Saturday, March 20, 2004
Tara Kirk is just amazing.
Yesterday, she set a world record in the 100m breaststroke.
Today, she set an American record in the 200m breaststroke.
Her time was 2:20:70, erasing Amanda Beard's 2:21.42 mark from 2002 out of the record books. Not only did Tara set an American record, she also set a NCAA record, smashing Kristy Kowal's 2:22:05 mark from 2000.
Congratulations once again, Tara! I hope we can see her in Athens this summer, barring any unforseen circumstances.
Yes, that was my bracket going down today. Way down.
What's up with the Seattle Center Coliseum/Key Arena being the place of some huge upsets? 1994, Dikembe Mutombo cries like a little biggity bitch after his Nuggets shock the Sonics. 1999, Gonzaga started its Cinderella run in the Key. And in 2004, both #1 Stanford AND #2 Gonzaga go down in the second round. Simply unreal. Can we PLEASE blow this place up for good? I've never liked Key Arena to begin with, so can we get the job done ASAP?
Today was Exhibit A as to why I don't bet big money on the NCAA Tournament. Let's begin...
Duke 90, Seton Hall 62
Screw you, Arizona. Oh, Duke plays the winner of Illinois-Cincinnati Friday in Atlanta. Hooray.
SHOULD A PLAYER BE BANNED FROM BASEBALL BECAUSE HE HAS A BIONIC EYE?
Nevada 91, Gonzaga 72
I had the Zags winning the whole damn thing. Well, it's been chronicled here that nothing good can ever happen to me, so this wasn't a big shocker. But it was.
The officials set the tone from the opening tipoff. Ronny Turiaf was called for two quick fouls in the first three minutes of the game, basically eliminating a huge part of Gonzaga's firepower. And when he came back in around the 12 minute mark, he was called for a very questionable offensive foul. He was on the bench until the second half.
Nevada came out firing though, taking advantage of their new teammates in stripes. The Wolf Pack played a hell of a ballgame, and for that, I have to give them credit. However, it is a secret to nobody that in order to win in March, you cannot have an off night. Well, Blake Stepp picked a horrible time to do just that. He scored 13 points in the loss, but was 3-of-18 from the field. Yikes.
It was a good season for Gonzaga, but this is a tough pill to swallow. This isn't just another year of "well, we had a good run". This program has advanced from that line of thinking. They're a legitimate program in college basketball. But I can guarantee you that they won't get a 2 seed next year. This is just the cynic in me.
Nevada will play the winner of the Boston College-Georgia Tech game Friday in St. Louis.
Wake Forest 84, Manhattan 80
In the year I don't pick Wake Forest to advance to the Sweet 16, they go ahead and advance to the Sweet 16. It figures.
I don't feel bad for picking Manhattan though. Luis Flores had 20 points for the Jaspers. He's a player and I hope to see him play in the NBA next season.
St. Joseph's 70, Texas Tech 65
YES!!! I finally win a game today in my bracket.
The Hawks will face Wake Forest on Thursday in East Rutherford.
Syracuse 72, Maryland 70
I didn't see any of this game. I was watching the Alabama-Stanford game instead. But hey, the Cuse is in the Sweet 16. Not too bad for a team that lost Carmelo Anthony.
Alabama 70, Stanford 67
Dumb hicks 1, Smart kids 0
My national title game of Gonzaga-Stanford is officially dead at this point. This is also when the thunder and lightning start to hit my neck of the woods. Not good.
Alabama will play Syracuse Thursday in Phoenix.
Connecticut 72, DePaul 55
UConn head coach Jim Calhoun had an upset stomach during this game. I did too, Coach.
The Huskies will play the winner of Vanderbilt-NC State Thursday in Phoenix.
Texas 78, North Carolina 75
Tar Heels Fans, help is on the way. Marvin Williams will not allow Carolina to bow out in the second round, mark that down right now.
Oh, and Frick Texas.
The Longhorns play the winner of Xavier-Mississippi State Friday in Atlanta
So there you go, I was 2-6 today. My only wins today were St. Joe's and UConn.
This is a year of parity. The Pac-10 is way down. Conference USA is considered a "power". It's been that kind of year in the college basketball world.
Some more notes on the NCAA Tournament...
---Why do we need the sideline reports to be sponsored? I have nothing against Dasani Water, but this is ridiculous.
---Keep Greg Gumbel locked up in the studio. Thanks in advance.
---I hope St. Joseph's blows out Wake Forest, with that assclown Billy Packer calling the game.
For the record, I don't think a baseball player should be banned because he has a bionic eye. But that's just me. Translation: "Century City" will have the same shelf life as "Skin".
Pacific-Kansas will be on at 1:40 Pacific tomorrow afternoon. Miah, make us proud one more time!
Damn right, I got Knight Pride. Hell, I think I even did the hand jive as well last night. And of course, I did the Bremerton jumping jacks.
Anyways, congrats to Tara on her world record in the breaststroke. South Kitsap can have all the state tournaments, we'll take the world record holders any day, thank you very much.
Programming note: The NCAA Women's Swimming & Diving Championships will be broadcast (tape delayed) on Friday, March 26 at 11 am Pacific (1 pm Central) on ESPN 2. They will have Tara's world record performance. Hell, they better have it.
Knight Pride >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Wolf Pride
But I don't give a crap about the Mariners right now, and I've got two reasons.
Reason number one: Miah Davis and Pacific getting to the second round. Jeremy covered this, as will many others in the next 24 to 48 hours.
Reason number two: the girl that sat in front of me in calculus class four years ago now holds a world record. Congratulations to Tara Kirk. At the NCAA swim championships, Tara posted a 1:04.79 in the 100m breaststroke, running her Stanford winning streak (spanning her entire tenure there) in the event to 35. Three cheers for Tara Kirk -- a world-class swimmer, an amazing student, an extremely diligent, poised person, and one of the most down-to-earth approachable people anyone could ever meet. I'll take this moment to say I put a message into her 2000 yearbook that said something to the effect of all B-towners being on her side in the Megan Quann-Tara Kirk tilt. Hey, I was leaning more along the lines of competitiveness, not antagonism.
Semi-related story: as a Knight baseball player, one of the first few practices we had every year (when the ground was still mush outside) was a mental preparedness practice. Coach McKnight would put us through these visualization techniques and some other mental awareness exercises to kind of get us thinking in different ways and to sharpen our minds. At one point in one practice, he asked us if we thought we could teach ourselves to walk again if we were hypothetically stricken with a wheelchair-binding paralytic injury. Answers were scattered among the group of players. Coach McKnight said he knew of only two people in the school that had the mental strength and wherewithal necessary to go from paralyzed to fully locomotive. He said they were both female. He then said they were sisters. At this point, everyone in the room knew who he was talking about. One sister holds a world record tonight, and her younger sister and Stanford teammate, Dana, finished second in the 100 butterfly. In the realm of mental strength, it's been said that the Kirks have a sort of competitive switch that gets turned on when necessary. Mix this with hard work, and results pay off, tonight being the case in point.
Miah Davis, Class of 1999, Bremerton.
Tara Kirk, Class of 2000, Bremerton.
What a day for the Knights...KNIGHT PRIDE!!! I almost tore through a set of Bremerton spell-out jumping jacks while I posted this.
