Saturday, April 28, 2007

No More Anon Comments

Edited 6/9/07: Anonymous posting is again allowd and will remain so as long as comments are kept polite. Edited 6/11/07: Well, that didn't last long. Anonymous comments will be allowed but I'll moderate all comments. Sorry. But I'm not going to put up with moronic comments from junior high level commenters. Sorry to the rest.

Sorry to most (99.99% ... which is to say, all but one) of you, but one person seems intent on posting untoward comments here ... not just about me, but about others as well, one of whom died this past Hornets season in Okc and about whose death this person seems to take macabre pleasure ... as in Silence of the Lambs. This was described more particularly in an earlier version of this post but no need now exists to be as particular as I was initially with this post. I've now learned a bit more about him and now I know that he just doesn't matter. He's not even a New Orleans guy, as I first thought ... he's from SEATTLE! Sorry, Nola guys, for the earlier slight. And, I am glad to say that the links I've received (previously noted in an earlier version of this post) at Site Meter from the New Orleans board no longer work ... I take that as a good sign.

But, for now, just know that anonymous posts will no longer be accepted here ... you will have to log on using a Blogger account name which will enable me to know "who" is posting. It's free and you don't have to create a "blog" to have a Blogger account. Just click the orange "B" in the upper left corner of this page and create an account. Sorry for the inconvenience, but, for now, that's my policy.
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Thursday, April 26, 2007

Okc Hornets Retrospective

Edited Note: On 4/29/2007, I modified the flash file to include control/navigation buttons, and, in this post, added instructions about saving and playing the file on your own computer.

Although the Hornets are now gone from Okc, they are harldly forgotten! Not by Doug Dawg, at least!

So, I thought I would put together a 2-year commerative flash file ... but ... what to call it?

The Replacements?

No, that wouldn't do ... the team members were not "replacements" ... but Oklahoma City WAS!

So, why not call it, "The Replacement," as in replacement "CITY"? And, I did that! Click on the image below to open the flash file ... it's a big file so it will take some time to load ...

WARNING! This Video Contains Disco Music!

Instructions about saving/playing the file on your own computer

It is possible to have, on your computer, a stand-alone software program which plays Flash files WITHOUT being connected to the internet, and several such programs are available. Such a program, and the one I've personally found to be good at doing so ... and it is free ... is SWF Opener. I've not found it to contain any "malware" or "tracking" stuff, PLUS it enhances a Flash file's playback by adding sizing and other features. For example, this Flash file is 800 px by 600 px. When opening this Flash file with SWF Opener, you can easily expand the display to "full screen" without a serious loss of image quality. I do recommend it ... it can be downloaded at this website, among other places.

If you don't want to do such a thing and simply want to use The Replacement Flash file on your computer while you are connected to the internet, that's fine, too. Either way, here's what to do:

  • THE HTML FILE (this is the Flash loading file - only needed if you don't have a stand-alone Flash player on you computer): Right-click on the following link if you want/need the html "loader" file, and in the pop-up menu, select, "Save Target As". Recommendation: save it to your computer's "Desktop". Right-click on this link. This file is not needed if you are playing the Flash file with a stand-alone Flash player software. Otherwise, this file, and the Flash file, need to be in the same directory/folder when you double-click on the html file to run the Flash file.

  • THE FLASH FILE (this is the Flash file itself): Right-click on the following link, and in the pop-up menu, select, "Save Target As". Recommndation: save it to your computer's "Desktop". Right-click on this link. If you are playing the file with a stand-alone Flash player software program, this file is all you need for that.
  • Sample images in the Flash file ...

    Tyson Chandler & Family


    And, of course, The Replacement!

    Enjoy! Love you, Hornets, always will!

    Related blog posts:

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    Thursday, April 12, 2007

    Hornets Last Week

    Oh, the pain! Oh, the joy! This was the last week of the season for the Hornets in Oklahoma City, and it has been such a ride and a bittersweet but great week it was!

    Clippers Game  Nuggets Game  Rave OKC Reviews  Mary's Pics
    This edited post finds the Hornets eliminated from the playoffs (losing a heartbreaker on Friday to Denver, 105-107, before a joyous, screaming, yet heartbroken, crowd, and then losing to Houston on Saturday, 123-112.

