Monday, April 25, 2011

Ever heard of Plato, Aristotle, Socrates? Morons.

This week I have two moron stories to share. One long, and the other very short.

Moron(s) story #1

For the large part, and I sincerely mean this, people suck. And perhaps this is my cynicism talking, but I cannot trust anything the large masses say collectively. Especially when I read comment boards. You know what I am talking about. They are everywhere and they seem to attack the loudest mouth breathers who have yet to breed themselves out. I literally do not know why I sometimes turn to them for even the slightest amount of insight. They waste so much my gosh damn time.

Go to YouTube, ESPN.com, any news site, even your local paper’s online edition and you will see they have a board specifically made for people to publish their stupid input on things. There is never any wealth of knowledge to be attained there. It is so scarce. You would have better luck panning for gold and finding success, than you would finding wholesome information on a comment board. Plus, they are always so hostile. I would say the breakdown of comments falls something like this:

60% negativity
25% racism (regardless of the topic. The topic could be picnic cups and somehow turn in that direction)
10% I-have-no-idea-what-the-hell-this-person-is-talking-about
5% Some sort of kudos or congratulatory

They drive me insane.

The reason I shed some light on these people who are not showing much after 4 billion years of evolution (so scientist tell me), is not so much my loathing for morons, but more because of something that had happened to me recently.

At the beginning of last week, I purchased a subscription to MLB.tv and my life changed. It is thee best thing any baseball fan could ever invest in. The people of this website give it their HITS seal of approval. I hate myself for having not done it sooner in my life. I had the same feelings with NFL Sunday ticket. For the fantasy sports participants out there, I would consider subscriptions like these, regarding the chosen sport: a must-have. I really feel like I elevated my fanship and wish for all to receive the same joy I have felt. Literally the subscription is worth every penny—and to take the analogy even further—it is like getting access to every game for eighty cents per.

***DISCLAIMER***
There are blackouts and they need to be understood.

The above disclaimer is the cause for my comment board rant. You see faithful readers, there are dips---s out there who would read my article up until the disclaimer and have this mental self-talk, “I love baseball. This guy sold me on it. I’m buying the subscription.” And then they would proceed to MLB.com, pull out their credit card and click purchase.

Freaking idiots make these knee jerk reactions everyday. This person is about to find out that the local teams—WITHIN YOUR INTERNET’S IP ADDRESS—are blacked out. What does IP address mean?

Right now, the computer I am physically logged in to, is connected to the internet. The computer connects to an IP address which is like an electronic version of it’s house. Think of it as where you live now. Depending on where you live will depend on what team’s games are blacked out. I live in area where the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks games—and who ever they are playing—get blacked out. This does not bother me as a Red Sox/Mariners fan because my two teams will never play them. I know this because I checked before buying. Now, if I were to travel to Seattle on a business trip, and tried to access my MLB.tv account, my IP address would have changed and the Seattle Mariners games would now be blackout out. Get the picture? Of course you do, you are not an idiot.

What do you do if you are the mouth breathing Indians fan who lives in Cleveland and just shot themselves in the foot to the tune of $120 dollars because you have no idea what an IP address is? Hit up the comment board.

“Total bait and switch. I want my money back!”

“All of my games are blacked out! This is a scam!”

“Wow. I cannot believe MLB is able to steal money like from people.”

I could go on and on and on with posts like these. This is not the MLB’s fault. This is your fault, stupid person, because you are recklessly stupid. Normally, when you come across these people with a black and white mind, working on a color-coded problem, you can quickly dismiss them without further frustration.

But what about those times when you are about to purchase something, and want to do a little bit of homework and have to wade through the comments written my people who are as sharp as jello and twice as smart? Like Apple’s app store. What then?

I always read peoples reviews on apps, and to give these random strangers some benefit of the doubt, they have steered me clear from some dumb purchases. At least I am telling myself that. This is sadly not the case though with MLB.tv’s app. I was almost led astray from the greatest add-on to MLB.tv subscription.

