Sports Opinion & Analysis

Archive for May, 2013|Monthly archive page

Signs of the Sports Apocalypse

In Keep Updated on May 30, 2013 at 6:56 pm

By Chris Hallenbrook 

As you may have noticed, I’ve been on a bit of a break from blogging lately; my dissertation on Thomas Hobbes has been using up all my writing energies lately, and while the last thing this world needs is another book on Hobbes, I’m determined to give it one! Anyway, turning our attention back to the sports world, now that 2012 has come and gone, we have been saved from yet another round of “the world is ending this year” nonsense. But just as we thought we were safe, in 2013 the sports world is giving us plenty of reason to believe that the sports apocalypse may be nearing. Let’s review.

–          Joe Flacco is the highest paid quarterback in the NFL

–          Bill Belichick drafted for needs clamored for by the media and fans for the second year in a row

–          A punter being cut was newsworthy (Chris Kluwe)

–          California had more teams make the second round of the NHL playoffs than Canada did

–          The Arizona Diamondbacks are in first place (and have a legitimate MVP candidate)

–          Did I mention that Joe Flacco is making more money than Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, and both Manning brothers

–          For once the NBA didn’t simply accept the highest bidder regardless of the consequences

–          Major League Soccer is bordering on relevance

–          The New York Yankees are letting the luxury tax factor into their decision-making process

–          Canada’s Stanley Cup drought has reached 20 years

–          Three players feature in the classic video game NHL 94 are still active

–          Both the Los Angeles Clippers and the Golden State Warriors won playoff series, and outlasted the Los Angeles Lakers

–          Stephen A Smith said something intelligent (just kidding!)

–          The Mississippi State softball team scored two runs on a dropped third strike when the other team jogged off the field and the batter circled the bases

–          The University of California, Davis intramural softball leagues force all batters to start with a 1-1 count

–          After recent lockouts in the NFL, NBA and NHL, MLB has become the model of labor peace

–          I rooted for Nicky Satan Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide in the BCS Title Game (as a Boston College fan, it is my sacred duty to root against Notre Dame)

–          Nick Saban’s reaction to all these Satan jokes indicated he might actually have human emotions after all

–          I was given the opportunity to write for a sports blog

–          The Phoenix Coyotes still exist

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The System (Mostly) Works, Part 1 of 2

In MLB on May 12, 2013 at 1:06 am

By Chris Hallenbrook

May is still young, but already it has been a bad month for MLB umpires. From the Harper ejection (which was proper) to Tom Hallion and David Price sparing in the media to two horrendously blown calls on back-to-back nights, umpires have been the story of the past week and a half, and whenever officiating is the story that’s a bad thing. However, despite the screams you hear, the sky isn’t falling. In fact, I’m going to argue that the system is working quite well. Now, the aforementioned examples fall into two distinctly different categories: player-umpire interaction and getting the call right. Accordingly, in this piece I am only going to handle the ineptitude of Angel Hernandez and Fieldin Culbreth. The other two incidents I’ll return to next week.

Let’s start with the home run that wasn’t. This should have been an easy call. Despite Hernandez’s protests to the contrary, instant replay was exceedingly clear that the ball struck above the yellow home run line. In fact, that the call needed to be reversed was so obvious that the decision to rule it a double smacks of the old “we won’t overturn our colleague even when he is so obviously wrong a small child would have made a better call” mentality that Major League umpires deserve credit for having largely eradicated over the last decade or so. Unfortunately this was no small botched call, the home run would have tied the game in the 9th, and in the absence of the HR the Athletics failed to score, thus falling 4-3 to the Indians. As a result, the screaming has reached an occasionally hysterical pitch, with Buster Olney (or “ESPN Insider and Senior Baseball Writer Buster Olney” as ESPN insists on calling him five times a day as if it is his legal name) going so far as to make the ludicrous suggestion that the game be replayed from the time of the home run. Yes, MLB rule 4.19 covering protests does in fact allow for replaying a game if the blown call significantly damages a team’s chance of winning, and yes this call falls under those criteria. But here’s the problem, as is well known the same rule states that the umpire’s judgment calls cannot be protested under any circumstances. This is done with good reason because every game is so rife with difficult judgment calls that the ability to play a game under protest as the result of them would lead to never ending cries for the commissioner’s office to intervene. Furthermore, which side of the yellow line the ball hit on is clearly a judgment call, so the question in this case is not how to right the wrong, but how to minimize the number of mistakes that are made. Could the introduction of an instant replay official in the booth a la NCAA football or a centralized war room in New York to handle all replays NHL style lead to fewer problems? Possibly, and these options are worth considering to reduce the duration of reviews. But it is hard to see how either system would have helped in this instance as all the information needed to change the call was available and the bigger problem seems to have been Hernandez’s refusal to use his eyes, indicating that MLB should discipline him, and do so publically as is done with players and managers, in order to send a clear message that such mind-numbing ineptitude will not be tolerated.

