Thursday, May 31, 2007

Bloggolalia: Game Respects Game

I wanted to thank some sites that have linked to me in the last few months. I’m terrible at linking, partly because I didn’t know how for the first month or so of having the blog (go back and laugh at my typed-out links), and partly because I usually have so little time to blog that I don't feel I can afford links. But I don’t wish to appear unthankful; I appreciate you all. Here’s my list of major league gamers who have linked to me in the past: dear reader, please visit them too when you can.

Babes Love Baseball : I don’t cover baseball, but Sooze was a huge, huge inspiration in starting this blog with her witty comments on my old blog. A tip of the hat as well for her now-retired collaborator, The Critic, who helped me get started. Lizzy’s sweet too.

The Starting Five : They let me come off the bench for perhaps my best serious post ever (I got 50+ comments, which of course I really appreciated), and probably have the most intelligent comment section in sportsblog land (due respect to Free Darko as well on that point). Also, thanks to Mind Pinball, whose thoughtful comments on a related issue helped inspire the post in the first place. He's relatively unknown but another skilled blogger.

The Big Lead : I criticized them pretty hard once, and yet they still linked to me three different times. Those guys are not afraid of controversy, and are a must-read whether you agree with them or not. Due respect to The Comission and Leave The Man Alone, who were the guest bloggers letting me in twice.

Cobra Brigade : Some think the Cobra rambles in his posts, but I think he slithers and strikes. Check out his Chicago-centric lair, now complete with blog allies!

The Extrapolater : Thoughtful and a progenitor too! Eric’s blog chronicles rising stars before they shoot across your horizon. Check it out.

A Price Above Bip Roberts : Ted guest-blogged about Roy Hibbert around NCAA Finals time, and it was great. He has the right idea in guest-blogging for other sites to get the word out about his considerable talent; keep your eye on this blogger.

Pacifist Viking : Fear the rabbit! Those may be bunny ears, not horns, but the Pacifist Viking’s rhetoric should be respected by any blogger older than five-and-twenty. His historical takes on the NBA is particularly enjoyable. Put Artis Gilmore in the Hall!

The Serious Tip : Jordi is shattering stereotypes left and right by having more female than male comments on his Myspace. Jordi, we’re supposed to be social recluses! Stop raising expectations, or my parents will raise the rent again! He and I also had some great e-mail conversations about a blogger’s vocation that you’ll be seeing somewhere sometime soon.

If I Ran... : These managerial wanna-bes were fooled into accepting two articles from my absolute power-loving self. Of course, that may be (IS!) because I am their only reader who wants to run the WNBA and the National Spelling Bee, but I'll still take it. Thanks to Sam and Eric!

Yaysports: I know I’m in the minority, but I like Brian’s words even more than his pictures nowadays. The man is a hilarious, schizophrenic mix of hater love (just ask Lebron), and the later the post time, the crazier the analysis. If he (and his attractive sis…err, just kidding, taller and stronger than me Brian!) are not part of your upscale lifestyle, you’ve got several stories to go to get to the penthouse, my friend.

Deadspin : An argument with a fellow commenter in the comment section is my sole deadspin.com link, but that link was vital in starting to amass a core of consistent readers. Taught me a valuable lesson that very little Internet controversy is truly bad controversy, as long as you truly believe in what you’re arguing about and will say sorry when you’re wrong.

And finally, bring in the NOIS, bring in the FUNK! Err, so I'm a decade behind on my Broadway shows. Those bow-tie wearing bloggers will never link to my white, Judeo-Christian self, but my respect for their haterade game transcends any fatwas on me. (kidding) Look, sometimes they overdo it (intentionally mostly, but not always) in trying to fix perceived racism in sports coverage, but their A-game would get them into any Ivy League school, err, Historically Black College, of their choosing. Seriously, go read their Duke lacrosse post NOW NOW NOW.

SportsBlabbery: Are Athletes Smarter than Average?

I decided the good old Bloggolalia tag didn't fit such situations, so thus, SportsBlabbery. I'm going to leave up this post for a while if I can help it, so peek underneath it for new posts.

I got into a conversation with someone about this last week (who was very gracious, by the way, thank you), and it made me think about it. Rather than reprint my e-mail, I wanted to hear from you. Do you think athletes are smarter than average? of average intelligence? or less intelligent than average?

Now, immediately we have semantic issues, which I will ever so graciously attempt to resolve. Let's say professional and Olympian athletes only; some high schools are so small that everyone plays sports, while attending college itself may interfere with our results.

What do you think? I'll repost this with my opinion once you post your opinions; I know you have them.

Guest Blogs Plus Alison the Pole-Vaulter Update

I have guest posts on how I would run the WNBA and National Spelling Bee up on ifiran.blogspot.com.

