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A-Rod’s A-Bomb Leaves Us Wondering: Has Baseball Become “A-Fraud” Itself?

2/10/09

Rodriguez Steroids Baseball

I don’t know about you, but as a baseball fan, today I feel totally broken hearted.

If you’re a sports fan, and more specifically a fan of Major League Baseball, it’s difficult to feel anything but sorry for yourself following the events of the last few days.

Already a damaged sport, baseball, which has forever been known as America’s favorite pastime, may have suffered a blow it’s unable to fully recover from.

Alex Rodriguez, the golden boy of the sport and arguably the most talented athlete who plays it, admitted yesterday he was guilty of using performance enhancing drugs between the years of 2001 and 2003.

The A-Rod story has already been beaten to death (and deservedly so) but I wanted to talk about something I feel has now become an even bigger issue, which is the integrity the game still has (if any) along with the importance it will have moving forward.

Talking about Rodriguez briefly, you can give him all the credit you want for being honest and admitting his use, but that simply doesn’t cut it.

He cheated. Plain and simple, and as clear as can be.

The man was “A-Fraud’ in every sense of the word.

Hall of fame? Forget it.

If I had a vote, there isn’t a chance that he, or anybody linked to using steroids belongs among the immortals of the game who may have been everything from drunks to racists, but also earned their immortality by playing the game the way it was supposed to be played.

There cannot be a spot in Cooperstown for a player who knowingly gave himself an illegal edge in a sport most will agree he never needed to begin with.

Of course anybody who is familiar with the kind of person Alex Rodriguez has revealed himself to be, he’s a selfish, superficial, self conscious and as he proved during his interview with ESPN’s Peter Gammons yesterday, utterly disingenuous.

(Watch it for yourself below)

Sure, he admitted to using these illegal substances, but as Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated points out, his interview raised more questions than answers.

Ironically, for a player who is as obsessed with being bigger than the game as Rodriguez is, his use and admission may be the very thing which pushes baseball to the point of no return.

If it hasn’t already, baseball is on the cusp of losing it’s innocence.

* * * * *

Remember how simple it was when we were kids?

For almost all of us, we knew we weren’t going pro.  We knew we weren’t going make millions playing a game.  But it was that game we came to love.

We loved it because it just felt pure to play.

Having a catch in the backyard.   Little league at bats.  High school try outs.

No matter how far you went, just playing was more than enough.

The real treat was always seeing the big boys make it look so easy at the ballpark.

Seeing our idols in person was as cool as it got.

They became our idols and our heroes.

These men were larger than life, and were getting paid- lots, and lots of money- to play a game we would have given years of our life to spend a day playing on the big stage.

We looked up to these people because we saw them as everything we knew we couldn’t be.

Of course as we get older, we learn some of the harsh realities that life reveals to us.

At some point, sooner than later for most, we learn that Santa Claus doesn’t exist, we won’t turn into a piece of candy no matter how much of it eat and girls, in fact, don’t have cooties.

Of course the other truth we learn is that human beings, as wonderful as they may appear, make mistakes.

That applies to everyone from our teachers to our parents to the very athletes we thought were infallible.

* * * * *

Professional athletes aren’t perfect, no matter how many records they’ve broken, championship’s they’ve won or gold medals they’ve earned.

Forgetting about Major League Baseball for a moment, you have Kobe Bryant, among the brightest stars in the NBA who a few years back was accused of rape, and although he had the charges against him dropped, his image was permanently altered.

You have Michael Phelps, who despite winning eight gold medals wasn’t able to swim his way out of a photograph which showed him smoking out of a bong.  Phelps was suspended three months and his image has also been tarnished.

Speaking of Olympians, while not discriminating gender, Marion Jones also was a gold medalist who was found guilty of using performance enhancing drugs and had to relinquish the medals she earned.

The NFL most recently has Giants wide receiver and Super Bowl hero Plaxico Burress shoot himself in the leg, ending his season and ruining his teams chances of repeating as champions.

Of course baseball takes the cake when it comes to the star power of the mistake prone.

Look back at the last fifteen years, and think of the biggest names the sport has produced:

Three come to mind, and those names are Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Alex Rodriguez.

Wouldn’t you know it, all three find themselves at the center of the steroids storm.  While Rodriguez gave his admission yesterday, allowing him to salvage a shred of respect, Bonds and Clemens have steadily denied their alleged drug use since the allegations were first made.

* * * * *

As baseball continues to struggle with it’s image, the biggest hit isn’t take by the sport, but rather by the people who invest their time and money in it.

I’m talking about us.  The fans.  The kids and the teenagers and parents who grew up loving this game, continued to love it as we got older and for those of us lucky enough have passed on that love to our children.

We are left watching press conferences and reading tell all books and watching staged interviews instead of worry about why our favorite team hasn’t signed that all star left fielder or why our team’s best player, with a runner on third and nobody out, ahead in the count 3-0, couldn’t work out a walk or find a way to get that runner in.

Instead of cheering for records to be broken we are now forced to cheer for them to withstand the test of time.

I think I speak on behalf of all baseball fans when I say that as bad as a season may end, or as bad as an at bat may go or a pitcher’s start may be, those are disappointments you learn to live with.  As they always say there’s always next year for your team to get back on the horse and try again.

But finding out one of your hero’s turned out to be nothing more than a liar and cheater?  Where does that fan turn?

After spending the money on the jerseys, and after driving hours and hours to see them play and arguing with your friends until you lose your voice that your favorite player is better than theirs, what are you left with?

Baseball, and sports for that matter, are intended to be our escape from reality.  However what happens when we need an escape from our escape?

* * * * *

The main point I was hoping to make is actually more of a question I’ll propose:

Has Major League Baseball become nothing more than a fraud?

Has our beloved pastime been battered and bruised so badly that it’s unrecognizable?

I’m not sure the sport is beyond rescue, however with the Alex Rodriguez revelations, baseball is dangerously close to losing the faith of its loyal fan base.

Sure, the owners will still make their money and the players will still get their paychecks but what about the fans?

In an economy that continues to free fall, and ticket prices that continue skyrocket, baseball hasn’t helped itself in an effort to convince fans to spend that extra dollar and show up for a product that is holding on by a thread.

When the sport’s biggest names have turned out to be nothing more than cheaters, why leave the couch and pay money to watch the selfish, greedy villains disappoint us more with their actions off the field than on it?

At what point do we stop watching all together?

