Posted on: December 29, 2008 1:41 pm

Has Hell Fozen Over in the Valley of the Sun?

I am an avid watcher of all Valley of the Sun sports, seeing as I am a 17 year Valley resident. I moved back to the place of my birth in 1995, just missing the frenzy of the Phoenix Suns (which, by all accounts, was fine by me). Minus the 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks, there are consistencies out here in the desert. As we close the year that is 2008, I have noticed an unequal balance in the equilibrium of all Valley sports fans. Could the end of existence be near?! Take a look at my theory:

1. The Diamondbacks are on a Losing Trend

The only professional championship in the history of Phoenix sports (if you count the Phoenix Mercury, fuck you) was achieved by a team with a two headed monster. Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson provided the boost this city needed. Although the rest of the country was most likely supporting the Yankees, even though people rarely do, it seemed destined to be their championship. After all, September 11 of the that year scarred the New York City landscape forever. The Diamondbacks somehow prevailed in the bottom on the 9th, and in doing so, delivered a Phoenician Championship.

In their 10 year existence, they have won a World Series, 3 division titles (2007 being the most recent), and a Wild Card berth. Yet 2008 was a year in which the Diamondbacks sunk back into mediocrity. Ups and downs are part of any franchise, so this comes as no great surprise. It's going to happen. A down year in a franchise of winners just hurts, but is acceptable. This doesn't prove or disprove my theory, it just shows that a winning team is doing something it is not accustomed to doing: losing.

2. ASU Football Sucks, U of A Wins a Bowl Game

This has been a steady balance since I moved back here. ASU football, while never overpowering or dominating, was a decent team that made several bowl appearances. What one thing does Jake Plummer, Andrew Walter, Sam Keller, and that cry baby Rudy Carpenter all share? Bowl victories. Being a ranked college football team is not an oddity for this university.

The University of Arizona is normally the little brother just dying to play. Since the Desert Swarm Defense departed in 1995, the Cats have made a mere 3 bowl appearances. That equates to a bundle of losing seasons. This year it's all flipped around and unaligned. The Arizona State Sun Devils finish the year 5-7 (after much preseason hype mind you) and the Arizona Wildcats finish 8-5 after beating BYU in the Las Vegas Bowl. That's wrong, but not as jacked up and different as...

3. U of A Basketball Sucks, ASU is Ranked

Now this has got to wake some people up! U of A has dominated the Arizona sports scene for two decades. Yes, Lute Olsen has retired and with his retirement goes a dynasty. I know U of A is not a Valley team, but they are the rival, so we always keep a close and hateful eye upon them. Although I thoroughly enjoy basking in their demise, it is an odd feeling. When ASU beats U of A, it a joyous occasion because it is unexpected. God damn, U of A fell off fast.

On the other hand, as of this blog's posting, the Arizona State Sun Devils are ranked #20 in the country! Again, this is a great thing. I'd like to personally thank James Harden for hanging out here in the desert another year. I love watching this team play the slow down style of college basketball, but they prove my point again. Something odd is happening out here, everything is upside down.

4. Phoenix Suns No Longer Dominate

This was a long time many seasons can you win 50+ straight? Since my personal reappearance in the desert, the Suns have made the playoffs every year but 2002. It is disappointing to see a lack of dominance from a team that is always winning. If they are not careful, they might get left behind. The Jason Richardson trade might propel the Suns to a playoff push, but our time is done. We no longer boast one of the top teams in the NBA, and it is another sign of the ever changing tide.

5. The Cardinals are going to the Playoffs

This is the sign of the end of the world. Every team has been acting uncharacteristic, but when the Cardinals roll into the playoffs, you know something isn't right. Perhaps they lucked out this year, considering that masked behind their 9-7 record is the fact that the teams they beat hold a .368 winning percentage, and the teams they lost to won .634 of their games. I believe that if they win the Super Bowl, the earth will split and Satan and Saddam Hussein will emerge to rule us all.

