What's this? Games that count? Oh, my!
Oh my, there’s basketball tonight. Real, live, games-that-count basketball. What a concept!
Of course, you poor souls in Toronto who subscribe to Rogers Cable won’t be able to actually, you know, see the games, given that the conglomerate and TSN still haven’t resolved their “issues” of carriage of TSN2 on your cable outlet.
Guess you could go find a cocktail lounge that gets TNT or something, or you could meet us in the bar at the Philadelphia airport Marriott, but that’s not really the point, is it?
The point is, two business giants are, simply, screwing basketball fans in the biggest market in the city. Simple as that. Blame Rogers, blame TSN, blame Maple Leaf Sports but blame someone ‘cause you’re really getting the short end of the stick.
Sucks, doesn’t it?
On to the real stuff:
You probably have read all the NBA preview stuff in our paper today (and if you haven’t, I’d suggest you go and do it as soon as you’re finished here) but there was a distinct lack of predictions in there, aside from the order of finish in each of the divisions.
So, forthwith and so you can all hold it over me as the season progresses (remember Boston, life and death to make the playoffs? Well, we’ve all had our embarrassments, haven’t we?) here we go:
NBA champs: Spurs.
One more kick at the can. Why not?
Eastern conference champs: Boston
I know, the easy way out but, still …
See: Out, easy way.
Rookie of the year: Derrick Rose
And I’m sure Jose still says Rudy Fernandez
First coach fired: Mike Brown, Cleveland
I’d like to say Marc Iavaroni in Memphis only ‘cause KO might take over
What the locals will do: 45 wins.
Should get them fifth, maybe fourth, in the East.
You should have heard Sam yesterday. Might have been one of the all-timers.
The gentleman from The Score tries to get Sam to do his Bosh tribute all over, following what the coach had said on Sunday, and it became quickly apparent that Sam wasn’t playing along.
Here’s how it went:
All these guys will tell you, I spent 20 minutes yesterday talking about it. Now, other people have different questions and other type questions. Why do I need to go back and repeat myself?
The Score, trying again
I wasn’t asking you to.
You just asked me that question. You went down that road, today we’re going a different rout. We went down Friendship Avenue yesterday. Today we’re going down Grumpy Sam Road. Grumpy Sam Road don’t talk about what he talked about yesterday. Friendship Sam Road, Friendship Avenue, we talked about that yesterday. Grumpy Sam Road do not go back and talk about yesterday so we’re at Grumpy Sam Road today.
All of those who are going to get on the bus going down Grumpy Sam Road, get on. All those looking for Friendship Avenue, they get off. That was yesterday.
But you know what, after that little moment, Sam went on to give the guy almost exactly what he wanted about Bosh.
Oh, and the other spots for Geographical Sam?
The intersection of Irascible Crescent and I Ain’t Talking Boulevard.
How about One Word Answer Way.
Or, a personal fave, Duh! Drive.
Okay, digression here:
Is baseball nuts, or what?
Did you watch that travesty last night? Letting that game get to that point before suspending it was so ridiculous it’s not even funny. Everyone from Bud Selig on down should tithe 10 per cent of every dime they get paid for the rest of their lives to Tampa’s Carlos Pena for driving the tying run and avoiding the embarrassment of the World Series being won in a rain-shortened game.
Best part? We still might get a 6 p.m. start tomorrow night (beat grunts always, always, always like an extra hour of writing before deadline). Of course, if it rains all today and tonight and they have to resume Game 5 in Philly tomorrow, we’re a tad screwed ‘cause the ballpark’s about a Ryan Howard homer from the arena.
This, from regular contributor GM over in the comments section sort of goes to the Grumpy Sam Road issue:
My biggest beef with sports reporting is the pack mentality. That's why I don't read the papers anymore and just read your blog. Because it's individual. I hate how I see the same story in every paper (obviously game reports are different). Can't you or anyone else wander off from the pack and speak to someone privately? Or are you always worried that someone else will "scoop" you? But you gotta think maybe you'll "scoop" them, too. (I use "scoop" in quotation marks because in the situation you're describing, I doubt it'll be anything significant.)
And you, my man, have just hit on one of the biggest problems facing beat grunts in this day and age.
The pack-mentality issue is out there and, speaking entirely personally here, it’s one I haven’t quite mastered yet. Maybe it’s fear of being beaten, or fear of missing the one great quote, but we do spend too much time doing the same story.
As a matter of fact, I was just talking to my boss about this yesterday. I hope – and I can only promise to try – that this season our paper can do “different” stories rather than the predictable ones because, frankly, there’s hardly ever any big news once the season gets going. Sure, an injury, or a trade are obvious, but the Raptor Of The Day stuff you see on off-days? Ho-hum, most of the time.
What it takes is some planning, some imagination and, frankly, the willingness to read the other guy and say, ‘damn, wish I’d been in that scrum’ without getting a sick feeling in the pit of your stomach ‘cause he had something you didn’t.
It’s an area that I need to improve on. Just takes time to break old habits.
Speaking of digressions, and it’s been a while since this topic was broached here, but Michael Flatley might be one of the great dancers ever but, man, is he ever boring as a judge on Dancing With The Stars. We need Len back.
Oh, and I don’t know what it is about athletes but Warren Sapp’s gotta win this one, right? If he doesn’t, isn’t it the biggest travesty since Leila Ali was upset?
We now return you to our regularly-scheduled stuff.
This is pretty good:
Q: From your article on Bosh's new dedication to practice: "You don't become a three-time NBA all-star by blowing off all responsibility for your skills..."
Let me submit into evidence one Vincent Lamar Carter, 8-time NBA all-star. In light of Mr. Carter's skill-wasting career, I think we could more accurately change the statement to: "You don't become a three-time NBA all-star by blowing off all responsibility for your skills ... unless you can dunk like a mascot ... just without the trampoline."
Looking forward to the start of the season Doug!
Mike D, Toronto
A: Ding! Ding! Ding!