McLaren's complaints should fall on deaf ears

They’re the European version of the Hatfields and McCoys. Instead of overalls and shotguns though, you’ll get three-piece Yves Saint Laurent suits and 750 horsepower racing machines. Still, the concept is the same when it comes to the animosity between Ferrari and McLaren within the Formula One arena. Jean Todt, current head of Gestione Sportiva, the formal name of the Ferrari F1 team, doesn’t much like his McLaren counterpart Ron Dennis. Recently departed McLaren driver Fernando Alonso didn’t much like Ferrari’s lead racer Kimi Raikkonen. Even the lawyers for the respective teams aren’t too fond of one another.

After McLaren’s golden boy Lewis Hamilton lost his driver’s championship this past season over the final few races to Ferrari’s Raikkonen, the team became a collective group of sore losers. Well, Hamilton excluded, but we’ll get to that in a second. Officially, McLaren filed a complaint, saying that cars belonging to BMW Sauber and Williams should have to rescind their finishing positions at the Brazilian Grand Prix for using fuel that was a tad “cooler” than F1 regulations would allow. See, Hamilton, who could have wrapped up the driver’s championship with a 5th place or better finish at the year’s last race came in behind the BMW and Williams drivers. So, if they were to be disqualified, Hamilton would in theory be eligible to be rewarded the driver’s championship. Hamilton for his part wants no part of this, but McLaren officials are pushing ahead with the plea.

This is pure desperation folks. Sure, the “cool” fuel may have been against F1 regulations, but if the folks at McLaren think they have a snowball’s chance in hell to reverse the final standings they’re probably standing a little too close to the exhaust fumes. There is little chance that the Formula One governing body will actually take the championship trophy away from Ferrari as a result of arbitration in a lawyer’s office – especially when the results were decided fair and square on the track. Ferrari and F1 fans in general would be outraged. Besides, McLaren probably has no perceived right to bring up issues of rules violations, after they themselves were caught cheating in a much more egregious manner earlier in the year. Tad hypocritical, wouldn’t you say?

McLaren needs to cut their losses, move on and find a driver next year to replace the departed Fernando Alonso. And, while there are is talk that the legendary Michael Schumacher may be a great fit alongside Hamilton on team McLaren, it seems just about impossible that a Ferrari blue-blood would ever set foot in a rival McLaren race car. The feud wouldn't allow it.

Update: Thankfully, McLaren's appeal was denied. Ferrari's Raikkonen will retain his driver's championship.

Real estate brokers rejoice, a few millionaires may soon be house-hunting

You would assume that making millions of dollars and playing a game for a living would be more than enough to keep a man happy, but you’d of course be wrong. When we go to sleep later tonight, our dreams will be the life that NBA players live on a daily basis. Still, it’s not enough for them to remain content. For whatever reason – be it lack of success, perceived disrespect, communication breakdowns or general lack of drive – there are quite a few NBA players, some marquee names and others not so much, that could soon be on the next ship to tradesville.

Perennial All-Star Jermaine O’Neal has heard his name in trades for nearly two years, and neither he nor his boss Larry Bird make it a secret that a trade may be welcome. Earlier this year Bird essentially said that the Pacers will soon go young with Danny Granger and Shawne Williams as the franchise centerpieces, leaving current face of the franchise JO out of the conversation. Now O’Neal is saying, once again, that a trade out of Indiana might not be such as bad idea."If that situation presents itself, then that's what it is. I told those guys this summer that if you feel like you need a situation that you can better this team, I'm all for it because they've given me the opportunity to really achieve some of the things that I wanted to achieve and also establish my name,” O’Neal told the Boston Globe. The Pacers at 3-5 should make the move already and get more solid playing time for young players like the aforementioned Williams.

Next up is Smush Parker. It’s not as though Headbanded Marauder is eager to leave town, but management (ie. Pat Riley) has seen enough of this no game, pseudo NBAer. Parker never should have been a starting point guard in the NBA and really only got his shot at the league because the Lakers were desperate for a point man. Riley wants to trade Parker, but another GM would have to be pretty stupid to give up anything for his services. So, the Heat may have to release Parker outright. The Smush era in the NBA may thankfully be coming to an end.