As for the Houston pitching change that should not have been allowed, this isn’t the crisis it’s been made out to be. Yes, it was a clear misapplication of the rules, and as such it was subject for protest. Mike Scioscia did tell the umpires that the game was being played under protest, and therefore if the Angels had lost the game the league office would have reviewed the game to see if the impact of the mistake warranted the game being replayed from that spot. Now, you may be thinking to yourself that you don’t remember the last time a game was replayed after being protested. That is the point. When it comes to administering the rules as written, the umpires almost always get it right, and when they don’t it usually does not change the outcome of the game. Accordingly, this is an isolated incident that does not indicate a need to change the system, especially given the discipline the umpires received. As the crew chief, Fieldin Culbreth was ultimately responsible for the mistake, and he has been suspended for two games and fined. The other three umpires on the crew were also fined for not saying, “um, boss, what the heck do you think you’re doing?” It is thus unlikely that MLB umpires are going to forget this rule anytime soon.

So all in all, these two blown calls lead to a lot of hand wringing, but little alteration of the current system, at least on the basis of these specific calls, is necessary.

Warriors OT Loss Causes Two-Day Hangover in the Bay

In NBA on May 8, 2013 at 4:21 pm

By Jeff Gibson

The Bay Area was reeling Tuesday morning, afternoon, and night, after a double-overtime Golden State Warriors loss to the San Antonio Spurs the night before.

Like adults in their late twenties finding out their liver doesn’t work as well as it did in college, the hangover has surprisingly carried over to day 2. Everywhere I go, my Dubs hat prompts head shakes, displays of mutual disgust, subliminal “we should have pulled that one off”s. “That was our game to win.”

Mark wonders what went wrong. Courtesy csnbayarea.com

I roll into my favorite Oakland pharmacy and the guy behind the counter holds up his hands. “Man, I don’t wanna talk about it. I just got done with a fifteen-minute tirade.” We proceed to vent to each other for fifteen more minutes before I finally make my purchase.

On BART, the struggling rappers look at me like “Not today. Too soon to spit about it. Might as well sulk in these old smelly seats and scare old rich tourists.”

I see televisions with broken screens lining the sidewalks in front of houses — holes in them as big as remote controls.

Local radio stations, like 95.7 The Game, are wondering if the Warriors will be suffering the same hangover with which their fans have been diagnosed.

Even E-40 felt the need to tweet that the Dubs “ain’t no marshmallows mane!”

What you smoking, Mark? Courtesy godermag.com

But, Warriors. There’s one simple way to avoid going down 2-0. Learn from your mistakes. And quickly.

Most fans I speak with are questioning Mark Jackson’s substitutions. My friend and die-hard Dubs fan Drew See puts it perfectly, “Mark Jackson should have never put Curry, Jack, and Bazemore on the floor at the same time. Three mediocre defenders, and all undersized. It’s just common sense. 14-point lead. Disappeared. Like that. We played like the old Warriors.”

I’m assuming he means the Don “No-Need-to-Rebound” Nelson Warriors. See would know. He’s been a fan forever. He’s followed the Dubs since the 80s and finally has a reason to believe the Warriors future is promising. Like all Dubs fans do, what with plans for a sick new stadium potentially drawing high-profile free agents, in turn helping to ease what concerns most fans have for Steph Curry’s ankle holding up.

