Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Kyrie "Uncle Drew" Irving & Kevin "Wes" Love

Kyrie Irving's "Uncle Drew" is back, but he's got friends. The Cavs might still stink this year, but they've got a rising star whose venture into commercials is quietly paving his way into a "Grandma Larry" type of mythology. Another incredible advertising venture by Pepsi MAX. Check it.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

MAMBINO's NBA Finals Pick

(Part of this is lifted from the Silver Screen and Roll crew's season prediction roundtable post. Check it out when you have the time!)

NBA Finals Pick: Los Angeles Lakers...and Miami Heat
Even as what would amount to a 51 win team (prorated over a 82 game season), the Lakers were still very middling last year. They needed to get vastly better on both ends of the court if they wanted to compete for a Western Conference Finals berth, much less a NBA title shot...which they very well may have done. 

Defensively, I expect the Lakers to improve leaps and bounds immediately with Dwight Howard on the court. As I detailed yesterday in MAMBINO's Defensive Player of the Year prediction, D12's impact on the team should be stark. In his few games of preseason action, there was such a canyon-like difference on his activity versus Andrew Bynum's that, paired with how much better he made mediocre defensive players in Orlando, it's easy to think that LA's defense will be suffocating. Offensively, the team could take months to adjust to one another with a new system and point guard, but over that stretch I can see the defense making up for the confusion on the scoring end.

The key for the Lakers was getting to the Finals; Oklahoma City was the most troublesome matchup for LA, especially with Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins able to give Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard the most one-on-one trouble as any duo in the league. However, with the Harden trade, I feel like the Lakers are much better suited not only offensively without his defense on Kobe, but also defensively in regards to staying in front of only two of the best 20 players in the league, rather than three. It's not a forgone conclusion that the Lakers can get past OKC--how can you underestimate Durant and Westbrook?--but the prospects just got a lot better. 

Monday, October 29, 2012

World Series Wrap-Up: A Giants Concession Speech from a Dodger Fan

This is a chat conversation that happened between KOBEsh and friend of the blog and detested San Francisco Giants fan Nick. The narrative is "hate" and the mood is sullen. 

nick: where's the MAMBINO WS recap?
: ....I'm working on it
  It's going to be a really respectful, hateful concession speech
nick: i'll take it

Truth be told, I didn't watch a minute of Game 4. The thought of the Gigantes winning the World Series whilst my beloved Dodgers sit at home made me nauseous. Physically, emotionally, metaphysically--you name it, I wanted to throw it up. In my mind, visions of the on the mound celebrations came and went, with Sergio Romo shouting to the sky like Thor...except I wish he actually got struck by lightning. The injured Brian Wilson and his cartoonish face parading around the dugout like a Disney sports movie gone awry. World Series MVP Pablo Sandoval chugging around the bases after another titanic hit, defying all regular season expectations and any reasonable cardiologist's prognosis for life expectancy. Hunter Pence nervously ticking about the outfield waiting for the final out, not knowing if he was more worried about catching the ball or everyone realizing how incredibly overrated he was. All these nightmarish scenarios danced around in my head, and kept me watching weeks old episodes of Monday Night Raw rather than the deciding game of the World Series. Worse's the second time in three years I made that decision. 

The San Francisco Giants won the World Series last night, sweeping the Detroit Tigers and capturing their seventh title in the Motor City. It's the doomsday October scenario of any tried and true Dodger fan, short of hearing over the P.A. system "and now entering the game for Los Angeles, Jonathan Broxton". There is no team--not any team from Boston, MA, South Bend, IN or Philadelphia, PA--that I detest with such a fervor as the San Francisco Giants. Save for a Boston Celtics Finals win in LA, there is no sports situation more grave, more upsetting and more nausea-inducing than seeing the Orange Devils from the Bay emerge victorious. Nothing.

But the worst part? They deserved it. Vomit bag number 1, filled. 

MAMBINO Predictions for the NBA's MVP, Rookie of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year and Coach of the Year

MVP: LeBron James

The King: After winning back-to-back MVPs in the 1990-1991 and 1991-1992 seasons, Michael Jordan was the heavy favorite to win the award for a third consecutive time and fourth overall going into the 1992-1993 season. Despite averaging a monstrous 32.6 PPG, 6.7 RPG and 5.5 APG Jordan lost the MVP to Sir Charles.

LeBron James, who has won three of the last four MVPs, finds himself in similar position with 67% of NBA general managers predicting that he will once again take home the MVP.  Does Kevin Durant or any other player have a legitimate chance of dethroning the King? Sorry LeBron haters, it’s not going to happen. Here’s why:  

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Instant Trade Analysis: James Harden to the Houston Rockets

Houston Rockets get: G James Harden, C Cole Aldrich, G/F Daquan cook, G/F Lazar Hayward

Oklahoma City Thunder get: SG Kevin Martin, SG Jeremy Lamb, two 1st round picks (via Toronto and Dallas), one 2nd round pick (via Charlotte)

The writing was on the wall, but typing it out is still shocking: reigning Sixth Man of the Year James Harden has been traded by the Oklahoma City Thunder to the Houston Rockets. The former Sonics dealt one of the key pieces that built them up into a Western Conference Champion and supposed future perennial title contender not as a basketball decision, but one that was almost 100% business.

The back story is the Thunder front office wasn't willing to offer James Harden a maximum contract, which was about $60 million over four years. The closest they got was approximately $55 million over four years, which Harden and his management promptly rejected Saturday morning. The deadline for negotiating an extension with the OKC super-sub is Wednesday, and if not signed by then, Harden would become a restricted free agent next summer. Knowing that the team probably wouldn't be able to get their reserve shooting guard to change his mind over the course of the season (they had been negotiating with him all summer long), GM Sam Presti worked out a deal with the Houston Rockets, and hours later, Harden was an ex-member of the reigning Western Conference Champions. That simple.

Harden can now sign a contract anywhere up to five years, $75 million, an extra year he couldn't have gotten with the Thunder (a team can only dole out one five year contract under the current CBA--which was what the lockout was about last year--and they already used it on Russ Westbrook's maximum extension). Rockets GM Daryl Morey will ink Harden to the deal before Wednesday, but at this point it's just a matter of whether it will be four years or five years long.

So the question here is...why would the Thunder make this move?

