Wednesday, June 12, 2019

St. Louis Blues. Stanley Cup Champions!!!

Hats off to the Blues. Proud temporary owners of Lord Stanley's beloved Cup. And they did it the hard way. Beating the Boston Bruins in Boston in a nerve-wracking Game Seven. No small feat.

Then again, this series was odd in a way.

Out of the seven games played, the visiting team won five of them. So much for "home ice"

Though yours truly had no "dog" in this race, perhaps the right team won. After all, between the Red Sox and Patriots, Boston's had enough championship parades lately.

This was the Blue's first time ever, while the Bruins have a slew of Stanley Cup championship banners hanging in their rafters.

And who -- besides Boston fans -- can begrudge them their victory? It took them 50 years of trying to finally get it.

This, with a rookie goaltender that was alternatively praised and ripped over the series. Brilliant and El-Stinko. Either a brick wall or a sieve. Yet he was masterful when it counted the most -- Game Seven. No pressure.  lol

So all hail the St. Louis Blues.
Finally, FINALLY, Stanley Cup Champions.

And very worthy ones at that.


[And even better news. The players can now shave and go see a dentist.]  :-)

Friday, June 7, 2019

The Kyle Lowry incident

Fans watching the NBA Finals no doubt saw it. And have probably seen it a hundred more times since via replay. The politically correct crowd just can't get enough of it.

That would be Toronto Raptors player Kyle Lowry sailing into the court-side seats trying to keep a loose ball from going out of bounds, and bulldozing a lady in the process.

Well, OK. If you want to sit that close to the action, you take your chances something like this could happen.

But then a man sitting next to her gave Lowry a little shove and apparently had some not-so-kind words for him. In the whole scheme of things, it really didn't amount to much. It's not like the guy clubbed Lowry with a bat, shot him, and/or called him the "n" word on national TV. It was a harmless little push and a bit of trash talk.

And then everything went berserk. The PCers wanted to hang this guy by his thumbs, or at least banish him for life from the NBA and fine him every last dollar to his name.

NBA Commish Adam Silver quickly jumped in, banishing such an "egregious" offender for one year and fining him $500,000.

Turns out, Lowry is black, and the fan is white, who BTW, owns a stake in the Golden State Warriors. His name is Mark Stevens.

So here's a few questions. How do you think this would have played out had the roles been reversed?

A white player being "abused" in the exact same manner by a black fan?

Would it have been such a big deal?

Would it have been even news-worthy?

As I write this, two days after it happened, they are many that are still howling about it, saying the already ridiculous punishment mentioned above wasn't nearly harsh enough.

I suspect had the situation been reversed, as also mentioned above, any that would have dared further persecute the "offender" would quickly have been labelled racists. Who's kidding who?

If I was Stevens, I wouldn't pay. A half million for THAT? Not a chance. And peanut-head Commish Silver doesn't have the legal authority to take it from him. If I had to sit out a year of NBA action or even sell my share in the Warriors -- so be it. But I would not, repeat NOT cough up 500 large for something so trivial.

Of course, Stevens has made the same mistake so many have before when they've incurred the wrath of the crazed PC crowd.

He apologized -- as if that was going to help him.  Not a chance.

All that guarantees is the mob will hammer him even harder.

He nudged a guy and told him to f-off. That's it.

Should have stood his ground, cuz trying to make things "right" with that bunch NEVER works.

That would be akin to throwing bloody meat into shark-infested waters. It's not going to exactly make them friendlier if you decide to hop in with them-- ya know?

Bad idea. REALLY bad idea.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

The rise and fall of Oklahoma

Poor Oklahoma. Just when you thought they might accomplish something historic, bang, the wheels fell off.

The mighty #1 ranked lady Sooners softball team just got kicked to the curb in the College World Series by UCLA. A two-game mini-sweep at that.

This, after going an eye-popping 48-2 during the regular season. And playing in the CWS Finals in their own home town to boot.

Sports haven't been kind to the Oklahoma faithful in recent years.

Their boys football team hasn't been the perennial powerhouse it was a few decades ago.

