May 31, 2004

Don't Call it a Comeback

Last week, after my computer gave up living and my internet connection crapped out on me, I asked for donations from my loyal audience in order to help fund a new computer. The thought being, of course, that you've enjoyed the completely free reading material that I've provided both here and at The Hardball Times over the past two years, and also that a new computer would help me produce more material for you to enjoy in the future.

I left the entry up all weekend to try to raise some more money, but mostly because writing anything new was difficult with my computer situation.

Well, now I'm back ... at least sort of. My trusty laptop is still broken, but at least my internet hookup is fixed. So that's the good news. The great news is that you guys are far more generous than I could have imagined.

The donations started flowing in immediately after I posted my plea for help in the wee hours Wednesday morning. In all, 81 of you donated something, and because of my readers' incredible generosity, I was able to order a new computer over the weekend. It should be here in about a week.

So thank you to everyone who donated, from those of you who pitched in $1 to those who gave a little more. It made me feel great to know that you value the entertainment and information you get here enough to help me out financially. All 81 of you should feel good about what you've done; you did a very nice thing and I really appreciate it.

Okay, enough about money and computers ...

The Minnesota Timberwolves held off elimination with a Game 5 win at home on Saturday night, behind Kevin Garnett's 30 point/19 rebound/4 assist effort. The Wolves and Lakers play Game 6 tonight, and I fully expect the Lakers to finish them off without a ton of difficulty.

Barring the unthinkable, which is the Wolves winning three straight to take the series (not gonna happen, sorry), I think the Timberwolves' 2003-2004 season basically sums up what it's like to be a sports fan. Or at least a sports fan outside of New York and Los Angeles.

They struggled for 15 years. First they were just plain awful (this lasted far longer than it should have), then they drafted Garnett and got pretty good and they simply couldn't win a playoff series, and now this year they finally got over the hump and got out of the first round.

Kevin Garnett wins the MVP, the big moves they made during the offseason for Sam Cassell and Latrell Sprewell paid off, they took care of the Nuggets in the first round and squeaked by the Kings in the conference semi-finals.

And then, after all that, they run up against the Los Angeles Lakers, winners of three of the past four NBA titles, in the Western Conference finals. This isn't your younger brother's Lakers team either, this is a squad that is totally beatable. And the Wolves were the team to do it -- they were playing well and they matched up nicely with the Lakers.

So what happens? The Wolves' second-best player, Sam Cassell, arguably the best point guard in the league this year, severely injures his back and hip and is basically out for the entire series. Some games he tries to play and lasts 43 seconds and some games he just sits out completely.

And not only is Cassell out, the Wolves are without his backup, Troy Hudson, who had ankle surgery earlier in the month and is not even on the playoff roster. Hudson torched the Lakers in the playoffs last year and he would have made a huge difference this year. Instead, without Cassell and Hudson, the Wolves have either played without a point guard altogether or with Darrick Martin, signed off of the waiver wire earlier in the year, running the show.

I guess if I had to describe this season in one word it would be "tease." Now, it was one helluva fun tease, but still a tease. I could move to Los Angeles tomorrow and live there for the next 50 years and no one would ever convince me that the Wolves, with a healthy Sam Cassell, wouldn't be playing in the NBA Finals.

But that's sports. A team struggles and improves, disappoints and surprises, and then when they finally get in a position to win the championship, a star player gets hurt.

Wait 'til next year, right?

And finally ...

I usually reserve this space for a whole bunch of Twins talk, but today I've decided that since I haven't posted anything Twins-related in several days, I have enough interesting stuff to say about the team that I posted it over at The Hardball Times, for everyone to see.

I know it upsets some people when I write stuff over there and not over here (I still don't understand this), but hopefully you realize that you can simply click on the link to the article provided below and read it, whereas people who don't stop by this blog on a regular basis but do go by THT every day will also have a chance to read it this way.

Twins Notes (by Aaron Gleeman)

Aaron takes a look at the ongoing struggles of his favorite starting pitcher and examines whether or not the Twins might actually have a new second baseman ... finally.

Have a good Memorial Day and I'll see you back here tomorrow ...

New article at The Hardball Times: Twins Notes

Today's picks:

Montreal (Hernandez) +155 over Atlanta (Ortiz)

St. Louis (Marquis) -120 over Pittsburgh (Benson)

San Francisco (Rueter) -120 over Arizona (Daigle)

Colorado (Jennings) +170 over San Diego (Eaton)

Kansas City (May) +110 over Detroit (Knotts)

Tampa Bay (Bell) +155 over Minnesota (Greisinger)

Toronto (Hentgen) +155 over Seattle (Moyer)

Baltimore (Lopez) +160 over Boston (Lowe)

Total to date: -$1,300

W/L record: 68-88 (11-13 from Wednesday to Sunday for -175 with one non-bet because of a different starting pitcher.)

*****Comments? Questions? Email me!*****

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