Category Archives: NBA

Ducks on the Pond Looking for Writers!

 

Howdy Reader(s)!

 

We’ve been terrible about posting, we know.  L.J. Hoes is in primetime  Houston, the Celtics are now located in Brooklyn , the Sox have doubled down and cowboy’d up with Peavy, and other gnarly stuff I personally am glad we abstained from writing about.

But football is itching to come about and the playoff picture is coming in to place and we want to get serious.  So help us out!  If you like to write, or ramble, about sports, send us a sample!  We’d love to get some folks contributing on, well, whatever sports you’re into, we suppose.

If you look at the tone of the site, all we ask is you be respectful(ish) and passionate about the sports you write about!  So if you’re looking for a space to vent some thoughts on sports in your idle time, here’s Vinnie the Gooch extending a personal invitation – come join us at Ducks on the Pond, the pay is non-existent, but it feels good to vent, folks.

email anything you’d like us to read at duckscheckemails @ gmail.com or tweet us if you’re interested @duckfromthepond 

 

Here’s to you and your future & current fantasy teams readers, you’ll see no Riley Cooper dark horse candidate articles here.

 

– V 

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Filed under About the Blog, Baseball, basketball, College, Fantasy Baseball, Football, MLB, NBA, NCAA, NFL, NHL, offseason, Opinion, PLAYOFFS

Why Bryce Harper Deserves Our Undivided Attention

I am pretty sure I could write pages and pages about why I love The Natural—its solemn nostalgia and ability to reawaken every part of me that loves every part of baseball—but I will try to contain myself to the subject outlined so subtly in the title.

Perhaps you are wondering what this man has to do with our title figure, Mr. Harper. Patience, I ask only for patience.

Roy Hobbs is not necessarily a fallen hero; he did no wrong but circumstances outside his control doomed him to fall short of the potential recognized by himself and others. We can never know if he would have fulfilled his Williamsesque prophesy, to walk down the street and hear people say: “there goes Roy Hobbs, the best there ever was,” but I am confident he would have. In sports, I see largely ordinary men do extraordinary things. I know they are ordinary because they get hurt like us (Tony Canigliaro); they aren’t ready like us (Billy Beane); they fall from grace and from the public eye, never to reveal just how deep their talent runs (Josh Hamilton).

Both the Rays and Hamilton seemed destined for greatness following the 1999 draft.

The film came out in 1984, when Josh Hamilton was three years old. He quickly became as close to a real-life Roy Hobbs as we will ever experience. Blessed with physical gifts as both a pitcher and hitter, there was not speculation about Hamilton’s potential: it was simply known that he would become one of the best players in the world, never mind that he was just 17 when drafted in 1999. The most “sure thing” prospect since another teen draftee, Ken Griffey Jr., Hamilton was believed to be able to make it in the majors as a pitcher or hitter (very Hobbsish), and would likely do so soon after the start of the new millennium. He was Bryce Harper before Bryce Harper picked up a bat, godly in his talent and titanic in his potential. Then he showed the world how human he was.

Imagine how much THIS would be worth if he was real.

Hamilton fell victim to injuries and drug addiction. Instead of bursting onto the scene with precocious teen talent, Hamilton struggled to find his way to the majors, finally making his debut in 2007. He was supposed to be the best in the league on his way to “the best there ever was” by then, well on his way to cementing his place among baseball’s immortals.

Hamilton has shown his talent over the last six years, even taking home an MVP in 2010, but one night stands out to me, a night that only young boys and Hollywood could have imagined. In 2008, the Home Run Derby at Yankee Stadium (in New York—the Hobbs comparisons become eerie) allowed the baseball world to feast its eyes on talent unlike most ever witnessed. Hamilton swung 38 times in the first round. He hit 28 home runs, including 13 in a row at one point.

Hamilton put on a type of show unseen since Barry Levinson’s magical 1984 film.

People can’t even do that in wiffleball or video games. Hamilton—or Hobbs—is the player you create in a virtual world because you will never see him in ours, the slugger you pretend to be in your daydreams and fantasies. I didn’t just want to be a major leaguer; I wanted to be THE guy, the player with unlimited talent and even more potential—Nomar in 1997 or Pujols in 2001 or Ted Williams back in 1939.

Whoops. Not this Nomar.

