Saturday, April 02, 2005


AP photo -- Winslow Townson

I know I'm not the one usually posting up these open threads for the tournament games, but the Michigan State/North Carolina game starts in less than a half hour from the time I'm typing this.

So if anyone's out there (hit totals today indicate that we're probably getting 60 or 70% less hits than usual, even for a weekend), drop a comment in the box and bitch about the game. Or Murray Head. Or the McGriddles girl. Or the Tiny House girl. Or Gumbel 2 Gumbel. Or Pat O'Brien.

Even comments about the last meaningless game for the Mariners are welcome.

Go nuts.

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Welcome to Saturday, or what's left of it.

For the random...if there's one thing I learned throughout my years of schooling, it's that I absolutely hate reading something that's not sports-related. If I'm required to read anything, I'll just hate it. Textbooks? Ugh. I'm not someone that can pick up a book and read it. I'm sure that alone probably doesn't make me a candidate for an Adult ADD diagnosis, but I can't focus on a book. No way.

To the post!

The Mariners will have their roster finalized tonight for Opening Day. I'm just hoping Abe Nunez and Wilson Valdez don't manage to slither their way onto the roster. Even with the walk-off hit last night, I don't think it's a stretch to say that Michael Garciaparra probably doesn't make the team. Congratulations to the Mariners for drafting the Frank Stallone of Garciaparras. Hopefully Pokey's shoulder is okay, and if it is, hopefully he doesn't get the hangnail from hell or something.

I just saw Felix Hernandez take a ball off his hand or arm or something. Not good. He's staying out there though. He got a strikeout to end that inning.

Omare Lowe is a Seahawk. I'm not expecting too much out of him, and his career stats would indicate such. Of course, the Seahawks figure that one year and $305k is a small price to pay for depth at cornerback with Ken Lucas gone and Bobby Taylor having some injury problems. The Times article says that they might use him at free safety as well, and may play some special teams. He's got a Super Bowl ring for playing in three games for last year's Patriots.

The bigger news? Jamie Sharper (cornerback) was cut by Houston, and the Seahawks immediately wanted to have him in for a visit.

The Miah Davis Update
In the Roanoke Dazzle's 94-87 win against the Asheville Altitude, Miah Davis played 36 minutes and scored 7 points, grabbed 7 boards, and had 3 assists. Unfortunately, he also had 5 turnovers. He shot 2-for-6 and hit 3 of 4 from the line.

The Marvin Williams Watch
Steve Kelley gives more ink to Marvin Williams. He's got some advice for Martell Webster on his upcoming decision of whether he jumps to the NBA or not.

The Tar Heels are in the Final Four at Saint Louis, where they will face Michigan State tomorrow at 5:47p for a spot in the national title game against the winner of Louisville/Illinois.

For my thoughts on last night's game, scroll down a post or click here if this is the only post on the page.

Fifty wins. I can't say I was expecting this back in early November. In this one, Ray Allen shot horribly but had the clutch three within the final 90 seconds. Damien Wilkins had his first start and did pretty well.

Rashard Lewis is out indefinitely. Ouch. He's got a bone bruise and an inflammation in a tendon, both in his right foot. He's got a CT scan and a bone scan on the way. It wasn't tough enough just having Radmanovic out anyway. Adversity heightens for the Sonics.

Jerome James wasn't suspended, but Robert Swift did get his size 19s taped together.

Tomorrow at Golden State (3p, FSNNW)
Tuesday at Sacramento (7p, FSNNW)
Friday vs. Lakers (7:30p, FSNNW)

Tri-City beat Seattle 3-2 in overtime. This is playoff hockey; surely Seattle couldn't get away that easily. Carey Price had to at least get one playoff win in net for the Americans, and he got it last night. Seattle sandwiched a Mitch Fadden goal between two Tri-City goals in the first period, and that 2-1 score held up until the third period, when Derek Couture poked one through. That 2-2 tie held up to force overtime. Mark Connors netted the winner for Tri-City 3:16 into the extra period. Shots were 27-26 for Tri-City. Bryan Bridges stopped 24 for the Thunderbirds. Tri-City lives for another day, as they force a Game 5, but still trail 3-1 in the series.

Portland beat Everett 3-2. The two teams traded goals, but Portland scored first and last. Mark Kress of Everett got whistled for holding just 68 seconds into the game, and Brandon Dubinsky cashed in on the ensuing power play. Similarly, Frazer McLaren was whistled for elbowing toward the end of the first period. On the ensuing power play, Ivan Baranka scored just 34 seconds out of the dressing room to tie the score at 1-1. Then Nick Hotson of Portland and Brady Calla traded goals one minute apart. Brian Woolger got a hold of a long rebound and put it away with 2:31 remaining in the game. Braydon Coburn had two assists for Portland. Shots were 26-24 for Everett. Mike Wall stopped 22 for the Silvertips, and Blake Grenier stopped 24 for Portland. Everett leads the series 3-2, but Portland forced a Game 6 with this win.

Kelowna beat Vancouver 3-2. The Giants had a 2-1 lead in the second period, but the Rockets scored twice in the second period and held the Giants out of the net. Adam Courchaine scored in the first period off his own rebound, and Paul Albers made a tally in the second period on the power play. Cam Cunning had two assists for the Giants. Shots were 25-23 for the Rockets, and Marek Schwarz stopped 22 for the Giants. Kelowna now leads the series 3-2.

Manitoba beat Syracuse 3-2 in overtime. Justin Morrison buried a rebound in the first period to get the Moose an early lead. Jesse Schultz cashed in on the power play to add on to the Moose lead in the second period. Syracuse scored 14 seconds into the third period and also scored with 9.7 seconds remaining in the period (on a 6-on-4) to tie it up and send it to overtime. Luckily, Morrison came through a second time for the Moose, only 24 seconds into the extra frame. Shots were 38-30 for the Crunch, and Alex Auld stopped 36 for Manitoba.

Tonight: Tri-City at Seattle (Game 5), Portland at Everett (Game 6), Kelowna at Vancouver (Game 6), Manitoba at Binghamton
Tuesday: Seattle at Tri-City (Game 6 if necessary), Everett at Portland (Game 7 if necessary), Syracuse at Manitoba
Wednesday: Tri-City at Seattle (Game 7 if necessary), Vancouver at Kelowna (Game 7 if necessary), Syracuse at Manitoba

Have a great rest of Saturday.

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SuperSonics 89, Trail Blazers 87

Well, I guess there's some good news and some bad news about this one. With their 50th win of the season tonight, the Sonics gained a game on the Spurs. The bad news? Denver was the team that beat the Spurs, so the Sonics have to wait a bit longer to formally clinch the Northwest Division title.

Okay, so the real bad news is that Rashard Lewis is out definitely with a deep bone bruise (and tendon bruise) in his right foot, caused by a fall in the game against the Wizards. He won't be traveling with the Sonics to the Bay Area and Sacto on the upcoming trip, and will be undergoing a CT scan and a bone scan in the near future to see if anything else is wrong.

With that comes some semi-good news -- Danny Fortson came back tonight, and Vladimir Radmanovic will be able to work out in a pool soon.

Also, the Sonics beat Portland on Kevin Duckworth's 41st birthday. Thanks to NorthWest Sports Tonight for that one.

The Sonics had the lead for all of 27 seconds of the first quarter, and that was after the first basket of the game (Ray Allen). The Sonics hung close for most of the quarter, though a 5-0 Portland run opened got the Sonics down by seven about halfway through the quarter. Nick Collison had a couple of baskets (one on an inbound with four seconds left on the shot clock, the other with multiple pumpfakes) in the final three minutes to whittle the deficit down to two by the end of the quarter. Darius Miles warmed up the offense for Portland before Damon Stoudamire warmed up a bit himself, at one point nailing a long jumper and a three-ball on consecutive possessions. The Blazers led 28-26 after one quarter of play. Reggie Evans had six rebounds in the quarter, so he was up to his usual stuff.

Seattle was never able to grab the lead in the second quarter, though the first basket of the quarter (Nick Collison) did tie the game. Then Sebastian Telfair started torching Luke Ridnour. Though Ridnour ended up with a decent line tonight, Telfair caught fire to the tune of four layups in the quarter, abusing Ridnour on more than one occasion. Telfair scored 14 in the second, though he only scored four for the remainder of the game. Telfair's three-pointer capped a 12-2 Portland run which put them up 48-36 with 2:20 remaining in the half. The Sonics responded with a 10-2 run of their own before halftime, keyed by three-pointers by Luke Ridnour and Ron Murray. In just under two and a half minutes, the Sonics cut a 12-point deficit down to 4 (50-46). Not bad.

How did the Sonics react to open the second half? Well, holding Portland to four baskets from the floor sure helped. The Sonics held the Blazers to 4-for-12 shooting in the third quarter, with the Blazers scoring seven of their points from the charity stripe. The Sonics scored the first 10 points of the half (three Portland turnovers helped) to jump out to a six-point lead at 56-50. Damon Stoudamire nailed a free throw after Ray Allen took umbrage to Joel Przybilla elbowing him on a screen. Then Damien Wilkins nailed a three, making it a 13-1 Sonic run since the half, and a 23-3 Sonic run carrying over from the first half. In the latter half of the quarter, the Sonics missed five straight shots and Portland went on a 6-0 run, mostly with free throws, to get to within two points at 63-61 with just over three minutes left in the quarter. The Sonics eventually widened the lead a bit, getting it back to six points before taking a five-point lead into the fourth quarter, 70-65. Portland was held to 15 points in the quarter.

A Ron Murray pop and a Collison basket down low staked the Sonics out to a 9-point lead, and they had a 9-point lead again after Antonio Daniels hit a jumper with 7:48 to play (78-69). Then Richie Frahm sandwiched a Damien Wilkins dunk with a couple of threes, and Travis Outlaw hit a nifty layup to cut the lead to three with 5:33 left (80-77). Shareef Abdur-Rahim hit a jumper to answer a Daniels basket to cut the lead to three again with 5:01 to go. Damien Wilkins grabbed an offensive board off a Ray Allen miss, and the Sonics reset and killed some time off the shot clock. Then Allen waited a little too long to put up a shot, which airballed into Danny Fortson's hands, but the shot-clock buzzer had sounded.

