Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Wednesday's Starting Five

"What, Is This Guy From Boston?" Edition

1. The Boston Celtics. I got the impression late in the third quarter of last night's win over the Rockets that the Celtics would prefer to only play teams on 22-game winning streaks. That's how strong their desire to impose their will is. It was clear last night that there was no team that they would rather have been playing against, and beating, than the Rockets. And that late anger-filled, slicing through the paint, tomahawk jam by Garnett showed that they want to be beat every good team by as large a margin as is possible. They are intense and they play team defense. And, they are, I guess, the best team in the NBA on any given night for the length of 48 minutes. But what about over a seven-game series? I'm still not sure.

2. The Boston Red Sox. A big brouhaha has developed in Florida as the Sox players have boycotted a Spring Training game and have stated that they will refuse to board plans for Japan (set to take off later today) for their season opening set against the Oakland A's. The reason for the insubordination is that the team's coaches are being shorted a stipend that had been promised to them as part of the conditions for agreeing to take this trip to start the season. Commendably the players have chosen to stand up for their well compensated but far less-compensated-than-themselves-coaches in this dispute. And, yes, the dollar figures are ridiculous. $40,000 is a stipend? For a coach? For a short-ish business trip? Really? I don't see that much in a year. Seriously. That being said, I totally agree with the underlying principles for all of this.

UPDATE: Everything is "resolved." The Spring Training game will start late and the team will head to Japan.

3. Former Boston College QB Matt Ryan. After eschewing the Senior Bowl and some of the Combine activities at the insistence of his agent, Matty Ice finally had his chance to shine yesterday at his Pro Day up at Chestnut Hill. According to all the accounts I've read, he was undeniably solid if not entirely spectacular. Although I'm not sure how any QB can generate that much excitement for a room full of scouts by simply throwing passes to uncovered receivers. I did read (in many places, but Don Banks at has a good recap) that he completed 48 of the 52 passes he threw. Three of the four incompletions were drops of good balls and one was an over throw. That ain't too shabby.

4. Mount Saint Mary's. The first game of the 2008 NCAA Men's Tournament has been played. And, nobody noticed. And, nobody's bracket was busted. Or even touched. The play-in game, largely ignored by automated brackets and most office pools, was last night in Dayton and Mount St. Mary's toppled Coppin State for the right to play UNC on Friday. So, they've got about 60 hours to enjoy being winners...

5. Ohio State Football. Since I'm in full on basketball mode right now I couldn't really care less about this college football news but here it is anyway: the most sought after high-schooler declared today that he'll be attending Ohio State next year. His name is Terrelle Pryor. He is a 6 foot, 6 inch quarterback from near Pittsburgh. He'll likely sit next season behind returning senior signal caller Todd Boeckman and he has high hopes of being absolutely boondoggled by an SEC team in the 2010 BCS National Championship game. Good luck with that.

Benched. The streak. It's over. The Rockets just didn't have it last night. And they were playing against a team far too good to be able to grind one out an off night. With three very tough road games (NOH, GS, PHX) in the next few days it is possible that we can all resume ignoring the Rockets again very soon. Well, it was really fun while it lasted. I hope that they can snag two of the next three in order to keep themselves in the mix for the #1 seed in the West.

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