This Alison the Pole-Vaulter mess is getting weirder by the day, so thus I drag myself back into the muck (splash!). The Wednesday post withleather put up was ridiculous. They're posting more pictures as some sort of warped revenge because Alison spoke out? So if we were under Sharia law, you're basically telling me we'd have stoned Alison, then, for complaining publicly? Crazy! I know withleather's Matt gets paid to be an edgy "insert expletive here", and he's doing his job. But I certainly feel no responsibility to defend any sports blogger "just because." I wouldn't throw family under the bus, but as for another guy with a keyboard who's making his fellow sports bloggers look sleazy? "Bump bump!" my friend, as the wheels of the bus go round and round.
However, withleather does have an interesting point in their most recent excuse to post more pictures, err, defend themselves. Alison's dad is a defense lawyer who has defended some real weirdos over the years and has appeared on Fox News as a commentator. So Alison's family is not quite Middle-Class Midwesternia either. There's a chance, admittedly, that her dad could have enough influence and contacts to get the WaPo to do an article or get them on Fox News, or is doing this to advertise the law practice. I was not aware of this in my initial post on the situation, and thought it fair to inform you of that.
We're rapidly running out of heroes here, folks, but before you judge Alison's dad too quickly with fat-cat lawyer stereotypes, here's a picture of the family. (Thanks to this high school track site). Yes, I decided Alison looked better in black, ha. Anyway, if her parents are uptight rich folks starving for attention, they're certainly hiding it pretty well in that picture...

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Drew Gooden is Making it Rain

After the game, Drew Gooden was asked what he says when he shoots foul shots, and he said "Make it rain!" Drew also told the crowd he loved them to death, and finished his little interview with a scream, Howard Dean style. Please please please someone have the video of this.

I've been riding Drew Gooden pretty hard, but the man stood up for himself tonight against Rasheed and found his game. Love it when a man decides he won't take it anymore. That "Property of Rasheed Wallace" t-shirt I've been joking that he is wearing was ripped to shreds tonight; not even enough scraps left to make a title belt out of. Also, Daniel Gibson: 12-12 from the free throw line. 12-12! Unbelievable. Both those guys certainly surprised me and made my analysis look bad.

And Larry Hughes, often mocked for being soft, limped his way onto the court for 16 minutes: again, these players have something to prove. Finally, Donyell Marshall gave the Cavs 7 points on >50% shooting; very important. I've been harping on the need for Donyell to have good games, and he had a decent one.

All this said, though, I still have doubts that the Cavs can win this series. The Cavs are asking Sasha Pavlovic and Daniel Gibson to outscore Richard Hamilton and Chauncey Billups. That makes me nervous.

However, I would add that Detroit's veteran team is breaking down and getting tired! Perhaps the reason the Pistons come out so strong at the beginning of games and in the 3rd quarter because they get a chance to rest? It kind of makes sense to me.
Three starters over 40 minutes again for Detroit. Flip has to play Flip Murray and Jason Maxiell more, and I still am lobbying for Carlos Delfino.

Anyway, I'll cease my bias long enough to tell you that you need to read a new blog covering this series, http://mindofboney.wordpress.com. "Boney" is a Pistons fan and an acid-tongued, witty commenter on Yaysports who finally decided to give us some blog posts too. Naturally, Cavs fans are hoping that he and erstwhile Nets blogger Becky are stuck consoling each other after their teams have both lost to the Cavs, ha.

Alison the Pole Vaulter Controversy, Personal Reaction I

By now, most of you have seen the recent deadspin.com coverage of the controversy surrounding Alison, the high school girl whose skills in the pole vault have earned her a scholarship at Berkeley. The controversy exists because Alison's pictures are being ogled at while she is still in high school.

When I first saw the pictures on withleather.com and thebiglead.com, Alison reminded me of a good friend of mine in high school. I became nostalgic, remembering the old friendship and good times. I'm sure if I were her age and in high school, I would have embarrassed myself with IM's to her like this:

NerdyMCBias (8:23 PM): Hey Alison
NerdyMCBias (8:25 PM): Good job in that competition yesterday. First place again!
AlisonPV (8:25 PM): Hey
AlisonPV (8:25 PM): Thx
NerdyMCBias (8:29 PM): Well, I don't want to hold you up too much.
NerdyMCBias (8:30 PM): Studying for English tomorrow?
AlisonPV (8:30 PM): Yep. Got to stay eligible!
NerdyMCBias (8:30 PM): Let me know if you need any help!
AlisonPV (8:31 PM): Sure. :-) Later.
NerdyMCBias (8:32 PM): Bye

NerdyMCBias to self (8:33 PM): Wow! I got an exclamation point AND a smiley-face this time! Yes! Definitely making progress!

AlisonPV to self (8:33 PM): I'd block him, but he's too shy to do anything worth blocking him over. Only 4 more months before Berkeley, Alison, and you can leave his kind behind. No weirdos there! Oh, wait...

Oh, those were the days. "LOL" AIM is a dangerous instrument in the hands of a socially awkward teenager. (And for the record, no, I wasn't that bad in high school (WORSE!)).

Because this post got so gigundilicious, I split it into three parts; continue reading below. And yes, I wrote most of these posts (except for part 3) a month ago, but stopped because I thought the controversy was going to go away and didn't want to start it back up. Um, so much for that.

Alison the Pole Vaulter Controversy: Personal Reaction II

BUT! sadly, dear reader, you've been set up if you think I'm going to agree with an Alison obsession being at all admirable. Sure, she’s cute at first glance, but notice the key words in my sentence above. If I WERE her age and WERE in high school, which I'm not. No Random Sports Crush for Alison coming from me.

Some athletes exude confidence and style beyond their years. Alison is not one of them. She looks just like what she is, a high school girl, who looks younger than 18. And unlike Kournikova, Sharapova, etc., she hasn't been marketed in any way or shown any willingness to gain the limelight. (Please, you can't count the YouTube video. That's someone interviewing her, not her filming herself. Not even close! Same with Myspace pictures; you do know, guys, that women do not post their Myspace pictures solely for your sensual pleasure, correct?). That's the big difference for me here.

