Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Place Your Bets

Already bored of baseball?

Wanna get started on next year's NBA Finals?

Here's the odds for the 2009 NBA Championship.

For long shots, I kind of like Atlanta, Chicago, Miami and Portland.

NBA Finals: All-Time Champions

You can add to the list: 2007-08 Boston Celtics LA Lakers 4-2 MVP Paul Pierce


2006-07 San Antonio Spurs Cleveland Cavaliers 4-0 Tony Parker, San Antonio

2005-06 Miami Heat Dallas Mavericks 4-2 Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat
2004-05 San Antonio Spurs Detroit Pistons 4-3 Tim Duncan, San Antonio
2003-04 Detroit Pistons Los Angeles Lakers 4-1 Chauncey Billups, Detroit Pistons
2002-03 San Antonio Spurs New Jersey Nets 4-2 Tim Duncan, San Antonio
2001-02 Los Angeles Lakers New Jersey Nets 4-0 Shaquille O'Neal, Los Angeles
2000-01 Los Angeles Lakers Philadelphia 76ers 4-1 Shaquille O'Neal, Los Angeles
1999-00 Los Angeles Lakers Indiana Pacers 4-2 Shaquille O'Neal, Los Angeles
1998-99 San Antonio Spurs New York Knicks 4-1 Tim Duncan, San Antonio
1997-98 Chicago Bulls Utah Jazz 4-2 Michael Jordan, Chicago
1996-97 Chicago Bulls Utah Jazz 4-2 Michael Jordan, Chicago
1995-96 Chicago Bulls Seattle SuperSonics 4-2 Michael Jordan, Chicago
1994-95 Houston Rockets Orlando Magic 4-0 Hakeem Olajuwon, Houston
1993-94 Houston Rockets New York Knicks 4-3 Hakeem Olajuwon, Houston
1992-93 Chicago Bulls Phoenix Suns 4-2 Michael Jordan, Chicago
1991-92 Chicago Bulls Portland Trail Blazers 4-2 Michael Jordan, Chicago
1990-91 Chicago Bulls Los Angeles Lakers 4-1 Michael Jordan, Chicago
1989-90 Detroit Pistons Portland Trail Blazers 4-1 Isiah Thomas, Detroit
1988-89 Detroit Pistons Los Angeles Lakers 4-0 Joe Dumars, Detroit
1987-88 Los Angeles Lakers Detroit Pistons 4-3 James Worthy, Los Angeles
1986-87 Los Angeles Lakers Boston Celtics 4-2 Magic Johnson, Los Angeles
1985-86 Boston Celtics Houston Rockets 4-2 Larry Bird, Boston
1984-85 Los Angeles Lakers Boston Celtics 4-2 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Los Angeles
1983-84 Boston Celtics Los Angeles Lakers 4-3 Larry Bird, Boston
1982-83 Philadelphia 76ers Los Angeles Lakers 4-0 Moses Malone, Philadelphia
1981-82 Los Angeles Lakers Philadelphia 76ers 4-2 Magic Johnson, Los Angeles
1980-81 Boston Celtics Houston Rockets 4-2 Cedric Maxwell, Boston
1979-80 Los Angeles Lakers Philadelphia 76ers 4-2 Magic Johnson, Los Angeles
1978-79 Seattle SuperSonics Washington Bullets 4-1 Dennis Johnson, Seattle
1977-78 Washington Bullets Seattle SuperSonics 4-3 Wes Unseld, Washington
1976-77 Portland Trail Blazers Philadelphia 76ers 4-2 Bill Walton, Portland
1975-76 Boston Celtics Phoenix Suns 4-2 Jo Jo White, Boston
1974-75 Golden State Warriors Washington Bullets 4-0 Rick Barry, Golden State
1973-74 Boston Celtics Milwaukee Bucks 4-3 John Havlicek, Boston
1972-73 New York Knicks Los Angeles Lakers 4-1 Willis Reed, New York
1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers New York Knicks 4-1 Wilt Chamberlain, Los Angeles
1970-71 Milwaukee Bucks Baltimore Bullets 4-0 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Milwaukee
1969-70 New York Knicks Los Angeles Lakers 4-3 Willis Reed, New York
1968-69 Boston Celtics Los Angeles Lakers 4-3 Jerry West, Los Angeles
1967-68 Boston Celtics Los Angeles Lakers 4-2
1966-67 Philadelphia 76ers San Francisco Warriors 4-2
1965-66 Boston Celtics Los Angeles Lakers 4-3
1964-65 Boston Celtics Los Angeles Lakers 4-1
1963-64 Boston Celtics San Francisco Warriors 4-1
1962-63 Boston Celtics Los Angeles Lakers 4-2
1961-62 Boston Celtics Los Angeles Lakers 4-3
1960-61 Boston Celtics St. Louis Hawks 4-1
1959-60 Boston Celtics St. Louis Hawks 4-3
1958-59 Boston Celtics Minneapolis Lakers 4-0
1957-58 St. Louis Hawks Boston Celtics 4-2
1956-57 Boston Celtics St. Louis Hawks 4-3
1955-56 Philadelphia Warriors Fort Wayne Pistons 4-1
1954-55 Syracuse Nationals Fort Wayne Pistons 4-3
1953-54 Minneapolis Lakers Syracuse Nationals 4-3
1952-53 Minneapolis Lakers New York Knicks 4-1
1951-52 Minneapolis Lakers New York Knicks 4-3
1950-51 Rochester Royals New York Knicks 4-3
1949-50 Minneapolis Lakers Syracuse Nationals 4-2
1948-49 Minneapolis Lakers Washington Capitols 4-2
1947-48 Baltimore Bullets Philadelphia Warriors 4-2
1946-47 Philadelphia Warriors Chicago Stags 4-1

A Trip Down Memory Lane

This is a prime example of someone with too much time on their hands.

I love it anyways.

I give you the NY Yankees of the 1980's Topps MLB Cards video tribute. Complete with Van Halen Soundtrack.

I think I have everyone of these cards, somewhere in the basement of my Mom's old house (hopefully).

This also takes me back to my youth and the time when baseball card collecting was fun and you didn't pay $5.00 for a pack and get maybe 3 or 4 cards.

No, you used to pay 50 cents for a pack containing around 15 cards and a stick of gum.

Here's also the Yankees from the '70's in baseball card format.

The Girl Next Door

I now this occurred a couple of weeks ago, but I had to make sure I posted these pictures.

I cannot get enough of Carrie Underwood!

The love of my life played in The City of Hope Celebrity Softball Challenge charity event in Nashville, TN on June 4.

She's talented, hot and gives to charity.
She doesn't get near enough of attention she deserves because you never see her pull a Brittany, Angelina, Paris, Lindsay, etc.
This makes her so much more desirable.

Did I mention she's also hot?

She even looks good in a softball uniform!

Major props to My Chill Pill.

Gettin A-Rod's Autograph!

I already wrote about my great weekend seeing the NY Yankees invade Houston and sweep the Astros.

Now I want to talk about what may have been one of the most exciting nights of my life. No, not the time at Scores in NYC.

So Friday night after the game I was hanging out at a friend's bar, Reserve 101, in downtown Houston. My buddy had told me the Yankees were staying across the street at the Four Seasons. So of course I made sure to bring a baseball and pen with me that night, just in case. I was also decked out in full Yankee gear; my Yankees hat and Rivera Jersey.

The bartender had tipped me off that Jeter, Posada and A-Rod were having dinner down the street at "The Strip House." Hilarious, huh. But no. "The Strip House" happens to be a steak house.

So I did what any other Yankee fan would do. I sprinted down the block to the joint expecting to see hundreds of fans waiting outside the door. I ended up seeing a dark restaurant and one guy standing outside. The guy informed me Jeter and Posada had just left and didn't sign anything, but A-Rod was still there.

Another guy and his hot, hispanic girlfriend showed up, with the same goal as me.
We decided when A-Rod came out, we'd use the guy's girl as bait.

We waited outside the place for about 30-45 minutes. Finally, a side door opened and out stepped A-Rod with the restaurant manager. A-Rod continued down the block to the Four Seasons.

We immediately ran up to A-Rod and I was the first to give him my ball. He had no problem signing it. I continued to walk next to A-Rod completely kissing his ass. I'm not even sure exactly what I said to him.

Let me tell you this, A-Rod is freaking huge! I'm over 6 feet and he towered over me.

I know at one point he looked at me and grabbed my shoulder to turn me around and said, "Oh! A Rivera jersey huh?" And we both smiled at each other.

Outside the hotel there was probably 50 autograph hawkers who waited outside all night. A-Rod signed about 5 balls.

I can understand why athletes don't sign for "hawkers", because all these guys are doing is looking to make a buck off Ebay.

I probably wouldn't have got his autograph had I not been dressed in Yankee gear.
I will never sell this ball.
I will be buried with this ball.

I can basically care less about celebrities other than certain professional athletes.
I worked in the restaurant industry for 5 years in NYC, so I received my share of celebrity experiences. But, dam! If there's one guy, one stud, that I'd love to meet and get an autograph, it doesn't get any better than A-Rod. Maybe Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Michael Jordan and definitely Carrie Underwood.

Out of curiosity, I did check out Ebay to see just how much the ball could be worth.

I Am Officially Terrified Of Kevin Garnett

We all know how emotional a player Kevin Garnett is.

But last night's postgame interview with Michele Tafoya, Holy Shit!

We now know that KG is a hell of a ball player with a horrible taste in women.

I can't tell if KG was happy, excited or suprised.

Thank God the game was such a blow out and of course ended late, so hopefully kids were already in bed.

But KG scared the shit out of me!

I don't think I've ever seen an athlete lose their head over a championship like KG did last night.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Kobe And Lakers Bow Down, Hard! Lebron The Best On The Planet

No more Kobe/Michael comparisons!

No more Kobe/greatest player on the planet comparisons.

If anything, this roll over and drop dead choke job by the LA Lakers signified is this:

Phil Jackson is probably not the great coach everyone suspected, and,

Kobe Bryant is not the best player in the game, and,

Lebron James is the best player on the planet.

This was a totally uncharacteristic Phil Jackson coached team. No real surprise that a Kobe team would play this way.

Now it's obvious. Phil Jackson only benefited from having the greatest player ever in Michael Jordan, winning 6 of his titles. Jackson won three more by having a dominant 1-2 punch of Shaq and Kobe, notice how Shaq comes first. And now maybe Jax won those titles with the help of the NBA and the referees.

I've said all along that I thought Chris Paul should have been the MVP. Being repetitive, but Paul did not have the supporting cast and coach Kobe did. Paul always made his team better.

Enough of CP3. Lets go to another forgotten best player on the planet, Lebron James.

Going into the Finals, it was all Lakers in 5 or 6. Kobe's the MVP, best player on the Planet. The West is more dominant, Kobe has the better supporting cast.

But how can you forget Lebron James? 90% of the nation could not name one other player on Lebron's team. Yet this was the same Lebron led Cavaliers team that came within one game of knocking off the now 2008 World Champion Celtics.

Back to Lebron. No one will ever argue the fact that Kobe had a far greater supporting cast than James did this year. The Cavaliers were horrible. You talk about 4 players standing around waiting and watching one guy run the show. Similar like the Lakers, except Lebron had far much greater success.

Lebron (I will only refer to Lebron, not the Cleveland Cavaliers) could have stolen Game 1 in Boston, if he had not missed so many "bunnies" and the best cheerleader and taunter in the NBA, Sam Cassell would have played his usual role and not showed up on the court. Cassell scored 13 points in Game 1 of the second round series, arguably the difference.

Lebron had no problem and showed no fear driving the ball through Boston's tough defense and getting to the rim. Maybe it was Lebron's youth that caught up to him, because he missed a lot of easy layups throughout the series.

Lebron has always had his outside jump shot questioned, but we all know Kobe is the most dangerous shooter in the game, able to turn around from either shoulder. In the Finals, Kobe failed to be lethal and lacked the determination to drive the ball to the basket and create more open shots for his teammates.

And don't forget, Lebron lost his best scoring threat, "Boobie" Gibson (yeah, what a threat) in Game 5. The same Game 5 Lebron had a 14 point lead at Boston with under 4 to play in the second quarter. Had Lebron not lost Gibson, Lebron wins the series in 6 games.

