Monthly Archives: November 2008

Swagger 101

KG's got it, you should too.

KG has it, you should too.

“Swagger”. What is it? (Here’s a hint, it’s not deodorant) The word seems to pop up everywhere nowadays. If it’s not Old Spice commercials it’s rap songs, it’s something that everyone seems to want but not everyone has. The Urban Dictionary defines “swagger” as “How one presents him or her self to the world. Swagger is shown from how a person handles a situation. It can also be shown in the persons walk.” So the question has to be asked “how do you acquire said “swagger”?” Are you born with it, is it something that comes to you naturally over time? The answer is less clear cut than you might first think, but for the sake of time and space we’ll stick to it’s application with regards to the Boston Celtics.

As of yesterday the Boston Celtics improve to a league best 16-2 record winning their last 8 straight games. A great aspect of the sport is the chemistry between players on a team. It is certainly no stretch of the imagination to see exactly how efficient a given unit works together night in and night out. The C’s are certainly coming together in fine fashion. Everyone has a niche, a role that is fundamentally important to the success of the whole. On November 18th we beat up the New York Knicks to the tune of 110-101. Rajon Rondo scored 15 points that game, and it was immediately evident that if this kid can run the offense and continue to use his speed as his best attribute it will be much easier for everyone on the team to get into the flow of the game.

Players confused as to why their "Swagger" is no match for "The Future".

Players confused as to why their "Swagg" factor is low against C's.

Apparently I’m not the only one to notice this because the next game he (Rondo) goes off for 18 points. In fact since that game against the Knicks, Rondo has scored in double digits every game save for the last two but had 12 assists and 9 assists respectively. You can almost hear KG yelling at him to play like that every night. With each improving game, barring fatigue if he continues to run circles around opponents (literally) the team can only flourish. Ray Allen gets involved earlier, big Kendrik Perkins offense goes up (not to mention he’s able to keep the ball above his ankles) instead of just taking up space and the second team doesn’t have to play catch-up.

Low "Swagg" factor due to Celtics demoralization.

This is what low "Swagger" looks like against C's defense.

I think we can all agree that the Celtics while not only building momentum are increasing their “swagger” factor as well. With each victory comes the understanding of how they as a team win together. While not boring by any means the Celtics are certainly not the flashiest team, but that’s the beauty of fundamentally sound basketball. It doesn’t have to look pretty as long as where converting when opportunities present themselves, making stops and causing turnovers, doing the little things that matter. So when there’s less than a minute left to play we’ll always be in a position to strike or to put away, and nobody will have regrets about a lackluster effort.

There will always be things in the midst of games that can be tweaked but when you have a group of guys that are of a singular mindset, (namely the pursuit of winning one game at at time) who are unselfish and care about the quality of their play, you have a recipe for success. Times are good Boston, I mean even the Bruins are back on top (and fun to watch to boot). Boston’s sports teams are carrying themselves with the confidence it takes to win, that little bit of cocky attitude that makes opposing teams think twice when they see us on their schedule. Swagger can be a trickle-down effect in the sense that in turn we as fans can walk with our heads high and have that cocky sense of pride we feel when we’re at the proverbial water cooler. That my friends is “swagger”, defined.

Peace

AngryBlackAle

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Things to be Thankful For.

Just some thoughts as my body recovers from two days of fulling it with food and booze:

bostonsports11We here at the Ballpark have many things to be thankful for this time of year, not the least of which is the health and well being of ourselves and our families (and of course, our readers). We are thankful for the fact that the Celtics have returned themselves to the forefront of the sports world in time for what seems to be a new golden age of competition for the NBA. We are thankful for the fact that the Patriots are not succumbing to the enormous amounts of injuries they have suffered, and are still in contention for both the playoffs and even a possible division title should the Jets falter (though they probably will get neither and we will blame the coach for not being good enough to win without Brady). We are thankful for the fact that the Bruins have given us a reason to watch hockey in this town again when it is not the beanpot (they won yesterday, 7-2, and also beat the hell out of the Islanders in a couple of third period fights – thanks Hnidy and Lucic – and now are second in the Eastern Conference with 34 points). 

