Tennis and pucks and a wee bit of basketball. Must be Friday
We’re a bit all over the map today in a traditional Friday thing since we did a whole lot of basketball – including a one-man discussion of the relative merits of Kobe and Pierce in the history of their franchises in today’s Nothing But Net.
Believe a little clarification is necessary here today.
It’s about me and tennis.
It’s not the sport I’m not fond of by any stretch of the imagination; I quite like it at its highest level. It wasn’t too long ago that I woke up a few times through the night and remained awake to catch some of that epic Djokovic-Nadal match from Down Under because it was so compelling, as championship matches in Grand Slams tend to be.
There isn’t much better and more dramatic than two guys going at it tooth-and-nail with so much on the line, each pushing themselves to the absolute limits of their abilities in a sport that is absolutely about individuals going head-to-head against each other.
McEnroe-Borg. Connors-McEnroe. Sampras-Federer, Federer-Nadal, Djokovic-Federer, Nadal-Djokovic. All thrilling, all interesting, all great sports theatre.
No, I guess it is the whole notion of a team event in an individual sport that I kind of don’t get.
Or, better yet, it’s the proliferation of events, and the somewhat dumbing down of the Davis Cup that have turned it into something that won’t be destination viewing likely at any time this weekend.
There are simply too many tournaments to get pumped up about very many of them; the Davis Cup seems to have turned from the best against the best into some multi-level competition that is almost too confusing to follow.
(Tell me, honestly. How many people do you think saw the Canada-Israel tie last year and couldn’t figure out that it wasn’t the “real” Davis Cup but some kind of play-in weekend just to get the country into the Davis Cup? I’d venture to say more than a few).
Anyway, that’s me and tennis, like it is me and golf (the Ryder Cup’s lost some of its allure thanks to the Presidents Cup, the hype now about the Walker Cup but at least in golf it’s a one-and-done week) and while I hope for great matches, the “event” leaves me cold.
Good luck, though, to the lads.
One good thing about this one:
Twenty years ago, Daniel Nestor upset Stefan Edberg out in Vancouver in one of Canada’s best Davis Cup moments ever. Me, a desk jockey at The People’s Wire Service at the time, was dispatched to Pearson to chronicle the return of the conquering Canadian hero and while I have nothing but admiration for Nestor and what he’s accomplished in the last two decades he was, how shall I say this, a rather difficult interview as a shy teen and it was far from the best story I’ve ever written. Won’t have to do that again, I’m sure.
So, all-star subs?
Guess I nailed it a bit and, sure, you could absolutely make the case that Rudy Gay should be on the West over Dirk Nowitzki or that Josh Smith should replace Joe Johnson on the East but, for the most part, I think the coaches got it right.
One thing that’s going to be interesting over the next few weeks is which of the all-stars tries to back out because in this compressed season, everyone would rather have that weekend off.
But you know the league knows that too and David And His Henchman aren’t going to look too fondly on guys backing out and there are going to have to be all kinds of serious doctor’s notes before anyone gets to ball.
And if I have to go, they should have to go.
Hey, this is pretty cool in the “yes, it’s high school basketball and I really don’t get excited about high school basketball” vein but still …
They announced the players for that McDonalds All-American Game that’s in Chicago next month and Canadians got a couple of spots.
Brampton’s Anthony Bennett, who goes to Findlay Prep in Vegas, is in the boy’s game and Nirra Fields of Quebec, who goes to high school in LA on her way to UCLA, will play in the women’s event.
Having a boy in the game is old hat but – and I might be wrong on this but I don’t think so – Fields is most likely the first Canadian girl in the game.
So, I see my boy Damien thinks it might be a good idea that I join 100,000 or so crazy pucks aficionados at some outdoor event in a year or so.
Say this for the pucks, though: They can take a not bad idea and beat it into the ground like no one else can.
Maybe as a one-off deal in one specific situation, such a thing was unique and mildly interesting. Now? Now this stuff has become some commonplace it has little juice to it, it’s a bit of a thing that elicits yawns.
There are so many of these games – NHL, AHL, college, junior – I have expect the KHL or someone to want to hold the next one in the wonderful outdoor facility of M. Grange ™ who I understand through the wonder of twitter has become a rink-maker supreme, if only Mother Nature would comply.
Like a whole lot of other sports and their big-time events – and I’m looking at you, NBA All-Star Saturday Night – outdoor hockey has become old and cliché and someone with a bigger marketing brain has to come up with something more interesting. And soon.
That’d be nice. Traditional Friday Afternoon In The Media Room awaits, please give me something to putter around on.
I guess the only burning question around the Raptors today is this: What do they do if Bayless can’t go tonight, or for the next couple of games.
Anyway, I can’t for the life of me see them going back to Gary Forbes tonight. The Celtics, with Rondo and Avery Bradley, have two of the more pesky full-court defenders, and back in Boston a while ago, I remember Forbes having such a difficult time even getting into the offence, that Dwane went to Anthony Carter quickly.
So if there’s no Bayless maybe there’s more Carter or maybe they go with a rather bold stroke and let Leandro run the offence for a few minutes.
And, no, the Raptors should not waive somebody and pay them to go away just so they can sign a guy to a 10-day contract. That makes no sense at many levels: It’s relatively costly and by the time a new guy learns the defence and offence either 10 days will be up or Bayless would be back. Guess they just have to suck it up, as they did in that 13-game stretch Jerryd missed earlier this year.
Tell me, dear Irregulars, what’s a FreshCo grocery store like? Some of us find it quite fun to explore new food stores – it’s rather therapeutic and relaxing, actually – and with a Whole Foods in the neighbourhood now and a FreshCo opening today, I need some intel.
One thing: Check back here early this afternoon or late this morning. We'll have something old that's new again.