Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Quick non-sports (for the most part) hits

In honor M's birthday I thought I would give the readers some quick hits about non-sports related things:
  • Gas going up to $4 a gallon is a minor pain, but the real worry I have is what the price of oil is doing to plane tickets.  I am fine paying an extra $20 a month on gas for my car, but when you start messing with the prices of my plane tickets then that is where I really feel the financial impact.  A sample of plane tickets I have seen recently:  Minneapolis to Chicago: $350.  Minneapolis to Jackson: $700+, Minneapolis to New Orleans: $600+.   If that is going to be the norm then I will definitely be making more road trips to places like Thunder Bay than plane trips to places like Jackson.
  • On the radio (102.1 for people in the Twin Cities) they were talking about how celebrities in Hollywood should move to a place like Kentucky or Mississippi.  The hosts then corrected themselves and said something to the effect of "well maybe not Mississippi.  They are always last on those bad lists."   They then chuckled about why anyone would live in Mississippi, which kind of sums the prevailing thought Minnesotans have about living in Mississippi.   The funny think is that Mississippians wonder as well why anyone would live in Minnesota.  For the record people might want to live in Mississippi because of the warm weather, low cost of living, no traffic, pretty women, and of course Southern hospitality.   Minnesota has a great job market and the Twins.
  • Speaking of Southern hospitality I am trying my best to spread the hospitality up here in Minnesota.   Minnesota nice is something that is irritating and a black mark on this otherwise fine state.  
  • Why isn't there a website devoted to a ride share program?  You could organize carpools or offer up seats in your car on a long trip.  I am going to Chicago in a month and I think it would be nice to have the company and the gas help.
  • If you want a good reality check on some of the bad foods out there check out Men's Health Worst Foods section.   Some highlights include the 2900 calorie Outback Cheese Fries and the 2710 calorie Chili's Awesome Blossom.    You should check out everything including the 2,310 calorie drink.
  • One sports comment: That was a foul last night on Derek Fisher.   The Lakers are either the most charmed team in the world or the conspiracy theorists might have a point.  They get Fisher and Gasol as gifts, a nearly 10 free throw a game average against the Jazz, and now the no call against Brent Barry.   I dislike the Spurs, but they should have won that game last night.
  • If only Trader Joe's wasn't a private company I feel like I would make a lot of money on that stock.   The thing is you can't even franchise out a Trader Joe's, so my backup plan of opening one up in Mississippi is ruined as well.
Time to go out to dinner on Lake Minnetonka.   

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Mad Dog

Last night sitting across from me at the Twins game was the man, the myth, the Mad Dog. I of course had to talk to him and ask him (Mark Madsen just in case you didn't know who Mad Dog is) who he wanted the Twolves to pick with the 3rd pick. (Side note: Isn't in appropriate for the bad luck Twolves that in a 2 person draft they get the 3rd pick). Anyway, my inside scoop is that Madsen wants Kevin Love to pair with Al Jefferson as the front-court of the future for the Twolves. While Love at the 3rd pick might be a reach, I was glad to hear Madsen's opinion. This is now the 3rd time I have talked to Madsen, which might make him one of my better friends in Minnesota. One of the times I "hung out" with Madsen was back in 2006:

I liked Chris Cooley's post about his upcoming wedding.

The brother-in-law wrote a good post about new media vs. old media. I agree with him that the sports world needs a he better version of espn for the true sports fan. I don't care about who is more now or the Budweiser hot seat with Will Ferrell. What I care about is true analysis (think Jaws with a Qb) of games, players and front office strategy. Why can't tv shows specialize in true analysis of sports without all of the spin? Also, wouldn't it be great if you could watch a show in the same vein as deadspin or

However, I have to disagree on his other the argument that American sports fans are in "love" with European basketball players. I don't think many sports fans like how players like Dirk Nowitzki, Manu Ginobili (and I know he was born in Argentina), and Pau Gasol flop when their is slightest bit of contact. I guess I shouldn't blame them too much because they fall under the lineage of the ultimate flopper Vlade Divac. Most basketball fans I know are annoyed about how flopping is ruining some basketball games. Some have even gone to the extent of saying that they should call fouls or technicals on players who flop when they aren't fouled. I think there is lack of appeal to the way that Europeans play basketball specifically because of the excessive flopping. If I want to see athletes flopping then I will check out the MLS and the English Premier league.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to everyone.

