The Sports Beat got a raise

June 22, 2008

Dear Readers,

If you’ve read The Sports Beat and liked it at all, please check out, where I’m now employed, thanks in part to people like you reading this site. I write about almost anything over there, but I do have a sports column you can specifically check out if you want to stay in one genre, called (not so creatively) The Boston Sports Beat. I hope to see you reading at South End News, and please feel free to leave comments over there too.




Dog Days Thoughts

June 20, 2008

We’re starting to get to the summer dog days, maybe not for the players, but for the fans.  There’s almost nothing going on right now–thank god for Euro football.  So, let’s catch up on the happenings in MLBLandia now that Green 17 has come and gone.

  • Curt Schilling’s a Hall-of-Famer.  He’s perhaps the greatest postseason pitcher of all time and he accomplished a lot during the regular season throughout his long career.  He’s got questionable numbers, but doesn’t the one guy you’d want on the mound in game 7 belong with the cool kids?
  • The Joba to the rotation move appears to being paying off.  Handsomely.  Given an average of six innings per start for the remainder of the season (for simplicity purposes, it could vary but most likely will be around six) and roughly 16 or 17 starts left, Joba will end the regular season with more or less 140 innings–just about right for his progression.  Plus, now that Wang is down, they need Joba in the rotation.
  • If the Cubs or Phillies find themselves a good starter and maintain solid health come October, they should face off in the NLCS.
  • Cito Gaston?  Really?  He’s a relic of better days, but I doubt replacing John Gibbons with the ghost of Blue Jays past will change much that wasn’t going to change based on regression (or in their case, rise) to the mean.

The Top of the World!

June 18, 2008

“This is a dream come true, and I’m going to cherish this forever.”–Captain Clutch.


That’s the first word that comes to mind in summing up both the Boston Celtics’ game 6 NBA Championship clincher and the season as a whole.  Boston refused to believe the alpha dog theory that has hung in the air like His Airness since MJ established himself as unbeatable.  The best team won last night.  The best player lost.

Crisp passing, dependable defensive rotations, unselfish decisionmaking, accountability: the 2008 Boston bunch personified the definition of Celtic Basketball.

While the Celtics handed in a quintessential performance, Kobe and Krew submitted a virtuoso white flag waving no show.  After a hot start from profundity, Kobe cooled off, and his Laker teammates gave him no reason to believe passing them the ball would result in anything but missed opportunities.  Instead, aided by dominant Boston defense, Kobe missed shots.  The most prolific active scorer in the entire Association ended his season with 22 points on 22 shots, and averaged 25.7 points per game on .405 shooting for the series–by far his worst numbers of the postseason, and this after owning the superior Western Conference.

Meanwhile, Kobe’s counterparts, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce, perfectly played their pivotal roles.  Each scored plenty, and in his own unique way.  Pierce from the line, in the paint, and when the moment called for it, from deep; Allen on fantastic finishes at the rim and raining jumpers that seemed to fall from the heavens.  A point somewhat lost during all the proclamations of “sacrificing” personal stats is this relationship.  Allen and Pierce used to play the same position, and put up similar numbers, but their differences allowed the Celtics a chance at resurgence.

Pierce is a physical beast, country strong.  He maneuvers by defenders almost at will, always awkwardly and at his pace.  He can rebound and score from the post.  And he’s a bit of a wild child, who has matured just in the nick of time.

The man known as Jesus has borderline OCD.  Literally.  He’s meticulous to a fault; but that fault leads to the purest stroke the world of basketball may have ever seen.  He can run the point in a pinch, and prefers the perimeter.

The combination of these two, along with the ever-aquiescent offensive game of The Big Ticket, formed the foundation of an 82-win squad.  Pierce seamlessly slid down the from the shooting guard slot to small forward, and he and Allen responded to Garnett’s dogged defensive determination.

Add a dose of Big Game James Posey and sharpshooting Eddie House, a Cousy wannabe at the point, a physical warrior at the pivot, some scrappy bench players who scoff at adversity, a bit of Ubuntu from Doc Rivers, and Tom Thibodeau’s defensive brilliance, and it would be, in theory, perfect. 

As the rout of a formidable opponent from the NBA’s dominant conference displayed in game 6, it was.

Turn a group of misfits that netted just 24 wins a year ago into an all-time great team capable of raising banner 17?

As KG shouted at the top of his lungs, having just informed legend Bill Russell he wouldn’t be taking up the eleven-time champion’s offer of a championship ring as a gift, “Anything’s possible!”

Light one up from heaven, Red.

Halftime Status: There Will Be No Comeback

June 17, 2008

The season is over.  The Boston Celtics will win this game.  Thanks for showing up, Kobe and Krew…(pause)…not.


June 12, 2008

I’m a sports fan.  A former basketball and baseball player.  From Massachusetts.  So I’m not one to forget the possibility of jinxing a team.  But it’s not happening.  Not to this team.  The Boston Celtics will be your World Champions in 2008, and from someone who watched them lose 18 straight games, loved Al Jefferson and Employee #8, appreciated Eric Williams and Walter McCarty, was raised on Tommy Points, and wishes he could physically bleed green, this is it.

