I was busy doing yardwork today and totally spaced posting. I don't really have much to say, though. Clearly I didn't give it much thought. The Pacers had a bad 4th quarter to lose to the Nets last night, but the Pacers haven't had any trouble with them in their earlier games, so it's easy to shrug that one off. They should bounce back against Washington tonight.
Speaking of, the Pacers should have a very favorable schedule in April, so look for them to make a move in the standings. Unfortunately, they can only go so far, thanks to the Bulls owning the best record in the conference. Oh well. They should get a good draw in the playoffs regardless.
Over on the hockey side of things, the Blackhawks have a huge game tonight with the Blues. The Blues are tied with the Rangers with 105 points to sit atop the NHL. The Blackhawks are still just three points back of the Predators, with a game against Nashville coming up. Two points tonight would be excellent. Then they have two against the scuffling Wild before finishing things up with the Red Wings. I talked about whether the Blackhawks really want to move out of sixth place, though. I'm not convinced. But, I suppose the goal should always be to get the best record you can muster.
The Blackhawks lost last night in a shoot out to the Devils. If they played that same game against maybe any other team in the league, they probably would have won 4-1 in regulation. As it was, though, they ran into quite possibly the greatest goalie of all time, Marty Brodeur. Unfortunate, but it's still worth a point, so not all was lost. Chicago has five games left in the regular season. They have a little bit of a cushion behind them, so I don't think they'll go in any worse than sixth, which is where they are now. Typically, I would say three points wouldn't be too much to make up, but in only five games, it might be tough. Not impossible, but tough.
There are some good things to think that the Blackhawks might be able to bump up to fifth, though. For one, they play the Predators during this last stretch, which will be a huge game for both sides. They also play the Wild twice, which has been such a different team after the all-star break that it's confusing. Here's another rub, though. It's probably better off to finish sixth.
The sixth place team takes on the third place team, which seems normal enough. Except, in hockey, the third place team is the worst division winner, which at the moment is the Sharks, who have 88 points. That would barely be good enough for a playoff spot at all and would make them better than only the Blue Jackets if they were in the same division as the Blackhawks. Whoever finishes fifth gets the Red Wings. You tell me who sounds like the easier out in the first round.
In other news, baseball kicked off for real games, except that they are in Japan, so almost nobody will watch stateside. I'm told it's good for the MLB and getting the best Japanese players to come over, so I won't complain too much. But I sure didn't watch an inning of it and had forgotten about it, to be honest. My head still has April 4 as opening day in my head, though April 5 is more accurate. April 4 happens to be my brother-in-law's birthday, though, so it's easy to remember. That's just before hockey playoffs start, though, so I can take a day off from paying attention to hockey to take in all the glory that is Opening Day. No league does openers half as well as MLB.
I'm watching last night's Pacers-Heat game, which I've sort of spoiled for myself. I saw the Pacers won on Facebook, but I didn't see the score. It's a very good win. Not as good as it would be in Miami, but I'll take beating the Heat anywhere.
Not really related to anything else, but I'm also not sure how I feel about the crowd last night. There seemed to be a pretty even split between people rooting for the Pacers and people rooting for the Heat. I doubt that many people from Miami made the trip to Indy for a game on a Monday night. So, apparently, the Pacers aren't getting the crowds they should because they are much, much improved, but bandwagon fans that just want to see the Wade-LeBron thing will get a ticket. Still, there were more boos for the Heat than there probably would have been two years ago. Or even just one year ago. So, it's progress, I suppose.
Also, I'm happy to say that Jeff Foster looks like he might be on the Austin Croshere plan. Beloved workman player that finds a home on the Pacers broadcast. I like Croshere a lot, but I think Jeff Foster will prove to be even more popular and might end up bumping Croshere off the team. Or, since they got rid of Stacy Paetz, maybe they'll take off the new blonde girl* and just have the pregame crew of Croshere-Foster. Apparently they are still great friends. Could be worth trying.
*The new girl, Brooke Olzendam (yes, I had to look it up), is no Stacy Paetz. Stacy did a phenomenal job being the sideline reporter, along with being on the pre- and post-game shows. She added good information and talked like she really knew the game and the team. Which she most likely did, as she talked about playing basketball when she was a student at WeBo. Or Western Boone, as people from outside this part of Indiana would know it. And maybe that basketball/local knowledge had something to do with it, but I think Stacy is hotter than the new girl. Not that that's the deciding factor, but it's there for whatever it's worth.
It's halftime now when I'm watching the game, so I need to watch this second half. I'm guessing it would be nailbiter if I didn't
Blog writing might suffer a bit in the next few weeks. My wife had a day getting her hair done and doing a little shopping. She felt a little guilty about spending money, which I have been assuring her for weeks that it's no big deal. But, to assuage her guilt, she bought me Mass Effect 3. I stayed up until 3 in the morning last night playing it.
