Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Man do I wish I was a left-hander closer today...

Well, I certainly got the Heisman wrong a couple weeks ago (thank goodness my opinion means absolutely nothing in the grand scheme of things...hell, in that regard, I should be a voter in the Harris Poll). My earlier choice, Vincent Young, managed to look less than stellar against A&M on national TV (and was I in a food coma or did Dennis Franchione bust out the wishbone?) - combine that with Reggie Bush's 500 yard game against Fresno State, and you have Matt Leinart or Bush as your Hesiman winner. Whoever has the bigger field day against the porous UCLA defense will be walking away with the hardware December 10 (which means at least 1 of the 50 donkeys dressed up as Santa at Cafe Saint-Ex will need to keep an eye on the tube).

All this talk of Reggie and Matt logically leads me to next year's draft...and let me just say I couldn't be prouder of my Jets for forging ahead with their plan to completely tank the season by dropping a very winnable game in the fourth quarter against Joe Horn and the New Orleans Crusaders. I mean, of course New Orleans would win - they're led by Joe Theismann's "Coach of the Year" Jim Haslett. A look at the teams lined up at the Union Station liquor store hoping to win the "Pick a USC Player #1" Powerball drawing:

**Houston, 1-10: The Texans monumental choke job against the Rams still has them as the leader in the clubhouse for Leinart or Bush. The saving grace for the Jets - Houston plays 4 of their final 5 games against teams on this pitiful list, meaning 2 wins (hell, reach for the stars Dom Capers...3 wins) is not out of the question.
**San Francisco, 2-9: They've hitched their wagon to Alex Smith (or so it seems), so even if they draft #1 the Jets would get Leinart at #2. Plus the 49ers have Arizona and Houston on their remaining schedule, so a win is a definite possibility (look how big that January 1st game is between Houston and San Fran).
**NY Jets, 2-9: No matter how may motivational speeches Herm Edwards gives his team, I can't see a way the Jets don't pick #1 or #2, and thank god for that. Leinart or Bush would become an instant media sensation in NY, and you're telling me the Post and Daily News wouldn't love Manning/Leinart features for the next 10 years? The Jets might win one more game, against either Oakland or Buffalo, but I wouldn't count on it. 2-14 here we come.
**Green Bay, 2-9: Brett Favre. Yikes. I haven't seen a worse farewell tour since Spinal Tap's "farewell comeback tour" in '84 (or was it the "comeback farewell tour"?). They took Aaron Rodgers last year, so I'm pretty sure they're all about Bush (and if you think I'm not enjoying typing "bush" this many times, well, you're nuts). The Pack might get to 4-12 by beating the Ravens and Lions...or Favre completely throws this season away and Peter King hangs himself in a Colgate dorm in shame.
**New Orleans, 3-8: If Joe Horn had his way, the Saints would draft #1, #2 and #3 because Paul Tagliabue didn't send him a Vermont Teddy Bear after Hurricane Katrina. Thank god they beat the Jets Sunday night, because they're going winles in their final five games.
**Arizona, 3-8: Denny Green, your team sucks. But you do get the 49ers and Texans in the season's final 5 games. Stop playing Warner and you might win those two.
**Baltimore, 3-8: This season couldn't be happening to a nicer guy. Baltimore's probably getting to five wins and hopefully canning Billick as fast as possible.
**Tennessee, 3-8: Norm Chow and Steve McNair, starring in Rush Hour 3. Until Sunday's offensive explosion, I figured the Titans were 3-13 bound. But they get Houston in 2 weeks, so hopefully win 4 keeps them behind the Jets.

Very briefly...Notre Dame is going to the Fiesta Bowl. The Fiesta Bowl wants Notre Dame and not Oregon. Ducks fans, your screaming and whining will not change their minds. Despite your mind-numbingly ugly unis, you are not the national draw Notre Dame is. I know you only have 1 loss. Sorry, it's a business decision. And yes, Auburn fans, I realize your 9-2 was probably tougher than Notre Dame's 9-2, but again, Fiesta Bowl reps don't care. They want the ratings and the buzz. Get ready for Wisconsin and the Capital One Bowl (and all those fucking commercials with the displaced pillagers).

