Wednesday, June 4, 2008

"I say I'll flip ya... Flip ya, flip ya for real."

Saunders Flipped in Detroit After Playoff Loss

The Detroit Pistons are now also looking for a new head coach. Flip Saunders was relieved of his post yesterday by Pistons GM Joe Dumars after his team bowed out in the Eastern Conference Finals at the weekend. Flip won 176 games with the Pistons during his three seasons in the big seat on the bench. However, from the outside this team never really stopped being Larry Brown's team. In an article on, Chad Ford writes that Saunders never had the respect of the team after taking over from Brown three years ago.

In spite of the winning, at a 7.15 clip, Saunders is done because his teams seemed to consistently underperform in their biggest moments. They lost in the Conference Finals in each of the last three seasons, to the Heat, Cavs and Celtics respectively. i can't say I'm too surprised at his sacking. Flip has always seemed ill-suited for this team. Starting with his handle. Flip? That doesn't work with a team this gritty. Flip is the name of the bad-guy from the 1980s high school movie who his hair slicked (check) and weight-lifting gloves to class (unknown) and not the guy who coaches the team with five equal partners.

When announcing the usurpation of his head coach Pistons GM Joe Dumars sent a warning shot across the bow of all his players announcing that the only thing safe at The Palace at Auburn Hills is the numbers in the rafters. And, it's to one of those numbers that my mind inevitably turns. I can only hope that the player who used to don the No. 11 for the Motown team heard the news of the job opening and smiled. I can only hope that in spite of all the platitudes he issued when signing on with the Knicks that coaching the Detroit Pistons is really Isiah Thomas's dream job. I can only hope that he heard the news of Saunders' dismissal and thought about calling up his old running mate, Dumars. I can only hope that he was giddy with excitement as the possibilities twirled in his head like Chris Paul slicing through the paint.

I hope he wants this job more than anything. And that he is forced to realize that there is zero chance that he can get it. I hope that he finally has to confront the monstrosity of his failure with the Knicks. Perhaps realizing that he squandered a chance to coach his Pistons because of what he did to my Knicks will force him to once face the consequences of his actions. Perhaps.

Teams Looking For A Coach:
Detroit Pistons
Phoenix Suns
Dallas Mavericks
New York Knicks
Chicago Bulls
Charlotte Bobcats
Milwaukee Bucks

Coaches Looking For a Team:
Flip Saunders
Avery Johnson
Mike D'Antoni
Larry Brown
Isiah Thomas
Scott Skiles
Sam Vincent
Chuck Person
Mark Jackson
Doug Collins
Rick Carlisle
Terry Porter

BallHype: hype it up!

Wednesday's Starting Five

1. Pedro Martinez. Of the two big slots in New York pitching rotations that turned up last night one was filled ably while the other was not. Pedro, the former ace of the Expos and the Red Sox, turned in a solid, if not sterling, effort after missing most every game (save two, one of which he started) since now and Opening Day. Martinez threw 109 pitches over six innings to earn the win. Most importantly, he touched the 90s on the radar gun with regularity during the game. Although he struggled with command of his pitches early, he never lost control of the game. He departed after six frames with a 9-3 lead in his back pocket and the future of this team on his shoulders. His first start back at Shea Stadium should Saturday June 14 against the Rangers. It's also Shea Stadium replica day so there is zero reason not to be there.

2. Barack Obama. The Senator from Illinois is the presumptive nominee of the Democratic Party in the upcoming presidential election. The Hawaiian-born Obama worked his way (via Los Angeles) to Columbia University in New York City where he got his B.A.. From there it was on to community organizing in Chicago and eventually Harvard Law School. He was named president of the Harvard Law Review in 1988, becoming the first African-American to hold the position, before graduating magna cum laude in 1991. Upon returning to Chicago, Obama set himself the task of improving the community around him, while finding time to teach constitutional law part-time at the University of Chicago Law School. He was first elected to the Illinois State Legislature in 1996 and the U.S. Senate in 2004. That same year he was catapulted to prominence within his party by delivering a stirring keynote address at the Democratic National Convention. And, after a campaign that saw him go from underdog dreamer to steam-rolling favorite, he was became the first-ever African American to win the nomination of either of the two major political parties.
The 2004 DNC Speech (in two parts):

3. Hillary Clinton. Even though she lost the nomination, Hil' still has the fate of the election in her hands. Does she push for the VP spot on the Obama ticket? If so, she brings her supporters back to Obama and the Democratic Party perhaps doesn't lose too much ground to the GOP after such a grueling and spiteful primary season. Or, does she maintain her rivalry with Obama and position herself for 2012 run for the presidency? If she goes this route then perhaps some of her voters go to a third-party candidate or even to the McCain eschewing their own party because it's not their candidate. The way in which Hillary answers these questions will decide who is the next president of the United States. So, you could do worse to have such power after losing a contest? Right?

4. John McCain. No matter who actually took the Democratic nomination the real winner of all those primaries may have been Mr. McCain. His erstwhile foes did much of the dirty work for him by knocking the feathers out of each other for the past few months.

5. Thierry Henry. The Barcelona striker, who despite a rough start to his first La Liga campaign finished strong with a tally of 12 goals and 9 assists, played his 100th international game for France yesterday, making him just sixth Frenchman to accomplish the feat. Henry joins Lilian Thuram, Marcel Desailly, Zinedine Zidane, Patrick Vieira and Didier Deschamps in the 100 cap club. Pretty good company, all of whom were on the 1998 World Cup champion team. Henry debuted for the national side in 1997 and is the nation's leading scorer. After being brought down ten yards away from goal in the first half of yesterday's Euro 2008 tune-up against Colombia, teammate Franck Ribery slotted home the PK he was awarded to secure the 1-0 victory for Les Bleus.

Benched. Joba Chamberlain. Long before Pedro started humming in cutters at the hands of Giant batsmen in San Francisco, the cowardly lion had been pulled off the mound in the Bronx. Suffice to say, his debut did not go well. Or last long. He got seven outs. He threw 62 pitches. He walked four and never seemed to have any comfort level out there on the mound. The Yankees never got on track and were blitzed by the Blue Jays. And, as good as Chamberlain's stuff is this can't really come as a surprise. The Yankees tried to turn him into a starter without letting him START any games. I'll never understand why the would put him in this position. What did they expect to happen? All they needed to do was send him down to Trenton or one of the other Minor League affiliates and sometime last week to start just one game before toeing the rubber against Big Leaguers for the first time in the first inning. I don't know if it was overconfidence in their young star pitcher or just a complete lack of confidence in the rest of them (I'm looking at you Farnsworth and Hawkins) that had Girardi, Cashman, et. al opt to try to build up his stamina by giving him longer RELIEF appearances rather than actual starting ones.