I don’t have too much to surmise about this week due to my NBA Playoffs fever. It’s getting worse (better?) every night that passes and I honestly don’t care if I recover. Haha, but in all seriousness… either tonight or Saturday night, it’s all going to boil over. And if things go a certain way… well, let’s just say that I’m going to be celebrating like it’s Saint Patty’s Day. For a solid week. Followed by another period of partying—in celebration or in celebration.
Let’s do work, real quick.
They grow up so fast…
First of all, major congratulations to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
You did it. You eff-ing did it.
You knocked off the defending champion Dallas Mavericks in the first round. A very convincing sweep.
Then you knocked off the Los Angeles Lakers. Another convincing series of wins that practically drove a nail in the Kobe-era coffin.
Now you’ve knocked off a red-hot, perfect-playing San Antonio Spurs. And you didn’t just knock them off… you just pulled off (as my homeboy Holland put it) “the delayed sweep”.
It wasn’t a true sweep. But when one team wins 20 games in a row, then you topple them in 4 straight? It’s basically a sweep. And it was almost how I predicted. I told you that OKC would sit back and see what the Spurs brought. They would analyze it and study it. Then, like an alien from a decent sci-fi movie, they would come back in a big way. I knew this would be a good series; I had no idea that OKC would finish it so strongly and abruptly.
And now we are on the threshold of a new era. The Durantbrook Era is here. Now. It leapfrogged over LeBron. I don’t know if this is just a weird wave of excitement (like that crazy Rocktober a few falls ago)… but this is just the beginning. I think it’s totally possible that Durant, Westbrook, Harden, Ibaka, Perkins, and the rest of Oklahoma could become the cream of the crop. If it doesn’t happen this year, think of it as an extended learning experience—if they lose in their first trip, you might as well write them down as 2012-13 champs now. And 2013-14. 2014-15. It might never stop. Thunder up.
And sometimes they never stop growing…
Unless you suit up in green and white (sometimes black), there is a good chance that at some point this postseason, you’ve felt sick about the Celtics’ chances. The Hawks put up a fair fight… the Sixers might have been preferable over a Rose-led Bulls, but you know you would have felt a lot better if the Bulls had somehow slipped past Philly without their star. And don’t try to pretend that your heart didn’t nearly stop when Miami decided it had had enough with Indiana. We wanted the Miami matchup—but getting an easier ticket via Indiana would have been more than acceptable.
And even if you’ve been fervently invested in these C’s, you cannot tell me that at least once during the preseason/season, you weren’t like “Oh crap, this team is the Titantic…”
Even I had my moments of hesitation. Mostly during the preseason when we didn’t get David West. And when we didn’t get anyone… settling for Chris Wilcox. And when Mickael Pietrus was the “big news” signing.
But you can ask my mother, you can ask just about anyone that knows me (including my OIC Captain Smith)… I never gave up hope. I never stopped talking shit about everyone else, and I never once doubted our chances.
Now we are on the verge of a critical Game 6 between the Heat and the Celtics. The Celtics are fighting time. Fighting doubt. Fighting everything to prove they have one last run. They got crushed in Game 1. They got their hearts broken in Game 2**. They clawed back to win Games 3 and 4. Then they stole one in Game 5—in Miami. Now we’re back at Boston.
**Any doubt that most teams might have given up after losing a backbreaker like Game 2?
Boston can follows the steps of the Thunder and close it out tonight. And I honestly think that’s going to happen—it’s been happening all week. The Thunder make a move, the Celtics match it. Or the Heat can make a statement and take this all back to Miami for Game 7.
This has been the greatest run for me, as a fan. I think it’s better than when we won the title in the Big 3’s first season: we were semi-expected to win that one. And we were favorites to win the next one, until KG got hurt. And we could have one the following one, until Perkins got hurt. And we had a chance last year, until Rondo got hurt.
We’re banged up. But we’ve made it this far. No way we can let up on the gas pedal. And besides, there’s nothing more fitting than bringing Kendrick Perkins back to TD Garden. Let’s go, C’s.