Hey, guess what, the New York Rangers are one of the best teams in hockey through the first third of the season. The only guy who might actually care about this is sequestered in NYC for the next few weeks, pondering how he can get 2 more TVs in his furnished suite so he can watch the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl, Nets-Raptors and Prison Break all at once. But the reason the Rangers are on my radar screen (besides the fact that this early season success is their best start in a decade), is that they played in an NHL-record 15 round shootout last week against the Crapitals (and won). They're winning with a productive offense (8th in goals scored) and fantastic defense/special teams (4th in goals against at 2.46/game and 2nd in penalty kill percentage). Perhaps some more NHL nuggets in coming weeks - my burning desire to beat Carter in Yahoo Fantasy Hockey has me tuned into the NHL much more than I should be. Well, that and my insatiable thirst to hear Barrry Melrose pronounce any word with the letter "o" in it.

What a gem I stumbled upon last evening...best two hours of television I've seen in awhile: The Kenny Rogers/Lionel Richie episode of "Crossroads" on CMT (winner of a very close race with PTV's "The Side Boob Hour" and "Midnight Q"). This show has apparently been on for quite awhile, from a look at this roster...how the hell did I miss the Hank Williams Jr./Kid Rock episode? Can I make requests? How much would it cost to get Neil and Barry together on CMT?

How far has Charlie Hustle fallen? I mean, Jayson Stark didn't even write an article about this. Yesterday, Pete Rose's eligibilty for the writers portion of the Baseball Hall of Fame ballot expired. The only way Rose could get in the Hall now would be a vote by the Veterans Committee, and there ain't no way in hell that is happening. "Pete Rose: My Prison Without Bars" didn't exactly work out the way Pete had hoped. Or maybe this is continued backlash for the ESPN "Hustle" advertising assault (by the way, not that you care, but I absolutely believe Rose should be in the Hall of Fame, based on his on the field performance). Three very interesting candidates for the Hall of Fame Class of 2006 - Orel Hershiser, Dwight Gooden and, for the first time, Albert "Don't Call Him Joey" Belle.

Has the Ford family ever stopped to think that Matt Millen might be the problem?

Monday, November 28, 2005

Let the Holiday Season begin...

GTB hopes everyone had a relaxing Thanksgiving Break, full of much food and sports...I sure know I did. With the introduction of ESPN's college hoops Feast Week last week I now have the NFL, NBA, NHL (you know, hockey...you remember hockey right?) and College Basketball on my sports plate. Good times all around. Plus there's only 27 shopping days left until Christmas...get in line now for your XBox 360...

You know how I really know it's the Holiday Season? (besides the fact there were approximately 1 million donkeys, myself included, staring at an undecorated tree in Rockefeller Center Saturday) I heard that god awful "Christmas Eve in Washington" song yesterday for the first time, which actually is quite shocking because our local "All Christmas Tunes All The Time Station", WASH FM 97.1, had the audacity to start playing holiday tunes a WEEK before Thanksgiving. You've gotta be kidding me...while driving roughly 975 miles this weekend we must've passed by 20 stations on the East Coast devoted to all holiday tunes all the time. But only here do we get that fucking terrible "Christmas Eve in Washington" song. It makes me long for the song about the poor kid who can't buy his dying mom some shoes or some shit, I don't know, real touching crap. Or even "Dominic the Italian Christmas Donkey". Now that's a holiday tune...

WaterBall...(sorry about that, force of habit...moving on...)

Ah yes, the aforementioned ESPN Feast Week. I love me some college hoops, and Feast Week did not disappoint (quick aside - did John Gulager's Project Greenlight film "Feast" ever get released? After watching quite a few of those episodes, I thought that movie had some promise. At least more than that piece of shit "Stolen Summer" film). The guy getting the most pub coming out of Feast Week is Gonzaga's Adam Morrison (dropping 43 in a triple OT victory will do that for you), but I wanted to mention two other guys I saw shine last week (and maybe mention them before Dickie V gets all their junk in his mouth):

  • Maurice Ager, Michigan State - Ager, along with 12-year college vet Paul Davis, can make this a special season in East Lansing (hey, looks like Mooch will soon be there as well...) Ager carried the Spartans in Maui (and had an epic battle with Morrison), and looks like he might finally be able to consistently nail a jumper.
  • LaMarcus Aldridge, Texas - Aldridge looked like Kenyon Martin or Marcus Camby during the Guardians Classic. He was a beast at both ends of the floor, and Texas looks like a serious contender for a national title as long as he stays healthy (and P.J. Tucker opens a book).
And in case you missed some of Feast Week, the ACC/Big Ten Challenge is this week. It's time to shift a little of that NFL concentration to the hardwood...root for Duke to lose (let's see if Dennis is paying attention).

