If it's Saturday, it's the start of the weekend mail, right?
Wow, you guys did a great job this week already.
Now, there’s a Mighty Rockies post-season celebration this afternoon and evening but if you’ve got something on your mind, you know what to do.
Q: 2 Questions: 1. Who would you choose to be the next Team Canada basketball coach? 2. What are the top 5 sports events that you were present at?
David S, Toronto
A: I would presume you would have read Friday’s missive that says I defer any thought of a coach until 2013 so l’m going to let that part of that one go.
If you’re looking for a top five, I’ll give you these quickly off the top of my head, in no particular order, and I’m sure I’m forgetting something I’ve previously mentioned:
1998 world basketball gold medal game in Athens, Yugoslavia-Russia
1992 Dream Team debut in Portland and gold medal win at Barcelona Olympics.
Donovan Bailey wins Olympic 100 metre gold in Atlanta.
2002 world basketball gold medal game in Indianapolis, Yugoslavia-Argentina.
2000 Sydney Olympics, Canada upsets Yugoslavia in men’s basketball.
Q: Rasho retires, and children everywhere lose the opportunity to watch a true professional at play.
Colin K, Ann Arbor
A: All good thing must come to an end.
A Rasho story:
Heard the news he was hanging them up, sent him a congratulatory e-mail on a fine career and for being a great guy and told him he should come back and coach.
“No,” he says. “Maybe I become journalist.”
Q: Hey Doug, just thinking about women's sports. What would you say would be the top 5 watched women's sports? Quickly thinking I'll go Tennis, Golf, Gymnastics, Figure Skating, and .......... oh ya, Track and Field.
To go with this I was wondering if it has ever been talked about having a WNBA game prior to an NBA game. I know currently the seasons are different but that could change easily enough especially if the arena is already booked for basketball. The female sports that seem to thrive the most have men competing around the same time frame.
Thank you for you thoughts
Andrew M, Charlottetown
A: I’d probably mirror most of your list of most-watched but I’d put basketball in and take track and field out, except for, you know, once every four years when casual fans pay casual attention.
The WNBA-NBA thing would make sense but it truly is a seasonal issue because most of the top women play in Europe in the winter. I have, though, been to a couple of WNBA games that coincided with NBA Finals games. Saw one in LA one year, one in San Antonio one year and, if memory serves, another in San Antonio or somewhere else.
But it would be a cool doubleheader if they could pull it off schedule-wise.
Q: Love your blog - read it everyday with my cereal!!!
I would have to put Captain Crunch and Froot Loops at the top of my cereal list from former days - but alas it is usually Bran Flakes these days. While thinking of breakfast candy I got to thinking of "Chocolate Covered Sugar Bombs" and was wondering what your favourite cartoons were. For me Calvin and Hobbes is way out front, followed by For Better or For Worse. Workwise it's Doonesbury and Dilbert.
Art H , Sharbot Lake
A: Newspaper cartoons?
Now, I fully admit I haven’t looked consistently at the comics pages in eons but, for me, it stops and starts with The Far Side (and if it’s been discontinued, I’m sorry).
And I know it’s hokey and homespun and all that jazz but Peanuts was pretty good when Charles Schultz was still among us.
Dilbert, I like no question.
Q: Hey Doug, I know people are disappointed but it wasn't overly pessimistic to expect this team wouldn't get through this tournament. In fact I think many who closely follow basketball in this country would say all expectations should be off the table until 2014 at the earliest, when our new crop of talent develops.
With all that said, is the negative reporting of the SMNT fair? I'm not a Leo supporter by any stretch (that job should have gone to someone with a whisper of experience). But isn't the decline of CB since 2000 more a systematic problem in that Canada didn't use the basketball boom (post 1992 Dream Team) to develop a true grassroots program the way a lot of European countries did. It seems to me like we've piggybacked off the U.S. system for too long and now we're a decade behind where we should be.
Nick A, Toronto
A: I think anyone who truly understands the nature of international basketball and Canada’s place in it would have – and did – suggest that the truly realistic goals were the 2014 world championships and the 2016 Olympics. Yes, the last-chance qualifier next year should have been on the radar and not getting there was a total failure but to expect to make it to London is pie-in-the-sky thinking by people who don’t know. So, in that regard, some of the negative commentary about this specific team was horribly unwarranted and borne of ignorance.
And yes, the leadership at Canada Basketball in the early-2000s – and I’m talking senior staff management – dropped the ball entirely and is primarily to blame for where they are and were.
Q: Greetings, regarding the topic of head coach for our senior men's team. You offered up some potential points of attraction for this posting. Now I may be late to the party but would've Leo had the same aspirations as to where the experience may have taken him? For whatever reason I have never associated anything that occurs outside of the NBA as having much importance to those that comprise the upper levels of NBA-dom. Secondarily is the life of a NBA coach something to really aspire to?
Regarding breakfast cereals, SUGAR Frosted Flakes for sure, I always kind of preferred Frankenberry to Count Chocola, and what truly could be finer than a pucks game on the toob(1970 after all) and a big bag of puffed wheat, a bag of brown sugar and some milk?
Thanks for what you do.
Doug T, Brantford
A: I honestly believe Leo’s motives were pure, he wanted to help restore the program to its former position in the world; I don’t think he saw it as any kind of stepping stone.