1130328135_2407But most of all (other than our thanks for having all of the wonderful people in our lives), we are thankful for the Boston Red Sox. They are in the midst of an age of success that the people of this city have not seen for a century, and we are blessed to be able to follow them. Of course, I cannot think of thanksgiving without remembering that it was five years ago this week that Larry Luccino and Theo Epstein had thanksgiving dinner with the Schilling family and brought the big lug to town. He came in with the goal of making 55,000 New Yorkers shut up, and he participated in the greatest comeback in baseball history. Thanks guys, for being willing to sit with Curt for an entire meal while he pontificated as he always does. 

More tomorrow, but one last thought before I go eat more turkey: I love the NFL if only for the ongoing soap opera that is the lives of all of the players. It is beginning to make ESPN’s awesome but defunct show “playmakers” look like a documentary. Now, I don’t think that anybody did crack before taking the field this week, but between the bathroom fights, quarterbacks going to prison, and all of the other hijinks that these guys come up with, it is really starting to become more entertaining than the product on the field. Today’s Episode: Plaxico Burress, already injured and out for the Washington game, was accidentally shot in the leg last night at a club. With his own gun. Do I need to say anything more?

Thanks everyone. 

75 Days.

Done.

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picky picky… week 13

Yes, i know it’s a little screwie. Just deal with it.

Favorite       Spread        Dog            Done    SMC    ABA
Tenn -11      At Detriot      TEN    TEN    TEN
At Dallas -12.5    Seattle           DAL    DAL    DAL
At Philly -3         Arizona            AZ     AZ     AZ
At NY Jets       -7.5      Denver JETS    DEN    JETS
At Buffalo        -7      San Fran BUF    SF       SF
At Tampa      -3.5      N’Orleans NO    NO     NO
At Green Bay    -3      Carolina CAR    GB    GB
NY Giants -3.5      At Wash        WASH   NYG    NYG
Miami              -8     At St. Louis MIA    MIA    MIA
Baltimore -7      At Cinci            BAL    BAL    BAL
Indy    -5    At Cleveland CLE    INDY    INDY
At San Diego    -5    Atlanta ATL    ATL    ATL
At NE    -1    Pittsburgh NE    NE    PIT
At Oakland    -3    KC OAK    OAK    OAK
At Minn -3    Chicago        MIN    MIN    MIN
At Houston -3    Jack        JACK    HOU    JACK

Last Week:        9 & 7    6 & 10    9 & 7
Overall:        47-39-2    48-38-2    47-39-2

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Only 78 Days until Pitchers and Catchers report

The world of American sports has hit a new low on the scale of inventing stories to get through the boring season (also known as Not-Baseball season). Today on ESPN.com, on Mike and Mike and on Sportscenter, the biggest news is not something that happened last night, not something that happened recently, and not even something that will even come to fruition for over a year and a half. 

nba_g_lebron_412The topic of the day is what Lebron James will do when he becomes a free agent in the summer of 2010. Let me repeat that last part: in the summer of 2010.

Now this is ridiculous. Yes, the Cavs did play the Knicks in Madison Square Garden last night. Yes, that is where many people speculate that Lebron will go (they even made two trades in the past few days to clear cap space for a possible free agent signing over 500 days from now). Yes, the possibility that he will leave his hometown Cavaliers for a bigger market is an interesting one (why not bring him to the most successful franchise in NBA history). But it shows more about what this season lacks that this is the top story, than about how great a story it is. 

W Michigan Ball St FootballThis is not something that I know how to fix. It is like there are no games going on that matter during the week. Why can’t the big story be the continuing fallibility of the BCS, where Ball State ran their record to 12-0 but still have no shot at even competing for a national championship. In any other sport, no matter what conference you are in, if you win all of your games you will at least get a shot to compete for a title. Are we punishing these kids for something or is this just an impossibly stupid system?  Why not talk about Junichi Tazawa, who will begin to be a factor  in games at about the same time that Lebron becomes a free agent, but has an impact on the way that the Majors and the Japanese leagues do business today. 