It's been a tough month for DC sports teams. I don't think I need to mention the Redskins woes of late, I'm sure the Wheelhouse will tackle that this week. I guess the only saving grace for Skins fans is that they don't have to play another AFC team this year (Danny's boys are 0-4 against the AFC this year). At 5-6, they're not dead yet, especially with St. Louis and Arizona up the next two weeks, but it's an uphill climb. And what about my dearest Wizards? Uh, where do I start...well, not here, because I have a tad more real work to do, but tomorrow we can address the terribly inconsistent Wiz (6-7 on the year) and see what the hell is going wrong on Fun Street (thank god their division is absolutely atrocious). Oh yeah, DC has a hockey team, the Capitals. They play at the MCI Center. I don't think they're very good.

GTB Money Saving Tip of the Day: For the love of god, DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT spend your money on the John Cusack/Billy Bob film "The Ice Harvest." It fails as a black comedy, it fails as a caper movie, it just plain fails. Trust me...and I am a big Cusack fan. I'm not even sure the people who made the movie read the book it's based on...just complete junk. The only highlight of this trip to the movies was the preview for the upcoming Johnny Knoxville vehicle, in which he plays a normal dude pretending to be handicapped so he can win the Special Olympics, with Rip Torn as his coach. I smell Oscar...

Sideline question of the year, courtesy of ABC sideline reporter Suzy Shuster, after Nebraska coach Bill Callahan had a Gatorade bucket dumped on his head (amazingly, Nebraska destroyed Colorado after looking like dung all season):
"Was that one of the more gratifying dumps you've had?"

And finally...WaterBall (sorry, couldn't help myself)

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving...

...to the best damn readers Gheorghe's money can buy...

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Up Late with McBain

I can only go so long without throwing up some interweb beauts (damn it, no OJ news)...well, at least I found them to be beauts, you might find them a momentary diversion from a mundane morning...anyway, the Wiz play at Minnesota tonight so I either need to stop fucking around doing "links" posts and do the Wiz Watch this morning, or be supremely lazy and do nothing at all and see how early BLS MVP Laster can hit the local watering holes...let's see what the Magic 8 Ball says...

** I haven't talked about them much, because really, what is there to write about a 2-7 football team that is getting worse. HOWEVAH, there is much speculation that if the Great Cryer (Dick Vermeil, not Jon "Duckie" Cryer) leaves Kansas City after this season, current Jets coach Herm Edwards would be the likely replacement. The same guy who gave us "You Play To Win The Game" and "How The Jets Win" yesterday went from having one foot out the door to reiterating his commitment to be the Jets coach next year. I'm not gonna shed a tear if Herm leaves (though I'm sure Jason Whitlock will have something to say) - all I need to know is whether to buy the Leinart jersey or the Bush jersey. This Jets season is uglier than the Defenestration of Prague. [NY Daily News]

** OK, so I guess the Mets aren't using Mike Cameron in a package for Manny Ramirez...I am a bit curious to see how the Mets plan to use Xavier Nady. He's always been regarded as a prospect with tremendous UPPPSIDE...but he has struggled at times and been shifted around between 1st Base and the Outfield. If the Mets really want to grab Carlos Delgado from the Marlins, Nady's gotta be going to the OF. Where does that leave Victor Diaz? (Whit or Jerry, this is where your expertise comes in handy) Oh, and to Mike Cameron...congrats...enjoy the spacious outfield at Petco, the fantastic weather in San Diego, the fish tacos, and Shamu. Say hi to Joyner for me. [Newsday]

** Vaya con Dios...Olin Kreutz, Fred Miller, Johnny Utah, and Bodhi (perhaps sprinkle in some crazy ass Angelo Pappas). Is that how this went down? That's how I'm picturing it. "You crossed the line. People trusted you and they died. You gotta' go down." Who says beers, BBQ, an FBI shooting range and meathead linemen don't mix? [Chicago Sun Times]

Shifting gears for a moment, yesterday was a big day down at the Cracker Factory...it was Girl Scout Cookie Day. That's right, for the seventh year in a row that I've brought home a paycheck and taken it "Oz"-style from Da Man in the form of FICA taxes, this guy has two boxes of delicious Trefoils sitting on his desk (actually, one sleeve is in the bottom desk drawer, one sleeve is on top of my computer, and one sleeve is hidden for emergency reasons...that fourth sleeve, well, the poor fella never had a chance). Trefoils are, of course, the greatest of all Girl Scout Cookies...

