The Monday Morning Script: A Second-By-Second Breakdown Of The Canada Vs. Mexico Fight


There's a lot that happens in sports during the weekend, and it's our job here at TSFJ to make sure you're caught up. Stick to the script on Mondays with us, as we attempt to make sure that your watercooler chatter is as thorough as that bunt single that caused chaos between two countries determined to figure out which country borders the USA better. Here is your Monday Morning Script. 

The World Baseball Classic Fight: A Second-By-Second Breakdown

A boatload amount of events happened over the past week. None more awesome - to me, at least - than the good old bar fight at the World Baseball Classic between Mexico and Canada in Phoenix. Two things of note before getting to the main event, though. One, I had no clue there was some sort of odd rule where run differential is important. Mexico didn't either.

Hence the reason Team Canada, already up 9-3 in the top of ninth, decided to bunt to do what I think every coach should do - run the score up. It's not up to me to stop me from scoring; it's up to you. If you don't want me scoring, pick yourself up by the bootstraps, have some pride and stop me. Regardless, here I was thinking the fight started over a Justin Bieber-Selena Gomez joke gone terribly, terribly wrong, which is upsetting in some weird, awesome-Media-Takeout-headline kind of way. And two, those Team Mexico caps are still raw.

Now to the video. If you're over 25 and somewhat social, you've probably been either in or around several fights. There's always a feeling of anxiousness in the air leading to the first punch. That feeling normally leads to some name calling. Name calling leads to a punch. That punch normally leads to tables being flipped, loud screams, some random girl yelling, "He not even worth it! Stop!" and, in more recent times, the battle cry of "WORLDSTAR! THIS GOIN' ON WORLDSTAR!" In a roundabout sense, the Mexico/Canada brouhaha was no different.
Let's break down some of the high points of the videos, courtesy of CBS Sports.

0:14 - See, it's always a guy instigating that's never going to be throwing hands when it's about to go down. In this instance, the announcer.

0:44 - Cruz is pissed. This is the first sign we know some shit is about to hit the fan. He's got the "aight, bet" look on his face. You know, the look that says, "Aight, bet. That's how we're carrying it? Cool."

0:46 - Communication is key in these situations because the next few seconds are going to happen lightening fast. Everyone needs to be on the same page starting with Cruz's demand to "hit the the next mother*cker who steps to that motherf*ckin' plate." Well, he didn't say it in those words, but trust me, that's exactly what he meant. This is compelling theater here, folks, because now we have to decide which country we're taking in a fight, not the baseball game.

0:52 - He's got blood in his eyes. No Ja Rule.

0:06 - "Do that shit again. I dare you. Watch what happens."

0:15 - OK, now the fight is underway. Those aforementioned tables are being flipped. Chairs are being thrown out of the way. It's about to go down like VIP treatment at strip clubs during NBA All-Star Weekend.

0:22 - At this point, if you're in the fight you're only worried about three things: keeping your head on a swivel, trying not to get knocked out or lose your balance, and keeping an eye on where your teammates are at all times. The last thing you need is to be the only one in your team jersey surrounded by a five or six from the opposing team like Scar and the pack of hyenas at the end of The Lion King.

0:32 - Bottom right of the video. As with most huge fights, the big fight doesn't pop off immediately. It's always a smaller-cell sort of fight that ignites everything.

0:39 - Bottom right, again. This guy is seriously throwing punches, but I have a hard time believing they're actually doing any good.

0:45 - Punch of the clip right here. Mexico may have lost the game, but damn if those boys weren't out there throwing hands. To be honest, the punch may have not even done a lot of damage. All I can see is the dude who received the punch exit stage left. So I can only believe this punch connected like Tommy Hearns' uppercut on Martin, which launched him clean out of the ring to take his CBC title belt.

0:55 - "I'm good. I'm good." Rule of thumb here, people. When trying to hold a person back during a fight - pending that person is actually about that life and not just one of those people full of hot air - if they tell you they're good, chances are they're lying. They just need a breather. Be aware they will probably pull a Reggie White swim move to get you out of the way to return to the action.

1:02 - This is where it gets ugly. Fans need to keep their happy asses in the stands. That's exactly the reason why that fan in Detroit got the hands of gawd laid upon him by Jermaine O'Neal during the Malice At The Palace, aka "The Night Ron Artest, Stephen Jackson And Jermaine O'Neal Fought An Entire Arena And Won." Let the players fight. It'll be broken up in a matter of seconds anyway. This needs to be said, however, since we know the recipient was not harmed. That is some pretty spot-on accuracy. Larry Fitzgerald is jealous and depressed at the same time.