Hobbs makes me smile, but Hamilton breaks my heart. Hobbs ensures that he will be remembered forever, rising from the depths as he lifts a team and city from comparable doldrums, as he carries the Knights to the pennant in dramatic fashion. People may not say “the best there ever was,” but they would certainly say “there goes Roy Hobbs.” I do not know for certain if Josh Hamilton will reach that point, and that kills me. That magical night at Yankee Stadium in the summer of 2008 reminded every person witnessing of the deep well that contains Hamilton’s ability, a place that will perhaps never run dry but has certainly been greatly depleted. Hamilton is a hero to many, not only a great baseball player but also a human being who got his life back together having faced a crippling addiction. But I don’t think he will ever be a hero to himself, because he knows how good he could have been. One must hope he has an Iris Gaines of his own, reminding him of the present and future, lest he forever mire in the missed opportunities of the past.

Hamilton does a lot of looking off into space, as if forging in his mind what could have been. Must be a pretty picture.

I realize now that I failed in my attempt to focus on how Redford shapes the film, but I think this says a lot about his performances and about me as a viewer. He embodies Sundance and Johnny Hooker and Hobbs and all of his characters with seductive magnetism, reminding us of the lives we dreamed of as kids and still remember dreaming of as we age but fail to grow up. Redford’s appeal transcends gender or sexuality or time, I believe. In The Natural, who wouldn’t root for a country boy with a homegrown swing and self-made bat? Who can help but root for the Knights, decked out in the regalia of a time when greedy owners and their corporate ambitions could be overcome by the divine prowess of a single man?

We often place superheroes’ expectations upon the shoulders of our superstars, calling upon them to bring in fans or sponsors or to save fading leagues. Rarely are we granted the privilege of experiencing a Roy Hobbs, but even rarer is the chance to witness someone with that talent who does not lose his years to gunshots or drug addictions.

Watch – witness – Bryce Harper as often as you can while you can. Naturals are in limited supply.

Let’s hope whatever that picture is he’s seeing becomes a reality.

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Filed under Baseball, batter v. pitcher, NBA, Random Thoughts

It’s Time for the Craig Sagers to Go Away

This movie is crazy sad, so it's ok how mean the implication is (...it's that Craig Sager ought to be put down, dummy)

SPOILER: The 1957 Old Yeller  movie is crazy sad.  Make your kids watch it early on to learn some valuable life lessons.

 

Meanness Alert:  Alert Level 10 (on a scale of 1 to Regina George)

Truthfully, I mean to be only partially as mean as it may appear above.  Craig Sager is merely an audaciously dressed version of a terrible-horrible-no-good-very-bad evolution in sports: the sideline reporter.  Craig Sager is often the most flamboyant, but they all need to be taken behind a shed and put down like Old Yeller  go away.

I mean this not as some groundbreaking revelation. Rather, I have reached my breaking point.

At some point, perhaps, sideline reporters offered a unique perspective. In days of yore (maybe not YOUR yore, but someone’s yore), indeed a sideline reporter was in fact in a unique position – on the sideline. This may have at some points offered them opportunities to find out new information, but in today’s technological, all-access world the sideline is relegated to this:

Or this.  Look Here.  Here.  Deadspin is of course all over this idea.  This thing Here.  Example also found…Here.  Aw, hell, here’s a compilation of Popovich owning sideline reporters.

Embarrassing. This grown ass man (in Sager’s case – I did my best to not provide ONLY Sager links) is made a fool of by asking an entirely irrelevant question, getting a terse if not combative answer, trying again, then grinning like an idiot.  Sideline reporting today has reached the same level as the ‘four corner ‘ offense. It must go, and it must go now, for our sanity.

Again, I do not mean to pick on Sager. It’s just easy. You can quickly find any number of examples on the Internet of sideline reporters’ failures or lack of importance, just as I did above.  It took me all of 4 minutes. I mean, sure, I don’t mind looking at Erin Andrews, but she adds literally nothing of value and should really be an embarrassment to actual, knowledgeable female fans worldwide (this issue of female reporters and commentators in Sports is a larger concern and deserves a longer, better thought out discussion in its own right).

