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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Sports Hell, Part I: The Incontinent

July 24, 2007

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Like we mentioned earlier, we’re taking a trip to sports hell this week. We welcome your suggestions.

The first five circles are dedicated to incontinence: sins resulting not from direct malice but from an inability to quell an urge/appetite for destruction. [Note: In Dante's version, the First Circle is Limbo, where the virtuous pagans (those who were worthy, but lived before Christianity or didn't have a chance to be baptized) dwell in Elysium. We're skipping that and starting with the Second Circle.]

The Second Circle: The Lustful: those who sinned “within the flesh, subjecting reason to the rule of lust.”

  • Stephon Marbury: He who loves to kiss and feel his sister’s body.
  • Mike Cooper (right): Everyone’s favorite library-masturbator.
  • http://cache.deadspin.com/images/2006/06/somekindofbond.jpg Eddie Griffin: A word of advice to young drivers–don’t drive while watching porn in your Escalade; it’ll only lead to trouble.
  • Matt Leinart: Already a deadbeat dad and Paris Hilton sidekick, just wait until he gets a second year in the NFL under his belt.
  • Bill Belichick: Keep married women away from him.
  • Fred Smoot: Three magical, magical words: Vikings Love Boat.

Bay Area Reps:

  • Byron Houston: The former Warrior just pulled over on the side of the road during rush hour to give lil’ Byron some attention.
  • Wilt Chamberlain: The king of all womanizers, the San Francisco Warriors great is reputed to have bagged over 20,000 women during his lifetime.

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Welcome To Sports Hell

July 24, 2007

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One of our favorite literary works of all-time is Dante’s Divine Comedy. For those of you unfamiliar with it, the basic plot goes as such: Dante travels through hell, purgatory and heaven. Each otherworldly realm is highly organized based upon the sins/virtues of a soul’s life and along the way, Dante encounters characters from his present day, from history and from myth, each placed in a section of the afterlife based on Dante’s judgment. For example, Dido, who famously killed herself after her beloved Aeneas left her, is with the suicides of the Seventh Circle.

You see where we’re going with this.

Modern times–and these here “blogs”–have afforded sports fans everywhere the luxury of being privy to the often humorous, sometimes sad and nearly always entertaining lifestyles of athletes. So, over the next day or so, with Dante’s Inferno as our guide, we’re going to be taking a trip through sports hell, placing the most notorious sports figures of today–and maybe some from yesteryear–in the various circles of medieval hell.

Here’s the rundown of the nine circles. Feel free to submit nominations.

1. Limbo

2. The Lustful

3. The Gluttonous

4. The Prodigal and Avaricious

5. The Wrathful and Slothful

6. The Heretics

7. The Violent

8. The Fraudulent

9. The Traitors

Suffice to say, the sporting world will be well-represented. From Michael Vick and Barry Bonds to Lou Seal and the Rally Monkey, we ain’t even bullshitting. We hope you like it.


Non-Bondsian Second Half Storylines

July 12, 2007
  • Brian Sabean: will he stay or will he go? [Note: there is much better reading about the Sabean issue over at McCovey Chronicles. We are mere mortals.]
  • Will Barry Zito continue to be a richer, suckier version of Shawn Estes?
  • Will there be a veteran firesale at the trade deadline?
  • Will someone–anyone–decide to be good at “offense”?
  • Will Bengie Molina’s intensity finally boil over, leading to a triple-homicide in the Giants’ clubhouse?
  • Will Fred Lewis finally change his name to Michael Tucker?
  • Will Bruce Bochy resurrect his mustache?
  • Will someone How many people will die of boredom/frustration after watching Pedro Feliz ground into an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play?
  • Speaking of Pete Happy, will this finally be Pedro Feliz’s breakout year?
  • Will Matt Cain have a sub-3.00 ERA and 20 losses?
  • Will the Giants make the playoffs? Oops, we mean …

Feel free to add your own. Thank “god” sports return tonight.


The Worst All-Stars Of The Last 15 Years: National League

July 9, 2007

We already brought you the American League version, so here’s the NL.

http://www.baseball-almanac.com/players/pics/heathcliff_slocumb_autograph.jpgThe Heathcliff Slocumb Category: Honoring mediocre performances in a pitching role.

