April 27, 2006

Spring is Here

Did some house cleaning to the site. The previous design although at first I really liked it, was too busy. It made the content difficult to read with all the different colors in the background. I also fixed the buttons on the sidebar so that there is a uniform size to them.

I'm not completely done and as I get more free time I will make other adjustments.

Here is the old design, for historical purposes:

March 20, 2006

Mojito vs. Sake

Out of all the programming plot lines they could have come up with (there had to be a list made, right?), ESPN has chosen this 'clash' of cultures plot for tonight's WBC finals match between Japan and Cuba.
When Japan meets Cuba on a historic Monday evening in San Diego, what will unfold is something bigger, something grander, something much more fascinating....This is the championship game of the World Baseball Classic. But it's more. It's about two very different cultures colliding. It's about two very different histories colliding.
It's straight from NBC's Olympic broadcast playbook. When no one knows the players go for sappy or heartwarming stories. This might work with sports like curling or crew; but when it comes to real everyday mainstream sports, no one that tunes in wants to hear or see a montage about the Latin spice and history of Cuba vs. the Efficient and detailed oriented culture of Japan. Just show us the baseball game that we tuned in to watch please.

日本、キューバ破りWBC初代世界一
野球の国・地域別対抗戦ワールド・ベースボール・クラシック決勝、日本―キューバ戦が20日、米国カリフォルニア州サンディエゴであり、日本は10―6でキューバを破り、初代の世界一に輝いた。
*Loosely translated to: Japan 10 -- Cuba 6. Japan wins first WBC Championship.

NCAA '06: Round Two- Day Two Wrap-Up

This whole Mid-Majors thing is all cute and everything...that is until they upset your pick to win the tournament. Thanks a lot George Mason!

Well the Big 10 did not get a single team past the first weekend; they went a combined 0-3 with only Indiana putting up a fight, and they had a lame duck coach. Where are the cries for them stealing deserving spots from teams like Cincinnati? Oh yeah it's only when its teams like Air Force or Bradley that people feel all the indignation. Speaking of Bradley, how about them Braves? Taking down a Beast from the East (Pitt from the Big East). Bradley will meet #1 seed Memphis in the sweet sixteen.

And the Mid majors continue to shine; George Mason upset UNC on Sunday (My win it all pick). and will meet the other Cinderella Wichita St. in the next round. Guaranteeing at least one Cinderella will make it to the Elite Eight.

Oh to be young and a Mid-Major....... I'm taking Gonzaga now, since UNC got bounced, by the way.

March 19, 2006

NCAA '06: Round Two- Day One Wrap-Up

Things I liked about today:
  • Mr. Versatility aka Joakim Noah . Check this line-- FG:5-10, Reb:7, Ast:6, Stl:2, Blk:4
  • Wichita St.
  • Gonzaga
  • Morrison and his fire
  • Alabama's 7 men rotation almost beating UCLA
  • Pops Mensah-Bonsu's alley-oop dunk.
  • Glen Davis' nickname
  • Texas A&M

Things I did not like:
  • Did I mention Indiana's pirate costumes?
  • No more Pops Mensah-Bonsu

March 18, 2006

NCAA '06: Round One- Day Two Wrap-Up

Mid-Majors are the new black...or something like that. Bradley, Bucknell, Murray St, Albany, UAB and Northwestern St. Won or could have won today if they had not run out of gas in the last 2 minutes.

I have to admit I drank the Kansas Kool-Aid, they were so hot coming in to the tournament that I forgot that Big 12 teams suck (maybe I should have taken Duke over Texas also, I'm not a Duke hater...really, I'm not). Well just like Bucknell knocked them out last year, this year Bradley had the honors, and they controlled the whole game which is the amazing part. George Mason beat Michigan state, by out working them and being more physical which is a hard thing to do versus Izzo.

You have to love buzzer beaters, Northwestern St on a broken play that resulted with Jermaine Wallace running down the lose ball to the corner and then noticing that less than 3 seconds remained in the game, just threw up some garbage at the rim...And it went in (queue the band and the March madness). Result Northwestern St knocks out #3 Iowa. Albany put the fear of God into UConn and it's fans by totally controlling them for more than 3/4 of the game and then, they ran out of gas and UConn was able to escape (Albany did everything right, but finish the last 3 minutes). UAB and Murray St, also took Kentucky and UNC to the brink. As a collection the Mid-Majors did more than justify their spots in the tournament, but actually raise an issue for deserving more spots.

