Monday, May 5, 2014

monday may 5: scattershooting while ...

“When this old world,
Starts getting me down,
And people are just too much,
For me to face?

I’ll climb way up,
To the top of the stairs.
And all my cares?
Just drift right into space!

On the roof!
It’s peaceful as can be!
And there?
The world below don’t bother me!

So when I come home,
Feeling tired and beat?
I’ll go up where
The air is fresh and sweet.

I’ll get far away,
From the hustling crowd,
And all that rat race noise,
Down in the street!

On the roof?
That’s the only place I know,
Where just have to wish?
To make it so!

Let’s go!
Up on the roof! …”

-- “Up On The Roof” by James Taylor.  The classics never, ever, ever, get old, peoples and peepettes …


Let’s go scattershooting, while I wonder why in the reddest of red hells, I didn’t put on any sunscreen yesterday, when dragging the TV out to watch the last two of not one, not two, not three, not four, but five – FIVE! – game sevens, from the first round of the playoffs.  Please, if you read this – do NOT smack my back, or pat me on the front of the chest, for at least the next 48 hours.  In the words of Bruce Springsteen, “Oh, oh, oh!  I’m on fire!” …

* I truly hope you appreciated what the last two weeks of the NBA have been.  (Setting aside the ugliness of Mr. Sterling, which I may or may not vent about below.  And no, that’s not a teaser – I haven’t decided, as I start typing this, if I’m going to throw it in this scattershooting post, or give it its own write-up.)

For starters, this humble blogger?  Eight for eight, at picking the first round series.  I’d like to say it is because all those frigid cold nights that I spent watching the League Pass, instead of hitting up a bar or going somewhere for dinner, made me smarter.  But we all know, that ain’t it.  This was pure, blind luck.  This was proof that a broken clock really is right twice a day, that a blind squirrel can stumble upon the proverbial acorn, that … well, you get my point.

But the true beauty is, what was the best series?  The worst is obvious – Miami / Charlotte, but let’s be honest here – not even Nathan Scott, Lucas Scott, and throw in that black kid they coached who died in season what five, six? – not even the three of them could have won a game against the Heat for Charlotte.

You had five series that went seven.  Only one of them (Indiana / Atlanta) was borderline non-appointment television, if only because every team kept swapping, who would dominate that night.  (The only two back to back wins, were the Pacers in games six and seven; game four (won by the Pacers) was the only game closer than two possessions as the final score.) 

The Clippers / Warriors had four games that came down to the final thirty seconds (each team winning two of them).  The Thunder / Grizzlies went to overtime not one, not two, not three, but four – FOUR! – straight games!  In the words of Fran Tarkenton: “ that’s incredible!”  The Rockets / Blazers saw three of their six go to overtime, and saw one of THE most epic (bill raftery voice) grapefruits! shots of all time, Damian Lillard, as time expired, from 25 feet out, to win the series.  The Spurs / Mavericks saw four games (two to each team) come down to the final thirty seconds, including game three, when Vince Carter, in the corner, as time expired, just drained a three that sent this (not even remotely) humble blogger screaming in ecstasy for a solid ten minutes.

And then, there’s the series this (not even remotely) well-known site pegged as “the series” to determine the fate of the postseason.  Raptors / Nets, and good God, did it live up to every second of the hype.  (Coolest stat of the day, via (I believe) Chris Sheridan, formerly the long-time NBA go-to guy at ESPN, now branching out on his own at Sheridan Hoops (a must read site for any NBA fan … hang on, let me add a link to him in the side links … done and done!): The Nets and Raptors played eleven games this year (regular and post season).  Final score?  Nets 1,079 points; Raptors 1,079 points.

And, even if you’re not rooting for the Nets (in the interest of full disclosure, I am, if only because I stuck my neck out six months ago by picking them to win the O’Brien … and doubled down on that apparent stupidity two weeks ago, by sticking with them in my playoff picks)?

How sweet was it to see P-squared, The Truth, Paul Pierce, rise up one final time, and deliver a series to his team, via an amazing “get that sh*t outta here!” blocked final shot, to give the Nets the 104-103 game seven victory (the only of the five road teams, to win their game seven)?  I say it was very sweet.  Very, very sweet.

Every year in May, I get mocked walking … fine, stumbling … into work in the morning, because I’m exhausted, having been up until 12:30, 1am that morning, watching the late game on TNT or ESPN. Maybe, just maybe, this is the year, people in this fine five-county metropolitan area we call home, “get” why I love the NBA so much.

Because if you couldn’t dig these last two weeks, there’s no hope for you as a basketball fan.

* The Royals.  Yikes.  At least one ridiculous stat is now deep sixed – entering Sunday, the Royals were 14-0 when scoring four or more runs, 0-15 when scoring three or fewer.  (They scored four and got pounded, Jersey Shore style, on Sunday.)

This is a huge road trip upcoming.  The Padres and Mariners are two (at best) mediocre squads.  If the Royals can’t go 5-2 on this trip, 4-3 at worst?  Then I might jump on the “it’s time to consider someone other than Ned” bandwagon.

I’m not there yet.  And for those of you who think I tend to overreact when my team struggles (and to be fair, I do)?  I remind you – I’m probably the only Chiefs season ticket holder alive, who did NOT argue for Scott Pioli to be fired, either during, or after (see question four in the fake mailbag), the 2012 season.

Speaking of the Chiefs …

* (dierks bentley voice) Am I the only one who couldn’t give a sh*t that the draft begins in less than 72 hours?