    Are we gonna miss these guys (and Honeybees)? Damn straight!

    Part of a nice article at MS/ (which also appears in scores of papers around the country) reads,

    The clock runs out on Oklahoma City's NBA run
    Associated Press Sports

    OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Oklahoma City finally got its moment on the big stage of pro sports. In not too long, however, all that will be left will be some NBA memories.

    The relocated New Orleans Hornets will play their final regular-season game in Oklahoma City on Friday night against the Denver Nuggets. The city is holding out hope that a late push by the team could put some playoff buzz in Ford Center.

    But the offseason will carry the Hornets home after a two-year relocation brought on by Hurricane Katrina, leaving Oklahoma City without a franchise again.

    "We're still in uncharted territory,'' Mayor Mick Cornett said.

    The Hornets have a farewell planned for the finale, which will be the team's 30th sellout in 71 Oklahoma City games over the past two seasons. NBA commissioner David Stern said he will be there to thank the city.

    "I'm sure it's going to be emotional for a lot of our fans,'" Cornett said. "This has always been a temporary arrangement, but that doesn't necessarily make it any easier. This town has fallen in love with this team, and fallen in love with the NBA product in general.'"
    But, a lengthier article at The Bulletin perhaps said it the best:

    Oklahoma City Is Feeling The Sting
    By: Dan Murphy, For The Bulletin

    Imagine watching over a friend's pet for two years, nurturing it, making sure it thrives, until your friend is ready to take back the animal. Problem is, you and the creature have become good pals And letting go will not be as easy as originally planned.

    Oklahoma City is going through a similar situation with its temporary basketball franchise, the Hornets. The bees had been playing in New Orleans up until Hurricane Katrina ravaged the city in August 2005. Oklahoma City was commissioned by the NBA to provide the team with a place to play, giving the city a chance to support and experience its first professional franchise.

    And support them they have.

    But now it looks like that support is being thrown out the window as the NBA announced that the Hornets would be returning to New Orleans for good next season.

    In a little over a season and a half, the people from this town, known mainly in the sports world for Oklahoma Sooners football and Oklahoma State Cowboys basketball, have been a physical and mental support machine for the Hornets. Numbers are up in two categories since the move.

    Before Katrina, the Hornets had the second worst record in the NBA at 18-64. Last year, their first in OK City, they went 38-44 and barely missed the playoffs. This season has been full of streaks and spurts. But going into their March 23 game with the Lakers, the team was only one game out of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

    Attendance has also spiked.

    Before Katrina occurred, the Hornets were dead last in attendance among all NBA teams. It jumped to 11th following their first season in Oklahoma City. And this season, as of the beginning of March, their rank hovered around ninth. Also keep in mind that the Ford Center in Oklahoma City has a greater capacity than the New Orleans Arena (19,599 compared to 17,200), and still the Hornets have had eight sellouts this season, and 13 total games where the attendance was 18,000 or higher.

    "Oklahoma has been divided as far as the college teams are concerned, but for the Hornets, everyone has become unified inside the arena to give us that home-court advantage," said Chad Huntington, an Oklahoma City resident.

    The hearts of many of the Oklahoma City fans sank when NBA commissioner David Stern announced on Jan. 31 that the Hornets would return to New Orleans full-time beginning in the 2007-08 season.
    Tuesday, April 10, 2007 v. The Clippers: Hornets win 103-100.

    Click on an pic for a larger view

    During the game, "Hugo", retiring after 17 years of service, received special attention. Michael Zerrillo has been the "face" of the Hornets all this time. A nice article by Jenni Carlson at the Oklahoman website tells his story.

    Credit: The Oklahoman

    Oh, My! How Could I Forget The Honeybees!

    After a great 3rd quarter, the Clippers tied, forcing Overtime ...

    ... BUT ... Hornets win, 103-101!

    Friday, April 13, 2007: Hornets lose 105-107. This was the Hornets' finale in Oklahoma City (at least, for this season ... even though the Horents return to New Orleans for now, it isn't a fait accompli they will remain there for very long). This was the Fan Appreciation Night for the hordes of Okies who have supported the Hornets for the past two seasons, and what a night it was! NBA Commissioner David Stern was on hand to ooze kudos upon my city, George Shinn did, too, lots of nostaligic videos before and after the game, and fan give-a-ways all the way around. See National OKC Reviews, below, for more about that.

