Looking for something to keep you busy during your 15-minute work break? Allow me to lend you a helping hand. Just print this bad boy out and get comfortable. We've got a lot to get to before diving head first into our latest mock draft, which is on its way Wednesday. Should you be so inclined, you can prepare yourself by perusing this one. Anyway, on with the show.
-- Over the weekend, Colin took me to task for calling Jeff Van Gundy a "loveable loser
." I can see how my comment would be misconstrued but, trust me, I have nothing but respect for JVG. In fact, over atthe Clutch City Chronicles
, I championed Van Gundy's case for coach of the year about six weeks ago. When I gave him the "loveable loser" moniker, it had more to do with his hangdog facial expressions and "we suck" sound bites than anything else. Truth is, I love his dry sense of humor and tireless work ethic. Few coaches could have carried this club through the injury woes the Rockets experienced this year. When Van Gundy was hired, I (like most Houston fans) figured we were in for five years of brutal, boring thug ball. Now? I just hope he sticks around long enough to see this thing through. But (and, yes, I know I'm being cynical again) I believe T-Mac is headed for an early retirement and JVG will be back alongside Marv Albert in two years (because he will want to, not because he'll be forced out). Guys like Van Gundy just need to recharge the batteries every few years or so.
-- While I'm addressing comments, I guess I'll go ahead and make my re-rebuttal regarding the Brad Lidge "Should He Stay or Should He Go?" topic. Here's the thing, John: If the Astros were going to deal Lidge for anything of value (especially if that deal involved the Red Sox), they should have done it before pitchers and catchers even report. I'm afraid they've already missed the boat. For one, there's no longer any mystery surrounding Lidge's poor 2006. His pathetic spring has put an end to that. And, as you mentioned, the Sox have turned to Jonathan Papelbon once again to fill their vacancy. Sure, health issues mean his grip on the closer role is tenuous, but is there any doubt he's a much better option that Lidge right now? I still think you give pitching coach Dave Wallace some time to work his magic and pray for a miracle. If the Sox offered young lefty, Jon Lester, you'd say "yes" in a heart beat. But I seriously doubt Theo and company would be willing to make that deal (or anything remotely close to worthwhile) now.
-- Now that that's out of the way, I think it's important to mention I completely agree with John's take on the Chronicle's sports bloggers. I, too, read pretty much everything they toss our way, so I guess their methods are working. However, at some point, the hypocrisy and condescension has to stop, does it not? Guys like Richard Justice and John McClain are wrong just as often as they're right. (Which is why Lance Berkman and his teammates have dubbed RJ "The Writer of Wrongs." Classic.) And there's nothing worse than hearing Justice rant about jerks like Kobe and Bonds, only to see him bash his readers in print on a daily basis. Look, I know people who post on message boards can be insufferable at the best of times (except for the Houston Press posters, of course. They're the most well-informed, intelligent and thought-provoking citizens of this electronic ether!). And I'm all for some good-natured back and forth between a writer and his constituents. But can we please do away with the "idiot" remarks? Cheers.
-- Speaking of things that are testing my patience, I'm sick of hearing baseball people moan about how they're the only ones catching flak for the performance-enhancing drugs epidemic. Look, everyone knows the NFL still has plenty of issues with regards to steroids, HGH and who knows what else. But guess what? The NFL started to address this issue more than twenty years ago. Meanwhile, baseball just decided to look the other way until the problem became so great that an entire generation (at least) of records and achievements has been tainted forever. Say what you want about pro football, but at least the NFL gives off the impression that it gives a damn. My advice for MLB? Stop whining, stop pointing the finger and stop kowtowing to the all-powerful players union. Then, when you start showing the slightest bit of consideration for how you've screwed the fans over, maybe I'll start reciprocating with a little respect.
-- Gotta get a few NCAA thoughts off my chest: First of all, I'm an idiot. The only person who looked worse than Kansas coach, Bill Self, over the weekend was me, since I got duped into taking the chokers from Kansas in my bracket. I knew it was stupidat the time
and that point got rammed home for me Saturday night, when the Jayhawks refused to make any adjustments whatsoever to their game plan against UCLA. Congratulations, coach. Welcome to the Rick Barnes Hall of Fame.
-- I'm not going to break down the Final Four today, but I will say this: As great as the Noah/Horford combo is for Florida, the Gators live and die on the play of Taurean Green (check out his box score numbers for Florida's February losses this year). He's been sensational throughout the tournament thus far, so it's no surprise to see the Gators on the cusp of a repeat. It's going to be very interesting to see how he plays against the Bruins' suffocating D on Saturday.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
-- I know Bill Simmons has been on a mission to rid the world of Billy Packer and Jim Nantz, but give me that crew any day over James Brown and Len Elmore. Brown is a very good studio host but, apparently, he's one of the planet's worst play-by-play guys. I've heard better commentary while playing Madden on the PS2. Hopefully the CBS powers that be come to their senses and keep him in-studio from now on.
-- In case you missed it (and you probably did), you owe it to yourself to check out the UNBELIEVABLE finish of the Division II championship game. Here's the link. You won't regret it.
-- Also worth a peek: This skit from Peyton Manning's Saturday Night Live debut. Hilarious. If it gets taken off YouTube, just do a search for "Peyton and United Way".
-- And finally, SI's Peter King reports that Matt Schaub placed 50 phone calls to his new teammates over the weekend. That's nice, but Texans fans just want to know whether or not he can actually throw a pass further than five yards down the field. Man, this better work. I can't handle another five years of garbage football. -- Jason Friedman