Giggity

But Dubs fans believe that future can also start now. With rookie forward Harrison Barnes and center Andrew Bogut playing with increased intensity, the loss of David Lee seems to have actually helped the team, dare I say it, giving these two more room inside and thus less focus the opposition can put on Splash Brother #1 Steph Curry.

I figured the Warriors would lose game 1. Maybe I was being pessimistic. But after getting so much closer than I thought we would have on Monday night, I’m more optimistic about our chances in game 2 tonight. It’s a must-win in my book. And a tied up series going back to Roaracle would give the Bay Area more reason to believe their team is getting better every game.

But it starts with Mark.

And as See puts it, even if the Spurs resort to a Hack-a-Bogut philosophy, he’s urging Mark Jackson to keep him in. “I bet Bogut could have hit more than a few free-throws in the last few minutes if he had a string of chances together.”

Bogut like Dubs fans hoped he’d be come playoffs.

I’m with See. With Bogut in, Dubs win.

The Hot Mess Jets

In NFL on May 7, 2013 at 1:56 pm

By Chris Hallenbrook

In the week and a half since the conclusion of the NFL draft, a seemingly endless amount has been said and written about who “won” and “lost” on draft night(s), despite that fact that no championship has ever been awarded in the war room. Pundits have droned on about which picks were bargains, which were reaches, what players found good fits with their team’s system and who are automatic busts. But let’s be honest, we won’t know if any of that is right or wrong for at least two years, if not more. To assess the state of teams at the moment, we need to look at the longer term trends. On that front, let’s take a look at one team that hasn’t done itself any favors lately, the New York Jets.

After reaching the AFC Championship Game in consecutive years, it has been a long day’s journey into night for the Jets. The decline has been fueled in no small part by the franchise’s mastery of the art of the self-inflicted wound. This was perhaps most memorably, and most mockably, put on display last season with Mark Sanchez’s (in)famous “butt fumble” against the Patriots when he ran into the backside of his own lineman and fumbled the ball away for another Pats touchdown. However, the wounds that have been more damaging for the club’s long-term future have been inflicted not by the players, but by management.

At the top of this list is the Tim Tebow trade. While this trade could have been to the advantage of the Jets, it is clear now that Jets management never had a coherent plan for how to best utilize Tebow on the football field. As a result, his presence did little to make the team better, and they get nothing in return for cutting him, all this trade did was cost this team a 4th round draft pick and a 6th rounder. No big deal you say? They’re just mid-to-late rounders? The Jets certainly could have used this picks to acquire depth on defense, and let’s not forgot that Marcus Lattimore went to the Niners at the end of the 4th round. Sure the gruesome knee insure Lattimore suffered this past year makes it a chancy pick, but at #131 overall it is a calculated risk, and given the top two running backs on the Jets’ depth chart are Chris Ivory and Mike Goodson, it would have been a risk that could have aided the Jets’ offense far more than Tebow did.

The next wound is another blunder from the 2012 offseason, extending Mark Sanchez’s contract to the tune of an additional $40.5 million dollars, $20.5 million of it guaranteed. This was a puzzling move at the time, what with Sanchez already showing signs of being yet another USC QB bust and the Jets publically voicing concerns with the rate at which he was progressing. Now the move looks downright hideous given both Sanchez’s inept play and GM John Idzik acknowledging that the Revis trade came down to money. Revis was insisting on a raise of $4.5 million per year and just signed a 6 year deal with Tampa Bay, meaning that the extra money being thrown Sanchez’s way would have gone a long way towards keeping one of the best shutdown corners in the game in a Jets uniform. Instead, he’s in Tampa and the Jets secondary will have to move forward without a top talent who could have been an invaluable teacher for first round draft choice Dee Milliner. That makes this self-mutilation a two-for-one sale.

