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Archive for May, 2007

A Few Random News Items

Just some random musings on recent sporting news…
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What the…?: A Blue Jays Quarterly Review (Part 2)

Well, the Jays came through with an impressive 7-2 win last night over the Yankees, having two large effects on this article. First, my piece yesterday praising Overbay’s likely continued production looks pretty good after one day of retrospection. Second, it’s going to be hard to avoid the halo and recency effects when evaluating Dustin McGowan after his sparkling 7.2 inning shut down of the pinstripes. Yesterday we looked at the Jays lineup, which I forgot to give an overall grade to but will go with C-, and today is the pitching staff. Keeping in mind that the overall grade is based more on expectations compared to actual results than results alone, the Jays staff gets a B- from me, receiving a big boost from the tripod of Janssen, Downs, and Accardo. Just like the D-X theme music says, allow me to break it down.
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What the…?: A Blue Jays Quarterly Review

The first quarter of the 2007 Major League Baseball season is completed and things have been, well, disastrous for the Toronto Blue Jays. While the record doesn’t scream disaster, it certainly borders it when compared to the high hopes the team (and its fans) had at the beginning of the season. This team was projected to compete for the Wild Card in the American League, and perhaps even the AL East divisional crown. Instead, the Red Sox have all but clinched the division already and the Jays find themselves in a four team battle to stay out of the basement. Through 49 games the Bluebirds are 22 and 27 for a .449 winning percentage, good for third in the division. This record has them sitting 12 games back of division leading Boston, but only a half game back of the second place Baltimore Orioles. Unfortunately the Orioles are anything but a wildcard contender, so the Jays face a 7 game climb to reach the wild card favorite Detroit Tigers. The good news is that 7 games isn’t a lot with over 100 to go. The bad news is that the Jays could play .600 ball the rest of the season and still only finish with 90 wins, a total unlikely to secure a playoff spot.
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Easy E's Got Something To Say - A Response to Gettin' Thiggy With It

Note: I received this e-mail from Erik Arnold in response to my Curtis Thigpen article and touching on some other areas about the Blue Jays. What is below is his e-mail and my response, just to expand on the Thiggy piece. Erik made some good points that I skipped over, so I thought it was only fair to bring light on those points and Erik’s baseball genius. If anyone ever has a response like this one, don’t hesitate to e-mail me and I’ll discuss it further. Booyakasha.
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Gettin' Thiggy With It - Why The Blue Jays Should Call Up Curtis Thighpen

A few years ago the Blue Jays had a young stud catcher in the minor leagues. At age 25, he had a cannon for an arm, had game calling abilities well beyond his age, and was the best defensive catching prospect around. With a catching platoon of Greg Myers and Ken Huckaby struggling with minor injuries and old age, the Jays took a chance on calling this prospect catcher up a bit early. He would go on to bat .172 in 113 games over parts of four seasons in the majors. This prospect was Kevin Cash, now an infamous bust and inside joke among Jay fans.
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Wild Wild West: Initial Thoughts on the NBA Draft Lottery

So, wow. Seriously, wow. Unbelievable happenings at the NBA Draft Lottery last night. The 14 non-playoff teams sat around waiting for 1 of 1,000 different combinations to be revealed awarding the #1 pick overall to some lucky team. This was easily the most hyped draft lottery ever, not just for the two ready-made franchise players but also to see if the amount of alleged tanking would pay off for teams like Memphis and Boston. Well, that wasn’t the case last night as the top three picks (the only ones determined by the lottery system) all went to teams going against the odds. The Portland Trail Blazers were awarded the #1 pick despite only a 5% chance, and they were followed up by the Seattle Super Sonics with similar odds. The Atlanta Hawks, the fourth worst team in 2006-07, claimed the third pick, dropping cellar dwellers Memphis, Boston, and Milwaukee into the 4, 5, and 6 spots, respectively. Not since 1993 have the three worst teams not received any of the top three picks, and it’s shocking to see it happen again. We can immediately see three things from the lottery:
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An Interesting Letter From the NBA

Note: Trevor Smith e-mailed the NBA voicing his displeasure with the Amare Stoudemire and Boris Diaw suspensions, and received this e-mail in response. He e-mailed it to me and I thought I’d throw it up for everyone to smirk at.

Thank you for taking the time to contact us about the suspensions of Amare Stoudemire and Boris Diaw of the Phoenix Suns. Although we probably will not change your mind, we wanted to share with you the rationale for the rule and the facts requiring our decision.
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A Conference Finals Preview

Note: This article has been written by Alex Pennycook live on location from Australia, with a note from me at the end of each piece.

Detroit vs. Cleveland
So basically it’s Lebron against the Pistons and I don’t see how he can prevail. I was shocked with the easy time Detroit had with the Bulls, but it’s always the teams that can lock things down defensively that go far in the playoffs so it shouldn’t be that surprising. I wouldn’t say that either team has the clear advantage in the post. My over/under line for Rasheed technicals in the series is 2.5, with a guaranteed 1 for his reaction on one of many bad calls certain to go Lebron’s way. The Pistons have a big advantage in the backcourt and you can expect big series’ from Rip and Billups. Lebron will be the best player on the floor at anytime, but Tayshaun Prince should do a great job at containing him. Also I want to plug this Tayshaun youtube video of him in college (Click Here). Every time he hits a 3 you can count on me saying “He’s not a prince, he’s a king”. The Cavs didn’t show me much in the New Jersey series, so I’ll take the Pistons in 5 (probably will go 6 since Lebron will get a lot of calls down the stretch of a close game that will swing things the Cavs way).
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TSN = The Shittiest Network? An Analysis of Canadian Sports Television

Note: This article was written in pieces over some time because it was a background project while I did other stuff and slacked off. It may seem jumbled and inconsistent, not one of my better pieces, but it’s finally done so enjoy.

I’ve been waiting to write a piece like this for some time now. I didn’t want to write it right after March Madness, because I felt there may have been a recency effect take hold due to The Score’s excellent NCAA coverage. So I waited. Now is definitely the time to strike, though, with all three stations covering the NBA playoffs, NHL Playoffs, and Major League Baseball, plus the upcoming NFL Draft. More than any time of year, right now is when you can get the best idea of a station’s total offering. So what I’ve aimed to do in what follows is develop a Johnny Drama-like scoring system for evaluating the sports stations in Canada like Drama did to evaluate talent agencies (you know, when anyone wanted him). I came up with 10 different categories to score the stations, and each category will be equally weighted to give a total score of 100. I did the equal weighting thing because obviously I would be partial to the station with the best basketball and least hockey coverage. The categories are all self-explanatory, and I just give a brief explanation for each score. The real bulk of the analysis, though, comes in the Likability section, which is my subjective score out of 10 for the network, with a great deal of detail. So consider this your handy guide to sports TV viewing in Canada…if you’ve got a particular thing you’re looking for, this is the place to come and find out which station gives it to you best. Please view responsibly.
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The View From Amsterdam: An NHL Conference Finals Preview

Note: This piece was written by trick-ass mark Paul O’Neill, the resident gangster of Netherlands.

Eastern Conference
Buffalo Sabres (1) vs Ottawa Senators (4)

That’s pretty sweet we get to watch the two best teams from each conference in the conference finals. Sometimes we get a team like the Capitals in ’97 or the Hurricanes in ’02 who we know are just going to get brutally and sexually molested in the finals.
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