Canuck goals: Brendan Morrison (19), Matt Cooke (8), Trevor Linden (14)
It's official; I'm not going back to capitalize or sort out my postgame notes until the Canucks win again. Here come Dan, Tom, and John.
dan: van came from 3-1 down to force ot
morrison pp...van broke 6gm streak of not scoring first
hedberg deflected played puck to arnason for first goal
hedberg pulled for auld, sharp for rest of game
cooke on pp
delayed pen, cooke set up linden
3 of 4 chi.van games in ot this yr
canucks 3-1 season series
89 pt, 7 gm left
dan: sure, points, but lost to chi...gotta be worried. equal to playing norfolk...van led 1-0, some positives, but showed fragility...unraveled with the hedberg mistake...auld as bright spot, but didn't look good on the gamer...van guaranteed to not match last yr's pt total
dan: people are going to be worried
tom: they should be...team not close to a-game...unable to beat team 26 pts out of playoffs...good teams manage to put weak sisters away...impressed coming back from 2 down...auld looked pretty good...look fragile now though, hedberg play turned game
tom: it did...3 goals in just over 5 mins...concerned, but not into full worry until seeing them at home, time betw games on homestand...if no signs of upward, concern changes to worry
dan: home record not very good
john: 8-12-6 at home after 9-0-1 start
tom: auld stops 17 of 18, gave canucks chance to come back...someone needs to step up even with these injuries
dan: they say you learn a lot from teams in times like this...
tom: linden with big goal, good work by cooke too
john: j ruutu gone by 2nd per, maybe another injury, only played 5 shifts, canucks trailed chi in 3 of the games this yr
tom: weak sister...van had difficult time w/them...only one win since bertuzzi susp...maybe we built the team up a little too high?
john: wants to see impact of jovo return...since he left 10-9-3-3
dan: glad they only told us jovo would be out 2 wks...imagine how long
if they would have said 2 mo...
Columbus at Vancouver on Sunday.
Saturday March 20, 2004
10:10 am Seton Hall #8 vs Duke #1
12:20 pm Nevada #10 vs Gonzaga #2
12:40 pm Manhattan #12 vs Wake Forest #4
2:30 pm Texas Tech #8 vs St. Joseph's #1
2:40 pm Syracuse #5 vs Maryland #4
2:50 pm Alabama #8 vs Stanford #1
5:00 pm DePaul #7 vs Connecticut #2
5:10 pm North Carolina #6 vs Texas #3
IMO, this is the story of the NCAA Tournament so far. Am I biased? Yes. But let's be honest, America loves the little known teams come tournament time. Manhattan is one of those teams. But tonight, Miah Davis made Pacific "that team".
Davis dropped in Thomason's lap after stops at Modesto (Calif.) Junior College and Division II Cal State-Stanislaus. Davis had qualified out of Bremerton (Wash.) High School but ...
"I didn't know him at all," Thomason said.
After a transfer year in 2001-2002, he averaged 10.1 points in 2002-2003 and led the Tigers this year with 14.7 points per game.
It's hard to replicate the kid's handle and speed on film. That's why Thomason has been able to ride the talents of Davis, the Big West player of the year, to get to this point. The 6-footer stepped back and stuck a three in the face of a Providence defender with 93 seconds left to push the lead to an insurmountable 61-54.
"I didn't think they respected us too well," Davis said. "It's a shot you practice every day, go to the gym and shoot by yourself. It went in, thank God."
I was watching the Pacific game off and on between the CBS affiliate here and AOL Broadband. Hell, when the game wasn't on either of those outlets, I went to Pacific's website and listened to their radio feed. I was able to see that clutch three pointer with 1:33 left. What a shot. Folks, that's the Miah Davis Bremertonians know and love. It was nothing new to me. He did those things throughout his high school career. It's just that he did this on the national stage.
As for the respect issue, I wouldn't worry about it, Miah. They're just an overrated Big East team.
Pacific has won 16 in a row, second only to Gonzaga's 21 game winning streak. They were 17-1 in the Big West Conference in 2003-2004, losing only to Utah State in Logan. This isn't a team that was lucky to be here only because Utah State lost in the Big West Tournament. Pacific is for real. It's not just Miah. It's guys such as Christian Maraker, who averaged over 20 points a game this season. And he's only a sophomore. I would be remissed if I forgot about Guillaume Yango, who scored 19 points in the Tigers' victory. For the first 10 minutes of the second half, he was the only Tiger who was able to score.
Pacific plays Kansas Sunday afternoon in Kansas City's Kemper Arena. It should be a great game. And in this tournament, where there really aren't too many lower-seeded teams, the stage could be set for Miah and the Pacific Tigers to make some more noise. Game time is TBD.
I may not be in Bremerton or the state of Washington tonight, but I'm damn proud of Miah Davis. He's a class act who deserves nothing but the best. I hope he can make this run last a little longer. He's a great ballplayer and I'm just happy that the nation is getting to see him play.
We salute you, Miah, and the rest of the Pacific Tigers. Beat Kansas Sunday.
Friday, March 19, 2004
Yes, KTHV aired "Arkansas Today" again today at 11 a.m. Today's Birthdays? Bruce Willis is 49 today.
Anyways, on to the second day...
Memphis 59, South Carolina 43
God I hate John Calipari. But I hated the Gamecocks even more on this day. I picked them, but did they come through? Of course not. They scored just 18 points in the 1st half, and even before halftime I knew the game was over. Yikes.
North Carolina State 61, Louisiana-Lafayette 52
A good start for the ACC on the second day. Julius Hodge was held to 14 points, but the Wolfpack did what good teams do in the NCAA Tournament: Survive and advance.
Boston College 58, Utah 51
Bored me to death. Let's move on. (I had Utah. DAMMMMMMMMMMMMIT!)
Illinois 72, Murray State 53
Dee Brown with 21 points for the Fighting Illini. The Big Ten may have been mediocre this year, but I like Illinois. Then again, I always have.
Vanderbilt 71, Western Michigan 58
Why do you torture me, mid majors of the Midwest? First Southern Illinois, now Western Michigan. Thank god I didn't pick Northern Iowa...
Georgia Tech 65, Northern Iowa 60
The ACC is the best conference in all of college basketball this year. Nice effort by Kurt Warner U, but it wasn't enough.
Cincinnati 80, East Tennessee State 77
DAMMIT!!! I hate Bob Huggins with a passion. What kills me about the guy is that he wears a friggin warmup pullover on the sidelines. ETSU's Tim Smith is a player. I would have loved to see him play on Sunday. But of course not.
Oklahoma State 75, Eastern Washington 56
Great effort by Eastern in their first-ever tournament appearance. They were tied at halftime at 36. But the Cowboys were too much for the Eagles. As a former Eastern student, I salute the Eagles. To beat an Eddie Sutton team, you have to play great basketball. There's a reason why I think Oklahoma State is going to the Final Four. They're tough as hell. Toughness will help you out big time in tournament play.
A lot of "Boom". A ton of Cialis. And a load of Survivor promos. Well, at least I don't mind listening to "Boom".
Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah
And the man at the back said
Everyone attack and it turned into a ballroom blitz
And the girl in the corner said
Boy, I wanna warn ya, it'll turn into a ballroom blitz
Ballroom blitz, ballroom blitz, ballroom blitz
Can't forget about the Mitsubishi promos either. BALLROOM BLITZ!!!
And boy, was the second half of the day ever a BLITZ...
Mississippi State 85, Monmouth 52
The boys from Starkville are for real. Don't underestimate them at all.
Kentucky 96, Florida A&M 76
FLAM gave Kentucky a run, but the Wildcats pulled away. They had to. Lord knows what would have happened to Tubby Smith if they had lost this game...
Wisconsin 76, Richmond 64
For the recap of this game, just look at this picture (it's Richmond coach Jerry Wainright)
PACIFIC 66, Providence 58
Miah Davis is the man. He's also clutch. Need we say more???
Xavier 80, Louisville 70
It's always great to see Rick Pitino lose. Bill Simmons is laughing tonight somewhere in Southern California...
Kansas 78, Illinois-Chicago 53
Rock. Chalk. Jayhawk. To the second round. Only to lose to Miah Davis and the Pacific Tigers.
