Believe it or not, there's a little basketball here; among other things
So, today’s the day?
All the reports after the short meeting between the league and union yesterday suggest the owners have made some movement on the hard cap – unsure what kind of pound of flesh they want in return – and the chat they’ll have today could be the make or break moment in these boring, drawn-out negotiations.
I love that we’re at the point where everyone’s trying to guess what’s going on by body language and dissecting snippets of quotes. I can’t imagine how mind-numbingly boring it must be to stand around Manhattan waiting for meetings to wind up so you can really be told nothing of substance.
It’s one of the worst parts of the job and I’m glad I’ve been able to avoid it.
I can recall sitting outside too many meeting rooms waiting for too many hours only to get nothing.
These are the kinds of situations that make the job more drudgery than glamorous. It’s important work and guys like Aschburner and Mahoney and Berger and Beck and Woj have done a tremendous job with it ever since the first of July.
I thank them. You should, too.
But the fact of the matter is, this might be the last day for a while that any of them have to do it.
The sense is that if they can’t get to the heart of an agreement today that some kind of nuclear negotiation winter will set it, with cancellations of the rest of the pre-season coming and serious questions about the chance of the season starting on time.
There comes a moment in every negotiation when it’s time to fish or cut bait. We’re at that moment in the NBA, it would appear. And after all we’ve heard and read and the snippets of information we’ve had to decipher, I don’t think anyone outside of the six or eight guys in the room really knows what today will bring.
In a shocking development, I somehow missed The Great Ontario Leaders Debate last night.
Can someone catch up me up?
On second thought, I’ve seen and heard enough ads to know that no matter which way I vote, the party that obtains power will make sure the roads are paved with gold, there’s a chicken in every pot, no taxes, the sun will shine every single day for the rest of time and the Evil Doers from the other three or four or six parties will be banished forever to, oh, I dunno, to North Dakota or somewhere like that.
But you people in Ontario better vote or I’ll be dismayed and a Dismayed Doug is not a pretty sight.
Can’t wait for the China-Tunisia men’s basketball game at the London Olympics next year.
That ought to be a cracker.
Anyway, we’ve got the men’s field set except for the three spots coming out of the final qualifier next July.
It’s United States, Spain, France, Argentina, Brazil, Tunisia, Australia, China and Great Britain.
But the cool thing is we also now know who’s going to be in that final event:
It’s Greece, Lithuania, Macedonia, Russia, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Angola, Nigeria, Jordan, Korea and New Zealand and if I had to guess the three that’ll earn Olympic berths right now, I’d go all Europe with Greece, Russia and Lithuania.
Toronto’s the worst sports city in the world, eh?
Well, if no less a global authority than ESPN says it, it must be true, right?
Anyway, Cathal’s got a nice little piece here – wonder if he consulted the Magic 8-ball for assistance? – that you should take a look at.
I’ve been in enough major American cities to know that if we’re bad, we’ve certainly got company, regardless of the criteria you use.
No, the streets haven’t been closed very often for championships parades but I’m guessing none of the Peachtrees or Peach Trees in Atlanta have bleachers up for celebrations.
And I don’t recall of late too many titles in, say, Milwaukee.
But even if you use other criteria – like fan support, quality of the facilities, concentration of media attention on pro sports – Toronto’s not that bad off, at all.
The thing that makes me laugh about these polls and lists and such is the angst and anger they cause in some circles. EPSN doesn’t think Toronto’s very good? Who gives a rat’s bum? They do those things to generate (a) conversation and (b) awareness of themselves. And it always works; shame on us.
Oh, and I will give you these two numbers:
Those were the two crowds in Tampa Bay for the final series of the major league season, against the Yankees as the Rays tried to complete one of the greatest late-season comebacks in baseball history.
22,820 and 18,722. They ought to move that franchise today.
I wish for chocolate beer like some people can’t wait for bacon jam and I’m told it does exist.
I (heart) you.
Well, most of you.
Well, not really news, but a wee bit of an update.
Talking to a couple of guys yesterday – yes, I still keep my hand in every now and then just to make sure nothing major is going on – and a couple of things came up.
There’s no movement on a front office addition – whatever the new job will entail – because there’s still some due diligence being done, calls being made, conversations being had. No timetable – there hasn’t been one since the process started way back last April or so – and there is no “front-runner” for the job.
Oh, and they might not have anything much to do but the coaches are starting to drift back into town and should all be around the first of next week.
They’ll meet to come up with practice plans and schedules, do some video work to scout their own guys and other NBAers and, hopefully, provide all kinds of news and insights to bored ex-baseball grunts.
This was pretty disheartening news last night:
Arvydas Sabonis had a heart attack and while details were sketchy at first, late reports are he’s out of danger and should be fine.
As Irregulars know, he’s one of the guys I truly wish I’d seen play in his prime; and I wish the people in North America had been given the chance, too, because everything I hear about him is amazing.
Here’s a bit of a look:
Now, there are others, too.
I wish I’d seen Oscar Schmidt more than I did, the great Brazilian was one of the most prolific scorers in the history of the game and I only got to see him a couple of times at the tail end of his career.
Want four more and hopefully get some details from Irregulars?
Dejan Bodiroga, who I did see quite a bit of and who would have been an excellent NBA guard.
Sergie Belov, who I vaguely recall from the 1972 Munich Olympic final.
Theo Papaloukas, one of those guys from Greece who just know how to play.
And Dino Meneghin, Mr. Basketball in Italy.
Anyone got anything on them?
May as well get started on the usual schedule, no?
Have an afternoon TOD game to sit and watch somewhere, may as well have some mail to answer while I do it, right?