Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Mind of Kings Fans III

The following is another email exchange between two die-hard Sacramento Kings fans -- myself (SonDog -- living in Vail) and Aaron (OZ -- living in Sacramento) --

OZ - Has Kobe lost his mind completely? As if the "Mamba" debacle wasn't stupid enough, his quote last night after hurling up 30 shots and losing to San Antonio was basically that his misses create rebounding opportunities for his teammates. Nice. How would you like to be on a team with this moron.

Last night was difficult to gauge. The Kings were absurd from 3 (10/14) with their big men (Shareef hitting two and Brad hitting one) raining down the 3's on Charlotte. This was an abnormally easy game. I was expecting more from a team that trounced Indiana not two weeks ago by 30 points.

Does a .500 record secure Adelman's job for the season?

SonDog - You're right, last night was tough to gauge. But, tonight's game against Golden State will be a good indicator of where the team is at. Golden State's athleticism is something that gives Sac fits at times. Tonight will give everybody a better idea of where both teams are at this point.

As for last night, when Emeka Okafor got into foul trouble and Gerald Wallace started missing his shots, Charlotte went in the tank. They seemed to give up in the third quarter.

I don't think Kobe realizes that while he is scoring 33 a game, he's taking 29 shots to do it. That's a horrible ratio, and it is the primary reason why Lamar Odom looks stoned all of the time. Seriously, he looks like a guy who's just permanently vexed. It vexes him. He's terribly vexed. There will come a time this year when Lamar Odom pulls Kobe's tights down and punches him in the face. I want to be at that game. I've always said that Lamar would be the PERFECT PF in the Kings' system. If they could trade Peja for Odom, straight up, they would have to do that.

OZ - I think at this point Odom would happily join JJ in Atlanta just to get away from Mamba.

Sac was supposed to have a problem with Charlotte's athleticism last night, but that wasn't a huge concern when all of the Kings started clicking on offense. Textbook Adelman basketball. Bonzi schooled Gerald Wallace though. I thought Wallace was going to cry when he came out in the third after another foul sent him to the floor. Bonzi's quickly becoming what everybody had hoped Bibby would be, a "Tyler Durden" like leader that commands the respect of his followers and his opponents. The Kings will be a team of Space Monkeys in no time.

What's the Warriors problem? All of a sudden there's an exorbitant amount of Kings haters coming out in Oak-town. I have nothing against GS and I sincerely enjoy watching the success they've been having, so I'm not yet upset or planning retaliation, just bewildered at the angst.

SonDog - Well, again, Okafor got into early foul trouble, May was out, and Wallace was non-effective. That's the game right there. Also, Thomas and Garcia teamed up to provide some much needed punch and athleticism off the bench. I wouldn't say Bonzi schooled Wallace though. I'll be writing about Wallace soon. He's a consistent jump shot away from being an all-star (or, so says Jerry Reynolds, who I will also be writing about soon).

It's readily apparent that Bonzi's outstanding play is due in part to the fact that he is in a contract year. It's funny how that happens. I mean, he's averaging nearly nine boards a game! As long as he keeps playing like a rabid dog, I'm happy with him, because his hustle and effort are indeed inspiring his teammates. My biggest concern is the following quote attributed to Mike Fratello during the 2005 playoffs: "If you come anywhere near the arena during game 4, you'll be arrested." Wells is certified, no-doubt about it, crazy. You can only tolerate a crazy guy for so long before you just stop listening to him. Don't get me wrong, he's the Kings' most inspiring and driven player at the moment. But, he should be, because it is a contract year and all.

For tonight's game, the Warriors, as it stands, are a better team. Once Pietrus gets back, they have a really deep and really young bench with the potential to be one of the league's best. I'll be interested in watching Diogu and Biendris play tonight.

OZ - Do you say things just to piss me off? That's the only logical explanation as to why you would make the statement, "The Warriors, as it stands, are a better team."

Who you call'n Physco?!

I'm not justifying that statement with an argument. On the rivalry front though, I guess I'm a bit of a putz when it comes to bay area rivalries as I'm a Giants fan first, but I watch just as much of the A's and I'm never in Fresno to watch Giants AAA, but I go to at least one Rivercats game a year, usually more. When it comes to GS, I have no rivalry emotion there but rather I would like to see them succeed, just not against the Kings. LA (as a whole) on the other hand, I would like to see trapped into a rut of sports failure for all eternity. That's a rivalry.

SonDog - Golden State, as it stands, is a deeper and more talented team. That's just a fact. They're younger and more athletic, and that's WITH two white, non-Euro players in their starting five (Murphy and Dunleavey). That being said, they have three contracts in Foyle, Fisher, and Dunleavey that will forever be impossible to move. Chris Mullin was just drunk when he inked those guys to such huge deals, and since he's a recovered alcoholic, I'll cut him some slack. The backcourt of Davis and Richardson is simply better than the backcourt of Bibby and Wells. Shareef and Murph are a wash as far as I'm concerned. Miller is better than Foyle and Peja is better than Dunleavey. Then it gets to the bench... I'll take Golden State's bench 10 times out of 10.

OZ - As a starting 5, the Kings DESTROY GS. The little bit that Baron and Richardson are better than Bibby and Wells does not make up for the canyon between the talent of Miller and Peja compared to Mike "I've never come close to my hype" Dunleavey and Adonal "Mullen gave him what?!" Foyle.

The benches are a wash in my book. The fact is the Kings bench has been severely underachieving. When they get going, this will be the best bench they've had since the "Bench Mob", and I'm sticking to that. For Christ's sakes the sixth man of the year from the world champion Detroit team doesn't even see time on this bench!

SD - You make me laugh. No, really, you make me laugh. I forgot that you mentioned at the beginning of the year that this was the best bench since the Bench Mob. Call me during the game tonight and we can discuss. As for now, I'm out like the success of your prediction that this team's bench is the best since the Bench Mob.

Random Baseball Thoughts

by SonDog

Numero Uno: According to an Associated Press report, Barry Lamar Bonds has vowed to lose roughly 40 pounds this off-season, returning to his late-90's playing weight of 200 pounds. The same report says that Bonds is losing the weight in order to take pressure off of his surgically repaired knee. Look, I love watching Bonds play, I really do. But, call me Master of the Obvious, but if Bonds truly does show up to spring training 40 pounds lighter than his playing weight of last year, it will not be simply to take pressure off of his knee. Others may be fearful of admiting this, but Bonds simply cannot afford to pull a Rafael Palmeiro. It's generally acknowledged that, while Bonds has never failed a steroids test, the man has been on the juice. With his continuing chase for Hank bringing in lots of 755-merchandise money (remember, Bonds pulled out of the Players Association two years ago so he could essentially market his own record-breaking merchandise) the last thing he can afford to do (not financially, but more so for his legacy) is fail a roids test. I hope, I sincerely hope, that the man is clean and off the juice, and he can break the record in the same fashion that he hit his firt 500 or so homers... clean.

Numero Dos Equis: The 5 year, $47 million contract given to B.J. Ryan by Toronto was unwarranted and absurd. The 3 year, $21 million contract given to Esteban Loiza by Oakland was unwarranted and absurd. The 3 year, $11.3 and $12 million contracts given to Scott Eyre and Bobby Howry by Chicago were unwarranted and absurd. The list goes on and on. This is nothing new to anybody, but my question is: Can we not find 30 non-retarded and mildly educated General Managers to run the teams in Major League Baseball? I mean, honestly? Come on? Really? No? This is just stupid. How Toronto can in any way justify "setting the market for closers" ( a term thrown around baseball circles like it's the freakin' stock market all of a sudden) by giving a record deal to a 30-year-old closer with exactly one... COUNT IT... ONE (AS IN, 1!!!) year experience as a closer is beyond any form of common sense.

U.S. Bonds

by BH

It has been reported that Barry Bonds will join the U.S. team in the World Baseball Classic in March. On, the story is coupled with a poll in which fans are asked "Do you want Barry Bonds to play for the U.S.?" At 11:00 pst, 75.5% of the 17,342 people who voted want Bonds to play.

I don't know what to make of this. We can probably all agree that outside of San Francisco, Bonds is generally disliked. So why would so many fans want to see Bonds represent the U.S.? Perhaps the public's negative feelings towards Bonds, his possible steroid use, and interaction with the media has been tempered. Maybe people realize this guy is a stud, and is the best baseball player they've ever seen. Perhaps they know that Bonds would add a great deal to the U.S. squad, and would make the team that much more difficult to beat. Maybe they hate the U.S. and want the rest of the world to hate the U.S. as well. I'm thinking that the result of the poll doesn't really tell us anything about how people really feel about Bonds the person. It tells us that Bonds the ballplayer is simply recognized as a great ballplayer.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Powder Daze

by SonDog

As DMo and I discussed the situation on Saturday evening, one thing was painfully clear: Sunday was going to be a damn good powder day on Beaver Creek.

