It Starts.

September 6, 2007

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Tonight, the Indianapolis Colts and New Orleans Saints square off to kick off the 2007 NFL season, and we still haven’t done much football previewing, so here are some thoughts on what we see happening in the upcoming season. Feel free to contribute your own predictions, because we’re fairly certain none of ours will come to fruition. Except the last one.

  • The Niners go 9-7. They start out as a mediocre team struggling with high expectations, but are bolstered by a cupcake second-half that sees them finishing up their schedule against Minnesota (who, Tampa, Cincinnati (who will disappoint this year) and Cleveland (who disappoints every year).
  • The Niners don’t get swept in a season series against a division foe, thus enabling them to sneak into the playoffs.The image “http://www.etruth.com/media/NewsPhotos/25826_websm.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
  • The aforementioned playoff clincher comes in the snow-filled finale against the Cleveland Browns and Brady Quinn (right). Despite looking fabulous, Quinn tosses three interceptions and gets booed off the Cleveland field. Also, a double-A battery hits him in the head on his way out. He isn’t wearing a helmet because he’s got to showcase that beautiful head of hair.
  • Frank Gore fumbles seven times, but still rushes for 1500 yards and proves that he is, in fact, the only African-American Greek god (though we’ve got a sneaking suspicion about Demeter). Gore spends his offseason residing on Olympus.
  • Alex Smith does his best Rex Grossman impression, but despite his efforts, the Niners still win a couple games. He has the lowest QB rating of any QB in the playoffs.
  • Vernon Davis writes an email to us, saying he would rather not be referred to as “VD.” He leads the league in receiving yards for a tight end at the halfway mark, but is actually beaten to death by Mike Nolan after his fourth 15-yard celebration penalty in as many games.
  • The defense is the pleasant surprise of the year: still not perfect but much improved. Patrick Willis and Manny Lawson prove that they will be the foundations for the next generation.
  • That East Bay team sucks again.
  • Speaking of that East Bay team, their first round pick–whatever his name is–doesn’t done a silver helmet with a cartoon face on it all season. He does, however, wear a fur coat on the private plane that he bought with the money he got from his imaginary contract. But my, does he look stunning!
  • ESPN takes care to mention Mike Nolan’s suit every. single. time.
  • Dianne Feinstein saves the San Francisco 49ers from moving to Santa Clara, prompting Say Hey to run a post that says she deserves a parade for being one of the best Niner fans out there.
  • Bill Walsh is sorely missed.

Who Will Be The Warriors’ Backup Point Guard?

September 5, 2007

Monta EllisAs much as the Bay (not to mention the world) has been drinking the Baron Davis Kool-Aid, there’s no denying that The Beard can be penciled in to miss at least a handful of games every year. As a precautionary move, Don Nelson–or whoever is coaching the Warriors next year–will be sure to limit Baron’s minutes, similar to what Phoenix does with Steve Nash.

Given Baron’s (hopeful) shortage of minutes played and his injury history, the Warriors’ backup point guard situation is as important as ever, particularly if they are going to sniff the playoffs in the ultra-competitive West.

So, who will be the Baron’s understudy?

From the current roster:

  • Monta Ellis: For better or and worse, he took the reins last year during B-Diddy’s absence. The thing is, he’s a scorer, not a distributor, and team play often suffered when he forced shots, especially in the playoffs. Monta will answer a ton of questions this year: can he continue to improve after last year’s breakout campaign? Can he learn point guard skills or will he be an Iverson/Arenas-type player? Is he worth signing to a long-term deal? Will he always be a liability on the defensive end?
  • Stephen Jackson: Along with Monta, Mike Dunleavy took a turn at the point in the early going, proving Nellie’s fondness for turning forwards into guards. When Monta was all but benched in the playoffs, it was Jax who handled the ball when BD was resting. Jax did a great job of getting everyone involved and keeping the seat warm for Baron. He’s a great short-term fix, but not the answer if Baron goes out for an extended time.
  • Sarunas Jasikevicius: If the W’s get stuck with him, why not give him a(nother) shot? The team’s best cheerleader has been tearing up the Euro tournament this summer. His destiny seems to be in the Euro Leagues though.
  • Marco Belinelli: A mystery. We’re not sure if he has the PG skills yet, but perhaps down the line.

From elsewhere:

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The Bay Area All-Time Gold Glove Team

August 23, 2007

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With Rawlings’ announcement of their All-Time Gold Glove Team and Henry Schulman’s ringing endorsement of Pedro Feliz as the hands-down best defensive third baseman in the National League this year, there’s been a lot of Gold Glove talk lately, so we thought we’d try to put together a list of the Bay Area’s All-Time Gold Glove Team.

Admittedly, we’re not too familiar with the teams of the ’60s and ’70s, so please feel free to disagree and/or toss any other names into the hat. You’ll be wrong, but whatever.

Catcher: Did you know that Kirt Manwaring won a Gold Glove in 1993? Benito Santiago had a lot of flair behind the dish, but was terrible at blocking balls. Mike Matheny wasn’t even around for an entire year. Terry Steinbach was great but our pick is a personal favorite: the vastly underrated Ramon Hernandez, who anchored four consecutive 90-win seasons with the A’s (2000-2003). Food for thought: how well has the Big Three done in his absence?

