Some might call this the beginning of the end for the sports year. Most would actually. I happen to enjoy baseball but I definitely agree that the landscape of sports is pretty quiet after the NBA Champion is crowned in June and before the NFL kicks off in September. Of course, the regular baseball season is happening, but even for a pretty big baseball fan like myself, 162 games becomes wearisome, you really only pay attention to trends as the playoffs come up. But, sports does go out in style with the NHL and NBA playoffs, which are typically amazing, and the NFL draft which never lacks storylines and intrigue. So—I felt like talking about it 🙂
Hockey: The NHL playoffs are more competitive than I personally can ever remember seeing them. However, NBC hates me and has elected to keep most of the games off NBC and onto the NBC sports network. Seeing as I don’t have cable, it means that the bulk of my hockey has been from reading about it. I did watch the Rangers/Capitals game one yesterday and it was awesome. I love that in the NHL, the college kids can get called in midseason, so a kid like Chris Kreider, who led BC to an NCCA title can come in and basically put the New York Rangers on his back for a game in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. I wonder if anyone has ever won an NCAA title and a Stanley Cup in the same season. This is why i need a stat boy. Anyway, awesome game. The playoffs have been crazy competitive, lots of OT and close games (I watched the third period of the capitals/bruins game 7 that went to OT, holy smokes that was a close one).
Baseball: I’ll keep this brief because I have all summer to blog mocking things at the Red Sox and talk about how great the Yankees are. My thoughts from the first few weeks: The red sox are awful and Bobby Valentine, while he may be a good manager is a comical choice for Boston. The Yankees losing Michael Pineada, no matter how shady the deal was, is going to hurt them. Not now, but in September—-Yankees have ALWAYS had a problem with the rotation and with the bullpen, Pineada was going to be a STRONG 3rd in the rotation. It was going to be Sabathia, Kuroda, Pineada, Hughes and eventually Pettite-moving Garcia and Nova to the bullpen (although it may have been Nova in the rotation and not Hughes). That would be, to me, the most versatile and exciting rotation since Roger Clemens, El Duque, Pettite and Mussina.
Finally—I think the Washington Nationals might be the most exciting team I’ve seen in a while. They are LOADED with potential and are already talented and winning games (and this was supposed to be their “we’re almost there” year). I’m a loyal Yankees fan, but if anyone were looking to get into baseball by jumping on a bandwagon and wanted to win for the next 5-7 years, jump on the Nationals.
Finally, the NBA….So the playoffs started yesterday. I watched a bulk of the Knicks/Heat game (Which was a travesty) and then a bit of the Bulls game, but the Bulls game interrupted me from eating burritos with my brother so he won. Here’s what I took out of it though—-the two major injuries in game 1 should be a condemnation of the short NBA season and, if nothing else, there should have been a week or so between the last game of the regular season and the first game of the playoffs. I mean come the hell on, these guys played 66 games in 4 months, sometimes 3 in a row, no practice time, no time to rest or get treatment, what did you think was going to happen? Derrick Rose, the reigning MVP, who was hurt most of the season, tears his ACL in GAME 1 and Iman Shumpert of the Knicks, a far less important player to his team but still a pivotal part of a team that will lose to the Heat either way, tears his ACL in much of the same way.
Here’s what happened in NBA headquarters yesterday: “What happened in Miami? ACL OH S**&. Wait, it’s not LeBron. Whew OK, we couldn’t take the Tiger Woods-esque ratings hit. Shumpert isn’t a big deal, the Knicks will still draw viewers. What’s that? D-Rose? Someone put LeBron in a protective bubble”.
So basically, now the playoffs are inconsequential—here’s what happens: the Heat romp through the East, which they might not have done because the Bulls are really a better team but without Derrick Rose, they just aren’t quite spectacular enough. The Heat gets to the finals where they presumably play the Thunder. Here’s why that’s not bad for the NBA:
You have a small market team like the Thunder on the biggest stage against the Heat in, perhaps, the most compelling storyline in all of sports “Can LeBron win a ring and shut everyone up?”. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook could seriously give the Heat a run for it and all of America will actually notice. Next season, win or loss, Durant is a star, the Thunder are paid much more attention. The league wants the Thunder to win—-They want LeBron to always be close but never get it—what else drives the narrative. Unfortunately for the NBA, this has to be LeBron’s year, in my estimation. Heat will win in 6 and then we can start discussing if the Heat will unload Chris Bosh or sign Steve Nash (Bosh-probably not if they win a ring, Nash-maybe, still hard to say, a case could be made for Dallas or the Knicks).
A brief discussion of the NFL Draft
Sorry, this is a long post but there is a lot of sports stuff going on. Overall, the draft was fascinating. The Cowboys coming up for Clayborne was ballsy and, unfortunately because I hate the effin Cowboys, will probably pay off. He’s an amazing talent and fits perfectly in their system. Maybe we can get him to date Jessica Simpson, that worked for Tony Romo 🙂
I liked the Panthers draft a lot, they drafted in places they really needed help, in the middle of the defense and on the defensive line. They got a guard in the second round which appears to be a good pick, although I was unaware of him before the draft. They did get a WR in round 4, so could be a good developmental WR.
I like the Jets draft mostly. They really needed some help on the offensive line and I don’t really think they did that. They needed a right tackle so bad. However, they did get a really good receiver (Stephen Hill out of Georgia Tech) and the more i see of Quinton Coples (DE from my alma mater, UNC Chapel Hill) the more i love the pick. He’s a quick, versatile pass rusher who could play outside linebacker if put in a 3-4 set. I love that kind of defensive end and I think Rex Ryan will make some interesting moves with him at the end. Hopefully, they can sign an offensive lineman before the season otherwise Mark Sanchez may spend a lot of time on the ground (you know, or Tim Tebow :p)
Anyway, sorry for the long post, I hope you enjoyed it. Tomorrow I may blog again but I’ll try to make it non sports :). I have a few thoughts about TV/Movies I’d like to share.