** This reality show has every chance to shatter the bar for "dumbest collection of people on Earth." [London Evening Standard]

** This is a scary link on several levels. First, in honor of Rivalry Week, Fox delivers the geriatric Battle of the Ages, Dick Clark vs. Regis Philbin. Look closer, for there is a darker horror...Clark's replacement...I think "no talent hack" describes him best. [Variety]

** Two gems courtesy of Page 6...Anna Nicole's in training for the upcoming WNBA season...and seriously, would it have killed Paris to name the monkey "Mr. Teeny"? [Courtesy of, meaning copied and pasted from, Page 6]

-- Anna Nicole Smith showed up at Hamburger Mary's in West Hollywood to play bingo for charity last week and took home quite a prize - a barmaid. Tracy, a pretty blonde, allowed herself to be picked up by the former Playmate and was later bragging about the night she spent with Smith, sharing pictures from her digital camera with patrons at the bar. "She wasn't keeping it a secret," a PAGE SIX source relates. "Anna Nicole put her in handcuffs and her neck was covered with hickeys." The source added, "Anna Nicole was doing that butt-slapping thing...it was just bizarre. And her son was in the house." Calls to Tracy and Smith were not returned.

-- Paris Hilton's new pet monkey, Baby Luv, went bananas when she took the peeved primate on a lingerie shopping spree in Las Vegas last weekend.

** In case you didn't notice (and it's OK if you didn't...it took Cornell almost beating Syracuse for me to notice), the college basketball season has begun. I am a huge college hoops fan, and I particularly enjoy some of the early season tournaments, as you can occasionally get a beat on who might have a breakout season before Thanksgiving even hits. Four ranked teams play tonight on ESPN and The Ocho:

Florida vs. #18 Wake Forest
#16 Syracuse vs. Texas Tech
#12 Memphis vs. #14 Alabama
Temple vs. #18 UCLA

Keep an eye on slick James Calipari at Memphis and the Ben Howland-led squad at UCLA. These teams might be very good and no one realizes it yet. Since I need to craft more prose each week, I'm hoping to supplement the Wiz Watch with some sort of GTB College Hoops Report, you know, some nonsensical poll or list or some other crap you may or may not read. Moving on...on the hardwood last night Dennis' favorite squadron beat Our Lady of the Worthless Miracle 92-40 in a CYO game. [ESPN]

** That reminds me...ESPN.com has thrown up the The Great College Hoops Tournament in honor of the season beginning, and it truly is a great parlor game. UCLA's all-time roster vs. Louisville's all-time roster? Kentucky vs. Syracuse? I plan to waste a good part of my afternoon messing around with this. The only real problem I see is that Scoop Jackson seems to be involved. I'd rather watch Skip Bayless debate Joey Lawrence (all complaints regarding complete loss of work productivity should be sent to Chocolate City reader Michael E.) [Page 2]

** What I'm reading when not typing these magnificent posts - FireJoeMorgan.com. I was pimping these guys a few weeks ago, and they tickled my fancy again yesterday with their absolute hatchet job of "Around the Horn" and LA Times uber donkey Bill Plaschke. Any guy who makes Woody Paige look good needs to be pummeled. [Fire Joe Morgan]

And finally, a salute to a guy who is fast becoming a Gheroghe favorite, Mr. Clinton Portis...
- First, he was Southeast Jerome (Afro wig, fake gold teeth, mask and cape)
- Then apparently Jerome died a tragic death, and it was Dr. Don't Know (pink wig, pink Mardi Gras glasses, huge fake black mustache)
- And now, we've got Sheriff Gonna Get Ya (black wig, bug-eyed shades and sheriff's badge...just look at that photo) - the Sheriff is apparently tracking the Southeast Jerome case. I couldn't make this shit up if I tried.

Monday, November 14, 2005

It's a Saturday night special...