Coaches do not want to talk to someone after a half, quarter or (the most egregious and awful idea ever) inning, and certainly not after a game, win or lose.  Players sure as hell don’t want to talk regardless of outcome partly out of convenience, partly for their own sake. Some guys know in the heat of battle they are going to say something they might have to answer for. OK, only a few of them think like that, most players are one opening of the mouth away from a necessary public apology.  Forget their concerns, I can’t imagine the public is clamoring for more of this:

This example obviously falls under the category of ‘satire,’ but it is not far from the truth.  So maybe that’s what sideline reporting has devolved into – plodding dumbassery, coachspeak and cliches, waiting for that one time where they can catch someone saying something stupid in the heat of a competitive moment. It seems likely to me. Which is very, very sad.

We as sports fans and channels as sports entertainment producers have moved past the need for sideline reporters, nay sideline REPORTING, altogether, the way it is conducted now. The practice is stale, remaining as some foolhardy tradition, an embarrassment of excess and world-class BS. With the amount of pre-game, halftime/break-time, and post-game coverage, analysis and preparation – shouldn’t the men and women covering the games already be capable of reporting the coach was really happy with his team’s choice of pre game snack of Honey Bunches of Oats?

I’m sure there is a place for reporting from the sideline, somehow. I don’t know if I have the answer. I do know that the Craig Sagers of the world need to go away.  At least get a new angle and a makeover.

Or does everyone really feel comfortable with this guy posing as a source of ‘information’?

With all due respect to Craig Sager, you and your brethren make me want to not watch sports. So I suppose if you’re in cahoots with the radio industry… then bravo, you evil geniuses.

-V

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Filed under Baseball, basketball, College, Football, March Madness, MLB, NBA, NCAA, NFL, NHL, Posted, Soccer

Baseball’s Doing Something Right: Why the MLB Draft System Works

As the NBA allows for “one-and-dones” to exist, slowly eating away at the stability and integrity of college basketball, there is a contemporary professional sports league that does it right. Believe it or not, that league is the MLB, home of our nation’s fading pastime. While talented teenagers bolt from schools towards NBA millions, we cannot fault these athletes—many of whom come from low to middle-class backgrounds—for forsaking a college degree to sign lucrative contracts as young as possible.

The current system forces NBA-ready players like Kyrie Irving and Nerlens Noel to go to college for a year, both jeopardizing their health or draft value (notice why I chose these two?) and cutting away at the academic integrity of the schools they attend.

Recognize Irving in this uniform? No? Maybe because he wore it only a handful of times before getting injured during his freshman year. Suffice it to say Irving would have made out just fine in the NBA without his 8 GS at Duke.

Nerlens Noel, the latest victim of the NBA’s flawed eligibility rules, may have to wait a little longer to hear his name called at this year’s NBA Draft.


Meanwhile, the system also pushes student-athletes who are not ready to perform at the next level into the NBA, players such as throwback Omar Cook of St. John’s fame (1.7 PPG and 0 NBA starts) and Kosta Koufos (4.6 PPG in 86 starts), a man probably drawn out of school due to the precedent set by more talented Ohio State teammates. (Side note: I attended the 3 OT Celtics-Nuggets thriller ten days ago—Koufos started the game but was nowhere to be found on the court for the last 20 minutes of game time.)

Koufos spends a lot of time wearing this warmup, questioning his decision to leave Ohio State after just a year. Certainly a player who, under MLB rules, would have played 3-4 years in college before going pro.

One could go on and on with names like these, including a whole slew of Memphis grads (Shawne Williams and Dajuan Wagner to name just two), and the busts far outnumber the studs, the Durants and Irvings of the world. If the NBA and NCAA hope to strike a balance between fostering talent and allowing superstars to shine bright early, while also maintaining the integrity of the entity “student-athelete,” perhaps they should take a hint from their less popular, less flawed baseball buddies.

Baseball is very in touch with its policies and its players. Just ask Chris Coghlan.

While MLB has its share of struggles regarding young talent burning out, their system does a far better job of balancing encouraging superstar talent with pushing teenagers to develop for four years in college.

According to MLB.com, the main categories of eligible players to be drafted by Major League teams are:

  •  High school players, if they have graduated from high school and have not yet attended college or junior college;
  • College players, from four-year colleges who have either completed their junior or senior years or are at least 21 years old; and
  • Junior college players, regardless of how many years of school they have completed

To summarize this summary, a high school senior can enter the MLB Draft upon graduating, but a player who enters college is not eligible for the draft until he has completed his junior year or is 21 years of age. This way, raw talents are encouraged to develop their game at the college level. Many players still immaturely choose the draft, but for the most part only the top talent each year is pushed to declare straight out of high school. No draft system will ever be perfect (if one was, drafting would be really easy…), but MLB’s is fascinating in that it makes athletes and their families do something we often dread: think. The three-year timeframe between graduating high school and being 21 does put a heckuva lot of pressure on prospects, but this tough choice tends to push players toward college rather than declaring straight out of high school.