Now, it may be that no NBA assistant would be interested but I would think the allure of running your own team – and making contacts and enhancing a reputation – would factor into it. Same for a college coach, who may do some surreptitious recruiting while coaching for, and against, a different country.
Now, as for the life of an NBA coach? I bet if you asked them honestly, they’d tell you it’s better to be an assistant because there are fewer tugs on your time and it is about teaching and coaching. That said, the compensation, first-class travel and other perks of the job make it a pretty lucrative situation that I would certainly aspire to.
Q: In your daily blog I believe you prefer not to answer any pointed questions about the Raptors team or players. I propose you devote one day a week open to ANY! question concerning the Raptors. Are you brave enough?
A: Are you going to be brave enough to ask a real question or will it be one of those idiotic queries like “should they trade Bargnani?” without a suggestion of who for and who might be available; or maybe it’ll be the equally ridiculous “who should they chase in free agency?” without knowing the economic parameters of a new CBA and what they might have to spend?
So when you bring something legit, I’ll consider it; ‘til then, thanks so much for the input.
Q: Quick baseball question for you. If Rogers provides the money and if would be free agents are interested, should the Blue Jays pursue a big name free agent like an Albert Pujols or Prince Fielder this winter or should they just continue to build from within or try to improve via the trade route? Thank You.
Joe D, Mississauga
A: Love a baseball question every now and then.
It is my personal and somewhat ill-informed opinion that this current team will be good enough offensively and should open the wallets for a stud closer (Papelbon) and the best starting pitcher on the market.
That said, I’d like to watch Pujols play and Fielder as the DH and in a perfect world, they do closer, starter and one of them through free agency or trades.
But it’s pitching first, especially late-game bullpen pitching, to me.
Q: Hi Doug. Do you know anything about Lawrie's candidacy for Rookie of the Year? I'm assuming he hasn't played enough to be considered this year, but has he played so much that he'd be ineligible next year? I hope not because I think he'd be a shoo-in for ROY next year.
Vsem Y, Toronto
A: Okay, I got this right off the major league website:
“A player shall be considered a rookie unless, during a previous season or seasons, he has (a) exceeded 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched in the Major Leagues; or (b) accumulated more than 45 days on the active roster of a Major League club or clubs during the period of 25-player limit (excluding time in the military service and time on the disabled list)”
And as I type this Friday at dinner, Lawrie’s got 115 major league at-bats so I guess it’s this year or none.
And I imagine it’s too late for this year and the young pitcher Nova with the Yankees has the big market behind him and helluva record.
Q: Hello Doug. It seems to me when Canada loses at basketball, Canada Basketball rarely receives the criticism that their counterparts at Soccer Canada receive.
Take the recent FIBA Olympic qualifying tournament. I would say the reaction has been sympathetic to both the players and Canada Basketball.
But anytime Canada losses in soccer it is taken as a damming verdict on our place in the sport, and especially on the CSA.
This seems out of place because on the face of it, I think our expectations should be higher for the hard court than on the pitch.
What do you think?
Allen F, Ottawa
A: Sympathetic? You weren’t reading my e-mails killing the coach, the players, the system and the guys who weren’t there. And I do think the expectations are higher – wrongfully – because most casual fans aren’t cognizant of good other countries are, unlike soccer, where everyone knows Canada is a minnow.
But there’s heat on the program to keep things headed in the right direction.
Q: Hi Doug, I just read through Chris Sheridan's article that you referred us to in your blog. While I appreciate the logic behind his argument, I think his timelines for getting a collective agreement together by Oct. 1st are highly optimistic. As someone who follows this much closer than myself, what are your thoughts on Mr. Sheridan's collective agreement timelines for the NBA players and teams?
By the way, I've thoroughly enjoyed your foray into baseball this summer.
Mark L, Abottsford
A: I’ve long held that I couldn’t imagine them missing any – or many – regular season games, an opinioned shared by Chris. And nothing that transpired in the last few days has made me re-think my opinion. Now, it could go completely off the rails at any time but I don’t think it will.
Q: Hey Doug. Recently I went on a short vacation to the States and the TV in hotel that I was staying in had SIX ESPN channels! (crazy right?). Now there was this one day where three of the six channels were showing the same thing (a NASCAR race too, how boring). I'm not sure if its cause they had nothing to show or it was cause NASCAR is so popular in the states. If it is the latter, would you happen to know why it is so popular? I find it kind of dumb how people can watch cars go in circles for a few hours.
Ray F, Markham
A: if I could figure out the allure of NASCAR I’d do something other than run from my house as if my hair was on fire the second I see it. I don’t get it but I can only surmise it has something to do with the atmosphere at races, where folks can pull up the trailers, unload the coolers, put on their baseball caps and kick back with like-minded folk.
Either than or they get hypnotized by watching cars go on an endless loop of left-handed turns without having any real clue who’s ahead.
Oh, and there’s the bloodlust part of the good crash to consider, too.
Q: What kind of pool are you in where Miami and Seattle are selected with the Eagles and Giants?
Shawn L, Bowmanville
A: Oh, it’s quite a simple one, actually and just keeps us sort of engaged in the season at some level. Eight guys, each “drafts” four teams and total wins of them at the end of the season wins the pool. Kind of silly of me to take teams that will play twice against each other but what the heck.