Monday, July 30, 2007

The Big Ticket

"You know I laughed when you left

But now I know I've only hurt myself."

What's the haps? So much to talk about, so let's get right to it.

Bill Walsh lost his battle with leukemia today after being diagnosed with it over a year ago. As a huge football fan, I can't even begin to describe the impact Walsh has had on the game. From the west coast offense, to the leader of one of the best dynasties in the history, to the astounding amount of former and current head coaches who served under him at one point in time, Walsh revolutionized the game forever. This is truly a sad day in the world of sports. Walsh was one of the most beloved figures of both the NFL and college football. He was 75.

Sorry to start on such a downer, but Bill Walsh was the man, so I had to give him a shout. On to the next big story of the day: Kevin Garnett, yes, Kevin Garnett, the guy who said he wouldn't even consider going to a team not in playoff contention, is heading to Boston for basically the entire young nucleus of the Celtics, including Al Jefferson, Gerald Green, Ryan Gomes, and two future first round picks. I have been sitting here for about an hour trying to think of some kind of way to put my take on this. Honestly, I'm just in a state of shock. First, obviously, the Celtics have now vaulted themselves into one of the better teams in the Eastern Conference with this move, but at the same time, shipped all of their young stars to Minnesota, including the three guys I was hoping would stay with the Celts for the rest of their collective careers. This is tricky to try and judge right now. It certainly wasn't like the Ray Allen trade, when I was immediately in favor of it, and still am despite all the hating going on (hate hate hate). In Garnett, you either have the best, or at least one of the best players who have played the game in the last decade. Seriously, besides Kobe, who else could even come close? So now the talk will rage on about this. Obviously, I hope this works out for the green. Garnett is a phenomenal player. However, I was a little turned off after he said he would opt out of hid contract if he was sent to Boston, meaning that we would be trading the franchise for a guy who would play one year. The hope is that Danny Ainge somehow changed Garnett's mind. I just would not understand if the C's pulled this trade off without signing Garnett to some kind of extension to go along with it. I think it is absolutely imperative to give some kind of future consideration to KG before executing a deal. If Garnett stays for one year, you are, in all accounts, screwed. The team would have no youth, and no draft picks to get younger. All of the C's franchise players will be 30 or older at the start of the '07 season. Pierce is entering his 9th year, Allen his 11th, and Garnett his 12th. Therefore, getting a commitment from KG is a must. With all that being said, here is the projected lineup the C's will be trotting out this year:

PG Rajon Rondo
SG Ray Allen
SF Paul Pierce
PF Kendrick Perkins/Glen Davis
C Kevin Garnett

What cannot be denied about this trade is that the Celtics, for the first time since the Bird era, are now relevant in the world of sports, something that fans of this team have been dying for. With this trade, there is going to be a ticket bonanza in Boston. Ray Allen made this team a contender, but when you throw in Garnett, Boston immediately jumps into the hierarchy of the East. Remember that this team always needed that third guy to get the ball rolling. First, there was Russell/Cousy/Heinsohn, then Havlicek/Cowens/Jo Jo White, then Bird/McHale/Parish, and the last with 'Toine/Pierce/Kenny Anderson (he was actually legit). With a third star, this team has gone from cellar dwellars to contenders to make the NBA Finals, a place neither Pierce, Allen, or Garnett have gone to (in terms of the guys who have scored the most points without winning a championship, all three are in the top eight all-time). Of course you have to understand that all of this totally coincides with the fact that Ainge was likely out the door if Boston didn't make some kind of impact this year. He has made a bunch of horrendous moves. The going-coming-going of Walker, the Wally Szczerbiak deal (thank God I don't have to spell that name too much anymore), and the coup de gras of them all, the Sebastian Telfair deal last year. Now, all of a sudden, Ainge started to lean on the panic button, which is probably good considering the most historic team in the history of basketball had 24 wins last year. So while a lot of great guys are leaving town, if it brings us closer to a 17th banner, it will be worth it.

Trading deadline is tomorrow people, and already, some noise has been made. Atlanta picked up Teixeira for that really good Atlanta catching prospect (please don't make me spell any more hard names)...ok fine, Jarrod Saltalamacchia (I wish I had the last five minutes of my life back). Now comes the real question...what are the Sox going to do. Ok, so this Jermaine Dye situation has peeked my interest. If the price is right, this would be dynamite. Not only getting Dye, but possibly bouncing J.D. Drew out of town. Dye is two years older than Drew, and is also a free agent at the end of the year...but come on. Dye vs. Drew is an absolute joke at this point. Yes, Dye is only hitting .235 this year, but considering he has 19 homers so far, hit 44 last year, won the silver slugger, and finished 5th in the MVP vote, I'm thinking he's going to be ok. Plus, he's playing in a big market now, and has faced AL pitching for the last ten years, something that Drew has not, and may never adjust to. Also, Dye has a gold glove from 2000. Simply put, this would be a huge upgrade for this offense. They will actually get a guy who is a legit #5 hitter, and what maybe even more important, Dye is a gamer. He has played under 130 games just once in his last eight seasons. I never supported the move to get Drew, but once he was on the team, I tried to pull for him, but it just never worked for me. Dye is just a better all-around player, and with him on the team, he will provide instant offense. Would there be a more physically intimidating 3-4-5 than Papi, Manny, and Dye? Anyway, the price is believed to be Manny Delcarmen and Justin Masterson. This may be a little too much to ask of the (Red) Sox, especially when you consider that Wake, Schill, and Timlin are all 40 and older, so the staff is going to have some holes pretty soon. Also, even though Manny got lit up against the Rays, he's still a hell of a pitcher. Every pitcher has their bad games, so I hope that doesn't have any influence on the Sox' willingness to part with him. They are going to need Delcarmen in October as their 7th inning guy, especially if they don't get some of the other names that have been swirling around (Dotel, Gagne, Chad Cordero). The back end is solid, but you need that bridge to get to Okie and Pap. I think that most of the Sox' prospects, contrary to prior belief, may be up for discussion. Of course, two names that would absolutely floor me if they were moved would be Clay Buchholz and Jacoby Ellsbury. Other than that, it stands to reason that the Sox could be willing to part with some of its minor league constituants. It's great to have a ton of talent in the minors, which the Sox suddenly do, but realize that this team has the second highest payroll in the majors, and a fan base that is three years removed from a World Series title, meaning that the "win now" attitude is in full swing. It's unrealistic to keep everyone they currently have. This isn't a Tampa or KC situation where players have time to develop. This is a team that has the resources to get guys who are ready to go now. The deadline is tomorrow, and so far, nothing has come down yet, but the one move I know that is going down before 4:00 will be that I will be glued to ESPN and hitting the 'net hardcore for all the rumors and deals being made. This is one of the best times of the year (I think I wrote about that awhile ago). Good stuff.

Well, now I have to study for my Medicare/Long-Term Care test tomorrow. Also, I can't get the Family Feud theme song out of my head. This could be a problem when trying to remember Medicare A, or B, or C...maybe even D. Fast times at insurance school for sure. The good news is that I made a power hour CD when I get home. Again, I do very few things well in this I love beer. Ok, anyway, here's my final thought. I still can't find a nights & weekends job...and I'm actually really...Home Depot does not return calls, or I have unconsciously been a felon...I'm sure it's nothing too big, maybe a couple B&E's and tresspassing, you know, stuff like that. Anyway, here's the idea: A college game every Saturday for tailgaiting and to check out the different scenes. I just came back from a nice little road trip this week, UNC Wilmington, UNC Chapel Hill, Duke, and NC State. So now, I'm inspired. What else have I missed? Life is too short to have regrets, so I figure this is the perfect time for this. So, I'm trying to put together a tentative schedule. Here's what I have right now:

9/1: Louisana-Lafayette vs. USC/Columbia, SC/102mi
9/8: Nebraska vs. Wake Forest/Winston-Salem, NC/90mi
9/15: Boston College vs. Georgia Tech/Atlanta, GA/256mi
9/22: Clemson vs. North Carolina St./Raleigh, NC/181mi
9/29: North Carolina vs. Virginia Tech/Blacksburg, VA/186mi
10/6: Virginia Tech vs. Clemson/Clemson, SC/150mi
10/13: USC vs. North Carolina/Chapel Hill, NC/151mi
10/20: Georgia Southern vs. Appalachian St./Boone, NC/113mi
10/27: USC vs. Tennessee/Knoxville, TN/255mi
11/3: Wake Forest vs. Virginia/Charlottesville, VA/280mi
11/10: Auburn vs. Georgia/Athens, GA/211mi

So hopefully I can pull this off, because I think it would be pretty groovy. Meet some folks, talk some trash...ok a lot of trash, especially if we go the way Spurrier thinks we will (that would be to the SEC Championship game if you were not aware...we're kind of a big deal now). So, that will be something to look forward to, and it's only a month away! Sweet action. Alright kids, be good. You'll be hearing from me. Peace.


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