So what did we learn? Baseball fights can, indeed, be spectacular if we allow them to be. We never will, so appreciate this gem because they won't come around too often. Mexico won based off power punches. And hockey still has the best fights by a mile. - J. Tinsley

dwight howard kobe bryant lakers

The Los Angeles Lakers Are An 8th-Place Team, Excuse Me While I Yawn

Over the last 15 games, the Lakers are 10-5 and are now a half game up on the Utah Jazz for the eighth spot in the Western Conference standings. Lakers fans from all parts of the world are ecstatic as Kobe, Dwight and the rest of the squad have found a way to twang the emotional heartstrings of Laker Nation. But watching the Lakers over the last month or so has been riveting in ways that many (Lakers fans especially) either haven't noticed or don't want to admit. Two things to consider:

  1. While it's always exciting to see teams make thrilling comebacks and game-winning shots, let's be clear in highlighting that three of the last four gut-wrenching Lakers wins have been over Atlanta, Toronto and New Orleans. Not exactly murderers row, and the fact that the Lake Show has had to overcome large deficits in the process and rely on Kobe going into Super Saiyan mode to pull out victories shouldn't be reassuring.
  2. Who were those five losses to in the last 15 games? Boston, Miami, LA Clippers, Denver, Oklahoma City. Each loss was by double digits, including 21- and 24-point smackings by the Celtics and Clips.

Consider me unimpressed. The Lakers are winning games they should be winning (by their standards) while the other contenders in the bottom rungs of the Western Conference playoff standings are faltering. Golden State, Houston and Utah are all playing .500 or below basketball in the last 10 games, thus ushering the Lakers into the discussion. That discussion is that the Lakers are still a team happy to be in eighth place, and that's exactly who they are. An eighth-place team. - ETSF


Don't Give Boston Or Brooklyn The Atlantic Just Yet

The man can’t win for trying.

You’ve heard by now that New York Knicks big man Amar’e Stoudemire will have a right knee debridement at some point this week, which has understandably shocked and frustrated fans and, more importantly, the players. This second procedure in a few months – his left knee was worked on during the preseason – put a halt to one of the better stories out of the Atlantic Division this season.

There’s no point in joining the chorus of those who continue to criticize or lament his five-year, $100 million contract signed in 2010. After all, the body doesn’t know how much money you make.  What is a lot more important for the Knicks is if this bench will consistently provide the defensive lift that helped them not only smack the music out of the Utah Jazz, but actually limited Oklahoma City’s offense for three quarters in defeat this past Thursday night. As for the grand question of where will the offense come from, the most underrated aspect of Carmelo Anthony’s eventual return will be that with the league’s second-leading scorer on the floor, this will make sure that J.R. Smith is not the number one option in every half-court set.

One (or many) will assume that New York will lose its grip on the division, and yet, that also has to coincide with either the Brooklyn Nets or Boston Celtics taking advantage, right?

Prior to today’s games, New York, Brooklyn and Boston are 6-4 each in their last 10 games. Looming around the Knicks’ West Coast trip that starts tonight, the Nets won three in a row, and Celtics won five in a row before losing to the Thunder yesterday. Both NYC teams will hit the road because of college basketball tournaments at Madison Square Garden (Big East) and the Barclays Center (Atlantic 10), and the Celtics aren’t any good away from the TD Garden. All three teams suffer from inconsistent play and significant injuries, to the point that their positions in the division standings actually haven’t changed in over two months.

Maybe it’s uncharacteristically optimistic compared to the rest of the Knicks faithful, but while the Atlantic Division looks a little crisper in the views of Brooklyn or Boston, they haven’t exactly shown that they can overtake New York just yet. - Clinkscales


Stakes Are Rising: The WBC's Big Weekend

Is it just me, or did the World Baseball Classic start to matter this weekend, in its own special way? The exact purpose of the WBC hasn’t exactly matched its approach over the years, and that’s been the big complaint regarding the event. And while the optimal rosters for each team aren’t there still, for the players and fans alike, business picked way up for every part of the event this weekend. After the Venezuelan team was defeated, outfielder Carlos Gonzalez stated it as “the lowest moment of his career." Mind you, this is a former Major League batting champion and all-star - just the type of player that has been desired by pundits and fans alike to embrace the event. That statement carries weight.