...Got a barrel that's blue and cold
Ain't no good for nothin'
But put a man six feet in a hole

Just three weeks ago, in this space and countless (real) media outlets around the nation, Auburn kicker John Vaughn was dead and buried after missing 5 field goals in an OT loss to LSU. Well, Mr. Vaughn, I salute you for stepping up and making the huge kick against Georgia Saturday night. Yeah, it was a chip shot, but if you saw Tommy Tuberville's post-game interview, I don't think anyone on the Auburn sideline was taking that kick for granted, not the way things have gone for Johnny V all season. Here's hoping the kicker was “rewarded” for his effort late night...
It's coming down to the wire for the Heisman, and here are one guy’s humble choices to head to NYC…
Vince Young (has all the momentum in the world while playing Pop Warner teams):
155-of-244 passing, 2,414 yards, 22 touchdowns, 8 interceptions
117 rushes, 774 yards, 8 touchdowns

Matt Leinart (Herm Edwards is gonna love this kid):
211-of-318 passing, 3,017 yards, 23 touchdowns, 7 interceptions
35 rushes, 34 yards, 5 touchdowns

Reggie Bush (needs a dynamic SportsCenter highlight play to regain early season pub):
140 rushes, 1,104 yards, 11 touchdowns
28 receptions, 315 yards, 2 touchdowns
16 punt returns, 162 yards, 1 touchdown

Brady Quinn (perhaps a homer pick, but he at least needs to be in the conversation…that Michigan State loss becomes worse by the week):
217-of-330 passing, 2,931 yards, 27 touchdowns, 5 interceptions
51 rushes, 99 yards, 1 touchdown

[Believe it or not, there’s a QB in the land with better passing numbers than all of these guys – Drew Olson of UCLA (218-of-322 passing, 2,909 yards, 30 touchdowns, 3 interceptions). Unfortunately, UCLA’s drubbing at the hands of Arizona might’ve caused many writers to ignore the Bruins this week, missing Olson’s 510 yard, 5 TD performance. It’s OK Drew, everyone has forgotten about my favorite guy Maurice Drew as well. Now, if you go out and beat USC in an Arena Football shoot-out the writers might just need to rethink those votes.]

After looking at the numbers, it’s hard NOT to pick Leinart. He’s the superstar QB of a team that’s won 32 straight games, he has phenomenal numbers AND he was last year’s Heisman winner. HOWEVAH, Bush and Leinart are going to split some votes (and heck, LenDale White might steal a few votes too), and Vince Young will benefit big from this. Right now, November 14, 2005, I’m handing the Heisman Trophy to Vince Young.
How happy is Steve Spurrier today? After what can only be described as an unmitigated coaching disaster in Washington, Spurrier returned to college football and the SEC, taking over the reins from Lou Holtz at South Carolina. Spurrier could've been outcoached by Radio while leading the Skins...in the last two weeks he's beaten his nemesis Phatty Phil Fulmer and new Florida hotshot Urban Meyer. You think the 'ol ball coach isn't loving every minute of this? South Carolina's won 5 SEC games in a row (ranked #19 in the AP poll today) and still has an outside shot of making the SEC title game (of course their fate is in the hands of Kentucky, but whatever, there’s a slight chance).
OK, I'll say it - the Minnesota Golden Gophers are the Denver Broncos of college football. Just like Mike Shanahan in Denver, the coaches in Minnesota seem to be able to plug any back into the system and produce a 100 yard performance. Shanahan’s given us Terrell Davis, Olandis Gary, Mike Anderson, Clinton Portis, Reuben Droughns, Quentin Griffin and Tatum Bell in recent years. Glen Mason and Minnesota, in just the last 2 years, have produced Marion Barber III (stealing Julius Jones’ job in Dallas), Laurence Maroney, Gary Russell and, yesterday, some kid named Amir Pinnix (32 rushes for 206 yards). If I knew who their OL coach was I’d throw him a bone, but I’m too lazy to look it up.
There has been a ton of talk this year about how dreadful the NFC North is. Well, let me submit that the AFC East, despite housing the defending Super Bowl champs, is an equally dreadful division. New England is the only team above .500, and they barely beat Miami yesterday. The Patriots are 5-4 despite being outscored by 33 points this year. The starting QBs in the AFC East (minus the handsome Tom Brady) – Gus Frerotte, J.P. Losman (I’m assuming he stole his job back yesterday) and Brooks Bollinger. Yikes. The Jets are 2-7, and really, I don’t see any way they finish better than 3-13 (if they’re lucky). There is no way the Pats don’t win this thing, but don’t be surprised if they limp in at 8-8 or 9-7.
Biggest mismatch to hit the court this year? Anyone vs. the Raptors? Nope. Larry Brown vs. Stephon Marbury? Nope. It’s the team of Greg Anthony/Dopey/Happy/Grumpy/Doc vs. Dee Brown/Bashful/Sleepy/Sneezy/Doctor J. Is Rob Babcock making Anthony’s personnel decisions? Passing up Julius Erving for a dwarf with an untradeable max contract in Doc? Unforgivable. And Anthony already has the Lamar Odom of dwarves. What a HORRIBLE mismatch. Dr. J is going to crush these guys.
Now, not having the DirectTV package, I am often subjected to some miserable football games on Sunday, most often involving the Brian Billick-led Baltimore Ravens. Well, I did get the rotten Ravens yesterday, but I was luckily able to ignore them as Fox showed the Giants/Vikings game (and that Skins/Bucs game was one of the better regular season games in recent memory). Not a lot to be said, as the mocking of the Giants effort and “special” teams has already been done by this blogosphere’s Giants fan. But can we talk about this list that Antonio Pierce keeps, of the 31 linebackers taken ahead of him in the 2001 draft (he was an undrafted free agent)? He apparently gets great joy out of crossing their names off the list each time one of these guys leaves the league...anyone else getting that “Steve Buscemi in Billy Madison” vibe from Antonio?
The MLS Cup is poop.
More on the Wiz later in the week...for now, I'll just say Gilbert Arenas is an absolute animal...I saw him single-handedly destroy the Spurs Saturday night…