Lebron was even competitive in Game 7 at Boston, a 3 point miss away from winning the series, with absolutely no supporting cast, continually getting beat down and ruffed up every game.

So now, no way can you compare Kobe to Jordan. A Michael Jordan team would have never folded like Kobe's Lakers team. We all know a Jordan team never would have let a 24 point lead slip away.

And no way! does a Jordan team do whatever the hell Kobe's team did know what? Forget about the Jordan/Kobe comparisons. Forever!

With 6 titles, look at Jordan's supporting cast, basically consisted of only role players. Scottie Pippen, ended up being an average player without Jordan; Dennis Rodman was there for 3 of the titles, but the Worm was never a scoring threat, only a solid defender and rebounding machine, sometimes more of a distraction than anything else. That's pretty much the only All Star's Jordan played with.

Boston Celtics, 2008 World Champions. That still hurts to say, and I wonder how the fair weather Celtics' fans feel about Doc Rivers now. They all wanted this guy's head on a pole last year. I wonder what the Beantown fans response will be now when they hear, "You bought this team and the star players." "They all came from the outside."

I'm already sick of hearing Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen proclaim how much this means to them and the history and legacy of the Boston Celtics. Come on, Allen and Garnett haven't even been in town for a year!

Originally, none of the "Big 3" could carry their own team to a championship. Pierce with his whole career in Boston, could not carry "his" team to the Finals in a post Jordan, weak Eastern Conference era. And yet now, according to Bob Ryan, we're suppose to consider Paul Pierce one of the greatest scoring threats in NBA history!

Jordan kept titles away from Hall of Fame players like Barkely, Ewing, Drexler Miller, Stockton and Malone.

KG failed to ever take "his" Minnesota Timberwolves to the Finals, and of course Ray Allen with "his" team, never made it to the Conference Finals.

KG, Pierce and Allen may now have their rings. But one thing's for sure, they failed to establish their "own" dominant legacy. They showed each could not win with their "own" team. They proved they could only win by joining forces.

And Paul Pierce thanking the "faithful" Celtics fans for sticking with him? Yeah right. Hey Paul, where were these "faithful" fans your whole Boston career? Where were they when you were stabbed 9 or 11 times in a Boston club. Doesn't really sound like you were such a fan favorite then. Heck, weren't they willing to trade you last year for the possibility of having Kevin Durant?

Give Boston and their team executives credit, they learned from their conqueror's. They're franchises have basically become everything they so passionately hated. Can you say New York Yankees?

Who's the happiest guy in the world? Paul Pierce? KG? Ray Allen? Curt Schilling?
No. No. No. And No!
Shaquille O'Neal.
He still has you Kobe, 4-3.
Can you dig it!!!!!!!

And can somebody please give Lebron just one other All Star caliber player!

Since the post Jordan era, I've failed to see anyone dominate the court like MJ. I've failed to see anyone bring as much excitement, passion and consistency to the game. I've failed to witness an NBA Finals that's lived up to its potential.
God I miss watching Michael Jordan. I seemed to take it for granted at the time, not realizing he'd have to hang it up sooner or later and we'd never see another like him.
One thing's for certain. As time goes by, more and more we'll begin to realize just how great Michael Jordan was.

Yankees Sweep Astros In Houston

My biggest highlight since I've lived in Houston was this past weekend when the NY Yankees visited Minute Maid Park for a weekend interleague series. The weekend was filled with mostly positives, the lone negative being the Yankees possibly losing ace Chien-Ming Wang for the season.

Yankees fans shouldn't keep their heads down. Mussina got his 10th win of the season on Saturday, Joba pitched 6 strong innings on Friday, Andy Pettitte is Andy Pettitte and Darrell Rasner continues to pitch solid.

And a 3 game sweep in Houston put New York 4 games above .500 (37-33) and now 5 1/2 behind Boston. With all that being said, the Yanks as of now are minus a 5th slinger. Rumors already developing about the possibility of landing Cleveland pitcher C.C. Sabathia.

