Elmhurst Pub Roundtable

Where the beer is cold and the conversation loud...

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Hager's Mock Draft

NBA draft is tonite. If I were GM, here is how things would unfold:

  1. Toronto - Everything says that Bargnani will be the number one pick here. I'm not sure what Toronto needs, but I don't think Italy's Raef LaFrentz is it. With Colangelo running the team, they probably take the foreigner.
  2. Chicago - Brandon Roy. He's a sure thing, the best player in the draft, and will be a solid NBA player for year.
  3. Charlotte - Adam Morrison. Can't play defense, but Charlotte needs a consistent scorer.
  4. Portland - Aldridge. No one understands the Blazers, but I bet they look to trade up with Chicago to snag Morrison. If not, this is a safe pick.
  5. Atlanta - They apparently have promised Shelden Williams, but let's pretend they haven't. They have plenty of swing type players but need to move Johnson back to two guard where he thrived in Phoenix. The RIGHT pick here is Foye.
  6. Minnesota - Another team that needs a scorer to help Garnett now. Tyrus Thomas, who could eventually takeover for him. Might go guard here though.
  7. Boston - Tough team to figure out. I think they trade the pick, but not for Telfair. If not, they go for a true point guard and grab Marcus Williams.
  8. Houston - JJ Redick, they need a shooter and despite the back problems I don't think he keeps sliding.
  9. Golden State - Rudy Gay. Replaces Dunleavy.
  10. Seattle - Hilton Armstrong. They take Shelden Williams if he's here, but otherwise they need a body that can rebound. Amazing what a good workout can do for a guy
  11. Orlando - Cedric Simmons. Looks great playing next to Howard.
  12. Hornets - Patrick O'Bryant. Definitely need a center and he's the best available. Remember the Birdman doesn't live here no mo.
  13. Philly - Rodney Carney. Athletic leaper that they snag.
  14. Jazz - The poor guy that gets stuck in Utah, a place that outlawed fun 200 years ago...Ronnie Brewer
  15. Hornets - Quincy Douby, an athletic shooter
  16. Bulls - Thabo Sefolsha, from Switzerland, because the consensus says so
  17. Indiana - Rajon Rondo, Tinsley has been sidelined and he's the best guard available
  18. Washington - Saer Sene. Because it's a funny name.
  19. Sacramento - Alexander Johnson, to continue the run on athletic swingmen
  20. New York - Shannon Brown, because Zeke doesn't have enough tweeners
  21. Phoenix - James White, they don't need much, but he fills with some depth
  22. New Jersey - Maurice Ager. He's in the mold of what Phoenix likes, but I just think this fits better
  23. New Jersey - Kyle Lowry. Kidd is still good, but on the decline. I think they need a guard here to get ready for the transition
  24. Memphis - Jordan Farmar, they could use some youth at point.
  25. Cleveland - Shawne Williams, someone athletic that can keep up with Lebron
  26. Lakers - Paul Davis, a good passing big man with a nice shooting touch. Plus he whines real well, so he fits in with the NBA
  27. Phoenix - Some random foreigner I don't know
  28. Dallas - Sergio Rodriguez, another foreign guard
  29. Knicks - Josh Boone. Because Zeke doesn't care if he hasn't changed in 4 years.
  30. Portland - If they trade Telfair to Boston, they take Mardy Collins. They probably take him anyway.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

20 years later: Lenny Bias

I was going to put this with my musings yesterday, but couldn't condense it enough...

You can't predict the future. But if you could, the Celtics would be the ones hanging a final banner in the rafters this year as grizzled veteran Len Bias looks on, having announced his retirement from basketball. Bias was the key, the cornerstone, the bridge that would carry the Celtics into the 1990's and the new century, taking the reigns from Larry Bird. He would have mentored Reggie Lewis, understood what it meant to wear the green and white, and led the team to a half dozen more titles. Wasn't meant to be though. Things changed in an instant that draft night. The church going kid who wanted nothing more than to please all those around him took what is stated as his first hit of cocaine and died that same night. The banners, dreams, and bridge died with him and left the Celtics in the state we see them currently.