First Base: Big Mac won a Golden Arch in 1990, but who knows how. Willie McCovey and his 6-4 frame must have been a nice target for his infielders. The Baby Bull has a lifetime fielding percentage of .990. The Thrill grabbed a Gold Glove in 1991, but the hands-down winner has got to be JT Snow. During the Snow Days, it was like the Giants had a left-handed shortstop playing first base. Has a first baseman in big league history ever contributed so much to the highlight reel?

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Sports Hell, Part V: The Traitors

July 27, 2007

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The NBA ref betting scandal. The steroid mess. Dogfighting. It’s a terrible time to be a sports fan, so like we mentioned earlier, we’re taking a trip through sports hell, with the help of Dante.

Part I: The Lustful and The Gluttonous

Part II: The Prodigal, The Avaricious, The Wrathful and The Slothful

Part III: The Violent

Part IV: The Fraudulent

The ninth and final circle of hell enslaves the worst of the worst: the traitors. Each of the sinners in the deepest realm–and there aren’t many in the exclusive club–betrayed someone important to them. There are four sections, each progressively worse, with the nadir coming in the final section: those who betrayed benefactors. In Dante’s original, Judas (who betrayed Jesus) suffers with Brutus and Cassius (who betrayed Caesar).

Who will be our un-holy trinity?

Well, which three, ahem, big Bay Area stars betrayed their ultimate benefactor, the sport of baseball?

The Ninth Circle: The Traitors

To Kindred

  • Michael Vick: PETA just got mad on behalf of canines everywhere that we lowered dogs to Michael Vick’s kindred level.
  • Rae Carruth: Conspiring to kill your lady friend will get you on this list, unfortunately.
  • Orenthal James Simpson: If OJ did kill his wife, here’s the circle of hell we’d put him in.

Bay Area Reps:

  • The DeBartalo Family: Granted, they haven’t killed each other like the others here, but for heaven’s sake, can’t they get along? Bicker, bicker, bicker! Sue, sue, sue!

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Sports Hell, Part IV: The Fraudulent

July 26, 2007

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The NBA ref betting scandal. The steroid mess. Dogfighting. It’s a terrible time to be a sports fan, so like we mentioned earlier, we’re taking a trip through sports hell, with the help of Dante.

Part I: The Lustful and The Gluttonous

Part II: The Prodigal, The Avaricious, The Wrathful and The Slothful

Part III: The Violent

The penultimate circle of Dante’s inferno contains all types of frauds, as you’ll see. The thing that differentiates these sinners from the earlier ones is the use of reason to knowingly do, um, bad things. So no Mike Tyson.

The Eighth Circle: The Fraudulent

Panderers & Seducers:

  • Mark Chmura: “No judge, I do not know why I was in a hot tub with my 17-year-old babysitter at her prom party.”
  • Chris Henry: “No judge, I do not know why I served two underage girls lots of alcohol in a hotel room.”
  • Marcus Vick (Michael’s younger brother): “No judge, I do not know why this girl is suing me for $6.3 million because I had sex with her when she was 15.”

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Sports Hell, Part III: The Violent

July 25, 2007

The NBA ref betting scandal. The steroid mess. Dogfighting. It’s a terrible time to be a sports fan, so like we mentioned yesterday, we’re taking a trip through sports hell, with the help of Dante.

Part I: The Lustful and The Gluttonous

Part II: The Prodigal, The Avaricious, The Wrathful and The Slothful

Now we’re getting to the good stuff. After skipping the heretics–everyone in the sports world thanks god already–we’re headed straight for lucky number seven. For some reason, these guys seem the scariest to us. Here come the crazies!

The Seventh Circle: The Violent

Against People & Property:http://www.emptythebench.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/03/urbina1big.jpg

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Sports Hell, Part II: The Incontinent (Continued)

July 25, 2007

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The NBA ref betting scandal. The steroid mess. Dogfighting. It’s a terrible time to be a sports fan, so like we mentioned yesterday, we’re taking a trip through sports hell, with the help of Dante.

Earlier: Part I: The Lustful and The Gluttonous

In Dante’s version of hell, the deeper the circle, the worse the sin. With nine circles total, the first five circles are considered “outer hell,” because they are sins of incontinence, which for you mouth-breathers out there, means sins that result from an inability to control oneself (as opposed to more serious sins, as we’ll soon see). So, without any further ado, let’s hit circles four and five.

The Fourth Circle: The Prodigal and The Avaricious: those who wasted money and those who craved money.

The Prodigal:

  • Pacman Jones (above): Everytime he makes it rain–several times a night, every night–a child in Africa sheds a tear, which really dehydrates the little guys. (Note: actually we’re not really sure if Pacman should be in the “avaricious” category since his unwillingness to part with his $81,000 worth of, ahem, rain caused the whole Vegas melee in the first place. Either way, he’s here in this circle of hell.)
  • Scottie Pippen: He lost about $27 million in bad investments. Scottie, sell the Enron stock already!

The Avaricious:

  • Scott Boras: We suppose you could put nearly every sports agent in this category, but Boras is the poster child for crazy, overinflated contracts. Well, him and Jerry Maguire and Arli$$.

Bay Area Reps:

  • Don Nelson: Not saying he doesn’t deserve it, but he’s seeking out that cash at the risk of distrupting the best (only?) feel-good story of the NBA, not to mention the last decade of Golden State Warriordom.
  • Miguel Tejada, Jason Giambi, Julian Peterson, Gilbert Arenas: There are more, but these are the guys whose salary-based departures stung the most for us at the time.

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