Friday, June 27, 2008

To the guy who sold us counterfeit tickets to the Yankees game

"Hi Bryan, this is Mik. Listen, if you get this message, don't get on the train, don't check your bag, don't get in line. The tickets are counterfeit. Bogus. We're going home."

Hey dude — thanks for the tickets.

No seriously — thanks. I didn't want to see Carlos Delgado's 9 RBI game, or go to the last Mets/Yankees game in the Stadium. Why would I? I could always just walk around before the game, alone, with nowhere to go, right?

Go to the bars in front of the Stadium? The ones that have charged me up to $2 more per beer for sporting Red Sox gear? Nah, I don't think so.

Take a trip around the Stadium? Sounds great! Oh wait, there are crowds everywhere. Can't get through 'em. Do I need a ticket? Sure do? How much? $100? What a coincidence! That's what I paid!

Just go home? Love to! Except the swarms of people leaving the train are boxing me onto River Avenue. Behind me, a Yankees fan yells to anyone in orange and blue: "You got the wrong hat! This is the Stadium. You're in the wrong borough. This isn't Queens!"

And you know what, he's right, this isn't Queens. You could find Queens on a map of New York City, right? Yeah, it's right at the tip of my middle finger, there. I'm going there now and watch the Yankees lose by 10. That's a football score.

Which leaves me one question:

Want Giants tickets, asshole?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The best

You might have heard this before but... now it all makes sense.

Now I get the Celtics' history, the devotion from the old-time fans, the love from the new ones, and, most importantly, I understand why the Celtics are the best team for Boston.

When you win the NBA title, you really win it. Rarely do you win it like the Celtics won last night, but there's never a doubt about who the champs are. It's not football, with its one game for all the marbles, or baseball, with its "Get a good team and cross your fingers" kismet.

It's not even hockey, where a goalie can stand on his head for two months and flip back over with the Stanley Cup.

It's basketball, where if you fill up the basket more than the other team, you win. When things are going good, you can exult on every play. And let's just say things were going amazingly, unbelievably, historically good last night.

The fans exploded. Then they exploded some more. And some more. That's when I realized why the Celtics are the best team for Boston — they validate this city in a way the other teams don't. The Celtics allow you know, in a self-satisfying way, that they're the best team in the world, to the point where you don't even need to celebrate it in front of foreigners — i.e., non New Englanders — because it's just so damned obvious. It's a phenomenon unique to NBA basketball, and it's why the Celtics have a fan base that stretches from the Back Bay to just shy of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

Don't get me wrong, we love the Red Sox and Patriots (and Bruins) too. But you can forget about a Red Sox title on the following Opening Day, when a .212 hitter takes your number one starter deep. And our need to be validated has taken its toll with the Patriots. We have, as fans, acted like assholes to the point where being a Pats fan in mixed company is like wearing the Scarlet Letter; that the team followed suit really doesn't help. I hate to say it, but the Super Bowl loss keeps us honest.

The fact is, I'm happier with the Celtics title than I would have been with a Pats win, and I think that's a common feeling. It's not just that the other team finally won one in the midst of all this prosperity, it's that the right team won one. Often this season, I tempered my expectations, just because I had been out of following basketball for so long that I wanted to remain grounded. As the season went on, I started to believe more and more, but it wasn't until the Celtics made the Finals that I bought into the entire program. The Gatorade commercials, ESPN spots, the hype — none of it mattered any more. It was time to play REAL basketball, the type of basketball that not even a March sweep of the Texas trio can mimic.

And just like that, Paul Pierce went down in game one. He was carried off the court and into a wheelchair. Nothing — nothing — prepared me for that blow. Two minutes later, he was back on the court. His two three pointers probably ended the Lakers' season right there. The rest was just details. Those details: biggest comeback in Finals history, biggest clinching win in Finals history. Best team in the last five years. Best excuse to skip a day, walk down the Common, and enjoy life.

Now it all makes sense.

He's Certified — "Anything is Possible," the extremely rough transcript of Kevin Garnett's amazing victory speech

Michelle Tafoya: League MVP, Defensive Player of the Year, now it’s time to add to your resume. NBA Champion, how does that sound?

KG: (silence, plays with hat)

Man I’m so… I’m so hype right now… Anything is possible… ANYTHING IS POSSIBLLLLLLLLLLLE!

(near tears) Oh my momma [unintelligible]

(Falls over, mobbed by random dudes)

MT: Kevin… such emotion…

KG (interrupting): I’m sorry Michelle.

MT: It’s alright! Don’t apologize.

KG (interrupting again): I just wanna… this is for everybody in 'Sota, this is for everybody in Chicago… VV!... It’s for EVERBODYYYY! South Cack! Mashwood (?)! My momma! Peanut! See everybody who I love! My momma! I made it ma! TOP OF THE WORLD! TOP OF THE WORLD!

MT: Kevin…

KG (to someone else): You have no idea…

MT: What does top of the world feel like, Kevin?

