Monday, August 16, 2004

The Weekend In Review

or: The Stuff That Happened Outside While You Were Playing Madden

  • My favorite new commercial: John Madden is riding in Tom Brady's car. Brady is showing Madden his new Sirius satellite radio receiver. Brady explains that he can listen to every single NFL game on it, and Madden is impressed. (Shouldn't Brady be too busy on Sundays to listen to other games?) "It's my new favorite receiver," Brady comments. Cut to the Patriots' locker room. Troy Brown, David Patten, and David Givens are huddled around a TV, where Madden is giving a report. "I have bid news: Tom Brady has a new favorite receiver!" Givens then goes, "I thought I was his favorite receiver." Dah.

  • Too bad you can't have "conditional players" in KankaMatic baseball. I'd definitely have "Ben Broussard With the Bases Loaded" (something like 9-18, 23 RBI, 3 grand slams), "Clifford Lee and Jake Westbrook During the First Five Innings" (both are in uncharted waters as far as innings pitched, and have shown signs of fatigue starting in the 6th), and "Vic Martinez With Guys on Base."

  • You've probably already read enough about the men's Olympic basketball team (and by team, I of course mean "collection of high-selling jerseys"). At first, I thought that Larry Brown wasn't as great a coach as I thought he was. But hey, he did still take a team of outcasts and win a championship with them. They had the heart. This team doesn't have the heart. Maybe they need someone like Bobby Knight to say, "Shut up and listen to me, or you're on the bench." Or, maybe they just need a captain, an unselfish point guard, and a shooter.

  • OK, so this isn't a Dream Team. But, don't blame them. Even if you had a starting five of Kidd, Bryant, McGrady, Duncan (or Garnett), and Shaq, that's still not a Dream Team. Even if they were all unselfish (and yes, I'm starting to consider Kidd selfish). If I were an NBA historian, maybe I could name you a group of guys who played at the same time who were better than Magic, Bird, and Jordan (yeah, I said it...) with a supporting cast of Ewing, Robinson, Stockton, et al. But, offhand, nothing jumps out. That was something special. Here's another important thing, though: you can get away with lazy dribbling, poor defense, and 30% shooting when the other guy's doing it too. But, when the other guys are playing like a team, you'd better step up too.

  • While we're on the subject of the '92 Dream Team, just found this quote from :

    "They knew they were playing the best in the world," reflected Daly after the team won the gold medal with a 117-85 win over Croatia on August 8, 1992. "They'll go home and for the rest of their lives be able to tell their kids, 'I played against Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson and Larry Bird.' And the more they play against our best players, the more confident they're going to get.

    "Finally there will come a day -- I'm not saying it will happen anytime soon, mind you, but it's inevitable that it will happen -- that they will be able to compete with us on even terms. And they'll look back on the Dream Team as a landmark event in that process."

  • Speaking of Olympic baskeball: Last year, Ruth Riley outplayed and outclassed ("Ruth Riley can't guard me") Lisa Leslie in the WNBA finals. Yet, Leslie continues to be a womens' sports poster child, and a starter on the Olympic team. OK, I'll give the starting nod to her based on experience. But after her play against the Czech Republic (and not Czechoslovakia - that country split in 1993 idiots!) this morning. Slow, lazy, sloppy. She got a rebound or two based on her height, but that was it. Tom Timmermans could have owned her. And not even senior, "playing out of my mind", "The Hub" Tom Timmermans, but uncoordinated 6'11" freshman Tom Timmermans. Dah.

  • So, Michael Phelps won't be breaking Mark Spitz's record of 7 gold medals. You know what? Oh well. He didn't expect to. The record run was created by the media to attract the casual fan. You know you watched him because you were curious, just as countless droves watch a golf tournament with Tiger, regardless of how he does. Phelps has the right attitude, though, and seems very down to earth. Coming in to the games, he said (and I paraphrase): "Look, I didn't win any medals in Sydney. If I win one here, I'll be happy, and we'll go from there." After he did win his first medal, a gold, his only reaction was to celebrate the fact that his teammate won the silver. In a time when America's world reputation isn't the best, perhaps we need a few more people like this representing our country. (Side note: those huge headphones he wears before his heats reminds me of Brady Quinn as the team makes the walk from the Basilica to the Stadium.)

  • The Indians are starting to get noticed in the baseball world. Peter Gammons has praised GM Mark Shapiro since last year for his trades that landed a stockpile of, well, Gammons-esque players. Harold Reynolds loves their heart and hustle. And the series with the Twins was front-page news on The Tribe sure had the momentum going into the series. They were on a win streak, and the Twins were on a losing streak. Big first innings lead to 8-2 and 7-1 victories, and the Indians were a mere 1 game back of first going into the final game of the series. And the fans loved it. Jacobs Field had its first 40,000+ crowds since opening day. In the stadium's 10th anniversary year, it was starting to feel like the "good old days" - back when the lineup was so deep, Jim Thome hit 7th and Manny Ramirez 8th (Baerga, Bell, and Eddie Murray were 3-4-5, with the 1st Baseman du Jour hitting 6th). The final game was a 4-2 loss, but I'd hardly call this series a wash. The team is playing well and - surprise, surprise - this is the best offense in the AL. The rotation has played well, and this team can contend.