A golden chance to build on the lead slipped away. Worse yet, Shareef hit a short shot on the other end to cut the lead to one with just under four minutes to go. The Sonics then missed three straight shots and fouled twice. One of the fouls was an offensive foul Danny Fortson for throwing Joel Przybilla to the side, though I think the refs missed Przybilla throwing Fortson to the floor to get rebounding position on the possession before that. Jerome James came in for Fortson, and then Collison fouled Shareef, who hit two free throws to get Portland a one-point lead, 83-82 with 2:21 to go. Not good. On the other end, Daniels initiated some contact with Telfair on his shot and got to go to the line. He nailed the first, but the second one rimmed just short...but Jerome James grabbed it and stuffed it, putting the Sonics up 85-83 with just over two minutes to go. Then Shareef appaered again, nailing another shot in the paint to tie it. The game was tied at 85, and the Sonics had the ball with under two minutes to play. With the shot clock running down, Ray Allen dribbled behind the arc on the left side and hit a three with Damon Stoudamire draped on him to get the Sonics the lead they would never relinquish.

Not that we knew it'd end up that way at the time. Shareef got to the line again, nailing both his free throws inside the final minute to get the Blazers back within one. The Sonics had the one-point lead and the ball with under half a minute to play, and Daniels drove to the rack and was shoved, lying face-down next to a photographer at the base of the basket. After spending about 20 seconds on the floor and having the trainer see if everything was okay, Daniels headed to the line. He hit the first, but not the second. Thus, the Blazers could tie the game with a basket, or win with a three-ball or a three-point play down low. As expected, the ball was in Shareef's hands, and Collison guarded him as well as he could. Luckily the shot was short. Collison grabbed the board, flipped it out toward another Sonic, and that was it.

As you might expect if you read the stuff I wrote for the fourth quarter, Shareef Abdur-Rahim did some damage, and he scored the final 10 Portland points of the game. He scored 12 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter.

Another Portland/Seattle game in the books. Portland didn't look like a 24-47 team out there tonight, but that's what a rivalry will do to you. Throw out them record books when these here two teams hit the hardwood.

Ray Allen 19 pts/3 reb/4 ast (8-24 FG, 3-8 3pt, 42 min), Damien Wilkins 17 pts/4 reb/2 ast (7-13 FG, 3-6 3pt, 35 min), Luke Ridnour 7 pts/5 reb/9 ast (3-8 FG, 1-2 3pt, 25 min), Reggie Evans 5 pts/13 reb/3 stl (2-5 FG, 1-3 free throws)

Nick Collison 14 pts/8 reb (7-13 FG, 29 min), Antonio Daniels 12 pts/2 reb/5 ast (3-6 FG, 6-8 free throws, 27 min), Ron Murray 5 pts (2-7 FG, 1-4 3pt, 16 min), Danny Fortson 2 pts/6 reb (1-4 FG, 16 min)

Jerome James Watch
8 pts/3 reb/1 stl (4-6 FG, 3 turnovers, 4 fouls, 21 min)

shot 37-for-86 (43%) from the field, shot 8-for-21 (38.1%) from downtown, shot 7-for-12 (58.3%) from the line, beat Portland 42-36 in the paint, beat Portland 19-12 on second-chance points, outrebounded Portland 45-35 (17 Sonic offensive boards), turned ball over 15 times, bench outscored Portland's 33-18 (outrebounded them 17-7)

Ugh, look at Ray Allen's shooting numbers. Yikes. Luckily Ron Murray was the only other Sonic that had an off night shootingwise. Even still, Ray Allen did hit the game-breaking three in the final 90 seconds of the game. Though he shot 33% tonight, the one three-ball was very clutch.

Like I said, Ridnour was getting torched by Telfair in the second quarter. Kevin Calabro mentioned during the broadcast that a guy like Telfair is exactly the kind of player that Ridnour doesn't want to face this time of year -- Telfair has had half a year of rest from before Portland decided to usher in the youth movement, so he has the rested legs as opposed to Ridnour, who has put in big minutes all season long. Still, 9 assists out of Ridnour is a good night. Seven points and 5 boards make for good crooked numbers in the boxscore too.

Nick Collison and Danny Fortson were on the floor simultaneously for a good portion of the fourth quarter. Collison has come on as a fourth-quarter player lately, and has been a scrapping, gutty player in the low post, going up for rebounds, tip-ins, etc. If you've got Fortson doing the same thing, then it's all the better. Better yet, they can clean up after each other's misses if needed. I really like a fourth-quarter frontcourt with those two guys. As I've clarified before, Fortson can hit free throws. Fortson himself had a decent return back, not just on the boards, but Antonio Daniels sure likes to run off Danny's screens and get easy shots.

My big problem with the boxscore? The Sonics only got to the line 12 times, and Antonio Daniels was really the only one getting there. I'm sure Fortson's screens might have something to do with that as well. Still, the starting lineup was a combined 1-for-4 from the line. Actually, that accounts for all non-Daniels free throws. Evans was 1-for-3 and Wilkins missed his only attempt. I guess I just hate it when I know that Ray Allen and Luke Ridnour are great free-throw shooters, but they didn't get to the line once in this game. At least Allen had the benefit of the big shot, but man, I'd be ticked about that 8-for-24 knowing that he didn't get to the line once.

Hooray for solid nights again out of Wilkins (who started) and Collison. Wilkins hit some very timely three-pointers and brought his usual energy. Collison is Collison. Hard hat, hard mask. Well, I have no idea if the mask is hard. It's fun to see how well-groomed that guy's moves in the post are. Fun stuff.

They have Fortson back, and hopefully the Sonics will be able to benefit from those solid screens. Unfortunately, it might be a while before Rashard Lewis is able to reap said benefits again. Dammit, it's hard enough without Radmanovic. Why must the Sonics be dealt this hand, oh why?!

I would have asked Jinkies if he's ever sprayed his essence on the Space Needle before heading into KeyArena to watch the Sonics.

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Friday, April 01, 2005


Welcome to Friday, and welcome to April. I wasn't ready for April to come, though I'm more than ready for some baseball which actually counts. Also, I would have had this posted long ago, but there was that whole thing where I fell asleep. Fiddlesticks.

For the random...it's not so random, but I'm going to post another of my favorite Mitch Hedberg jokes (I did this yesterday in the comments), because he died at the age of 37 on Wednesday.

This is what my friend said to me, he said, "you know what I like? Mashed potatoes." I said, "dude, you have to give me time to guess. If you're going to quiz me, you need to insert a pause!"

To the post!

Joel Pineiro threw sans pain, though it'd be a stretch to think he'd be able to join the rotation on the 10th. They have him pegged for five days later. Also, Eddie Guardado broke off the mound to cover first and didn't come up lame with a hamstring.

The other news in the first link as well as this one is with all the moves that were made. Abe Nunez was brought over from Kansas City, which puzzled me until I read that they might send him away as part of some other deal. I have no idea what kind of role he'd have in Seattle other than warm body. That's not much better than Luis Ugueto. Dan Reichert was sent to minor-league camp and George Sherrill was sent to Tacoma (ouch). Raise your hand if you're comfortable with Matt Thornton in your bullpen. I think I heard crickets in my room when I posed that question to myself. I know my hand wasn't raised, and I think the fan on this laptop might have even gone quiet. Of course, if I had to choose between Kevin Jarvis and what I saw out of Thornton last year, I'd still have to go with Thornton, not that that says much.

Okay, that P-I link said that Aaron Sele would be in line to pitch against Texas in his first start. Does this scare anyone as much as it scares me? All I can think of right now is a hanging curveball and a Mark Teixeira grand slam. Lest we forget that team did get Richard Hidalgo.

The Mariners have found a home for the Spanish broadcasts of the home games, with stations in the Tri-City area, Yakima, and the Seattle area. The Seattle-area station? KBRO 1490 out of Bremerton. How popular is KBRO? Well, I think I've pretty much never listened to it. I can't remember myself ever turning to that station and exhibiting sustained listenership. Luckily the Mariners' Spanish radio-network director did say they were working on a bigger deal, hopefully with more wattage. That'd be good. In a related story, I wonder if ESPNU will spin off an ESPNUniversidad or something. Not that any cable system will carry either network or anything. I don't know anyone that has ESPN Deportes either. I also don't know anyone that has called their cable company to request a certain channel not already in the lineup.

Now's where the Mariners go to Cashman Field in Las Vegas and play two more last fake games before the season starts. You know, I used to like the idea of the Mariners going to Vancouver for a game to bring out the fans up there. Of course, that whole career-altering injury to Edgar kind of muddled things. Still, the Mariners do get some games on the ol' Rogers SportsNet up there.

Robbie Tobeck spurned better offers from other teams so that he could stay home in Seattle, even if it was for the 10-year veterans' minimum. Of course, it helps that he didn't want to leave his four kids, who are all pre-teens. He also played his college ball at Wazzu. The right side of the offensive line may change, but it's nice to know that the center and Matt Hasselbeck's blind side are well protected.

Omare Lowe visited the Kirkland HQ yesterday. I thought I'd heard his name from somewhere before that didn't have to do with him being a Husky, because I think he does have a name that just sounds like an NFL name. Nope. Dude only has three games and a tackle on special teams to his name. He was a fifth-rounder in 2002 (Miami). He's not an undrafted free agent, though if he was, it would fit with the Tim Ruskell template. He's a late-rounder who obviously hasn't gotten the chance to play much. But I think it's Ruskell who would decide whether Lowe just hasn't gotten the chance, or if he hasn't gotten the chance because he sucks. I'm guessing he was brought in, though, because he just might have that hunger that seems to be a common thread with the Ruskell signings so far.

The Miah Davis Update
Roanoke hosts Asheville tonight and travels to Asheville tomorrow.

The Marvin Williams Watch
The Tar Heels are in the Final Four at Saint Louis, where they will face Michigan State tomorrow at 5:47p for a spot in the national title game against the winner of Louisville/Illinois.

Danny Fortson is back, but it's Nate McMillan's decision as to whether or not he gets off the bench. I think they badly need him. Why? Reggie Evans can't shoot free throws like Fortson can. Nick Collison can't shoot free throws like Fortson can. Hell, just send Collison and Fortson out there as your 4th-quarter frontcourt, and I'd be just fine with it.

Meanwhile, I remember this happened with the Mariners a couple of years ago even when they were good, but the Sonics for whatever reason aren't as good at home as they are on the road.

