Adako's Army

Northeastern’s basketball team is going through one of it’s most successful seasons in years. After the glory days in the 1980s that featured NBA All-Star Reggie Lewis and legendary coach Jim Calhoun (currently with UConn), along with six NCAA tournament appearances, the program fell off a bit in the last 20 years.

In the past couple of seasons, however, the program has experienced a resurgence under coach Bill Coen and is poised to potentially win the Colonial Athletic Association this year and return to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1991.

The success, combined with the renovations to Matthews Arena, celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, have led to a completely new basketball experience not seen in some time at the school, and the crowds have gotten bigger and bigger as the atmosphere begins to resemble that which was common in the 80s.

Steve Garfield

February 10, 2010

We were paid a visit by nationally (perhaps I should say world)-renowned video-news-gatherer Steve Garfield on Monday. Steve’s had his videos posted everywhere, from the BBC to CNN. He’s also a reporter for

I thought what he had to say was pretty interesting, and what he had to show us pretty useful overall. What I gathered most from it is how engaging video can be as a news medium, and how in this day and age it can be ridiculously interconnected and widely broadcast to anyone, anywhere.

He took streaming video of our classroom that he was able to post live, at that moment, on the internet, that was able to be followed by any of his twitter followers, which I thought was a pretty nifty little thing to be able to do.

Imagine the possibilities, of, say, an Anderson Cooper broadcasting his live movements out in the field to the thousands upon thousands of people that turn to him for news? I think that’s a pretty wild concept.

He also made us think about the ethics involved with live video, giving an example of a video he made where a woman named Nancy Hogan interrupted an interview he was doing. She was probably not all right in the head, but her questions were surprisingly pointed and I think his overlying philosophy on the situation was spot on:

What I’m doing is I’m just capturing, just sitting back and capturing, letting the camera roll. She had come over the rope and interrupted, so you might turn off your camera. What I think is leave the camera going and capture it all. Some reporters are like ‘whoa that’s not right.’  In a public place like that there’s no expectation of privacy, and beyond that she came across the rope, she saw the cameras, she wanted to participate in the recording. I think it’s fine.

I think one of the best examples of first-person video reporting he gave us was his walkthrough at his Jamaica Plain voting center from election day 2008. He was told he couldn’t videotape anything, but he knew the law and tried to explain to the people there he could, in fact, videotape the surroundings. Ultimately he left, but getting the entire process on video like that provides insight that you can’t really express with words.

Through his dedication and love of the craft, he was also able to spin his work into various paying gigs, which is something most aspiring journalists should look into figuring out, or copying.

I wouldn’t discount doing stuff because it’s free because you have to have experience and do things right now.

Good advice, I’d say. Want to do something? Do it, do it well, and chances are if it’s really worthwhile somebody will be willing to pay for it.

Belated as this may be, we were lucky enough to have Jennifer Lord Paluzzi stop by last Wednesday and give a presentation on the burgeoning network of community-based news websites she’s been working on for us.

After getting laid off in October of 2008 from the MetroWest Daily News, Paluzzi started up, which was itself an expansion of her earlier greater Grafton blog.

One of the inspirations for starting it up, she said, was because Grafton’s official town paper was one of those “funny newspapers from the town I went on vacation to,” and she thought the people of Grafton deserved better.

She got together with Jack Schoefield and turned her blog into the internet equivalent of a real, functional, daily newspaper.

Their venture soon expanded to other towns, like Millbury and Northbridge, and now they’ve got nine total, providing some of the most comprehensive local news in Central Massachusetts, if not the most comprehensive.

They’ve got videos, and photos, and real-time news that people who care about the goings-on of these towns can find instantly. It’s a pretty remarkable network for community-based journalism, really, and it’s the kind of network that I think will serve a lot of local communities on the internet in the future.

Said Paluzzi:

When I look at it I say ‘it’s just a small town why is it a big deal?’ But people in a small town want to know just as much about what goes on in their town as they do about Congress. This is what really affects people.

