Once again, you’ve come through in the clutch. Well done.
And there’s always tomorrow and while there are lots of fun things to answer, there’s always room for more.
Q: List? A while back you posited that a left-handed situational had to be the easiest job in sports. How about the opposite? What's the hardest job in sports (in your opinion)?
Tim H, Windsor
A: Not sure I should have said, or did say, easiest; probably meant “best” but you get my point.
Hardest? Or worst?
I’ll give you three off the top of my head and elicit suggestions from Irregulars:
Football centre: You need to get the ball to the quarterback and then take a beating from behemoths hellbent on doing you physical harm and then get knocked to the ground while other behemoths pile of top of you. Fun? Wow!
Catcher: Foul tips. Finicky pitchers. Collisions at the plate. And what’s with some umpires always having a hand on their back? How’d they ever get the first guy to do it?
Marathon rabbit: You never get to win, you do the bidding for the glamour boys and it’s hard. Or so I’d think, not being a guy who, you know, runs.
Q: Doug, Any chance that you could use your pull with the basketball journalists association to get ALL media to just stop covering the NBA talks?
Seriously, what would send a better message that "we're tired of the dispute, call us when you decide to go back to work and we'll see if we're at all interested" than for Stern and Hunter and Co. to show up and find nobody covering the talks?
How many days do you think it would take for Stern to realize that they need to settle if there was no coverage at all? As much as they like their millions, I think he'd have to know that no publicity means no interest which means no fans paying for tickets or watching TV. Any chance a media blackout could hurry things along?
Chris C, Toronto
A: I think both sides would be quite happy if the media went away entirely and I don’t imagine it would have any impact whatsoever on how quickly they talk and/or settle, sadly.
But, regardless of my particular aversion to trying to figure out the nuances of the talks and the various levels of in-fighting, Ken Berger, Howard Beck, and Woj are doing an exemplary job and a segment of the population is well served by their efforts. I know I am.
Q: Morning Doug. Here's one for you. You, Doug Smith (a slightly younger version perhaps), are the # 1 basketball player on Mars and you are sent to earth to play in the NBA. You know about the league and you'll definitely be a starter but you know nothing about the cities etc. Your overseers do not allow you to play in Canada, however as it turns out Canada and Mars do not have a reciprocal tax treaty. After closely evaluating every US based franchise for things like coaching, committed ownership and management, support from the fans, chance of winning, great place to live and bring up your Martian family, fun experience, enjoyment of playing the game etc. etc. etc., what team do you end up choosing and why?
Richard B, Mississauga
A: I thought they’d worked out that Mars-Canada tax thingy? Guess it’s stuck in committee or something.
Except for the zaniness of Paul Allen, I’d probably choose Portland right off the top; and then I’d go to Oklahoma City but we’re not sure how committed ownership is since it has come time to pay the young kids and figure out if you can afford to keep them all.
So, with those two crossed off the list, I’d going to pick San Antonio. There may be some issues with the state that the city is in – I’m not a big fan of Texas – but it’s got all those pre-requisites.
And I know there are parts of the city away from the tourist-trappy Riverwalk that are sublime to hang out in.
Q: Hi Doug. Is it just me, or does the following Derek Fisher quote rankle you as well?
"The NBA and the owners have not allowed us to go back to work. So they have essentially turned their backs on not only the players, but the fans that have made them billions. I hope they decide to change that. It’s the only way everyone wins."
DFish isn't the only one among the players with the attitude of "let us get back to work. Let us play".
Basically, this reads to me as "they won't give us what we want, they should just give us what we want so we can get back to work" I don't know - that doesn't really seem like a proper take on negotiations such as these.
Recently also read something from an NBA player along the lines of "if you take $100 and split it 50/50 - then take that half and split is amongst 30 for the owners and 450 for the players"
Wow. What a load of BS. There's A LOT more people that owners side of BRI goes to - from the staffs of the arenas, to various front office personnel, etc - that split is much larger than 30 people. BUT - the other half and the supposed 450 person split?? That goes ONLY to the players - Annnnd...their agents. Give me a break.
Tom S, Toronto
A: Doctor, nothing anyone says rankles me in the least because it’s all public posturing to curry favour with fans, it’s spin, pure and simple.
Q: Hi Doug. I'm told (because I have no experience in this field) that somebody's always making money from tough times. So who do you see benefiting from the lockout?
The owners might be 'saving' money, but that's certainly not the same as making money, is it? Can't see the players making a dime over the long run. I'd be surprised if they ever recoup their losses if this thing continues through Christmas.
I'd suppose the NBL might benefit. MSNBC suggests maybe hockey could get a bit of a boost south of the border. Anyone else? Anyone at all benefiting from this? Local basketball, maybe a little? But are there any big winners in any of this? Guess I'm wondering what the point of the whole exercise is, because I just don't see any from my cozy little spot at home here..._Thank you for keeping things lively in these dull times!
David M, Ottawa
A: I guess it’s all relative but I honestly think there are some owners for whom not losing money is making money and I don’t think there’s any doubt they’ll benefit far more greatly from missing games than any player will. But who outside of the game benefits? Maybe families that get sports-mad parents back? Beaus who don’t have to sit through 82 games and can start hanging more often with their significant others doing things they want?
Q: Hey Doug. Big question for you. It seems as though the players do not have the upper hand in these arguments, not only in the negotiating room but the fans seem to generally favor the owners. So my question is that if the players move towards a decertification of the union, will that just not push the fans further away from the game, the fans that this players have claimed to care about? It seems counter productive to me, but what are your thoughts?
Thanks as always!
Brett F, Lethbridge
A: If decertification costs the entire season, it certainly would drive more people away. But, conversely, if it hastens a settlement by getting the owners to come to their senses, then I imagine some fans would be thankful.
It’s a gamble, for sure, but I caution this, as I have: This labour fight is in no way concerned with the fans, arena workers, neighbourhood businesses negatively impacted by the lockout. Never was, never will be.