77Or why not talk about the fact that the Boston Red Sox (God’s favorite baseball team) released their 2009 spring training schedule yesterday? Thats right, there is an end to our suffering in sight and it is earlier than we thought. Pitchers and catchers will be arriving in Fort Myers on February 12th (6 days ealrier than I had predicted). The early date is due to the second World Baseball Classic, which means that not only do we get to see the Sox start spring training games on Feb 25th, but we get to watch meaningful baseball halfway through March. 

More on the Sox as the week progresses, but tonight the Bruins and Celtics both return to play atop their respective divisions and playing as well as anybody could have imagined. So enjoy those games, relax and make stomach space for tomorrows turkey/football/annoying family-fest and remember to keep counting. 

Go Sox.

 78 Days. 

Done.

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Another reason to hate the winter…

Warm-weather cheerleaders:

Job well done. (Although I dont know the proper translation so I know shell never understand.)

OK, OK... I know she looks like that broad from somewhere up on 93-North... but we at The Ballpark appreciate this type of dedication to one's own craft. In this instance, she is paid to look and dance like a whore. Let me be the first to say: Job well done. (Although I don't speak 93-North so I know she'll never understand.)

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This is Why I Hate the Winter.

It’s not just the cold. It’s not just the darkness (tonight’s sunset is 4:14 PM) . It is the waiting. Even in these blessed days for Boston sports, when we have three teams worth paying attention to, there are still days like yesterday. Sure, reading about the Pats’ destruction of the Wildcat offense in Miami in the paper was a good start to the day, but after that it went down hill. No Celtics game, no Bruins game, Monday Night Football game that I could not have cared less about, and still, no real Sox news. 

I'm so bored that this future Portland Sea Dog is the biggest news of the day.

I'm so bored that this future Portland Sea Dog is the most important thing that happened in sports over the last day and a half.

The only Item of note with a day still until the local teams take the court/ice again, is the Red Sox pursuit, and apparent capture, of Japanese right handed pitcher Junichi Tazawa. He will supposedly make his announcement of having signed a three year, $6 million offer from the Sox, spurning the Braves, Mariners (who have Japanese owners and a Japanese catcher) and the Rangers (who reportedly offered more money and more years). Sooooooo, what does this mean for the 2009 Sox? Abso-F@#$ing-Lutely nothing. Tazawa is 22, pitched last year in Japan’s Minor Leagues (the semi-pro Industrial League) and will likely need at least one if not two years of seasoning in the minors here before becoming a contributor to Theo’s dream of an all Japanese pitching staff. He was able to avoid the posting process (and the $51.1 Million that everybody counts as part of Daisuke’s salary, even though it was more of an investment in the Japanese market, and helped land us Tazawa, who idolizes the Wiggler) because he never was even drafted by any of the twelve teams in Nippon Professional Baseball (thats what the Japanese leagues are called) after making it clear to them that he wanted to follow his hero to the States. 

On the field he will be (hopefully) a decent middle of the rotation kind of guy after he has had some more experience. He has a well spotted fastball(low 90’s), a plus curve and the same forkball type pitch that all young Japanese hurlers learn. His experience (and 175 lb body) is thin, having only faced competition of the quality that he will see in triple A when he threw two innings of perfect ball in the last World Baseball Classic against Cuba. The questions on this guy will probably never truly stop until he actually shows what he has against Major League hitters a year down the road. But for now he’s great in my book because gave us something to think about during the boring, angry, cold, dark winter. 

85 Days. 

Go Sox.

Done.

 

Update: Conflicting reports out of SI, Extra Bases, and the Herald have the Indians also interested in Tazawa, and also a splitter and a change in his repertoire. This is why I like this guy so much; for all we know, he may actually be a Japanese robot (we all know Sony is building one right now), or some type of talking super gerbil.

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Nothing cool happened in sports yesterday.

Artificial Turf column coming shortly. Look at this for a while.

Long Day

Long Day... kinda looks like Michael Jackson. Seriously. It really does.

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