Sunday, July 08, 2007
Anyway, here's some material...
-- I can't be the only one that watches SportsCenter and could give a crap about who's "now." Who cares? They're wasting so much time and so many segments on this Who's Now crap. When they launched the bracket, they were taking away from what was really "now," which at that time was the post-NBA draft stuff, the NBA free-agent signings that are done deals but can't be announced until July 11th, and of course, the whirlwind of NHL free-agent signings that began on July 1st. All that is what was "now" at that time, not some useless segments designed to give Keyshawn Johnson more face time and ego strokes. If anything positive comes out of these segments, I hope whoever does the computer graphics for the intro is being handsomely compensated, even though it really only equates to putting lipstick on a pig.
-- I still hit the Seattle-area stuff online, so I don't have to be content with trying to sit through seeing whether the nation thought Dale Earnhardt, Jr. was more "now" than Chuck Liddell.
-- The Sonics' situation absolutely reeks. Only they could take a day where they draft Kevin Durant and put a wet blanket on it. The only proven commodity they got in return for Allen was some percentage of Wally Szczerbiak. As for Delonte West and the pick that ended up being Jeff Green, I hope it ends up well, I guess. Also, three cheers for Rashard Lewis basically doing the "screw you guys" move of the Sonics' offseason and bolting for Orlando. Though different, it reminded me of Nate McMillan's departure after the last playoff season (2004-05). Lewis saw the writing on the wall. There was no way he was staying after draft night. No way. With all of the turnover, what are the fans of Seattle left with? Keep in mind this isn't just roster turnover, this has even included radio play-by-play man David Locke (there's no way that isn't a raw deal, no matter what you think of him) and Sonic icon Lenny Wilkens (again, very raw deal). At this rate, I'm surprised they haven't fired Kevin Calabro. If they do that, they should just move the team, because no one in this region would be able to identify with any of those guys except maybe Luke Ridnour (I thought he'd be traded before Ray Allen would be traded). All in all, the amount of stuff that's happened since that 2004-05 team took the Spurs to Game 6 of the second round has been dizzying. The Posies had a song called "King Midas In Reverse," and I can't help but think that whoever's up there in the Sonics' brass simply has a reverse golden touch. I was surprised they didn't trade down from the #2 pick, to be honest with you.
-- You know, since the Mariners are a ton better than what I expected them to be at this point, it reminds that all I usually think about at this point is, "sheesh, the Mariners are mediocre; when do the Seahawks start up?" Alas, the next paragraph will be about the Seahawks, but this one's Marinerrific (as Jose Lopez just mashed one out to leftcenter as I typed this). Mike Hargrove exited the club in less-than-ordinary circumstances. Of all the ways I thought he and the team would part ways, I don't think anyone saw this coming. Nobody could have seen John McLaren becoming the Mariners' manager in quite this way either. As for the team itself, at the mathematical halfway point of the season, they were on pace for a 92-win season, which is about four wins or so better than what I expected. That's one win better than the 2000 team, a team that took the Yankees to Game 6 of the ALCS. That was a team that had an injured Freddy Garcia for a big stretch of the year, but also a team that had a 14-9 John Halama. With this 2007 team, is the eight-game winning streak as good as it can be for this team? Was everything truly clicking? I know it is for the bullpen, but they could still burn out in a month or two. I'm just thankful that every fifth day doesn't have to be a guaranteed Jeff Weaver loss anymore. Still, Beltre and Sexson have tons of room to improve on their respective seasons. I think that's the scariest thing about this team right now -- they're on pace for 92 wins, but it still seems really patchwork and piecemeal to me. Could they really get it together? This team?
-- I'm not sure what kind of record to expect out of the Seahawks next season. I just hope Matt Hasselbeck and Deion Branch can really get on the same page, I hope Big Play DJ Hackett can keep doing what he's been doing (except more), I hope Bobby Engram can stay healthy for a full season, I hope Chris Spencer can get healthy for the season, I hope Pat Kearney can be healthy for the season, and I hope the changes in the secondary can help decrease the number of big plays against the defense. It's a lot of hope, for sure. Of course, if you ask me, the regular-season goals for this team should be the same as any year -- sweep the home schedule, sweep the division schedule, and win the division. That'd be 11 wins every year. Of course, one would have to believe that maybe some teams behind the Seahawks may finally be getting better. Lots of people are hopping on that 49er bandwagon, and they did get Darrell Jackson for a song, no doubt about that. Still, as Jeremy reminds me, the fact that Norv Turner won't be there to help Alex Smith along can't help him. Injuries are a risk to every team, sure, but we know Frank Gore has had some injury history too (knee-related). On paper, the 49ers should be better, sure, but Arizona should be better every year too despite drafting barely any offensive linemen. Saint Louis, well, Ram-hating is healthy for all Seahawk fans.
-- As for the Canucks, GM Dave Nonis let everyone know beforehand that they wouldn't be major players in the free-agent market, so it wasn't too much of a surprise when the big names on the market went to everyone else. Notably within the Northwest Division, the Flames beefed up their blueline with Cory Sarich and Adrian Aucoin, whereas Colorado got Scott Hannan for their back end and Ryan Smyth, who I thought would go to Calgary just to stick it to Edmonton. So, while other teams signed big names, the Canucks made depth moves, signing Ryan Shannon from Anaheim, Byron Ritchie from Calgary, and Brad Isbister from the Rangers. It adds to grit since all the Canucks' gritty guys (Matt Cooke, Ryan Kesler, Alexandre Burrows) were injured against the Ducks in the second round a few months ago, and at that point the Canucks were basically toast since no one was able to make the Ducks feel uncomfortable on the ice. That had to be a part of the Canucks' gameplan with their proclivity for low-scoring one-goal games, and Luongo can only do so much. Also on the list of signings was goalie Curtis Sanford, who beat the Canucks many times as a Saint Louis Blue, and comes aboard to back up and learn from Roberto Luongo. If (God forbid) something happens to Luongo, Sanford's got experience under his belt. The Canucks could have done a lot worse for a backup goalie, especially for the price.
Maybe at a later time I'll elaborate on the hilarious events of the top of the seventh today, which included the Mariners coming from behind to take the lead as well as Jason Ellison becoming Ichiro's bodyguard and managing to get Joe Blanton tossed from the game. Great stuff.