Saturday, June 23, 2007

We've joined the WNY Media family!

This will be our final post at this location. Effective immediately, The Ultimate Sports Road Trip is now part of the Western New York Media Network. We are looking forward to our participation with their evolving and growing sports information function.

We ask our readers to hit the link listed below and update your bookmark.

See you over at WNYM!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Kane goes first.....Oden to do the same????

Yep, as expected Buffalo's own Patrick Kane is selected with the first pick overall in the NHL draft tonight. Since Chicago picked him up we assume that the smile for the cameras was almost as real as Eli Manning's was after being selected by the Chargers.

Great for him, and congrats on being (to the best of my recollection) the first Buffalo born athlete to be taken first in an amateur draft in one of the four major sports leagues.

The amazing thing about that last statement is that the second one could be coming up next Thursday night. Ohio State's Greg Oden (born in Buffalo) is the odds on favorite to be selected first in this season's NBA draft. What are the odds on that? Have to wonder if the possibility of two top draft picks from the same city/geographical area in the same season has ever occured before.

There's gotta be a photo op for these two sometime soon......

Good grief! Another billion dollar stadium

The price tag of a new Minnesota Vikings stadium is expected to flirt with $1 billion by 2009. The projected cost of a stadium with a retractable roof on the site of the Metrodome is $954 million, based on 2008 costs for materials. But this week the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission, owners of the Metrodome and the Vikings' public partner in pursuit of a new stadium, said that stadium costs would rise by about $41 million if the Legislature approves a new stadium in 2009, rather than next year. That would bring the total cost to $995 million.

Meanwhile, the Vikings are movng ahead to acquire four blocks of land immediately to the west of the current Metrodome site, at a cost of $45 million. The plan is still to build a new stadium on the footprint of the current Metrodome and then redevelop the surrounding neighborhood as part of a comprehensive plan.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

*sigh*... So many Christians, so few lions...

Faith Night at Dunn Tire Park this Saturday.

This act got booted from Turner Field in Atlanta last summer, and yes this was the event where pitcher John Smoltz delivered his famed "sermon on the mound". Fans attending that game were greeted by religious pilgrims from Focus on the Family passing out materials outside the stadium about its programs. Some of the brochures highlighted at the game, according to the Focus on the Family’s website, included its Focus on Parenting program, which features a “Hot Topic” about children and homosexuality and how gay activist groups are “targeting” public schools. Other materials passed out included a packet on its endorsements of reparative therapy, or the “ex-gay” movement.

And there was more... our Lord and savior Jesus Christ, or someone who was a dead ringer, was also in attendance outside the ballpark grounds that day, wearing his white robe, thorny crown and dragging his heavy cross, while his entourage passed out slingers urging support of a ballot referendum defining marriage in Georgia as between a man and a woman. So those pesky homos in Georgia want to get married??? Oh, the horror of it all!

The Braves and their owners, Time Warner, received so many complaints from fans that they pulled the plug on future Faith Nights. Yet the Buffalo Bisons apparently see fit to open up our ballpark for these traveling clowns.

I think I'll pass on Faith Night. Call me instead when the Bisons bring in these two as headliners:

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Huntington Park renderings unveiled

Things are taking shape nicely for the new home of the IL Columbus Clippers, set to open in Columbus' Arena District in 2009.

More from the Columbus Dispatch

HERE is a .pdf file online showing a map of the Arena District and the positioning of the new ballpark. Besides Nationwide Arena, this neighborhood is already blossoming with retail outlets, restaurants, nightclubs, offices and residential units... everything our Cobblestone District and Canalside hopes to become.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Columbus' Brandon Watson - one amazing streak.

It came to an end last Rochester. Brandon Watson of the Columbus Clippers had hit safely in 43 straight games, breaking an International League record that had stood since 1912.

From the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle... But on Monday he struck out looking in the first, flied to center in the third, struck out swinging in the fourth, grounded to third in the sixth and struck out swinging in the eighth. As he walked to the dugout after his last at-bat, many fans gave the left-handed hitter a standing ovation.

Ironically, the former record of 42 games was set by Jack Lelivelt who played for the Rochester Hustlers, which was the nickname of their minor league team back then.

Bisons Manager Torey Lovullo offered these thoughts on Watson's accomplishment. "When you've played the game as I have and hit for 20 games you feel pretty good about your approach and here you have a guy who doubled it. He should feel very proud of what he managed to accomplish."