Len Bias represents to the NBA, and especially to the Celtics organization, one of the greatest "what-ifs" in basketball history. Many considered Bias to be the perfect complement to the Larry Bird-led Celtics, a potential backup for both Bird and Kevin McHale who would have limited their minutes and perhaps in turn extended their careers. The second overall pick, dressed in a Jalen Rose-esque white suit, was going to be that good. The first "next Michael Jordan." It was the first in a chain of events that the Celtics haven't been able to recover from: extra wear and tear on Bird and company, the death of Reggie Lewis, ML Carr, Tim Duncan, Rick Pitino, Danny Ainge. It's odd, I hadn't realized that Bias' death was that long ago. Hell, I was too young to know much about him. But ESPN classic is back showing some of his games. Watch one, do yourself a favor. He was brash, confident, and knew he was the best. That's all there is too it. Maybe that's why he thought he was invincible, maybe that's why his legacy is what it is - a say no to drugs campaign.

I hadn't spent much time thinking about him or his potential impact on the Celtics until I watched one of those games. Now, I see the potential, I see where they could be and where they are. It doesn't as much upset me as it does disappoint me. It's my same feeling on guys like Chris Henry and Santonio Holmes and Ricky Williams, Roy Tarpley, Steve Howe, and any other you can think of. These guys have the world in the palm of their hands, millions of dollars in their pockets, and there always needs to be more. It makes you realize that athletes are human and have their demons as well, you just wish that they had the means to control them.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

At a loss...

Normally, in the course of a week, something comes up that I find interesting or that bothers me. Frankly, I haven't had time to be bothered or to think too much...and that statement shouldn't be a surprise to many people. But I was listening to sports radio and they gave me ideas for a few things to write about. So instead of my usual structured post, it's another time for general musings:

--Guys that have played shortstop and second base (regulars) for the Red Sox since 1989: Jeff Frye, Scott Fletcher, Luis Rivera, Nomar, Jody Reed, John Valentin, Mark Bellhorn, Todd Walker, Edgar Renteria, Alex Gonzalez, Mark Loretta, Marty Barrett, Tim Naehring, Luis Alicea, Mike Benjamin, Mark Lemke, Jose Offerman, Mike Lansing, Rey Sanchez, Pokey Reese, Orlando Cabrera. 17 years, 20 players. One might say that life expectancy is not good in the Sox middle infield.

--DaVinci Code movie is slightly more disturbing than the book. Liked the end to the book, thought they took a little too much artistic license with the movie personally. Maybe it's the Catholic in me, but the movie was much more unsettling to walk away from than the book was.

--Ozzie Guillen should be fined and suspended for demoting a pitcher based on the fact he wouldn't hit someone. Sure, there are codes that govern the game and maybe in that sense the pitcher should have drilled Blalock. BUT at the same time we sanction and suspend players for throwing at people and suspend coaches for allowing it to happen. Guillen's actions on the field and in the dugout were an embarassment to the game of baseball and the fact that he could get away with it is even more disturbing.

--With David Segui coming out as one of the players named, does that make him a good guy or a bad guy? His reasoning leads me to believe a bad guy.

--Seanez says the booing doesn't bother him. I suggest he gets used to it then. Anyone that pitches the way he has over the past month shouldn't be in the majors. I reserve that statement for Tavarez as well.

--Santonio Holmes and Chris Henry are looking to play for Jerry Jones' Cowboys next year. How do you get arrested twice since the draft?? And as for Henry, he's making Marcus Vick look like an amateur.

--If a team wins a Stanley Cup, and no one watches it, does it even matter?

--Bruins are said to be heading after Laviolette...hmm, seems like they could have had him after they fired Keenan and decided that Ftorek would be the answer. All Laviolette has done is get his team to the playoffs and now win a cup, first with the Islanders (playoffs) and now the Canes. Where's Robbie Ftorek now?

--If the Celtics draft JJ Reddick, I may have to hurt someone. Two words: Marcus Williams. Two more words: TRADE IT

--I love the college world series, but the sound of the ball hitting metal is just bad compared to the crack of wood.

--"So You Think You Can Dance" easily cracked my top 5 on the "keep until I delete" tivo list. The auditions for that are 10 times as funny as American Idol. It wasn't even close.

That's it for now. More tomorrow...

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Controversial Movies

So Entertainment Weekly released a list of the 25 most controversial movies of all time. Some I agree with, others don't make a whole lot of sense, and the number one movie on the list is controversial in and of itself. Here's the list with my comments as well as what was missing from it.

25. Aladdin: Apparently, critics didn't like the one line, "where they cut off your hand if they don't like your face..." Let's not get started on how ridiculous this sounds. Granted, Disney creates movies with enough sexual innuendo to irritate parents, but I think there are a few more movies that could be on the list ahead of this one or any cartoon for that matter.
24. Caligula: I'd never heard of this one, but we all know the story of this sexually depraved Roman emperor. I don't think I can argue this one being off the list, but if it's anything like the history and since it was given only limited release out of fear of obscenity lawsuits, probably could be higher.
23. Kids: The website I got the list from said this: "A group of teens prowl the streets of NYC in search of sex, booze, drugs, and other high-risk kicks." Then they felt they had to explain the controversy.
22. Do the Right Thing: Racial tension movie by Spike Lee. 'Nuff said.
21. Bonnie and Clyde: I think this is here just because of its 1967 release. The slow motion violence in this one is excessive, but released today is probably handled better.
20. Cannibal Holocaust: I actually had to watch this for a class in high school. Really creepy movie that was basically what Blair Witch came from...if it were filmed in the Amazon with Cannibal tribes.
19. Basic Instinct: Only because of the gay rights contingent that went nuts. They didn't like Sharon Stone as a man-hating lesbian. Other than the murder thing, every guy thought it was pretty hot.
18. I am Curious: I got nothing on this one.
17. Freaks: Apparently this film wasn't allowed in England until the 1960's. They'll show anything, so that does it for me.
16. United 93: Now I didn't want to see this one, but mainly because the whole incident still seemed to fresh to make a movie out of. But those who did found it more provoking than anything. I can see controversy, but the event is what it is.
15. Triumph of the Will: I won't comment on something made before my grandmother was born.
14. The Warriors: Great film if you can catch it on cable. Problem: perpetuates gang violence. Seems to me you need to be in a gang first.
13. Da Vinci Code: We know why this is here. People take things too seriously. It's thought provoking and gets you to think more in detail about the Catholic faith, but I wouldn't exactly say this is something to shake what you believe. If it is, look up FICTION in the dictionary.
12. Deer Hunter: Vietnam War movie. That has enough in it to really bother you.
11. The Message: Any movie that causes terrorists to take people hostage in D.C. should probably be a little higher on the list. Maybe because not many people saw it.
10. Baby Doll: When business competition goes overboard. Guy tries to seduce a guy's wife. The catch, wife is still a virgin. Uproar in the Catholic church over this one. If you ask me, the guy's wife was a virgin, that says enough doesn't it?
9. Last Tango in Paris: Landed people in court over obscenity charges. That's how much nudity was in this one and how "animalistic" the sex was.
8. Natural Born Killers: If this wasn't on here, something would be wrong. 12 murders linked to this movie.
7. The Birth of a Nation: Another messed up movie that depicts the KKK as saviors. I think that's enough to call this movie controversial...and nuts.
6. The Last Temptation of Christ: Satan induced hallucinations involving sex with Mary Magdalene. Dan Brown gets first idea for Da Vinci Code.
5. JFK: People took this one too seriously too. Gave Stone problems for lending credence to conspiracy theories.
4. Deep Throat: We aren't talking Watergate here. Linda Lovelace herself denounced the film.
3. Farenheit 9/11: Michael Moore and his ability to tear apart Bush. Sparked protests and made him fodder for Bill O'Reilly.
2. A Clockwork Orange: Its use of Gene Kelly's ''Singin' in the Rain''? That the movie first landed an X rating and was deemed pornographic across the U.S. was nothing compared with its reception in the U.K.: Social uproar and reports of copycat crimes led Kubrick to withdraw Clockwork from distribution in his adopted country. It wasn't officially available there again — in theaters or on video — until 2000, a year after his death.
1. Passion of the Christ: Only because people got irritated over the theory of anti-Semitism. To me, if you had gone to Church on Palm Sunday, this is nearly what you got.

My problems with this list: Anything that caused murders, hostages, copycat crimes, whatever, should be listed as 1-2-3. It's pretty simple there. If it didn't cause someone to kill another person, it wasn't that controversial. And get the Disney film off of there.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Another sad day for baseball...

