Wednesday, April 30, 2008
I don't really pay attention to hockey. I like to watch it in HD because the ice looks shiny, but that's about it. I did give the ice skaters some love with an earlier playoff preview post, though, and here comes another one. Rangers forward Sean Avery suffered a lacerated spleen during Tuesday's game against the Penguins and will be out for the remainder of the playoffs. That sounds like an incredibly painful injury but in true hockey-player fashion, Avery felt the pain during the game but kept playing. He was driven to the hospital after the game and diagnosed.
Sunday, April 27, 2008
My alma mater, SUNY Cortland, will be hosting a former member of the New York Knicks organization who will address the students at the Sport Management Awards Ceremony on May 1st. No, not Isiah Thomas. It's the woman he sexually harassed, Anucha Browne-Sanders. Aside from working in sport management with the Knicks, IBM (not sure how much sports related marketing they're doing, but okay) and currently at the University at Buffalo, Browne-Sanders was also two-time Big Ten Player of the Year at Northwestern. The ceremony is put together by my former professor Dan DePerno who taught me in - believe it or not - Fantasy Sports & Video Games, an online summer session course. Though almost everyone knows Browne-Sanders from the sexual harassment case, she is a relevant figure to have speak to the Sports Management program. She is an African-American woman who has held prominent positions in her field, which is dominated by white men - like most other fields. She can share some of her experiences and insight with young adults about the embark on a similar voyage.
The Giants wrapped up their 2008 Draft by taking QB Andre Woodson from Kentucky and DE Robert Henderson from Southern Mississippi, with the 198 and 199 picks, respectively. Woodson is a bit of a surprise, since the Giants signed David Carr earlier in the off-season to backup Eli Manning and already have Jared Lorenzon, another Kentucky alum, on the roster. It seems like the "Hefty Lefty" will be the odd man out. In the third round, the defending Super Bowl champs took WR Mario Manningham, who finished 2007 with over 1,000 yards and 12 touchdowns. On the field, he's a number one pick. Off it, he smokes weed and scores a 6 out of 50 on the Wonderlic test. That's a pretty low score, but if I remember correctly Vince Young didn't score so well either. And I don't care if this guy knows what time a train traveling 60 MPH will get to Chicago, I care if he can run past DBs and catch the ball. If he can play in the NFL like he did in college, he will be a serious threat to compliment Plaxico Burress, Amani Toomer and Steve Smith. Many compare Mario's situation with Ahmad Bradshaw's of a year ago. The Giants were able to keep him on the straight and narrow. I don't know a whole lot about the other picks the G-Men made on day two, but Giants.com writer Michael Eisen does.
Saturday, April 26, 2008
The first two rounds of the NFL Draft came and went on Saturday. Here's my thoughts: - I was surprised that the Patriots took Jerod Mayo at #10 overall, especially when he was picked in some mock drafts to go to the Giants at #31. Thought that one was a little bit of a stretch. - I realized that Matt Ryan and Ryan Leaf are decent lookalikes. Bob Glauber agrees. I'm looking for good pics and that one will be up soon. - Brian Brohm to Green Bay might be an indication as to how they feel about Aaron Rodgers in Wisconsin. - The Dolphins scooped up Chad Henne, which I thought was a good move. Who knows what you have with John Beck? It's also a low cost gamble because he was drafted late in the second round. The same could be said for Brohm. - I was hoping the Saints wouldn't be the ones making the pick at #40, wishing that they made a trade for Jeremy Shockey. Apparently New Orleans' offer wasn't good enough to pry the 4-time Pro-Bowler away from the Giants. - Washington had a nice first two rounds, taking WR's Devin Thomas and Malcolm Kelly and TE Fred Davis. Washington Post blogger Jason La Canfora doesn't agree. - Really thought the Giants would take Dan Connor at #63 overall, but instead went with USC CB Terrell Thomas. They definitely need the secondary help, so this was a good pick. Maybe they think Connor will fall all the way to the end of the third?
My gut feeling - and hope - is that the Super Bowl Champion New York Giants will trade Jeremy Shockey at some point today as we head into the 2008 NFL Draft. I've been a supporter of the "Trade the Disgruntled Tight End" movement since rumors started flying days after the G-Men knocked off the then-undefeated Patriots. FOX Sports.com's Jay Glazer is reporting, as of 10:30 this morning, that a deal between the Saints and Giants is inching closer to completion. The deal would be Shockey for the Saints 2nd rounder this year and either their 2008 6th round pick or the 2009 5th round pick. My feeling is that Shockey is almost an outsider. The fans certainly will treat him differently, knowing that the Giants won it all without a playmaking tight end. Some even prefer Kevin Boss as the starter. I don't know if Boss is all that everyone is saying he is but can probably do the job. Shockey never comes to the summer workouts to work with Eli Manning and get timing and routine down. Contrast that with Plaxico Burress playing through an ankle-injury all season and it makes you think Shockey might have lost some of the respect of his teammates as well. At one point, Shockey said he wasn't sure if he would even go to the Super Bowl and be with his teammates. It's mostly a character issue. Shockey isn't the type of guy that wants to fit in and do what is right. He wants the attention, he wants to pump his chest after catching a ball even though he dropped the last four, he wants to spike the ball after an eight yard gain. That's not what the Giants need. Jeremy Shockey is still one of the top five best tight end's in the NFL, don't get me wrong, but he's never played in all 16 games in a season. Add these injury concerns with all the other things and it seems like an easy trade.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Here's Jeff Van Gundy, who recently said he would not be interested in coaching the Knicks again. Next to him is the late Vincent Schiavelli, most memorable as the "Subway Ghost" in Ghost. Schiavelli appeared in over 120 movies and also authored a few cookbooks. Aside from coaching, Van Gundy is an analyst for ABC/ESPN. The similarities are eerie!
Monday, April 21, 2008
Sunday, April 20, 2008
Saturday, April 19, 2008
The fate of Isiah Thomas was finally delivered Friday by new Knicks team president Donnie Walsh. Thomas will stay with the organization as an adviser to Walsh, though he does not have an official title. That is almost as embarrassing as just being axed; you have the shame of being around the organization that you helped destroy in a much smaller and less meaningful capacity. Honestly, how much weight is Isiah's opinion on trades going to hold with Walsh? Judging by Thomas' past, I don't think very much. Everyone knows that even though Walsh has full control and reports only to James Dolan, this was the owner's wish. It makes sense to keep him around in some way just so he can finish out the contract. The Knicks, historically, haven't been shy about terminating people and still paying them. (See: Shandon Anderson, Larry Brown) This time Dolan must figure if he's got to pay the guy anyway, make him at least do something. Thomas will probably be kept out of the spotlight and won't do anything to breach the contract. It's easy money for him. Plus, he will be a good scout of young talent, giving his opinion to Walsh and his crew, then Walsh will do what he chooses with that information. Hopefully he won't be fooled like the rest of us have been by Isiah.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
We learned a lot from Greg Anthony today on ESPN's First Take while he was discussing the future of the Knicks. When asked who the next head coach should be, Anthony said Mark Jackson. He went on to explain all the intangibles Jackson would bring and his close relationship with Donnie Walsh. Skip Bayless, providing his counterpoint, suggested that Anthony himself should coach the Knicks and told GA that he would be a better coach than "Action" Jackson because he would preach defense. Anthony then revealed that he would prefer not to be an "out-front guy," instead wishing to be in a general managing capacity. The former point guard then said that he had spoken to Walsh and Jackson was high on the Knicks list. A lot of intriguing information there. Is it Greg Anthony making a sales pitch for himself to Donnie Walsh? Or does Anthony just know more than we think?
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
New York Yankees reliever LaTroy Hawkins has heard enough of the fans heckling over his choice of uniform number. He's decided to switch from Paul O'Neill's former number 21 to 22, something many Yankees fans will like. I believe after one performance last week I even said sarcastically, "Yeah, this guy's worthy of O'Neill's number." I know Yankees fans catch some flack for loving the former right fielder too much, but the guy stood for the passion that the "dynasty" teams were about. Not that smashing water coolers is necessary but he's an admired Yankee who played with the franchise longer than Reggie Jackson, whose number 44 is hanging behind the left field wall at Yankee Stadium. And O'Neill was pretty good, too.
Monday, April 14, 2008
It seems a little strange to me that Wilson Betemit was the one the Yankees placed on the disabled list today to clear room for catcher Chad Moeller, especially when Jose Molina was the injury that required calling Moeller up. Betemit, according to the Yankees, has conjunctivitis, or pink eye. The reason this is fishy is that last week when the Yanks needed to make room for Alberto Gonzalez there was speculation that they wanted to send down Morgan Ensberg, who had no signs of injury. New York would instead send Shelley Duncan to Scranton-Wilkes Barre. I'm not saying it isn't true but the timing is just a little odd that the same day the Yankees need to clear a roster spot, a guy gets pink eye so bad that he needs to go on the 15-day DL.
Tonight's YES Network broadcast team for the Rays vs. Yankees matchup was Ken Singleton and John Flaherty. Usually when these two pair up, Singleton handles the play-by-play duties and Flaherty is the wingman, providing analysis and color commentary. But tonight it seemed like after the first inning, Singleton was letting Flaherty try the play-by-play and it just seemed awkward. Flaherty should not be the one in charge of carrying the broadcast, which is essentially what the PBP guy has to do sometimes. Singleton kept trying to help but when Flaherty was on his own, it was like watching a bad college station. Not my alma mater's CSTV, of course. Flaherty showed no emotion and sounded almost comical at times. I never thought I'd say I missed Michael Kay's verbal wizardry.
Cris Carter made his debut on ESPN tonight, stepping right into Sean Salisbury's place on the "4 Downs" segment of SportsCenter. Carter is a very knowledgeable analyst and is a great addition to "the worldwide leader." Carter doesn't come off as arrogant, like Salisbury sometimes did. I also liked how John Clayton was willing to argue with him right off the bat, perhaps a sign that this incarnation of 4 Downs will be just as fiery as the last. Carter knew his stats, too, like when discussing Adam "Pacman" Jones, he busted out a stat that the average career of an NFL player is 3.2 years. Now they just need to get rid of Emmitt Smith.
Newsday's Jim Baumbach has something you don't hear very often: A positive story about Alex Rodriguez. Apparently three years ago while in Boston, A-Rod saved an 11-year-old boy from a truck. I thought I had better get this one up here before Newsday realizes what happened and removes this article, as it clearly violates the "no cheerful A-Rod news" embargo that the New York media has created.
All week long before a golf tournament, the buzz is about Tiger Woods. It's not who will win or lose, it's whether or not Tiger will win or lose. It's almost made to seem as though if anyone else wins, it's because Tiger lost. After the tournament is over and Tiger hasn't won, we get articles like this one by Michael Rosenberg of the Detroit Free Press, which almost shames Tiger for not ever winning a major when trailing after 54 holes. That's a little much, don't you think? The guy is the best golfer of all time. This article by Rosenberg just reaffirms my first paragraph, that it's all about Tiger and no one else. Instead of a column about 2008 Masters champion Trevor Immelman, it's about Woods not winning.
