Thursday, May 23, 2002

SPORTS THOUGHTS
For the first time in several years I have no teams from my current home (St. Louis) or my original town (Philadelphia) to root for in the NBA or NHL Playoffs. Still, it's an enjoyable time for me to be a sports fans.

The NBA playoffs have been quite entertaining, with the infusion of some much-needed new blood. Players like Mike Bibby, Jason Kidd, and Paul Pierce are a joy to watch, along with the continued excellence of Shaquille O'Neal and especially Kobe Bryant. It's hard to know exactly how good Bryant can and will be.

The NHL playoffs features what may go down as the greatest match-up ever, in terms of Hall-of-Fame caliber players, with Detroit angainst Colorado. First, you've got the goaltenders -- Dominik Hasek and Patrick Roy, probably the two most celebrated netkeepers of their era, both looking to add one more accomplishment to their careers. Then there's the captains, both #19's -- Steve Yzerman and Joe Sakic, two of the longest tenured captains in the NHL, and probably the most respected. Add in other probable and possible Hall of Famers like Brett Hull, Peter Forsberg, Nik Lidstrom, Rob Blake, Luc Robatille, Chris Drury, Chris Chelios, Adam Foote, and Sergei Fedorov, plus some great youngsters. The games have been great so far, and I look forward to more.

In baseball, both the Cardinals and Phillies seem to be rebounding from rough starts. The Cards have finally gotten some of their starting pitching back, and they've had a great home stand. (Plus, they didn't get their stadium deal approved, which is fine by me). My Phillies have also rebounded, and are only 4 games out of their division lead, though that has more to do with the mediocrity of their division than their own play. Plus, it looks like they just fleeced the A's for Jeremy Giambi. Billy Beane seems like a smart guy, but I can't imagine why he'd give up anybody for John Mabry, a singles hitter without a position. We'll see.

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