Real basketball stuff and the necessities for a golf game
Hey, know what I did last night?
Real, live basketball.
Odd, with all the squeaking and talking and running fast; not something a guy who’s done some baseball is used to.
And I can dutifully report that the national team doesn’t look too bad at all.
Saw four or five mini-games and they looked pretty sharp (now, don’t go saying it was because they were playing against each other) with some good ball movement, aggressive defence and shot-making.
Talking to Leo after – you’ll see the results of the conversation scattered throughout the paper and the website in the next few days – it’s obvious this team has to play a nearly perfect game to win but that the margin of error is greater than it was a year ago at the worlds.
The addition of Cory Joseph, international vets Jesse Young and Carl English and a healthy Andy Rautins provides a bit of a cushion.
Joseph is still very much learning the game at this level but he’s got some leadership and point guard abilities that this team sorely needs. All he’s got to do is to get use the physical nature of the play, and the rhythm of the game and he’ll be all right.
Talked to assistant coach Renato Paquali last night (and I must say Leo has surrounded himself with a great teaching staff) and his biggest issue with Joseph is that he has to learn to pace himself, and his team.
It’s going to be a difficult transition but it’s also very good that it’s starting now.
I still maintain the most legitimate goal for this team is a top five finish at the Olympic qualifier that’ll get it a shot to make it to London next year and, having watched them a bit, I think that’s quite realistic.
Okay, as I may have mentioned, there’s a big golf outing today (be wary Doon Valley, be very wary) and it’s the Mighty Rockies coaching staff let loose with a designated driver and an entire day of tomfoolery.
So, the check list:
Like I need more than one.
All 16 of ‘em.
Plastic spikes, of course.
Box of wine?
You know how a guy might have a couple of cans in his bag to start a day?
Well, the last time we were out as a gaggle of duffers one of the fellows who shall go nameless (hi, Coach Steve!) shows up all set to play with, yes, a box of wine safely tucked away. And it was another first in the golfing career.
Mail’s still not on strike, right?
Wonder where my invitation is?
Big nuptials this weekend and I can’t believe I’m not going to be there.
Yep, I hear Hump Takes A Bride.
Bet it's a great bash.
Well, it’s not big and I’m sure only the most hard core of you will care a lick but the reason the national team’s at Ryerson and not the ACC is that they’re putting a new floor in the practice gym.
Told you it wasn’t big.
So the long arm of the NBA in this lockout reaches Canada Basketball.
The organization had to get special dispensation from the league to have Raptors assistant coach Scott Roth join Leo’s national team staff.
With three NBA guys on the team – Andy Rautins, Joel Anthony, Cory Joseph – there might have been concerns that a team employee would have illegal contact so permission was needed.
It helps that Roth has extensive international history – he coached Turkey and the Dominican Republic – because without it, it might have been hard to get the hiring approved.
Best golf movie?
Me? I’ve got Caddyshack, for sure, at the top of the list and there is no way anyone can change my mind on that.
But No. 2?
Tin Cup? Happy Gilmore? Dead Solid Perfect?
What do you think?
An old Irregular checks into the mail with this, and if you want to be part of the fun, just click here and let me know what you think.
Q: Hi Doug. These really are the dog days of the summer for me. I don't like baseball and therefore find your blog a bit less interesting than usual although I am sure you're doing a pretty good job covering the Jays and sharing nuggets with the Irregulars.
Layman's questions (which perhaps explains their relative stupidity):
It seems to me that baseball is the only team sport that can be played at a professionnal level by people not necessarily in a top physical condition. To me, several baseball players appear to be, say, out of shape, which is very rarely the case with basketball players (hello big O!). How can you explain this?
Subsidiary question: what makes a sport during which sometimes nothing happens for loooong minutes so attractive to so many people?
Thank you and "vivement" the end of the lock-out!
Matthieu B, Bern (who's already seen one baseball game live in Toronto and barely survived).
A: I can understand baseball not being for all, that’s for sure Glad you’re still around a bit.
Anyway, it’s true, baseball players – some – are far from great physical specimens but it’s mainly pitchers, I’ve found. Not sure why except to say they don’t need the fast-twitch reactions of other professional athletes and can get by without the requisite stamina that some other pro athletes need.
But, on the other hand, there are indeed some finely tuned athletes in the game who play positions, not sure I can recall a truly slovenly third baseman, for instance.
And to some, the beauty of the game is its pace. Or lack thereof. It’s not for everyone, for sure, but sitting in the sun at a ballpark can be relaxing as much as entertaining. There’s generally enough “action” to get the juices flowing but the relaxing nature of the game is as much the allure as home runs and back-door sliders.
Okay, off to the links soon, will get to comments when I can.