Who wins the Euros and time spent as a storm chaser
Man, I wish I were on a plane to Lithuania today.
No, not to visit Sonny but to see EuroBasket, which could turn out to be the best basketball tournament ever with so many good teams in such a delightful atmosphere and with so much at stake.
Seriously, I can’t tell you often enough the passion a European championship evokes, there’s nothing to compare it to over here at all. Forget any World Cup of pucks, never mind the small Olympic pucks tourney; I guess the closest you can come is if you remember the World Cup when it was in the States eons ago.
Now, I think it’s ridiculous that they’ve gone to 24 teams and a tournament that’s going to take almost three weeks to complete because there will be some dreadful first round games and it’s almost as much a case of surviving as winning.
But as an event – with only two Olympic berths at stake and just four other spots in that last-chance tournament next summer available --- it will be unrivalled.
Well, that’s the zillion dollar question, isn’t it?
I’ve followed the run-up fairly closely but will fully admit I’m not entirely up-to-date on who’s in top form and it’s impossible, really, to get a read off the exhibition and tournament results of the last few weeks because a lot of teams – make that every team – has a tendency to hold things back until the action begins for real Wednesday.
But from people I’ve spoken to, what I’ve read and what I know of the history of some of these players and teams, I feel fairly confident with these guesses:
They are simply too good and too deep and too experienced.
World championships, Olympics, European championships, EuroLeague experience, NBA history to draw on.
I honestly can’t see them losing.
Of course, that means they will.
You cannot discount the impact of being at home in this type of tournament and I cannot explain, lo though I’ve tried, how rabid and supportive the Lithuanian fans are.
Referees, shoddy at times, can be intimidated, even some opponents can be taken aback but how raucous and loud – and well-behaved – those fans are. Oh, and Lithuania’s good, too.
Other qualifiers: France, Serbia, Greece, Slovenia.
There are questions about all of them. Can France score enough? Is Serbia deep enough? Is Greece big enough? Does Slovenia have enough big-game experience?
It’s going to be an absolute dog fight once the quarter-final round comes around the pressure is truly turned up beyond belief. I just have a feeling about those four, but I’m sure you’ve got equally strong feelings about others. Besides, who can pick against a team that Rasho's involved with?
I only wish some TV network over here would give us at least a game of the day but that’s not going to happen. Guess we’ll have to find some time to watch live streaming on tiny screens and get our fill that way.
I have a feeling it’s going to be an incredible ride once the first round is over.
Tomorrow: FIBA Americas.
Well, if those weren’t the two worst baseball games I’ve seen back-to-back since the 2-14 Mighty Yankees of 2010, I don’t know what were.
Dreadful. Long. Boring. Uneventful.
Glad I don’t have to see ‘em again until Thursday in New York.
Guy I feel the worst for?
Because the bullpen’s worn out because the starters have been bad, they had to leave him hanging out there for six runs, five hits and three walks in what might be the worst major league inning I’ve ever seen pitched.
And they designated him for assignment, perhaps ending his major league career.
Tough day at the office.
Now, I know they didn’t want to leave him out there to suffer like that, and I’d imagine there were thoughts of designating him regardless of how that inning turned out but it was still tough to see him suffer through it.
We walk into the clubhouse after the Faux Manager does his bit and who’s the only guy sitting at his locker?
Talk about your Dead Man Sitting.
Now, we didn’t approach him, there was no reason to interrupt his thoughts.
So we’ve got Irene in the news and I’m wondering if you’ve ever heard the one about the hurricane and I?
Had to be 2000, maybe 2001, and I’m dispatched by The Tall Foreheads to Daytona Beach to talk to this young basketballer that was all the rage back then. Not sure if HWSNBN was having a charity game or a golf tournament or whatever but we were going.
So was a big storm, as it turns out.
I get there about a day before it’s supposed to hit – I guess they didn’t have the same quality of forecasts back then – and with the winds howling and rain coming any second they decide to cancel the event and the Carter clan moves over to Orlando or somewhere else inland.
And, like a dope, I stay.
End up interviewing a bunch of people buying all the plywood – for windows – and masking tape – for smaller upper windows because if you tape them diagonally it helps keep them together – at some Home Depot for a nice little story.
And then, like even more of a dope, I decide that it’d be cool to meet up with our photographer anyway and chase the storm, which has now taken a more northern track.
We drive up north and turn right and somehow find our way to – I believe – Myrtle Beach, where the full impact is supposed to be felt.
I tell you, we’re driving in the dark in sideways rain with winds that could topple giant trees and I’m seriously considering a career change.
We get to Myrtle Beach, do the requisite “storm is coming” story and pictures and bunk in with a bunch other photogs. We’re on about the fourth floor of this hotel and, I swear, rain is coming in the window like we were standing out in it and I’m thinking the wind’s going to knock the whole place down.
Storm subsides, we drive over to Charlotte, I guess, the next day, catch a flight home and immediately tell the boss that the next time we want the Vince At Home yarn, someone else can do it.
Ron Artest might be on DWTS next season?
That’s got crazy good written all over it.
Speaking of hurricanes …
You know I had to do that, right?
In what has to be one of the more unexpected results of the international basketball season, Tunisia won the African championship and joins the United States (world champs) and Great Britain (hosts) as the three teams in the men’s 2012 Olympic tournament today.
Tunisia beat Angola – which had won every AfroBasket title since 1997 – and will play at the Olympics for the first time.
Kinda cool; never covered a Canada-Tunisia event, hope I get a chance to.
How could you people not have reminded me the MVA thing was on last night!
That kind of relative freak show is something no self-respecting 50-something should miss, just for mocking reasons alone.
Oh, and I went to bed not knowing Beyonce is with child?
I tell you, you folks have to be better.
Or I have to be more hip, if that’s still a word.
All right, off to the Falls and real life, will get to comments when I can, hope the Mick and Angelo's borrowed wireless from the hotel next door is working.