The morning links, bigger than usual, but not associated with BALCO, any of its agents, or any performance enhancers other than a bowl of Raisin Bran and a cup of coffee:
Now for the fun part. Someone has to explain to me again how one game can be so important, the pregame angst and postgame celebrations in print and on the airwaves likening it to the seriousness of open-heart surgery, or at least a Cheney birdshoot. Explain how JFJ would base an entire deadline-day "strategy" -- stop snickering! -- on one outcome among 84. Explain how their season is somehow on again now, or extended, at least until the next game, after this, their first win in 28 days.
Aw, skip it.
Regardless, this caught my eye. It's the usual boilerplate, but on JFJ's verbosity scale, it's The Aristocrats:
"Our overall strategy hasn't changed ... we're not going to sacrifice future assets and good young players for short-term Band-Aid fixes," Ferguson Jr. said during last night's game. "The club's play thus far doesn't demand that. It did in the past. Times have changed. Our skills have changed and the ability to go out and add payroll at this time has been compromised.
"We're going to stick to our plan, at the same time, this same club was nine games over .500 in what seems like a long time ago now.
"We're not that now. We have to do some things that will not only put us in a better situation to win down the stretch here but also in the future.
"Our performance since early January has fallen way below standard. We need to address that. The club hasn't changed a great deal since that time. We've got to better and be a tougher team to play against and, obviously, more successful on the ice."
So there's "the plan." Deconstruct away, kids! Put some meat on those meagre bones! Now back to our regular blogging.
A new book has it that Barry Bonds juiced big after he was eclipsed by the '98 McGwire-Sosa homer duel.
Before Arsenal and Real take over the stage today, Barcelona knocks a listless Chelsea out of the Champions League, although it's a costly victory, Lionel Messi out for a month after a thigh injury. The Specious One sounds as out of ideas as his side: "Barcelona haven't won against 11 players, so that's all I can say."
LotN, NHL: None other than the Leafs' Tomas Kaberle, with a goal and three assists. NBA: Really want to pick Andres Nocioni's 24 in 22 minutes off the bench, but have to go with Joe Johnson, playing every minute and checking in with 42, nine assists and 10/10 FT makes in Atlanta's win over GS.