With great fanfare, the organizers of the new MLS Soccer Franchise for Philadelphia unveiled their team logo on Monday of this week, an event which was duly reported in the various sports pages of the local newspapers.

The organization which is promoting the new soccer franchise appears to be a group of overweight, entirely male surburban white men, who have absolutely nothing to do, and who have organized themselves into an organization for the promotion of professional soccer in the Delaware Valley/Philadelphia/South Jersey area, known as the “Sons of Ben.”

I only mention this parenthetically, because as it well known, most people who attend soccer games are world/ethnic—they are Latino, Italian, Greek, Caribe’, whatever—anything but white suburbanites.

If these fat white suburban guys driving SUVs buy season tickets to professional soccer, I’d be greatly surprised—and if they do show up, they’ll find a league composed almost entirely of foreign players, for the most part, with a few Americans sprinkled in for show.

Not to mention a stadium full of ethnic segments waving various flags of different countries for their favorite players from those countries, whether it’s Brazil, Germany, Greece, Holland or wherever.

It won’t be the U.S. Flag, I know that.

The Beckham experiment in LA is pretty much par for the course, except that it proved that MLS soccer is so far below the standards of English Premier League, that a guy like Beckham isn’t worth having on your team—it’s like playing Alex Rodriguez in sandlot ball. He doesn’t really help you because people just pitch around him, since all your other players are awful.

Let’s get to the awful LATIN. The logo for the new team is as follows:

PHILADELPHIA UNION
(Picture of Snake)
Jungite aut Perite

see also, the team’s new website,

http://www.philadelphiaunion.com/

which also displays the mistaken latin phrase “Jungite et Perite.”

The organizers assured the press conference that the snake and the latin phrase “Jungite aut Perite” were taken directly from the Newspapers of Benjamin Franklin, and that the phrase means “Join or Die,” and the snake represents the Join or Die emblem employed during the times of the American Revolution.

Ok, except for one huge problem. As Henry Beard, author of “Latin for Even More Occasions” (Villard Books, NY, 1991), states at p. 111 of his very humorous book,

“CONSONANTS….”

“J, W AND Y don’t exist in Latin.”

Beard, Id. at p. 111.

There is no letter “J” in the Latin language.

I believe what the Sons of Ben meant to say was the following:

“IUNGITE AUT PERITE.”

Latin for All Occasions by Henry Beard

Latin for All Occasions by Henry Beard

As is well known to those of us who have either studied the arcana of the Latin language for several years (I won the Latin Prize at Haverford School) (twice, actually) (now I’m just showing off) (thanks to Steve Dall, by the way, a great Latin teacher), or have gone to Catholic School and been forced to take Latin,

THERE IS NO J W OR Y in the Latin alphabet.

The letter J is approximated by the vowel combination “IU” as in “Iuno,” “Iuvenal,” and so forth.

Thus, there actually was no “Julius Caesar.” His name was “Caius Iulius Caii filius Caii nepos Caesar Imperator” (see wikipedia article on “Julius Caesar”) meaning “Gaius Julius Caesar, son of Gaius, grandson of Gaius, Imperator”. See? No “J”.

Gaius Iuilius Caesar

Gaius Iuilius Caesar

Thus, in Latin, there would be no “Dr. J”, only a Dr. “Iulius”

And you couldn’t jam the ball, you could only “iuam” the ball.

anyway, I think you get the fundamental point–there is no “j” in latin, either in the alphabet or in the everyday usage of the language. All of the “J”s you see in modern day latin (as when you see “Julius Caesar”) are added as approximations to the ancient lation usage of “Iu” for “J” which is the proper latin.

Now let’s see if the “Sons of Ben” (none of whom claim any actual lineage from Ben Franklin) actually know their Latin:

Iungite, “Join!”, is the plural imperative form of iungo, with principal parts iungere, iunxi, iunctum, “I join” (from which we get many english cognate words such as “conjunction” or “injunction”). The imperatives are “iunge”, join!, singular, addressed to one person, and “iungite”, join!, addressed to two or more persons. (See J. Wohlberb, 201 Latin Verbs, Barrons, NY, 1964, at pp. 94 & 63, the verbs “iungo” and “eo”) (see infra).

See? No “J” in “Iungite”. “Jungite” is just plain WRONG. The proper word is “IUNGITE”. That would be RIGHT.

