Monday, April 12, 2010

Monday's Starting Five

1. Trader Mike Tannenbaum. The general manager of the New York Jets has done it again. And by "it" I mean aggressively improved the talent level of his team by swiping a risk-reward player from another team for a pittance. At this point, he's like a portly and balding wholesome-seeming but ruthless Kansas City shuffler (played with a southern accent and a cloying wink-and-nudge sense of humor by John Goodman) that a down-on-his luck protagonist in a Coen Brothers movie might be flim flammed by during an "anyone sitting here, partner" lunch at the White Mana on Route 9 in Jersey City.
Golly, you know what? You're right, Pittsburgh. This is just too bad about these troublemakers. You really should hold onto them, though, you've got a good squad. Even if your fans are turning on you... What? The talk radio guys are giving you a hard time. Mercy me (pats lightly perspiring forehead with a ketchup stained napkin), well I guess you're right. Like you said before, you might have to get rid of that Super Bowl MVP. Oh, you didn't say that? Pay me know mind then, I pay too much attention to all the rumors. Everyone is saying that any upstanding Christian organization would have already dropped him. Yeah. That's what they're saying. What choice do you have? Trust me, I hear you. It's the right move. You can't do that to your city. Not those loyal fans. No way, sir. Well, yeah. Of course. It would be different if he were a quarterback.

And you know what? I probably shouldn't... Oh boy, Mr. Johnson is gonna be sore at me for this. But I sympathize. I really do. I've got kids. What if you send me Holmes? We'll figure out something to do with him. What? Not sure. But in such a big city he can fly under the radar. And with so many Jews and Muslims here, it's not like it is in Pittsburgh. You've got a responsibility to the community. Yeah, we can just put him on the scout team keep him out of trouble. And, we should probably give you a draft pick or the bookkeepers will just kill me on this deal. It's hard enough to get down to 53 on the rosters without taking on dead weight like Holmes. How about an eighth rounder just we don't end up bringing another guy aboard? You want a seventh? You know what, since I know you're in such a bind, I'll send a fifth rounder. Boy, I'm gonna get raked over the coals for this. But I know what a roll of bad luck you guys are on. Trust me. We've been there. I'm just trying to do right by enough people so that we can get our own karma turned around. You ever watch that
My Name is Earl show? Sorta like that. I always thought that Earl's brother coulda been a lineman. Now there's a nice white boy that doesn't seem like he'd be a character risk. I'll see if I can get some one to put him in touch with your staff.
On Sunday night, while most people were waking up from their Masters-induced nap or waiting breathlessly for the results of the Sanitation Jones' football score (we won), the Jets acquired 2009 Super Bowl MVP Santanio Holmes from the Pittsburgh Steelers for a fifth-round pick in the upcoming draft. The 26-year-old Holmes is currently dealing with accusations that he threw a glass at a young lady at a bar and has been on the wrong side of the NFL's substance abuse policy (there's a four-game suspension coming at the start of the 2010 season) but he's caught wheels, paws and the toes for important game-winning catches on sidelines and/or goal lines. Tanny is preying on his colleagues' public relations problems with a instinctual relentless that deserves its own Life episode.

2. Barcelona. Fresh off their 4-1 thrashing of Arsenal in the second leg of the Champions League quarters, the Catalans took the pitch against blood rivals Real Madrid in the latest installment of El Clasico. Madrid was unbeaten at home when the game kicked off at the Bernabeu and both were teams were tied atop the league standings with just seven additional games to play after this tie. And true to Maradona's recent claim that Barca's Messi "is playing a kick-about with Jesus," the diminutive Argentine forward netted his 40th goal of the year to open the scoring in the 33rd minute. Pedro would add a score in the second half to provide the 2-0 score line. Barcelona is now three points clear and owns the season series. Although the impossible trophy haul of last year has eluded them, Barca is coming down the stretch of the European and domestic seasons looking as dominant as they have at any point during this campaign.

3. Boston College Hockey. The Eagles flew skated circles around the Wisconsin Badgers to wrap up their fourth national championship Saturday night on a makeshift rink at Ford Field in Detroit before the largest crowd to watch an indoor hockey game. For the upperclassmen it was the second national title of their stay on the Heights and it was the third crown for coach Jerry York, as classy and understated a guy as you'll ever see on the sidelines of a collegiate contest. A typically speedy and undersized Eagles squad, tore through the top-ranked Miami (Ohio) squad in the semifinals before toppling the Badgers.

4. The Chicago Bulls. As Knicks, Mets and Jets fan, I consider myself a connoisseur of good games between bad teams. And yesterday's Bulls @ Raptors had all the makings (just like the Rangers @ Flyers). Two teams enter. One team leaves with a great chance of reaching the playoffs. With just a handful of games remaining these two took the floor in the Canada in a flat-footed tie for the eighth spot in the East. The Bulls, buoyed by the return of Joakim Noah from a foot injury were surging. The Raptors, deflated by Chris Bosh's face injury were reeling. Both trends continued. The affair was tight early but Chicago took control with a 26-17 third quarter. They now control their own destiny in the season's final week. For the purists out there, this is also a test to see if a sub. 500 team can reach the playoffs yet again in the East.

5. Roy Halladay. The longtime Blue Jays frontman and erstwhile Phillies ace take his nickname "Doc" from renowned Wild West gambler and mustache wax enthusiast Doc Holiday. And based on his first two starts of the season I cannot do anything but recommend betting the money line on Halladay every time he takes the hill this year. If the guy gets 34 starts then the Phillies will win 25 of those games. Heck, Halladay may even get 25 decisions himself based on the way he's looked thus far. The payout will be in the -250 range but just take the free money and up your bets with each successive win (dropping the wager back to its original amount after each loss). It's not a sexy bet. But just do it once or twice weekly as the rotation allows for the next few months and then send me a nice Sam Goody gift card after the season. Halladay went the distance yesterday as the Phils edged the Astros. It was Halladay's second sterling effort in two tries.