Friday, October 26, 2012

MAMBINO's NBA Preview Series: Most Improved, Disappointing and Regressed Teams

The MAMBINO crew came together and threw down their predictions for not just the formal NBA awards, but also for the most improved, disappointing and regressed teams for the 2012-2013 season. Our choices for MVP, Defensive Player of the Year, Coach of the Year, Rookie of the Year, Eastern and Western Conference winners and of course, NBA Champion will come next week.  For now, check out some work from El Mariachi and KOBEsh on the most improved, disappointing and regressed teams:

Who will be the most improved team this season?
El Mariachi: The Brooklyn Nets

The end of the 2010-2011 season was an exciting albeit disappointing one for Nets fans. The surprise trade for All-Star point guard Deron Williams was a huge move that many thought would be the major piece in bringing three-time Defensive Player of the Year and six-time All-Star center Dwight Howard to Brooklyn. But when they lost Williams' first three games and then proceeded to lose him to injury for most of the end of the season, most Nets fans would call it a wash or quite frankly a disappointing end. But next year it could only get better. Right? No. It got worse. No matter how you look at it, the 2011-2012 season for the Nets was rougher than the year before. With the preseason stress fracture to Brook Lopez's foot – which caused him to miss all but five games – the Nets found themselves with a 22-44 record and that they would blow everyone out in one category; total games missed due to injury totaling in 248. And with trade rumors hovering over the franchise and talks of Deron leaving after this year, it looked like the Nets were going to have to rent out their new home at the Barclays Center to the New York Wizards.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

THE GREAT PODBINO - Episode #2, Part 2: NBA Eastern Conference Preview

Not only that, but about 20 minutes of Knicks chatter from two NY faithful, El Miz and Bockerknocker. Truly a series of can't-miss rants and hopelessly hopeful musings. Ah, Knicks fans. You endlessly fascinate me.

Also, the PODBINO is now downloadable, so if for some reason you have the strange desire to take our voices on the road with you, you're free to do so!

Check it!

THE GREAT PODBINO - Episode #2, Part 2

Also, peep Part 1 if you missed it!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

MAMBINO's World Series Preview

The 108th World Series starts tonight, so let's set the stage:

The American League's Detroit Tigers will be playing in only their third World Series in nearly thirty years, seeking their first title since 1984. Led by a pitching staff including reigning AL Cy Young and MVP award winner Justin Verlander peaking at the right minute, the Motor City's professional baseball team will attempt to complete their quest of resurrecting a once proud franchise, a task they couldn't quite finish off in 2006. 

Meanwhile, the National League champion San Francisco Giants are seeking their second title in three seasons. Prospective NL MVP Buster Posey and NL Cy Young hopeful Matt Cain have helped keep the SF squad at the top of Major League Baseball, despite losing Brian Wilson for the season in April, All-Star starting OF Melky Cabrera to a drug suspension in July and Tim Lincecum to an abduction last season that still hasn't been solved. The Giants could be the first National League team to win two World Series within a three year span since the mid-seventies. In related news, I will vomit for a week straight if this happens.

In true MAMBINO fashion, we polled our rugged writing crew and came up with a consensus pick to win it all. However, in the interest of hedging our bets, we're also going to bring you the alternative opinion. Let 'er rip!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

MAMBINO's 2012-2013 NBA Season Preview Wrap-Up

After six weeks, our massive 2012-2013 team-by-team preview has come to an end. Shout out to the entire ridiculously pseudonymed MAMBINO writing crew--El Miz, Bocker Knocker, The CDP, El Mariachi, AO, The King, Mr. Marquez and Thunderstolt--for all their contributions. They turned out better than I could have possibly imagined; insightful, well-considered, funny and most of all, right. 

If you haven't already, check out our predictions for expected Eastern and Western Conference finishes, as well as our 30 team preview series. You'll dig.

Coming this week: our picks for all the MVP, DPOY and ROY awards, as well as most and least disappointing/improved/suprising and of course, 2012-2013 NBA champion.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Will the Real Carmelo Please Stand Up? -- New York Knickerbockers Season Preview

Starting Five: PG Raymond Felton, SG Ronnie Brewer, SF Carmelo Anthony, PF Amare Stoudemire, C Tyson Chandler

Key Bench Players: PG Jason Kidd, SG JR Smith, SG Iman Shumpert, SF Steve Novak, PF Kurt Thomas, C Marcus Camby, PG Pablo Prigioni

Notable offseason additions: PG Jason Kidd, SG Ronnie Brewer, PG Raymond Felton, PF Kurt Thomas, C Marcus Camby, PG Pablo Prigioni

Offseason subtractions: PG Jeremy Lin, #LINSANITY, SG Landry Fields, PF Josh Harrellson, all discernible team assets and cap room for the next 3 years

Well, that whole Linsanity thing was fun while it lasted.  The biggest Knick storyline of the offseason centered around undrafted free agent pop culture sensation Jeremy Lin.  The Knicks infamously told anyone who would listen that they would match any contract offered to their Chinese-American star (and restricted free agent).  Then, curiously, the Knicks changed course and essentially decided to spend the money bookmarked for Lin on former Knick point guard Raymond Felton and former Knick power forward Kurt Thomas.  This led to a truly comical (and yet another "only under a James Dolan led Knicks team would this happen" moment) chain of events at Las Vegas Summer League where Knicks GM Glen Grunwald was reported to be ducking Rockets GM Daryl Morey at like a deadbeat ducks the landlord when rent was due two weeks ago. He was not so subtly refusing to receive the Rockets qualified offer for Lin and postponing the franchise's decision on Lin's contract until the absolute last possible moment.  #sameoldknicks

THE GREAT PODBINO - Episode #2, Part 1: NBA Eastern Conference Predictions

PODBINites - lend me your ears. Episode #2, coming at you. El Miz, KOBEshigawa and BockerKnocker pound out their first half of NBA predictions, starting with the bottom feeders of the Eastern Conference.

Please do check it out, if for nothing other than the ninety Knicks tangents that BockerKnocker and El Miz went on.

THE GREAT PODBINO, Episode #2, Part 1

(Update: and check out Part 2!)

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Week 7 NFL Picks - Rexy Aint Too Sexy

Last week was close, but for the sixth consecutive week, I had a losing week. The 6-7 brings my season total to 22-41-2.

Enough with moping though. This is a huge week for a lot of teams starting in the AFC East. For all the hate surrounding the Jets offense (or lack thereof) they are one win from taking over first place today from the Patriots. Last week they looked more impressive than they have all season as Shonn Greene not only had his first 100-yard rushing game, but his first 160-yard rushing game of the season.