March 17, 2006

NCAA '06: Round One- Day One Wrap-Up

First day of the Tournament and everything seems to be just as I like it. There were upsets, drama, nail bitters and buzzer beaters. Upsets: Syracuse and Gerry McNamara ran out of mojo against Texas A&M and Wisc. Milwaukee handled an inconsistent Oklahoma team (Mid-Majors rejoice all over the land). Nail bitters: Boston College needed double overtime to handle feisty Pacific, who laid it all on the line and nearly took down BC, GW came back from 18 points down in the second half to squeak by UNC-Wilmington and Gonzaga needed all of Morrison to pull out the win over Xavier. Buzzer beaters: Tennessee, who's coach looked unsure if to be worried that his team was struggling or stay positive, sank a last possession jumper from just inside the three point line to get past Winthrop (This was a terrific game to watch). Wichita St. Proved that just because you play in the Big East, it does not mean that you are any good, they ended up beating Seton Hall easily.

What did we learn: Syracuse was spent after the Big East Tournament. Air Force played better than Seaton Hall, so lets hear the indignation about Seton Hall taking away Cincinnati's spot and not Air Force. Regardless if its Montana or Nevada, Boston College is going to get bounced. Morrison is really good. Tennessee is very green. Indiana has pirate looking warm up pants (Ugh?). Duke will probably lap GW on Saturday...twice at least. Texas A&M is fast, LSU is big; It's going to be a good game to watch. From Florida, UCLA, and Duke we learned nothing that we did not know before.

March 16, 2006

The Experiment

I stole this idea from one of my favorite sports writers Bill Simmons aka The Sports Guy. Basically it's an experiment to show that watching the games does not equate to actually knowing anything. The premise is that the only true madness that occurs during March Madness is the fact that the person that wins the office pool is the foreigner who only understands soccer or the girl who has only seen one game all season and that was purely by accident because there was nothing else to watch on a Saturday at noon while she waited for her nails to dry. Don't believe me? Jessica Simpson won a March madness pool, her only association to sports was her ex-husband Nick Lacey.

So I asked my sister, a sophomore in College at Florida, to fill out a bracket. She played organized basketball in middle and high school, and still follows the NBA somewhat, but has probably seen two college basketball games and those were probably against her will. I will post her Bracket here, which she was supposed to scan and send to me before she left for the weekend, but instead left it in the scanner back at her apartment (Thank you for that!). At least she filled it out before any games started so her picks are already made. (She got help from her roommate, who may or may not actually know what basketball is, so that just adds to the experiment). We will see just how bad my bracket sucks compared to the two headed monster that I will from now on refer to as "Las Locas". And Yes, I am worried that they will lay the smack down on my picks, but "I Ain't Skurred".

FInally here it is. "Las Locas" Tourney picks:

NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament '06
Click on Image to Enlarge.

March 14, 2006

Time To Dust Off My Trusty Abacus

It was all going so well for the World Baseball Classic (WBC). Competitive games, surprising upsets (Team Canada over Team USA), good TV ratings, and great attendance figures. But I have discovered what will be the death blow to the WBC; The Tie-Breaking procedure implemented for teams to advance from the two early rounds. Here is the official wording straight from Major League Baseball:
Ties shall be broken in the following order of priority:
  • The team that defeated the other tied team head-to-head in a given Round shall be ranked higher in the pool standings for such Round.
  • The tied teams shall be ranked in the standings for that Round according to fewest runs allowed divided by the number of innings (including partial innings) played in defense in the games in that Round between the teams tied.
  • The tied teams shall be ranked in the standings according to fewest earned runs allowed divided by the number of innings (including partial innings) played in defense in the games in that Round between the teams tied.
  • The tied teams shall be ranked in the standings according to highest batting average in games in that Round between the teams tied.
Wait you want me to do math? Confused? Yeah, me too and I actually follow this stuff. I feel like a need engineering paper, a graphing calculator and a Calculus book in order to figure out if Team USA will be able to advance to the next round of competition. Why make it so complicated? "Divided by innings played"? Are you serious? Where is my trusty abacus when I need it. MLB tried to create the same structure that has made World Cup Futbol aka Soccer so popular, by having an international competition at the highest level. But you know what makes the World Cup work; tie-breakers that make sense to a guy with 5 beers in him at a sports bar. Straight from FIFA the Tie-breaking procedure:
If two or more teams are equal on the basis....their rankings will be determined as follows:
  • Greatest number of points obtained in the group matches between the teams concerned;
  • Goal difference resulting from the group matches between the teams concerned;
  • Greater number of goals scored in all group matches between the teams concerned;
See adding numbers and comparing them versus the other teams numbers is pretty easy. Having to do long division while trying to figure out the number of innings played or the combined batting average of a team is INSANE. If this competition dies, it will not be because the product on the field stunk, but rather due to to Math, and that's sad or comical depending on your original view on the WBC.

