Monday, July 26, 2010

Blog Outsourcing - 7/26

Welcome to today's edition of Sparty and Friends.

Earlier today, I was listening to my new president give his State of the Nation Address (SONA for short). It was 36 minutes of talking about the current state of my country and what he initially intends to do about it. You call it your State of the Union Address. It was done in the vernacular, so if you are interested, you can read the English translation here.

On the other hand, the weekend was wracked with disappointment as my alma mater lost in the 1st round of our rivaly game. The way we lost it was a little ugly as we held a 9-pt lead late in the 4th quarter with 3+ minutes left, and all of a sudden, we could not score and their shots began falling. What sucks even more is that all those hiding in the woodwork came out and pounced on the opportunity to talk smack. After all, they finally got their chance after the past few years of failure. Hope we can bounce back from this better than ever. It has been a tough start this season, but it is still early. Lots of games to go before the post-season comes in about a couple of months.

Of course, one good lesson you can gleam from this experience is that these are the kind of things that can be cured by sleep. Something obviously Dan Gilbert should have done before the Comic Sans mishap.

Here are the links:

Contador wins the Tour de France, in which Lance Armstrong ends in a whimper.

Round and round they go, Jamie Mac takes the Brickyard 400.

How one wins a race without leading a lap, and how team orders can affect a race.

The so-called "next Danica" is on probation, while bickering drivers say they're all good.

Dan Haren is the Angels' response to Cliff Lee. But Alberto Callaspo is a bigger acquisition.

The Mets and Royals in trade talks. Mediocrity for mediocrity.

The Hawk finally gets in. You think Tim Raines is in eventually?

Quest for 600 delayed. The little engines that could in Florida strike.

Tigers lose key cogs, but Miggy carries on.

Bobby V in a Cubs jersey?

Obviously, Deion taught him well.

Get well soon, Sergio Kindle.

How Dan Beebe "saved" the new Big 12.

Adios! Here's an old parting track:

Saturday, July 24, 2010

TWTWTNBA: FA Discussion (Filling in the Pieces)

Here are more FA madness from the Association:


Nate Robinson stays with the Boston Celtics: Those two playoff wins Nate provided were apparently enough for the Celtic brass to say, let's keep him instead of Tony Allen.

Anthony Carter stays with the Denver Nuggets: Rumored to have been targeted by the Heat, he decided to stay knowing he will not really play that much if necessary with the quick development of Ty Lawson.

Randy Foye to the Los Angeles Clippers: He replaces the departed Steve Blake. Randy will be the back-up to both Baron Davis and Eric Gordon. At the same time, this buys time for their two PG draft picks (Bledsoe and Warren) time to develop at their own pace.

Kyle Lowry stays with the Houston Rockets: Cavs wanted him. Unfortunately, they get screwed again

Luke Ridnour to the Minnesota Timberwolves: Another Kahn move. Makes Ramon Sessions expendable, which was also a Kahn move. Add to that the Jefferson deal to Utah, makes me feel good about the Minny 1st rounder coming soon. At least the Twins are around right now...

Shaun Livingston to the Charlotte Bobcats: Maybe this is the chance to shine, Shaun. Hope you have fully recovered. Because only DJ Augustin is your only competition for the starting PG role. It is worth nothing that the injury we would like not seeing on Youtube happened against the Bobcats.

Ronnie Brewer to the Chicago Bulls: With Orlando matching JJ's offer sheet, this is their Plan B. They needed a replacement for what Kirk Hinrich did on the defensive end, and Ronnie provides that element. He's not as good a shooter as JJ is, however. Expect the lion's share of the minutes at the 2 to go to him.

JJ Redick stays with the Orlando Magic: He is the Magic's top FA priority, which would probably cost them Matt Barnes. Is he going to be the starter, we will know soon enough.

