All right. Now, on to the thoughts:
--I want to thank everyone that filled in for Eli over the last week. Carrie Anderson was really good, I thought, especially for her first time doing a radio show. She's excellent. Will's my boy, and did a great job as always. Will's got some opinions. Finally, Matt Stark did great--you can tell he's getting very comfortable with the whole radio thing. Thanks again Carrie, Will, and Matt.
--Matt Stark posed an interesting question on Thursday: Who's the most famous Jr. of all-time, sports or otherwise? Stark said JFK, Jr., while I went with Antonio Sabato, Jr. Who do you think it is?
--Carlos Zambrano's been having some forearm problems as of late. Naturally, Cub fans blamed Dusty Baker for overusing the pitching staff. Zambrano's thrown a ton of pitches, so that had to be the problem, right? Apparently not. Turns out that Big Z has been using the computer too much. He's spent four hours a day for the last few weeks e-mailing his borther back in Venezuela. Four hours a day to e-mail your brother? I don't know that my last 3 months of emailing combined got to the four-hour mark. Apparently Big Z needs to learn how to type. Also, if you're having forearm problems after a long internet session, I wouldn't have figured e-mailing was the problem. Check his browser history, Jim Hendry. Anyway, the Cubs have limited him to an hour a day.
--For those of you that want the Grizzlies to go after Ron Artest, check this story out. It's the second story down. And it's crazy. Not crazy like, "Oh, you like pizza with anchovies? That's crazy." This is crazy like, "Why did you shave crop circles in your head?" crazy:
It was between 11:30 and midnight and the Pistons' bus was about to leave the arena for the airport. Suddenly, a dark Escalade roared into the loading dock, nearly hitting several people. Out jumped Ron Artest....according to
Pistons players on the bus, Artest was wearing an old (and short) pair of shorts. He had no shoes on and, upon getting out of the vehicle, he tore off his T-shirt.
Given the history between Artest and the Pistons, the team's security officials were on high alert. But Artest made no motion toward the bus. He simply walked, bare-chested and bare-footed, into the building, presumably for a midnight workout. "There's something going on there," Ben Wallace said, not wanting to comment further.
Uh, yeah. Yeah, there is.
--Steve Phillips from ESPN was on the show this morning, and I thought he was phenomenal. He had tremendous insight into young pitchers (Jake Peavy is the cream of a very good crop), great comments about GMs around the league (he is in awe of John Schuerholz in Atlanta), and he even said that he thought the White Sox are for real, and he expects Atlanta to win the World Series. I want to address what I thought was his most interesting comment, that being that he wouldn't be shocked if 80% or major league players were using amphetamines to enhance their performance and energy level. Couple this with the report by Armen Keteyian on CostasNOW on HBO that included former major leaguer Chad Curtis saying 85% of players were using amphetamines, and Tony Gwynn saying more than half were using in his opinion. This thing is about to blow up. Amphetamines are a real issue in Major League Baseball, and an issue that has been allowed to get worse and worse as time has passed. Steve Phillips also said that if you take the uppers out of the game, you may have to reduce the schedule to 100 games or so--162 games in 181 days is an amazing grind. In any event, it's a bigger problem than roids, and it's one you will have to drag the players kicking and screaming to the table to negotiate.
--Great fight by Andrew Golota on Saturday night. He hit the canvas as many times as he hit Lamon Brewster--3. Well done, Polish Nutbuster. Now I hope you and John Ruiz fight, so it can do 5 PPV buys and sell 10 tickets and both of you will retire penniless.
--I saw Star Wars (the original) and the Empire Strikes Back over the weekend; it was the first time I had seen any of the Star Wars movies. I actually enjoyed them, although I have a couple of questions that some of you Star Wars nerds can help me with:
1. What the hell do Stormtroopers do? All I saw them do was die. They can't hit a damn thing with their lasers, they never captured anyone, and they apparently have armor made of plastic.
2. Is it fair to say that Chewbacca is the most worthless main character in the history of movies? In 4 hours of movie magic, I saw him do absolutely nothing of value. On a number of occasions, Chewbacca's Wookie yelling caused his friends to be in real danger. He broke the Millenium Falcon on two occasions, and I have yet to see him kill anyone that's trying to hurt his pals. Help me out here--he sucks, right?
Still, Harrison Ford is brilliant as Han Solo, and Carrie Fisher is hot. I'm really enjoying the series. In fact, I'm dressed like Lando Calrissian right now.
--The Spurs impressed me a great deal yesterday, as they played Phoenix in Phoenix's own gym, playing Phoenix's own style, and beat them. Shawn Marion's embarrassing 3 point performance was the biggest headline to me. An All-Star cannot just disappear like that in the WCF. I'm pulling for the Suns simply because it would be great for coaches at every level to see that an uptempo, offensive-minded style can work in the playoffs. I don't think they can get it done, though.
--People who criticize Steve Nash for his high turnover rate are short-sighted. Turnovers in basketball are in many ways like errors in baseball. Sometimes they illustrate a point, sometimes they don't. A fielder in baseball that has tremendous range will have a chance to catch far more batted balls than a fielder who is incredibly slow. Because of that, he will likely commit more errors, too. Does that mean the fielder with more errors is a worse fielder? No. In the same sense, Steve Nash has the court vision to attempt far more ambitious, far better passes than most PGs. Will he commit more turnovers than many of those PGs? Yes. Does that mean he is worse? Obviously not. Turnovers can be deceptive.