This weekend doesn’t feature as many high profiles events as some have recently, but there is still more than enough to keep us entertained. Here are eight things that will keep my remote control busy today:
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I want to weigh in on the whole Michael Vick thing, and I promise not to use any bad dog puns as I do so.
I have to admit that I don’t buy a lot of the arguments that are being made concerning Vick these days. The most common opinion in the media seems to be that he’s a bad, bad man who hasn’t yet done enough t earn another shot in the league. I don’t agree, and I think it’s a matter of perspective. I don’t for a second want to make you think that I condone what he did. I’m an animal lover and I’ve had lots of dogs in my life, so I think what he did is worse than terrible. Here’s the thing, though – he has spent time in prison. He was sentenced and he is almost done serving that sentence. I think that that has to mean that, provided he behaves like a responsible professional, he deserves anther chance to be one. There are a lot of guys in the league that have done a lot of really bad hings and have been given another chance – Leonard Little and Tank Johnson come to mind without even thinking about it. Vick’s crimes were worse than Johnson’s, but then so was the punishment. This idea that Vick should never be able to play again just doesn’t sit well with me. I don’t particularly respect the guy, and I’m not sure that I would want him on my team, but I believe absolutely that he deserves another shot. He should be on a short leash, and he should have to remain on his best behavior to stay in the league, but as long as he does that then I get very uncomfortable at the thought of the league making moral judgments that stretch well above and beyond the scope of the legal system. Lord knows that the league is powerful enough already without giving them total control over our thoughts and actions as well.
This is how sure I was of the likely outcome of yesterday’s Cavs game – I didn’t even bother to watch it. I watched a movie instead (Incidentally, it was the second Pirates of the Caribbean movie which was on TV – what a piece of crap. Talk about wrecking a good thing). I like watching the NBA playoffs, and I think this series is fascinating, but I was sure of how it was going to turn out. I mean, think about it – the Cavs had lost just twice at home all year, they were looking all but invincible in the playoffs, they were well rested and prepared while the Magic were coming off a tough, long series, and they have the best player on the planet. I thought that the Magic could keep the series interesting, but I gave them almost no chance in this first game. Neither did the oddsmakers, apparently – the Cavs were favored by a healthy 8.5 points.
The late spring into the early summer is a great time for professional sports. Here are a few observations regarding some of what’s happening in the NHL, NBA, NFL, NASCAR, PGA and MLB.
I couldn’t be happier for any player than I am for Dontrelle Willis after last night. In his second start of the year he earned his first win in almost 20 months. He was pretty spectacular, too – allowing just one hit in six and a third shutout innings. His first start, six days earlier, was pretty ugly, but this was one heck of a bounce back. Not only did he pitch well, but he did it against the incredibly hot Texas Rangers as well. It’s obviously way too early to trust him, but it will be fascinating to see how he does in his next couple of outings. I’m no psychologist, so I have no idea if this is relevant or not, but I can’t help but make a comparison between Willis and Zack Greinke . Both are stunningly talented pitchers who had their career derailed by an anxiety disorder. I don’t know if the conditions were even remotely related, but Greinke certainly bounced back well, and Willis has more than enough talent to do the same. I’m pulling for him.
– Well, the seemingly inevitable has finally been confirmed – point guard phenom John Wall will spend his one year in college playing basketball at Kentucky. He was a virtual lock to go to Memphis before John Calipari left for Kentucky. Since then he flirted strongly with Duke, and he even reportedly gave a soft verbal commitment to Miami of all places, but he has landed in the place that totally makes sense for him. The dribble-drive offense is tailor made for a guy like Wall just as it was for Derrick Rose. In fact, Wall is frequently compared to Rose, though he is said to be even faster and more athletic. That’s scary for opposing teams to hear.
I’m not a huge NBA guy. I like basketball a lot, but I’ll take college each and every day over the pros. I do watch NBA, though – especially during the playoffs. That being said, the playoffs this year have been amazing, and I am extremely excited about the conference championship rounds. These two series were somewhat unexpected, but they have pretty much everything going for them. Four incredibly massive stars – three who we know on a first name basis, and the fourth who can lead tall buildings in a single bound. It features not necessarily the four best teams, but certainly the four most deserving. Both series have clear favorites, but they also have underdogs who are full capable of the upset. They both have the potential to set a record for highlight reel plays. As a big college fan, the only thing that makes me a bit sad about this one is that the three biggest stars all skipped college ball. Mostly, that makes me sad because I love to think what any of them could have done in March. Melo essentially won a title on his own, and you’d think that at least a couple of these guys could have done the same in the right spot.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are the most rested team in the NBA playoffs, having beaten the Detroit Pistons four games to none and the Atlanta Hawks four to zip. Thus far they have dismantled their post-season opponents. On the other hand, their next opponents, the Orlando Magic, are coming off a long, hard seven game series against the Celtics. The Magic will play the Cavs with just two days rest. Plus they have to travel to Cleveland as the Cavs enjoy home court advantage. This could be a short series if the Magic have a tough time rebounding from their semifinals match.
It’s about freaking time that the Lakers looked like the Lakers. If it took them that long to get their act together this time, though, then I really have to wonder how they will fare against a tuned up and focused Denver team. They still obviously have to be the favorite, but the margin of error is much smaller than it has been so far, and they have been far from powerful up to this point.
The 2009 NBA Western Conference Finals will feature the Los Angeles Lakers versus the Denver Nuggets. The Lakers finally beat the Houston Rockets in game seven of the semifinals by a score of 89-70 and won a spot in the Finals. To say the least, although the last game of the series was an easy victory, the series was hard fought. The Nuggets have been waiting around for days to see who they’ll face in their next best of seven series.