Tuesday, December 17, 2002

I want to take the time to thank all those who have taken the time to read this site and also my thoughts on the world of sports. It has been enjoyable to me to do this site. Unfortunately, for personal reasons, I will be cutting way back on the amount of posts that I do. I will still post from time to time, probably only when I have strong feelings on a certain subject. I have enjoyed reading your e-mails and responding to them. Please feel free to continue to e-mail. I will still respond to them. Thanks again.

While I am here, I might as well comment on the Pats game last night. I was talking to my buddy Dan yesterday and we were debating the importance of last night's game. I was explaining to him that it was strange, because regardless of last night's outcome, the Pats still win the division if they win their final two games. It's not often that one particular game really means nothing, but that was the case last night. Unfortunately, I think most of the Patriot players knew the same thing, because they played as if the game meant nothing. That's about as sorry a performance as I have seen them put on probably since Pete Carroll was here. I still think they'll rebound for the last 2 and play well, because they know those games mean something. Even still, it would have been nice to see a little bit of effort last night.

Tuesday, November 12, 2002

Just a few quick notes today…

First, the Boston Metro is running a poll asking if the Patriots deserved to win on Sunday. To me, this is a foolish question. It is times like this that The Metro shows that it is the ‘new kid on the block’. Reading the Metro each day, they consistently ask foolish questions and routinely get the facts wrong in sports stories that they reports on. For instance, in today’s article about the Celtic\Jazz game, this is reported: “After losing a 15 point lead in the third quarter, the Celtics turned things around with a strong inside game from Vin Baker….”.
The most glaring mistake is that Utah did not make a run in the third quarter. They made their run in the second quarter. It may seem like a little thing, but it happens every day. I’m kicking myself now for not keeping tabs on all the mistakes so I could list more of them. I don’t mean to nitpick, but it has become too common. Whoever the editor is needs to spend more time reviewing the stories and make sure they are correct. Either that, or make sure whoever is reporting on the game has actually watched it. The other option is to spend the money and use the AP’s story. Just get it right.
A smaller issue but still a mistake is saying that Vin Baker turned things around for the Celts. Sure, Vin had his best all around game as a Celtic, but to say he turned the game around for them? I think he had 5 points in the 3rd quarter. All 5 were big and came at opportune times, but they did not turn the game around. Again, watch the games if you are going to report on them.

Anyways, getting back to the Patriots poll, it does not matter if the Pats deserved to win.

Remember the scene in ‘Unforgiven’, when Clint Eastwood is about to kill Gene Hackman and Hackman says, “I don’t deserve this”? Clint looks at him and says, “Deserving’s got nothin to do with it”.

That’s the NFL this year. With so many teams so close in the standings, it really doesn’t matter if you deserve to win or not. All that matters is that you win. That’s what the Patriots did. When is the last time that after 10 games, 18 teams still had legit chances to make the playoffs? It’s been a while. So the poll is foolish and another sign that the Metro is out of touch. I don’t mean to criticize unjustly, but it has gotten on my nerves to the point where I had to say something. If you read the Metro, I’m sure you know what I mean.

My second item of the day has nothing to do with sports. If that’s all you care about, then don’t read on. Admittedly, I don’t know a lot about this next subject, (I know, I know…as if I know anything about sports), but I’m going to weigh in on it anyways.

A few weeks ago there was a fire in South Boston and a young girl was killed. Firemen had trouble getting to the building because there were cars double parked and the streets are very narrow as it is. Firefighters felt that the delay in reaching the building may have cost them valuable time in the efforts to save the girl. So the mayor is making new parking restrictions to try and eliminate this from happening again. There will be many new rules with regards to parking and the fines for illegal parking are going way up. Now, I have no doubt that the parking situation hindered the firefighters from getting there as soon as they could. Maybe if they got there sooner the girl would have lived. If new laws can help firemen get to a fire sooner, then they should be put in place.

My problem, though, is that I feel that the real issue, in at least this particular case, has been overlooked. This particular fire never should have happened. You see, it was the girl’s father who accidentally set the fire. He has emphysema, and the disease has progressed to the point that he needs an oxygen tank to assist him in breathing. You would think that someone like that would give up smoking, after seeing what it had done to him. But this gentleman had continued to smoke. On this particular day, when this gentleman attempted to light his cigarette, it ignited the oxygen tank, caused an explosion, and lit the house on fire. Again, I am not 100% familiar with the story, so if I got any of the minor details wrong, I apologize. And I am not saying that all the blame should go to the father. But this was a perfect opportunity for authorities to show, especially young people, how horrible smoking is and what it can do. Because of smoking, in this family the father has a horrible disease and the daughter is dead. But instead the big issue is how because someone was double parked, a young girl died. It just bothered me that the bigger issue was missed.