And then we have Idzik’s first draft, which, while marked with potentially excellent moves such as taking the aforementioned Dee Milliner at #9 overall, had a classic “you have got to be kidding me/leave it to the Jets” move in taking Geno Smith in the second round. Now admittedly I have not watched a lot of West Virginia football in recent years, so I do not consider myself qualified to speak to whether or not Pro Football Weekly was remotely near the mark when they called into question everything about Smith, from his talent to his leadership to his understanding of and commitment to the game of football. So let’s set aside that report and the claims that Smith is a diva. Instead, let’s simply focus on this offseason’s quarterback market. The Jets were far from the only team needing a QB going forward. The Bills had to acquire a new QB after cutting Harvard man Ryan Fitzpatrick, and with the ability to take any QB from the draft class they happily passed right over Smith. The Raiders passed on the draft entirely, instead making a trade to usher in the Matt Flynn era (although that may be a point for an entry on another franchise’s epic mismanagement). Most damning though when analyzing the Jets decision-making is the actions of the Kansas City Chiefs. Holding the #1 overall pick in the draft, the Chiefs had the ability to guarantee that they got their man to lead the franchise out the abyss. And yet they took one look at this year’s draft class and ran in the other direction, acquiring Niners’ veteran signal caller Alex Smith. Say what you will about Alex Smith, he’s a steady hand who isn’t going to lose you games, and a steady hand would be just what the doctor ordered for the Jets. The veteran Smith becomes an even more appealing option when one considers what the Cheifs gave up for him, a 2013 second rounder and a 2014 conditional pick. That’s right, the pick that was used on Geno Smith could have been turned into Alex Smith. Maybe Geno Smith has the higher ceiling, but what about the Jets’ recently history makes you think they are going to successfully nurture it out of him? So the Jets were the Jets and took the flashier player with more risk, and then, after having gone after a guy that every other QB needy team steered clear of, to add the icing to this self-destructive cake, what does Idzik do? He announces an open competition among all five quarterbacks who are left on the roster after the cutting of Tebow. (Why so many QBs on the roster? Who knows? But it makes the situation all the more comically absurd and apparently mismanaged.) So instead of creating an environment where Sanchez can help Smith adapt to the world of the NFL and warn him of the pitfalls that lie ahead, Idzik creates an environment where Sanchez and Smith have no choice but to view each other as obstacles and threats.

And there we have it folks. There may be a new GM in town for the Jets, and more coordinators coming and going then we can count, but when it comes to self-inflicted wounds, they are the same old Jets and there is little reason to believe things will improve in the near future. This is bad news for Rex Ryan, himself a symbol of the dysfunction, and one whose job security is minimal coming off a 6-10 season that many observers assumed would get him fired. My prediction: another losing season and the firing of Ryan, which itself won’t end the self-immolation of New Jersey’s #2 football team. So good luck Rex, and be sure to kiss Bill Belichick’s rings on your way out the door.

If A Little Bit Of Something Is Good…

In MLB on May 6, 2013 at 6:41 am

By Jonathan Danielson

If you might have noticed, I’ve been a little MIA from the site lately. With the new job, and trying to write a second book, and trying to rewrite the first book, and trying to have a stable marriage and healthy relationships with friends and family, I finally put a few things on the back burner for a while. I had to take some time for myself, and because of that , blogging about sports for hobby was the unfortunate causality.

Oh, and I purchased MLB Extra Innings for DirectTV. That means I have access to every game by every team on every day of the week. I figured if I little bit of something is good, then a lot of  it has to be great, right?

Remember when this was charming? Technically, me neither.

Remember when this was charming? Technically, me neither.

See, I decided to throw down for the MLB package because I decided that this year would be the last year of only watching my favorite team (the Arizona Diamondbacks) the handful of times per season they play nationally televised games, or the few series each year against either team in my local northern California market.

And so far, besides the infuriating league-leading ten blown saves, it’s been pretty great. It’s like I get to go to Chase Field every night and watch my favorite team play. I get to witness, firsthand, this brilliant  plan Kevin Towers had of trading away one player who currently leads the league in home runs, and another player who has the highest batting average in the league so far, for a utility man, a few prospects, and some Cracker Jacks.

"Because I think Cracker Jacks are delicious."