Are these guys morons or what? Maybe they should try speaking latin in a Latin American soccer league! (I shudder to think what their spanish or italian is like).

Clearly, no matter how much money the Sons of Ben spent on their advertising, logo and presentation budget, it wasn’t enough.

I, along with numerous others like Victor Davis Hanson, have been lamenting the deconstruction and utter loss of the classics, e.g. the loss of the required learning of Latin and Greek for many years now; here is a pertinent example of WHY everyone should known Latin and Greek.

End of Sparta by Victor Davis Hanson

End of Sparta by Victor Davis Hanson

It is completely embarrassing that a major sports team should hold a press conference, insert a logo on their press team that draws from the Latin language, and then GET IT WRONG, when simple fact checking with a high school latin teacher could have straightened them out.

Here was an opportunity to show lots of schoolchildren that latin still matters–but the growups get it wrong. how embarassing.

On the rest of the slogan, they’re ok—aut means “or,” and “perite” is the plural imperative of “per-eo”—I kill—the root verb being “eo, ire, ii or ivi, itum,” with imperatives “I and ite” singular and plural—you just add per- in front of those to get “per-ite.” (201 Latin Verbs, id., cited supra, p. 63).

I guess I conclude here with a translation of the title of this piece, which was supplied by Mr. Beard—”avaritia bona est” can roughly be translated as “greed is good.” (The slogan from “Wall Street”, 1980s, Charlie Sheen, Michael Douglas). (see Beard, id. at p. 14).

Here some other great latin sayings from Beard (id. at p. 24):

Tu, rattus turpis! –
You dirty rat! (Jimmy Cagney)

Ei fer condicionem quam non potest repudiare –
Make him an offer he can’t refuse – Vito Corleone, the Godfather (Marlon Brando)

Age. Fac ut gaudeam. –
Go ahead. Make my day. Dirty Harry (Clint Eastwood).

Fuit mulier quae me potare egit. Nunquam steti gradum ad ei gratias agendas. –
It was a woman who drove me to drink. I never stopped to thank her. (W.C. Fields).

Fasciculum nicotianum fumificum meum quoque amo, sed aliquando eum de ore extraho. –
I like my cigar too, but I take it out of my mouth once in a while. (Groucho Marx).

See you all in remedial Latin class!

Art Kyriazis, philly/south jersey
Home of the World Champion Philadelphia Phillies

The Sixers announced this week that Tony DiLeo will not return to coach the Seventy-Sixers next season. Let’s examine that for a moment. With the firings of Jim O’Brien, Maurice Cheeks, and now Tony DiLeo, the Sixers have now fired three coaches in the last five years who have taken the Sixers to a playoff spot, and a decent showing in the playoffs.

This past season, DiLeo inherited a losing record and a completely injured Elton Brand from his predecessor Maurice Cheeks, along with instructions to start and play Brand, even though Brand was completely hurt and ineffective.

After a month of losing games with Brand, Brand finally went on the disabled list and the Sixers went on a tear, finishing the season 32-27 overall under DiLeo.

It’s true they slumped at the end of the season, but they won two games in the playoffs against Orlando, and more importantly, Andre Iguodala established playoff highs in PPG at 21.5 and looked dominant for the first time EVER in a playoff series.

Also the team lacked any kind of three point game, general manager Ed Stefanski having traded away lock and load three point shooter Kyle Korver to Utah for nothing, and also lacked any tall defensive guards who could shoot and score, the prior GM having traded away John Salmons in the foolish Chris Webber trade (Webber was also injured and never played effectively).

Salmons only scored 35 points in Chicago’s key triple overtime playoff win over Boston, the most exciting game of the playoffs.

You think Salmons and Korver might have helped this year’s Sixers’ roster?

The Sixers, as a sidenote, seem obsessed with a big man, in a league and with league rules, that no longer value big men.

They traded away Alan Iverson, the best small man in the league, and instead have wasted valuable resources and money and players pursuing big men like Chris Webber, Elton Brand, to name but a few, in the mistaken believe that big men win in the NBA.

The fact is, if they currently had Allen Iverson, Kyle Korver and John Salmons to go with Andre Miller and Andre Iguodala, this would not only be a winning squad, it would be in the top tier of the NBA’s eastern division, and better than any other team other than Cleveland, assuming Garnett was injured for Boston.

