Tuesday, August 28, 2007


While putting some finishing touches on my usual work for the New York Beacon - did I say 'finishing'? - a few thoughts (a couple of length) that deserve and will receive individual posts:

  • This is going to be a very good NFL season. It's hard to recall that these men actually play a game and their time of year is just around the corner, but bear with me. Look back to what had been the most active and intriguing offseason in years. Adalius Thomas, Donte Stallworth, Wes Welker and Randy Moss go to New England. In Baltimore, Willis McGhee replaces Jamal Lewis, who leaves for Cleveland, who drafts Joe Thomas and trades up to draft Brady Quinn. Nate Clements becomes the richest defensive player in NFL history thanks to resurging San Francisco, a team that racked up equally in free agency and the draft. Both Super Bowl finalists lose their starting RBs to hand the reins to younger backs with more to prove while the Colts, specifically are raided by anyone looking to copy their system. Takeo Spikes strengthens the Eagles LB corps, Drew Bennett and Randy McMichael shore up an already potent Rams' offense. There are plenty of under-the-radar moves that can be added to this paragraph, but for the sake of keeping this short, if people are sick of hearing about a certain someone who played in Atlanta, then look around. There are plenty of intriguing stories and questions abound that will make fans forget about one no. 7, at least for the remainder of 2007. Hey, it's not as if the Falcons were going anywhere this season.

  • The same can be said for the NBA, though because of timing, the length of the season and the lack of cohesion between the pros and their counterpart in the NCAA, it is tougher for many to appreciate what has been a very good offseason for the Eastern Conference. Yes, Boston get on their hands and knees for obtaining the services of one of the all-time greats in Kevin Garnett as well as sharpshooter Ray Allen. However, before you reserve space for Banner No. 17, look around the conference, better yet, the Atlantic Division. What was once considered the worst division in pro sports over the last few years is arguably the second-best in the NBA behind the Southwest Division. Toronto, winners last season, added some shooting with Jason Kapono to at least make opponents think about double-teaming Chris Bosh. New Jersey still boast their Big Three in Vince Carter, Richard Jefferson and Jason Kidd, and they will be helped with the return of Nenad Kristic and the evolution of Marcus Williams. And it's still unfathomable to most of you, but the Knicks are going to be a problem with two low-post options: Eddy Curry should have been an All-Star in '06-'07 and unlike Channing Frye, Zach Randolph won't hesitate to take the shot (by the way, for a very long time, basketball was played with two low-post options in the PF and C positions). Cleveland won the East on the strength of LeBron James, but Detroit won't completely disappear from the scene. A healthy (and not traded) Jermaine O'Neal is the difference between the eighth seed and the lottery for Indiana, but as a few other teams, they will make it difficult for their divison rivals at season's end. Of course, Chicago has been the media darling of the East for the last three years without someone to help Ben Gordon, but they will grab one of the top seeds. Finally in the Southeast, Washington will win with Miami fading to the back, but the team that will surprise the league resides in Charlotte as the addition of Jason Richardson will give the Bobcats a potent scoring combo with Gerald Wallace. The West still has the Texas Triangle, Phoenix and Utah, but the East has gained balance with the improvement of the middling teams added to the three conference favorites in the Central Divison.

  • Sticking with the NBA, he wasn't known for being the soundest of mind or the most opportunistic of using his talents, but Eddie Griffin's death became a mere "oh yeah" last week. About two weeks ago, the former Seton Hall star was killed in Houston when his SUV crashed into a train. It took dental records to identify his body, which was charred from the crash. His most unfortunate - and at the time, kind of funny - moment was being arrested for inattentive driving in Minneapolis, having crashed into a parked car while watching a porno in the car's DVD player. He was a player with a lot of talent, but a person with problems that basketball itself was unable to solve. Treated for and suspended by the league because of alcohol abuse, Griffin could not seem to get on track. It's very easy to say that this is another case of a kid who couldn't handle the trappings of fame - or infamy in some cases - however, as so many in life who find themselves in dire straits, you can only hope that they can figure it out sooner or later. This is sad because Eddie was only 25 years old. Say what you will about wasted potential or a life thrown away - it's easy when we are thousandaires - but this flat out sucks no matter how you cut it. Maybe there is finally peace.

  • So I've covered Red Sox/Yankees a few times so far. Can I be honest with you? It's not that big of a deal anymore. It's blasphemous, it's ridiculous, you're not a true Noo Yawka! Beyond the lead that Boston holds over New York, there's a little known fact around these parts: the Red Sox are not the team that the Yanks need to worry about, that team happens to be the Seattle Mariners. And for Boston, from recent history, you should pray that you get Anaheim in the playoffs.While I am excited about seeing Josh Beckett for the first time Wednesday night, the real game of the night takes place in Jacobs Field when C.C. Sabathia and Johan Santana tangle. Oooooooh.

  • Finally, I'm not the most avid follower of tennis. When I can, I'll watch one or two matches a month on TV, if even that. Yet, most of you could probably care less about the game, which is fine - to each their own, right? Yet, it's incredible to think that fifty years ago, Althea Gibson changed the face of sports when she became the first black player to win a Grand Slam at Wimbeldon as well as the US Open.

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