Monday, April 30, 2007

Even For Blogs This Was Shortlived

With much fanfare, well, a little fanfare, the Portland Trailblazers launched the Trail Blazers Rookie Blog back in March. Brandon Roy posted first and revealed that his girlfriend was due to have his first baby very soon. Not bad. I nice little piece of information. Then, LaMarcus Aldridge posted talking about his broken nose and hosting Kevin Durant on his visit to Texas.

Then, nothing for a month and a half. I guess now that the season's over the two aren't rookies any more and the blog is out-of-date now. Most blogs don't last longer than a few months but I would expect more from an organization that has its own PR people.

Monday, April 23, 2007

The Real Reason Andrei Kirilenko Cried

Last Saturday the Utah Jazz lost to the Houston Rockets 84-75 in the first game of its first round playoff matchup. During the game, Utah's 2004 all-star, Andrei Kirilenko, played only 16 minutes and was upset about his lack of playing time, which, reportedly, brought him to tears.

In reality, I think AK-47 was crying because his wife has revoked the deal the couple once had. Mrs. Kirilenko, Masha Lopatova, used to allow him to bed one groupie per year. A "get one groupie" pass, if you will. While most of us will never know Andrei's pain, I believe we can all empathize. That is quite the loss he has suffered.

The real shame here is that Mrs. Kirilenko has got this all screwed up. If anything, she needs to give him an extra free pass this year to break out of his current funk. Kirilenko needs a slumpbuster and his wife needs to understand this.
Photo from here.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

ESPN's Double Standard

The Big Lead is reporting that in yesterday's chat with Paul Shirley, that the basketball vagabond Shirley called Kobe Bryant a douche. A reader wrote to TBL and said it went up and then ESPN censored the comment. ESPN can censor if it wants, but the question remains whether "douche" is really a bad word. And, after some quick research it seems that the WWL hasn't thought so in the past.

I found this Bill Simmons Mailbag where the word douche was used in a reader email. However, in ESPN's defense Simmons, in a basketball blog entry only uses "d-bag", which is obviously the polite form of douchebag.

I know I've heard the word used on broadcast television during primetime, and, I must admit, this has always struck me as odd. It is a fairly descriptive word and seems somewhat vulgar, although not one of the big seven. I just know, it is not a word my parents would have let me use when I was a teenager. However, I might liken it to the use of bitch, jerk, ass or some other word that describes an unpleasant person that is frequently heard on the airwaves.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


Manchester United put on an incredible display in the second leg of its Champions League quarterfinal matchup with AS Roma today. ManU managed to score 7 goals against the Italian squad. Cristiano Ronaldo and Michael Carrick both scored twice and Wayne Rooney, Patrice Evra and Alan Smith each scored once.

I didn't get to watch the match but hanging seven on an elite club like Roma in the Champions League is incredible. It makes you wonder what happened down in the Italian capital last week when ManU lost 2-1. By all accounts the English squad's performance was nearly flawless. This performance bodes well for the semifinal matchup between either Bayern Munich or AC Milan.

In the other matchup, Chelsea managed a Michael Essien injury time goal to win 2-1 away to Valencia. The victory put them into the semifinals 3-2 on aggregate. Chelsea will face either Liverpool or PSV Eindhoven. It's likely that Liverpool will advance since it leads 3-0 on aggregate at this point. That will make it 3 Premiership squads in the semifinals. Quite impressive if you ask me.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

What Does The New Ombuds(wo)man Have To Say About Bloggers

ESPN has a new ombudsman, Le Anne Schreiber, a former NY Times Sports Editor. Ms. Schreiber replaces George Solomon, who first held the position. I liked George Solomon...most of the time. I did write one thing that was anti-Solomon, but he was generally fair and tried to hold ESPN accountable. However, I think he was a bit of a company man and could be cowed by the World Wide Leader.

After reading Ms. Schreiber's introductory column, I don't think she will have Mr. Solomon's weaknesses. I could, though, just be fooled by her persuasive writing. I'll just have to wait and see. Schreiber seems to be quite tough and claims to have no qualms in holding ESPN's feet to the fire. Good for her. And, hopefully, good for us...the consumers.

ESPN has become quite unwieldy and has no serious competitor with the same resources. In fact, ESPN is the creator of the modern sports media industry. Its sheer girth allows it to be unresponsive to consumer complaints. So, it's refreshing to see the company actually try address consumer issues. Let's hope they actually pay attention to the ombudsman because it seemed Solomon wasn't seen but not heard.

There was one passage in Schreiber's column I found quite interesting yet don't know what to make of it just yet. Time will only tell. Schreiber was discussing her thoughts before accepting the position and wrote this:
Before the week was out, I realized my liabilities for this position were also my assets. The almost mutant scale of ESPN's growth in recent years makes it seem the likely ultimate employer of every sports anchor, announcer, analyst, writer, talker, producer, editor, technician and, last but not least, blogger in the land.

I am curious why she would mention bloggers so pointedly. What does it mean? Is she going to be reading the blogs to find ESPN's faults? Last but not least? She's actually giving us credit. The Underground that ESPN has so strenuously fought against. Help me out...what is she getting at?

It's also obvious she doesn't understand that bloggers are by definition unemployed and write from their parents' basement in nothing but a pair of tighty-whities. I kid, I kid. Only because I actually have a job. But, there are far more sports bloggers out there than ESPN will ever care to employ.

We Have A Raef Lafrentz Sighting

I went to my sixth and final Blazer game of the year last night and boy was I surprised when I saw Raef Lafrentz in the starting lineup. Coach Nate McMillan, who sets the lineup, was surprised as well:
It was a startling performance from a group that even had McMillan chuckling to himself before the game, saying he could never imagine at the beginning of the season sending a starting unit out on the floor that included Raef LaFrentz at power forward and Jamaal Magloire at center.
Odd that the coach is laughing at his own moves.

It turned out well though, because Portland beat the Northwest Division Champions 94-89 without its leading scorer Zach Randolph and rookie standout Lamarcus Aldridge. Stellar games from Travis Outlaw (his 25 points kept the team in it for 3 quarters) and Brandon Roy (29 points overall and 25 in the second half) led the team to victory. It was the best game I've attended all season, even if the dizzy bat bastard didn't win free McDonald's Value meals for a year for my section.

Let's get back to Raef Lafrentz though. Some have called him one of the most overpaid athletes in the NBA and they probably are correct. The guy makes $11 million per year and barely plays. In the five games I've attended he's only seen mop-up duty in maybe two games. In fact, he's only played in 19 games this season, averaging 9 minutes a game. Part of that is injury issues from the beginning of the season and the other part is getting experience for Lamarcus Aldridge or showcasing tradebait Jamaal Magloire (who the team never traded...BOO!).

Anyway, in the little bit of game time I've seen of him, Lafrentz has looked solid...not $11 million solid...but solid. He hustles and plays defense and even has a decent outside shot. And by all accounts, it appears he's been a good teammate and role model for the younger Blazers. So, maybe Lafrentz should stick around. Next season Magloire will be gone, leaving Joel Pryzbilla and Aldridge as the remaining big men. Lafrentz should get more PT then and earn more of his salary.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Champions League Matches Tuesday

Two Champions League quarterfinal matches tomorrow! Liverpool goes to Holland to meet an injury depleted PSV Eindhoven in the first leg and Bayern Munich travels to AC Milan without its starting keeper, Oliver Kahn.

Since I am now gainfully employed, I won't be able to liveblog the matches but I welcome any suggestions as to a web location where we might convene to comment. I can do an open thread if anybody wants to, lemme know at thefansattic [at]