So we can abide no more hesitations- the new class has mercury in their heels. They're rarin' to run! Also, this is by far the weirdest group of rants in the history of Pick Six, which is, to put it mildly, awesome.
VOLUME FOUR, WEEK ONE
Oh, that music! Goosebumps, folks! All interception returns should be set to dramatic music.
The Friday Pick Six is an original SCSD! game where six people make six sports predictions for six weeks. Along with their picks, they're allowed and encouraged to submit a 'sound-off' on any topic, sports or otherwise. When it's all done, the winner earns great honor among the people, while the two losers are exiled in shame and the three middle finishers go to purgatory, with the chance rescue their good name up to three times. To learn more about the rules, and about the current contestants, read below:
Here's how it looks:
The Last Chance Gals (3rd attempt, win or bust): Swetha & Sabreena
Purgatory Part 1: Marc, Monty
Newcomers: Craig & Tim, Tim B., John
-Volume Four Intros
THE HALL OF ANGELS: OLD CHAMPIONS
3. Patrick and Dylan
It's Week One, so there are no standings as of yet. The first docket is a true variety pack. Dig it:
1. The Internazionali BNL D'italia!
For those who haven't been paying attention to tennis, there's some real drama happening. Rafa Nadal is still #1, and still considered the king of clay, but Novak Djokovic has started the year 33-0 (second best all time), and even beat Nadal in a tense one at the final of the Madrid Open (a clay tournament) last week. Now the players are in Rome, again on clay, in the last tournament before the French Open. Who wins the men's draw on Sunday? Nadal? Djokovic? Federer? Someone else?
2. The Player's Championship! Pick two golfers, one American and one international, to finish atop the leaderboard. Everyone whose two golfers make the cut will get a point, and the person with the lowest combined score will take 2 points. If anyone's golfer wins outright, 4 points, even if they don't win lowest combined score.
3. Red Sox - Yankees. For this one, pick which team will win the 3-game set.
4. For this one, pick which Yankee pitcher (Colon, Sabathia, Garcia) allows the fewest hits. Do the same for the Red Sox (Buchholz, Beckett, Lester). If you get 1, 1 point. If you get both, 3 points.
5. What will happen in Friday's Grizz-Thunder game?
A- Memphis wins by double digits.
B- Memphis wins by single digits.
C- OKC wins by single digits.
D- OKC wins by double digits.
6. THE BOSTON TEMPTATION.
The Tampa Bay Lightning visit the Boston Bruins in Game One of the Eastern Conference Finals on Saturday. If you choose to accept the Boston temptation, you take the Bruins. If they win, you get 2 points. BUT BE WARNED: if they lose, you lose 2 points, which is a tough hit to take this early in the Pick 6.
We begin with the veterans, the graduating gals on their last legs. Take it away, dynamic duo:
First, a disclaimer. It’s pretty clear that our strengths are way more tailored to fall and spring sports than summer, so we’re setting the bar low for this volume of the pick six.
1. Most likely, Nadal and Djokovic will end up in the final, and as impressive as this Djoker streak has been, it’s about time for Nadal to right the ship. Besides, Novak’s really annoying. NADAL.
2. Don’t really know anything about golf, so I guess our best odds are really just the people at the top of the leaderboard. LUCAS GLOVER AND RORY SABBATINI.
3. We hate the Red Sox and pretty much all teams from Boston, and these two teams tend to even things out. So given that the Red Sox took the first series and this one is in New York, it’s a no-brainer. YANKEES.
4. Well I googled Colon(o) and ended up reading about his questionable stem cell treatment. That makes me think his judgment is also questionable. He’s out. And Garcia kind of looks like The Rock. And The Rock has bad taste in movie roles. SABATHIA.
Who gives a shit about Boston. But I do kinda love Josh Beckett from his days with the Marlins. He’s off to a good start, and his WHIP is the best. BECKETT.
5. Aside from the end of Game 3, when OKC couldn’t buy a bucket, the Thunder have essentially controlled this series. But Memphis’s crowd is really good, and Tony Allen plays awesome defense, and this series has been so much fun that it has to go to a game 7, just like Boston and Chicago two years ago. We’re thinking Memphis wins an epic barn-burner, but then OKC comes back and kills it in Game 7. But for now, (B) MEMPHIS WINS BY SINGLE DIGITS.