The saddest reality is that such a question needs to be raised.

* * * * *

I’ll end with this, a quote from the movie of all movies when it comes to baseball, Field of Dreams.

“The one constant through all the years…has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it’s a part of our past…It reminds of us of all that once was good and it could be again…”

Whether or not the sport is capable of reminding us why we fell in love with it in the first place has never been more uncertain.

February 10, 2009 Posted by | Sports | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What I’m Thankful For This Year (New York Sports Edition)

11/27/08

A happy and healthy Thanksgiving to everyone out there.

On this day of thanks, I thought it would be fun to list the 10 things I’ve been thankful for in 2008 when it comes to New York sports.

As a fan of the Mets, Jets, Knicks, Rangers, and Syracuse basketball team, I tried focusing on my teams but had to stray to come up with 10, especially with the teams’ lack of success.

10. The Major League Baseball All Star Game

I was lucky enough to be in attendance at the final All Star Game ever at Yankee Stadium.  As I sat out in the left field bleachers, I couldn’t see everything, but I made sure I stuck around for all 15 innings and all five-plus hours in watching the American League pull out the victory and claim home field advantage in the World Series.

Seeing all the legends like Willie Mays and Hank Aaron was a once in a lifetime experience, and the whole night was as good as it gets for a baseball fan.

9. October Baseball without the Yankees

Now, the Mets weren’t part of the postseason either, so I know I’m opening myself up here for major criticism. However, after having to watch the Yankees extend their season for 12 years in a row, enough was enough.

The fact that the team wasn’t able to make the playoffs in the final season of their historic ballpark was icing on the cake.  It couldn’t have happened to a more deserving fanbase.

Of course it only made things sweeter seeing Joe Torre get his Dodgers into the NLCS.  However, his firing was still the correct decision, right George?

8. Henrik Lundqvist

I’ll admit it, I don’t watch a ton of hockey, but when I watch the Rangers, I can’t help but marvel at how dominant king Henry can be between the pipes.  He stands on his head night after night keeping the team in games when the offense struggles.

Back in the spring, when the Rangers were looking to earn a berth in the Eastern Conference Finals, Lundqvist was sensational against Pittsburgh. Lundqvist led the squad when they weren’t able to capitalize on power play opportunities.

Lundqvist is quietly one of the five best athletes this city has to offer.  Write it down.

7. Jonny Flynn

After two seasons of missing out on the NCAA tournament, the orange have jumped out to a 5-0 start, including road wins on back to back nights against Florida and Kansas.  The big reason behind their early success has been the play of sophomore point guard Jonny Flynn, who is making a case as one of the best one-guards in all of America. His name has been mentioned in the same breath as guards like Darren Collison and Ty Lawson.

Flynn forced overtime Tuesday night with a game tying three with 6.4 seconds left. His ability to create shots for his teammates and score the basketball will make Syracuse a contender throughout the year.  He’s the best pure basketball player Jim Boeheim has coached since Carmelo Anthony.

6. Leon Washington

The Jets’ most valuable player in my eyes, Washington makes something happen every game.  You can pencil him in for making at least one game-changing play, whether it’s a long touchdown run or taking a kickoff back to the house.

Leon has been important in spelling Thomas Jones, and the two have formed a dynamic rushing tandem that has helped put the Jets on top of the AFC East, and in contention for a possible postseason run.

The quarterback handing Washington the ball has been a pretty big reason for their success as well, but more on him later.

5. The Escape, the Catch, the Upset

I’m not a Giants fan, but unlike the Mets-Yankees hate I’ve developed growing up, I always root for the Giants unless they’re taking on my Jets.

While my Jets were nowhere to be found in January, the Giants’ playoff run last season was something that any sports fan could appreciate.  Going on the road and winning games in Tampa, Dallas, and Green Bay, when the wind chill was -20, and defeating the previously undefeated Patriots was all sorts of fun.

Of course the moment from that game that I, like everybody else, will think of first was the escape of Eli Manning and the throw and catch to David Tyree, who pinned the ball against his helmet on the Giants’ final touchdown drive, setting up the game-winning score.

The game was phenomenal, the Giants won a hard earned championship, and the Patriots were denied their piece of football immortality.

4. Johan Santana

While the Mets’ season ended up being a waste, the performance of Johan Santana was anything but that.  Santana was brilliant, winning 16 games and finishing third in National League Cy Young voting.

It was his final two performances of the season, including his complete game, a three-hit shutout on the second to last game of the season (a game I was at), that electrified Mets fans and gave them hope that they would be able to avoid a second consecutive late season collapse.

Of course they didn’t, but that was no fault of Santana, who was pitching with a torn ligament in his knee.  For all the prospects and money Omar Minaya and ownership gave up to bring him to Queens, and in the midst of a very disappointing season, Santana certainly shined.

3. Donnie Walsh

I could have given Isiah Thomas a spot and spoken about how I’m thankful for his removal, but I’m going to group that with Walsh. Since being hired by owner James Dolan, Walsh wasted little time in removing Thomas as coach.

Walsh not only was able to effectively end the dreadful Isiah Thomas era, but he hired a proven winner in Mike D’Antoni. He has already begun to clear cap space for when LeBron James, among others, becomes a free agent in 2010.

The trades of Jamal Crawford and Zach Randolph clear nearly $28 million of cap space going into the summer of 2010, when the Knicks will be primed to start a new era with James leading the way.

Walsh would have topped my list, but still hasn’t gotten rid of Stephon Marbury, although that probably isn’t too far off from happening.

2. Shea Goodbye

I’ve been going to Shea Stadium for nearly 15 years, and at 21 years old, aside from the places I’ve called home and the classrooms I’ve been in, there isn’t a place I’ve spent more time than the former home of the Mets.

Although the season didn’t end as planned, I was able to drive home from Syracuse to attend the final three regular season games in the history of the ballpark.  It was an emotional weekend, and it was great seeing the likes of Mike Piazza, Doc Gooden, and Tom Seaver one last time at Shea.

The final season at Shea also included Billy Joel as the last entertainer of the stadium, and I was lucky enough to be there when Paul McCartney came out.

All in all, some of my best memories were at Shea, and knowing I’ll never be there again to watch baseball is something that probably won’t sink in until I’m watching games at Citi Field.

