Thursday, December 21, 2006



In the glory days of my wit, I used to write things like this:
Living down here in South Florida I have the luxury or misfortune (however you want to phrase it) of watching Toine play for the Heat and after all these years I have been finally able to figure out why Toine shoots the way he does. For just the slightest of movements Toine loses his balance and is forced to shoot tippy-toe jumpers or last minute heaves at the basket while in the lane. The answer? His giant, oddly shaped head of course. If you are trying to balance a flowerpot on your head and you suddenly move without thinking what will happen to the flowerpot? Same situation here. Toine moves so fast that he forgets his head has to catch up with the rest of his body causing an imbalance of weight forcing him to of course shoot all out of balance. It makes perfect sense to me now.
Then there is the NBA's bottom ten. Unsurprisingly, the Brians Madsen and Scalabrine feature prominently. And finally, from their pre-AI trade musings on what would happen to each team should they acquire Iverson:
Milwaukee Bucks - Iverson begins to pout about a diminished role playing next to Michael Redd and is joined in his chorus by sullen second year center Andrew Bogut. The two get caught in a feedback loop which scorches the earth, converting the entiree [sic] state of Wisconsin into one giant nacho.
Maybe someday soon I'll watch a movie or read a book or talk about something not relating to sports...

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

All AI All The Time

My last one until he actually, you know, plays for the Nuggs.

But, damn, Henry Abbott gets this perfectly right:
You know those glow sticks they give little kids on Halloween? With the neon goo inside? Where you and I have blood, Iverson has that glowing stuff pumping through him. He's just on fire, all the time. If you could spread that magical juice throughout your roster, you'd win the title every year--talent and size be damned.

But as it is, Allen Iverson has two gallons of it, and most people don't even have a teaspoon. There's your trouble. Hmm... it's a game won by the best team... so what do you there? Through most of his career, Allen Iverson has known what to do there: win the damn game himself. He can see how and where the fire is burning, and by comparison it's almost all in him.

Deep inside all of us, upon hearing and seeing that, there's some eighth grade basketball coach ready to tear that little punk a new one, with a lecture about teamwork, a lecture about leadership, and a lecture about lighting the fire in your teammates, instead of complaining it's not burning brightly enough and moving on.

Well, I urge you to turn off that little coach for a second. Why? That coach's point is valid, but his tactics suck in this instance. You are simply not going to convince Allen Iverson to change anything about his game with a lecture.
15 years later, it's easy to forget how much heat Sam Smith got for writing "The Jordan Rules" because it supposedly made MJ look bad (I didn't think so at the time, but then I was never under any allusions that a professional sports team was full of best buddies. Remember the old adage about the Sawx, 25 players and 25 cabs...) The parts that were so controversial were about Michael's tendency to not just denigrate, but destroy his teammates if he didn't think they were matching his intensity. Which none of them ever were or could (with the possible exception of Rodman, but that was a craftier and less volatile MJ as well). The Bulls of the late 80's were littered with players who might have turned out to be functional NBA role players had Jordan not simply ended them as basketball players. Dennis Hopson. Brad Sellers. Stacey King. Heck, Kwame Brown is just now, maybe recovering from the scars.

But here's the thing, those that could survive the heat earned his respect, and acquired some of Jordan's drive. He willed Scottie Pippen and Horace Grant into becoming star material. Or more exactly he willed them to have that desire. And at the key moments in Jordan's first title run, he had trust in his team, finding John Paxson over and over for the buckets that beat the Lakers in what would turn out to be Magic's swans song.

Up until that point, people questioned whether MJ could be enough of a 'team player.' But put the right players and personalities on that team, and of course he could be.

And until I'm proven wrong, I think the same thing about Iverson. He is desperate to be surrounded by guys who will come with him. The one time he had anything resembling a tough-minded team around him, he went to the finals with Aaron McKie, Eric Snow, Ty Hill, George Lynch and Mount Motumbo. Not a whole lot of talent in that group but they brought it every night. Snow may have been the worst jump shooting guard in the entire league. Until the Sixers needed it, then he was cash.

Is Denver that kind of team? Well first of all, that there is more talent alongside AI is abundantly clear. Secondly, the Nuggets have some tough (or at least tough-minded) bastards in Camby, Boykins and the dead hard Eddie Najera (No points for injured fake-thug Kenyon Martin though). Melo may seem laconic, but lest we forget, he's won a championship without a whole lot of help, give or take Hakeem Warrick. Whether JR Smith can handle the fire is a very open question. We shall see.

