Guess what? Start of the weekend mail
Well done, ladies and gentlemen.
A bunch here and some left for tomorrow and one more kick at the can, if you like, by simply clicking here and sending.
Q: Derek Fisher at 37 is nearing the end of his NBA career and likely not around for the entirety of the next CBA. Do you think this is influencing how he is approaching the negotiations?
K J, Toronto
A: No, not in the least. Mostly because what the players are arguing for – even as they concede several percentage points of BRI – are future generations who will have to live with whatever CBA is in place. If Fisher was truly self-serving and only worried about what he might get out of the deal, he’d probably sacrifice the next few years. That’s not happening.
Q: Here I go again - I try to help out when I can. With regards to your blog, every so often (actually, rarely!) someone points out in the comments a factual inaccuracy in the blog - wrong first name, etc. You get the comment, and generally say "Fixed." From a 'technology' point-of-view, what is done to 'fix' the problem?
Tim H, Windsor
A: And how I appreciate the weekly help.
I have this magic way of getting back into blogs to make the odd correction, hopefully before too many notice.
If it’s a wrong name (seldom) or a wrong fact (more seldom) or a problem with some arithmetical answer (every single stinking time), I usually hear right off the bat from the early readers and get back into the blog to fix it up. To my credit, I usually try to leave the wrong word, name, math problem, in there with a line scrawled through it but it does usually get changed.
I guess it has to do with my (a) constant monitoring of this place and (b) the ability of Irregulars to politely draw attention to mistakes in fact but we try to set the record straight as quickly as we can.
Q: Hi Doug. We've been hearing on and off that the owners have been unable to agree amongst themselves about the direction they want to take in their negotiations with the players. Why would owners insist on continuing to negotiate with the players when they can't agree on a unified approach? Shouldn't they get their own business in order first? If so, what's preventing them from doing so? The players have seemed for the most part quite unified in their approach.
Thanks as always,
Dominique K, Ottawa
A: Of course they should but you have to remember, there are so many diverse parties on the ownership side it’s like, as a friend says, herding cats. And what’s preventing them from doing so is the stubbornness and militant nature of some of them who can’t seem to manage their business well enough.
But everyone knew that going in. These are not normal business negotiations because in those, you have two sides – management and workers – and management has one message. Here, you have several and it’s the biggest mess of the whole thing right now.
Q: Hi Doug. I know that many are bored and frustrated with the labour negotiations, but I do find the back and forth and positioning among the four sides quite interesting. Your man Sheridan has done a great job with his coverage.
Quick question - Who is representing the Raptors at the NBA Board of Governors as owner? Larry Tanenbaum? I assume the Raptors ownership are more so in the lets make a deal group given that they were profitable last year?
Greg M, Halifax
A: Larry is the team’s governor, yes. And I don’t know exactly how they feel, to tell you the truth. I’m sure they’d like to see some changes to the economic system; to say they were profitable is probably right but with the conglomerate that is Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, it’s impossible to separate one entity from the others.
Q: Hi Doug, I have two questions. The first is, where does MLSE stand among the NBA owners' hawks and doves on the lockout? Big market teams have generally been doves and small markets have been hawks, but given that Toronto is a large market with a mid-level payroll and a small market mentality (in terms of feeling that players don't especially want to play here), I'm curious where the Raptors stand. Second, is there any way that those of us that want to express our frustration with the lockout can contact Richard Peddie and Larry Tannenbaum?
I doubt it will make any difference, but I'd like to express my displeasure with the owners' behaviour.
Daniel A, Toronto
A: As I mentioned earlier, I don’t know where, precisely, MLSE stands on this whole thing; I’d guess in the middle somewhere. They’d like a better economic system but losing a nights in their arena probably hurts. I’d put them in the middle, actually. They’ve proven they’d spend to the middle of the pack, at least, and would probably want the nights in their arena open rather than closed.
And I’m not going to give you a way to reach either of those people, sorry. Am sure enterprising people would find a way to register complaints.