The Patriots meanwhile were winless in Seattle. Leading by 13 in the fourth quarter, they blew their lead against a rookie quarterback as Tom Brady looked very mortal against a strong defense. It was the second time this season that the Patriots have led by two scores in the fourth quarter (Week Three against the Ravens) and blown the game. Despite that killer instinct I'm not going to say that Brady and Belichick have lost it. On the contrary, the Patriots just haven't found it yet. This is the youngest team that Belichick has coached with New England, so while Brady is getting up there the rest of the team should get better.

If you had told me it would only be 10.5 two weeks ago, I'd be elated.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Alex Rodriguez to the Dodgers - Would It Work?

Well, would it?

Let's hit the books here and lay out the facts:

5 years, $114 million: That's what's left on Rodriguez's massive deal. It's the remaining 5 years on a 7 year, $275 million dollar deal, the largest in North American professional sports history by over $20 million dollars.

$30 million: The amount in performance bonuses A-Rod could acquire if he hits certain home run milestones, from 660 (passing Willie Mays) to 763 (passing Barry Bonds). All in all, his contract could amount to a staggering $300 million.

647: A-Rod's current home run total, good for fifth in league history.

37: A-Rod's age as of the 2012 season.

42: A-Rod's age at the end of this current contract--if Rodriguez had been 42 this year, he'd be the fifth oldest player in the league, behind Jamie Moyer (cut by the Rockies in February), Takashi Saito, Mariano Rivera (both out most of the year with injury) and Omar Vizquel (who retired in September). There's little doubt that when Rodriguez hits the end of this deal, he'll be one of the oldest players in the Majors.

.965, .933, .847, .823, .783: A-Rod's declining OPS (on-base plus slugging) the past five seasons. Whether or not you understand sabermetrics, you'll see that there's little doubt the third baseman's offensive excellence is declining significantly.

163: The number of games A-Rod has missed the previous two seasons. Essentially, he's only stayed healthy for one campaign out of the two.

13: The number of hits A-Rod's had the previous three postseasons, after his crushing 2009 playoff run in which he had 15 hits, six home runs and had 11 extra-base hits in 15 games. Since then, in 21 games, he's only had 13 hits, 2 for extra bases and zero for home runs.

Everyone: The amount of Yankees fans that want him out of pinstripes by the year's end.

Just A-Rod: The people who want to keep A-Rod in New York.

There's little doubt that A-Rod's second $200 million dollar deal (signed by the Yanks in 2007 at age 32 after he opted out of his original 10-year, $250 million dollar contract) was a gigantic mistake. However, at the time, Rodriguez had come off his third MVP season in five years with an impeccable record of health, never missing more than eight games since he became a free agent in 2000. The Yankees, as they do, had a very casual "spend now, worry later" attitude about the deal, not fully hit with the reality that like all aging baseball players, A-Rod's late thirties wouldn't be nearly as productive as his early-thirties.

Friday, October 19, 2012

THE GREAT PODBINO - Episode #1, Part 2

Last Friday, we debuted Part 1 of our inaugural podcast venture, THE GREAT PODBINO. To satiate the demands of our DOZENS...and dozens of fans, for your audio needs, check out THE GREAT PODBINO - Episode #1, Part 2

And get ready for Episode #2 previewing the Eastern Conference, coming next week!


Thursday, October 18, 2012

"The Top 50 Finishing Moves in WWE History" Review, Part 2

Welcome to part 2 of "The Top 50 Finishing Moves in WWE History." You can find part 1 with my analysis of numbers 50-25 located here.. We pick up this column at number 24 on the list and it's one of my personal favorites. The man representing this finisher has spent time in Mexico, Germany, Japan, ECW, WCW and the WWE. Here to Save Us All is the Ayotolla of Rock and Rolla. He is "Lionheart" Chris Jericho.

24. Chris Jericho "Lion Tamer/Walls of Jericho"

"Basically what Chris Jericho does when he puts you in that move is he bends your body in a way that is never supposed to bend." - Kofi Kingston

This submission move is probably my favorite of all time.

I'm not sure if a difference between the two finisher names was ever clarified or not. For me personally, I always considered the move to be "the Liontamer" when Jericho intensified the pressure by putting his knee on the back of his opponent, whereas "the Walls of Jericho" was more of a straight Boston Crab applied to bigger wrestlers. Again, that is just how I personally distinguished the two. The only knock I really have about this move, is that you absolutely need your opponents cooperation to apply it. Seriously, try putting this move on a person that doesn't want it. It's not going to happen...believe me, I've tried.

An Offseason of Hits & Misses -- Toronto Raptors Preview

Starting Five: PG Kyle Lowry, SG DeMar DeRozan, SF Landry Fields, PF Andrea Bargnani, C Jonas Valanciunas

Key Bench Players: PG Jose Calderon, SF Linas Kleiza, PF Ed Davis, C Amir Johnson, SG Terrence Ross

Notable offseason additions: PG Kyle Lowry, C Jonas Valanciunas (5th overall pick in 2011 draft), SF Landry Fields, SG Terrence Ross (8th overall pick in 2012 draft), PG John Lucas III

Offseason subtractions: G Jerryd Bayless, F James Johnson

Oh, what could have been. Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo came out swinging this offseason, setting his sights on Canada's prodigial and 2-time MVP Steve Nash.  According to the always fantastic Marc Stein, Colangelo called Nash's agent at 12:01 AM when free agency opened to sell Nash on returning to Canada.  Later, a 7-man Raptors contingent flew to New York, where Nash maintains an off-season residence, and pitched him on why he should suit up for the Raptors come November 2012.  Nash then met with officials from the New York Knicks, and later the Los Angeles Lakers.

Then, puzzlingly, the Raptors signed former Knick Landry Fields to a "poison pill" offer sheet, paying Fields $8.5 million in his final year.  The assumption that many, myself included, have made from that offer was that Colangelo, nervous that the Knicks would include SG Landry Fields in a sign-and-trade with Phoenix, Nash's old team, made Fields a Godfather offer to come to Toronto, blocking the Knicks from pulling off the sign-and-trade for Nash. Well, that sort of worked; the Knicks did not get Nash...but neither did the Raptors, as the chance to play in La La Land with Kobe outweighed running the pick-and-roll with Jonas Valanciunas in Toronto.  Colangelo was left with an overpaid Landry Fields.

