The start of this weekend's mail
Well played, so far, kids. And since I’m covering baseball today and that means some idle time during the actual playing of the game here’s one more shot to complete an almost-full Sunday edition.
Q: Geez, Doug, this lockout has really cramped my style of asking unrealistic questions about the prospects of Raps journeymen, but as a loyal Irregular I felt compelled to contribute. So here goes: I have often wondered what the various HOTH (particularly the more cerebral or charismatic players) would do for a living if professional basketball didn't exist, and you seem to know many of them well. Could you give us a Top Five list of current and former HOTH and their hypothetical vocations if they had never played hoops? And you're not allowed to cheat by picking other professional sports or hoops-related stuff like coaching or commentating.
Mike D, Somewhere
A: Seriously? Or joking? How about a bit of both?
With the current guys?
Jose Calderon: A gentleman farmer, he’s already got a share of a pig co-op in Spain that ends up with some of the best jamon you’ll ever have.
Julian Wright: The dude can produce music like crazy, I’m told and it’s a passion of his.
Joey Dorsey: Well, how’s Olympic weightlifting champion sound to you? I know. It sounds good.
Amir Johnson: I’m sure he’d be running some great social media site, being the King O’ Tweets.
Jerryd Bayless: I bet he’d be a teacher, just something tells me he’d be good at it. Educator parents and a way about him.
With the past?
Oak: I tell you, there haven’t been many guys who knew their way around a kitchen like he did, bet he’d be running a string of restaurants perhaps attached to car washes.
Kevin Willis: He’d be doing what he’s been doing as a side gig since his playing days, designing clothes.
Doug Christie: House husband.
Jason Kapono: I bet he’d be trying to get a PGA card or Champions Tour card or hustling people on $100 Nassaus at the club.
Garbo: He’d just be the coolest guy in the world. Doing whatever he wanted to, having a smoke and a drink and just being Garbo.
Q: Greetings, this weeks random pondering involves your chosen profession. While certainly the written word is still prevalent in this day of electronic media I find myself wondering if you as an established "grunt" see a new and vibrant class of future grunts taking their early steps in what you do? Or has the move away from the traditional business model of the daily newspaper caused a significant drop in available entry level positions?
As a second thought, while I certainly enjoyed the link to the Kansas tune in the IGBT the other night YouTube's list of suggestions that accompanied the video led me away from the blog for quite awhile. Doubt that really was an intended result on your part, as always, thanks for what you do.
Doug T, Brantford
A: It’s funny, the entry level people now are so well-versed in social media and multi-media as a means to make contacts, develop sources and as a research tool, a lot of them are teaching old codgers like us a thing or two about what’s at our disposal. Now, I do think there is nothing like true reporting experience, where you go and see people and have coffee and talk to them face-to-face so maybe there’s something the young ‘uns can learn from us, too.
The Kansas stuff? I envy you. Every time I put one of those things up, I wish I could go listen to more, too. Dang games keep getting in the way.
Q: Hey Doug. I'm just starting to follow baseball this year and I have a quick baseball question for you. So yesterday Johnny Mac and Aaron Hill got traded, but wasn't the trade deadline back in July? How does this work? And is there a second trade deadline of some sort?
Ray F, Toronto
A: Yeah, there are two deadlines, so to speak. Any player can be traded before Aug. 1 without having to clear “waivers” which would give other teams a chance to claim them and take their contracts on. After Aug. 1, players can still be traded but teams, in inverse order of the standings, have a shot to take them, if they want. Obviously, no one “claimed” Hill or McDonald so they could be dealt.
Oh, and wait until we get to the end of August because players traded after that aren’t eligible for post-season play.
Q: Hi Doug Smith. I appreciate your blog for many reasons and one of the foremost is that it is easy to read from a layout point of view.
Other blogs on this paper tend to be huge slabs of unreadable, grey type. Yours is much more friendly on the eye. Is that your personal doing?
In your early days as a grunt-in-waiting (apprentice wretch, gruntette, etc.) did you ever do paste-up or layout?
Ditch D, Toronto
A: Well, it’s personal in that I do it all myself but only because people much wiser than I (Hi, Spencer; hello, Sarah!) showed me how to embed video and drop in pictures.
And, yes, I did an awful lot paste-up and layout early in my career and that, at one time, included taking my own pictures, developing the negatives and printing them. I know picas and points of leading and all sorts of old-school newspaper things that have gone the way of the dodo bird now.
Q: Hi Doug! I thought I'd get the mailbag off to an early start.
I was watching (OK, it was 'white noise' in the background while I was reading!) the Brewers-Mets game this past Saturday, and I thought of you, and your concerns over story deadlines.
I know that you like the result of the game to be determined fairly early, so that you can write the outline of your story, and just fill in some numbers and quotes.
The Brewers had a 7-1 lead going into the seventh. By the end of the eighth, they were down 9-7. They won 11-9 in the ninth.
Can you recall any games where you had your story written, had to do a quick re-write, and then another re-write?
Thanks again for finding ways to keep us entertained and informed during what is normally a dead part of the year for you - and even moreso this year!
Tim H, Windsor
A: Oh, man, that’s happened too many times to count and I try to put them out of mind sitting on a stool immediately after.
The most recent, so the one that sticks in my mind, would have been Game 5 of the NBA Eastern Conference final in Chicago.