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Why not today?

It’s Wednesday, so why not the GTB Weekly Wiz Watch (I'm a big fan of alliteration)...

Washington Wizards, 3-0
1st in the Southeast Division
2nd in the Eastern Conference
#1 in our hearts

The Wiz have opened the season strong, albeit against weak competition, with wins at Toronto (99-96) and New York (86-75), and a home victory against Orlando 87-79. As Geoff mentioned yesterday, they're 3-0 for the first time since they won a title (and as Slater just mentioned in an email, a win tonight would be the first 4-0 start for the Chocolate City franchise since 1977…and no, I’m not fact checking their work). The Wiz have three crappy teams in their division (and one 800 lb. gorilla in Miami) and have to continue to win these types of games against the NBA’s dregs to have any chance at a top-4 finish and homecourt in the playoffs (that’s right Whitney, we can start the playoff talk right now…and just keep it going until I am 24 Coors Light richer).

Antawn Jamison and Gilbert Arenas have been the stars for the Wiz in Games 1-3 (as expected), Jamison scoring 29 against the hapless Raptors and Arenas dropping 27 and 30 against NY and Orlando, respectively. My boy Brendan Haywood had 14 boards against Toronto, and Michael Ruffin (5 boards a game) and Jared Jeffries have also been solid contributors on the glass in the early going (Jamison is averaging almost 10 boards a game, impressive for a guy with a creaky knee). Newcomer Antonio Daniels still needs to figure out how he best fits into this team, but the 5 assists a game are a good start (hopefully his ankle is fine too). Calvin Booth is still a huge donkey.

***Just a few words on the first three opponents…
The Toronto Raptors are already 0-4 and are atrocious. Rookie Charlie Villanueva looks like a 6’8” mochachino “Powder”, the Raptors start the druglord from Miami Vice in Jose Calderon, and their star player, Chris Bosh, still looks like he might break in half from a stiff breeze. Their GM is a laughingstock, and their veteran “leader” is Jalen Rose. That about covers it…these clowns are winning 15 games max.

Ah yes, how could we forget lovable Larry Brown moving on to his dream job in NY. The Knicks also happen to be winless as of this post, and Brown is already trying to move Jamal Crawford (OK, I have no proof of that, but I’m betting Peter Vescey already has a few fictional deals in place for Crawford). They traded Michael Sweetney, who I’m pretty sure can be a contributor in this league if someone would ever give him the minutes, for Eddy Curry, who Swint affectionately called “Hank Gathers” a few weeks back. Larry hates young guys, yet the best players on this team are probably Stockard Channing Frye, David Lee and (I can’t believe I’m going to type this) Trevor Ariza. This might play out very poorly for Larry.