Condescending or innocent?
Can’t forget to mention this kid. I can’t tell if he’s the youngest, most condescending asshole in Miami… or if he is so bad at sports that he’s heard this enough from parents that he thinks it’s a good thing to relay…
But I like to think it’s the former…
New HR Derby format?
Unfortunately, I don’t think that’s the case. But I did see that Robinson Cano and Matt Kemp were named captains of the homerun derby teams.
“Homerun derby teams”? Very misleading.
It only means that they can decide who gets invited to participate. As in, Cano invites AL sluggers; Kemp invites NL sluggers.
That’s too bad. I think a team format would be awesome. It would make things exciting again.
Go pick up a version of MLB 2Kwhatever. Play the derby on there, with teams. A lot more exciting. It’s almost like soccer penalty kicks. You have a lineup of 9 batters. If a batter is getting tired, you sit him down and bring in the next guy. And the winning team is whichever team is first to have all 9 players hit a homerun.
Then you have real derby teams. And it would be crazy ratings because your teams could look like this:
AL: Robinson Cano, Josh Hamilton, Adam Dunn, Curtis Granderson, Adam Jones, Jose Bautista, David Ortiz, Mark Trumbo, and Miguel Cabrera
NL: Matt Kemp, Carlos Beltran, Carlos Gonzalez, Ryan Braun, Giancarlo Stanton, Jay Bruce, Matt Holliday, Joey Votto, Hanley Ramirez, and Bryce Harper (why not?)
Tell me you wouldn’t watch that.
The Ripken tradition lives on…
The Ripken name is practically synonymous with Orioles baseball. And it won’t be ending any time soon. The Baltimore Orioles drafted Ryan Ripken in the 20th round of the MLB draft this year. Ryan Ripken is a first baseman. Decent size. It’s the baseball-equivalent of a fraternity legacy. Yeah, they didn’t have to draft him… but it wouldn’t have felt right by any other team.
But it’s a hell of a pick. Ripken is 6’6”. He just went 4-1, 2.30 ERA on the mound and .377 at the plate. He’s just 18 years old. Chances are, he’s going to attend college and play for the South Carolina Gamecocks. Which means, he won’t be draft-eligible again until his junior season. No guarantee the Orioles get him again.
But still, it’s an honor and some true excitement that one day we will get to see another Ripken in the big leagues.
Right guy, wrong career
Maybe Jamie Moyer should have picked a different profession. He could have easily been a great movie monster villain. Forget Jason, Freddy, Mike Myers… it could have been Moyer.
The 49-year old fastballer (haha) just signed a minor league deal with the O’s, after being waived by Colorado.
He was mostly ineffective for the Rockies—2-5, 5.70 ERA. But that’s also a partial product of the Coors Field air, I assume**.
**Maybe the thin air is negated by a 30mph fastball, I don’t know the physics…
But since his numbers might actually be better than Jake Arrieta’s… Might not be a bad chance. It’s kind of like adding an extra pitching coach. Low-risk, chance for moderate reward. And who knows, maybe he’ll pitch like early-30’s Moyer—yeah, he last pitched for the Orioles almost 20 years ago.
That young guy was 25-22 with an ERA in the 4s. Much like Rickey Henderson and Julio Franco, I just don’t see him going away…
Black eye for Blackmon
I was in Georgia, attending school training for the Army during last year’s college football season. So for the first time in over a decade, my Saturdays were not devoted to Virginia Tech football. Instead, I watched whatever big game was scheduled.
Tom already discussed what recently happened to Blackmon, but I wanted to make a note of this. I may have heard of Justin Blackmon before last year, but he wasn’t on my radar. I remember seeing this ESPN video and thinking he was a truly great guy.
To me, he fit the Tebow-mold: a freak athlete that had his priorities straight.
Looks like I was wrong. And the sad thing is, how do you think Olivia Hamilton feels?