How Good is Andre Iguodala? - Denver Nuggets Preview

Starting Five: PG Ty Lawson, SG Andre Iguodala, SF Danilo Gallinari, PF Kenneth Faried, C Javale McGee

Key Bench Players: PG Andre Miller, SF Wilson Chandler, C Kostas Koufas, C Timofey Mozgov, F Anthony Randolph

Notable offseason additions: SG Andre Igoudala, SG Evan Fournier (1st round draft pick), F Quincy Miller (2nd round draft pick), F Anthony Randolph

Offseason subtractions: SG Arron Afflalo, F Al Harrington, SG Rudy Fernandez, F Chris "Birdman" Anderson (via the Amnesty)

The biggest move of the NBA offseason saw C Dwight Howard finally relocate from Disney World to Disney Land.  A little talked about wrinkle in that trade was that the Denver Nuggets sent out forgettable players F Al Harrington and G Arron Afflalo (and I love you Al, will never forget the 21/5 you dropped in D'Antoni's first year in the Mecca) and got back Olympian and NBA All-Star Andre Igoudala.  Hash tag NOT BAD!

No need to delve into how a team can send out a good but overpaid 2-guard and a forward who loves nothing more than to chuck 3's and get back one of the 12 best Americans in the world, a 6'6" perimeter beast who can defend any shooting guard or small forward and can run the offense too.  This is the NBA we live in and have grown accustomed to.  What we will delve into is what is the ceiling for this Nuggets squad, just two years after trading "franchise player" Carmelo Anthony (yeah, it's in quotes for a reason), the Nuggets look poised to be a helluva lot better than Melo's new team, the hapless New York Knickerbockers.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Out of the Swamp and Into the BK - Brooklyn Nets Preview

Starting Five: PG Deron Williams, SG Joe Johnson, SF Gerald Wallace, PF Kris Humphries, C Brook Lopez

Key Bench Players:
PG CJ Watson, SG MarShon Brooks, F Mirza Teletovic, PF Reggie Evans, PF/C Andray Blatche, G Tyshawn Taylor

Notable offseason additions: SG Joe Johnson, F Mirza Teletovic, PF Reggie Evans, PF/C Andray Blatche, G Tyshawn Taylor

Notable offseason subtractions: PG Jordan Farmar, SG DeShawn Stevenson, G/F Gerald Green, G/F Anthony Morrow, PF Johan Petro

"It was a huge factor," Williams told us about the Nets moving to Brooklyn. "I don't think I would have even thought about staying if it (the Nets franchise) was staying in New Jersey."--Yahoo!

"I had never been to Brooklyn until the press conference, and that was something like I’ve never experienced before. It was unbelievable — all the fans coming out to welcome us. It was something I’ve never been a part of.  I had a great time."--Joe Johnson from

"The one thing Brook [Lopez] always said was he wanted to play in the building [the $1 billion Barclays Center] when it opens"--Nets GM Billy King from ESPN

Whether or not you believe that the wholesale changes to the Nets franchise will make them into a title contender, there's no doubt that the Nets are made better this year merely by moving out of the New Jersey wasteland and into a civilized country. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Do They Have Enough to Get Past Miami? - Boston Celtics Season Preview

(The King is again traveling. Posting on his behalf. You know the drill)

Starting Five: PG Rajon Rondo, SG Avery Bradley (when healthy), SF Paul Pierce, PF Brandon Bass, C Kevin Garnett

Key Bench Players: G Jason Terry, G Courtney Lee, F Jeff Green, PF Jared Sullinger, PF/C Chris Wilcox, C Fab Melo. C Darko Milicic

Notable offseason additions: Jason Terry, Courtney Lee, Jeff Green (missed last season due to health problems), Jared Sullinger and Fab Melo (first round draft picks)
Notable Offseason subtractions: G Ray Allen, F Mickael Pietrus, G Keyon Dooling

If the last few years had proven anything to us, it’s that the Celtics team that shows up to play this spring will perform vastly different than the one that coasts through the 82 game regular season.  Unlike every other team in the league, the Celtics have little to play for during the regular season. Any squad that relies on high-intensity defense and has a “Big Three” that consists of two 35+ year olds, one of which has knees that are less sturdy than a rope bridge during an earthquake, will not be consistent enough to challenge for the conference’s top two seeds. Yet, because the Eastern Conference is so shallow, the chances that Boston fails to clinch one of the top six seeds are pretty low unless they have significant injuries.

The Boston Celtics real season begins when the playoffs start. The NBA playoff structure will require the Celtics to defeat three teams in their NBA Finals quest but the fact is, only one team matters. Unlike the Western Conference which can lay claim to six legitimate title-contending teams, the Eastern Conference has only one elite team – the defending champion Miami Heat. If you’re good enough to beat the Heat, you’re going to beat any other team you match up against in the Eastern Conference playoffs barring injuries. For that reason, the remainder of this preview is going to focus exclusively on how the Celtics match up against the Heat.

The Celtics team that lost the Eastern Conference Finals in seven games last year had no hope of defeating the champs this year. Fortunately for the C's, the squad they’ve built this year is far better than the one that couldn’t hold onto a 3-2 series last year. For Boston, it's all about beating Miami. Let's take a look at how the team's offseason changes impact their ability to combat the defending champs:

Monday, October 15, 2012

Will Andrew Bynum Work? - Philadelphia 76ers Season Preview

Starting Five: PG Jrue Holiday, SG Jason Richardson, SF Evan Turner, PF Spencer Hawes, C Andrew Bynum

Key Bench Players: PG Royal Ivey, SG Nick Young, SF Dorrell Wright, SF Thaddeus Young, PF/C Lavoy Allen, C Kwame Brown

Notable offseason additions: C Andrew Bynum, SF Dorrell Wright, PG Royal Ivey, SG Nick Young

Offseason subtractions: F Maurice Harkless (15th overall pick), C Nikola Vucevic, G Willie Greene, F Andre Iguodala, SG Sam Young, G Lou Williams

It's no secret that THE GREAT MAMBINO holds Andrew Bynum in great esteem. To say the least, he's an extremely complicated young man whose insistence on constant improvement to his game is remarkable considering his injury history. Bynum has moved along relatively anonymously the past years under bigger stars in Los Angeles, whose personalities have outweighed even Andrew's idiosyncrasies. However, Lakers wouldn't have won the 2010 title without the 2012 2nd Team All-NBAer, nor would they have been in contention from 2008 until 2012. When he wants to be, he's one of the truly dominant two-way players in the league, scoring at will and exerting his full dominance on defense. Other than his health problems (which have already manifested themselves in training camp), there's no reason why Andrew can't be one of the top twenty players in the NBA.

