A retreat and a digression or two
A couple longish stories here but what the heck, it’s still pretty slow and tiny, juicy tidbits are hard to come by.
Spain by 20?
I don’t think too many saw that coming, although a Spain victory over in Poland at the EuroBasket was not entirely unexpected.
But by 20?
With Ricky Rubio apparently killing Tony Parker (at least that’s what one guy who was at the game told me; I didn’t see it first-hand)?
The funny thing about it is that Pau Gasol has picked his game up as the tournament’s gone on; he was dominating yesterday I hear. Not bad for a guy who hurt his finger during pre-tournament action and I wonder how many Laker fans were aghast that the team would have the temerity to let him continue playing for his country?
Lots, I imagine.
Guess things turned out okay for him, and Los Angeles.
But, I swear, if he bangs a knuckle or sprains a wrist sometime around the all-star game, you know it’s going to be because he came back too quickly for EuroBasket after suffering that finger injury in August.
(A joke, a little dig, I keed, I keed; please don’t flood the inbox)
Flipping the dial last night, saw a wee minute of some NCAA football game (a sport I normally pay less than zero attention to) and the game is in Miami.
At Land Shark Stadium!
I know it’s had that name for a while but you never hear it reading about the exploits of the Florida Marlins so it caught me by surprise.
You know about Land Shark, right? Brewed by the Margaritaville Brewing Company, owned by Jimmy Buffet and one of the all-time good summer beverages.
Brought back great memories of the Orlando-Toronto playoff series, which was the first time I got to taste it.
That’s all on that.
This is a day or so old but the Phoenix Suns have sold their practice jerseys.
To some company that does something or other, not sure who or what but it’s the thin edge of the wedge around the NBA.
I don’t think these guys here have plans to sell jerseys yet, but I’m pretty sure if someone comes and wants to cut them a big cheque, the For Sale sign goes up.
Wouldn’t it be cool if they sold it to the pasta company Andrea did that commercial for so we can be reminded every day how bad it was?
Or Juicy Fruit, for the same reason only with Bosh?
How about putting a TFC logo on there, or maybe a Maple Leaf in some kind of wacky cross-promotion plan?
Seriously, this move to sell uniform space – now with practice jerseys and I assure you eventually with game jerseys – kinda sucks, in my opinion.
I know it brings in money but I have my doubts that the extra money will mean teams won’t try to get deeper into the pockets of the ticket-buying public. That doesn’t seem to be how the world works.
I don’t imagine it’ll ever get to car racing extremes, thank the good deity you worship, but if you’ve got a big old logo on the chest, it just takes something away.
I’m going to tell you this and then be mocked in some circles for sure.
I would like to be a fan of the Premiership at some level but, honestly, I do not know at a quick glance what team’s what.
One game – which was significant and a doozy, I’m told – was between, like AIG and UNICEF.
Maybe I’m just a dope and don’t follow it that closely, but that seems to be counter-productive if you’re trying to attract new fans, doesn’t it?
Mail, people; I need mail.
One more digression and I’m done.
Not sure if you’ve read Rich Griffin’s piece today, it’s here and it’s on John McDonald of the Blue Jays, who is one of the all-time good guys in sports. I could watch that guy make plays in the field every day for the rest of my life, it’s one of true spectacles in sport I’m glad I got a chance to see.
Anyway, a Johnny Mac story.
There’s this guy, Tom Withers, an Associated Press writer from Cleveland who’s a really good friend (we were the major chroniclers of all things women’s softball in Beijing) and Tom’s a good buddy of McDonald’s because they’re neighbours in the Cleveland area. If I ever cover baseball, Tom tells me, I have to go say hi, or I’m dead.
So, I get assigned one game all summer and I’m kind of a fish out of water, wandering around the clubhouse a couple hours before first pitch just being out of place.
And there’s Mac in his corner cubicle reading some mail and hanging out.
Okay, so I go over because Withers tells me I have to and introduce myself as a friend of Tom’s, a basketball writer out of place and I just want to say hello.
Now, there are athletes in every sport who would shrug, turn away, stare blankly off into space and, you know, ignore an interloper they’ve never seen and probably never will again.
Well, about 20 minutes later, after talking about families, basketball, Tom, coaching Super Son’s team, Beijing, the travel life of a sports writer, Olympics and everything but the weather, I have to excuse myself to go work and John’s got, you know, a major league game to prepare for.
That’s a classy, classy, good guy.
End o’ digression.
I’m sure you all have read Chris’s column off Jay being the drawmaster up at the track yesterday – if you didn’t, it’s right here.
As I’m reading it, the part about the “coaches retreat” this weekend caught my eye. It’s something I know they did when Sam was around (consider it “bonding” with a bunch of fun, golf and frivolity to fill in the down time) and it makes entire sense to do it again.
Not only does there have to be some chemistry among the players, there has to be among coaches, too.
I’m told – and from every interaction I’ve seen it’s absolutely true – that this is a close a staff as perhaps there’s ever been.
Not to knock the previous staffs but there was always something. Not tension, I don’t think that’s the right word, and they did work well together but I do think Sam was more of a decision-maker rather than a consensus builder.
Jay’s the other way.
Please don’t go off half-cocked, or fully-cocked, and think there was all kinds of dysfunction in the past, that’s not true. It just seems from everything I’ve witnessed – and that includes social settings with almost the entire staff a couple of times over the summer – that this is a close a group as you can get.
The retreat? I bet it’s a gas.