1. Brett Favre

I can’t think of anything greater than one of your favorite players joining one of your favorite teams.  Such was the case when, in early August, the New York Jets acquired one of the greatest to ever play the game to be their quarterback.  Brett Favre was the centerpiece to an offseason makeover following a disastrous 4-12 season.

Bringing his one of a kind skills and child-like exuberance, the Jets find themselves at 8-3 and in contention for a division championship.  Favre has completely changed the culture in the Jets locker room.  Over the course of the season the group has come together as a unit and played the type of winning football Jets fans aren’t all accustomed used to.

Favre is easy to like and easier to root for, especially when he’s getting his team victories.

November 27, 2008 Posted by | Personal, Sports, Thoughts | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Royal Flush: Knicks’ Moves Pave Way for Landing Lebron

11/22/08

A wild day of wheeling and dealing by President Donnie Walsh leaves the Knicks fans salivating at the chance of landing a big price in the summer of 2010.

In a pair of moves, the Knicks began trimming the fat of their bloated payroll, sending Jamal Crawford to Golden State for Al Harrington, while shipping Zach Randolph to The L.A. Clippers for Tim Thomas and Cuttino Mobley.

Crawford has been a Knick since 2004, and was among the first big moves Isiah Thomas made in trying to surround Stephon Marbury with fresh faces.  Unfortunately, like almost every other move Thomas made, Crawford wasn’t able to deliver any sustained success, as he was a talented but streaky scorer who lacked defensive prowess and was maddeningly inconsistent.

Randolph, also acquired by Thomas, brought scoring and rebounding and was supposed to team with Eddy Curry to form an dynamic tandem in the front court.  Of course that never materialized as Curry regressed and proved he couldn’t share the court this Randolph, who despite putting up decent numbers, contributed to a 23-59 season.

The additions of Harrington, Thomas and Mobley should please Knicks fans most by the lengths of their contracts, all of which expire after next season.

By dumping Crawford and Randolph, the Knicks shed two contracts which extend beyond the “Summer of LeBron”, and with their departure goes some 27 million dollars of cap space heading into the summer of 2010.

These trades are more about the players going and the cap space opening up than it is the new faces.

Harrington will probably start at the 4 and average is 13 and 6, while Mobley can fill in at the 2 and provide a decent outside threat with some veteran savvy this team hasn’t had in a long time.  Tim Thomas, who will be starting his second stint in New York after playing with the Knicks between 2003 and 2005, could see some minutes off the bench.

At 6-6, despite their improved performance under head coach Mike D’Antoni, the Knicks were hardly a championship contender, and by moving their two leading scorers Walsh has loudly and clearly stated that the process of rebuilding is in full effect, even it comes at the cost of sneaking into the playoffs and suffering a first round defeat, which is probably the best the Knicks could have hoped for this season.

Madison Square Garden has’t been able to enjoy a winning basketball season in nearly a decade, and probably will have to wait another two before their tested patience is rewarded.

With LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Amare Stoudemire and Steve Nash among others all available in the summer of 2010, Walsh has now put the Knicks in a position to sign at least one of this and perhaps a pair should he be able to shed the contract of Curry and/or Jefferies between now then.

While that may seem daunting, Walsh has backed up his word in working to get the Knicks in better cap-shape by 2010, which he has, and a whole lot faster than anybody probably he could.

Yes, the team’s two leading scorers are gone, and though Crawford was a fan favorite, he was one dimensional and when he wasn’t scoring, he wasn’t giving the team anything else.  Randolph, for all the stats he filled a box score with, has never proved hes a winning player capable of playing completely within a system.  His numbers this season were good, but too many times possessions would stall with his poor shot selection.

Their losses shouldn’t be mourned by Knicks fans, as the bigger picture is one with a very bright promise of hope, which is something they haven’t been able to feel since Isiah Thomas set the franchise back into a seemingly bottomless abyss.

Thanks to Walsh, hope can finally float for Knicks fans, as the franchise is moving in the right direction.

And in less than two years, that direction may lead straight to royalty in the form of a King.

James, that is.

November 22, 2008 Posted by | Sports | , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Goodnight, TRL”

11/17/08

Those were the last words ever uttered on MTV’s Total Request Live by it’s beloved former host Carson Daly last night as the network laid to rest one of it’s longest running shows Sunday night with it’s “Total Finale Live” tribute show, and provided me with yet another sign that even at the ripe old age of just 21 time keeps flying by and I’m getting too old to keep up with it.

After 10 years of bringing us music videos, pop stars, rock stars, movie stars and any and everybody in between, MTV has figuratively and literally pulled the curtain down over that famous window that faces New York City’s Times Square.

When thinking back to all of those afternoons I would get home from school and flip on MTV, the first thing that comes to mind is that as a 12 year old back in 1999, watching Carson Daly (who at the time was probably as cool to a 12 year old as any professional athlete) countdown the top ten music videos was as important if not more than doing homework or chores.

For all the nonsense MTV has and continues to orchestrate, the station provided my generation with a way to virtually interact with the musicians we became (at times disturbingly) infatuated with.

A pop-culture Icon of it’s time, TRL actually started way back in 1998, when MTV decided to merge two shows, MTV Live and Total Request (the ladder hosted by Daly) and formed the mega-hit TRL which went on to be a staple of MTV’s day time line up. (information courtesy of the always reliable Wikipedia)

You may not have always liked the music or the personalities the show had on (I know I didn’t), but watching and waiting for the unexpected made the show fun, and the show itself was responsible for reintroducing pop music.

From boy-bands to Britney Spears, from Kid Rock to Korn, from Cristina Aguilera to Beyonce, from Diddy to Blink 182, from Eminem to Miley Cyrus, popular music and the many genres which it encompasses were given a platform to reach their target audiences and a way to give fans a chance to get up close and personal with their favorite performers.

Speaking of that up close and personal experience, one I unfortunately never got around to doing, the imagines of seeing Times Square completely shut down was always something to behold, as thousands upon thousands of screaming fans would line 42nd and Broadway just hoping for a chance to catch a glimpse of Justin Timberlake or Mariah Carey walk over to that now infamous window waving down to them. The musicians became idols worthy of worship, and TRL became their pyramids.

Amazingly, the show has run its course after a decade, as MTV continues to distance itself farther and farther from the very thing the network was designed to promote: music.

Focusing primarily on realty television (very little of it any good), combined with the fact that access to music videos is now possible through the internet formed the perfect storm to wash away one of the few programs which through all the craziness it experienced, gave MTV a small sense of integrity.

