Saturday, April 28, 2012

Magic steal Game 1 ... but how?

I'll tell ya.

Glen Davis did just enough against Roy Hibbert (3-of-11 shooting) at the defensive end. I thought Hibbert would eat Big Baby alive, and he had quite an advantage at Orlando's offensive end.

Jason Richardson and Jameer Nelson scored 17 apiece and carried the load on a night that Ryan Anderson, who was expected to stir the Magic's offensive drink, took only 7 shots, hit 2, and scored 5 points.

Indiana's core shooters (Danny Granger, George Hill, Paul George) were a combined 14-of-42 from the field. Mostly explains why the Pacers scored just 77 points.

So the first-blush reactions to Orlando's Game 1 win are this: Anderson will play better and Indiana will shoot better as the series goes on, and the Magic will have to continue to play very well AND Indiana will have to play subpar ball if Stan Van Gundy's boys are going to pull off the upset that nobody outside of the Magic locker room believes can happen.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Solar Bears' new clothes

First, we got a franchise. Actually, they just gave us back the one we had.

Then we got a building.
Then there was a name, and a logo.
Tuesday night, the Orlando Solar Bears got some new threads.
Mayor Buddy Dyer joined team officials, media and a couple hundred friends and sponsors Tuesday at a gathering at The Abbey in downtown Orlando to unveil the Solar Bears' jersey as they get closer to be ready to play in the ECHL season and a 36-game home schedule at the Amway Center in mid-October.

Former Orlando Solar Bears Allen Bester (left)
and Bob Joyce model the new home and away
jerseys for the town's newest ECHL team.

Former players Allen Bester and Bob Joyce modeled the new white, purple and green jerseys -- the home white features the Solar Bear from the neck up, and the purple roadie features the Solar Bears script logo with mascot Shades casually propping a stick behind his shoulders -- before Orlando Magic CEO Alex Martins, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and Orlando Centroplex Director Allen Johnston. got to play model.

Alex Martins and Buddy Dyer model the back of the jerseys --
and does everybody have to use that gawdawful reverse color name plate?
Taking it all in was the Solar Bears' brain trust -- managing partners Bob Ohrablo and Jason Siegel and general partner Joe Haleski. And they were grinning from ear to ear.

"We were pleased with the terrific turnout (Tuesday), and thrilled that alums like Allen and Bob were a part of this," Siegel said.

He said the jersey designs and team colors were inspired by the first incarnation of the Solar Bears, which played in Orlando in the International Hockey League from 1995-2001.

"The jerseys, especially the road jerseys, are a reflection on the past. It was a real no-brainer," he said. "We wanted to do some different touches, and we knew we wanted a different crest on each jersey."

The next event will be the season ticket holder Select-A-Seat at the Amway Center on April 21.

"I'm already thinking about it," Siegel said.

The Good Day, the Bad Day, and the Ugly Day.

If you're having a rough week, there's others out there having a worse go of it -- trust me.

I give you Rick Santorum, who suspended his presidential nomination campaign to attend to his hospitalized 3-year-old daughter. My little girl is 3. I can imagine the man's stomach is in a complete knot and it's a feeling I hope to never experience. Everyone, please put your political opinions aside and pray for Rick, his family and little Bella.

Bobby Petrino and Ozzie Guillen are also having pretty bad weeks, too. So maybe it's not so bad to be, oh, I dunno, Stan Van Gundy?

I've been meaning to blog about the Stan-Dwight Howard flap, and while getting sidetracked by the Masters (Bubba went down to Georgia, he was looking for some green to wear, he was in a bind, a tree he was behind, but he hooked it like wasn't there ...), I still feel the same way about it after sitting on my thoughts for a couple of days.

I don't think this thing was ever as fiery as most media has made it out to be. I don't think Dwight Howard ever said, "I want Stan fired." Those words got put in his mouth -- maybe even by Stan. I think he happened to be hanging around Orlando Magic hoity-toity types one day and in a conversation he said something like, "I'd be interested to see what our team concept would be like with a different coach."

And I get that. Dwight's played for the Magic since 2004. SVG has coached them since 2007. But if D-12 wants to keep painstaking maintaining a reputation of not being "the bad guy" in town, he best not be known for being the one responsible for running off a head coach. Penny Hardaway got that rap for running off Brian Hill about 13 years ago. Hill, like SVG, took the Magic to the NBA Finals.

It's a yucky story, but if you want some better news, check this space out later this evening. The Orlando Solar Bears will be unveiling their new jerseys tonight at a media event downtown hosted by Mayor Buddy Dyer. I hope to have some details from the event to report tonight.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Hey, it's Opening Day ... again ...

Before we embark on the 15-month baseball season (I guess it only feels that way to me), here's a 'Good For You' to the Baylor women's basketball team for winning the NCAA title Tuesday night and rolling to college basketball's first-ever 40-win season. Granted, they have the ginormous 6'8" Brittany Griner to help them, but after watching Kentucky win the men's title -- thereby starting the clock on the "How Long Will It Take For the NCAA To Strip This Final Four Trip From John Calipari" watch -- this was a win that you could really get behind.

Anyway, here it is folks, Major League Baseball's highly anticipated 2012 Opening Night. Right there between last week's Opening Games and tomorrow's Opening Day. It's enough to make me want to give Bud Selig an Opening Wound. But everybody finally gets to play for keeps now, which is nice.

A quick nod to my folks in The Baseball League fantasy feifdom: regarding Boston's Andrew Bailey, I told you so. I knew Mark Melancon would be the closer. And I'm working hard to find a permanent home for the blog. Be patient with me, like you are with your pitchers. (Right?)

Without a whole lot of fantasy stuff to talk about yet, here are my predictions for the division races, and the new, added 2nd wild card, which I realized I'm in support of. Think about how important it is to win the division now; the wild card teams will all have burned through a day of pitching before the playoffs even start, which benefits the team with the best record in each league. I always said the wild card teams should start the DS behind by a game. Wild cards should have a very uphill climb to win it all.

Oh yeah, those predictions ...
NL East -- It's important for Ozzie Guillen to win, and the players and fans will pick up on it, and the Miami Marlins are winning this thing over an offensively challenged Phillies team that will win a Wild Card because it can pitch (thank God). How depleted? Their No. 3 hitter for the time being is Ty Wigginton. (Followers: A Washington team that will surprise people, Atlanta, the N.Y. M(y) E(ntire) T(eam) S(tinks).
NL Central -- Milwaukee, because I can't pick a rookie manager to win a division. St. Louis, playing with the We-Can-Win-Without-Albert chip on their shoulders, takes the other wild card. (Followers: A Pittsburgh team that will continue improving, Cincinnati, Chicago, Houston)
NL West -- Arizona won't surprise anybody, but winning isn't a surprise anymore. (Followers: San Fran, Colorado, San Diego, LA Magic Lakers).
AL East -- Tell me today who's pitching staff stays the healthiest and I'll give you the winner. Having to pick now, I'll go with ... er ... um, Boston I guess. Yankees get a wild card, but not before sweating out a duel with the Rays. Toronto will be in it for a while. Baltimore should be eliminated soon after Opening Day.
AL Central -- Verlander and Valverde and pray for snow, unless Fielder's bombs bring rain. Detroit wins it. Followers: Chicago, Minnesota, Cleveland, Kansas City.
AL West -- Texas outguns the Californians, who take the other wild card. Seattle and Oakland behind.
I'm taking Detroit over Arizona in the World Series, but I'm not very good at this.
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