Lovullo drew a few laughs when he talked about watching highlights of the record breaker the night before on ESPN's Sportscenter. The game took place up in Ottawa's Lynx Stadium. "I said to myself... That's Ottawa? They got cameras there?"

The absolute best hitting streak in AAA goes back to 1933... Joe DiMaggio put together a 61 game hitting streak for the PCL San Francisco Seals. At the corner of 16th and Bryant in San Francisco is a tavern named "Double Play", kitty corner from what was the site of Seals Stadium. Yes Joltin Joe's feat is showcased there among all the awesome Seals baseball memorabilia. And yes, the USRT made the pilgrimage to soak it all in. Why are you not surprised???

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Eat For The Cycle

Our friends at Frontier Field in Rochester always seem to be at the cutting edge of cool promotional ideas.

This season, fans are encouraged to "Eat For The Cycle", and try each of the specialty hot dogs which will be rolled out during separate homestands throughout July and August. Fans can have a card punched on each purchase, and if you try all four you get a free t-shirt memorializing your accomplishment.

Here is the mouth watering lineup...

Ay Chihauhau (at the La Fiesta stand, first base side of the concourse)
Quarter-pound hot dog on a sausage roll topped with lettuce, onions, taco beef, tomatoes, nacho cheese and jalapeƱos. Served with a side of tortilla chips topped with nacho cheese.

Tony Soprano ( at Mama Mittsy's, near the front gates)
Quarter-pound hot dog on a sausage roll topped with pizza sauce, mozzarella cheese and pepperoni. This "capo" (boss) of dogs will be run thru the pizza oven for toasting and melting. Served with a side of two breadsticks and marinara.

French Poodle (at Batter Up, third base side of the concourse)
Quarter-pound hot dog on a sausage roll topped with fresh cut French fries and coleslaw. Served with a side of fresh cut fries.

Bar-B-Dog (at Big Red BBQ, third base side of the concourse)
Quarter pound hot dog on a sausage roll topped with pulled pork BBQ, nacho cheese and onions. Served with a side of tortilla chips topped with nacho cheese.

Back in 1999 Pete and I both "ate for the cycle" at Milwaukee's old County Stadium... we did separate concession runs and had a bratwurst, kielbasa, italian sausage and a cheesy grillwurst all during the same game!

We're heading to Rochester to cover the Bisons/Red Wings the weekend of June 30, and this will be worth checking out!

Friday, June 15, 2007

You think this Inner Harbor obstructionist nonsense only happens in Buffalo?

Memo to Tim Tielman, or the residents of Granger Place, or Judge Elfvin and the rest of the geriatrics living on Gates Circle.... you are not alone! You have comrades in arms, soulmates, and rebels for a common cause, and they are alive and well in Pittsburgh!

As part of the complex deal to keep the Penguins in Pittsburgh, the team was given development rights for the land where Mellon Arena stands now, as well as adjacent open space on the north side of the old venue. While site plans and renderings are yet to be unveiled, the team has indicated that they are contemplating an exciting mixed use commercial, residential and entertainment district to compliment the new arena across the street.

Like Buffalo's Cobblestone District and Canalside, sounds like a win-win for everybody right?

Not so fast, say the residents of the adjacent Hill District, who have formed a group called the "One Hill CBA Coalition". According to this article in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, the group wants an ironclad community benefits agreement to cover things like minority hiring and other vague issues. Read between the lines, and what they really want is their hockey team relocated to Kansas City, and a rusting, boarded up hulk of an arena sitting vacant close to their back yards.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Hamilton Predators season tickets on sale now

Nope... no kidding... check it out right here at $1000 deposit will reserve you a lower bowl seat and $500 in the upper bowl.

Info from the ticketmaster site:
If and when the NHL allows a team to relocate to Hamilton, a sales representative will contact you with season ticket seating location information. Seating locations will be allocated based on when the deposits were made, with earlier deposits being offered the better seating locations. At that time the depositor can choose to purchase the offered tickets or request a refund of their deposit. Deposits will be automatically refunded in the event that it is determined that the team will not be moving to Hamilton, but in any event no later than December 2009. If deposits exceed expected available seating, depositors will be placed on a priority waiting list based on when their deposits were made. Deposits will also be available at any time by requesting a refund from Ticketmaster's Customer Service Department. Interest will not be paid on refunded deposits.

