Saturday, April 18, 2009

Cubbie catalysts, Ben's big day and NBA predictions

The Bald Truth

Alfonso Soriano ... Carlos Marmol ... Carlos Zambrano.

Does any one baseball team have three players who can look like horsespit one second and like Secretariat, Seattle Slew and Affirmed the next?

It's only the second week of the season, so I don't want to overstate things, but the Cubs' comeback win over the Cards on Friday was the most important outcome in the history of sports.

Not buying it? Oh sure. Go get all practical on me, why don't ya?

The List

My 21-year-old son, Ben, had quite a day Thursday, going to the Cubs-Cardinals game in the afternoon and the Blackhawks-Flames playoff game that night. Here in his own words is ...

The 5 coolest things I saw Thursday:

5. Blackhawk fans. Who said Chicago isn’t a hockey town? The United Center definitely had the playoff feel, with a sellout crowd screaming the whole game. But what kept cracking me up were the various outfits some fans were wearing. From a whole crew of people wearing full Native American headgear (which I imagine didn’t sit too well with the people that sat behind them), to a large number of dudes (from what appeared to be an 8-year-old kid to an old man) sporting their “playoff beards,” this just showed me that Chicagoans are extra-enthusiastic about the Hawks. And they should be.

4. Kosuke Fukudome. Now, I have been pretty down on Fukudome since his performance last year, but he has been hitting well and playing good defense this year. With a 3-run homer and a diving catch, he looked like the Fukudome from the first month of last season. But I won’t be too quick to jump on his bandwagon this year. Maybe the All-Star break will be a good time to judge him.

3. The National Anthem. At Blackhawk games, everyone cheers throughout the entire anthem. Dressed in a tuxedo, the opera singer dramtically belted it out, and it might have been the loudest I've ever heard the United Center. It was powerful and must have pumped up the players.

2. Nikolai Khabibulin. The Blackhawks came out of the gate in the first period looking terrible and the goalie saved the day. We fans often chanted "Khabi! Khabi!” - especially when he made a ridiculous diving save in the second period. Khabibulin seems to be the key to how far the Hawks can go in the postseason.

1. Martin Havlat. Perhaps the most consistent Blackhawks player this year, Havlat came through when the Hawks needed him most, tying the game late in regulation and winning it 12 seconds into OT. If you blinked, you would have missed his winner - but not the celebration!

Overall, it was a fun day - even though we couldn’t raise the “W” flag twice.

(Normally, I don't do The List in inverse order, but this was Ben's deal, so what the heck. It works, so maybe I need to reconsider!)

The Letter

From loyal reader Rod Hughes of Springfield, Ill.: 

Well, the genius Cardinals did it again, standing pat in the offseason and putting all of their hopes on Chris Carpenter staying healthy. Surprise! he's injured again. He's a great pitcher who can't stay healthy. When will they learn?

Did you get a new job yet?

As for your first point, at least Carpenter will be well-rested for the playoffs. Or two years for now.

To answer your second question ... nope. There are no journalism jobs out there for a man of my ilk. Not a one. But in addition to TBT, I am doing some freelance work for the AP, including the first two Cardinals-Cubs games.

Here's my story from Friday's thrill in Wrigleyville: 

I'm just glad I survived my personal AP Second Coming.


The only logical prediction for the NBA Finals is Lakers vs. Cavs. So logical that I desperately wanted to be contrary and go in a different direction. 

But the Spurs are the only team I'd have chosen to topple the Lakers, and Manu Ginobili is out. And the Celtics would have been my pick to beat the Cavs, and Kevin Garnett is questionable for the whole postseason.

So Lakers-Cavs it will be. 

Interesting side note: I think I read somewhere that each team has a pretty good player.

1 comment:

  1. the cards cubs game was proves that this cards team won't CRY when they lose..that has not always been true...

    there 's no crying in baseball