KG: (after a pause) Man I’m so… so happy right now… I’m not finna sleep for a week. Ray Allen had a great game, Paul Pierce, everybody. I can’t even take all this man, but I’m certified. I’m certified. Michelle, you look good tonight, girl.

MT (smiling): One more, Kevin. To do this… you talked about Minnesota, you talked about that, but to do this in Boston, with a franchise this storied, against a franchise like the Lakers, what does that mean to you? You’re a student of the game.

KG: You have to understand when you come here, it’s a lot of responsibility that comes with putting this great jersey on. I’m just happy that we carried out tradition. What you gonna say now? What can you say now? I MADE IT MA!

/ascends to heaven through Garden roof

Monday, June 9, 2008


Leon Powe was our favorite Celtics bench player all year long. Why? Because the man fills up the basket. This is hard to do in the NBA. Not for him. Last night, he filled it up. Twenty-one points in 15 minutes is some Kobe sh*t, but this isn't the MVP, this is the man from Cal. Give him the ball, and he's going to the hoop, and the ball is going through it. Simple as that.

Lakers upset about the fouls? Here's a suggestion: how about driving the freaking ball? The reffing was certainly not completely even last night, but as Phil Jackson alluded to, the discrepancy was a result of the Lakers standing around and having the ball stripped from them, whereas the Celtics, led by Leon, were getting to the rim. This is why Powe not playing in the early rounds was maddening — with the exception of Pierce, Powe and sometimes Allen, the C's are a jump-shooting team. Relying on Perkins to hit the bunnies is not a long-term strategy, but it's Powe's bread and butter. THROW IT DOWN, BIG MAN!

Now, staked to a 2-0 lead by the P&PP crew, the C's head to L.A. I've been warned, McCain-style, against going negative, so I can't write how I would be astonished if some combination of Kobe and the refs didn't push this series to 2-1 in convincing fashion, but that's why they play the games. On the plus side, Sam Cassell is "hurt" again, so we probably won't see him any more in this series. That means more Eddie Heezie. Sun Devils Stand Up.

Now with video!:

Saturday, June 7, 2008

On The Sprain and ESPN's Inability To Cover Sports Like Adults

I used to love SportsCenter, because it was so clever: it seemed to me like the anchors spent hours dreaming up weird and funny stuff to say on television. It was a product of the talent that they had at the time: Keith Olbermann, Dan Patrick, Charley Steiner, Craig Kilborn, Rich Eisen, Kenny Mayne, etc. These guys were funny, so the show was funny. Even straight-arrows like Jack Edwards did the show professionally.

But once these guys left, the wit they brought to the set became institutionalized. Now the jokes make themselves, the moments of pathos seem hackneyed, and the show has become devoted to the lowest common denominator in sports coverage. In this case, it's Paul Pierce's knee.

In Friday night's SportsCenter, they led off by taking five minutes to talk about whether Paul Pierce really hurt his knee or not, emphasizing his quick return to the court. They played some skeptical comments from Phil Jackson and relayed the to the Celtics, and voila!, they had a story. A friend from Boston asked me what I thought, when I had hardly thought about it at all. The reason? The Celtics had already divulged what the injury was and all of Pierce's symptoms fit with it perfectly.

Have you ever sprained something? Has anyone at ESPN? Maybe John Anderson running into a copier, or Neil Everett rupturing a vocal chord while screaming? Well, here's what happens: you hear a pop, sh*t hurts like hell, and then you figure out the extent of the injury. If it's a minor sprain, the pain will stay somewhat constant. If it's a major sprain, it'll get worse. Pierce had a minor sprain, but it was a minor one, so he was able to come back. He'll be in serious pain during game two.

Is it too much to ask for ESPN to do this simple, obvious analysis?

At this point, I'm afraid it is. People want to talk about the aesthetics of the Celtics victory rather than how they did it — shut down those little pieces of crap that are the Lakers second-tier players, play great D on Kobe, hold up a mirror to Gasol's face. They gave about three minutes to this, after the knee talk. Maybe after game two they can get renowned sprain expert Lisa Turtle to weigh in on whether Pierce is still faking it. I hear she's available.

Friday, June 6, 2008

On: Rocking the Shit

Okay, so Paul Pierce rocked the shit last night. But I want to talk about this series' stoner HD potential which is, to give credit where credit is due, a Bill Simmons joint. (Get it? Joint?) Quite simply, game one was mind-blowing, and not just Pierce's performance. From the exterior shots of the Garden to the game to the freaking commercials, this was probably Bob Dope's favorite game of all time.

Let's start with the exterior shots? Have I ever wanted to be anywhere as badly as I wanted to be in Boston last night? Let's put it the BDD way: fuck and no. The Celtics are the only Boston team the city knows how to root for when it's got some prosperity going. The exact same people who were dyed-in-the-wool Celtics fans last night act like deranged Sox fans or asshole Pats fans, but we know how to root for the C's. It's just been awhile since it mattered.

The game itself was as vivid as it gets in purple hazed HD and, but for a brief 8-point Lakers lead, was comfortable throughout. Big props to the dude who talked Paul Pierce through his exercise bike routine. Pierce loved the guy; let's set him up with some speaking engagements at local schools. You can be a winner too, kids.