Pittsburgh 53, Central Florida 44
If I were in charge of the NCAA, I would require BOTH teams to score at least 60 points. Larry Fitzgerald 1, Daunte Culpepper 0.
And in the final game of the night...
UAB 102, Washington 100
A great effort by Washington. Two months ago, the NCAA Tournament wasn't even an afterthought. Two months later, here they are. It's a shame they had to bow out in the first round, but what can you do? UAB is a tough team, and it showed tonight. They're just as quick as the Huskies, if not quicker. UAB coach Mike Anderson finally got his revenge on Lorenzo Romar, dating back to the 1995 national championship game (Anderson was an assistant under Nolan Richardson at Arkansas and Romar was on Jim Harrick's staff at UCLA).
I hope UAB knocks off Kentucky. Why? Because I want it to happen. No reason for it really.
And that was the second day of the NCAA Tournament. I'm winded, yet again. It's the only way I should feel. IT'S THE NCAA TOURNAMENT for crying out loud.
I haven't hit on the CBS announcing crews yet, so I better do it now...
Best team: Craig Bolerjack and Bob Wetzel. I've always been a fan of Bolerjack. He calls a great game, and doesn't try to make himself bigger than the game. I like that out of my announcers. Wetzel was solid as well. He even mentioned Miah's free throw routine. Nice hustle, Bob.
Best sideline reporter: Bonnie Bernstein. Do I need to explain?
Worst team: Jim Nantz and Billy Packer. These guys get to do the Final Four? The humanity. The fricking humanity. I can think of a few teams that deserve the Final Four more than these guys...
Like Verne Lundquist and Bill Raftery? I'm a huge Raftery fan. From the "bemememeeepepppp" opening tipoff call to his "and the kiss" calls, he's just great. He's everywhere. ESPN, CBS, YES Network, etc. And Lundquist is a legend. I get chills everytime he yells "GOT IT!!!" after a big time shot or a big catch in football, when he's calling football games.
Worst sideline reporter: Jim Gray. Yes, I know he's not a CBS guy, but so what. I hate him.
In the first round, I went 22-10. Not too bad. Two of my Sweet 16 teams are now gone. That would be Arizona and Washington. The Pac-10 was down this year, but hell, I thought these teams had a good chance to make a run. Oh well.
We're in for one hell of a weekend, i.e. the second round. BRING IT ON.
Speaking of "Bring It On", it looks like UAB raided a "Bring It On" garage sale, judging by their uniforms.
Anyways, bring on the second round. No matter how bad my brackets are.
Miah Davis led Pacific with 19 points, advancing the Tigers to a second round date with either Kansas or Illinois-Chicago in Kansas City. TAKE THAT, BIG EAST!!!
DAMN RIGHT, BREMERTON REPRESENTING ON THE NATIONAL STAGE!!!
Pacific, SPORTS AND BREMERTONIANS 2004 NCAA TOURNAMENT CINDERELLA! BELIEVE IT!!!
Thursday, March 18, 2004
The last baseball post here was this one, where I let Bob Melvin have it for ripping Willie Bloomquist, Greg Dobbs, Ben Davis, Mike Cameron, and John Mabry in the press this spring.
So the Times and P-I came out with their columns, which weren't too much to write home about, then Larry LaRue came out with this article, which I would have been somewhat forewarned about had I checked my email a little more often and seen that Mark at the Top Forum somehow scooped it via a source (don't ask me how). Before I go on here, I must say that Steve had a great post which brought up the "gotta make a move" mentality that it's quite possible Bill Bavasi gets depending on whatever need he or someone around him deems as more pressing.
I read through all this Davis stuff last night, and I had one phrase going through my mind that I couldn't get away from -- THEY'RE OUT TO GET HIM. This may be a stretch, but I don't think that bunt that Ben Davis laid to break up Curt Schilling's perfect game was ever lost on Bob Melvin's mind. Pat Gillick was the guy that brought Davis aboard before 2002 in what I still think was a fairly good trade. Bob Melvin was brought on in 2003, and since I can't truly think of any instances in 2003 where Bob had it in for Ben, I won't try to extrapolate or make any stupid assumptions. But I'm still betting that The Bunt wasn't lost on Bob. Fast forward to 2004 and a new GM. Davis wasn't brought in under Bavasi's watch, and he wasn't brought in under Melvin's watch. Kind of a conspiracy theory here, but maybe Melvin built Davis up (giving him a "chance" to get the starting job) just so he could take him down. Under this somewhat hair-brained theory of mine, Melvin saw the Jose Guillen and Vlad Guerrero bombs and smelled blood, and The New Bob Melvin decided to let Davis know about it AND rip him in the press. Yes, The New Bob Melvin is much like the same old Bumbling Bob, except he rips players in the media. I hate my life.
There's one thing I'm praying for this Mariner season -- I'm praying for the day that one of these Mariners calls Bob Melvin out in the media for doing something stupid. Jeremy is putting his money on Edgar or Boone for "first to call out Melvin," and I would have to concur. Edgar has done some lashing out against upper management personnel -- surely you remember this from last September? Boone is outspoken, nuts, and is somewhat of a team leader, so a call-out from him would be quite damaging, much like one from Edgar would be. We'll see if Rich Aurilia has any fire in his belly to stand up to Melvin. I wish Jeff Nelson were still here so he could give us the real skinny on everything. Ichiro won't call anyone out due to cultural reasons, I'm guessing. I think I'll set June 10 as an over-under for a Melvin call-out situation. Any takers?
It's the first year that I've watched the NCAA Tournament outside the Pacific Time Zone. The show should be starting at 11 a.m. Central, but oh no, we have "Arkansas Today" on KTHV. Yes, "Arkansas Today". It's some midday news show that nobody my age really cares about. But I'm sure that some cafe up in Ozark probably watches it on a daily basis. They had their usual segment of "birthdays". I guess a few folks up in northeast Arkansas had birthdays today. Vanessa Williams turned 41 today, however.
10 minutes after 11, the NCAA Tournament finally comes on KTHV. But what is this? A NEW JAZZED UP NCAA BASKETBALL THEME FOR CBS? WHAT THE HELL? AM I DREAMING? They can change the region names of the brackets, but they cannot change the damn theme. I'm just horrified by this.
Preshow with Greg Gumbel, Clark Kellogg, and Seth Davis. Kellogg thinks that BYU is going to upset Syracuse, and he also thought that Florida would hold on to beat Manhattan. Davis brought up Florida's infamous early round history in the tournament. I also come to find out that Auburn had fired head coach Cliff Ellis. Trouble is a' brewing down there in Auburn, Alabama.
First game of the day here was Florida-Manhattan in the classic 5-12 matchup. Was there any doubt about this? Florida is soft as hell, and the SEC is overrated, other than Mississippi State and Kentucky. Manhattan is a fun team to watch, because they can just shoot it. SHOOT THE J! SHOOT IT! Senior Luis Flores had 26 points for the Jaspers, the Metro Atlantic Champs. Manhattan head coach Bobby Gonzalez should be considered for the vacant St. John's head coaching job. He knows New York well, and let's face it, he can't stay at Manhattan forever.
"I told the guys that we're in a 5-12 matchup, we're playing an epic team like Florida, this is going to be considered a major upset,'' Gonzalez said. "But I told them if you come in worried about the name on the other jersey, you really don't have a chance.''
And really, the name "Florida'" doesn't seem so daunting anymore.
Big time win for the Manhattan Jaspers. Goodbye Florida. BTW, Matt Walsh is a pansy.
Commercial report #1
The Masters promos have begun. "A Tradition Like No Other" You'll hear that phrase 764 times in the next 3 weeks. I know I will.
