Thursday, March 31, 2005

NBA Salaries

USA Today has released it's annual database of all salaries. It's unbelievable if you take a close look! The Spurs total payroll is $ 47 million, the Pistons $ 49 million, the Phoenix Suns' $ 35 million. The New York Knicks' $ 96 million, Mavericks $ 87 million, TrailBlazers $ 80 million, Timberwolves $ 70 millions. Now compare their success (= championships, wins) to that of the aforementioned! BANG FOR BUCK, that's all I'm saying. The Warriors' is $ 50 million and they haven't made the playoffs in a decade. Orlando Magic $ 68 millions and so on. You wonder if you can run a NBA franchise nowadays without any business degree.

But it even get's better with individual salaries: Amare Stoudemire (PHO) makes 2 millions a year. Steve Nash 6 millions, Manu Ginobili too. Tony Parker (SAS) 1.5 millions. Rasheed Wallace is the best paid player on the reigning World Champions Detroit Pistons with 9 millions. On the other side: Allan Henderson (DAL) makes 8.7 millions (who in the fucking world gave him that contract?) Van Horn 14 millions. Brian Grant (LAL) 13 millions. Penny Hardaway (NYK) 14 millions. Antonio Davis (CHI) 12 millions. Eddie Jones (MIA) 13 millions. Somethings seriously wrong in this league.

I could play with this forever:

USA Today's NBA Salary Database

Steroids in the NFL

Oh oh! Seems like the NFL will get their own little Steroids scandal. The first rumors about alleged drug-use by three players of the Caroline Panthers came up a week ago, now prosecuters seem to have more evidence:

Carolina Panthers Todd Sauerbrun and Jeff Mitchell and former player Todd
Steussie had steroid prescriptions filled by a West Columbia, S.C., doctor now under investigation by federal authorities, according to "60 Minutes Wednesday'' report.

This is of course bad timing for these three cats, since the public and lawmakers are very concious concerning illegal use of steroids in the wake of the massive MLB scandal. I expect the NFL to react very stern on this issue, they have already announced to tighten their anti-drug policy towards the Olympic standard.

Interesting is the reaction of Punter Todd Sauberbrunn who got contacted by CBS:

The network said that when it contacted Sauerbrun by phone, and asked him about Shortt, the punter said, "I like the guy very much.'' Ten minutes later, CBS said, Sauerbrun called back to say he had been confused and that he did not know Shortt.

Yeah right!

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

MLS season kicks off April 2nd

"There's a funky new look to the Major League Soccer standings this year, at least to the sport's uninitiated. FC Dallas? Chivas USA? Real Salt Lake? What's that all about? Is there a Fake Salt Lake somewhere? But, to soccer fans, it's a warm familiar look -- another sign the adolescent league has stopped trying to Americanize the beautiful game and is more determined than ever to march in step with the rest of the world as it begins its 10th season Saturday.
"It's part of the strategy,'' MLS commissioner Don Garber said. "These are soccer teams. And if they're trying to look like the type of club the soccer fan is used to seeing, then more than likely those teams aren't called 'the Clash.' That could be the name of a lacrosse team. That could be the name of a rock band -- and was.''
I recommend reading the entire article at Yahoo Sports.

Hm, okay let's break it down: FC Dallas, which stands for Football Club makes perfectly sense to me. Chivas is apparently the nickname of a Mexican team and the clubs new full name is Club Deportivo Chivas USA and is located in Los Angeles. There are some clubs called Deportivo in Spain and Mexico. If the owner wants to attract Mexican American audiences with this name that's fine. I still don't get why they have to include "USA" in the name and fail to mention the location of the team, but whatever suits you is fine. Real Salt Lake? "Real" is used in the Spanish league and is assigned to the "Royal" clubs only, like famous Real Madrid. I really think it's a far stretch for a franchise that just started in Salt Lake City and has achieved nothing so far. Oh by the way, how many Latinos live in Utah?

In other news:

"A split screen of game action and commercials will be part of Major League Soccer's television coverage this season by ABC Sports and ESPN2. The split screens will be used during the telecasts twice during each half and in 30-second intervals."

Okay, didn't the commissioner just talk about stopping to Americanise soccer and make it more attractive towards the purist fans? This is corporate America at it's best! If they would run ads during a game in Europe the fans would start a riot and politicans would intervene and stop this mess.
But hey, at least ABC and ESPN will broadcast the games.....

Quitter of the Year

So, one of the U.S. greatest hopes for an international soccer star, Landon Donovan has quit again and decided to leave German side Bayer Leverkusen to return to the MLS' L.A. Galaxy.