Note that Garnett, by himself, won nothing in Minnesota–he had to be paired up with Pierce and Allen, fast, swift small men who could shoot and play the running game and shoot the three, before Garnett could win in the current NBA.

Look again at Boston—they’re playing with Ray Allen, a player similar to Iverson, and Paul Pierce, a player similar to Iguodala.

Obviously that’s a good combo. Pierce-Allen or Pierce-Allen-Garnett is a lot like Iguodala-Iverson or Iguodala-Iverson-Brand.

If we added Salmons and Korver to that mix, we’d have an ideal team—and Chicago picked up Salmons for a song in midseason.

My point is, it’s not bad luck or bad coaching dogging the sixers, its their bad management of talent.

Many other ex-sixers torch the league, and the sixers every night—I need not remind you of Larry Hughes, or the long career of Jerry Stackhouse, and so on and so forth. Tim Thomas, Keith Van Horn, Clarence Weatherspoon, Shawn Bradley, Larry Hughes, Kyle Korver, John Salmons, Jerry Stackhouse are all examples of players the Sixers drafted, or kept around for 2-4 years, and then let go once their salaries got bigger–and those players went on to very productive NBA careers.

Don’t fool yourselves–salary is driving force for the Sixers in getting rid of some of this talent. John Salmons was making about $750,000 as a third year player–he’s now making several millions as an experienced guard. Kyle Korver, the same. Larry Hughes commands much more on the open market these days. Bradley evolved into a very fine defensive center and was making as much as 8 million dollars a year during his peak years with the Mavs, compared to his rookie deal of 2.5 million and 3.5 million with the Sixers.

Jerry Stackhouse was making between seven and nine million dollars a year at his peak with the Pistons and Mavs–compare that to the one to two million dollars a year the Sixers paid him.

The point is, the Sixers have always had the TALENT, but never have been willing to pony up the MONEY to keep the TALENT HERE.

They make a lot of excuses, but in the end, they keep wasting money on useless immobile or injured big men like Elton Brand, Chris Webber and so on.

The sixers have a chance to get Iverson back this offseason, and the sixers should jump at it, because Iverson is a good fit if Andre Miller is the point guard.

Clearly, the guards other than Miller are a lot less efficient than Iverson and are much more streaky shooters than Iverson—Iverson is steady, can play 40 minutes a night, and can shoot the three.

With Iverson in the 2 guard, the remaining guards can play off the bench, in limited minutes, and they can actually go against bench players and guys like Lou Williams will actually play better against other bench players.

Let’s get back to coaches.

The Sixers fired Jimmy O’Brien after O’Brien went 43-39 and made the playoffs in 2004-05. Why? He won, he made the playoffs, and Iverson had a good year. That made no sense, no sense at all.

Then came Maurice Cheeks. The Sixers fired Cheeks after what was Cheeks’ arguably best year as Sixers coach—last year, 2007-08, Cheeks coached the Sixers to a 40-42 record (the same overall record as they had this year), the sixth seed, Cheeks did it without Iverson, got plenty out of Andre Miller and Andre Iguodala, did very well the second half, got the sixth seed, and won two games against Detroit, which got to the finals of the NBA East before submitting to Boston.

Cheeks was fired even though Elton Brand was forced on him, Brand was injured, and it was obvious to everyone that Brand didn’t fit with the other players on the team. And, as soon as Brand was off the court, the team started winning. It didn’t have much to do with Tony DiLeo, did it?

In fact, whey don’t they just bring back Maurice Cheeks? He can win with this squad, he’s proven he can.

What did Cheeks, O’Brien or DiLeo do wrong? They won, they got to the playoffs, and they even won in the playoffs.

Also, I would argue, all three played an uptempo, exciting brand of basketball that was worth watching—O’Brien stressed shooting the three, early and often, while Cheeks and DiLeo stressed defense and the running game and scoring off fast breaks.

Even though Cheeks and DiLeo lacked Iverson, the NBA’s most exciting player, they STILL won and got to the playoffs without Iverson, which is actually quite an accomplishment.

I don’t understand the revolving door on the Sixer’s coaching situation.

They had Larry Brown here for five years, and every year was exciting, and there was stability. I don’t think a Doug Collins, who is superannuated, or a retread like Eddie Jordan, is the answer here.

What is needed first and foremost is a commitment from the OWNER and the GM to get players, small players, who can play the running game, and second, a coach who can coach shooting the three ball, running the running game, and playing in the European style that has taken over the NBA game the last five years.