And she’s right, it really is what affects people. It’s what they care about on the most direct basis. She pointed out the difficulties in getting someone to understand what it means to be a journalist from a site like, how they don’t really get the idea of a website with newspaper-like credibility.

But I think down the road, you’ll find that won’t be the case. And I think you’ll find a network like will be more trusted than dinky hometown newspapers ever were.

Cold fatigue

February 10, 2010

One of the toughest things for me to deal with around this time of year is what I like to refer to as cold fatigue.

As a west coaster, I’m used to December, January, and February sucking. Those are the winter months, after all. But in the middle, sometimes end, of February you start to see those  kind of light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel kind of days that make you believe Spring is mercifully on its way.

Not so in Boston. Those do not exist. Not in February, at least. February is cold and it sucks. And then March is cold and it sucks. And then April, really, is largely cold and miserable.

It’s awful, I tell you. You associate March Madness with sunny T-shirt days and all of a sudden you make the brilliant decision to go to school on the east coast and all of that’s thrown out the window.

most pictures of winter and snow make it look majestic and inviting. not this one, this one gets to the heart of it. cold sucks.

My own charming self-pity aside, you probably wonder how this relates to Bay Area sports. Well, tenuously, really, but I do have a point here.

At this time of the year for Bay Area sports, and really sports in general, you get kind of a similar cold fatigue. The Super Bowl comes and goes, and you’re kind of left with the ho-hum portions of the NBA and NHL regular season.

Desperate for spring training to start, anxiously anticipating March Madness, and all you have to pass the time is the race for some of the most uninspiring playoff spots in all of professional sports – the bottom seeds in the NBA and NHL, where half the teams in the league make the playoffs anyway.

Like, congratulations, Miami, you made it into the playoffs despite being two games under .500, now go lose four games to LeBron James and enjoy your offseason.

And I don’t think sports cold fatigue sets in especially well in the Bay Area market, where, come February, you’re left with two of the most predictable teams in their respective leagues.

On the one hand, you have the Golden State Warriors (owners of a sparkling  13-37 record, putting them in an exciting race with Minnesota for second-worst in basketball) who you know are going to be bad. They’re bad every year.

Case in point: Golden State of Mind’s pre-game poll for Monday night’s game against Dallas asked fans whether they were rooting for the Warriors, and Don Nelson in his pursuit of basketball’s all-time coaching wins record, or Dallas, and the opportunity to ring another one up in the loss column as the Warriors chase second-to-last place to give them a better shot at landing Kentucky’s John Wall in the next draft.

The result? 63% of respondents (362 votes) were actively rooting against the Warriors just so they could improve draft position. The GSoM tone was equally optimistic:

You know the Mavs, you unfortunately know the Warriors too well. Hopefully the Warriors surprise us with a win. Don’t hold your breath though.

And then on the other hand you have the Sharks, who are remarkably good in the regular season year after year almost to the point where they’re boring. Especially since they flame out in the playoffs equally remarkably year after year.

It’s a little hard to get worked up about any regular season win with a team that has made it an annual tradition of racking them up  before they become most important.

So yeah, cold fatigue.

But at least pitchers and catchers report in 10 days.

Photo by flickr user turbulentflow and republished here under a Creative Commons license.

Normally I’d want to link to a few things to illustrate a woe-is-the-Warriors-post (lord knows there’s no shortage of material to reference), but this time I’ll stick to this weekend’s ESPN Weekend Dime, because there’s just so much juicy Warriors badness packed into one article I think it will suffice.

Exhibit A:

The Warriors, though, are adamant that there was never a shred of validity to the recent report out of Boston suggesting that a deal featuring Allen and Ellis was a legit possibility.

The safest assumption at this point? As mentioned earlier this season when the prospect of Golden State’s trading young Anthony Randolph was raised, teams would almost certainly have to be willing to absorb the contract of Corey Maggette (with nearly $31 million left on that deal over the next three seasons) to get an Ellis conversation started.

