Monday, June 16, 2008

Should've Bet the House - Celts Crush Lakers to Win NBA Championship

June 18 Update - 131-92! In a history-making blowout before their hometown fans, the Boston Celtics won both Game Six and the 2008 NBA Championship with a 4-2 final series triumph over the Los Angeles Lakers. Their seventeenth NBA championship overall, but first since 1986, caps an unbelievable turnaround from a 24-win season in 2007. Enough said.

June 17 - First an apology for being so late to this subject. Last year I blogged almost the entire NBA playoffs, which culminated in the desultory Finals sweep of the Cavaliers by the Spurs. The 2008 playoff season has been more exciting, particularly due to the appearance of my home-state New Orleans Hornets. I've followed the playoffs with interest, but lifestyle changes along with travel and photo blogging ( and kept me from providing a running account of this year's tournament.

Now we're down to one or two games in Boston between the Celtics and the Lakers, historical NBA rivals going back almost 50 years, though not so much in the last 20, as the Celtics haven't been very good. The Lakers forced Game Six by taking last night's elimination game in LA by 103-98. The win has inspired some "it's not over yet" talk, but my opinion is that "it'll be over soon"--probably on Tuesday night after Game Six. (Did the Staples Center have this in mind with their "NOT IN OUR HOUSE" message on the scoreboard after Game Five--the implied message might be "but probably in your house").

The probability of the Lakers winning two in Boston seems very, very low to me. They were fortunate to win Game Five in LA, blowing separate 19 and 14 point leads before prevailing on Kobe's steal and rescue of a loose ball in the last minute of play.

In this series the Celtics have convinced me that they're the best team in the NBA. In both this series and against Detroit they corrected the problem they had on the road vs Atlanta and Cleveland.

I'm also concerned that the Lakers are conflicted as a team. They want to play team ball, but when things go bad they give the ball to Kobe and get out of the way. The Celtics know this, and collapse on Kobe so that all he can do is take a bad shot or make a bad pass. A few of the bad shots go in or result in foul shots, but not enough to win the game.

Still, stranger things have happened, most recently in the 2004 ALCS that is so beloved in Boston. The best thing the Lakers can do is to ignore the scoreboard and play every possession on both ends like their season depends on it, which it does. Despite the Lakers' desperation it will be the Celtics who play like their season depends on it, to prevent a "one game for everything" Game Seven. As a result, the Celtics will light victory cigars, probably very early on Wednesday morning, an amazing turnaround of a team that won fewer than 30 games just one year ago.

Friday, June 13, 2008

My First All-Star Ballot

The Major League All-Star Game is less than a month away, which seems like about the right time to begin considering a ballot (OK, to begin voting).

Here's the ballot I just submitted:

National League

1B - Lance Berkman, Astros - an easy choice with an OPS of 1171, particularly now that Albert Pujols is hurt.

2B - Chase Utley, Phillies - Dan Uggla is closer than I thought at this position, but MVP contender Utley gets the nod.

SS - Hanley Ramirez, Marlins - another MVP candidate is the choice from a strong field

3B - Chipper Jones, Braves - with a .500 OBP and 15 HRs to go along with his headline-grabbing .414 BA, Jones is the obvious choice

C - Geovany Soto, Cubs - a close call over Brian McCann of the Braves; I used team standing as the tiebreaker.

LF - Pat Burrell, Phillies - Pat "The Bat" has had his best season ever if you add 2H 2007 to 1H 2008 (and one of the best in the majors over that span)

CF - Aaron Rowand, Giants - Nate McLouth of the Pirates has better stats (969 OPS to 892 for Rowand), but I'll still pick the veteran who's done everything the Giants are paying him $12 million per season to do.

RF - Ryan Ludwick, Cards - Ludwick's 1065 OPS is too far ahead of the field to overlook.

American League

1B - Kevin Youkilis, Red Sox - one of my favorite players, with good stats to support my vote.

2B - Brian Roberts, Orioles - Ian Kinsler of the Rangers has better stats, but I've heard that he's a poor fielder. This is about the weakest position in either league.

SS - Michael Young, Rangers - Better known players like Derek Jeter, Edgar Renteria and Jhonny Peralta are having off years. Young never seems to have an off year.

