Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Daily Conundrum: May 30th, 2007

By Doug Branson

In a matter of hours and two radio shows later, Kobe Bryant made another difficult life decision. He went from being on the trading block, to a Laker for life in between psychological sessions with Stephen A. Smith, Phil Jackson, and Dan Patrick. It’s really a shame that Kobe didn’t take more time to mull this over. We as a sports nation missed out on a lot of great moments that could have been.

We didn’t get the unique perspective of another bad front office that you get from a Kiki Vande "wegh in.”

No Dee Brown reminding us why Dream Job was a failed experiment.

No time for ESPN to develop specialized graphics with Kobe in an assortment of uniforms from Bulls red to Warrior blue.

No comment from Kevin Garnett saying he wouldn’t ask for a trade if he we’re a Laker.

No chance for a Boston Globe reporter to ask Danny Ainge about the possibility of bringing in Bryant and getting a response that equates to, “Why would we? We’re already a playoff team.”

No subsequent riots in the streets of Boston.

No examples of how hypocritical Philadelphia sports fans are as they cheer wildly at the news that Bryant is interested in becoming a Sixer.

No chance for Bryant’s agent to insinuate that he would be a perfect fit somewhere between Carmelo Anthony and Allen Iverson.

No subsequent riots in Denver.

No opportunity for Isaiah Thomas to ponder moving the 2021 and 2022 first round draft picks out west.

No silly "war to sports" analogies comparing Kobe to a refugee.

Nope. Sadly, this story seems like its over before it began. But all is not lost. It will be a long off-season in Los Angeles and they still have a whole draft they can bungle. Until then, we can only dream of the possibilities.

Daily Double Play: May 30th, 2007

Turning two since May of 2007

By Rich Abernethy

As my first foray into this blog business I wanted to bring up something that really grinds my gears, to borrow from the genius that is Peter Griffin. What really gets me riled up are the fixable problems affecting sports today that no one will do anything about. As a sports enthusiast who frequently leaves the channel on ESPN News for hours at a time (and somehow fail to be annoyed by the recurring highlights) some of these things really bother me more than they should. Anyways, here is my list for now (in no particular order) with more to surely follow as they creep up into the ole noggin.

1. The MLB All-Star Game.

Seriously, why does MLB determine home-field advantage for its championship series based on a meaningless game in which half the participants don’t give a crap and are selected primarily by fan vote. How does that make any sense whatsoever? Who brought that up in the meeting? It seems like some joke an intern brought up trying to get a laugh out of Selig, only he starts smiling and jotting it down and the intern starts looking around and can’t convince anyone he wasn’t serious and that it’s a terrible idea.

I mean, baseball perhaps more than any other sport can be influenced by where the game is played thanks to the DH. AL teams sign players exclusively to utilize in that position, whereas NL teams always wind up throwing out their 4th outfielder or random injured player during interleague or the World Series. So why should an AL team get to throw out its best possible lineup (at home to boot) for 4 of 7 games in October just because Magglio Ordonez takes Francisco Cordero deep in the 9th this July? This will never make sense to me. It’s akin to the NBA allowing the winner of the All-Star Game to play on a 9-foot goal or play with 6 players during the Finals. (Granted the Heat basically got the equivalent last June but that’s a whole different rant entirely.)

So here’s the solution: DO WHAT EVERY OTHER LEAGUE DOES!!! Give home field to the team with the best record. That way the team who plays the best all season gets an advantage by laying an extra game at home if the series goes the distance. Put some meaning back into the long, boring 162 game season. What a novel idea. How Bud Selig hasn’t completely ruined baseball yet boggles my mind. No salary cap, different rules depending on which league you’re in, and home field for the championship based on a showcase All-Star game. I think my grandmother could do a better job.

2. Isiah Thomas.

The prosecution rests. Next witness.

3. Stephen A. Smith.

Or more commonly known as Screamin’ A. Smith. If anyone who reaches for the mute button when he comes on ESPN wants a good laugh, then go to Kinda long but worth it. He’s like the unhappy friend we all have who ruins the mood when you hang out by overreacting negatively to anything that happens. Only louder. I know I’m not the first to hate on Stephen A., nor will I be the last, but he epitomizes all that’s wrong with sports broadcasting which is really the bigger issue here. It’s his schtick and it’s what set him apart from other broadcaster in his way up the ranks. And because he’s successful, he can’t change or the 6 people in America who actually like him will say he sold out. Or at least that’s my theory. Surely no one can be that angry, loud and overzealous about everything he says.

4. San Antonio Spurs.

Dirtiest team in the NBA. Bar none. And no one calls them on it. And for some reason nobody who has played them in the playoffs has given them a dose of their own medicine to keep them in check. Granted, they have the David Stern card they can play whenever things get serious. They’re like the kid in elementary school who just kept poking you and poking you during class until the point you eventually snap and push him, and then he flops onto the floor and cries to the teacher and you get in trouble. Then as you walk to time out and the teacher’s back is turned he winks at you and grins just to really twist the knife. That’s the Spurs. Ginobili throws elbows all over the place (Watch the tape of Game 4 against the Jazz if you don’t believe me. He threw a shot as egregious as the one he caught from Derek Fisher when he got his 2nd technical that wasn’t called and then scored and got fouled on the play.), Bruce Bowen is dirty almost beyond belief, and Duncan whines worse than Sheed. He doesn’t think he’s committed a foul since 1998. Bill Simmons detailed Bowen’s antics better than I ever could, so go search his archive at Page 2 if you want the full write-up. So my focus is Ginobili. If he were Stephen Jackson or J.R. Smith or even Kobe he’d be getting reamed in the media right now. Remember those suspensions Kobe got earlier this year for forearms/elbows he threw or “misplaced”? Ginobili throws some that would make Kobe blush, and Bowen does the same. Yet nothing happens. And Amare and Diaw take three steps away from the bench and miss the pivotal game of their series. Makes no sense whatsoever. I hope Stern is happy when the Spurs play the Pistons or Cavs and nobody watches them flop their way to four 83-77 wins and another title. It would serve him right.

Daily DUI News: May 29th, 2007

Culprit: Jerry Buss
Occupation: Owner of the Los Angeles Lakers
Quote from a painstakingly prepared statement issued by the Lakers organization: "Although I was driving only a short distance, it was a bad decision and I was wrong to do it."
Probable Cause: The once great Laker franchise is in salary cap hell with no end in sight and Kobe is sounding off once again. His second best player is named Smush and his boy wonder Andrew Bynum has the entire city "wonder"ing why they didn't trade him for Jason Kidd. He is coming to the sad realization that if he would have kept Shaq, he could be drinking championship rings instead of whiskey sours.
What happens now: Svedka Vodka is likely to pull out as sponsor of Buss' birthday party. But he has gained the respect of local party animal Lindsay Lohan. Also, Kobe Bryant has reportedly already demanded the Lakers search for a new owner only to quickly back off claiming it was only a suggestion.