I overheard some people talking today about blogging and how silly it is. Blogging, though it's been around for quite some time, is finally starting to hit the mainstream and that's why there's all this discussion. All of these people are just finding out about blogging and want to act like they are an authority on how dumb it is. Obviously being a blogger myself, I'm going to have a semi-biased opinion here, but let's break it down this way. What's the difference between blogging about some topic on the internet and talking about some topic at work between a few people? At least if I'm blogging and you don't want to hear about it, you scroll down or navigate away from the page. If I'm standing by a cubicle, waxing poetic about the Yankees struggling offense, you're trapped. What I've found, though, is that most people who bitch about blogging are idiots. Sorry to be so blunt, but it's true. These people are so scared of self-expression and having their own opinions that they resent people that do it. Forgive me that I'm willing to stand up next to my viewpoints and I'm not trying to just go with the flow, swallowing up the opinions that are being force-fed to me, whether it be sports, politics, or life. I heard one person say today about bloggers, "They need to get a life!" That makes sense, because watching that "Law & Order" marathon all weekend on TNT shows you have it all together.
Sunday, April 13, 2008
Back after a short hiatus, grab your board and let's go surfing around the world wide web. Here's what's in the news and the blogosphere on this Sunday afternoon. - I'm not going to mention how Johan Santana, the Mets ace, is 1-2 with a 3.05 ERA and Chien-Ming Wang, the Yankees ace, is 3-0 with a 1.25 ERA. Oh wait, I just did. Anyway, the media, especially SNY, was eager to discuss whether or not Wang was an ace after the Mets acquired Johan, often saying that CM Wang wasn't. But Wang looks different this year, striking out more and not relying so much on the defense around him to make plays. Yes, it's very early in the season and I'm assuming Santana will come around and Wang will get roughed up here and there. We thought Barry Zito would come around last year, though, and we're all still waiting. After Santana was boo'ed when he left the game yesterday, he said of the fans, "If they boo, that's fine. That's the history they've got from not being so good, I guess." That quote alone just made me like him again. - The infamous "shirt" was removed from the concrete at the new Yankee Stadium construction site. The Yankees denied that the shirt ever got put in the concrete in the first place, but today it was removed after workers pinpointed where the burial spot was. The Yankees will donate the shirt for charity auction and are considering a lawsuit against he worker. That seems a little harsh, but they did have to go out of their way to remove the shirt. Can they convict on terms of superstition in the court of law? - Newsday's Ken Berger has a look at what it will take for the Knicks to land LeBron James when he becomes a free agent. This shows how pathetic the Knicks are when we're looking to the summer of 2010 already. Berger also asserts that the Nets will be another appealing option to LBJ if the team's move to Brooklyn is set by then. And don't forget about Bron Bron's relationship with Nets part-owner Jay Z. Then again, LeBron has the world in his hands in Cleveland and might choose to stay there. - Speaking of the Knickerbockers, the New York Post's Marc Berman is reporting that assistant coach Herb Williams is likely the only one who will survive the impending changes that Donnie Walsh will bring. Williams has always been a favorite of Knicks fans, James Dolan and Walsh, and is even being considered as the next head coach. Berman reports Mark Jackson has emerged as the front-runner, which I would like but don't know if there's any evidence out there to support that.
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
The WNBA Draft was held today and Candace Parker was the #1 overall selection by the Los Angeles Sparks. Yes, that Candace Parker that led the Tennessee Volunteers to their second-straight Women's National Title last night. I know this is nothing new, but it's still so odd that they conduct the draft right after the final. Couldn't they wait a week or so, just to let the players kind of bask in the glory of their huge victory? And speaking of Parker, how silly did she look last night wearing a long sleeve tee-shirt underneath her jersey? Was it cold in there? I've always hated when guys wear a t-shirt under their uniform, especially the extra baggy ones. Sleeveless undergarments are okay, like the Under Armour ones that are just a little wider at the shoulder than the uniform. But the long sleeve tee is reminiscent of when Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade started wearing black tights a few years back. Whether there's an actual reason for it or not, it just looks out of place. Now I sound like a grumpy old sportswriter who thinks things should always be the way they were back in "the good old days."
For those of you who don't live in Canada or love the winter, I thought I'd remind you that the NHL Playoffs begin today. I can count on one hand how many hockey games I've watched for more than five minutes this year, so you're not alone. I thought I'd round up some information from the web so you can catch up if you're interested. And if you have HD, hockey looks great. Besides that, playoff hockey is usual intense and entertaining because the crowd is in it. - ESPN.com's Scott Burnside gives us the top ten story lines to watch for. - The playoff television schedule from NHL.com (That's the first time I've ever typed that into any browser, by the way.) - Al Strachan contributes this series-by-series preview of the first round to FOX Sports.com. - Newsday's Steve Zipay offers another look at the opening round.
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
I was saying to people during this year's NCAA Tournament that it just wasn't that exciting to me for some reason. Possibly because my beloved Syracuse Orange(men) failed to make the field of 65 and I had lost some interest before it even started. While watching it, though, I saw a tournament filled with one-sided wins and few entertaining games. Last night's Championship game redeemed some of the tourney's value, but overall it wasn't very exciting. I vaguely remember watching "Scrubs" instead of some of the Thursday night games. That's no knock on "Scrubs," either. I'm just saying, entertaining basketball will always win over any other program. Unfortunately, hoops didn't win this time around. Neil Best blogged today on Watchdog that perhaps more Americans agreed with me. The ratings for this year's "Big Dance" were the second-lowest ever.
Monday, April 7, 2008
We heard about it all season long. Memphis was a poor free throw shooting team. Then John Calipari had a great rant on ESPN about how one person said it and then Dick Vitale said it and then everyone said it. As it turned out tonight, the team's shooting from the charity stripe was their downfall. They had so many opportunities to win the game at the line, and win me the work pool, but could not execute. Maybe it's because they hadn't been in many close games. Maybe it was fatigue. In the overtime, it was definitely the lack of Joey Dorsey to help on the inside. Kansas was scoring at will. In what was probably Derrick Rose's last game, the guard came up short. And Memphis, with the record 38 wins, has nothing to show for their otherwise magical season.
Since Bob Glauber has been taking some time away from blogging, I'll submit a lookalike and see if he likes it as well. It's the former Yankees right fielder and current YES Network broadcaster Paul O'Neill and former Cheers star Ted Danson, who portrayed fictional former Red Sox pitcher Sam "Mayday" Malone.
Did anyone else find it weird that Roy Williams was on the CBS Halftime show just now wearing a Kansas shirt under his blazer? I know he used to coach there, and there are ties to old employers no matter what the profession. But wouldn't it piss you off if your head coach was on national TV wearing the logo of the school that beat you two days ago? Imagine the Dodgers losing to the Yankees in the World Series, which I hope is the real outcome this year, and Joe Torre is just trotting around the late night talk circuit wearing his Yankees hat again. Or Johnny Damon whips out a Red Sox hat for a postgame interview. But now, for the first time in blog history, I will post a counterpoint to my own argument in the same post. It's a viewpoint given to me by my good friend Billy Lawrence. He says: "See, college is different, there's alums and regardless of where they go in life, they'll always root for them. H
e was probably honored to play the team that he coached, unfortunately they lost, but he still helped make the program what it is, and he loves the school. So why not root for them?"
He's got a very valid point and the love you make is equal to the love you take, or something like that.
I'll hopefully be updating this entry soon with a screen capture of it.
UPDATE: Finally got that Roy Williams picture I was looking for. This isn't the one from the halftime interview, but it's the shirt he was wearing under his aforementioned blazer. Thanks to Awful Announcing for this photo.
