Lakers Should Pay for Parade, Not City

After the Lakers took a 2-0 series lead, the city of Los Angeles already began making plans for a championship parade celebration. There was a question whether or not the city could afford to put on a parade given the current economic issues facing the city (translation: the state going bankrupt). In the end, the team and the city agreed to each pay about a million dollars for the parade which includes the expense of renting out the LA Coliseum, and paying for several city workers to guard and clean up. The Police Protective League thinks what the city is doing is absurd:

“At a time of financial crisis, when the public expects, and quite frankly should demand city leaders to be good stewards of every tax dollar, it is foolish for elected officials to favor spending 1 million tax dollars on a three-hour parade,” league President Paul M. Weber said in a prepared statement Sunday.

Considering I have friends and family whose jobs and paychecks have been threatened because of a lack of funding, I think it’s ridiculous that the city is going to cobble together the money for this. This is a time when the team needs to step up and give back to the fans in one of the best ways possible, at a time when it’s most needed. Why not have the players kick in some bucks to make up the difference? They certainly can afford it. I know one thing — the city sure can’t. This is just like execs from GM buying luxury private jets when the company’s requesting government funds. It’s ludicrous, preposterous, ridiculous! (but worth it if they bring back Mark Madsen for the festivities).

Shaq Could be the Solution for the Cavs

How is it that Shaq always manages to steal the spotlight from Kobe Bryant, whether it’s by intention or not? Reports suggested that the Cavs were trying to acquire Shaq from Phoenix prior to the trade deadline in February but no deal was done. Now just a few weeks after the Cavs were eliminated from the playoffs by Dwight Howard and the Magic, trade talks are reportedly back on:

Phoenix would send O’Neal to Cleveland for veteran power forward Ben Wallace, who is considering retirement, and reserve guard Sasha Pavlovic, whose final contract year is not fully guaranteed.

With O’Neal’s $20 million salary (but a $21 million salary-cap number due to a trade kicker), the trade could save the Suns $9.9 million or even more if Wallace wants a buyout. The trade would save the Suns $3.1 million in payroll and projected luxury tax. Cutting Pavlovic, who has $1.5 million guaranteed in his final contract year’s $4.95 million salary, could save another $6.8 million in payroll and tax.

While the Suns clearly are just trying to cut payroll, getting rid of Shaq will open up the offense for Nash and Amare to hook up and run like the way they used to. The Cavs would then get one of the few bodies in basketball that can manage Dwight Howard on the inside. That seems to be a necessity especially considering Dwight’s only 23 and already went 40 and 14 beating the Cavs in the Eastern Conference Finals. And should the Cavs get to the Finals, they might have to face the Lakers’ stacked frontcourt of Bynum, Odom, and Gasol. If Cleveland wants to get over the hump against the top teams in the league, they need a quality big body that can defend. The Big Fella could be their answer, crazy as it seems. Plus, we already know the Bionic Diesel wants to play another three years, and that LeBron puts him on his all-time dream team. I’d say that’s two good starting points for a potential deal.

Brian Bruney’s Career 4.28 ERA Criticize Frankie Rodriguez’s Showboating

Chalk this up as a first for Brian Bruney being mentioned here at LBS. The former Diamondback and current Yankee reliever (on the DL because the umpires stiffed him, by the way), had some biting remarks towards Frankie Rodriguez following Friday night’s Luis Castillo dropped popup debacle at Yankee Stadium. Likely thinking he was in the friendly confines of Trenton’s minor league system (he was there on rehab), Bruney had this to say:

“Couldn’t have happened to a better guy on the mound, either. He’s got a tired act. I think that’s bad, but two years ago, when he lost the game…I don’t know if anybody saw it, I did. He was in Oakland and he was pitching for Anaheim, didn’t get a call, and so he was like complaining. The catcher threw it back and he just kind of did one of these (Bruney half-heartedly holds his arm out) and hit off his glove and bounced behind and the guy from third scored and they won the game. He gets what he deserves, man. I just don’t like watching the guy pitch. I think it’s embarassing.”

As an Angels fan who watches most of their games, I know the exact moment to which Bruney was referring. I loved Frankie with the Angels and I’m a big fan of his, but I have to side with Bruney regarding the overall message. Frankie does celebrate too much and his antics do show up the batter. I don’t like it when guys loaf on fly balls either catching them or running them out, when pitchers celebrate after strikeouts or saves, or when batters pimp home runs. Frankie’s one of the worst when it comes to closers. I’m glad finally someone pointed it out and I don’t care if Bruney’s weaker accomplishments make him appear less credible. I think it’s pathetic that K-Rod says you have to perform well for your opinion to mean anything and that he wound up approaching Bruney during batting practice. Frankie’s an excellent pitcher but his excess celebration is just that — overboard.

A Testicle Injury and Surgery Didn’t Stop Nicklas Lidstrom in Stanley Cup Finals

If you ask Red Wings fans why they lost the Stanley Cup Finals to the Penguins, many of them will tell you it’s because the team wasn’t at full strength. Star players Pavel Datsyuk and Nicklas Lidstrom both got hurt in the Western Conference Finals against the Blackhawks. Datsyuk missed the first four games against Pittsburgh while Lidstrom did play the entire series, albeit through pain. While Lidstrom’s injury was initially described as a “lower-body injury,” we now know what the truth was. Channeling Felix Pie’s twisted testicle with the Cubs, Lidstrom had some problems with “the boys”:

While teammates played Game 4 against Chicago, Red Wings defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom was undergoing surgery after getting speared in the testicles by Patrick Sharp in Game 3.

“I thought it was OK that Saturday when I practiced,” Lidstrom said, “but Sunday, Sunday I was just in too much pain. I had surgery during that game.”

Lidstrom said he would need more tests, but more surgery probably would not be needed. He said it was the most painful injury he has had.

The Wings won both games against Chicago without him, advancing to the Stanley Cup Finals. They also were 2-2 against the Pens even without Datsyuk, so they still were in position to win even with their injuries. No doubt having both guys healthy would have helped, but they still blew it. Look, I can understand why guys like Lidstrom and Kellen Winslow wanted to keep their manhood issues quiet, but let me ask one thing: have you ever heard of a cup before? Yeah, how bout trying one next time. I hear they’re quite effective.

Poor Form: Sidney Crosby Snubs Captain Nicklas Lidstrom on Handshake

It was after Game 6 in Orlando that LeBron James, the star of the NBA, walked off the court without congratulating any of the Magic players. To compound his unsportsmanlike ways, he stormed out of the locker room without speaking to the media. Now with the Penguins winning Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals in Detroit 2-1, one of the stars of their league, Sidney Crosby, is being accused of some similar poor postgame comportment, arriving late for the post-series handshake lineup:

Detroit captain Nicklas Lidstrom was up front, followed by alternate captain Kris Draper, congratulating many of the new champions while waiting for Pittsburgh’s captain.

“Nick was waiting and waiting, and Crosby didn’t come over to shake his hand. That’s ridiculous, especially as their captain, and make sure you write that [Kris Draper] said that!”

Crosby eventually skated over to shake hands with the Red Wings, but many had already headed for the dressing room. Detroit forward Johan Franzen and Crosby exchanged words, and Crosby then shook hands with goaltender Chris Osgood and some other Wings.

I remember thinking the exact same thing while I was watching the postgame celebration NBC. The problem is that Crosby was busy dealing with the media instead of taking care of the handshake tradition like he should have been. Either it was a snub on purpose or he just had a lapse in good judgment. I remember watching the players shaking hands in the background while he was doing his interview, thinking that he should have been out there. No surprise the Wings were pissed about that — Crosby needs to order his priorities better. If Detroit wants to get even, they may have a shot next year.

Video: Milton Bradley Loses Track of Outs, Throws Ball into Stands

We’re only at mid-June and Milton Bradley is already checking some items off his “things to accomplish” list in his first year with the Cubs. He’s already had a confrontation with an umpire resulting in a suspension, missed a third of the games because of a nagging injury, and now he’s lost count of the outs and thrown the ball into the stands Larry Walker-style. Check out his screwup in this highlight reel:

Bradley says he could tell something wasn’t right and even justified things by saying at least his heart was in the right place (he was giving a souvenir). Bright side is at least he got two hits and drove in a run. The downside, Cubs fans have another two and a half years of these antics.

Video: Ball Hits Bird, Screws Up Coco Crisp and Gives Indians Win

The Indians and Royals were tied up at three and in the 10th inning Thursday night when there was a rare and crazy occurrence. The Indians had men on second and third without nobody out and Shin-Soo Choo at the plate. Choo connected and sent a ball into center field and that’s when something kind of crazy happened, making it tough for Coco Crisp:

Dude, how coincidence is it that this happened in Cleveland with the Indians, the same exact scenario as what happened with Pedro Cerrano in Major League 2. Luckily Choo didn’t round first and head towards center to administer CPR to the fowl. First it was bugs attacking Joba Chamberlain at Progressive Field, now it’s seagulls screwing up Coco Crisp. Gotta feel for the Royals on this one. At least Crisp will have the Big Unit and Dave Winfield with whom he’ll be able to commiserate.