Tonight vs. Portland (7:30p, FSNNW)
Sunday at Golden State (3p, FSNNW)
Tuesday at Sacramento (7p, FSNNW)

Denied. It's not just a Wayne's World reference, it's also what the WHL board of governors did to the Tri-City Americans' ownership's request to move the team to Chilliwack north of the border. The Ams have been in the Tri-Cities for 17 years. The US Division will remain intact with teams actually based in the States.

Aaron Gagnon of the Thunderbirds not only leads the team in playoff goals, but also has his name on all three of Seattle's winning goals in their series against Tri-City, which in all likelihood will end tonight when Seattle wins.

Tonight: Seattle at Tri-City (Game 4), Everett at Portland (Game 5), Vancouver at Kelowna (Game 5), Manitoba at Syracuse
Tomorrow: Tri-City at Seattle (Game 5 if necessary), Portland at Everett (Game 6 if necessary), Kelowna at Vancouver (Game 6), Manitoba at Binghamton
Tuesday: Seattle at Tri-City (Game 6 if necessary), Everett at Portland (Game 7 if necessary), Syracuse at Manitoba
Wednesday: Tri-City at Seattle (Game 7 if necessary), Vancouver at Kelowna (Game 7 if necessary), Syracuse at Manitoba

Have a great Friday and a great weekend, everyone.

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Thursday, March 31, 2005


Comedian Mitch Hedberg is dead at 37. (registration required)

Let's just say I've packed my Mitch Hedberg albums in my suitcase, since I'm headed to Los Angeles tomorrow (see the post below).

Hedberg was money and we will miss him.

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I'm leaving Arkansas.

Tomorrow, I'm headed to Los Angeles for the weekend. My brother and I are going to Wrestlemania 21 at the Staples Center, home of Team Kobe and Bill Simmons' Clippers. A few weeks ago, my brother won a contest from the WWE. Tickets, hotel, airfare, all paid for. Yes, this is a very good deal.

If everything goes well on Saturday, I'm also going to the second game of the Freeway Series between the Angels and Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Since I don't like the Angels at all, I guess I'll root for the Dodgers. Or just sit back and tell the Dodgers fans all about how Adrian Beltre is going to be the man in Seattle for at least the next 5 seasons. I know there's a few Dodger fans who are pissed that Beltre is no longer in the city of angels.

This is my second Wrestlemania in three years, since I went to Wrestlemania 19 at Safeco Field two years ago. I never thought I'd be going to another Wrestlemania. Well, I was wrong. There are times when I'm glad that I'm wrong. This is one of those times.

I haven't been out West in almost 2 years. Tomorrow can't come soon enough.

Oh, and for those who want to know if I'm bringing a sign, I doubt it. I'll be close enough to the action where the cameras will see me anyway. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention something. I should mention that something-something before I end this post.

I'm sitting ringside. So yes, I'll post some pictures for y'all when I get back.

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Who are the real Seattle Mariners?

The team that won at least 90 games from 2000 to 2003?

Or is it the team that lost 99 games in 2004?

If there's one thing for certain about this ballclub, it's that the offense will be better, with the additions of third baseman Adrian Beltre and first baseman Richie Sexson.

I'm going to do something "different" for my Mariners preview this year. Instead of doing a full-blown preview like I've been known to do, I will make some predictions about the 2005 Mariners. For example, "Ichiro will hit over .300". Right now, it just works out better this way.

I can promise you that I won't talk about PECOTA or any sabermetric stats. I'll leave that to the other sites.

Predictions are just that, predictions. No need to take them too seriously. They play the games despite what people like myself say.


---The M's will finish in third place in the A.L. West., winning 79 games, a 16-game improvement from 2004. I agree with David, I'm really looking forward to the 2006 M's. As long as I don't have to through another season like 2004 again, I'll be alright.

---Ichiro won't hit .400, but he'll still win the batting title (.359).

---Jeremy Reed is my 2005 A.L. Rookie of the Year (.308, 14 HR, 79 RBI).

---Adrian Beltre won't reach his 2004 numbers, but it would be unfair to label him as a one-year wonder. If you do that, you don't know baseball. Beltre will be one of three All-Stars from the M's in 2005. He'll also provide Gold Glove-caliber defense. The Dodgers were fools to let him walk.

---Richie Sexson will defy the skeptics and stay healthy throughout 2005. I don't think he'll hit more than 35 home runs, however. But that's fine. Give me 30 home runs from Sexson and I'll take it.

---Bret Boone is in his last year in Seattle.

---I'll still criticize Raul Ibanez, regardless of what happens this season.

---Randy Winn will be traded to the Giants by the trading deadline. Just a gut feeling.

---Jose Lopez will be called up from Tacoma by July and take over at shortstop for the rest of the 2005 season when Pokey Reese is dealt to Minnesota for a minor leaguer.

---Miguel Olivo will be an All-Star within the next 3 seasons. He'll be much better defensively as well. We crack on Dan Wilson a lot, but I'll give Wilson this, he does know how to play defense. Surely Olivo has already learned a thing or two from Wilson.

---Bobby Madritsch will lead the M's in wins (15).

---Joel Pineiro will struggle to stay healthy.

---Jamie Moyer won't be as bad as he was in 2004, but his best days are behind him. He'll still win 12 games, though.

---Gil Meche will stay healthy.

---Felix Hernandez will be called up in August, when Pineiro is placed on the DL (again), ending his season.

---Eddie Guardado isn't Everyday Eddie anymore. I still like the guy. You can't go wrong with a guy who has a personality like Eddie does. Rock and roll, bro.

---Ron Villone will be Ron Villone again in 2005. I still can't believe he's back.

---Aaron Sele is gone by June. At least I hope he is.

---Jeff Nelson will get his radio show back on KJR. Tuesdays with Nellie is much, much better than Tuesdays with Willie.

---Speaking of Willie Bloomquist, why hasn't he been reunited with Bob Melvin in Arizona already?

---Since Rich Waltz is in Florida now, Kevin Calabro will fill in for Dave Niehaus this summer. Niehaus usually takes his vacation in July, after the All-Star break.

---Ichiro, Adrian Beltre, and Bobby Madritsch will be your 2005 All-Stars from your Seattle Mariners.

--- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---

There's no telling how many chances I'll get to see the Mariners play on television here in Arkansas. I'll be lucky to get 10 games at the most. No, I don't have the cash to pay for MLB.TV right now.

Anyways, to sum up my take on the 2005 Seattle Mariners...

79 wins, third place, no playoffs.

2006 is the year I'm looking forward too. But that doesn't mean that 2005 can be written off. Opening Day is Monday.

Swung on and Beltre'd. That's my tagline for the 2005 M's. Not "What A Show!"

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Welcome to Thursday. It's been a couple days off for me. I had some time-intensive paperwork to do for something that hopefully punches my ticket out of Bremerton for the second time. College was the first.

For the random...dollar store shower curtains are cheap. That was one of the first things I'd bought about 22** months ago when I moved into my apartment on campus. Unlike every other shower curtain I'd been around in my life, this particular curtain was easily blown astray from vertical by any sort of air movement. Unfortunately, that bathroom in my apartment was pretty small and still had a heater in it. Though that's a good idea for when you come in from a 12-degree day outside and have to use the bathroom, it's not so good if you're taking a shower and absolutely have to have the shower curtain not mess with you. I like to make sure the bottom of it is water-welded to the side of the tub myself. It got to the point to where I think I had a gigantic bottle of shampoo or detergent that I held the curtain to the side of the tub with. This is almost as inane as the Dane Cook joke where he tries to explain kicked-in doors in public restrooms ("I don't LIKE to s*** in a perfect square!").

[**It used to say I moved into the apartment 10 months ago, but I was a whole year off. Only a year, that's all.]

To the post!

It's officially season preview day for the Seattle dailies.

John Hickey has quite the big piece on the Mariners' upcoming season. The biggest question, of course, remains to be how the pitching shakes down. Bill Bavasi has said on occasion that after the Mariners couldn't get Carl Pavano, they then went after Sexson and Beltre. Why do I like that it turned out this way? One, just about everything would have to break right for the Mariners to make the playoffs this year. Two, how good is a free-agent pitching market when top names include Jaret Wright and Carl Pavano? Come on. Three, I'm not so sure that Carl Pavano won't be a one-year wonder, and the Mariners don't have a Randy Johnson to put in front of him. Frankly, since I don't believe the Mariners are going to make the playoffs this year, I'm glad they were able to strengthen the corners of the infield, and this year they can wait for the pitching to solidify and/or they can wait to see what happens with next year's free-agent pitching crop. I'm not just kicking this year aside, but I'm incredibly anxious to see what the 2006 Mariners look like. The Mariners can win 85 games this year and miss the playoffs, and I won't be ticked. That won't fly for me next year, though. I needs me some playoff baseball next year.

Hickey also has a piece about the Mariners' minor-league system. He likens it to the UN, but I say it's more like IHOP. If you play word-association with a layperson and then give them South Africa, I'm guessing they'd say "Mandela" or "apartheid" or something. As a geology major, I can tell you that if you say South Africa to a geologist, you'll probably get "KIMBERLITE PIPES!" or "DIAMONDS!" in return, and it'll probably be incredibly dorky too. Just thought I'd let you know.

Wanna know another reason I'm looking forward to 2006? It's not a nice multiple of 5 or 10, and is therefore one less reason to beat everybody over the head with 1995 (though the chronological Times quotes article is a good read). I liked it, it was great, but in the decade since, we haven't seen the Mariners get to the World Series, but we've seen the subsequent injustices of Anaheim winning it all and Florida getting rings twice. I'm not saying anybody has to let go of 1995, but from this point on, if it's not the 25th anniversary of it, or any multiple of 10 thereafter, I'd like to hear about it just a bit less; in my opinion, that'd make the observance of the year that much more special. We'll all have the memories of 1995, sure, but sometimes I feel that people are just too content with hanging onto those memories than to expect more out of the team they have at the moment; I felt this was especially the case in 2002 and 2003.

John Levesque also tempers the excitement a bit. I might have said it a couple times here at the ol' weblog, but I have this team pegged for a 77-85 season, with a .500 season being a marked improvement (81-81 would be an 18-game pickup over the previous year). Also like I've said, though, if this team starts out 42-19, all bets are off and expectations change. I'm looking at you, 2003 Mariners.