Friday, November 08, 2002

Theres a couple notes of interest in the papers today. Shaq and Kobe did some interesting interviews. First, it's good to see visiting teams starting to recognize the Celtic Mystique again. Take a look at this quote from Kobe in Steve Bulpett's article:

``I told Paul Pierce it was like the old days - Larry and Magic,'' he said. ``It felt good. It was just one of those battles. It felt good to be a part of that. That damn leprechaun is still walking around the rafters I guess.''

I love that! It's good to see teams thinking in that way again. It used to be when a visiting team came in, if a few things started going wrong for them, they would get that "here we go again" attitude. It would be great to see the C's get that back. To get teams thinking about leprechaun's and Red. It's just good to see that creeping back in.

Anyone living up in the great state of Maine needs to look out!! Shaq is on the way! Jackie MacMullan has a great piece with Shaq in today's Globe. Shaq talks about retirement and the things he wants to do then. Included is this piece about his real estate ventures:

"In the meantime, he continues to buy low-income properties, fix them up, help revitalize the community, then turn them around for a hefty profit. He has done this in Colorado, Georgia, and New York, and is researching a new business venture in Maine."

Wow! Shaq in Maine?!? Imagine the Big Fella hanging out at Hussey's General Store on a Saturday morning? Shooting the breeze with the guys at the local dump while dropping off his trash? The possibilities are endless. Of course, Shaq does not want to move to Maine. He is only interested in the money he can get from the properties. Even still, I found it interesting that of every place that Shaq could be buying properties, he is looking in Maine.

As for the game itself, the C's looked better than they have at any point this year. The Lake Show is probably the first quality opponent they have faced, even without Shaq. They still have a way's to go, but it was the first game that instilled some kind of confidence in me, even though Vin Baker is still completely useless.

Dan Shaughnessy is at it again. He claims that Zito rightfully won the Cy Young Award. I have no problem with Zito winning because he had a great year. I fell that Pedro had a better year and should have won but it's not like the award went to some bum instead. My problem is Shaughnessy's reasoning on the matter. He claims that Pedro did not win the award because he did not make his final start. That is a foolish claim. Some quotes from Danno, with my comments following:

"The Sox still had seven games left when Pedro won his 20th and announced, ''This is it ... I don't have anything else to prove. I'm done. I'm not running. I'm not doing anything. I'm not going to take a chance of getting hurt in my next outing.''
Those comments came three days before the Red Sox were mathematically eliminated from the playoffs."

** The problem with that is that everyone knew that the Sox were out of it with 7 games left. Not mathematically, but the Angels would basically have needed to lose every game while the Sox won every game. The Angels did lose quite a few there at the end which made it look closer than it was, and at that time Pedro said that if the Sox were still in it when his turn came up, that he would pitch.

"After Zito won his 23d game on the final day of the season, Oakland closer Billy Koch reacted to Pedro's shutdown, saying, ''I think it's selfish and shows what kind of player he is. You have an obligation to the guys on your team. Everybody knows he flat-out has the best stuff in the game. He should lead by example. Barry goes out and gets the job done. Hands down, he should be the Cy Young.'' "

** Lets play role reversal. Let's say that Oakland was out of the race and Zito was still recovering from a career threatening injury. He has already won 20 games. Do you think he goes out there on the last day of the season and risks getting hurt in a meaningless game? Not a chance. Say for instance, Pedro had made the last start and tore his shoulder apart. All we would hear from guys like Shaughnessy is how stupid the management was for risking injury in a game that meant nothing.

I guess it's just Shaughnessy being Shaughnessy. He hasn't written an article that made sense in years.

Bill Simmons explains his Unintentional Comedy Ratings scale. ESPN Page2 also looks at the 10 worst cancers ever to play in the NBA. Guess which Celtic made the list? Our new Golden Boy evidently sent a letter into ESPN as well.

Friday, November 01, 2002

I've been a Celtic fan my whole life. I'm not as old as some to remember the 60's and 70's Celtic teams. I remember the teams of the 80's. I am a true fan, not a bandwagon fan. I give my all to the team. No offense to those who turn off games where they are getting blown out, but I never turn off games. I watch each and every one from start to finish. Even last nights, right down to the 'love fest' interview with Jordan afterwards. I feel like watching all the bad times will make the good times more enjoyable. It has been very hard to watch this team for the past decade. But I wanted to stick it out. I have probably watched every game but 6 or 7 a year over the last 10 years. I watched friend after friend abandon ship and stop following the team as they continued to get worse until I was down to only one that still faithfully watched games.

