The news of the day
I'm guess I'm with the consensus on the Shaq deal: It's a desperate and somewhat sad act by the Suns, who, by trading versatile Shawn Marion and the shell casing of Marcus Banks to the Heat for the Big Decrepit, are basically admitting that their fun and appealing run-run-run style of play won't cut it when a championship is the mission. At this point, Shaq is the anti-Sun - his lift is gone, he can't rebound, he's a lumbering hacker on defense, and running the floor wasn't exactly a priority when he was in his prime. I do understand Phoenix feels like they need a big guy to deal with Tim Duncan in the postseason, and this is probably in part a reactionary move to a recent loss to the Spurs as well as the Lakers' acquisition of Pau Gasol. But it's such a wrong move, and unless Marion, who is perpetually unhappy with his contract, had become too much of nuisance behind the scenes, I just can't see Mike D'Antoni signing off on this. In '07 Seconds or Less, Jack McCallum's season inside with the '05-'06 Suns, D'Antoni, a playing and coaching legend in the free-flowing Italian League, he's almost defiant in his belief that a fast-break, offensive-oriented, aesthetically pleasing system can win a championship in today's grind-it-out NBA. And now he brings in the ultimate half-court player in Shaq? It just doesn't make sense.
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Upon hearing the news that Brian McNamee turned over needles, syringes, used gauzed pads, and heaven knows what else to Congress as proof that he injected Roger Clemens with performance-enhancing drugs, my first reaction was this: He kept that stuff? For eight years? Disgusting. But then I got to thinking about it, and I realized the obvious: Either McNamee held on to it because he has his own bizarro Hall of Fame exhibit, or he suspected that if it ever came out that the Rocket was fueled by 'roids, Clemens would lie his needle-marked a-- off about it, even if it meant destroying McNamee's life in the process. Hey, you can't say he didn't know his client. I doubt even the actual physical proof will convince Clemens, a serial b.s. artist, to come clean about his usage - he'll still probably claim he thought it was B-12, duh-huh, duh-huh, even if his own fingerprints are still on one of the vials. At the rate he's going, he's going to keep lying until he's sharing a 15x18 cell with a frisky Hell's Angel named Bubba, which brings me to one more point about McNamee: It's very curious that he waited until after Clemens answered questions under oath before he provided the smoking gun, or in this case, syringe. If I were the cynical sort, I'd almost wonder if McNamee wants Clemens to go to jail. Either way, it's apparent this intriguing mess of a story couldn't happen to two better guys.
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If I put together a list of Our Favorite Things here at TATB, the American version of "The Office" and the Fire Joe Morgan blog might come in 1-2, barely edging out raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens. So we found it pretty cool when the revelation came today that the pseudonymed mastermind behind the funniest and most well-written baseball blog around is none other than Michael Schur, better known to fans of "The Office" as world-class beet farmer Cousin Mose Schrute. Schur, a Harvard grad and Sox fan who writes under the name "Ken Tremendous" for the FJM, is also one of the main writers for "The Office" - which means he's pretty much living my dream life, other than the fact that Regis Philbin is his father-in-law. Seriously, I often find myself wishing I could write as well as "Tremendous" when I read FJM, so it's kind of nice to find out that he's an accomplished pro, someone I admired already, and not just a random desk jockey for Fremulon Insurance.
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As for today's Completely Random Basketball Card:
With all of this talk about Shaq's startling physical regression, I couldn't help but be reminded of Artis Gilmore, whom you might recall was tagged "Rigor Artis" by the Globe's Peter May during his one fossilized season in Boston. It's either one of the funniest or meanest nicknames of all time, depending upon your sense of humor. I think you know where I stand.
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No, we haven't forgetten about the Pats, unfortunately. We're slowly coming to grips with what happened, though I have to admit I still haven't watched ESPN or seen a single highlight from the game. We'll be back with the autopsy in the next day or two. Friggin' Tyree . . .