Jim Moore gathers a little list of all-time Mariner defensive players at every position. In the article coming before the list, Moore mentions the error-hating Mariners of the 2003 season, a defense so great we may never see that kind of defense played by a collective team in Seattle again. I thought the 2002 team had a pretty damned good infield myself (Jeff Cirillo did start in 121 games that year). High-arcing throws aside, I was also a big fan of David Bell at third and the 2000 infield as well. Back to Moore's piece though, I'm disappointed not to see any references to Tom Niedenfuer or Brian Turang.

More defense. This time, it's Bob Finnigan on the infield. If we have a full year of Bret Boone postgame quotes referring to the new first baseman as Big Sex, it's going to be fun. If you ask me, Big Sex could be a title for a horribly bad sequel to the Lindsey Buckingham-penned Fleetwood Mac song "Big Love." In another weird random note, Fleetwood Mac had a woman named Stevie and a man named Lindsey. Don't try to wrap your head around that one.

It's unofficially official. Aaron Sele and Jeff Nelson aren't packing, so they'll be heading north with the team since they're not having to exercise their early-out-if-not-making-team contract clauses. The make-or-break date has come and gone. This is the part where I root for Franklin to eventually crack the rotation after they figure out Sele can't pitch more than five innings. If you can't tell, I'm not putting too much stock in his spring. Bottom line for me is that this guy better be getting you six or into the 7th if he's going to be the (gulp) fourth starter (I did see that printed somewhere) on this team.

Art Thiel supplies an article with a boatload of Mike Hargrove quotes which I think we'll be able to use for future reference. He concedes that managers usually have little bearing on the outcomes, but that his challenge will be to put players in the right places to succeed and to maintain the clubhouse. Speaking of Hargrove, keep an eye on the boxscores this season to see whether the crew including Alfonso Marquez is involved. He tossed Mike Hargrove yesterday, and I guess the season must be getting a bit closer if managers start getting tossed in the spring. If there's a bad call at some point during the season and Marquez is anywhere on the field, I give all of you readers permission to crank out some conspiracy theories.

SHAAAAROOOON!! No word on if we'll hear Hargrove call out for his wife this year, but here's some material about Hargrove and wife, a story grown in a small town called Perryton, Texas. If Mike asked that guy if he "need(ed) some wood?" before he socked that guy, I'll laugh for a good five minutes.

CD. Not just something I've spent way too much money on, but also the useless Roman translation of a number asked many times in this Steve Kelley piece -- Why not .400? If that happens, I'm fairly confident in saying I'll never see a two-year run for a hitter like that ever again. Could you imagine if he hit .400 this year and made a run at 56 next year?

If Meche gets torrid this year, we might be able to trace it back to a conversation with Cal McLish when Gil was sent down. From there, Gil simplified the repertoire and played high-low with his pitches and trusting his stuff more rather than nibbling on the corners. Early returns of the final half of last season seem okay. We'll see how he starts out, but I'll be elated if this guy wins 15 games this year.

I was waiting for a follow-up story on this, and current roving minor-league instructor and former Everett bench coach Darrin Garner is eternally grateful for everyone that helped his family got back on their feet after Hurricane Charley tore through their home and quite literally blew the roof off the joint.

The Seahawks were able to retain two key unrestricted free-agents by signing center Robbie Tobeck and all-world special teamer Alex Bannister yesterday. It's great to see the integral parts of the offensive line stay intact for anyone running or throwing behind them, and it's good to know that Alex Bannister will return to the special teams unit. The special teams unit was bad when Bannister was healthy last year, sure, but when Bannister got hurt, oh man. Incessant vomiting on my part, that's what that led to. Tobeck is on for 2 years at $1.875M ($250k signing bonus) and Bannister is on for 4 years and $4M ($1M signing bonus).

The Miah Davis Update
In last night's 108-93 loss by the Roanoke Dazzle to the Columbus Riverdragons, Miah Davis scored 8 points on 2-for-8 shooting from the floor and 4-for-4 shooting from the line. He also grabbed 3 rebounds and dished out 5 assists in 29 minutes of play. In 11 games as a starter, the Bremerton 1999 graduate is averaging 12.6 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 5.5 assists in 36 minutes per game.

Roanoke hosts Asheville tomorrow and travels to Asheville on Saturday.

The Marvin Williams Watch
The Tar Heels are in the Final Four at Saint Louis, where they will face Michigan State (Saturday at 5:47p) for a spot in the national title game against the winner of Louisville/Illinois.

For my thoughts on last night's game, scroll down a post or click here if this is the only post on the page.

They sucked. They never led. They were down by 10 or more points for nearly a combined three quarters of gameplay. The Sonics also had a grand total of seven assists in the game, tying a franchise low.

I think it was Brad Miller earlier in the year who had some comments about how Reggie Evans plays defense. Now it's Ray Allen (swollen left wrist) on Bruce Bowen, "I don't know what he does. They put him out there to throw punches and throw elbows. I don't know what he's doing. That's not basketball that he plays." Bowen on Allen, "I've never heard the great ones say anything like that. You never heard Michael Jordan say, 'Oh, John Starks doesn't play basketball.' John Starks may play physical with M.J., the Detroit Pistons may have been physical with him. What did he do? He went and hit the gym hard and continued to play."

Though I don't think I agree with Allen on that remark, I do agree that Danny Fortson would have "put Tony Parker on his butt." That would have helped in the first quarter.

So who didn't suck last night? Damien Wilkins. He's coming on strong lately. Did anyone expect this?

Tomorrow vs. Portland (7:30p, FSNNW)
Sunday at Golden State (3p, FSNNW)
Tuesday at Sacramento (7p, FSNNW)

Seattle beat Tri-City 3-0. The goal that held up as the winner was Aaron Gagnon's penalty shot with 3:58 to go. I bet that took the air out of the arena. Ladislav Scurko gave Seattle an early lead on the power play late in the first period. Aaron Gagnon scored his non-penalty shot goal with 4:27 to go right after a Shawn Belle unsportsmanlike conduct penalty had expired, making it a 2-1 score for Seattle. Tri-City coach Don Nachbaur blamed Belle for the loss. Vancouver Canuck prospect Matt Hansen had two assists for Seattle. Shots were 31-23 for the Americans, and Bryan Bridges stopped 29 for the Thunderbirds. Seattle leads the series 3-0.

Everett beat Portland 3-2 in overtime. The Silvertips won all five overtime playoff games last year, and have another overtime playoff win this year. The Silvertips blew a 2-0 lead before getting the overtime tally. Karel Hromas and Kyle Annesley scored on the power play for Everett in the second period. Mike Funk and Brendan Mikkelson (power play) answered for Portland in the third period. You'd figure that scoring two third-period goals would create some momentum, though nothing in the boxscores or articles says as much, and the result sure doesn't. Zach Hamill netted the winner for Everett in the extra period. Shots were 40-35 for Portland. Blake Grenier stopped 32 for Portland, and Mike Wall stopped 38 for Everett. Everett leads the series 3-1.

Kelowna beat Vancouver 2-1 in overtime. Two untimely defensive lapses ended up in two Kelowna goals. Vancouver coach Don Hay thinks goalie Marek Schwarz didn't have a chance on the winner, but Schwarz himself thinks he didn't have a chance on the first goal but should have had the last one. Nonetheless, Adam Courchaine got the early lead for Vancouver in the first period before Kelowna tied it in the second period and won it in extra time. Shots were 31-17 for Kelowna, and Schwarz stopped 29 for the Giants. The series is tied at 2-2.

Hamilton beat Manitoba 2-1. Well, the Moose scored first, but never again. Jesse Schultz managed the only Moose tally of the game early in the first period. A shorthanded goal late in the period turned the game and Hamilton took control before getting the winner in the second period. Shots were 33-26 for Hamilton, and Alex Auld stopped 31 for the Moose.

Tomorrow: Seattle at Tri-City (Game 4), Everett at Portland (Game 5), Vancouver at Kelowna (Game 5), Manitoba at Syracuse
Saturday: Tri-City at Seattle (Game 5 if necessary), Portland at Everett (Game 6 if necessary), Kelowna at Vancouver (Game 6), Manitoba at Binghamton
Tuesday: Seattle at Tri-City (Game 6 if necessary), Everett at Portland (Game 7 if necessary), Syracuse at Manitoba
Wednesday: Tri-City at Seattle (Game 7 if necessary), Vancouver at Kelowna (Game 7 if necessary), Syracuse at Manitoba

Have a happy Thursday.

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Wednesday, March 30, 2005


Spurs 89, SuperSonics 76

I have a feeling this one won't take too long.

The Sonics shot like crap, the Spurs got a double-digit lead in the first quarter after driving into the paint at will, the Sonics never led.

The End.

...okay, I'm never that quick with anything I've ever posted here at Sports and B's, but that's pretty much what happened. This one was so bad that I actually fell asleep during the fourth quarter. That should never happen with me, though I did wake up when I heard Calabro mention a Sonic run, but it still didn't get them within double digits.

Speaking of double-digits, the Sonics fell behind by ten or more points for the first time with 5:35 to go in the first quarter. A Reggie Evans free throw at the 4:01 mark got the Sonics within nine for 34 seconds before Tony Parker hit one of many layups in the first quarter. The Sonics got the deficit to single digits for a stretch in their big run of the second quarter. They cut the Spurs' lead to four with a 9-0 run featuring a couple of Nick Collison baskets down low and a Damien Wilkins three-ball, the latter getting the Sonics within single digits at the 10:21 mark of the second quarter. The Spurs outscored the Sonics 18-8 over the final eight minutes of the half, getting their double-digit lead back with five minutes left before going to the locker rooms. The Sonics never got within single digits of the Spurs in the second half, and fell behind by 20 points before the end of the third quarter. The closest they came was with their 11-0 run that cut a 21-point deficit to 10 points. Ron Murray, who hadn't shown up in the game to that point, had 13 points in the fourth quarter (eight points coming after the last-gasp run).

There was a reason I included the times in the last paragraph considering double-digit leads by the Spurs. The Spurs had a double-digit lead for 11 minutes and 40 seconds of the first half. They led by double digits for all of the second half. Add that up, and the Sonics were down by double digits for 35 minutes and 40 seconds of this game. That's damn near three quarters of basketball. Coincidentally, if you look at the Sonics' quarter-by-quarter scoring (18 17 13 28), you could also argue with those numbers that they didn't show up for the first three quarters. Ron Murray didn't, and he led the Sonics in scoring tonight. Totally unrelated, but Sean freakin' Marks scored 8 points in the first quarter. The Sonics had four guys score in double figures, and the Spurs had 2 (Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili). Of course, the Spurs played all 12 of their guys and had 11 of them score. This is the kind of weird game it was. Remember when the Spurs had Tim Duncan? The Sonics beat the Spurs twice with Tim Duncan. In a related note, I miss Danny Fortson.

