The Suns

It is never over until it is over. Never. Teams going back home are usually in decent shape at 3-1, but the finals chickens are far from hatched. The series resumes in Phoenix at The Arena on Monday, and let’s go, because the Clips are a very worthy team, even without Kawhi Leonard, who does look quite unavailable for the playoffs.

Our daughter has been watching a lot of soccer, and I do not really understand it so well sometimes. Have tried to tell her about what is going on with the Suns. I was at every Suns home playoff game in 1993. Almost went to Chicago for a Finals game there, but a case quashed that idea. I saw all the others here though. She was not yet born then, that is how long it has been.

Regulars here will remember the story of me being held in contempt by a presiding judge for refusing to answer questions at a grand jury. It was literally during the 1993 NBA Finals. The judge, an uncommonly decent guy, and a basketball fan from Indiana, said show me your tickets. They were in my suit pocket, and he let me leave. My season tix partner was freaking outside when I arrived. Was the night Chuck Barkley was awarded the MVP.

There have been a few decent seasons for the Suns since, but not many in a very long time. I long ago jettisoned the season tix because they are stupid expensive, and it no longer was very fun.

The owner, Robert Sarver, is still shit, but he is no longer overly visible. The current team acts and carries itself like the old teams under Jerry Colangelo, Cotton Fitzsimmons and Paul Westfall. In short, they are a joy to watch again.

So, we shall see how the playoffs play out. But it is exciting again in the desert. I bet the people in Milwaukee and Atlanta think so too. This is a good thing.

There is also the Styrian Grand Prix from the now Red Bull Ring, which used to be the A1 Ring. Not one of the best circuits, but the grid is interesting, with Verstappen on top. It is nice to see some natural green landscape again after all that garish paint at the Paul Ricard Circuit in France last week.

45 replies
  1. hollywood says:

    It seems pretty clear that the Suns will beat the Clippers in game 5 and move on to play in the finals. Since the only teams to have beaten the Suns in the playoffs are the Lakers (2X) and the Clippers (1X), one has to consider what the state of play would have been if AD had remained healthy. My guess is that the Suns would be on vacation and the Lakers would be facing off against the Clippers. O well.

  2. Bay State Librul says:

    “It is never over until it is over. Never.”
    The postal service just released a Yogi Berra stamp,
    Invest $.55 and buy one for your Suns.
    “No one goes to America West Arena, US Airways Center, or Phoenix Suns Arena nowadays, it’s too crowded.”?

    • bmaz says:

      Oooh, I need to get some of those.

      Update: just ordered two sheets of them. Do wish they had different Yogi-isms on each stamp, because there are enough of them, but very cool. Thanks BSL!

  3. jdmckay says:

    Hey, congrats to you and the Suns!!! I don’t watch much during the season anymore, but this group is fun, exciting to watch.

    I lived there throughout the 80’s, went to a lot of games at the old stadium. A lot of good teams with Alvin Adams, “Sweet D” (what happened to him?), Dennis Johnson and a few other really good guards. Maurice Lucas wasn’t too bad either. Always competitive, just never quite good enough to get them over the top.

    Too many minutes for Clips with 8 man rotation. I think they’re toast.

    Look forward to a Bucks vs Suns finals.

    • bmaz says:

      Thanks! Yeah, the Madhouse on McDowell. I was there very often back then. Walter Davis had such a silky sweet game and shot. No clue where he is now.

      • dwfreeman says:

        Shazam, Dan Majerle from way downtown! 1993 was the year of the Suns, a magical time in the Valley of the Sun. Phoenix was agog over their team, the original franchise, finally achieving destiny. Everything old was new again. New arena, logo and the arrival of NBA superstar, MVP that season and arguably the most popular guy in the game, after Michael, Charles Barkley. It was the height of NBA popularity. And he led the Suns with KJ, Tom Chambers, Mark West and a bench of contributors to a 62-20 record with Barkley averaging 25 ppg and 12 rebounds.

        Nearly derailed in the first round of the playoffs by the Lakers, the Suns rebounded from a 2-0 deficit to win three straight including an OT win in Game 5 that my son and I attended, our only in-person game that season. The Suns captured the imagination of the community. On game nights, especially during the playoffs, The Suns ruled.

        I remember the late Paul Westphal from his college days at USC, a smooth shooter, who in 1976 nearly led the Suns past the Celtics for a run at their first championship only to be thwarted by the Boston Celtics in a series that featured one of the greatest NBA games in history. Back in 1993, as the Suns head coach, he sent a team on the floor that matched the invincible Chicago Bulls, even intro’d to the same music. John Paxton eventually broke our hearts. But it was a season to remember.