  • John Hudek (1994), Houston
  • Ken Hill (1994), Montreal
  • Hideo Nomo (1995), Los Angeles: He gets negative points for being a Dodger. We’d still argue that he’s one of the more overrated players of the ’90s.
  • Heathcliff Slocumb (1995), Philadelphia
  • Ricky Bottalico (1996), Philadelphia
  • Ryan Dempster (2000), Florida
  • Armando Benitez (2003, 2004), New York, Florida: Do you need an explanation here?
  • Chris Capuano (2006), Milwaukee: 11-12 with a 4.03 ERA. Brilliant.

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The Worst All-Stars Of The Last 15 Years: American League

July 9, 2007

One of the most enduring debates surrounding baseball’s Midsummer Classic is whether or not every team has to be represented. There’s clearly something wrong with a system that has Greg Vaughn as a four-time All-Star. We’re not completely sure which side of the fence we fall on, but it’s clear that every All-Star game sees a couple of players who are, well, “not All-Star caliber.” So, in honor of Gil Meche and Orlando Hudson, we’re bringing you the worst All-Stars of the last 15 years. Up first: the American League.

http://espn.go.com/photo/2006/0703/pg2_a_redman_195.jpgThe Mark Redman Category: Crappy pitchers

  • Ricky Bones (1994), Milwaukee: Bones finished the season with a 10-9 record, en route to a career record of 63-82.
  • Wilson Alvarez (1994), Chicago: Being listed as 235 pounds is generous for the hefty lefty.
  • Erik Hanson (1995), Boston
  • Steve Ontiveros (1995), Oakland
  • Roger Pavlik (1996), Texas
  • Rolando Arrojo (1998), Tampa Bay: Until Carl Crawford came along, just about Devil Ray All-Star was, um, subpar.
  • James Baldwin (2000), Chicago: If Beale Street Could Talk = totally overrated.
  • Paul Quantrill (2001), Toronto
  • Lance Carter (2003), Tampa Bay
  • Mark Redman (2006), Kansas City: Nothing says All-Star like finishing the year with a 5.71 ERA and double-digit losses.

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Warriors Pre-Draft Thoughts

June 28, 2007

http://www.draftexpress.com/gallery/YiJianlian/1135587152.jpgThe draft is upon us.

We’ve just gotten excellent news that Nellie is staying. Could this mean that they know something we don’t?

Mully and the Warriors have been extremely active on the phones thus far, as the rumor mill has been churning for weeks now, leading to tonight. Monta Ellis, Jason Richardson, Andris Biedrins and Adonal Foyle (really) have all been prominent in trade talks, with the W’s going hard after Chinese phenom Yi Jialian, who is projected to go anywhere from #3 to #11.

Our thoughts:

  • Keep J-Rich. Maybe we’re suckers for nice guys and loyalty, but how many NBA players take out full-page apologies? We’re also willing to bet that the jump-shooting, lay-up prone J-Rich we saw in the second half of last season will be replaced by a fully healthy, in-shape retro version next year. Which means dunks.
  • If Monta Ellis can get the Warriors in the Top 10, you have to consider it. If Atlanta is willing to swap the #3, pull the trigger and take Al Horford. Easy decision. If it comes down to Yi or even Joakim Noah for Ellis, we say roll the dice and do it. Yi and Noah have bust potential, but combo guards like Ellis are much easier to find than 7’0″ uber-athletic (yes, uber) guys who would be perfect in Nellie’s system: run, jump, catch alley-oop. Also consider Ellis’ injury history, his size (how many 6’0″ impure point guards have been successful in the league?), and the doubt that we’ll be able to resign him.