So last year felt great. Even though they were winning unconventionally, they were winning again. It felt good. It felt like they were on the way up again. Then Paul Gaston screwed us. I don't want to call him the most despicable human being because there are some bad ones out there, (Bin Laden, Saddam, Castro), but I will say that I think he is the most despicable person in the world of sports. Because of his own selfish greed, he tore the team apart. He saw a chance to make some money and he went for it at the expense of the entire Celtic Fan base. Most people try and make as much money as possible, but it has been stated that it should be different when it comes to owning a sports team. It's not like Gaston would have been in the poor house without the extra money. He simply did it out of greed. I think I may dislike him as much as any other person on this earth.

Even still, why did Celtic management make the moves they did? We know they weren't allowed to sign Rodney. But did Gaston hold a gun to Wallace's and Obrien's heads and force them to trade for Baker? I don't think so. They have said it was the only trade they could make. If that's the case, weren't they better off making no trade at all? Some say, 'but then you'd lose Kenny's salary slot'. At this point, I don't see how that would have made them worse than they are now. Maybe it would have been better to just let his contract run out. I have stated on this site that not only was the Baker trade the worst in Celtic history, but that it might be the worst in NBA history. I stand by that statement.

What about some of the other guys that have been signed? Sundov? I was made sick watching him fire three's with reckless abandon last night. Bremer? Maybe the worst shooter I have ever seen. I've seen him twice in person now and I have no idea how he made this team. Wolkowyski? Vitaly, oh Vitaly, where have you gone?

The team has taken as big a jump backwards this year as they took forwards last year. Unfortunately, I think we are stuck for a while. There is no way that anyone on the coaching or management staff will be fired during the year. Make no mistake though... O'brien, Wallace, and Papile need to go. They haven't a clue. More and more I am beginning to believe that the success last year was mostly attributed a fresh year without Pitino, and some other things falling into place. This group butchers drafts, has no idea how to teach rookies, and has no clue how to teach offense. This team has no discipline, no rebounding, no offense, and apparently no defense. I don't know enough about the assistant coaches to know if any of them should be kept around. Harter is the only one that I feel should stay. Maybe a horrible year will convince the new owners that they all need to be fired. Even after that, we have 3-4 years before anything can be done to remedy the situation. It's 1997 all over again, and we need someone to come in and clean house. This time it needs to be someone who knows what they are doing.

I waited 10 years for a good team and finally got it. Now it has been ripped out from under me. I don't know if I have it in me to wait through another 3 or 4 losing seasons. Last night felt all too familiar. I don't want to go through that again. Pierce's and Walker's primes are being wasted. I will always bleed green, but right now I feel wounded and I don't know if I can recover.

Monday, October 28, 2002

The Celtics looked a bit better on Friday against the Wizards than they have looked the rest of the pre-season. I had pretty decent seats and was able to get a good look at the action. I arrived at the FleetCenter around 6:45. Around 7:20 I was walking around the concourse and was surprised to see Vin Baker out there. He had a couple security guys around him and looked as if he was looking for someone. Maybe he was lost himself. Maybe he was looking for a friend or family member to show them to their seat. Whatever the case, it struck me that he should have been preparing for the game instead. It just seems someone in his position should not be wandering around 10 minutes before tipoff.

I still feel the same about the Celtics for this upcoming year. I think they will do well against the lower echelon teams but will struggle to beat anyone good. They may win a game here or there against a good team, and may squeak into the playoffs, but they won't go far. Thanks again Gaston.

As for the Patriots, who knows what to say? I'm not providing links because frankly I don't feel like reading all the negativity myself. I am still in the camp that thinks they can make a run. You don't win championships by accident. I really believe they became very confident after the first two games. They were still underdogs. No one was picking them. They thrive under those circumstances. Everyone on Sports Final already said they have zero chance to beat the Bills. Anyone think they'll be favored against the Raiders? So maybe they are getting back into the types of situations where they can succeed. At least I hope that's the case. If the Pats keep on losing, and the C's struggle as I think they might, I may have to start watching hockey again just to see what it is like to watch a winning team. I hoped things would never get back to that point, but who knows?

(That's not a shot at the Bruins either. I am thrilled to see them start well, especially when not many people picked them to do so. It's just that of the 4 major sports, hockey comes 4th for me. It takes a lot for me to watch hockey.)

Doesn't Rick Fox need to get a lengthy suspension? It's one thing to get in a fight in the heat of a moment, but then to wait to attack the same guy again is totally different. In a court setting, going back to the scene of the crime helps a prosecutor use the pre-meditated thing against a defendant. Well wasn't what Fox did pre-meditated then? It was a cowardly thing what Fox did, and the NBA needs to do something about it. I doubt it will though due to David Stern's love affair with the Lakers.