When I bought the subscription, one of the advertisements told me I could watch the games on multiple devices, including the iPad; which I own. Naturally, I hit up the app store and was shocked to see the $15 dollar MLB.tv app had close to 500 1-star reviews out of total 900. Not good. So I dove in to see what people were writing:

“What rip off. This thing crashes ALL THE TIME! I WANT MY MONEY BACK!”

“Scam. This app told me I could watch games live and all I can get is audio.”

“$15 dollars for this? Do not purchase.”

This went on for pages, with the occasional 5-star uber positive review. So, I held off on the purchase and continued to watch games on my computer in stunning HD. A few days go by and I read few more reviews. Much of the same. Held off for another couple of days and headed back for my third go at reviewing reviews. Then I had a breakthrough.

Never attempt to understand an idiot, because they will just bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.

These reviews were not from savvy app buyers like myself. They came from people who were all foam and no beer. How could I expect myself to make an informed decision, when the people who were offering up the information were the ones who made an UN-informed decision? I would say that eighty-eight percent of the negative app reviews were from people who thought buying the $15 dollar app would give them the $120 dollar subscription access. Or their iPad keeps crashing because they never update it’s software. What morons. Read the product information all the way through and GET OUT of my app store review board you dumb dumb dumb people. You trick me with your simple minds.

Sure, is paying fifteen bucks kind of annoying to have iPad video access. Of course it is. But would I have paid $135 for just the subscription in the first place. Of course I would have. It is a wash in my mind. Now I have the pleasure of viewing all the baseball games that I want, on the convenience of my tablet. Life is good… but it was almost held back by dumbass people who buy things without doing any sort of research on their purchase. And we wonder why we are in a recession.

Moral of the story: Buy an MLB.tv subscription and have no fears if you are interested in the app.

Moron story #2

If you do not follow soccer or the MLS, Seattle Sounders FC forward, Steve Zakuani (pronounced Zack-ew-ah-knee), had his leg snapped in half my Colorado Rapids midfielder Brian Mullan and a dirty, dirty play. After the game Mullan “was in tears at what had happen”. Yeah right, bruh. You lead your team in fouls committed. You are a shady player. Do not be surprised, Brian, when you are put through the ringer and have blunt items thrown at you on your visit to Quest Field July 16th.

Moral of story: Brian Mullan is long list of expletives.

Friday, April 15, 2011

NBA Finals Champion Pick

Wednesday night did not go as planned. My beloved Sacramento Kings pulled a classic 2002-2003 move by showing promise, but in the end lost. So I must backpedal, if ever so slightly. The LA Lakers, who I had as a 3rd seed and losing to the Blazers in the first round, ended up clinching the 2nd seed with their win over the Kings and now face the New Orleans Hornets. The Blazers in turn, now get the Dallas Mavericks. The Grizzles who had beating the Mavericks now come up against the San Antonio Spurs. So this does kind of bump my projections, but not enough to derail me.

- The Lakers will handle the Hornets as the Spurs would have done.
- The old, multi-dimensional Spurs beat the Grizzles who lost a shot at the one-dimensional Mavericks.
- The thrilling, 10-years in the making, revenge of the Blazers gets postponed one round—upping the ante—as they roll the Mavs.
- Everything else stays the same, except for the aforementioned Round Two Lakers/Blazers match-up. Blazers still win in Game 7.

Now to my Finals pick.

I have gone over it again, again, and again. Under good conscious it is hard for me not to put Team A over Team B. But there are also an enormous amount of reasons why Team B could thwart Team A. How much more does a guy have to sleep on his Finals pick before he can actually nail down a team. It is the NBA Finals; not rocket science… or is it?

(Normally there would be some pop culture tie-in tangent placed here, depicting the correlation between rocket science and the NBA, but alas I find myself, yet again, ridiculously lazy.)

Instead, I have chosen to do a run through of Team A and Team B, so perhaps you can choose for yourself, and then at the end I will reveal which team is which.

TEAM B:

- Right pieces; enough at least to claim an NBA title
- Options
- Stupid good Small Forward
- So fun to watch

A type of team, if I were an NBA player, I would want to play for. Out of their less-than-30 losses on the season only 8 of them were by double digits. The remaining games were only lost by an average of 5.1 points per game. Two shots that could have made all the difference. This team is a fighter. They can beat anybody.