Thus, after a brief discussion, we came up with a perfect plan for Sunday. 1) Wake up early and get on one of the first chairs at Beaver Creek (Sunday powder days, for weekend warriors like myself and DMo, are rare for some reason). 2) Retire around noon to watch our beloved 49ers play what promised to be a competitive game against the equally lowly Tennessee Titans. 3) Drink some fine whiskey while our manly, athletic dogs (I mean, it's a border collie and an Austrailian shepherd... that's the equivalent of a Kobe Bryant and a Tracy McGrady in the dog world, sans a sexual assault charge... er, on second thought, my neighbor's Chihuahua is considering pressing charges) beat each other up all over my living room floor.

The day started out in perfect form. The powder runs in Rose Bowl at Beaver Creek were as good as it gets through the course of the season. Spider and Ripsaw felt virtually bottomless. DMo and I were "shredding the pow-pow" (as they say) like never before (or at least since last year). And while it felt about as cold as an ex-girlfriend's heart, we weren't complaining.

(To be honest, for the purposes of this story we weren't complaining. Because in truth we were both bitching like a couple of seven-year-olds. In fact, to stay warm on the lifts, DMo and I would crank up our respective iPod's and individually bounce to our respective beats while we slowly climbed through the blistering cold. I assure you, there is nothing like the sight of two small-town white guys attempting to bounce to the beats of Dr. Dre, Snoop, Jay-Z, Linkin Park, et. al. In addition, when those two white guys are practically frozen stiff on a ski lift with snowboards dangling from their left legs, it's a perfect 10 on the unintentional comedy scale.)

Once the noon hour hit, we sped down to the bottom of the hill like our faces were on fire (or maybe that was the frostbite -- seriously, I got frostbite on my face). From the top of chair 5 to my front door -- 20 minutes. By 12:30 we were at my house, with whiskey in our hands, the 49er-Titan game paused exactly at the 11:00 AM start time (God bless TiVo), and our dogs wrestling harder than an ultimate fighting match. To this point, there was nothing that could damage this day.

And then, the third quarter began.

SonDog & Rocky, DMo & Des, enjoying an ideal Sunday
It's been an interesting year to be a 49er fan. While the team is scuffling mightily, there is still a sense of optimism that surrounds the team. First-year coach, Mike Nolan, has injected a sense of purpose and stability to a franchise that has been dying for a lot of both. Each week the scrappy Niners play with heart and effort, neither of which they showed during their 2-14 campaign last year. There's hope for the future in the arm of Alex Smith, in the hands of Brandon Lloyd, in the coverage skills of Bruce Thornton, and in the leadership of Julian Peterson.
Sadly, yesterday was not the future. In fact, the third quarter looked eerily similar to the past. (I realize that technically, yesterday IS the past, but just work with me on this one, smartass.) A few things I noticed during my downward spiral into 49er-induced depression:
1) The boneheaded mistakes must stop. This team has made more silly offensive, defensive, and special teams penalties this year than a pee-wee league squad. I don't think I've seen more false-start or illegal procedure penalties called on wide receivers in my life. Seriously, I've counted 731 this year against the Niners' receiving corpse... I mean group.
2) Alex Smith needs to start playing again. Look, I truly believe Ken Dorsey will be a good NFL backup. But, he's just that... a backup. If Smith is healthy, Nolan must throw him back in there to get killed... I mean to learn.
3) Next year's draft is absolutely critical to the long-term success of the team. Nolan has everybody believing right now, but, frankly, none of the players drafted in 2005 have accomplished much on the field. RB Frank Gore is the closest to being a success (with apologies to Adam Snyder and David Baas, who both played yesterday -- I mean, really, does anybody care about offensive linemen? The only time they are noticed is when the QB is sacked or the RB is stuffed behind the line; both of which happen frequently on this team.). No matter where the Niners end up picking in the draft (for God's sake, I hope they get Reggie Bush), they need to hit homeruns with each of their first four selections, at the least. This team simply does not have the talent to consistently produce a solid game.
4) Is there a more inconsistent player on the planet than Brandon Lloyd? From Bill Simmons of, "By the way, has any receiver in the history of mankind vacillated between "absolutely unbelievable" and "freaking terrible" like Brandon Lloyd? Either he's the next Lynn Swann or the next Hart Lee Dykes. Maybe a little of both." Twice yesterday Lloyd ran lazy routes, resulting in either incompletions or interceptions. Lloyd criticized the QB two weeks ago (subsequently getting an earfull from Nolan), but he has nobody to criticize but himself after yesterday. While I'm on the subject, rumor has it that Lloyd has his own rap album out. I'm not making this up. I'm not making this up either: That could be the hands-down stupidest thing I've ever heard. Concentrate on your route-running, B-Lite, okay?
With that putrid second-half effort, our perfect Sunday crumbled like our hope for a victory. Fortunately, I had plenty of Jameson around the house for this exact emergency situation. By 7:45 PM, as I crawled into bed for the evening, I couldn't even remember if I had eaten dinner, let alone the sad display of football I had witnessed just hours ago. That, my friends, was a beautiful way to end the day.

Sunday Silliness

by BH

I apologize for getting excited about the Niners. They looked really bad during the second half on Sunday. As I've said before, they are good for a 2 win team but the third and most of the fourth quarter showed us how much they must improve before becoming a good NFL team.

There were a few in the media saying and writing fun things about the Jets/Saints and Niner/Titan games being Bush bowls. I admit that I'm excited about the possibility that the Niners could end up with the first pick and the rights to Reggie Bush, but there are a couple problems. 1) He's a junior. What if he pulls a Matt Leinart and decides to stay for his senior season? The rumor was that Leinart decided to stay because San Francisco had the first pick. 2) How are they going to pay for two #1 overall draft picks in a row? For a team that has twice found itself in "salary cap hell," paying through the nose for two guys doesn't sound like the way to build nor maintain a sound team. That being said, I don't know what they're paying for now. I don't know that they can't field a team in which the other 20 starters get paid a little less in order to have Smith and Bush on the field. They both seem like guys who, once they've adapted to the league, can hide a few weaknesses.

I'm still excited at the thought of Reggie Bush in a Forty-Niner uniform. As I told SonDog yesterday, he is, without a doubt, the best college football player I've ever seen. He's like Marshall Faulk and Barry Sanders put together. If he's there for the Niners to take, despite the money issues, I don't see how they could pass him up.

At this point though, the possibility of the Niners having the number 1 pick is moot, because that pick, right now, would belong to the Houston Texans. Along with San Francisco, Green Bay and the New York Jets also have two wins. Let us say for a moment that the Niners finish the season with the second worst record and the #2 pick in the draft behind Houston. Houston has put a lot of money into David Carr, and recently gave Domanick Davis a four year extension. It is conceivable that they would go in a different direction than Bush. I don't know, maybe offensive line help. That would leave the door open for San Francisco to take Bush. Likewise, Green Bay and New York both have steady backs, which makes it seem less likely that they'd be interested in Bush, although there is some talk that Green won't be back in Green Bay next year.

If he is available the Niners have to take Bush, despite the financial strain it might put on the team. If, at the end of his career, Bush has had the type of success many expect him to have, Niner fans don't want to look back and say "I can't believe the Forty-Niners didn't take him because of money."

Friday, November 25, 2005


by BH

Entering today's game between Texas and Texas A&M, college football fans heard that this was going to be Vince Young's chance to answer those Heisman voters who were swayed last week by Reggie Bush's game against Fresno State. Texas A&M came in at 5-5, having lost three straight games. The Aggies were ranked 109th in total defense, giving up 455 yards per game, and 117th in pass defense, surrendering 319 yards per game. It was a real chance for Young to put up some huge numbers. He didn't. Young finished the game 13/24 for 162 yards, with a touchdown and an interception. He also had 19 rushing yards on 11 carries. After the game, during an interview with ESPN, Texas' slimy Mack Brown said that A&M have a "great defense," which gave the Longhorns trouble. No coach, they don't. Young deserves a lot of credit. I heard someone say this week that Young has "Mack Brown-proofed Texas," which is an allusion to Brown's inability to coach his team to a big win. It is such a great description of how useful Young has been to his team. If the Heisman were an MVP-type award, it's likely that Young would win. He has meant more to his team than Matt Leinart or Bush. Not only is he the focal point of every defense he plays, he has to make up for playing for a mediocre coach. Since the Heisman is supposed to go to the most outstanding college football player though, it seems to be Bush's to win or lose at this point.

I'm Thankful

by BH

First of all, I'm thankful that there are three people out there that actually read this stuff. I try to write things I'm interested in, and I hope that translates to anyone who reads this. I try to keep what I write intelligent and thoughtful, without being too cynical about the world. Now, back to your regularly scheduled cynicism...I mean, uh, observations.

I'm thankful for the worldwide leader in sports that is ESPN. From the organization's television broadcasts, to its radio, website, and original programming, I and others are never without fodder about which to write. Right now, I'd like to take the opportunity to thank Skip Bayless, Steve Phillips, Joe Morgan, Gary Thorn, Larry Bowa, Stephen A. Smith, Erik Kuselias, John Sybel, Sean Salisbury, John Kruk, and others who are so bad at their jobs that they give me nothing but gold ("It's gold Jerry...GOLD!") with which to work.

