Monday, May 17, 2010

Next question for Niekro: What's wrong with Tiger's neck?

Boston being up on Orlando after game one of the Eastern Conference Finals is a pleasant surprise for me as a Celtics fan. It's easy to get caught up in things like Boston's physical play against Dwight Howard after the first game of a series. That doesn't mean too much to me, because it's a refelection of tactics. Stan Van Gundy's guys won't shoot as poorly from the outside every game as they did Sunday, which will in turn make it more difficult to play Howard that way. The win is an interesting indicator of the Celtics mental toughness. They're composed in large part of members from the NBA Championship team two seasons ago, while Orlando shook their 2009 Finals losing team up by bringing in Vince Carter. Boston was able to rebound quickly from a challenging six game set with Cleveland and seize home court advantage, while the Magic had a laughably easy trip past Charlotte and Atlanta to reach this point. Carter's not known for mental toughness but played well Sunday in the loss, so maybe this won't be much of an issue going forward.

I never know what to make of columns that are written supposedly quoting anonymous players and coaches sharing thoughts on a sport. Some of them sound legit, but even those often sound like something I could have made up on my own. The New York Daily News published a very interesting one over the weekend, with a purported player blasting the NFL's drug testing program for being way too lenient on street drugs. If there's one thing that seems to be clear after the recent Cushing debacle it's that the NFL isn't real concerned about drug use unless you get caught repeatedly. This column sounds like a legitimate player gripe to me, but who can say for sure?

Hank Haney, former swing coach for Tiger Woods, has given a three part interview to the Golf Channel which is apparently his effort to polish up his reputation after parting ways with Woods. Among Hank's shocking revelations: he thinks the months away from golf in sex addiction therapy hurt Tiger's game. It's that attention to detail that makes Hank so good. Nothing gets by that guy. In other news, Haney thinks BP's oil spill could be a problem for the Gulf of Mexico. Haney also laments that Woods didn't call him very often. After you chose to do this interview I definitely wouldn't recommend waiting by the phone for any more calls, Hank.

I was mostly listening to music as I drove back from Tampa to Columbia yesterday. At one point though, I decided to see if anything interesting was going on with sports. I tuned in just in time to hear a national network show about to begin an interview with Phil Niekro. I'm not sure what was supposed to make the long retired Niekro a compelling guest at 5pm on a Sunday in mid-May, but I was willing to listen and see what they were going to ask the Hall of Fame pitcher. The first question, I kid you not, was about LeBron James and what Niekro thought would happen with him in free agency. And with that, it was back to the music. If you haven't heard "I Should've Known It", the first single off the new Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers CD, you should check it out. As for the LeBron stuff, surely the national media isn't going to spend all of the next six weeks being this stupid, right?

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