But Bynum is moving onto Philadelphia. The city that's done this:

Or this:

Needless to say, Philadelphia's not the type of city to put up with Andrew Bynum's bullcrap. Episodes like postponing surgery in order to attend the World Cup. Or double parking in a handicap spot. Or shooting a three-pointer in transition. Or sitting on the bench during huddles. Or proclaiming that "close-out games are actually kind of easy", and going on to lose the next two contests.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

NFL Week 6 Picks - The Houston Astros Are Better Than Me?

For the fifth straight week, I picked more losers than winners. This has become academic. If you just look at how amateur my logic, knowledge, and acumen for gambling is, and spotted this at week one, you could have taken every pick I made and bet the farm on the opposite. Last week I was 5-8. For the season, my record is 16-34-2.

That means that if you bet every game at even money on the Houston Astros this year, you’d have more success than I’ve had picking NFL games this year. It also means that you would have had better luck picking the Sacramento Kings every night last season in the NBA.

It means that if you decided to bet just $5 per game in week one, and then double that amount in week two upon seeing that you lost, and then double that amount upon seeing that you lost in week three, and then double that amount upon seeing that you lost in week four, and that double that amount upon seeing that you list in week five that you would be down $585.

Or, if you prefer the glass half-full, you are just four more correct picks than wrong picks this week from being up $55 if you double the amount per game again this week.

That being said, it’s time to lay down $160 per game and get to work.

Friday, October 12, 2012

THE GREAT PODBINO - Episode #1, Part 1

We finally did it. Beholden to the clamoring of our dozens....AND DOZENS of fans, THE GREAT MAMBINO has finally crossed over into the great beyond known as podcasting. Our opinions have rumbled past the threshold of the pixelated page and now you'll get to hear us on a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly basis. With a professional statement like that, how could you go wrong?

Recorded at the luxurious Avenue A Studios emanating from the slightly dingy East Village of the Island of Manhanttan, BockerKnocker, El Miz and KOBEsh sat down to discuss the NBA's upcoming 2012-2013 season.  Engineered and mastered by Producer Mags, the PODBINO has been months and months in the making.

So please, sit back, relax and enjoy our inaugural podcast, THE GREAT PODBINO.

THE GREAT PODBINO - Episode #1, Part 1

"The Top 50 Finishing Moves in WWE history" Review - Part 1

It's been a while since I've written anything, so needless to say, I've been getting the itch. I'm still far too busy finishing up my last semester of grad school to write consistent RAW reviews, but hopefully this will suffice for the time being. A couple things upfront, I will only be reviewing disc one. Discs two and three are filled with old matches from the likes of Sergeant Slaughter, Bob Backlund and the Wolfpac. I skimmed through that content, even finding an RVD vs Too Cold Scorpio match that I've never seen before (and really was not worth watching), but this review will primarily be focused on the 50 best finishers discussed on disc one.

One more thing, I will be listing the finishers in reverse order here and briefly discussing what merits their placement on the list. If you want to be surprised at what is included, stop reading now.

Spoiler Alert: John Cena's "Attitude Adjustment" makes an appearance. Thankfully this glorified fireman's carry was not in the top 10. Here we go.

50. JBL's "Clothesline from Hell" 

A strong start. In my opinion, this may be the most devastating maneuver on the entire list. There's ways to prepare for a top rope splash or a submission move, but there is no avoiding getting absolutely destroyed by the "Clothesline from Hell." Listed at number 50, this may be the one finishing move on the entire list that I would least want to take. I mean, it would be an honor to get Stone Cold stunned and sell it like The Rock. Taking Hulk Hogan's immortal leg drop would be a crowning achievement in my life. However, I would never in a million years volunteer to take JBL's Clothesline from Hell. Bradshaw already had a reputation for being stiff in the ring, and this finisher did nothing to dissuade that way of thinking. JBL took a routine clothesline every wrestler performed and turned it into one of the most fearsome moves in wrestling history. 

49. Vader "Vader Bomb"

"The Vader Bomb was a pretty unique move because it showed the athleticism of a 400 lb guy" -Jim Ross

I could not agree with JR more. Even though he's only dropping from the 2nd rope, it's 400 lbs directly on your chest. I would imagine breathing properly after that one would be a challenge. Unfortunately for me, Vader was at the very beginning of my wrestling watching career. I recognize him more as Frankie's dad on "Boy Meets World" than as the agile big man for the WWF and WCW. I loved seeing him come out and destroy Heath Slater during his last appearance on television.

As big and tough as Vader was, my money is on Mr. Feeny. His Vader Bomb was a cool move, made even more impressive by Vader's size.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Winning Three More Games - Oklahoma City Thunder Season Preview

Starting Five: PG Russ Westbrook, SG Thabo Sefolosha, SF Kevin Durant, PF Serge Ibaka, C Kendrick Perkins

Key Bench Players: PG Eric Maynor, SG James Harden, G/F Daquan Cook, PF Nick Collison, F Perry Jones III

Notable offseason additions: F Perry Jones (28th overall pick)

Notable offseason subtractions: PG Derek Fisher, C Nazr Mohammed

How do the Oklahoma City Thunder win three more games? That's it. Just three more?

With the NBA Finals notched at a 1-0 advantage Thunder, OKC went on to lose an unfathomable four games in a row to the Miami Heat. Each passing game the Thunder seemed to look younger and younger, with James Harden looking more like a petrified kid wearing a Brian Wilson costume than a future All-Star. Kevin Durant and Russ Westbrook still shined under LeBron's total eclipse of the court, but both young stars couldn't do enough to prevent the gentleman's sweep. 