Antoine Walker is felling lost and alone. Unloved, and like a stranger in a strange land. “What is this place they call Minne-sotta?” he may be apt to ask. Walker wants to leave the Timberwolves, so he can feel alive and cared for. "I don't know what I'm doing, I have no idea what my role is," Employee number eight told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. "I wish somebody would come tell me. ... I don't know what I'm doing [in Minnesota]." The better question Antoine is what are you still doing in the NBA?

We told you about the whole Stephen Marbury saga, one which could very well end with Marbury and the Knicks winning the daytime Emmy in the best soap opera/drama category. Marbury returned and played, and even managed to score 13 points. But, the reality is that Steph is just going through the motions, the Knicks are calling around to other teams to find a good deal and this marriage is over.

Not sure whether it’s wishful thinking or actual recon evidence, but Detroit-based radio station 1270AM is reporting that if Kobe Bryant hadn’t used the no-trade clause in his contract and vetoed the deal he would be wearing a Pistons jersey and Richard Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince and a future first round draft pick would be wearing purple and gold. We tend to think that it’s all wishful thinking, but maybe, just maybe, 1270 AM has a really good recon team. Whatever the case, Kobe leaving Laker-land is still a very real possibility.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer seems to think that Eric Snow, once he returns from injury, will be packaged in a FedEx box and shipped out of town. With the emergence of Daniel Gibson, and the perpetually underachieving Larry Hughes available for spot point guard duty, the 86-year-old Snow has become expendable.

And now, some positive news. Golden State Warriors guard Baron Davis has the option of opting out of his current contract at the end of this season. But, while he is disappointed that the Warriors haven’t given him a new contract yet, he doesn’t think he’ll leave the Bay Area even if he becomes a free agent. "I don't think so," Davis told The Sacramento Bee. "I don't think [opting out] is going to be an issue. I've got two years. Opting out, I'll figure it out when the season's over, but I doubt it." Rejoice Warriors fans. Perhaps this bit of news will help you forget that your team is currently 0-6 and kind of suck…or not.


Clock ticking on Stephon Marbury's tenure with the Knicks

Mark it down; this New York Daily News story is the beginning of the end for Marbury and his time with the hometown Knicks. Apparently, Coach Isiah Thomas and owner James Dolan met in private after the Knicks most recent loss and discussed “options” for dealing with the “Marbury problem,” from reducing his role on the team to releasing him outright. And, reacting to the news, Marbury decided to skip practice this morning.

When the coach and owner sit down to contemplate your role and somehow, miraculously, those private conversations make it into the pages of your local paper, the writing on the wall, nay the bright red neon sign on the wall, spells impending doom. The details of their conversation didn’t just come out through intrepid journalism; they were “leaked” out on purpose. Marbury is done in New York. Caput. Finito. Fuggedaboutit.

But whether Marbury is traded outright or the $42 million remaining on his contract is bought out, this latest flare-up in Knickerbocker land could, or should, mark the beginning of a major unraveling. It is all well chronicled, but one by one, just about every big name, big contract player that coach/GM Isiah Thomas has bought in – from Francis to Houston -- was either bought out, traded or retired. Sooner or later, the same fate awaits other current players like Zach Randolph, Jamal Crawford, Eddie Curry…the list goes on.

Not that individually some of these players aren’t talented, but collectively the culture that Thomas has built and Dolan has allowed to percolate is a cancer on the Knicks’ chances at success. Over the last few seasons, these two stooges have held the Knicks roster and reputation together with duct tape, crazy glue and false promises to their fans, but no longer. Besides, given the current talent on the Knicks, the team isn’t going anywhere significant, anytime soon.

It’s time for the Knicks to clean house from top down, following the recent blueprint set forth by the Chicago Bulls and Portland Trailblazers, and run a complete overhaul. Some of the contracts, like Marbury’s will be tough to move. But, let’s put Dolan, and his Cablevision dollars, to good use and initiate contract buyouts wherever possible, and trades everywhere else. It may be costly sure, and they might have to really suck for a couple of years, but in the long-run it’s the only road to take.