Wesley Matthews to the Portland Trailblazers: Nice bargain pickup by Jerry Sloan, gets Paul Millsap-d by Portland, only this time, the Jazz let him go. He was solid guarding the likes of Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant etc. This makes Rudy available for anyone, without letting him slink away to Europe.

CJ Watson to the Chicago Bulls: With Kirk Hinrich gone, they needed a back-up PG. He'll fit the bill.


Travis Outlaw to the New Jersey Nets: With Lebron choosing not to go to Newark, the Nets had to look for a Plan B. Outlaw is not a bad choice. During his days in Portland, I thought he was their #2 go to clutch option after Roy.

Kyle Korver to the Chicago Bulls: Bulls needed better bench contributors, and adding his shooting prowess will prove to be invaluable.

Carlos Boozer to the Chicago Bulls: Chicago needed a big splash this free agency. They struck out on the big kahuna, and thus this was their fallback option. Having Boozer means they finally have a low post threat. A 20-10 guy who could provide the offensive oomph that Joakim Noah can dream about. Hey, it is definitely better than the last FA bonanza that netted them Ron Mercer and Eddie Robinson. However, I still remember Booz as the guy who backstabbed a blind man.

James Jones stays with the Miami Heat: They need fringe guys who can shoot. Well, we know he can shoot the ball. Given the probable minutes distribution after Lebron and Wade, he really will not play much.

Craig Smith stays with the Los Angeles Clippers: And the continued evolution of the Clipperwolves continues. But really like the signing. He's a fan favorite and definitely will keep pressure off Blake Griffin.


Brendan Haywood stays with the Dallas Mavericks: Played well for the Mavs after he was sent there. Outlasted the Damp in the process, but still has competition for minutes, as Tyson Chandler joins in the fray.

Johan Petro to the New Jersey Nets: He would be the top caddy to Brook Lopez for the Nets. He filled in admirably when Kenyon Martin was sidelined.

Hilton Armstrong to the Washington Wizards: They need a backup big to spell Javale McGee and Andray Blatche. That's his role.

Brad Miller to the Houston Rockets: Three words. Yao Ming Insurance. Doesn't hurt that he played for Rick Adelman's Princeton-style offense.

Jamaal Magloire stays with the Miami Heat: He provides insurance for bigs in case someone goes down.

Joel Anthony stays with the Miami Heat: It is thought that he is going to be project for Spoelstra to develop him. Now with all the signings, he will be able to develop at his own pace, plus learn from veterans that are around him.

Monday, July 19, 2010

TWTWTNBA: Post-Lebronageddon

It has been a few days since the announcement. It's about time to recap the latest moves in the ballers' league. You may notice some missing names here, but I will get to them on the next article

Raymond Felton to the New York Knicks: If Lebron went to NY, having a PG would not really be a concern because that's what Lebron will handle. As a result, they needed a short-term solution at the position. Why? Because there might be change afoot.

Jordan Farmar to the New Jersey Nets: Steve Blake made him expendable, so the hometown hero moves on to Jay-Z's realm. There is always a saying that you can always go home, maybe the reverse could be true. Guy spent pretty much entire life in Southern Cal, so a spell outside could establish a little more confidence and less pressure. In addition, he will be playing backup point as well as free up Devin Harris from PG duties a little.

Derek Fisher stays with the Los Angeles Lakers: As much as how they Lebron and Wade tried to pry away the Kobe confidant, did you really think that the Mamba will ever let this guy leave? Other than Kobe, he's their next best clutch option.

Ray Allen stays with the Boston Celtics: With Paul Pierce returning, not really a shocker that Ray also stayed. The window is closing pretty quick, but the old guys know they got a shot or two left before Father Time says you're done for. Hope he can teach the jump shot to Rajon and Avery.

Tony Allen to the Memphis Grizzlies: Like James Posey before him, another Southwest Division team lures him away from Beantown. One sure thing though, on the offensive end, they will not miss his bad hands. They will definitely miss his defensive efforts, especially after being on Kobe Bryant on the Finals.