San Antonio and Tim Duncan aren’t winning like they used to because of the changes in the league and the rules.

The Sixers badly need to get a Two Guard, such as Allen Iverson, and a Three Shooter, such as Kyle Korver or Rasheed Wallace. Wallace would be good because he can rebound and play defense as well as shoot the three, and he’s from Philly.

Iverson would also probably want to come back to Philly.

With the existing nucleus, those two players would be good additions.

Getting back Korver and Salmons, along with obtaining Iverson and Wallace, would be ideal.

Then the Sixers could let go some of the less talented guards they’re holding onto and keep just one or two reserve guards, and play Korver, Salmons, Miller, Iverson and maybe one or two other guards as a rotation.

At power forward and center, assuming Brand ever comes back, you’d have Wallace, possibly Korver as swing man, Iguodala, Dalembert, Speights, Young and others. That’s a good front line, offensively and defensively.

Also, at that point, you could trade Brand for something you really needed. Like Josh Smith or Jim Bibby or John Salmons.

Now you have a team—then get a coach. Once you have a good team, finding a coach will be the easy part, and that team will win, by the way, it will win fifty games going away.

–Art Kyriazis, Philly/South Jersey
Home of the World Champion Philadelphia Phillies

Well, the Phils are winning so far this season, and they are scoring more runs than they’ve allowed, and by quite a bit, and they are close to the division lead, after a bit of a slow start, but their Staff ERA is close to six, 5.72, and their best two pitchers of last year, Brad Lidge, and Cole Hamels, are both nursing injuries.

Cole Hamels, their staff ace, at last, is back, pitching no-hitter stuff recently against the Braves through four innings, and allowing only two runs on a weakly hit seeing eye single to right with two out and two on, and having another fine outing against the Dodgers.

I wrote here recently that I thought Lidge and Hamels should have the month off, or at least shouldn’t be overused in April, but Charlie Manuel insisted on using both early and often, and both had injuries that effectively gave them April off.

Now both are better, though Lidge still doesn’t seem right yet.

It might be the time to inject JA Happ into the starting rotation from time to time and occasionally play around with Blanton and Park depending on whether the team is facing a right-handed or left-handed team in the rotation, keep Lidge on the DL, use Madsen to close, use some other bullpen guys in setup roles to see what they have (better now than never) and bring up a couple of studs from the farm and see what they have.

Your team is averaging like seven runs a game. I think the kids will figure out a way to pitch well enough to win.

I suppose this is as good a time as any to point out that Raul Ibanez has made everyone forget Pat Burrell faster than anyone though humanly possible.

This again demonstrates the illusion of home parks. Ibanez has been hitting 20-30 homers a year in Seattle, a pitchers’ park. Coming to Citizens Bank Park, a hitter’s park it would be expected that his homer run rate would increase about 30% at home, and doggone it if he doesn’t have seven homers in April, which works out to a 42 homer pace for the year.

That’s about what I would have predicted. It also goes to show how much Pat Burrell’s statistics were padded by the park—I’m certain he won’t have the same numbers in Tampa Bay he had here, though he will walk a lot.

Also, Ibanez is a better HITTER than Burrell, in the sense that he hits for a far higher average and hits more doubles, singles and triples—he’s a latin American player and a contact hitter as opposed to Burrell, who waits deep on counts and misses the ball a whopping lot and fails to put it into play.

The two players could not be more different in their styles. Ibanez will not walk as much, but he’s off to a .340 hitting pace, and even if he hits his usual .290, his OBA will be as high as Burrell’s; if he hits 40 homers, 40 doubles and a mess of singles, his slugging average may be very high indeed. His new nickname, “Raul I-BOMB-NEZ” says it all.

Utley is off to his usual great start; Victory-no (yes) is doing very well; Howard is pounding the ball; Pedro Feliz is hitting and playing great third base; and Jayson Werth thinks he’s Albert Pujols. Even the bench players are hitting. J Ro is finally catching the flame.

Jayson Werth stealing 2d, 3d and home the other day was amazing.

The other interesting thing about the Phillies, is that even the national press and commentators are starting to talk about the Phillies “character,” and to compare the Mets unfavorably to the Phillies–in that the Mets don’t have “character,” that the Mets make mental mistakes, the Mets can’t come back late in ballgames, the Mets throw in the towel, the Mets make a lot of unprofessional errors, and so forth.