The entire state only has one professional team.  No presence in the NHL. No Major League Baseball. No NFL team. Only the Oklahoma City Thunder of the NBA. And they're snake-bit a couple ways.

They always seem to make an early exit from the playoffs.

And trash-talking Russell Westbrook aside, the Thunder can't seem to hang on to super-star players when they have them.

They lost James Harden to the Houston Rockets a few years back.

And then Kevin Durant to the Golden State Warriors. Paul George is OK, but not in the same category as those two.

So with apologies to the late Ernest Lawrence Thayer (author of Casey At The Bat), once again, there will be no joy in Norman(ville). The mighty Sooners just got made into the See-ya-laters by the UCLA Bruins.

48-2, #1 on everybody's list, and then thud, when it counted the most?

That's gotta be a tough pill to swallow.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Why there will never be another 30 game winner

The last pitcher in Major League Baseball to win 30 games in a season was one Denny McLain, of the Detroit Tigers. He went 31-6 way back in 1968, For the record, he got shelled in his two starts against the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series that year. Southpaw Mickey Lolich wound up being the unlikely hero as the Motowners captured the title in a thrilling 7 game series.

But it will never happen again.

It's simply a matter of numbers.

Back in those days, team had 4-man starting pitching rotations. Given the same 162 game regular season, that meant -- if they stayed healthy throughout -- they'd get about about 40 starts.

Over time, and burnt out arms, MLB has evolved into 5-man rotations, with a 6th getting an occasional start.

Do the math. That means instead of 40 starts, they'll get maybe 31-32, at most.

And nobody's gonna win em all. Even the best don't always have their "best stuff", or maybe they get out-dueled by an opposing pitcher having a particularly good day. Or their own team doesn't give them much if any run support. Losing a 1-0 or 2-1 game is rough, but it happens.

To boot, there will be a few, perhaps several games where the starter gets no decision at all. Pitch counts being what they are, a complete game is a rarity these days. Maybe an ace starter is cruising along into the 7th or 8th inning with a slim lead, but whoops, now he's up to 130 pitches. They'll yank him. How many times have we seen bullpens implode and blow a lead? That happens too.

So who's the best pitcher in the game these days? Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers? Justin Verlander of the Astros? Max Scherzer of the Nationals?

Even if those guys are dominant every time out, the BEST they can likely do is rack up 25 Ws.

Which is a far cry from 30.

It's just a matter of numbers.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Milwaukee Bucks, The collapse is complete

A scant few days ago it would have been hard to believe. The Milwaukee Bucks had trounced the Toronto Raptors the first two games of the NBA's Eastern Conference finals, and it had taken the Raptors two overtimes, at home, to barely pull out Game Three.

Wasn't Milwaukee the same team that had posted the best regular season record in the whole league? The team that had only lost back to back games once all season? And therefore had home court advantage, where they're formidable, to boot?

No way they were going to lose this series.

Until they did.

In one the the biggest collapses in recent memory, the Bucks were taken down three more times in a row after their narrow Game Three loss.

There will be no joy in Beerville USA. Only finger pointing. How could this happen, and who's fault was it?

Or -- it might just be the Raptors are pretty damn good themselves. The "Greek Freak" Giannis Antetokoumpos was thoroughly stymied by the smothering defense of one Kawhi Leonard. And Milwaukee's so-called "depth" didn't step up and produce when it mattered most.

So now the Raptors move on to face the defending champion Golden State Warriors. The "north of the border" team will even have home court advantage.

Could they pull off another "upset"?


But I wouldn't count on it.

The Dubs, with or without one Kevin Durant, who remains a "maybe", are a whole different animal than the Bucks.

Yours truly hasn't seen the early line yet, but I'd bet when it does come out, the champs will be highly favored to three-peat.

But ya never know.

Wouldn't it be something if the Raptors could pull off another improbable series upset -- this time capturing an NBA title?

The hosers would go wild in the streets, ay?

But I'll believe THAT when I see it.

Nonetheless, bring it on.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Milwaukee/Toronto The worm has turned

OK, so I'm an idiot. It wouldn't be the first time, and likely not the last.