Anthony Morrow to the New Jersey Nets: As a Clipper fan, this is the reason why I wanted him to join my team. The guy can flat out shoot. In an aggressive running offense, he'll be deadly. I am not sure if Courtney Lee has the starting job locked down, but it will be an interesting competition.

Dwayne Wade stays with the Miami Heat: He still remains the King of South Beach. He has a king welcoming people that they are recruiting.

Lebron James to the Miami Heat: I don't think we need to discuss much, but it's disappointing to see the King turn into a doorman for someone else.

Udonis Haslem stays with the Miami Heat: Much like Fisher, not even full MLE offers from Dallas and Denver swayed him and part with his long time buddy and BFF Wade. Considering he was an undrafted guy from the Draft Class of '03, he's undervalued. Oh and yes, Udonis can have the current doorman polishing his championship ring, something he, Adam Morrison and Darko have in common.

Jermaine O'Neal to the Boston Celtics: Here is the stopgap measure with Perk's absence. I also thought he would be more at home with the Gen-Y's instead of the Tweeps down south.

David Lee to the Golden State Warriors: Had Lebron went to NY, this deal would not have taken place. I heard of comparisons to Dave Cowens. He may not have the defensive acumen, but with how the W's handle things, that is the least of their concerns. Come to think of it, their philosophy regarding defense is simply outscoring people.

Chris Bosh to the Miami Heat: Chris Bosh and his media mileage migrates south. He'll probably be the most talented third option out there. Still wish he had his dreads on, because it would help Adrien Brody's case of being an action star.

Ben Wallace stays with the Detroit Pistons: Big Ben will end his NBA career with the Pistons. Clearly seeing his better days, his new role will be getting Greg Monroe to be in tiptop NBA defensive shape.

Aaron Gray stays with the New Orleans Hornets: He's a space filler down low for the Hornets, who definitely are in a lack of direction right now. (You know he isn't really that important when I cannot find a proper link regarding the signing).

Tiago Splitter to the San Antonio Spurs: It took an eternity to get him here, finally. Hope it pays off, because they need a successor to Timmy D (or at least, a stopgap measure). Timmy D then would become the David Robinson to Tiago being a young Timmy.

Timofey Mozgov to the New York Knicks: This definitely elicits Ivan Radovadovitch memories. Anyhow, he is a 7'1" big man who can compete for minutes down low. If the SSOL wants an Andris Biedrins-like rebounder, he might fit the bill.

Omer Asik to the Chicago Bulls: Ensures depth down low for the Bulls. Not much to be expected (you have Joakim and Booz), but you can observe him playing for his homeland on the FIBA World Championships in his first major action since his collarbone injury.

Zydrunas Ilgauskas to the Miami Heat: Well, how come Dan Gilbert is not at all ballistic on him leaving? He is the Cavs career leader in games, blocks and rebounds. This move ensures a big man rotation is set in South Beach. (Bosh, Haslem and Z)

Blog Outsourcing: 7/19

Welcome to the latest edition of Sparty and Friends!

Again, apologies for the snafu last Friday. I did try to make that up later that day with the Afternoon hangover. Yes, we all got confused by the today vis-a-vis tomorrow thing. That's the hard part dealing with someone beyond the International Date Line.

Anyhow, I remembered Big D's post on College Football and his email to me wondering about my college football allegiances. This post is dedicated to trying to answer that question.

Being a sort-of casual fan of the sport (considering it gets little or no attention round my parts). I really never had a solid one-team allegiance. The way one has with Purdue or Florida or Tennessee or Michigan State. I have multiple allegiances. It would be based on certain aspects:

1. Jesuits. I will always support Jesuit institutions as an homage to my alma mater. To a certain extent, that extends to similar academic institutions (i.e. Northwestern or Vandy)

2. Underdogs. Being the little guy, I always admire the have-nots in their efforts against the haves. I loved Boise State and its smurf turf and TCU and its hard-nosed D.

