Saturday, May 23, 2009

We are all witnesses

As my faithful readers know, I don't regularly post on the weekend. Too busy, too much time I actually get to spend with the Mrs., too much fun stuff to do. But when something extraordinary happens, I believe it is necessary to let everyone know the impact and the sheer extraordinary-ness that has occurred.

Last night I got to see about 2 plays in the Orlando Magic vs. Cleveland Cavaliers game. But I saw the only play so far in the series that matters. Let's see if I can set the stage for y'all:

Cleveland has the best home record just about ever in the regular season. They have steamrolled through the playoffs going 8-0 in the first 2 rounds and winning every game by double digits. Cleveland has the best player in the world in Lebron James (LBJ from now on... I'm stealing from the Sports Guy, but who cares) and is not sure how long the home grown product is going to stick in town. The summer of 2010 is when LBJ is a free agent along with a slew of other young superstars waiting to go on to bigger things. If they want any chance of keeping him, they need to win; they need to win a championship.

Game 1 against Orlando was the epitome of Cleveland sports. The hype, the belief, the excitement, subsequently followed up with the disappointment, the shame and feeling of hopelessness.

How could a team with the best player in the world, the best home court record ever, and the experience of being there before lose to a team without their starting point guard, a coach who looks like Ron Jeremy and only one superstar who is too nice and can't make a shot further from 5 feet from the basket? (I'm asking the question too. I don't get it.)

The Cavs talked like they were confident after game 1. They knew what they had to do and they were determined. Game 2 comes along and in the first half it looks like it is over. Cleveland with a 23 point lead. Welcome back Cleveland, the series is yours for the taking.

Not so fast.

With a barage of 3's and hustle, the Magic pull some magic and not only come back, but take a 2 point lead with 1 second left in the fourth quarter. The air is dead in Cleveland. The bars are full of people swearing, saying how they've seen it before and there is no hope for the city. Ever. Not even Lebron, the best player alive. He's gone in 2010.

Except they didn't count on seeing something they had never seen before. The Cavs tried to run an inbounds play that isolated Lebron on an alley oop because he is a freak of an athlete and can jump over buildings.

Good move.

Too bad the Magic knew it was coming (ok, everyone did but when your coach looks like a porn star, you can never be sure) and defended it well.

It looked as though Cleveland may not even get the ball in. Lebron was figured out and Mo Williams (the 2nd best scoring option) was throwing the ball in.

Then Lebron changed direction, going away from the basket. Mo saw him because LBJ was the only option. He wasn't looking anywhere else. Mo passed it in to a fading away LBJ. With one second left his only option was to shoot. He's not the best shooter in the world. He has missed before. Plenty. Except this time, the best player in the world did something he had yet to do.

He buried the shot.

Big deal. People hit game winners all the time.

LBJ has too.

But not like this.

If he missed that shot, all hope in the city would be lost. The Cavs would not have been able to recover. The series would be over and Lebron would be lost in 2010. Guaranteed. Lebron has been dominant, but he has not truely been clutch.

That shot was so monumental, it most likely changed the outcome of the series. That shot most likely won the series for Cleveland. That shot made it possible for LBJ to go for a title. That shot made it possible for LBJ to repeat next year. That shot made it possible for LBJ to go down in history as not only one of the greatest athletes of all time, but also the most clutch player of all time.

That shot could concievable change the landscape of the NBA for the next decade. I'm not kidding. If Lebron wins the series, then wins the NBA title, he might stay in Cleveland. He might make a dynasty that we have yet to see from one player. The NBA title repeats have been about multiple greats on one team.

Shaq and Kobe.

MJ and Scottie.

Olajuwan and Robert Horry (ok, bad example).

The Lakers and Celts of the 70's and 80's had a slew of stars.

But no one has been able to dominate solo.

Is it possible that a star player takes a pay cut to go to Cleveland to be guaranteed a title with LBJ?


The ramifications of one shot by one player in one game will not be able to be judged for years. But it could be the biggest shot in the history of the NBA. It could change the future beyond anyone's imagination.

LBJ took a series with one shot.

What's next?

We are all witnesses. (yes, I know its cheesy to steal that slogan but it works so well.)


Friday, May 22, 2009

Fridays are good

The most amazing thing happened last night.

Carmelo Anthony played hard. And not just to score points. He grabbed a ton of rebounds and played tough defense on the games best offensive player (Kobe).

The NBA, despite the worst officiating of any professional sport, has suddenly resurrected itself with powerhouses (LA, and Boston was in the mix) and historically unsuccessful franchises with awesome fan bases and a ton of studs (Cleveland and Denver). I don't think that I have ever been this jacked about NBA basketball. Yeah, I know it helps that I live in the Denver area and have tickets with the Mrs. to Game 3 of the western conference finals on Saturday, but its awesome basketball right now.

**Side note**
Here is how you know you've got a keeper. When looking for tickets to an awesome playoff series, you get mad at yourself for not buying the tickets earlier. Then you check the prices of tickets on eBay and ask yourself if its worth it. When your little lady steps in and tells you that you have to go regardless and "I just want tickets" you know you have a keeper.