Quick thoughts:

I could use a little less drama in sports, but I can't complain about the final outcome for two of my favorite teams. The first and most important game was the Jazz-Lakers Western Conference semifinal game. I could write a novel about the game, but I will spare my thoughts to a few things:
  • Deron Williams is the Hakeem Olajuwon of the Utah Jazz. No they don't play the same position or have anything about their game that is similar. The reason for the comparison is that nobody faults the Rockets for drafting Olajuwon even though they could have drafted Michael Jordan just like nobody faults the Jazz for drafting Deron Williams instead of Chris Paul.
  • I can't believe Phil Jackson called out Kobe's teammates for "bailing out." This plus his constant politicking through the media for calls is annoying and ridiculous out of touch with what is actually happening in the game. He probably believe that Kobe and MJ never missed a shot without getting fouled.
  • Not to be obvious, but Pau Gasol is tall and has a ridiculous long wingspan. Thanks Memphis for giving the Lakers their best post player.
  • Two of the Lakers four best players (Derek Fisher, and Pau Gasol) were either literally given away (Fisher from the Jazz) or might as well have been given away (Gasol). How good would the Lakers be without those two players? Would Kobe have won the MVP instead of the real MVP Chris Paul? What would the Western Conference playoffs looked like?
  • Where would the Jazz be with Derek Fisher in the lineup? Ronnie Price is a decent backup point guard (who made a Tayshaun Prince-esque block in the 4th quarter), but Derek Fisher is really good and just seems to be even better in the playoffs. I would have loved to see Fisher hit those corner for the Jazz instead of against the Jazz. Did I mention that Fisher was a gift from the Jazz to their competition? I know that Fisher's daughter's medical condition complicated things and I don't fault Fisher at all, but still it couldn't have worked out better for the Lakers and worse for the Jazz. That is like Wendy's giving McDonald's the Frosty, while also taking it off their menu.
  • Jazz fans: don't boo Derek Fisher. Again he isn't at fault for the situation and is only doing what is best for his family.
The undercard (which actually happened after the Jazz game) was the Red Sox-Twins game at the Dome. For a random May game it was a pretty exciting 9-8 win for the Twins. I don't know how the team is doing it, but somehow the team is winning games that they didn't win last year. I think that a lot of it might be luck that will even out through the course of a 162 game season, but I will choose tonight to be optimistic.

Top 3 completely unrealistic things I would want from my current sports "career":
  1. A Sportscentury half hour about my high school basketball career at St. Andrew's.
  2. Jon Miller and someone other than Joe Morgan announcing one of my Thursday night softball games.
  3. ESPN Classic showing the Richland-St. Andrew's game from my senior year, but this time with Marv Albert and Al Michael's announcing.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Back and better than ever

There has been a predictable dip in blog postings as of late. The reason that the quantity of postings has decreased is because of a beautiful thing called weather being above 40 degrees. It was a long, harsh winter that stayed too long, but has finally left the Twin Cities. Now with the weather turning around it is time for softball, basketball outdoors and any other outdoor activities. Since I have been outside more and more there hasn't been as many opportunities to sit down at the computer and write about my thoughts on things. Today is a rainy day which gives me a little time to catch up on things.

  • Game 1: Free Throws: Lakers 46. Jazz 30. Lakers win by 11.
  • Game 2: Free Throws: Lakers 43. Jazz 16. Lakers win by 10
  • Game 3: Free Throws: Lakers 37. Jazz 28. Jazz win by 5.
Kobe Bryant has already shot 52 free throws in this series. It is funny how such simple stats can tell the story of a series. One writer (T.J. Simers) for the LA Times even acknowledged the free throw disparity in his article Referees will do anything to make David Stern smile. The Nba has a real problem when it comes to refs favoring the star players. After the Tim Donaghy scandal from last year you would think that these playoffs would be even more closely monitored to insure that they are fair. The Jazz-Lakers series does not seem to be fair and does not seem likes something that is in the best interest of the Nba.

