Elster's World

Friday, March 02, 2007

Weekend Blitz

Another relatively slow sports weekend coming up so let’s break down some (non) stories just for fun (and to get another post up before the weekend):

- The Knicks ridiculous string of win one lose one games is put on the line tonight when they host the Golden State Warriors. If recent history is any indication, they should win tonight after Wednesday’s horrendous loss to the Celtics. Also, the win will be by three points or less on a miracle shot by either Steve Francis (if he makes his own “miraculous” comeback from tendonitis) or some obscure player like Jerome James. They will of course follow this win up by getting blown out of their next game.

And while on the subject of basketball, do we give kudos to Lebron James for his 39 point effort against the Mavericks last night or do we thumbs down his disastrous final minutes (missing 2 free throws and two open look threes that could have won it in the last few seconds)? I’m going with thumbs down myself. James is supposed to be the next “global icon” (his words, not mine). Well, previous icons (Jordan, Bird and the gang) make those shots in pressure situations. And until James realizes that he has to raise his game to that otherworldly level (and not just coast on his enormous talent), he will be thumbs down (in my book anyway).

- Today officially marks Chan Ho Park’s first serious bid to win a spot in the rotation. He’s going to toss a couple of innings against the Cardinals.

On the plus side: He seems happy to be with New York and its large Korean community, he prefers the National League (though which pitcher doesn’t?), he’s only 33 and he’s finally healthy after suffering from back injuries the last few years. I’m also delighted to notice he’s sporting a scraggly, wild growth of beard – which can only help his cause.

On the downside: He’s Chan Ho Park.

In the Mets rotational world, his possibilities are endless. PArk could end up getting cut, he could end up in the middle or bottom of the rotation or he could even end up as staff ace (a frightening possibility, but one that has to be seriously considered when you realize that Tom Glavine and El Duque combined are over 80 years old – and possibly 90 if Hernandez is indeed the 50 years old he looks). How important is it that he pitch well today? Not that important. He’ll get as much of a look as any other starter. The Mets almost need him to make this team and perhaps be that seven inning guy they need to preserve the bullpen every five days. Either way I’m rooting for Park and his beard to come north with the team as the number three starter.

- Sports Illustrated’s web site ran a story a few days ago where they broke down some of the worst sports related injuries of all time then linked to Youtube for footage of the actual injuries themselves. I’ll tell you, I’m still queasy thinking about it now. Worst ones – Clint Malarchuck getting his throat cut by a skate blade and almost bleeding out on the ice and Allan Ray literally getting his eye poked out.

WARNING – If you plan on linking to the page and watching, be forewarned that this is particularly nasty stuff. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

- The New York Jets made some more cuts and have a decent amount of cap space available for free agency (though Joe tells me the $20.8 million figure is not accurate). Either way, if I had my pick, I’d like to see the team make serious runs at CB Nate Clements (Bills) and/or LB Adalius Thomas (Ravens), both of whom would shore up a decent and improving defense. Then I’d hit the draft for defensive linemen.

Eric Mangini (and, by extension GM Mike Tannenbaum) hold from the New England method of avoiding big name free agents and instead building through the draft and keeping/developing your own players but these guys might be worth the exception.

- A Georgetown win tomorrow against Uconn (12:00 pm on CBS – get your Tivo’s ready) will guaranty the Hoyas at least a tie for first place in the Big East. A decent showing in the tournament will guaranty them a high seed in the Big Dance, perhaps even a number 2 (they won’t fall below three unless they lose to Uconn and get eliminated in one round at MSG next weekend).

By the way, I shall now pat myself on the back for correctly calling the loss to the Orangemen last week. Sometimes sports are easy to predict.

- Last night’s Ranger/Penguin game (a game that quite literally put me to sleep) illustrates why the Rangers won’t be making the playoffs this year. They are built to be an overachieving team that scraps and replies on its heavy hitters to score and then protect those leads with defense and good goaltending. Well, they haven’t gotten great production from their stars (see Jagr’s shoulder for more details) and they can’t hold big leads.

If it were me, I’d give up on the season and start bringing up some kids from the AHL and see what they have for next year. Of course I hate hockey so who cares what I think anyway.

Well, we’ve covered all four major sports and even some NHL hockey as well. Not bad for an article about nothing.

Enjoy the weekend.

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