Archive for April, 2008

Go Habs Go… Away

Thursday, April 24th, 2008

Dammit!

Right when the Bruins really hook me (an the rest of Boston, it seems), and bring it back into the hockey town that it once was with their stellar play in the opening playoff series with the Canadiens, they blow it. In typical Bs/Habs fashion, Montreal just crushed Boston.

Kind of.

In a playoff round where Montreal was clearly the better team, and also had the Bruins number all season long (eight games, eight wins), Boston ended their season with something that I don’t think that anyone could have anticipated: relevance.

Coming in to the playoffs, everyone thought that it would be a clean and quick sweep. Maybe there would be a Game 5. The first game just emboldened that fact. The next: another loss, but man, they played really well and lost on an overtime, power play goal.

And then a win here, a convincing win there. All of a sudden, this pushover team was doing the pushing. They were skating right along with a fast team. They were playing way above there talents.

And that’s the success to winning back the Boston fans.

So, for the first time in the long time in this Jacobs-owned era, I’m actually excited about the season come October. Tim Thomas has shown that he can be a very good playoff goalie. The vets like Chara and Savard along with the youth like Bergeron, Kessel and Lucic is a great start to a team. Claude Julien has shown (again) that he can coach in the postseason. And some say that they will make a strong showing in the Marian Hossa revue.

By the way, when I talk about the fact that Montreal has historically dominated the Bruins, check it out:

Season Round W L
1928–29 Won in Semifinals 3 0
1929–30 Lost in Finals 0 2
1930–31 Lost in Semifinals 2 3
1942–43 Won in Semifinals 4 1
1945–46 Lost in Finals 1 4
1946–47 Lost in Semifinals 1 4
1951–52 Lost in Semifinals 3 4
1952–53 Lost in Finals 1 4
1953–54 Lost in Semifinals 0 4
1954–55 Lost in Semifinals 1 4
1956–57 Lost in Finals 1 4
1957–58 Lost in Finals 2 4
1967–68 Lost in Quarterfinals 0 4
1968–69 Lost in Semifinals 2 4
1970–71 Lost in Quarterfinals 3 4
1976–77 Lost in Finals 0 4
1977–78 Lost in Finals 2 4
1978–79 Lost in Semifinals 3 4
1983–84 Lost in Division Semifinals 0 3
1984–85 Lost in Division Semifinals 2 3
1985–86 Lost in Division Semifinals 0 3
1986–87 Lost in Division Semifinals 0 4
1987–88 Won in Division Finals 4 1
1988–89 Lost in Division Finals 1 4
1989–90 Won in Division Finals 4 1
1990–91 Won in Division Finals 4 3
1991–92 Won in Division Finals 4 0
1993–94 Won in Conference Quarterfinals 4 3
2001–02 Lost in Conference Quarterfinals 2 4
2003–04 Lost in Conference Quarterfinals 3 4
2007–08 Lost in Conference Quarterfinals 3 4
  Total 60 99


Now that’s what I would call domination. Game wins: 99 to 60. Series wins: 24 to 7.

Hank Steinbrenner, my kind of crazy

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008

Gladiator - Joaquin Phoenix & Richard Harris

Remember in Gladiator when Joaquin Phoenix discovered that his father was going to give the entire Empire to Russell Crowe, a man who served Richard Harris, instead of his own flesh-and-blood. Even though the son didn’t possess many good qualities.

So, with without any warning or public fanfare, Phoenix usurped his father’s throne and then cut off anyone in the organization that wasn’t with him.

Hank Steinbrenner, I feel like this story’s been told before. Hide dad, wave goodbye to Steve Swindal, and guess who’s left in charge.

As soon as the 2007 season ended, Hank was right at the helm, dictating how contract negations were going to proceed. A lot of huffing and puffing, claiming that he wouldn’t deal with A-Rod or his agent. And it ended virtually on the terms that made his old contract the second craziest contract in MLB history.

(As a side note: I hope that Rodriguez’ “clutchness” was really just a result of a contract-year performance, and he continues his old trend of popping up in 2-out 2-on down-by-1 situations.)

I’m beginning to like Hank a lot. From the outside looking in, it’s becoming a bit funny.

The two kids in the rotation are off to a not-so-hot start (which everyone said was going to be a possibility, hence the organizations request for fans to be “patient” with the youth movement). Hank gets antsy and fires off this gem to the NY Daily News. Even though everyone else has said time and time again that Joba’s innings over the course of the year were going to be limited to the 140-150 range, hence the first half of the season as a setup man, and the second half starting. Not Hanky; he wants the quick fix. Now.

His Hankees have the potential to be all messed up within a few years.

New York Magazine - James Dolan

What are the chances that Hank Steinbrenner becomes the next Jimmy Dolan? The man instrumental in creating one of the most laughable sports organizations AND he has no problem spending money.

Image it spirals so much out of control that in a few years, the team has a few nice young players next to Barry Bonds, Frank Thomas, and a few other $15MM+ contracts of self-centered players that can’t even suit up. And Jose Canseco is managing.

My favorite: there’s this reversal of curses, and Hank is getting right in there.

Remember the good old days when Sox fans would do anything to end the Curse of the Bambino? Look in ponds for pianos. Climb the highest peaks to place flags. Make MasterCard commercials.

And Yankee fans would just laugh at the silliness of it all.

Then along comes a construction worker (from the Bronx) who has a) a complete hatred for the Yankees, and b) a gig working on the new Yankee Stadium. People talk, and sure enough it comes out that it he has placed a Sox jersey in the concrete that will be the floor for the visitors clubhouse.

Enter Hank: “I hope his coworkers kick the $h!t out of him.” Nice. So Hank ordered, on a Sunday (April 13th, a game that David Ortiz and his dead bat sat out against the Yankees), to have the work be reversed to remove the buried jersey. An Ortiz jersey.

Before the benching/unearthing, Ortiz was struggling mightily, going 3-for-43 for a .070 batting average. After: 11-for-36 which would be .306.

How cool would it be now that the Ortiz’ jersey was taken out of the ground and he begins to string some hits together. That it’s in the back of fans’ heads maybe the jersey should have remained buried. Welcome to the realm of the irrational.

Welcome to the new era in Bronx baseball: the New York Hankees.