Back to the weekend. Friday night's game I had great seats, 5 rows behind the Yankees' on deck circle. Combine that with Nebraska native, flame thrower Joba Chamberlain making his third start and even Rudy Giuliani throwing out the first pitch, and you know it was set to be a memorable night. All this happening on Friday the 13th.

Still not quite sure why Giuliani made the trip all the way to Houston, maybe to strike some oil deal (no pun intended). Giuliani sat behind home plate with Astros' owner Drayton McLane. Rudy never hesitated to sign an autograph or pose for pictures.

The weather was also a sweltering 96 degrees all weekend, but never mind, Minute Maid Park had the roof closed in the AC blasting. Honestly, it must cost $5 million to cool that park down.

Friday's game was a total pitcher's duel. Not surprising with Joba on the mound, but the Stros' countering with former Yankee Shawn Chacon! This happened to be the one in every ten starts where Chacon actually looks good. Chacon limited the Yankees to just 3 hits in 6 1/3. But his pitch count reached the triple digits and he was pulled. In 2005 and 2006, Chacon actually looked decent in New York going 12-6 in his brief stay in pinstripes.

Watching Joba that close up was awesome! Yeah, he may not have his control down, reminiscent of "Wild Thing" Vaughn from Major League, but you can tell this guy will dominate the Majors for many years to come.

Chamberlain finished throwing 6 innings, allowing 6 hits, only 2 K's, and walking 4. Joba had 89 pitches and Girardi said he would have left him in another inning if he hadn't been forced to pinch hit 4 Joba in the 7th.

Being played in a National League Park, Joba was forced to hit, going 0-2 and striking out his first time up. This was the only time Joba looked out of character.
After striking out Brad Ausmus to end the 6th, Joba even did a fist pump.

Sitting so close to the Yanks' on deck circle, I was able to give all of them my vocal support. Especially Joba, Yelling "Go Huskers", "Nebraska represent", "Go Big Red", etc. And everytime, Joba turned around, smiled at me and tipped his helmet. What a fuckin stud. I later found out that Joba hears similar chants every park he goes to. Husker Nation baby!

Astros' manager Cecil Cooper tried to take advantage on Joba's windup by being aggressive on the base paths. The Astros stole 4 bases but were also thrown out a franchise record 4 times.

With the game tied 1-1 in the top of the 8th, Captain Derek Jeter led off with a tie breaking, game winning solo shot opposite field. Sweet! It was Jeter's 199th career homerun and after the game, Jeter had 259 career interleague hits, a MLB record.

The only other downer of the series was Mariano Rivera not appearing in any game. 2-1 in the bottom of the ninth, I looked out at the Yankee bullpen expecting to see one of my all time favorite Yankees stroll out with his patented, intimidating walk to close it out. Who did I see? Kyle Farnsworth! What a buzz kill. Apparently Rivera had pitched in 5 of the last 6 games for New York so Girardi gave him the night off.

Farnsworth closed it out and the Yankees took game 1, 2-1.

Saturday night's game, Mike Mussina gave up a three run homer to Carlos Lee in the first inning, but that was pretty much it. Moose got his 10th win of the year, and the Yankees won 8-4.

Sunday, my girlfriend and I spent Father's Day at Series Finale. The Yankees bat's were in full effected crushing the Astro's 13-0. Arod hit his 12th homer of the year, a moon shot to deep left. Of course, this was also the game Wang injured himself running the bases.

The only time Houston poised any threat was the bottom of third, two outs and runners at the corners. Miguel Tejada ripped one down the left field line and ARod (who probably muffs the play 9 times out of 10) made a dazzling play to rob Tejada and the Astros. Of course on such an exciting play like that, my emotions may have got the best of me and I immediatley jumped up and yelled. That was followed by a few fans telling me to Shh! and don't be so loud. WTF? I know I was in the opposing team's ballpark, but come on! Did I mention that at least 25% of the fans were wearing Yankees paraphernalia?

Astro's fans tell their own fans to "sit down, you're in the way," with the bases loaded and Lance "Big Puma" Berkman up at the plate. Weak!

Enjoy the pictures!

I'll start out with the Giambi Girls at Minute Maid Park.