3. I dislike Notre Dame. Need I say more? I just find them annoying. And for similar programs, I prefer Michigan over Ohio State. I liked the Fun N' Gun and was in awe of the Tebow era. (Sure helps that he was here in the country before).

4. Quirkiness. Whether players (my love and respect for Virginia Tech nowadays started with the magic of Michael Vick) or coaches (Texas Tech during the Mike Leach era, the wonders of JoePa), if you interest me, that's awesome.

And so ends my soapbox. Feel free to blast me anytime.

Here comes the links madness:

Louis Oosthuizen. Your Open Champion. This time, Tiger is not in 4th place.

There will be a basketball court built on Times Square. Hope someone near there can cover it for me. (Btw, thanks to a good friend named Sarah, who will be going to NYC to cover it).

Andy Pettitte gets hurt. At least not the way AJ Burnett gone through. The good news, at least they get a little breathing room thanks to the Rangers.

Speaking of Boston, 600 straight sellouts. And Josh Beckett is in the horizon...

With just 2 weeks to go until the trade deadline, injuries affect market value.

Looks like Carlos Zambrano is getting ready, but is he now mentally ready? Meanwhile, Doc Halladay got outdueled.

Ken Macha whining about HBPs.

Could be the end of an era, if it hasn't been already. Meanwhile the two American winners joust it out.

Mark Chmura is now a Lambeau HOFer.

Who knew that a former import here in the Philippines could possibly become a NBA GM.

And so another legend could possibly join the team of legends...

Is he fit for the job? Vandy expectations are not really that high.

Soccer fanaticism is really something else around the world.

Landon Donovan saves the day!

Reliving the ESPYs...

The American parallel to this would be the IRL removing the Indy 500 on their schedule.

Floyd likes having things go his way on his terms. Unless something that would forcibly prod him to do it (i.e. IRS). Not surprised with his shenanigans. Anyhow, if Timothy Bradley is interested or a Paul Williams, just buzz us. Margarito is not an option.

Oh and yes, my alma mater is 2-1. Up next is the biggest school rivalry ever. They have the same record as we do. I hope for tickets.

Double Dip videos for today:

This first one contains the top 20 goals of the World Cup.

The second one is Slim Shady. Because he is a lyrical poetic genius.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

TWTWTNBA: Free Agency summary (so far)

This is a recap on who went where so far: (inclusive until the latest deal I know of, in this case, the Chris Duhon deal)

These are the signings:


1. Steve Blake signs with the Lakers - The major holes for the champs have been bench depth and PG play. Fish is old (but needed since he can shoot clutch). Both Shannon Brown & Jordan Farmar are FAs. Very heady and smart PG (Played 32 minutes in Clipper debut fresh from being traded for Marcus Camby). Will help Lakers with his shooting ability being much much more reliable than the Machine. Can play both guard spots. Could also serve as a stopgap measure in Laker quest for the PG of the future.

2. Chris Duhon signs with the Orlando Magic - I believe someone already wrote it in earlier today.

3. Sergio Rodriguez signs with Real Madrid - He could not capitalize on the opportunities given, so he will take the Raul Lopez route back to respectability. People must have been allergic to Spanish Chocolate.

4. Joe Johnson stays with the Atlanta Hawks - Way way overpaid. And he intends on bringing in "name" players along with him. The big rumor is that Shaq is on the way to the ATL, but I doubt he'd like to be the caddy to Al Horford and compete with Zaza for minutes.

5. John Salmons stays with the Milwaukee Bucks - One of the weaknesses the Bucks needed to address was the lack of aggressiveness in driving to the lane. With the additions of Corey Maggette and Chris Douglas-Roberts on separate trades and a full offseason with John Salmons plus Brandon Jennings getting better, Scott Skiles might not find room for Michael Redd. Expect Milwaukee to be among the FT attempt leaders this season.