“I pulled the trigger because I think Cracker Jacks are delicious.”

To be fair, it’s only May, and there’s a lot of baseball to be played to get a true, long-term assessment of the deal, but after the first month it’s looking like Justin Upton will turn into the next Barry Bonds (hopefully minus the juice), and the D-backs are going to be the next Pittsburgh Pirates.

But I digress.

My point is, besides life and work, I’ve been watching a lot of baseball lately, and that’s where I’ve been. Oh, and what do I do when D-backs aren’t on? When they have a few days off, or they play an early afternoon game while I’m at work? Well, I tune over to the A’s game, because I try to root for at least one team in my market, and due to my Arizona bias, I’m obviously not going to root for the Giants.

Oh, and what do I do when the A’s aren’t on?

Well, I’ve watched a few Red Sox games lately, because I’ve been fascinated with how the team has responded to the tragedy from a few weeks ago. Nothing too much though.

Oh, and I’ve watched the Dodgers lately because nothing’s better than watching a train wreck. Same thing with the Angels. Oh, and I’ve watched some Padres games too, because I grew up liking the Padres before the Diamondbacks even existed. Oh, and the Astros because I want to see how they’re playing in their new division and new league.

I’ve watched a couple Cubs games too, because this may be the last year we see Wrigley Field how it currently is, or if Ricketts follows through on his half-ass threats, it might be the last season of Wrigley Field all together. Oh, and I’ve watched the Orioles because I want to see if they can repeat the same success from last season. And the Rangers to see how they do with the loss of Hamilton. And the Brewers because they’ve been pretty hot after such a sluggish start. And the Indians to see how Terry Francona’s working out. And the Braves because they’ve been amazing so far. And Toronto, because trades don’t always make you good. And the Marlins because I don’t know why. And the Rays because I really don’t know why.

Not even people in Tampa go to watch Rays games, and I'm not certain if I've missed one yet.

Not even people in Tampa watch Rays games, yet I’m not certain if I’ve missed one yet.

I guess my point to all of this is this; as a baseball fan, MLB Extra Innings is incredible. I have never watched more baseball in my entire life than I have during the first month of the 2013 season.

As a human being though, I realize I am slowly dying inside because of it. Like, my soul and stuff. Like, day-by-day I grown weaker, and I haven’t seen the sun in I don’t know how long. Like, I get anxious when I don’t have eight games up on one screen at once. Like, my spirit is about to break.

Like, quite frankly, I don’t know how much longer I can go.

"My first hit of crack was awesome!"

“My first hit of crack was awesome!”

There isn’t really a joke or comment or anything to be made by this article, except maybe a not so sudden cry for help. This first step to addiction is admitting you have a problem, and maybe that’s what I’m doing. Maybe I should apologize to everyone I’ve hurt this past month, and everyone I may hurt in the future.

Maybe that’s what I need to do.

I don’t know what to do, but I know I paid for this thing for the whole season, and I know that means that I’m in for one long summer.

Why Are You Still Watching ESPN?

In Media, MLB, NBA, NFL on May 1, 2013 at 5:55 pm

By Jeff Gibson

Some people would consider it a character flaw I possess— the second anything becomes popular in America, I lose all desire to follow the masses in their blind passion for consuming mass-marketed garbage. Take Twilight, American Idol, Uggs, McDonalds, Sarah Palin, Bud Light lime, etc. Some people, like my girlfriend, claim I need to watch a movie/show before I dub it awful, or slip on a pair before I “hate”.

I wonder how they get people to buy this stuff. Courtesy zimbio.com.

Well, if you want to call it “hating” then I’m most definitely hating. I’m not sorry I can spot poop when I see it and smell it from eight feet away. I can judge it without having to eat it. I’m not a baby that has to put everything in its mouth to know what’s poop and what isn’t.

But I’m in my late twenties. I’ve got grey hairs on my chin.

What I’m saying is that it takes time to learn to spot poop. We’re not born knowing most marketing campaigns are designed to trick us. And that’s why marketing campaigns for poop are so profitable when executed correctly. Meaning, the least intelligent audience with the most disposable income is selected for consumption. Teenagers.