The Warriors, being the Warriors, are kinda sorta maybe shopping Monta Ellis around the league. Not to see what they can get, but to see if they can springboard Monta into a way of ridding themselves of the burdensome Maggette contract.

Mind you, this is a contract that was signed before last season. And in the second year of the deal, Maggette is basically having the best year of his career and performing as well as could be hoped for in one’s wildest dreams. And even still the Warriors not only cannot move him to a team that could use his services (many could), they would have to attach their best player to him in order to get out from under that contract.

This is how the Warriors operate. Maggette’s contract was odious when it was first signed, and it’s still bad now, even though it’s miraculously working out almost in a best case scenario. That shows profoundly poor judgment. The Golden State Warriors, everybody.

Exhibit B:

46: Monta Ellis’ 46 points Wednesday night in Golden State’s 110-101 defeat in Dallas represent the highest scoring output in a loss this season. Four other players — Kobe Bryant (Feb. 1), Chris Bosh (Jan. 20), Dwyane Wade (Jan. 6) and David West (Dec. 29) — have scored 44 points in defeat.

I don’t really have a ton to say about this. I think it kind of speaks for itself. Is there another team in basketball more likely to boast the player with the most points in a defeat this season?

And Exhibit C:

16: Houston’s 119-107 victory Tuesday night over Golden State halted a run of 16 consecutive games for the Rockets decided by fewer than 10 points. That was the longest streak of its kind in a whopping 27 years, dating to 1982-83 when Indiana played in 20 consecutive games decided by 10 points or fewer.

For 16 straight games, the Houston Rockets could neither be blown out, nor blow an opponent out. A remarkable stretch of time, really, for a pretty good team playing a pretty volatile sport, in terms of night-to-night outcomes.

That was the longest streak of its kind in a whopping 27 years

Reposted for digestion.

But yeah, the Warriors put a fixing to that right well like.

Is there a moral to the story of this post? Not particularly, other than that the Warriors are a miserable, miserable professional sports franchise and are not likely to be anything different for some time. Pointing out the latest examples of this reality is merely cathartic.

Being a Warriors fan is not, for the most part, a fun existence.

“For the most part” is also a bit of an understatement for a team that has made the playoffs once in the last 16 years in a league where half of the teams make the playoffs every single season.

In a recent Sports Illustrated article the Warriors were named the NBA’s Worst Team of the Decade and owner Chris Cohan is routinely lambasted as being among the worst in all of professional sports.

The shame of Golden State’s decade was that it built several promising teams only to see each one self-destruct — including the inspired No. 8 seed that knocked off the No. 1 Mavericks in the first round of the 2007 playoffs. The Warriors had an energized fan base and a big-spending owner in Chris Cohan, which only made the endless dysfunctionality all the more bitter.

There has been, at least during my brief lifetime, very little reason to ever put any hope into this franchise. Yet I continue to put my weight behind them because, well, because my parents decided it’d be better to raise me in Northern California and move from LA when I was 3, thus denying me a happy lifetime of rooting for the laughably more successful Lakers.

But maybe those fortunes could turn around in the near future. America’s third richest man, for the first time, expressed public interest in buying the Warriors yesterday, after his interest had been rumored for some time (did I just link to Market Watch in a sports blog? Oh you bet I did):

At a public event held at Oracle’s Redwood Shores, Calif. headquarters, Ellison responded to a plea from an audience member that he buy the Warriors by responding: “I’m trying, I’m trying.”

“Unfortunately, you can’t have a hostile takeover of a basketball team,” Ellison quipped.

our savior

Normally I’m kind of reflexively anti-corporate. It’s just my nature, I suppose. And you don’t get much more major of a corporation than Oracle.

But would I disregard all of that and throw it out the window without the slightest of hesitations if it made the Warriors – for once! – a consistently good basketball team? A team one could be proud to be a fan of? Where the season isn’t ostensibly over after the first 25 games and you’re looking forward to the Draft Lottery seven and eight months before it’s even to take place?