Captain Clutch came through again.  He owned Kobe.  Ray Allen was a revelation–there’s no way you saw this coming after he walked around like a ghost against Cleveland and for part of the Detroit series.  KG rebounded from a poor first half to do what he does–play defense and pure offense, passing and scoring when given the appropriate option.  The role players stepped up as well.  Eddie House showed why he should have been playing throughout the playoffs, P.J. Brown physically demonstrated the attitude that the C’s lacked in the first half, and James Posey cemented himself as Big Game James.

Even Doc Rivers was phenomenal.  He subbed properly and never let his team down.  His turnaround during the playoffs has mirrored Ray Allen’s, and together they have given the rest of the Celtics a chance to do display their talents in the way they did during the regular season. 

There’s not much more to say, and in this euphoria I’m not thinking or writing clearly, but this is the moment.  This is what we watched the lottery for, this is what we believed in developing the kids for, this is what we believed in keeping The Truth around for.

The Celtics are about to complete a full season of wins–they stand one shy of a whopping 82.  We will probably never see a collection of talent and personalities equal to the team that Danny Ainge assembled this past offseason, when the Green Rennaisance started. 

My advice?

Savor it, it’ll never be this sweet again.

Sporadic Live Thoughts in the Fourth

June 12, 2008
  • Pierce mugged Kobe on the offensive boards and got away with it as the ball squirted out and the Celtics got control.
  • Vujacic just tried a scissor move Jenna Jameson couldn’t pull off.
  • Ooph.  Leon almost gave the Celtics a statement bucket in the paint, only to see Kobe answer.
  • Pierce and Kobe are battling for L.A.’s heart.  But, in the end, we know Kobe will just take it anyway, regardless of whom it truly belongs to.
  • Bring KG back in before L.A. can get on a run.
  • No matter what happens the rest of the series, Boston appears to have finally arrived after a four day layover in Logan.
  • I don’t believe Ray Allen has sat for a minute the entire game.  And unlike during other postseason games and in pointless regular season contests (or lackthereof), Doc’s decision to abuse those 32-year-old ankles has been perfectly justified.
  • There’s no way for me to express how much I want to be on the Japanese Rip Off Show that ABC is throwing out there.  I think I could two-foot it over those crazy man-sized bouncy balls.
  • The Celtics have owned the defensive boards (this is not going to be backed up by any facts), and Eddie House has done a great job of helping there the past two games.
  • I don’t like Eddie taking shots insdie the three point line unless they are lay ups.
  • I hate how KG fades constantly, but damn he can make it.  The problem is you don’t get fouled when you fade away and he’s a great free throw shooter so that’s nice for the other team.
  • Another big rebound from House.
  • How was that not a foul when P.J. Brown went up for a dunk and was prevented from dunking but the ball was not blocked?
  • I wonder how many typos I’m making right now, I could set a record for a one quarter live blog.
  • Crap.  Paul Pierce does not need to further damage that right leg at this point.
  • JUST TO GET THIS OUT OF THE WAY: if I’m the NBA I want the Lakers to win this game, and from then on I’m happy with whatever happens.  If the Celts win tonight the series won’t be over, but it will likely end in game 6 in Boston.  If L.A. wins tonight, it’s very probable that we see a game 7 and millions more for David Stern’s mob.
  • Based on my previous bullet, why in the world does Kobe ever do anything other than drive to the basket and create?
  • HUGE THREE FROM BIG GAMES JAMES.  That’s my attempt at emulating Big Shot Rob’s moniker.
  • I LOVE that aggressive drive to the basket by KG.  The C’s need more of that.
  • How absurd is the NBA?  In no other sport/league/athletic level can a team not even show up till halftime and have a shot.
  • Eddie House gives us the lead.  I’m not at all surprised he would do something like that, except for that I didn’t know if he was even going to play because M.D. Rivers likes to cut his rotation up like his name ought to be DJ Doc Slice.
  • Ray Allen rebounding!!!!!!  Now go get a la…literally as I was typing lay up Ray Ray took it to the hole for a pretty up-and-under.
  • OK, so this is too good of a game for me to miss anything typing, so now it’s time to savor the five point lead KG just gave us.

End of Third Thoughts

June 12, 2008
  • P.J. Brown says, “Back the $*&# off us, L.A.”
  • The Celts moved the ball extremely well in that late 21-3 run there.
  • Kobe should stop taking deep, fade aways.  If he goes to the rim the refs will bail him out, no questions asked.  And that’s even assuming he can be stopped at all without help from the refs.
  • I love the aggressiveness from the Big Three.  KG is asserting himself on the boards and PP^2 and Ray Ray are striking quick and aggressively.
  • Tony Allen?!?!  I don’t even know what to say.  For those of you who have followed The Sports Beat, you know I’m a sucker for the lesser known Allen, but wow, bringing him out in this scenario is crazy.
  • I love that Eddie is still playing over Cassell.  Thank god.
  • Can’t wait for Phil Jackson’s interview.  Could be jokes about cowboys and mountains.
  • The Celtics were a running, bank three pointer from Jordan Farmar away from leading the game at the end of the third.
  • Phil Jackson’s interview didn’t disappoint.  Momentum is a strange girl.