Think about that: it's not just that the Thunder were beaten by the better team: they essentially were swept out of the Finals after being spotted a game. Yes, two of those contests were only decided by six points, but those losses happened because of the superior execution by the more seasoned villains from South Beach. OKC didn't get beaten by coincidence or luck or suspect circumstance. They didn't even "come up just a bit short". They got mauled right out of the Finals. Three more games? Yes, they only have to win three more games. But what they need to close a gap of 144 minutes is far more complicated than just a few more W's. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Keep Building - Utah Jazz Season Preview

(As per usual, The King is in transit today. I'm posting on his behalf)

Starting Five: PG Mo Williams, SG Gordon Hayward, SF Marvin Williams, PF Paul Millsap, C Al Jefferson

Key Bench Players: PG Earl Watson, SG Raja Bell, SG Randy Foye, SG Alec Burks, SF Jeremy Evans, PF Derrick Favors, C Enes Kanter

Notable offseason additions: PG Devin Harris, G Mo Williams

Notable offseason subtractions: SG Randy Foye, SF Josh Howard
Kevin O’Connor received an awful lot of Executive of the Year Support for someone who failed at their job. 

Back in February, 2011, O’Connor made the decision to start the rebuilding process when he traded Deron Williams to the Nets for Derrick Favors, Devin Harris and two first round picks. It was a great move by O’Connor – the Jazz had no chance of competing before Williams became a free agent and inevitably left utah. By trading him with a year and a half left on his contract, he was able to maximize his value and avoid the fiasco the Nuggets experienced in trading Carmelo Anthony. 

O’Connor, like everybody else, figured the Jazz would have to endure a losing year but be rewarded with the lottery pick in a loaded 2012 draft that would help the team in their rebuilding process. The Jazz roster didn’t buy into the plan however, finishing a surprising 36-30 and earning the eighth seed in the Western Conference playoffs.  As result, they lost their lottery protected pick to the Minnesota Timberwolves (in a trade involving Darius Songaila and Antonio Daniels from 2009, of all things).
Missing out on a lottery pick because the Jazz overachieved likely didn’t upset most fans. What is likely upsetting them however, or at least should be, is that management is convinced the Jazz are ready to contend, as evidenced by the trades for Mo and Marvin Williams. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Which Blazer Will Get Hurt Next? - Portland Trailblazers Season Preview

Starting Five: PG Damian Lilliard, SG Wesley Matthews, SF Nic Batum, PF LaMarcus Aldridge, C Meyers Leonard

Key Bench Players: PG Nolan Smith, PG Ronnie Price, PF JJ Hickson, C Joel Freeland

Notable offseason additions: PG Damian Lilliard (6th overall pick), C Meyers Leonard (11th overall pick), PG Ronnie Price

Offseason subtractions: PG Raymond Felton, G Jamal Crawford, PG Jonny Flynn, PF Kurt Thomas

When I say "Portland Trailblazers", what's the first thing you think of? No, it's not a nearly 20 year playoff streak, nor it is their 1977 title on the rapidly degenerating back of Bill Walton. It's not even the stain of the disgraceful "Jail Blazers" of the late 90's/early 00's, or playoff collapse against the Lakers in the 2000 Western Conference Finals. No, even worse than that - the word most associated with the Blazers these days is "injuries".

Greg Oden, Brandon Roy, Joel Przybilla, even coach NateMcMillan wasn' t exempt from the Ghost of the Jail Blazers, a curse that seemed to grab hold of Portland's only major sport franchise by the throat, tendons and any other body part that assists in locomotion. What should be a perennial contender behind the legs of Oden and Roy, instead is in the midst of rebuilding about a decade sooner than they thought they would be at this point.

We here at MAMBINO know we're not the most sensitive people on MAMBINO. Between the Ugly NBA and MLB player power rankings, and our merciless deconstructions of franchises whose fans have nothing left to cheer for, we know that this  isn't the blog you go to for a digital pat on the back. Well, unless you're a Lakers fan. Then bring some extra pants, because we're giving you a good, old-fashioned rubdown.

What I'm getting to here is that I don't know any better way to preview the Trailblazers than to take a look at the key players and give them a rating on who's most susceptible for injury. There's been almost 35 years of an unprecedented streak of unlucky injuries: I think it's time for us to just be honest with ourselves, P-Town, and prepare for the worst.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Waiting for Ricky -- Minnesota Timberwolves Season Preview

Starting Five:  PG Luke Ridnour, SG Brandon Roy, SF Andrei Kirilenko, PF Kevin Love, C Nikola Pekovic

Key Bench Players:  PG Ricky Rubio (out until December-January), F Derrick Williams, SF Chase Budinger, G J.J. Barea, G Alexey Shved, C Greg Stiemsma, PF Louis Amundson

Notable Offseason Additions: SG Brandon Roy, SF Andrei Kirilenko, SF Chase Budinger, G Alexey Shved, C Greg Stiemsma

Offseason Losses:  SF Michael Beasley, C Brad Miller, SG Wayne Ellington, F Anthony Randolph

The Minnesota T’Wolves were one of the biggest surprises in the NBA last year.  A team most considered to be bound for the Lottery were actually a .500 team thanks largely to a new coach and the emergence of two players, Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio.

A 6-foot-10-inch power forward brute, Love blossomed in his fourth season as a legitimate MVP candidate, a consistent 26 point/13 rebound low-post beast who had added a lethal step-back 3 to his offensive repertoire.  Love also spent the Lockout playing beach volleyball and eating a “Zen diet,” which helped him lost 25 pounds, enabling a previously plodding forward to move around on the court with much more ease and addressing what had been one of his major weaknesses: conditioning. 

While Love’s trimmed-down physique was a revelation, the T’Wolves became must-see TV thanks to a rookie, wunderkind Spanish point guard Ricky Rubio.  Rubio had been touted since age 15 as a Spanish Pistol Pete, a tall guard with floppy hair and an absolute wizard with the ball.  Most American fans saw him for the first time in the 2008 Olympics, when, as a baby-faced 17-year old, he more than held his own in the Gold Medal Game in the 2008 Olympics. 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

MAMBINO's MLB Playoff Preview, Part 2: Yankees/Orioles and Nationals/Cardinals

National League Division Series: St. Louis Cardinals over the Washington Nationals in 4 Games

KOBEsh: Let's get this out of the way: St. Louis' controversial win over the Atlanta Braves has zero bearing on this game. The Cardinals, having faced elimination five times in the past 12 months, didn't go into this game thinking that they could possibly lose, even though most people (even here on MAMBINO) picked Atlanta to come of this game tonight. A younger, more inexperienced team could have been rattled, thinking that they could have, or even should have, lost that game. The defending champions aren't giving a second thought to a call that in honesty was only the second worst sports referring job in the past two weeks.