Absolutely. Abso-freaking-lutely.

That also appears to be the sentiment shared by the folks over at the Warriors World message board where the topic of Larry Ellison, potential Golden State Warriors owner, is lighting up the switchboards.

The guys at Golden State of Mind are rooting for it too. Their poll is at a resounding 547-13 vote in favor of Mr. Ellison.

But, this being the Warriors. It’s probably too good to be true, because Chris Cohan is a mean old man who likes to crush my most modest of dreams (via CSNBayarea’s Matt Steinmetz):

Warriors team president Robert Rowell quickly downplayed Wednesday’s comments by Oracle CEO Larry Ellison about the software billionaire’s desire to buy the Golden State Warriors.

Rowell spoke exclusively to shortly after Ellison confirmed his interest in purchasing the Warriors, the first time Ellison has made his intention known.

“I’ve been hearing this for years,” Rowell said. “At some point in time, the media speculation will become a reality. But right now, there’s not much to this.”

Well, hey, he said at some point it would become a reality, right? That’s something. And if it seems like I’m grasping at straws, it’s because, well, I’m a Warriors fan. It’s all we know how to do.

Photo by Thomas Hawk and republished here under a Creative Commons license.

Some rights reserved.

Stephanie Miller, the director digital of media for WBZ, stopped by our class today and kindly shared her thoughts on the future of how social media will be integrated into journalism and where the future of digital media lie.

She mostly told us a lot about WBZ’s Curiosity Campaign, which can be found at their website

The idea behind it, is, essentially, for WBZ to find out from its audience what, in their every day lives, they are concerned with and passionate about. Hopefully, by gathering enough curiosities, WBZ can get an idea of what really drives its viewership.

The project has already gleaned enough response to generate dozens and dozens of stories WBZ might not otherwise have investigated and which have proven to be of direct interest to the community WBZ is serving. Topics as diverse as families being “curious” about the economy to the Red Sox virtual waiting room to their most recent one about drooping power lines have been explored by WBZ at the urging of its audience.

Miller spoke at length about this kind of direct involvement with the community and why she, and WBZ, feel it’s of such value both now and, more importantly, going forward:

One of the biggest opportunities that organizations have with tapping into communities is understanding what the community wants. Journalists are good at storytelling and local news needs to be about reflecting the concerns and moods of the community.

She told us about the WBZ blogs and its twitter feed, which are both prominent methods of continuing that kind of community involvement and engagement. Their latest tweet asked its 4,700+ followers to interact with WBZ during the State of the Union address.

Miller stressed that, “the future of media is in this community engagement.”

She also noted that, as journalists, our “product is your storytelling and journalism.” It’s weird to think of journalism as a product, but in this brave new technological web, content is inevitably going to be commoditized. We, as journalists, have to develop a brand that audiences – whether they be consuming our information through television, the web in its various forms, or (don’t laugh) print (okay, laugh) – trust and turn to.

Said Miller:

We ask them to tell us what they care about – what’s an issue, a concern, a passion? What pisses you off? What scares you and drives you crazy? What is affecting your life?

In the future of journalism, the journalist is going to have to be, as best he or she can, everywhere all the time. Through Twitter. Through Facebook. Through television and a website and whatever crazy, inconceivable technological medium that is sure to be just around the corner.

And they’re going to have to have that kind of direct connection with the community so that it’s their voice being heard.

I guess being stuck choosing between “Big Baby” and a Chad Ochocinco (née Johnson) knockoff nickname is a bit like being stuck between a rock and a hard place. But, all things being equal, I’d at least go with Big Baby, since it’s original and kinda quirky.

Glen Davis, however, would disagree:

Even Big Baby’s tired of “Big Baby.” After being fined after an altercation with a heckler in Detroit last week, Glen Davis said he wants to drop his long-standing nickname, and from now on go by ‘Uno-Uno.’