I'm thankful for the mute button on my remote. It has never been more useful than during the last baseball postseason. As I have mentioned in previous posts, Thom Brenneman, Steve Lyons, Tim McCarver, and Joe Buck have the ability to take an other wise nice baseball moment and ruin it. They're like bizarro sportscasters. There is no doubt in my mind that FOX is trying to ruin baseball in order to make room for more gems like The War at Home.

I'm thankful for sweet potato pie. I had never had it prior to about two months ago, so I decided to make it one evening. Damn was it good. I made it for Thanksgiving desert for the whole family and it didn't turn out quite as well as the first time. I guess that just means the rest of the family won't want any more, and more will be left for me.

I'm thankful for the recent good play of the San Francisco Forty-Niners. If there can be a good 2-8, the Niners are it. I worry though that Ken Dorsey's going to be just good enough over the next six weeks to keep Alex Smith out of the starting lineup. It's kind of like watching Michael Tucker continuing to start in right field. You know there's no point, because the future of the organization is on the bench. My hope is that they continue to play good, close games, only to lose, finishing with a 2-14 record and opening the door for a Reggie Bush #1 draft pick (if he leaves USC).

I'm thankful the Broncos beat the Cowboys yesterday. My dislike for the Cowboys springs from the 90's Cowboys/Niners clashes, as well as the phrase, "America's Team." Both these teams do things right though. When I watch Denver and Dallas, I see two teams that just go out and play good, hard football. For the most part, a five yard run is not followed by a fifteen yard happy dance up the field. It pains me to say it, but I like watching Dallas play. I just like Denver more.

I hope everyone had a good Thankgiving and a good four days off. Be careful putting up your Christmas lights. Remember, the top step of the ladder is not really a step.

More Mind of Kings Fans

The following is another email exchange between two die-hard Sacramento Kings fans -- myself (SonDog -- living in Vail) and Aaron (OZ -- living in Sacramento) --

SonDog -- Isn't it an odd feeling as a Kings fan, especially (truly, only) after seven years of success, to know going into a game against San Antonio that you virtually have no chance to win?

OZ -- That's not really fair. SA is at the absolute pinnacle of their dynasty in the making (uh oh, I used the word dynasty) and no team in the game goes into a matchup with them right now thinking, "OK, now this is one of those games that we need to just play our game and we'll be in it in the end." No they're thinking, "OK, we need to play better than we ever have or we're going to get embarrassed tonight."

SonDog -- Maybe, but wouldn't you agree that even during the Lakers' dynasty, you still felt like Sac had a chance to win the game? I didn't feel that at all against Detroit or San Antonio. I don't think I'll feel that way against Miami or Indiana either.

Tonight's game against New Jersey is huge. I hate it when people say that this early in the season, but they need to win each of these next three games (Jersey, forgot who, Charlotte) to get back to .500 and get this season going. You do know that they are second to last in the West right now, right?

OZ -- The "forget who" is actually Toronto, and yes they should win the next three games. As I said earlier though, it wouldn't break my heart if they lost and Adelman was fired (though I thank that means Geoff Petrie leaves too). This team needs a new face on the sideline and as long as Pete Carrill stays, I don't think the offense could do anything but improve with fresh ideas, and there's no question the defense could improve. You're a moron if you think they'll stay at the bottom in the West.

SonDog -- You're a moron if you think Carrill stays if Adelman and Petrie leave. The only reason Yoda is still on the bench is because of Petrie. Remember, he almost left to help Doc Rivers in Boston two years ago, but he cited his loyalty to Geoff and Rick as the reason for staying. Nope, if Adelman is canned, it'll be an entirely new system on offense and defense, no doubt.

I'm not saying they'll stay at the bottom of the West, but I'm not the one (ahem) who predicted they would challenge for a #1 or #2 seed in the West, either. What were you thinking? This is a flawed roster (especially on the bench) with some serious need for players who can penetrate, create their own shot, jump higher than three inches... Basically, it's void of athletes. I still think they'll make the playoffs. But, like I predicted, it will be in the bottom half of the West (i.e., seven or eight seed at best).

The Kings' lack of athleticism shows up on this play when Jason Kidd fakes both Brad Miller and Mike Bibby out of their shorts

OZ -- Which proves that all the alcohol you consume has made you a pessimist. This team played HORRIBLE and still managed to score 100+ points and take the best team in the world to the last minute. That spells potential, and I still say there are not many teams better than them in the Western conference. Next thing you'll say is that you bought a Brand jersey and the Clippers are going to win it all since they have the best record in basketball.

SonDog -- Go join Grant Napear and Jerry Reynolds in Team Overly Optimistic, why don't you. They didn't score 100+. Look at the box score. In fact, they have yet to win a game this year when they didn't score 100+ points. And the Spurs simply let them back in the game. It wasn't as much what the Kings did as much of what San Antonio didn't do. Revisionist history, my good friend.

Do you honestly still think this is a top-4 Western Conference team? Seriously, are you using meth? The Clippers are for real. $100 says they make the playoffs. In fact, if Minnesota, Golden State, and the Clippers all make the playoffs, that means three teams from last year's playoffs will not make the cut. San Antonio, Dallas, and Denver are locks. Let's say San Antonio, Dallas, Denver, Minnesota, Golden State, and the Clips all make it. That leaves two remaining spots between Houston, Sac, Memphis, Seattle, and Phoenix.

OZ -- Wow. It's not even noon and you're already drunk. You do realize you said, "The Clippers are for real."? If you mean the tangibility of the team then yes they are, but if you mean that they'll make a run for the conference, then you've officially put an exorbitant amount of credit into the first 10 games. The Kings are better than Minn, GS, the lame ass Clips, and in my opinion Denver, though I don't expect an agreement there. Belittling their effort against SA doesn't change that they were in the game, with an equally poor effort mind you. Garcia was still in the game, which should tell you something.

You're shooting your load a little too early with these prediction changes. 10 games is just 10 games. The Clips could lose the next 10 and nobody would be surprised. If the Kings are still 2 to last in the west after the next 10, people will be surprised, myself included.

SonDog -- I can't believe you still think this team is better than Denver or Golden State (and, no, I can't believe I just said that either). Remember, I predicted GS to finish sixth in the West before the season started, so this has a lot more to do than just the first 10 games. So, you are saying that the only two teams in the West better than Sac are San Antonio and Dallas?!?! What the hell is wrong with you, you uncoditional loyalist?!?!

The Clippers, I don't know enough about yet. However, I'm glad that comment got under your skin, because that's exactly what it was designed to do (I'll still take that bet, though).

10 games is 1/8 of the season, Mr. Accountant. If they are to win 50 games, like you suggest, then they need to go 46-25 from now until the end of the year. Do you think that is realistic with this roster? I'm not saying it can't be done, but I just have not been impressed with this team on a consistent basis. Then again, Denver was in the same position last year, and they went into the playoffs as the hottest team in basketball (and lost in the first round because they were a 7 seed).

OZ -- 4-6 seed at worst....and if you ever compare me to the moron twins again I'll tell the world about your Posh Spice obsession.

Of course they can win 50. 46-25 is by no means impossible for this team. No question. They have the talent, even with their lack in athleticism. Are you saying they can't win two out of three games every week?

As for your GS prediction, wasn't Houston right above them?

SonDog -- I hate you. Happy Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

"Real Deer Hunters"

by SonDog

The above title to this post is the subject line in the email I received that contained the two images below. While these images certainly sucked out what was the life out of my ego (Two things: 1) Remember, I hunted for three days in California and shot with the accuracy of a cross-eyed, one-legged dyslexic with a horrible case of vertigo, and 2) Their guns are A LOT bigger than mine), I would be remiss if I didn't extend my congratulations to my good friend Caroline and her brother for their expert marksmanship. To the Hardin family in Arkansas, and all of our loyal readers, BH and I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving.

This is what "real" deer hunters look like after a successful hunt

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Sniffing out a weapon of mass destruction. Happy Thanksgiving everybody!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

I'm Thinking

by SonDog

Today's veritable pu-pu platter of sports news:

I) The Seattle Mariners signed Japanese catcher Fukoka SoftBank Hawks, who recently played for Kenji Johjima in the... no, wait... maybe it's Kenji Johjima who recently played for the Fukoka SoftBank Hawks. Regardless, it's supposed to be a pretty big signing for Seattle. There are a couple things about this move that are curious, however. 1) Isn't the catcher's relationship with the pitching staff pretty critical to the success of the team? Now, if the catcher can't speak English, how in the hell is he supposed to communicate with the pitching staff? Seriously, who is going to translate this? 2) How good will Seattle's announcers have to be this year? With Ichiro Suzuki, Kenji Johjima, Cha Seung Baek (who's actually South Korean), Shin-Soo Choo (who's also South Korean), there is an inordinate amount of hilarity that is promising to come from the Fox Sports Northwest broadcast team in 2006. Could you imagine Yogi Berra or Harry Carey trying to pronounce these guys? On the unintentional comedy scale, this has to be about a 9.5. I cannot tell you how much I'm hoping Seattle hires two 70-year-old white men with southern drawls.