Ok, so back to the NBA. There are a ton of jump balls (hustle), good defense, amazing offense and a slew of starts lighting up the night (Melo, Chauncey - Mr. Big Shot -Billups, Kobe, Dwight Howard, and the greatest of the all Lebron).

Just so everyone knows, in Game 3 look for Chris Anderson to have a HUGE game. He has been relatively quiet so far in the series, but when he returns to the mountains he will find new life and will destroy the Lakers soft big men.

I thought this might be a different Royals team. We came back from 3 down in the 9th to beat the Indians with Kerry Wood as their closer. The next night down 6-5 headed into the 9th, we had a chance and came up short. Last night, down 8-3 in the 9th... bases loaded... 1 out... just getting to the heart of the order with Callaspo up and batting about .340... ground into double play. I hate to say it, but as far as the bats are concerned it is still the same old Royals. The pitching is a different story.

The boys in blue have quality starters and a superstar who is currently 2nd in the rotation (Greinke). The problem so far has been the overpaid bullpen. Farnsworth alone has cost the team 3 games and Cruz, Mahay and Horacio Ramirez pitch well when it is not needed. I have yet to see the killer instinct on the mound from anyone other than Grienke (who I think takes it personally when someone scores on him, which is awesome to see from a kid who has been around for over 5 years and is still younger than me) and possibly Soria (who is on the DL).

How I long for you Raul Ibanez........

RBI (as he will now be called regardless of his middle name because it is too good) would have led the Royals in RBI's for the last 8 years if they had kept him. I think he was the worst non-resigning in recent history, especially with concerns to the outfield. Beltran wanted too much, Dye wasn't quite what the Royals needed and he got hurt, Damon throws like a girl.

The Royals were led in RBI's by Emil Brown two years in a row! Aaron Guiel was considered a good player (Steroids much)! Joey Gathright! Do I even need to go on?!?!? Shane Costa!?!?! Oh RBI.... I miss thee.

Real quick for your weekend, a bonus song of the day...

"The gift of paralysis" by Envy On The Coast

Awesome song. Great driving bass beat with sweet complex chords from both the guitar and vocals. Also, has one of the greatest lines I've heard in a while. "Throwing punches at ocean waves." We've all been there.

Sretan Petak!

(Happy Friday in Bosnian)


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Yep, I'm Back

After the loss to Michigan State by my Jayhawks (yes, that long ago), I determined sports were dead to me.

Then baseball started and the Royals got off to a hot hot hot start. I thought about blogging, but got weighed down by work stuff.

Finally, I was checking in the the Kansas City Star blogs about the Royals come from behind victory over the hapless Indians (down 5-2 in the 9th and get a W, awesome!) and their blogging reminded me what I started this for. A forum to express my opinions as well as give insight into sports and hear from the boys back home.

First a quick catch up of the major events with as short of a summary as I can make:

NCAA Tourney: Boring (Ok, just upset still about the MSU game, but the championship sucked)

Chiefs Draft: D-Line = good, but not enough. Hooray for Tony G going to a contender.

Kansas Recruiting: Yep, 2010 champions

Royals Hot Start: Greinke

Manny on women's Fertility Drugs: Ha... reap what you sow

NBA Playoffs: Lebron will not be stopped and go Nuggets!

NHL playoffs: I actually care a little bit!

NBA Lottery: Finally, something the Clippers CAN'T screw up, and are the Kings destined to return home to KC?

On the topic of the Royals, I have to give some thoughts about the year so far.

- If Greinke had any run support, he would be 8-0. He is still amazing and I will try to do anything I can to get to see him this year. Through 8 games started, he has 65 strikeouts. If he starts as many games this year as he did last, that will put him on pace for 260 k's on the year. Last year Greinke was 15th in the majors (tied with the 55 million dollar man Gil Meche) with 183 K's. Only 9 pitchers had over 200 and only 2 had over 230 (AJ Burnett 231, and Tim Lincecum with 265). That would put him up there with the dominate pitchers in the game. Every hitter should fear him. And Greinke is only 25.

- So far I have loved the in season moves the Royals have made. Bringing up both Luke Hochevar and Brian Bannister to work the rotation was brilliant. Horacio Ramirez was not going to be a starter and that was evident after spring training. Sidney Ponson is too inconsistent and we needed to bring up Hoch if we wanted any chance of him becoming a quality starter.

- I think that Royals fans don't realize what they have in Coco Crisp yet. With all the hype surrounding Greinke, Crisp's solid play has gone relatively unnoticed. Crisp has been the leadoff hitter that the Royals have tried to make David Dejesus be for years. He is leading the team in AB's, Runs scored, Triples, Number of Pitches seen (by almost 100) Stolen Bases and Walks! He has also been very solid in center field and has been a great acquisition.

- On the same page is Alberto Callaspo. This is his first year being an everday player and he has responded well. Everyone knew he had the ability on defense, but his offense has always seemed weak. He leads the team in average (.338) hits (44) Doubles (15) Xtra Base Hits (18), has more walks than strike outs (amazing for any Royals hitter it seems) and is second on the team in total bases (1 behind leader Mike Jacobs). So far, this is a much better alternative than Teahan at second base.

That is enough for now. Just a taste.

You stay classy internet,