I'm not the type of person to start something and not finish it. Unless that thing is cleaning my apartment or doing laundry. Anyway, I wrote in an earlier post about the "Sitcom Madness" tournament being conducted by the good people at Pet Rock: The Pop Culture Blog. Said tournament is now in its final, just like the NCAA Tourney that concludes tonight with Memphis and Kansas squaring off. The Sitcom championship pits "The Honeymooners" against "All in the Family." I honestly thought "Seinfeld" would make it. Honeymooners, you ask? But wasn't that show only on for 39 episodes? Yes, it was, but it's considered by many as a show that helped set the standard for American television comedy. Or at least that's what Wikipedia told me. Maybe this analogy is a stretch, but is this similar to having a weak in-conference schedule? Are Memphis and "The Honeymooners" one in the same because despite that they battled larger foes outside of that conference. I guess, in this case, the television conferences would be CBS, NBC, ABC, and FOX. And I also guess that FOX would be equal to Conference USA, which throws a small wrench into this analogy since "the 'Mooners" aired on CBS. Regardless, Jackie Gleason and Company were up against the Perry Como Show, the eventual reason the show got canceled. Derrick Rose and Company, as you've already read here, beat brand name colleges with good squads like Georgetown, UConn, and Oklahoma. But can Memphis conquer their "Perry Como" tonight against the Jayhawks?
Hop in the blogmobile and let's take a spin through the blogosphere. - Alan Hahn is back today with another suggestion for Donnie Walsh, a way to improve the team on the court and maybe bring back some of the prestige to the Garden. He already suggested adding Patrick Ewing to next year's coaching staff and today thinks a good rookie to add would be Ewing's son, Patrick Jr. As Hahn points out, Ewing Jr. will be a second round pick at best. Unfortunately the Knicks traded their second-rounder for Demetris Nichols, who they cut soon after. I very much like the idea of trading Renaldo Balkman, who has taken a step back and has a similar style to Pat Jr., for a second round pick this year. Ewing is known for his defense and energy, which is what Balkman brought, but I think it's a good idea to get rid of as many guys as you can from this horrible team and start with a clean slate. Of course that starts with firing Isiah Thomas. - Peter Abraham chimes in on his blog, which I recently added to the blogroll on the right, evaluating Yankees minor-leaguer Kei Igawa. As you know, I think Igawa stinks and so does Pete Abe. Igawa has looked pretty good in Scranton-Wilkes Barre and even pitched a perfect first start before leaving the game. But let's not let that fool us; it is Triple A, after all. - Our final piece isn't from a blog, but from Newsday's Jim Baumbach who thinks Joba Chamberlain belongs in the bullpen for the New York Yankees, and I agree with him - for this season, at least. Joba is incredibly effective out of the bullpen as we've seen, bringing energy and throwing gas. I know the plan is for him to eventually be a starter, but if you take him out of the bullpen this season there won't be anyone good left out there to set up for Mariano Rivera. If Chamberlain is starting, that means Kyle Farnsworth is your setup man, and that scares me. I worry that hitters will adjust to Joba after seeing him two or three times in the same game. But coming out of the pen he is a strikeout machine and is his fastball is even more effective after seeing finesse pitchers like Chien-Ming Wang, Mike Mussina, and Ian Kennedy. I don't know if Joba would be the same as a starter. Could he bring that intensity for seven straight innings? And if he's in the bullpen, he can have an impact on more games. If he's in the rotation, you'll see him once every five days.
Sunday, April 6, 2008
- No one would have thought the final of this year's NCAA tournament would feature Memphis and Kansas. No one, except this guy. I just wanted to take a second to brag that I correctly picked that situation in my "Tony Arnoldine (B)" bracket and will be rooting hard for Memphis on Monday night to take me all the way to victory. As I had been saying to all the doubters who thought I knew nothing about basketball and just picked four number ones, Memphis played a really tough out-of-conference schedule that included wins against UConn, Georgetown, Oklahoma, Arizona, USC, and Gonzaga - all tournament teams. just because they play in a poor conference doesn't mean they are terrible. It's the same debate as we've heard with the Boise State's and Utah's of college football; you have to play against the teams in the conference you are in and you can't control how good or bad they are. - Newsday's Alan Hahn is back after the birth of his second child with an article articulating what every New York fan is thinking: Patrick Ewing needs to be a part of next year's Knicks coaching staff. Look at the job he has done in both Houston and Orlando, with Yao Ming and Dwight Howard, respectively. That's exactly what the Knicks need, assuming they keep either of Zach Randolph or Eddy Curry around. Although I don't know if even Tony Robbins could motivate Curry. (Or is he Anthony Robbins now?) Ewing has wanted to be a Knicks coach for some time now and why not let one of the greatest players in your franchise's history be a part of the team? If nothing else, it will restore some faith in the fans.
Friday, April 4, 2008
Thursday, April 3, 2008
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
The Knickerbockers today made it official that Donnie Walsh is the new team president, replacing Isiah Thomas. Zeke, though, is still the head coach and Walsh said a decision on that would be made in a few days. As I said in an earlier post, this is a good move if only because it rids the Knicks of Thomas' control over the roster and hopefully will put an end to trading young players for bad contracts. I would assume that Thomas will be gone as the head coach, even if Walsh was the one that hired him in Indiana. Conflicting reports say that some players are happy with Zeke and others want him gone like a zit on the tip of your nose. It just doesn't make sense to keep him around, though. The fans have protested and petitioned to try to get rid of the guy. Even if he has shown flashes of being a decent coach, it's just not a good idea to keep him on the sidelines. There are plenty of other coaching options out there. The most popular one is going to be Mark Jackson, a former Knick and long-time New Yorker who knows the city and knows basketball. He was a point guard and was all about fundamentals. I know he has no coaching experience, but they can afford to take a risk if it's at the expense of getting the fans back.
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
Bob Glauber's going to be all over this one. FOX Sports.com is reporting that Marquette's Tom Crean, Glauber's lookalike, will be leaving the team to become the new head coach at Indiana. The University has scheduled a news conference for Wednesday to announce the move. This looks like a solid plan by IU. Crean has done an excellent job at Marquette, making that team a national name again and leading them to the Final Four in 2003. He can bring some class and pride back to a program that has been embarrassed by the Kelvin Sampson situation. The big question for Glauber, I mean Crean, is whether Eric Gordon will stay in college or opt to head to the NBA. He would probably be a top 10 pick if he chooses to enter the NBA Draft.
Finally, after a rain out, the Yankees are in the midst of the final opening day in the history of this Yankee Stadium. Here's some thoughts from the early going: - The guy singing the National Anthem really got off pitch in the middle. Horribly off pitch. Then he took about eight seconds to correct it, slowly sliding up through all the other bad pitches on the way to the right one. - Alex Rodriguez got one of the louder ovations from the crowd during the pre-game introductions. It's not exactly surprising since he was the MVP, but it's further proof that he might have finally won the Yankees Faithful over. Mike Mussina got a loud "moose" call so perhaps the fans are going to give him a mulligan for last year. Andy Pettitte got a nice response from the crowd too, which is expected, but some might have wondered how people would feel after the HGH issue. - Paul O'Neill is in the announce booth, thankfully. O'Neill is one the better analysts in the YES stable. I just wish they could swap Michael Kay for John Sterling. Or Gus Johnson. I'm sure he could do it. Could you imagine his home run calls? You think Sterling is over the top, Johnson would be screaming for a Johnny Damon second-inning home run in May. It's all good, though. Gus is one of the best. - I like the patches on each sleeve that the Yankees are wearing. One commemorating the All-Star Game being at the stadium this year and the other to celebrate the last year in Yankee Stadium. - I'm saying this now, before the game starts, but I don't think Jason Giambi is going to be as much of a risk at first base as everyone thinks. Sure he isn't a great fielder, but a lot of first basemen aren't. His biggest issue is that he can't throw very well but that doesn't often come up. It's a risk worth taking to get his bat in the lineup and be able to also use Hideki Matsui at the DH, since Johnny Damon has supplanted himself as the every day left fielder. The game's starting. That will end the pre-game live blog.