But my point is this: Iverson needs teammates he feels are both willing and able to win, and this is as close as he's going to come. And he's got to know that and adjust accordingly. I think he will. Else he's the spoiled punk everyone thought he was, and I'm eternally disappointed.

Worlds Colliding

Sometime, somewhere, I posted my top five press-conference meltdowns of all time. I can't seem to locate it at the present time, but I'm fairly certain it included Bob Knight and/or The Tuna losing it, John Cheney trying to choke John Calipari, Herm Edwards "playing to win the game." It was a while ago, so Denny Green was not yet "who we thought he was." But the top two, well, come on:

I could die happy. (H/t Skeets)

And as a bonus, Outkast vs. Charlie Brown:

(h/t Yogo)

Tuesday, December 19, 2006


If you don't love Allen Iverson you're either an idiot, know nothing about basketball, or both. This is a non-negotiable edict. I don't care if you think he's a thug, a malcontent, a coach-killer. That you hate hip-hop, tattoos and corn-rows shouldn't matter. When I think of AI, the first thing I usually think of (well, the second after smiling at the thought that he is my 80-something gramma's favorite player and has been since he entered the league) is Rod Tidwell in Jerry Maguire:
No heart? I'm all heart motherf*****!
Despite this, he is (or at least was, paging Mr. Artest and/or Mr. Anthony) the poster child for the NBA's "image problem". Which makes it a certain kind of perfect that he is apparently being traded to the Denver Nuggets.

The real villain is not Allen Iverson, it's Pat Riley.

If there is any justice in this world, the Nuggets and Suns will meet in the playoffs.

Monday, December 18, 2006


Rock Star

You scored 96%!

You damn rock star. You know all the basics, and if you got any wrong, I bet it was that stupid Traveling Wilburys question.

Your friends are probably intimidated by your knowledge of classic rock and envy your impressive collection. When a classic rock song comes on the radio, you can probably identify it before the vocals kick in most of the time. You probably get good scores on the "maiden name of Clapton's mom" tests, too.

My test tracked 1 variable How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 99% on notes

The BASIC classic rock Test
(via Ahist)

I can assure you that it was not the Wilbury's question, because they didn't even ask about the fifth member, Jeff Lynne of Electric Light Orchestra. I think I just destroyed my street cred...

BasketBrawl 2.0

If ever there were a punk move in sports, it's got to be cheap-shotting an opponent, then blaming the opponent for running up the score. Once and for all, citizens of the world: If you don't like your opponent running up the score, play better. This is the big leagues. Your incompetence is not your opponent's problem.
- King Kaufman in Salon (h/t supersaurus commenting at Yglesias)

While I have some more rambling thoughts on "L'affaire d'Madison Square" over at TWT (thesis: Brad Radke and Carmello Anthony, kindred spirits. If that doesn't hook you, I dunno what does...), I've been surprised that I have shared in the modal reaction (see Yglesias and commenters as well as the majority of the FD commentariat: 'Melo (Namond Bryce, you mean? Nice catch, Yogo...) shouldn't have swung; Nate Robinson is a jackass; Mardy Collins didn't do anything that bad (and was probably put in an impossible position by Zeke); Stern overreacted, but the main (and unpunished) villain of the piece is fucking Isiah Thomas. Has there been a sports figure that has managed to so thoroughly destroy so many things as Isiah?

In any event, I think Mark Stein at ESPN captures my thoughts perfectly (and is behind the Insider wall) so:
Instant reactions to the main MSG Fight Night penalties meted out Monday by NBA commissioner David Stern:

Carmelo Anthony: 15 games
Too many games ... way too many when you hear that Isiah Thomas will sit out zero games. Seven to 10 games was a sensible range to me.

Don't forget that Orlando's Keyon Dooling and Seattle's Ray Allen got five and three games, respectively, for a scrap that happened less than a year ago. Melo's sucker punch, when things were finally dying down, was certainly more egregious than what Dooling and Allen did ... but not three or four times worse.

(One footnote: Any league suspension longer than 12 games entitles the suspended player to an arbitration hearing, but I'm told Anthony has not yet decided whether he plans to seek a reduction.)

Nate Robinson: 10 games
Five games less than Melo? Nobody -- not even Anthony -- escalated this thing more than Robinson, needlessly jumping in the faces of multiple Nuggets in his latest attempt to prove how big and tough he is.

