Monday, February 11, 2013

Moving over to!

Hey kids,

After several years on blogger, we've moved on to bigger and better things.

Starting today, February 11th, 2013, we'll no longer be posting new material at this web address. All of our previous posts have been uploaded to our big boy website,

Reset your bookmarks and head on over! We promise you'll enjoy.


Thursday, February 7, 2013

State of the Bronx: What To Do With A-Rod

(Once the story broke regarding yet another story regarding Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez and PEDs, I sent out the MAMBINO-signal to our two resident New York Yankees fans, El Miz and Bockerknocker. To my surprise, Mizzy sent me in the direction of his friend Vin and a thousand word rant on A-Rod, his contract and ensuing worthlessness. Too good to be left off of MAMBINO, this is Vin's maiden post. Let's make him feel welcome.)

KOBEsh: Vin--let's establish some baseline qualifications before you go on a fullblown rant. Having watched most games of A-Rod's Yankees career, especially the last two seasons-worth, how much do you feel he has left in the thank? A large portion of this answer has to predicated on a pretty invasive hip surgery, but regardless, what do you see as the best case scenario?

Vin: Regarding issue #1 i.e. how much does A-Rod have left in the tank, I think the answer is not much.

The number one problem for him, and this has been the case since 2008, the first year of his 10 year extension, is that he is consistently tripped up by injury. Some of these injuries have been of the nagging variety and probably have become more prevalent simply because he is getting older (2008 and 2011 are good examples). Some are much more serious and could very well be related to what now appears to be years of PED use (the hip surgeries before 2009 and 2013). Some are of the freak variety (getting hit in the hand by a King Felix fastball in 2012). But no matter how you slice it, since signing the worst contract in sports history at 10 years and $275 million, A-Rod has averaged 124 games played a season, and only 108 as a third baseman. Seemingly every spring training begins with Rodriguez talking about how he is in the best shape he's been in in years and how this offseason was the first time in years he was able to dedicated himself fully to training for some unique reason. He was even saying that at the end of this grisly October that "this is the first time in years I will be able to train without worrying about rehabbing". Coming into 2011 in particular, the buzz in the media was all about how he looked better than he had in years, how the spark in his bat was there again, and he did start out the season very strong... and ended up playing 99 games.

My point: I accepted several seasons ago that Alex Rodriguez is a 120 game a season player... or by definition not a full time player. It's hard to have a very high ceiling when that is the reality.
As for his actual production while playing, even last year he was an above average starting third baseman (.783 OPS, 18 homers in 122 games). But a quick look at his stats indicates that he is already well on the gradual decline any major leaguer eventually gravitates towards. The last season that his performance was truly elite was 2007, the last time it was great was 2009.

So, best case scenario going forward, even before these new revelations? Well, he's out at least half of this season best case, so you would pencil him in for maybe 65 games after he came back at the All-Star Break. I'd then give him 2 more seasons where you're hoping he can give you 120 games played/100 at third. But to pretend he would somehow begin to improve his performance, rather than continue to decline, after another major injury and more aging would be stupid. Add in the factor that he apparently will be off the "juice," a term I'll use to cover all the different PEDs he's apparently been helped by. I'd say the best case scenario is he is a part time third baseman/DH who provides slightly above average numbers when actually on the field for another 2-3 years before his body completely breaks down and/or he declines into a truly subpar player. But that is truly relying on the descriptor "best case."

So to summarize, we're looking at a 120-game a year player (maximum) whose production is likely to be either slightly above major league-level or merely average major league-level when playing. That's not good enough for any MLB club, let alone a perennial contender like the Yankees, and that's not even factoring in the money. A-Rod has stated that he has zero intention to retire willingly, while the team is making behind the scenes preparations to attempt a premature severing of ties with him.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Seeing is believing, as the Lakers take an unreal victory in Brooklyn

(A MAMBINO live report from Brooklyn for the Nets-Lakers game last night)

"Unreal. Just...unreal."

I slumped back in my seat time after time, stunned at the game that was taking place in front of me. Quarter after quarter, the Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Lakers continued to shake convention in a contest that couldn't be any less believable. Still, I whispered in amazement for 48 minutes, sometimes with a smile on my face and others with a bewildered scowl, hands atop my head.
The Los Angeles Lakers beat the Brooklyn Nets in their first visit to the Barclays Center last night, 92-83, in a game the Lakers had to have, Brooklyn couldn't have tried harder to give away and ultimately, Pau Gasol would love to have back.

The Barclays Center is merely a 30-minute train ride away from my apartment. This gigantic iron behemoth is brilliantly located in the middle of New York's second most heralded borough, crossing almost a dozen subway lines and the Long Island Railroad. It stands out from the surrounding environ of a typical urban center, as if Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum lost the war on July 4th and a spaceship landed in the middle of the BK. The Barclays Center is convenient, marvelous, and most importantly, thanks to its NBA tenants, cheap.

Despite a move out of the swamp in New Jersey to a brilliant, shining, $1 billion dollar arena, the now Brooklyn Nets are struggling to find their place in NYC. Attendance is up to 16th this season, a solid upward trend from finishing no better than 25th in crowd support since 2009. However, like with any expansion or relocation franchise, it's been difficult to find a fervent, dedicated fan base when a team has little tradition, few marketable stars, and generations of followers tied to another organization. New Yorkers are still very dedicated to their beloved Knicks, and the ticket price to see the now contending Bockers is sky high. For the playoff-bound Nets? There's a far smaller mortgage to be paid for attending a game in Brooklyn. Knowing all of this before showing up to Barclays tonight, I shouldn't have been so surprised by the swath of Lakers fans in front of me.

Still, even high fives from strangers clad in Lakers hats and headbands couldn't distract me from the task at hand--defeating the then 28-19 Brooklyn Nets. LA came into the game short-staffed, with Dwight Howard missing his second consecutive game due to a re-aggravated shoulder injury and Metta World Peace due to a bogus suspension for "punching" Brandon Knight during Sunday's Pistons game. Chief amongst my concerns were how anyone would be able to check the 6'7" Joe Johnson, if Reggie Evans would now gobble up 25 boards instead of 16 now that Dwight was ruled out and if Steves Nash and Blake would just spot Deron Williams the 20 he would eventually score.

Amazingly--unreal-ly--this never came to pass.

(Read the rest at Silver Screen and Roll after the jump)

Friday, February 1, 2013

Make or Break Month: What Are the Lakers Up Against in February?

(My newest from Silver Screen & Roll)

Thirty-six games is all that stands between the Los Angeles Lakers and either a merely disappointing season or one of the worst seasons in franchise history.

As our own Drew Garrison wrote yesterday, this Lakers team simply can't be trusted with your emotions; like a mercurial adolescent, there's little indication of which squad will show its face night to night, quarter to quarter, minute to minute. It's been a season of teases for the Lakers and their fans, vacillating wildly between the gutty, persistent crew that defeated the best team in the West, the one that, just days later, lost to the worst team in the West in a ridiculous 540 second meltdown.
Regardless of which way you sway with this Lakers team--having written them off or blindly hoping for a miracle stretch run--there's little doubt that by the middle of February we should all know there this team is headed in April.

The next 28 days are pivotal for not just the Lakers, but of course for their main competitors for the bottom two spots on the Western Conference playoffs bracket. The Houston Rockets, Utah Jazz, Portland Trailblazers, Los Angeles Lakers and Dallas Mavericks remain in a five-team scrum for the "honor" of facing destruction via superhuman Oklahoma City Avengers Thunder squad or a methodical, Batman-esque deconstruction by the San Antonio Spurs.

Just to be clear about what exactly the Lakers are facing this month, let's break down team-by-team the four weeks of February:

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Instant Trade Analysis: Rudy Gay to the Toronto Raptors

Toronto Raptors get: F Rudy Gay, C Hamed Hadaddi

Detroit Pistons get: PG Jose Calderon

Memphis Grizzlies get: PF Ed Davis, SF Tayshaun Prince, F Austin Daye, Toronto's 2nd Round pick

The Grizz finally jettisoned Rudy Gay out their hallway this afternoon, shunting off the extremely talented but often disappointing forward off to Toronto in a three-way deal that also involved the Detroit Pistons.

Today's trade was the culmination of years of speculation. Gay had been on the block for years, ever since he was notoriously absent for the Grizzlies' greatest run of success in their Western Conference semifinals loss two seasons ago with a shoulder injury. The summer before, Gay had signed a near-max contract extension with Memphis, paying him $82 million. Usually, money like that isn't an issue with a team--after all, do you think Houston is blinking at the $80 million dollar price tag attached to James Harden's beard?

The biggest problem with Gay's contract wasn't how well the team played without him, but that Gay simply hasn't improved and shown himself worthy of his massive payday. Since his second season, Gay has remained nearly the same player--an athletic specimen who could use his size, strength and speed to get anywhere he wanted on the court, but simply lacked the outside shooting touch or post game to dominate on all angles. His statistics are extremely telling--season after season, he essentially looks like the same guy. Defensively, he remains an above average player, but offensively there hasn't been much progress to his game. Just watching against other small forwards like Andre Iguodala and Luol Deng, it's clear that Gay has more physical gifts than either--and yet, both have the All-Star credits to there name that Gay does not. There's something to be said about fulfilling potential in this league, even if that player is still providing better than average production. Deng and Iguodala play extremely hard every night, and seem to hit whatever ceiling is in front of them. Gay as still left us wanting year after year.