I find this interesting. I’ve thought for a long time the Mets had a lot of overpaid veterans who didn’t care about winning or losing, but no one was willing to say for the longest time that the emperor had no clothes; now suddenly, everyone is seeing the fact that the Phillies are winning with youth and enthusiasm and hustle, and not with established talent (although Howard Utley and Hamels are certainly talented) but that the Phillies also exemplify a certain STYLE of play–as in Werth stealing home–that the Mets just don’t have.

The Phillies are fun to watch because of this, win or lose, they’re never out of a ballgame. They never give up even down to the last out.

On the plus side as to pitching, Jamie Moyer is getting some good games in finally, Joe Blanton has been uneven but has pitched some good ball, Myers is finding his stride, and the bullpen continues to be very good except for occasional lapses (such as when it was 95 degrees the other night, no one was going to keep the ball in the park that night). Even Chan Ho Park has done better.

A note here: Chris Coste did not do a good job handling the pitching staff in April. It’s obvious the pitchers like Carlos Ruiz behind the plate much better. Also, Coste can’t hit anymore.

It’s time to look for a better backup catcher, one with both defensive and offensive skills, but if one had to choose, at least a backup catcher who can call a game.

The Chris Coste story was nice for a couple of seasons, but the fact is that Coste’s limitations contributed in part to the staff’s high ERA in April. It’s obvious that blanton, park and even hamels like ruiz back there, and are not comfortable with coste calling the game.

Right now, the phils are winning on hitting and scoring runs. Their pattern looks more like 2007 than 2008, but they won a division title slugging their way to the top that year.

So they can win a title this way. To win another world championship will require some pitching. It may be that they need to rest Hamels and Lidge, and maybe look for another starter at the trade deadline.

Art Kyriazis
Philly/South Jersey
Home of the world champion Philadelphia Phillies

So I guess we know now why Manny Ramirez was so irritated all the time at his teammates, why he was having anger management problems, why he wanted to leave Boston despite winning two world titles, and why he was depressed, moody and suicidally despondent at times despite being the best ballplayer in the AL at times—it was all because of the steroids.

And why he grew the longest dreadlocks this side of Jamaica-mon.

LA made him no happier and now we know why. There’s nothing really to say, except that when a right handed slugger defies statistical norms, fails to decline in age-related fashion the way every other player has for decades, and fails to regress to the mean the way every other player does, it’s either because a) he has the talent of a hank aaron or babe ruth, b) the laws of statistics and probability have failed us or c) he’s taking steroids to beat the odds.

In the cases of Roger Clemens, Alex Rodriquez and now Manny Ramirez, we know the answer to the statistical riddle of how it is they could do what no other ballplayers could do. The answer is, they took performance enhancing drugs. They cheated, and they cheated badly. They wanted to beat the house odds and beat father time.

I still think the pitchers who threw spitballs and scuffballs and vaseline balls should be treated the same; it’s the same sort of deal. But as all of this gets worse and worse, we are left with fewer and fewer heroes. Even Ty Cobb and Tris Speaker gambled on baseball, but somehow they were set free.

And a voice in the distance, ever so faint, cries out more loudly;

FREE PETE ROSE!
FREE PETE ROSE!
FREE PETE ROSE!
FREE PETE ROSE!
FREE PETE ROSE!
FREE PETE ROSE!
FREE PETE ROSE!
FREE PETE ROSE!

And what the heck, Shoeless Joe and the Black Sox as well…

Art Kyriazis
Philly/South Jersey
Home of the Philadelphia Phillies

Detroit was embarrassingly bad against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, by far the worst performance of any playoff team.

Not only that, but the games were boring.

There was one player who might have at least made the games entertaining, and here I refer to ALLEN IVERSON who for some odd reason was sitting down by order of Detroit management.

AI has the second highest career playoff scoring average in NBA history—second only to Michael Jordan—and YOU SIT HIM DOWN FOR THE PLAYOFFS?

I should think that AI would have been a bit revved up to play LeBron James, only the best player in the league.

Even if Detroit went down in flames, I think we could have seen AI go off for 40 points in at least one of those playoff games.

He’s Allen Iverson, that’s what he does.

I’m not totally sure what narcotics or drugs Detroit is on, but sitting down your best scorer against the NBA’s best team in the playoffs is crazy.

I might note, Detroit had trouble scoring even 80 points most every game in the series—they had point totals like 78, 79, and so forth. Again, an Allen Iverson would have helped that tremendously.

Over and over, even hurt, Allen Iverson has always shown up for the playoffs and played big.

Commissioner David Stern should have stepped in here and required Detroit to produced Allen Iverson for the playoffs.

It’s embarrassing for the league and for the fans that we were denied the opportunity to see an Allen Iverson-LeBron James playoff series.

This is an insult to our intelligence and to us as fans.

No other matchup in the playoffs would have been as interesting or intriguing, except possibly watching Kobe Bryant against LeBron James in the finals.

Whenever AI went against LeBron James this winter in the regular season, he had an extraordinary game on a nationally televised Sunday afternoon game, he scored 30 or 40 points, I can’t recall how many.

But it’s easy enough to look up the game logs from the regular season:

November 19, 2008: Detroit 96, Cleveland 89. Iverson leading scorer for Detroit with 23 points, followed by Rasheed Wallace with 21 points. LeBron James and Mo Williams each with 25 points. Detroit outscores Cleveland 30-21 in the 4th quarter.

February 1, 2009: Cleveland 90, Detroit 80. Iverson leading scorer for Detroit with 22 points, followed by Rick Hamilton with 16 points. LeBron James goes off for 33 points in this game, Mo Williams scores 22. Detroit is winning after three quarters, but Cleveland takes Detroit down in the 4th quarter 32-14, coming from eight back to win by ten at the end. This was actually a great game where Iverson and James were dueling, and James just came up huge in the 4th quarter. This is what the playoffs might have been like between them.

February 22, 2009: Cleveland 99, Detroit 78. Iverson leading scorer for Detroit with 14 points, followed by Walter Hermann. It’s pretty clear AI is injured in this game. He only played about 26 minutes. Surprisingly, Delonte West (of St. Joe’s Philly fame) led Cleveland with 25 points, followed by LeBron James with 25. This game was a blowout. Cleveland broke out 31-17 in the first quarter and never looked back.

March 31, 2009: Cleveland 79, Detroit 73. Rick Hamilton leads Detroit with 13 points, playing almost 35 minutes, Iverson scores 11 points playing about 18 minutes. This is a weird game due to the low score. LeBron scores 25 for Cleveland, but no one else on the Cavs gets more than a dozen. A close game, but the Cavs win. Here, again, Iverson is hurt, plays limited minutes, but contributes offensively and keeps Detroit in the game.

SUMMARY: In four regular season games, Detroit won once, had two close games, and was only blown out once. Iverson was their leading scorer in three of those games, and was their second leading scorer in the fourth game, and in every game except perhaps the blowout game, made a huge impact on the game. It’s fair to infer, from the box scores, that if you took Iverson away from the Detroit Pistons, in a direct Cleveland-Detroit Playoff matchup, that Detroit would probably get blown out.

Actual results:

Game 1 April 18 Detroit Pistons 84 Cleveland Cavaliers 102
Game 2 April 21 Detroit Pistons 82 Cleveland Cavaliers 94
Game 3 April 24 Cleveland Cavaliers 79 Detroit Pistons 68
Game 4 April 26 Cleveland Cavaliers 99 Detroit Pistons 78

As you can see, Detroit not only lost four in a row, but they scored 84, 82, 68 and 78 points in those games, which is an average offensive output of only 78 points a game. That’s pretty horrible, especially when you’re giving up 102, 94, 79 and 99 points to the opposition.

Even though Detroit would have lost with AI, the playoffs would have been the LeBron-AI show instead of a pathetic rollover. Detroit should be ashamed of themselves.

Art Kyriazis
Philly/South Jersey
Home of the Philadelphia Phillies

Well, no matter that Boston won in 7 incredible games, this has turned into a pleasant surprise, and a rivalry at that.

I remember well the old Michael Jordan-Larry Bird Chicago-Boston series of the 1980s, which were insane, with Jordan scoring infinity points, but Boston having a better team and winning anyway, and these games have been a lot like that.

Without Garnett, Boston has come down to earth, and Chicago has great young players, especially DERRICK ROSE the SUPER ROOKIE who’s really come to play. He only dropped 36 on Boston his first playoff game—Iverson-like intensity in the playoff cauldron. Watching Rose square off against Paul Pierce and Ray Allen was really something.