The Orlando Magic. Hmmm, let’s see – the guy they drafted, Fran Vazquez, refused to play with them, instead staying in Spain. Dwight Howard is a legit beast, but he’s surrounded by Stevie Migraine, Hedo Turkoglu and Kelvin Cato. Grant Hill, in the most shocking announcement of the year, is hurt again. I can’t even tell you who their coach is (wow, Brian Hill…never would’ve guessed it). HOWEVAH, I will say they’re better than NY or Toronto. So Coach Hill has that going for him.

Now, defensively, the Wiz have held two of three opponents below 80 points (understanding that, yes, these teams are poop). All three opponents shot less than 40% from the floor. Excellent. That said, giving up 96 to the very questionable Toronto team on the road is disconcerting, but it’s not like Washington will ever be a defensive juggernaut. Just keep outscoring the competition…a system Gilbert is certainly happy with.

What the Wiz be saying…not only is he my breakout guy of the year, Mr. Haywood is apparently the team comic:
“We've even got Gilbert Arenas playing some defense this year."
Well, I don’t know about that…Gilbert is as allergic to defense as I am to Tide laundry detergent.

Tonight, the Wiz continue their four game homestand against the 3-1 L.A. Clippers (good seats might still be available…) Seattle and San Antonio stop by Dream, H2O, and the MCI Center over the weekend. I’m thinking the Wiz take 2 of 3 (losing to Timmy Afro) and come next week we will be discussing the surging 5-1 Washington Wizards (actually, as long as the Skins stay in the playoff hunt, NOBODY is talking about the Wiz. Except Slater I guess. And GTB.)

LUNCH UPDATE: I was working on this in the morning (I know, shocking), but didn't get it wrapped up before I had my nice 6 month lunch with HR (I guess checking to make sure I don't want to jump off the roof or something...I don't, in case you cared). Well, long story short, we're eating at Bistro Bis, about a block away from my work, and in walk Hulk Hogan and Virgial...OK, not really, but Chris Kaman and Chris Wilcox strolled by the table, and those are two very tall, VERY ugly dudes (looks like the Clippers are staying at the Hotel George if anyone wants to play that Junkies game of "Bother the Pro"...202-347-4200, ask for Mr. Rebraca, I'm betting he doesn't use an alias). Alas, before I could chat up said Clippers, the two disappeared into a very private back room for their pommes frittes. And SG wasn't exaggerating...Kaman is a dead ringer for the Hulkster right now.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Ryan Atwood, Fluffer

OK, so I was in San Francisco for work last week, and finally got back Monday night. I’ve been tired all week, and though we just spent a week out of the office, the “boss” types in the office decided to stick a bunch of TPS Reports on my desk for my return. Needless to say, I haven’t crafted anything much better than a comment or two since I’ve been back. HOWEVAH, a delicious turkey sandwich and several cups of afternoon coffee have me raring to go…

Thanks to some solid advice from Hot Action “House Ninja” MJ I flew jetBlue from Dulles to Oakland…and man was it worth it. The claims of more legroom might be a tad exaggerated (or I just might be a long legged ogre), but none of it matters because of the DIRECTV in the back of each seat. Five hours in a plane have never seemed shorter. There was no stopping the channel flipping…all the ESPNs (the Don Larsen SportsCentury was pretty good; even 30 seconds of “Rome Is Burning” is bad for your health), VH1 (caught several “I Love The 80s: 3D” episodes – let’s just say they could’ve stopped at “I Love The 80s Strikes Back”), VH1 Classic (the Eddy Grant “Electric Avenue” video and Billy Ocean’s “Get Outta My Dreams…And Into My Car” being my favs), the Food Network (a great show on candy hosted by that dude from DoubleDare), a “Top 100 Scariest Movie Moments” marathon on Bravo and “Nightmare on Elm Street” in it’s entirety after that marathon (Johnny Depp is dreamy). One of the better flying experiences of my life…I did want to point out though that the Oakland airport is a complete shithole, and after driving past Oakland’s downtown, the airport seems to properly reflect the general aesthetic appeal of Oaktown.