Pontiac is using P.O.D.'s "Boom" in their college basketball commercials. Former guitarist Marcos Curiel is making big time $$$$$ from this. And he should. P.O.D. without Marcos = crap
DANTE HALL HAS HIS OWN GATORADE DRINK NOW? WHAT? WHHHHHHHHHAAAAT? WHAAAAAAAAT? It's called Gatorade "X-Factor". I call it crappppppppppppp!!!
Texas Tech beat Charlotte, 76-73. I didn't see much of this game, since KTHV had the Manhattan game and the fact that AOL Broadband wouldn't let me see this game. I'm an idiot for picking Charlotte over Texas Tech, but it could be worse.
Maryland survives and advances past UTEP, 86-83. Great effort by Mike Price's UTEP Miners. Oh, wrong sport. But I'm serious, it was a great effort. The Terrapins clearly didn't play as well as they did in the ACC Tournament. But as Dick Vitale always says, "survive and advance".
So far, I'm 2-1. Why did I pick Charlotte over Texas Tech...why, why, why?????????
On to the middle window of the day...
St. Joseph's doesn't mess around, routing Liberty 83-62. Jameer Nelson had 35 points in the Hawks' win. They will face Texas Tech on Saturday. It should be a great game.
Alabama barely gets by Southern Illinois, 65-64. DAMMIT! I was pulling for the Salukis, but it wasn't to be. Hell, one SEC team had to win today, but did it have to be Alabama? Rollllllllllll tiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiide my ass.
Syracuse holds on and defeats BYU, 80-75. Gerry McNamara had 43 points for the Orangemen, including 9 3-pointers. That's what I call clutch. Nice run for the BYU Cougars, but McNamara was just too hot. It's a matchup of the last two national champions on Saturday in Denver, Syracuse and Maryland. I think the tournament committee knew what they were doing here.
Wake Forest survives and advances as well, defeating VCU 79-78. It was looking like for a while that the Demon Deacons would pull their choke job in round one, but they sucked it up and beat Jeff Capel's crew. Wake 1, Duke 0 (Capel played for Duke during the mid 1990s).
Stanford beat Texas-San Antonio 71-45. The only way you could see this game was if you were on the West Coast or if you have AOL Broadband. My local affiliate had Access Hollywood on. Not sure about the rest of the South or East Coast.
Damn Salukis!!! But hell, I was 6-2 at this point. I couldn't complain too much.
Commercial report #2
More P.O.D. More Masters. More Verizon Wireless commercials. And the new LeBron James Powerade commercial. As crappy as that was, it's much better than Dante Hall's Gatorade promo.
Alright, it's PRIME TIME now. No more of these pretenders (Florida!!!)
Connecticut romps over Vermont, 70-53. When I think of Vermont, I think of Larry, Darryl, and Darryl from "Newhart", Howard Dean, and Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream. UConn advances. Big shocker here.
Duke wins big over Alabama State, 96-61. Yawn.
Texas struggled in the first half, but came on in the second half to defeat Princeton 66-49. No Princeton upset this year, although those thoughts did go through my head more than 3 times this week before I finished my brackets.
Nevada over Michigan State 72-66. The Big Ten can just go to hell. They can't even beat a WAC team. I should have picked Nevada, considering their history in Seattle. They did beat the Huskies in Husky Stadium back in October. Good job Wolf Pack. Too bad that y'all have to deal with Gonzaga in the next round.
Air Force played well in the first 25 minutes. But in the end, the much more talented North Carolina squad took over, defeating the Falcons 63-52. A UNC-Texas matchup for Saturday. I smell upset here. Roy Williams owns Rick Barnes.
In 2 overtimes, DePaul defeated Dayton 76-69. Ugly. Ugly. And ugly. Moving on...
Gonzaga beat Valpo 76-49. Too bad I could only see about 2 minutes of this game. But oh well, I'll definitely see them on Saturday when they should take care of Nevada.
And in the worst game of the night for me...
Seton Hall 80, Arizona 76.
I drank too much of Lute Olson's new wife's kool-aid. All season long, I didn't believe in Arizona. But when the brackets came out this past Sunday, I say, "hey, this isn't a bad draw at all". Yeah, I'm a sucker. Big time sucker.
Screw you Lute Olson. Screw you Miles Simon (I know, he's not a current Wildcat). Screw you, Arizona.
So there you go. 16 first round games down, 16 more to go.
I went 11-5 today. The only loss that hurts me big time today is Arizona. I had them in the Elite Eight. I'll be kicking myself over this for a while.
A few things on the tournament, other than the actual games...
---These city names for the regions are just putrid. Here's what they really are, kids:
East Rutherford = East
Atlanta = South
St. Louis = Midwest
Phoenix = West
---Billy Packer is an assclown.
---Greg Gumbel is much better in the studio. Let's keep him in there, permanently.
---This is the best time of the year. No doubt about it.
---WHY IN THE HELL DID CBS HAVE TO JAZZ UP THE THEME?
In the 12-plus hours of tournament coverage today, I heard P.O.D.'s "Boom" 23 times. I could listen to that song every damn day for the rest of my life if I had to. It's a great song.
The best thing AOL has ever done for its customers is provide FREE coverage of the NCAA Tournament. Of course, most of the games are a minute behind, but it's a great service. I could watch the Florida-Manhattan game on TV and watch the Maryland-UTEP game on AOL, simultaneously. Great stuff.
Tomorrow, we got a few quality games. Washington-UAB, Wisconsin-Richmond, Xavier-Louisville, to name a few. It should be another fun day.
Damn I love this time of the year!!!
So in somewhat of a protest tonight, I'll put the same effort into my post that the Canucks put into the game after the first Dallas goal was scored tonight. I'll be lazy as hell. I've already been lazy as hell more than once today -- I was asleep for the last two Dallas goals. Here's Dan, Tom, and John...protest means I won't go back and capitalize a damn thing --
tom: back to the drawing board; they've have it tough against dal in the first round
john: need to get back on track
tom: shots dead even, not a lot of chances for van (dal missed net a bunch of times)
turco 20 sv, arnott/guerin 1g 2a
dal within 1pt of van for 4th
boucher in the 1st, arnott in the 2nd, guerin
cloutier first 2 pers, hedberg 4 sv in the 3rd
turco 8 sho of year
sanderson/kesler with best chances of game for van
canucks 0-3 against dal this yr
fri at chi
dan: no jovo, h sedin; performance not close to good enough
dan: game important, canucks failed...most disappointing non-bertuzzi game so far
dan: might have generated season low of scoring chances, one for top line in first 40 mins
dan: scoring chances from long distances
dan: stars unbeaten in last 68 when taking lead into the 3rd
dan: 6 for 78 pp since all-star break
dan: tight start, still not enough urgency
tom: outshot dal 4-1 early, had more jump...once boucher scored on a coverage breakdown, the game turned
tom: canucks never in it after goal
dan: linden, bouck didn't cover well on the first goal
john: all three goals had crappy coverage; kesler swatted away by guerin on 3rd goal
dan: top line of dal far and away better
tom: guerin good power forward, leading dal in scoring, goals; arnott on top of game right now; if modano and lehtinen return to form, team will be very good
john: rucinsky off top line after first period
dan: naslund isn't right right now...
tom: no, he's not. hit, bertuzzi, flu, uncomfortable position, pressure; might be taking toll; hopes other guys step up with leadership
dan: arnott, turco, guerin as three stars
john: turco 8-1 lifetime against van...gaa against van 1.71 coming into game, owns van
dan: 115 mins without a goal
tom: team's dried up...114:46 w/o goal; don't look in sync; time is running out, but will get practice time next week; might be what dr ordered; don't look sharp
dan: will jovo play tomorrow
john: don't think so, might be during clb game
tom: that's the report i have...jovo here w/morning skate, but probably not coming until van comes home
john: cloutier might have gotten benched to rest up for the next game, or might have gotten hedberg sharp for next game
van at chi fri
[Edit ~10:15p -- Yup, the Canucks blew another chance to gain on Colorado, who was shut out 2-0 by Ottawa tonight.]
