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Tuesday, January 31, 2006

A Few Random Thoughts

1. I watched the end of the North Carolina-Duke women's hoops game on Sunday night, and the drama was as good as that of any men's game. The ACC is loaded with talent on the women's side, and this game was worth the price of admission. It's also kind of cool that the daughter of one-time heartthrob Chubby Checker players for Duke (okay, I got my Philadelphia connection in there somewhere).

2. Sorry I haven't blogged with greater frequency recently. Among the reasons are that I got two PlayStation2 games as gifts, FIFA Soccer 2006 and March Madness Y2k6. The former is a nice improvement over FIFA Soccer 2005 (both soccer games are produced by EA Sports). The computer-generated action is more realistic, and the players have a much better chance excelling on free kicks and corner kicks. Also, the teams are the real thing an the rosters are as current as possible (buy it and learn it if you want to get caught up on who's who in World Cup 2006). In contrast, the hoops game might reflect the overall quality of a college team, but the rosters and players don't usually match up with the rosters of your favorite schools. So, if the announcers (who are Verne Lundquist and Bill Raftery) announce a game and you choose the "names" option, random names will be generated. So, while Duke may have someone with JJ Redick's number, he won't be called Redick. That's a bit of a distraction, but I have fun playing it with the kids, who get very competitive.

3. Some brief thoughts on the NBA -- for all of the individualists in the league, please watch the Detroit Pistons and then think about the legacy that you would like to leave. The Pistons show how to get things done and are more fun to watch than any team out there . . . Much has been written about Kobe Bryant and I don't have much to add except that I really do appreciate his technique, both the way he squares his shoulders to the basket and the way he releases the ball. . .Saw Julius Erving on a Disney commercial while working out -- and the Doctor is starting to look old. . .Who leaves NY first -- Isiah Thomas or Larry Brown. . . And just because he leads the league in blocks doesn't make the 76ers Samuel Dalembert a good defender, as blocked shots can mask many a defensive deficiency. . .

4. The Super Bowl will be a close game. It's easy to get sentimental and pick Jerome Bettis and the Steelers, but the Seahawks are a pretty good football team. Sure, their schedule wasn't all that tough, but as many players argue, "you play who you play." Translated, it's not the Seahawks' fault that their schedule was what it was. Also, because of where they're located, the Seahawks just don't get the publicity that the other NFL teams do. If the Dallas Cowboys of the 1970's were "America's Team" then the Seahawks might as well be Japan's team, that's how far off the beaten path Seattle is. The key thing I'm waiting for is to see whether ESPN's Sean Salisbury clocks Michael Irvin on the set of the show they do together. I workout wearing headphones and only have captions on the screen, and I can tell you that from his body language along, Irvin is annoying (or appears to be). Salisbury reminds me of the guy you went to high school with who was the hard ass, always acting tougher and making skinny guys feel like lesser beings by yelling "no pain, no gain" while those kids were trying to climb the pegboards on the walls of the HS gym. Come to think of it, he's about as annoying as Irvin. While some fans no doubt would like to Irvin get popped on the cranium, others wouldn't mind seeing Salisbury take a few shots to his noggin. If I were the ESPN producers, I wouldn't keep sitting those two next to one another. . . as for T.O., who's bombed out of two clubhouses, I can only say that any club interested in him will emphasize hope over experience if they sign him.

5. As for baseball, I didn't catch what the BoSox told the two guys who were named co-GMs when they thought Theo was going to a monastery in Tibet who now, because Theo is now back on the bus, aren't GMs since Theo is (and, in the process, perhaps, they were thrown under the bus, if you want to complete the urban transportation metaphor). . . will Johnny Damon suffer Samson-like syndromes if he cuts his hair in NYC . . .Is Mike Piazza's landing in San Diego a fit ending for his career, or is it tantamount to an exile on the Island of Elba or somewhere like that . . .I don't see Mark McGwire making the Hall on the first ballot, if for no other reason than the distraction he'd provide to Cal Ripken on what should be a glorious day for the Orioles' SS and Tony Gwynn. . .

Have a good rest of the week!


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