TEAM A:

- Right pieces; enough at least to claim an NBA title
- Options
- Stupid good Small Forward
- So fun to watch

A team that can kick it in to eff-you mode like that (finger snapping). Out of their less-than-30 losses on the season only 6 of them were by double digits. The remaining games were only by an average of 4.3 points per game. Again, two shots that could have made all the difference.

(Queue internal battle)

“It is so close, but you got to go with Team A, right?”

“But Team B can beat anybody. Two more losses and a point differential of 0.8 is not that big a difference. Flip a coin.

“Not going to do that. Maybe if this series goes seven games, which it won’t”

How does this series NOT go seven games?

“It just won’t. Trust me, I know.”

Trust you? I am you! We are the same person and I am not getting that vibe.

This went on for a sold seventeen minutes, and in the end Team A was painstakingly chosen as this year’s NBA Champion over a staunch Team B in six games. Ladies and gentleman I give you the Finals Champion… Miami Heat. Shaboomya.

I chose the Heat because LeBron James is thee second best athlete in the world of sports right now. Lionel Messi and his 48 goals this season for Barcelona make him the #1 athlete in the world, but that is for a different column; for a different day. LeBron James cannot be contained, and if he ever appears to be, he can just kick it to Dwyane Wade.

And if they are both busy, then you always have Chris Bosh—and DO NOT EVEN try and say Bosh is not that good. $100 million dollars good? Perhaps not, but 18.7 points per game, 8.3 rebounds and 19.44 PER is still freaking awesome. Quit kidding yourself that it is not.

It boils down to there being too many reasons—and fall back reasons if the first ones do not pan out—for the Miami Heat to not win it all. Game: Blouses.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

NBA Playoff Picture

The month of April is always so exciting. There is always so much happening, so many new things to experience, and everything feels renewed. Of course it does. It should it is called Spring for a reason.

College football spring practices begin, we get the start of a new Major League Baseball season, the WNBA draft (which is like, super important, except not and the total opposite). The NFL/NBA draft talk is buzzing, and of course, April ushers in the NBA playoffs. We have our standings all but cemented.

Eastern Conference
1. Chicago
2. Miami
3. Boston
4. Orlando
5. Atlanta
6. New York
7. Philadelphia
8. Indiana

Western Conference
1. San Antonio
2. Dallas
3. LA Lakers
4. Oklahoma City
5. Denver
6. Portland
7. Memphis
8. New Orleans

I love the NBA playoffs, but the last three seasons especially. The addition of Derrick Rose to the playoff scene makes up 71% of my excitement. His rookie year, he put ‘da team on his back like Greg Jennings, (YouTube “Greg Jennings Broken Leg” for the reference, but be aware, there is strong adult language) and gets the Chicago Bulls the seventh seed by finishing the season on a 12-4 run. Rose and the Bulls then take the defending champion Boston Celtics to a Game 7. One of the best series I have witnessed since the late 90’s. This postseason I am expecting fireworks.

ROUND ONE GAMES:

(1) Chicago Bulls vs (8) Indiana Pacers
Regular season series (Bulls lead 3-1)

Rose is either your MVP or not. I am still on the fence. Well, not so much on the fence, but more along the lines of “I don’t really care if it is Rose or LeBron, but it is definitely not ANY body else”. If that makes any sense. I could make a case for either really. Rose meant more to the Bulls (and by more I mean slightly more—do not discount LBJ) than LeBron did to the Miami Heat. But LeBron had LeBron stats 27ppg, 7ast, 7.5rpg and a 27.32 PER. It washes out. They could share it; one could win it outright. I am not clamoring for one or the other.

What this means to the Indiana Pacers, is that they are playing against the first or second best player in the NBA. Not good. If the Derrick Rose could almost beat the Celtics by himself in ‘08-09, then Bulls should role through the Pacers with Joakim Noah, Carlos Boozer and Kyle Korver who is shooting 43% from distance.

Pick: Bull win 4-0

(1) San Antonio Spurs vs (8) New Orleans Hornets
Regular season series (Series tied 2-2)

Half of the members on the Spurs team get senior citizen discounts when they go to movies—they are that old. Old dogs they may be, but the own the leagues best record at 61-19. They are also deadly on their home court, tied with the Bulls for best home record 35-5, and should jump out to a 2-0 lead.