Uno. Uno. Digest that a little bit. I get that Big Baby is kind of stupid sounding, but he’s had it going back to his days at LSU and it’s become synonymous with him. Like it or not, Big Baby fits Glen Davis.

it's not like he looks like a big adult

I laughed when Ochocinco did it, but that was because he’s always been a funny guy and it made sense coming from him. On top of that, he actually legally changed his last name to Ochocinco so he could get it on the back of the jersey. I don’t think Davis is contemplating doing anything similar, and, to be honest, I think the “nickname-as-butchered-Spanish-number” can really only be done one time.

Barstool Sports agrees, with el presidente saying that A) the nickname fits and B) you just can’t up and change a nickname people have been calling you by since your college days.

Is Glenn Davis trying to make me hate him? You can’t just change your nickname dude. You’re Big Baby for life. Especially since it’s the perfect nickname for you. I mean so far in a Celts uniform you’ve cried on the bench, you’ve broke your hand punching your best friend in the face and you called a fan a dick head. So I’m sorry, but Big Baby stays.

Celtics Blog, meanwhile, is running a contest giving tickets to the fan that comes up with the best alternative to Uno-Uno.

So fans, what should Glen Davis’ new nickname be? Leave your suggestions in the comments section. We’ll take the top 5-10 suggestions and tell them to Davis at the next home game on Sunday against the Lakers. The nickname he likes best out of the group will be posted on the blog and the winner will receive two free tickets to an upcoming Celtics game.

Celtics coach Doc Rivers gave one of those incredulous “no comments” at first, and then came around to saying actions on the court will change Glen Davis’ image better than anything else, something Red’s Army agreed with:

I’m with Doc on this one, actions not words. Davis seems like a good guy, he’ll figure it all out… eventually.

So the Celtics blogospher pretty much runs the gamut from borderline anger to whimsy to somewhat general indifference. Me? I just think Glen Davis gets much too attention for dumb stuff when he’s a 7th/8th man in the rotation and a serviceable, but not great, backup power forward. He was never as good as Leon Powe, who nobody ever gave any credit to. He gets in the news because of these kind of antics. He should spend more time working on being a better basketball player.

Photo by Lorianne DiSabato and republished here under a creative commons license.

Some rights reserved.

There is no more appropriate team for this to happen to than the Oakland A’s. Per Fox Sports’ Jon Paul Morosi, who first reported it this afternoon:

Rob Fai isn’t surprised that Oakland A’s prospect Grant Desme is ending his baseball career to enter the priesthood.

The timing? To him, that’s the shocking thing.

Desme is leaving the game at a time when his fortunes seemed to be rising fast. He batted .288 with 31 home runs and 89 RBIs in 131 games last year. Then he starred in the Arizona Fall League, where some of the game’s top prospects compete. He likely would have started this season at Class AA.

Grant Desme

A little background, first: Desme was a second round pick way back in June 2007, back when America was still an innocent place, free of Sarah Palins and recessions and governments that were trying to give you health care, and up until last season that was all that was really worth noting about him.

Having managed to play just 14 games combined in 2007 and 2008 due to injuries, God smiled on Grant in 2009, and Desme broke out by hitting 31 home runs, stealing 40 bases, and doing  just about everything on a baseball field that makes a baseball player productive.

So instead of continuing to do awesome baseball things on a baseball field, Grant has decided to directly return God’s favor, and become a priest.

I guess it could be worse, if you were of the pessimistic mind on Desme, like ESPN’s Rob Neyer, you probably weren’t expecting great, great things out of Desme anyway:

The point is that Desme wasn’t a sure thing — not a Grade A prospect. He was a Grade B prospect, or maybe a B+ for the people who really loved him. The A’s need star hitters if they’re ever to get somewhere, and Desme didn’t look like a future star.