        I had started life growing up in New Jersey, a New York Knicks fan. Attended their playoff games at the Garden as a teenager. Then after a series of moves, I wound up in Ann Arbor and became a Michigan fan for life. College sports is what I follow now along with my childhood favorite team, the NY Mets. But my time in Phoenix from 1989-1994 will always be connected with memories of the Suns and their near drive for an elusive championship.

        • bmaz says:

          Was at the Madhouse on McDowell for the draft party when Majerle was drafted. Insanely, the choice was booed by the crowd, but the rest is history. Down 0-2, Westphal promised to vanquish the hated Lakers, and they did.

          If not here at the time, it is really hard to describe just how over the top insane Phoenix was during 1993, and especially the playoffs. Just nuts. I will say this, was at Game 6, and Paxson was the final dagger, but, to me, the previous play where Jordan ran the floor was an even bigger problem. I have no question whatsoever that Phoenix would have won a Game 7 at home. But they fell just short in Game 6, and have never been back since.

  4. Jon says:

    Pretty enjoyable Styrian GP. Teams and drivers achieving about what they deserved. Aside from George Russell, who just can’t a break. Red Bulls have really found the speed this year. Mercedes managed not to screw up the tire choices and pit stops, this time. Seven different teams scored points, which is a healthy distribution. And Haas continues to embarrass the US. Kimi getting a point would have been the icing on the cake

    • bmaz says:

      I really thought Haas would mature and grow better. They have not. Do not really have front line drivers I guess, but the real problem is that their equipment is really not very good.

      • drouse says:

        I hope that Schumacher has a good escape clause written into his contract. He is going to want to jump ship if he gets the opportunity. His teammate however has no other place to go. Even if he was good enough for another team to consider him, in his short career of eight races he has managed to tick off everyone in the field.

    • drouse says:

      Let’s not forget poor old Gasly. I really thought that he was on track to have a really good race until he got caught up in the scrum at the start.

      • Jon says:

        Gasly has improved a great deal, but still struggles while showing promise. Still needs seasoning, like Tsunuda. LeClerc and Ferrari had the most improvement in the race, finally starting to show some form, and possibly being towards the front of the field consistently, for a change. Too bad that his crowding Gasly led to that two step crash event that retired Gasly. Danny Ricky had the most frustrating race – both gaining and losing more places in total than nearly the rest of the field put together. He still hasn’t fully clicked with his new team and car.

        • bmaz says:

          No, Ricciardo sure has not. The McLaren is a decent car again, but Ricciardo just does not seem suited to it. He is an excellent driver, but, unlike Norris, uncomfortable in this car. And, jeebus, yesterday really showed it.

  5. jo6pac says:

    F-1 at lest some one else is winning.
    Basketball I’m not watching do to the Warriors aren’t there and hopefull next seaon will be injury free. Go Suns.
    Football coming soon. Go 9ers and again hopefully injury free.

  6. Lawnboy says:

    FWIW- soccer is just hockey with a moving blue line! Simple

    And the “schtik” is the fancy foot work. Lol

    Waiting on Punaise for inappropriate pun flow…..

    • bmaz says:

      FOUL is fantastic. After the Hawk retired (as a Laker I think), he was not around for a while. But then Colangelo hired him as basically a good will ambassador for the team, which Connie was very good at. When the team moved into the (then) new arena, Hawkins seats were in the same row, just over into the next section, from ours. Talked to him many times during breaks and halftimes. One of the nicest and most gracious people ever. And his hands really were HUGE. The Hawk swooped even before Dr. J, and they should both be remembered far more than they are.

      • SaltinWound says:

        That’s so cool that you got to meet him! He and Lou Hudson were traded for each other toward the end of their careers, and Connie Hawkins played one last season for the Atlanta Hawks before he retired.

    • bmaz says:


      The old wives’ tale (and from everything I know is pretty much exactly accurate), was in early 1992 Cotton Fitzsimmons told Jerry Colangelo “We need us a Charles Barkley”. So Colangelo went out and got “the” Charles Barkley.

      This was as to a Suns team that was already winning tons of games and maybe the most fun team to watch in the league. But never had the nastiness and grit to get over the top. When Chuck arrived, the Arena was already built, even if very freshly. Fitzsimmons told him “you did not build this place, you are here to take it to the next level”. Even without a championship, Barkley really did.

      • Eureka says:

        [Turns out that pizza pic was _really baby_ Chuck, from 1984.]