I was generally confined to an area of San Fran that houses the large Moscone Convention Center where our conference was held (down by Union Square for those of you that know the town). Lots of hotels, shops (both boutique and chain), restaurants and of course bars. Working 12 hour days schmoozing with 30,000 realtors didn’t leave a lot of time (or energy) for exploring the city, but I did manage to eat a good dinner in the Pacific Heights area (see that movie if you haven’t - a very good and underrated psychological thriller) and hit up some bar called Asia SF…which, aside from having a crowded dance club downstairs blaring Nelly and 50 Cent, had a “Coyote Ugly”-esque drag show at the upstairs bar. Now, it might’ve been Halloween weekend, but I got the felling San Fran parties this way all year long. I managed to take down several beers at a safe distance from all the Buffalo Bills at the bar (the scary “Silence of the Lambs” Bills, not J.P. Losman and Nate Clements). I love when girls bitch and moan about drag queens - “Look at that…I wish I had an ass like that” – Ladies, it’s a dude, let it go. One of the Chicago IT guys just sent pictures of a large gathering at the W Hotel one night, and let’s just say everyone looked like they had a GREAT time. One other thing about San Fran that needs to be examined (I’m not going where you think I’m going)…

What is the deal with the homeless? I mean, Jesus Christ, you have got to be kidding me. This is the most aggressive and crazy group of homeless people I have ever encountered. “No” apparently means “Please follow me for blocks and perhaps even try to pickpocket me in broad daylight”. It’s like they shipped in 1,000 homeless Carl Everetts. Now, maybe it was the area I was staying in, but in talking to folks throughout the week, it seems ALL of the homeless in San Fran behave like this. It was a tad unsettling walking three blocks at dusk…and I’m a pretty large (re: fat) guy. I can only imagine how the ladies felt. Take the time today to thank your DC/MD/VA homeless for not being like the group in SF. Then run like hell from them before they touch you.

(Whitney, you might as well head to the Dubliner now…this paragraph does not apply to you at all) As the subject line indicates, the MLB Playoffs are over, and that means a return to normalcy for FOX Primetime broadcasting (Question – Which show gets cancelled first, “Bones” or “Killer Instinct”?). The O.C. and Reunion were back on the air last night, and as SportsGuy pointed out awhile back, the O.C really knows how to burn through storylines. I thought last night’s episode was pretty good, but it was almost ridiculous that in the last 15 minutes: Seth and Summer managed to bust Taylor, Sandy subsequently busted the Dean, Marisa and Ryan had an emotional good-bye AND Marisa and Ryan had an emotional reunion. I wouldn’t have minded if it took another episode…slow down fellas…we’re still gonna watch. As for Reunion, I’ve been with it since Episode 1, mainly because I thought the premise had promise (huh?). Memo to the people behind Reunion: I’m going to need some better scripts in upcoming weeks, or I will never make it to the exciting 2005 conclusion. I saw better emotion and chemistry between characters in the last Star Wars flick…and it’s not necessary to make every episode have some over-the-top twist, just weave a tale that keeps me glued to the TV in the hour following the O.C. That’s all Fox suits want, that’s all I want.

Now, I’ve got to go “prepare” for tomorrow’s Homecoming II…Whit, practice beers at the Dubliner/Times?

Obligatory image file...these girls are looking might fine...

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Cagers, Wagers, Lagers

With this site being named what it is, there should really be more Bullets / Wizards content here. And there will be. Of course, I'm no longer the guy to bring it to you, what with me tendering my cancellation notice for season tickets after Season #1 of the "Washington Wizards" era.

TJ provided the initial outlook for the Wiz in '05-'06, but my NBA-appreciative colleague here at the Bureaucracy told me today the Wizards would "suck," and might even "suck bad." This is a shame for b-ball fans who enjoyed the rare taste of success last year, but it makes my bet with Monsignor Simspon look promising. Last year I sourly provided him with 24 Coors Lights after the 'zards made the playoffs. I'd be getting excited about my imminent case of Schlitz were there not 24 Pabsts in unpaid debt already. I'm not calling TJ a welcher by any means, though perhaps something that rhymes with welcher.

So basically this post has no other point in publicly assaulting Tajikistan Simspon for being only mildly tardy (1 month) on my beer. I could just as easily target Rob "The Original Gheorghe" Russell for the three cases he owes me, and unless he wants me to dredge up the why, I'd better be hearing the familiar melody of the neighborhood beer truck soon. But it's more fun to hassle TJ.

Anyway, I'll leave you with an NBA thought that's bound to make you think:

What ever happened to Jim McIlvaine?