Okay, I've got throwaway in-game numbers and I don't know what to do with them. The Spurs had their way in the paint in the first quarter as mentioned, where they got 24 of their 31 first-quarter points. They shot 13-for-23 (56%) in that quarter, and that's what happens when the game degenerates into a layup line. Meanwhile, the Sonics shot 6-for-19 (31%) and missed all four three-point attempts they took. At half, the Sonics were shooting 14-for-38 (36%) from the floor and 1-for-7 (14%) from beyond the arc. Ugh.

Having Rashard Lewis would have been nice, sure, but there's not much we can do about that.

Ron Murray 17 pts/7 reb/2 blk (7-19 FG, 1-2 3pt, 2-2 free throws, 33 min), Ray Allen 14 pts/4 reb (6-17 FG, 0-3 3pt, 2-2 free throws, 38 min), Reggie Evans 5 pts/12 reb (1-3 FG, 3-7 free throws, 26 min), Luke Ridnour 2 pts/2 ast (1-7 FG, 0-2 3pt, 25 min)

Damien Wilkins 11 pts/7 reb/2 stl (5-6 FG, 1-1 3pt, 30 min), Antonio Daniels 11 pts/3 reb (3-8 FG, 1-3 3pt, 4-4 free throws, 30 min), Nick Collison 11 pts/8 reb (5-8 FG, 1-2 free throws, 26 min), Vitaly Potapenko 3 pts/3 reb (1-3 FG, 1-2 free throws, 8 min), Robert Swift 0 pts/0 reb (3 min)

Jerome James Watch
2 pts/1 reb/1 stl/1 blk (1-6 FG, 1 turnover, 4 fouls, 21 min)

shot 30-for-77 (39%) from the field, shot 3-for-11 (27.3%) from downtown, shot 13-for-19 (68.4%) from the line, were beaten 50-36 in the paint and 12-4 on the break, outrebounded San Antonio 46-44, turned ball over 15 times, bench outscored San Antonio bench 36-28 (outrebounded them 21-14)

Ugh. Just a horrible night all around. In the third quarter, I had a thing planned where I was going to ask where the hell Ron Murray's jumpshot went (he was 2-for-10 in the Memphis game the night before), but then he scored a bunch of points in the fourth quarter.

For a couple players in particular -- Jerome James and Luke Ridnour -- the turnaround was blindingly quick from the night before. Combined, the short guy and tall guy shot 2-for-13 from the field and grabbed two rebounds (slam on James) and had two assists (slam on Ridnour, but his two assists led the team tonight, which is pathetic).

How do I assess the boxscore? Well, Ray Allen had subpar numbers (for him) along with the aforementioned James and Ridnour. Ron Murray provided the production that the team needs as long as he's in the starting lineup, though I wish a portion of it could have come earlier when the game was in a little less doubt (final run notwithstanding). Antonio Daniels had decent numbers off the bench. Nick Collison had a solid Collison-type night like he's been having lately. Any time Damien Wilkins scores in double figures, I'm considering it a good night for him. I didn't expect the guy to grab seven rebounds.

The lesson? One, seal off the damn paint against a team that is missing Tim Duncan (imagine Parker abusing Ridnour on the way to the basket, which happened multiple times). Two, when you have three guys in the starting lineup with an off night (and two having nights that are a 180 from the night before), your chances are not good. Three, you don't win too many games by shooting 39 percent.

I would have asked Jinkies if he's ever slam-dunked one of those jingle ball toys.

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I'm Stuck In Rehab With Pat O'Brien is hysterical.

Napoleon Dynamite's older brother Kip is the most pathetic movie character of the past 10 years.

Can you get taste loss from a Freeze-Pop?

Martina McBride over Liz Phair and it's not even close.

Clear Channel is awful.

Note to ESPN: I like the Giants-Dodgers rivalry more than the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry.

I would buy a Ludacris/Sum 41 collaboration album. Jay-Z/Linkin Park? Not a chance.

When is that Thea Andrews show going to air on ESPN?

The blonde rollerskating Coke girl, the McGriddles girl, or Brooke Burke?

On a local level, the Remington College girl is outstanding.

At Remington College, you get a free laptop! Razors not for sale.

Byung Hyun-Kim was traded to the Colorado Rockies today. Yes, it sucks to be him.

Maybe Kim can cry on Pat O'Brien's shoulder while Whitney Houston sings "I'm Your Baby Tonight". Boing, boing, boing, gone Kim!

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For the record, "I Live For This" has to be the worst tagline ever produced in the history of professional sports.

"What A Show!" isn't much better either.

Anyways, this is a much shorter baseball preview than I had anticipated. I had wanted to do a bigger preview, but I've been very busy as of late. I don't feel the need to apologize for that, so don't expect an apology for me. Too bad, so sad.

I didn't cut it back too much where I didn't include my division winners, league champions, and award winners. Agree or disagree? Post your thoughts in the comments box.

As for my take on the 2005 Mariners, I'll have a post specifically devoted to that tomorrow afternoon. I can tell you that it won't be full of pessimism. See, I can be an optimistic person (hey M.O.!).

(y - division winner w/ best record; x - division winner; z - wild card)

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(y) New York Yankees, (z) Boston, Baltimore, Toronto, Tampa Bay

---It's a two-team race. Big shock.

(x) Minnesota, Cleveland, Detroit, Chicago White Sox, Kansas City

---I love the Twins' chances in the A.L. this year. But don't sleep on the Indians.

(x) Anaheim, Oakland, Seattle, Texas

---I refuse to call the Angels "the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim".

Minnesota d. New York in 5 games
Boston d. Anaheim in 4 games

---Time for the Twins to knock off the Yankees in October.

Minnesota d. Boston in 6 games

---The Boston fans had their fun last October. Two years in a row? No.

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(x) Atlanta, (z) Florida, Philadelphia, New York Mets, Washington

---I'll give Bobby Cox his due. He simply gets it done.

(y) St. Louis, Chicago Cubs, Houston, Milwaukee, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh

---Will Dusty Baker survive after this season in Chicago?

(x) San Francisco, San Diego, Los Angeles, Arizona, Colorado

---Even without Barry Bonds, the Giants are still the best team in the N.L. West.

St. Louis d. Florida in 4 games
San Francisco d. Atlanta in 5 games

---Well, the Marlins will finally lose a playoff series.

St. Louis d. San Francisco in 5 games

---A reverse of the 2002 NLCS.

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WORLD SERIES (Games 1-2 at Minnesota, 3-5 at St. Louis, 6-7 at Minnesota)
St. Louis Cardinals defeat Minnesota Twins in 7 games

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I may be the only person on the internet who's predicting a Minnesota-St. Louis World Series. Now, that doesn't mean that I don't know what I'm talking about, because there is a method to my madness.

I'm picking the Twins because I like their pitching. A 1-2 punch of Johan Santana and Brad Radke will help the Twins win a few ballgames. Their bullpen may be the best in the American League, with closer Joe Nathan, setup men J.C. Romero and Juan Rincon. The Twins lineup will feature Justin Morneau for a full season. Morneau hit 19 home runs in just 74 games in 2005. Just imagine what he'll do with a full season. Besides, I can't stand the Yankees-Red Sox hype. I don't live for the hype, that's for damn sure.

As for the Cardinals, it's pretty simple for me. They added a true #1 starter in Mark Mulder. Adding Mulder to a ballclub that has a high powered offense like St. Louis does has to be considered a great move. Can Mulder stay healthy? I think he will. Not only that, he will win 20 games and the N.L. Cy Young Award in 2005. Oh, and he'll give the Cardinals a world championship in the final season of Busch Stadium.

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A.L. MVP - Vladimir Guerrero, Anaheim
N.L. MVP - Albert Pujols, St. Louis

A.L. Cy Young - Johan Santana, Minnesota
N.L. Cy Young - Mark Mulder, St. Louis

A.L. Manager of the Year - Eric Wedge, Cleveland
N.L. Manager of the Year - Felipe Alou, San Francisco

A.L. Rookie of the Year - Jeremy Reed, Seattle
N.L. Rookie of the Year - J.D. Closser, Colorado

A.L. Best Free Agent - Adrian Beltre, Seattle
N.L. Best Free Agent - Carlos Delgado, Florida

A.L. Worst Free Agent - Orlando Hernandez, Chicago White Sox
N.L. Worst Free Agent - J.D. Drew, Los Angeles

A.L. Managers To Be Fired - Tony Pena, Kansas City
N.L. Managers To Be Fired - Lloyd McClendon, Pittsburgh; Clint Hurdle, Colorado; Jim Tracy, Los Angeles

To top this preview off, I'd just like to mention that I'm already sick of the Yankees-Red Sox hype. Thank you and good day.

(Oh, and the more appropriate Tears For Fears song that should have been used in the ESPN promo for the Red Sox-Yankees Opening Night game this Sunday would have been "Everybody Wants To Rule The World". But that's just me.)

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SuperSonics 102, Grizzlies 99

The Sonics are going to the playoffs for the first time in three years.

It was yet another down-to-the-wire game, and the Sonics seem to be playing lots of these games lately. To make matters tougher, Rashard Lewis was sitting out to rest the tendinitis in his knee.

It's many hours later as I'm typing this, and I'm still trying to piece together how the Sonics won this game. They shot SO badly in the first half, and Memphis was shooting the leather off the ball (not sure if the cliche works like it does in baseball). The one thing that kept the Sonics from falling behind even more than they did (and they did fall far behind at points in this game) was their offensive rebounding. Amazingly, the Grizzlies finished shooting 54.8%, but the Sonics somehow managed to pull this one out of the hat. Of course, it helped a lot that the Sonics nailed half their threes they took and grabbed half their rebounds on the offensive glass.

For some reason, I was sitting there in the first quarter thinking that it seemed like a high-scoring quarter until it ended with the Grizzlies up only 21-19. Reggie Evans set the tone for the Sonics' big guys early, scoring seven points and grabbing nine rebounds in the opening frame, which is purely nuts. Jerome James also had five points and two boards. He would warm up later. The last half of the quarter featured runs by both teams, with the Grizzlies going on a 7-1 run, which was partially offset by the Sonics' 5-0 run to end the quarter, spurred by a couple of Nick Collison free throws and a Damien Wilkins three.