It's sad when a sport can reduce you to this state, when a game becomes such an important portion to who you are and what you love. This steroid scandal has bothered me for a while. We were in high school when McGwire and Sosa put on the home run chase in 1998, where baseball mattered again and it was what you woke up to ask about each morning. Everyone wanted to know who homered, how many did they hit, how far did the ball travel. I was knieve enough to think then that it wasn't artificial. This when a player on my own high school team was using steroids to get himself a division one scholarship (this came out after I graduated). With all of this, I didn't want to believe up until BALCO became a name that I let myself know that steroids were a part of a game I cared about so much. Now I won't rehash all of that, but I will talk about the news today.

The news regarding Jason Grimsley serves as a serious reminder that performance enhancing drugs are such a serious problem in today's game. Grimsley admitted to federal investigators that he used HGH and then asked for his release from the Diamondbacks. ESPN details it, but the fact is if anyone is in position to name names, it's Grimsley. He started in the 80's and has played on 7 big league teams with names such as Sosa, Palmeiro, Dykstra, Bonds, and Belle. Even more so, as a pitcher, he knows more about what they have done than any other person in baseball at this point. Grimsley was cited by Latino players, as well as other players on the California teams who could get the drugs easy over the border. He also detailed how amphetamines were doled out and how many players he felt were using. Grimsley was never a name mentioned in BALCO, interestingly enough. Think he won't tell stories to buy some favorable treatment? Ask yourself if you would.

It's just hard to swallow. It's no doubt going to get worse as the weeks go on. Who knows where things will go from here. There's no test for HGH, there's no way the players association will allow blood testing, which is the only way HGH will eventually be allowed to be tested for. The players right now have a free pass to use it. How do you track it? How does the sport move forward? Why did Grimsley talk now?

I'll put Buster Olney's blog in the comments. His points on this subject are always worth noting. Baseball still says they didn't have enough information in the 80's and 90's. Something tells me that Grimsley will shed some light on that subject too.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Where have you gone, Jon Lester?

Watching David Pauley pitch last night was a lot like watching a deer caught in headlights. The rookie performed admirably for a portion of his outing, but ended the night yielding 6 runs on 11 hits and never able to locate his off-speed pitches for strikes. He found out quickly that if you don't do that, big league hitters will sit on your 88-91 mph fastball. When you remember he's only 22, you see that he's probably a number 4 or 5 starter for someone, Red Sox or otherwise. But he didn't enter into a game with the fanfare that Papelbon did last season when he pitched 5 innings against the White Sox and then his next start against the Angels where he went 6 and 2/3.

So personally, I'm starting to get irritated. Why? Because this organization is coddling some of their stud pitchers. They did it with Papelbon last year, and now they're doing it with Lester. Now, I could be wrong and it's possible he was on short rest and couldn't go. But if that isn't the case, then there is no reason why he shouldn't have been starting that game. The front office has to realize that at some point these guys are going to have to throw 225-260 innings in a season. The focus seems to be instead on saving their arms, not wanting them to fail, keeping pitch counts low. Lester for the first month plus of the season didn't go more than 3 innings. Instead of it building his strength, it made him try to get outs without being able to set up his pitches. The result: an overinflated ERA and more eroded confidence than built. Let the kid loose and he does fine, as is evidenced by his last 4 starts or so. At 24, Clemens threw 260 innings for Boston in '86. What has changed?

I've said it before, if these conditioning and throwing programs are so good, why are we so worried about the pitches these guys are throwing. Kerry Wood and Mark Prior may have injured themselves, but look at Zito, Mulder, and Hudson. All have achieved a decent level of success in the pros. For every flameout there's an all-star. The Sox need pitching and have it in their system. Wells is down, Clement is scary, Timlin is hurt, Tavarez and Seanez are a mess. If they don't get their act together, they won't make the postseason anyway. So why aren't we looking to take advantage of what the farm system has to offer? The damaged confidence is a joke. Lester dominated AA last year and once he was allowed to take the training wheels off is doing the same at AAA. IT'S TIME. Let the kid pitch. See what you have. At some point, the franchise needs to see if he's ready. When is that going to be? You could always use more time, more seasoning, better location. Schilling says that even now. But unless you let the guy on the mound, you'll never know.

They were afraid last year they were rushing Papelbon. I think that worked out pretty well.