Saturday, May 26, 2012

Now That's A War Face

In the classic 1987 movie Full Metal Jacket, Gny. Sgt. Hartman asks Private Joker,
"Let me see your War Face."

I think everyone who watched Game 7 tonight all just witnessed and now know Rajon Rondo's "War Face".

When the chips were down he went to war.

He played like a champion should when his team needed him most.  In the final 4:16 of a Game 7, after their team captain Paul Pierce fouled out, he refused to let his team lose.  Pierce is a pure scorer and thoughts of where point production was going to come from when he went out was a serious concern. 

Rondo put that concern to bed by scoring nine straight points in a stretch which allowed Boston to not only maintain their lead but increase it.  The shots he had been missing earlier and Philly had been begging him to take he now made with confidence. 

Big time players step up in big time situations and Rondo was HUGE down the stretch.
There can't be enough said for the performance of the Cetlics All-Star point guard.  He had his ninth career playoff triple double with 18-10-10.  He was absolutely amazing and clutch. 

Rondo was a killer and Philly had no answer.  He closed the book.

In his post game interview his comments were not about himself and his performance but about his team.  He stressed team.  He put his team on his back and carried them through to victory. 

He is a prototypical point guard and fits so well on this team because it has "The Big Three" of Pierce, Garnett, and Allen.  Rondo has showed he is one of the best point guards in the league and probably the most versatile. 

And he especially brings it out on the biggest and brightest stage.

That stage is only getting brighter as they now will face the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals.

This will be a great series as these two teams know each other well.  They met last year in the playoffs with Miami disposing of Boston in 5 games.  It was a liberating experience for LeBron as he finally got that monkey off his back. 

But that was a different Boston team. 

That Boston team was The Big Three and Rajon Rondo. 

It looks to me like it is now Rajon Rondo and "The Big Three".

And I can't wait to see Rondo's "War Face" when the HEAT is on.    

Friday, May 18, 2012

It's hard to "K" goodbye.

Kid K finished off his career in the only way he knew how.

By striking out one last batter.

Congratulations Mr. Dayan Viciedo you are now an answer to a trivia question. 

Kerry went out on his own terms which can't be said very often.  Too many times players hang on for one last chance at glory.  Heck the Cubs are notorious for trying to "capture lightning in a bottle" with players before. 

It rarely works. 

I have great respect for players who are aware enough of themselves and realize when the heat is gone and it is time to walk away.  Kerry had a good career with the Cubs and will be remembered as such. 

I was so excited when he was finally called up from the minors and Cubs fans everywhere were finally going to witness the fire from Kid K's arm.  He wowed us with his fastball and mesmerized us with his curveball.  He had hitters baffled at times and was a pure power pitcher. 

Everyone loves the strikeout. 

It was nevermore evident in his fifth start of his career when  he faced the Houston Astros in 1998.  I can still remember sitting at home and watching him mow down Astro after Astro after Astro.  He was so dominant that day that he struck out 20 batters.  He only gave up 1 lonely hit which was a scratch dribbler that barely made it out of the batters box.  It was one of the most amazing performances I ever witnessed and it made Kerry Wood an All-Time Cub Player fan favorite. 

Kerry may not have lived up to the hype and never got the Cubs a long awaited World Series championship, but he gave it everything he had.

In 2003 he started Game 7 of the NLCS against the Florida Marlins and as we all know came up short.  But he gave his best try and even cranked a homerun to help himself out that I will never forget.  I am not ashamed to say that it made me cry thinking the baseball gods were maybe finally on our side.  It wasn't meant to be but he put his heart and soul out there. 

Kerry was a tireless worker and truly cared about the city of Chicago and its wonderful fans. 

In all of his accomplishments throughout his career what really stands out to me is how much he did in charitable work.  He was a good baseball player but he is an even greater person.  Every year you would hear about what he and his wife did in the off season for charity and giving back to the city.  He had a big arm and an even bigger heart.  If every player cared that much about others as he does the world would be a much better and happier place. 

So I will miss seeing him stare down hitters.

I will miss watching them looking at their bats like he made it disappear while striking them out.

And so that leaves only one thing left to say in honor of Kid K.

"One, Two, Three strikes you're out at the old ball game!"

Saturday, May 12, 2012


Today the NBA will announce that LeBron James will again be the MVP of the league for a third time in the last 4 years.  He will be joining elite company of players to win three MVP awards like Jordan, Kareem, Magic, Bird, Moses, Russell, and Wilt.  A great accomplishment for a super talented player and physically gifted athlete. 

Looking closer there is the one thing he doesn't have these other Hall of Famers do have.

The Ring!

LeBron has been a monster this season even though the year was in jeopardy with the risk of a total lockout.  He didn't sit on his couch eating bon bons and playing video games.  He prepared himself during the off season and during the lockout to remain in top physical shape.  He is a man on a mission.  He has succeeded to this point and should get all the praise that comes with being the MVP.  Give him a news conference and surround him with love and affection today. 

Then when the day is over...FORGET IT! 

Because the regular season means absolutely nothing. 

The regular season MVP means absolutely nothing. 

We are in the Post Season now and nobody cares what he did in the regular season.  It is time to win a championship. 

Lebron winning MVP's in the regular season is quite similar to his accomplishments in the post season.  He is great in the beginning but can't close in the end.  He has many times looked to facilitate offense rather than BE the offense in late game situations.  He needs to take a page out of the selection of HOF players he now joins and be a killer in the end. 

Even his own teammate D-Wade has the killer instinct. 

This for me is what separates him from being considered one of the all-time greats. 

Even Robert Horry was called "Big Shot Rob" because he wanted the ball in crunch time and took the shot with success.  He wasn't a supreme player but he had the "it factor" when it counted.  It is something you are born with.  It seems LeBron's mental make-up is lacking in this regard. 

Too many times he has passed off to lesser players.  If you want to be the man you have to be willing to take responsibility for the win or loss.  You CAN'T pass it off to a role player. 

If LeBron has truly changed his mindset and wants to be champion then he needs to show it this season.  He has a chance this year to better last years run to the Finals. 

D-Rose and the Bulls are out of the picture.  As much as Kevin Garnett doesn't want to admit it the Celtics are old.  And the Pacers are young and inexperienced.  This is a road paved with gold straight to the Finals. 

Whoever the Heat play in the Finals will be a great test.  The West is deep with talented teams and players.  But LeBron has made it to the Finals two times already in his career.  The third time HAS to be the charm. 

His accomplishments and talents are unquestioned but nobody remembers or even cares about the regular season.

He brought his talents to South Beach for one reason.

And it don't mean a thing if you don't get that ring.