October 21, 2003
BASEBALL - WORLD SERIES
NFL “EXPERTS” PICKS
The Big Trade
Kobe Goes to Court
BASEBALL - WORLD SERIES
Tonight, the World Series shifts to Miami for Game 3. It will feature Mike Mussina, whose record in postseason games has not been good will be going up against Josh Beckett of the Marlins. Beckett was absolutely incredible his last two outings against the Chicago Cubs in the NLCS. A 2-hit shutout, followed by 4 scoreless innings in the decisive Game 7.
I don’t think that it is unfair to say that this game is huge to the psyche of the Florida Marlins. Right now, they have reclaimed home field advantage from the Yankees. And Beckett is clearly the team’s best pitcher. If the Marlins lose, suddenly I’m feeling pretty good about my prediction of the Yankees in 5 games. Of course, if the Marlins win, it would be impossible for the Yankees to win the series in 5 games, so I wouldn’t be feeling so good about my prediction.
Prediction - I think that Beckett will be up to the challenge. I think he’ll throw well and mix it up on the Yankees at least a couple of times through the lineup. The third time through though, the Yankees will get to him. Mike Mussina will have an outing that will remind people just how good of a pitcher he is. Final Score Guess - Yankees 2, Marlins 0.
For more baseball information (and much, much more), be sure to check the Stephen Silver site, specifically the illustration of Pedro Martinez from Sunday. I think it’s hilarious!
What an ending to last night’s Monday night game! Raiders QB Rich Gannon left the game before half time and Marques Tuiasosopo struggled at first, but once he was told by his RB to “Play Your Game!”, he seemed to relax and really performed well, making some strong crisp passes and making good decisions. Down 10-3 with under 2 minutes to play and 94 yards to go for a potential game-tying touchdown, Tuiososopo led his team down to the 12 yard line with just 15 seconds to go. Instead of simply downing the ball with that much time left, he called a play and faked the ball spike, before passing to Tim Brown, but the play surprised no one, and left just 7 seconds on the clock. Time for just one play, Tuiasosopo hit Tim Brown just shy of the goal line as time ran out, ending the game with a Chiefs 10-3 win over the Raiders. What a great game! The Chiefs and Vikings remain the only two undefeated teams in the NFL.
Did you ever wonder what NFL commentators were talking about when they talk about Passer or Quarterback Rating? For instance, in one of his starts, Gus Frerotte was 3.5 points from having a perfect Passer Rating. So, want to know how to calculate that number? It might be the most confusing statistic in all of sports! Check out The Bad Twin, he has the formula. It’s worth stopping by there just to read that!
NFL EXPERT PICKS
Well, with the Chiefs Monday night win, 8 of our 9 experts got another game correct. I was able to win this week’s selections by two games, but I’ve still got a long way to get caught up on the season. Be sure to go to our Experts FB Picks page to see the up-to-the minute standings, as Ben Jacobs of Universal Baseball Blog continues to lead the way.
Yesterday, there was another NBA trade. Another big contract exchange really. First, here are the details:
Dallas trades F/C Raef Lafrentz, F Jiri Welsch and F Chris Mills to the Boston Celtics for F Antoine Walker and G Tony Delk. What are your thoughts on the deal? E-mail me.
I got an e-mail from Tyler asking me, “Any thoughts on the Mavs/Celtics trade? You think the Mavs came out on top?”
My reply was:
on paper the Mavs win big time!!!
They're going to score a lot of points this season. With a starting lineup of Nash, Finley, Jamison, Walker and Nowitzki, they've got 5 guys who can 20 points a game. The big way the Mavs win this deal, however, was by getting rid of the Lafrentz contract, which is more years (and $69 millions). Walker is a free agent at the end of the season, which will help the Mavs in signing Nash to an extension. I'm just not seeing much good from the Celtics side, aside from getting rid of Walker, who was a headache there.
Obviously there could be a real sense not-enough-shots-to-keep-everyone-happy in Big D. Nowitzki, Nash, Walker and Finley have all been All-Stars, and had Jamison played for a winner earlier in his career, his numbers warrant the All-Star selection. Walker is definitely a ball hog though, and he’s not really a very good shooter (38%) and prefers to stand behind the 3 point line. Nash should provide him some open looks, but he does fit into the Mavs current outside shooting style. If Walker goes to Dallas and accept a role as a point-forward and distributes the ball, he could be a huge help to them. I still think that the acquisition of Danny Fortson earlier in the summer will be the most important move for the Mavs, and Jamison came in that deal.
Tyler replied briefly:
I thought it looked pretty lopsided; I just wanted to make absolutely sure.