        Speaking of, have you seen this guy: (two vids here)

        They had him on for an interview w/Chuck — as Chuck — that’s pinned atop his timeline; bunch of other vids if you scroll down.

        Fast forward and whoda thunk you’d someday be overcoming the Barkley-prediction kiss of death to advance to finals (yes, I know, one more W to go). Tough to say who you’d want: Hawks are the obvious choice, but Bucks/Hawks are very different teams. Advantage v. Bucks is that they’re less dynamic in ways — but (flipside same coin) they can be brick wall-ish when they’re on. Disadvantage v. Hawks is that they’re hot since the new coach took over and they’ve got all this “Believe” stuff going on (plus, Atlanta’s honor to claim).

        Whenever you mention pere Colangelo all I can think of is the Bryan Colangelo’s Chef debacle after the league put Area Team under their receivership. And some N-dimensional ironies to boot (sigh).

        • bmaz says:

          Heh. Seems like it was yesterday….but was nearly 28 yrs ago. Ouch. So a lot of people are cranked up, and rightfully so. It is tempting to go try to scalp an expensive ticket in. If not for Covid, even though am vaccinated, I would probably succumb and do it. But they are expensive, and Covid, so nope.

          Jerry Colangelo was a very decent chap from everything I ever saw. Tough as nails, but decent.

          • Eureka says:

            That was spouse’s argument (the rona and the unvaxxed masses, all yelling and confined) against going when I saw some cheap nosebleeds avail. last round. Plus, the whole comfort of your home thing (and going to games lately is a PITA). And I agreed after thinking more clearly about it vs. the excitement factor — but really any social event I find exciting these days, doesn’t have to be an arena full when you’re starved of stimulation for a year+. Heck, a meal and drink out is such a sensory delight I’m like let’s go weekly and sample the entire cocktail menu! (even as a beer person, lol).

            You (and the whole metro) will be just as happy when they win on the tv. Enjoy!

  7. Eureka says:

    Info request from the Yankees or Mets fans out there: who’s got a record of their exhibition* games over the years (esp. prior to inter-league play)? There’s no way someone’s not kept track of this (dates, where played, who won), but darned if I can find it.

    *Queen-for-a-day I’d take a list of all their games, ever, but esp. want the exhibitions/preseasons.

    • dwfreeman says:

      Actually, this information is available via a simple Google search of Mayor’s Trophy Game series in NY, which began in 1946 as a way to fund amateur baseball in the city.

      The Ultimate Mets Database contains a complete record of the MT series between the Mets and Yankees. Before the Mets were born, the Yankees played the Giants yearly until the 50’s when the series alternated between the Giants and Dodgers as the NL opponent. Of course, the Mets team colors are derived from those of their NL predecessors, Giants orange and black and Dodger blue.

      Before interleague play, the only time the NYC rivals faced each other were exhibitions during spring training in Florida or the World Series. It seemed as if the borough rivals met in the World Series almost yearly in the decade preceding the Giants and Dodgers move to the West Coast in 1958 when the series ended.

      I had the childhood memory of attending the inaugural Mets-Yankees MT game at the Polo Grounds in 1963, which the Mets won, 6-2. The Yankees would go on to face the Dodgers in the WS that year, part of a run of postseason appearances for the Bronx Bombers in which they missed the fall classic in only three seasons stretching from 1947-1964.

      During that time, Casey Stengel, the Mets first manager who holds the franchise’s lowest winning percentage in that role, .302, was Yankee field boss for most of that success, missing the series just three times but winning 7 of 10 series in 12 years as Yankee manager, nearly a quarter of the Yankees 27 world championships. That included winnng five in a row from 1949-1953 with an overall record of 36-20. Only Yankee manager Joe Torre can boast a greater achievement reaching the playoffs in all 12 years of his time in that role but retiring with 4 WS titles in 6 series bids.

      Torre is one of several Yankee and Met managers who played and coached for a NY team they managed. Yogi Berra and Willie Randolph are others. Yogi is the only manager to have led both a Met and Yankee team to the WS. Yogi took the Yankees to the series in 1964 and the Mets in 1973. Interestingly, Yogi joined the Mets in 1965 as a player for a brief stay on the roster before obtaining his release and becoming a team coach, a job that extended through 1969 when the Amazin Mets captured their first of two WS championships. Ironically, Joe Torre would be the last putout, hitting into a game-ending DP in an Eastern Division clinching victory against the Cardinals.

      • Bay State Librul says:

        With the Yanks being swept twice by the Sox, do you think they should fire Cashman. Is his time up?

      • Eureka says:

        Thank you dwfreeman, and I loved your comment. My uncle’s reminisced lately on his boyhood Dodgers in the WS with the Yanks (they even put it on in school for them), and how he thought that’s just how baseball was supposed to be — two NY teams in the WS.

        We have bookend experiences, dfw: little me was at the (then unbeknownst to us) last of the Mayor’s Trophy Game series, where my Yankees won at Shea.

        From that away game, I learned the mystique (to a child) of a game that “doesn’t count.”

        From another — at Fenway, BSL — I learned trash talk: as we rounded down the street (don’t recall the name) into the stadium, I was jokingly warned, “You better cover up that [Yankees] shirt!” The implication, partly discussed in joshing fashion: “Or Else…!”

        Now (as in Right Now, watching them lose another save opportunity-and it’s not just the bullpen) I’m sucked into the Fightns’. So saw last week (Fri) when our Aaron Nola tied Tom Seaver’s 51-year-old record for consecutive strike-outs in his (your) house, with the team wearing “41” patches.

        I can’t even get this comment typed without the Phils blowing more runs. From 4-2 Phils to 4-11 (ELEVEN) Reds rn, unreal.

        NY/metro fans are blessed with rich choices so of course I am from a “mixed” family: grandfather was a Mets fan til the end. He was a talented catcher in college headed for the Show until a fastball shattered his ankle.

        Ahhhnd 4-12….

  8. Bay State Librul says:

    Maybe the Suns can win tonight for Westy.
    Paul Westphal died of brain cancer early this year.
    Our own Danny Ainge has a special connection with Phoenix, as both a player, coach and numbers man.
    Westphal wore 44 with the Celtics and so did Ainge.
    Ainge cut his number in half when he teamed up with the Suns (22).
    Danny Boy has his $4.5 million dollar house up for sale in Wellesley as he skedaddles back west.
    Not sure, but will he be rooting for the Suns?

      • dwfreeman says:

        Will be rooting for your team, hoping it will create new glory and avenge a past of near misses by some great teams and players. Hard not to root for a team with such great personalities and leaders including Jerry Colangelo, Cotton Fitzsimmons, and Paul Westphal. Loved watching the Suns. Only in Phoenix, would a city honor the primary target of a trade for a superstar. But that his how the Valley of the Sun honored a departing Jeff Hornacek with hundreds of deeply personal public testimonials while anticipating Charles as a franchise savior. And he has never disappointed.

        • bmaz says:

          Hornacek was always one of the good guys. And is still remembered here as just that. But you have to make that trade.

  9. Eureka says:

    This is a great story — except the parts where the corporations are screwing him or trying to (so, quintessentially American):

    Mud Maker: The Man Behind MLB’s Essential Secret Sauce
    A multibillion-dollar business that embraces advanced technology and cherishes precision, Major League Baseball would prefer not to need an oozy substance harvested by one family in a secret location along the Delaware River. But for decades it has, and that won’t change anytime soon.
    by Emma Baccellieri

    The clubhouse manager MLB singled out last year, now that the pitch has come to a boil:

    Bubba Harkins Made Sticky Stuff for MLB Pitchers for 15 Years. Now He’s Speaking Out.

    Discussion I’d like to see: how are fielding errors (+/- general odd ball behavior) implicated in this midseason transition to slipperier balls? It’s all about the pitchers/es, batter safety, and lack of offense right now but overall ball-handling has to be impacted when a Spider Tack ball will velcro to an open palm.

    • hollywood says:

      I was surprised. The Clippers showed more spunk than I thought they had.
      Could make for an interesting game 6 at Staples.

  10. hollywood says:

    Paul George, having played more playoff minutes than anyone this year, was gassed. Tyronn Lue did an amazing job of keeping the Clippers alive as long as he did. Kudos to the Suns, but be real. If Leonard had played, the Suns would be on vacation. Now they have to hope Giannis or Trae is also compromised.

      • hollywood says:

        We will taste the acidity of your grapes if the Suns fail in the championship.
        Will someone tell Paul enough of the flops and the oversell on alleged fouls?

        • bmaz says:

          Naw, it has been pretty sweet so far, soundly beating both the Lakers and the whiny thuggish Clippers. So we shall see about what, if anything, the finals hold.

          • hollywood says:

            Ah, the Suns beat the Lakers because of AD’s injury. The Suns beat the Clippers because of Leonard’s injury. If Giannis is healthy, you might be looking at a different scenario.

            • bmaz says:

              What a load of whiny ass crap. There was a reason the Suns finished well higher in the regular season than the pansy ass LA teams, not to mention the Bucks. You are just blowing hater bunk.

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