Miami Heat Snap Judgements

The Big 3 were far less than spectacular in their season opener

12. Twelve is a number that represents the lowest point total in a single quarter by the 2009-10 version of the Miami Heat

9. Nine is a number that represents the amount of points scored by the 2010-11 version of the Miami Heat (minus Mike Miller) in the first quarter of the opening game of the season Tuesday night.

Needless to say, but the much hyped Miami Heat unveiling of the Big 3 did not live up to the massive expectations of fans and analysts alike. In fact, the Heat showed a number of flaws that the many sceptics of the Lebron, Wade and Bosh unification felt would be apparent amongst this team.

The most evident problem that was illustrated Tuesday night was the lack of chemistry between the members of the Miami Heat and especially between Lebron, Wade and Bosh. All members of the big 3 looked confused at times of what they were supposed to do on the floor. The offence looked very stagnant through much of the game, and although secondary players such as James Jones and Eddie House missed numerous open looks, there was a lot of indecision when the ball was in the hands of the members of the big 3 especially in the first 2 quarters.

The virtuous quality of selflessness that is a characteristic of each member of the big 3 seemed to cause much of the indecision that went on last night. Lebron in the first quarter looked unsure of whether or not to defer to his teammates, Wade was forcing the issue at times, and Bosh as well as forcing some ill-advised drives to the bucket also passed up some nice open jumpers.

An issue that I saw with Bosh that probably will go away as the season progresses was a lack of confidence. As I mentioned, he passed on some open looks, most notably a 14 footer in the fourth quarter with the possession ending in a missed shot on a look that was not nearly as attractive as Bosh’s. Playing among two superstars, Chris Bosh is going to have to find some of that mentality that he had in Toronto where he was forced to take matters into his own hands a large portion of the time. He needs to make sure he doesn’t feel like he’s taking shots away from his teammates and let his game come more naturally.

Moreover, with regards to Bosh, it should also be noted that he doesn’t generally play as well against better defensive power forwards like Kevin Garnett. Chris Bosh is not the strongest power forward in the league and relies a lot on finesse and quickness. However, when he faces guys who are stronger than him and equally or almost as quick he struggles. In contrast, he thrives against guys who are softer and/or not as quick such as Brook Lopez and David Lee.

Despite the fact that the Heat only gave up 88 points against a very good Boston Celtics team, you did see a number of instances where their size on the inside or lack thereof was an issue. Playing Bosh at the five in late game situations is going to cause some serious matchup questions throughout the season.

With all that being said, this is just 1 game for the Miami Heat out of 82. They still need a lot of time to gel, particularly because Wade missed all but 3 minutes of the preseason with that hamstring injury.

You were witness Tuesday night to the beauty of the big 3. Wade and Bosh were both struggling and the Heat were still able to stick with the healthy, veteran, and NBA championship contending Boston Celtics. Any one of those 3 guys can carry a team on their backs on any given night and that’s exactly what Lebron James did last night. Lebron scored 15 of his 31 total points in the third quarter alone, while the Heat outscored the Celtics 27-18.

If you can imagine all 3 guys gelling the way that everyone expects them to this team could go on to be a 65-70 win team. A championship team at the moment is something they are definitely not, but who knows what the future holds for this Miami Heat squad.

Agree? Disagree? If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please feel free to reply in the comments section below. Or you can e-mail me at cross_can15@hotmail.com. I’m now on twitter follow me @paintstheblack and I will gladly return the favour.

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New York Yankee Fans Don’t Deserve a Winner

New York Yankee fans are some of the most bipolar fans in the world

For the most part there are two sides to baseball fans, people who love the New York Yankees and people who just hate ‘em. Yankee fans are some of the most passionate fans in the world, but most of the time they just act like spoiled brats.

In game 4 of the ALCS, A.J. Burnett put up another stinker giving up 5 earned runs in 6 innings of work in the loss. However, when walking off the field at the end the end of the 6th inning Burnett left to an echo of boos from the Yankee “faithful.”

You have got to be kidding me.

First off, booing is a ridiculous practice for sports fans especially in baseball when the nature of the game requires you to be as relaxed as possible in order to be successful. In general, the act of booing accomplishes nothing when your team is putting in a maximum effort, and probably has more of a negative effect than a positive one.

Wayne Rooney said it best when he looked to the camera after an England draw in the first game of the 2010 World Cup. “Nice to see your home fans boo you. That’s what loyal support is.”

You Yankee fans are such spoiled little brats.

I guess it has been a while since you have won a World Series, 2009 was a whole year ago. It obviously must be frustrating to cheer for a franchise that has won 27 World Series championships and 40 American League Pennants.

For god sakes, it’s not like your team is last in the league, you’re in the American League Championship Series. The Texas Rangers haven’t even made one trip to the World Series.

You take for granted the fact that you have been able to watch so many incredible players over the years. Some franchises would probably be happy to boast just one of Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle, Joe DiMaggio, Yogi Berra, or Derek Jeter.

Why are you complaining?

All that garbage about high expectations for your team and you deserve to boo them if you don’t feel they are playing up to par is completely unjustified. The line that divides passion and stupidity is constantly crossed by Yankee fans, which is why so many people hate the team and its fans.

No one wants to see a team that wins all the time to keep winning, but it makes it even worse when the fans celebrating the many victories constantly act like spoiled brats. When you don’t get what you want you cry like when Daddy won’t buy you a new Mercedes.

After 1918 it took 86 years for the Boston Red Sox to finally win another World Series, and the Cubs still haven’t won one in 102 years and counting.

I wouldn’t feel sorry for Yankee fans if you guys go 100 years without winning another World Series, and I bet a lot of other fans would express similar sentiments. Until Yankee fans finally decide that this World Series or bust attitude each and every year is ridiculous, there will forever be a continuing generation of Yankee haters.

Whatever happened to Karma anyways?

Agree? Disagree? If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please feel free to reply in the comments section below. Or you can e-mail me at cross_can15@hotmail.com. I’m now on twitter follow me @paintstheblack and I will gladly return the favour.

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Brett Favre Epitomizes Why We Put Up With Superstars

At 41 years of age Brett Favre is not having his best season in Minnesota

By: Chris Ross

Sexting, sex addiction, dog fighting, careless gun handling and everything else in between always give people something to talk about around the water cooler. Athlete and superstar haters want to question our morals when we put up with this behaviour, but on Sunday afternoon Brett Favre showed us why you can’t blame us for accepting these “heroes.”

For the past two weeks, the story that I’m sure any football fan or gossip lover has heard about are the rumours surrounding Brett Favre’s apparent attempted “seduction” of former New York Jets sideline reporter Jenn Sterger. The fact that Brett Favre supposedly did these deeds is not the only surprise, but our notion of Favre as the simple, likeable, country family man was essentially crushed by these allegations. Many people have shown their disgust for Favre and have even gone to such extreme measures as jumping off his fan-train.

Favre gives every reason for people to hate on him with his constant wishy-washy retirement soap-opera, but on the field he makes you forget about everything else. Sunday night, amidst all the controversy, cortisone shot to nullify his elbow tendonitis and the hype surrounding the “Panic Bowl,” Favre led the Vikings to a 24-21 victory in a game that could end up being the biggest of their season.

It wasn’t his statistics that were most impressive though (14-19, 118 yds, 1 TD, 106.9 passer rating), it was all the other things that we constantly take for granted when watching Brett Favre. Throughout the game, Favre was consistently hit, knocked down, and hurried by the front four of the Cowboy’s defence.

Troy Aikman during the broadcast just seemed in awe of the ability of Favre to keep getting back up hit after hit and game after game. We all know about his Cal Ripken-like streak of consecutive games, and to keep it going at 41 years of age is something we might never again see in sports. If you don’t respect him as a person, you have to respect the way he plays. He puts it on the line every game and is one of the most electrifying players that the game has seen.

Up by 3 points with time winding down in the biggest game of the year, Favre attempted a throw to Randy Moss in the end zone against double coverage. Most players couldn’t fathom making that throw under normal circumstances, but with the game on the line Favre didn’t think twice and made a perfect pass that only Moss could catch and probably one that he should have come up with. The gunslinger, a risk taker, that’s what Favre is.

Should we be expecting anything less from the man known on the field as a risk taker and daredevil? Guys like Brett Favre have their lives revolving around risk taking, it’s in their nature and there is so much more that goes on behind the scenes that we don’t hear about. I can guarantee you sexting isn’t the worst of it.

Current Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick gave a middle finger to fans during his time in Atlanta, was sent to prison for dog fighting, and yet we are still cheer the “Underdog.”.

The thing is, I think you can make a legitimate case for Michael Vick being the most electrifying quarterback of all-time. Obviously not the bes, but the most exhilarating to watch. If you don’t agree with that assessment that’s fine, however there is no denying how exciting he is to watch, which is why fans tune in each week just to watch Vick play since the day he became the starter in Atlanta.

When these superstar athletes are producing and entertaining us fans on the field, we can pretend to be appalled by their indiscretions off the field, but in reality we could care less. Once these guys stop entertaining and thrilling us on the field, their off the field issues suddenly become less prominent and thus a relative non-issue. Either way we don’t really bother ourselves with what they’re doing off the field.

Would you care if it was Kellen Clemens who had sexted Jenn Sterger?

The NFL has to show some authority by putting forth an investigation in the Brett Favre saga. Despite that, you know that Roger Goodell doesn’t mind it as long as it doesn’t mean he has to suspend Favre.

Brett Favre + Sexting + Fans + Green Bay Packers = Big Fat Ratings. Now that’s the NFL’s kind of mathematical equation

On Sunday night Brett Favre was tough, resilient, victorious and most importantly entertaining. He exemplified everything it means to be a superstar athlete, leader and hero. You wonder why we put up with superstar athletes; well just take a look at Brett Favre’s resume.

Agree? Disagree? If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please feel free to reply in the comments section below. Or you can e-mail me at cross_can15@hotmail.com. I’m now on twitter follow me @paintstheblack and I will gladly return the favour.

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It Was All Worth It

Cliff Lee went 2-0 in the Rangers' ALDS matchup against the Tampa Bay Rays

By: Chris Ross

When you go to the casino to play the slots do you expect to win? Do you go to a casino expecting to win when you put all your money on double zero? The odds aren’t terrible, but they aren’t in your favour either.

In professional sports, general managers constantly flirt with the odds when they decide to pick up rental players.

Rental players are generally players who are picked up by a team for the last portion of the season in hopes of helping the team win its respective league championship in exchange for that player’s market value. Obviously, the better the player, the steeper the price. A big risk to take for one shot at glory if you ask me. The chances of a rental player being worth the value given up to get him are very low and past situations have demonstrated this fact many times. However, for the Texas Rangers, ‘renting’ Cliff Lee from the Seattle Mariners has already proven to be worth it.

The Texas Rangers earned their shot at taking on the New York Yankees in the ALCS by knocking off the Tampa Bay Rays tonight on the backs of another stellar Cliff Lee postseason performance. Lee went the distance, giving up 6 hits, an earned run, while fanning 11 in the 5-1 victory.

Wait, so then why does one playoff round make the Cliff Lee rental a worthwhile endeavour?

Under most circumstances I would say it doesn’t, but with the Texas Rangers you have to look at where they would be without their ace and where they are now.

In general, I am an advocate against the acquisition of rental players. Teams are forced to give up their potential future, prospects and draft picks, for a player that can hardly guarantee even a real shot at a title. There are too many examples of teams falling short of the mark after acquiring a soon-to-be marquee free agent. In the NHL you look to an example like Nashville and Peter Forsberg, where the Predators gave up a 1st and 3rd round pick along with Scottie Upshall and Ryan Parent, only to be knocked out in the first round of the playoffs

How about just reminiscing to last year’s World Series where the Phillies fell short of a title despite the acquisition of, wouldn’t ya know it, Cliff Lee.

The difference here is that the Texas Rangers franchise is currently navigating through uncharted waters all thanks to one Mr. Lee. The Texas Rangers had never won a playoff series prior to last night’s ALDS victory and for a franchise that had never reached the second round of the postseason it seems like it is already a success to have overcome a team that was considered by some to be Major League Baseball’s elite.

I don’t think that anyone can logically argue that without Cliff Lee the Rangers would have beaten the Rays.

There is almost no doubt that the Rangers would have still taken NFC West-like AL West, but they got Cliff Lee for one thing only and that thing is the playoffs. Lee did not have the best win-loss record, nor did he pitch his best ball with the Rangers during the regular season. He went a mediocre 4-6 with a 3.98 ERA, but seriously it didn’t matter.

Cliff Lee pitched two marvellous games against the Rays. As I mentioned earlier, he pitched a complete game tonight in the biggest game of the season and pitched 7 great innings in game 1. Oh yeah, in 16 playoff innings he didn’t walk a batter.

The Rangers did go on to win game 2 but then at home they lost game’s 3 and 4. Now imagine them having C.J. Wilson instead of Cliff Lee at the front end of their rotation, everyone moves one spot up and who knows what happens in the series. My best guess is that they lose, but that’s just me.

Think about it, what if the Mariners had decided to keep Cliff Lee? Maybe the Rangers decided they didn’t want to give away their future in first-basemen Justin Smoak to seal the deal?

Well that didn’t happen. The Mariners decided to get something back for their key off-season purchase and the Rangers felt that Lee was worth Justin Smoak, Blake Beavan, Josh Lueke and Matt Lawson.

It will be a few years before we can truly decide who got the better end of the deal, but right now it looks like a win-win situation with the only possible losers being the Seattle Mariners. Justin Smoak, the key piece in the deal, disappointed in his time with the Mariners. He hit a brutal .209 with 8 homers and 34 runs batted in. However, don’t be too quick to judge. Smoak isn’t even 24 years of age yet so there is lots of time for him to develop.

In the end what does it all mean?

The franchise’s first playoff series victory, a legitimate chance at playing for the World Series, and a team that might not be in the place where they are right now without a certain someone. I’d say that Cliff Lee is already well worth the price.

Agree? Disagree? If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please feel free to reply in the comments section below. Or you can e-mail me at cross_can15@hotmail.com. I’m now on twitter follow me @paintstheblack and I will gladly return the favour.

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Choosing the Philadelphia Phillies is a No-Brainer

Roy Halladay has pitched a perfect game and a no-hitter this season for the Phillies

By: Chris Ross

I’m not sure if I heard correctly, but I think the 6-year-old kid across the street chose the Phillies to take the World Series and how can you blame him?

With the jury still out on the bottom 3 of the New York Yankees starting rotation, the popular choice for World Champions is still the Philadelphia Phillies after they ousted the Cincinnati Reds in 3 straight games tonight. The team with the best record in the National League was able to shut down the highest powered offence in the NL.

Roy Halladay threw the first no-hitter in the post-season since Don Larsen’s perfect game in 1956, and Cole Hamels going the distance in game 3 giving up only 5 hits and striking out 9.

It may be the easy route to take, but sometimes choosing the road most traveled is the best way to go.

The Philadelphia Phillies undeniably have the best starting rotation in the league and it showed once again in the first round of the playoffs that good pitching beats good hitting. The Phillies are either going to face the Giants or the Braves in the NLCS, but neither team should be able to give them a legitimate run for their money.

The Giants are up 2-1 in their series with the Braves, and probably have the best chance to upset the Phillies if they get the opportunity. I sound like a broken record, but the Giants have the pitching to do it. Like Roy Halladay, Tim “the Freak” Lincecum threw an absolute gem in his first ever post-season game. Although the Giants weren’t able to get the win in game 2, Matt Cain, who gets almost as little run support as Felix Hernandez, still allowed only 1 unearned run in 6.2 innings of work. To round out the “Giant 3,” Jonathan Sanchez has been a nice surprise this season, and since the all-star break has posted a 2.61 ERA, while throwing 7.1 strong innings in Game 3’s victory.

As Matt Cain knows all too well, runs are not easy to come by from this San Francisco team. The middle of their line-up is anchored by a rookie (Buster Posey) and a past his prime veteran in Pat Burrell. There is no way they are going to score the necessary amount of runs, which may not be that many, against the Phillies to upset them.

The Atlanta Braves, who are the other possible NL opponent for the Phillies, may have a better middle of the order than the Giants but with Derek Lowe, Tommy Hanson, and Tim Hudson anchoring your rotation I don’t think they have much hope against the Phillies.

There is no way you can ever guarantee a team a series victory or a world championship because this is sports. Sports is so unpredictable, which is why us fans come back year after year to cheer for a team that is just going to end up competing for the same prize the next year.

With the Phillies though, I’ll take a line-up that boasts Shane Victorino, Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jason Werth, and Raul Ibanez any day of the week for my Major League team. Then, combine that with three guys that could all be a #1 pitcher on any given team, I think my only game plan to oppose that is making sure I go to church on Sunday.

If you want to show that you have some serious cohones then by all means go ahead and pick against the Phillies, but sometimes in life the choices that are the hardest to make are the ones that seem too easy.

Agree? Disagree? If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please feel free to reply in the comments section below. Or you can e-mail me at cross_can15@hotmail.com. I’m now on twitter follow me @paintstheblack and I will gladly return the favour.

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