I was all set to write up something about Ralph Sampson staying in the draft, Tubby Smith sabotaging Gopher basketball, and idiotic decisions, but I've now see some tweets that indicate he may have pulled out at the last minute (unlike his dad) so I'll save that speculation for later in the week when something more concrete comes out.
WHO WAS AWESOME
1. Justin Verlander. Remember when I picked Verlander to win the AL Cy Young? I'm pretty sure that his no-hitter on Saturday proves that I was right. Now, I know what you're thinking. You're thinking he only struck out four guys and I just recently downplayed Liriano's no-hitter for a lack of domination so how can I praise this one? Well first off Francisco Liriano fucking sucks while Verlander is a god of pitching. Second, Verlander only walked one dude and threw about 70% of his pitches for strikes while Liriano treated the strike zone as if it was . Thirdly, did you watch the game? Justy Just completely dominated fools. The Blue Jays only hit two balls remotely well and really after about two batters you knew Verlander had a shot at doing it. Just so good. So dominating. I swear every time I watch him pitch he makes me hate the Twins and every time Leyland let's him pitch his 125th pitch of the game I hate Gardy. I hate everything.
2. Vancouver Grizzlies. Gotta admit out of all the surprising things in the sporting world, including VCU making the final four and Alexi Casilla once getting a hit, Vancouver's playoff run thus far is way up there. Of course a big part of that shock is because I had no idea Vancouver was in the playoffs until like Game Three of the first round, but they're gettin' it done now. Knocking off the #1 seeded Spurs was surprising, but not as surprising as the semi-dominant fashion in which they did it (and my favorite part was watching Zach Randolph kick the crap out of that old man whiny bitch Tim Duncan. Honestly the guy would send back soup at a deli) Now they're up 2-1 on Oklahoma City after stealing game 3 with a furious second half comeback and surprisingly dominant performance in overtime. With the Lakers getting bounced and the Grizz up, it's suddenly not ridiculous to think Memphis might end up making the finals. Read that again. Now set your own face on fire because Memphis is a title contender while the T-Wolves should just be contracted.
3. Cliff Lee. Clifford is always fun to watch pitch, but you never know which version you're going to get. There's the don't-walk anybody, let the batter hit your pitch right where you want it version, and then there's the don't walk anybody, strike everybody out version. Both are dominant in different ways, and both are fun to watch. However, more accurately the version where he just strikes everybody the hell out is way more fun and that's the version that showed up this weekend to throw against the Braves and strike out 16 guys. Of course the bad news is that he gave up 9 hits and 3 runs and they lost which may make some people wonder why I'd give him credit for being awesome. Those people should just shut their big fat faces.
4. Dirk Nowitzki. God I love watching this guy. He's too slow to be devastating, but he can shoot the lights out, he's six foot thirteen, and he knows how to use his body to create open shots. I don't know if I love that slow motion spin and fade better or if I prefer the weird, awkward step back fadeaway that looks more like something that a dude who had never played basketball before would do, but it's impossible to stop and I'm pretty sure he shoots like 90% with that one. He's just unstoppable and sweet. And the best part is, as Bill Simmons laid out in a recent column, once he gets to the point where he can't carry a team anymore he's going to have a role as a more deadly version of Sam Perkins. Probably with the same amount of pot though.
5. Andre Ethier. Yes his 30-game hit streak came to an end over the weekend but it should still be recognized because a 30-game hit streak is really pretty remarkable. More importantly have you seen this guy? You look at his adonis like looks and his hair, realize he's a multi-millionaire who plays baseball and lives in Los Angeles, and I'm assuming he's basically beating gorgeous girls off with a stick. His list of conquests must be epic. Of course, it's tough to beat Derek Jeter who has gone out with Jessica Alba, Jessica Biel, Adriana Lima, Jordana Brewster, and Minka Kelly. Then again, while I assume Ethier is a tender and considerate lover you know Jeter is just using these chicks - using them to cover up that he's a raging homosexual, I mean.
1. Los Angeles Lakers. Wow, talk about a gutless performance. Not only did the defending two-time champs - and defending two-time champs with nearly the same entire squad back - get bounced in round 2 but they got swept. And not only did the get swept but they got ugly swept, losing the first two games at home and then getting run by 30 in the deciding game four. No other word for it but pathetic. The Lakers might be the most talented team, especially in the West, but it was clear they weren't 100% engaged in round 1 and they couldn't just flip the switch when they suddenly ran into a better than we thought Dallas team. And that, in a nutshell, is the biggest reason Kobe will never be the next Michael Jordan. Other than a very good game 1 (36 pts) Kobe basically was completely disinterested and finished the series with averages well below his season averages for the series in literally every category. What a douchebag. By the way, a rapist, a homophobe, and a black guy walk into a bar. Everybody there was like, "Hey Kobe."
2. Kentucky Derby. Not so much for the race, because watching Animal Kingdom shoot from the middle to the front for the win was actually pretty exciting, but it was just kind of meh. There was no great horse in this field and no great stories so there was no good lead-ups, so much so that most of the Kentucky Derby rubes I know said this was the least interesting derby in years. Even the whole Calvin Borel, winner of three of the last four derbys, angle was lame because he ended up sitting on a horse that everybody knew was a shitbox. Didn't help that I didn't win money (although I know Bogart was on Animal Kingdom so congrats there). I hit a bunch of the mid-range horses and with Mrs. W's pick (Stay Thirsty) and Wonderbaby's first ever pick (Soldat) I basically had everybody covered as long as a long shot (other than Santiva) or the favorite didn't win. Then this freaking dirtbag horse who has never even raced on dirt before and whose regular rider was out with an injury (yep, an injury to a jockey. WTF has never seemed more appropriate) goes out and wins. Least satisfying Derby ever. And Animal Kingdom has no shot at even contending for the triple crown. None. Lame. Gay. Stupid.
3. Brandon Lyon. Can anyone explain to me why this dingleberry keeps getting closing jobs? He's fucking terrible, which he proved once again this week by trying to close a game against the Reds, a game in which he dudes he faced went walk-single-single-single-double and suddenly a 2-0 lead was a 3-2 loss - a game that would have been rookie Aneury Rodriguez's first career W. Although I don't know why anybody would be surprised since Lyon has sucked every year. He sucked with the Diamonbacks, sucked with the Tigers after they gave him a nice 1-year deal and then said thanks but no thanks, and has sucked with Houston the last two years (after their inexplicable 3-year/$15 mil contract) and leads the league in blown saves this year. Not since Ambirorix Burgos has a worse player been given the ball to close games. Except maybe Matt Capps.
4. Carl Pavano. Hey, do you guys remember when there was all that talk about signing Pavano long-term, and everybody was like damn dude, you gotta be careful with this one because his margin for error is razor thin and at his advancing age things could fall apart in a big ole hurry? Well I'm not saying he's done done, but there are some ominous signs. And I'm not even talking about the really obvious stuff like getting slapped all over the yard in consecutive games by the Royals and Red Sox (2 games combined: 10 innings, 22 hits, 13 runs). No, the scary part here is in those two outings Pavano tallied as many strikeouts as hits Joe Mauer's had since April 12th - a big fat zero. Now, Pavano's never been a big time K pitcher but he's generally been around 5-7 per 9 ips. Last year he set a career low at 4.8, and this year he's been even lower at 4.1 (before today's game). That' a terrible sign. Am I saying he's going to be terrible the rest of this year and probably end up waived before we even get to year 2 of his contract? Yes. Yes I am.
5. Justin Morneau. Sigh. No doubt you are aware he's been bad this year, but do you know just how bad he was this week? He hit .105 (2-19 and obviously no extra base hits). Guess how many of his teammates had a worse average for the week? Nobody. At all. Butera hit .143. Casilla hit .125. Repko, Tolbert, and Revere all beat him. Unfortunately he's cooling off (if that was even possible) right as Cuddy, Span, and Valencia are starting to remember how to hit and the team just added the shortstop of the future in Trevor Plouffe, who probably deserves a spot in the WHO WAS AWESOME section but I forgot about him until just now. This team can't win without Morneau's bat. I mean, they can't really win with it either, but at least with him going they have a chance, however small. Maybe somebody needs to just smack him in the head with a tire iron and joggle everything back the way it was before. I'll volunteer.
In conclusion the Lakers suck are a punch of punks led by King Punk Kobe. Although I have to give him credit for not being the biggest little bitch on the team in this series. That honor would to to Andrew Bynum who pulled this move at the end of the shellacking the Mavs put on them to cap off the sweep:
I'm not even sure what my favorite part is, but I can narrow it to five parts:
1. Steve Blake not really trying to get through a screen while guarding Barea.
2. Ron Artest making zero effort to help out on said screen or when Barea starts to drive.
3. Shannon Brown's "help defense" which consisted of a half-assed swipe at the ball.
4. The biggest guy on the court (Bynum) completely destroying the littlest one while he's defenseless (but in Bynum's defense he was the only one who played any kind of defense on that play).
5. And, of course Bynum taking off his jersey for some reason.
Basically just class personified right there. In summation, fuck you Lakers! I couldn't be happier.