Speaking of fans, it hit another level in that area as well. The obvious overall intensity of the Mexican fans versus the Canadian team aside, things got postseason intense at every site this weekend. The raucous atmosphere of the Latin American section in Pool C, which carried a more World Cup like environment (along with poorly educated American fans watching on TV) than anything baseball sees elsewhere. It showed a life for the game that is needed, a booster shot U.S. baseball can use, honestly. The culture clash is what the game needs, and it’s getting a big dose of it.

In America, fans stepped up interest and found desire that made it not just an exhibition game anymore. When U.S. was backed into the wall, there was a shared sense - a need even - to prove the Americans still owned the game for the first time in the six years of the event. David Wright, Joe Mauer and Adam Jones showed there is a place for country pride with the superstars as well. With baseball luminaries taking it in such as Mike Trout and Ken Griffey Jr. and an intensity from the bench that won’t be seen for another seven months, things are changing. Putting it simple, America laid down its cool and got busy.

What’s more, with all of the world’s powerhouses surviving the weekend, the newfound national pride on all fronts can do nothing but continue to build up higher. Hell, I’m not an advocate of a scrap too often, but if it picks up the steam for the better, go ahead and lay it all down for country, flag and prestige. Play ball, and put on for your people, Jack. - Cheap Seat Fan


J.R. Smith: The Case Of What Could Have Been

Against Oklahoma City, Earl “J.R.” Smith III put on one helluva show in the Garden last Thursday. Smith stepped inside the phone booth, put on his cape, came out as “JR Swish,” then subsequently gave anybody who was guarding him fits. In particular, Smith gave Thabo hell, putting on a variety of showy crossovers, step-back jumpers, three-pointers and hard drives to the basket. Had it not been for the flurry of baskets by Kevin Durant in the 4th quarter and an ill-advised shot from J.R. (a phrase that has become synonymous with Smith’s decision making), the NY Knicks would’ve pulled out a very unlikely win without their MVP, Carmelo Anthony.

I know he’s an eight-year veteran and he will never be what I want him to be, but whenever I look at J.R. Smith and his ability to singlehandedly take over games like he did last Thursday, I get an overwhelming feeling of sadness. The sadness of untapped and lost potential. Unlike say, Andrew Bynum, Smith really could’ve been one of the best players in the league had his development gone “correctly.” One can always point to a player’s career and say “oh what could have been,” but it especially pains me for J.R. because I feel like all he needed was ONE good shot (coach, team, organization) to get it right.

No disrespect to Byron Scott or George Karl, but it’s been amazing to see how much Mike Woodson is able to get out of Smith. When I watch Smith play for the Knicks, it makes me believe that Woodson understands what kind of player he is and uses him to his talents without hamstringing him. It would also appear Woodson gives Smith the guidance he needs to stay on track and maximize his athleticism. With Scott, Smith was penalized for being the player he is. With Karl, that team was almost a little TOO free. Especially for a young Smith led by a young phenom in Carmelo and a demigod like Allen Iverson.

When I see the way Gregg Popovich/Doc Rivers develop their young talent, it makes me wish Smith could’ve landed in a better situation with someone who cared to hone and craft his game. Not that Smith is completely free from responsibility for his problems earlier in his career either. I just watch games like last Thursday and wonder “man ... what if?” - W. Million

Bernard Hopkins wins title at age 48

Why Bernard Hopkins Fighting And Winning Titles At Age 48 Is Supremely Awesome


That's an almost unrecognizable number for yours truly. When I think of the number 48, I think of a few things.

The First 48, the TV show: Folks seem to like getting arrested on that show.

48 Hours, the movie: The amounts of racism in this movie with Eddie Murphy and Nick Nolte is awkward and awesome.

The 48 Laws of Power, the book: Allegedly it sold over 1.2 million copies. Folks like Jay-Z, Kanye West, Will Smith, Andrew Bynum, and Chris Bosh have read it.  Yes I know, two of these people seem like they don't belong.

However, what Bernard Hopkins did on Saturday night by defeating Tavoris Cloud for the IBF light heavyweight championship in the Barclays Center at age 48, thus becoming the oldest man in recorded boxing history to win a recognized world boxing championship, I mean, what?

I think we all have this cloudy visualization of what we'll all look like as a 48-year-old man or woman, and I'm pretty sure it wasn't going 12 rounds while absorbing blows to the body and strafing punches with bad intentions towards your face. Moreover, when you think of professional athletes competing at the highest levels of sport, Hopkins has proven himself to be unparalleled. - ETSF

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