Then Memphis opened the second quarter by scoring the first three buckets. That later turned into a 8-2 Grizzly run, good for a 29-21 lead early in the quarter. The Sonics were able to use the last half of the quarter to whittle a 13-point Memphis lead to 6 before halftime. A slow run, if you will. The Grizzlies led 50-44 at halftime.

The proof, however, was in the numbers. The Sonics shot 16-for-50 (31%) in the half while Memphis shot a torrid 59% (22-for-37). Oddly, the Grizzlies missed all six of their three-point attempts. The Sonics were a less-than-stellar 6-for-13 from the line, but that's what'll happen when Reggie Evans and Jerome James are getting to the line a bunch of times. The backbreaking shooting numbers, however, belonged to Ray Allen (2-for-10) and Ron Murray (1-for-7). The Sonics were beat 30-24 in the paint, but their saving grace was that they were blistering the Grizzlies 17-6 on the offensive glass.

The third quarter saw the teams score 28 points apiece. Seattle began the quarter down six points, and they ended it still down six points. That definitely leaves out a bunch of the story, though, as the Sonics sank to the depths of the basketball doldrums by falling behind by as much as 14. That happened after Shane Battier nailed a three with 7:18 to go to give Memphis a 66-52 lead. If you want to put that on the run counter, that was a 16-8 run for Memphis. What came after that? Well, I'll have to dissect the Sonics' 20-12 run to end the quarter. In short, Ray Allen nailed two threes and had another layup, Antonio Daniels hit a three, and Nick Collison finished off a beautiful 94-foot, four-second fastbreak with a layup after he ran the floor with Luke Ridnour; he was fouled for a three-point play. By the way, that was 11 points for Ray Allen, if you didn't do the adding back there. The Sonics surely found going into the fourth quarter down six points (78-72) was a lot better than going in down by thirteen.

On came the fourth. How did it start? With a Damien Wilkins three-ball. Other than Gerald Wilkins, I'm not sure exactly where Damien Wilkins came from, but I hope he stays awhile. On the next Sonic possession, Wilkins made a nice feed low to Collison, leading to a three-point play. After only two trips down the floor to start the quarter, the Sonics had already whittled away the Memphis lead to two points (80-78). Bonzi Wells hit a free throw and a jumper to pile on to the Memphis lead, but Wells was negated when Wilkins hit yet another three. Nick Collison then picked off a pass and Luke Ridnour stuck a midrange jumpshot to tie the game (!!!) at 83 with 9:17 left in the game. Surely the Sonics had the momentum here, right? They'd maybe trade baskets a bit before finally taking the lead for good, right? Memphis went on a 7-0 run thanks to two Bonzi Wells buckets and an Earl Watson three.

Things looked quite bleak. The Grizzlies had a 90-83 lead thanks to their 7-0 run and Coach McMillan called a timeout with 7:18 to go. What happened next? Give yourself a pat on the back if you guessed "12-2 Sonic run." Ray Allen scored the first five points of the run on a layup and a three-ball. The run was finished off with James nailing a couple of free throws. Sandwiched, however, were a runner and a banking three-pointer by Luke Ridnour. Could it be, Luke Ridnour, the fourth-quarter hot hand? That banking three gave the Sonics their first lead since the first quarter. Ridnour would score 11 points and notch two assists in the quarter.

The Sonics had a 95-92 lead with 2:05 left. Ridnour was guarding Earl Watson and got called for a foul. Ridnour couldn't believe it, and he showed a little more frustration than usual in expressing his displeasure toward the call. He calmed down, and the coaching staff took over in the complaint department. Still, in such a close game, it's a good thing they didn't get called for technicals. It might also be a good thing that the refs weren't going to let techs decide the game, too. Who knows. Watson made his free throws, and Ridnour atoned on the other end with a midrange pop. Jerome James overplayed Pau Gasol a little too much around the post, it backfired, and Collison gave Gasol a hard foul, making him earn his two at the line, which he got. Then James hit a short jumper to put the Sonics' lead back to three at 99-96 with 1:01 left.

As the Sonics were sitting there with a three-point lead and a minute left, I was sitting there fearing only two things as the Sonics were playing defense. One was Ridnour fouling a shooter beyond the three-point line. Two was a three-point play. As I was watching Pau Gasol get really deep into the post with Jerome James and Nick Collison flying over to try and front him, I yelled "dammit" even before Gasol put up the shot. He hit it, he was fouled, and he hit the free-throw. The game was tied at 99. On the Sonics' next possession, Luke Ridnour was able to find James down low, and Gasol hacked him, sending him to the line. Unfortunately, James only hit one of two. Though the Sonics had the lead of one (100-99), one Grizzly basket could make the lead change hands.

The Sonics were going to defend a one-point lead with 27.6 seconds left. How did the Grizzlies fare on their end of the court? Shane Battier was near the sideline on the left side of the court, and Damien Wilkins was on him. Battier tried to put a pass down low to Gasol, but Wilkins got a hand on it and somehow put it off of Battier and out of bounds. Yes, the ball went off the Dookie and out of bounds. Battier immediately hacked Ridnour on the inbound. Ridnour calmly sank his only two free throws of the night, accounting for the final score of 102-99.

Ray Allen 22 pts/6 reb/2 ast (8-20 FG, 5-7 3pt, 1-1 free throws, 38 min), Luke Ridnour 15 pts/2 reb/9 ast (6-12 FG, 1-4 3pt, 2-2 free throws, 39 min), Reggie Evans 12 pts/13 reb/3 ast (2-5 FG, 8-14 free throws, 30 min), Ron Murray 4 pts (2-10 FG, 0-3 3pt, 29 min)

Damien Wilkins 13 pts/4 reb (5-11 FG, 3-4 3pt, 25 min), Nick Collison 11 pts/6 reb (3-5 FG, 5-5 free throws), Antonio Daniels 3 pts/2 ast (1-4 FG, 1-1 3pt, 17 min), Vitaly Potapenko 0 pts/0 reb (0-1 FG, 6 min)

Jerome James Watch
22 pts (career high)/6 reb/1 ast/2 stl/2 blk (9-11 FG, 4-7 free throws, 2 turnovers, 4 fouls, 32 min)

shot 36-for-79 (45.6%) from the field, shot 10-for-20 (50%) from downtown, shot 20-for-29 (69%) from the line, were beat 56-40 in the paint, outrebounded Memphis 38-35 (NINETEEN Sonic offensive rebounds), turned ball over 13 times, bench was outscored 48-27 (was outrebounded 15-11)

The line that Luke Ridnour put up tonight is definitely the best that we can see out of Ridnour this year, at least. He shot a good percentage from the field, didn't miss a ton of threes, and his assist numbers were through the roof. I think usually we could expect more from the free-throw line from Ridnour, but hey, his perimeter game was more than working in this one. What don't I like about Ridnour, though I don't think he did it tonight? Fouling guys on their way to the basket for easy layups that are going to go in for sure. I wish Luke would either foul a bit harder or not at all, but I shouldn't pick on Luke tonight after the fourth quarter he had, so I'll move on.

I can't say I went into this game thinking Reggie Evans and Jerome James were going to combine for 34 points, 19 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals, and 2 blocks. No sir. They were a big part of the early offensive boards that kept the Sonics in this game when the shots weren't falling. Also vital was that these two guys were the main scoring options when the shooters weren't hitting the shots they usually hit. What a nice night for these two to step up.

How about Nick Collison and Damien Wilkins? Now what Collison is doing is almost seeming like old hat, but he's running off the pick-and-rolls real nice, and he's really gritty on the boards. Tonight, Collison hit all five of his free throws, which was good to see. As for Wilkins, the guy's almost been like instant results this last week or two. In this one, he nailed three 3-pointers and had arguably the game-winning defensive play.

The Sonics are now 6-1 without Vladimir Radmanovic. They also won tonight without Rashard Lewis as well. How the hell does this team win a game against a solid Memphis team without Lewis and Radmanovic? This shouldn't happen, but in the eyes of Sonic fans throughout the reason, thank goodness it's happened.


I would have asked Jinkies if he'd ever seen a grizzly bear anywhere near Memphis.

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Tuesday, March 29, 2005


Verne Troyer pissing in the corner during the season premiere of "The Surreal Life 4" was the funniest television moment of the year for me.

This September, that moment may be topped by the 5th season of "The Surreal Life".

Here's a murderer's row of folks who will appear on the 5th season, currently in production:

Pepa (Pepa of Salt N' Pepa)
Bronson Pinchot
Jose Canseco

You got the bitch from "The Apprentice", one of the best female artists of the 1990s, Balki, and Jose Canseco.

Yup, count me in.

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Monday, March 28, 2005


I'm ready for the 2005 season to begin.

Just one week away, baby.

One week away...

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Welcome to Monday.

For the random...I never thought I'd like any Jell-O flavor more than grape until I discovered two summers ago that there was such a thing as kiwi strawberry Jell-O. I think the kiwi strawberry fascination goes back to the first time I had a Snapple beverage of the same flavor. It has since stuck, much like my fascination for vanilla chai. Of the kiwi strawberry fascination, it only halfway translates out to the actual fruits themselves. I rarely eat fresh strawberries, though I'll never hesitate to skin a kiwi and eat it, even whole if I feel truly gluttonous and nobody's watching me eat the thing. As for Kiwis, last year at Central they were having job candidates come in and do presentations for a new mineralogy faculty position, and one of the guys that came in was a New Zealander. He was teaching in Germany at the time of the last America's Cup, so he unfortunately couldn't give me a true firsthand account of what it was like in New Zealand when the Swiss team of New Zealand defectors took the last America's Cup...from New Zealand. In a somewhat related note that I know I've said at this site at least once, I find the America's Cup and related yachting and sailing events calming yet strangely engaging to watch on television.

To the post!

The headline says that Ichiro is hitting like hell in spring training, but there's way more news in the article than that. Eddie Guardado has mild discomfort in his hamstring when running off the mound toward first, so he was held out of a Cactus League game and threw instead in yet another sim game. Felix got rocked, but Matt Thornton came in and somehow threw 2 1/3 innings of walkless baseball. Scott Atchison may be throwing by the end of April, as his injury appears to be Pineiro Lite. Pokey Reese left yesterday's game because of a sore shoulder, making me wish this guy had Antonio Daniels durability. You could have had Daniels do 55 takes' worth of sliding in the "Long Ball" commercial (Beltre/Sexson) with his game uniform (nothing to cover the knees) and he could give you 55 more takes. If you made him get a little more elevation before sliding, though, I'd say 20 takes. Give Pokey 20 takes in that commercial, and he breaks a rib.

