The start of the weekend mail, again
This is starting to be a trend.
Smallish mail on Saturday because Friday night is a true night off and then we’ll fill the bag far more tomorrow morning after a lazy day puttering around.
Q: Might be a silly basketball question but, Who might the players miss most out of the non returning coaching staff? Alex English seemed like a great basketball mind and from what we all have read he was the reason most bigs improved. What might be your take?
As always, thanks.
Steph R, Glencoe
A: Alex and P.J. were two such diametrically opposite personalities, I think it’s probably impossible to say. PJ was loud and at-times profane in a good-natured way and was always in a talkative mood. Alex was more introspective and quiet and went about his business very much unnoticed.
But, because Alex worked more hands-on with more players – PJ was more of a tactician helping Jay – I’d say it’d be Alex.
But, for me, both will be missed equally; they are two great guys.
Q: Hi Doug, If the lock-out continues and the ENTIRE 2012 season is gone, does that put a damper on your blog and/or job? I know some teams have already cut ties with some of its employee's. E.g. Bobcats and Pistons and I know you don't work for the Raptors, but this is considered a Raptors/basketball blog no? I hope not because I read your blog everyday...
Also what would happen in next year's draft if that’s the case? Would there be one and would it follow the same draft order as this year?
Gerdie S, Scarborough
A: Okay, you were No. 5 this week on the “what happens to the draft” contest. Told you, I’m running it once a week until everyone’s seen it.
We don’t know. No one knows. We’re months and months and months from even the postponement or cancellation of one game, let alone a season so there’s no sense thinking about the draft until, let’s say, January.
Oh, and I’m fully on Mother Star’s tab so we don’t have to worry about this going anywhere any time soon and as long as there’s baseball, Mighty Rockies, golf and, well, Old Songs About Strippers out there, we’ll keep going strong.
Q: Any Doug Smith-Doug Smith (Ex Mizzou Tiger and one-time Raptor)?
Gary M, Brampton
A: Sadly, never met the guy because they took him in the original expansion draft but he never even got to training camp. I do, or did, have one of his rookie cards hanging around somewhere.
Q: Hey Doug, totally agree with you on Ichiro being incredible to watch, and since you love lists, how about the 5 best baseball players you've ever seen?
Also, just saw your post of Buck O'Neill's Take Me Out To The Ballgame. With all the fun you're having lately covering the Jays, you have to add Ken Burns Baseball to your summer viewing, if you haven't seen it already. For the history of the game (good and bad), it's the best there is.
Andrew G, Toronto
A: Hmm. “Seen” as in one-game kind of deals? Or seen in my job-related activities?
I’m going to go with the first and hope I guessed right but don’t forget, it wasn’t until relatively recently that you could “see” a lot of out-of-market games on TV so that limits it a bit.
Saw him pitch one day and was as mesmerized as the hitters. Okay, waaaaaaaay more mesmerized than the hitters but you know what I mean.
I tell you, I have never, ever seen the kind of consistently stunning heads-up baseball defence.
Oh, sure, there’ve been more prolific home run hitters but not too many made you stop what you were doing and watch at-bats.
I was about 10 when he retired but I honestly remember Super Grandpa sitting in the living room watching Games of The Week on Saturday afternoons.
Ken Griffey, Jr.
I can only imagine how good he’d have been had the injury issue not come up. Incredible talent.
Five I wish I’d seen of the so-called Modern Era?
Oh, and I remember sitting on Sunday nights and watchings the Burns series unfold and I bet if I looked closely at the book shelf in the living room, I'd find the DVDs. Great documentary.
Q: Hey Doug. I know the NBA/NBPA Grand-poo-baa-s won't be meeting until August, but I am confused by what is happening at the current "underling" talks. An article I read it mentioned that they are avoiding the big issues, but working on the finer workings of the salary cap. How can they do that if they don't know what kind of cap they are going to have? If it is a hard cap won't it need totally different provisions than a soft or flex cap?
Rob N, London
A: Oh, there’s lots of ancillary things they can be working on if they want that aren’t tied to financial issues. Perhaps they want to make changes to the drug-testing provisions in the CBA, or the system of fines and suspensions or other items like that. They can usually be dealt with by relative underlings, which leaves the big shots deal with the most substantial issue, which is money and how to divide multiple billions of dollars.
And those staffers can also do things like look over books to make sure what they said they were going to see is actually what’s sitting in front of them.
Or maybe they’re just bored with nothing to do and want to show the fans they’re at least pretending to talk.
Q: Dear Doug. I'm a pretty regular irregular and have been since the opening blog. I'm not saying I haven't missed a day or two or maybe even three along the way, but I'm here most days. What I don't remember in all this time is the blog being on vacation for a week or two. So my questions isn't a basketball question, it's a grunt question: don't you ever get to take vacation?
Cluck K, Mississauga
A: Yeah, it’s been a while, I guess. Although I think I shut it down a year or so ago when Super Family went west to hang out.
But its partly a labour of love, partly because even days when there’s no work to do, it’s a fun thing for the morning and partly because I’m a dope.
But I do think maybe in August we’ll fix that and find a week or so where there’s a real vacation to be had.
And imagine the stories after that!
Q: Hey Doug. Couple of questions to help pass the lockout boredom. First who is credited with a rebound when a player tips a ball backwards and another player gains control(I call these Rashos as he always seemed to get three or four a game). It seems unfair to one of the players as the team gains control but only player gets the stat. Also on a show last week on Around the Horn one panelist commented on the high Canadian taxes that NBA players hate to pay, a comment I hadn't heard in a while. Given recent events on both sides of the border how does Ontario/Canada compare to some other cities on that issue (Florida and Texas cities not included of course). Do NBA players pay taxes on income if they play a game in a state?
James M, Toronto
A: The first part of your question speaks to the somewhat subjective nature of the stats crew’s job. If the first player is deemed to have control of the ball rather than it being a simple deflection, they’ll get credit. Doesn’t happen all time, of course.
And some states – and don’t ask me which ones because I’m not sure, although I think Illinois might be one – charge something like an entertainer’s tax on athletes, who pay a small pro-rated amount for the days they “perform” in those states. But the tax issue is a bit of a red herring overall; hire a good accountant or stash your money somewhere and it’s not an issue at all.