But as this article in today's Toronto Star indicates, Copps Coliseum is nowhere near the standards of a suitable NHL facility. We couldn't agree more, having paid multiple visits to that arena we can state they aren't even among the elite AHL venues. Last September we took in the Sabres/Penguins exhibition game, our first time ever there in a media capacity, and were horrified at the cramped pressbox, postgame press room and corridor were one and the same, and the dressing rooms for the players were appalling. By contrast, an NHL team in Winnipeg's MTS Centre would be awesome!

Regier and Ruff are back - Reporting from the Sabres press conference

I got down to HSBC Arena this morning to take part in the news conference where Lindy Ruff and Darcy Regier were formally designated as the returning Head Coach and General Manager of the Buffalo Sabres. For Ruff it is a three year contract with an option for a fourth, whle Regier gets a two year deal. 'We got these guys for substantially below what they would earn in the open market" said Managing Partner Larry Quinn, while not revealing the specific dollar amounts of the deals.

Both men admitted that leaving Buffalo was never really an option or a consideration. Quinn stated that discussions on a new deal had taken place before the season ended, and everyone needed time to decompress after the disappointing finish to the year. Said Ruff, "Buffalo has become one of the best hockey cities. It's a great place to play; It's a great place to coach."

Of course, the questions turned towards the signing of the teams' marquee players, Chris Drury and Daniel Briere, as well as speculation over the status of restricted free agent Thomas Vanek. Quinn stated that the team budget next year will be higher than this year's. Regier also indicated that inquiries have been made to both co-captains through their agents, but admitted that if these discussions go beyond July 1, they will most likely be gone. As for Vanek, Regier offered some reassuring words. "I'm not a believer in operating out of fear. We'll be fine with Thomas at the end of the day."

A number of media members pressed the trio on the team's negotiating policy, and Quinn was quick to defend their approach. 'We've evolved with our contract policy. We used to work under one year contracts. When you do this negotiating during the course of a season, you subtract elsewhere on the team and everybody on the team knows it." Talking to some of the reporters afterwards, most of us saw this line as a bunch of hoo-ey and weren't buying it.

Quinn also stressed this point and asked us to report it. "We are offering mini packs!" Quinn stated that the team's season ticket base of just under 15,000 remains intact, the Sabres will offer mini packs and variable pricing on games, and recommended that fans wishing to attend games consider mini packs, warning that "we speculate that there will be few single seats available once tickets go on sale." Quinn also said there would be a slight price increase for single ticket costs. The Sabres had previously announced an 8% increase on average for season tickets.

One parting comment --- guess which moron forgot to turn his cell phone on to vibrate? Sure enough, my pocket goes off, and rings and rings... prompting Darcy to comment on the noise and jokingly suggest a $50 fine for the infraction. I slunk in my chair, tried not to call attention to myself, but those sitting around me, including Jim Fink from Business First and Janet Schultz from WNY Hockey...had me pegged. I was busted!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Cleveland's League Park will rise again!

Before there was Jacobs Field... Before there was Cleveland Stadium... there was League Park. This was the home of the Cleveland Indians for an entire generation, a neighborhood ballpark on the city's east side. The place where the Tribe won the 1920 World Series. The place where Babe Ruth hit his 500th home run.

Today nothing is left but a rundown building which used to house the ticket office, a vacant field and a marker. (Yes we did check it all out on one of our USRTs to Cleveland after all that is what we do.)

But exciting news out of Cleveland! Funds are being raised to replace the field in its original location, build a replica outfield wall, restore the remaining facade and add 2500 seats, which would then be used for youth baseball, high schools and community events.

More from the Akron Beacon Journal.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Blogging from the pressbox - a reporter gets tossed

Here's an interesting piece in today's Louisville Courier-Journal.

It seems that one of their sports reporters, a gentleman named Brian Bennett, was tossed out of the pressbox in the middle of a college baseball game. Bennett's trangression? He was doing live blog reports of the game, and the NCAA states that is a "clear violation of its policies."

The paper is not going down quietly, arguing that such a rule ignores first amendment rights. The NCAA, on the other hand, wants to protect the media outlet who pays the fees for live broadcasts of the game.

WHo is right? Who is wrong? One thing is for certain - this medium is changing the way we report sports, discuss sports and analyze sports, and the changes are happening at a dizzying pace.

