The Post Game Show

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Playoffs?! Don't you talk about...yes, you can talk about it, Chicago.

NBA basketball is gearing up for the second season, and for the first time since 1998 the second city will be part of it. The Baby Bubbas of Chicago (Rappers Delight reference for the new nickname by the way) have battled back from a ghastly 0-9 start to lock up a playoff spot (, possibly having home-court advantage at least for the first round of the playoffs. Looking for Air Jordan and Scottie Pippen? Sorry, wrong team. Jerry Sloan, Norm Van Lier, Chet Walker, and Bob "Butterbean" Love? Sorry, not those guys either. These aren't your father's Bulls, hell, they aren't even our generation's Bulls. With two yet-to-reach full potential towers in Tyson Chandler and Eddy Curry (currently sidelined with a heart ailment), backcourt whiz kids in Kirk Hinrich and Ben Gordon, and experience galore between Antonio Davis, Othella Harrington and Eric Piatkowski, the Bulls have to be recognized as a contender (yes, they can be a con-ten-dah!) in the Eastern Conference, still possessing a bottom-heavy feel despite how well Detroit and Miami are playing. Luol Deng's season ending wrist injury could hamper their chances, but basketball has finally decided to return to the Windy City. Just in time for the Cubs and White Sox to stink again.

Welcome Back, Welcome Back, Welcome Back

With cats presumably off the juice now, baseball returned this week, hopefully primed and ready to at least lighten the stain of the offseason steroids debate, triggered by everyone's favorite publicity jump-off, Jose Canseco and his tell-all book. One team that is flying under the radar is the Philadelphia Phillies, the paper NL East champs of the previous two years looking to finally put a new flag up at Citizens Bank Ballpark, even though the bullpen leaves a whole lot to be desired the first week.

For example, Saturday's game with the Cardinals proved to be troubling, even though the Phils won 10-4. Rookie hurler Gavin Floyd dropped 20 straight Cardinals like they were hot, shutting down the best offense west of the Bronx Zoo (
Floyd, Phillies Topple Cards). However, the Bullpen gave up three runs in the ninth inning, prolonging a game that was in the bag after Pat Burrell slammed a three-run homer in the eighth. That type of stuff can't happen, especially against a high-powered offense featuring Albert Pujols, Jim Edmonds and Scott Rolen. At least the Phils aren't alone in not finding any relief, with the Mets and Nationals blowing leads like they're going out of style.

I'm still not ready to give it to the Yankees, only because the Red Sox now have the mo (mojo, momentum, mo' money, etc.) in their favor nowadays. I believe that playing as the hunted instead of the hunter can give this team a certain kind of swagger, a term that wasn't even invented for sports when the Sox were a dynasty back in the WW I era.


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