Q: Hi Doug. I read the link you posted to Henry Abbott’s article on the moment the NBA talks fell apart. I confess I was intrigued by the racial connotations that he brought up, with respect to young black athletes, becoming executives almost, and demanding to change things in a league predominantly owned by (I think) older white men. I was also was interested in his comments about the whole LeBron's James "Decision" show, and how this was viewed differently by the younger black athletes, and was almost viewed as "no, he doesn't owe the owner anything, he can do things his way". I recall you being quite negative about the way LeBron handled things, and I wonder if looking at it from this point of view would has made you reconsider your feelings on that? I'm NOT insinuating that there was race involved in your feelings about it initially (not a chance given many of your other posts/comments), just if reading this article made you have second thoughts about your feelings on it. Keep up the good work as always.
Sohail G, Collingwood
A: I was quite critical and nothing’s happened to change my mind. It was narcissistic and self-serving, a direct slap in the face to fans who had made him more money than is imaginable and the entire episode was handled in poor taste. He either got bad advice or just doesn’t – and didn’t – get it.
I saw Henry’s piece, while I hold him the highest regard, I’m not sure he can trace back what’s happened in these negotiations to the ill-handled “Decision.”
Q: A contribution and a question on my mind today. Firstly regarding the motivations behind "Big Time" sports fans, after some consideration I would venture that the impetus for the "devotion" might have less to do with the sport in question than it has to do with offering an opportunity to be a part of something. A sense of community, being able to share with a group of like minded people, an opportunity to enjoy time away from their everyday existence. Personally I have found the interaction of the IGBT similar to what one would experience while enjoying the game with some buddies in a sports bar for example. Leaving me to think that perhaps the actual sport involved is, oddly, secondary to the experience.
On to the question, has basketball ever had a market and a personality that could rival the impact that one Mr. Don Cherry seems to have around these parts? I have been staggered, and somewhat horrified, by the outflow from "vomitgate" (in deference to the family nature of your blog). As always thanks for what you do,
Doug T, Brantford
A: Staggered and horrified are two very apt adjectives, ones I share actually, from the few times I’ve listened to Cherry’s diatribes.
I guess the only guy who could come remotely close in the basketball world would be Charls Barkely but, to tell the truth, he’s not nearly as offensive to me as the hockey guy is. And because of the nature of the sports and the countries, Chuck isn’t afforded the bully pulpit the other guy is.
Q: Hi Doug. Why don't people use different fonts to project meaning and emotion in their writing? This seems to be a major mechanism by which writers could tap into their audience's emotions in a more impactful way.
Top 5 fonts you would rather use than Ariel or Times New Roman in your articles. Would they be any different for your blog? (Note that italics and bold do not count).
What fonts would you use to convey the following emotions in your character dialogue: frustration, anger, love, empathy, sarcasm, excitement, depression, and worry.
Colin K, Ann Arbor
A: This might be the greatest – and for sure the most obscure list – we’ve been asked to compile.
But, and I mean this with no disrespect, I think you might misinterpret what we try to do here. Isn’t the whole exercise in writing to convey emotion and meaning with words rather than the look of words? Just sayin’.
Now, if I had any idea how to do this, these five would all appear in their own little fonts but it’s a lot like math, I can’t really do it.
So … I’m anti-serif, it’s too girly or something like that; these will have to suffice:
Comic Sans (that’s the one Dan (Trust my gut) Gilbert used in the anti-LeBron screed
Times New Roman
Wingdings (simply because of the name).
Q: Hi Doug. Saw your Friday blog and I think that the current breakdown in negotiations highlights the difference between the haves and havenots in the league.
Obviously the small market teams want a better deal from their view and the larger teams don't care as much because of larger revenue streams.
I'd be curious to know if you have available to you the actual raw numbers the teams have put out such as game revenue, TV, etc. I think it would be quite obvious that the smaller market teams revenue would be way below the Lakers and Knicks, etc.
All I have heard is so many teams lost money last year but no further details. I'd think the league would be fine with releasing higher level numbers to illustrate the situation to its fans. But then again through all of this it’s obvious the league and players don't care about the fans or especially their staff who work in their arenas on gamedays, etc.
At the end of the day the league and players are now treading into that region where fans like myself will say forget it I'm done.
Ian B, Barrie
A: Raw numbers for every team per game? Nah, I don’t have that, the union doesn’t have that, I’d be surprised – given such vagaries as concession sales, parking, etc. – whether you could get a true indication even from the league. And if you could, they don’t seem to be at all of a mind to share such information even privately.
And I don’t think anyone truly cares about the fans, except as conduits to make more money for everyone concerned.