In the world o' roster moves and related stuff, Benji Gil and Ricky Gutierrez are in the have-agents-call-around-because-we-aren't-making-this-team stage (YAY!!) and Mickey Lopez is going to the Giants for "cash considerations."

Then John Levesque wrote a piece on Jamie Moyer. Normally I'd maybe say something about the piece, but I'm at the point where I'm tired of all the articles looking the same and telling me things that I already know or could very easily deduce. Opening Day can't come soon enough. Though Levesque used the word "bricks" in the article, he could have used mortar as well, though it wouldn't be brick adhesive, but rather the mortar shots Moyer was giving up last year.

Though it's more related to the NFL as a whole, I did find John Clayton's article on the latest rule changes very highly informative. I'm still pissed that the rejection of the down-by-contact amendment (replays) was dashed though.

The Miah Davis Update
Roanoke hosts Columbus on Wednesday and Asheville on Friday.

The Marvin Williams Watch
Reuters photo -- Mike Segar
In the Tar Heels' 88-82 win against the Wisconsin Badgers, Marvin Williams scored 6 (1-for-6 shooting, perfect in 4 attempts at the line), pulled down 3 boards, dished out an assist, and stole the ball twice in 21 minutes of play. Jeremy has a bit more on it here (two posts down if you don't want to click).

The Tar Heels are going to the Final Four in Saint Louis, where they will face Michigan State for a spot in the national title game.

So the Coug writes an article about Brandon Roy, Nate Robinson, and their draft possibilities. I'd have to agree that Nate will probably go higher, though I'm not sure how high he'd go. If he just wants the check to support his family, he'll more than likely spurn people who say that college kids who aren't lottery picks should just stay in school. Let's hope Nate doesn't drop out of the draft altogether (as in nonexistent third round), though I sort of doubt that'll happen. As for Roy, he could be the man on that team next year.

For my thoughts on last night's game, scroll down a post or click here if this is the only post on the page.

Usually I consider clinching playoff spots a big deal, but I'm not too irked about the Sonics prolonging the agony a bit by losing last night since I'm fairly confident they can at least go 1-12 with their remaining 13 games. Danny O'Neil's output here brings a couple of points to mind. Ray Allen made 4 of 5 shots in the first quarter, but then bricked 12 of his last 15, though he luckily remained a factor thanks to his free-throw shooting. More ominous, though, is the Sonics' last three home losses, all of which have been by three or fewer points, and all with possession and chances to tie or take the lead in the final minute of play. I know this team has a better road record than home record, but it's this type of stuff that scares me about this team when I think about the playoffs. Big Lo can only yell so loudly.

And yes, this whole Danny Fortson thing is getting weirder by the second. As much as I love the play that Nick Collison and Vitaly Potapenko have provided in the frontcourt in Danny's absence, I'd love to have the tonesetter back on the court. I miss the edge that Fortson gives this team when he's on the floor. Ray Allen says he hopes Fortson realizes how vital he's been to the team's success, and there's times where they could use him down low. He's a big man who can shoot free throws, and that's priceless. Maybe that #21 jersey that Lauren Jackson's worn has gone to his head? I know it'd probably get to me.

Tomorrow at Memphis (5p, FSNNW)
Wednesday at San Antonio (5:30p, FSNNW)
Friday vs. Portland (7:30p, FSNNW)
Sunday at Golden State (3p, FSNNW)

Everett beat Portland 2-1. Shaun Heshka's goal 3:02 into the game not only gave the Silvertips an early lead, but ended their scoreless drought at 214:47. Brandon Dubinsky intercepted a pass on an Everett power play and tied the score right out of the dressing room in the second period. With 12:15 to go, Alex Leavitt scored the winner for Everett, jumping on an errant outlet pass in the Portland zone and having only the goalie to beat. From that point, Everett did what they usually do when playing with the lead. They shot the puck seven times in the second period and only twice in the third. In the third period alone, however, they iced the puck 10 times. Shots were 33-23 for Portland, who has yet to score a 5-on-5 goal in the series. Blake Grenier stopped 21 for the Winter Hawks, and Mike Wall (what's in a name?) stopped 32 for Everett, smothering many pucks and therefore not allowing many rebounds. The series is tied at one game apiece.

Tonight: Tri-City at Seattle (Game 2)
Tomorrow: Portland at Everett (Game 3), Kelowna at Vancouver (Game 3)
Wednesday: Seattle at Tri-City (Game 3), Portland at Everett (Game 4), Kelowna at Vancouver (Game 4), Manitoba at Hamilton
Friday: Seattle at Tri-City (Game 4), Everett at Portland (Game 5), Vancouver at Kelowna (Game 5), Manitoba at Syracuse
Saturday: Tri-City at Seattle (Game 5 if necessary), Portland at Everett (Game 6 if necessary), Kelowna at Vancouver (Game 6 if necessary), Manitoba at Binghamton

Have a great Monday and a gee-golly fabulous start to the work week. Opening day is next week! This is me giddy with anticipation.

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Wizards 95, SuperSonics 94

Well, Ray Allen said in the locker room after the game that the Sonics didn't deserve to win this one. They didn't. Their interior defense was just brutal, and the Wizards had their way in the paint for much of the game. Jerome James was getting worked by Etan Thomas down low in a good portion of his 17 minutes of play, so that didn't help. The broadcast crew pointed out that Rashard Lewis wasn't getting the usual elevation on his shots, and his final numbers indicated as much. The cameras also showed him using the off-floor stationary bike to keep the knee from going stiff.

The shoddy interior defense led to the Wizards scoring 56 points in the first half, which put a damper on solid offensive half of 50 points by the Sonics, though they'd only scored 19 in the second quarter. The sick thing was that the Sonics held the Wizards to 39 points in the second half and they still didn't win. Scoring 19 points in the second quarter and 17 in the third quarter will do that to you.

All in all, I thought through all of the first three quarters that the Sonics wouldn't win this game. They were shooting poorly, they were defending horribly, and these small, quick, and athletic teams are the ones that give the Sonics the most trouble (ref. Boston), though oddly, the Wizards suck otherwise. In the fourth quarter, the Sonics quickly got back in it, got out of it, then got back in it again. It was hellaciously weird, and reminded me of many false-hope comebacks in which the Mariners used to partake.

In the first quarter, the Sonics seemed they might shake the Wizards early, going on a 10-0 run to get a 12-4 lead thanks to consecutive threes by Ray Allen. The Wizards fired back right away with an 8-2 run to cut the lead to two points. The rest of the quarter was pretty close, and the Sonics' largest lead was a short-lived five points, cut quickly by a second-chance Gilbert Arenas bucket, one of many second-chance points by the Wizards in the half (they ended up with 18 for the game). Nick Collison also came off the bench late in the quarter and scored three straight Sonic baskets. The Sonics led 31-29 after one quarter.

The Sonics jumped out to a 7-2 run spurred by Antonio Daniels and Ron Murray to start the second quarter and bump their lead to seven points at 38-31 with 9:56 to go in the half. The run was capped by Murray free throws, though he hit a runner on the possession before that at the 10:29 mark. The Sonics' next basket would come on a Ray Allen layup with 5:01 to go in the half. To recap, that's a span of 5:28, and the Sonics missed six straight shots. As you might guess, the Bullets turned that into a run, which was one of the 11-0 variety and it probably should have been bigger. A Lewis three in the final minutes tied the score at 48 (the Sonics had to inbound the ball with 2 seconds left on the shot clock) before Steve Blake (yes, Steve Blake) nailed a three. Then Luke Ridnour and Lewis had passes intercepted on the next two possessions, and Larry Hughes cashed in twice, once with a layup and once with a three. Eight points for the Wizards in about 44 seconds. The Wizards led 56-50 at the half.

Gilbert Arenas and Larry Hughes combined for 29 points, 7 rebounds, and 11 assists in the first half. The Wizards dished out 17 assists in the first half, which is more than the Sonics have had lately in entire games. The Wizards shot 52.5% in the first half (hint: lots of easy layups on defensive breakdowns, not to mention shooting the crap out of the ball), and the Sonics shot 45%.

Then the Wizards scored the first six points of the second half, capping off a 14-2 run carrying over from the first half. The first Sonic points of the second half happened after Arenas was T'd up and Ray Allen hit the free throw at the 7:07 mark. The first Sonic basket from the floor in the second half was at the 6:37 mark when Rashard Lewis hit a three to cut the deficit to 10. The Sonics missed six shots in their drought, and also turned the ball over twice and had a shot clock violation (Jerome James all three times). The Sonics put together an 8-2 run to cut the deficit to five at 66-61, but the Wizards were able to widen the lead before the end of the quarter, which ended at 75-67.

The Sonics woke up in the fourth quarter. Carrying over from the third quarter, 13 straight points for the Sonics were scored by Antonio Daniels and Damien Wilkins, and their output helped the Sonics tie the score at 77 with 8:41 to go (12-2 run). A Lewis midrange pop with 7:05 left got the Sonics their first lead since early in the second quarter. Though Wilkins' energy was great for the Sonic offense, he was whistled very quickly for four fouls, helping the Sonics get over the limit quickly, which happened with 7:26 left to start the Wizards' parade to the free-throw line. The Wizards weren't doing too well from the line, but then they started hitting their free throws. The Sonics were down 82-80 with the ball and 6:13 left. Ray Allen was stripped of the ball beyond the perimeter by Larry Hughes, who went for the easy layup. Allen pulled a Luke Ridnour and fouled Hughes for the three-point play. On the next trip down, Antonio Daniels had a pass jumped by Hughes, who dunked this time. That was five quick points by Hughes as part of an 11-1 Washington run. Amazingly, the Sonics were able to get it to within one at 93-92 with 1:01 left (12-4 run), helped by six Ray Allen free throws and five Collison points.

With the Sonics down 93-92 with a minute to go, Collison was whistled for a foul, and Kwame Brown went to the line. Brown was 0-for-4 from the line in the game to that point, so of course, he hit both free throws to extend the lead to three. Damien Wilkins put back a Ray Allen miss on the next trip down the floor to get the game back to 95-94. To make things even more interesting, Arenas charged Daniels on the other end of the floor. That set up the final Sonic possession with 16.7 seconds left and the Sonics down 95-94. What happened? Ray Allen held the ball beyond the perimeter for a few seconds, then drove into the key, where he was stripped. The ball was tipped and it found Antonio Daniels about four feet beyond the three-point line on the right side. The shot was short. Nick Collison streaked under the basket anticipating a tip opportunity, but it probably would have come after the buzzer.

