But the obvious question here has been
avoided up until now. Since I am just a semiprofessional, I'm not
afraid to ask it. How good would this team be with the addition of
Ron Artest? Now, don't get me wrong… I'm not condoning what he did
and would expect major sanctions for any player caught in that
situation. It did seem a little harsh in regard to the other
players, the situation, that it happened in Detroit and so on, but
that is all water under the bridge.
I'm simply saying, Do you know how
scary this team could be in the playoffs with Artest on the court?
He is by far their best defender, and their defense was par
excellence on Sunday without him. Throw him in the mix, and you may
stifle the opponents completely. Not only did the Pacers thrash
Boston on Sunday, but it was the fifth-worst Game 7 whipping in NBA
All that being said, I still don't
think they can sneak by Detroit, especially without home-court
advantage. I'm hoping that the early-season brawl will motivate the
Pacers to play beyond themselves. I'm hoping that super-coach Rick
Carlisle has his day in the sun over another Hall of Famer, Larry
In the end, I think it will be too
many Pistons to fight off.
Mavs wallop Rockets, Bulls toasted
If you thought the Pacers-Celtics
game turned ugly, did you catch the Mavs-Rockets final? Dallas
hammered Houston and it was the worst Game 7 beating in NBA history.
What is going on here?
And then there were the Bulls. Now
you know why I said to enjoy the year they had and leave it at that.
They won the first two games over Washington, then promptly went out
and lost four in a row! Perhaps the Wizards just did Chicago a favor
by keeping them from getting embarrassed by the Miami Heat (which is
exactly what happened in Game 1).
By the way, Seattle didn't show much
in Game 1 at San Antonio either.
Giacomo shocks Kentucky Derby world
How 'bout a 50-1 shot winning the
Kentucky Derby? I kept hearing how it would be so unlikely for
somebody to beat Bellamy Road. That this horse was head and
shoulders above the rest. Hello! A long shot? A 50-1 plugger?
But, you have to take your hat off
to jockey Mike Smith. Finding themselves in the middle of the pack
at the three-quarter pole, Smith coyly coaxed Giacomo through a maze
of horses to get to the outside. Once Giacomo sensed a little
daylight, it was lights out for the rest of the field, including
vastly sentimental favorite Afleet Alex.
Smith had started a Derby at
Churchill Downs 11 times prior to Saturday's run. And some of those
rides he was atop the race favorites. It took him a 50-1 horse to
make a run for the roses. They're calling it the second-biggest
upset in the history of the Kentucky Derby. I think this particular
race demonstrates why this may well be the best two minutes in
sports every year!
Cardinals, Cubs salvage a game each;
Sox refuse to lose
When I was a kid, the San Diego
Padres were a triple-A franchise, and that is exactly the way they
have looked at Busch Stadium the last couple of years. But not this
season. They came to the Mecca for a four-game set and sent the
Redbirds packing during the first three.
[to top of second column in this article]
St. Louis must have had a revival
service for their bats prior to Sunday's game because they simply
exploded. A 15-5 rout of San Diego helped the Birds avert a series
sweep. And even with three losses in the series, St. Louis maintains
a four-game lead over the surprising Milwaukee Brewers. We will
probably get a better gauge on St. Louis this week as they tangle
with one of baseball's best teams, the Los Angeles Dodgers. The only
other question I have for Redbird fans is this: Why have the Cards
struggled so much at home over the last two or three seasons? I
thought you were supposed to make hay at home.
The Cubs, on the other hand, have had
their own struggles, losing two heartbreaking games to the Phillies
after getting roughed up by the vastly improved Brewers. Chicago did
dump the Phils on Sunday to avoid the sweep, behind another
fantastic effort by Carlos Zambrano (where would they be without
However, many of my Cub-fan friends
are already conceding the season. Well, I'm not going to entertain
that talk. A 162-game season is a long time, and a lot can happen
even before the Fourth of July! When you get bitten by the injury
bug you just have to remain patient and play good enough ball just
to hang close to the leaders. Then, when they have their injury
problems, you stage your comeback. A lot can happen in the next two
months, and we will see how it all shakes out.
The White Sox, on the other hand,
simply refuse to lose. In fact, they've won eight in a row! Their
pitching has been stellar (a couple of great outings by former
Cardinal Cliff Polite), they're getting timely hitting and finding
lots of different ways to win. I still can't help thinking that
they're living a charmed life right now, but I'm also hoping that it
continues. I'm sure that Curt Nordhielm and Gary Salm (two of the
biggest Sox fans I know AND former Lincoln residents) are loving the
situation no matter how it is happening!
Railers make it 20!
The Lincoln Railers hit a magic mark
this week by winning their 20th contest. And of course in perfect
Railer fashion they did it in the bottom of the last inning to upend
Jacksonville. The win lifts Lincoln to 20-7 overall and 6-4 in the
Games upcoming against Glenwood and
Griffin will give us a better idea on how far this Railer squad may
be able to go.
Vijay Singh won a playoff over Jim
Furyk and Sergio Garcia at this week's PGA event, and Greg Biffle
won the NASCAR event.
Team of the week…
Is an easy choice this week… the
YMCA! Kudos go out to Nate Bossingham, who I think directs youth
soccer, Linda Marini and all the gang at the Y -- our coach, Todd
O'Donohue, and all the coaches, the referees, the snack providers
and the parents. This was really my first time to witness this whole
thing as an insider, and I was impressed. Thanks to everyone for
putting a smile on so many little kids' faces!
That's it for me… Have a great week,