Posted by: Josh | April 26, 2009

Rangers series mirrors regular season

Just a quick observation: It seems to me that the Rangers’ series against the Caps has been somewhat of a microcosm of their entire season.

Part A: The fast start. The Rangers jumped out 2-0 on the caps, away from home, much as they seemed unstoppable for the first month of the regular season.

Part B: The slow down/collapse. Despite the huge advantage, the Rangers returned to MSG and should have put away the series. Instead they lost two of the next three, and got beat up in the games they did lose. In the same way, the Blueshirts struggled after their quick start to the regular season, flirting with the ultimate disaster – missing the playoffs all together.

Part C: Coaching change. Torts got himself a game suspension for losing his cool (which, by the way, was a deserved punishment) and now Schoenfield will take over the reigns, albeit for a single game. Rewind to the regular season, where Tom Renney got the axe and Tortorella came in to try to get things turned around.

That leaves the team at a crossroads. Obviously the coaching change is a different scenario, but the question remains the same – will the team rally around it and get the job done? Or will the problems continue to grow and allow Washington to gain control and ultimately take the series. In the regular season the Rangers were able to do just enough after Tortorella took over to secure a playoff spot and move on to the next stage. They’ll have to do the same this time if they expect to continue playing.

Posted by: Josh | March 19, 2009

I just wanted to pass along this article, as written in Toronto’s Globe and Mail newspaper.

All soccer fans in the U.S. have endured all sorts of criticism and doubts from the naysayers, but most of those people just flat out don’t have a clue what’s going on with the sport in this country. I think this story does very well in expressing how Major League Soccer is growing in this country, despite negativity from people who really don’t seem to be paying attention to the big picture. American soccer in no way lives and dies with David Beckham, and the fact the sport hasn’t exploded doesn’t mean it is failing or not catching on.

Check out this story.

Posted by: Josh | March 14, 2009

New member of the Twitter masses

I just signed up for Twitter. Feel free to follow me. My username is kamikazepilot42.

Now, back to the Big East championship and some hockey.

Posted by: Josh | February 19, 2009


…And I emerge from the mist…

I’m jumping on the bandwagon. For the majority of its time as a hot topic, I’ve been fairly neutral on the whole steroid controversy. Obviously I disapprove of the use of performance-enhancing drugs, but as far as the anger and discussion goes, I’ve mostly stayed out of it. I mostly accept that steroids were involved, most likely heavily, in baseball and I recognize there are now asterisks on certain records. This as an absolute shame, but nothing that fired me up.

That is, until I watched Alex Rodriguez’s press conference on Tuesday. I didn’t even mean to see it. I was at the gym, and the television was tuned to CNN, which broadcast the circus. As I watched A-Rod “apologize” and answer questions, my blood pressure began to rise, and it had nothing to do with the treadmill I was on. I didn’t even know that talk of steroids could elicit the emotions that I felt on this day.

What a joke. There are a few things Rodriguez could have said that would have allowed me to continue in my blissful ability to avoid getting caught up i the ‘roid hype. Unfortunately, he said none of those things. Instead he took all of us for fools and insulted our intelligence. I previously had no extreme opinion of A-Rod. He was a superbly talented ballplayer with a knack for disappearing in the postseason. Everybody knew that. However, he has now revealed himself as a coward and a cheater, regardless of his steroid use.

First there was the statement that had to be written down for him to be able to read. Then there was a pathetic apology to his teammates, who, like most of us, were not fooled as they blankly stared at Rodriguez. Then there were the plain lies. Nobody with a body worth millions of dollars doesn’t know what he’s putting in his body. And everybody knows there are no performance enahncers that you can take a couple times a month. Steroids, much like any medication or drug, are administered multiple times every day. I don’t want to hear stories meant to humanize – how you wish you had gone to college to grow up and would advise your own children to do that, how you were a quarterback on your high school football team. Instead, start answering all the questions that you dodged by simply repeating the phrase “young and naive.” I’m 26. Am I as informed or wise as I will be 10, or even five, years from now? Of course not. But to tell me that a couple years ago – at the same age Rodriguez allegedly used the drugs – I was too young and dumb to realize what I was doing if I were taking steroids? Give me a break.

I find it humorous that A-Rod needed a posse of PR artists and personal managers to coach him into the farce that he executed on Tuesday. The answer to his problems should have been simple. The questions and the jeers and the public humiliation were going to stick no matter what he said. However, it all could have been minimized with about 30 seconds of words: “I’m sorry. I took performance-enahncing drugs and it was wrong. I shouldn’t have done it. I cheated myself, the fans and the game.” Instead he gave a flat apology, avoided certain questions and refused to say “I cheated.” Now he has villified himself beyond the realm of Bonds and Clemens, McGwire and Palmiero. Or at least joined them.