So, I finally just wrote:
definitely... however, this is a case where I think team chemistry could come into play, for both teams. I think if the Mavs get off to a slow start, it could get ugly down there. But, they’re going to run, they’re going to shoot, and they probably won’t play any defense, as none of the starting 5 play any semblance of defense. But, if they win, all will be happy. Fact is, when they get to the playoffs, as they’ve shown in the past, defense plays a pretty big role, so these moves won’t move them into the NBA Finals by any means.
I didn’t point out in the previous message, but the addition of Tony Delk is really an exciting move for the Mavs. He can potentially come in and play a role similar to that of the departed Nick Van Exel. No, he’s not the ball handler or the shooter as Van Exel, but he can come in to a game and be instant offense for the team. A great role player.
For the Celtics, getting rid of Walker seemed to be a priority. Clearly, the player they have every intent on rebuilding around is Paul Pierce. This move is making that a reality.
Other thoughts, Jiri Welsch is a good pick up for the Celtics. His potential is huge. Lafrentz is a serviceable player. Maybe he’ll get more playing time in Boston and that will help him get back to what he once was. Chris Mills is one of those semi-expensive veterans that has been around for a decade, doesn’t play much, and really is only good for being an insert in a trade like this!
Kobe Bryant Goes to Trial - Yesterday, it was announced that the Eagle County judge decided that there was enough evidence to at least make trial worth while. This certainly does not make him guilty, but just says that some of the evidence could incriminate Bryant of rape.
This certainly isn’t a surprise. My thoughts since Bryant was convicted were that 1.) there would certainly be enough evidence that it should go to trial (especially since he admitted the adultery), but that 2.) there is absolutely no way to really know whether Bryant actually raped his accuser, and hence 3.) he should not be found guilty because there is no way that it could be proven BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT that he did anything without consent.
I have tried not to write too much on the Kobe Bryant situation because it’s just not fun to write about. Look back at what I wrote in July on the topic of athletes getting in trouble. Bryant certainly isn’t the only NBA in trouble right now. Yesterday they announced that both Chris Webber and Richard Jefferson would be suspended for off the court situations. Webber plead guilty to lying to a grand jury. Jefferson plead guilty to domestic dispute.
TIMBERWOLVES WIN - OK, to on-the-court topics, the Timberwolves finally got another preseason win last night, beating the Milwaukee Bucks 91-86 in overtime. As per usual, Kevin Garnett led the Wolves with 24 points, missing just four of his 14 shots, and grabbing 11 rebounds. Troy Hudson added 15 points and 6 assists. Former Buck Sam Cassell played 34 minutes and was 0-6 from the field, but did have 6 assists. Quincy Lewis was 5-11 from the field for 10 points and picked up a couple of steals. It seems like he and rookie Kirk Penny would be fighting for a backup shooting guard position. Penney played just 8 minutes (to Lewis’ 27), but was 3-3 from the field for 8 points.
But the big news of the evening was the return to action by Latrell Sprewell. Playing in a Timberwolves uniform, Sprewell played 26 minutes and scored 14 points. Sure, he was just 4-14 from the field and 1-4 from behind the arc, but he was 5-5 from the line. His shooting will come back, he just needs to get some game time.
The same can be said for Wally Szczerbiak as well. He’s been nursing his strained foot all preseason. He participated in back-to-back practices recently, then the next day it was sore. The timetable on C Michael Olowokandi was a little more known going into training camp. The Wolves didn’t expect him to play in any preseason games, but start the season able to play.
Former Gopher C Joel Przybilla didn’t play again for the Bucks last night, and hasn’t throughout the preseason. He’s fighting a right patella tendon injury too. His seems more serious than Szczerbiak’s and he has been fighting it for a couple of years. His may be more similar to the foot injury that plagues Terrell Brandon. He is entering the fourth and final year of his rookie contract. If he’s not healthy, this could be his final year. I will never be upset with Przybilla for leaving school early. I’ve always been completely vocal in favor of players who are sure-fire first round picks, especially lottery picks, coming out of college. (Reason - until they make every high school graduate go to college, they should never be able to force basketball playing high schoolers to go to college, or stay in college for four years). The problem Minnesotans had with Przybilla was that he quit on his team. Coach Dan Monson suspended him because he wouldn’t go to class and do his homework, so instead of sucking it up and doing what he needed to to play, he just quit school The 9th overall pick in the 2000 draft by the Houston Rockets (before being traded on draft day to the Bucks), Przybilla should be monetarily set for life.
Fantasy Basketball - I will be in an ESPN Fantasy Basketball League this season with a number of baseball bloggers and fans. It is a 12 team league and as of late last night, we had just 11 teams. If you have any interest in being the 12th team, be sure to check out Aaron’s Baseball Blog and send Aaron an e-mail and get the details. It is $29.95 for one team on ESPN.com. If you were to buy more teams, the price dramatically drops per team.
Well, that’s it for today. If you have any questions or comments, please send me an e-mail. I’d love to hear them!
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