Just ask Mr. Pedroia if he’s thankful for his time playing at ASU, where he was teammates with two other All-Stars: Ian Kinsler and Andre Ethier.

The numbers don’t lie. Only 5.6% of high school baseball players play NCAA baseball, and well less than 1% get drafted to the MLB straight out of high school. On the other hand, 10.5% of NCAA players go on to play professionally! Now there are differences between the NBA and MLB, one must admit. Terms for guaranteed money vary in the leagues, but each league guarantees their contracts, unlike the NFL, which allows for teams to essentially get rid of players at their whim. MLB also differs from the NBA in that its draft is huuuuuuuuuuuge – more than 1,000 players are drafted each year while the NBA’s draft has two round and less than 70 picks.

Similarly, however, an estimated 1.2% of NCAA men’s basketball players get drafted to the NBA while about .003% of high school varsity players will eventually play professionally. For the NBA, a system with options declaring right out of high school or after 3 years of college  solves ANOTHER problem- the minor leagues!  Seeing a kid or 2 or 3 years in college as they refine their game is a helluva lot better than a one and done going to the NBDL and vanishing from the face of the Earth!

Xavier Henry should have spent some more time in this uniform. Does wasting away in the D-League or on the Hornets’ bench really seem like a better option than developing under the tutelage of Bill Self? Bet you forgot who Xavier Henry was.

Every professional sport will have players who attempt to make it big before their minds or bodies are ready (Freddy Adu, Ryan Leaf, Demarcus Cousins it would seem), but as of right now the NBA is failing its pool of young talent and therefore its fanbase with regard to its handling of development of players.

Baseball’s system allows for the proper maturing of talent – whether it be mentally or physically.  Sure, there will always be freaks like Bryce Harper or Dave Winfield, but the majority of athletes in ALL sports need time to season their brains to the professional level.  Listen to a veteran talking about a rookie sometime – in any sport – they never talk about the things we drool over before drafts, verticals and bench press and Wonderlics; they talk about mental preparation.  If the NBA adopted the MLB policy, certainly there will still be bozos like DeMarcus Cousins who bolt before they are ready but the point is teams would then have the knowledge that a more refined, if slightly less naturally athletically gifted, player can have a positive impact quicker and more efficiently than those who failed to transition properly.

Stephen Strasburg was just one of many stud prospects who could light up a radar gun. His time at San Diego State allowed him to become the most surefire superstar of this generation.

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by | February 19, 2013 · 2:06 PM

Greatest Of All Time (GOATs): The Time is Now

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

-the indelible Ferris Bueller

Ferris stated simply yet so powerfully a truth that haunts us all, but even more daunting than the speed with which life flies by is the pace at which sports travel—from one era, superstar, or scandal to the next before we can even appreciate what we are lucky enough to witness firsthand.

As I sit here gagging at the shallow yet relentless spectacle that is NBA All-Star Weekend (I appreciate Big Shot Bob Horry as much as the next guy but JUST SHOW ME DUNKS), I want to be negative and cynical; I want to yell that my sports world can never be rebuilt into a fantasyland of innocent admiration, that steroids and Twitter and self-promotion and wide receivers and the 2012 Red Sox have forever tarnished my view. But I can’t.

You see, we in fact live right now in a time when the greatest of all time are growing, performing, and dominating right before our eyes. Let’s stop on this most lame of sports weekends and look around:

Albert Pujols

 

In a landscape marred by PEDs (see our horrifying expose here), decreasing national interest, and falling heroes (say it ain’t so, Mr. Braun!), Pujols continues to go about his business of entering the discussion of GOAT. His charming disposition aside (that’s for another time), Pujols will, assuming 5-7 years of near-peak performance, near the home run mark of “Home Run King” Barry Bonds, the Worst King of Anything Ever. Considering that Pujols is not only protected by the otherworldy talent that is Mike Trout but also now by the bat of Josh Hamilton, 300 more HR is not out of the question by any means. With 10 top-10 MVP finishes (and 3 wins) in only 12 seasons, Pujols has astounded with his consistency as well as his power and efficiency (see .325 career average and 42 doubles per season).