ESPN Page2 has put together 10 reasons why the Expo's would be better for Boston than the Red Sox are. Kind of weak but I linked it anyways.

Page2 also wonders if Tara Reid is to blame for Tom Brady's slump. Am I the only one who though of "The Natural" as soon as I first heard about Brady and Reid? Unfortunately, it does not appear as though Brady is getting back on track as Redford did.

Congratulations to the Angels. I told a friend of mine back in July that the Angels were the least of the Sox concerns as to who they would battle for a playoff spot. Shows how smart I am.

Friday, October 18, 2002

I was at the Celtics game last night in Manchester. I'll start by giving some praise to the designers of the arena up there. It's a very nice building and a good place to watch basketball. Even the worst seats way up at the top I think are closer than the front row seats of the balcony at the Fleetcenter. That's a good design figuring that there are 10,000 seats in the place. The only two issues I came across were the concourses and also the entrances. There's only about 10 doors in the front of the building to get in the place. The line was backed up way down the street. Could be a problem in bad weather. As for the concourses, they are very narrow. Almost impossible to get through where there are concession stands. Besides those two minor issues, they did a great job on the place.

As for the Celtics, that's another story. I know all the cliches about it only being pre-season, but this team does not look good. They may have the most pitiful looking offense that I have ever seen. There is no semblance of any rhyme, reason, or rhythm out there. It is literally just 5 guys running around with no idea what they are doing. I have seen more organized offenses in the pickup games at the gym I go to. This will turn into a major problem. I don't buy the 'they're masking the offense' excuse. Even when teams do that, they typically still look like an NBA team.
Baker is horrible. Sprained ankle or not, an NBA player at close to 7 feet should be able to score more than 2 points and get at least 1 rebound. He looks completely lost and I can hear the laughter all the way from Seattle.
At this rate, the team will struggle to beat anyone good. With Walker and Pierce, they will win their fair share of games, but few will come against quality teams.

My buddy and I left the building through the back door hoping to avoid all the people. As we were walking around, we saw the team busses so we figured we'd wait for the players to come out. Rodney Rogers and Kenyon Martin walked out together first. I yelled over to Kenyon and when he looked over I mentioned to him that it would help us out if he were to break both his legs this year rather than just one like a few years ago. Showing his true colors and showing the thug that he is, he proceeded to hit me with an expletive laced tirade. "F*** You, you little Punk A** B****!!" I wished Rodney well but I guess Kenyon hadn't had enough. After a few more F bombs, he invited me to come over and he would "break something on me." The chain link fence prevented that from happening. After giving me the finger and throwing in some more expletives, he got on the bus.
Called over to a few more of the Nets but they must know better than to talk to fans at opposing arenas. Most did not look over. Mutumbo waved and I told him to be careful throwing those elbows around. I don't know if he didn't hear me or just doesn't have a good mastery of English, because he said, "Yes, thank you, thank you."

(There was a kid who we saw sneak into the lot where the busses were and he hid between the 2 team busses. We figured he was waiting for autographs, but he just waited as player after player went by. Pierce, Kidd, Waltah... most players you would assume he was waiting for went by without him making his move. It turns out he was waiting for Mutumbo. Got his autograph and then ran out of the lot. Strange. Of everyone he could have been waiting for.....)

Had a quick conversation with Tony Battie. Asked him about his knee which he said "it's good, it's good." He had no noticeable limp. I've met Tony a few other times and he seems like a really nice guy. There is such a noticable difference in the demeanor of players on the Celtics as opposed to the Nets. I don't think it is just bias because of being a Celtic fan. The Nets just have guys that are easy to hate. Guys that beat their wives, guys that berate fans, they are all so pompous and arrogant...... you just don't see that on the C's. The contrast is stunning.

Had some brief banter with Gary Tanguay and Greg Dickerson as well. I told Greg to do everyone a favor and smack Felger upside the head. He just laughed. Talked a little bit about Pete Shepard which revealed some funny comments. Gary looked as if he was trying to think of something funny to say but couldn't think of anything. Seemed eerily similar to his TV show. Greg had some pretty funny things to say about Shepard but I don't want to reveal them here. E-mail me and I'll fill you in.

