Saturday, March 18, 2006

Postgame Sarcasm

After the game a reporter asked McNamara how he felt.
"I feel great about it. We lost my last game, probably because of me. That's fantastic. It's a great feeling."


tr.v. o·ver·rat·ed, o·ver·rat·ing, o·ver·rates
To overestimate the merits of; rate too highly.

The big question is, does this word apply to Gerry McNamara?
The answer is still yes, including how well he played in the Big East tournament.
The fact is, he's a pretty good player who tries to do too much, takes terrible shots and makes horrible passes too often.
Here's how it all started for me and McNamara. There was a poll on or something in 2003 that asked who was your favorite player, or best player, or most important player on the team (after the regular season). The answer should have been Carmelo Anthony, but McNamara won. When we met Doug Logan I asked him about it, and chalked it up to race. He famously said "I don't know about all that."
That's when he started to get overrated. As the next two years went on and his uneven play continued I started to realize he was downright bad. This year he was named to all kinds of player of the year lists and he played awful. Not ok, awful. The scouting report on called him a great shooter, when he was shooting 30%. That's the definition of overrated.
I wrote the above part before the tournament. Obviously the A&M game gives me new insight. The guy doesn't suck, he's just ok. But when people say you are a top player in the conference and even the country, and yet you have horrible shooting games more often than not, that's how you become overrated.
Here is where the "teams double team him" argument comes in. First, teams double team Adam Morrison too. Second, Mike Piazza sucked on the Mets (according to my dad) because he never got to see fastballs because the guys batting behind him sucked. My dad said that while Vlad Guerrero hit .330 on the Expos. I think we throw out this argument because if we accept it, how can we judge him. He's good because even though he sucks, he's so good other teams are trying to make him suck?
I've never seen a player be good as a freshman -- wait let me stop here. If I hear one more time about how great McNamara was in the championship game in 2003, I'm going to puke. Yes he hit 6 3-pointers. Yes, every shot in the title game is big. But he had zero points in the second half of that game. Zero. If we're going to call him clutch for hitting one big shot against Cincinatti, while missing 12, then we have to recognize that he disappeared in the second half of the title game.
Ok, so he was good as a freshman, decent as a sophomore, bad as a junior and terrible as a senior. I've never seen that before.
So how did this overrated stuff happen? Same way "Lazy Sunday" became an internet phenomenon. Lazy Sunday was a pretty funny Saturday Night Live skit. But because the show sucked so bad this skit stood out, because of the internet it spread. Before long people were writing articles about whether Lazy Sunday could save SNL, the internet, western civilization, Teldar Paper and that other bungling, malfunctioning corporation known as the United States of America. Kudos to anyone who knows that movie reference. Anyway, after a while right minded people like myself said "let's not get carried away" it was just kinda funny.
But Boeheim took it to another level with his curse toast. And it actually worked. G-Mac played way beyond his abilities for 3 games, which wiped out 3 mediocre (at best) seasons in the minds of the people who hadn't watched those 3 seasons.
To sum up, I feel badly the way his career ended.
I don't hate Gerry McNamara.
I will always remember him well because he was part of that championship team.
Good luck in Turkey.

I think that question has been answered

Friday, March 17, 2006


The most important player in SU history just led his team to two straight upsets in the NCAA tournament. Before I got sick I had started a long post about how he really was overrated. I guess I can delete that now. I don't need to convince anybody. What's so annoying is that the announcers continued to make excuses. They must have said five times about how they were sure he'd come back and make some field goals. And every time they showed the stat again and he still hadn't they just emphasized more how hurt he must be. Fact is, the guy is ok. He played with one great player (melo), one good player (warrick) both of whom made him better. And then he hit a lucky shot against Cincy and had a great game against UConn. Lucky for him, those were the only two games people watched. Fuck McNamara, I'm glad he's out of my life. I will never take a trip to Turkey because that's the only way I'll ever have to see him play.

Thursday, March 16, 2006


I have been deathly ill since Tuesday night. I have some kind of flu or stomach virus. I've been lying on the couch for 2 straight days. Today I was watching games, nodding off, waking up, rewinding and catching up.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

8 Years Ago Today

Eric "EZE" Wohlleber celebrated his 21st birthday with one of the least graceful swan dives that I have ever seen, ending up on the floor of 44s.
He also took another tumble in the snow, taking down Bill and Bob.
While lying on the ground in the snow he shouted to passersby "Its my birthday, diiiiiiiiiiiiiick!"
Congrats on making it this far, Happy Birthday EZE.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

The Salukis

I am very worried about my Mountaineers and Pittsnogle in the first round. As a 6 seed West Virginia drew #11 seed Southern Illinois. First of all, Jim Belushi and Clyde Frazier are both Salukis.
SIU also plays a style that may be difficult for WVU. They slow it down and play tough D. It's hard to get your shooting rhythm when the other team is holding the ball for 30 seconds on each possession and always gets back on D. I haven't scouted SIU at all but I know most good defensive teams know how to switch which could cut down on WVU's open 3s.
One rule of the NCAAs is, live by the three, die by the 3.
Also SIU has that plucky cheerleader who fell from the top of the pyramid then continued to be aggressive (b-e aggressive) as they were carrying her away on a gurney she was still doing her cheers. She even defended the stunts after the conference banned 3 tier pyramids.