II) Sacramento Kings' color commentator, Jerry Reynolds, recently released a book titled, Reynolds Remembers: 20 Years with the Sacramento Kings. First off, I've been a Kings fan since the team moved to Sacramento in 1985. I can honestly remember sitting by an AM radio as a kid and keeping an official tally on rebounds, points, and assists by players like Lionel Simmons, Duane Causwell, Anthony Bonner, Waymon Tisdale, Spud Webb, Mitch Richmond and many others. Reynolds was either the coach or GM for most of those years. Let me tell you, those teams could suck a golf ball out of a garden hose. Unless Reynolds' book is a self-deprecating narrative about how bad he was at player evaluations, I don't think it's going to be much of a read. Couple that with a foreword by Kings' announcer Grant Napear, and you have a book that will undoubtedly fly off of bookshelves faster than a herd of turtles stampeding through peanut butter.

III) It was reported on ESPNews tonight that the Philadelphia Eagles are forfeiting the remainder of their season now that Terrell Owens and Donovan McNabb will both be out for the year. I mean, how can you continue having a soap opera if the leading actor and actress are off the show? Isn't this like The OC continuing with production with Benjamin McKenzie in rehab and Mischa Barton suffering from a bulimia-induced ulcer in her trachea?

Take away T.O. and Donovan, and all you are left with is Seth and Sandy... er, I mean, Brian Westbrook and L.J. Smith.

IV) I now have something in common with McNabb. We've both had a hernia operation. Nevermind the fact that mine came when I was 9-years-old. I like to think it had something to do with the playground football rather than a birth defect. Donovan, I feel your pain. And, seriously, even though I was only 9... it was painful. My dad actually purchased four boxes of Topps baseball cards for me when I had my operation. I hope you have the same gifts on the way.

V) I will write close to 2,000 words on this topic later, but I am changing my original analysis on the San Antonio Spurs. Yes, they are still the best team in basketball, without question. To remind you, this is what I posted a couple of weeks ago:

San Antonio is going to win the whole thing. It's over. Don't even bother watching anymore. That being said, can there be a MORE boring team in the NBA? No, wait. Can there be a MORE boring superstar than Tim Duncan? Good Lord. These guys make an AA support meeting seem like a fraternity party. Duncan makes a James Lipton interview look like an interview with Richard Simmons. And, with that, I'm officially out of analogies.
Well, after watching San Antonio dismantle Sacramento last night (for 41 out of 48 minutes), I'm changing my mind. Duncan still has the personality of a tennis shoe insert, but man is he fun to watch simply because he is the most fundamentally sound player in the NBA. Add Manu Ginobili plowing through the lane like a tailback and Tony Parker sprinting around the court like his jock strap is on fire, and this team is impressive to watch. They are an absolute machine right now. When Big Shot Bob Horry can sit the bench for 47 minutes, only to come in the game for the last minute to secure a huge rebound, you know your bench is deep. This could be the best basketball team since the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls.
Mike Bibby got his head stuck in Duncan's rear during this shot. It was the kind of view the Kings' had all night long.
VI) Peja Stojakovic missed last night's matchup with the Spurs due to a "slight strain of his pinky." Another injury report on Stojakovic, however, read: "Stojakovic will miss tonight's game as he misplaced his heart on the flight between Seattle and Sacramento. He is now day-to-day." Really, how soft do you have to be to miss a game with a pinky injury? Remember, Ronnie Lott once told doctors to cut his dislocated pinky off so he could play that week's game.
VII) If you have a chance, pick up this week's Newsweek and read the article on John McCain. Trust me, just read it.

Links of the day

All I can say is... Matrix Ping Pong. Oh yeah, baby, if only I could have thought of this.

I pulled this one from the way, way back machine. Anytime GIJoe tells you to do something... damnit, you better do it.

I'm telling you, Tupac Shakur is not dead. HERE'S PROOF!!

Welcome to Bay Area Politics

by BH

It was recently announced that the 2006 san Francisco Grand Prix, a bike race that brought millions of dollars to the Bay Area and would have included Lance Armstrong, will not take place next year. The announcement followed the discovery that race organizers had not paid the city for all of the costs of the 2004 and 2005 races. Story parts are bolded.

"This is one of the worst-looking bunglings in local government that I've seen in five years," Daly said. "I would say this is a scandal and a pretty significant one. I would hope nothing has happened in terms of collusion but I'm not so sure."

What Daly is saying, is that he thinks there probably is collusion, and he sees this issue having the potential to get him a lot of publicity. Sounding sure that it's a scandal, but hoping it's not collusion is an absurd contradiction. He's right about one thing though. The race not being put on in 2006 is one of the worst-looking bunglings in local government.

A city ordinance passed in 2002 made it illegal to give companies event permits if they owe the city money.

Good policy.

Officials overseeing the city's events permit process said they were not told by the San Francisco Police Department that race organizers still owed money when permission was granted to hold the race over the Labor Day weekend.

According to police Capt. Greg Corrales, San Francisco Cycling routinely paid its bills months late after receiving invoices from the city.

Officials overseeing the city's events permit process apparently assumed the outstanding bills would eventually be paid and issued a permit to San Francisco Cycling for the 2005 race, which drew more than 100,000 people to the city's northern neighborhoods Sept. 4.

Okay, let's take two of the last three paragraphs and compare them. Officials said they were not told that race organizers still owed money, but at the same time, assumed outstanding bills would eventually be paid. That does sound a little fishy, but let's move on. The fun is sure to continue.

According to a report by the Board of Supervisors Budget Analyst Harvey Rose, the cost of the race to the city over the past five years amounts to more than $2.3 million. A study commissioned by the San Francisco Convention & Visitors Bureau found that this year's race generated $10.2 million in economic activity, a figure challenged last week by supervisors.

At this point, do we really expect the supervisors to agree with any part of this issue that will allow voters to calm down a little? The race cost $2.3 million, but made $10.2 million. I wonder how many times supervisors have agreed with and used figures from the Convention and Visitors Bureau in the past. Now, we know that the $10.3 mill didn't go directly back to the police and other civic groups that put on the race, but it did make way more money than it cost to put on and brought a lot of people, who spent a lot of money, to the city.

Daly and Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin bristled Monday in response to comments from Mayor Gavin Newsom's spokesman, Peter Ragone, who told the Chronicle on Sunday that the race was "being flushed down the toilet so some politicians can make a political point."

"We literally bent over backward to try to make the thing go," Peskin said, noting strong political support at City Hall in previous years for the race.

Oh man. Anything you had said prior to that last statement diminished your already shaky argument. Seriously, when are seemingly educated individuals going to stop saying or writing things like this. I may be wrong, but I don't see Aaron Peskin or Chris Daly bending over backward to put this event on, nor do I understand how thins would really help "make the thing go" anyway. And when he says "we," does he mean the entire city? His office?

Daly accused Newsom's office of being so eager to promote the race that it agreed to a deal with event organizers that was detrimental to the city.

Was it? Don't forget the $10.3 million as well as the positive publicity for putting on an increasingly popular and world-class event. How Dare Gavin Newsom.

"This is not OK," he said. "We are not a government here where just because Gavin Newsom is so popular you can do whatever you want. There are laws that apply to you and your administration. And you either follow them or you pay the price for violating the law."

I'm confused. First, Daly said he hoped there wasn't anything illegal going on but now sounds sure that Newsom's office is involed in a shady deal. Daly's making accusations here.

The committee approved legislation on Monday that would bar any company that obtains an event permit while owing money to the city from securing a future permit for five years.

Talk about your knee-jerk reactions. Isn't there already an ordinacne in place that says an organization that owes the city money can't obtain a permit? So if I've got this straight, in the future, the group to whom the city won't give a permit, will be severly punished for getting a permit they weren't supposed to be allowed to obtain one in the first place. Sounds like a plan.

Thanks you Chris Daly. You're making the world a better place for all of us.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Opening Day

by SonDog

When I moved to Vail in 2001, I couldn't wait for opening day. I mean, I don't think I slept the night before Vail mountain opened. I spent the evening waxing my board, making sure all my gear was in order, doing yoga at 3 a.m. to keep loose, and literally wetting my pants on the way up the first lift that morning (Okay, I totally made that last part up, but you get the picture).

This being my fifth year living in Vail, CO, I've run the gauntlet on emotional excitement level for opening weekend of the ski resort. As the years have come and gone, so has my child-like giddiness. When I was 22, I didn't have any responsibilities other than making sure my refrigerator had plenty of Sierra Nevada beer on the bottom shelf and that I could drag myself out of bed by 8 am each day. Honestly, if it ever was empty, there was going to be hell to pay (the beer was obviously priority numero uno). My point is that I had no problem hucking myself off of terrain park kickers with no regard for personal safety. I didn't worry about the consequences of riding recklessly or trying to do new things on my board even though all signs pointed towards me failing.

