The Derby, Dravecky and friendly advice for NBA GMs
Been a while since we’ve done a series of totally unrelated things in this little space. But that’s what we’ve got today.
I paid scant attention to the Kentucky Derby – and judging by the buzz in my little circle of the world it was the same for a lot of people – but I have to tell you this:
It may be retroactive expertise but anyone who knows me knows that I would have most certainly picked a horse called I’ll Have Another.
But speaking of the Derby, we’ve done those lists and chatted about sports events that have lost their allure with the general population and I’m thinking we can pretty much put The Most Exciting Two Minutes In Sport right near the top of list.
Time was when groups of people would sit around some house or some saloon on Derby Day and run some small pool, everyone picks a horse, you cheer for it, mock the headwear of the other owners and goofy-looking people in the stands and generally have a good time on the first Saturday in May.
Every paper in the city would send someone to cover it, we’d get three or four days of solid reporting and good stories in the days leading up to it.
Now? Now it’s basically an afterthought.
Could have something to do with the lingering distaste for watching horses having to be put down on the track (was 2008, a filly, as I recall), the fracturing of the sports entertainment market (you could have watched basketball, baseball or hockey when the Derby was being run) or just a basic ennui with the sport across North America but there is no question it’s not nearly the event it used to be.
Now, the sport may get a one-week boost if I’ll Have Another wins the Preakness and is running for a Triple Crowd at the Belmont but, even then, it won’t capture nearly the attention it at one time did.
Okay, it’s Boys Week around Casa Doug (Super Wife’s off dealing with some real-life issues) and that means a few things, doesn’t it?
Toilet seats up.
Ice cream eaten right out of the carton.
Vegetables treated as if they contain bubonic plague.
What else have you got for us?
Not sure if I’ve mentioned Chris McCosky in a very long time; he was an old friend who used to cover the Pistons, a great guy with whom I shared more than a few laughs and decompression nights after games.
He’s off covering the pucks or football or something right now, I know he misses the NBA and I know we miss having him around.
But I kind of got back in touch with him, in a very odd way, when I was forwarded this piece he wrote in the wake of Junior Seau’s suicide last week.
Please read it, please make sure anyone you know who should read it, reads it as well. It’s one of the more important columns you’ll ever read.
And thanks, Chris.
I saw written somewhere, or heard spoken somewhere, that Philadelphia 76ers centre Spencer Hawes, an unrestricted free agent this coming summer, is “making himself a lot of money” by his performance so far in the post-season.
Now, I presume every GM in the NBA reads this so, as a public service to them and the fans of their teams, I offer four words of warning:
Yes, Hawes has had a couple of good games against an injury-ravaged Chicago Bulls team. He’s hit some shots and made some plays and generally performed well.
But so, too, did Moiso and Ariza in recent post-seasons and they became the flavours of the month. They got good deals and lots of hype and the last time I looked, one of ‘em was living the Life of Riley spending the money he got and the other had morphed into a run-of-the-mill NBAer.
GMs, some of them at least, can be a tad reactionary when it comes to watching the playoffs, they see guys do something out of the ordinary and become enamoured of them. Agents fuel the fire with highlight videos and stories of how their guy rose to the occasion when it mattered most.
Don’t, GMs! Don’t be fooled! Don’t buy into it!
You’ll thank me at luxury tax-salary cap time.
Oh yeah, Super Son is one special kid.
While a zillion of you have been lining up and fighting crowds to watch The Avengers at the local cinema, Super Son and I were checking out The Three Stooges, at his insistence, gleefully agreed to by me.
Yeah, that kid’s got a future, I say.
Yes, that was one gruesome injury Baron Davis suffered when he dislocated his kneecap out of nowhere in the Knicks-Heat game on Sunday and as we watched it far too many times, there was an uneasy feeling in the pit of our stomachs.
And, of course, those of us of a Certain Vintage flashed back to Joe Theisman breaking his leg on that Monday night game so many years ago, an injury that ranks right up there with the worst we’ve seen.
But, to me, it’s second, maybe third in a tie with Davis; the worst was San Francisco’s Dave Dravecky breaking his arm simply throwing a pitch against the Expos one night.
I’m not going to find out if youtube even has it, it was so ugly; suffice it to say those are the three that few of us will ever forget.
It’s kind of funny, isn’t it? We relish in the brilliant exploits of the athletes we watch and want them to push themselves to the limits of human endurance in pursuit of greatness. We marvel at their ability to do things we couldn’t possibly do and then recoil when the inevitable gruesome accident pops up.
You know me and the pucks, right? Expertise out the ying-yang.
Well, I wonder if any L.A. Kings fans, way back around the trade deadline, were thinking “we should be sellers, not buyers; let’s blow this thing up and see where the summer takes us” and I wonder if any were thinking “sure it’s a longshot but let’s make a run at the playoffs, play for this season and see what happens.”
And I wonder who, in the end, was right, seeing how the Kings just apparently knocked off the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds in the first two rounds of the playoffs and have given their fans some joy and unexpected excitement.
I know, they won’t get a high draft pick, though.
Different sport, yes; same theory, yes,