    For now, enjoy the game pics. My family and I were lucky enough to get tickets, even though they were in the nosebleed part of the Ford Center ... glad to have 'em! At least, we were behind the Hornets bench. Click on any pic for a larger image (after the 1st).

    The Program Cover (slighly stylized by me)

    The Last Pregame Workout & Stretch

    Mayor Cornett Unveils New Hornets Permanent Banner ... look closely

    Zooming In ...

    No Bees Closeups From the Cheap Seats, But ...

    Lots of Outrageous Okie Fans!

    The Guys Worked HARD For A Win

    And We Led Most Of The Night

    And Battled Down To The Wire, Though We Lost

    LOTS Of Free T-Shirts (thousands - everyone got at least 1)

    After the loss, the team was dejected.
    Credit: The Oklahoman

    Few left the Ford as post-game videos recounting the Horents 2-year stay in Oklahoma City were shown. I noticed that Tyson Chandler's eyes rarely didn't watch intently. Unfortunately, my camera card was full at that point and I have no images that I took to show ... but there is one that I'll post from an unknown original source ... the poignant image of Honeybee Talor while watching those videos ...

    But for not having pretty Talor's good looks, my face, as well as thousands in the arena, would have and did look much the same. She, and we, love these guys and we're gonna miss 'em ... big time!

    On a negative note, sad to say, lots of folks, including but not limited to much of the leadership at the New Orleans Hornets Fansite DON'T love these guys and used the above pic as a source for scorn, ridicule, and a perverse-darkside-kind-of-pride, as far as the Hornets were/are concerned, everything from she not being pretty, needing a tan, jumping for joy, whatever. These are the same guys that plead insufferably for "sympathy" and "understanding" because of their own stressful circumstances! Go figure! If you don't believe me, click the immediately preceding link (unless you've been banned from participating there). As you'll see, many there wanted the Hornets to lose this game and were joyful when they did! A few in the linked thread thought differently, but they were shouted down. Hopefully, those twisted and dark-side guys do not represent the "true" nature of Hornets Fans in the City of New Orleans and are merely an internet anomoly and abomination ... the thread is ugly, just plain ugly. Later, in another thread, one of the same leaders there said that it was time to look ahead and put down the negative talk ... but since he was one of the same people who "fanned the fire" in the above-linked thread, and one who I once thought to be more responsible than his brother-leaders there, his credibility with Doug Dawg is incurably impaired. If he happens to read this post, he'll know who I mean. With "friends" like this, who needs any enemies? I am certain that those who do things like are described above are not representative of the good people of New Orleans.

    As for the team, as I already said, Tyson Chandler's eyes rarely budged from the videos shown after the game ... his eyes seemed riveted to the videos. Tyson's "breakout" season occurred here in Okc, this year. He, and Chris Paul, and others, were effusive in their praise of Oklahoma City. Perhaps the most poignant comment, though, came from Coach Byron Scott ...

    In Darnell Mayberry's "Heartbreaking Loss" article, he said ...

    Byron Scott refused to remain on the Ford Center court.

    Someday, the Hornets coach will look back on this season and reminisce about the good times. Someday, he'll be able to watch video montages like the one he turned his back on and walked away from after his team's 107-105, heartbreaking loss to the Denver Nuggets.

    Friday night just wasn't the time.

    "I didn't want to go back there,” Scott said. "I didn't want to start reflecting. First of all, we got three games left. You never know what's going to happen. Second of all, I didn't want you guys to see a grown man out there crying.”
    Somehow I doubt that Coach Scott meant crying about the game's loss. He meant the same thing we in Okc mean ... the pain of saying goodbye to something you've come to love, particularly when none (in this area, including the Hornets) want that to happen.

    In another Oklahoman Berry Tramel article, I was particularly taken by this ...

    Shinn wandered down a Ford Center tunnel at halftime of this part senior prom, part memorial service, and a grateful Hornets fan grabbed him. She barely could talk.

    Shinn made out only, "thank you.”

