Rare is the athlete who offers candid analysis of his performance when things aren’t going well. This is a bit of a surprise, considering the trenches that doubt can carve through an athlete’s psyche, and perhaps this has an unintended consequence. If athletes more freely acknowledged disappointment and failure, would fans be so quick to rush to negativity? Or is the mere acknowledgment of subpar performance so tantamount to its acceptance that it’s, well, not acceptable?
(He even sucks at Dizzy Bat. Bat goes on the ground, Jose! And are you even drinking?!”)
But we digress; we’re five steps ahead in a two-step conversation. Let’s get back to the topic at hand: Jose Guillen, yet another disastrous free agent signing by the Kansas City Royals. He’s making $36 million over three years, a definite curiosity considering his tepid-at-best production. Jose, tell us, how’s your year going?
Somehow LeBron James ended another game against the Orlando Magic in their Eastern Conference Finals with the ball in his hand and a chance to win the game. But unlike Game 2, he couldn’t find the miracle the Cavaliers needed, as his desperation heave from 35 feet was off the mark, wrapping up the Magic’s 116-114 OT victory. Orlando now holds a commanding 3-1 series lead, as the Cavaliers are threatening to take a page from the Ohio State football team and choke at the worst possible moment.
And perhaps it was fitting, since the game only went to overtime on two James free throws on a questionable foul committed by Mickael Pietrus with six seconds left - with James needing a friendly roll to get the second. (And honestly, how can the best player on the planet be so average and unreliable from the free throw line? Do you ever remember feeling nervous when Michael Jordan stepped to the line at the end of a game?)
It’s hard to blame James for Game 4: after all, he did have 44 points and 12 rebounds. Even the eight turnovers in the box score are more a reflection of him trying to do everything because he had to than any faults. No, the big problem for Cleveland is that they’ve pretty much turned back into King James and His Inept Court of Jokers this series, with his supporting cast basically providing nothing (Delonte West and Mo Williams combined to go 12-for-30 in Game 4, including 0-for-6 from behind the arc.)
Meanwhile, the Magic were unconscious from three-point range, going 17-for-38, with Rafer Alston leading the way with six threes on the way to a 26 point night. And Dwight Howard played angry in overtime - perhaps over picking up his sixth technical foul of the season, or because he thought he was fouled at the end of regulation. No matter what the reason, he took it out on the Cavaliers, scored on three straight dunks en route to 10 points in the extra session. So a dominant big man plus great outside shooting is a good thing, I guess.
Also a good thing: having your league’s best player and leading scorer on the same team. That’s exactly what the Pittsburgh Penguins have, and why they are heading back to the Stanley Cup after a 4-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes to sweep the Eastern Conference Finals. And even though they didn’t score in the series-clincher, Penguins stars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin had done more than enough, proving to be way too much for a game but overmatched Carolina side. So while the NBA is wincing at losing their dream match-up, the NHL has to be thrilled with a likely Penguins vs. Red Wings rematch.
Finally, to update a tragic story we told you about earlier today, KPHO-TV in Phoenix reports that Mike Tyson’s daughter Exodus, 4, has died from injuries she sustained in a freak accident at her family home in Arizona. No matter what you think about Mike Tyson as a person, monster or character in a classic Greek tragedy, your heart has to go out to him and his family. For anyone with a child, reading about this gets your stomach all tied up in knots.
So after what PRO FOOTBALL TALK had reported was a tug-of-war to sign John Lynch as an NFL analyst, NEWSDAY says that the winner is Fox, snatching the former Buccaneers and Broncos standout from ESPN. Lynch will likely be replacing Brian Baldinger, which means that he’ll need to have his finger run over with a steamroller to match the “analyst with the gross digit” quota at the network.
Ready for a career switch to the exciting and fast-paced world of sports business? Fat chance, says the NEW YORK TIMES, as tough economic times have made jobs in the industry tougher to get than ever. In fact, it’s so bad that people actually want to work for the Cincinnati Bengals.
Top Orioles prospect Matt Wieters is getting his call-up to the big leagues, and is expected to make his big-league debut as a catcher on Friday against the Tigers. CAN’T STOP THE BLEEDING wonders if the Baltimore sports media is making too big of a deal about this. (i.e. could Peter Schmuck please remove his tongue from Wieters’ mouth?)
The NEW YORK TIMES has the latest from Roland Garros (English translation: Ron Garrett) Stadium and the French Open: Serena Williams serves a “horrendous” performance, while James Blake is bounced yet again.
Just how dominant has Zack Greinke been this season for the Royals? As the KANSAS CITY STAR reports, he gave up one earned run in his fifth complete game of the season, a 6-1 win over the Tigers…and his ERA actually went up slightly, “ballooning” to 0.84.
Probably not what Marshall wanted to hear about their prized football recruit A.J. Graham: the TALLAHASSE DEMOCRAT says that Florida’s “Mr. Football” was arrested on robbery charges - just hours before his scheduled high school graduation.
Stephanie Stradley knows more about the Texans than most anyone I know. Including Richard Justice (obviously) and perhaps he’s jealous. Via FANHOUSE and Steph’s first-hand account, we find out that Justice has been referring to her — a blogger, no less! — on his radio show as a “Fatal Attraction” like stalker. Way to be, Dick.
MMA Mania tells us that Jon Koppenhaver will NOT lose his nickname: SO 6 weeks ago I filed a change of name request and today I had court to make my name officially WAR MACHINE. lol. F*ckin’ funny right? Didn’t really wanna have to do it but I am sure as hell not lose MY nickname.”
THE DAILY NEWS passes down the word that Patrick Ewing, Junya, will be the newest member of the Knicks. Aw, just like Dad. Now if he can fail to win anything meaningful, have his knees collapse and end up gawking at cheerleaders coaching, we can use the phrase “full circle”. Fun times.
MISTER MITTENS gloveslaps any Giants fans who think that David Carr is going to perform like this during the regular season. (Shameless, I know.)
If you just read the headline “Guillen Restrained From Attacking Heckler” you would probably assume that the Ozzie Guillen finally ran into Jay Mariotti and went nuts. But that wasn’t the case on Tuesday night - it was the Kansas City Royals’ Jose Guillen who had to be stopped from pounding on some lippy fan.