I really love the Mass Effect series. But, I have a feeling I'm going to end up liking the second two installments much less than the first. The stories are still good, but a huge, huge part of the enjoyment of the first game was the wonder and excitement of learning about the universe and races created to weave the story. There's not too much more to learn about that after the first game. That's going to affect any sequel, though, so I shouldn't really complain.
Anyway, on that note, I'm off to play more. We'll see if I stop sometime before Wednesday.
I don't think this will be as long as the last one, though.
This here is Heejun Han, who I have posted before is my favorite singer on American Idol, which I watch because my wonderful wife does.
He has been raked through the coals lately, and I really thought would go home last night. He pulled through, finishing 9th (out of 10) in fan voting last night. His time on Idol is probably coming to an end, which I'm actually okay with. He isn't the best singer on the competition. But I still have a bone to pick.
He may not be the best singer, but there is a very good argument that he is the most entertaining singer. He clearly has a goofy personality, and he really let that shine in this past week's performance. I actually thought his was one of the better performances in a night of badly butchered Billy Joel.* And he was killed for it.
*In the interest of full disclosure, my dad is a big fan of Billy Joel, which is probably why I too am a big fan of Billy Joel. Could also be why my older (half) brother is, too, but that might be a little more complicated. Too complicated to delve into here, for sure. Especially without his input.
I don't understand why he got hammered so hard. He was staying true to himself and having fun. If you can't have fun with music, then why are you doing it? My (apparent) nemesis, Jimmy Iovine, keeps saying Heejun needs to take things more seriously and doesn't know if he's a singer or a comedian. I just want to know why a singing competition is such a serious matter. I would rather have a million more performances like Heejun's than another pageant singer belting out yet another power tune without giving me anything interesting to watch.
When you boil it down, American Idol is essentially the world's biggest karaoke competition. If you can't have fun doing karaoke, then you're doing it wrong. Keep doing what you're doing, Heejun. You, sir, are doing it right. And maybe you're
People who aren't Pacer fans might not quite understand this post. Was Jeff Foster Reggie Miller? No, but he definitely carved out a niche for himself in the heart of Pacer fans. After thirteen years, spent entirely in blue and gold, Jeff Foster is calling it a career because his back just won't hold up.
This is at least a half season too late, maybe two years. Foster's back had been an issue for some time. But no Pacer fan was going to be upset at Foster for trying to fight through. He was never an all-star, and spent a lot of his career coming off the bench. But nobody played harder or more workman like than Jeff Foster. You don't finish your career in the top five or ten in rebound rate if you don't work your ass off around the rim.
More than that, though, Foster provided a link. He was the last player left in Indianapolis that was on the finals team. He didn't play too much on that team, but he was there and had a few moments that year. He was there during the good times after the finals, when the Pacers should have gotten by the Pistons to get another crack at the finals and probably would have won. He was there for the brawl. He was there for the lean years after the brawl. He was there for the resurgence and getting back to the playoffs.*
*Though Derrick Rose probably wishes he hadn't been. But then again, I don't think Derrick Rose really knew what an NBA playoff foul was really like. Jeff Foster was more than happy to show him.
He could have left for greener pastures. Nobody would have blamed him. In fact, a lot of people were really hoping he would go sign a year or two deal with somebody like the Spurs, because they thought Foster deserved a better ending to his career than what the Pacers could provide him. But he didn't. Now he will be mentioned in the same breath and probably every bit as warmly as Reggie Miller. And in Indiana, that's really saying something. Maybe the highest basketball honor you can get in the state.
Thank you, Jeff Foster. You were a joy to watch and you will be missed. I'm sure there is a coaching or TV job with the Pacers if you want it. And selfishly
I don't have any one topic prepared today, so I'm just going to go off on some tangents. I wouldn't put this one in my portfolio, so if you skip today, I understand.
First off, though, and I hope you all bear with me on this one, you might need to pay special attention to the end rounds of the NFL Draft this year, or the free agent signings immediately following the draft. Wabash football coach Erik Raeburn tweeted out last night that he was contacted by some NFL scouts for tape on wide receiver/kick returner extraordinaire Wes Chamblee and dominant linebacker CJ Gum. It would pretty cool if one or both could get into the NFL. I don't think Wabash has had an NFL player since Pete Metzelaars, and he acquitted himself pretty well.
Also, I just read about the bigger NFL news today. Tebow to the Jets? What on Earth does that do for their team other than get some press? It definitely doesn't help in any sort of football way. I guess we'll see what the plans are, but consider me very skeptical.
