Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Tuesday's Starting Five

1. The Pittsburgh Penguins. C'mon young guys. Just one more win. That'll get us to a Game 7. And, then...well, then I don't really care who wins. Even if I've barely watched any of the NHL playoffs since the first round (which I blame just as much on the League's TV deal as I do on my lack of interest) there is something mesmerizing about a hockey Game 7.

2. Joba Chamberlain. Here it is. Hours from now. After much wringing of hands and tearing of garments, Joba Chamberlain makes his first Big League start against the Toronto Blue Jays. Prepare for major overreactions no matter how this one goes. Though I have to say that I can't imagine that he's ready for this physically. And, who knows about what's going on upstairs with this kid. But, the Yankees strategy of never sending him down to the Minors to actually start a baseball game seems an awfully foolish way (to me) to prepare him to start baseball games. Either way, more Steinbrenner gas-baggery to come.

3. Pedro Martinez. Both New York teams have high-profile starters taking the hill tonight. For the Mets, Pedro Martinez is making his first-ever, second start of the 2008 season in San Francisco against the woeful Giants. And, Pedro may need to come through even more than the young Joba. After all, Willie's job could really be in question by the end of the week if Pedro is shelled (a la Ollie Perez last night) and the Mets drop a winnable series to a bad team like the Giants.

4. ESPN Classic. If you tuned in last night to watch another American Gladiators re-run from yesteryear or to enjoy the unique "comedic" stylings of the Sklar brothers' Cheap Seats then you were sorely disapointed to find that this channel was actually running CLASSIC sports broadcast in lieu of its regularly scheduled non-classic programing. Last night was wall-to-wall re-plays of Lakers and Celtics showdowns from the 1980s. Magic. Bird. Kareem. The Chief. James Worthy. Kevin McHale. Jamal Wilkes. Cedric Maxwell. The pace of play was mesmerizing and nothing like what we'll be treated to in two days time. Every single player could hit a mid-range jumper, every ball was fired out from the baseline after a made basket and the key word was pressure. Pressure on both the defensive AND offensive end.

5. James Posey. With all the major life-altering (see Paul Pierce), job-saving (see Doc Rivers) and ticket-selling (see TD BankNorth Fake Garden) acquisitions that were made by GM Danny Ainge and the Boston Celtics this past offseason there was only one guy walking through that door with a championship ring on his finger (at least until Sam I Am showed up a few weeks ago) and that guy was Mr. Posey. And, he's played like a guy with the know-how throughout the postseason. He had a huge defensive play down the stretch of Game 6 in Detroit and has never looked as lost as Ray Allen or as overmatched as Doc Rivers.