the game, four by each team. Former Ranger Gary Matthews Jr. hit a pair of two-run homers to go along with solo homers by Shea Hillenbrand and Mike Napoli.

Beanball is back!

Angels manager Mike Scioscia was livid after the latest hit parade involving his team and the Rangers and was sharply critical of umpires after the Rangers' 7-6 victory on Sunday.

In the top of the seventh inning, Rangers reliever Joaquin Benoit threw a pitch inside to former Ranger Gary Matthews Jr., who was 3-for-3 with two home runs at the time. Matthews turned away, but the pitch thumped him in the rear end.

Matthews, who refused to comment after the game, was clearly upset and took awhile getting to first base. Umpires and players got between Matthews and Benoit to prevent any escalation.

In the bottom of the inning, Angels reliever Hector Carrasco threw a soft breaking ball that hit Ian Kinsler in the head. Plate umpire Alfonso Marquez immediately tossed Carrasco out of the game.

"If there wasn't intent on what Benoit did, there will never be intent," said Scioscia, who was ejected for arguing with the umpires. "[Marquez] didn't even issue a warning. Hector Carrasco -- a breaking ball slips out of his hand and hits a guy at 70-whatever miles an hour and [Marquez] finds intent with that. It's absolutely ridiculous."

Benoit denied throwing at his ex-teammate.

"I'm not trying to hit anybody," he said, "but I'm going to pitch inside."
Carrasco also denied trying to hit Kinsler.

"It was a 62 mile-an-hour breaking ball," he said. "If I'm going to hit somebody, I'm going to hit them in the ribs or the leg."

Marquez explained his ruling.

"The biggest thing here is the batter was hit in the head," Marquez said. "If he'd
hit him anywhere else, we'd put warnings in and go from there. The pitch was not a fastball, but it doesn't have to be a fastball. And when it hits him in the head, something has to be done."

Gammons said what????

Someday, Gabe Kapler will manage the Boston Red Sox. He is starting in Greenville (South Atlantic League) on a five-year program to learn his trade and eventually get the Sox job when and if Terry Francona retires. This is what you need to know about Kapler. He approached one of his players, Zak Farkes, who happened to go to Harvard. "What is the best book you've read in the last year?" Kapler asked Farkes, knowing he is a voracious reader. Farkas identified the book, and Kapler told him he wanted to read it to better understand his player.

In hockey, we have 2 great series going in the Conference Finals. Anaheim wins in Detroit

So this is how it's gonna be, as tight as predicted, decided by the team that fires most and fires last. That team right now is Anaheim, which just keeps swarming. This series is tied, but make no mistake -- the Ducks have the edge.

Scott Niedermayer's overtime goal gave Anaheim a 4-3 victory Sunday night, a triumph that was richly earned. And really, the Red Wings are semi-fortunate the series is 1-1 as it shifts to California.

The Wings had their chances, and actually played better than in their Game 1 victory. But already, the lines are drawn in the ice and the Ducks are controlling more of the play. It was especially apparent in overtime, when they pressed for a victory they had to have.

If the two games in Joe Louis Arena set the pattern for this series, it's up to the Wings to break that pattern. They have not scored an even-strength goal yet. Anaheim has five (including two that were correctly awarded on instant-replay reviews) and has looked like the better team for numerous stretches.

If the Wings can count on bunches of power plays every game, they've got a shot. If not, they've got a problem.

"I think they're getting more pressure in our end," Nicklas Lidstrom said. "We're making one pass too many instead of just getting the puck to the net. It's something we have to get back to doing."

Uh, and quickly.

Every hit matters in the playoffs and every hit carries a price. So if the Ducks keep hitting, the Red Wings have to make them pay. Detroit was 2-for-7 on the power play (and added a short-handed goal by Kirk Maltby). Anaheim was 0-for-5.

We'll reiterate the warning: That's a dangerous way for the Wings to live.

They have to find more offense and find their way in front of solid goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere. They cannot rely on Dominik Hasek every game because the man is human. Niedermayer's shot from close quarters beat him cleanly, although Hasek didn't appear to see the puck.

The Wings must be better in Anaheim and must get production from players outside their top line of Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg and Tomas Holmstrom.

This is amazing. In Hockeytown, they aren’t selling out their arena???…we may have to make you take that arrogant claim off your ice!...

Sure, Detroit hockey fans are excited by the Red Wings' march toward their second Stanley Cup since 2002.

So why aren't more of them in the seats at Joe Louis Arena?

Competition from the Pistons, the Tigers and even the weather may be partially responsible for the bare spots at the Joe, but Red Wings officials believe the underlying reason is simple.

People just don't have the money to spend.

"The number one reason is the economy here in Detroit -- the layoffs and business closings here in the region," said John Hahn, Red Wings senior director of communication. "These are the people that come to the games."

The competition for the Metro Detroit disposable income dollar is particularly intense this spring. The Pistons are poised to oust the Bulls in the second round of the NBA playoffs. And it's the first time in a long time that fans in the month of May expect the Tigers to win a plethora of games.

"There is the general phenomenon that people spend their income," said Dana Johnson, chief economist of Comerica Bank. "You give people a buck, they spend a buck."