That being said, the reason the St. Louis Cardinals will go on to defeat a team with almost 10 more regular season wins than them isn't just for all the reasons they've survived every comeback before this one. Yes, STL has a mountain more postseason familiarity than their opponents from the District who have only one regular player with any substantive playoff experience (Jayson Werth). But that can't account for everything. What will get them three wins is patience.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Week 5 NFL Picks - A Blind Squirrel Finds a Highway

Last week I went 5-9. It was the fourth straight week that I lost more games that I picked than I won. There have only been four weeks in the season. The record now stands at 11-26-2 on the year. If you are smart by now you know, do what I don’t not what I do. Anyway here is this week’s disaster:

CINCINNATI BENGALS (-4) over Miami Dolphins: Bengals have won 3 in a row and are averaging 33 points a game since losing to Baltimore. The Dolphins haven’t been good since Dan Marino was kidnapped by Ray Finkle. This year is no excpetion.

Green Bay Packers (-7) over INDIANAPOLIS COLTS: On a day where Tom and Peyton are playing again, Aaron Rodgers faces off against Andrew Luck. Rodgers kind of took the title of top quarterback from Brady last year while Luck took Peyton’s old job. Problem is Luck also took Peyton’s old teammates. The Packers haven’t had an easy game yet this year, but this is close to that. They should win by 10.

Can They Make it Work? -- Los Angeles Lakers Season Preview

That's some star power.
Starting Five: PG Steve Nash, SG Kobe Bryant, SF Metta World Peace, PF Pau Gasol, C Dwight Howard

Key Bench Players: PG Steve Blakers, PG Chris Duhon, SG Jodie Meeks, F Antawn Jamison, PF/C Jordan Hill

Notable offseason additions: Everyone good in the NBA, PG Steve Nash, PG Chris Duhon, SG Jodie Meeks, F Antawn Jamison, F Earl Clark, C Dwight Howard

Offseason subtractions: C Andrew Bynum, PG Ramon Sessions, G Christian Eyenga,  SF Matt Barnes, PF Josh McRoberts

Just writing the starting lineup gave me chills.

The 2012 season concluded with the following assertions as a near certainty: the re-signing of PG Ramon Sessions, the loss of F/C Jordan Hill to free agency, the amnesty cut of the underperforming Metta World Peace, an inevitable trade of the high-priced Pau Gasol and a high-priced extension of Andrew Bynum. It seemed that this era of Lakers basketball was over, and a new one, whatever trajectory it might take, was ready to begin its course.

None of that happened.

In a flurry of trades and signings over a month-long period, the Los Angeles Lakers went from the Kobe Bryant non-contending sideshow to a favorite for the NBA title. GM Mitch Kupchak and VP of Player Personnel Jim Buss saw every hole the Lakers had, and plugged them seemingly with options out of the fantasy basketball playbook. There's little more the front office could have done for the team in any sort of pragmatic fashion. The adjective I most associate with LA's offseason is...silly. All of this is just...silly. 

Friday, October 5, 2012

MAMBINO's MLB Playoff Preview, Part 1: Wildcard and (a couple) Divisional Series

The second Wild Card slot has added in another dramatic cadence to what has been in recent years an extremely exciting last week of the season. In four out of the past five seasons, playoff spots weren't settled until Game 162 out of 162, with the Rockies, Phillies, White Sox, Twins, Rays and Cardinals all eeking out monumental, last-second comebacks. The drama has been so fantastically unreal that the Commissioner Bud Selig, who miraculously looks like the best out of the four major sports right this moment, decided to heighten it starting in 2012 by adding another contender to the mix.

More teams than ever before were in the postseason hunt up until the final series of the year, including the freshly eliminated Dodgers, Brewers, Angels, Rays and White Sox. For the uninitiated, the playoffs begin today, when the two American League Wild Cards, the AL West deposed Texas Rangers and the Baltimore Orioles and the two National League Wild Cards, the reigning champion St. Louis Cardinals and Atlanta Braves, face off in a sudden death game to see who goes on to play the two teams with the best records in their respective leagues. As opposed to years past, the margin of benefit between being a division titlist and a Wild Card team just became canyon-like. If you're a divisonal winner, you're at least guaranteed a five-game series. A Wild Card winner? All you get is a one-game playoff to play the best team in your league, and a giant choco-taco full of crap. Needless to say, it's infinitely advantageous to win the division. But even as tenuous as this sounds for the teams playing, you know who this sucks most for? THE GREAT MAMBINO.

That's right. US. Since the Divisional Series matchups aren't set yet, here we are previewing two one-game playoffs and only two out of the four divisional series. What about us, Bud? Your loyal bloggers? Who do this for nothing but the love of the game and the mountains of women that come with being an amateur writer? C'mon, man. Think about us, for once. Ass.  

Regardless of my personal vendettas, we here at MAMBINO would never intentionally deprive our dozens....AND DOZENS of followers. From the hearts and minds of MAMBINO HQ are our picks for tomorrow's playoff games and the two Divisional Series that are set:

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Another Year of Mediocrity in Sacramento - Kings Season Preview

Is DeMarcus ready to lead?
Starting Five: PG Tyreke Evans, SG Marcus Thornton, SF John Salmons, PF DeMarcus Cousins, C Jason Thompson

Bench Players: PG Isaiah Thomas, SF James Johnson, PG Aaron Brooks, PG Jimmer Fredette, C Chuck Hayes, SF Tyler Honeycutt, SF Travis Outlaw, PF Thomas Robinson

Key Additions: PF Thomas Robinson, PG Aaron Brooks

Key Subtractions: PF JJ Hickson

As a Dodgers fan who suffered through the McCourt era, I feel for the beleaguered Sacramento Kings fans. After McCourt used the Dodgers as a personal piggybank and pay Russian psychics to “boost” team performance, it’s refreshing to see that Frank has competition for the worst ownership in sports over the last decade: the Maloofs. The Maloofs have spent the last five years trying to hold the city of Sacramento hostage for a new arena deal, tried to renege after they got it, and almost bolted for Anaheim when a local businessman was stupid enough to guarantee their personal debts.

From a basketball perspective, the Kings have been flailing since the Chris Webber era ended and haven’t made the playoffs since 2006. They’re an NBA team that has had plenty of high lottery picks and intriguing coaching hires, but has never been able to put it all together or build momentum towards a perennial playoff team. Unfortunately for Kings fans, this doesn’t look like the year that everything will change for them.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Time to Believe in the Golden State Warriors? Season Preview

There's a lot riding on those ankles.
Starting Five: PG Stephen Curry, SG Klay Thompson, SF Harrison Barnes, PF David Lee, C Andrew Bogut

Key Bench Players: PG Jarret Jack, C Andris Biedrins, SF Richard Jefferson, PF Carl Landry, SG Brandon Rush, SF Draymond Green, C Festus Ezeli

Key Additions: C Andrew Bogut, SF Harrison Barnes, SF Draymond Green, PG Jarret Jack

Key Departures: SF Dorrell Wright, G Monta Ellis, PG Nate Robinson, SF Dominic McGuire, C Kwame Brown (SIKE!)

Like so many Golden State Warriors teams of years past, the 2012-2013 squad has accumulated a lot of interesting parts with more questions on how they fit together. There’s no question that the franchise is taking meaningful steps to right the ship. The new ownership is an improvement and they seem to have a real plan in place, but it’s unclear how much that will pay off this season. 

Coach Mark Jackson looks like he will be able to get his team to play hard, even if he’s still learning how to teach the X’s and O’s. Shipping out Monta Ellis (although it was technically last year) for Andrew Bogut could be a franchise-altering move that allowed them to get real value in return for one of the league’s most puzzling players. No one in Golden State is kidding themselves that they have a championship team this year, but they certainly have a promising core and young talent that they can build on if this team starts taking steps in the right direction. As usual, the recipe for success is having healthy stars and reliable contributions from role players. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Life After Nash - Phoenix Suns Preview

Starting Five: PG Goran Dragic, SG Wesley Johnson, SF Michael Beasley, PF Luis Scola, C Marcin Gortat

Key Bench Players: PG Kendall Marshall, SG Shannon Brown, SF Jared Dudley, F Markieff Morris, F/C Channing Frye, C Jermaine O'Neal

Key Additions: PG Kendall Marshall (13th overall pick), SG Wesley Johnson, SF Michael Beasley, PF Luis Scola, C Jermaine O'Neal

Key Departures: PG Steve Nash, SG Michael Redd, SF Grant Hill, G/F Josh Childress, F Hakim Warrick, C Robin Lopez

On June 26, 1996, an upstart young point guard out of Santa Clara was drafted 15th overall by the Phoenix Suns. Syracuse's John Wallace had just finished a stellar collegiate career by making a national television appearance in the NCAA title game, and was still on the board. Suns fans largely booed the decision to draft Nash, and Wallace was drafted by YOUR New York Knickerbockers. (And just how everything else turns out for a tortured fan base, Nash, the two-time MVP, is prime to make the most serious championship run of his career, and Wallace averaged less than 6 points a game during his two stints with the Bockers.)

Nash never flourished in his first couple years as professional point guard, playing behind the likes of Kevin Johnson, Sam Cassell, and Jason Kidd. So Phoenix traded him to Dallas in 1998 for this incredible pile of dog crap:

Bubba Wells
Pat Garrity
Martin Muursepp
a first round pick

Good get. Nash blossomed as Dallas' starting floor general, breaking out in the 2000-01 campaign with 15.6 points and 7.3 assists per game. He was directly responsible for Dirk Nowitzki and Michael Finley's maturation, and the Mavericks played postseason basketball for the first time in a decade. But when it came time for Nash to get paid, owner Mark Cuban chose to build around the young Nowitzki, leaving Nash to come back to Phoenix.

The fans would treat him far better the second time around.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Has the Little Brother Finally Grown Up? - Los Angeles Clippers Season Preview

Can't believe they got Dwight too.

Starting Five: PG Chris Paul, G Eric Bledsoe, SF Caron Butler, PF Blake Griffin, C DeAndre Jordan

Key Bench Players: G Chauncey Billups, SG Jamal Crawford, SG Willie Green, SF Matt Barnes, SF Grant Hill, PF Lamar Odom, C Ryan Hollins, C Ronnie Turiaf

Key Additions: SG Jamal Crawford, SF Grant Hill, PF Lamar Odom

Key Departures: G Mo Williams, SG Nick Young, G Randy Foye, PF Kenyon Martin, PF Reggie Evans

Despite having Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, the poor Clippers can't catch a break in Los Angeles or in the Pacific Division. Perhaps they were expecting the Lakers to slowly decline while trying to ride Kobe off into the sunset? Unfortunately, that's not how the Lakers roll and they managed to completely retool on the fly, retaining all their core assets except Bynum and adding two superstars. That's gotta hurt for the Clippers, who were probably planning on flipping the switch this year and triumphing over their cross-town rivals to win their FIRST Pacific Division crown.

The continued relevance of the Purple and Gold aside, this team has a lot of pieces, but there is an equal number of question marks here. Although they have several young superstars surrounded by a tantalizing combination of young talent and veteran leadership, this roster doesn't scream title contender in an increasingly top-heavy NBA. Forget the Heat. Would this team even be favored against the aging Spurs?

How the Dodgers' Massive Trade WASN'T a Bust

The Los Angeles Dodgers' August acquisition of Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and Carl Crawford was the most phenomenal bust in the history of Major League Baseball trades. LA is unlikely to make the playoffs at this point, being two games behind the St. Louis Cardinals for the final Wild Card spot with only three games left to play. Even if by some miraculous meltdown in Missouri the Dodgers are able to simply tie the Cards, they'll still have to play a one-game playoff at home in order to play yet another Wild Card one game playoff just for the "honor" of being shot straight into a five-game series with the best team in the National League. Needless to say the Dodgers have a pretty unlikely road to success. For a team that many people, including those on this blog, felt were now the class of the NL, the Dodgers struggled mightily post-trade and now sit on the outside of the playoff picture looking in. Even in the rosiest of scenarios, this Dodgers team is such a far cry from who they were supposed to be. It's pretty pathetic; even roughly $260 million dollars couldn't buy them a playoff spot.

Too bad that this viewpoint is an uneducated display of how incredibly short-sighted trade analysis has become, where short-term benefits and overarching statements rule the day. I'd like to lay back and say that this trade's success can't be examined yet, but that's an impartially true statement. As it stands right now, even if the Dodgers don't win the NL pennant this year, let alone make the playoffs, this trade is still an unqualified success. Here's why: