Giants and Jets Should Have Opened Up New Stadium Against Each Other

The New York Jets and the New York Giants both wanted to be the first to play in their new home, Meadowlands Stadium. Unfortunately, their fate was decided for them by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell via a coin flip. The almighty coin decided that the Giants would play the first game in the new stadium on Sunday Sept. 12, and the Jets would play the next night for Monday Night Football. Naturally, this led to some pretty ticked off Jets.

Neither of the team’s owners were present for the “coin flip,” leading Jets owner Woody Johnson to release the following angry statement:

“An NFL coin toss has a few fundamental elements that are missing here, most notably the presence of the teams involved,” Johnson said. “That’s how it’s always done in the league, whether it’s determining the order of the draft or deciding who’s going to kick off the game.”

Call me crazy, but couldn’t this have been worked out in way that would make both teams happy? How about doing a little inter-conference play? It’s not unheard of to make the first game of the season an inter-conference match-up. The Chicago Bears and the Indianapolis Colts played against each other for the first game of the 2008 season. The Cowboys and Patriots did it too in 1971. (I know that is an old reference but I have a point…)

Guess what else? The Bears vs. Colts and the Cowboys vs. Patriots were both played as the first regular season game in a NEW stadium.  It’s just boggles my mind as to why the NFL didn’t even seem to consider that as an option.

Giants, Jets both christen Meadowlands [ESPN]

Ron Washington Used Coke Last Season

A relatively big bombshell in the world of baseball was dropped on Wednesday by SI writer Jon Heyman. Heyman reported that Rangers manager Ron Washington tested positive for cocaine use during the 2009 baseball season. Washington knew he screwed up and even gave the league and his team a heads up prior to the test, alerting them that the test would likely turn up positive. In that respect, Washington took responsibility for his mistake and likely saved his butt by doing so.

While I’m pleased that Washington met the issue head on, it’s still a major concern that a person in his leadership position, one who manages a former major addict like Josh Hamilton no less, snorted coke during the freaking season. Tony LaRussa falling asleep at the wheel while driving (sleeping?) drunk during spring training is bad enough and nothing short of unacceptable. Doing coke is worse, and doing it during the season is even more alarming.

Let’s damn well hope it was a one-time deal for Washington and that he learned you can’t screw around like that, especially when you’re supposed to be setting a strong example for your players. By the way, between the jheri curl, tinted glasses, and old school mustache, was there any question about Washington’s coke use? The dude probably swigs Crown Royal between innings too. Please leave your Josh Hamilton jokes in the comments. I’m sure there are many.

Rangers manager Ron Washington tested positive for cocaine last July [SI]

Herb Pope Gets Two Nut Shots in on Texas Tech’s Darko Cohadarevic

There must be something about balls, groins, and nuts on Tuesday because they seem to be everywhere. First, it was Steve Nash making a video of his balls in everyone’s face. As if that wasn’t enough, Texas Tech’s NIT win over Seton Hall was marred yet assisted by a few low blows from Pirates forward Herb Pope who decided to take a few nut shots at Texas Tech forward Darko Cohadarevic. Check out Pope punching Cohadarevic in the groin not once, but twice, in successive possessions. Here is the Seton Hall/Texas Tech Herb Pope nut shot video:

Here’s the best part, not only did the referees think Darko was faking it, but Cohadarevic said he actually liked it, “He just took a swing,” Cohadarevic said. “He just tried to win a game in the heat of the game and play hard, maybe a little dirty, but I like that.” I’m sure you like the competitive nature of the game but you could do without the nut shots. Everyone could.

Red Raiders floor Seton Hall in NIT [Lubbock Avalanche Journal]

Watch Out for Steve Nash’s Balls

Steve Nash is beginning to rival Chris Bosh with his humorous YouTube videos. Not long ago, Nash released a video of teammate Leandro Barbosa dressed up as an avatar character on the team’s flight. This time around, as the Vegas-bound Jimmy Traina of Hot Clicks pointed out, Nash made a video goofing on his apparent predilection for sticking his balls in everyone’s face. It’s similar to the close talker episode from Seinfeld, only with male packages. Enjoy the Steve Nash balls video:

Why is it that Robin Lopez is always getting picked on in these videos? Is it because he’s the most gullible or is it because he’s the best actor? The world may never find out!

Balls Talk [Steve Nash's YouTube]
Tuesday PM Hot Clicks: Beautiful Brackets [SI Extra Mustard Hot Clicks]

3,000 Stories of Crappiness and Counting

It’s not often that we pat ourselves on the back here at LBS, and that’s probably because most of what we do is crap. I recognize that. But even if our expertise is only posting garbage, we take some pride in knowing that we’ve been doing it for quite some time. This little blurb here is officially the 3,000th post written at LBS, which isn’t bad considered the site is just over three years old (started in January of 2007 – we haven’t changed much, have we?). We’re averaging just over two and a half posts a day since the site’s inception. I realize that you’d love to see more content generated here. I’m right there with you. Unfortunately, things like full-time jobs and life sometimes get in the way, but I continue to make a great effort to give you an enjoyable product with fresh content as frequently as possible.

It’s almost funny that a few years ago we were in the heart of a blogs vs. mainstream media debate. Now, nearly all the big sports sites have bloggers working full-time, and even some blogs that started out part-time have gone full-time. That makes it hard to keep up with the competition production-wise. With that in mind, keep your eye on the byline for each post because you may start to see new writers pop up in an effort to provide you with more quality content. Lastly, and most importantly, thank you for taking time out of your day to read the site. Whether it’s once a day, once a week, or once in a while, I don’t care — just that you’re reading means a lot to me. Thanks for your support of LBS and please pass along the word if you know someone who might enjoy the site.

LBS Expert 2010 NCAA Tournament Picks

For the 2011 Tournament Picks, go Here

Yes, we obviously use the term “expert” quite lightly. The only thing we’re experts in knowing is that the tournament is unpredictable and that Cornell is not going to the Elite Eight. Anyway, you want expert March Madness picks for 2010? Here are the LBS 2010 NCAA Tournament Picks, broken down by bracket (you’ll have to click on each region two times to enlarge, once after you get to the next screen):

I have Kansas over Kentucky in the championship game. If you’re also wondering why I took chalk to the Final Four it’s because the Midwest Region got stacked with the toughest teams leaving the South and West void of difficult challengers to Duke and Syracuse. To me, it’s Kansas and Kentucky in a class by themselves with everyone else at least a step below. Even though I’ve been touting Kentucky the entire season, I feel that they have a few minor weaknesses whereas I can’t find any with Kansas. Kentucky’s weaknesses are limited to sometimes free throw shooting (see DeMarcus Cousins vs. Tennessee both games) and outside shooting (12-73 on threes during a four-game SEC stretch). I think Kentucky has the talent and weapons to overcome these deficiencies against anyone except Kansas. I’d also give the coaching nod to Bill Self over Calipari for in-game adjustments. I welcome all comments regarding the picks.

Mid-Major vs. Mid-Major Complaint Is B.S.

Ever since the NCAA tournament brackets for 2010 were released on Sunday, I kept reading a complaint that too many mid-majors were playing each other. The argument is that the beauty of the tourney is watching the little guys knock off the big guys, seeing David slay Goliath. Moreover, the feeling is that the tourney wants bigger-name schools to advance, presumably to draw better ratings. I think all you have to do is examine the tournament field and you can tell that this complaint is utter nonsense and nothing other than complaining for the sake of complaining, likely because you were going to complain about this “issue” regardless of what brackets the committee spit out.

Out of the field of 65, 33 teams are “mid-majors,” which I classify as non-BCS schools. Inevitably, these schools will have to face each other. Moreover, if you’re rewarding the smaller-schools for having good seasons, then you have to give them a high seed, and they will accordingly be matched up with another small school. That’s what happened with New Mexico, Temple, Butler, and Xavier. Drop those teams down in seeding and then you’re really being unfair, but at least you get a mid-major against a BCS school, right? Pointing out the few mid-major vs. mid-major matchups also ignores the several other cases where mid-majors play BCS schools in the first round. So Gonzaga playing Florida State, Xavier getting Minnesota, Notre Dame drawing Old Dominion, BYU getting Florida, Houston drawing Maryland, and San Diego State having a chance to upset Tennessee means nothing? There are several more cases where mid-majors have a chance to upset a BCS school than vice versa.

Out of the 32 first-round games, 22 are BCS vs. mid-majors, five BCS vs. BCS games, and five mids vs. mids. The only matchups I can really see a legit complaint for are the 7-10 game of Richmond/St. Mary’s and the 8-9 game of UNLV/Northern Iowa. I don’t see two games out of 32 being a trend, nor problem, nor something worthy of a complaint. If anything, I think it’s good to have a few mids-vs.-mids games to ensure at least one mid moves on. Moreover, I like seeing the 8-9, 7-10 BCS vs. BCS games because it allows us the chance to compare the strength of conferences. Who doesn’t look at Cal vs. Louisville as the Pac-10 against the Big East and the Oklahoma State against Georgia Tech as the Big 12 vs. the ACC? That’s part of the beauty of the tournament, too.

Dear Non-BCS Schools: $!#@ You. Love, NCAA [Basketball Prospectus]