Saturday, May 24, 2008

NO NO's

NO-Hitter

Last night I got out of a movie and had 7 messages on my phone. I knew something was up. After I deleted 3 messages from my Mom (each one advising me what types of plates I can put in the microwave), I still had four others. What did I miss?

It turns out Jon Lester pitched the 18th no-hitter in Red Sox history, the 1st by a Sox lefty since 1956. It was against the Royals, but still. And for those who somehow don’t know, Lester is a cancer survivor making this story even more inspiring. Anytime there’s a momentous event in Boston sports, I like to reminisce and think “Where was I when that happened?” That’s when I flashed back to…

The Clay Buchholtz No-Hitter: I was at EY's wedding; a good friend I grew up with. Some of my best friends were there as well. My Dad was there. While most guests danced and celebrated, my Dad and I, along with several other father-son pairs, scrolled through our cell phones for updates. Once it was official, we raised our drinks and then hit the dance floor. An amazing night! Definitely one of the best weddings I’ve ever been to.

NO Problem

Jason Varitek caught his record 4th no-hitter. That’s pretty incredible! Does Bill James have a statistical breakdown rating a catcher’s ability to call a game? Sometimes, I forget how pivotal that position is and how much impact he must have on his pitchers and the game.

NO Pain

The Celtics and the Cavs gave us the best played game of the playoffs on Sunday. The Pierce v LeBron showdown was a great homage to Bird v Wilkins, 1988. But my 2 favorite plays were: Eddie House hitting the floor and magically tapping it back to Posey. And Pierce laying out on the parquet and calling a time-out just before being pounced on by LeBron. It was refreshing to see professional athletes actually trying their best and risking everything to win.

NO Soup For You

The defending champion San Antonio Spurs knocked out Chris Paul and the New Orleans Hornets. Is anyone sick of the Spur winning? They are one of the dirtiest teams out there, but for some reason everyone cuts them some slack. They are the NBA version of the Patriots. So how come more people don’t hate them—Because Tony Parker’s wife is hot? Because they’re a small-market team? Because Tim Duncan has a misshaped head? I surely don’t know. I never thought I’d say it, but I’m actually rooting for the Lakers in the West.

NO More Flopping, Please

My buddy PA came up with some brilliant ideas that I will pawn off as my own. Flopping has become an epidemic in the NBA. On every play, someone will whine, make the cry-baby face (see LeBron James), or simply just fall down for no reason. Guys weighing 200+ pounds with 0% body fat are getting knocked around like the skinny 5th grader on the B team.

How did this come to be? PA’s theory: Blame the oversea guys. These guys grew up playing soccer where the flop or “fake injury” was part of the game. So when overseas athletes picked up basketball, they naturally brought the flop with them. When you think about the origination of the flop, what’s the first name that comes to mind? Vlade Divac! This guy would fall over from a light breeze. But it worked. He exploited the system. He got the calls. Other players caught on and took advantage. Here’s an excerpt from Page 2:

“Divac was the forefather of the European flop movement, a man ahead of his time. He entered the NBA in 1989 as a horrible defender, and his Lakers teammates -- most notably Magic Johnson -- demanded improvement. "Most of the time, I flopped because I wasn't strong enough to stand up against everybody who was so physical," Divac told the Orange County Register in 1995, referring to his early NBA career. The Lakers benefited from Divac's flops through the 1995-96 season, after which he was traded to the Hornets for the rights to Kobe Bryant. But they soon found the tables turned when Divac joined the Sacramento Kings in 1998. Who could forget the images of Divac's body flying to and fro in a flopping fiesta in the 2002 Western Conference finals? "I don't know what is flopping," Divac said in a 2002 ESPN.com article by Marc Stein. "I think Derek Fisher does a better job of that than I do. It's taking a charge. It's for the refs to decide. … I'm going to play like I've been playing my whole career." http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=neumann/070607

How the flop can be stopped—how about fines? Someone can review game tapes, and if someone pulls an obvious Vlade, they lose a little dough and a little bit of integrity. They are publicly scrutinized and then forced to volunteer for an NBA Cares Event.

NO Way Out: My Cautionary Tale of Dating a Co-worker.

Having gone through the experience in Los Angeles, this is what I learned. It’s fun at first. You can sneak around. You can send dirty text messages. You can have breakfast and then carpool. You can take extra long “breaks” together. But here’s the major flaw. What happens when you want to break up? I tried to make a clean break, but it was impossible. I still saw her everyday, and now she was in code red—full, hardcore flirting. Short skirts. Revealing tank-tops. Back rubs. She was not letting me end the relationship. It was kind’ve like Seinfeld when George’s girlfriend won’t allow the break up. The lesson is that with a co-worker, there’s just no way out so be careful. (I did manage to find a loophole. I simply quit my job and moved to New York.)

NO, I Didn’t Get it in Less Than a Minute Either

My friend EY and his wife WY get credit for this trivia question:

In under a minute, can you name the 5 NBA teams that have states in their name as opposed to cities?

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