Jeter being mistaken for Robert Pattinson. Courtesy withleather.com

Well, unless you consider professional sports. But there are “teenagers” in professional sports. Most people call them bandwagon fans. I call them Yankees fans, Red Sox fans, Celtics fans, Heat fans, Giants fans, Patriots fans. Like poop, they’re easily identifiable. They’ve got on brand new gear, but didn’t wear a glove to the game and spend every inning gossiping about the cute boy wearing an Affliction t-shirt that went home with them last night. Or they’ve got a blue and white Giants hat on, flat-billed of course, and when you ask them if they’re wearing it to be ironic, they mug you and claim they’ve been a Giants fan their whole life. You smell poop. So you ask them what they thought of JR Phillips. You try players a bit more well-known. Robby Thompson? Royce Clayton? Alright alright. An easy one. Will Clark.

“You think you’re smart because you know all the coaches, bro?”

Poop again.

You shouldn’t be surprised to learn I hold zero respect for All-Star games, in any professional sport. They’re popularity contests. And who are the voters? The same “fans” who don’t even know three players on their favorite team but will spend their entire welfare check on an authentic Patriots jersey of a player their team will waive next season. Did I mention they’re not even from Boston? Nor the East Coast?

Even if these “fans” are informed, they get shafted by the mainstream sports entertainment outlets who interview “experts”, aka “reporters” on their own payroll, to provide pre-chewed fluff to boost ratings. Touting the same players over and over and over again. Even my girlfriend knows who Tim Tebow is. And she can throw a football farther than him.

Pop-quiz. How do you profit off of two bored individuals bombing a marathon and killing innocent people? Or a gay basketball player fighting to simply be himself publicly? Ask ESPN, their ratings skyrocketed after these events, after they dubbed cowards pointing cameras and pundits spouting hate “heroes”. No, heroes help others. These selfish people earned profits for your corporation — maybe I should have included this network in that opening list up above, right between Sarah Palin and Bud Light Lime. The same network that allows one of their reporters to ask Golden State Warrior guard Steph Curry, arguably the best player in the history of the NBA to get shafted out of an All-Star appearance, whether the team can compete in the playoffs without their “All-Star” David Lee. How misinformed can you possibly allow your staff to become before a player calls you out on it? Can’t prove it either, see ESPN doesn’t like to leak anything online that proves how awful they are. At least they inspired Curry, judging by how he played the following game.

I have a better acronym for this broadcasting network. BS.

I wonder how they sell this stuff. Courtesy usatoday.com

At least with Twilight, American Idol, and all that other BS, there are myriad alternatives. In the sports broadcasting world, there are few to none.

TNT, CBS, NBC, FOX, ABC (nope, owned by Disney, same parent company as ESPN). If you think these networks are decent alternatives then that’s like believing the Angels lineup is dangerous. Hint: you’re misinformed and watching too much BS. But it’s not your fault. Just like it’s not teenagers’ fault they buy into the misinformation, the garbage dubbed entertainment (in middle school I owned a KORN t-shirt, seriously). They don’t know any better. But come on, not all of us are still teenagers. Are you? (Put the vampire fan fiction down).

We don’t have to continue this nonsense.

You can start by turning the channel away from BS and other networks that show clear biases in their sports coverage even though they claim otherwise. It won’t be as easy as telling your girlfriend you’re not going to the new Twilight premiere, but let’s face it. If you’re a real fan of your team, then you’ll tell the networks they aren’t important if they’re going to tell you that your team is not important.

If you’re at a bar and BS is on. Ask them to change it to a local channel. Support your local affiliates and your local affiliates will support you, eventually. It may take some time and energy, but seriously, when was the last time BS aired the Oakland A’s? Or the Golden State Warriors? The Colorado Rockies? The Sacramento Kings? The San Diego Padres? The Seattle Mariners? The LA Kings? The Arizona Diamondbacks? The Portland Trailblazers? The Oakland Raiders? And when they did, they had two broadcasters covering the game that couldn’t tell the die hard fans the difference between Jamarcus Russell and Marcus Allen, before touting the BS’s favorite to win for the duration of the game.

