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Friday, February 24, 2012

Lee Harvey Braunswald & The Dancing Dinosaur


Dear everyone on Facebook who posts about the weather that we can all readily see outside of our windows. When talking to people on the Internet, you need to do a better job of assuming that the people you're communicating with on the Internet, also have the Internet themselves. It's just apparent to me that some of you aren't aware of that fact, so I figured I'd just pass that along before I went about my business. In short, just leave the weather to the professionals. You know, the former college cheerleaders in front of the green screens...

Now quickly, let's knock out a grab bag of topics before I start getting distracted by the messages telling me how there's oxygen outside if I need any for my lungs...
Just a few things to touch on to send you towards your weekend, and here they are...

One went to Harvard, and one went to Rutgers. Hmmm...
In Like Lin

Jeremy Lin's sudden success should be an embarrassment to the NBA as a business, thought I admit it must be a breathe of fresh air for the fans. Why? Well because he's basically exposed their business model in every way, shape and form. He proved their scouting system was lack luster, slipping through nearly every crack before landing with the Knicks, but that's just the tip of the iceberg. What he really exposed, is that like fans of every other sport, NBA fans love an underdog, and the sport doesn't have any. Well, they do now, in Lin, but unlike the other 3 "major" North American sports, the emergence of an underdog, either player or team, is such a rarity in the NBA that it's fans are lapping it up like there's liquid crack in the streets...

Dan Patrick made a great point on his radio show the other day, and while he was commenting on the state of college football, I think it applies here, as well. Much like D1 football, the NBA season almost always ends with a team winning that was labeled in the pre season as a team that was very likely to end up on top. Sure, there are "surprises", but not nearly enough that the result is ever really in doubt. Baseball, college basketball, NFL football? These sports don't have such problems. They thrive on teams coming out of nowhere (St. Louis Cardinals, Tampa Bay Rays, Butler Bulldogs) and do their best to cultivate a competitive atmosphere where while it may be obvious that everyone is not equal, everyone at least appears to have an equal shot of having success. That's never been the case in the NBA, and I think it's the real motivation behind why so many fans love Jeremy Lin. Yeah, he's Asian and yeah, he's from the Ivy League, but it's the fact that he came out of nowhere, something that never ever happens in the NBA, that I think really has these fans fawning over his every move...

It's great for Lin, and right now, it's great for the league, but in the long run, the NBA should recognize this as an important entertainment and competitive loophole that they need to close, before fans finally start to leave the league for good. I doubt they will, and I hope they don't, so the league totally falls off the face of the Earth, but it's something that they should probably start looking closely at as being in their best interest. They could have a Jeremy Lin or two every few years, if they played their cards right, but they've long since proven that the only thing they know how to do with cards is bend them in just the right fashion so that the Knicks end up with Patrick Ewing...

Fans like underdogs. Cater to that, already, or stop wasting valuable TV time that could be used for more college hoops. Or whatever, just not anymore of that 1 on 1 fest you call a sport...    

I still don't know what to think about Bobby Valentine, but I have a tough
time thinking the attitude in the clubhouse hasn't already improved.
Boston Red Sox

Pitchers are catchers have officially reported, and most Red Sox fans have two questions for them before they get down to business. Are you sorry for how last year ended? AND How do you plan on making sure that doesn't happen again?

Me? I'm not looking for an apology, I just want the team to go out and play. And when then do, I fully expect them to be just as competitive as they were last year. A year that, when looked at in the proverbial nutshell, ended with the Red Sox just 1 game out of the American League playoffs. And of course we all know that, outside of that nutshell, it took an epic collapse for them to fall there. So, assuming that there won't be another prolonged stretch this season where the Sox play about .300 ball, an assumption that I don't think is all that unreasonable, I think we can all expect that just like last year, this will be a club that's near or atop the AL East for the entire season, with a great chance to make a push for the World Series...

Hey, I figure same team, better attitude, and for me that math basically does itself. I'll be getting into specifics as the season draws nearer (I am aware of the reworked bullpen), but I just wanted to give you a little dose of what you can expect moving forward. Oh, and as for the players having to "apologize" or "be accountable" for how they ended last year? I'm still of the opinion that actions speak louder than words, although as I've frequently said, that stance usually ends up putting me in the minority. Just look at how hot of a topic that's been...