Thursday, October 03, 2002

Ya know.... it's a strange thing, but for me the Yankees being in the playoffs is almost the same as if the Red Sox were there, only opposite. Let me explain.
I've always been a Sox fan for as long as I can remember. Maybe it's just something that goes along with that, but I have also always hated the Yankees. That hate has grown quite a bit over the last 5 or 6 years though. Seeing the Yankees succeed year after year while the Sox have failed has not left a good feeling. As a result, I am almost to the point where seeing the Yankees lose brings as much joy as seeing the Sox win. Probably my second favorite sports memory over the last decade or so (Last years Superbowl obviously first), was seeing the Yankees lose in the World Series last year. I can not even explain how much joy that brought me. The feeling I had was the same as if one of my favorite teams had won the championship. It was very close to, and maybe even surpassed, the feeling I had after the Pats won the SB.

I bring all this up because I was thinking about it last night while watching the Yanks/Angels game. The Yankees seem to get the breaks so often and have everything fall into place so much that I was sure that Jeter was going to get a hit in the 8th inning. I was stunned when he struck out. Then in the 9th, again I was sure that the Yanks would rally and win. 2 on, 2 out, down by 2..... isn't that where the Yankees always come up with a hit to win the game? It made sense that Mondesi was up because it also seems like a mid-season pickup of the Yankees always has a huge postseason hit. But Mondesi popped it up. Game over. Angels win. And this wave of joy came over me as if the Red Sox were the team that had just tied the series.

I don't know if any other team brings me as much when I see them lose like the Yankees. The Lakers would probably be the closest. Just another team that, and don't get me wrong because I realize that they are both good teams, but it always seems as though both of those teams get the breaks needed to win. A team could have all the talent in the world, but usually something outside of the control of either team happens that really helps decide who wins. A bad hop in baseball that allows a guy to reach. A lucky 3-pointer to beat the clock from a guy who hasn't made, nor attempted one all year. Those are the breaks that the Lakers and Yankees always seem to get that without them, despite their being good teams, they probably wouldn't win as often. And I think that's why so many people hate those teams. And part of why I love it when they lose.

Admittedly, I am not a soccer fan and don't understand why any sport needs to play on field the size of Rhode Island. Even still, when a team wins their first ever playoff series, they deserve recognition and in this case, the first link of the day. Congrats to the Revs.

Nick Cafardo gives Michael Felger a little shot in his column today by saying that it's too early to claim the Patriots defense is getting old. Felger has no point anyways. The Pats defense has not showed signs of aging in the past 2 games. They have simply shown signs of a team that was jacked and pumped for the first 2 games because they had something to prove. Well, they proved it. Everyone was saying 16-0. Number 1 in all the National power ranking polls. So it was easier for them to sit back a little and maybe not give the same type of effort. That is what happened the last 2 weeks. Now it's up to them to get that intensity back and start hitting people again. Until they do that, the defense will struggle a little bit.

Jackie MacMullan takes the opportunity to rip Paul Gaston, who deserves every bit of it. I've been asked by numerous people what I think of the Celtics sale, and I haven't had much to say up to this point. Mostly this is because I know very little about the new owners. Sure, you can look up their history and their business track records. You can see how their companies have done and how much money they have made. But owning a sports franchise is a totally different animal from anything else. You can't say how someone will do until they show you. I don't think it is something that can be gaged. But after spending some time thinking about it, I have come to at least one conclusion: They can't be any worse than Gaston.
All Gaston ever cared about was money. Some have said that he spent money at certain times (Pitino, Walker, Pierce) and so you can't say that he was cheap. I don't agree with that reasoning. I think he had thoughts of selling the team as far back as 7 or 8 years ago. But he knew that the team needed to be better for him to get a good value for it. That is why he allowed Antoine to be signed long term, and why he signed Pitino a year later. He, like everyone else, thought Pitino would lead the team to glory. He figured within a few years, the team would be a contender and he could then sell and someone else would be paying Pitino's and Walkers salaries. When the team went even further downhill under Pitino, Gaston realized that he could not sell yet. The Pierce signing was for the same reason. Gaston once again thought that Pierce was a huge key to the team's success, and ultimately, him being able to sell. Any money Gaston ever spent was only designed to benefit his own wallet in some way.
Now, as a business man, that is a smart thing to do, and usually tells how successful a business man someone is. The problem is like I said though. Owning a sports franchise is a different animal. Owners of sports teams should not be in it for the money. They should be in it to see the team win. And if that is not their concern, they need to get out.
As for the Baker signing, I think it was one last shot Gaston was giving to Larry Bird. Gaston probably thought that with him out of the picture, Larry would be back here soon. I think that Gaston wanted to tie Bird' s hands with regards to the salary cap and also the roster. He knew that bringing Baker here would really handcuff the team for four years, with no real flexibility. All in all, the new owners will have to do little to be better owners, and the Celtics are 100 times better off with Paul Gaston out of the picture.