Joe Buck wondering why his microphone is made of wood.

If you’re a fan of the teams listed above, maybe it won’t take much energy at all. You don’t need some network based out of Maryland to tell you which teams are good and which aren’t.

Highlights? Please, you can find highlights on MLB.com, NBA.com, NFL.com. Are you that lazy, that truly American, where you have to have highlights spoon-fed to you? We’re not the society depicted in WALL-E, not yet. Hooray for the internet!

Heads-up. Cable companies won’t make it easy. Most sports television packages come with local and ESPN together, without an either/or alternative. So write to the cable companies, call them and tell them to stop supporting the BS. Stop hiring Joe Bucks and Tim McCarvers to spout out nonsense to more informed viewers (demand the local broadcasters get to move networks with their teams, especially for the playoffs!). You’d think the local companies would want a package that excludes the bigger companies, that way they could hold a bigger share of the market, in turn growing, possibly becoming a powerhouse sports network the West Coast desperately needs.

But I’m no business savant. I’m just a fan.

All I know is BS is BS.

And I’ll never root for Boston.

Heat Fans Reserved Moving into Next Round

In Uncategorized on May 1, 2013 at 5:52 pm

By Mimmo AlfanoImage

By Mimmo Alfano

As the Miami Heat advanced to the Conference Semi-Finals of the NBA Playoffs Heat fans, known nationally for their reserved and calm demeanor when assessing their team, typically remain cautious.

One Heat fan, Alexandria Sanchez, was unsure of the Heat’s chances when asked about them sweeping the Milwaukee Bucks, “Well, I’m sure we’ll be the first team to never lose a playoff game on the way to the title,” Sanchez hesitantly opined,  “But that’s not absurd, that’s just the truth.”

The Heat were able to get past the Bucks in Game 4 without Dwayne Wade, one of their vaunted Big Three.  When questioned about Wade’s sitting out, South Florida resident and Heat follower Juan Vila was apprehensive, “the Heat would still win the Championship without Wade.”  He later added, “(They should) rest Wade until the finals and start Mike Miller.”  Sanchez also was nervous about Wade’s injury and was happy to see the Heat resting after such a struggle of a series, “My step dad just saw Ray Allen for the second day in a row on the golf course; the Heat have already won the championship and that’s why they’re golfing.”

Image

Ray Allen is reportedly busy watching tape on their possible next opponents. Photo courtesy of weiunderpar.com.

Randy Barcelo, a South Florida transplant living in the heart of Bulls territory was perhaps the most hesitant about the Heat going forward, “Lebron will finish the playoffs averaging a quadruple double, with the Heat not losing a single quarter. Mario Chalmers a.k.a. “Mr. Clutch” will hit 48 buzzer beaters at the end of each quarter for the rest of the playoffs. Norris Cole will record 387 steals and Juwan Howard will average a double-double.  Wade will block every 7 footer in the league (including those not in the playoffs).”

The Heat’s biggest challengers out of the East are the New York Knicks.  Unlike the Heat supporters Knicks fans are overwhelmingly confident about their team.  “I dunno about them this year. Carmelo Anthony scores a lot but they aren’t a team.  They can’t even sweep Boston, how are they gonna win against the Heat?!” crooned New York born Mick Alfano.  When asked about potentially facing off against the Knicks later in the playoffs, the Knicks’ 3-0 regular season record against the Heat clearly had Juan Vila concerned, “The Knicks [will be] lucky if they win a game when they play the Heat in the playoffs.”

When asked about a possible re-match with the Oklahoma City Thunder if the Heat were to make a return to the Finals, Barcelo was reluctant to think that far ahead,  “In the Finals Bosh will transform into an actual Raptor and bite Kevin Durant’s head off in the closing seconds of the championship clinching game.”

Image

Will Bosh reach his final form during the remainder of the playoffs? Photo courtesy of thesportsblahblog.wordpress.com

Special thanks to Alex, Juan, Randy and my dad for the quotes!

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