I don’t know if I can remember a Tuesday filled with more sports activity than what we had yesterday, and to top things off I had family responsibilities thrown into the mix.
I got a message on Monday night from my dad saying everyone was going to meet at 6:30 yesterday evening at my sister’s house in Napa County for a joint Dad’s Birthday/Father’s Day celebration, smack dab in the middle of Game 3 of the NBA Finals. Here’s how much of a degenerate sports fan I am: when my family saw me walking up to the front door, they exclaimed shock that I even showed up at all, given that the Finals were going on.
And since they all seemed pleasantly surprised that I was able to leave the comfort of my couch, I took that as an opportunity to watch the game until its conclusion — even after the rest of my family left to watch my youngest sister’s boyfriend play hockey against a bunch of geezers.
C’mon, it was the biggest sporting Tuesday in recent memory! No need to ruin it by throwing hockey into the mix (no offense to the hard-working athletes playing recreational hockey all over North America, of course). Here’s what I did notice yesterday, mostly while driving back and forth and listening to the radio:
–Sure, anybody can make mistakes, but there was something almost poetic about hearing Bud Selig botch what century we’re currently in (“in the 19…2009 first year player draft”) while announcing the Giants’ first round draft pick, Zach Wheeler. Even funnier than when Selig called the Giants’ last first round pick “Geraldine Posey.”
–To all those whining about how the Giants Brass should have drafted a position player with the sixth overall pick, here’s why you need to keep quiet:
1. Nobody the Giants could have drafted would help the team anytime soon, so they absolutely had to take the best player available. Plus, it’s not like it’s that hard to make a trade in baseball, regardless of what the Giants have shown over the past couple years.
2. No position players got drafted after Wheeler until the Oakland A’s took USC shortstop Grant Green at No. 13. So, to reach for a hitter at No. 6 would have been like the Raiders selecting Darrius Heyward-Bey with the No. 7 pick in the NFL Draft. Not that the Raiders would do anything that insane.
3. Wheeler throws a slurve. How cool is that? While I appreciate how important the changeup has become in baseball, it seems like everyone’s arsenal has gotten pretty vanilla over the past decade. 2-seam, 4-seam, change, curve, slider and the occasional splitter or sinker. That’s pretty much the standard. I’d love to see a league full of pitchers who can also throw knucklers, screwballs, slurves, knuckle-curves or — my favorite — the Eephus pitch.
–Here’s an interview with Wheeler, along with some video. One noticeable thing besides his plus-velocity: how far he slides his plant foot when he’s in the windup.
–I’ve been checking out the new sports talk station on 860 AM, who now broadcast all the Oakland A’s games all the sudden. I had no idea. Marty Lurie’s A’s pregame show is cool, and I guess Chris Townsend (the ex-KNBR traffic anchor whose role is now held by Dan Dibley or Ray Woodson, however you prefer to look at it) does the 10-1 show at night, but all the Fox Radio stuff I’ve heard is just awful. Around 4 pm yesterday I was pretty sure one of the hosts was growling instead of speaking English. Why is it so hard to find decent national sports talk hosts?
–I had to watch most of the first half of Game 3 with the mute button on, so I almost dropped my Coors Light when I found out the Magic shot 75% from the field in the first half. What, did they secretly replace Orlando’s basket with one of those portable outdoor Huffy hoops where it’s impossible to miss a bank shot as long as you throw the ball hard enough at the backboard?
–Should the Lakers be worried after last night’s loss? Let’s explore:
Kobe played in the second half with about as much energy as Baron Davis possesses when the Clippers hold practice on the morning after a movie premiere afterparty that features unlimited Grey Goose, and missed as many free throws as Dwight Howard did on 6 fewer attempts.
Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom combined for 5 rebounds.
The Magic set NBA Finals records in first half and full game FG%.
The Lakers went 16-for-26 on free throws (thanks, Kobe!).
Mickael Pietrus shot 7-for-11 from the field, 4-for-4 from the line and didn’t step out of bounds once.
The Lakers shot 23 threes while Orlando only took 14 (the NBA isn’t college; usually the team who fewer threes wins).
And even though Orlando seemingly couldn’t miss they only won by 4 points, and that was due more to Kobe’s wheels falling off at the end than anything the Magic did. So we learned that all Orlando needs to do is channel Bill Walton from the 1973 NCAA Championship game and force Kobe to play the worst basketball in his life to become NBA champions. Could happen, I guess. I could also become a right winger for the Sharks. Never know.
–Nice to hear on the way home last night that Juan Uribe and Pablo Sandoval both homered, and this morning I got to see a replay of Fat Ichiro’s bomb. Man, what a shot! Sandoval took a pitch at eye-level and jacked it about 450 feet over the right field bleachers. I’m starting to get an Anthony Randolph level man-crush.
–Oh, and by the way I heard Anthony Morrow refer to Randolph as “Ant” during the Larry Beil postgame show after Game 2 of the Finals. So from now on, it’s “Ant Randolph”, not Tony. My buddy Mac will be very happy.
–Funny thing is, up to that point I wasn’t aware that baseball teams were capable of getting home runs from their first baseman and third baseman in the same game.
–I think I’ve heard the same complaint about Fred Lewis only having 8 RBI’s about nine or ten times over the past 24 hours. His days are numbered.
–With Randy Winn soon to be out the door and Lewis looking like a career fourth or fifth outfielder at best, would the Giants think about signing Jason Bay this offseason? I know everyone’s in love with Matt Holliday, but Bay is close to as good and doesn’t have Scott Boras as his agent. Bay’s agent is Joe Urbon, who also represents Grady Sizemore. Of course, knowing the Giants they’ll probably sign 74-year-old Hideki Matsui and schedule 40 Japanese Heritage Nights next season.
–In some league called the NHL, the Pittsburgh Penguins won Game 6, forcing a Stanley Cup Finals Game 7 on Friday night. I heard this on the radio after the Giants Postgame show. I know it’s Game 7, but I’m still probably not going to watch the whole thing. Why couldn’t my family get-together have been planned for then?