If we keep the #18 pick, the following players have been slotted in the draft range:

  • Thaddeus Young: A lefty leaper, Josh Smith Jr; but we have plenty of swingmen, unless we lose both Matt Barnes and Mickael Pietrus. Maybe.
  • Sean Williams: The big man who draws comparisons to Amare Stoudemire is easily the best defensive big man in the draft not named Greg. A Top Ten talent, but his checkered history is troubling. Check out this article on him. We’d roll the dice on Williams, hoping to get lucky at #18 and stealing the sleeper of the draft. But we don’t have to live with the consequences.
  • Jason Smith: Not another center who dominated in a second tier conference. We’ve been down this road before with Patrick O’Bryant, Adonal Foyle and Todd Fuller. Most mock drafts have the W’s taking Smith. Shudder. /negativity
  • Josh McRoberts: No.
  • Julian Wright: If he’s there, Mullin has to take him right? Most drafts have Wright going in the #8-#15 range, but some have him falling.
  • Petteri Koponen: Yeah yeah, too early for #18, but at #36, we hope he’s there. The Finnish point guard is a personal favorite and we will never ever forgive the W’s if they pass on him at #36. We’re rooting for him to fall, but we’d bet the house that a savvy team like the Spurs or Mavs snatch up the Flying Finn. Fall, Finn, Fall!
  • Other players we’d snatch up in the second round (we also have the #46) : Marco Belinelli, Jared Dudley (will be gone), Taurean Green, Marcus Williams, DJ Strawberry (if only for the Daaaaaarrrrrrylll, Daaaaaaaarrrrryll chants), Aaron Brooks (please please take him at #46), Michael Fey (just kidding)
  • Avoid: Glen “Big Baby” Davis, Arron Afflalo (sorry Bruins), Aaron Gray

Our NBA Draft Wish List, Picks 6-10

June 27, 2007

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The interwebs are completely abuzz with news, notes, rumors and the like regarding Thursday’s NBA Draft. With the NBA playoffs (Warriors aside) evolving into a snoozefest, the draft is the last hope for entertainment for basketball lovers everywhere … at least until the fall. So, we’d like to present a version of the draft that is sure to provide maximum entertainment. Sure it won’t happen … but you can imagine if it did!

6. Milwaukee Bucks: Andrew Bogut is severely disappointed that none of the options are Australian, let alone old enough to drink, thus robbing him of a potential drinking buddy. Following their course, the Bucks opt for yet another safe pick, Georgetown’s Jeff Green.

7. Minnesota Timberwolves: Kevin McHale announces that he made a promise to big man Spencer Hawes, saying that he’s got “a good feeling” about the 7’1″ white guy who barely averaged six rebounds a game. Upon hearing that Minnesota A) drafted Hawes and B) failed to get a deal done, Kevin Garnett suddenly disappears, like the world movers in Atlas Shrugged … what?

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Our NBA Draft Wish List, Picks 1-5

June 26, 2007

Kevin Durant

The interwebs are completely abuzz with news, notes, rumors and the like regarding Thursday’s NBA Draft. With the NBA playoffs (Warriors aside) evolving into a snoozefest, the draft is the last hope for entertainment for basketball lovers everywhere … at least until the fall. So, we’d like to present a version of the draft that is sure to provide maximum entertainment. Sure it won’t happen … but you can imagine if it did!

1. Portland Trailblazer: As soon as David Stern utters the words “Kevin Durant” on the podium, a symphony of murmurs and oohs/aahs spreads across the draft room. The camera inexplicably remains on Greg Oden, as smoke visibly emanates from the ears of the 40-year-old center who was widely regarded as the #1 pick. Durant happily struts on stage to greet Stern, but once the commissioner gives him the Blazer baseball cap, the lanky teenager buckles from the weight of the hat. Meanwhile, Portland GM Kevin Pritchard talks to Stuart Scott on ESPN, explaining that they couldn’t pass on Michael Jordan again, and that Greg Oden seemed too much like Sam Bowie. Durant goes on to become an evolved version of Glenn Robinson, while …

http://www.americansuperstarmag.com/sports/Mar06/gregoden1.jpg2. Seattle Supersonics: Fresh off his snub from Portland, Greg Oden refuses to smile for the next ten years. He goes on a workout regimen the likes of which Roger Clemens, Jerry Rice and the U.S. Marines have never seen. The following season, rookie Oden dominates the league, including a 40-point, 20-rebound game against Portland in which his vicious dunks injure the entire Blazer frontline. Oden goes on to win eleven championships (tying his idol/mentor Bill Russell) as he establishes himself as one of the best players of all-time.

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