Finally, those commercials. That McDonald's commercial with all the fruits and such is absolutely amazing in Cheechvision, even if the food remains completely unappetizing (That's how you know it's really bad.) I hate to say it, but the commercial where the dude picks up the nudists in his SUV was pretty dope too, and that holy-shit-this-commercial-is-obnoxious-but-Christ-"California Soul"-is-a-dope-song Dockers commercial is sneaky. We'll be catching Sunday's game after a matinée of Zohan. Expect Bob to be in attendance.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Wheee! What a predicament!

The NBA Finals start tomorrow night and, despite some tough talk a few days ago, I'm starting to get excited about Lakers/Celtics. I'm still not totally sold on the "Celtics mystique" after two decades of futility, but the clash of the uniform colors, and Bill Simmons' comment that, "For stoners, watching a Celts-Lakers game in HD is like staring at a 50-foot fish tank," well, the man has a point.

I'm not allowed to make a prediction, either, because loyal reader B. Gray told me, "enough of your Celtics negativity, first it was pick Detroit, they've got Stuckey, now you want to piss on this series... a little homerism, please." On top of that, Frownies linked over to my Pistons pick, and another reader viciously and repeatedly accused me of giving the Celtics the dreaded "double-reverse schmoo." Looking back on my words, it would be hard to argue the point, but I swear it wasn't intentional.

At least in this series I can claim I haven't seen the Lakers that much, but I know they're good. Good enough to beat the Celtics, but the Celtics are good enough to beat them, too. I'm not sold on the Lakers' second-tier players — Farmar, Vujacic, Radmanovic, Walton — and even Fisher and Odom are overrated, but I'm realizing more and more that it's all Kobe, and he's just that good. I'm not ready to say he's better than Jordan quite yet — let's let the man win one "on his own" first. This would be the time, and it's possible he could do it in as few as five games, but I'm not ready to say that: I've underrated the Celtics all year, and I'm not going to do it now. If Perk can stay out of foul trouble and Pierce can light it up, the Celtics can win. I'm not as sold on the idea of Ray Allen being the X-Factor, as in, "if Ray Allen scores 25 the Celtics will win," which seems to be a common idea; his defense is lazy enough that he has to score just to balance out the points he costs on the defensive end. I think Pierce is the X-factor. It doesn't get any more big-time than this for the Captain. If he wants to be next to Larry Bird in stature and not just in number, this is his time. It's almost inconceivable he's in this position, but he is. Now let's do it.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Astonishing, Bananas, Cockapoopoo

I know you probably didn't watch Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals last night, but it was freaking incredible in every way. This was a game, and we can skip through the "Hockey's Still Around?" jokes, where the underdog Penguins took and early lead, blew it, and scored against a DOMINANT Red Wings team with 35.4 seconds left, then withstood a Mike Tyson's Punch-Out like flurry of Wings scoring chances in the first overtime, got scoring chances of their own in OT two, only to score the eventual winning goal halfway through the third overtime by a guy who had freaking called his shot.

Don't believe me? Well, part of the new hockey coverage includes a dude who's stationed in a small gap right between the two benches, so he can hear what the coaches and players are saying to each other. Late in the second overtime, the Pens' Petr Sykora tapped on the glass and told NBC dude, whose name I can't find, that he was going to score the game-winner. In the third OT, the Pens went on a four-minute power play after the Wings slashed some dude in the face, Pittsburgh brought back Sergei Gonchar — who had been hurt, seemingly for the game, in the second period, and as if that weren't enough, he was on the ice for less than one shift before Evgeni Malkin, the superstar who has been a straight goat in this series, fed Sykora for a slapshot that won the game. By this time it was like 1 in the morning, but I jumped in the air. This shit was too much.

As the OTs went on, Sidney Crosby did less and less, as the Red Wings' D got more and more physical and everyone got tired. There was a lot of talk by Eddie Olczyk about players eating pizza during the breaks to get energy, which was great. So to recap: one the best games you'll ever see in any sport, in the finals, a called shot, pizza talk. That's freaking awesome.

Note: The fact I didn't mention Pens goalie Marc-Andre Fleury in this article by name upon first publishing is probably a criminal act. Don't take it from me, take it from Don Cherry, who said his performance was the greatest goaltending he's ever seen in the playoffs.

Yes: Don Cherry said that.

Monday, June 2, 2008

How the fuck did the Patriots lose to the Giants in the Super Bowl?

How the fuck did the Patriots lose to the Giants in the Super Bowl? How the fuck did the Patriots lose to the Giants in the Super Bowl? How the fuck did the Patriots lose to the Giants in the Super Bowl? How the fuck did the Patriots lose to the Giants in the Super Bowl? How the fuck did the Patriots lose to the Giants in the Super Bowl? How the fuck did the Patriots lose to the Giants in the Super Bowl? How the fuck did the Patriots lose to the Giants in the Super Bowl? How the fuck did the Patriots lose to the Giants in the Super Bowl?