Men, there are millions of attractive 20-something women who'd love to have 1/100 of the attention being currently wasted on Alison. Pick one and make her day instead of ruining some teenager's senior year. Believe it or not, not every woman in the world wants your sex! I know this is earth-shattering that not every woman out there dreams of taking off her clothes for men’s magazines and being ogled by 40-somethings at the mall. It appears that Alison is yet another one of those odd women who doesn’t yet dream of the day that she can rush down to the local Walgreen’s and pick up 50 copies of the laddie magazine she’s in so that grandpa and grandma have enough copies for their friends at the nursing homes. Perhaps she will do that sort of thing one day. But that day has obviously not yet come, and that should be respected.

And as to proof that Alison doesn't want your attention, some relevant quotes from the Washington Post article:

“A had tired of constant phone calls, of relentless Internet attention, of interview requests from Boston to Brazil.”

"I just want to find some way to get this all under control," A told her coach.”
“She is recognized -- and stared at -- in coffee shops. She locks her doors and tries not to leave the house alone. Her father, Allan, comes home from his job as a lawyer and searches the Internet. He reads message boards and tries to pick out potential stalkers.”

"We're keeping a watchful eye," Allan said. "We have to be smart and deal with it the best we can. It's not something that you can just make go away."

“A read on message boards that dozens of anonymous strangers had turned her picture into the background image on their computers. She felt violated. It was like becoming the victim of a crime, A said.”

“Back on the ground, her vault accomplished, A smiled and took in the scene around her. In the stands and on the field, she was surrounded by cameras. And for a second A wondered: What, exactly, had they captured? And where, exactly, would it go?”

Alison the Pole-Vaulter Controversy: Media Commentary

As for the role of withleather.com in posting the pictures…look, it’s too easy to bash the messenger in this situation. I’m being hypocritical if I don’t also point out that I find the site ridiculously funny sometimes, such as this post about murderous San Antonio Spurs players. And as withleather.com commenter Hale shrewdly pointed out, why is the Washington Post including yet another picture of Alison, taken especially for this article, if they are really so concerned about the young lady? I completely agree. So acting as if withleather is solely responsible is ridiculous; plenty of smaller sites and forums were already starting to talk about her. If not WL, then some other site that gets their kicks by intersecting sex and sports, such as SportsbyBrooks, would have posted about it.

I am annoyed, though, by Matt’s quote in the Washington Post that “…Every week, there's somebody who takes offense to something, but that's part of being a comedy writer. If nobody is complaining, it probably wasn't funny. You are hoping for some kind of feedback." Look, all of us bloggers like feedback. But I want to believe that I can get feedback from my readers without provoking them to nasty e-mails and comments. Na├»ve of me, I know. If that quote describes what Matt truly believes, he’s eventually going to offend a good portion of his readers.

I’m more upset at the deadspin.com post about this. Just read this and the comments, now that you’ve read pieces of the article above. Really, Will, Alison’s father is “screaming out his lungs about it” when his daughter had to bring it to his attention, and there’s ONE quote from him in the article? And do you really think that Alison’s father would call the Washington Post, a paper some 3000 miles away, and ask to be interviewed, instead of the other way around? Highly unlikely to me; if so, why not the LA Times? Doesn't sound right. Maybe next time, instead of mostly cutting and pasting text from, say, Ufford’s e-mail about the situation, Deadspin writers could read the article the post is about. I see that Will finally admitted that the dad really wasn't screaming, but I'm still disappointed that deadspin.com apparently was that sloppy with the story. (Realizes that this section may push back date of first Deadspin or withleather.com link to blog from 07/01/2011 to 07/01/2015, shrugs).

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Larry Hughes Tests Ewing Theory Plus Bench Bullets

With Larry Hughes being injured for Game 4 and perhaps out the entire series, I believe that the Cavaliers may actually be improved. As weird as it sounds, this reminds me of Patrick Ewing against the Pacers in the Eastern Conference Finals a decade ago. The Knicks actually matched up better against the Pacers without Ewing, and the Cavs may match up better against the Pistons without Larry Hughes. Last year, the Cavs had their best performances against the Pistons when Larry was out for his brother’s funeral.

Another intriguing storyline for me in Conference and NBA Finals is how substitutes can sway a game for one team or another. I first saw this as an NBA fan when Raja Bell came off the bench for the 76’ers in the last two games to help them beat out the Bucks in 2001. The Pistons have experienced some success with Dale Davis (Game 1), Jason Maxiell (Game 2) and Flip Murray (Game 3), while the Cavs have used Anderson Varajeo (Games 1-2) and Daniel Gibson (Game 3) well. How many bullets does each team still have to fire off the bench?

I think that the Pistons can get away with using Maxiell and Murray again to give them a boost. The Pistons desperately need quickness to deal with the length of the Cavs, and Maxiell and Murray provide those attributes. Frankly, I would be very tempted to go so far as to bench Billups and Webber for Maxiell and Murray, were it not for the fall-off in passing without Webber. Dale Davis and Antonio McDyess, though, may not be of any use in this series.

The Pistons still have one unused bullet off the bench: Carlos Delfino. Don’t laugh. He matches up better with Lebron than you think, and the Cavs don’t know as much about him as they do the other Pistons. They need to give Tayshaun some rest, and I think Game 4 is a perfect spot to use Carlos. If the Pistons lose, so what? But if he gives them a spark to win Game 4, then they just have to win one of three games.