What happens in the Louisville case will certainly bear watching for all of us who cover sports and do blogging.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Golfing at Diamond Hawk - Cheektowaga's new jewel

We've been wanting to try out the newest golf course to hit the Buffalo area since they opened the back nine last fall. So with my dad and my brother in town, Andrew arranging for the VIP invitation, we were off for a day of golfing at Diamond Hawk.

Now fully open for business, this golf course is still a well kept secret, nestled next to an office/industrial park in the northeast end of town. To get there you have to pass the airport via Genesee Street, turn right on Sonwil Drive and you will see it on your left.

Any preconceptions you have about "Cheektovegas" and its alleged pink flamingoes and bowling alleys goes right out the window as soon you get here - the facilities are first class and opulent, the clubhouse and dining room almost swank; everything done with a flair.

Since my dad is an avid golfer and my brother John is right behind him, we asked them for a critique of the course after our rounds, as we enjoyed a post golf meal in the Diamond Hawk clubhouse restaurant. My dad replied, "This is nothing like your typical municipal golf course or some par 3 facility. This is a really difficult and challenging course to play."

Continuing on, "With the tight fairways, plenty of bunkers and such, your shot off the tee has to be a good one or else you're in real trouble right away. Then there are the greens - they are massive and spacious and that makes things a real adventure on the putt."

John made note of the quality of the course, now in only its first full year of operation. "The course is in great shape for being so new. The lawns look mature and the attention to maintenance is superb."

In addition to the quantity of bunkers, sand traps and other hazards, the roughs here are, well, rough. "It's easy to lose balls here" said Dad. "The roughs are especially thick and high to add to the challenge."

The course itself winds through a number of housing subdivisions, is adjacent to a municipal park and an office park, and the airport control tower is easily visible from a distance. But pay special attention to the 16th and 17th holes - they pass through an actual environmentally protected wetland, with water hazards, thick reeds and dense foliage. It is the coolest and most unique feature here at Diamond Hawk.

While we were golfing, Andrew, who was a Cheektowaga Councilman when the bond issue was executed to buy the land for this course back in the early 90s, gave us a historical background of all the difficulties and false starts that happened before the dream of a Cheektowaga golf course finally happened. He was beaming with pride all afternoon long. "This place is so awesome. Another superb amenity here in our great town."

Our special thanks to proprietor Sam Tadio for hosting us today. Suffice to say we will be back. Oh, and check out the Diamond Hawk website for everything you need to know about the place.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

The Riches say farewell to Wichita

Last year around this time Rich Baseball Group, owners of the Buffalo Bisons and two other minor league teams dropped the bombshell that they were moving their AA baseball team, the Wichita Wranglers, to a new ballpark and a better deal in Springdale, Arkansas.

We did a story on this last topic last July in our Artvoice baseball column "Play Ball". My recollection of preparing that story was that nobody at the Bisons wanted to talk to us about it, which I found a bit amusing since normally when we contact Brad Bisbing at the Bisons seeking an interview or information, he is more than happy to oblige and assist.

Anyways, as part of the deal, the Riches agreed to leave intact a highly popular baseball tournament in Wichita called the National Baseball Congress. In fact, it was this provision that quelled the leaders of Wichita and prevented them kicking up the dust about losing their AA team.

Looks now like the City of Wichita is going to buy the National Baseball Congress from the Riches, insuring that the event remains in their city. Once this deal is completed, and the curtain descends on the Wranglers' 2007 season, it will spell the end of Rich Baseball's association with Wichita, Kansas.

More from the Wichita Eagle.

Friday, June 8, 2007

LeBron and Co.......Meet the Borg

Some random NBA stuff from the past couple of days....

First off, let me thank Lebron James for his Jordanesque effort in the ECF Game 5. And while I'm at it, hats off to Boobie Gibson for his play in the fourth quarter of Game 6 and for giving millions of sports fans the ability to say "Boobie" without being accused of having their mind in the gutter.

The respective efforts of these two are the biggest reason why people(like me) will actually be turning on the TV during this year's Finals rather than be subjected to another Pistons/Spurs borefest.

Now Cleveland gets to face its toughest team yet in the Borg....err...Spurs.

I call them the Borg since they are just so methodical in their style and also don't have much flash, no real personalities that you just wish to latch onto. Just a basketball team that has been the NBA's best over the past decade that is searching for their fourth ring since '99.