Don’t just stay up to watch Trout follow up his unprecedented rookie season: make sure to remember Albert Pujols, soon to be considered one of the GOAT.

Lionel Messi

 I won’t pretend to know much about soccer (although I did captain the worst middle school team ever to a respectable 2-10 campaign), but every sports fan should be able to appreciate the beautiful dominance of the Beautiful Game that Messi brings on a daily basis. There is more to be done for his Argentina team that has disappointed at times on the world stage, but Messi has never failed to amaze, whether in short spurts (five goals in one game!) or over a prolonged period of time (FIFA Ballon d’Or 2009-12, only player to win it four times. He’s 25.).

Despite this outfit, NOW is as good a time as ever for us narrow-minded, anti-soccer sports fans to take notice of Messi, as he has scored in FOURTEEN STRAIGHT GAMES and has amassed 48 GOALS IN JUST 34 GAMES THIS SEASON. Soccer players who score in half their games are considered among the best in the world. With his numbers, Messi is among the GOAT.

Greatest ever? We shall see.

Lebron James

There is not much to be said about Lebron that isn’t said every other day on ESPN, but some things bear repeating: 27.6 PPG, 7.2 RPG, and 6.9 APG for one year would be amazing. These are Lebron’s career numbers! And he seems to still be growing into a more complete player! And he is playing looser and more efficiently now that he won a ring! And he’s only 28!!!  This is Lebron’s 10th season. He’s made 10 All-Star teams, will soon have finished top 10 in MVP voting 10 times (Top 5 8 times), and it is safe to assume he will remain in these positions for the foreseeable future (DID I MENTION HE’S ONLY 28?!!?). Not only has Lebron been top 2 in the NBA in scoring for the past 8 years, he’s been top 10 in assists five times and top 10 in minutes played 7 times!

Lebron will play for at least eight more seasons. He will win at least another two championships and cement his legacy, win however many MVPs he feels necessary, and he just might do so in yet another uniform, sticking his middle finger once again towards us fans who forget that above all, this is a man who wants to win and wants to be the GOAT. Regarding the latter, he will never attain his goal in the eyes of many.

Grandpas love Larry Bird. Side note: not my grandpa.

Michael Jordan (or Larry Bird for my classicist grandfather) will always be the greatest to those people, but the fact that Lebron’s only obstacle to being GOAT is the GOAT means he is, in fact, PRETTY DAMN GOOD. Did I mention he’s only 28?

Ugly sweater. Turtleneck. Still has the elephant.

Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning, Adrian Peterson

Take your pick. A case can, or will be able to, be made for any of the three quarterbacks for GOAT. Rodgers, Brady, and Manning possess the 1st, 2nd, and 4th best career passer ratings OF ALL TIME, respectively. Manning and Brady are 2nd and 5th all-time in Pass TD (with Rodgers in full pursuit at only age 28), and all three are in the top 7 for passing YPG. The debate between these three—and any other past QB you wish to include—will not be settled until Rodgers is done. With Brady’s window closing (not too fast, I hope) and Manning’s nearly shut, my money is on Rodgers winning this clash of titans, and perhaps even the discount double check belt for GOAT. As if this country needs reasons to watch football on Sundays, these three lead the unfathomably deep pool of QB talent that currently make football the most watchable sport in the United States, if not world (sorry, hurling).

Before he’s done, Rodger’s belt may just be one with a GOAT buckle. I do hope this move goes away. Soon please!

Peterson’s path to GOAT is perhaps filled with more obstacles than those of his QB contemporaries. Considering his knee’s history, Peterson’s career may not last as long as all of us (except Packers and Bears fans) would like. That being said, eight more seasons seems reasonable for Peterson, and an average of 1,500 yards for those eight seasons (doable with Christian Ponder or Alex Smith under center) would put Peterson at 20,849 career yards, the highest total ever. A lot of you could argue that 1,500 yards is too high. 1,300 yards per those eight seasons still gives Peterson a GOAT total of 19,249 rushing yards. He’ll only be 28 come training camp. If a destroyed knee yields 2,000 rushing yards, who knows what 6-8 healthy years could mean for Peterson and his opponents.

Damn. He’s even bigger now. This is what my online dating profile picture would be. Ladies.