The Hornets are interesting to me.

They start the season 11-1 and have everyone’s attention. Then they drop 9 out of their next 12 games and lose all the attention. They then win some more, but continue to lose a few games here and there. The Hornets continue to be unnoticed as everybody only cares about how much the Heat are not gelling.

Meanwhile, the Hornets fan attendance plummets and their two-year attendance average does not meet the NBA requirements. David Stern and the League step in and buy the team. No one really notices, except for basketball fans in Seattle, who are now freaking out at the possibility of having an NBA return. I wrote a little about this in a December column last year. But before that story can gain any momentum, the NBA focus fell on Carmelo Anthony and whether he would star or go. By the time he left, the Heat were where we thought they would be, so it became necessary to talk about how everyone overacted. Then the Rose vs. LeBron MVP talk started. The Hornets just fell beneath the cracks.

If you asked any moderate fan of the NBA, like my dad for example, to tell you who the 8th seed in the West was—they could not do it. When you told them it was New Orleans, they would be like, “Huh? I forgot that team even existed.” This is a team that finished eleven games over .500 and nobody knows anything about them. This is why I think this series will almost go to a seventh game.

Pick: Spurs win 4-2

(2) Miami Heat vs (7) Philadelphia 76ers
Regular season series (Heat lead 3-0)

Not much to say here, but I will add this:

The other day DraftExpress.com had Jimmer Fredette going to the 76ers with the 17th overall pick. I had already told myself that I was going to buy Jimmer’s first NBA jersey. I had my throwback, swingman Phila jersey all picked out, and then Perry Jone removed his name for the draft. Now they have Jimmer going to the New York Knicks. ESPN.com has Jimmer going to the Jazz with the 12th overall pick.

I want Jimmer to get out of Utah and spread his wings. I also do not want to have to buy a Utah Jazz jersey. Woof. Not because they have bad uni’s but I really do not give a dump about that team. But at the same time, I have never really liked the Knicks. Plus, their uniforms are kind of boring. Nothing throwback about them.

Just give me my freaking Phila Jimmer jersey already. Or at least let the Suns draft him. Their throwbacks are ill.

Pick: Heat win 4-0

(2) Dallas Mavericks vs (7) Memphis Grizzlies
Regular season series (Grizzlies lead 3-1)

We all have our favorites teams we choose to follow. And then we have our wildcard team. I always like to find a team that sucks, but have the potential to be a factor in 3-5 years. The Grizzlies have been that team for me since 1999. Memphis missed the 3-5 windows for me…twice. They are late bloomers, what can I say? I am like a proud father.

This is why I am telling you THE MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES WILL BE IN THE SECOND ROUND this year.

They are too much for Dallas to take down. Zach Randolph is a monster. Marc Gasol is playing his best basketball right now, along with Tony Allen. With Rudy Gay being down, O.J. Mayo decided to play like you want your 3rd overall pick to play like and everyone else has stepped up. Everything is clicking for the Grizzlies as a team.

This is not good if your entire team is Dirk Nowitzki. Sorry Mark Cuban. I love you on Shark Tank, but you over pay old players like it is the only thing you know how to do. My baby Grizzlies are now all grown up and got there ish together. Grizzlies win this series.

Pick: Grizzlies win 4-2
New favorite sucky team with 5-year potential: Minnesota Timberwolves


(3) Boston Celtics vs (6) New York Knicks
Regular season series (Boston leads 3-0)

I have the Boston and New York series penciled in for the second most exciting series of the opening round. On paper the Celtics have this. They are too gritty, and they will probably win this thing is only one loss. Maybe not even that. But something in my gut keeps telling me that every game in this series is going to be a coin flip. Maybe it is because I have seen Amare and Carmelo turn in on for the former teams in the playoffs before, so the sky could be the limit now that they play on the same team.