If Game 1 is any indication, this is highly likely to happen. In that game, Tony Parker was too quick to the hoop with 27 points. The Spurs got way too many second chances off the boards against a team that prides itself in rebounding department. And Timmy was....well....Timmy.

And oh yeah, did I mention LeBron not hitting an FG 'til halfway through the third??? That isn't going to get it done for the Cavs.

Nice run to the Finals Cleveland, but the reality is the Cavs took advantage of an ultra weak Eastern Conference and needed some amazing performances in Games 5 and 6 of the ECF to reach the Finals and now face a veteran club that is basically the Patriots of the NBA. The Cavs did sweep the season series with the Spurs and frankly this series will still go a long way, the distance I think.

But the ending will remain the same. A Larry O'Brien trophy at the Alamo....again.

This is a joke, right????

Apparently not, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal which reports that the NHL is going to expand to Las Vegas and Kansas City in the coming years.

Movie mogul Jerry Bruckheimer is looking into heading up a potential Vegas franchise, and with the Anschutz Entertainment Group(LA Kings, Galxy, Chicago Fire and more) behind the efforts in Kansas City it is only a matter of time before this becomes a reality.

Admittedly, that may be 4-5 years away though. So says this report found on TSN.

Dear Gary Bettman:


You've got more interest in the sport of hockey in places like Cairo and Calcutta than you do in these two NHL hellholes. Neither city has been able to support the sport for long periods of time regardless of level of competition.

If you really have to expand to two more places, let me help you out. I'll even give you a non traditional market that makes a shred of sense...

1. Winnipeg: passionate fan base that will fill the joint on a nightly basis in their new MTS Centre. They've been banging the drum for another NHL club almost since the Jets left a decade ago. What's the matter? Don't you want your product in a city where it is actually desired??

2. Houston: Another brand new venue in the Toyota Center, and you know what? They have a strong and continous tradition of hockey going back decades.

Gary, I know you came to the job without knowing a shred of hockey back in the mid nineties, but way back in the seventies there was this rival pro league known as the WHA that had a team in Houston.

Did you know they were pretty darned good too? Had this player...Howe...Gordie Howe. Guy was so old that he had his sons on the team with him as well. Won the Avco Cup twice. Even applied to be part of the NHL merger back then. Hopefully you also know there's current IHL/AHL version that's been around for the last fifteen years or so as well.

C'mon Gary, I'm giving you two slam dunks here. Two cities that are known hockey markets and in Houston a large media market with loads of money to insure success. And heck, Stars v. Aeros...instant rivalry!!!!

There you go Gary, I'm just some silly blogger. But my proposal sure make more sense than yours.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

"just another day in SoCal"

So said Jim Rome today, as he was doing his reset on last night's Stanley Cup clinching game by the Anaheim Ducks.

Was it me, or did the crowd enthusiasm and joy resemble something like... the Buffalo Bandits winning the Champions Cup (1996). Or... the Buffalo Bisons clinching the Governors Cup on home field (2004). Sure it was great. Sure it was fun. We all cheered, they played Queen, the players paraded around wth their trophy, and we all went home.

I watched much of the game, and imagined what it would have been like if this had been Buffalo, running away with game 5 and poised to clinch the Cup themselves. The crowd would have been on their feet with 10 minutes to go... the noise would have been deafening... the crescendo would have built louder and louder and louder... As the game ended people would have been hugging, grown men would have been weeping. It would have been a moment that our city had never experienced. This entire community would have exploded in utter joy and jubilation.

And the same would have been true in Ottawa... heck it would have been a national holiday all across Canada today.

But in SoCal, it was just another day.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman came across as a stupid whiney simp on the ice, pandering to the SoCal crowd and doing a lousy job at it. His awkward handoff of the Stanley Cup to Scott Niedermayer looked awful.

And did I see the Ducks unfurl their championship banner in the rafters as soon as the game ended? So much for tradition and ceremony and a formal banner raising event in the fall.

This might sound like sour grapes, but I couldn't care less about anybody with a "Buffalo connection" and how happy they are. But that won't stop everyone in the media around here from running over to the Marchants this summer to get a glimpse of the Cup and the obligatory sound bites of how proud the parents are and grinning neighbors up in Clarence or wherever saying how cool it is that the Cup is on the street. Please spare me!