3B - Alex Rodriguez, Yankees - Another weak position. A-Rod's season is far from his 2007 campaign, but good enough to hold the All-Star berth.

C - Joe Mauer, Twins - The AL batting leader (and 2006 batting champ) leads a weak field by a wide margin.

LF - Manny Ramirez, Red Sox - Hard to deny a .300 hitter in the year when he hit his 500th career HR.

CF - Josh Hamilton, Rangers - Triple Crown threat is one of the big stories in MLB this year. An easy choice.

RF - JD Drew, Red Sox - The oft-maligned outfielder is having the season the Sox signed him for - 992 OBP.

DH - Hideki Matsui, Yankees - hitting .323 after losing the regular LF position to Johnny Damon.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Photo of the Day - Now on Vacation - please visit

June 10 - Photo of the Day is on hiatus while we take our summer trip. To see plenty of photos, please visit and

May 27 - Our bike repair wasn't ready so I snapped this shot of the bike display on the way out of the store.

May 26 - Razzberry found this terrier just a little too friendly at the dog park.

May 25 - No question about my favorite photo from this day. Razzberry seems the least comfortable in this pose.

May 24 - We went to dinner at Cafe Des Amis in Breaux Bridge on Friday night. I took several pictures on the way and at the restaurant. I like this one looking out of the restaurant best.

May 23 - I got my new Canon PowerShot camera today and took just a few pictures. I like this closeup of my glasses best.

May 22 - I called this one "Bunk Beds". Razzberry and Rascal don't often sleep so close together.

May 21 - This was another "fill-in" day while I waited for my new camera, but Mom's shots of a shuttle launch last year got a lot of nice comments.

May 20 - Here's a shot from 2007, taken at the end-of-year banquet for 8th graders and their parents. Both the menu and entertainment had a Chinese flavor.

May 19 - I had to post two pictures today. Here's half of a bluegrass band we saw on Sunday in Abita Springs, LA

I call this one "Still Life With Brie Cheese". Some fans at the Abita Springs concert brought this spread.

May 18 - The vet and her assistant give Razzberry an abdominal exam to determine why she threw up all over the living room on Friday.

May 17 - This regular gave one of the best performances at Daiquiri Cafe's Karaoke night on Friday. He sang George Thorogood's "Bad to the Bone."

May 16 -Unknown to us, our pug Razzberry was sick when we left the house Friday morning. We found out when we came home to three pieces of vomit-splattered furniture. We're going to the vet today.

May 15 - This is the elevated walkway between the parking garage and the terminal at the Baton Rouge airport as seen from the second floor of the garage. I liked the lighting and the geometry of the windows and the roof supports.

Another photoblogger inspired me to start a new feature here - my Photo of the Day. I'll post here the best picture I posted at the previous day (my opinion only). Feel free to visit Photoblog to see the rest of my photos.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Our Governor or McCain's Running Mate?

I don't post often on politics, but last night's appearance by Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal with presumptive Republican nominee John McCain, his fourth such since being inaugurated in January, made me wonder about Jindal's commitment to his self-described beloved home state. I wrote the following letter to the editor of the local newspaper on the subject.

To the Editor

The Advocate

June 5, 2008

Bobby Jindal’s self-stated love for his home state drove him to run successfully for the governorship rather than continue to serve in Washington as Congressman from the 1st District. The last few weeks have made me wonder where our governor’s heart really is. In time that he could have spent solving Louisiana’s myriad of problems, Jindal appeared three times on the stump with presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain and spent a weekend at McCain’s ranch in Arizona, all the time coyly denying any interest in becoming McCain’s running mate.

Jindal’s appearance with Jay Leno on The Tonight Show seemed more about introducing him to a national audience than about Jindal’s beloved home state. In another overtly partisan activity, our governor also devoted significant energy, at least as indicated by the number of mailings and phone calls that came to our house, campaigning for unsuccessful Republican candidate for the 6th Congressional district, Woody Jenkins. Unless Jindal finds his way onto McCain’s ticket, and perhaps even then, I sadly expect an all-too-soon reprise in the fall.

Governor Jindal, please come back to all the people of Louisiana, so many of whom supported you in last year’s election. There will be plenty of time for a national political run and for partisan politics after you complete your term as Louisiana’s governor, fulfilling your pledge to make the state one where anyone would want to raise their children.