Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Wednesday 02/21 A.M. Quickie:
Wisco Boots, Brady "Excited," Combine Zzz's

College Hoops: Wisco instantly irrelevant as No. 1, after a loss to Michigan State. Wow, that let-down was fast.

The good news is that it affirms that this season's Final Four will be tougher than ever to predict.

What's the marginal difference between the presumed 1-seeds (Florida, Wisco-Ohio St survivor, UCLA) and the teams sitting at 2- or 3-seeds?

One thing is obvious: There is no clear-cut No. 1 team. (Of course, last year there were a few clear-cut favorites and we ended up with Florida over UCLA in the National Title game, which very few -- if any -- saw coming.) I still think Florida is the favorite, but that isn't saying much in a field this competitive.

The hotter drama is at the margin, where the bubble feels insanely packed and should make conference tournaments much more intense.

Today's MUST-READ: Dan Steinberg of the amazing DC Sports Bog (the "gold standard of newspaper sports blogs" -- D.S.) breaks Sam Smith over Smith's ridiculous anti-blog rant from last week. The best is that he didn't use a sledgehammer; he used the stiletto of Smith's own "original" work. Here's the link, and if you didn't read my defense of sports blogs against "old sports media" haters (like Smith), here's the link to the interview on The Big Picture. (It's long, so just skip down to Question 8.) I have a feeling that Steinberg's post will resonate across both blogs and traditional media, because he carries both the cred of being one of blogging's finest along with the cred of being a writer for the Washington Post.

More CBB: Mid-Majors. Should we be watching UNLV more closely than we're watching Air Force? LV beat AFA by 10 last night.

Kevin Durant Watch: "Only" 17 points in a 29-point Texas rout over TX Tech. (Mark my words: He'll be a great, but not transcendent, NBA player. In the best-case scenario, he's the next Dirk Nowitzki. In the wrong situation, he could easily be merely the next Rashard Lewis.)

Tom Brady Baby-Daddy Update: Brady's agent says he is "excited." (Yes, if "excited" means "whoops.")

NFL Combine: I'm thinking that "Pro Days" at individual college campuses has gutted the value of the combine as a way to gauge top picks.

There's still the drama of which players will emerge as "workout warriors" (see Vernon Davis in 2006), but otherwise? Meh.

NBA: Given the way that the Spurs shut down the Carmelo-AI tandem (24 points), how did anyone EVER think the pair would lift the Nuggets to West contention?

Gilbert Arenas Item of the Day: Off his 30-some points last night in a Wiz win, here's a link to a great story (from a reader) that has been pinging around lots of sports blogs. It's a great story of fandom, of Agent Zero and of sneakers. What more could you want?

NBA Trade Deadline: Kidd and Carter remain the biggest names. The standard litmus test will be if either/both/neither are playing tonight.

Rumor has it Carter is more likely than Kidd to go. Given the likelihood that Carter will bolt as a free agent in the offseason, why not get even 20 cents on the dollar today?

Bonds arrives at Spring Training: He's going to break Aaron's record. And you'll watch. But the coverage will drive you crazy.

"Let them investigate": Sounds like Bonds is going with "defiance" as his theme this spring.

Meanwhile, the "Don't Ask Me, Ask Barry" T-shirts are pretty funny. Will the Giants be selling those to the fans?

MLB: A-Rod vs. Jeter. In response to A-Rod's spirit of openness in his "media therapy" session about his strained relationship with Jeter, Jeter says that he's not going to talk about it. Stay classy, Cap!

The Cubs will pay Zambrano $12.4M for a year, while they either renegotiate a longer-term deal or watch him walk away for huge money. Nice to see the Cubs finally give some cash to a GOOD pitcher.

Charlie Weis Trial: Apparently, one quick way to get a mistrial as a defendant doc in a malpractice case is to rush to the aid of a juror who passes out.

Golf's Match-Play "tournament" should, in theory, be the sport's March Madness, complete with office pools. But they're not, which is a shame. Who doesn't love a good bracket?

It's the end of an era tonight for Chief Illiniwek, the Illinois mascot I saw first-hand in college. I understand the passions of the alums and students on this subject, but it's time for him to go.

-- D.S.


BpL - Beacon, NY said...

As a die-hard Yankees fan, I could care less about what Jeter & A-Rod think of each other. Probably the bigger story (to Yankee fans anyway) is that Bernie Williams keeps declining the Spring Training invite for a non-roster spot(meaning he'd go to the minor leagues I believe). Does that mean #51 is done forever in the Bronx?

And what's the O/U on how much Brady has to pay in child support per month? He's one of the highest paid QBs in the NFL... which is still shocking, because that means the Patriots actually shelled out money for a player...

Matt T said...

I said the other day in the comments and will say it again. I think this tourney could be like the one in 2000 where two 8 seeds were in the final four.

I know George Mason made it last year, but so did Uconn (a 1 seed) UCLA (a 2 seed) and Florida (a 2).

I'm just not very impressed with Wisconsin, Ohio State North Carolina or Pitt. IT pains me to say it but UF does look like the strongest team.

RevScottDeMangeMD said...

I have been searching for the past 15 minutes for the poem that talks about the ridiculous debate over mascots.

As a Miami of Ohio graduate, I understand how the term "Redskin" was offensive. But using the words "Braves," "Seminoles," "Illini," etc. is kind of ridiculous. Especially if the tribe wants the university to keep their Florida State and North Dakota.

Kevin Erb said...

matt t,

George Mason beat UConn in the Elite Eight. The other Final Four team last year was LSU, which I think was a 4 seed.

xcdannon said...

golf brackets, although it would be fun, wouldn't work that well because there are so many unknown, obscure players who have a legitimate, easy chance at pulling an upset and even winning the whole thing. Think Ben Curtis winning the British Open a few years ago. Coming out of nowhere like that doesn't even happen in tennis, where the field is similar. Golf is just too unpredictable (why Tiger is so impressive).

Unknown said...

It's safe to anoint Florida as the favorites due to history and starting players. But you're right...the margin is very very small this year. Despite Wisky's loss, I still see Wisconsin, OSU, Kansas as teams that can beat Florida. But as Michigan State (hell, and Vandy for that matter)showed...there are more teams that one wouldn't think of that could rise up to beat the champs.

Why does the mainstream media insist that players must like each other? ARod and Jeter. Not friends. Oh well. Though it would be awesome to see Jeter just come out and throw Arod under a bus.

In all fairness, AI was just coming back from injury vs. the Spurs. Kinda puts you behind the 8ball.

Chief Illiniwek gone? Oh well.

Unknown said...

Some alumni you are, revscott!
Miami of Ohio?! *shakes head*

Miami University or Miami. Keep the faith! lol Put the (FL) behind the other school

Matt T said...

I screwed that up bad. Sorry about that.

Trey (formerly TF) said...

There are several players who don't care for each other yet play perfectly together.

Most the guys in the SF clubhouse hate Bonds, Jordan and Pippen didn't get a long off the court, etc.

After hearing the actual quote yesterday there was nothing even mentioned that made it sound like they hated each other. It sounded more like ARod and Jeter just don't hang as much as they used to, probably because ARod has a wife and Jeter dosen't. What wife would allow their husband to go running out every night with the most popular man in New York.

I know you hate when people say this, but this is clearly the NY media trying to get a story.

Joe (Dayton)

Trey (formerly TF) said...

Some alumni you are, revscott!
Miami of Ohio?! *shakes head*

Miami University or Miami. Keep the faith! lol Put the (FL) behind the other school

Being from Florida, when I moved up here in 2004 I called it Miami of Ohio.

The response: "Miami was a University before Florida was a state."

Joe (Dayton)

Unknown said...

So MLB has new baseball caps.
One reason for the change is that caps used to have sweat stains and fade in color over time.

Has anyone suggested that players could, maybe..i dunno...wash their caps instead?

Unknown said...

i always liked that line, TF.

Or, 'Miami was a University when Florida still belonged to Spain'

RevScottDeMangeMD said...

I apologize...I was just doing it for clarity. But yes, when people ask me where I went to school, I say "Miami." Since I live in Ohio, they all know that it is the better school. The one in Oxford.

So yes, I went to Miami U.

And you are right Joe, Miami was a school before Florida was a state.

ToddTheJackass said...

Glad to see Cheif Illiniwick go, as the American Indians clearly were offended by the represenation given by the Cheif. It was time to go for him...

That being said, I don't have any problem with American Indian mascots so long as the tribes named in the mascots are not misrepresented, and that the tribes themselves approve of the given university's use of said mascot.

But yeah, Redskins definitely need to go... I mean, really...

For everyone who hates the Yankees, the Jeter/A-Rod saga is funny, but everyone who says it's not that big of a deal is also right... until October, when A-Rod feels unloved and doesn't respond. Then it becomes a problem/great thing.

The Bernie deal is a much bigger story, but I think even the most diehard Yankees fan has to acknowledge that it's just time for him to go.

mark said...

As a Miami of Ohio graduate, I understand how the term "Redskin" was offensive. But using the words "Braves," "Seminoles," "Illini," etc. is kind of ridiculous. Especially if the tribe wants the university to keep their Florida State and North Dakota.

The problem wasn't with the name "Illini," which the University may keep. The problem was with the war-bonnetted, face-painted, buckskin-clad Chief Illiniwek, who dances around at football games. The remaining Illini tribesman are apparently against the Chief as being inauthentic and disrespectful.

There have been angry debates about this in Urbana for decades, with all the content you'd expect, including alumni threatening to pull donations, student native-american associations feeling marginalized, campus study groups, and the students who actually play the chief saying that it was all an educational opportunity, and in fact respectful of tradition.

I think the university is largely just glad it's over. The Chief was hurting the university in measurable ways. The latest accreditation survey of the university actually took them to task for not having gotten rid of the Chief already.

As for the basketball, the fact that the #1 team keeps losing week after week only proves once again that (1) basketball is not football; (2) the polls are overrated.

ToddTheJackass said...

As weird as this may sound, they do make plastic cap washers. I bought one and it really does work. Helps keep the wool cap's form and can go in the wash (not the dryer though).

But most MLB players are too superstitious I think to change hats. I wonder if Trot Nixon's hat should go into a museum, or should be thrown into one of those biohazard bins...

mcam09 said...

It is funny to me having the Cubs quibble for a few million with Zambrano, a true ace, while they shell out huge money to Ted Lilly.

I still don't see there being as much parity this year in March Madness. I still think that Florida, UNC, and UCLA especially are a cut above and all three will go deep into the tourney IMO, once they all decide to turn it on at all times.

mark said...

Someone needs to pull a Tanya Harding on Barry Bonds. I don't say this lightly, but if ever there was someone who deserved to get clubbed off the field . . .

verbal97 said...

I, for one, will NOT be watching Bonds at all. Even if I'm in a bar, I'll close my eyes and do the la la la thing until it's over, even though I'd look like a total douche for doing it. I look at the Bonds/Aaron thing the same way I look at Ben Johnson cracking 9.8 in the 100m and Floyd Landis having the biggest comeback in Tour de France history. It's completely illegitimate and I will never register the hr record as Bonds', even though he will obviously be allowed to keep the record.

Secondly, I said more than my share in the A-Rod/Jeter situation, but I don't see how Jeter not commenting and thus getting involved in the equivalent of 3rd graders calling each other "poopyhead" is unclassy.

Unknown said...

The hats can get pretty nasty, but man, what some of those guys do to their batting helmets? Vlad Guerrero has so much crap on his helmet I'm surprised it doesn't glow in the dark during night games because it has to be pretty toxic.