Not the first time she's been on her back trying to motivate teh basketball players

Pizza Parlor Madness

I spent the afternoon at the allergist's reading Pizza Parlor Derek's profiles of the automatic entrants into the tournament.

Here's what I gleaned:
Duke is everything that's right with college basketball, and that's why we hate them. They also have some interesting alumni I wasn't aware of.
Derek doesn't think Erin Andrews is a worthy mention on Florida's list of alumni.
Derek got bored writing the Pacific profile and his mind wandered.
San Diego State has a surprisingly strong list of alumni, at least until you get to Jeanne Zelasko.
Nothing compared to UCLA though.
Golda Meir went to the Wisconsin-Milwaukee. I honestly thought that was a joke.
The Concierge will be rooting for Montana because they are coached by Larry Krystowiak.
The best list of alums of course belongs to Syracuse. He only included one athlete leaving off Marvin Harrison, Jim Brown and Derrick Coleman. He also left off Dick Clark, Dick Stockton, Taye Diggs, Vanessa Williams, jusTON and Carmelo Anthony.

Leave Julie Chen Alone

Howard Stern appeared on Letterman last night and basically ripped his old boss, CBS Chairman Les Moonves, on his own airwaves. His impression of Moonves as a jittery nervous nerdy douchebag were pretty funny. The one thing I thought particularly funny was his T-shirt said "I Hate Les Moonves" and had a picture of Moonves and his fiance Julie Chen. Chen of course is a gorgeous former model who suddenly got a big push on the network (Big Brother, Early Show) right around when she started banging the boss. They had tried to keep the relationship a secret early on and I'm sure that 90% of Letterman's audience had no idea about it until last night. I'm sure that was Howard's motivation in choosing that photo for his shirt.

Wasn't able to find a picture of Stern wearing the shirt, but at least this show how mismatched a couple Chen and Moonves are

Movin On Up

Starting Monday I will be leaving my brief position at Headline News to take the position as business news producer for CNN's morning show, American Morning.
What this means:
1) I am basically the highest ranking business news producer at the network (excluding my old boss, who is more of a supervisor)
2) My new hours are just like my old hours 4a-12p.
3) The hits I produce will be on CNN at roughly 6:15, 6:45, 7:15, 7:45, 8:45 and 9:45am.
4) I am now part of the American Morning staff as opposed to the dwindling business news unit, hopefully a good sign for future advancement.
5) I finally have a PA working for me.
6) I should have more time to blog from 10a-12p but probably will never post anything before 10 unless its major news that I can get in before 6.
7) My old boss said since he's no longer responsible for filling in for me when I take vacation he'll approve all my vacation days and make it someone else's problem. That includes April 3rd and April 4th, clearing me for a fun trip to Shea with Scott and Shawn and allows me to stay up to watch the title game that night. I was worried I wouldn't be able to get those days off meaning I'd have to take the subway to Shea and arrive right at game time.

Sobel Brothers Rejoice

The Miami Dolphins acquired quarterback Daunte Culpepper from the Minnesota Vikings for a second round pick. Excluding potential injury rehab worries this is a great move for the Fish. There are still other questions about him but he's definitely better than what they had. And if that translates into 1 or 2 more wins, then Saban has this team heading in the right direction.
Drew Brees signed with the Saints, a good move for New Orleans (once again, good health assumed). San Diego will look to repeat the Cincinnati-Carson Palmer scenario.

Unexplained Weight Gain

People taking the popular sleep aid Ambien learned of a surprising side effect. They sleep walked and ate tons of stuff while sleeping. One somnambulist said she gained 100 pounds from crap she shoved down her gullet while sleeping.

Another Childhood Hero Dies

Peter Tomarken, the host of one of the greatest game shows ever, "Press Your Luck", died in a plane crash.

hopefully there are no whammys in heaven
tell Kirby we said hello

Unhappy Birthday

Today would have been Kirby Puckett's 46th birthday. I was really sad to hear the news of his stroke and to see how he struggled to adjust to life after baseball. He was my favorite player growing up because of his enthusiasm and perhaps his size as well. He always seemed to be enjoying himself. His autobiography (one of the few books I've read more than once) is called "I Love This Game." I'll never forget how great he was in 1987 and 1991 in leading the Twins to the World Series. I'll never forget that every year I was granted Puckett in the annual Strat-o-matic All-Star team draft and I always batted him third. I'll never forget how I bought a Twins hat, and a Twins starter jacket because of him. While my brother had posters of several different athletes I used my space on the walls for 3 Puckett posters. I have a couple plaques, tons of baseball cards, pictures and a Starting Lineup figure. Of course when I started getting throwbacks I had to buy his 1984 Twins jersey. I'm really sad about the way his life and career turned out over the last ten years. I'm getting misty just writing this.