    Then he started bawling himself. "She got me tore up. Wasn't this a wonderful thing?”
    Yes! Absolutely wonderful, the whole 2 seasons!

    I'll close this with Doug Dawgz strongest recommendation that you take 5 1/2 minutes to view this video that the Oklahoman has put together which honors the night and the 2 year Hornets history here. You may have to register to see it, but, trust me, it's worth seeing, while it's still available there. Click the image below ...

    National Review on OKC's Job Well Done. There are too many to list them all (and they are sometimes redundant given wire service usage of the same article over and over), but I'll give a sampling of national press links here. I'm only giving snippets here, but click on the links for the full reports as long as they remain on-line.

  • Sacramento Bee

  • NBA Beat: Stern's message is clear: Oklahoma City is OK
    An arena that was not supposed to get a team and a city that was not supposed to get a chance let go of the Hornets on Friday, but not of the dream.

    This could end up as the greatest tryout in NBA history, after all. If it was an unwanted opportunity because of how it came about, it was not wasted, with Oklahoma City earning such positive reviews as the temporary home of an organization driven from New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina that it undoubtedly will end up with a permanent team.

    It might get the same Hornets, set to play all of 2007-08 in the "Big Easy" but far from definite beyond that as the league concedes the uncertain future of a city that had serious financial concerns even before Katrina. It might get the SuperSonics, whose new owner happens to be an Oklahoma businessman and is running into walls trying to get a new arena in suburban Seattle.

    But Oklahoma City almost certainly will get some team at some point.
  • Jeff Latzke's AP article
  • Stern looking forward to NBA's return to Oklahoma City
    OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - NBA commissioner David Stern attended the New Orleans Hornets' final regular-season game in their temporary home Friday and complimented Oklahoma City for an "absolutely extraordinary" job as host.

    Before the start of the game, Stern took a microphone and thanked the city, state, government leaders and fans.

    "Most of all, thank you to the fans of this most major league of cities," Stern said to loud cheers. "I look forward to the day that the NBA will return to Oklahoma City."
  • Marc Spears' Denver Post article in Chicago Tribune
  • Oklahoma City bids NBA farewell
    But fans prove area is ripe for big-league franchise--and soon

    "Here in Oklahoma City, the time that we've had has been unbelievable," Hornets coach Byron Scott said. "It's been a great ride and I think everyone's enjoyed it. I don't know if the fans are saying `Goodbye' or `See you later.'"
    * * *
    On Wednesday, Stern said, "I don't have a team to send and I can't tell you a date, but it's my expectation that the NBA has not played its last game in Oklahoma City."
  • Another Latzke AP article
  • Nuggets spoil sendoff
    Denver’s 8th straight win comes in Hornets’ Oklahoma City finale

    “We knew it was going to be a packed house tonight. They wanted to win, but we wanted to win just as bad,” said [Carmelo] Anthony, who along with Iverson forms the NBA’s highest-scoring tandem.

    The night started with a rousing pregame, in which Hornets starters came to the court through the stands and commissioner David Stern proclaimed that he looked forward to the NBA’s return to Oklahoma City.
    * * *
    “They had a great atmosphere, the fans are very supportive of them. I know they’re going to miss playing here, and I know the fans are going to miss those guys playing here,” Iverson said. “I think it was a great two years for them, and they did all they could to win tonight.”
  • Detroit News
  • Thanks To Oklahoma City
    NBA commissioner David Stern attended the New Orleans Hornets' final regular-season game in their temporary home last night and complimented Oklahoma City for an "absolutely extraordinary" job as host.

    Before the start of the game, Stern took a microphone and thanked the city, state, government leaders and fans.

    "Most of all, thank you to the fans of this most major league of cities," Stern said to loud cheers. "I look forward to the day that the NBA will return to Oklahoma City."
  • Toronto Sun(Similar to the above)

  • There are similar articles in far-away places like Australia and Romania. I guess that if we were to guage our self-esteem by mirrors, OKC would be OK! But, then again, we don't need mirrors to know that we are, and to appreciate what have experienced! We ARE OK!

    Postscript: My Daughter's Pics. My daughter is quite a shutterbug and below are 10 pics she took at the last game. As before, click on a pic for a larger image.


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