I'll See Your Garnett and Raise You My Wilt

I catch myself thinking sometimes stuff like: "Man, Duncan and Garnett are monsters, they have to be in a list of top 5 Big Men in league history." :). When you are literally able to see every game, you forget about the greatness of players that you never saw; be it because they were from before your time or because there is limited TV footage of their play. Then I get brought back to earth with information like this, via Elias Sports Bureau:
"Kevin Garnett has had at least 10 rebounds in each of his last 20 games, the longest streak of his career. No NBA player has had a 20-game streak of that kind since Tim Duncan had at least 10 rebounds in 27 consecutive games in the 2003-04 season.
However, Garnett would need to play nearly six years to tie the record for such a streak: Wilt Chamberlain had 467 consecutive 10-rebound games from 1963-68."
WHAT? It's almost impossible to wrap my head around numbers like "467 consecutive 10-rebound games". I guess the lesson is; remember to keep things in perspective.....and Wilt's numbers will squash everyone elses times 10.

March 13, 2006

UEFA Game

Inter Milan Vs Afc Ajax at 2pm EST Live from Milan. The first game was played to a 2-2 tie in Amsterdam. This will be Inter's first home game with fans present after playing their three home group games behind a closed doors sanction because of the misconduct of their fans during last years quarter-final, when AC Milan goalkeeper Dida was hit by a flare.

Imagine if the NBA had done that to punish the Detroit fans when the "Artest incident" occurred. It's the equivalent of playing behind closed doors in 2-3 playoff series, not games but series. Now that's making a statement about fan decorum during games and holding both players (who get suspended 'x' number of games) and fans responsible for situations like the one that unfolded at The Palace of Auburn Hills.

Inter Milan beat Afc Ajax 1-0. Advancing to the Quarter Finals of the UEFA Championship League, where they will play Villarreal CF. The 1-0 result does not show that the game was dominated from start to finish by Inter, Ajax seemed lost through most of the game. In the first match Ajax jumped out to a 2-0 lead before Inter came furiously back to tie the match, apparently Ajax never recovered from blowing that lead and seemed to never have shown up in Milan to play this game. Inter showed no mercy however for their foe from the Netherlands, and stayed on attack mode throughout the game, even though they had many goal possibilities, they only needed the 1-0 result to advance.

NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament '06

NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament '06
Click on Image to Enlarge.



Summary:
--Atlanta: Syracuse has to be tired by now, and LSU is too big for them. Texas has the best Front line and if they can avoid Duke, then they will reach the Final Four.
--Oakland: I really believed in Memphis until they got placed with red hot Kansa, and one thing I believe in is momentum in the NCAA's and Kansas has that going in. But I think their youth vs UCLA's defense with the Final Four spot at stake will be too much for Kansas.
--Washington: Tempted to believe UAB will take Kentucky. the other thing I believe when it comes to the tournament, the team with the Best player in the country wins. Thus UNC going all the way.
--Minneapolis: Florida has always had talent but has lacked interior presence and toughness, this year they have that and will take it all the way to the Final Four.

Tyler Hansbrough, best player in the country = UNC Back to Back National Champions.

March 12, 2006

What am I Watching?

Well I decided to move from LiveJournal to Blogger, why? You are looking at it, the freedom to design the look of the page is completely in my hands here, while at Livejournal you have to be a paid member, or use some archaic form of web design were I have to learn a whole new design language, just so I can over ride the HTML template at LiveJournal. Here it's just CSS manipulation and you are done.
Now to my plasma screen wall; from the top I will work my way down going left to right: Jeff Gordon, Pele at the '70 World Cup, Patrick Roy, Magic v. Jordan, Dominique Wilkins, Barcelona and Ronaldinho, Derek Jeter, Sammy Sosa, Ilya Kovalchuk, The only Dream Team, Carlos "el Pibe" Valderrama, Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth, Scottie Pippen, Jerry Rice, Terrell Owens, World Series Champions Chicago White Sox, Ali v. Liston, Michael Vick, Kobe Bryant's 81 point game, Tiger Woods, Rafael Nadal at the French Open Clay Courts, The NBA, Ken Griffey Jr., Ronaldinho, Wilt Chamberlain, Chris Leak and the Gators, Ken Griffey Jr., The Sports Guy, Brett Favre, Roger Federer, IRL and Helio Castroneves, Dwaine Wade, Albert Pujols, General futbol photograph, Sidney Crosby. The three Vertical screens contain, Michael Jordan leaning on Scottie Pippen after Game 5 of the '97 NBA finals vs. Utah. Allen Iverson, and Michael Vick.