The Cavs have a dilemma with Anderson Varajeo. He’s so out-of-control sometimes on defense, but the Pistons have problems keeping him off the offensive glass. I think he still needs some minutes. The low minute total in Game 3 was a surprise. I’m still wary of Daniel Gibson over Eric Snow. It’s dangerous to fall in love with a rookie after one good game. The Pistons will be better prepared to deal with Daniel Gibson in Game 4.

I know I’m crazy, but I think that the Cavs have a potential weapon in…Scot Pollard. I’m not even sure Scot is on the play-off roster right now. If he is, the Cavs should sneak him onto the floor in the third quarter, which the Pistons have been winning anyway. Here’s why; the Cavs have been unable to find a defender who can shut down Wallace in the post. Pollard at least has the body to contend with Wallace down low, and Wallace may get off to a poor shooting start if forced outside to start the second half. Pollard may also be able to set better picks for Lebron. At least he won’t take 18-footers off faked pick-and-rolls (ahem, Drew Gooden). The Cavs have been hurt by slow-developing plays all series long against the Pistons. But I worry about the drop in offensive production. Same problem with Ira Newble.

Monday, May 28, 2007

1985 Slam Dunk Contest: Dominique Wilkins vs. Michael Jordan

For some reason, you never hear about this one, which took place during Michael's rookie year. I'm not giving away the result, except to say it's worth your time. And I love the interviews with Dr. J., too. Listen carefully as Dominique reveals that he is getting dunk tips from...Isiah Thomas! Michael's complaints that Isiah was trying to freeze him out at the All-Star game look a little more true now.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Rasheed Wallace's Brush with Goathood

I watched the ending of Game 2 several times now, and am amazed at how close Rasheed Wallace came to being the goat of both Games 1 and 2.
First, in Game 1, he left Donyell for the sake of a useless double team, the very mistake that cost the Pistons Game 5 (and, really, the entire series) of the Finals in 2005.
Second, in Game 2, he somehow failed to hang on to that rebound and thus gave Larry Hughes a high-percentage opportunity to win the game.
However, I don't believe he fouled Anderson Varajeo; he clearly had the position on Anderson, and Anderson was flailingly trying to get it back. If Anderson had the position and Rasheed was trying to elbow in, it would be a different story.

In the end, Rasheed was the hero of both games. That's why I don't like getting too caught up on final results; it's such a coin-flip when you get into the final minute of a closely-contested game. Of course, this gives me yet another excuse to trot out my Rasheed Wallace video. I need to make another one of these sometime. Any ideas as to which NBA player you'd like to see, and which song you want to accompany their pictures?

Cavaliers-Pistons Scouting Report After Game 2

There were a lot of similarities with the analysis from Game 1.
Is Eric Snow still going to be a liability in this series? Yes.
Are Chauncy and Tayshaun still looking scared and not playing that well? Yes. Don't be fooled by Chauncy's decent shooting percentage; he's still 4 points below his season average and has more turnovers than assists in this series.
Do the Cavs still desperately need a decent game from Donyell Marshall? Yes.
Are the Pistons big men (except for Rasheed) still mostly too old and slow, which is why Maxiell got so many Game 2 minutes? Yes.
Is Drew Gooden still wearing his Property of Rasheed Wallace T-shirt? Probably.

So I have nothing else to say right now, until the series further develops.

An Offering to the Basketball Gods

Dear Basketball Gods,
Although in real life I hold to the tenets of monotheism, tonight I acknowledge you as slightly more than phantasmagorical beings and ask you to have pity on the Cleveland Cavaliers. To remind you of your previous punishment of the oppressed Cleveland peoples, I have enclosed a video clip of the 1993 NBA Playoff series, Game 4. You owe Lebron at least one cheap victory to make up for all the breaks you gave to your previous favorite #23. Signed, MCBias.



Note: I posted this Thursday around 8:05 PM; just making it Friday so that it shows up first on the post list.

Drew Gooden Loves Lady Jews and Borat



EDITED TEXT:
Elie Seckbach can have dumb questions sometimes, but these Cavs remind me that most NBA players did not have an anguished decision between going to med school or playing basketball.
END EDIT.
This is one day where my Cavs fandom is more of a scarlet letter C rather than a red badge of courage. (Ducks rotten vegetables from English majors for the misuse of the classics).

Yes, I'm still most shocked that Senor Ducktail has lady friends. What, you think I'm shocked that Damon Jones is a publicity hound and self-obsessed? Not so much.

Oh, and because I am an adolescent at heart: BLOG FIGHT! (language warning). Do we get to choose sides? I want all sides to be assured that for the right price, err, righteous principles, I am available.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Cavs-Pistons Scouting Report After Game 1

I'm notorious for starting these things and not finishing, so please don't be shocked if there is no Game 2-7 recap. But for once, I watched an entire play-off game (yeah!) so I can give you a decent scouting take on the series. First, for no good reason at all, a video of a Cleveland reporter being scratched by an unhappy kitty.


And some good blogs that will be much more regular in their series coverage include detroitbadboys.com, needforsheed.com, yaysports.com, and fearthesword.com.

That said, let's talk about Cleveland's pain:

Cavaliers:
Eric Snowwon't be the Billups-stopper this year that he was last year. Flip Saunders and staff realized that Snow is strong enough to handle Billups in a way that few point guards can. So they added a Billups/Prince pick-and-roll play. Because the Cavaliers switch, this would leave 6'5" Snow on 6'9" Prince and definitely give the Pistons an advantage.

