Thursday, December 23, 2010

Happy Holidays!

F.W. Pudding Pie would like to wish you all the best this holiday season. And a very happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year as well.

Here's to a great 2011!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Forbesy's Favorites - NFL Week 9

Last week's record: 5-8-0 (Bill Simmons' record: 8-5-0)

Season: 54-58-5 (Bill Simmons' record: 62-50-5)

Buccaneers (+8.5) over FALCONS
BILLS (+3) over Bears
Patriots (-4.5) over BROWNS
Jets (-4) over LIONS
VIKINGS (-8) over Cardinals
Saints (-6.5) over PANTHERS
Dolphins (+5) over RAVENS
Chargers (-3) over TEXANS
SEAHAWKS (+7) over Giants
Chiefs (+2.5) over RAIDERS
Colts (+3) over EAGLES
Cowboys (+7.5) over PACKERS
BENGALS (+4.5) over Steelers

Friday, October 29, 2010

Forbesy's Favorites - NFL Week 8

Last week's record: 5-9-0 (Bill Simmons' record: 8-6-0)

Season: 49-50-5 (Bill Simmons' record: 54-45-5)

Broncos (+2) over Niners
BENGALS (-1.5) over Dolphins
CHIEFS (-7.5) over Bills
RAMS (-3) over Panthers
JETS (-6) over Packers
Redskins (+2.5) over LIONS
COWBOYS (-6.5) over Jaguars
CHARGERS (-3.5) over Titans
PATRIOTS (-4) over Vikings
Seahawks (+2.5) over RAIDERS
CARDINALS (-3) over Bucs
SAINTS (PK) over Steelers
COLTS (-5.5) over Texans

Friday, October 22, 2010

Forbesy's Favorites - NFL Week 7

Last week's record: 5-7-2 (Bill Simmons' record: 6-6-2)

Season: 44-41-5 (Bill Simmons' record: 46-39-5)

FALCONS -3.5 over Bengals
BEARS (-3) over Redskins
TITANS (-3) over Eagles
Steelers (-3) over DOLPHINS
SAINTS (-13) over Browns
BUCS (-2.5) over Rams
RAVENS (-13) over Bills
Jaguars (+9) over CHIEFS
PANTHERS (+3) over Niners
Cardinals (+6.5) over SEAHAWKS
CHARGERS (-3) over Patriots
Raiders (+8.5) over BRONCOS
PACKERS (-2.5) over Vikings
COWBOYS (-2.5) over Giants

Friday, October 15, 2010

Forbesy's Favorites - NFL Week 6

Last week's record: 9-5-0 (Bill Simmons' record: 9-5-0)

Season: 39-34-3 (Bill Simmons' record: 40-33-3)

STEELERS (-13.5) over Browns
BUCS (+4.5) over Saints
Chargers (-8.5) over RAMS
Dolphins (+3) over PACKERS
Falcons (+3) over EAGLES
Ravens (+3) over PATRIOTS
Chiefs (+4.5) over TEXANS
GIANTS (-10) over Lions
Seahawks (+6.5) over BEARS
Raiders (+7) over NINERS
BRONCOS (+3) over Jets
Cowboys (+1.5) over VIKINGS
Colts (-3) over REDSKINS
Titans (-3) over JAGS

Friday, October 8, 2010

Forbesy's Favorites - NFL Week 5

Last week's record: 8-6-0 (Bill Simmons' record: 6-8-0)

Season: 30-29-3 (Bill Simmons' record: 31-28-3)

BENGALS (-6.5) over Bucs
Falcons (-3) over BROWNS
Jags (-1) over BILLS
COLTS (-7) over Chiefs
LIONS (-3) over Rams
Packers (-2.5) over REDSKINS
PANTHERS (-1) over Bears
RAVENS (-7) over Broncos
TEXANS (-3) over Giants
CARDS (+7) over Saints
Titans (+7) over COWBOYS
RAIDERS (+6) over Chargers
49ERS (-3.5) over Eagles
JETS (-4) over Vikings

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

2010 MLB Playoff Predictions

The MLB Playoffs are upon us! There's something about the sights and sounds of baseball in the Fall that get me geeked up. And as a Phillies fan, I couldn't be more excited right now.

Objectively speaking (as much as I can be objective), the Phillies are the favorites to come out of the National League. Halladay, Oswalt, and Hamels are three powerful forces to be reckoned with. Not to mention the rest of the lineup. What team can handle the likes of Utley, Howard, Werth and Ibanez?

And in the American League? Well, it's a tough call, but I'd say the Rays are the favorites, but you always have to beware of the big, bad Yankees.

Here's my stab at how it'll all shake out. Enjoy the playoffs, everyone!

National League

Phillies over Reds in 4

Giants over Braves in 3

- - -

Phillies over Giants in 6


American League

Rays over Rangers in 3

Yankees over Twins in 4


- - -

Rays over Yankees in 6


World Series

Phillies over Rays in 5

Friday, October 1, 2010

Forbesy's Favorites - NFL Week 4

Last week's record: 8-8-0 (Bill Simmons' record: 10-6-0)

Season: 22-23-3 (Bill Simmons' record: 25-20-3)

Ravens (+1.5) over STEELERS
TITANS (-6.5) over Broncos
Bengals (-3) over BROWNS
Lions (+14.5) over PACKERS
Panthers (+13.5) over SAINTS
49ers (+7) over FALCONS
Seahawks (-1) over RAMS
Jets (-5.5) over BILLS
Colts (-7) over JAGUARS
Texans (-3) over RAIDERS
Cardinals (+8) over CHARGERS
Redskins (+5.5) over EAGLES
GIANTS (-4) over Bears
DOLPHINS (+1) over Patriots

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Will We Boo McNabb?

This weekend, Donovan McNabb makes his return to Philadelphia. He'll be wearing the gawd awful burgundy and gold with his new team, the already-hated Washington Redskins.

The question many have been pondering is "Will the fans boo McNabb?" Here's my take.

Before heading down I-95 to play for the enemy, #5 led the Eagles to multiple 10 win seasons, NFC Championship games, and one Super Bowl appearance. Whether he accomplished a lot is no argument - the Eagles had never seen that sustained level of success they saw with McNabb.

However, there are a few important points to mention. First, he never got over the hump. Given 5 opportunities to advance to a Super Bowl, McNabb only led us to one. And given the opportunity to win that one, he came up short. It's always tough to appreciate what you have when you have it, but it's even tougher to appreciate what you have when you think you should have had even more.

Second, it appeared that McNabb didn't quite feel our pain when he failed to clear these hurdles. Philly fans appreciate hard work, but also appreciate accountability, and it seemed McNabb was content with these shortcomings. Often, he'd shrug off serious questions or apply lip service to them, saying what he thought the fans wanted to hear and often missing the boat.

There's another factor that plays into what I think will happen on Sunday: how well the Eagles are playing right now. Currently, we have a quarterback at the helm who is playing better than McNabb and who many think is playing the way McNabb should have been playing throughout his career, by displaying mobility when the pocket breaks down. Michael Vick is doing everything right thus far, and Eagles fans are feeling quite good about themselves. Does that translate into boos or cheers?

One could take this to mean two different things. Either fans will cheer for McNabb and show respect for what he brought to this team over the last decade because they are generally in a good mood about the team; or, fans will already be in a booing mood for the Skins and keep that momentum going as #5 trots onto the field - sort of a "who needs him anyway?" mentality because things are looking good for our guys right now.

Honestly, I don't think the reaction will lean one way or another. I think we'll have a combination of boos and cheers. Some fans will be riled up already and want to boo the enemy through and through. Some fans won't be in that mode quite yet, as the kickoff wouldn't be happening a few minutes down the line anyways from when he first steps onto the field.

If I could quantify it, I'd say the ratio would be 60-40, boo-to-cheer. I think fans will do what it takes to fire up this team and the rest of the crowd this Sunday afternoon just to get a victory against our hated rival.

Some fans will be wearing their old McNabb Eagles' jerseys on Sunday. Some fans will be attending burning parties for those same jerseys. All fans will have McNabb on their mind one way or another.