As I sit here today, I have a wife, a dog, a mortgage, and various other responsibilities in my life. Four years ago, the last words I would hear when I left the house were, "Rip it up today, bro." Usually it came from my good buddy, NaceDog, while he had a beer in one hand... at 8 am (Note to Reader: NaceDog is now one of Vail Ski Patrol's finest. I don't know why, but I do feel much, much safer on the hill knowing that he is a patroller. You will hear much more about and from NaceDog through the winter months.). Today, the last words I heard when I left the house were, "Just don't go and kill yourself, okay?" Those words are from my wife, who does not have a beer in her hand at 8 am.

Hey, at least I'm not injured...

With that, I headed out to do some early-season riding on Sunday morning. The mountain was in fantastic condition and it was a beautiful day, so I figured I might as well go up and try to get those warm and fuzzy riding feelings back. The entire mission for the day was simply to cruise around, not hurt myself, and practice some of the moves that would be necessary for later in the season.

The first run of the day, a cruiser of a run off of chair 4 called Christmas, was just what I needed. While I came damn close to catching an edge (and subsequently crushing my face in the snow) a couple of times, the nice and easy groomed run provided the perfect opportunity to link some turns, accelerate to a pretty good speed, and not hit a tree on the inaugural run of 2005/2006.

I could not script the next three hours any better. I maneuvered some moguls pretty well, I got the feeling back for riding switch, and I even pulled off a couple of nice grabs off of some little kickers. In all, I felt as if I was back into the flow, so to speak. (Note: "The Flow" is a phrase I like to use to describe the euphoric feeling that comes from completing a difficult run with every body part still in good shape.)

SonDog, trying to find "The Flow"...

By 1 pm, my legs started barking at me and I knew it was time to head home. When my legs start to get tired, I tend to get lazy on the board, which means I tend to fall... hard. Since I had stayed upright through most of the day, I considered myself lucky, and headed down the last cat-track when... SPLAT!

(Class Exercise: Standing upright, tie your legs together with a rope that is attached to a pickup truck. Tell the driver of the truck to accelerate as quickly as possible, and without warning. See how good your face feels when it slams into the ground at 71 mph? That's what it feels like to catch an edge on a cat-track.)

Nevertheless, it was a fantastic day on the hill, and a good start to the season. If there's one thing I've learned to do very well, its fall. And while I've dated a couple in my life, I wasn't born blessed with the grace of a ballerina (You would think that I would have acquired some through osmosis or something, but it never happened.). At any rate, I didn't let that collapse damper my day.

So, consider this your warning. Through this winter season, you will hear plenty of stories from the mountain. Stories about powder days. Stories about slamming my body into trees. Stories from NaceDog's Ski Patrol escapades. Stories about DMo's new apartment and hot tub. And on and on and on.

Who were those guys?

by BH

Don't look now, but the Forty-Niners are starting to play respectable, if not good, football. Yes, they have a 2-8 record, but the last four games have been hard fought, mostly close games. Starting in week 7 against Tampa, San Francisco has basically been in each game until the fourth quarter. Week 9's final score against New York looked bad, but it was 10-6 going into the final period. No one thought the Niners were going to anything against Seattle yesterday. The defense did a pretty good job against the NFL's top offense, and San Fran's offense finally broke its touchdown drought. Ken Dorsey looked like an NFL quarterback, and Brandon Lloyd looked like a stud. Next week's game at Tennessee might give us all a better idea about where this team is in its development.

I love watching Carson Palmer. During Sunday Night Football, the question was asked whether the Cincy/Indy score had to do with good offense or bad defense, to which Joe Theisman replied, "It's Peyton Manning." I don't know if he meant it to mean that the Bengal offense only played well due to bad Colt defense, but Theisman's an idiot anyway. Palmer has turned into a great quarterback.

After the Patriots jumped out to a lead against the Saints, Erik Kuselias asked Sean Salisbury if it was going to be a statement game for New England. Of course, Salisbury said yes before he had thought about it. I don't think you can have a statement game against a team that's 2-7 coming in. Even so, the statement they expected never game, for the Saints made a game out of it.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

I like Sean Salisbury

by BH

I love Sunday mornings. One of my favorite things to do is offer to get my wife some coffee, get in the car, and drive around listening to the NFL on ESPN Radio. I even find work to do outside so I can roll down the windows in my car and listen to the show. It's not that the show is good or anything, I just find that listening to Sean Salisbury and Erik Kuselias is one of the most entertaining things I do during the week. Kuselias, as I have demonstrated in previous posts, has no idea what he's talking about yet maintains the confidence needed to sound like he does. Salisbury seems to be a grouchy yes man. He acts as though he's real tough on players, ready to dish out criticism. Really though, he has no backbone. It's fun to listen to him try to cover all his angles when criticizing a player. He'll say something very similar to: "I really like him but he's not getting it done and a change might need to be made."
Salisbury will usually follow a somewhat coherent evaluation of a player with a personal endorsement, then follow that with more critique. Seriously, you'll hear it five times a show, at least. Yeah Sean, I don't care that you want to feel good about what you say. If you have to throw in a meaningless, pointless defense of a player in order to feel okay about something you've said, then a) you are not going to feel okay about what you said, and b) you aren't really gaining any credibility.

This morning, after Kyle Boller evidently missed an open receiver in the Ravens/Steelers game, Kuselias described Boller's throw as one that a capable NFL quarterback has to make. Salisbury followed by saying, and I'm trying to get this as right as I possibly can, "That's just what you get with Boller is the lack of consistency. You see that with Boller, Joey Harrington, and David Carr." The quote continues, but I want to take a short time out to say that I think anyone who has followed the NFL over the past few seasons knows exactly what the next part of this quote is going to be. Okay, onward. "All those guys are Jeff Tedford guys. I don't know what it is, if it's the system. And I like Jeff a lot. He's a friend. But something's not working there." You know, I like to throw all my friends under the bus. I'm sure the SonDog would feel great if I were to say, "His posts haven't been that great lately. Really, I think it's something that just shows he can't produce quality efforts. I really like the SonDog, I do, and he's a friend, but he's just not getting it done." Hey SonDog, feel like coming over for Thanksgiving?! Hey SonDog, How does it feel to have a big Greyhound tire track on your back?! Maybe Salisbury feels like if he balances a dig with a compliment (by the way, I'm not sure if Sean Salisbury liking a guy is something that really makes guys feel good or should be the compliment he thinks it is), it cancels the whole thing out. Really though, I think it has to do with Salisbury not being ready to simply evaluate the game for it's own merits. He can't separate the player from the man. It's okay to say a guy made a bad throw, because you're not insulting him. You're making an evaluation. When you say things like, "I like him as a person, but," you are telling listeners that you feel like you're insulting the guy.

College Football, Brought To You By

by BH

It's always fun to read what is reporting on Sunday morning, following Saturday's college football games. Usually it involves some sort of knee-jerk reactivity, dramatization, and reminder that ESPN is the director and pulse for the sports world.'s Heisman Watch had this to say about Reggie Bush's performance against Fresno State:

Simply amazing. Bush literally did it all on Saturday. Can you say Heisman? Bush's record-setting game against Fresno State is the kind of performance that sways Heisman voters.

Really? He literally did it all? He kicked a field goal? He threw a touchdown? He was even the waterboy? He really does deserve the Heisman then. I can occasionally forgive the misuse of literally, especially in a situation like this. He did look like the Heisman Trophy winner during this game, racking up well over 500 all-purpose yards. I don't need ESPN to tell me this though. Is it the kind of performance that sways Heisman voters? I don't know. I guess we'll see when the trophy is presented. Thanks for being mind readers and passing it on to the rabble though.

There has been some attention paid to the University of South Florida, where the Bulls are getting closer to a Big East title and an automatic BCS Bowl berth. Bulls players are paying attention to those who think a weak team shouldn't get an automatic bid in the BCS for winning a weak conference.

"We feed off that," reserve cornerback D'Juan Brown said Saturday after returning an interception for a touchdown to help the Bulls beat Cincinnati 31-16 for their third straight Big East win.

Hmm. I've kind of always been more of a fan of the athletes who go out there and do what they can to win because they expect that of themselves. I'm a fan of the guys who put their best effort on the field because they want to go home at night and say, "I worked as hard as I could today." I'm a little less into the guys who try to win so they can show others.

"I kind of like coming in as an underdog and just getting it done. ... There's no stopping us right now."

I don't know. I mean, you're the University of South Florida. If you do make it to a BCS bowl, it's likely you'll face a team like Notre Dame or LSU or Oregon, or, you know, someone good. You did beat Louisville, a team that at the time was overrated at #9. I don't know though. Those wins against Syracuse and Cincy don't really convince me of your invicibility.

If the Bulls win at Connecticut next Saturday and defeat West Virginia at home on Dec. 3, USF would be assured of at least a tie for the conference title and represent the league in the BCS.

Seems do-able.

"That'll mess up the nation for a little bit," Hall said. "That's what I want to do."

No, dude, it won't mess up the nation. You don't run the Federal Reserve. You play football. Some guys on ESPN will have something to talk about but, really, it's not a travesty. It's how things are when people do things like make deals with conferences that no longer have powerhouse teams. Please though, don't overestimate your influence over the rest of college football, or college football's influence over the country. We all made it through Pitt making a BCS bowl last year.

Now, on to the Tennessee/Vanderbilt game.

The Volunteers (4-6, 2-5) will finish without a winning record and not be eligible for a bowl for the first time since 1988, another crushing blow in the worst season in coach Phillip Fulmer's 14-year tenure. Tennessee finishes the season next week at Kentucky.

"Before you start building back anything, you have to hit rock bottom. This is rock bottom," Fulmer said. "We had plenty of opportunities to win the game. We didn't make the plays to do that."

Wow, talk about giving the other team some credit. "They sucked. They really sucked, and we should have beat them. I mean, look how bad they sucked. Do they even have players on scholarship? Did you see the way they just turned their backs to us when ran an offensive play? We still couldn't get into the endzone. And our defense. Guh. Vandy would snap the ball, fumble it twelve times, and still get into the endzone. Yeah, we were the better team. I think that was a junior college team in Vanderbilt uniforms. This is rock bottom. Tennessee football can't get any lower than this."

"It's tough. We should have stepped up and stopped them," Tennessee linebacker Jason Mitchell said. "It doesn't feel good to come in as the No. 3-ranked team in the nation and not be bowl eligible."

Well, actually, it's been a while since you were the #3 team in the country. If you're still thinking about that, no wonder you and the rest of the Vols have had rough year.

The Vols' defense, which has kept the team afloat all season, failed in the end.

Classic ESPN. The Vols lost, so the defense failed in the end. Let's see. Vandy got the ball let's say (and I'm guessing here, hopefully conservatively) eleven times over the course of the game. They scored four times. Gimme a second here. Let me get me pencil and some paper. The Vols defense stopped Vandy from getting into the end zone 64% of the time. That's not failing. That's a strong "D." That was passing at my school. Seriously though ESPN. Maybe we could see it as Vandy's offense having had a good game and succeeding, rather than heaping a load on Tennesse's defense.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Baseball News is Fun

by BH

This morning, I was greeted on's baseball page by a picture of Mike Cameron diving for a baseball. The caption under the picture read:

"Mike Cameron is widely considered to be a stellar defensive outfielder."

Thanks. I've seen the highlights. I'm trying to figure out if this caption is ESPN's way of justifying why they have paid so much attention to a trade involving guy with a career .249 BA and .340 OBP. I think it may have a little to do with the guy playing in New York. "Widely considered." Wha? That doesn't mean anything. He is exciting to watch, and I consider him a stellar defensive outfielder, but come on ESPN. "Widely considered" is like citing the anonymous source. What the hell do I care what you speculate others think of him?

It has been reported that former Giant Scott Eyre has signed a two-year deal with the Cubs, with a player option for the third year. Excerpts from an article are bolded.

The 33-year-old left-hander had received a two-year offer with a club option to stay with San Francisco, but was hoping for a three-year deal and wanted to play closer to his family in Florida. He was also considering deals with the Houston Astros, Atlanta Braves and St. Louis Cardinals.

"It had nothing to do with the Giants' contract offer," Eyre said Thursday night. "They couldn't do anything about it. They can't move their team any closer."

This is interesting. Eyre "had received a two-year offer with a club option to stay with San Francisco, but was hoping for a three-year deal," but "it had nothing to do with the Giants' contract offer." Unless this information is crap, which it may be, the first part doesn't mean anything when applied to resigning with the Giants. I guess I have a couple problems with his whole argument. It seems as though Eyre was set on moving closer to home from the beginning. So why was re-signing with San Francisco even something that was discussed? Simply to drive up his price? Secondly, really, during the course of the baseball season, is Chicago that much closer to Florida? It seems that the difference between flying 5 hours from San Francisco to Miami or 3.5 from Chicago to Miami is not that big a difference when you have one day off every two weeks, and it's not really a turnaround you can do on a Monday. It's like if my family lived in Portland, and I worked every day of the week in San Diego. It doesn't seem like a move to Reno would really give me the chance to see my family more often. And it's not as though Florida and Chicago are in the same division. The Giants and Cubs should face the Marlins an equal number of games. I don't know. I love seeing my family too. Maybe that's why it's such an attractive, seemingly infallible, reason given by athletes. He won't really see his family more at all, and it seems like too much of a feel good excuse.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Links of the day

Wow, James Brown has gone completely insane. I mean, COMPLETELY insane.

Don't ask questions here... just know that I am so in love with this woman on so many levels. I don't know if it has something to do with her being English, but I have no problem saying I'm obsessed.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

The Mind of Kings Fans

The following is an email exchange between two die-hard Sacramento Kings fans -- myself (SonDog -- living in Vail) and Aaron (OZ -- living in Sacramento) --

SonDog -- Did you watch last night? Pretty good show, considering it was Utah's Junior Varsity squad.

OZ -- Speaking of JV, the Kings bench would get cut from the frosh team at this point (wow, one sentence and I've already beaten that analogy to death). You know what's sad, Miller looks more like a point guard than Bibby. Flat out. Bibby is not a good point guard. After the first quarter Miller had 4 assists and Mike had 1. Bonzi and Miller look good though. They play up on the post well and both are threats to drive. It seems to be clicking for them.

SonDog -- I agree, the chemistry between Miller and Wells last night was solid. They have a nice two-man game going. Reef still needs to pass a bit more in this offense. I thought KT played well when he was in with the starters, but other than that the bench was putrid. I'm not keen on Jason Hart. He seems ill-suited to run this offense. Skinner has looked helpless. Again, I hate to say this, but this is the best I've seen Peja play since before Webb came back. He just seems to actually care all of a sudden. I agree with your Bibby analysis. What's the feeling around town this morning? Milwaukee is coming in on Friday, and that will be the real test.

At least Bonzi is on the Varsity squad...

OZ -- Injured and hesitant. The pride has fallen very low and a win against Utah's WNBA team doesn't really say much, particularly when Utah made a go of it in the 2nd. I blame Rick Adelman exclusively for his inability to get this TALENTED bench going. And yes, Peja is playing's a contract year after all.

SonDog -- I can't believe how many rumors there are about Peja going to Chicago when he's a free agent. The Bulls have a ton of young talent to trade back, so I don't think that would necessarily be the end of the world. One of these days, Adelman will be fired. I see ownership giving him 15 games to right this ship. We're 8 in, 7 to go.

OZ -- As I aid early in the season, I can stomach a horrid start this year if it means they get a new coach. I don't think Rick is a bad coach, I just don't think he can coach this team effectively any longer.

SonDog -- Did you know Peja is shooting better from 3pt range than he is from 2pt range? He's averaging 7 attempted threes per game. Good lord. As long as he keeps making 45%, I'm fine with that. Also, did you notice Bibby making a concerted effort to get Peja the ball a couple of times last night?

OZ -- I saw Bibby making a concerted effort to not suck and he was only moderately successful. If you look at his game in three parts, last night was not good.

1) Offense. Got his shot going yesterday. Good for him. Doesn't prove a thing.
2) Defense. Wait....what?
3) Point. He did not run the point yesterday, Brad did or it was a pass around. I fear he lacks this ability.

Given the above, Bibbs just might be a one dimensional player, which is OK, but a ball handling 2 guard will always be needed for this team to be successful.

SonDog -- Again, sharp analysis. What have you done with OZ? Where is he? Do I even know you any more?

Bibby is great... I repeat, GREAT, in a high-pick-n-roll offense with a big man who draws a double-team (See: Webber, Chris). The problem is the Kings no longer have a big man who commands a double. Thus, Bibby's lack of quickness kills him as he can't seem to get open from aggressive man on man defense.

Defensively... wait... what?

He's still one of the best mid-range shooters in the game, but he's turning into a bit of a streak shooter, which is scary, and not in a good way.

The bench couldn't beat the Monarchs. I'm not even close to kidding.

OZ -- The fact that the bench could get schooled by "The World Champion Monarchs," as they are known in Sac, should strike Geoff as strange. Hart is a future Kevin Willis journeyman but he is not without skill. Kevin Martin is still young but also not without skill. KT is flat out a scoring threat and if he wasn't so busy pouting about not starting (see Philly last year, this concerns me) he could be getting great numbers off the bench. Skinner is apparently a "game altering presence," which is absurd and could only have come from the mouth of the worst Kings coach in franchise history, but Skinner is a blocking threat and can throw down some offensive boards. Corliss who? Is he still on the team?

Yet, you put it all together and they go 0 for 7 from the floor in over six minutes of play. Are you kidding me?! This does not add up.

SonDog -- Do people actually realize that the Monarchs won the WNBA championship this year? Really, I need to know this. I think ESPN forgot about it because they were too busy talking about the Terrell Owens and Donovan McNabb divorce.

One bright spot on the bench is going to be Francisco Garcia. While I'm secretly hoping that he starts dating Paris Hilton so they can form the skinniest celebrity couple in the history of Western Civilization, I don't think he is without skill. If he starts letting the game come to him... If he stops jacking up 3's at every opportunity... If Adelman has trust to actually play him... If he can avoid injury, he will be a good player in this league. For a small forward, he has great court vision. He reminds me a lot of Hedo Turkoglu when he first came to Sac (and wouldn't they love to have him back right about now).

What's scary is the rest of the Pacific Division. Phoenix and Golden State (I can't believe just said that) look very good. But, the Clippers... wait... what? Did you see what they did to a solid Milwaukee squad last night?

OZ -- Two words: Donald. Sterling. The Clippers are doomed to always be failures. They are the Omega to the Lakers Alpha. Look for them to fall like Cassell and Maggette's ability to stay healthy.

Is it true that Baron hasn't missed a game yet? Is that possible? This has got to be some kind of a record for him. Maybe he'll actually make it to double digits in games played consecutively. I wonder if that stat would be shown under him in pre-game warmup like it's an accomplishment. Can you see the banner swing in on the TV screen with the announcer's voice in the background, "And making his TENTH start in row is Baron Davis today. Way to go buddy."

Garcia is still in the air with me. That guy has traces of an old J-Dub's unpredictability in that at any point he could throw up an off-balance, double-teamed fade-away from 10-feet behind the 3-point line, and that's not really desirable (but boy are those a lot of hyphens). But he has potential, it'll just be interesting to see if it unfolds. He might be the type of player that needs to be in the right place and the right situation (see: Jermaine O'Neil trade from Portland to Indy).

SonDog -- Actually, Davis missed a game when you and I were watching the W's play the Jazz in California. Remember that? It was only two weeks ago. Are you high?

I see what you mean about Garcia. He does need to tone down his obsession for the incredible. There's an old saying that goes something like, "Great players make spectacular plays. You're not great, so don't try to make a spectacular play." This fits for Garcia.

Have Kevin Martin and Garcia been excluded from the employee cafeteria or something? Sweet Jesus, it looks like those guys have been stranded in Somalia for four years.

OZ -- Okay, on that note, I have to work now.

SonDog -- Unacceptable.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Weekend Madness

by SonDog, who is still in a horrible mood

After spending 2+ days holding the couch and my bed to the floor due to the Mother of All Food Poisoning Episodes, I'm finally able to be upright and somewhat clever. I'm very thankful that BH was able to post numerous rants on the blog, because the only thing I was able to do well on Friday, Saturday or Sunday was vomit while simultaneously defecating (mental image... DELETED!!!). I assure you, this is no easy feat. Remember the Oops, I Crapped My Pants skit from SNL? "Now, imagine this gallon of iced tea is really a gallon of your fec....." I digress.

Anywho, the weekend gave me ample topics to rant/bitch/ramble about. Heeeeere goes...

1) My heater broke on Saturday. I live in Colorado. There is a blizzard outside as we speak. Spoke to a heating technician today who told me that the heating coil needing to be replaced is, how shall I say, archaic, and no longer in production. Super. To the a-holes who decided that it was about time to stop producing the critical element in said heating unit, even though I surely do not have the only one left in existence... I plan on spending the rest of my life hunting you down like a little, scared bunny rabbit, so I can pounce on you like a, like a bear (yes, I watched Swingers). Currently, the trek from my living room to bathroom has all the excitement of a cross-country hike through Siberia.

2) My satellite has a tendency to go out every time a snow storm comes through. Let me repeat something I said in topic 1: "I live in Colorado." To the DirecTV technician who installed my dish... may you burn in hell.

3) In between trips to the bathroom, I actually watched 10 minutes of this movie: 10 Things I Hate About You. In 10 minutes of viewing, I decided I hate Heath Ledger and I hate Julia Stiles. That's 2 things. Therefore, I'm 8 things short of 10 things I hated about that movie. And I absolutely hate that fact. So, I guess, that's three things I hate about that movie.

4) After losing roughly 131 pounds in nearly 72 hours, El Monterey bean burritos and chimichangas never, ever have tasted, looked or smelled so good. However, they should come with a warning label that advises you to not get anywhere near one when your body is in defcon 2.

5) Due to lack of heat, I took two baths this weekend simply to warm up. Let me tell you something (and I have absolutely no insecurities about my manhood as I say this), a bath is the most underrated activity known to man. The best part of my house very well could be my Jacuzzi tub. I will never own another house that does not have a Jacuzzi tub. I love my Jacuzzi tub.

SonDog this weekend, sans the beer, Santa hat, hairy chest, and cheery disposition

6) You know how "throwback" jerseys are so popular these days? Well, whatever happened to the throwback Gatorade flavors, huh? I tasted every flavor of Gatorade this weekend, and the X-factor flavors leave a lot to be desired. Whatever happened to the original Fruit Punch, Orange, and Lemon Lime? They're harder to find than a Republican who hasn't been indicted by a grand jury.

7) I watched Anchorman for the 23rd time on Saturday. While I didn't watch the movie until it came out on DVD, I have to say that it is one of the most absurd comedies I have ever seen... in my life. It's just science. I love Jacuzzi tub.

8) My Ron Burgundy, "Let me start over again and if you don't like what I'm about to say, just, just throw it right back, right back at me.... I, I want to be on you" moment of the weekend came after I watched a TiVo'd episode of Law and Order: SVU, then later watched a "behind the scenes of a Redbook photo shoot" of Mariska Hargitay on EXTRA! (I cannot even come close to making something like that up). Without a doubt, she is the hottest 41-year-old woman on the planet.

Mariska, you have an amazing heini. I want to be friends with it.

9) Keith Jackson simply must retire from College Football on ABC. I'm not even convinced he's alive anymore. Really, don't you get the feeling there is a guy holding him up with a stick like Weekend at Bernie's? If you stuck Keith Jackson in a booth with Pat Summeral, it would be the equivalent of viewing a joint-open casket at a wake.

10) And finally, speaking of dead things, SNL is no longer funny. I gave it a chance on Saturday night (gotta love the early east-coast feed) because Jason Lee (Mallrats, Dogma, My Name is Earl) hosted the episode. Even with one of the silliest guys around, the writers could not make me laugh once. Lorne Michaels, it's time for you to either a) retire; b) fire all of your writers and hire some with talent; c) fire all of your actors and hire some with talent; or d) find a way to give me that 30 minutes of my life back. I mean, that was quality bath time I wasted.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Erik Kuselias: Mr. ESPN Radio

by BH

Long ago, I made it one of my personal missions in life to make fun of all those in the national media who dabble in hyperbole, yet don't get that what they are saying is an exaggeration. Over the past two seasons, we have heard that the Forty-Niners just don't have the talent to compete in the NFL. It's been sort of an annoyance, yet this morning, Erik Kuselias of The NFL on ESPNRadio , while introducing the Niner/Bears game, said the Niners were, "devoid of talent."

Now, Kuselias is on ESPNRadio, where guys are rewarded for saying stupid, inflammatory crap, but I felt as though his statement needed a little investigation. With a little word replacement, Kuselias said that the Niners are "completely without talent" (I think he actually said "completely devoid of talent," which would have made his statement even more ridiculous, but I gave him the benefit of the doubt). That's an interesting thing when you think about the number of guys in the NFL and those who would like to be in the league. I would wager, and I have no real way to measure this or back it up, that the talent pool in the NFL looks something like 5/85/10. That is, 5% of the players in the NFL are awesome, being legitimately better than the rest of the league. These would be your Ed Reeds and Peyton Mannings and Ladanian Tomlinsons. 85% of the league are good players that aren't really stars. They'll put up numbers, and maybe make a Pro Bowl, but aren't on the same level as the 5% These are guys like Tony Parrish and Trent Dilfer. Then there are the 10%. This number may be a little high, but these are the guys who are kind of lucky to be on a team, but are still good players. They just aren't the 5 or 85%. These are guys like third tight ends and special teamers. They'd probably still be the best players to have gone to your high school. Now, to make things clear, they are all more talented than me on a football field, and they are a hell of a lot more talented than Erik Kuselias. I mean, they're in the NFL.

So let's look at his statement that the Niners are devoid of talent. There's Bryant Young, a twelve-year vet who, going into Sunday, was tied for the league lead in sacks. There's Julian Peterson, who's gone to a couple of Pro Bowls. It was pretty unanimous that Alex Smith was talented when he was chosen by the Niners in the draft. I guess there are some other guys who have done some good stuff, and have, despite Kuselias' assertion, some talent. Undoubtedly the Niners have more of the 10% variety than most teams, but come on Erik, they still play in the NFL. I guess you focused on the fourth-string QB starting for the Niners, or the two converted QB wide receivers on the roster. Those guys are probably of the 10% type, and don't look good when compared to Ray Lewis or Steve Smith or Tom Brady. But don't let your easy seat at the self-proclaimed "worldwide leader" lull you into thinking that you actually have any real ability to judge or evaluate the level of talent possessed by individual players or teams. Use your brain before you start to talk.

The Boy Has Become A Man

by BH

I didn't get to watch much of the piece, so in a perfect world I would probably reserve judgement. However, on Sunday NFL Countdown on ESPN, a preview for an upcoming segment had to do with Jeremy Shockey being less of a party guy than he had been. Something about staying home at night rather than going out to party. They even had an amazed Michael Strahan telling viewers how wierd an occurence he thought it to be the first time he noticed Shockey stay home. Seriously? You guys did a whole piece on this? Wow, I'm so happy for Shockey. Is ESPN so into giving hand jobs to the NFL that they'll spend ten minutes demonstrating how a one-time party guy is beginning to mellow? I'm a little confused. Maybe the show should be renamed, "Stupid Crap That Has Nothing To Do with Football."

Saturday, November 12, 2005

FOX Continues To Suck

by BH

For those of you who are fans and haven’t yet heard, FOX pulled the plug on Arrested Development on Friday. Those of us who enjoy clever, thoughtful, funny television are left with a diminishing landscape.

After last season, hacks at FOX decided that the best way to get the Emmy nominated and award winning Arrested the viewer support it needed was to put it up against Monday Night Football. This, as any fourth grader will tell you, was not a good idea, and ultimately proved so. On Monday, Arrested returned to its Monday spot after taking almost a month off for the baseball postseason, airing two, back-to-back half-hour episodes. The episodes averaged 4 million viewers, which put FOX in fifth place in the 8 p.m. hour. What the hell did FOX expect to happen? They change the show’s usual broadcast night, and put the show on break for a length of time, in essence forcing casual viewers, and to some extent, die-hards, to change habits.

What brilliant programming can we expect from FOX that may replace Arrested? Over the past two years the list of shows cancelled by FOX includes, among others: The Inside, Johnny Zero, Life on a Stick, Method & Red, My Big Fat Obnoxious Boss, North Shore, Point Pleasant, Tru Calling, The Mountain, Still Life, The Jury, Cracking Up, Wonderfalls, Love Again, A Minute with Stan Hooper, Wanda At Large, Skin, and Luis. Some of these are good, some not so good. The point here is that FOX has, more than any other network, put out a lot of shit over the course of its existence, and would rather take a chance continuing to be the network that broadcasts shit instead of maybe broadcasting something smart. In Arrested Development the network had found an intelligent, funny show, which garnered numerous awards and a respectable audience. What FOX may be telling us at this point is that they’d rather appeal to the lowest common denominator with shows such as The Simple Life and Nanny 911. Screw FOX. Let’s hope Arrested is picked up by another network.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Stuff I was thinking about

by BH

Ah the pleasure derived from debate surrounding postseason awards. Today, Chris Carpenter was awarded the NL Cy Young award over second place Dontrelle Willis and third place Roger Clemens. Now, I have no problem with Carpenter edging out Willis, but the gap in points between Carpenter and Willis, and Clemens is mind-boggling. While most people, and certainly voters, undoubtedly looked at Clemens’ number of wins versus those of Carpenter and Willis, his ERA was a ridiculously low 1.87. That is almost a run per nine innings better than Carpenter (2.83) and Willis (2.63). Clemens allowed a .189 batting average against, compared to .231 for Carpenter and .243 for Willis. And it’s not as though voters weren’t aware of the Astros inability to score runs this season when Clemens was on the mound. I heard a stat in which the Astros were shut out like seven times in Clemens starts. I understand the reasoning behind Willis and Carpenter receiving so much support, for the number of wins a starter receives is important. ERA seems like a far more reasonable means by which to compare pitchers though. I’m having a hard time understanding the reasoning employed by those who had Clemens down the list.

Brian Dawkins has got to be the dirtiest player in the NFL. Every time I watch an Eagles game, which lately seems to be every weekend, he seems to be the guy giving a little extra shot to a guy at the end of a play. It’s like every other play, Dawkins comes in just after the tackle has been made, and does just enough to get a player in the back or helmet with his knee or something like that. I honestly can’t stand to watch the guy play.

While we’re on the subject of asshole Eagles players, ESPNnews spent roughly 46% of its ½ hour broadcast the other night on Terrell Owens, his apology, and other T.O. related garbage. Yay ESPN! Hooray for your undeniable ability to beat a story, or non-story into the ground. He’s an idiot that says stupid stuff. A lot. It’s seriously become like if you were to spend all day making fun of Kevin Federline or Vanilla Ice. It’s no longer clever, funny, or provocative. And good job breaking the story about Sheryl Swoopes being gay. I thought it was "ESPNnews," having to do with sports, not "ESPNstuffthatdoesn'tmatterwhenwatchinghighlights."

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

That Silly Mamba

by SonDog, who lives in Eagle County, Colorado
From my friend, Kari, in Sacramento:

Great…he’s continuing to pro-create. According to Page 6:

Controversial basketball star Kobe Bryant and his wife Vanessa are expecting their second child in May. The couple already have 3-year-old daughter Natalia. A spokesperson for the couple says, "In addition to their excitement, Kobe and Vanessa have been sharing a lot of laughs because, after hitting game winning shots for the Los Angeles Lakers, Kobe has been making late night food runs for his wife's pregnancy cravings only to get home with the food and find out that her craving has changed."

Bryant was last year cleared of raping a 19-year-old hotel worker in Colorado. He claimed the sex was consensual.

According to other outlets, Brant "claimed" that the sex with his wife was consensual as well. I would be happy for Bryant if not for his utter lack of believability.

And, while I'm on the subject, why does he feel the need to wear a leotard this year under his uniform? Has anybody else noticed this? It's INSANE!! The "Mamba" moniker still hasn't quite gained traction, but the hilarity sure has. To paraphrase Bill Simmons from, "The absolute absurdity of a man once charged in Colorado with sexual assault wanting people to refer to him as a 13-ft, deadly serpent is why I still enjoy writing this column." I couldn't agree more.

Ballerina Bryant in his black tights

Links of the Day

It is common knowledge that the best basketball movie ever made was none other than... (insert drumroll here)... Teen Wolf. What? You thought I was going to say Hoosiers? In this link, one man (who has waaaaaaaaaaay too much time on his hands) provides a scouting report on the legendary Teen Wolf Beavers.

Next time I hear Enrique Iglesias sing "I can be your hero," I'm going to bust out in hysterics.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Early Returns

by SonDog, who couldn't jump over a credit card:

Some incredibly early observations from the young NBA season:

1) San Antonio is going to win the whole thing. It's over. Don't even bother watching anymore. That being said, can there be a MORE boring team in the NBA? No, wait. Can there be a MORE boring superstar than Tim Duncan? Good Lord. These guys make an AA support meeting seem like a fraternity party in comparison. Duncan makes a James Lipton interview look like an interview with Richard Simmons. And, with that, I'm officially out of analogies.

Tim Duncan, in his most recent interview

2) Remember the Jeopardy skit on Saturday Night Live where Sean Connery gets to select an answer from Alex Trabek, and the category is "Therapists?" If I were to guard Kobe Bryant in a game, I would say to him, in my best Sean Connery voice, exactly what Sean said during that skit: "I'll take 'The Rapists' for $500, Alex." Seriously, if you want to know all you will ever want to know about Kobe Bryant, read this month's article in ESPN The Magazine (or Bill Simmons' NBA preview on regarding Kobe and Phil Jackson and the Lakers. Kobe wants people to start calling him The Mamba. Do yourself a favor and read it. While I'm on the subject, if you Google "Mamba," result #2, Mambaonline, claims to be "South Africa's most stylish gay lifestyle portal." I can't make this stuff up. Coincidence?

3) Teams that need time to come together, but will be tough to beat come March:
a) Miami Heat -- The Shaq injury hurts their progress (not to mention KILLS my fantasy team).

b) Sacramento Kings -- Okay, so I didn't get a chance to do my preview on them before the season started. My bad. At any rate, once the bench learns how to play together, and once they learn to play a little defense, and once they learn to get the ball in Brad Miller's hands on every possession, they'll be fine. Granted, that's a lot to ask of this team, especially the "defense" department.

c) Milwaukee Bucks -- My pick for the team that NOBODY will want to play in the playoffs. The addition of Jamal Magloire two weeks ago solidifies their frontline and puts them as the early favorite for the 4-seed in the East. I'm going to admit this right now (and these are words I never thought I would say in a sentence): I'm on the Milwaukee Bucks bandwagon.

4) Best Nightly Highlight Reel Team: New Jersey Nets. Okay, the jumping abilities of Vince Carter and Richard Jefferson are just ridiculous to begin with, but then you add Jason Kidd throwing perfect alley-oops from all over the court? Seriously, I want to see Kidd throw one from an opposite-court inbound pass this year. No, really, I do. These guys make three or four plays on a nightly basis that require immediate 8-second rewind on TiVo.

Nightly, on SportsCenter, you can find this man...

5) Larry Brown will have Stephon Marbury traded by Christmas. Write it down. Place a bet on it. I'm telling you, this is not even a question.

6) The Eastern Conference is quickly catching up with the Western Conference in terms of talented teams. The way I see it, the East has three legitimate title contenders in Detroit, Indiana, and Miami. They also have three teams that are one piece away from making the leap into upper-echelon status in Milwaukee, New Jersey, and Washington.

7) I can't believe I just said that.

8) Out West, I really only see one title contender right now, and that's San Antonio. Granted, my eyesight isn't the best, and I don't think I'm a basketball expert. So, let me rephrase: Out West, San Antonio is the only team I would bet money on right now if I were in Vegas. Dallas, Houston, and Denver all have potential, but all have glaring weaknesses at this point.