Drew Gooden has serious problems handling Rasheed Wallace on either end of the floor. I don't know how they can hide him, though, as Marshall isn't getting many minutes either.

Donyell Marshall may be the most important player in this series. Against Detroit's 3-2 zone, Marshall's corner 3's are a perfect fit.

Lebron James realized this on the final play, and also realized that (1) the refs hadn't been calling fouls all game, (2) Rasheed already had 7 blocks for the game and (3) his shot hadn't been falling all game. However, Lebron and the Cavs have to realize that Lebron won't get good looks from the corners of the court. They need to get him isolated up top or posted up down low.

Zydrunas Ilguskas is a good jump-shooter; I loved how he was obviously trying to put extra arc on the last shot, knowing that he was tired and needed more strength. Sadly, it was still short. However, his shooting only served to emphasize Cleveland's lack of a low post option. When your best low post option is an Anderson Varejeo hook, the type I use on the playground...you have problems.

High posts by the Cavs feed into Detroit's hands, unless they are set up with cross-court passes. Then that 3-2 won't be able to adjust in time.

The Pistons big men were clearly trying to bully and body Anderson Varejeo as soon as he got into the game. The refs were surprisingly aware of this and gave him the calls. It was a lucky break for a young player to get so much respect, and freed Anderson to put on a strong 13 point performance off the bench.

The speed of Sasha Pavlovic and Larry Hughes is good enough to outweigh their lack of strength. This is the series where the Pistons will miss Ben Wallace. If the Cavs can put Donyell and Z on the floor at the same time and force Rasheed out of the middle, the Pistons have no shotblocker. Although the Cavs may have lost the game, I like the confidence boost this game gives to two guys who at times have lacked it.

As for victorious Detroit:
Tayshaun Prince and Chauncey Billups looked scared. There's no nice way to sugarcoat it. Tayshaun fell down at least 3 times when trying to drive to the hole and went 1-13 from the field. Chauncey was completely befuddled by the Cleveland double-teams and dribbled the ball off his foot a time or two. Seven turnovers! However, as always, when the Pistons need to put a team away, the Chauncey Three struck again. It should be trademarked; he does it every time. Still, Detroit is thin at the guards, and Cleveland actually has more options off the bench than Detroit for the "1" and "2" spots.

Rip Hamilton is a beast. He looked like he was doing a basketball drill; no more than 2 dribbles, and then shoot or pass.

Chris Webber, Dale Davis, and Antonio McDyess are all as elderly as I thought. The vaunted Detroit front court has name cachet, but most of it is based on 1990's All-Star appearances. Still, for not being able to jump, Chris Webber is a snake in the pivot.

Rasheed Wallace has just as much to prove as Zydrunas, as Rasheed's mouth woke up Cleveland last year. It's not surprising both came out with big games.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Superstar Be: Gilbert Arenas Photos, Part 2

As promised, this set is more about Gilbert interacting with fans. Now, I know some of you must be wondering why I do this. Do I have some sort of fanboy crush? No, not at all. It's just that the league (as do MLB and the NFL) markets its players so heavily. All the pictures you'll find of most NBA athletes tend to be very posed or are used to sell something. What I like about jumping on, say, a flickr.com and searching for "Gilbert Arenas" is that I'll get a quick, honest look at a player through the pictures there. Sometimes, you'll see a piece of personality seep out that you don't see in the interviews, as the player interacts with a fan that is different than normal. Other times, the entertainment is watching the fan interact with a piece of celebrity, which is why I usually include a picture of a fan holding an NBA jersey or figurine or something. Regardless, the photos of Gilbert on ,say, the schoolyard or the Usher concert are there because Gilbert wants to be there, the fans want to be there, and no one paid either of them to take the picture. I find that refreshing and unusual.

#1
CIMG0976

#2
Gilbert Arenas at the Kanye & Usher concert

#3
GILBERT ARENAS JERSY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

#4
Gilbert Arenas Jr. and I

#5
Gilbert Arenas

#6
Gilbert Arenas

#7
Gilbert Arenas

#8
Gilbert Arenas

#9
i, gilbert arenas, monica, and jason

#10
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

#11
Me Gilbert Arenas and Molly....

#12
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Monday, May 21, 2007

Blatant Bias: Brett Favre and the Slacker Green Bay Front Office

Don Banksand Jemele Hill both recently slammed Favre for getting involved in the GM side of the business. I have a lot of respect for both of them, but I think they both messed up this time. Yes, Brett Favre is not a GM and shouldn't be trying to do other people's jobs...unless they aren't doing their jobs!

Since Ron Wolf left Green Bay, the front office has signed no significant free agents (unless you count Tim Couch?!?!) and made no real moves outside of the draft. I don't know if they are afraid to spend money or what, but they have done nothing in the last few years. Yes, it's tempting to blast Brett because of all the hero-worship he's gotten in the decade since his Super Bowl win, but shoot him for the right reasons. I like Don and Jemele's writing usually, but I think they didn't do their homework this time.

Superstar Be: Gilbert Arenas Photos, Part 1

Filling in a blog gap from ages ago, here's pictures of Gilbert Arenas being interviewed or at public events. For the sake of time, fewer comments from me; you can provide captions as you wish (within reason). Part 2 will be photos of Gil interacting with fans.