One thing is clear - nearly 100% of this stadium will want to see the Iggles come out victorious and stay atop the NFC East. There will be some love. There will be some hate. Booing and cheering will both be part of the equation.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Forbesy's Favorites - NFL Week 3

Last week's record: 6-9-1 (Bill Simmons' record: 8-7-1)

Season: 14-15-3 (Bill Simmons' record: 15-14-3)

GIANTS (-3) over Titans
Steelers (-2.5) over BUCS
Browns (+10.5) over RAVENS
PATRIOTS (-14.5) over Bills
Falcons (+4) over SAINTS
CHIEFS (+2.5) over Niners
Bengals (-3) over PANTHERS
SEAHAWKS (+5.5) over Chargers
Redskins (-3.5) over RAMS
Lions (+11) over VIKINGS
TEXANS (-3) over Cowboys
Colts (-5.5) over BRONCOS
Eagles (-3) over JAGS
CARDINALS (-4.5) over Raiders
DOLPHINS (-2) over Jets
Packers (-3) over BEARS

Friday, September 17, 2010

Forbesy's Favorites - NFL Week 2

Last week's record: 8-6-2 (Bill Simmons' record: 7-7-2)

PACKERS (-13) over Bills
VIKINGS (-5.5) over Dolphins
FALCONS (-6.5) over Cards
BENGALS (+2.5) over Ravens
BROWNS (-2) over Chiefs
COWBOYS (-7.5) over Bears
TITANS (-5) over Steelers
PANTHERS (-3.5) over Bucs
Eagles (-6.5) over LIONS
Seahawks (+3.5) over BRONCOS
RAIDERS (-3.5) over Rams
CHARGERS (-7) over Jaguars
REDSKINS (+3) over Texans
COLTS (-5) over Giants
Pats (-3) over JETS
NINERS (+5) over Saints

Thursday, September 16, 2010

A New Season. A New Identity.

A new season begins tonight in the AJBL. And, with it, comes a new identity for me. Currently, I am one of two players on my team wearing the number “6”. I am being switched to number “7” as a result. (Interestingly enough, the other number “6” on my team was my first ever coach in organized basketball some 23+ years ago. He led us to a championship that season and is a great man, so I would defer to him every time.)

What’s the big deal, you might ask? In sports, a player’s number becomes part of his identity. Name and number go hand in hand. Historically, numbers are synonymous with the greats – most of us can name the most famous number “3” in baseball, number “23” in basketball and number “99” in hockey, for instance. When a player starts his career, he chooses a number for whatever reason. It may be his favorite number. His favorite player may have worn it. He thinks it’s a cool looking digit or two. Or it’s a lucky number or superstitious type of thing. He hopes one day this number will be retired and forever be a reminder of how great a player he was.

As for me, I’ve worn a few numbers over the years. I recall choosing to wear number “8” way before Kobe chose it. I simply liked the number. I later went on to wear number “11”, as I was a huge Isaiah Thomas fan when I was a kid. I’ve also worn numbers “1” and “10”, most likely as smaller numbers were given to the smaller kids, and I was certainly always among the smallest on my team. And I was OK with these and grew to like them as well. Penny Hardaway and Maurice Cheeks anyone?

I’ve played 4 seasons in the AJBL all as the number “6”. As you may know, the great Julius Erving wore this number on the Sixers. So when I was given that number, I was just fine with that. Would I become a legend in this league like Dr. J was in the pros? When a foul was called, sometimes I’d aid the referee in identifying myself so he didn’t have to turn me around to see what number I was. Well, now I have to reprogram. Re-identify. Is it really a big deal?

To me, it might take a game to get used to it. Certainly the feel of the ironed on character on my back won’t be that different, will it? I should hope not. My new jersey might have that new car smell. Shouldn’t take long to sweat it up!

For starters, it should be enough that the number ”7” is considered lucky to many people. I’ll gladly accept that. But there’s more than luck to this game. If I’m not playing like Julius Erving – dare I imply that I ever did! – who will I be emulating this season? Off-hand, I couldn’t even think of any famous “7”s in basketball. I Googled it right away, and the first few players that I found were quite impressive. Kenny Anderson anyone? A stud at Georgia Tech, who I quickly took a liking to in the early 90s. Tiny Archibald? A hall-of-famer! Perhaps the greatest player on this list might be another hall-of-famer, “Pistol” Pete Maravich. Truly a magician on the basketball court. Transitioning to this number shouldn’t be so difficult after all.

So here’s to a fantastic season. I hope I can achieve even the slightest morsel of what the greats before me have achieved. A no-look pass here, a reverse lay-up there. Who knows what will be in store? I do know one thing – I’ll already have luck on my side….or rather, on my back.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Forbesy's Favorites - NFL Week 1

This year I'm going on record with my NFL picks against the spread (ATS). No analysis here - just a run down of who I like to cover in each game. I'll use the point spreads that Bill Simmons (ESPN's "Sports Guy") uses. Let's see how well I do!

SAINTS (-5) over Vikings
GIANTS (-7) over Panthers
Packers (-3) over EAGLES
Dolphins (-3) over BILLS
STEELERS (+2) over Falcons
BEARS (-6) over Lions
Bengals (+4.5) over PATRIOTS
Colts (-2) over TEXANS
TITANS (-6) over Raiders
Broncos (+2.5) over JAGS
BUCS (-2.5) over Browns
Niners (-3) over SEAHAWKS
Cardinals (-4) over RAMS
Ravens (+2.5) over JETS
Chargers (-5) over CHIEFS
REDSKINS (+3.5) over Cowboys

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

My NFL Predictions

This year should be a good one, with New Orleans looking to repeat and most of the attention and pressure on the NY Jets. Will teams like Oakland, Cleveland, and Detroit jump out of their perennial cellar-dweller spots? Will the NFC South flip its standings once again? Will Pittsburgh bounce back from a sub-par season? Many questions to be answered this season. I can't wait to see how it all plays out.

This summer I created a fun little Excel spreadsheet to ease the process of picking games and alleviate the headache of ensuring total wins and losses are the same. Fun times, I tell ya.

Without further ado....

NFC East
NYG 12-4
DAL 10-6
WAS 8-8
PHI 6-10

NFC North
GB 13-3
MIN 9-7
CHI 7-9
DET 2-14

NFC South
NO 11-5
ATL 9-7
CAR 7-9
TB 4-12

NFC West
SF 10-6
SEA 7-9
ARI 6-10
STL 3-13

AFC East
NE 12-4
NYJ 11-5
MIA 9-7
BUF 3-13

AFC North
BAL 13-3
CIN 10-6
PIT 9-7
CLE 3-13

AFC South
IND 12-4
HOU 9-7
TEN 9-7
JAX 4-12

AFC West
SD 12-4
DEN 7-9
OAK 5-11
KC 4-12

Playoffs

Wildcard
NFC
NO over ATL
DAL over SF

AFC
NE over CIN
NYJ over SD

Divisional Round
NFC
NYG over NO
GB over DAL

AFC
NE over IND
BAL over NYJ

Conference Champs

NFC
GB over NYG

AFC
BAL over NE

Super Bowl
GB over BAL

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Phillies Phun Phacts

The Phillies recorded their 16th shutout of the year this afternoon against the Padres, winning 5-0. So, of the 73 wins they have, better than 1-in-5 are via the goose egg.

Overall, the Phils have surrendered 526 runs in their 130 games this year - good for 4.05 runs allowed per game. However, they've really allowed this same amount of runs over 114 games, which is good for 4.61 runs per game. And in those games, they're a .500 ball club, at 57-57.

Kind of shaky statistics when they do allow runs in a ballgame, especially since their bats have gone cold lately. But 16 shutouts is very impressive, especially since 5 have come in August, so I'll take this as a great sign that the pitching is rounding into terrific form as we head down the stretch.

Let's just hope those bats wake up come September. Go Phillies!!!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Uni Thoughts

In no particular order:

- I was watching the Phillies-Giants game last night and thought to myself, "Why don't the Phillies wear their secondary patch on their uniforms like the Giants (and Orioles, as another example) do?" I think it would look pretty fly. As of now, they just wear their numbers on one sleeve, and I believe a patch for Robin Roberts on the other. Normally, that other sleeve would just be blank. Why not add this?



And on top of that, I wouldn't be opposed to seeing a new road uniform for the Phils. If "SAN FRANCISCO" can fit on a uniform, well, so can "PHILADELPHIA". Why not? Lack of Photoshop or Illustrator skills are keeping me from showing what I mean. Just think the Giants road unis in the Phillies colors with a Phillies patch and "Philadelphia" where all the Giants stuff is.

- I'm very happy that a few teams have changed their unis in the NBA. Happiest with the Utah Jazz and Cleveland Cavaliers. Other teams should take note - just because you have more jersey and short to work with, doesn't mean you need to fill it with crap. Talkin' to you, Clippers and Hawks, to name only a couple.

- With the NFL season fast approaching, I'm excited for a few things. The Eagles are busting out some beautiful throwbacks in week 1 against the Packers (and hopefully some other weeks as well). I was excited to see the Colts where those nice dark blue helmets against the 49ers in the preseason, but more baffled that we didn't see a home blue jersey to go along with it. I hope that changes. And those Packers are also wearing navy jerseys for a game or two this season. Should be fun to look at!

And I'd be remiss *again* not to mention my disgust and disdain for the current Cardinals, Vikings, Jaguars, Bills and Bengals unis. Seriously, guys. Seriously. It doesn't have to be this way! (Not even wasting my time putting up links for these monstrosities.)

Monday, July 26, 2010

Best NBA Home Uniform - My Turn!

A few days ago, BleacherReport.com put out their rankings of (what they thought were) the top home unis in the NBA. Well, I read the list, and, well, I disagreed with pretty much all of it. I'm not saying the person who wrote the list (Mr. Felkey, I'm lookin' at you, kid) has little clue of what he's talking about. I'm just sayin'.

So, I tried my hand at my own list. What I did was pretty frickin' awesome, if I may toot my own vuvuzela for a moment. I paired up each team against each other team, so as to have a complete 29-game round-robin schedule. No RPI and SOS discussions will ruin this masterpiece. What I came up with was quite different from Mr. Felkey's list. And, to be 100% honest and biased, it's a much more scientifically accurate ranking. It just is. I'm a uni guy - I know these things.

Before I begin, I will point out that I moved the Lakers and the Knicks from the 2nd and 15th spots, respectively, to where they are now after the round-robin (scroll down to find out, bucko). I just couldn't keep the Lakers up that high, as the longer I stared at their home unis (the yellow ones, not the actually more impressive white ones) the more I longed for the old-school versions. Also, the Knicks would have fared better with a better collar and the black-less uniforms from years past. But they still have uniforms worthy of the upper echelon in the NBA.

Also, I do have a weak stomach for piping and side panel messes. And I have an affinity for blue. Let's take those Rockets, for instance....enjoy....

30. Houston

When these came out, I was immediately turned off by the frailness of the design. It is a cool logo, but the sides of the jersey make it look like a blouse and there simply is no boldness to it. Had these been blue, they may have gotten a win or two in my round robin.

29. Washington

Take some Bullets and shoot these things, Gilbert. See what I did there?

28. Minnesota

Too much piping and cuteness here. I long for the original Wolves uniforms. The font kills it. Absolutely kills it.

27. Atlanta

Don't get me started on the Hawks' color scheme. Why are they red and blue??? The 3D lettering and piping is disgusting. Bring me back some Human Highlight Film uniforms!


26. Sacramento

They got too cute with this new uniform. It's generic and not so much fun to look at. Not a fan of the off-centered numerals on the front.

25. Utah

Can't wait for the new unis to come out. These are much better than the final years of Stockton and Malone, but they're not too much fun. Piping!!!

24. Milwaukee

What the Buck?!! I used to live in Milwaukee, so I can say that. The green and red are solid, but too shiny. The lettering needs to even out. I hate the big first and last letters. They're corny as hell, which is more appropriate for an Iowa or Nebraska team. Go back to the Moncrief days, please!

23. Dallas

Slightly better than their close relatives from Sac-town, probably cuz of the blue in there.

22. Oklahoma City

Big fan of the plain, old school style, but there's gotta be more to a uniform than this. The entire branding of this team baffles me. Still waiting for the overhaul. Will there be one soon?

21. Phoenix

Sides are too thick. And that floating circle irritates me more and more. Why not just get rid of it? That would be an instant hike 5 spots in these rankings.

20. Detroit

Might be the first big surprise of these rankings. The Pistons had sweeter unis in the 80s, and for some reason they think they've improved on those. The font is bland and weak. It's really a blah uniform.

19. Toronto

It's a sleek design, but it's missing something. Perhaps history, I don't know. I do know the color scheme isn't helping.

18. New Jersey Nets

They could stand to get new jerseys. Get it? I'm on fire, really. "NETS" is too big, but the color scheme gets them to this level of mediocrity from that of the Kings and Mavs.

17. Denver

Felkey loves these. I say the shine is their demise. Powder blue is a great color, but the design is weak. Less would be more in this case. Let the powder blue carry you, is what I always say. Heck, if they went with that shade at home and navy on the road, I'd be in sky blue heaven.

16. Cleveland

Love the template. The wine and gold is played out again. Those "CAVS" alts really should make a comeback. My Decision is final here.

15. Orlando

I like what the Magic have done here, with the bold "Magic" on their chest. The piping and striping still take away from what could be a much better design.

14. Philadelphia 76ers

Oh. So. Close. All the Sixers had to do was completely go back to their 80s design and not continue to tease us. The different colored letters and numbers flat out piss me off. Not to mention whatever weirdness they decided to cloud the sides with. Ugh.

13. Miami

Quite frankly, this is a great design. Bron-Bron will look good in this uniform. It's just missing something to vault it into the top 10. Perhaps it's the color scheme I don't love.

12. Memphis

I immediately think Stanford when I see these. I think this is one of the best color schemes in sports. Also see: L.A. Galaxy. But just as I didn't think Stanford fully grabbed me with their font, so don't these.

11. New Orleans

Number 1? Hardly. If anything, the pinstripes take away from it. "New Orleans" is a pretty busy name to have on your chest as it is. Great colors for a great city that I've never been to. Just a little too busy for my liking.

10. Portland

I'll complain about the upper-case "BLAZERS" all night long. All night. All night long. All night. The font is weak. This could be a top-5.

9. Indiana

Reminiscent of the Magic uniforms, but done a little better, in my opinion. You could argue these are underrated. But I won't, cuz it might inspire some schmuck to make his own list.

8. New York Knicks

The black trim kills these unis. Why, why, why? And the collar. What's up with that? Another great uniform gone wrong, but still a top-10 one.

7. Los Angeles Lakers

Great uniforms. Crisp. Bright. Nice cut. I like how they updated them, but the numbers get to me. And as mentioned above, I prefer the white ones. Those are really neat-o.

6. San Antonio Spurs

This is a classic uniform that hasn't been tarnished for the most part. And you can't even say the addition of black has ruined them. Ha! The color scheme works with this blue-collar team, although not one of my all-time faves. Still, the design is awesome and it's a template I wish more teams would use. Talkin' to you, Houston and Minnesota.

5. Golden State Warriors

Now, I'm going out on a slight limb here (a twig?) to say these unis will mostly resemble "The City" uniform from the past. Judging from the jersey, it looks like they will. And those things are beautiful.

4. Los Angeles Clippers

I'm proud of this team for grinding through years of suckitude to make it to the top 5 of these here rankings. Way to hang in there, fellas. Quite frankly, these are great uniforms. I'd tweak the thick side stripes a little thinner. Do that and these contend for the title. The cursive "Clippers". Need I say more?

3. Charlotte Bobcats

In what could be the most surprising in these rankings, the Bobcats have landed in the top 5. Why? The color scheme is wonderful. The crispness of the uniform on the whole. The pinstripes work for these guys. It's not over the top, while pushing the envelope a little bit. It passes the eye test for me with flying colors.

2. Boston Celtics

A true classic. The Lakers and Sixers could have followed suit 100% and been up here with them. These have stood the test of time. Nuff said.

1. Chicago Bulls

What we have here is a work of art. The trim, font, shorts design. It's all here. You simply can't mess these up. Too bad Lebron isn't going to be wearing these. Although an even better player once did. How did that look to you? (Image courtesy of Bleacher Report, ironically enough.)

What are the biggest discrepancies between the two lists, you ask? The Warriors, Pacers, and Sixers jumped up 17, 12, and 10 spots, respectively, in my list. The biggest losers were Dallas (13 spots), Denver (13), Houston (14), and Milwaukee (15). Sorry, guys. Your work is cut out for you.

Comments welcome. Vote in the poll to the right on who has the better list, if you dare! As always, thanks for reading.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Phillies Thoughts

Unless something is done – and fast - it appears this season won’t end up like the last two for the Phillies, with a trip to the playoffs and the World Series. There seems to be a lot of panic with the fans, but can we really blame this team for their performance thus far? Injuries top the list as the major factor for the lack of production. To me, this is as good excuse as any. The bench players have not stepped up. But are they supposed to replace production completely? They’re bench players for a reason. Wilson Valdez is no Jimmy Rollins. Juan Castro is no Chase Utley.

I saw a stat in last night’s broadcast that the Phillies were 39-32 with Chase Utley and 9-12 without him. There’s no better stat than that. Chase is a major contributor on this team. When he’s out, things change drastically.

Take Jimmy Rollins’ absence as well. He has been out for a huge part of this season. I guarantee this team hasn’t performed as well without him either. Not to mention, you take a leader out of the clubhouse and a lot more changes than you and I realize.

With key players out of the lineup, Charlie Manuel has been forced to switch it up - a lot. He’s probably never had the same lineup for an entire week. It’s hard to get into a rhythm that way. These guys are ball players, but they're also human.

So, now, it appears that Jayson Werth is on the trading block. This is another issue. His production has been down in a contract year for him, but there have been bright spots that should force this team and its fans to see beyond this year and into the longer term. He still leads the National League in doubles. Granted, his batting average has dropped by over 100 points since batting something like .349 on May 3, he’s still someone with plenty of skill that can help this team in the future, if not the next few months. Do we really need to get rid of him in the short term? Sure, it appears they can bring up Domonic Brown and potentially replenish the farm system, but I’m not so sure Brown is ready. Is there a way to keep both in this system? Why not bring him up next year and bolster the bench that way?

I’ll also throw in the potential for a trade for Roy Oswalt. Two Roys on the same team would be nice, especially of their caliber, but isn’t Oswalt on the downswing of his career? Someone prove me wrong here. It looks like suddenly this team can’t hold more than one stud pitcher at a time. Let’s not make such a swift move here if we can’t back him up in the coming months with good offensive production. And what's to say we can keep both Roys for next season?

The Phillies might not make the playoffs this year, but I don’t want this rush of success in the past few years and sudden panic to affect what could still be a dominant team for years to come. The injury bug can’t hit us the same way next year, can it? I’d trade in a sub-par year for a promising 2011 and 2012 any day. I’d say most fans would.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Hey now, I'm in all stars...

I was checking up on the USA v. Algeria soccer match the other day and found myself staring at the Algerian flag. It's nothing spectacular, but I noticed the five-point star and its tilt. Right away, I realized I could do something with my initials. Could this be the logo that was meant to be? (And would I need to take a trip to Algeria to realize my destiny or something? We'll hold off on that part for now.)

After some doodling, I took to the trusty Paint program on my ancient computer and dirtied up a couple renditions of what I think looks pretty neat-o. Check it out below. Feel free to comment or even help a brother out with your (most likely) superior CAD skills. And make sure to check out my previous doodles in case you don't exactly know what I'm talking about!




Wednesday, June 9, 2010

More Personal Logos

I came across an article on confiscated counterfeit sports gear on Philly.com, and in one of the photos was a Flyers jersey. I took what I saw - I also fooled around with this idea in my last logo post - and made a quick and dirty personal "DF" logo.



Anyway, I have drawn a lot more logos since my last post. I worked a lot with interwoven figures and was inspired by the Phillies and Sixers logos and baseball logos in general. Check them out below!

















Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Personal Logo Design

Over the years, I've developed an interest in designing my own personal logo. This has manifested itself through mostly sketches and doodles on notepads and Post-It notes during working and non-working hours. Inspiration has come in spurts, the largest of which took place today. Ultimately, I'd like to be able to slap a "DF" or "DJF" (can you guess my middle name?) logo on everything I do, whether it be a resume or this here website or whatever endeavor(s) I decide to take on down the road.

Below are over 200 logos I sketched out over a span of a few hours. Check 'em out and feel free to pick out your favorites!



I started out pretty basic, trying to keep a steady font. My favorites here are #2 and #4.



Creativity seemed to be lacking here. I like #15 a lot, though.



On this page, I experimented with mirror/inverse images. I like #28. It looks like a face with glasses on and one lens broken.



Here I was experimenting with ten-keys (number pads) and grids. I'm an accountant, so this makes sense! Hard to see the numbers here, but #40 at the top is my favorite. It seems to incorporate a plus sign in addition to a grid and a number sign. Not too shabby.



Continuing along with the number sign and grid inspiration. A little more bubbly. Nothing really sticks here, but I think one or two could use some sprucing up and look a lot better.



On this page I went back to messing with lowercase and uppercase, testing out all 3 of my initials. I sort of stumbled onto #74. Like it a lot. Also a fan of #72 and #76.



Here, I'm messing around with shadowing (primarily with the "F" in my name, as that's the only letter I can seem to figure out how to do) and combining two initials. Big fan of #83, #86, and #87.



Incorporating a dollar sign was a bit too difficult, so instead I turned to shading and negative space, a la the USA Network logo. Neat how some of this turned out. I like #99, #111, and #112.



Went back to some simpler designs here, as I started using sharper edges and a triangular "D". I like #130, #132, #133, #135, and #136.



Started thinking a little more outside of the box here. Some interesting designs, in my opinion. I like #143, #150, #152, and #154.



No doubt inspired by the Philadelphia Flyers here. We're in the heart of the Stanley Cup Finals, so what did you expect? Works out well with my initials in an inverted kind of way. I like #172, #173, and #175.



Clocks, targets, and bullseyes were the inspiration here. Got a little bubbly. Nothing too extraordinary, but I like #180 and #186.



#191 might be my overall favorite here. I used shadowing and the plus sign as my inspiration to come up with it. #188 was the precursor. I also used math symbols to come up with #195, #196 and #199.



Seems here I got my inspiration from the symbol of The Artist Formerly But More Recently Known As Prince and The Dan Patrick Show. I like #203 and #207. I used the T-account symbol for #211.

Let me know what you think! My next task is to get these designs onto Photoshop or Illustrator, clean them up a bit and add some color. Thanks for reading!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

AJBL - Semifinals

Another hot one out there today. I wouldn't be shocked if it was 100 degrees in the gym. But the game must be played, and played it was.

One thing we did do was not give up an early lead. Check. No team really gained any separation, as solid plays were made on offense on both sides. I made an early reverse lay-up and that got me pumped up. At half, it was 22-20, bad guys.

The other team had a second big threat that we hadn't seen in either game we played against them during the regular season. It lead to some matchup problems, and I'd say the other guys had an edge on the boards because of it. But also, we couldn't defend as well down low.

Our two top scorers struggled on the offensive end as well, missing easy baskets. Knock a few more down and it may have been a different story.

We lost a close one, 46-40. Season over. The other team had too much size and it really hurt us. We did shut them down from the outside, but it didn't matter.

As for me, I had a sweet knifing dribble-drive from the top of the key for an easy lay-up to follow up my other points. I only shot one other time, going baseline, but coming up short on the lay-up. Defensively, I played well, with many deflections. I forced a turnover late in the game that gave us some hope. I didn't get the ball too much on offense or on the break, but again, if those easy shots fall for our big men, it would have been a different story. I can't complain.

Stat line: 4 pts, ~1 assist, ~1 reb.

Uni-tracker: White jersey, Blue Nike Dri-fit shorts, "Milwaukee" undershirt, completely soaked through in sweat. Eeewwwwwww.

Regular season: 10-4
Playoffs: 1-1
Total: 11-5

Great season. These guys (and gal) were fun to play with. Very competitive all season. Now it's my chance to work on my free throws, lay-ups, and general conditioning to come back strong for the Fall.

Friday, June 4, 2010

AJBL - Quarterfinals

We earned the #3 seed and were up against a #6-seeded team we had beaten twice soundly. I was expecting their big bully to show up, but apparently he blew out an ankle. So be it. It worked to their favor, as they were much quicker on the court despite only having 6 players show.

We got off to another slow start in this one and were down 11-1 before we knew it. I had a chance to cut into the lead as I picked the point guard cleanly and had a breakaway opportunity. The only problem - my goggles were knocked around and I couldn't see! In hindsight, I should have pulled up and waited for my teammates. Instead, I clanked the ball off the backboard. Oops.

It didn't matter, as we roared back with a 10-0 run of our own to tie it up. It was a tight one throughout the first half, and we were tied at 21 at the break.

We clamped down on defense in the second half, shutting down their big man. We also demonstrated a bit more patience on offense, finding our big man in the process. As for me, I was not at full strength. Slight cough and cold going on. Perhaps the week lay-off didn't help. The immense heat in the gym didn't help either. I got out on the break, but we weren't scoring in transition. I shot the ball twice all game, missing both times. I did have a nice assist late in the game, which helped us pull away from them, winning 47-40. Survive and advance is the name of the game in the playoffs!

Stat line: 0 pts, 0 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals.

Uni-tracker: White jersey, Blue Nike Dri-Fit shorts, "Collaborative" undershirt.

Next up: As a result of the #8 seed upsetting the #1 seed, we will play the #5 seed, while the #2 seed gets #8.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

2010 College World Series Predictions

In this week off before my first AJBL playoff game, I've decided to take a stab at predicting what's going to happen in the CWS this year. My Virginia Cavaliers are a 5-seed overall, which is friggin' awesome, even though we should be a 3 or 4 (at worst). Despite that hosing, I'm pretty pumped up about our chances.

I've followed the season a lot more closely than I did a few years back, when I first took a stab at the tourney. I think I'll have a better feel for it this year.

Without further ado...

Tempe Regional
I see Arizona State having little trouble here. They've been pinned as a top 3 team all year long. Darkhorse: San Diego.

Fayetteville Regional
Arkansas is a tough team, but I have a feeling Washington State comes through here. Arkansas would be my second favorite here.

Auburn Regional
Clemson could pose a threat, but they've been inconsistent all year. I like the home Tigers to pull it off. Darkhorse: Brett Favre's Southern Miss team, who has a little extra motivation this year with Favre's retirement on their shoulders.

Atlanta Regional
Georgia Tech grabbed that last national seed, and I think it'll go to their heads. Look for Alabama to come out of here.

Charlottesville Regional
I see Ole Miss giving UVA all we can handle, and I'm not fully confident here, given they also have the revenge factor from last year in their pockets. I'll go with Ole Miss so I don't look like a homer. Hoping the reverse jinx works.

Norman Regional
I don't see why Oklahoma doesn't win here. Cal got a gift and UNC didn't even make the ACC tourney, although I feel like they could show up and pull it off.

Columbia Regional
I think Virginia Tech has what it takes to come out of here, but South Carolina has a chip on their shoulder after not receiving that last national seed. USC will advance.

Myrtle Beach Regional
Coastal Carolina is just way too scary not to win this one. Otherwise it's NC State, as they've shown some mettle as of late.

Austin Regional
Everyone is going with Texas, and I will too. Possible upset would be Rice, but they're not the Rice we've known from years past.

Fort Worth Regional
TCU has a lot to prove here. Darkhorse is Arizona.

Norwich Regional
In this strange regional, UConn is the 2-seed but is hosting. I say they ride this to the Supers, as FSU will be like a fish out of water up there.

Louisville Regional
Just gave the nod to one Big East team, but I feel like Vandy is going to prove the strength of the SEC here. Louisville will make it close, though.

Los Angeles Regional
LSU is still the defending champs, and I think experience takes over here. UCLA will be a tough out, but LSU still has a lot of pride.

Fullerton Regional
Cal State has been the hottest team in baseball over the last 30 games or so. I say they move on.

Coral Gables Regional
Miami has had a great season, but I see the hot Texas A&M Aggies giving them a run and advancing.

Gainesville Regional
Florida has played the toughest schedule in baseball this year, and they will have an easy time moving on.

Now on to the Super Regional matchups. I'm suddenly an SEC lover. And no ACC teams!!! Stranger things have happened, I suppose. Predicted winner in bold:

Arizona State vs. Washington State
Auburn vs. Alabama
Ole Miss vs. Oklahoma
South Carolina vs. Coastal Carolina
Texas vs. TCU
UConn vs. Vandy
LSU vs. CS Fullerton
Texas A&M vs. Florida

My 8 entrants are: Arizona St., Alabama, Ole Miss, Coastal Carolina, Texas, Vandy, CS Fullerton, and Florida.

Assuming the groups are clear cut from the left and right sides of this bracket, I see Arizona State and CS Fullerton in the finals with Arizona State taking home the hardware.

Out of 7 SEC teams in my sweet 16, I have 4 making the CWS. Interesting! Let's see how it plays out for real this coming weekend. Enjoy the CWS, everyone!

Friday, May 28, 2010

I'm an Adult. I'm Jewish. I play in the Adult Jewish Basketball League - Game 14

This was our last regular season game, and it was a doozy! We had our entire team for this one, and we needed everyone's contributions.

The bad guys got out to a quick 10-2 lead, hitting a couple 3-pointers in the process. We didn't know what hit us, but we settled in and scored a few baskets to get right back in the game. Actually, we went on a 33-11 run (but who's counting?) to get out to a 14 point lead and held on to a 42-38 halftime lead. This could have been the final score in many games in this league. I wouldn't say the defenses were even that bad. It's just that both teams were running and gunning and converting.

As for me, I converted a 3-point play the old fashioned way right off the bat. I was able to get out on the break and score two more easy buckets to have 7 points at halftime. My defense was solid, too.

The second half was a lot closer, with neither team taking that big of a lead. It was see-saw for a while, which lead to some great basketball. There was a lot of physical play and chatter out there, and I'd say this was a thoroughly enjoyable game throughout. I was complimented by the other team 2 or 3 times on my speed and general "blow-by-ability". One guy even yelled out "let me pick up my shorts" after I blew past him for an easy lay-up.

As the game neared its conclusion, I grabbed a crucial rebound and hit 1 of 2 free throws to make it a 3-point margin. We held on to win, 69-66. A very high scoring affair indeed!

We finished the regular season with 10 wins, which should put us as a 2 or 3 seed in this league. Playoffs begin in a week.

Update on the wrist: All good!

Another update: Another double-digit game!

Free throw update: 2-3. 35.5% on the season. Felt good out there!

Stat line: 12 pts, ~2 assists, ~2 rebounds, 1 block.

Uni-tracker: White jersey, Blue Nike Dri-Fit shorts, "Collaborative" undershirt.

Team record: 10-4.

PPG: 49.9
Opp PPG: 44.9

Sunday, May 23, 2010

I'm an Adult. I'm Jewish. I play in the Adult Jewish Basketball League - Game 13

Today we were missing our big man, but the other team was missing their speedy point guard. Fair's fair, right? You'd think with their really tall big man, they'd have an advantage on the boards. They didn't. You'd also think we would be able to run on them at will. We did.

This one was pretty ugly early on, as we got out to a 12-4 lead and ran them ragged to a 35-21 halftime lead. I got out on the break plenty of times, scoring 3 lay-ups and making a free throw as well. I picked up 3 or 4 steals in the first half alone, pestering them on every possession.

We won this one easily, 67-42. Our defense was great. We rebounded. We ran on them. A lot. Not much more to say. I guess I'd trade speed for inside presence any day.

One more regular season game and then it's onto the playoffs. We got our two best players back today, which made it all the easier to carry out this ass-whoopin'.

Note: I drew a charge. That was fun. My left wrist is a little sore. We'll see how this plays out.

Another note: I scored double-digits in points. Finally!

Free throw update: 1-4. 32.1% on the season. I'll chalk this up to being out of practice.

Stat line: 11 pts, ~4 assists, ~3 rebounds, ~5 steals.

Uni-tracker: White jersey, Blue Nike Dri-Fit shorts, "Juniper" undershirt.

Team record: 9-4.

PPG: 48.4
Opp PPG: 43.3

Thursday, May 20, 2010

I'm an Adult. I'm Jewish. I play in the Adult Jewish Basketball League - Game 12

This was our last game with only 5 players, although we had to pick up a player from another team to make 5. Again, I played the whole game, but this time I felt good the entire time, so that's a good sign.

We held a lead for the entire first half, playing a man defense and doubling up on their top scorer the entire time. The only problem was, the guy we left alone hurt us with several baskets. We were able to run on them and it seemed we would tire them out for the rest of the game. We led 28-27 at halftime.

I personally shut down my guy for the second half (gave up two 3-pters in the first half), as he scored a mere point from a silly shooting foul called on me where I blocked his shot without even jumping. According to the ref, I didn't let him finish his follow through. Whatever.

Offensively, I was able to get to the rim a lot in this game, but I was forcing some passes and turned the ball over a few times. I also couldn't make some open lay-ups. You're shocked, I know. We didn't stay aggressive to the end, just as last game, and we blew a 6 point lead in the last few minutes of this one. We lost on a last second lay-up, 50-49. This one hurt a little more as it was against two guys I'm not a big fan of. But, again, we played well for what we had. And, again, it wasn't representative of our entire team. I'll take our competitiveness as a major plus as we're coming down the stretch.

Free throw update: 5-8. 33.3% on the season. I even made 2 in a row today!

Stat line: 9 pts, ~5 assists, ~4 rebounds, ~2 steals.

Uni-tracker: Blue jersey, Blue Nike Dri-Fit shorts, "Milwaukee" undershirt.

Team record: 8-4.

PPG: 46.8
Opp PPG: 43.4

Friday, May 14, 2010

AJBL Uni-Tracker Analysis Magic!

I've now played in 10 games this season in the AJBL. If you're an avid reader, like I know you are, you've noticed I keep track of what I'm wearing in these games. Here's a breakdown of my team's record and my PPG in each jersey, shorts selection, and undershirt selection. You can't find a more hardcore breakdown than this right here, baby!!!!

Jersey
Blue:
Record: 3-2
PPG: 6.2

White:
Record: 4-1
PPG: 2.8

Shorts
Nike Dri-Fit:
Record: 5-3
PPG: 3.6

AND1:
Record: 2-0
PPG: 8.0

Undershirt
Plain White:
Record: 1-0
PPG: 7.0

"Milwaukee":
Record: 1-1
PPG: 4.5

"Collaborative":
Record: 3-1
PPG: 5.5

"Juniper":
Record: 2-1
PPG: 2.3

Clearly, my team plays well in the White jerseys, however, I score more in the Blue jerseys. Tough call there. It's out of my hands, though, as I don't determine Home and Away.

I've performed at my best in my baggier AND1 shorts and we're undefeated. I've also played well - as has the team - when I'm wearing the slightly tighter fitting plain white t-shirt or Collaborative undershirt.

Going forward, I'll give my AND1 shorts more run. I'll bust out the more stylish Collaborative undershirt as long as it's not too ratty. And, well, I'll pray we're the Home team!

Down the stretch we come - and now I'm going to be dressed for success. Thanks for reading. And thanks for humoring me!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

I'm an Adult. I'm Jewish. I play in the Adult Jewish Basketball League - Game 11

We knew we'd only have 5 tonight, and unfortunately that didn't include two of our best players. A good showing was important and a win, in my opinion, would only be icing.

The other team only had 5 as well, so we had hope going in. Played a man defense all game, which I think really helped us with rebounding. We got out to a slow start as we always seem to. I ran the point and penetrated a little bit. Wasn't able to find our big man inside, as they were doubling him up a lot. We were trailing 23-15 at the half.

In the second half, we stepped it up. Found our big guy earlier and more often. Tried to get out on the break as often as we could, although I was the catalyst for that and wasn't always keeping up. I did step it up and we made a run to then take the lead halfway through the second half.

I was able to penetrate, but unable to finish. Story of my life. Got a few steals and some offensive boards where I could to extend possessions. Around the 3 minute mark, I was a bit woozy from playing the entire game and hustling a lot more. We tried to stall with the lead and I was unable to convert a lay-up late in the game. They got the ball back in the final seconds and my guy scored off a missed steal attempt by me - I had it!!! Oh well. We lost 39-37.

Tough loss. I asserted myself on both ends. Had some really nice assists and was able to see the court well on the offensive end. Got my feet - that's right, my feet - on 3 balls during the game. I was very active on the defensive end, even picking up a couple blocks, too. My team was down after the game - I was disconcerted with this, as I know I hustled and put myself out there. I was the only sub-40 player out there for us tonight, and I'm the one with the perspective? Something to be said about people that can't handle losing this late in their lives. I promise not to let this keep me down. We should all be proud of how we were able to come back in this one and pull together as a team without our two best players. That, to me, is what it's all about and will prove valuable in the playoffs.

The "100 Lay-up" project needs to happen. I am consistently among the quicker guys out there but I can't finish when I get to the rim. Gotta work on that.

Free throw update: 0-0. 18.8% on the season.

Stat line: 4 pts, ~6 assists, ~4 rebounds, ~3 steals, 2 blocks.

Uni-tracker: Blue jersey, Blue Nike Dri-Fit shorts, "Collaborative" undershirt.

Team record: 8-3.

PPG: 46.5
Opp PPG: 42.8

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

I'm an Adult. I'm Jewish. I play in the Adult Jewish Basketball League - Game 10

For the second straight game, we allowed only 12 points in the first half. The problem this time was that we couldn't score much more. We were up 14-12 at the half after a lackluster offensive performance. We weren't able to get out on the break and convert in our half court offense. Thankfully, the other team didn't pose a threat from outside, so our zone was once again very effective.

Enter the second half. Our starting guard sat herself (yup, I said "herself" - the only woman in the entire league - and she'll kick your ass, too) so I had an opportunity to run the point. I went on to play the best 4 minutes of the season, and quite possibly my life. We went on a 14-3 run to blow it open in those 4 minutes, led by my 6 points and about 4 assists. Pretty sure I accounted for every basket. We were able to run on them at will. The skies opened up. It was a great feeling.

We got a little tight for some reason as the chatter picked up and the other team actually said out loud "it's time to make our run." The thing is, I seemed to be the only one relaxed and realizing that we still had control. They didn't come within 6 or 8 points the entire second half, and we "held on" to win 49-41. Safe to say we're a second half team - offensively at least.

I played my best game of the year. Was aggressive defensely all game. Picked up a couple steals. Was able to see the court all game, including a sweet no look pass underneath late in the first half. As our two best players will be out the next game or two, I'll have a chance to step it up again. I'm excited for that.

Free throw update: 1-2. 18.8% on the season.

Stat line: 9 pts, ~6 assists, ~3 rebounds, ~2 steals.

Uni-tracker: White jersey, Blue Nike Dri-Fit shorts, "Collaborative" undershirt.

Team record: 8-2.

PPG: 47.5
Opp PPG: 43.2

Saturday, May 8, 2010

I'm an Adult. I'm Jewish. I play in the Adult Jewish Basketball League - Game 9

We faced the first place team in this one. Their only loss came to us earlier in the year - the game I helped win with what had been my only made free throw on the year.

This one got off to a great start. We extended our zone defense really well and they weren't able to knock down their outside shots. We were also able to run on them effectively. At halftime, we were up 21-12.

I was aggressive from the start, as they threw a man-to-man defense at us. With my new way of shooting, I didn't hit any outside shots, but found the confidence to shoot the ball from mid-range and in. Had a sweet tip-in off a missed shot that got me fired up.

We held a solid 9-to-11 point lead throughout the second half, as the game became more physical, but the other guys couldn't put together a run. Instead, they argued every call and tried to push us around. I stayed out of that, and remained aggressive the whole game on both sides of the ball. I still have Knoblauch-like yips when I go to the rim, though, and I missed an easy lay-up in the second half. My next project should be "100 Lay-Ups".

We won, 49-42 and moved into a tie for first.

Free throw update: 1-4. New technique is working - just have to build confidence with it. 14.3% on the season.

Stat line: 7 pts, ~1 assists, ~4 rebounds, ~1 steal.

Uni-tracker: Blue jersey, White AND1 shorts, plain white undershirt.

Team record: 7-2.

PPG: 47.3
Opp PPG: 43.4

Monday, May 3, 2010

I'm an Adult. I'm Jewish. I play in the Adult Jewish Basketball League - Game 8

This one was a nailbiter at the end, and it didn't have to be.

The other team only put 5 out there, and we had our full squad of 7. They slowed us down in the first half, and we also couldn't hit shots, so we found ourselves down 26-16 at the half.

I preached to my team that it would turn around and that we were getting good looks. With a little more pressure, we'd be in this thing. I knew the 5 or so 3-pointers the other team knocked down in the first half wouldn't keep up either. I was right.

We extended our zone and pressured at half court, causing a lot of standing around by the other team. We went on a 7-0 run to start the second half and got ourselves right back in there. I think the other guys hit one 3-pointer, too. We won a close one, 39-37.

I played solid defense throughout, although I gave up that one long bomb in the second half that tied it up late. They zoned us up, which I hate. When I did penetrate, I couldn't finish. I did still land a few offensive rebounds, though. Possessions are important in this game. I did have a few nice assists.


Free throw update: 0-0. 10.0% on the season.

Stat line: 0 pts, ~4 assists, ~4 rebounds.

Uni-tracker: White jersey, Blue Nike Dri-Fit shorts, "Juniper" undershirt.

Team record: 6-2.

PPG: 47.1
Opp PPG: 43.6

Friday, April 30, 2010

100 Free Throws - Calvin Murphy Edition

So, you mean to say I'm left-handed? What?!? Well, well, well...it's about damn time!

Yep - I've finally made the change. The change to shooting like a REAL basketball player. I mean, I've been left-handed all my life, and it's about time I utilized that hand to make some shots. Let me explain...

As a kid, I was puny. Not too much different now, but I did grow a little bit. But when I was younger, I wanted more range, so I developed a two-hand shot from my chest. As I got older, that shot evolved into a two-hand shot from my head/shoulder area, as I simply just raised my release point. I've been doing that since middle school or so, and I never changed. My shot resembles something between Reggie Miller's slight two-hand release and a pile of dung. And I have become incredibly more streaky in the last few years. Not to mention, I can't hit a free throw in games. Currently 1 for 10 on the year.

I know I have the strength, and now I'm finally realizing I can trust that strength. The technique is actually already there, as I've shot that way in Nerf ball all my life, believe it or not. And I have been taught the correct way in places like Rollie Massimino's Day Camp and high school ball. I just never applied it. Until now.

Here are my makes per 10 below:

4,4,4,5,7,4,5,4,6,8 = 51

I'm on the other side of 50! And look how strong I finished, too. If that doesn't scream upside, I don't know what does. Feels damn good. And my misses were easy to diagnose, too. This feels like such a breakthrough. I knew I had it in me, but I was just too stubborn to make the change. Now, it'll take a lot of practice to get this going during games when I'm not on the free throw line. I can accept that, as I didn't attempt a 3 in my last game and I'm not confident at all right now. But now I can go to the basket even stronger knowing I have a good shot at making my free throws if I get fouled. My range will come in time. But now I can take that step or two in from the 3-pt line and nail a 15-footer. It's like a new lease on my career. I'll take it!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

I'm an Adult. I'm Jewish. I play in the Adult Jewish Basketball League - Game 7

This game was as much of a must win in the regular season as you can have for our confidence, if nothing else. And we stepped it up when we needed to. The first half tonight was definitely a feeling out process, as the other team didn't have their star player in many opinions. I hadn't played against a few of these guys, so I know I was seeing who could do what. We played pretty even and were down 25-23 at the half.

I made a couple moves to the basket, but the ball got deflected once and the other team got away with a no-call as well. I was not looking to shoot at all and was focussed more on defense and being aggressive when I could. I was guarding one of their better players and he scored 3 or 4 times on me, so that wasn't working. I did have a couple blocked shots though! One looked really sexy, too, as I deflected it cleanly out of bounds. I mumbled to myself "Get that shot out of here!" Pumped me up a little bit.

In the second half we switched to a zone and actually got more aggressive. We went on a pretty solid run all half and took control for good around the 8 minute mark. I had a few steals and asserted myself completely on the defensive end. Made a strong move right to the basket but couldn't finish. Argh! But I'll take those shots any day. We won 53-40. Glad to be back in the win column!

Free throw update: 0-0. 10.0% on the season.

Stat line: 0 pts, ~5 assists, ~3 rebounds, ~3 steals, 2 blocks.

Uni-tracker: White jersey, Blue Nike Dri-Fit shorts, "Collaborative" undershirt.

Team record: 5-2.

PPG: 48.3
Opp PPG: 44.6

Monday, April 26, 2010

I'm an Adult. I'm Jewish. I play in the Adult Jewish Basketball League - Game 6

Be aggressive. Gotta be aggressive. Remember that high school cheer? Yeah, that was the theme in this game - or rather, the moral. I came in off the bench and immediately scored a bucket off an inbound pass. Later in the first half, I stole the ball and ended up going coast to coast for a layup. As time went on, though, I became more tentative.

Due to a scheduling glitch, we played the same team we played in the previous game, so redemption was on our minds. We started off strong, but fell behind, 26-22, at the half. The other team slowed it down on us and showed great patience on offense, making sure they got the best shot possible. We weren't able to run on them and we couldn't hit our shots when we had the ball. As for me, they backed off of me and it was hard for me to attack. When I did, I missed a layup, got fouled, and missed my free throws. Are you surprised anymore? We lost, 45-35, in a pretty similar outcome to the previous game. The only positive from this game is we won't see them again til the playoffs. Let's hope it's in the finals. I'd love another shot.

Free throw update: 0-2. 10.0% on the season. Time for another "100 Free Throws" session, eh?

Stat line: 4 pts, ~1 assists, ~3 rebounds, ~2 steals.

Uni-tracker: Blue jersey, Blue Nike Dri-Fit shorts, "Juniper" undershirt.

Team record: 4-2.

PPG: 47.5
Opp PPG: 45.3

Thursday, April 22, 2010

I'm an Adult. I'm Jewish. I play in the Adult Jewish Basketball League - Game 5

Wait, what happened to Game 4? A little thing I like to call "I had too much fun the night before." Well, we won 55-42 to get to 4-0, so my teammates can't complain too much. I got a little grief when I showed up tonight, but it wasn't too bad at all. If I didn't mention it before, I really enjoy playing with these guys (and gal).

So tonight couldn't have been a worse game for me personally. For starters, in the first couple minutes of the game, I went for a wide open rebound and somehow managed to push the ball up and in for an "own goal." How impressive. I shot 1-1 for them. I shot about 1-8 for us.

Overall, the team was off rhythm on offense and when we got good shots, they didn't fall. The other team only had 5 guys, so we thought we could run with them but we weren't finishing. I tried to get to the basket but was awful at finishing. Wasn't comfortable out there. Maybe this was my punishment for missing the last game. Or maybe it was the fact I didn't allow myself time to warm up and get some shots up. The value of practice, kids. It really makes a difference!

We were down 27-20 at half and allowed the other team to go on a 15-1 run in the first half. Ouch. We didn't fair any better in the second half, even after a player from the other team left the game due to injury and they used a guy from the game before. He was of equal talent if not more.

My defense was solid, although I started going for fakes late in the game. Probably wouldn't have mattered. We were out of it tonight. Lost 49-36.

Other teams have figured me out. I'm not shooting from the outside. And when I go inside, they can D me up good and not be afraid to foul me. See FT stat line below. FML, once again.

Free throw update: 0-2. 12.5% on the season. ARRRGGGGHHHH.

Stat line: 2 pts, ~5 assists, ~6 rebounds, ~1 steals.

Uni-tracker: White jersey, Blue Nike Dri-Fit shorts, "Milwaukee" undershirt.

Team record: 4-1.

PPG: 50.0
Opp PPG: 45.4

Thursday, April 15, 2010

I'm an Adult. I'm Jewish. I play in the Adult Jewish Basketball League - Game 3

Makes sense that I'd pick it up a little in Game 3 of the season and things would start to come together for me. Starting to get my wind a little bit, although I'm still happy when I'm spelled on the court.

The other team only had 5 players, so it made it easier to control this game. Our speed was just too much. I got out to a solid start, making a lay-up early on and grabbing a couple steals and a few assists. It was easy to get into the flow.

I picked up 4 fouls in this game, so I'm starting to get a little more aggressive. I made a stupid decision to try and block a long jumpshot at the end of the first half, and it led to 2 made FTs by the other team. I had him, too, but let my hand come down on the ball when I followed through on trying to block it. Such is life.

We had a strong 34-25 lead at the break and sustained at least that margin throughout the second half. We wore them down and it showed. I ran the point for about 4 minutes and made a couple good plays, including a strong dribble drive left to the basket. This is looking like my signature move now. I hope the rest of the league isn't reading this.

Team played well and it was a lot of fun out there - the best possible outcome from tonight or any game, really. Final score, 65-46.

Free throw update: 0-2. 16.7% on the season. Yikes. I airballed another one, too. FML.

Stat line: 9 pts, ~5 assists, ~3 rebounds, ~3 steals.

Uni-tracker: Blue jersey, White AND1 shorts, gray "Collaborative" undershirt.

Team record: 3-0.

PPG: 53.0
Opp PPG: 45.3

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

100 Free Throws

Today I got out in this wonderful 60+ degree weather and shot around some more. 100 free throws were shot. Here are my makes per 10 below:

3,2,4,4,3,5,1,6,3,4 = 35

Improvement! Hey, I'll take a +4 any day of the week, especially if this is only 6 days after my first 100. Of note: I shot my best round out of 50 so far, making 19 of my last 50. BOO YA.

Without that lame 1-for in the 7th group, I'd have hit closer to 40. No excuses there. Just didn't concentrate, I suppose. I was all giddy after making 5 out of 10.

Anyways, here's to making 40 the next time out. Aim high, Forbesy!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Why does Philly hate Kobe?

Last night I saw a snippet of an E:60 story on why Philly hates Kobe. They were saying it's because he didn't play for the Sixers or because he left the city for Los Angeles. With all due respect, Sonny Hill, I don't believe the glitz and glamor of L.A. has anything to do with it. Here's my take:

First off, Kobe isn't even from Philadelphia. He's from the Main Line, an affluent suburban area due west of the city. Specifically, he went to Lower Merion High School, which lays in a predominantly white neighborhood. Sure it's no prep or Catholic school that may tend to recruit, but it's one of the wealthier public schools you'll see.

On top of that, he lived in Italy for a few years before moving back to the Philadelphia area. The son of Joe "Jellybean" Bryant, a pro basketball player (and former Sixer), one could say Kobe didn't exactly come from the hood. And one would be right. Kobe was a cultured kid, fluent in Italian. Definitely not your typical city kid, let alone suburban one.

So there's that. One might demand, name me a high school star that Philly DOES love. Here are three that Philly definitely has welcomed home with a standing "O" and a warm embrace.

1. Rasheed Wallace
'Sheed went to Simon Gratz, a city school, for one. Sure, he left the area for North Carolina when he graduated and then went on to the NBA and played for a few teams that weren't the Sixers. And, sure, he's currently on the Celtics. Well, Philly doesn't have a problem with 'Sheed. He's a Philly kid. Not much argument here. Do we absolutely drool over this guy when he returns? No. But we do show respect, because he grew up here.

2. Bo Kimble
Bo went out to California with Hank Gathers (R.I.P.) for college. But Bo was from Dobbins Tech, a city school. The team came back to the area to play the likes of St. Joe's and LaSalle. People came out in droves to see Kimble (and Gathers and Paul Westhead, a Cheltenham guy) when he came back to play. He went on to the NBA and played for the Clippers. But, again, he was a Philly kid. Philly embraced him upon his return.

3. Jameer Nelson
Classic example of a kid staying in the area for college. Jameer was a Chester kid, a blue collar city just south of Philly, but may as well be included when you talk about Philadelphia. Even more, he went to St. Joe's, so people loved him even more. Hard to argue with Jameer being loved by Philly.

These might be unfair comparisons, but they're ones that need to be made. But there's more. Kobe didn't even go to college, so considering staying in Philly for school never crossed his mind in the eyes of Philly fans. On top of that, Kobe had a swagger about him. He was good, but didn't fully let his game do the talking. He dominated the suburban leagues, and I'm sure he did some damage against some city schools that were scheduled out-of-conference. But at the end of the day, Kobe went home to his mansion in the 'burbs, not the streets of Philadelphia.

Leaving for the NBA was a case of the rich getting richer. No rags in this story. How can Philly fans relate to that? Very few can.

When Kobe is interviewed about Philadelphia, his "hometown", it seems Kobe still doesn't get it. He says - per the E:60 story - and I'm paraphrasing here - that he gets his personality from this city. Sure, he probably hung out in the city and even played in some city summer leagues and on the playgrounds there. To his credit, he gained the respect from other Philly basketball players. But we're not talking about the few talented kids that come out of this area. We're talking about the fans of the entire area. His personality comes from a loving, functional family that never had to struggle like many families do in the city or surrounding, less affluent areas. Again, at the end of the day, Kobe wasn't hustling or worrying about much.

Not all of the Philly area hates Kobe. Just walk into the Pub of Penn Valley in Lower Merion Township and you'll find a sweet Nike Lower Merion Kobe jersey framed on the wall. They're proud to call him their own in Lower Merion. I doubt you'll see many framed jerseys in North or South Philly bars. I challenge you to find them for me.

This is why Philly hates Kobe. And barring a return to Philly to play for the Sixers - and leading them to a championship, too! - I'm not sure there was ever a chance all of Philly would have truly been on his side.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

I'm an Adult. I'm Jewish. I play in the Adult Jewish Basketball League - Game 2

Game 2 of our season took place in the Perelman Gym, a gym I used to play all of my Junior Jewish Basketball League (JJBL - see a pattern here?) games when I was a wee lad. We were up against a solid team, and I knew this would be a nailbiter.

My shooting in this game was horrendous - par for me. I took a 3 from the corner trying to mimic what I did to start the season. Clank. I also tried another three from just off the top of the key and a runner in the lane. Those aren't my shots unless I'm in rhythm. My rhythm was off today. I am realizing that I'm very much a lefty on the floor, even though my shot ends up rolling more off my right hand. (Video would be good here, but it also might blind you. I have an awful shot.)

To my credit, I did follow my shot and turned that into a couple rebounds and second chance opportunities. Had a point blank follow up that I somehow missed. Ugh.

We were down 24-21 at halftime, but had gone on a 12-2 run earlier in the first half that gave us some confidence. I took myself out for 5 minute spans in both halves, which really served me well at the end of the game. Foreshadowing?

With a couple minutes left, I hustled down the court to steal the ball from behind their leading scorer. Crucial swing for our team, although I'm not sure we scored on that possession I gained for us. My best defensive play of the year so far. I still haven't had a foul called on me yet. Gotta get more aggressive.

Game was tied at 41 and we had the ball. The other team fouled us twice, as they had two to give. I found myself with the ball and 7 seconds left, so I drove left on one of their slower defenders and got hacked on the left wrist with 2.9 seconds to go to send me to the line. UH OH!!!!

I didn't give myself too much time to think. Concentrated on bending my knees and getting a little hop in my legs. Swished the first one!!! We're up 42-41. Other team calls time to "ice" me, as if I didn't have enough "mental ice" of my own, thank you very much. We discussed if I should make or miss, a la Duke-Butler just 6 days ago. I'm no Brian Zoubek. We decided I should "try" to make it. Well, what's worse than a make and a miss off the rim? An airball. Yep, I found a new way to miss a free throw.

The other team got the ball on the baseline and inbounded it, but they came up short from about 30 feet. We won, 42-41.

"Forbesy wins it on a FT" didn't deserve the headline here. Nothing like backing my way into a winning shot. But I will say it was good that I had my legs at the end of this one. Might be my M.O. until I can get in shape. I'm OK with that.

Free throw update: 1-2. 25% on the season.

Stat line: 3 pts, ~1 assists, ~2 rebounds, ~1 steal.

Uni-tracker: White jersey, Blue Nike Dri-Fit shorts, "Juniper" undershirt.

Team record: 2-0.

PPG: 47.0
Opp PPG: 45.0

Thursday, April 8, 2010

I'm an Adult. I'm Jewish. I play in the Adult Jewish Basketball League.

Tonight I played in my first game of the 2010 Spring Adult Jewish Basketball League (AJBL) season. We won, 52-49. It was tied at halftime, 30-30.

My primary concern was how out of shape I am. Well, I made it through the game alive, although I was feeling it about 5 minutes in. I managed to survive, calling for subs when I was winded. I could feel my brain turning to mush in the second half and I took a few dumb shots. All in all, though, I played pretty well. Defense was average. I got beat on a backdoor cut. No steals. No fouls. Gotta work on my aggressiveness.

I started the scoring off for both teams with a 3-pointer from the left corner. What's with me and starting off my season with a made 3??? I seriously have done this 3 times now. Twice in the AJBL and once in the Alumni League about 6 years ago. And usually, my shooting is all downhill from there. Sort of true tonight, but I actually shot better than usual, going about 3 of 8 from the field. Missed a lay-up off a beautiful drive left from the top of the key. Wish I could have that one back.

This team has some size and good speed. I look forward to a fun season. Our team name is "My Generation". No clue why. All the team names are pretty random and terrible. But what do you expect from old men over 30?

Free throw update: 0-2. Didn't I shoot 100 free throws today? WTF?

Stat line: 7 pts, ~3 assists, ~1 rebound.

Uni-tracker: Blue jersey, Blue Nike Dri-Fit shorts, "Milwaukee" undershirt.

Team record: 1-0.

100 Free Throws

I hit the basketball court for about an hour today to work on my shot. Specifically, my free throw shooting, which has been atrocious. I play in an over-30 league (many blog postings to follow) and my free throw percentage has been around the 30% mark over the span of three seasons. So, after a season off, I'm back at it tonight for Game 1 of the 2010 Spring season.

I shot 100 free throws today. My goal is to do this throughout the season and chart my progress. Check out my makes per 10 below. I can only get better, right? Right?

3,2,2,7,3,3,2,3,4,2 = 31

31??? THIRTY-ONE??? That's worse than Shaq! That's worse than Shaq blind-folded! At least I'm consistent with my performance over the last 3 seasons, eh? Yeah, shooting by myself with no pressure is a lot like real game situations. FML.

That 7 looks promising. We need that to be a rule more than a blatant exception.

Nap time. Gotta rest up to fail miserably tonight!