Chicago has at least six championship banners from the Jordan years, and a lot of titles, and Boston has at least thirteen from the Russell year, another five from the Bird years, and one from last year, so between them these two franchises have about half of the all the NBA championships of the last fifty years. It’s a lot of history and pride on the line.

I know Philly-Boston used to be something, and Boston-LA is always something, but Chicago-Boston is surely something too, and this year’s playoff series between the two was SOMETHING.

Chicago was assisted by at least three ex-Sixers this year—Larry Hughes, Tim Thomas and John Salmons—for different portions of the year. Hughes helped Chicago in the first half of the season, before he was moved to the NY Knicks, while Salmons was a late season acquisition from the Sacramento Kings. Thomas was over the hill, but helped them all year, including during the playoffs.

Everyone will remember the awful trade of Salmons, Kenny Thomas and Corliss Williamson a couple of years back for an over the hill, injured and not so productive Chris Webber—well, to be fair, in 2005-06, Webber’s only full season with the Sixers, he did average 20 ppg, balancing scoring duties with Iverson, and the Sixers won 38 games—and missed the last playoff spot in the east by 2 games. Such is the difference between success and failure in the NBA. Everyone thought that pairing would last forever.

That is until the two of them missed fan appreciation day the next to last day of the season. All the old fat white guys on sports radio suddenly went nuts and demanded they both be traded. Are you kidding me?

By the very next season, Webber played only 18 games, Iverson was back to scoring 30 plus ppg, but the Sixers panicked and traded Iverson after only 15 games, regressed to 35 wins, again missing the playoffs by five wins. Webber’s contract was bought out and I’m not even sure he ever played again.

In the meantime, John Salmons by this past season had developed into a very fine player with Sacramento—at 6 foot seven he was a good defensive player, and he finally had learned the offensive game, pouring in twenty points a game for the lowly Kings.

Chicago, in need of a scoring guard, took notice and picked Salmons up for a song during midseason (where was Eddie Stefanski during all this?) and Salmons helped drive Chicago into the playoffs and the final seed during a late season run.

Watching a guy like Salmons who played his high school ball at Plymouth-Whitemarsh, and who spent his first four years in a Sixers uniform, help drive the Chicago Bulls to a playoff spot, was kind of annoying to me this year. It only got worse during the legendary Game Six of this years Chicago-Boston series, the triple-overtime game in which Salmons dropped 35 points on the Celtics. Now that was showing off.

Does anyone doubt that Salmons could have been helpful at the two guard position this year for the Sixers? I think the case is closed on that one. Salmons is tall, he plays good defense and he can score.

This past year Salmons earned 5.7 win shares, one of those defensive, and averaged close to 19 ppg. His field goal average was .473, very efficient, and his three point average was .415, also excellent, and he averaged 2 assists and only 1.7 turnovers a game. That goes along with 4.3 rebounds a game. Throw in a steal a game and a block a game, and you’ve got a really good player who can do a lot of good things. It’s true Salmons is now thirty years old, but so what? He might be a late bloomer, but if he’s learned to play the game, he’s learned to play the game. And he can play.

Ray Allen is what, a hundred? He was playing for Milwaukee back when the amphibians and the reptiles first walked on dry land. He’s so old that some of the cave paintings in France are attributed to him. I’m not saying Ray Allen is old, but he has grandchildren playing ball in college right now. It’s not that Ray Allen is old, but he’s the only NBA player I know who get’s Social Security checks delivered next to his NBA paychecks.

Seriously, though, Ray Allen is the ageless wonder, a beautiful player who can still play the game beautifully, and for those who think Allen Iverson is washed up or too old, I offer as exhibit one, Ray Allen. Small shooting guards who are pure shooters can play a long time in the NBA—I think here of the wondrous Hal Greer of the Sixers—a Hall of Famer—who played of course with Wilt on the 1967 team that won 68 teams and dethroned the Celtics for the title—and we should be mindful of this fact.

In short, Boston-Chicago was a wonderful, marvelous series, a beautiful thing to witness, pure basketball at its best, overtime game upon overtime game, each with its own storyline. Neither time yielded or gave quarter. It’s nice to see pro athletes play that hard and that long and give effort on that scale. Again, it’s reminiscent of the days of Jordan and Bird and when they first met in the late 1980s—those playoff series were wars between Chicago and Boston. This latest series was no less.

–art kyriazis, philly/south jersey
home of the world champion philadelphia phillies

The World’s Shortest Books:

THINGS I LOVE ABOUT MY COUNTRY
by Oscar Winer Jane Fonda & Cindy Sheehan .
Illustrated by Michael Moore
________________________________________

MY CHRISTIAN ACCOMPLISHMENTS &
HOW I HELPED AFTER KATRINA
by the Revs Jesse Jackson & Al Sharpton
_______________________________________

THINGS I LOVE ABOUT BILL
by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
________________________________

Sequel:
THINGS I LOVE ABOUT HILLARY
By former President Bill Clinton
___________________________________

MY LITTLE BOOK OF PERSONAL HYGIENE
by Osama Bin Laden
___________________________________

THINGS I CANNOT AFFORD
by Microsoft Chair Emeritus Bill Gates
____________________________________

THINGS I WOULD NOT DO FOR MONEY
by NBA Rebound Champion Dennis Rodman
_________________________________

THINGS I KNOW TO BE TRUE
by Nobel Prize Winner Al Gore & Sen. John Kerry
_______________________________________

AMELIA EARHART’S GUIDE TO THE PACIFIC
___________________________________

A COLLECTION of
MOTIVATIONAL SPEECHES: REASONS TO LOVE LIFE.
by Suicide Doctor Jack Kevorkian
__________________________________

TO ALL THE MEN I HAVE LOVED BEFORE
by Ellen de Generes & Rosie O’Donnell
____________________________________

GUIDE TO DATING ETIQUETTE
by former heavyweight champ Mike Tyson
__________________________________

THE AMISH PHONE DIRECTORY
_______________________________________

MY PLAN TO FIND THE REAL KILLERS
by Former Heisman Winner O.J. Simpson
_________________________________________

HOW TO DRINK & DRIVE OVER BRIDGES
by Senator Ted Kennedy
___________________________________

MY BOOK OF MORALS
by former President Bill Clinton
with introduction by The Rev. Jesse Jackson
*******************************************************

AND, JUST ADDED:
Complete Knowledge of Military Strategy!
By House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi

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(310) 456-7373
(310) 317-7261 (fax)

MARK LEONARDO IS NOT JUST ONE OF THE BEST ATTORNEYS IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA–HE’S ALSO A GREAT PIANO PLAYER, A WONDERFUL FATHER, AND HE’S PERSONAL FRIENDS WITH FELLOW DETROIT NATIVE KID ROCK!!!! (WELL, HE USED TO BE UNTIL THE KID SPLIT UP WITH PAM ANDERSON). MARK IS ONE RIGHT ON DUDE!!! CALL HIM FOR ALL YOUR LEGAL PROBLEMS IN CALI!!!! AND, SINCE HIS OFFICE IS IN MALIBU, YOU CAN GO SURFING AT MALIBU POINT AFTER YOUR BUSINESS MEETING OR JUST HIT THE BEACH AT ZUMA…..

–art kyriazis philly/south jersey
home of the non-steroid using world champion philadelphia phillies

The Phillies have followed an unconventional path in April and early May to get towards first place in the NL East.

Instead of good starting pitching, they have been using the long ball, particularly grand slams, to overwhelm their opposition. To date they have scored 135 runs while allowing 125, while banging out 33 home runs, which puts them on a pace to score more than 800 runs this season while hitting about 200 homers. Those are monster offensive numbers, folks.

Last night’s 6-1 win over the Cardinals, however, was a substantial advance forward in the paradigm, since 1) the Phils blasted Cards (and ex-Phils) pitcher Kyle Lohse, who is a pretty fair starter with a grand slam by Ryan Howard (who has I believe three of those this year) and 2) Joe Blanton pitched an excellent game.

With Blanton, Moyer and Myers coming around, and the Phillies scoring the way they are, and the bullpen continuing to be the premier bullpen in the National League, the Phillies will continue to dominate until they reach the top.

Even the New York Times recently noted that the Phillies are the premier come from behind team in the national league. The Mets, by contrast, once they fall behind, cannot come back from even two or three run deficits.

One of the reasons whispered for this is that the Mets are contented veterans who don’t play hard, while the Phillies are character guys who play hard every game, every inning and want to win. They never give up.

You have to love that about the Phils.

–art kyriazis, philly/south jersey
home of the world champion phillies