Bad news, new news and a bunch of baseball
Feared this was coming.
A breakdown in talks, some name-calling, some bitterness, a lot of anger and, I presume, an announcement today that at least another two weeks – maybe three – have been cancelled in the regular season.
Who’s to blame?
Well, I continue to think there’s more than enough blame to go around but by all indications – and I trust the fellow scribblers working the talks more than I trust the people in the room – it would seem, as we also feared, the owners are far from “together” on what they want.
Always figured there were four sides to this dispute:
Some other owners.
And if the hard-liners among the owners – and by reports it’s people who own so-called “small market” teams – aren’t willing to make any concessions whatsoever, and who seem quite fine with missing an entire season or at least squashing the players instead of working with them in some way, we’re in for a much longer and more protracted work stoppage than a lot of us ever imagined.
The most troubling aspect?
The anger that surfaced for the first time last night, with Derek Fisher telling reporters they’d been “lied” to by deputy commissioner Adam Silver, who had accused the union of walking away from talks.
Maybe it was just a function of the time they’d spent together over three days, tempers do get short when strong-willed men with a lot riding on things can’t come to anything close to an agreement.
But you can see more disgust, at least publicly, than we’ve seen in some time and that’s a big step backwards. How they get past that and move on in beyond me but it has to happen.
Saner heads prevailing?
At one time I thought that entirely possible.
Now? Not so much.
One last kick at the mailbag, okay?
Besides, they want a couple of questions to put in the paper tomorrow and I have to fill two weekend days after that and, so far, we’ve not nearly seen enough probing queries. Or even easy questions.
Totally under-rated TV show?
Big Bang Theory.
Now that was some kind of baseball game, no?
And goes to show how little things – at any time in the game – can make a huge difference.
You know me and baseball defence, right? Best part of the game and those two plays the Texas middle infielders made in the middle of the game made that ninth-inning Rangers rally possible.
The double-play in the fourth – the backhanded flip from Andrus (now maybe my fifth-favourite Elvis) to Kinsler who made the bare-handed catch and the turn, and Andrus’s diving stop in the fifth – kept the game close enough so that Texas could get those two in the ninth and win.
They were, as we call them, the “wow” moments.
Now, we went over the individual pitching matchups and how important they were yesterday but I wonder if Tony LaRussa (smartest man in the room, just ask him) might have over-managed in that ninth.
I’m not sure hooking the closer Motte to get Rhodes vs. Hamilton (lefty vs. righty) was the smartest thing. No question Hamilton’s not himself (something about a groin injury) and at that point in the game, I’d stick with my closer. But that’s just me.
Of course, none of it might matter if Pujols doesn’t botch the cutoff play on the single to right in the ninth. If he catches the ball – and the throw was not great but still okay – the Rangers don’t have runners at second and third and maybe LaRussa sticks with Motte and who knows what happens then.
And gives the chattering masses something else to talk about; isn’t always that way in baseball? Managerial decisions are debated and debated and it’s fun the morning after, especially on a travel day in the Series.
Anyway, this is shaping up to be a good one and given the dearth of other good sports on TV, it’s going to make weekend evening viewing pretty good.
Got an e-mail early this morning to tell me the good folks at Roma in the Italian basketball league have turned down the ashleymadison.com sponsorship deal.
No reason given – probably doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure it out – and I hope they can find an equally willing sponsor with deep pockets ready to right a cheque while the season’s going on.
Guess it’s not all that big a deal over on this side of the Atlantic but, still, it’s news.
There you go.
Things seem pretty normal today, don’t they? Got up, life went on, made a long drive, saw sun come up, sitting around typing.
Guess the end of the world thing’s coming later on. Hope I get the mail done before.
Speaking of the mail:
Q: One can knit pick the ESPN top 500 rankings but all in all hard to really argue with in general. Important take away the Raptors along with 4 other franchises do not have a single player ranked in the top 50, worse at 81 AB is the highest ranked Raptor! He is the lowest ranked 20pt scorer in the league, B. Lopez at 51 is the next closest. BC can sell us on our young nucleus, but that is a pipe dream as all of the top ten teams have 3 players at least in the top 50!Can any of our young players make that leap? One can dispute a position here or there, but again the hall of shame is Toronto, Utah, Clevland, Detroit and Charlotte and their records speak for themselves!
Jason P, Toronto
A: Of course the good teams have good players high on those totally subjective rankings done only to provoke discussion.
Can’t imagine anyone’s surprised by the fact a team that’s been out of the playoffs for three years in a row and comes off a 21-61 season would have highly-ranked players. That’s not going to happen, nor should it.
And you can talk all you want about “pipe dreams” but the fact is the Raptors are – as we’ve said for a year – a team of young, unproven talent that is going to need some time to figure out how to play and win in the NBA.
Until they do that, I’d suggest their individual talent will continue to be “ranked” low but experts who have their own ranking criteria.
I don’t think anyone’s ever suggested this was a good team ready to make its mark but I do think there are a few promising young players and let’s see where their subjective “ranks” are in, say, two seasons.
For now, enjoy it for what it was: A talking point in a dreadfully boring summer.