So the questions from the media and fans continue. But really, I think we’re all missing the boat. The question we really should be asking A-Rod is, “Alex, have you fooled yourself? Because you aren’t fooling any of us.”

Posted by: Josh | June 24, 2008

Christmas In June

Being someone who doesn’t celebrate Christmas (I’m Jewish) and has long accepted the fact that the holiday takes play in December, I’ve never understood “Christmas in July” or whatever it is. I may finally understand, though, Christmas in June, as one of my favorite times of year is upon us.

College football annuals are released.

From the second the national championship is over, I start anxiously looking forward to the day when the preview magazines are published. That time has recently come and gone, and with magazines in hand I now sit down to plow through page after page of information about the sport.

So, for now I sit and read hundreds and hundreds of pages, and I shall return in a month or two to espouse my own thoughts on the upcoming college football season.

Now, back to my reading…

Posted by: Josh | June 3, 2008

Talk about something you know, Tiger

Just another quick post.

Tiger Woods made the following comments today:

Don’t count Tiger Woods among those glued to their TVs during the Stanley Cup finals.

The world’s top golfer appeared via teleconference on Monday, promoting August’s PGA Championship at Oakland Hills in suburban Detroit.

Woods was asked if he was rooting for Detroit or Pittsburgh.

Woods started to laugh, then landed a zinger.

“I don’t really care. Let’s talk about the Dodgers,” the California native said. “I don’t think anybody really watches hockey any more.”


But the improved television ratings for this year’s finals doesn’t seem to match Woods’ assessment.

The Penguins’ victory over the Red Wings on NBC drew the best overnight rating for a Game 3 of the Cup finals in six years. Pittsburgh’s 3-2 win on Wednesday night earned a 2.8 national rating and an 18.2 rating in Detroit, beating out the 15.9 rating for the Pistons’ matchup with the Boston Celtics in the NBA’s Eastern Conference finals. The combination of Games 1, 2 and 3 have made this the highest-rated and most-watched opening games of the Cup finals since Detroit faced Carolina in 2002.

“The National Hockey League has enormous respect for Tiger Woods, for all his accomplishments and for his work with the community,” NHL spokesman Frank Brown said. “We think he’s a great golfer.”

It’s impossible to discount what Tiger Woods has achieved, but give me a break. The irony here is that he plays a sport that some would argue isn’t even a “sport” and that if he didn’t play, “nobody” would care about it. Even less nobodies than the NHL.

Posted by: Josh | June 3, 2008

Introducing a fellow blogger…

I just wanted to bring attention to the newest addition to my blogroll:

Holy Scribbles, Batman!

This is my sister’s blog that is just now getting underway. Check it out. Maybe she will inspire me to update my own postings at a rate better than once every few months.

Posted by: Josh | April 30, 2008

Quick NHL Playoff Thoughts

Just wanted to drop a few quick thoughts on the NHL playoffs that have been bouncing around my head.

  • Biggest Disappointment – San Jose Sharks. Again. They can’t get it done in the playoffs, and that probably means a major overhaul in the offseason.
  • Most Disappointing Series – Detroit vs. Colorado. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one excited to see the best rivalry of the last 10-plus years renewed in the playoffs. Granted, Colorado isn’t the same team that they were a handful of years ago, but I had still hoped to see the fire of the rivalry back. I’ve only gotten to watch bits and pieces of the series, but that hasn’t seemed to happen. Detroit has mostly controlled from the get-go, and the tension isn’t there.

It looks like the end of the line for the New York Rangers, in what may become the best four-game series that I can remember. I said in the middle of Game One that the Rangers had to leave Pittsburgh with at least one victory. Sure, the Penguins hadn’t won once in MSG all season, but with the momentum they’d have with a 2-0 lead, I could see them at least splitting the games in New York. Low and behold, the Rangers didn’t get that win, and now are looking up at a 3-0 series that is all but over.

Game One was crazy and back and forth, but the Blueshirts seemed to lose focus after they got the 3-0 lead. They’re passing in the second half of the game was bad and even though they didn’t seem to back off energy-wise, mentally they didn’t seem like they were on their game.

During Game Two my dread grew even greater. Regardless of your religious beliefs, if you watched that game you would have to think there was some greater power that just wanted the Ranger to win. Henrik Lundqvist stood on his head, and when he didn’t get to the puck, the Penguins botched the opportunity. To waste a goalie performance like that is to give away a game, and thats what the Rangers did. You can’t give away games like that in the playoffs. Just like that they went back to New York down 2-0.

Then Game Three proved me right. The Penguins jumped on top early, silencing the crowd for at least portions of the game and using their momentum to take away the home ice momentum. Then, lo and behold, after failing to take advantage of an uncanny performance by Lundqvist the game before, Henrik struggled and an outstanding performance by Jaromir Jagr went for naught. The Rangers were the better team…5-on-5. The man advantage proved to be the key, as the Rangers couldn’t figure out the Pittsburgh penalty kill, and they couldn’t stop the Penguin power play. Just like that New York’s season is on the verge of ending.

Now Sean Avery is gone for the rest of the playoffs, whether than means one game or more. Say what you want about Avery, when he plays for your team you at least accept him, if not like him, for his ability to alter games. He’s the kind of guy that can turn a game one way or the other, and with every game a must-win from here on out, he will be sorely missed.

So it looks like it’s all but over. Last night I fell asleep watching Game Six of the 2004 Eastern Conference Championship – the Mark Messier hat trick in a “guaranteed” win – to try to convince myself that, hey, the impossible can happen.

Posted by: Josh | April 25, 2008

Loose Trigger Finger

I am a die hard Marlins fan. I have been since there inception. However, during my time living in Cincinnati and the surrounding area, I somewhat adopted the Reds. This is why I was so shocked when I saw that the team had fired general manager Wayne Krivsky earlier this week.

I understand the realities in modern day sports, where everyone’s job is always on the line, but this is ridiculous and completely puzzles me. This is the man that came on the job two years ago and seemed to have a knack for getting complete steals on the trade market.

He brought in Brandon Phillips for Jeff Stevens. Who? Exactly. For virtually nothing Krivsky found a diamond in the rough who has developed into one of the best hitting second basemen in the major leagues.

Last season he found Josh Hamilton on the Rule 5 draft, a player that suddenly started showing the potential scouts saw in him when he was taken as a first-round draft pick.

In this past offseason Krivsky traded Hamilton…And in return filled a huge need for the Reds. His wheelings and dealings brought in pitchers Edinson Volquez and Johnny Cueto, two young guys who are off to incredible starts this season. Two guys that could form the core of the rotation for years to come. Just imagine the one-two-three punch if Homer Bailey ever decides to get his act together.

And somehow this all got him fired. Mainly because the ballclub is off to a poor start, which can hardly be attributed to anything Krivsky did. Considering the tight pockets of Reds ownership, there is little Krivsky could do besides look for hidden gems, and he seemed to do that well. He couldn’t make wholesale changes and overhaul the team. This season the Reds look like a team who could contend for a playoff spot in a weak Central division, but they are off to a poor start…just like many teams that have rebounded to make the playoffs.

This move just does not make sense to me, and seems to hint that maybe there was something going on behind the scenes. Or maybe owner Bob Castellini is just insane.

I have been thinking these thoughts since the firing was announced, and then I found the following this evening, by Jayson Stark of ESPN. It inspired me to write this blog entry.

Reds owner Bob Castellini has no idea how many people in baseball he alienated by firing his GM, Wayne Krivsky — as well-liked and highly respected a man as you’ll find in the business.

“They just went from a team you root for to a team you root against,” is the way one veteran baseball man put it Wednesday. Sure, Krivsky made his share of mistakes. Goes with the turf. But have there been three bigger steals in the past two years than Bronson Arroyo for Wily Mo Pena, Brandon Phillips for Jeff Stevens, or Josh Hamilton for 50,000 bucks? And Jeff Keppinger for Russ Haltiwanger is right up there, too.

So why was this guy fired again? Because this team came out of spring training with a little promise and then started 9-12? Ridiculous. The Yankees, Phillies, Cubs and Rockies were all 9-12 or worse last year this time — and made the playoffs.

“There’s nothing worse than these owners who treat the national pastime like it’s the frigging stock market,” said an official of one team. “They think it’s got to keep going up, up, up, every day. But that’s just not the way of works. This is a game of human beings.”

My thoughts exactly, Jayson.

Posted by: Josh | March 31, 2008

Quick Thoughts – 3-30-08

  • All No. 1 seeds in the Final Four. Sure makes it look like the tournament committee got things right. Does that make things more or less interesting? On paper it looks like some great matchups. On the other hand, there’s no surprise story there.
  • I got half of the Final Four right in my early season picks. That wasn’t how I picked my bracket going into the tourney, though.
  • The “real” start of the baseball season was tonight. It couldn’t have been scripted much better. Brand new ballpark, and the guy for the Nationals hits a walk-off homer to win the game with two outs in the ninth. It’s hard not to enjoy that.

Zimmerman - Opening Day Nats
  • More thoughts to come? Possibly.

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