Miscellaneous (Unprecedentedly Good) Athletes

These final two athletes found fame in very different sports but with a similar tragic flaw. At the same time their performances have been electrifying, snatching  up the attention of this country and of the entire sporting world, their exposure has been fleeting and painfully short. Michael Phelps gave us three snapshots of what it means to be truly dominant in one’s field, winning often or always and doing so in a wide array of races, sometimes even in world record fashion. Yet we are doomed to discuss him for only two weeks every four years into eternity because of the fleeting beauty that is the Olympic games. The same goes for Usain Bolt, the man so enigmatic both in talent and personality, who has captured the world’s eye in both Beijing and London, only to flash by in a blur so fast that a couple of sneezes and you miss history. Phelps and Bolt are, as of now, the GOAT in their fields, and competitors will be hard-pressed to dethrone them for some time to come. Just a pity they only show up every four years for most of us.

Phelps was swimming in the Olympics at an age when I was just understanding why beach volleyball was cool. He still sort of looks like a dork.

So what am I saying? Why create this list? First of all, don’t complain that it’s long (and could be longer—see Serena Williams, Tiger Woods, et al.); be thankful that you live within what is most certainly a peak in sports history, a time filled with great teams, moments, and individual competitors like these I have mentioned. So stop whining about this NBA Self-Indulgence Weekend. Maybe skip school or work on Monday. Steal a friend’s car. Take it to a game (NOT A CUBS GAME THOUGH). Stop and take in the talent around you. Or don’t. But be warned. You just might miss it.

Cameron didn’t have so many (potential) GOATs to watch. You do. So look around a little.

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Filed under Baseball, Football, MLB, NBA, NFL, Olympics, Random Thoughts, Soccer

WHAT IS GOING ON?!

There is little to be said about this video other than it is completely absurd. Welcome to the internet.

But like this video, the past few days of sports have been alarming- kind of. The NBA appears to be fixed? A baseball superstar took designer PED’s? My mock shock levels are at an all time high!

The NBA issue first; it is the worst kept secret in all of sports that the NBA is fixed worse than the WWE. Think about it: for years, nay, DECADES, the masses have griped and questioned the integrity of the officiating. Then an official gets caught betting on games. And for some reason (David Stern’s brainwashing machine?) we think this one poor guy, Donaghy, is the only official getting a little something on the side?!?  Am I that cynical or are we all that naive?  Donaghy deserves everything he gets not because he was the black sheep of the sport but because he was dumb enough to get caught when it would seem dozens of others have been running the same scam for years.

Which brings me to this Chris Paul trade debacle.  The NBA lockout was bad enough.  There is not enough space on the internet and airwaves to properly broadcast every fans’ grievances against a broken and stupid league.  Both sides come off as equally greedy, stubborn, clueless and wrong.  But someone realized – ‘crap, if we don’t have games on Christmas, we’re blowing a HUGE payday, and I love money more than sex!’  – or something of the like, it would seem.  The NBA’s new deal came together quickly and allegedly fixed all woes.  This was obviously a lie.  David Stern cited ‘the best interest of the league’ in his czar-like vetoing of the trade.  Please, if someone would, explain to me how it is in the best interest of the league, a league, may I remind you, that just locked out for 150 days over the disparity between small and big market teams (at least partially), for the commissioner to force a team to keep a player who wants out, will become a free agent, leave for a bigger market, and yield nothing in return for the small-market Hornets.

Go ahead… I’ll wait.

OY GEVALT!

It doesn’t make sense.  Stern can claim other small-market owners voiced concern, but I call bull.  Paul is 99.99999% guaranteed to leave for New York, an LA team, or some other big-time market after the season.  He wants out.  How is it in the best interest of the Hornets to keep him, lose him and get nothing?  The deal would have landed them Kevin Martin, a stellar player, though obviously not Chris Paul, Luis Scola, a legitimate forward, and Lamar Odom-Kardashian, as solid a bench player as they come.  And a first round pick!  Wouldn’t those pieces have helped the Hornets going forward?  Didn’t Stern just dissolve any illusion that Hornets’ “General Manager” Dell Demps (in quotations because he’s a GM like I’m a writer, apparently) has any real power?  Here Demps thinks he has masterminded just about as good a deal as a GM can muster when a superstar clearly wants to go and the commissioner comes along and stuffs him in a locker, metaphorically, obviously.  Stern couldn’t take Demps, no sir-ee-bob.