I am probably totally wrong, but I see this going seven games. Like I said… the second most exciting series of the opening round…

Pick: Boston wins 4-3

(3) Los Angeles Lakers vs (6) Portland Trailblazers
Regular season series (Lakers lead 3-1)

It is payback time. Ten years in the making. The prediction I am making, is that this series will surpass the drama which took place in the 2000 Western Conference Finals.

Blazers have all the right pieces and everything going for them. LeMarcus Aldridge, Marcus Camby, Andre Miller, Wesley Matthews, and Gerald Wallace who was STOLEN from Charlotte will get it done (I think there is even a warrant for arrest out on Kevin Pritchard in the state of North Carolina). Sorry Kobe.

One of the first ever HITS columns I wrote was about how I thought Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder would be the team that kept Kobe from ever winning a sixth title—and I still believe hold that to be true—but this year, the team that stops Kobe and the Lakers will be the Portland Trailblazers.

From a non-Blazers fan you heard it first: Blazers beat Lakers in a thrilling game seven. Best opening round series.

Pick: Blazers win 4-3

(4) Orlando Magic vs (5) Atlanta Hawks
Regular season series (Hawks lead 3-1)

We have reached an impasse here at HITS. The writers want the Hawks, but the editors say the Magic. To decide which team would make this column’s cut, the two parties agreed to settle the decision with a cockfight.

Representing the Orlando Magic is an Orpington rooster named ‘Lil Penny (after Magic great Anfernee Hardaway) and the chicken representing the Atlanta Hawks is a White-faced Black Spanish rooster named Teddy KGB (after John Malkovich’s character in the movie Rounders).

[EDITORS NOTE: The HITS staff writers regret to inform the passing of Teddy KGB today. Teddy KGB lived a short life—as was expected in the world of cockfighting. He is survived by passionate writers worldwide.]

Pick: Magic win 4-1

(4) Oklahoma City Thunder vs (5) Denver Nuggets
Regular season series (Thunder lead 3-1)

In this four/five match up, we find a team I think is NBA Finals bound. The Denver Nuggets are certainly not that team. Kevin Durant is the truth. That is why there is a #35 Seattle Supersonics home jersey hanging in my closet. And I am not even a Sonics fan. {-insert what ever city they land in-} Kings ‘till I die!!! But I do love me some Kevin Durant & Co.

Pick: Thunder win 4-0
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SECOND ROUND GAMES

WEST:
Thunder defeat Spurs 4-2
Blazers defeat Grizzlies 4-1

EAST:
Bulls defeats Orlando 4-1
Miami defeats Boston 4-3

CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIPS

WEST:
Thunder defeat Blazers 4-2

EAST:
Miami defeats Bulls 4-3

NBA FINALS
I want to sleep on this one. I will deliver my pick on Friday.


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Friday, April 1, 2011

I give you my word

My word means nothing. You can take anything I have ever said and chuck it out the window. I reneged. An Indian giver of words. I deserve to be stung up by my thumbs. Someone grab a switch; ten lashes for this one.

In January I wrote a column stating that I would boycott an entire season of Major League Baseball because the Hall of Fame voters snubbed Edgar Martinez. A guy, who in my opinion, deserved to be a first ballot Hall of Famer. I decided to follow Cricket instead, stating it was far superior to baseball, and that I would be better off because of it. After all, Cricket has been around long since before baseball and was a true “gentleman’s game”.

Having access to ESPN3, I watched a few fixtures and it really was quite interesting. I learned a lot. The core concept of Cricket and Major League Baseball are immensely similar. For any of you out there with even a moderately peaked interest in watching Cricket, the Cricket World Cup is right in it’s final stages. The best of the best are shellacking out right now.

But as I said before: I reneged. My MLB boycott lasted a total of one-half inning. That is it.

January I was able to power through the boycott with zest in my newly decided plan of action. February was much the same, and the prohibition of baseball was aided by a little something called Jimmermania. Perhaps you heard about it. It was kind of a big deal. With March, came the Spring Training and pitchers started to report to their respective camps. I heard a little bit about Puljos and how a deal had not been reached yet, as well as the signings of Manny Ramirez and Johnny Damon with the Tampa Bay Rays… but all of that stuff was on the home feed of ESPN. I did not go out looking for that info; it came to me. Boycott yet intact. Teams began to play games and I was able to stymie any urges to watch them by dousing myself with as much College Basketball March Madness as possible. Things first took their turn for the worse, when I decided to purchase 2K Sports MLB 2K11. Big mistake. Thinking that it would sustain the craving I had for my fanship to somehow associate with The Show, in turn, ended up fueling my desire to be on top of every move going down within the realm of the sport. Yesterday—Opening Day—it was just pathetic.

