Sunday, May 6, 2007

Beer, Basketball, Boxing & a Baby Boy

Farm house
My husband and I went to the Boonville Beer Festival Saturday which takes place every year in Boonville, Ca., which is North East of San Francisco between Cloverdale and the California coast. For those of you who live sheltered lives, hand-crafted beer has been a big part of the California organic movement and over the years has become a pretty big industry, going hand-and-hand with locally-grown and raised food and wine.

My husband and I were early converts to the microbrew. Life is too damn short to hang out with Bud, Coors or Lites, no matter how you spell it. Anyway, festivals like Boonville are just a chance for folks to try different brews from around the country (mostly out West here) and listen to some tunes and eat BBQ oysters, meat and chicken. If you haven't tried BBQ oysters, by the way, you ain't living, folks.

Anyway, I felt appropriately old for the first two or three glasses of brew but once the buzz kicked in, all those evil thoughts receded to the dark recesses of my mind. And I learned something new, too. Every time someone spills a beer, the crowd whoops and hollers -- it's like the wave at a baseball game as the sound picks up and carries all the way across the fair grounds.

Here's a few photos from the event. The good looking guy with the beer is S.O.L.'s other half.

NBA Playoffs Move On

Golden State didn't only finish off the Dallas Mavericks they beat them back in to last year, that's when the Mavs last looked like they weren't as good as their record or their superstar when Miami came back from a 2-0 deficit to take the O'Brien Trophy from their slippery clutches.

This beating -- only the third time an eight seed has beaten a number 1 in the playoffs -- was so thorough and so humiliating, the Mavs may never recover from it and worse, when (and if) Dirk Nowitzki is awarded the award for season MVP (the voting ends before the playoffs), it will seem like a travesty.

I think the Mavs will come back strong next year. I have faith in Avery Johnson though I wonder if Dirk is too fragile to handle the heat of the toughest battles. So far, he's been a no-show when it really counts.

Props to the Warriors, though, who ran the Mavs out of the gym and proved that sometimes it's better to be without expectations.

As for failing on the biggest stage, it's fair to add Tracy McGrady to that list. For now. I think T-Mac stepped up this season more than almost any other player, even Kobe who was said to be the sole reason the Lakers made the playoffs. The number one Rocket played big for his team when their 7-6 centerpiece went down for a long stretch in the middle of the season. The fact that he couldn't lead them over the Utah Jazz isn't necessarily his fault. The Jazz got a big performance by the man that Yao should at least slowed down. Still Boozer's numbers were sick and it's possible even The Dream in his prime might not have made a difference.

Utah's win sets up a second-round matchup against those new darlings of the NBA, Golden State Warriors, though I wouldn't be surprised if David Stern is a wee bit nervous. Not even Nellie could possibly know what his team will do next -- explode or implode. So far in the playoffs, it's been an either/or situation. Ya gotta like the Warriors chances of making it to the Western Conference Finals (think a lot of folks bet on that before the season started?).

The other Western series pits Phoenix and San Antonio, a matchup a lot of folks are calling the real NBA Finals. I think the series is going to be close with the Spurs having a slight edge because they're just playing great D right now. But I like the Suns in a long series because I think they have the ability to adjust and they're younger and possibly more resiliant. Nash is just too good and the Suns coach, while not quite as smart as the Spurs Gregg Poppovich, is a bright guy who is very much underrated. A classic battle between a great offensive and a stingy D. It will be a great series for NBA fans.

And finally, don't worry about this series being the last great one of the season. Whoever comes out of the West will have their hands full if they have to face Detroit which is playing like they did when they won it all a couple seasons back. The Pistons have quietly won five straight games in the playoffs, the last one by double-digits over the Bulls who looked like world-beaters last week in vanquishing the defending champs.

Don't even think about counting out LeBron and the Cavs, either. They have an underrated young coach, and a player who is a true fourth-quarter superstar. Right now they're even playing pretty decent interior defense. I predict they'll have as easy time with the Nets as the Pistons will have with the Bulls.

Pretty Boy is Golden

I don't think anyone who knows the sport of boxing really thought Oscar De La Hoya had any shot of beating Floyd Mayweather Jr. last night in their much anticipated super welterweight bout last night. The big surprise is how well the Golden Boy fought and even more so, that had he really stuck to his game plan (especially that quick, punishing left jab of his) he might very well have beaten Mayweather, a superior fighter in almost every respect but power (and thus a 2-1 favorite).

The only other thing that stood out for me in this fight is the only thing that ever stands out in fights broadcast by HBO Pay Per View (besides the price -- $65 for the privilege) and that's analysis Larry Merchant. Why anyone lets this guy do t.v. is beyond me. Besides being the slowest talker in the history of sports broadcasting, he almost never has anything interesting to say.

And that's not the worst thing you can say about Merchant. Rumors have it that he clashed with other, better color analysts, including former pro boxers like George Foreman and Roy Jones, Jr., who were fun to listen to and actually offered insight instead of bad poetry.

Even last night, he bristled at Emanuel Steward's assertion that de la Hoya would tire late in the fight (basing his opinion on how 'intense' and 'tight' Oscar seemed in the early rounds). And it was pretty clear that Oscar ran out of gas late. Maybe that's because Steward unlike Merchant, actually knows what the fuck he's talking about.

Aunt S.O.L.

That's right, S.O.L. became an aunt for the fourth time today, May 6, 2007. Get it? 5/6/7.

Ain't that sweet?

I wish I had a photo but I'm waiting for my brother to send me one. After three girls, we're welcoming the first nephew to the brood. His name is Seth Reuben (the middle name belonged to my late grandfather on my Mom's side) and he weighed in at 8 pounds, 8 ounces. Welcome to life, Seth. May you make a mark on this crazy world and may you find only love and hope and health and happiness.

UPDATE: Some photos, as promised:

1 comment:

merjoem32 said...

I was a bit disappointed with the Mayweather-Dela Hoya fight. The under card bout between Bautista and Medina was more captivating. Bautista showed some toughness in his fight against Medina. However, he needs to get tougher as Ponce de Leon is a murderous puncher. I hope he wins for the glory of Philippine boxing and his country.