The start of the weekend mail includes an old ditty
Well played, kids.
Lots of good stuff here and a few goodies left over for the morning.
But since it’s a Niagara Falls day and an afternoon with nothing on the agenda, here’s one last shot to get some more for tomrrow.
Q: Hey MoonDougie! Pardon the surfer talk but I've been really enjoying all the great old tunes you've been spinning in the blog this summer, and sometimes the good vibes linger. Those of us of a certain age grew up with some happening music, eh?
So, as a person who was there When It All Began (Rock 'n Roll, not Life As We Know It) I thought you might help decide a decades-long debate I've been having with my sisters. Before The Boss and after The King, there were The Bobby's. And what we can't agree on is this: Vee (The Night Has 1,000 Eyes - and, Doug, you absolutely MUST check out its accompanying unintentionally hilarious video!), Vinton (Blue Velvet - the song, NOT the movie!), Darin (Mack The Knife), Rydell (Volare!) or Curtola (Fortune Teller): Who Was 60's Best Bobby? If you do well with this one (as in agree with me!) maybe we can call on your wisdom for another music disagreement: Which band was the Best Girl Group Of The 60's? :)
Lorie P, London
A: You may find this hard to believe but there have been moments – fueled by the company, the mood, the dinner, the intoxicants – that I have been known to stand around a kitchen or a barbecue late at night and warble.
And I will fully admit while I have no discernible warbling skills (although I will also admit and point out that at that point on those nights it does not matter a lick), I will say that little sounds as good as a solid rendition of Mack The Knife.
Hope I picked right.
Girl bands? 1960s? Has to be The Supremes, doesn’t it?
Q: Not a question, but a comment about Hakas. Apparently the Aussies in particular have spent years trying to figure out how they should respond to the Haka. One time they stood with their backs to the ceremony. Really pissed off the Kiwis which is not a good thing to do since they are so good to start with. The result was not pretty so they went back to just standing and watching.
Bruce C, Brisbane
A: As it should; it’s a sign of respect, I believe, to stand and watch. If you’re concerned that looking at it will have deleterious effect on performance, you probably should be on the field/court in the first place.
And, with all due respect, I’d far rather see the Haka one time than listen to incessant Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oi, Oi, Oi.
(My ears bled at the Sydney Olympics. Really. Well, not really).
Q: Any further word from Leo since his departure from the National team? Future coaching aspirations? Upcoming gigs? Reflections?
Lyn I, London
A: None, haven’t spoken to him and I’d presume he’s taking a nice long break to decompress. But I don’t see coaching in his future, I presume he’ll continue his broadcasting career. Coaching was, in many ways, a labour of love and not a means to an end.
Q: Who would be in your Top 10 of NBA players that came from European leagues and where do you think the Raptors rookie might fit in the list?
David S, Toronto
A: I’m guessing you’re talking solely about guys who played in European leagues or who were born there, right? Not fully “international” players? That leaves out Olajuwon, Mutombo and Yao, right? Or even Nash?
Anyway, in no particular order, I’d say a Top 10 of Dirk Nowitzki, Drazen Petrovic, Arvydas Sabonis, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, Peja Stojakovic, Vlade Divac, Sarunas Marciulionis, Toni Kukoc, Detlef Schrempf we’d be okay, right?
Valanciunas? Why don’t we let him at least take part in one NBA practice a year from now before we start thinking about that? Heck, why don’t we let him turn 20 first? He might be No. 1, he might be No. 1,001.
Q: Hey Doug. What would a hard cap mean for the NBA? For example, what would happen to the big three? How would it affect the Raptors? Would the Association become a little more evenly competitive?
Jeremiah M, Toronto
A: That’s the unanswerable question, I’m afraid and in a lot of ways, even speculating is silly. Will current deals be grandfathered, allowing the Heat to stay together? If they have to move one guy to meet a hard cap what can they do other than just give someone away with no salary coming back? If it happens – and that remains a big “if” – I can see few, if any, fully guaranteed contracts and an absolute free-for-all of player movement the minute a new CBA is signed. That’d be cool.
As for the long-term implications: I can see a little bit more parity but I can also imagine teams will still make stupid deals, they’ll just be easier to get out of.
Q: Hey Doug. Let me chime in with a baseball question, since I've been following baseball quite a bit since our cable provider enriched our programme with ESPN America lately. Now this may sound like a silly and/or unimportant question, but you're certainly the one who can answer it.
What does the home base umpire yell when a strike is thrown?! Is there a customary phrase or is it whatever, as long as it is clear that the pitch was a strike? When watching games, I've been able to hear (at least that's what I think I heard) everything from "One!" to something resembling "Harrrr!" or "Oooomph!" Thanks for clearing that up for me.
Keep up the excellent work.
P.S. Your prediction of Spain beating Slovenia by 15?! That's cold Doug, very cold. Completely true but cold nonetheless. Rasho wouldn't be impressed...;)
A: I’m not sure if they’re passing gas, or a kidney stone, or screaming at their friends in the stands but most of the time, it’s entirely incomprehensible and changes from one ump to the next; as do the right hand motions that are supposed to indicate called strikes. But as long as they grunt or scream something, pitchers and hitters figure it out.
Yeah, pained me to pick that large a deficit for The Rashos but seems I was close.
Q: Hi Doug. Just curious what your thoughts were on the Serena Williams incident at the US Open? Personally I think a fine of $2000 for someone who just made $1.4 million at that tournament AND is a repeat offender is laughable. It may be a lot of money to one of us making median salaries, but it's just over .1% of what she made over the past few months!
That aside, as a role model to so many young athletes, she should be setting a much better example for those who look up to her. She clearly broke a rule and was rightly penalized for it. No need to react anyway close to the way she did.
Matt M, Ottawa
A: If you know me, you know I like my athletes humble and gracious, in victory and defeat; it’s just the right way to handle yourself, I truly believe.
And that outburst was as bush league and ill-conceived and threatening and uncalled for as any since the last time she did pretty much the same thing in pretty much the same city.
It was not befitting someone who considers herself a champion.
The fine, to me, was ridiculous, meaningless and only doled out so the tennis tour folks could feel a little good about themselves. To have a player – any player, let alone a repeat offender – treat an official like that and then get nothing more than a slap on the wrist was a travesty.
Q: I am sure there is a pile of questions accumulating asking the same thing. Or I missed the explanation. Like that your flying there tomorrow and didn't want to diminish the pressure on bosses to send you ... or something.
Why so minuscule coverage of the Euro basketball?
Sounds like Valanciunas development has been fascinating. And he's only the biggest hope so far of a competitive future for the Raptors. It’s like there was no internet or that no-one with a blog knows anyone in Europe... or speaks Europonese.
Can you imagine a Leaf number 5 overall pick playing in a meager junior championship in Europe with no coverage.
I liked the Johnny Cash and everything but come on. I appreciate your blog :-] ....
Ralf P, Peterborough
A: Miniscule? Not sure what more we could have done, there is no way in the world we’d ever run a story every single day on a guy who may or may not play there and won’t play here for at least a year. Between wire stories in the paper, mentions in the blog and links to various FIBA.com stories, I think we did all right.
And frankly, if they did daily stories on some high Leaves pick, I’d mock incessantly.
Q: Hey Doug. So, when Dwayne Casey was announced as head coach, he said that nobody works harder than he does. He also mentioned that this will be a standard he will apply to his entire staff. Nobody will out-work his staff. Does this apply to the off season and the lock out? What sort of things will Casey be working on right now, or in the future if the lockout persists? It’s easy to say that no staff leaves the court if a player is staying late to put up shots. But what is there possibly to work so hard on right now?
Colin K, Ann Arbor
But it doesn’t mean he’s sitting on his thumbs. I know he was over in Lithuania to watch a couple of his players live – without talking to them, of course – and I’m sure he’s been watching film trying to devise systems that allow his players to thrive. He was in Toronto to meet with Bryan and go over some things a couple of weeks ago but, mostly, he’s doing what everyone connected with the league is doing: Waiting.
Q: Hey Doug. What is the worst injury that can happen to any athlete in your opinion (in terms of the length of the injury, rehab time and the ability to perform at the same level after rehab)? For example, do you think a pitcher with an injury that requires Tommy John surgery is worse than a MCL/ACL tear for a basketball player or a concussion for a hockey player?
Ray F, Waterloo
A: Chronic back problems.
Yes, a torn ACL is bad, Tommy John surgery is terrible, a concussion is frightening but what’s worse than waking up every day unsure if you’re going to be able to move freely?
That is certainly not to diminish any of the injuries you brought up but each – with perhaps the exception of the worst concussion you can imagine – usually has a finite recovery/rehab period. Bad backs – ask Larry Bird or Peja Stojakovic or a handful of others – could be forever.
Q: Hi Doug. It looks like Leo Rautins will move into a consulting role with Basketball Canada. It was probably a good move for him to step down as a new coach should breathe some new life into the program.
With Rautins moving to a lower profile, does he eventually get pushed out the door as an analyst? I can see the dominoes moving in several different directions.
What are your thoughts?
Kevin M, Maple
A: Wow, still lots of interest in Leo, isn’t there? Bordering on fixation? (I keed, I keed0.
I can’t imagine why anyone would think his coaching career would have any impact whatsoever on his broadcasting career. Not only were they mutually exclusive, he was on TV long before he was ever on a bench and I’ve never had any indication from anyone at NBA TV Canada that there was even a smidgen of dissatisfaction with the job he was doing as an analyst.
Can’t see the need, or the desire, for a change.
Q: Hey Doug Here's a question that I'm not sure has been touched on. So right now the big divide in the CBA negotiations is the hard/soft salary cap issue. So last year the cap was about, what 57 million or something? And for this discussion's sake, lets say the Lakers paid double that...What about proposing a soft-cap ie (58 mil) with a hard cap threshold (say 85mil) and then raise the luxury tax to $1.25 per every dollar over the cap (instead of dollar for dollar). This gives everyone what they want, right? I believe here the Lakers would pay about the same in tax...for only a little less salary allowed...but still a stiff penalty for exceeding the cap. If nothing else, couldn't this CBA start with something like this? I realize eventually it probably would evolve into a hard salary cap but maybe it’s something that both sides could be happy about for a very long time? Your thoughts?
Barry B, Kingston
A: Don’t think it could because we’ve seen the luxury tax has not been a drag on salaries, some teams are more than willing to pay it and that’s the issue for the owners. They want some kind of harder cap which is the gist of the disagreement right now. What this is going to come down to is finding some blend of a harder cap with some exceptions and a far lower percentage of revenues going to the players.
But owners are adamant that the tax doesn’t work.