6. THE BOSTON TEMPTATION. Eww. No thanks.
First of all ... I'm just barely able to care about sports again after
the tragedy of the tournament. Very few things have made me as
unhappy, but I'm coming out of it and in to a nice fog of rage I
intend to keep going until we win again. Just be warned.
1. The Internazionali BNL D'italia!
I can't believe I'm doing it, because unlike some blog-authors, I'm not a huge Rafa fan. But I hate Djokovic even more. I mean - he just seems gross. I'm sure he smells bad, and I heard that he likes punching babies.
But- he's gonna win - because that's the way my damn world of sports is going this year. Asshole.
2. The Player's Championship is this weekend.
Ok. First of all - it's not a sport. My overweight grandfather played two or three games of it a week while drunk. He wasn't in shape enough to play sports. Ergo - not a sport. It's a game - or an activity - or something. And really Tiger? Injury? My overweight grandfather played two or three games a week while drunk.
I have to pick people though - so I'm 100% certain that both Ryan Palmer and Graeme McDowell will win the tournament.
3. Red Sox - Yankees.
They're both on a 2-game losing streak, but the Sox are WAY worse than the Yankees this year. So I'm going to pick the Yankees - unless a group of 12 year old girls show up, in which case both teams will lose.
4. Garcia and Beckett. But that's Samuel Beckett, the dead playwright.
5. Finally - a real sport.
I REALLY want Memphis to win, because, I mean Jesus - the only reason they are good is because they have Shane Battier, and he's just willing them to win because he's that badass. However, I think Kevin Durant is tired of this series - so (C) OKC by single digits
6. THE BOSTON TEMPTATION
In Baseball - Tampa Bay is on top of the division and Boston is on the bottom. I think this is telling, and for that reason I'm not rising to the bait. Tampa is going to win. They're also going to go out and run around the Boston Common afterwards all wearing mini-skirts and high-heels before grabbing some ice cream at JP Licks. They like oreo toppings... but not as much as they like sculling.
1. Mmm this is a tough one. Nadal is a baller on clay as everyone knows and Djokovic has somehow strung together an extremely impressive streak of victories. I'm not even going to consider Federer because, sadly, he's past his prime. I think Djokovic will eventually self destruct at some point and Nadal is going to take this fucker down.
2. I don't know anything about golf. I wrote about how much I hate Nascar last week and I hate golf just as much. It's a boring game, I won't even dignify it by calling it a sport. I rage whenever I talk about golf with my Dad because he claims how athletic you need to be to excel at it, then I just point to John Daly and punch him in the dick. Suck it dad. I'll just go with players I recognize so Rory Sabbitini for the international contingent, and Mark O`Meara for the Americans.
3. Supposedly the Red Sox suck this year and the Yankees probably spent 12 billion dollars to lose in 2nd round of the playoffs again. Another sport I hate. Holy shit Shane I'm starting to hate you. I suppose you don't have much choice considering sports in the summer are the most boring thing in the universe. I guess I'll pick the Yankees in this match up, not like it matters because the baseball season is 800 games long.
4. Sabathia, Beckett. Rage.
5. This series has been fantastic. Full of ups and downs (not Zach Randolph since he doesn't jump) and great shots. I think a lot of this comes down to how much Westbrook wants to ballhog and shoot terrible midrange transition jumpers. I think Memphis may be gutted after that 3-OT loss, but I think they will take Game 6. B. Memphis by Single Digits.
6. Oh I'm accepting the Boston temptation. If there's one thing everyone knows about Boston is that it's a city full of assholes. Assholes who love hockey and Kevin Garnett. I'm taking the Bruins to win this game.
1. Well as a statistician and competitive tennis player, I declare with high probability that I am the local tennis pro of Pick Six. I also commend the bold pick of tennis as the first pick of the season premier. I hope it turns out to be the hook that catches unsuspecting internet surfers, holding them entranced for the
duration. May many web hits come your way, Shane.
That said, this is a difficult assignment...like Nadal, I should be stone cold and pick not with my heart, but with the empirical evidence before me. Rafa’s last sacred ground was destroyed by the Djoker last week when he took him down on red clay in SPAIN!!! As much as it pains me, Novak is playing the best in the world right now on all surfaces...I hope that it is just everything coming together for him and that he’s not Djuicing because he is playing as a man possessed. On top of it all, Nadal is sick and who knows how his shape will be in the coming days. Can’t do it...the Djoke is on him...Nadal takes it with a classic final of heart and courage and storms into Roland Garros with all the mo. ¡Vamos Rafa! (or maybe Murray takes ND in Semis, but I’m going with Rafa). Sorry, Now I’ve run out of time...rest will be short this time!
2.Golf: Sorry guys, I’m taking the boring pick: the leader Watney. He has 5/9 top 10 finishes with a win this year and looks tough…here’s hoping the pressure doesn’t get to him. International I pick Rory Sabbatini over my original pick of Graeme McDowell.
3. BoSox or Yankees...Yankees have better record, it’s in NY...gotta go with the Yanks here.
4. Pitchers: No idea, I’ll go with Garcia for NY and Beckett for
the Mighty Mighty Bostons.
5. C- I like Durant.
6. Hockey...are there playoffs going on? I refuse to do any research here. I see Boston is a 3 seed and TB is a 5 seed. The game is in Boston. So I’m guessing that they are the favs. So maybe they have a 70% chance of winning…then by indulging the temptation I have an expected points haul of 0.7(2)+0.3(-2)=0.8 so I must do it...ok I googled something and see that someone I’ve never heard of is out for Boston...they say he’s good…well, I’m not here to puss out...I do hereby accept The Beantown Temptation!
First, I need to clarify one thing after the first-week introductions. While I do maintain that my goal is only to finish in third place, I am further specifying this ambition to include a distinct pecking order one through six, based off my impressions of my so-called competitors.
We all want John to finish last. But I am not prejudging John simply because he is an alumnus of that hilarious “university” down the road, but rather because John appears to enjoy playing this role of the hated competitor, which we can all agree is a little bit played out by this point, thanks to the Jets and the Heat.
5. Craig & Tim
I mean, I don't know where to begin with the problems of these two. First and foremost, of course, is that one of them is named Tim, which means I have to be Tim B., which is shall we say less than ideal. I’ve prided myself for 24 years on being the only Tim my friends knew; even when another kid named Tim showed up in my first-grade class, I wasted no time in coming up with a slick new nickname for him so I could still be the Tim. It worked.
Furthermore, they’re playing the Boston card, which only adds to their co-opting of my identity within the game. Plus, a team? Really? Call me back when you’re old enough to pick six yourself.
4. Swetha & Sabreena
They know what they did.
I will use this brief space to inform Shane that, although he is correct on Fitzgerald having flow and Hemingway lacking it, he is totally wrong about David Foster Wallace, who is doubtlessly America’s finest novelist whose last name does not begin with the letter “F,” if not the greatest without qualification. (This isn't to say DFW has “flow,” which is a different and, in my mind, irrelevant question. J.P. Prince at Tennessee had “flow,” but he is nowhere near the caliber of the most anti-flow basketball player of all-time, Dirk Nowitzki. I just mean to say DFW is far far more than an “interesting plod.”)
Monty’s picture appears to come from a cricket match, and this marks him either as a man of pretentious tastes or stupid ones. It also makes me think he liked the Joseph O’Neill novel Netherland, which everyone said was almost as good as The Great Gatsby but which was, without hyperbole, 1/1000th the novel The Great Gatsby was, primarily because its narrator Hans was a somehow much more milquetoast version of Nick Carraway and its other principal Gatsby-like character, Chuck Ramkissoon, was needlessly mysterious and unexplained. (As an aside, my friend and I once got into an argument
over the greatness of The Great Gatsby, with our different judgments of the book basically deriving from his belief that Daisy Buchanan couldn’t have been worth it and mine that, at the age of 17, she definitely was.)
1. Marc, aka Mr. Intrigue
Although Marc spells his name with a “c” and has bought into popular music’s heinous bastardization of the alias, he did take the time to rant while a returning player, and his avatar includes a sentient bear. And he hates NASCAR. A worthy winner, indeed.
Oh, so there are picks, too:
1. Shane told us to wait until later in the week just in case upsets happened to Nadal, Djokovic, or Federer, which is kind of like saying, “Don’t pick Duke or UNC to win the 2012 ACC title just yet; I hear Tony Bennett’s got some strong recruits this year!” It’s pretty obvious it’s going to be a Nadal-Djokovic final, and it means more to Novak than it does to Rafa. Djokovic 7-5, 3-6, 6-4
Also, can anyone explain why tennis draws don’t pay attention to seeding? Why would No. 1 Rafa play No. 3 Federer in the semis instead of No. 4 Andy Murray? This, my friends, grinds my gears.
2. It’s interesting that the stipulation is to choose one American and one international, and I wonder if Shane did this simply because anyone paying attention to golf probably would have chosen two Europeans. The fact that almost all of the best players right now are European (Kaymer, Westwood, Donald, McIlroy, McDowell) is the second-biggest story in golf (behind Eldrick, obvs), and it will be fascinating how this evolves over the next several years, aside from Europe dominating the Ryder Cup, which will continue to suck. Save us, Rickie Fowler!
Oh, and my picks are banal: Martin Kaymer and Matt Kuchar. (I definitely would have picked Graeme McDowell if permitted two Euros.)
3. Red Sox won two of three at home, Yankees return the favor. Boston can’t win on the road outside of the AL West.
4. The insidious aspect of this question is that Sabathia will almost certainly pitch much longer than Colon and Garcia, and thus have more of an opportunity to allow additional hits. Plus, the Sox knocked around Sabathia pretty good last time around in Fenway, so I’ll go with Garcia.
For the Sox, Beckett leads the league in fewest hits per nine, but he’s already had his good start against the Yankees. Lester bounces back from a bad one in Toronto.
5. This has been a fun but not altogether well-played series, right? That’s the consensus? I can’t watch Greivis Vasquez playing important minutes without thinking about the time Tim Brando called him “the vivacious Venezuelan, from Caracas with love.” Now you can’t either. You’re welcome.
Speaking of Maryland, sad to see Gary go; such a fun foil for years, one who coached up some otherwise mediocre teams (Gilchrist’s ACC champs and Greivis’ co-champs as 4-seeds each come to mind) but also let us dominate the DC recruiting area. Turgeon may be the same: excellent in-game coach, but I wonder if his style — not too dissimilar from Bennett’s in fact — will do much to draw the DC kids to College Park.
And yeah, Memphis sends it to Game 7 with a tight 10-point Game 6 win.
6. Have any of you ever heard Jack Edwards, the Bruins’ NESN play-by-play guy known for his “Mine eyes have seen the glory” call of a US World Cup win, announce a Boston hockey game? Dude did not learn from why he was let go by ESPN. It is jarring to hear such a homer announcer call playoff games, even if they are on the local cable channel. It’s like Hawk Harrelson calling an ALCS involving the White Sox. Furthermore, hockey seems to me the sport most in need of an overhaul in how its announcers call the game. With HDTV, we can see the puck; you don’t have to pretend we’re listening to the game on radio. So drop the “Chara to Horton to Krejci” (those are three Bruins…I have no idea if they play on the same line) patter followed by the “Look at the play Bergeron makes here! Just, wow!” replay provided by the analyst, and tell me what is legitimately going on in the game on a deeper plane. (I still don’t understand the prominent hockey strategy of dumping the puck into the zone; I think 95% of the times this happens is because they’re changing lines, but there are times when it seems as if whoever flings the puck up the boards is thinking, “Yep, this is our best chance to score: an outlet pass to no one in particular.”)
This is all to say that, while Tampa’s won seven straight and Boston eight of nine, the Lightning have a goalie who’s been this far before and the Bruins don’t. Dwayne is gonna Rol-oson the Bruins in Game 1, so I’m resisting the Boston Temptation, the name of which I assume comes from a pick-up move perfected by Thomas Brady.
Let’s get serious for a moment. The past few days have been a bit of an emotional rollercoaster. Excitement as the Bruins swept the Flyers to head to the Eastern Conference Finals, where they get a juicy matchup with the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Lightning are the equivalent of a Mike D’Antoni-coached NBA team. Sure, they might put up be fun to watch because they put up big offensive numbers, but they’ll never win anything because they play no D. However, the joy of having the Bs make a run to the conference finals was tempered by the Celtics’ inability to play the sport basketball down the stretch against the Miami LeWades. Seeing LeBron fake cry after winning a second round playoff series was pathetic. Even more upsetting, Miami is coached by the snozzberry kid from Super Troopers and constantly looks overwhelmed/confused/tripping on mushrooms.
Speaking of the NBA Playoffs (Where David Stern making sure that Miami reaches the Finals happens!), the Celts, Lakers and Spurs were all bounced from the playoffs. Changing of the guard? Maybe. But one thing's for sure. There's gonna be some new blood atop the Pick Six Standings. Out with the old, in with the new. Here goes:
1- The Internazionali BNL D'Italia
First off, has anyone figured out exactly why professional tennis is played on three distinctly different surfaces? Other than tradition, there’s no other explanation. And “that’s the way we’ve always done it” is not a good reason to do anything. Why not play golf on clay? Or basketball on grass? It’s a mystery to everyone.
But what’s not a mystery is who is going to take this tournament. The frontrunner has to be Djokovic, who hasn’t lost this year and has beaten Rafa twice thus far. But I haven’t trusted a Serbian since World War I and I’m not about to start now. Nadal isn’t 100% and almost withdrew from the tournament before the third round. He’s more concerned with prepping for the French Open, anyways. Andy Murray is the biggest British choke artist since Lord Cornwallis- he’ll win battles but can’t win the war. We’re gonna go with Robin Soderling. The Big Swede is due. He plays well on clay (defeating Nadal at Roland Garros in 2009 and Federer in 2010). Plus, his middle name is “Bo Carl”, a pretty great middle name any way you dice it. Big serve, killer forehand. He takes Djokovic out in 3 sets today.
2. Player's Championship.
American - Ben Crane
It's tough to be laying 4 strokes right off the bat, but Ben Crane has been wining and dining Sawgrass for a couple years now, and it's about time TPC put out. Crane has finished in the top 10 at Sawgrass each of the last 2 years.
International - Martin Kaymer
Proven ability to perform under pressure and win a major tournament. Proven ability to hit fairways, which is especially important as the rough at SG thickens out later in the week.
3- Red Sox – Yankees
Red Sox. Rooting for the Yankees is like rooting for the house in blackjack. No one likes that person.
Growing up, being a Sox fan was like being the little brother who was always getting his ass kicked by an older brother (the Yankees). The older brother was bigger, stronger and more popular. he treated his younger brother with disinterested contempt and considered him an annoyance. Little bro harbored lots of smoldering resentment. Then, in 2004, it was like the little brother went to college, started lifting weights, dating the hottest girl in school, and came back home and beat up the older brother for the first time.
2007 was the college graduation. the little brother was now as big or bigger than the big brother, came home from college, beat the shit out of the big brother just for the hell of it, and stole the older brother's girlfriend.
Now they're all grown up and they don't like each other, but there's a perceived level of equality, at least to the rest of the family (MLB). It isnt true. We don't want close, tense games. We want to see the Yanks humiliated every time they step on the field. We want to kick the crap out of the Yanks every game of the year. We want them to fail.
The 2011 Sox haven't rounded into form yet. I think it starts this weekend against the Yanks.
4. Colon = No. Why? His head looks like a skin jar full of pennies.
C.ream C.heese Fatassia = Yes. Why? Because we have to pick one of these losers to win.
Garcia = No. Why? **rhetorical**
Bucholz = No. Why? Lester's too dirty to pick against.
Beckett = No. Why? Lester's too dirty to pick against.
Lester = Yes. Why? Lester's too dirty to pick against.
5- Grizzlies – Thunder
The Grizz got embarrassed the other night by Durant and Co. The Grizzlies' best players are a head case and a bearded Spaniard who looks like a 7-foot hobo. Meanwhile, the Thunder have the best pure scorer in the game in Durant, an emerging star at point guard, some Ibaka guy who only started playing hoops like 2 years ago, and a solid supporting cast. Plus, the Thunder play in Oklahoma City, where I don't believe there is anything other to do than play basketball because the entire state is a barren wasteland. The Grizz will put up a fight, but the Thunder take Game 6 by single digits.
6. THE BOSTON TEMPTATION.
Easiest choice of them all. B's take game one and go on to take the series. I can't wait to watch that retirement community known as Tampa try and muster up some embarrassing semblance of a legitimate fan base in fleeting support of their warm-weather NHL franchise. I guess if I had to rely on a little French jockey like St. Louis to backbone my team I'd be less than enthusiastic too. But at least I wouldn't also have emphysema. Go Bruins.
And that's it for another great week of Pick Six. Lots of highlights, but I particularly enjoyed Tim's shit-talking, Monty's repeated references to young girls, Marc punching his own dad in the penis, and Craig's use of an erotic family metaphor to explain the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry. Well done, everyone.
FA Cup final happening RIGHT NOW, then it's Duke tennis, Duke lacrosse, Red-Sox Yanks! What a day. Enjoy some feel-good 60s tunes, and I will see you all Monday.