1. Paul Pierce staying with the Celtics - Not surprised. He's a Celtic for life. Deal frees up a little cap room to retool this bunch. And of course, John approves of this sentence.

2. Rudy Gay stays with the Grizzlies - Memphis pre-empting any other team interested in signing the UConn alum, avoid a possible Paul Millsap situation by getting this deal done. With that over and done with, it is hoped he can get a killer instinct as well as some cojones like that of his new rookie teammate "General" Greivis Vasquez.

3. Hakim Warrick signs with the Phoenix Suns - Welcome to the post-Amar'e Stoudemire era. He won't provide the offensive numbers Amar'e gives, but he is athletic and will benefit from having a great guard named Steve Nash. Could get Josh Smith-like numbers if he gets his head on straight.

4. Dirk Nowitzki stays with the Dallas Mavericks - Not surprised as well. This move is to free up a little space for Mark Cuban to utilize in his constant tinkering operations. He still has the Erick Dampier non-guaranteed contract as his major trade chip.

5. Drew Gooden signs with the Milwaukee Bucks - In the Summer of Lebron, he was the first FA to secure a deal (could be a trivia question). The other need for Squad 6 is better big man depth. After all, team expectations went south when Andrew got hurt. Drew provides quality big man minutes and is a definite upgrade over Dan Gadzuric. Still think it was a little too much for a big man.

6. Amar'e Stoudemire signs with the New York Knicks - We expected the Knicks to get someone. And they are still hoping for @kingjames to answer their call (no matter how unlikely that might be).

7. Amir Johnson stays with the Toronto Raptors - Welcome to the post-Chris Bosh era, T-Dot. Another overpaid contract for someone based on potential. With all the minutes Chris Bosh leaves, he might be able to take advantage, but he has to grasp the idea and get it. Or else, someone like Ed Davis might benefit. Either way, looks like a lost season for Raptors fans everywhere.


1. Darko Milicic stays with the Minnesota Timberwolves - 4-yr $20 million. For insurance, they sign this Euro. And they are interested in David Lee while they have Al Jefferson & Kevin Love. All I can say is: KAAAAAAAHHHNNNN!

2. Channing Frye stays with the Phoenix Suns - Considering Amar'e has moved on, someone needs to replace the minutes. Still think he is overpaid with that deal. He and Hakim Warrick will get most of the minutes unless Earl Clark wows in the off-season. I foresee a Sam Perkins or a Terry Mills (remember him, Sparty?) situation for him.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Rebound is out!

Go get this at your favorite bookstore or magazine outlet. It's a handy guide for the UAAP season.

Luis Suarez and his moral compass

I was not able to watch this in full, but this happened in the quarterfinal game between Africa's last man standing and (unknowingly for the Uruguayans) the eventual last South American team standing in the semifinals.

Yup, this match featured the handball dubbed as the new version of the original "Hand of God," this time not to secure a win but to save themselves from one. Obviously, it was an automatic red card that would suspend him for the semifinals. Ironically, that game will be against the Netherlands, the country of Ajax Amsterdam, where Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez (and midfielder Nicolas Lodeiro) plays his club football. Luis also serves as its captain. This weirdly would avert an Ahn Jung Hwan scenario that occurred back in 2002.

This is what he said after the match:
"I think I made the best save of the World Cup,"

"It's difficult to be sent off at a World Cup. It's complicated," said the high-scoring Suarez, who left the field in tears. "But the way in which I was sent off today — truth is, it was worth it."
The question of whether he deserved suspension that is more than a game is unwarranted. According to FIFA guidelines, automatic red cards equate to next game suspension which can be reviewed under certain circumstances to determine if it can be extended. FIFA did review the situation and decided the suspension was enough.