Little Nate never landed the kind of roundhouse that got Melo in trouble. But his transgressions were right up there with Melo's.

And neither Robinson nor Thomas has shown a shred of remorse, either. Anthony, at the very least, issued a lengthy apology.

J.R. Smith: 10 games
This thing probably never gets near paying customers if not for Robinson. But Smith tumbled into the baseline seats with Nate and was later seen throwing a punch. So even if he was goaded, Smith's actions outweigh any alibis.

It should be obvious now that NBA fights will forever be scored differently -- and met with harsher punishments than yesteryear -- because each new fight dredges up memories and footage and commentary about the Malice of Auburn Hills.

Mardy Collins: Six games
Collins' inexcusable foul on Smith triggered the melee, and a two-handed hit that hard has to be met with a stringent penalty.

But I also believe -- taking my cue from insiders with both teams -- that he was merely a rookie doing what he was told by his coach.

Doesn't get Collins off the hook, obviously, but it apparently happened the night before, too: Collins was sent into garbage time of the Knicks' blowout loss at Indiana and picked up a flagrant foul in the final two minutes.

Isiah Thomas: Zero games
Stunning. Absolutely stunning.

You can argue that Zeke deserved to be hit hardest of anyone involved, frankly, given the MSG footage clearly showing Thomas telling Anthony that it "wouldn't be a good idea" to venture into the paint.

Isn't that proof of premeditation? An unmistakable threat?

The Knicks' spin -- Isiah was imploring Melo to show more class than his coach? -- is laughable.

Unlike players who lose control in the heat of the moment, I'm quite sure Thomas knew exactly what he was doing.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

For the Guy Who Has Everything

My father is the world's hardest person to buy gifts for. This morning at coffee, I asked him what he wanted for Christmas (for about the 50th time since Dec. 1, I might add). He said "Let me think about it..." after talking with the Slat Rat for about 30 minutes while he cogitated, I asked him what he'd thought up.

"What was I supposed to be thinking about again?"

But thankfully, my blogfriends supply me with ideas. My dad loves margaritas, and is obsessed with snowmen, so voila!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Today's Truths

  • Shoals at FreeDarko has an almost indescribably fantastic post about, more or less, basketball as a metaphor for finding meaning in an essentially anonymity inducing consumer culture. Relatedly, I mourn for Francisco Liriano by demonstrating that (shameless) imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
  • Barack Obama... I mean this is 6 kinds of awesome, and really, for me, this is about 150 kinds of kick-ass. But since we here at WAP are all about substance over style (except when we aren't) how much of this is playing the Saxophone on Arsenio? I just don't know enough to get excited about him for any reasons aside from A) he ain't Hillary, and relatedly B) he might win, even against John (St.) McCain. Now, talk to me about Gore-Obama '08, and I'm ready with the bumper space.
  • KFMonkey drops the hammer on the third season of Lost boom. I don't really have anything to add other than to call bullshit on the show's creators any and every time they claim to "know where they are going" with the whole story of the island. If they're just making stuff up at this point, I'll start a fund so that we can get better, uhm, stuff to the writers' room, and we can go full-on David Lynch on this piece.

How evil are you?

  • A tailer-made description of why I keep saying (in comments) that basketball is not-especially amenable to SABR-geekdom from today's Daily Dime:

    You may never see a highlight of this play, as it did not result in a bucket or dunk, but follow this to get a glimpse of the kinds of things that happen in an NBA game on a nightly basis:

    Deron Williams beats a show by Dirk Nowitzki on a ball screen, drives middle and makes a sweet no-look pass to Carlos Boozer. Boozer, challenged by a good shot-blocker in DeSagana Diop, loses the ball on his way up, sending the ball high into the air. Williams, on the baseline following his pass, jumps high to keep the ball away from Anthony Johnson, who otherwise would have an easy recovery, and bats the ball toward the free-throw line.

    Boozer, Diop, and Devean George all make an effort to get a hand on the ball, but it ultimately goes to Andrei Kirilenko. AK-47 takes an immediate dribble toward the rim and Diop, who gets back into defensive position. Andrei bends his long 6-9 frame down to almost half his size and throws a perfect bounce pass, thru Diop's legs, to a waiting Jarron Collins under the basket.

    As Collins goes up for the layup, Diop reacts quickly and blocks Collins point blank at the rim.

    The entire play takes nine seconds and produces two missed shots, a good hustle play by four players, two terrific passes, and a blocked shot. And no points. Oh, and three verbalized "wow" calls by me as it happened. Highlights alone do not tell the NBA story.

    Nor do the stats as we collect them.

That's all for now. Theo, get it done, or JoBu is coming to get you:

Compare and Contrast

Without looking at the headers, which of these is actually Easterbrook, and which is parody? No points for answering "it is the real Easterbrook and a parody, your mother, your sister, your mother, your sister...." *SLAP*

Sorry about that...

Anyway, best bit of the parody?:
80% Of This Column Was Written Using Autotext! DirecTV has a monopoly! There is "dark matter" in the universe! CEO's who fly private planes are fucking assholes! Coaches only make decisions that will make them look good! No one touched the running back on that run! He shouldn't get any credit! My son Spenser is very advanced and will ruin the curve for your unintelligent child!
(HT joeo in the Unfogged Mineshaft)

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Take Your Pick...

Two entires in the "why I love soccer" notebook...

Matty Taylor:

[Update: Deadspin reminds me that since Taylor has done this before, it's definitely not a fluke:

As I'm sure they're still singing in Portsmouth, Taylor For England!]

Or Michael Essien:

Sorry about the poor quality, when a better one goes up on YouTube, I'll snag it.

(Also sorry, Tim. I along with half of Manchester was hoping that Arsenal would hold on...I would have settled for a draw before a ball was kicked and certainly will live with it considering that shelling Lehman's goal took over the last 10+ minutes.)


I'm slowly coming to terms with the fact that I probably won't reach the 50 in 52 mark...unless, I account creatively. Hey, Ezra says it's ok:
I find actually listing the books I read throughout a year a troublesome enterprise. So many of them end up half-finished, somewhat-skimmed, or otherwise partially absorbed that I'm generally left with a fairly small number of books read, and a somewhat overwhelming mass of books somewhat read.
Indeed. I mean if I add together fractional books read, I think I'm probably over the hump. As it is, should I force myself to finish a book that kinda and/or totally sucks just to meet some arbitrary goal?

In my defense I had just finished reading this which I enjoyed immensely, and thought to myself "if I like a 'rivalry' book so much when the author hates my squad, it would be even better to read one where I'm with the Good Guys." Except that Blythe's book is well-written and original, whereas the Sox-Yankees book is reheated, rehashed and probably a staple on many remainder racks at this point.

So I may not reach 50 individual books completed, but will have read the equivalent of 50 full books by the end of the year. This strikes me as a plausible interpretation* of my resolution.

P.S. If you are a hoops guy, I thoroughly recommend "To Hate Like This..." One of my top five or so for the year, and certainly in the top two for sports (along with "Fantasyland" which I still hope to blog about at TWT prior to the New Year")

* It's true, The Law has destroyed what little shred of soul which may have survived the first 29+ years o'life. I'm legalistic parsing my own new year's resolution. This does not end well...


I think I asked this last season, but if you're going to have an off-court dress code, why are these atrocities okay? First the new ball (feels ok just shooting around, but when you actually play with it, tears your hands all too shit. I've never gotten paper-cuts playing ball before...) and now this. Will the Real David Stern Please Stand Up, Please Stand Up?

Friday, December 08, 2006

What's This?

Random Gifts I've received on this Friday.

1. Just discovered TBogg's Friday Izzard Blogging. If you don't know about Eddie, well:

2. Somebody has promised me holiday cookies...I forgive you for spoiling that World Cup match, or I will once they arrive...

3. Blogger has given me the gift of allowing tags/categories on my posts. Because what I need is a time sink of going back through ye olde(ish) archives, and er, archiving things. And then maybe I'll get around to finishing the 7 books I need to complete in 23 days...(yipes).

4. My name is now on the new company letterheard. We just got it back on from the printer today. I'm such a sucker for trinkets like this...(though I'm still not listed on the website. Chop, chop, people)

5. Of course the office also has given me the gift of...working all weekend.


By Request

I've been informed that people are really feeling the lack of Oranger SasquatchBlogging. This being friday, I thought I'd oblige:

Papa Pooh prepares to cud da toikey on T-day. Tyge, per his wont, is incorrigible.

I can say from recent experience that pops is actually getting off pretty easy here. During my recent dog sitting experience I realized how difficult it is to eat with one hand while continuously stiff-arming a 100+ pound dog with the other.