Also just saw the Sean Payton is out of coaching for a year, and we might not ever see Gregg Williams back. Those are some pretty harsh penalties, and I'm sure we've just seen the tip of the iceberg, so to speak. I think you'll see some hefty player penalties following soon.
The Pacers and Blackhawks cruised to victories last night. The Blackhawks beating the Blue Jackets felt more like a formality, but the Pacers have no trouble with the Clippers sure felt nice. Especially after losing their way against the Knicks. Even better was watching Leandro Barbosa making his Pacer debut. There are worse ways to make an impression than scoring 12 points in 19 minutes. You might remember Barbosa was a big part of the more successful Suns teams of the Steve Nash era. The Pacers picked him up for a "future second round pick" from the Raptors. That was about the only move the Pacers made at the deadline, and I was more than okay with it. I think he will make for a welcome addition to the team. I just wish he didn't wear the same sleeve as Danny Granger, as that can get confusing at first glance on TV. Not much of a gripe, I know.
All right, I think I've put off mowing the yard long enough. The mower wouldn't start the first try, so I let it sit just in case I flooded the engine with gas. How ridiculous is it that I'm mowing in March?
No real post today. I'm writing a pilot for a TV series I'm calling Behind the Scenes. Will it go anywhere? Probably not, but I'm amusing myself, which is in dreadfully short supply right now. I did want to point out, though, that I've added a search box over on the side bar. It is a custom search for the site, so it should make finding some classic posts much easier to find. Give it a spin.
As you have probably guessed, I take sports a little more seriously than I should. As such, I can get into some pretty serious depressions when my teams lose in heartbreaking fashion. It would certainly be helpful if I were to cheer for some more successful, or at least less cursed, teams.
Last night is one of those losses. I wasn't expecting much out of Purdue last night, but after holding a lead, sometimes a double-digit, lead for 39 mintues and change of a 40 minute game only to lose by three, well, I have a hard time dealing with that.
Couple with that all the crap that has happened to me in the last few months and contemplating a move I don't really want to make but might be necessary, well, I just don't feel up to writing very much today. I might be back with more tomorrow. We'll see. I might do some other creative writing instead.
Well, all I did yesterday was watch basketball. That's all I plan on doing today, too.
I did pretty well on my bracket. I missed three games, two of which were only supposed to win a single game. Those were Colorado St. and UNLV, if you're curious. The other was Wichita St., which I had getting to the Sweet 16. No big losses yet.
Syracuse would have been a big loss, but I would have liked to see it. I still think we should have seen it, too. A goaltend that went uncalled, eerily similar to when Syracuse squeaked by West Virginia. A three-pointer that hit the top of the backboard. A lane violation. An shamefully wrong out-of-bounds call. Add to that I thought Asheville was getting the short end of the contact stick all game long, and I think the Bulldogs were robbed.
Part of the problem, though, is I think Reggie was thinking of professional rules the whole time. Now, obviously I am a huge, huge fan of Reggie Miller and would never talk bad about him. But I think his interpretation of both the backboard rule and the lane rule I don't think were right for the college game.
Let's start with the backboard rule. What happened in the Syracuse game was the Orange launched a three from the corner. It hit the top of the backboard. With Asheville players pointing towards the sky, Syracuse took the rebound and put it in. Reggie said it didn't hit the shot clock or any other piece of equipment, so that was kosher. That's true in the NBA, but I'm not as convinced about the NCAA. If that were the rule, then rebounds that go over the backboard but don't hit anything shouldn't be waved off as out-of-bounds, which definitely happened in the disappointing IU-NM St. game.
The lane violation I still don't know if it were a bad call or not, to be honest. Again, in the NBA, it was clearly a bad call, as you can get into the lane or cross the three point line as soon as the ball leaves his hands. I'm not as confident in this one, but I thought the ball had to hit the rim before those things can happen in college ball. I'd like to get better clarification on that rule from somebody who wasn't one of the terrible refs or a coach in that game before I really decide how terrible that call was.
The out-of-bounds play is what really burned me. There was no question whatsoever that the ball went out off of Syracuse. None at all. No matter how many times you look at it, Asheville did not come close to touching that ball. The only explanation is they called the ball out of bounds for Syracuse instead of calling a foul on Asheville. That happens, we all know that happens. But that can't happen at that moment in that game. Including yesterday's games, 1 seeds are 109-0 against 16 seeds. There have been some close calls, but nobody has ever climbed that mountain. In a game that tight and that historic, you need to call that game as you see it. If there was a foul, call the foul. If you didn't call the foul, then you need to call the ball as it went. No trade offs. All you're going to do is piss off the nation and could very well keep you from ever doing a tournament game again. You know that call is going come up again and again during tournament coverage and every time there's a close call with a 1 seed. And you're going to get folks upset about it all over again.
All right, games start in under an hour. Got to get ready for another day on the couch.