The handball elicited philosophical and ethical thoughts on whether it was right to do the call. Sure, a lot of prognosticators and observers slammed Suarez, I am sure if they were in the situation, they'll exactly do the same thing. It is an instinctive thing that Suarez did. A decision that had to be done and done quickly. as what he said, he sacrificed himself for the team and for the country. What nobility can you ask for (even if it was an illegal act)?

Note that I used illegal, not immoral. The circumstances forced Luis' hand (no pun intended). He knew the consequences and accepted it wholeheartedly. And now, Uruguay have a new lease of life.

Luis Suarez - Man or Superman? (c/o San Francisco Chronicle)

Monday, July 5, 2010

Blog Outsourcing 7/5

Welcome to today's edition of Sparty & Friends.

It's a Holiday weekend on the American shores, and although it is Filipino-American Friendship Day here (the US did grant Philippine independence on July 4, 1946), most of the country is reporting for duty. I am luckily taking advantage of the fact that I have no work later today. (You can thank the outsourcing industry).

After the so-called debacle of an intro last week, it is time to write something interesting. Something way way late. The final-postscript of the NBA Finals. I did write about what I thought were the factors were in the series. And to recap, here they are:

The X-Factors:

1. Andrew Bynum - Restricted to minimal minutes due to the injury. Then again, Pau and Lamar best play alongside each other.

2. Ron Artest - need I say more after Game 7?

3. Kendrick Perkins - His absence in Game 7 is a major what-could-have-been. It also ensure that the KG-Perk-Pierce-Allen-Rondo starting 5 remains unbeaten in a playoff series.

4. The Boston Bench (Big Baby Davis, Nate Robinson, Tony Allen, Rasheed Wallace) - Did win them a game (the Shrek and Donkey game a.k.a. the saliva moment). Did nothing in Game 6. Was not in play in Game 7 (Sheed was in starting 5).

The Keys:

1. Kobe - Definitely not his best day. Tony Allen will get paid because of his efforts chasing Kobe. Ray Allen also did admirably, but apparently took a toll on his shooting.

2. KG - He was okay with his performance in the Finals. Definitely not at par with 2008 level, but he kept things going for Boston.

3. Rondo - Lakers found a cure, somewhat to the Rondo. Letting him shoot. Let's put it this way, I hope he shoots 500 jumpers everyday or have Ray Allen's habits rub off him.

Anyhow, now that this is out of the way, we can close the book on the previous season. As what Jay-Z says, on to the next one.

Since it is after all, Independence Day, people should remember this speech well:

Time to check the links:

Joe Johnson is about to be officially overpaid.

The Knicks arranged a second meeting with Lebron's team. Why have a second meeting? Because of this guy.

Maybe J-Rod has this shirt.

This is why the FA process takes a bit long. Meanwhile, this might factor into the Wade for Chi-town.

Miz loves spreadsheets. I am sure he would like Google Documents.

Another Spanish guard goes back to Europe. From Raul Lopez to Juan Carlos Navarro to Sergio Rodriguez.

Russian Billionaire seeks GM, checks if Chris Paul could possibly be packaged along in the future. But that might be wishful thinking.

David Lee visiting Minnesota. Could be part to get Monta Ellis to Rucker Park. Speaking of Rucker Park, streetballer named Yungbuck found ballin'.

It has been one year for Air McNair.

Dunga exits. But Felipe Melo should be given a reprieve by Brazilian fans after a FIFA correction. Oh, and don't do an Andres Escobar.

What now, Diego?

This letter might bring back the Nigerians to their senses.

Miroslav Klose thinks Die Mannschaft can pull it off this time against the Euro Champs. He's a goal away from tying the old Ronaldo's record.

All-Star Rosters have been announced. Discuss. Why there will probably be 4 DH games in the World Series.

Deuce Lutui is now (proud to be) an American.

Kevin Ollie is no longer in the FA race. Ditto with Donyell Marshall.

Serena is the queen on grass, while Rafa is its king.

Parting is video is one message to all the free agents out there: