Monday, March 26, 2007

Sports Shorts

RIP my March Madness bracket. May it rest in peace.
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The biggest sports story of the week has to be the coach of the Pakistan national cricket team being murdered in the wake of their humiliating exit from the Cricket World Cup. It's a sign of how little international sport is respected in North America that I've seen this story be commented on with a touch of 'ha ha, look at those crazy foreigners, caring this much about cricket' on ESPN and Sportscentre. Imagine if, say, Lovie Smith was strangled after the Bears lost the Super Bowl. Or if Pat Quinn was killed after Team Canada got bounced from the Olympics last year. Those stories would be treated with the same kind of coverage and seriousness as the friggin' Kennedy assassination.

However, since I'm merely an ass with a blog, I can make a wisecrack. What are the job interviews going to be like for the next coach? No pressure there, nope. See, this is the kind of coaching job Isiah Thomas should've gone for. Who's going to be crazy enough to try and choke out Isiah? Would you want to make a lifelong nemesis of Bill Laimbeer?

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Tiger Woods won again this weekend. It marks the sixth time he has won the World Golf Championship CA/AmEx championship title, and it's also the third straight year he's won at Doral (since the old Doral event was essentially amalgamated with the WGC). Now, Tiger is the best. I'm not disputing this, and anyone who would is simply crazy or related by blood to Phil Mickelson. But the one slight flaw in Tiger's sterling record is that he rarely ventures out of his comfort zone of tournaments. Each season he plays in the four majors, the three WGC events, the three (now two) Buick-sponsored events, the Players, the Western Open, the Memorial and Bay Hill (out of respect for Jack and Arnie), Doral, Disney, the Deustche Bank, L.A., and occasionally he'll throw in Pebble Beach or the tournament of champions and maybe one other. He's unsurprisingly dominated at these events, racking up multiple wins in each except for his unusual drought in L.A.

What I think Tiger should do one year is totally mix up his rotation. He'll keep the four majors, the Players, the FedEx Cup rotation and the WGC events, obviously, but otherwise just play in totally new events for him. It'll be a challenge -- he'll need one after he breaks Nicklaus' majors record. He can be the first guy to ever win every single tournament on the Tour schedule. It'll also be a huge boost to the likes of, say, the Honda Classic or the other second-tier events if Tiger suddenly comes to town.

Is this my way of trying to keep the hope alive that Tiger will one day play again in the Canadian Open? Maybe.

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There are a lot of ways to rationalize Toronto's loss to Buffalo last Friday, when they blew a 4-1 lead in the third period. First, I think most fans probably expected the Leafs to lose that game anyway. Second, at least they turned around and beat Buffalo the next night. Third, if you had said before the week that Toronto would win two of their three games against the Sabres and Devils, I would've gladly taken that. Fourth, perhaps a little karma was owed after Toronto had two huge comeback wins of their own over New Jersey and Ottawa in the last few weeks. Fifth, HOW IN THE HELL COULD YOU BLOW SUCH A LEAD IN SUCH A MUST-WIN GAME??!!?!?!?!?! GOD DAMMIT!!!!!....Ok, there were only four ways to rationalize it.
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By the way, as angry as I am about that Leafs loss, it will pale in comparison to the explosion that will come if Green Bay actually acquires Randy Moss. Good lord. I've led a blessed experience as a sports fan in that my teams have had relatively few turds on them. With the Jays, the biggest one has been probably Clemens, and the Leafs have mostly had guys whose problems were that they couldn't play, not their behaviour. The Packers have had maybe a few more -- mostly guys who were largely good until one major screwup, i.e. Najah Davenport and his crap in a hamper.

Instead of getting a guy who, by his own admission, doesn't always try, Green Bay should direct their attention on their more pressing needs. For instance, Favre doesn't need more receivers, he needs a running back to take the pressure off the passing game. I am 100 percent in favour of this rumoured trade to get Michael Turner from San Diego. I'd also be in favour of the Pack going after David Carr. I've always thought Carr was something of a victim of a crappy offensive line in Houston, so the Pack could get him as a backup for a year or two until Favre finally retires.

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It's time for the annual baseball predictions that look laughably wrong in October!

AL East
New York, Toronto, Boston, Baltimore, Tampa Bay

AL Central
Minnesota, Cleveland, Chicago, Detroit, Kansas City

AL West
Los Angeles, Oakland, Texas, Seattle

NL East
Philadelphia, New York, Atlanta, Florida, Washington

NL Central
St. Louis, Chicago, Milwaukee, Houston, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati

NL West
San Diego, Arizona, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Colorado

Wild cards: Cleveland (sorry, Jays fans) and New York

AL champion: Cleveland....I have a strong feeling that the Indians could be the '07 version of the Tigers last year. The Angels and Twins just don't quite have enough. The Yankees may not win another pennant as long as A-Rod is on the roster, and their pitching is just not that good. Earth to NYY fans -- it isn't 2000. Andy Pettitte is not a difference-maker.

NL champion: The Mets avenge last year's NLCS and knock out the Cardinals. Philly teams always fold in the playoffs, and whomever wins the West just won't be a very good team.

World Series: The Mets' vets prove the difference as they take out the Tribe to win the Series. Surely Pedro can't be hurt for two straight postseasons....right? Cleveland's second-longest-in-baseball Series drought continues.

1 comment:

Kyle said...

So, to summarize: last year's Tigers were picked to finish 4th in the AL Central, but then went on to have the best record in baseball for most of the season, faded down the stretch, but nevertheles managed to nab the wild card spot. Then, after dropping the first game against the hated Yankees in Round 1, they reeled off seven (seven!) straight wins to land themselves in the World Series. (My memory is hazy after that...)

Fast forward to...now. Basically the same Tigers team with a dynamite young pitching staff plus now Gary Sheffield to beef up their batting order and you've....picked them TO FINISH FOURTH?? The fuck?!? Are you trying to make my brain explode?