We'll see you tomorrow night


Thanks to my status as boat blackjack champion I earned some respect around the craps table. I mostly played craps but I played some blackjack and some Caribbean stud.
The last day, Saturday, I sat down to play Caribbean stud with my friend Dwayne. We were fooling around and joking about the Royal Flush (paid a $27,000 jackpot). One hand I lost and the dealer forgot to take my $15. So I told him to take it hoping it would give me some good karma. Then I went over to the craps table a few minutes after they opened it, so it was probably around 7:10.

Only Dwayne was at the table. He was shooting for a little while and we made some money. Then I took the dice. Starting with a comeout roll I hit an 8, a hard 8, a 10 (new point) and a hard 10, in no more than 10 rolls of the dice. Then I sevened out. So the dice were back to Dwayne. Earlier in the week I posted that I needed one hot shooter to get back to even at craps. They almost needed to hose him down. It was better than my Foxwoods "light the gas" incident. I was 26/27 across the whole time, then I was pressing, by the end I had 10 or 15 on 4,5,9 and 10, and $30 on 6 or 8. I had $15 on the pass line (damn single odds). And he just kept rolling numbers. The dealers made at least $50 on the hardways we played for them. It was incredible. At 7:45 Dwyane cashed out $2250 and I cashed out $803.

Later that night I went back and played my last hurrah, couldn't get anything going. Got too aggressive towards the end and lost about $200. One highlight. I hadn't hit a yo all week. So on the come out roll, I threw out a dolla yo, shooter threw out a $5 yo. And the guy in between the shooter and me put his last $50 on the pass line. I said "come on shooter, its yo-time." Yo, 11. I get 15, shooter gets $75, other gets $50 and stacks it. Next roll, It was yo-time again. Another 75 for the shooter, and 15 for me, and 100 for the other guy.

Totals for the week (roughly):
Blackjack tournament: +800 (minus entries and tip)
Caribbean stud: +5
Blackjack: -100
Craps: -$100
Slots: -$40

That brings the total to just about $550. Not bad for a cruise. If you can play craps for a whole week and lose only $100, that isn't bad.

Pictures of gambling and the rest of the cruise will come later this week when Kate gets time.

Cruise Wrap

The cruise was great. We had a really nice time, balancing our daily activities between excursions, shopping and ship activities.

Submarine in Aruba was awesome. Saw abandoned boats and tons of fish. Really cool. Probably what snorkeling and scuba are like.
Took a beach trip in St. Maarten, to the French side, where they called it St. Martin. The whole setup of the island as a split property of the Dutch and French was quite interesting to learn about.
Rain forest in Puerto Rico. This was cool, but it wasn't actually raining and there were no animals.

We basically did a little shopping in all four places but it wasn't too bad. We broke it up with stops at internet cafes and Kate wasn't too bad about taking forever. I don't think the shopping is really much cheaper than U.S. prices anymore. It was fun to see some of the stores, they sell jewelry, t-shirts, perfume, drinks, phamracy, anything. Unemployment is 1% in St. Maarten, because every store whas 45 employees to harrass you when you walk in.

Food on the ship was great. Breakfasts were nice buffet. I had several shrimp and bacon omelets. And several huge piles of bacon. Lunch was adequate but not that great. First day was paella but downhill after that. They also had "tea" or snack at 2:30 which was good. Hamburgers were overdone. Dinner was awesome. One night was garlic shrimp (i had about 3 portions). Four lobster tails. 4 shrimp cocktails on the last night. Kate said I was eating too much but I think the waiters really like when someone is enjoying the food.

Ship activities:
Because there were so many people the ship had a lot of cool stuff. In addition to the things we didn't do (rockwall, ice skating, comedians) there were a lot of cool things we did. Mini golf (I won), Johnny Rockets ($4 additional charge, but a great root beer float), we saw a couple shows, which were very funny.

Separate post.

Monday, March 13, 2006

SU-Texas A&M

Quick thoughts:
This seems like a fair seeding to me. I don't know much about Texas A&M but I will be reading up on them over the next few days.
We all know the danger of the 5-12 game (averages more than one upset per year since the start of the 64 team field).
Don't think the 12 seed victor always has to come from a small conference. Missouri in 2002 won 3 games as a 12, Arkansas also upset Penn State a few years before that.
Don't think that means I'm picking against SU in the first round as I did (correctly) last year. I haven't made my decision yet.
Go SU!

Tournament Challenge Time

I've created a group in ESPN's Tournament Challenge. Please enter your brackets into the group called Paul's Poop. No password, feel free to invite as many people as you want. It would be nice to have a big huge group, especially if Diesel gets 30 first round games again or Mike picks another good sleeper.

I'm Back

We arrived home safely and had a great time. More to come on the cruise and of course Syracuse and the whole Gerry McNamara overrated thing. Full evaluation of tournament coming. I'm very pleased with the way Syracuse played and very disappointed I missed the excitement. The e-mails exchanged in the moment were exciting to read even three days later.