The final show tonight was a trip down memory lane, as they were able to bring back Carson who hadn’t hosted the show regularly since back in 2003 when he left to start his own talk-show which follows Conan on NBC.

The guest list was massive, as members of both N’SYNC and the Backstreet Boys showed up, as BSB actually performed “I Want It That Way”, which I would be flat out lying to say I didn’t enjoy hearing on TRL one final time.

Snoop, Diddy, 50 Cent, Beyonce, Fall Out Boy, Hillary Duff, Nelly, Kid Rock were among the many in attendance, while Christina and Eminem were among those who called in.

And although she wasn’t there, Britney Spears, the Princess of Pop herself, took the honors of being the final video ever to be played on TRL, as it was ranked as the number 1 song on TRL’s list of All-Time most influential videos with her classic “Hit Me Baby One More Time”.

The guests were only part of the attraction, as those who performed were great, however it was also a reunion of sorts of all of the people who have VJ’ed over the years, including people like Damien Fahey, the current host (or I guess, last host), Vanessa Minnillo, Hilarie Burton (One Tree Hill), Quddus, Sway, La-La and more.

Amazing how times have changed since TRL’s beginnings, and while I haven’t watched the show in at least five years if not more, getting a chance to turn back the clock and see Carson and the set and the crowd was very nostalgic, and surprisingly enjoyable.

Sadly, as we move further into the depths of the 21st century, MTV, which has covered everything from Super Bowl’s to Super Sweet Sixteen’s, the Real World and real life (woo MTV News!), for anybody at or around my age, MTV will always be synonymous with Total Request Live, and while I can’t say I’ll miss the show considering how long it’s been since I watched it, I certainly miss the days in which I was obsessed watching it.

Gone are the days of refusing to admit you enjoyed the Backstreet Boys and Britney, or that when they retired an NSYNC music video a small part of you was sad to see it go.

And gone is my youth, which TRL seems to have taken with it the very end of my youth.

Believe it or not, I’ll miss them both.

November 17, 2008 Posted by | Personal, Television, Thoughts | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why Barack Obama is, and always will be, My President

11/07/08

Like it or not, for anybody who like me, voted in their first Presidential Election on Tuesday, Barack Obama, come January 20th, 2009, will become then, and forever, our President.

I’m among those who voted for him, so the connection I’ll have with the new President Elect sits well with me, and though it may not sit as well for those who didn’t, there is a much greater relationship to be had with Obama, regardless.

What I mean when I refer to Obama as our President is that for the rest of our lives, the young people who took part in this election as first time voters will always be associated with having Barack Obama as the very first President of this country they played some role in electing.

I understand that there plenty of first time voters who didn’t vote for Obama, however the association will always remain, and even if you didn’t vote for him, I find it hard to believe that anybody will overlook the significance in his victory and the role they were able to play in it.

The 2008 election will undoubtedly be remembered as one of the most historic in the history of this country.

This election will be forever linked to the fact that Barack Obama is of course the first ever black man to hold this nation’s highest executive office; however this election will always be remembered for its record voter turnout, a big part of which was the youth vote.

The Obama campaign did a masterful job of connecting with the younger voters, really revolutionizing political campaigns. His campaign team utilized this modern technological age we live in to make sure that young people who in the past have been traditionally apathetic when it comes to voting would no longer feel such indifference.

The big knock among young voters was our resignation to the idea that our vote didn’t matter.  Well, that became a notion that was loudly put to rest in the 2008 election as 68% of new voters voted for Obama.

Make no mistake, young people played a very significant part in the victory of Barack Obama, who for a number of reasons really captivated the imagination of people at or around my age (21).

Part of it was his own age in comparison to that of his opponent. The fact John McCain, 72, at times appeared very out of touch with today’s culture didn’t serve him well. And putting technology aside for a moment, to symbolize how out of touch McCain may be couldn’t have been made clearer by the crowd and their reaction during his concession speech. Aside from the despicable booing when Obama’s name was mentioned, how many African American’s were you able to find in that crowd?

Barack Obama and his campaign team really made a difference with the younger voters by proving he was very much in touch with how the world works in 2008, utilizing television, the internet and even cell phones.

From Facebook to his television infomercial to appearances on The Daily Show, Obama made sure that wherever young people were looking, they would be seeing his face and his message of change.

And in talking about his constant preaching of change, what better way to get the attention of first time voters and young people by telling them that not only could their votes matter in simply choosing a President, but if they were to choose him, they would be an vital part of making sure changes were made.

I can’t really describe it any other way, but Obama was also a more trendy choice.

If you were at a store choosing which cell phone you wanted to upgrade your plan with, John McCain was the equivalent of one of those big, bulky car phones that first came out way back when, the ones that never actually left the car and often didn’t work the way you wanted them to. Barack Obama was the iPhone. He offered a chance to do things that (at least during the last eight years) we never really figured could be done before.

I bring all of this up because I couldn’t be prouder to know that I was among that contingency of young voters who have fulfilled our civic responsibility and voted.

I’ll likely live long enough to vote in another 15 Presidential elections, however as is often the case with anything in life, the experience will likely never measure up to the first time.

The election of Barack Obama, who, for whatever my reasons, was my candidate.

And for the rest of my life, despite the fact I’ll vote and decide the fates of other Presidential hopefuls, because he was the first candidate I voted for, and because he was the first candidate whose political fate I helped decide, Barack Obama is and always be My President.

November 7, 2008 Posted by | Election '08 | , , , | Leave a comment

President-Elect Barack Obama’s Victory Speech

11/6/08

Below is the victory speech given by President-Elect Barack Obama, with both video and transcipt.

As is usually the case with Obama, his speech was inspiring, uplifting and provided hope that America can now move on following the election and unite as a country in tackling the steep hill of challenges we face.

I know I’m not alone in sharing this sentiment, but wasn’t this man just born to be a public speaker?

Enjoy.

If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.

It’s the answer told by lines that stretched around schools and churches in numbers this nation has never seen; by people who waited three hours and four hours, many for the very first time in their lives, because they believed that this time must be different; that their voice could be that difference.

It’s the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled – Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been a collection of Red States and Blue States: we are, and always will be, the United States of America.

It’s the answer that led those who have been told for so long by so many to be cynical, and fearful, and doubtful of what we can achieve to put their hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day.

It’s been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this day, in this election, at this defining moment, change has come to America.