I think the Jeter/A-Rod thing is totally overblown. Who cares if they aren't big buddies? We have this idea that sports teams are "families" and that everybody loves each other and gets along. My extended family (brother, sisters, nieces and nephews) is about the size of an MLB roster, and I can guarantee you this, they are still family, but that doesn't mean I don't like some of them. As long as they aren't throwing punches or causing problems, who cares if they aren't big buddies? It's called being professional and doing your job. And if A-Rod folds in October because he isn't getting love from his teammates, then chances are he's never going to win anything.

CMFost said...

I hope one of 3 things happens with Bonds before he breaks the record.

1. He is one home run shy and Selig suspends him for failing a drug test.

2. He is one home run shy of the record he get arrest for perjury causing the Giants to void his contract and then he goes to jail for a couple of years and never plays again.

3. He gets a career ending injury before breaking the record.

CMFost said...

The only thing this A-Rod/Jeter thing really means is that at the end of the season A-Rod will void the final years of his contract and go to another team and screw them up. And then the Yankees will win the world series in 2008 without A-Rod

EPorvaznik said...

>>Someone needs to pull a Tanya Harding on Barry Bonds. I don't say this lightly, but if ever there was someone who deserved to get clubbed off the field...>>

Great idea, but I'd rather see coaches tell their pitchers to walk him every time (or plunk him). A) How fun would it be to watch Barry slowly but surely self-destruct, rant and pout and B) No way for him to potentially play the on-crutches sympathy card.

Mega said...

cmfost- #1 and #2 would be sweet sweet justice, wouldn't they? What if Barroid finds a vortex to another dimension (ala Homer Simpson) behind his "medicine cabinent" and gets sucked in? That way, we never have to hear from him again, ever.

BLUE said...

This is how out of touch you guys are.

Bonds contract that actually got approved by MLB doesn't have the void in it if he gets indicted. As that was contradictory to the what's in the CBA between the player's union and ownership.

CMFost said...

guess someone is a fan of slapshot.

check it out

NA said...

Jo Fer said...
As a 100% German person whose grandfather worked in the Breweries in Milwaukee in the 30's and 40's I strongly object to the term "Brewers" for a baseball team. Especially the mascot with his stereotypical lederhosen and blonde hair etc. They are disrepecting my grandfather's way of life.

I know this is a joke. but....
Last I checked American policies weren't responsibe for killing off 95% of all Brewers that lived in the country before Europeans got here.

Florida State and The Seminole nation agreed that the college can continue to use the name. If the native population agrees to let the college use it, so be it. But, if the savage red skin in buckskin was offending the Natives, perhaps it's best for everyone.

I kind of think a a closer example of what the Natives are complaining about would be for a team in California to have a team called the "Nips" and model themselves after the 40s and 50s Bugs Bunny cartoons of Asians

Unknown said...

I hope so, but that's why the record is so amazing and why it's a shame that Bonds will break it. Since Aaron put up 755 there have been people with the home-run hitting talent to break it, but the record is equivilent to almost 40 homers a year for 19 years! The ability to stay healthy and consistent is just as big of a variable as to the talent to do it. It would be great if A-Rod or Albert or whoever got close to chasing the record, but go back several years and instead we were saying that Griffey was almost a lock to do it -- then he turned 30 and started getting hurt all the time. Barry's record could fall quickly, but then again it might last a long time. We all can only hope for the former.

Unknown said...

I hope Barry hits 900. I'll watch it on TV, the Sportscenter atbats...all of it. I have no problem with this.

Then again, I also don't make athletes my idols nor do I look at them with reverence.

So, 900 Barry!

CMFost said...

we have an upset in the 1st round of the World Match Play Event the 15th Seed Dredge beat the 2nd Seeded Ernie Els

ToddTheJackass said...

It's a slow news day when Ernie Els makes news in the comment section in a non-major tournament.

mark said...

Okay, you want slow?

Champions league round of sixteen, first leg:
Liverpool over Barcelona, 2-1.

Apparently this is huge if you follow European soccer--this year I guess it represents something of an upset, since Barcelona is the defending champ. And it looks like it was a pretty good game, too.