Thursday, August 5, 2010

Sox to Bronx, Shaq to Boston

The Yankees' Magic Number to clinch the AL East is 55: Any Yankee wins + Tampa losses adding up to 55, and we're Division Champions again, on the way to Title 28. (Or should that be Title XXVIII?)

And the Red Sox are coming in having just lost Kevin Youkilis for the rest of the season, due to a strained tushy... sorry, a torn muscle in his thumb, and their number to be eliminated from even the Wild Card is 44.

Javier Vazquez starts tonight, against Clay Buchholz, in the first of 4 at The Stadium II.

The Mets start a 3-game series against the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park, Jon Niese against Joe Blanton. Both teams need this series, as they trail the surprising Atlanta Braves in the NL East.


Shaquille O'Neal, who, more than his former teammate/bete noire Kobe Bryant, or Tim Duncan, or LeBron James, has defined the NBA in the post-Michael Jordan era, has not retired. Instead, he's taking his Farewell Tour, with stops already in Phoenix and Cleveland, to Boston.

Shaq, a Celtic? I don't know about this... And do they really need him? After all, they came within 1 win of a World Championship last season without him, and at this point this may be subtraction by addition. We're not talking about the Shaq of 1995-96 Orlando, or 2000-02 Los Angeles, or even 2006 Miami.

And, for a while, it seemed like Shaq had won, forever, the battle with Kobe Bryant. But now, the totals for Rings Without The Other is Kobe 2, Shaq 1. Shaq can still say he won 1 first, but suppose the 2011 NBA Finals, as were '08 and '10, turn out to be another Celtics vs. Lakers? It could happen, as, unlike Shaq, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce aren't playing like elderly men yet. If Kobe blasts through the 2011 Finals, giving the Lakers a 17th title to match the Celtics (well, a 12th, you can't count the Minneapolis titles with L.A.), and Shaq is stuck to the bench as the team's 3rd-option center, then who, to use Shaq's '08 phrase, will be tasting whose ass at that point?

Shaq's one of these James Brown-types. Not that he's the hardest-working man in his business (if he ever was, he ain't anymore), but that he has to have about 35 nicknames. The best-remembered being Shaq, Shaq-Fu, the Big Fella and the Diesel.

ESPN SportsNation has suggested The Big Leprechaun. A reader of the Philadelphia-themed blog (see link to the right), citing the Celtics' green uniforms, says, "Because he's 'going green,' Diesel Hybrid is easily the best one I've heard so far."

Considering that the Diesel has been running on fumes for some time now, maybe Celtic fans should call him the Auld Sod.

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