Ray Allen 27 pts/8 reb/2 ast/2 stl (7-20 FG, 2-5 3pt, 11-12 free throws, 43 min), Rashard Lewis 16 pts/3 reb/2 ast (5-16 FG, 3-9 3pt, 3-4 free throws, 37 min), Luke Ridnour 7 pts/2 reb/4 ast (3-8 FG, 25 min), Reggie Evans 0 pts/8 reb/2 ast (0-2 FG, 26 min)

Antonio Daniels 15 pts/2 ast (5-9 FG, 0-2 3pt, 5-6 free throws, 31 min), Nick Collison 14 pts/8 reb/2 ast/2 blk (5-8 FG, 4-5 free throws, 29 min), Damien Wilkins 9 pts/5 reb/2 stl (3-8 FG, 0-4 3pt, 3-4 free throws, 13 min), Ron Murray 4 pts (1-2 FG, 2-2 free throws, 13 min), Vitaly Potapenko 0 pts/1 reb (0-1 FG, 5 min)

Jerome James Watch
2 pts/3 reb/1 blk (1-3 FG, 3 turnovers, 4 fouls, 17 min)

shot 30-for-77 (39%) from the field, shot 6-for-21 (28.6%) from downtown, shot 28-for-33 (84.8%) from the line, were outrebounded 40-39 (only 9 offensive boards), turned the ball over 15 times, were beat 25-11 on the fast break, bench outscored Washington bench 42-19 (outrebounded them 15-8)

With this, the Sonics' five-game winning streak without Vladimir Radmanovic has come to an end. What I've noticed about the Sonics lately is that a lot of these games are going down to the wire, and I think I pointed this out before, either in a daily post or in the last game post. Earlier in the season, it seemed as though the Sonics usually had their games decided with at least a few minutes left, with maybe a couple of exceptions. In games they lost, it was usually because they went dead cold for prolonged stretches and played horrible defense, and the opposing team drubbed them. Ironically, the team went cold for prolonged stretches and played horrible defense in this game, but somehow were able to hang close.

As for the boxscore numbers, I'd bash Ray Allen for his shooting percentage from the floor until I saw that he went to the line 12 times, and I like it when he's going to the line. I guess my disappointment would be that the other starters weren't getting to the line that much, namely Luke Ridnour. You can shoot free throws pretty well, Luke, now drive to the basket and cash in every once in a while. I'm not saying he has to go Daniels on us, but a drive every now and then would be nice. Rashard Lewis, as I'd mentioned, was impeded a bit by the knee tendinitis. Nick Collison played great in the presence of his grandmother Ruth, who saw him play pro ball for the first time tonight at the Key. Damien Wilkins provided some spark off the bench, helping the Sonics make a key run, though he was truly Fortsonian in the way he was piling up fouls out there, though less people were falling to the floor in a heap.

I would have asked Jinkies if the cat food on those Sheba commercials actually tastes good because man, it doesn't look good and the flavors all sound disgusting.

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Sunday, March 27, 2005


Bremerton's Marvin Williams scored 6 points and pulled down 3 rebounds as the North Carolina Tar Heels are headed to their first Final Four since 2000, holding off the scrappy Wisconsin Badgers 88-82. Williams was just 1-for-6 from the field, but was 4-for-4 from the free throw line. Thanks to Sean May's 29 points and 11 rebounds, Williams and the Tar Heels are going to the Final Four.

North Carolina has had the talent in place to win in recent years. While Illinois has been the nation's best team this year, it is North Carolina that is the most talented team. How talented is this team? Marvin Williams is the sixth man.

While there's been talk about Marvin possibly leaving Chapel Hill for the NBA after this season, there's still another game for Marvin to wear the Carolina blue. Next Saturday, the Tar Heels will play either Michigan State or Kentucky.

Can Marvin and Roy Williams experience their one shining moment in the Gateway City? If there is ever a year for Roy to get his national championship, it's this year.

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Welcome to Sunday.

For the random...I'm usually good when it comes to this, but I walked out of Circuit City last night with a clean copy of the new Queens of the Stone Age album. Luckily I'm an obsessive type that likes to rip open new albums before I start the car. I looked at the sticker on the front of the album, which was nicely and sarcastically worded, saying it was the "clean and safe" version. I figured maybe the band was screwing with me or something, but then I looked at the sticker up top, and sure enough, it was an edited version. Luckily I hadn't busted open the plastic yet, though I was about to do so. I traded it straight across for a "dirty" copy after I went back inside. Kudos to Christina the cashier for letting it go so smoothly and trusting me when I said the album was marked as $9.99 after she'd rung it up originally for a full $13.99. Yay for good customer service. As for the album, I'm halfway through it, but if you're worried about bassist Nick Oliveri leaving the band, don't be. The first album was great, and he wasn't with the band then. Queens of the Stone Age will exist for as long as Josh Homme wants it to exist. Think of him as a Billy Corgan/Dave Mustaine/Dave Grohl when it comes to this band.

To the post!

Joel Pineiro looked fine on the mound yesterday, but to really feel good about this outing, we have to hope that Joel Pineiro's shoulder isn't killing him when he wakes up this morning. Bryan Price is saying that Pineiro's first start might be all the way back to April 15th. Yes, there's nothing like doing your taxes and watching Pineiro's first start of the year.

Unsurprisingly, Jose Lopez was optioned to Tacoma. He just needs more reps. He needs to brush up on the glove and hit more consistently. Then again, who doesn't? Still, I never thought Lopez breaking the big club was in the cards this spring. Meanwhile, Eddie Guardado will throw in game action today, and Ryan Rowland-Smith was returned by the Twins, who weren't going to Ugueto him.

'Tis a day of sleep in the Hawks' nest.

The Miah Davis Update
In the Roanoke Dazzle's 90-87 loss to the Huntsville Flight yesterday, Miah Davis had his first start coming off an ankle sprain and had limited minutes. He missed his only shot from the floor and hit both his free throws. He scored two points, grabbed a rebound, and had three assists in 19 minutes, possibly so short because of either his ankle or his four fouls.

Roanoke hosts Columbus on Wednesday and Asheville on Friday.

The Marvin Williams Watch
Marvin Williams got a couple of name-drops in today's Percy Allen article about the NBA Draft possibly shying away from high-school players. At least this year. Marvin's only one year departed from high school, so he's definitely still young if he decides to jump.

North Carolina will face Wisconsin today at 11:40a for a Final Four berth.

Fortson and McMillan are pretty mum about what's eating at them. A lot has gone on around Fortson since the great start of this year. There was the flying chair, his mother's death, the yelling at a practice referee (and subsequent suspension), the injured foot, etc. Now Nick Collison and Vitaly Potapenko have chopped into his minutes, though they're filling in quite admirably. Fortson also feels underutilized in terms of picks, though teams are defending the pick-and-roll better than at the beginning of the season. Running the pick-and-roll also becomes a lot easier when a healthy Vladimir Radmanovic is on the floor as another option on offense.

Tonight vs. Washington (5p, FSNNW)
Tuesday at Memphis (5p, FSNNW)
Wednesday at San Antonio (5:30p, FSNNW)
Friday vs. Portland (7:30p, FSNNW)

Seattle beat Tri-City 3-2 in double overtime. How's that for a Game 1? The goal which forced overtime was off a dump-in that took a convenient bounce off the KeyArena boards and beat Tri-City goalie Carey Price to the net, which he was behind waiting for the puck to come along the boards. Nope. Seattle had tied the game twice but never led until the final goal. Tri-City led 2-1 after 20 minutes of play, with Nate Thompson having scored the Seattle goal. The weird goal was sent in by Clayton Barthel, tying the game with 8:03 left in regulation. What followed was 34:15 of scoreless hockey. With 13:48 remaining in the second overtime, Derek Couture banged home a rebound to finally end the game. Kyle Fecho assisted on all three Seattle goals and was a plus-2. Shots were 70-49 for Seattle, and Bryan Bridges stopped 47 for the Thunderbirds. Perhaps more amazing was that Carey Price stopped 67 for the Americans. Of course, since there's no entry draft this year, Price and tons of other junior players will have to be kept waiting with baited breath in regards to their NHL futures. Seattle leads the series 1-0.

Kelowna beat Vancouver 4-3. The Giants head home with a split, though I'm sure they badly wanted a win after scoring twice in the third period to get this one to overtime. Vancouver would feel a lot better if this were a regular season since they'd come away with the single point. Alas, this is playoff hockey. The Giants held an early first-period lead on a power play goal by Adam Courchaine. The Rockets took it right back and more in the second period with three goals in a span of only 2:07. In the third, Vancouver drew within one thanks to a Mitch Bartley goal, and they tied it on a Mark Fistric shot that crossed up the Kelowna goalie before finding the back of the net. The Giants had considerable adversity, being on the road and having to kill off four straight power plays in the third period. Unfortunately for Vancouver, Brent Howarth ended the game with 2:25 left in the first and only overtime period. Shots were 38-28 for Kelowna, and Marek Schwarz stopped 35 for Vancouver. This series is tied at one game apiece.

Saint John's beat Manitoba 7-2. The Leafs scored four first-period goals. The Moose scored to make it 4-1 and 7-2 on goals by Tomas Mojzis and Nolan Baumgartner. Shots were 37-27 for Saint John's, and Alex Auld stopped 30 for Manitoba.

Today: Everett at Portland (Game 2)
Tomorrow: Tri-City at Seattle (Game 2)
Tuesday: Portland at Everett (Game 3), Kelowna at Vancouver (Game 3)
Wednesday: Seattle at Tri-City (Game 3), Portland at Everett (Game 4), Kelowna at Vancouver (Game 4), Manitoba at Hamilton
Friday: Seattle at Tri-City (Game 4), Everett at Portland (Game 5 if necessary), Vancouver at Kelowna (Game 5), Manitoba at Syracuse
Saturday: Tri-City at Seattle (Game 5 if necessary), Portland at Everett (Game 6 if necessary), Kelowna at Vancouver (Game 6 if necessary), Manitoba at Binghamton

Have a great Sunday.

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