I just received a very gracious call from Senator McCain. He fought long and hard in this campaign, and he’s fought even longer and harder for the country he loves. He has endured sacrifices for America that most of us cannot begin to imagine, and we are better off for the service rendered by this brave and selfless leader. I congratulate him and Governor Palin for all they have achieved, and I look forward to working with them to renew this nation’s promise in the months ahead.

I want to thank my partner in this journey, a man who campaigned from his heart and spoke for the men and women he grew up with on the streets of Scranton and rode with on that train home to Delaware, the Vice President-elect of the United States, Joe Biden.

I would not be standing here tonight without the unyielding support of my best friend for the last sixteen years, the rock of our family and the love of my life, our nation’s next First Lady, Michelle Obama. Sasha and Malia, I love you both so much, and you have earned the new puppy that’s coming with us to the White House. And while she’s no longer with us, I know my grandmother is watching, along with the family that made me who I am. I miss them tonight, and know that my debt to them is beyond measure.

To my campaign manager David Plouffe, my chief strategist David Axelrod, and the best campaign team ever assembled in the history of politics – you made this happen, and I am forever grateful for what you’ve sacrificed to get it done.

But above all, I will never forget who this victory truly belongs to – it belongs to you.

I was never the likeliest candidate for this office. We didn’t start with much money or many endorsements. Our campaign was not hatched in the halls of Washington – it began in the backyards of Des Moines and the living rooms of Concord and the front porches of Charleston.

It was built by working men and women who dug into what little savings they had to give five dollars and ten dollars and twenty dollars to this cause. It grew strength from the young people who rejected the myth of their generation’s apathy; who left their homes and their families for jobs that offered little pay and less sleep; from the not-so-young people who braved the bitter cold and scorching heat to knock on the doors of perfect strangers; from the millions of Americans who volunteered, and organized, and proved that more than two centuries later, a government of the people, by the people and for the people has not perished from this Earth. This is your victory.

I know you didn’t do this just to win an election and I know you didn’t do it for me. You did it because you understand the enormity of the task that lies ahead. For even as we celebrate tonight, we know the challenges that tomorrow will bring are the greatest of our lifetime – two wars, a planet in peril, the worst financial crisis in a century. Even as we stand here tonight, we know there are brave Americans waking up in the deserts of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan to risk their lives for us. There are mothers and fathers who will lie awake after their children fall asleep and wonder how they’ll make the mortgage, or pay their doctor’s bills, or save enough for college. There is new energy to harness and new jobs to be created; new schools to build and threats to meet and alliances to repair.

The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even one term, but America – I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there. I promise you – we as a people will get there.

There will be setbacks and false starts. There are many who won’t agree with every decision or policy I make as President, and we know that government can’t solve every problem. But I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face. I will listen to you, especially when we disagree. And above all, I will ask you join in the work of remaking this nation the only way it’s been done in America for two-hundred and twenty-one years – block by block, brick by brick, calloused hand by calloused hand.

What began twenty-one months ago in the depths of winter must not end on this autumn night. This victory alone is not the change we seek – it is only the chance for us to make that change. And that cannot happen if we go back to the way things were. It cannot happen without you.

So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism; of service and responsibility where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves, but each other. Let us remember that if this financial crisis taught us anything, it’s that we cannot have a thriving Wall Street while Main Street suffers – in this country, we rise or fall as one nation; as one people.

Let us resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long. Let us remember that it was a man from this state who first carried the banner of the Republican Party to the White House – a party founded on the values of self-reliance, individual liberty, and national unity. Those are values we all share, and while the Democratic Party has won a great victory tonight, we do so with a measure of humility and determination to heal the divides that have held back our progress. As Lincoln said to a nation far more divided than ours, “We are not enemies, but friends… though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection.” And to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn – I may not have won your vote, but I hear your voices, I need your help, and I will be your President too.

And to all those watching tonight from beyond our shores, from parliaments and palaces to those who are huddled around radios in the forgotten corners of our world – our stories are singular, but our destiny is shared, and a new dawn of American leadership is at hand. To those who would tear this world down – we will defeat you. To those who seek peace and security – we support you. And to all those who have wondered if America’s beacon still burns as bright – tonight we proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from our the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity, and unyielding hope.

For that is the true genius of America – that America can change. Our union can be perfected. And what we have already achieved gives us hope for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.

This election had many firsts and many stories that will be told for generations. But one that’s on my mind tonight is about a woman who cast her ballot in Atlanta. She’s a lot like the millions of others who stood in line to make their voice heard in this election except for one thing – Ann Nixon Cooper is 106 years old.

She was born just a generation past slavery; a time when there were no cars on the road or planes in the sky; when someone like her couldn’t vote for two reasons – because she was a woman and because of the color of her skin.

And tonight, I think about all that she’s seen throughout her century in America – the heartache and the hope; the struggle and the progress; the times we were told that we can’t, and the people who pressed on with that American creed: Yes we can.

At a time when women’s voices were silenced and their hopes dismissed, she lived to see them stand up and speak out and reach for the ballot. Yes we can.

When there was despair in the dust bowl and depression across the land, she saw a nation conquer fear itself with a New Deal, new jobs and a new sense of common purpose. Yes we can.

When the bombs fell on our harbor and tyranny threatened the world, she was there to witness a generation rise to greatness and a democracy was saved. Yes we can.

She was there for the buses in Montgomery, the hoses in Birmingham, a bridge in Selma, and a preacher from Atlanta who told a people that “We Shall Overcome.” Yes we can.

A man touched down on the moon, a wall came down in Berlin, a world was connected by our own science and imagination. And this year, in this election, she touched her finger to a screen, and cast her vote, because after 106 years in America, through the best of times and the darkest of hours, she knows how America can change. Yes we can.

America, we have come so far. We have seen so much. But there is so much more to do. So tonight, let us ask ourselves – if our children should live to see the next century; if my daughters should be so lucky to live as long as Ann Nixon Cooper, what change will they see? What progress will we have made?

This is our chance to answer that call. This is our moment. This is our time – to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American Dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth – that out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope, and where we are met with cynicism, and doubt, and those who tell us that we can’t, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people:

Yes We Can. Thank you, God bless you, and may God Bless the United States of America.

November 6, 2008 Posted by | Election '08 | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

John McCain’s Concession Speech

11/6/08

I have decided to post the video and transcrpit for both John McCain’s concession speech and Barack Obama’s victory speech from election night.