I’ll admit up front, for me at least, part of it is getting drug into the NBA, like I always do in the month of May.  Part of it is because I believe in this place called reality, and reality says the Chiefs right now are the third best team in the division, second if everything breaks right, and our ceiling for 2014 is what our finish for 2013 was: 10-12 wins, and yet another defeat on my birthday weekend to the Colts.  (The thought of losing to those guys for the fifth time in eighteen years on said birthday weekend, just has me giddy with thoughts of depression and/or disgust, let me tell you.)

Part of it though, at least for me, is that the obvious strategory has to be to trade back as much as (bleeping!) possible, which makes for boring television, but solid roster building.  The Chiefs only have six picks, only two in the first two days.  (Our second rounder went to San Francisco for Alex Smith, and with all due respect to the doubters, I’ll trade a second rounder for what we got out of Alex Smith last season?  Every day of the week, and twice on Game Day.)

* The one pick I hope the Chiefs do take a flyer on, is Aaron Murray out of Georgia.  I cannot believe the disrespect being shown this guy.  I know the Chiefs really don’t have the draft pick depth to “waste” a fifth or sixth rounder on picking Mr. Murray, but really, if your front office and scouting department is so incompetent, that you can’t identify five or six decent OL or DL prospects destined to go undrafted, that you can sign, instead of using the pick on them?  Then it’s time to clean house.

I am fully aware that three years ago, myself and “The Voice of Reason” were openly mocked for who we wanted the Chiefs first rounder to be.  I stand behind my belief.  If Bill Belichick not only drafts you, but refuses to even consider trade proposals for you?  You’ve got a future in this league.

If the Pats grab Aaron Murray, I might grab a few strands of hair, and yank them right out of my head.

* Not gonna touch on politics in this post, other than to note, to those of you who oppose the House opening credible oversight hearings on Benghazi?

What would your reaction be, if George W. Bush had vanished for eight hours, while an embassy of ours was under attack, four Americans ultimately died, and he, Dick Cheney, and Condi Rice, blamed some crackpot’s anti-Islamic video that had approximately 400 hits on Youtube! before a government representative with the last name of Rice, went on every political talk show, to blame the video for an attack, on our embassy, in a nation we tactically supported the overthrow of the established government in, on 9/11?

Be honest – if George W. Bush had vanished for eight hours, and Condi Rice and Robert Gates were thus left powerless to stop things, and four Americans died as a result?  And they blamed a video that nobody in either the free or religiously enslaved world had ever seen?  You’d be ok with that?  Really?

If you can honestly say you’d be fine with that?  I’ve got some ocean front property in Arizona.  No really – from my front porch?  You can see the sea.  Yup, ocean front property in Arizona.  And if you’ll buy that? 

I’ll throw the Golden Gate in free.

OK, some quick hits before signing off …

* The Legos episode of “The Simpsons” last night, was awesome.

* “The Amazing Race” episode last night?  Not so much.  I want either Dave and Connor, or the Afghanimals, to win.  Anyone but the Brenchels.  Let’s all hope and pray Jamal’s knee injury isn’t serious.  Because I don’t think Dave and Connor can hold off the Brenchels, if it’s those two teams and the country singers, in the Final Three.

* It’s been five weeks ago as of tonight, and my opinion on the“How I Met Your Mother” finale hasn’t changed.  If anything, it’s only been reinforced.  I spent part of the weekend rewatching some classic episodes on Netflix (it also helped that FX is into season six in the current playing rotation).  One that aired Friday (and I rewatched online Saturday) – I totally forgot how great “Glitter” was.  Every moment “Space Girls” airs in that episode, is literally a “spit the drink out, it’s so funny” moment.  “If Robin’s beaver consumes six inches of wood every half hour, and Jessica’s beaver consumes eight inches of wood every half hour, how much wood do I need to bring, to survive the weekend?”  There’s comedy, there’s high comedy, and then there’s the legendary Alan Thicke asking how much wood he needs to bring, to a beaver convention.  The beaver!  It truly IS, a beautiful creature!  (Pause).  Oh, yeah – and the national animal of Canada.

* Funniest line of the day: on the ride home from work tonight, this gigantic – and I mean lard-ass-tastic! – lady gets on the Metro in Waldo, at 75th and Wornall.  I’d thought about stopping and grabbing some dinner at Quinton’s, but decided not to.  Glad I didn’t, because I’d have missed this:

(I should note: we were eight minutes behind schedule at this point, which is not good; this route is never late unless the weather is beyond crappy.)

(fat lady passenger) (pays her fare)
(fat lady passenger) (breathing heavily)
(fat lady passenger) (looking around)
(bus driver – who was female) Lady, I gotta get going!
(fat lady passenger) Well, I’m trying to decide where to sit!
(bus driver) We’re not a damned airline!  We don’t charge you by the seat!  Just pick two or three that are empty, and sit down!

I lost it.  Damned near everyone else who heard it, lost it too.

* For the record, my second round picks were (and remain): Spurs over Blazers in five, Clippers over Thunder in six; Wizards over Pacers in six, Nets over Heat in six.

* Finally tonight, a Stevo’s Site Numero Dos hearty congratulations to two pretty awesome people, and two pretty awesome friends, Ashley and Cam, as they welcomed their daughter Charlee into the world three days ago. 

I wish you two – excuse me, you three – nothing but the best.

I’m not sure how the rest of the week lines up for posting; my boss is on PTO all week, and I’m covering a bunch of stuff for her.  But I’ll try to get one or two things up before it’s all said and done.

Until next time, let this stat scare you: as infrequently as I’ve posted this year?

I’m ahead of last year’s pace, at this point.

(scooby doo voice) Zoinks!  Or should that be a Shaggy voice …

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