#1


#2


#3
Instead of picking one picture, I direct you to many photos from the Arenas 25th Birthday bash, including Gilbert Arenas, Caron Butler, Antawn Jamison, Doug E Fresh, and assorted models here.

#4

Another excellent photo collection of Gilbert + other NBA celebrities, including many many Eva Longoria shots, Hasselhoff, Mary J. Blige, and Ellen Pompeo.
2007 All-Star Game



#5

Same person, this time at the 2006 All-Star Game: similarly cool set here. Sorry about the formatting; I tried and tried and couldn't fix it.


#6

This picture needs some explanation, besides Gilbert wearing khakis, ha. In his younger years, Gilbert played at the Rucker in the Entertainer's Basketball Classic.
Check the whole set; includes Fat Joe, Carmelo Anthony, JR Smith, The Game, etc. here.

#7
Week One

#8
Week One

#9

Photoren has some great shots of other celebs as well. See more of his work here.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Minutae: JJ Hardy on Depression, Shay Doron, Bambiball, and StoryWar.com

New Minutae:
This ESPN Video about a depressed athlete who found his way back from injury to become a major league baseball regular. It's powerful to me, because like many of you I know someone who went through depression. JJ Hardy and Amy K Nelson, good job to you both.


Filip Bondy wrote a book on the 1984 Draft (cover above). I read some of it at Borders (speed-reading is the best) and it looks like a winner. He made a pretty convincing argument that the league was still in trouble in 1984, and that Magic and Bird really didn't fix things as much as I had thought they did. Check it out.

Speaking of NBA history, look at the Pacifist Viking, who is doing a lot of posts on the topic. Loved the look back at the underrated Artis Gilmore.

Jack Cobra and his evil henchmen have formed the Cobra Brigade, where they keep waving the red flag for the suddenly resurgent Chicago Bulls to continue stampeding over Detroit.

Those incorrigible Ladies... take a break from fantasy land to go and talk to a real live athlete...and wonder of wonders, his response is not in the form of a restraining order! Read the sweet story of Texas Girl and her Red Sox reliever here. Awww!

Followup Minutae:
Shay Doron, object of my Random Sports Crush , has a new website at shaydoron.net. From the site, it's amusingly obvious (SHAY'S JEWISH) that the WNBA NY Liberty (SHAY LIVED IN ISRAEL) will spare no expense (SHAY LIKES PASSOVER) in marketing Shay Doron to the Jewlicious population (JUST LIKE SHAY!) of New York City, ha. Sadly, the site contains no plans in marketing Shay Doron to non-Jewish males who have a thing for women who can shoot J's (jump shots) all day long. Discrimination rears its ugly head again!

Bambiball, the lady who does soccer free-style (covered here), has a new video out that I like much better than the ones I posted. I love how the lighting makes it look like she's been out there practicing all day long. Slight music warning, though.


Finally, I'm a fan of storywar.com, a place where short stories get posted and rated. Sometimes the market for creative acts can be too much "Oh, you're such a great writer." But this site lets you put your work to the test, head-to-head against other people's stuff. As you might expect (cough), I put something up already. We can do stories about sports, too; just a thought.

Open Bias: Why Disrespect Spurs while Respecting Patriots?

Hi all. I wanted to do this when I started out blogging, but I was worried that my reader (thanks again, mom!) wouldn't comment on the post, thus making the post look silly. Now that I have multiple readers (paid by me, of course), here goes. Open Bias is where I don't say much and let you do most of the talking. Let's meet in the comment section, shall we?

My question this morning was, why do people dislike watching the Spurs so much, and like watching the Patriots so much? They're essentially the same team to me: hardworking, limit turnovers, bring in aging veterans looking for one last shot at rings, draft extremely well, have a very intelligent coach, win multiple championships and contend every year, etc. Yet people find the Patriots interesting and the Spurs boring. Why so? You might also ask, why did people disparage the Colts for their lack of toughness, and yet extol the Phoenix Suns and Dallas Mavericks for much the same type of wide-open offense?

Is it a difference between sports?
Is it small media market vs. big media market?
Is it East Coast Bias?
Is it the attitude of commentators?
Is it that the NBA is more of a highlights league, while the NFL is more of a "watch the whole game" league?
Is it somehow xenophobism (hating foreigners), because the Spurs stars are all foreign?

That's just a few ideas. Let me know in the comment section.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Dreaming of Minutae

Sign that you have read too many sportsblogs this week, from Friday night:

You awake at 3AM in the morning needing to go to the bathroom. On the way to the bathroom, you find yourself realizing that "Despite all their wide receiver trades, the Patriots still don't have a #1 receiver. Moss has slipped in skill over the last few years, while Stallworth and Welker were #2 receivers with their old clubs to Chambers and Horn. Thus the Patriots may not have fixed their wide receiver problems as much as people think they have." Congratulating yourself on your depth of analysis, you suddenly realize that
(1) It's 3AM, and you just woke up
(2) You neither are a fan of the Patriots nor a hater of the Patriots
(3) In fact, football isn't even your favorite sport
(4) Yet for some reason, you popped out of bed and immediately dropped a lucid 4 sentence paragraph that you'd be hard-pressed to match fully awake.