This whole business stinks to me.  Something is dirty in the NBA, something is not as it seems.

————

And now, for the continue-to-break-my-heart-baseball department…

this is just about the saddest picture google could find quickly. I do not know this poor, sad girl, but I imagine we are both distraught over the allegations.

 

Honestly, this bombshell couldn’t have come at a worse time.  Baseball was a a-buzz with the Marlins spending like drunken frat bros in a strip club, Pujols flippin’ Saint Louis the bird, and the Three Stooges-esque hijinks of the Red Sox (mis)management.  People were engaged and talking about the 2012 season with genuine interest.

Sigh.  This steroid crap again.

We had pushed it to the back of our minds.  We had convinced ourselves that this new crop of players had been subjected to legitimate and strict testing.  We thought this time was different.  But like a cheating significant other, we were wrong to trust.  And it’s not even important if the allegations of cheating stick (see the double meaning of ‘cheat’ there? Boy am I clever)- it’s the seed of doubt they planted.  Even if a perfectly reasonable explanation comes forward some genetic thing, an overdose of PowerBars, tainted meat in a 5-dollar footlong – we will always be stuck with that terrible and persistent devil, doubt.  Ryan Braun is forever tainted, whether he is truly guilty or not, because we as fans somewhere deep down know that basketball is not alone in shady dealings.  The suspicion of conspiracy will always live on, even if his name is cleared.  And if he’s dirty, and the reigning MVP has to serve a 50-game suspension for steroids?  Bad news.  It’s never just one.  Cheating is infectious.  If he can get away with it, so can I.  The chips will fall, and the goodwill baseball has built up by trying to bring back it’s ‘clean’ sport will go back to square one.

The NBA situation frustrates me.  I have little patience for dishonesty in general and even less when the liars have the gall to treat me like an idiot as they lie.  The Braun allegations truly unsettle me.  Maybe I was foolish and wanted to believe.  I should have known better.  It’s no different than business, because sports IS a business.  We saw all the banks fall and Wall Street crumble in a web of lying and greed.  With so much on the line, people do what they think they have to as a means to get ahead. Why should sports be any different?  In both isolated worlds, with enough resources you basically control everything.  So when the wall comes down, should we really be so shocked that those in charge abused that singular power? That people cut corners? That many are cutthroat, to get ahead?

There will be no “occupy the commissioner’s office” movement.  These issues, as they always are, will be pushed back in our minds and overwhelmed, as they should be, by larger, world-altering problems like Donald Trump and American Idol.  We will force ourselves to forget, then we will get burned again.

Maybe I’m wrong, and the cold weather is making me dreary, maybe I’m over-stating, but these situations got me thinking not just about sports, but about large businesses in general- just because these select few control so much and have a certain amount of wealth and power (Commissioners, Owners, Congressmen, Brokers all of them), why do we assume they will behave justly?  Most people do not.  And when these select few do not, it affects a much larger scale.

 

-w

 

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Filed under GOOSE, MLB, NBA, Opinion, Random Thoughts

Breaking NBA News! Nope, Just Kidding.

guys, I'm NOT crying. I'm being supercereal. Stop making fun of me! {runs home crying}

So the NBA rich people are still fighting and seemingly getting nowhere (people who don’t deserve it have too much power and money.  Simple, really.)

But that doesn’t mean this ish can’t be getting reeeeeeeeeeal interesting.

So by now most sport fans have heard the MORONIC comments by Bryant Gumbel about David Stern running the NBA like a plantation.  Maybe he was realizing that fewer and fewer people even knew he still existed?  What’s his show?  Gumbel 2 Gumbel?

click for a clip from the award winning show

My immediate reaction was that the whole spiel was completely out of line but this seals it: Charles Barkley, king of speaking before thinking, has straight-up said that Gumbel’s comments are ‘stupid.‘   If even Barkley can’t see where you’re coming from or at least relate to saying something outlandish, you know you’ve crossed a line.
That’s it, my two cents.  Also, a bunch of superstars plan to barnstorm internationally, which is actually very cool.

 

 

That’s all folks.  Enjoy the Hood Internet (and enjoy the ensuing hours once you get caught on Tumblr).

 

-w

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under NBA, offseason, Opinion, Random Thoughts