Both speeches provided an extraordinary end to an extraordinary election.

Congratulations to both men.

Here is John McCain’s concession speech.

Thank you. Thank you, my friends. Thank you for coming here on this beautiful Arizona evening.

My friends, we have — we have come to the end of a long journey. The American people have spoken, and they have spoken clearly. A little while ago, I had the honor of calling Senator Barack Obama to congratulate him on being elected the next president of the country that we both love.

In a contest as long and difficult as this campaign has been, his success alone commands my respect for his ability and perseverance. But that he managed to do so by inspiring the hopes of so many millions of Americans who had once wrongly believed that they had little at stake or little influence in the election of an American president is something I deeply admire and commend him for achieving.

This is an historic election, and I recognize the special significance it has for African-Americans and for the special pride that must be theirs tonight.

I’ve always believed that America offers opportunities to all who have the industry and will to seize it. Senator Obama believes that, too. But we both recognize that though we have come a long way from the old injustices that once stained our nation’s reputation and denied some Americans the full blessings of American citizenship, the memory of them still had the power to wound.

A century ago, President Theodore Roosevelt’s invitation of Booker T. Washington to dine at the White House was taken as an outrage in many quarters. America today is a world away from the cruel and prideful bigotry of that time. There is no better evidence of this than the election of an African American to the presidency of the United States. Let there be no reason now for any American to fail to cherish their citizenship in this, the greatest nation on Earth.

Senator Obama has achieved a great thing for himself and for his country. I applaud him for it, and offer in my sincere sympathy that his beloved grandmother did not live to see this day, though our faith assures us she is at rest in the presence of her creator and so very proud of the good man she helped raise.

Senator Obama and I have had and argued our differences, and he has prevailed. No doubt many of those differences remain. These are difficult times for our country, and I pledge to him tonight to do all in my power to help him lead us through the many challenges we face.

I urge all Americans who supported me to join me in not just congratulating him, but offering our next president our good will and earnest effort to find ways to come together, to find the necessary compromises, to bridge our differences, and help restore our prosperity, defend our security in a dangerous world, and leave our children and grandchildren a stronger, better country than we inherited.

Whatever our differences, we are fellow Americans. And please believe me when I say no association has ever meant more to me than that.

It is natural tonight to feel some disappointment, but tomorrow we must move beyond it and work together to get our country moving again. We fought as hard as we could.

And though we fell short, the failure is mine, not yours.

I am so deeply grateful to all of you for the great honor of your support and for all you have done for me. I wish the outcome had been different, my friends. The road was a difficult one from the outset. But your support and friendship never wavered. I cannot adequately express how deeply indebted I am to you.

I am especially grateful to my wife, Cindy, my children, my dear mother and all my family and to the many old and dear friends who have stood by my side through the many ups and downs of this long campaign. I have always been a fortunate man, and never more so for the love and encouragement you have given me.

You know, campaigns are often harder on a candidate’s family than on the candidate, and that’s been true in this campaign. All I can offer in compensation is my love and gratitude, and the promise of more peaceful years ahead.

I am also, of course, very thankful to Governor Sarah Palin, one of the best campaigners I have ever seen and an impressive new voice in our party for reform and the principles that have always been our greatest strength. Her husband Todd and their five beautiful children with their tireless dedication to our cause, and the courage and grace they showed in the rough-and-tumble of a presidential campaign. We can all look forward with great interest to her future service to Alaska, the Republican Party and our country.

To all my campaign comrades, from Rick Davis and Steve Schmidt and Mark Salter, to every last volunteer who fought so hard and valiantly month after month in what at times seemed to be the most challenged campaign in modern times, thank you so much. A lost election will never mean more to me than the privilege of your faith and friendship.

I don’t know what more we could have done to try to win this election. I’ll leave that to others to determine. Every candidate makes mistakes, and I’m sure I made my share of them. But I won’t spend a moment of the future regretting what might have been.

This campaign was and will remain the great honor of my life. And my heart is filled with nothing but gratitude for the experience and to the American people for giving me a fair hearing before deciding that Senator Obama and my old friend Senator Joe Biden should have the honor of leading us for the next four years.

I would not be an American worthy of the name, should I regret a fate that has allowed me the extraordinary privilege of serving this country for a half a century. Today, I was a candidate for the highest office in the country I love so much. And tonight, I remain her servant. That is blessing enough for anyone and I thank the people of Arizona for it.

Tonight, more than any night, I hold in my heart nothing but love for this country and for all its citizens, whether they supported me or Senator Obama, I wish Godspeed to the man who was my former opponent and will be my president.

And I call on all Americans, as I have often in this campaign, to not despair of our present difficulties but to believe always in the promise and greatness of America, because nothing is inevitable here.

Americans never quit. We never surrender. We never hide from history, we make history.

Thank you, and God bless you, and God bless America. Thank you all very much.

November 6, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Yes He Did! Obama Elected; History Made

11/5/08

Yes he did.

Last night was one of the moments that Americans and citizens of the World will likely remember for the rest of their lives.

It had just struck 11 p.m. on the east coast, and the announcement was made: Barack Obama was projected as the winner of the 2008 general election.

I bet I’m not alone when I say that when I went to sleep after watching President Elect Obama’s victory speech, as well as when I woke up this morning that I was immediately living in a new America.

Sure, President Bush will serve out the remaining 11 weeks of his Presidency before Obama is inaugurated in January; however there is a sense of both joy and hope that comes with the election of the first African American President in the nation’s history.

Along with his running mate, the democratic senator from Delaware Joe Biden, Obama will officially take office on January 20th, 2009.

I realized that last night, Barack Obama became my generation’s Jackie Robinson; in breaking both a social and political color barrier that many had figured would never be broken.

I realized that last night, Barack Obama also became my generation’s John F. Kennedy; a young, inspiring politician whose victory gives this country some much needed promise heading towards a major crossroads in its history. It’s been some time since the younger generation was so inspired by a Presidential candidate, but like Kennedy, Obama will be an iconic figure of a political youth movement.

And I realized this morning that last night, Barack Obama reignited the spirit of what makes this country so great, which is that democracy can still triumph, while anything truly is possible.

In regards to Senator John McCain, who delivered a stirring concession speech following the announcement of Obama’s projected victory, was both gracious and selfless, stating that while he and his now former opponent may not agree on all issues, he was looking forward to working for and with his new President elect in making sure the United States of America gets back on track.