It’d been a very busy day – we’d given Sam Smith the first Phil Jasner Award – and it was the middle of a long trip.
Remember? Chicago’s way up and it looks like we’re all going back to Miami. Then the Heat make a huge fourth quarter run and with so much at stake we’re all re-writing furiously because it’s a late start and deadlines are approaching.
Then Chicago has one last shot and because most of us have to file right at the buzzer, we have a second file open with yet another Bulls win story.
I bet that happens a couple of times a season but it goes into the dark recesses of the mind, never to be thought of again.
Q: Sad to hear abut Pat Summit's medical condition but proud (but not surprised) at her focus and commitment to deal with this head on. Do you think she is under appreciated (even unknown) by the average fan because she coaches women’s b-ball? I think her accomplishments rival the great Wizard of Westwood. I think her career plus her incredible courage in face of her medical condition are a story that is a classic for the ages. Have you any Pat Summit stories or experiences that you can share first or second hand. Thanks.
Randy M, Crystal Beach
A: I wish I had some Pat Summit stories, I was fortunate enough to be introduced to her once, at a USA Basketball event and there really was a “presence” about her.
As for the story being relatively under-played here, I’m sure it has everything to do with our aversion to women’s sports in general and American women’s basketball in particular and, sadly, I don’t see that changing.
Q: Doug, over the years I have read players saying something like this from ESPN:
Evans called the elimination of the exceptions a "total slap in the face to Michael Jordan and all the great players that came before us."
Pre-1998 salaries were not low but compared to today's NBA they were. Players always talk about this "slap in the face"; how do you honour someone by claiming that you deserve the money cause in the past most players did not make as much?
(Perhaps they should be giving up 10% of their contracts to the players who got the salaries that high;)
Bruce M, Winnipeg
A: It makes no sense to me, either, and I chalk it up to the rhetoric that goes with the times. Now, if they made money and paid it into a fund that went to retired players who might not have been compensated fairly, that’d be one thing. The chance of them doing that is about as good as them tithing money to sports writers who have to listen to them harp about being unfairly paid.
Q: Hi Doug! Any chance those of us crushed beneath the Roger's monopoly might be able to find some of the Euro tournament on TV?
Thanks for making a summer without basketball to look forward to tolerable. Love reading Griff on TOD, but it's great to get your take now too. You should do this every summer.
Gale M, Toronto
A: As far as I know right now, there are no plans for any over-the-air broadcasts of EuroBasket. And while at one time there might have been a chance of NBA-TV picking it up, I can’t imagine they would now with so many NBAers in the tournament and the league’s unwillingness to even acknowledge their existence while the lockout is in place.
Q: Doug, just a quick note. I have sent questions on a number of occasions, but never have I seen a response on the blog or via email. I think that I used this form or the one on the blog site. I'm sending this I guess as a test. Do you answer ALL of the messages your get?
I saw today that Sim Bhullar changed his commit to New Mexico State. Do you have an background info on his decision and comments on his true potential - there aren't may 7-5 guys coming from Canada these days.
Stephen T, Winnipeg
A: Believe me, nothing the past has been anything personal; I’d bet I get to 85-90 per cent of the mail and if yours has been missed consistently, I’m sorry.
Yes, the Bhullar kid has bailed on Xavier to go to New Mexico State but I’ve seen no explanation why and don’t know anyone would could tell me. Now, his true potential?
Raw. Very raw. Like blue rare raw. But he is a 7-5 teenager so that has to count for something. The main concern I’d have is that his athleticism won’t catch up to his size and the way the game is moving these days, you have to be as quick as you are big. That’s going to be his true test.
Q: Hi Doug, thanks for the blog!
My question is about baseball. I'm not as big a baseball fan, as I am a basketball fan, so forgive my impending ignorance, but why is the postseason in baseball shorter, with fewer teams, than say basketball or hockey. It seems from a league perspective it would make sense to lengthen the postseason? Is it a matter of tradition?
I know the league is talking about adding a second wildcard team to the postseason, but even then, that's only 5 teams from each league, right?
Thanks Doug, just looking for some insight from you on this, as I'm not steeped in the game as some are.
Peter R, Regina
A: There is no sport more steeped in tradition than major league baseball and that’s why they stay away from the free-for-all playoff scenarios we see in other sports. I’m pretty sure there’s a middle ground but no one’s found it, or is going to find it, because there’s no way football, basketball or hockey cut back and there’s no way baseball does anything other than add one more wild card team.
It does make, in too many instances, the final three months of the season relatively unimportant in too many cities but the timelessness of the game, where it’s a day at the park and a nice time to relax kind of makes it easier to handle. I know the Jays have been dead in the water, playoff-wise, for months but that doesn’t seem to dissuade the fans from coming out, they still draw well.
If they were in a race it’d be better but the nature of the game makes it a day out rather than a must-win game every day.
Q: Hi Doug, big fan of the blog and the Raptors.
Question: what will happen with the 2012 draft if the 2011 season is cancelled? Who gets what pick??
Zafrullah K, Toronto
A: Thank goodness!
Haven’t had this one in weeks
(And I don’t mean to ridicule you at all, It was something of an on-going joke here)
Anyway, can we at least let them, you know, delay or cancel training camp before we worry about something 10 months into the future?