And that is a good reason to blog and read blogs a little less.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Guest Bloggolalia

can be found here. I actually (gasp) went back and edited my text on that post after I wrote it. I might have to try that again sometime, heh, it seems to help.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

New Sports Magazine is Launched

No, I don't own stock, promise, but I'm thinking I won't be the first sports blogger to mention SE7EN magazine. It is marketing itself as an upscale magazine that will cover sports, gambling, and style. Check it out at http://www.sevenmagonline.com/. Two issues are out so far.



Thinking as a business man, I like the idea. ESPN the Magazine is the downscale everyman magazine: lots of content, but cheap to buy and cheap-looking. Sports Illustrated has unfortunately started to chase ESPN the Magazine a little bit in hopes of making up ground. Therefore, the upscale sports magazine spot is open. The magazine is well-designed and printed on quality stock (they charge $6 an issue). And the coverage is broad. They're getting some decent names to write for them and be interviewed, as well. You're not going to see an Alex Rodriguez interview(yet), but they look like they can handle non-"Big Three" coverage pretty well.

However, I did note that the writing is decent but somewhat flavorless. It might take them a while to find their voice. Perhaps that's also because they didn't cover the NBA in the issue I read, which is my favorite sport. And frankly, "SE7EN" is too cute of a name for me. Sounds like more of a perfume than a magazine. Finally, I didn't care for the lady-love section: it felt a little too much like SE7EN was reaching for FHM/Maxim territory.

Quibbles aside, in a time where much of the focus is on sportsblogs, I like SE7EN's moxie in trying to go the exact opposite direction. The more sports options out there for us fans, the better. When there is a monopoly on sports reporting, it results in lower quality, in my opinion. So good luck to them, from a Mr. Nobody they've never heard of.

Discounting Draft Picks: The Deal for Brady Quinn

I found the deal for Brady Quinn fascinating because it involved valuing unknown quantities over different time spaces. What rationale did the Browns have for risking such a high future draft pick on a star which at least 13 other teams (picks #9-#22) passed on? I grouped some assumptions about discounting draft picks, and tried to think it over below.

Assumption #1: Short-term team performance is the only thing that matters
Assumption #2: Long-term team performance is the only thing that matters

By #1, the Browns absolutely made the right decision in trading for Brady Quinn this year. A cynic would point out that both Phil Savage and Romeo Crennel risk being fired if this year is not a success, and thus they are putting themselves ahead of the team in making this deal. But rookie QB’s from the draft rarely transform a team (with the slight exception of Vince Young). More importantly, the Browns have been losing for years, and the other teams in town are starting to win again. If the Browns don’t improve soon, Cleveland could become a baseball or basketball town instead.

By #2, the Browns made the wrong decision, because they have substantially hurt their prospects for next year. It’s doubtful that the Browns will have a winning record next year, and thus next year’s pick to Dallas will be higher than the #22 pick they got this year. Worse, they gave up a 2nd round pick as well.

I think #1 is closer to the truth than #2; so I’ll give the Browns a pass because of their desperate situation in terms of fan and owner impatience.

Assumption #3: The draft contains 10-15 star players at the top
Assumption #4: The draft contains 40-50 star players at the top

If most drafts aren’t that deep, as in #3, then the Browns made the right choice. (And Mel Kiper should be out of a job, then, if the talent pool is that shallow.) I am not sure that Brady Quinn was top 5, but I am pretty sure he was ranked a top 10 player. And it’s unlikely that the Browns will have two terrible seasons in a row; the law of averages should work in their favor. Their pick will probably be in the teens next year, as it was in 2006. Thus the Browns traded two average picks for a star; any team would make that move.

However, I believe in #4 in this situation. Here’s a handy rule of thumb for drafts in pro sports. To know the number of stars in the draft, take the number of players on the field (22 for football, not counting special teams; 5 for basketball) and multiply by two. So then, the NBA draft usually has 10 good players and the NFL draft thus has 44. The Browns traded two picks in the top 44 for one pick in the top 44. They did use it to select the second-ranked QB, which softens the impact of making that deal. There’s a bigger upside to success than there is at other positions. On the other hand, QB’s tend to fail more than any other position. (ESPN had a study on this; I believe QB failure was around 50%?).

I believe the Browns made the wrong decision here; #4 makes more sense than #3 to me.

Assumption #5: The key to escaping the NFL basement is fixing weak positions to become average: the key to becoming a Super Bowl contender is adding stars.
Assumption #6: The key to escaping the NFL basement is adding stars: the key to becoming a Super Bowl contender is fixing weak positions to become average

Which comes first, the chicken, or the egg? The superstars, or the solid role players that allow the superstars to look good? It’s a great question in this salary cap era, and one that I don’t think enough teams seriously consider.

I think it’s fair to say that QB is a weakness on the Browns. They have former 3rd and 6th round picks fighting for the starting job, with no veteran QB’s. However, #5 would say that they just needed to go out and get a Trent Green or Daunte Culpepper for a year. Drafting a rookie QB is not making a weak area average. It’s actually making it worse at first, as many rookie QB’s can’t keep up with the NFL game. And if he is a star, he’s just going to get pummeled because of the weak offensive line. However, the Browns have invested heavily in the line lately, so perhaps the line would be average in a year.

By #6, though, the Browns absolutely made the right decision. Sure, maybe Brady takes a bit of a beating for a few years, and runs for his life on some 8-8 teams. But if he’s a star, he’ll make the players around him better, and the team can stay competitive and fill in the holes in the team to get to the top.