Yep, I had the Milwaukee Bucks easily getting past the Toronto Raptors in the NBA's Eastern Conference finals.

Hey, didn't the Bucks have the best regular season record in the entire league? And would therefore enjoy home court advantage in this series?

And aren't the same team that had cruised through the playoffs so far?

Yes, the opening round against the gawd-awful Detroit Pistons, who had no business -- NONE -- being in the playoffs was a predictable romp.

And after they mysteriously lost the first game, at home, no less, against the Boston Celtics, in the conference semis -- didn't they come roaring back to blister the Beaners four in a row?

And didn't they easily win the first two games against the Raptors?

And take them to double-overtime in Game 3 in Toronto before just falling short?

But then the wheels seemed to fall off for the Bucks.

The worm has definitely turned.

They were themselves routed by the Raptors in Game 4, and the Toronto defense, notably one Kawhi Leonard, put the clamps on alleged super-star Giannis Antetokoumpo. He was shut down, befuddled, and even harassed by a Drake at courtside.

True, yours truly has never understood the fascination so many people have over a dude that named himself after a duck -- but what do I know?  It seemed to work out for that insurance company -- Aflac -- right? Quacks, I tell ya. Sorry.

Still, the series was only tied 2-2, and would be heading back to beer city. Surely, they would right their ship?

Nope, they got beat again, semi-handily, and those pesky visitors from north of the border, the only non-American NBA team, appear to be firmly in control.

Game 6 is back in Toronto, which will be a hoser madhouse. After the last three games, it's mighty hard to believe the Bucks can go into Toronto and win such a big game.

And I don't think they will. Look for another blow out, and the Raptors moving on to face the defending champs Golden State in the Finals.

Maybe the Dubs will be happy with that, or maybe not.

They'll still have to cede home court advantage in the Finals, but gone is the worry about trying to negate the "Greek Freak" mentioned above without a healthy Kevin Durant, who remains out with a lingering calf injury.

Sure, home court or not, the Warriors would have been a heavy favorite against either the Bucks or Raptors. They travel well. Ask the Houston Rockets how Game 6 of their series worked out. Or the Portland Trail Blazers that got taken to the woodshed on their home court while being swept.

It's starting to shape up like a three-peat for the Dubs and another parade in Oakland.

Or I could be wrong.

After all, I'm an idiot.

And I think that's where I came in.

Monday, May 20, 2019

The Portland Trailblazers. Alas

After a not-so-surprising opening round playoff win over the Oklahoma City Thunder -- Russell Westbrook continues to trash talk but can't seem to win anything -- the Portland Trailblazers mildly stunned many (yours truly included) by knocking off the favored Denver Nuggets.

Only those pesky Golden State Warriors stood between them and a trip to the NBA Finals.

To boot, the Warriors were without the service of Demarcus Cousins (out for the year with a torn Achilles tendon), and super-star Kevin Durant (still hobbled by a strained calf).

And in Game Three of that series, already down 2-0, the Blazers saw Andre Iguodala of the Dubs go down with another calf injury, severity unknown. They still lost, after blowing a big lead.

With the Warriors down three starters, surely the Blazers could at least win Game Four to avert a sweep, right? Especially, given they were playing on their home court, where they're very tough.


Once again, they built a huge lead, seventeen points, midway through the third quarter.

And then the wheels fell off -- again.

The Dubs came roaring back to send the game into overtime, and finally won it.

So given all the above advantages, Portland STILL couldn't beat those guys?  Not even once?

That's got to be disheartening.

Or maybe it just wasn't meant to be.

Or maybe Golden State is just..... that..... good.

Kudos to Steph Curry and Draymond Green, the fist teammates in NBA history to both get triple-doubles in a playoff game.

That might have had something to do with it.......

And now the Warriors get a full nine days off, so sit back and study the Milwaukee Bucks, the presumed winners of the Eastern Conference Final against the Toronto Raptors.

And rest.

And get healthy again. (Except for Cousins).

These guys are going to be their usual load in the Finals.