And no, I am not happy for Brad May... I always regarded him as a borderline psychopath, especially since the time he broke Derek Plante's nose (deliberately) the season after he left Buffalo. I mean, how do you do that to an ex-teammate who you played alongside with and showered with and traveled with. I think he is a few pieces of chicken short of a picnic basket.

Another day in SoCal... yet how sad that in places in Buffalo, other peer hockey markets that are equally as rabid, and wannabe NHL cities the moment would have meant so much more.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

2012 Olympics Logo

Time to dust off this letter...

"Dear Fans,

Please refrain from making your final judgment on the logo until you see how the whole thing looks.

Larry Quinn"

More from the UK Telegraph. Oh and by the way... the cost for this mess? $800,000!

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Outdoor NHL hockey coming next season

Remember the Heritage Classic? On November 22, 2003, the Edmonton Oilers faced off outdoors against the Mongtreal Canadiens in Edmonton's Commonwealth Stadium, in what became the largest attended game in NHL history. What was not expected was the bitter cold temperatures, with wind chills approaching -22F.

Apparently the NHL is set to do it all over again next season, with details yet to be announced. Rumors have it that an American based team will be involved, and the game will be telecast on NBC as part of its game schedule. Teams, venue and date will be released at a later date.

So I am thinking... Buffalo v Toronto at the Ralph? Would this not be an epic event? Would all of Buffalo and all of Toronto not turn out for such a spectacle? Chime in with your thoughts...

Monday, June 4, 2007

The Chinese on baseball: "It's like a sport for nobility"

In Beijing they are busy building and prepping Wikesong Baseball Field, which will be the host venue for baseball in the 2008 Olympic Games.

Then incredibly, as this article in the Globe and Mail points out, they will be demolishing this perfectly fine and beautiful baseball park once the Games are over, to build a shopping mall no less. While the NBA has Chinese folks rabidly excited, apparently one can't say the same about baseball over there.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Down at the ballpark early today...

Gotta interview Bisons Manager Torey Lovullo for this week's "Play Ball" column. He's doing his thing with Bisons play by play announcer Ben Wagner right now. Then I'm next.

Just so cool being down here at this time of day... the grounds crew and maintenance people are scrubbing and cleaning and getting the place ready; players jogging around the warning track or hitting balls in the batting cage. All is good... except?

Well, seems like a sewage pipe right behind the Bisons dugout busted last night. "Smelled like s**t the whole game", Torey groused. They were still pumping and disinfecting as I left the dugout.

I never take for granted how lucky I am to be able to do this job and experience the game from this perspective. Yeah..even the sewage part.

Friday, June 1, 2007

The latest perfomance for the ages....

Last night was a big night for the dish hooked up to my brand new flatscreen HDTV at the new casa, and with that the premier showing for the evening would be Game 5 of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals.

Fast forward to about 10 PM...I'm fading, eyes drooping, losing consciousness, and decided to push the power button while the game was late in the third quarter.

Dumb move Petey, biggest damned mistake since Wade Phillips said "let's kick it now with 16 seconds left".....apparently I missed a clutch performance for the ages from Lebron James.

He what??? Scored the final 25 points for the Cavs?? 29 of the last 30??


And in doing so brought the Cavs to within a game of their first NBA Finals appearance in their 37 year history??

Wait a minute....

Ain't this the same person that was being torn to shreds in the media after passing up a game tying shot in Game 1 to pass to a wide open* Donyell Marshall for the win? The guy who supposedly didn't want the ball in the clutch with the game on the line.

Same media with this opinion is very quiet now...and can probably be found hiding in some underground bunker in North Buffalo as we speak.

*(defined as: able to take pass, put ball in hand, grab a handful of popcorn/swig some beer from guy in front row and still have plenty of time to get said shot off.)

Seeing the highlights brought back the memories of other great NBA performances on this stage. Jordan's 63 in '86 against the Celtics in the Gahhhhden....Isiah's courageous performance in '87 on a twisted ankle putting in 25 4th quarter tallies....Bird and Dominique going mano y mano in Game 7 of the '88 Conference semis.

This one ranks right up there. I can't say best ever, but if I have to go back nearly two decades to find a performance that matches James from last night I'd say close enough.

Two big games Saturday night: Stanley Cup Finals/NBA ECF Game 6.

Watch the Senators if you wish.

I'll be watching the King.