Want to play a little soccer?: Have some Friday flash fun. My high score is pathetic.
Gary Payton for -- Banks?: That's about how the trade boils down; it's Payton, Rick Fox, a 1st round pick, and cash for Marcus Banks, Chris Mihm, Chucky Atkins, and a 2nd round pick. Payton will be wearing the Celtic green. Bill Simmons loves it. I think a lot depends on Delonte West, who had better be ready to play point guard next year when Payton's gone.
This sort of thing: is not going to do my wallet any good; I can tell already. Of course, I'm a sucker for collectible games anyhow. And this looks like even more obsessive fun -- forget about little dinky superheros and knights, let's play with MLB.
But I'm curious. Will this hook any non-gamers? Does the ordinary sports fan find this an acceptable form of fantasy ball? The lead designer is a Strat-O-Matic fan; it's hard to imagine he could capture that sort of complexity in a simple miniatures game, though.
Jim O'Brien joins Byron Scott: on the unemployment line. Not surprisingly, it's the result of a major argument about "personnel and playing time issues" between him and Danny Ainge. You could pretty much see this coming; Ainge has been trading away O'Brien's favorite players (Walker and Williams and Battie) all season long, and O'Brien hasn't done a great job developing Ainge's draft picks.
You have to wonder if the defensive coaching genius, Dick Harter, will depart with O'Brien. He's a big part of whatever success the Celtics have had recently, and it'd hurt a lot to lose him. For that matter, who will the Celtics get to replace O'Brien? John Carroll gets it in the short run; is this Dennis Johnson's big chance to come back and coach for a teammate?
Vin Baker says he's not drinking,: but the word on the street (no permalinks, sorry) is that he was just suspended for three games. The Dirt Dogs probably picked it up from WEEI, which just aired the story. Baker's been in a major slump for a little while now, averaging only 3 points over his last four games. Coach O'Brien, in his pre-game interview yesterday, said that he thought Baker had been slumping for over a month. Some local fans asked if Baker'd been drinking again, but I don't think anyone wanted to believe it. I certainly didn't, and I wish Baker the best of luck.
Schilling makes the leap: and now countless New England fans pray that he'll look good in crimson hosiery. The previous 24 hours have been fairly unusual; Curt Schilling not only posted on the Red Sox message board, but it's a fairly open secret that he dropped by the most popular Red Sox fan site for an impromptu live chat or two. It's not every top tier free agent who fires up his computer in the wee hours of the morning to take the temperature of his potential fans.
The results are in, : and as expected, it's Halladay by several lengths. Loaiza comes in second, and Martinez sneaks past Hudson for third. Bringing up the pack, it's Hudson, Moyer, Pettitte, Foulke, and Santana. Baseball Prospectus writers agree, at least about first place, as do their readers. Wins still matter, it would seem.
The candidates for the Basketball Hall of Fame were announced today,: and boy are my arms tired. No, wait. Parish is an obvious choice, but what about the rest of them? You can make an excellent case for Chick Hearn... but Johnny Most isn't in there. Worthy and DJ have been passed over before. Who deserves it, and who's gonna be passed over unfairly?
Meanwhile, the US wins it all: at the Women's World Basketball Championship. It wasn't a walkover, either; the final score of the final game was 79-74, US over Russia. (OK, they won their other games by an average of 30 points.) No more excuses about the tough NBA schedule getting in the way of the men, please.
So much for sanity.: Although the MLB players elected not to set a hard strike date earlier this week, the Washington Post reports that the strike date will be set to August 30th if no progress is made in the talks by this Friday. One imagines the leak is purposeful, to put some pressure on the owners without actually taking the dangerous step of choosing a date.
The NBA institutes instant replay, as expected.: After the playoff issues this year, it's no surprise. Instant replay will also be used to determine if someone's on the three point line, and if a called foul came after time expired. Is this meaningful, or just a response to a hot issue? What about the oft-miscalled issues that instant replay can't cover? Will we ever get instant replay for travelling calls and non-calls?
NBA playoffs well underway? : Wow, I must have slept longer than I thought last night. According to NBA.com, the Celtics beat the Hornets 3-0, the Nets are up 2 games to 1 over the Raptors, the Bucks are surprising the Pistons 2 to 1, and the Sixers are beating the Magic 2 to 1. Meanwhile, in the West, the Lakers swept the Blazers, the Kings are up on Utah 2 games to 1, the Sonics are upsetting the Spurs 2 to 1, and the Mavs have the Wolves under control -- also 2 to 1.
This has gotta be some kind of test content (and I'm sure it'll be gone by tomorrow) but someone's going to be very embarassed about letting it slip out onto the site. It's not quite self-consistent -- one of the sidebars shows Charlotte beating the Bucks 4-2 to face Detroit in the Eastern Finals. Funny.
Nolan Richardson's contract has been bought out: after he claimed he was treated differently due to his race. Seems to me that it's not so much a racial issue as a story about how quickly we forget a coach's record during one sub-par season -- and who can blame Richardson for lashing out?