I’m no political expert; however it isn’t difficult to figure out that McCain’s defeat was as much due to the discontent with the last eight years as it was to anything McCain was trying to promise for the next four.

In addition, one can’t help but wonder how McCain’s campaign would have turned out had he selected a different running mate, a decision that ultimately was his and is one he may one day look back on and regret making.

Governor Sarah Palin from Alaska was tapped as the Republican nominee for Vice President, and certainly sparked a renewed interest from her own party; however it may have come at the cost of victory.

Palin performed miserably during early interviews, and was involved in a number of off-the-ballot issues, among them her daughter’s teenage pregnancy.

Ultimately, her questionable domestic executive experience as well as her nonexistent foreign policy knowledge probably brought her ticket down considerably.

If nothing else though, the republican ticket provided us with some great entertainment thanks both during interviews and debates while fictionally on Saturday Night Live.  (Congrats to Tina Fey who can finally get some sleep now)

Following a long and tedious campaign season, America took to the polls yesterday in record numbers, and spoke loudly and clearly that they wanted to find out if all the change that had been promised to them by the new President elect would in fact become a reality.

Obama didn’t just win an election, he dominated it.

While the popular votes was relatively close, a 52%-47% advantage for Obama, he blew out McCain in the electoral college, securing 338 electoral votes McCain’s 163 as of early this morning, with three states still too close to call.

How did he do it?

Pundits agreed last night that Obama ran one of if not the most impressive Presidential campaign in history, reaching out to hoards of different voters, all of whom seemed to respond to the prospect of change Obama pledged throughout the campaign process.

Heading into last night before any of the polls had officially closed, Obama had seemed to have a mathematical edge with electoral votes, however McCain was given a fighting chance with upwards of 90 electoral votes that were made up of swing states Florida, Ohio, Indiana, Missouri, North Carolina, Montana and North Dakota.

In addition, McCain’s advisers repeatedly stated how important it was for the Arizona Senator to win Pennsylvania, which we would eventually fail to do.

The loss in PA was the first real blow McCain would take last night; however it would also turn out to be a sign of things to come.  Both Ohio and Florida, with 48 electoral votes between them, landed in the lap of Obama.  When the polls closed at 8 p.m. local time on the West Coast, California’s 55 electoral votes along with the announcement that Virginia went blue allowed the official projection of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States.

It was an exciting night if you’re a democrat or just an overall Obama supporter, however on a greater scale it was one of the most significant events in the 232 year history of this country.

The election of an African American to the country’s highest political office was perhaps a final knockout blow in the ongoing civil rights movement that still unfortunately has lingered more than a half-century after it started back in the 1950’s.

What is more impressive than his victory, is the fact that Obama looks to move forward not as the first black President, but simply as the nation’s President, eager to take on the challenges that await his early days in office.

For one night, it was easy to forget that this country finds itself in severe economic turmoil, while still at war over seas.  There is an ongoing environmental threat which will also demand the attention it’s been denied throughout much of the last eight years.

Regardless of who you voted for, any American who can’t appreciate how monumental last night’s victory for Barack Obama is needs to re-examine their beliefs in the ideals of the country they live in.

You may not like him, but if you have to respect what the new President Elect was able to accomplish on his road to the White House.

Obama’s inexperience is noteworthy, and will likely be sticking point for his critics heading into his Presidency.  However, to rise as quickly as he did in the American Political arena proves the land of opportunity we’ve always read about in textbooks was validated last night.

I can honestly say that although I may be young (21), I have never felt the rush of excitement I did yesterday, first in making my inaugural trip to the voting booth, and secondly when watching the announcement that Obama had been elected President.

I’ll also admit that I did in fact vote for Obama, although mainly because I had felt he was simply the lesser of two evils, as neither candidate had appealed much to me through the campaign.

And even upon his election, I’m wary of just how much change Obama can make, and whether or not he’ll be able to pull this country out the hole it’s dug itself into.

But I can tell you that no matter how much or how little I may support his ideas, I could not be prouder as an American citizen this morning, knowing that our democratic process worked, and produced a winner of historic proportions. Being able to take part in that, as simple as pulling that lever was- was pretty powerful.

Come January, when officially sworn in as the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama will venture off on what President Bush referred to last night as “one of the great journey’s of life” in his congratulatory phone call following the announcement of Obama’s victory.

Obama will lead this country’s citizens into the next frontier of what is right now a great unknown for the United States of America.

I’ll finish with an excerpt of Obama’s victory speech he gave in Chicago last night:

“The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even in one term. But, America, I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there.

I promise you, we as a people will get there.”

America can celebrate now, but must get back to working on restoring the potential and prominence this country is capable of achieving.

As American citizens, we can now only hope we selected the right man to lead us there, and if you ask Barack Obama whether or not we’ll get there, I have a feeling his answer would sound something like this:

“Yes we can.”

November 5, 2008 Posted by | Election '08, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Who Needs Football in an Election Year?

11/3/08

On the eve of the most historic Presidential Election in modern American History, time seems to be standing still.

Our country, facing troubled times of equal hisotical significance, will head to the polls in only a matter of hours (or as you’re reading this for all you Pacific Timezone nuts), and I can’t help but feel somewhat overwhelmed with excitement and intrigue in waiting to see how this election plays out.

While the candidates were spending this final night (surprise surprise) filling up prime time television minutes during halftime of Monday Night Football, I don’t know about you, but tomorrow’s election has all the drama and suspense of a big time football game.

Call it the Super Bowl of elections, but as a sports fan who has within the last year taken a great interest in politics, I’ve been rewarded with not only some great political commentary, but some lasting entertainment.

I could talk about how great the Saturday Night Live sketches have been, from Tina Fey’s dead on impression of Sarah Palin, to re-enactment of the debates and so on, or even how magically both The Daily Show and The Colbert Report have covered the election.

(This might have been the funniest thing SNL has produced in a while)

However, the entertainment I’ve enjoyed most has been from the candidates themselves.

Sure, Palin’s Katie Couric interview was classic, but having watched all four debates (3 presidential and the memorable VP debate), I found myself eyes glued as though it was a Sunday afternoon and my Jets were playing.

Except I wasn’t watching Brett Favre throwing touchdown passes (or interceptions of late), I was watching the priceless facial expressions of John McCain, and the avoiding of issues by Governor Palin.

Personally, I got a kick out of the second Presidential debate, where the town hall format was the perfect setting for Senator McCain to show off his inner ‘old-creep’, pacing around the stage as though he was lost, while getting uncomfortably close to the people asking questions.

Listen, I’m not going to pretend to be unbiased.

I’m a registered Democrat, and while I won’t disclose who I’m voting for, I’ll admit I’ve grown quite fond of both Senator McCain and Goveronr Palin.

Does that mean I would ever vote for their Presidential ticket?  I’ll let you guess, however the two of them have provided some of the most memorable moments in recent election history.

While both have been making plenty of headline, many of which for all the wrong reasons, both have come acorss to me as people I wouldn’t mind spending the next four years on television….just not necessarily as the next President and Vice President of this country.

With Palin, like most American males, the camera loves this woman.  She attractive and “folksy”, and while she probably is a sandwich or two short of a picnic, she has a career in show business waiting for her should her ticket fail and she decide to persue a different path for her post political career (which may be ending about as quickly as it was thrusted into the national spotlight).

All the drama surrounding her pregnant daughter coinciding with her stance on abortion and abstinance is stuff you just can’t make up.  And just to reiterate, how good does she look in those glasses?

With “McRage” as WIll Ferrell’s George W. Bush referred to Senator McCain as during a skecth on SNL a few weeks back, you gotta admire his lack of camera savyness.

Rolling his eyes while Senator Obama was discussing the difference in their policies was priceless, and ot’s difficult for me to hate a guy who considers all of us his “friends”.

Do you hate your grandfather, because I know I don’t, and that more or less what John McCain is to this country.

I’ll call him Grandpa John, and like most grandfathers, he’s older, distinguised, a war veteran, loves to offer advice even if you don’t want it and often forgets where he is and who he is talking to, as noticed during a speech he was giving in Pennsylvania (clip below).

…oh Grandpa John you old goof

This election will forever remembered as one of the most historic in American history, as much for the entertainment value and political importance.

Assuming we can avoid a repeat of the 2000 election debacle, tomorrow night around this time, we should have a projected winner in this election, as the 44th President of the United States will be either Barack Obama or John McCain.

That man will be responsible for dealing with a historically unpopular war, a devastated economy and an ongoing environmental crisis, and whoever is elected, needs to get to work quickly in restoring this nation to prominance.

If you can, go out and vote tomorrow.

I don’t care who you vote for, but make sure you can say you took part in something truly historic, as an election of this magnitude may never occur again in our lifetime.

Then again, depending on who wins and how they’re able to handle the problems facing this country, we might be back here again in four years going through this all over again.

Then again, even if we’re still at war, still in the midst of financial turmoil and Florida falls completely underwater, at least we’ll have another round of great TV.

Election day has finally arrived.

With all the entertainment and drama, who needs football in an election year?

November 4, 2008 Posted by | Election '08, Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

2008-2009 NBA Season Preview and Predictions

10/28/08

I’ll preface this post by stating I openly admit to having little to no confidence in my predictions, nor do I claim to have any professional experience in making them.

I read the previews out there, I listen to talk radio and I use the old gut.

That being said, the NBA season tips off tonight, with Boston looking to defend it’s title and the Lakers looking to dethrone them behind first time MVP Kobe Bryant.

LeBron and the Cavs will looking to finally get over the hump, while out west the power may have shifted away from the Spurs-Mavs-Suns trio while being replaced by the Hornets-Jazz-Rockets three-some.

In the east, my Knicks will be better but still on the outside looking in at season’s end, while teams like Philadelphia, Toronto and Orlando will look to take another step towards deeper playoff runs.

I don’t want to get too specific, after all I do this for fun, so without furthter adieu, here is how I foresee the 2008-2009 season taking shape…

Eastern Conference Playoff Teams:

Boston– The defending champs won’t miss James Posey as they are still the most talented starting five in the NBA.

Cleveland– LeBron and his new look squad will reveal themselves as Boston’s biggest threat.

Detroit– Contract year for Rasheed, and assuming he stays, Detroit, despite a new coach, will continue their winning ways.

Toronto– This is Chris Bosh’s team, and as a result, expect Jermaine O’Neal to quietly put up numbers closer to the ones he put up during his best days in Indiana.

Philadelphia– A new “Brand” of basketball, Elton’s presence will propel Philly into the playoffs for the second year in a row.

Orlando– Still young and now with some playoff experience under their belts, Orlando might need a deadline deal to push them into the second round.

Chicago– Last year proves to be a fluke, as this team has too much talent not too make a postseason return with the help of Derrick Rose.

Milwaukee– Scott Skiles can coach, and this retooled team will be the biggest surprise in the NBA’s minor leagues…err…Eastern Conference.

Western Conference Playoff Teams:

L.A. Lakers- Kobe, Kobe and more Kobe.  Oh, and a healthy Andrew Bynum, a full year with Pao Gasol and that ‘Zen-guy” head coaching.

Utah Jazz- Deron Williams and Carlos are legitimate stars, and Jerry Sloan just wins.  That continues this year.

New Orleans- Everybody wants to talk about the Posey signing, but I’ll keep it simple.  Chris Paul will score more, and win more.

Houston- Biggest move of the off-season was adding Ron Artest.  A healthy year from Yao and T-Mac equal realistic title dreams.

San Antonio- Missing Manu Ginobili will hurt this team early, but having him healthy down the stretch will ensure they’re still playing after the regular season ends.

Dallas- Avery Johnson gone, core of the team remains the same. Kidd another year older, but a full year running that offense will be enough for a first round exit.

Portland- Greg Oden finally makes his NBA debut the year after he’s drafted, while Brandon Roy is an MVP candidate. This team finally takes the next step.

Phoenix– It may take more than 7 seconds or less, but the Suns will figure out a way to sneak into the playoffs as this team can still score with the best of them.

Awards

MVP: Chris Paul

Defensive Player: Ron Artest

Rookie of the Year: Michael Beasley

Most Improved Player: Devin Harris

Coach of the Year: Jerry Sloan

6th Man of the Year: Jason Maxiell

Local Picks

Knicks: 36-46, 10th in East

Nets: 30-52, 13th in East

NBA FINALS

Celtics-Rockets

2008-2009 NBA Champion

(drum roll please)

Houston Rockets

Check back in April to see if I have a future in fortune telling or selling fortune cookies.

Either way, it’s great to have the NBA back.

Let the games begin.

October 28, 2008 Posted by | Sports | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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