As for my running tournament blog, I'll have updates throughout the day.
Wednesday, March 17, 2004
A few things to keep in mind here:
---Never use my picks if you want make some easy money. I'm likely to get at least one of these teams wrong.
---I'm not picking Wake Forest to go to the Final Four this year. I did last year and I did in 1997. Not doing it again.
---I'm not an expert. However, there are some people who think I am. Cool it.
---I'm going to have at least two 5-12 upsets in my bracket.
---The Pac-10 will prove its worth in the tournament, while Conference USA lays a big egg.
Alright, here we go, my 2004 Final Four, to be played in the former home of the San Antonio Spurs, San Antonio's Alamodome.
MIDWEST REGION (St. Louis)
If there is ever going to be a year for Gonzaga to step up and advance to the Final Four, it's this year. Ronny Turiaf is going to be a household name at the end of this tournament. He should be already, but he doesn't play in the hypefests known as the ACC and the SEC. And let's be honest here, we need a Northwest team in the Final Four.
EAST REGION (East Rutherford)
Eddie Sutton is a great coach. And while it doesn't mean much, at least this isn't Oklahoma. It's Oklahoma State, clearly the classier of the two OK big time schools. For all the Seattle-area folks who read this blog, who can ever forget Big Country breaking the backboard at the 1995 Final Four practice in the Kingdome?
SOUTH REGION (Atlanta)
I like the style of ball they play down in Starkville. I've seen them a couple of times on Jefferson Pilot down here, and they're for real. IMO they're the best team in the SEC, not Kentucky (even though UK did beat them on a last second shot back in January). The SEC will have one team in the Final Four, and it's the Bulldogs from that hellhole Starkville, MS.
WEST REGION (Phoenix)
Stanford will get revenge on UConn for last year's 85-74 loss in the second round of last year's tournament. There's a reason why Stanford won 26 straight games. It has nothing to do with a less than stellar Pac-10 Conference this season. They are a very good ballclub. Remember the last time the Final Four was in San Antonio? It was 1998. And guess who was there? Yes, it was Mark Madsen and the crew representing Stanford in the 1998 Final Four. (Sidenote: Please don't ask me to find a link on Madsen's dancing, ok?)
This will set up a National Championship game between Gonzaga and Stanford.
Stanford defeated Gonzaga 87-80 back on Dec. 20 in the Pete Newell Challenge in Oakland. Josh Childress, the Pac-10 Player of the Year, did not play in that game. Matt Lottich scored 34 points and had 7 assists.
We need a West Coast National Championship Game just to piss off the East Coast. No bias here, I'm just being honest.
And my national champion is...
Gonzaga! Yep, I'm picking the Bulldogs to bring the National Championship to Spokane for the first time. Can't ask for a better way to open up their new building next season...
If you want to find out what my bracket looks like, why not join our ESPN Tournament Challenge group? Group name is "Sports and Bremertonians" and the password is "bremsports"
Talk to me when you can find a better show on television. I'll be waiting...
Don't forget to join our ESPN Tournament Challenge group. There's still plenty of room left. So far, we have 7 people.
DEADLINE IS AT 9:20 AM PACIFIC TIME TOMORROW MORNING...
Group name: Sports and Bremertonians
Password is bremsports
Again, no spammers allowed. Other than that, everybody is invited. Bloggers, readers, friends from back home, etc.
On Tuesday, Joel Pineiro got lit up. But hey, who cares? It's a spring game. Bob Melvin didn't take the same attitude toward a muffed hot-box play (that's what an old teammate used to call a rundown) though.
Melvin was particularly dismayed by a botched rundown play in the fourth inning. Mariners pitcher Joel Pineiro trapped Padres base runner Terrence Long off second on a comebacker, but he allowed Long to get back safely. Melvin cited mistakes by third baseman Greg Dobbs and shortstop Willie Bloomquist on the play.
"We worked on that all day today (before the game)," Melvin said. "That was our fundamental today. We did it very nicely then. It's discouraging, but it is what it is."
Okay, now it'd be one thing if the reporter (both Larry Stone and Bob Finnigan are credited in this article) said Willie Bloomquist -- who I'm amazingly not going to bash in this post -- and Greg Dobbs messed up during a rundown play. Instead, we get Bob Melvin calling out Willie Bloomquist and Greg Dobbs (not in a direct quote, but obviously he named names) for the rundown gaffe. What the hell is Bob doing? He snipes at Mike Cameron and John Mabry after they're out the door, he busts Ben Davis' balls for what he thought was incorrect pitch-calling (come on, we know Melvin's still bitter over Benny's bunt to break up Curt Schilling's perfect game), and now we get Melvin calling out Bloom and Dobbs in the press. Can't we deal with this crap behind closed doors? Let the guys know they messed up, sure, but the manager doesn't have to exacerbate that in the media after the game. You can say "we need to fine-tune it a little more" or "we'll come around; we've had great defenses the last few years, and Willie's been witness to that, so he knows what we do." Instead, I can imagine Bob Melvin's direct quote as coming out of any whining 10-year-old child, stomping and throwing Lincoln Logs (I'd used Duplo blocks in an earlier post, but why was the alternate toy Lincoln Logs? My mind's on a roll now).
But there are some positives in the article. Kevin Jarvis still sucks!
... Kevin Jarvis...continued to struggle. He gave up four hits and three runs in three innings. The Padres got two homers off Jarvis, including an inside-the-park job by Tagg Bozied. In 7-2/3 innings this spring, Jarvis has given up 17 hits (four homers) and 14 earned runs.
So Melvin bashed Dobbs and Bloom. What does he have to say about Jarvis? "It looks like his arm strength is back." Sounds like a ringing endorsement to me! Melvin has nothing negative to say about Jarvis, who has shown no sign of being remotely good all spring, but Dobbs and Bloomquist muff one rundown play and get raked over the coals.
Also in the article, Rich Aurilia sat out a game.
"I have no idea how I [strained my right calf]," Aurilia said. "I felt a cramp on Sunday, and when I woke up (Monday), it was tight. It's too early in the season, or in the spring, to push anything. It's better to get it healed."
Yes, the Mariners signed Rich Aurilia a few months ago, saying that he'd be more durable than Carlos Guillen, and then trading Guillen for a crappy backup shortstop. Chalk up the Right Calf Injury of Unknown Origin (RCIUO) as Weird Injury #1 (WI1) for Rich Aurilia's 2004 season with the Seattle Mariners.
Yeah, I know the main headline on the entire article is that Raf Soriano's getting back up to speed except that Melvin said Soriano "slightly" felt the injury. That was just too boring, though, so I figured I'd pick apart some other stuff.
Instead of the Canucks getting within four points of the Avalanche, they are within five. The Canucks probably are mired in some seed below 3rd, but if they were to take the Northwest Division, they'd have to make up five points in nine games. A nine-game winning streak would net 18 points.
Dan Cloutier made some key stops in the overtime period, but it was his leaving the rebound in front of the net that made the overtime even happen in the first place. Nashville goaile Tomas Vokoun kept the Preds in the game and protected the tie in the overtime period. In the second period, he robbed Markus Naslund on a shot that would have put the Canucks up 3-1 and in all likelihood would have sewn up the two points for the Canucks. In the overtime, Vokoun stacked the pads on a Martin Rucnisky breakaway off a faceoff with under ten seconds to go.
The positive thing for the night was that the Kesler-Linden-Matt Cooke line did a pretty good job.
To preface the game notes, the three amigos talk first about the faceoff that occurred before Adam Hall's game-tying goal. Trevor Linden, the Canucks' best player on the faceoff, was waved out of the circle, and the Canucks lost the faceoff. Seconds later, Hall scored. The reason for the location of the faceoff was traced to Dan Cloutier covering up the puck, though he had more than enough time to play the puck and clear it away. The coverup was deemed to be defensible, though.
Game notes...totally lazy form:
dan: team scoring last in tie is always happier team
tom: like a 2pt victory for nsh; canucks have to be disappointed, unable to protect lead; has to be done to do well in playoffs
dan: winning faceoffs; linden waved out of faceoff circle
john: faceoff win led to timmonen chance, then goal...
dan: nashville no pressure till last minute
tom: thought van was putting on clinic on how to protect lead; vokoun not at bench till 38 secs left; van lost faceoff, rest was history; not a lot of nsh chances
john: what led to faceoff? cloutier covered up, but had time to play it; cover is defensible though
dan: kesler first star, adam hall star 2, cooke star 3
tom: where's vokoun? kesler and cooke looked great early; cooke made nifty passes to set up goals
dan: 6 of 12 canucks games have gone OT...they're streaky
john: no silver lining tonight
The Canucks travel to Dallas on Thursday.
Tuesday, March 16, 2004
We've done our share here at Sports and B's when it comes to bashing the new Mariner ads. Derek has some thoughts on the ads himself. Both the P-I and the Times have their own articles on the Mariner ads, but Kay McFadden of the Times has some nice words...
The culturally inept and impossible-to-chant "Sodo Mojo" finally is fading along with the last trace particles of dust from the Kingdome implosion.
That's the good news. The bad news is its replacement: "Mariners baseball. Get all of it."
According to [Mariners VP of marketing Kevin] Martinez, the phrase is rooted in common baseball players' parlance — getting all of a ball with your bat, for instance.
But (A), it serves the advertiser's point of view rather than that of the fan. (B), it feeds a lurking suspicion that "all of it" refers to our wallets rather than to the national pastime. And (C), I defy anyone to shout it out loud at a game.
"Where did they get this McFadden?" I wondered to myself last night as I read this. Needless to say, she's a TV critic at the Times rather than a sports columnist, but hey, I got some unexpected nuggets out of that article.
I was sitting here after the Orioles/Marlins spring game (it rained like hell at the end), and was about to do something else when I saw that something called "The Teammates" was going to be on, and that it was one of those ESPN Original Entertainment deals. Not knowing what it was (and feeling stupid for it afterward), I thought it was going to be crap, but I left the television on. This was the 30-minute TV version of the Halberstam book of the same name. The Red Sox teammates involved were Bobby Doerr, Dom DiMaggio, Johnny Pesky, and Ted Williams. The program used a car trip taken by Dom and Pesky (Doerr was caring for his wife in Oregon, who had survived two strokes) to Florida to see a dying Ted Williams as a sort of canvas for past recollection. Something that definitely wasn't included in the book were the video clips during a fishing trip where Williams is in a hitting-related argument with Bobby Doerr. I don't have to tell you who won that argument. I could try to say more about what I saw in that 30-minute span, but I just wouldn't be doing it justice. To those who saw it, you saw a real treat, and for those who have read the book, then I'm sure it was an enlightening read.
Monday, March 15, 2004
Anyways, David and I were talking earlier and for some unknown reason, he brings up Crowded House's 1986 hit "Don't Dream It's Over". If you've ever listened to the radio, you've probably heard this song. Of course you have.
Hey now, hey now
Don't dream it's over
Hey now, hey now
When the world comes in
They come, they come
To build a wall between us
We know they won't win
We couldn't make this stuff up if we tried, and believe me, we've tried.
As for the "GET ALL OF IT" tagline...
Since the Mariners are robbing their fans of Bat Night once again, we've taken it upon ourselves to have our own bat night.
The first 15,000 fans 18 and over will receive a Lusty Lady Stripper Light Bat [David edit: origin of bat in latter part of this post; Jeremy called it reminiscent of the leg lamp from "A Christmas Story"]. It lights up and you'll be sure to get all of it.
I'm sure to have a picture of it in a few days, who knows.
BTW, one more note on the commercials. In the Raul Ibanez commercial, Quinton McCracken is on third base. Yes, it's only a commercial, because you know damn well McCracken won't get there often, if at all, during the 2004 season.
Hey, we have to give the 18 and over crowd something of their own. No more Kazuhiro Sasaki in Seattle, so there can't be any more San Shin headband giveaways.
We do what we can here at Sports and Bremertonians. Stripper light bats, why the hell not?
IT'S A LIGHT BAT!!!
Northwest related games listed below
7:55 PM Pacific
11:50 AM Pacific
Kansas City---Kemper Arena
4:25 PM Pacific
Kansas City---Kemper Arena
6:30 PM Pacific
All games on your local CBS affiliate.
Obviously, if you've watched the NCAA Tournament in the past, you only get to see bits and pieces of games. But this year, that problem can be solved with NCAA March Madness on Demand. It's live video of all the games in their entirety. If you have AOL Broadband, it is free for you. But if you don't have AOL Broadband, you'll have to pay $9.95. It's a one-time fee for all 37 games in the first three rounds of the tournament. Not a bad deal if you're a fan of say, East Tennessee State, and you're living in Bellingham. Thankfully I have AOL Broadband. I don't use AOL that often, but for this weekend, I'll definitely take advantage of it.
Hopefully this little post will help some of you out, in case you were wondering what the exact times of the above mentioned games were.
BTW, if you haven't done so already, join our ESPN Tournament Challenge group. Just click on the link on the top righthand side of Sports and Bremertonians (Sports and B's Bracket Challenge). We have 7 people in the group so far. Hopefully we'll have more by Tuesday.
I know we will, so there's nothing for me to worry about, is there?
--(begin chat transcript, ~6:15pm PT)
David: f**ing sh**
David: i hit cancel on a p-i post instead of "post"
David: i bitched about this year's mariner tagline
David: because that's what i do
Jeremy: GET ALL OF IT?
Jeremy: WHAT THE F***?
Jeremy: holy hell that's horrible
David: dude, you should hear it
David: it's brutal
David: seattle mariners baseball
David: (hey now)
David: get all of it
David: and in one ad, it's some woman's voice
David: and it's weird
Jeremy: this ibanez commercial is stupid
Jeremy: mccracken would never be on 3rd
David: i don't want some woman talking with a peanut vendor voice
Jeremy: OH GOD THIS SH** IS STUPID
Jeremy: the girl just said "hey now"
Jeremy: oh my god
Jeremy: i think i may have to do a post review on these spots later tonight
Jeremy: i think my ball is going to roll big time tonight with this sh**
Jeremy: just saw the dog commercial
Jeremy: sh**, there's so many ways you can go there
David: my computer won't let me see them
David: though i've seen four of them via king 5 newscast
Jeremy: the boone one is my fav so far
Jeremy: "at least that one wasn't your fault"
[...some media player-related conversation...]
David: and i've replied to "fan" on the p-i mess board
Jeremy: [media player-related]
Jeremy: by the way, i'd just like to say f*** you to the m's marketing dept. for ruining "hey now"
Jeremy: basically, it's almost ruined the meaning of it
Jeremy: to me, "hey now" is a call when you see a hot woman
David: worse yet, i don't think it's supposed to mean anything in the mariner context
Jeremy: but now, it's going to be known as a mariner commercial deal....f***ing sh**
Jeremy: i've seen all 7 comms now......my fav by far is the boone commercial
Jeremy: other than that, these aren't as good as previous years
Jeremy: but the soccer moms will love them
Jeremy: and let's be honest, that's who the m's care about
David: if i had my way...
David: sexson is signed before 2005
David: and they give edgar a going-away party for his retirement
David: WITH STRIPPERS
David: there's your commercial
David: there's countless ways to slip in a funny line here or there with that
David: richie would have lined up the strippers
David: he's the practical joker
David: instead of stripper poles, huge bats...
Jeremy: he's too "sex"y for the mariners.....
David: this is totally feasible
Jeremy: which is too bad
Jeremy: stripper bats!
Jeremy: first 10,000 fans 21 and over
Jeremy: 18 and over
Jeremy: hell, no more kazu san shin bandanas to give away
Jeremy: Stripper Light Bats
David: and more people get them since it's 18 and up
David: stripper light bats!!
David: oh, this is great
Jeremy: stripper light bats
Jeremy: HEY NOW
Jeremy: GET ALL OF IT
Jeremy: holy sh**, we can have some fun with this
David: miss may, chloe, from the mariner swimsuit calendar
David: "get all of it" at the mariner website
David: i may post this conversation later, who knows
David: this is too good
Jeremy: or better yet, the blond chick who works in silver sluggers on the 300 level
Jeremy: just some random merchandising chick
Jeremy: "get all of it"
Jeremy: my god, this is pathetic
Jeremy: but man, it gives guys like us some very sick humor
David: yeah, we early 20s males
--(end chat transcript, ~6:33pm PT)
Eastern Washington's Alvin Snow
And let's have some more fun here. My favorite pic of the college basketball season so far, Nate Robinson "flexing" after scoring against Arizona.
The Pacific Tigers, Sports and Bremertonians 2004 NCAA Tournament Cinderella.
Miah, make us proud.
Reds center fielder Ken Griffey and $15.5 million for Mariners center fielder Randy Winn and Class AAA righthander Rett Johnson.
The exchange of cash and contracts would leave the Mariners with a $40 million commitment to Griffey over the next five years, much of it deferred. Even at $8 million per season, the risk would be enormous, especially for a franchise that frets daily over the condition of another oft-injured slugger, Edgar Martinez. Griffey, 34, has appeared in only 234 games the past three seasons.
The Mariners, however, need a better lefthanded cleanup hitter than Raul Ibanez to hit between Bret Boone and Martinez. A 5-3 loss to the Angels in a recent exhibition game highlighted Seattle's offensive inferiority. The Angels scored three runs on back-to-back homers by Vladimir Guerrero and Jose Guillen. Such a defeat in the regular season could demoralize the Mariners, who must fight for every run.
Griffey is open to returning to Seattle, according to his agent, Brian Goldberg. The Reds would receive not only Winn, a solid all-around player, but also Johnson, a well-regarded prospect. A trade such as this might be Cincinnati's best chance to create greater payroll flexibility -- the Yankees and Braves, the two other teams on Griffey's wish list, do not need an outfielder.
Granted, the Mariners might be better off using the approximately $6.5 million they saved from Kaz Sasaki's return to Japan to acquire a hitter near the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. Then again, the Angels might leave them buried by then, and it's doubtful the M's would outbid the Yankees or some other big-spending team for Kansas City's Carlos Beltran next winter.
I really don't know what to think about Ken Griffey, Jr. possibly coming back to Seattle.
It's one of those deals where I should be excited, but in the end I'm just feeling underwhelmed by it. Maybe it's just me, but I'd much rather see the Mariners go after Carlos Beltran. Oh wait, he's a Scott Boras client. A client with talent. Something that Boras client Ron Villone doesn't have.
Rosenthal is right on the M's inability to score runs. They are going to have to fight for every single run, because quite frankly, this offense is not that great. It's not a horrible offense, but it's not an offense that's going to make huge waves.
I've said this since November, my enthusiasm for this ballclub is at an unknown level. Reading the news of Raul Ibanez possibly hitting cleanup for the M's makes my enthusiasm sink even lower. We're about 3 weeks from the start of the 2004 season and we're talking about Raul Ibanez batting cleanup. The agony.
Going back to Griffey...
I love the guy. He was one of my first true sports heroes. He helped saved baseball in Seattle. But he is 34 years old. He's very injury prone, and you know damn well the Kingdome turf wore him down big time.
However, if Griffey does come back to Seattle, I'd be very interested to see how he and the brass gets along. Hell, if anything, there would finally be some life in this ballclub. Maybe bringing Griffey back to Seattle would be worth it just for that reason alone.
But as I've said, I'm not sure whether the M's should bring Griffey back. We'll see what happens.
Finnigan's notebook says Will Bloomquist forgot to run out a fly ball that hooked fair and had to settle for first when he could have ended up on second. Usually, I'd bash him mercilessly for doing this, but I've spewed my share of South Kitsap hate in this 24-hour span, and quite frankly, this is spring training, he knows he has a roster spot...who gives a crap? When he does it during the season, sure, I'll beg for his long-overdue release. Finnigan says Bloomquist saved one run by making a diving catch at first, and then tries to say it saved a run because then JJ Putz would have balked him in from third base. Naturally, Finnigan neglects to mention what kind of balk it was -- as a pitcher you're conscious of your pitching motion, the way you come set, the way you place your feet, etc. in different ways depending on whether there's a runner on third or a runner on second. Anyway, I'm just saying it's a longshot implication by Finnigan. Not that we aren't used to that by now.
Here comes Finnigan again with a piece on John Olerud and the retirement that didn't take place. It became an absolutely anticlimactic article to me. Why? We get to read all these reasons for why John Olerud could have hung it up after last year and called it quits -- mostly reasons revolving around his family.
For 75-80% of the article, we see the family-related things that would be valid causes for Olerud to pack it in. As a reader, I'm held in suspense as to what made him come back, and I'm expecting something grand, something detailed, maybe something that would bring a tear to my eye. What do I get?
Then in November, he went to a conference for Christian professional athletes in San Antonio. It helped point his mind in the direction of continuing his career.
"I really would prefer not to go into detail about the discussion," Olerud said.
Yet, it is certain he came away with a different perspective on how he might be able to help people by continuing to play.
That's it? I don't have a problem with Olerud experiencing some sort of career epiphany, I'm just saying I felt baited and switched by the article. And yes, Bob Finnigan wrote the article -- an article that nearly deceived me, in a way.
Now to the Times Grapefruit League notebook. Jon Lieber will be out for the Yanks? Donovan Osborne could be their 5th starter? Brian Cashman is really saying they won't go outside the organization for a 5th starter?? The bottom tidbit section shows us what Mike Cameron and Jose Cruz did for their respective teams, and that Steve Cox was cut by the Cardinals. Call me crazy, but I'd like Steve Cox on my team more than, say, Crack, Bloomquist, Hiram Bocachica, Ramon Santiago, Dave Hansen, etc. Here's his stats, and he played in 2003 in Japan, but I'm not sure why his stats here are kinda low-looking. Injuries, perhaps?
To the P-I...
John Hickey says that Bob Melvin is saying "screw it" to matchups and is basing the starting rotation's slots on performance. I could say I wish the organization would do this all the way around, but they'd probably use "performance" as a relative term, using small or selective sample sizes and overweighting them accordingly. As for the rest of the article, ho-hum.
In the notebook, Hickey says the young arms did well, Mike Myers did a little too well for my liking, and Eddie Guardado will pitch today. Ron Villone has tinkered with his delivery and mowed down batters in a "B" game.
"Villone was almost unhittable," Melvin said. "For sure, a game like this helps as you think about putting together the final (25-man) roster.
Hey, Bob...IT WAS A DAMN "B" GAME!!! Let me guess, you're basing cut decisions on "B" games because Hiram Bocachica and Ramon Santiago and all the other members of Hacks, Inc. are playing nine innings apiece in the Cactus League games? Is that it?
About Dave Hansen, he's having some groin problems.
Finally, Art Thiel has some Freddy Garcia quotes and stuff.
In true Thiel fashion, there is one semi-weird nearly-uncomfortable reference/cliche/play on words in the article...
[Garcia's] 2003 season was suitable for viewing mostly by tennis fans experienced at observing the to and fro.
Well, it's not the clutch delivery I was quite hoping for, but it'll do for now. As for the article, Garcia had a fair amount to say. Not a lot of made-up crap by the writer in this article, which isn't something I'd pin on Thiel, but rather on some other writer that I've mentioned in this post. For this Garcia article in itself, I'll just say the phrase "green stuff" is used four times.
Sunday, March 14, 2004
---Eastern Washington got a very brutal draw
---Washington couldn't have asked for a better draw
---Gonzaga gets to play in Seattle, which is a great deal
---Can you say "Florida is overrated" one more time?
---Pacific is Sports and Bremertonians' Cinderella of 2004. Miah, make us proud.
---I don't have any #1 seeds in my Final Four
---Billy Packer is an assclown
Those are my initial thoughts on the 2004 NCAA Tournament. I'll have my Final Four up in the coming days. In the meantime, join our 2004 NCAA ESPN Tournament Challenge group. Information in the post below (you gotta love Outkast).
Group name: Sports and Bremertonians
No spammers allowed. When you enter the group, just leave a comment in the comments box in this post. Other than that, come dancing!
Come dancing, my 2004 NCAA Tournament motto. Two more words for all comers into this bracketology deal:
The second Bremerton connection here is with the Washington Huskies. Senior Curtis Allen competed in Bremerton for quite a while. As a matter of fact, I remember an at-bat I had against him in Pee Wee ball at the Warren Avenue playfield where I (an outfielder for Warren Avenue) had worked the count to 3-0, he (stud for Westgate) threw me two straight strikes, and I whiffed at a third strike. I got a little better as a hitter in the years after that, but my at-bat against Curtis Allen wasn't one of my proudest moments. Curtis Allen later bolted from Bremerton and ended up attending Wilson HS in Tacoma. Today, his Huskies have nabbed the 8th seed against Alabama-Birmingham (UAB), a team that has busted brackets in recent years as a semi-Cinderella; not a Tulsa-type Cinderella, but a Cinderella nonetheless.
As for other nearby college representation, Gonzaga got a well-deserved 2nd seed and drew Valparaiso in the first round. It's not Bryce Drew's Cinderella Valpo team, so I'm not too scared about Gonzaga biting it. Eastern Washington made it as a 15th seed, but got an absolutely brutal draw, having to face Oklahoma State in the first round. Ouch ouch ouch ouch OUCH! Good luck with that, Ray Giacoletti.
And though it has nothing to do with brackets, but everything to do with local, I have this to say: I HATE SOUTH KITSAP. Big thanks to Kentwood, because it'd probably be unbearable whenever I go back home because South would have a recent state title in damn near every sport. South's not supposed to be good at basketball. They've got every other sport to themselves in the county, and dammit, the rest of the county needs one to fight over. They can NOT have a monopoly. Thank you, Kentwood, 2003-2004 Washington State 4A champions.
I'm such a hater. At least I am when it comes to that. Much like Ice-T in Chappelle's Player Haters Ball sketch will "hate on a n**** till he's broke," I will hate on South until all their teams go winless. Rationality goes out the window for me when it comes to this.
Okay, the browser was down at my place, so I wasn't listening to the game. I wasn't at Lind Hall with the game on because I was at home watching the aired episodes of Chappelle's Show (eight of 'em).
But I saw the Daniel Alfredsson's game-winning goal on SportsCenter last night, and it was just stupid because three Canucks couldn't clear the puck (some weird bounces though) out of their own zone and Alfredsson had a wide-open shot. The first goal, which I just read about, happened because Johan Hedberg, usually an amazing puckhandler, lost control of the puck behind the net and couldn't get back to the net in time to stop the Marian Hossa shot.
Pat Kavanagh scored his first NHL goal on a tip-in; he was playing in his second game this year and his fifth career NHL game.
There weren't a lot of shots for either side, as both teams had 20 shots apiece. And it wasn't Pat Lalime that the Canucks couldn't get shots past, it was Martin Prusek.
The Canucks were without Artem Chubarov, Henrik Sedin, Brad May, and of course, Todd Bertuzzi.
Tuesday: Nashville at Vancouver.
Geoff Sanderson took a Markus Naslund pass off his skate, onto his stick, deked to his backhand, and put the puck past Jussi Markkanen with 33 ticks left in overtime to net the extra point for the Canucks. Finishing off the perfect two-on-one break gave Sanderson two big goals in his two games this year with the Canucks, with the other being the game-tying goal in the Minnesota game on Wednesday.
Between the two newbies Sanderson and Martin Rucinsky, one of their names were on all four Canuck goals. For Edmonton's newbies, Jussi Markkanen sucked in net, but Petr Nedved had two goals for the Oil, one of which was on a bad play by Dan Cloutier in the Canuck net, and the other Nedved goal may have been the same.
It was the 10th overtime win this year for the Canucks, tying them for the NHL lead in OT wins, with the other team being Saint Louis. The Oilers played their seventh overtime game in a row, an NHL record.
And since I'm lazy, here's the announcer postgame section with summed-up notes from postgame show host Dan Russell, play-by-play announcer John Shorthouse, and color commentator Tom Larscheid, who, by the way, is the perfect color guy. Knowledgeable, knows when to chime in, praises the team and players when they're great, harps on them when they're bad, and knows when what he's seeing is good or bad. He's easier to listen to as a color guy than Ron Fairly, and even though Rizzs isn't a color guy, Larscheid whoops him anyway. Here's the notes...
Dan: wonders if Rucinsky/Sanderson could equal Bertuzzi
Tom: both are very impressive and are fast skaters. Sanderson is lightning. Both have great shots. Rucinsky played a ton: 23 mins, plus-1. They'll fit in nicely.
John: Emotional win. Down two goals without Todd, but still won. Big lift.
Dan: It took VAN a while to realize they needed to get shots on a shaky Markkanen.
Tom: VAN played best in 3rd period, cycled well, was in sync. This might be fun to watch with the new guys...they've got speed.
Dan: EDM was horrible on the 4-on-4
John: VAN realized EDM was on the ropes; they had blown a two-goal lead
Tom: EDM played OT like a team afraid to lose
Dan: EDM booed off the ice
John: Eric Brewer had tough night...minus-3, could not get puck on stick
John: credit Brian Burke...put deals together in a quick hurry...new guys off to good start. Sami Salo plus-4
Dan: if Nedved and Rucinsky played that well in NY, maybe the Rangers would be better off
Tom: how does Rucinsky only have that many goals?
Dan: Canucks did not give up, were rewarded
Canuck goals: Bryan Allen (2), Martin Rucinsky (14), Brendan Morrison (18), Geoff Sanderson (15)
And then came the game against Ottawa last night, which Jeff from Fire Bavasi will probably give me some guff for...
You may have noticed on the right hand side of Sports and Bremertonians that I've done some columns for the Sportspages.com Web Logs section, or you may not have, I don't know. One of the guys that always brings it at Sportspages.com is Chris Lynch. He's from the Boston area, and he's been able to celebrate 2 Super Bowl titles in the last 3 years. Lucky bastard.
But anyways, Chris has a new blog up, called A Large Regular. It's full of variety, ranging from sports, entertainment, and politics. It's already a quality blog, even with the basic template. I'm sure he'll work on that, but hell, he doesn't have to, as long as the writing is superb.
This is why Chris is always a good read:
Three out of the five Yankees from last year's SI Baseball Preview cover are no longer on the team. Does that mean that George now thinks you can have enough pitching?
The five Yankees that were featured on last year's SI Baseball Preview cover were Roger Clemens, Jose Contreras, Mike Mussina, Andy Pettitte, and Jeff Weaver. Surely you can figure out who's no longer in the Bronx.
Good work, Chris. Hopefully I can help you get some more hits.