I don’t know whether I believe in #5 or #6. Is it really a good idea to get your stars first, when you’ll have to trade them or risk them getting injured if the team around them is really bad? But without any stars, what about attendance? Teams underperform when they have no stars, as well, because they lack game-breaking talent. What do you think?

In the end, I think the draft graders have been a little quick to give the Browns an A on this pick. The only reason it makes sense is because the Browns are desperate. But if not, they shouldn’t have done it, because they essentially traded two for one and aren’t one player away from anything. As to whether you build with stars or role players, or with imported talent vs. homegrown, that’s a good post for another time. I want to come back to that question in the context of NBA, where it’s even more of a dilemma.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Nobody (except MCBias today) Loves a Loser

I always find it interesting how many great NBA play-off performances get overlooked because there are so many play-off games going on. The memories get replaced in our heads by the next great highlight. But here's a little credit to some star performances in losing efforts:

TJ Ford and Jose Calderon were both doubtful for Game 6 after Game 5 injuries. They combined to shoot 13-22 from the field for 33 points against Jason Kidd, who's still making it on the All-Pro Defensive Team for the NBA. Despite my Canada jokes, I do believe that the Raptors have a bright future.

Antawn Jamison averaged 32.2 ppg, including a 35% clip from 3-point land, against the Cavs in round one. He did everything he could to give the Wizards a chance, short of blocking shots with those massive eyebrows. The Wizards do have a goof-off reputation sometimes, but there was nothing goofy about the way they fought in Round 1. Pure heart.

Kobe Bryant averaged "only" 32.5 ppg against the Suns, and Carmelo Anthony averaged "only" 28.2 ppg against the Spurs. Stars playing like stars, but only winning 2 games between them. Too bad.

Nene upped his ppg by about 3 points, which isn't much...except it was against the Spurs. He may yet be worth that massive contract.

By the way, I'm not sure if the play-off stats are completely updated for the first round, but that's what I found as of today.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Pure Sport: Bambiball

As you've probably figured out by now, I'm not just going to talk about the big three pro sports. Time to pay respect to a girl who has some great soccer tricks. She goes by the alias "Bambiball". I first found out about her from Google Video. I especially appreciate the foot-dragging trick to bring a soccer ball off the ground; I can barely do that with a basketball.



Since then she's gotten better, and has appeared for different video game expos and such. The push-ups might be my favorite move here.


Go to http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=bambiball for more videos.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

A MCBias Special Investigation: Magnificently Canadian Bias

Last Tuesday, a quiet newsday, the NBA let it be known that Sam Mitchell, a coach of the Toronto Raptors, of Canada, had won the coach of the year. Yes, the same Sam Mitchell who won the worst coach in the league award last year in an informal SI poll. I read the article in ESPN, which mentioned the "nationwide panel of 128 sportswriters and broadcasters." That seemed innocent enough to me, until I dug deeper and read the Orlando Sentinel, that guardian of American freedoms: "a panel of 128 sports writers and broadcasters from the United States and Canada."

Aha! Then it was all too clear to me. ESPN.com, located in Bristol, Connecticut, is all too close to the Canadian border. They are helpless against retaliation. But the truth could only be found in sunny Florida, far from the watchful gaze of the powerful Canadian media and sports mafia.

Oh, you scoff. You mock. You really think those blank spaces on the map of the Canadian provinces are uninhabited? That they are NOT being used to breed killer robots on skis? Your beliefs will be of little comfort to you when we all live in igloos and speak Eskimoean. I've already begun preparations by learning all the words for snow. It's funny how the US government has been blind to this, turning a frantic eye to our sunny southern borders while the avalanche awaits us to the north. But I digress. Here's hoping the Canadian sports mafia has yet to learn of technorati.com, or MCBias has posted his last post.

Shrewd David Stern, sensing the threat to the NBA, lured the dangerous NHL south and out of Canada, on false promises of profit and the words of his quisling disciple Bettman. Once out of its home base, the American behemoth attacked it head-on, bribing owners, players, and fans alike to bring the sport to its knees. This culminated in the near-extinction of the NHL in the strike of 2004-2005. During this time the Canadian media, having no hockey to cover, discovered this sport called "basketball" that employed a Canadian by the name of Steve Nash. Naturally, they flooded the supposedly exclusive 128-member voting panel with Canadians, and Steve Nash was voted MVP twice. Revenge against Stern was sweet. Who would have believed that the country with 1 NBA team had outwitted the country with 29 teams?

Then, a Toronto representative pointed out to his brethren that their infiltration was not a true display of Canadian might. "There's too much evidence that Nash could have been the MVP. I'm sure there's been one other player under 6'4" to be voted MVP in the last 25 years, right? But what if we'd make Sam Mitchell the NBA Coach of the Year?" the Toronto representative said. "It should have been obvious to anyone that a coach who was not having his contract extended and was adding the #1 draft pick and a great GM to his team couldn't be responsible to his team's success. But those Americans will be too busy with the NFL Draft this week to notice that. Canadian sports shall rise again...through BASKETBALL!"

And so it has begun. Oh, you laugh at me now. But just wait until the NBA All-Pro teams come out, and Jamal Magliore is your starting center. But then it will be too late. I wonder if killer robots fire lasers or simply rely on sheer physical force to crush their prey? And are they vulnerable to heat? Perhaps they may yet stop before the Everglades. We'll know soon enough.

And if this is the first place in my post you realize this is a joke, I'm scared for our children's future. But I have no fear for my bank account and enlarged ego.