Friday, February 16, 2007

Pitchers and Catchers Report

Pitchers and catchers report today. That sentence is one of the most beautiful ever created in the English language. Dice-K has been in Ft. Myers for a few days and the Globe and Dirt Dogs already has pictures up of a bunch of the Sox working out including Jonathan Papelbon, Josh Beckett and even Kevin Youkilis.

Youk has a wicked lumberjack goatee thing going on too, which already has me excited for the three best running subplots of the Red Sox season. Manny’s hair (at this point the possibilities are literally endless), team facial hair (the whole dirt dog thing really got going with the facial hair) and the absurd array of necklaces that players will wear (yeah so what if I own a phi-ten titanium necklace).

I don’t really have a lot of thoughts on spring training yet, I’m sure that will change as it gets rolling but do we really have to start with the negativity right off the bat. Boston fans get this ‘they are miserable and always looking for the worse possible scenario’ stigma, so why are we perpetuating it with this Dice-K is fat talk?

I will admit that when I first saw pictures of him I thought he was a little more portly then I had previously anticipated but seriously do you really think he is fat and out of shape? I didn’t think he looked all that different from the pictures I saw earlier but I guess the obligatory Akashi beer jokes are easy lay-ups, I’m sure we’ll hear plenty of that this year.

Pedro was frail, David Wells was a lard ass, Schilling is portly and Beckett is a good size guy. I’d say Dice-K is alright, he’s got a little spare tire action but he’s not running the Boston Marathon on Patriots Day, he’s either going to be on the mound pitching or chilling in the dugout with a cheek full of seeds. Or dip if he wants to fit the Sox profile. Fat or not, I doubt that he would have escaped scrutiny from the Japanese media horde if he was so out of shape.

Come on people think good thoughts, spring training hasn’t even started yet lets not get down on our $100 million dollar man yet.

Once pitchers and catchers report I usually wake up from the sports induced coma that is the month of February between the Super Bowl and Spring Training and switch gears into full on baseball mode. After the debacle that was the AFC Championship game and the insufferable Super Bowl I figured this year would be no different. Then I remembered Kevin Durant and Greg Oden.

I’ve been starting to follow college basketball again, mainly because the Celtics are so bad and have potential for franchise player in the draft, hell I even watched the BC, Duke game the other night. And those are two teams that I historically don’t like.

My point is that I’m on a little bit of a hoops kick right now. To the point were I’ve been playing College Hoops 2k7 a lot (ok, ok I cheated a little and put Gerald Green on the Texas Longhorns more on G-Money in a bit).

I usually don’t dive into college hoops until the NCAA tournament rolls around (unless it’s KSC basketball, I was always an avid Owl supporter) so this year has been fun. I’m thinking Santa Clara might be my George Mason team whose bandwagon I shamelessly pile onto because of their Cinderella potential.

Anyway, I have enjoyed this whole Durant, Oden thing it’s been fun. Of course the Celtics will probably be the worst team in the NBA and get the fourth or fifth pick and miss out on those two but such is life. Here I go with the negativity again.

The shots of City of Palms Park (which is a really cool place to watch a game by the way) in the Globe have officially marked the start of ‘get excited for the Red Sox’ but that won’t be in full effect till I’m flipping channels and I either see a random MLB Spring Training game on TV or a Big XII College Game on FSN. Until then we have a little bit more of this lull to get through.

The lull isn’t so bad if you are in a city unlike Boston whose baseball team is what the entire summer is about. If you have a serviceable hockey or basketball team you’re probably doing alright but like I said the Celtics and Bruins stink. What is going to get me through the doldrums of February until spring training gets in full swing and the NCAA tournament tips off?

Well constantly checking dirt dogs and all the Red Sox blogs is obvious and Deadspin is always good for some sports related comic relief. I could start a fantasy league and go through all the players I think could have big years, which I probably will but this weekend offers us a little respite from the icy winds and mind numbing boredom of the February sports schedule, the NBA All-Star game, ok not so much the game as the dunk contest.

Ok, so not the game at all but the dunk contest. The only reason I really care about this years dunk contest is because of G-Money. It will also be interesting to see how Las Vegas handles the event since they are trying to show off what a prime location they are for an NBA franchise.

Gerald Green, a.k.a. G-Money will make the dunk contest a must watch even. His dunks from the high school dunk contest from 2005 were absurd (check them out here) he out dueled the likes of Josh McRoberts, who might be the captain of the Uber-Dork team.

Green has already told the Boston media he’s got something special up his sleeve and Paul Pierce said one of the dunks he unloaded in practice last week was the best he’s ever seen. On a side note about the dunk contest, the judges are Michael Jordan, Dominique Wilkins, Kobe Bryant, Vince Carter, and Dr. J. I think G-Money has the best chance of showing these guys something special.

On weei the other day Dale Arnold and Michael Holley asked Gerald what the most memorable dunk contest of his childhood was. He said it was Vince Cater, so I think we can expect a couple homage to Vince dunks, maybe an elbow in the rim?

I’ve been kicking around the idea of doing a running diary for it, yes it’s an idea I stole for Bill Simmons but I’ve used it before for Super Bowls and I think it might be cool for the dunk contest. Whatever happens I’m saying G-Money takes the title and becomes the first Celtic since Dee Brown (who rocked the ‘cover my eyes dunk’ and pumped up his reeboks for a dunk) in 1991 to win. I bet Tyrus Thomas will be second, I liked him at LSU, I don’t think he should have come out but he is a leaper (as Tommy Heinsohn used to say).

I’ll go with Dwight Howard to get third, he’s a big man so that will hurt him and I don’t see him being as creative as G-$ and Thomas. Nate Robinson can have fourth, I’m over Nate Robinson, it was cool that he won last year the whole Spud Webb little guy thing but I’m read to move on from him. In short (literally) Nate Robinson eats.

Back to baseball real quick the, Red Sox first spring training game is February 28th when the Twins make the trip across Ft. Myers to City of Palms Park. Until then I’ll be ritualistically watching sports desk for Spring Training updates with Tina Cervasio.

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