Picture courtesy of John Walton/Empics

He quit after a brief three month stint in which he barely played. He arrived there with high-flying expectations but found himself on the bench for most of the time and got homesick. Now he's returning to the U.S. league where he has won three consecutive MVP-awards. Great for him, but those U.S. MVP's are worthless in Europe. If you want to make your mark in international soccer, you have to play in Europe, where the competition is on the highest level worldwide. It won't help the U.S. national team either if their best players don't get to measure their skills on a day-to-day basis with the worlds best players. You have to face the reality that the competition level in the MLS is comparable to 2nd European divisions at best. What a loser....

Jen Chang of ESPN's nails it perfectly in a must-read.

Mark Cuban vs. Music Industry

Billionaire Marc Cuban, most known for his ownership of the Dallas Mavericks, has come out and announced that he is financing the EFF legal battle at Grokster vs. MGM:

So , the real reason of this blog. To let everyone know that the EFF and others came to me and asked if I would finance the legal effort against MGM. I said yes. I would provide them the money they need. So now the truth has been told. This isnt the big content companies against the technology companies. This is the big content companies, against me. Mark Cuban and my little content company. Its about our ability to use future innovations to compete vs their ability to use the courts to shut down our ability to compete. its that simple.

Read more here.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Trouble in Laker-Land?

As reported, Lakers guard Chucky Atkins is frustrated with guard Kobe Bryant and his inability to share the ball. "I ain't the GM of this team," Atkins told the LA Times. "Kobe's the GM of this team. Ask Kobe. You've been watching this shit all year. You've been watching it and I've been playing it."

Oh oh! Someone's losing his nerve. It has also been reported that Lamar Odom is annoyed by ballhogging Kobe. But you can tell that something is seriously wrong within the team. I am looking forward to the various postseason-changes for the Lakers. With them you can expect everything ranging from a major shake-up to another coaching change. I'm sure Princess Kobe is going to get his will. But he better make some better decisions as inoffical Lakers-GM that will help them reach the playoffs next year! We'll see how long owner Jerry Buss is willing to play along as Kobe's bitch....


"Wait a minute, NBA-Playoffs? Don't we have to wait for them until the last week of April?" Yes, you're right but I am talking about the Fantasy Basketball Playoffs which in most leagues start today! Oh yes, Fantasy Hoops, the addiction of offices, schoolkids and sportsfans across the nation. Wheter you're playing at SportingNews,, Yahoo or somewhere else, this is the time where it comes down to the best regular teams facing each other in elimination rounds. Now will be decided who owns the bragging rights for the rest of a year and who will hide under a rock until leagues will form again this coming fall...
You just have to love fantasy basketball!

I am active in a head-to-head league at Yahoo which I think offers the best free fantasy games of all kind of sports. We are 20 teams at CCE Surveyors and fortunately the league-owners have been very active throughout the season. Sparked by an MVP-worthy season of my first-round pick Dirk Nowitzki, I was able to clinch the 3rd spot (missed the 2nd spot resulting in a BYE by three games). I will keep you posted about the progress of our playoffs. Guess you are fighting in your own playoffs right now too! Busy weeks with the NCAA's Final Four Tournament just around the corner....

Stupid Ebayers

I've been a Ebay-customer since more than four years now. I have watched it grow to a multi-million dollar business since then. It's safe to say that the vast majority of internet-users uses Ebay or have at least heard of it. Until now they should know how it works and how you can use the system to your advantage by buying items for a good price. But somehow many haven't gotten the memo! It has happened to me so often that stupid people keep bidding on a object many days before the scheduled end of auctioning! Don't they realise that they are only hurting themselves by thriving the price up? And all for the sake of seeing your name as the high-bidder five days before the auction ends? C'mon! Shouldn't we all make a pact "NO BIDDING UNTIL THE FINAL MINUTE"? otherwise you will just throw you money at the seller if you could do otherwise! Please! Someone's gotta spread the word...

Anyway, people have to refrain from the illusion that Ebay is a place where "you can get stuff cheap." That may have been the case in it's infant years but those times are long over. Now professional retailers, known as power-sellers, have taken over and they give you the impression that you will get their merchandise cheaper then at a real store. But compare the prices. Usually they are even with what you have to pay at Best Buy or Radio Shack. Or some will offer their item for a couple of dollars below the market-value but screw you into a enormous shipping fee. I boycott auctions where the shipping is unreasonable! You have to wonder if they will ship it in a golden box with customised rivets. So, just use some common sense and you will have a good shopping time at Ebay!

Friday, March 25, 2005

Temporary friends

In the beginning of the all-time great movie "Fight Club" Ed Nortons character "Jack" speaks about his temporary friendships he acquaints during his many travels by plane. Now this is a movie which really inspired me alot, especially his whole Fuck-You-attitude towards certain people. He takes shit from no one. I believe Fight Club is one of the defining movies of our generation.

Now, I am here to talk about these temporary friends you meet on airplanes in 10.000 feet altitute. I am someone who likes to travel quite alot and usually I am by myself, thereby get seated next to all types of people. Usually you try to ignore them the best way you can and concentrate on getting the most space for your legs in those tight-rowed economy class seats. If someone tries to have a conversation with you, you usually feel invaded and bothered, since those are people you wouldn't talk to on the ground either. On a flight NYC - LA I came across a male model from Sweden with a funny accent. Or this young pretty girl on a flight to Paris. Too bad her Mom was sitting next to her. There's one particular acquaintance I remember: I was on my way from the U.S. to Europe and was seated next to 80-year old lady, Carolyn from Georgia, the typical southern woman. She started to annoy me from the beginning because she kept making request like: "Could you please help me with my bags" or "Have you seen my pillow under the seat?" and so on. I of course had the window seat and when I needed to use the lavatory it took her like 10 minutes to get out of her seat. She was even talking to me when I was trying to watch the onboard-movie (don't remember which one it was) "Great", I thought, "now I'm a attendant in a retirement comunity". So I tried to make myself as invisible as possible during the 8-hour flight by pretending to sleep or listening to the onboard-radio. She wouldn't mind and kept disturbing me with attempts of small-talk. After a while I just gave up and engaged in a conversation with her.

Turns out Carolyn's visiting her daughter in France who's a portrait-painter. She pointed to the special edition of TIME-Magazine of the 60th anniversary of D-Day in Normandie which I was reading. Her first husband died on Omaha-Beach. She said that another friend of her who was a veteran told her, that Spielbergs' "Saving Private Ryan" was pretty damn realistic and gave him back all the memories. She also didn't bother telling me her whole lifestory and inquiring about mine, so we had a nice chat. Shortly before the landing she offered to give me Grishams "A Painted House" which she just finished reading and she signed it. She also included her eMail-address and told me to contact her and that I should visit her in France and stay at the 8-bedroom house her daughter lives in. But I never contacted her, that's my policy with temporary friends...

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Scare of Spurs-Nation

Last Sunday Timmy went down after landing akwardly on Rasheed Wallace's foot in the game against the Detroit Pistons. What a scare! I was sitting in front of the TV holding my hands in front of my face in awe for several minutes. Could hardly breathe! Then ABC's old slime-bag Jim Gray broke the news that he had a Grade II Ankle sprain:

Then word came out that he will miss 2-4 weeks, which is practically the rest of the regular season. Well, the Spurs have already clinched their playoff-spot so it's not that bad, but naturally they will have a hard time fighting for the overall-best record (which will most likely go to Miami) or the best record on the Western Conference (Phoenix Suns). But who cares, he will be back for the playoffs and that's when it matters! The hopes of a entire city lie upon him and everyone's praying for him to recover (in time). But Timmy has proven to have good healing flesh so I am very optimistic.

I'm just freelancing here but in case he's not back my immediate favourite for the NBA World Championship are the Miami Heat with Shaq O'Neal and Dwyane Flash Wade. This kid is just so ill! They'll probably face the Phoenix Suns in the finals, but I would also wish the Dallas Mavericks with my man Dirk Nowitzki the title. But all of this is only hypothetical because Timmy will be back and lead us to our third title in five years. Raise The Game.

Prelude to a come up....

So, I am doing this blog-thing.... some might say: "Well, everybody has a blog nowadays, so innovative of you". So what? I'll probably be talking to myself in here for a while so who would care anyway?

What can you expect from Raise The Game? Everything ranging from ramblings and rants about various topics, interesting links, sports, commentaries on everything that I like to comment about and so on. Just don't expect me to go all mainstrain for the sake of a big readership. You can have that elsewhere. Anyway, by reading my blog you will get to know me and my personal interests, hobbies and views and opinions and might gain some knowledge on various topics. Curios why this is called Raise The Game? Well, this is the standard that I life up to.

Anyway, if you happen to have stumbled accross my blog just leave me a note. Doesn't matter if it's positive or not. And don't forget to check in every week or so.Thanks!