A thankless, tough job that someone has to do
Wondered when the first “anonymous source” story about rifts in the NBA Players Association would really break and how they’d handle it.
Happened on the week, some column says some players think Derek Fisher’s too sympathetic and friendly with David Stern and the owners, it suggests there is a conflict between Fisher and Billy Hunter and Fisher lashed out with this letter to the players that a handful of media outlets got their mitts on yesterday afternoon.
No real surprise in it – it’d be a far better story if Fisher said, “yes, I (Heart) David and I want a deal now” – but it was the story on an otherwise slow day.
(And until they decide to meet again and guys like Ken Berger and Howard Beck and Steve Aschburner and Brian Mahoney can keep us wildly entertained with Tweets From The Lockout Lobby, slow is going to be the order of the day).
But I tell you what, I wouldn’t want Fisher’s job for almost anything in the world.
With the disparate personalities in his union, some with unimaginable wealth, others with unimaginable personal issues and backgrounds, the balancing act he has to strike must be incredible.
I am sure he’s hearing from players and their agents who want a settlement and want it now, people who are quite willing to take the financial package that’s on the table and get on with their often brief professional sports careers.
And I know there are hard-liners who want to give back nothing and who would be urging him to keep the union out as long as is necessary to maintain what they have now.
That would strike me as quite different from the job of a regular union leader; as we’ve pointed out in the past, this is not an employer-employee dispute in the normal scheme of things, there are factions on each side that make it, as a friend says, like herding cats to keep everyone in line.
That he’s done it so far is nothing short of amazing to me, there seem to be far fewer public rifts this time than there were in 1998 and 1999 and that’s to the credit of Fisher and Hunter.
Now, if they’d just find a way to get this thing over and done with, we could really laud them.
This is kind of topical, given the dearth of sports for my little mind to get around:
Q: Hey Doug: You've obviously been a grunt for more than just basketball (especially this summer!). So, how about two lists - they don't have to be long. In descending order, what sports events do you feel most 'comfortable' with? (If you want, you don't have to limit it to sports, if want to include, say, fashion shows.) Then, what events did you cover that you enjoyed the most?
Thanks for keeping us entertained during the lack of basketball - even if some, apparently, don't like you to veer 'off the beaten path.' The majority obviously enjoy it!
Tim H, Windsor
A: Took some time to come up with these but, luckily, time is something I have.
Let’s stick to just sports, we all know fashion is hardly my forte, the music is mostly old and stuff I just like for no specific reason and, well, that’s about it.
Yeah, I know. Un-Canadian of me. It’s not that I don’t like the sport – although I still say scripted fights are the most ridiculous thing in the world and prove nothing – it’s that I don’t possess a great depth of knowledge.
And I do like how easy it is to tweak the passion of fans.
Takes a while to get back into the swing of things but it’s pretty easily done.
Great stories, great drama. Hugely fun.
Wrote it. Like it. Probably the only other sports beat I’d think about but it’s a long summer to give up.
If for no other reason than the time I’ve put in during the last decade and a half. Besides, it’s a brilliant game of near-constant motion and at least one ‘Holy Crap’ moment a night.
But you know what?
Good sports writing is more about telling stories about people, narratives about games, being entertaining while also being informative. So, really, you should be able to plop any of us down anywhere, gives us some time with a guy or a team and we’d give you something interesting.
Now, can you give me a day or two to come up with top events? We need to parcel good things out piecemeal around here these days.
How the hell did it get to be Nov. 1?
Can’t wait for the Christmas sales to start.
Today’s Opening Night.
So Tony LaRussa’s retired?
Bet he didn’t try to phone in his resignation.
Anyway, not sure where I’d place him on the list of modern era great managers because the two things that come quickly to mind with him are how he managed a team with Mark McGuire and Jose Canseco and never once seemed to twig to the, um, pharmaceutical nature of their accomplishments.
And there always seemed to be some sort of, I dunno, condescending nature to him. As if he was the smartest guy in the room in his opinion and he wanted to subtly let you know that. Kind of what I feel about Phil Jackson except that Jackson tended to win an awful lot of championships.
So give LaRussa his due for hanging around the game for a very long time; don’t put him in the pantheon of greats quite yet.
Know what stinks?
Having a Super Son who gives up going out for Halloween so you can’t reap the benefits of the stuff he doesn’t like and getting more kids than expected so there’s not much stuff left in the bowl and a night of couch and candy ends quickly.