"Brains" VS Braun OR Lee Harvey Braunswald

While we're on baseball, here's my two cents on the Ryan Braun story. For those that don't know, Braun, the reigning National League MVP, just became the 1st player in MLB history to win an appeal of a failed PED test suspension. The main reason for the successful appeal, was that the employee tasked with getting the ultimately tainted sample to the lab, broke procedure when he thought FedEx was closed, and let the sample sit in his basement until it was able to ship. Also throw into the equation that Braun then provided MLB with a second "clean" sample and suggested he take a DNA test to certify the sample, and you've pretty much got all the pertinent facts. Oh, and throw in the fact that this was never supposed to be leaked (puns everywhere) to the media before the process was complete, and then you've really got all the info you need to make a decision. A decision that should clearly bring to the place where you rhetorically ask the following 2 questions:

What? You can't take the urine home with you? I used to
kill the weeds in my garden with the liters we'd get from Bonds!
1) How screwed up is this testing system?

AND

2) How the Hell are we ever supposed to know what really went down?

Like any other botched "investigation", even if justice has ultimately been served, there will still forever be a doubt cast upon any ultimate verdict. IT's like I always say with the assassination of JFK. I've read thousands of pages and watched dozens of hours on the topic, and I'm fully confident in 2 things:

"It was Bud Selig's urine in that fridge. I know,
because I put it there."
1) Lee Harvey Oswald was the only shooter.

AND

2) The government screwed up the investigation so badly, that it's left the door wide open for any number of conspiracy theories to seem viable.

That's what went on here. Did Braun cheat, and get away with it on a technicality using some smooth lawyer tricks? Was he framed by MLB's testers? OR was it just a clean sample all along, that somehow increased in testosterone while sitting in some guy's basement? Your guess is as good as mine, and it always will be. Just another case of Selig being Selig. And he's made a career out of making the Warren Commission look like Perry freakin' Mason. This isn't over, by a long shot, but I doubt it's going to get any prettier. Not for either party...

Justice is blind, and apparently, oftentimes so are the ones conducting it... 


The Dr. Has No Clothes

Said earlier in the week I was going to compare the Celtics and the Colts, so here you go. Both teams gained accolades for their coaching and front office when they were riding high, but as soon as the players started to decline or in Manning's case, were suddenly injured, it became apparent that the front offices and coaches weren't that great at all. In essence, it became very clear very quickly that the Emperors had no clothes...

I guess going to a team with a "doctor" would have
ultimately saved Greg Oden some time.
Now, I've been making fun of Glen Rivers MD for years, but I can't help but be impressed at how he's been able to make so much money coaching a sport that he seemingly knows very little about. I mean, he "knows" basketball, but he's just never proven to me that he's any sort of coach. In Orlando, he was hailed as a leader of young men. Won Coach of the Year in 2000. Then he's canned after a 1-10 start in 2003, and is eventually hired by the Celtics because he was such a great leader of a young team, and that's exactly what they had. So, he comes in, and in his 1st 3 seasons he goes 102-144, completely losing touch with his young roster by the end of that final season. Then, we all know what happens. McHale gives Ainge KG, the ping pong balls bounce in a way where the Celtics don't have to take Greg Oden, and all of a sudden Rivers is being handed a team with 3 future Hall of Famers, ready made for a run at the title. Which they won, all the while Doc being hailed as a great "veteran" coach. Someone who understood what veteran players needed, and was an ideal fit for a team with some of the best vets in the league. Not sure what he did to make that perception of what kind of coach he was change overnight (oh wait, he won), but he'd done it, and has spent every year since being lauded as one of the game's best...

Having a stroke OR dancing to Thriller? Or Both??
Only you can decide.
Now, with the Big 3 aging, the team is right back to the middle of the pack. But why? Don't they have this great coach and this great GM that can work them out of this situation? No, they don't. And they never did. Much like when the Colts lost Manning, and the rest of that organization was exposed as the house of cards that it apparently always was, so the same has happened to Danny Ainge, Doc Rivers and the Boston Celtics. Two guys, I might add, that needed to tank a season in hopes of saving their jobs. Props to them for pulling that off, but luck, and a good friend in Minnesota probably had more to do with that than anything else...

Long story short, it's time to buckle up or bail out, Celtics fans, because it's gonna be a long and bumpy ride, from here on out. Remember when the biggest thrill you got was Antoine doing his grotesque little shimmy after nailing his 3rd 3 pointer in 16 attempts? That's what you're in for in the not too distant future. Not exactly Antoine, per say, but I'm sure Ricky WhiteSuit has another shoot first power forward that looks like a baby TRex at Louisville that the C's could look into drafting...

Ah, yes. Tommy points all around...


Have a good weekend, friends. And in case you hadn't heard yet, it lightly snowed last night in much of greater New England. I know, right?!?


Teddy Williams...
100...

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