And the bucks aren't getting spent this year on the Red Wings playoff games. Empty seats were a common sight in the early rounds at Joe Louis Arena.

Other hockey fans can only envy the Red Wings' success over the last several years, but for Detroit fans such as Rich Green of Clinton Township, the Wings haven't lived up to expectations after winning the Cup in 2002.

"It's fine to watch on TV, but given their playoff performances of the past few years, spending the money to watch the game in person is an investment I don't want to make," said Green, 32.

But now the Wings are deep in the playoffs.

Still, fans could get their choice of tickets on Friday for that night's game -- as well as others -- against the Anaheim Ducks.

Tevez vs Manchester United

Above, see the goal that saved West Ham, by the great Carlos Tevez.

If you have never experienced the agony of relegation and the thrill of avoiding it, you are missing one of the greatest moments in sports. Relegation is a yearly penalty given to the bottom 3 teams in each domestic league in World Soccer, where they are kicked out of the league, and demoted to the next level down. Could you imagine the Texas Rangers battling in September to try to stay up in the major leagues? Could you imagine how depressed you would be when the Rangers were to spend several seasons in AAA trying to win that league so they can get promoted back to the major leagues? Could you imagine what the Rangers would have to do to their payroll if they did not partake of the MLB television contract, and therefore had to sell off all of their highly paid players when they got relegated?

It happens every year in England.

So, Watford, Charlton Athletic, and now on the final day of the season, Sheffield United are going down. Birmingham, Sunderland, and the winner of the playoff will come up to the Premiership next August.

But West Ham caught fire at the end of the season, and survived

Alan Curbishley was entitled to sigh wearily when he walked straight from the dressing-room celebrations into another interrogation about the Tévez affair yesterday, but the striker’s seventh goal in the last ten matches, and another man-of-the-match performance by the Argentinian, made such questions inevitable.
A remarkable seventh win in nine matches was evidence that West Ham’s recovery owed more than just to the goals from Tévez. “We put our bodies on the line,” Curbishley said, and they fought for their victory, but it is hard to believe that United would have lost at home in the league for the first time since the visit of Arsenal eight long months ago, if they had not been groggy from their championship celebrations.
United put out a team that could have beaten West Ham and, on first-half chances, should have done so and Fulham had benefited a week ago from Liverpool fielding a weakened side.
These things happen but the presence of Kieran Richardson in the United line-up was bound to fuel Warnock’s ire. The fact that Alan Smith forced a goalline block, Wayne Rooney chased around like it was August and John O’Shea brought a fingertip save from Robert Green in the first half will have been of little consolation.
Nor will Warnock have been calmed by Sir Alex Ferguson sending on Paul Scholes, Cristiano Ronaldo and Ryan Giggs shortly before the hour-mark. By then, United were trailing to Tévez’s goal after he had played a one-two with Bobby Zamora and barged his way past Wes Brown’s weak challenge. Victory lifted West Ham from seventeenth to fifteenth place which means another £1 million in prize money – something else for Sheffield to think about as they count their losses.

This from one of our precious emailers:

I need Bad Radio help. Bob and Dan I am auditioning for I love New York 2. Maybe you guys have seen it since Bob is a Flavor Flav fan. I need votes on the website My profile name is Nupe112. Please get the word out and help me get votes on the web. I will promote Bad Radio on Vh1 if I get on. I'm a P1, I will drop no less than 10 ticket drops if get on the show. "we're having fun here no" "This is not the guy in the next cubical over".
here is my link fellas. please post it on your website. Thanks Bad Radio!
Link Here

Vote for Nupe112, please!

P1 Evan has a sweet MMA Blog here at MMA

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Andy D. said...

Good stuff, good stuff...

Quick hits:
Gabe (sigh) song starts "these are the times to remember, cause they will not last forever..."
miss Gabe on Bob and Dan.

Golden State: Song starts, "you can't always get what ya want..."
It's been a fun ride Nellie.

Rangers: Song starts, "when you think you've had too much of this life.. hold on... everybody hurts, everybody cries..."
Just not a very good team buddy.

Stars: Mo, your fiancee is hot as hell, but keep her mouth shut dude. Talking after sex is ok, but don't bring the bedtime chatter public. (no song for this one)

later-- poor dirk

Brad said...

Mike better hope this blows over before next season.

Who are the Rangers? NY Rangers? They got beat by Buffalo.
Go Ducks. Beat Det. (I feel so dirty)

Go Jazz, Go Spurs (oh god even dirtier, so dirty)

The gimmick must be defeated. Jazz and Spurs for a real conference Final. Send the gimmick home.

arthur said...

What? No effin' ziti?

I was looking forward to some Tony/Christopher talk.

andrew said...


Trade for Jermaine O'Neal

Trade for a higher pick to take someone like Green (find a good PF or SF, let Howard spend more time at 2)

Find a way to keep Stack and get Blake.

Tell Ager that if you can't get 15 minutes a night out of him you'll kill 'em.

Use your 2nd pick on someone like Badger Tucker or Bear Afflalo (sp?).

davidmclem said...

Yeah, vote for Nupe. He's only 90,000 votes behind the leader.