So that’s some consolation, I guess. He was a prospect not without his flaws, and he was not the best of Oakland’s prospects. But priesthood? As a baseball fan, that’s kind of a tough pill to swallow, especially when your team’s offense stunk as much as Oakland’s did last season.

Perhaps most interestingly, though, is the discussion this has sparked around parts of the web like Athletics Nation and Minor League Ball about whether or not this is the “right” decision on Desme’s part.

It’s not often sports and religion collide so fascinatingly like this.

Desme is about as close to the majors without actually being there as one can get, and is surely passing up gobs more money he would have made in baseball than he will through priesthood. Some people conclude he’s being foolish. It’s not exactly the same decision I would make.

But I tend to agree with John Sickels’ take at Minor League Ball:

I’ll say this about it: I have a lot more respect for this than I do for people who thank God for helping them make the touchdown or win the big game. Grant Desme is showing genuine courage today, doing what he thinks is the right thing no matter what the rest of the world says.

So good for Desme.

But man, it would have been nice to have a 30-home run power outfielder that could swipe a bag or two. Only in Oakland.

Photo by Chris Lockard and republished here under a Creative Commons license.

Some rights reserved.

I think lost amid all the coverage of the incredibly tragic Haiti earthquake was Monday’s temporary stay by the Supreme Court of a YouTube broadcast of San Francisco’s Federal District Court proceedings in the trial against California’s Poposition 8 (officially Perry v. Schwarzenegger), which voters enacted into law last year to define marriage in California as strictly between a man and a woman.

Yesterday, that temporary stay was turned into a permanent ban against District Judge Vaughn Walker’s decision to allow the trial to be broadcast in other federal courts around the country and on YouTube after the fact in a 5-4 decision by the Court.

Regardless of which side you fall on in the gay marriage debate (full disclosure: I support it), you should be disappointed that our nation’s highest court has decided that such a potentially groundbreaking and socially important trial ought not to be viewed in a public forum.

It’s an unfortunate pass at taking a step forward, at broadening the scope of democracy and at engaging the American public in its legal system.

As Justice Stephen Breyer wrote in the dissent, “The public interest weighs in favor of providing access to the courts.”

It should be so with all federal court proceedings, including the Supreme Court, excepting only the extreme cases in which either people’s personal safety or national security would be put at risk by a public trial.

Huffington Post’s Emma Ruby-Sachs had a good take on the decision, writing:

“The public’s interest in access to information is strong. It is stronger still when the topic is one of such public importance and the focus of such public debate and scrutiny. This is the reality with which Judge Walker was trying to grapple. He did so by encouraging dissemination of judicial information through a medium that is cheap, accessible and likely to reach those individuals around the country who have a vested interest in the proceedings, but cannot attend court personally.”

And, perhaps just as disappointingly, the Court’s decision has little to do with actual legal concerns and everything to do with political concerns. And, predictably, the justices voted along partisan lines. As Slate’s Emily Bazelon put it:

“In barring video of Perry v. Schwarzenegger, the court split 5-4, conservatives vs. liberals. The question addressed—whether the California district court properly amended its broadcasting rule—has nothing to do with ideological politics, on its face. But because the trial is about same-sex marriage, it’s all about the politics roiling underneath. And as in Bush v. Gore, the majority reached out and grabbed this appeal when no one expected it to.”

Today’s New York Times editorial perhaps best sums up my own sentiments, saying:

“But there is a strong legal case that California voters trespassed on the Constitution when they approved Proposition 8. The courtroom battle now unfolding bears close watching, and the Supreme Court should not stand in the way of Americans viewing it and reaching educated judgments.”

As a Californian, I’m disappointed. As an American, I’m disappointed. And as an advocate of open democracy, I’m disappointed. And whether you are for or against gay marriage, you should be too.

The politicizing of an important decision affecting the trial of a monumentally important social issue by our Supreme Court should be unacceptable in this day and age. We should be beyond that by now.

Unfortunately, I guess we aren’t quite there yet.