Whatever happend with our NFL pre-season predictions? We review

When we actually venture to make predictions on an upcoming season or game we stand by our picks, darn it. We plan to make it a habit, from time to time, to give a look back at our season predictions and take our picks to task. Yes, we’re self-critical like that. And, we also take some solace in knowing that we don’t just make predictions and forget about them. If we’re wrong, we’ll own up. But, hopefully, we won’t be wrong often.

So, having just passed the halfway point of the NFL season, we thought we’d take a critical look back at our season predictions and evaluate the happenings of the first half – the players and teams that surprised, the coaches that made a difference and the trends that matter going into the playoffs.

We pick the AFC division winners like a master clairvoyant

First, let’s take a look at our picks for the division winners in the AFC. They were: Patriots (East), Bengals (North), Colts (South) and Chargers (West). As the standings are today, we were right on 3 of the 4 picks – not too shabby. The Patriots, Colts and Chargers each lead their respective divisions to this point. The Bengals not so much, sitting in last place with a 3-4 record.

Yes, we severely underestimated Steelers rookie head coach Mike Tomlin (though we did pick them, along with the Ravens as the AFC wildcard entries). But more so, we horribly undersold the talent that Tomlin had to work with in Pittsburgh. Rothleisberger, Parker, Ward, Holmes and that defense are all seriously legit. The Steelers play hard-nosed football and have an almost unstoppable running game. It doesn’t seem like they’ll have any problems mixing it up during the playoffs on the road. Will the Steelers make it all the way to the Super Bowl this year? The crystal ball and the New England Patriots say “not likely.” But, Tomlin and his crew will be a really tough out for teams like the Colts, Pats and Chargers.

We pick the NFC division winners like a retarded monkey

Now, begrudgingly, let’s take a look at our picks for the NFC division winners. Here’s where some of our picks went horribly wrong. We didn’t see Brett Favre and the Packers coming. At 38 years old, we had essentially written off Favre and the running game deficit Packers. But, lo and behold, they’re 8-1 and sporting a really stingy defense. And, despite Jon Kitna’s bold pre-season prediction, we also didn’t expect the Detroit Lions to make much noise.

Our own NFC North pick, the Chicago Bears, are languishing, dealing with serious injuries on the defensive side of the ball. At least we were right in that Rex Grossman would be out as the starting QB by mid-season. It is pretty apparent at this point that the QB carousel with Grossman and Brian Griese will continue all year, while the Detroit Lions and aforementioned Packers run away in the division.

Looking at the other divisions in the NFC, we picked the Eagles, Saints and Rams. Wrong, wrong and wrong again – although the Saints could very well turn it around, win the division and still make a serious run in the playoffs. The Cowboys, who we picked as a strong wildcard entry, is making the Eagles, Giants and Redskins look pedestrian and should wrap up the NFC East division crown within the next 3-4 weeks. And the Rams…oh, the pitiful Rams. Sure, they’ve dealt with injuries to stud running back Steven Jackson and quarterback Marc Bulger, but the defense looks absolutely pathetic and the offense isn’t much better. Let’s just say that we were expecting the team to have more than 1 win by week 10. Hey Steven Jackson, what happened to that prediction of 2,500+ total yards this season? With 440 total rushing and receiving yards to date, Mr. Jackson, you’ve got some serious work left.

Breaking News: The Patriots will win the Super Bowl

So, finally, on to our Super Bowl prediction; we picked the Patriots over the Saints. The Pats look like they’re still in track to make our – and just about everyone else’s – most important pre-season prediction come true. But, do we still think the Saints will make it to the final game? Not as much as we did on September 6. Just about every team in the NFC, except for the Cowboys, seems to have at least one or two glaring flaws. It makes us shudder to think that the un-drafted Tony Romo could actually be a Super Bowl quarterback, but he was one botched snap from possibly achieving that feat last year.