I'm just saying, this aren't right out here in the desert. The advantage of it is that we get to cheer on teams we never cheer on, and talk shit about, well, everyone. Phoenix fans are a pessimistic bunch. Why? Look at our history.

The truth has been told, now let the debating begin.

Posted on: December 24, 2008 4:35 pm

The Suns Bug

I've been bitten.  Once again, the Suns have aroused the interest of a devoted fan.  <o:p></o:p>

The Suns have broken my heart every season.  It is not the heart break like that of an Arizona Cardinals fan.  The Cardinals are never good enough to evoke championship conversation.  The Suns are in the hunt every year.  What if Joe Johnson wasn't mauled by Jerry Stackhouse?  What if Boris Diaw and Amar'e Stoudemire hadn't taken two steps over the line after Robert ' I look like Will Smith' Horry threw Steve Nash into the boards?  What if <st1:city w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">San Antonio</st1:place></st1:city> didn't exist?  What if.  <o:p></o:p>

After yet another early post-season exit last year, I was through.  I made up my mind that I would simply not care about the Phoenix Suns and their play entering the 2008-09 season.  After all, they traded away the Swiss Army Knife, Shawn Marion, for Shaquille O'Neal.  I have hated Shaq since his early days with the Orlando Magic.  He isn't good, he's just a mammoth human being.  How dare Steve Kerr and Robert Sarver attempt to make me like this guy.  Nash is getting old, Amar'e is still a beast, and Raja Bell is over rated (Okay Raja, here's your job: guard <st1:city w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Kobe</st1:place></st1:city>.  Oh, you can't?  Huh).  It was going to be east not watching Suns' games this year.<o:p></o:p>

What could change my TV viewing schedule?  Now that the Suns no longer matter in my realm, TV time with them would be time well spent.  There is no way I would watch them again this year, unless...<o:p></o:p>

Raja <st1:city w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Bell</st1:place></st1:city> and Boris Diaw for Jared Dudley and Jason Richardson.<o:p></o:p>

Shit.  I'm in.<o:p></o:p>

Trading away Raja Bell and Boris Diaw for Jason Richardson makes sense to me.  Raja, we love you for decking <st1:city w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Kobe</st1:place></st1:city>, but that's not guarding him.  Even when wide open, he may not always knock down the shot.  Don't get me wrong, I thoroughly appreciate everything he did for this franchise.  His clutch three point against the Los Angeles Clippers in the '05-'06 playoffs cemented his place in Suns history.  In my opinion, his stint with the Charlotte Bobcats will not be a good one.  No more wide open shots, and a team struggling to find an identity will equate to poor production for <st1:city w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Bell</st1:place></st1:city>.  Boris Diaw is a potent player on a team of superstars.  I believe that intimidated him into an inert state.  His offensive mindset can thrive in <st1:city w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Charlotte</st1:place></st1:city>, and he may well be an All Star in two seasons.  <o:p></o:p>

What do I get to watch every night?  Jason Richardson.  The Suns now have a potent scorer at the two spot, something they have lacked since the dismantling of the '04-'05 team, when Joe Johnson was a point machine.  The advantage of having J-Rich is he is always a threat to score.  He creates his own shots, be it shooting a pull up jumper, drowning a three ball, or driving to the rim at will.  Anyone who wears number 23 and attempts to emulate Michael Jordan is a steal in my mind.  He also has the chance to play on a winning team, something he has done once in his eight year career (the '05-'06 42-40 Golden State Warriors).  <st1:city w:st="on">Richardson</st1:city> brings a bit of youth to an aging team, seeing as he is four years younger than the departing <st1:city w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Bell</st1:place></st1:city>.  This guy could be a superstar soon.  I can't miss that!<o:p></o:p>

The Suns did something that they haven’t done in a while.  A good transaction.  I have always been a fan of Jason Richardson, and therefore it is easier to accept the trade (unlike the Shaq/Marion).  So yeah, I will tune in and watch as many Suns' games as my life schedule permits.  The Suns bug has bitten.  Does anyone have some disinfectant?<o:p></o:p>

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Category: NBA
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