It is a shame that on the Dan Patrick show they are asking questions about how fair the Nba refs are when it comes to officiating star players. It is a shame when a writer from the LA Times (who should be a homer for the Lakers) is questioning the refs. The national and local media should be writing about how unbelievable the Jazz and Lakers are playing right now. How Kobe Bryant is doing a better than imaginable job of leading his team. How Deron Williams seems to easily transition from getting his teammates easy baskets to getting himself easy baskets. Instead that is sometimes lost in the discussion because of shady officiating that is making people openly wonder if the Nba is rigging the playoffs so that the Celtics and the Lakers make it to the Finals. Unfortunately not much has changed since 1998. The Bulls are now the Lakers. Kobe is now Michael Jordan. And the Jazz are still not getting the calls because they are still the Jazz.

Twins updates:
  • This week's sign of the apocalypse: Carlos Gomez came up to bat and drew an important walk. This ended up setting up the walk-off two out hit from Mike Lamb in a dramatic 7-6 victory for the Twins.

  • The Twins are in 1st in the Central Division thanks to their 12-6 home record and the average to below-average records of the rest of the division.

  • Boof Bonser has had a no-decision in each of the past two games despite giving up 6 runs. The Twins have won both of those games 7-6 thanks to clutch two out hitting.

  • Who is Dave Golokhov and why does he list the MN Twins as the 7th worst franchise? Thankfully took that article apart and did what FJM does better than any other website. Please read the posting under Thursday May 8th, 2008 entitled The Cold War. The article that Golokhov wrote is terrible and makes me think that I could make it as a sports writer because I have to believe I am much better than that.

Back to College

  • It has been two weeks since my return trip to college. The best thing about going back as a 25 year old is that you no longer have the expectations that you are actually going back to what you were like in college. When I went back the year after I graduated I had unrealistic expectations that college was still going to be the college I remembered. It was a disappointment. This time I didn't have those same expectations and was able to enjoy myself a lot more. It didn't hurt to be surrounded by the Pac Rim 2004 cult for our reunion.

  • The two best things about being a Miami University student/alum is the beauty of Oxford, OH and the relationship that students have with their professors. I met up with 3 of my professors and the Dean hosted a dinner for our group during the short weekend trip. For some reason I don't think that happens at really large schools. As for the beauty there is no better place to spend 4 years than Miami:

  • The new fashion trend of sundresses at Miami was met with a standing ovation from my guy friends and I. Why did we have to go to school when gaucho pants were in fashion?

I'm out for now. Go Jazz tomorrow on Mother's Day.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Go Jazz

There has been a delay in the blog due to work (more than usual) and trips (both from my parents here and me going back to Ohio).  I hope there will be more posts later, but right now a short one has to due.

For those of you who like the Nba it is hard to not like this year's Utah Jazz team.  For those of you who don't like the Nba you are missing a well constructed team in a very underrated league.  I am on the cliched cloud nine right now after watching the Jazz beat the Rockets tonight in Game 6.   Watching Deron Williams lead the team and take over the third quarter literally made me dance in pure joy.  No one was around and no one really cares about the Nba, but still when he hit an MJ against the Blazers type three (where he shrugged his shoulders) it was enough to make me through my arms up in reverence.   I feel like there needs to be an entire post (one of the long ones) on Korver's shooting, Boozer's post game, Okur's rebouding, Millsap's energy, and Brewer's potential.  The Utah Jazz are a perfectly constructed team and I like their chances against the Kobe/Pau/Fisher Lakers.   I would have liked their chances better if the Grizzlies wouldn't have given up Pau for Javarsis Crittenton and a 10% off coupon to Target.   

There will be more later on this blog including the recap of the incredible trip back to Oxford for the Pac Rim 2k8 reunion.   

Go Jazz.