Hey, remember me?
Hey, catch me up. What’d I miss?
Not that much, it seems.
Great trip, lots seen and lots done but, quite frankly, it’s time to go home. Luckily, there are airplane seats waiting for us later today and things can return to relative normalcy.
But it’s not like I haven’t been paying attention:
|Jermaine Anderson is doing all he can, it's just not enough.|
Caught the bitter end of the bitter Uruguay loss – and that might be the one to keep them out of the worlds – and then the entire Puerto Rico stinkbomb sitting at a nice little bar, the Cactus Club Something-or-other, in beautiful downtown Vancouver on Sunday night.
(If I can find an airport saloon out here before the long flight home, maybe I can see this afternoon’s affair with Argentina; any YVR suggestions greatly welcomed).
Anyway, what’s it all mean?
Well, I know wacky things happen in the world of qualifiers and anyone can beat just about anyone but I have to think it’s going to take three wins in the next four games for Canada to have any shot at qualifying for the worlds through this tournament.
And if you look at past performance charts – and the rosters, results and style of play in this tournament – it’s becoming apparent that Brazil’s the cream of the crop and beating them would be a monumental upset.
So, what’s it come down to?
Well, beating Argentina this afternoon is a virtual must, by my calculations; at least a win there gives them some wiggle room tomorrow against Brazil.
Then they have to get Panama on Thursday, setting up what I can see is a winner advances, loser goes home game against Dominican Republic on Friday evening.
The trouble, as it’s been for Canada since the 2002 worlds – the first tournament that the Nash fellow didn’t take part in – has been spotty point guard play (there really is little depth there) and an over-reliance on three-point shooting.
I know Jermaine Anderson’s doing all he can, he’s got all kinds of skills but this is the relative big leagues of international basketball and sometimes you have to be better than your best.
What would not qualifying mean? Well, let’s deal with that when the issue arises but suffice it to say right now, it’d be a huge blow to a program that’s seeing solid development at the teen level but nothing at the senior level.
The fix? Well, it’s going to take some time to figure out exactly what’s needed to fix things; luckily we’ve got all week to try to figure that out.
I can highly, highly recommend the peak-to-peak ride in Whistler; I’m not a big fan of scenery (I know, that must come as a shock to many) but that’s damn breath-taking and if you get a chance to do it, do it.
Right, the Raptors.
When we last left ‘em …well, they had Banks for Matt Carroll being discussed and it’s cooled at the moment, or so I’m hearing. But I have to admit, it hasn’t been a week of hard work and the couple of brief conversations I’ve had with sources really haven’t yielded anything of substance.
Other than that, it’s eerily quiet, which I guess is to be expected given the flurry of activity over July and early August.
Most of the players and coaches will start wandering back into town at the beginning of next week to get settled and have some of those “informal” workouts that go on in the couple of weeks leading up to training camp. Some might not get here ‘til about the 21st, which is fine with everyone, as long as they show up in shape.
Generally, it’s the kids who get in early to get used to the city, the gym, the work regimen.
So, we see two ball parks on the trip and while the game at Safeco Field was way better, the atmosphere at Nat Bailey Stadium in Vancouver was exceptional and makes one long for a nice Double A or Triple A team in our neighbourhood.
And I can now say I’ve seen the Eugene Emeralds play baseball.
And I can now say I’ve seen two catchers’ interference calls in the same game, something not many of you can say.
Hey, my man Phil Jasner catches up with an old Raptor, Mike Bradley, in this little note.
Any vampire fans out there?
Well, part of the reason for the excursion out west was so Super Son and Super Wife could go visit this place, Forks, in Washington and see if they could see any blood-sucking humanoids or whatever comes out of those Twilight books.
Me? I’m the chauffeur and I can tell you this: To get to Forks, you go about five kilometres past the end of the earth, turn right, and you’re almost there.
I swear, the next series of books that Super Son really gets into better be set in Madrid or Rome or somewhere, you know, civilized.
Nice t-shirts, though.
Oh, if you can find a glass of Scuttlebutt’s Anthony’s Pale Ale or Ugly Ale or Phillip’s Blue Buck Ale, go ahead and order one, they’re quite tasty.
Travelogue, more (bored yet?):
Do you know if you ride a bike for a couple of hours around and through Vancouver’s Stanley Park after living a relatively slothful life for a few weeks your legs and knees hurt?
But you do see some cool things, like the family of three raccoons wrestling on the side of the bike path. And if you’re smart, you let them wrestle without trying to break up the fracas.
Okay, guess that’s it for now; gotta get ready to pack and figure out what else there is to report for the next couple of days while I’m trying to get over jet lag.