I tried to capture all my favorite players in each sport that I watch, and I think I did a pretty good job. Looking back I needed to add Manny Ramirez (probably remove a Ken Griffey J. photograph, I have two), there needs to be some mention of ESPN, and I'm sure as the days pass I will remember other things I should have put that would better represent sports for me. But I am very pleased with the over all result, it came out like I envisioned it in my mind when I started.

Just so I don't forget, figuring out how to handle the opacity in the CSS, so that the words did not bleed into the background and became unreadable was a pain in the ass; but like always, figuring out how to do it was GREAT!

March 10, 2006

Do I hear Hollywood Calling?

This is the stuff movies are made of; you know what forget movies, this is the stuff Legends are made of. Gerry McNamara, the senior guard for Syracuse, who was called by his own student newspaper as over-rated, has officially been discovered as having magic powers. Well maybe not magic powers, but definitely a knack for hitting the big shot at the biggest moment possible. Syracuse entered the Big East tournament needing a miracle run to be entered into the NCAA tournament. Miracle thy name is McNamara. Wednesday, he hits a three a the end of the game to beat Cincinnati. On Thursday he hits a three to send the game into over time against #1 UConn. And today he hit another three to get Syracuse within one with 52 seconds left, had the assist on the go-ahead basket and caused a turnover with 1.5 seconds left; result Syracuse advances to the Big East title game. This is a better plot line than the movie "Rudy", someone from Hollywood has to be calling for the rights to this story.

In related news, Dead as a doornail Wake Forest is now in the semis of the ACC tournament and will face Duke. What??

March 09, 2006

Daunte the Spammer

Daunte Culpepper wants out of Minnesota, in what has become almost comical, Daunte E-mailed ESPN stating his wishes to be traded or cut by the Minnesota Vikings. This is the reason why there are sports agents (Culpepper represents himself) so that you are able to have a plan and a way to get information out to the media. Daunte is pretty close to being considered a spammer and thus getting his e-mails blocked by what ever program ESPN uses.

Where will he land? Reports are saying Oakland (Doesn't Oakland seem to take anyone? is Ricky Williams next to be acquired by them?). But it does bring up an interesting point, After Moss departed for the Raiders, rumors swelled that Culpepper had something to do with getting Moss out of Minnesota, and then during the season they both threw jabs at each other through the media. and now they may end up back together again? You cannot deny the fact that Culpepper-to-Moss was a deadly combination, but will they get the old magic back after all that has been said? Will Moss be patient with Culpepper as he comes of major reconstructive knee surgery; What happens if it takes a while for Daunte to get his playing feet under him? If Daunte is moved to Oakland, it should at least be interesting to watch.

On a similar note; Is it me, or are more and more marquee players coming out to the media demanding trades lately?

O Canada, We Stand on Guard for Thee.

With a team basically full of minor league nobodies, Team Canada delivered a body blow to Team USA in the World Baseball Classic. After their first game against Mexico which Team USA dominated (2-0) not allowing a base runner to move into scoring position all game, Team USA behind the arm of Florida Marlin star Pitcher Dontrelle Willis, allowed Team Canada to get off to a a 5-0 lead. Behind First Baseman Justin Morneau and Center Fielder Adam Stern, Team Canada withheld the late rally by Team USA to take the game 8-6. Quite possibly knocking the USA out of the tournament, who now even with a win against Team South Africa might not make it out of the initial Round, If team Mexico is able to beat Team Canada 1-0, 2-1 or 2-0, They would Eliminate Team USA from the WBC. And that's the sound of Bud Selig Crying you hear in the back ground. The WBC is his baby, he's trying to do what David Stern has done so wonderfully with the NBA; make it a Global game/business. But for that to happen, the best product has to be from the US in the beginning, and if the US flops right out of the gate, the WBC is dead on arrival. The Finals in Anaheim and San Diego will become mirror images of Atlanta Hawks games, with more than half the seats vacant and that will play wonderfully for fans on TV. Oh yeah and then there's the Bonds situation. It's great to be Bud Selig tonight.

I hope all the millionaire players in Team USA realize what's at stake (Pride?) here and recover, South Africa was basically invited because it was the Politically Correct thing to do. I Think they would be ecstatic to be the ones to knock out the mighty Team USA? Team USA was suposed to have trouble with the likes of Venezuela, Dominican Republic, maybe even Japan; Not Canada, so I guess you never know.