I cannot even say I tried or even prepared to hang tough. Certainly I did not hang in there. HITS editors have their face in palm over the bad pun.

I am the biggest hypocrite there is… but then again, is that like, not the prerequisite number one when it comes to being a sports writers/analyst? If anything the naturalness with which the hypocrisy came should make me feel good for being on the right track of sports writing. I saw the box scores, felt the magic that is Major League Baseball, and dove in to the bottom of the first inning in the New York Yankees vs. Detroit Tigers game.

On paper, the boycott lasted 2 months and 23 days, but technically it lasted one-half inning. Three outs of pure baseball boycott… out of 131,220. God bless America. And good old-fashioned hardball.

Now that I do not have to be living in the closet, I can come out and finally say to world: the Red Sox are looking good. Dig the lineup.

- Jacoby Ellsbury
- Carl Crawford
- Dustin Pedrioa
- Kevin Youkilis
- Andrian Gonzalez
- David Ortiz
- Mike Cameron
- Jarrod Saltalamacchia
- Marco Scutaro

Batters 1 through 6 are stout. Mike Cameron will always hold gangster status in my book because of the time he hit four homeruns in one game while wearing a Seattle Mariners jersey. My boy Knauss can attest to his gangster stasis. Saltalamacchia is iffy for me. The guy is a switch hitter and there is a reason why he was drafted in the first round—I just hope it manifest itself this season. Then there is Scutaro.

I have made no attempt to hide my distain for the guy.

MARCO SCUTARO
Shortstop, 36-years old
Career Stats: BA .267, HR 7, RBI 39

He is too old and does not offer a bunch on the offensive end. Did I mention had TWENTY errors last season? Two at second base and eight-teen at short. That is too many. Get out of Fenway already. I cannot even get in to sabermetrics with the guy. He is indefensible. Secondary batting average of .198… (shaking my head in disgust). Just so you know, for the non-saber people out there, a secondary average .200 or below is atrocious. Like, if you had a SECA of .198 you should feel really embarrassed and decline party invitations because people are only inviting you so they can whisper about you in a negative way from across the room. You suck Marco Scutaro. I cannot wait until we trade you or retire. The sting of you playing for us is just a painful reminder that we traded Hanley Ramirez away. Instead of having him, we now have you. Cannot even think about it without shaking in anger.

Does it even matter though? Why get so upset? With the pitching staff the Phillies put together this year, we are all just fighting for second place. Time to face the music: Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, and savvy vet Roy Oswalt. It is too much for teams to overcome. Sure the Phils will be missing some bat with the departure of Jason Werth to the Washington Nationals, but not much. The Nationals overpaid for Werth, but they DID need him. I like that the Nationals are at least making moves instead of doing nothing. But for Philadelphia, Palanco, Howard, and Rollins (someone who I think will have a monster bounce back year from the injury) still give them enough for wins. The Phillies pitching staff is so good, I contend the Halladay and Lee 1-2 combo is more potent then the 2001 Arizona Diamondback combo of Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson. That’s right, I said it. Barring injury, the Philadelphia Phillies will be the 2011 World Series Champions. They have to be the favorite.

Here is to the next 5-6 months of one of the best sports grinds around. Baseball: you drive me bonkers sometimes, oh, but how I love you.

2011 RED SOX PREDICTIONS

- Jacoby Ellsbury will have more stolen bases than Carl Crawford
- Carl Crawford will have 50+ stolen bases
- Ortiz (with adding power to the lineup) hits 35 jacks and 100+ RBIs
- Kevin Youkilis gets career highs in hits and RBIs
- Papelbon takes the ERA back down to something under 2.20 gets 35-39 saves
- Daisuke Matsuzaka gives us 2008 like production