Due to laziness, today's post will resort to a bullet point list. Due to the rough economy, all bullet points will be replaced by asterisks.
*CC Sabathia throws at the Stadium tonight, making it the year's first 'Fat Tuesday.' When the stars align so perfectly, the Yankees should definitely have some kind of promotion. It'll only happen a handful of times every season, and it's a great excuse for a Mardi Gras/Fried Food theme. I'm thinking the first twenty thousand fans get beads, and every time CC gets a K, everyone in the stadium rattles the beads. And you can exchange them at any point for half off CC's favorite food (chicken) at the concession stand. Maybe some crazy women in the bleachers would start flashing for free beads, just like the real Mardi Gras. Maybe some obese dude would follow suit. Think of the wild party atmosphere! And the whole time, CC's mowing down the opposition to the tune of twenty thousand clacking plastic necklaces. Fat Tuesday!
(This whole thing depends on CC not being too sensitive about his weight, and the Yankee organization adopting a laissez-faire attitude toward lower-middle class partial nudity.)
*Another great win for the Yanks last night. Dandy Andy was pretty bad, actually, giving up twelve hits over 6 2/3, but he somehow limited the Twins to five runs, and our bullpen (barely) managed to avert disaster over the last three innings. Teix went yard twice, which is awesome. His average is already back up to .235, and you have to expect he'll be above .270 by the end of June, latest. In the rearview mirror, those early season doldrums look like a hiccup. Still, objects are always closer than they appear, so here's hoping for a little more distance.
*Funny stat: A-Rod is batting .188. Melky Cabrera is batting .317. A-Rod's on-base percentage is .395. Melky's is .374.
A-Rod: Walking, striking out, and hitting bombs cuz he just don't give a fuck.
*Kobe vs. the Nuggets tonight. I really have no idea what to expect from this series. On one hand, I want to extrapolate from LA's struggles against Houston and predict a surprisingly easy Nugget win. On the other, many, many people fell victim to that line of thinking last year when Boston needed 7 to beat Atlanta and Cleveland in the first two rounds. In reality, I don't think a 7-game series signifies anything profound in this case. When the Lakers absolutely needed a win against Houston, they got it easily, winning by 40 points in game 5, and 19 in game 7. They'll keep homecourt advantage against the Nuggets, and will be less apt to throw away one of the first two games. Also, Battier and Artest are known for their persistent, harassing, and workmanlike defense on Kobe. Can anyone on Denver hope to replicate that?
The flip side of this argument is that Denver has looked like one of the two best teams in the playoffs. Chauncey is being Chauncey, Melo's embracing a new big-game persona, J.R. Smith is an unrepentant sharpshooter, and the mononymic Nene is playing like a premier center. If they can steal a game in LA, it's hard not to take them in 6.
My prediction: in the end, the Laker soft spots exposed by Boston in last year's finals are not solved to satisfaction by the underperforming Bynum. Denver is more physical, and although they don't have the best player, they have better players top to bottom. As for Kobe, I don't care how much propaganda the NBA or Spike Lee or Kobe himself want to circulate; when the going gets tough, he's a bad teammate. His arrogance is his greatest individual strength and his greatest collective weakness. Unlike Jordan or Lebron, Kobe's breed of confidence has a dismissive, exclusive quality. His failures without a co-star are a testament to character flaws that will never be resolved; he's an isolating talent with no magnetism, a bitter, rigid clay from which no championship will be fashioned.
The Call: Denver's got their 'teamsmanship' on: Nuggets steal a thriller in game 1 and win this baby in 6.
*Fun Fact: Nene's name at birth was: Maybyner Rodney Hilario. "Nene" is Brazilian for 'baby.' ('Brazilian' is Idiot for Portugese)
*NBA Draft lottery tonight. I just had a long talk with one of my friends at work, and he brought up a lotttttt of good points about the benefits of the Knicks going after someone like Hasheem Thabeet. As you may remember from a previous post, I'm a tireless proponent of Stephen Curry. But the work pal basically argued me under the table; I was reduced to using words like 'electric' over and over with no real semblance of actual analysis or insight. But in this case, I'm okay with being irrational. I want the Knicks to stay around the 8th spot tonight, miss out on the early prospects, and pick up the Davidson Destroyer. He's a skinny natural, a relentless scorer who will find a way to become a major cog in our future titles...sometimes you just have the feeling.
Have a Fat Tuesday.