  • The Browns had a less than impressive debut. A 24-3 loss was marked by an O-Line that's still thin and tackling that's still sloppy. In a coach's show on today, Butch Davis was talking about the importance of depth, citing the 5 "quality" running backs he has (I still don't consider James Jackson a quality back). Hey Butch, how about some O-Line depth? The score was a little more lopsided than a regular season game might have been, as the Browns were trying a few things. For example, instead of kicking an easy field goal at the end of the half, the Browns decided to go for it on fourth down. A good hit by ND alum Rocky Boiman broke up a pass and saved the Titans 6 points.

  • Of course, Kellen Winslow couldn't even get through a series without incident. A few plays before being sat for a 15 yard unsportsmanlike that pushed the Browns out of field goal range, there was this: This of course is a movie, so you may not want to play it at work. Oh, and I'll include the obligatory "good, good."

KankaNation's Favorite Teams and Their Playoff Chances

  • Yankees 75-42, 1st in AL East. Yeah, yeah.

  • Cubs 63-54, 13.5 games back in NL Central, three way tie for wildcard lead (Padres, Giants). I like the Padres as a young upstart team, but the Cubs have to be the favorites to win the wildcard. With the unbalanced schedule, the Padres will meet each other and the Dodgers quite a bit in the coming month, and hopefully they'll beat each other up and knock themselves out of the lead.

  • Mets 56-60, 10 games back in NL East, 6.5 back in wildcard. Well, even if they go on a run, they still need to hope that 3 teams get cold to win the division, or 5 teams to get cold if they want to run the wildcard. That's why I don't know why they were playing for this year with their trades. Dave believes Kris Benson will sign a long-term deal, which will be helpful. But I still don't understand the Kazmir-Zambrano trade.

  • Mariners 44-73, 21 games back in NL East, 20.5 games back in wildcard. Well, they're not statistically out yet, but things don't look good. At least they have a good crop of young studs to build around. Now they just need more.

  • Blue Jays 49-69, 26.5 games back in the AL East, 16.0 games back in the wildcard. See the above about the Mariners, except for the young studs part. Some things in sports are contagious. For the Indians, good hitting has been contagious. For Carlos Delgado and Vernon Wells, it's been an off year.

  • Rangers 64-52, 0.5 games back in AL West, three way tie for wildcard lead (Red Sox, Angels). This has been a team to watch this year. And they're no fluke. However, with more games against the division as the year comes to an end, it's going to be a dogfight. Maybe they should just fire Buck Showalter so they can win the World Series next year.

  • Pirates 55-60, 20.5 games back in NL Central, 7.0 games back in wildcard. Well, the wildcard number looks nice, but they still need some good young talent to add alongside and Craig and Jack Wilson.

  • Indians 63-56, 2 games back in AL Central, 2.5 games back in wildcard. The wildcard margin looks nice, but it would take losing streaks by Boston, Texas, and Anaheim for the Tribe to take that spot. The best chance is with the Twins, and they'll have plenty of chances to do it head-to-head over the rest of the year.
Lastly, since this apparently didn't post last week, here's the intro to Ellen's new Bob Davie series:

Bob Davie, the man, the myth, the legend.

While many people despise this man because he single handedly, and I say single handedly because he had some awesome assistants like Urban Meyer (who I would love to be coach some day), ruined ND football because he took the great men of Lou Holtz’s era and turned them into the fat messes that they are today, I liked him. Not necessarily as a coach, but as a guy. He was pretty nice and extremely comical. He always made the LONG football practices exciting. Ok, I know what you all are saying, “football is always exciting”. I agree but after the initial, “Wow I’m at a football practice” wears off, you learn all of the plays, practice gets long, especially if you are just shagging balls or holding the down and distance (you can’t talk porn with the kickers every day).

The main thread in all of my Bob Davie tales is that he didn’t focus, or so it seemed, as much on football as he did on other things such as food, players’ personal lives, managers’ personal lives, coaches’ personal lives, diet caffeine free coke, relationships, driving his golf cart around, and Texas A&M. I guess it is no wonder with all of these things going on in his head he never knew what play we were on and couldn’t follow the script for the life of him. Glad I didn’t have to write the plays on the O or D Board.

So hopefully, over the course of my installments I will not only entertain you, but also give you insight on the man, the myth, the legend that is Bob Davie.(You know, the more that I think about it, I’m pretty sure that Will Ferrell could play him in a movie)