We know about Manny being Manny...

Tyge being Tyge...

In other cute pooch new, Gunner arrives (along with Lil Sis) next week. Sure there will be cute pictures to be had:

Maybe I should start a regular feature - Friday Pops and Dogs blogging. He does have a birthday coming up, and that kind of gift is right in my favored price range.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

These Five Things I Know Are True (12/6)

1. This week's Studio 60 was clearly the best of the year thus far. Sorkin can clearly write a Christmas episode (though I desperately wanted them to Just Shut Up And Let The Band Play at the end) - it got a little dusty during this:

2. "Heroes" on the other hand, might be losing me. Aside from Hiro, and the Cop Who Hears Voices, none of the characters really pop.

3. Via AOL's NBA blog (featuring Shoals of FD fame), Tim Hardaway, respect:

Timmy was probably my favorite player after Reggie Lewis died and before KG came along. Of course the "UTEP Two-Step" signature move from the old EA Sports games had a lot to do with it. (Two crossovers, a spin, and a running floater which went so high it went off the top of the screen, IIRC. And if you think that didn't have a formative effect on my own shot selection...well, as Tall says, I don't have shot selection as it's more of an accumulation.)

4. My Fantasy Football team blows, if you cared. Mainly because I'm terrible at it. The team I drafted would be doing pretty well. Given my GMing skills, maybe I should cut Theo some slack...not likely.

5. Finally, Miss Frankie, very, very very NSFW. Or for having liquid in your mouth while reading. Monitors are both fragile and spendy.

My Mantra

Tim asks:

Your public is waiting for you to weigh in on this JD Drew to the Sawx business.
Five year grace period...five year grace period...five year grace per, aw screw it.


I stick up for you, if you no sign Matsuzaka now...

J.D. Drew for $70mil? (ok, Julio Lugo is an upgrade at short...but then wouldn't Hanley Ramirez do just as well if not better? It's not like he's proven himself at the Major League lev...what's that? RoY? PigF****r...) To continue with a theme, he has talent but he has no...MARBLES. We think MannyBeingManny is flaky, but you never really feel like he doesn't give a crap, just that he goes about things the wrong way. J.D. Drew does not, in fact, give much of a crap. That's a good fit with the Boston media. But at least we have the Japanese John Halama on board.

I was telling PapaPooh the other day that if we don't close the deal on Matsuzaka, this will have been a disastrous off-season. Isiah Thomas bad. Matt Millen bad. Don, that's too far.

Five year grace period...five year grace period...five year grace period...

Monday, December 04, 2006

Things I Know Are True

1. I was wrong, wrong, wrong about Vince Young. Good on you, son. Though I can safely say that I was 100% right about Eli Manning. Though Eli is not helped by his coaching being the biggest jackass this side of Bobby Huggins.

2. Ohio State. Give the points. Michigan. Give the points. Whoever is playing Notre Dame. Give the points and then some.

3. To quote myself on Wire #49:
Not to get all Bethlehem Shoals here, but 49 completely validated the agony any fan of the show has come to expect, dread, and crave in equal measures. In previous seasons, they've managed to spread out the heartbreak - this year, they dumped it on us all at once. In a way, it was a relief, because my expectations being what they were, I felt a great deal of foreboding as to what precise terrible things were about to happen.

Is there any way that Child Services lets Bunny take Namond in? Is the world only big enough for one of Michael and Bodie? How does the rug get pulled out from under Daniels?
4. Someone find me the YouTube of Carmelo going all Dr. J from this weekend...

5. I just got caught up on the first 3 shows of "DayBreak" this weekend. Surprisingly strong. Plus it has Jayne, playing, well, a guy just like Jayne. Good times.

Victory Is Mine

Your 'Do You Want the Terrorists to Win' Score: 100%

You are a terrorist-loving, Bush-bashing, "blame America first"-crowd traitor. You are in league with evil-doers who hate our freedoms. By all counts you are a liberal, and as such cleary desire the terrorists to succeed and impose their harsh theocratic restrictions on us all. You are fit to be hung for treason! Luckily George Bush is tapping your internet connection and is now aware of your thought-crime. Have a nice day.... in Guantanamo!

Do You Want the Terrorists to Win?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

(via Yglesias, amongst others.)

In a completely unrelated note, can I get a Sheik, What? from my KFAN homies out there?

Program Director, Yasay?