The end of the weekend mail
You did it again, fine people.
Lots of good stuff in here and if you can pull yourselves away from various Mother’s Day celebrations (and a sincere Happy Mother’s all of you out there) you might be entertained and informed.
See you in the morning.
Q: Hey Doug: Being of a certain vintage myself, I was wondering about your opinion on two related topics: What did we have/do in our youth that today's youth doesn't have/do? And what do they have/do that you'd wish we'd been able to have/do?
Thanks for all the work that you. I am sure other writers at the Star feel pressured to write blogs and do mailbags because of what you do. But, we're glad that you all that you do!
Tim H, Windsor
A: You know what we had that kids don’t have today and what might be the most important thing:
Remember just going out after school or on the weekends and in the summer and playing? Baseball with the neighbourhood kids at the park, soccer, hockey, kick the can, hide and go seek, whatever. Just playing. No lessons, no practices, no clubs, no nothing, just time to be kids. Bet they’d like that but in the often over-structured world they inhabit, they don’t have it. Too bad.
Now, what I wish we had that these kids have? Hmm. You know, I’m trying to come up with one or two and it’s hard. I guess facilities and equipment and the tools needed to learn are better but I wonder if computers and video games and the like aren’t making our kids lazier.
Yes, times have changed and there must be all kinds of wonderful opportunities for youngsters today, better coaching, more clubs to join, a wider variety of choices. Guess that’s a good thing?
Q: Is Bill Caudill still available?
It has been 50 years since the lads from Liverpool put out their first hit. In 1962, did you listen to any music from 1912?
In lieu of the current financial mess, what kind of toilet do you prefer to throw your money into? I find the Toto the best. (Not Dorothy's dog)
Enjoy the weekend!!
Bob E, Kanata
A: I don’t remember 1912 too well but with a little bit of research (what I don’t do for Irregulars) found out this little ditty was popular.
Q: Here are some games started/complete games stats of great pitchers of my youth: Drysdale 1964, 40/21; Koufax 1965, 41/27; Marichal 1968, 38/30; Gibson 1969, 35/28; Jenkins 1971, 39/30. Each logged more than 300 innings in the cited seasons. A baseball question inspired by the Jays' problem finding a so-called closer: Is too little expected of starting pitchers in this day and age?
James A, Victoria
A: Oh, yes, sadly it is. With pitch counts and “improvements” in medical diagnostics and the financial investments teams have in players, those days are long, long gone. And I don’t know that it’s a better thing; let’s just say it’s different.
How I’d love to see a four-man rotation, for instance, and see how it would work out in his era.
Q: Hi Doug. Just reading in your blog that Kobe played through a flu yesterday. Another good performance by a sick star after, to name but two, Dirk last year in the Finals and Jordan in '98, also during the Finals.
Just a bit curious to know what's exactly meant by "flu" because it seems to me that when a normal person has one, she or he is absolutely unable to do anything apart from staying in bed. Furthermore, a flu lasts at least a week whereas in Dirk's and Jordan's case, they were fine 2-3 days after. Are then NBAers really superhuman?
Matthieu B, Bern
A: Not sure “super human” is the right phrase but their bodies are in better shape than ours to fight off stuff like the flu and they have so many more, and better, medical remedies at their disposal it makes it a bit easier to recover.
I know if I’m down with some bug some night I can’t call a guy and magically get three or four bags of intravenous fluids in me to hasten the recovery period.
And, frankly, some athletes will just play through feeling crappy and once they’re on the court or the field or what have you, adrenaline flows and they can block out feeling like poop for a short time.
Q: Hi Doug. Kenny (The Jet), during the half time of the Clippers v. Grizz game five, discussed the need for the Grizzlies to attack Foye when the Clippers are in the 2-3 zone, since Foye was considered the weakest defender on the floor at that time.
So here's the question: where would you hide your weakest defensive guard/swing man in a 2-3 zone? At the top of the key (one of the '2') or in one of the corners, baseline (one of the corner '3')? What factors might determine the answer one way or another?
Diego S, Toronto
A: Here’s the thing: Most zones now are of some kind of hybrid matchup kind so one guy is never really in one place. But after talking to a couple of coach friends I have, the consensus would be to put the weaker guy at the top where he has more access to help.
Q: Happy to oblige. Don't follow the Raptors that much but knowing you as a "well-rounded" scribe (ha ha) would appreciate your thoughts on Leafs' boss Brian Burke.
'YEA OR NAY.’
Robert M, Owen Sound
A: Ooh, goodie.
My thoughts are a Nay.
Although in the few times I’ve had any interaction with Burke he’s been fine, a bit gruff but I like that and he certainly does give a good press conference.
But to me – a total outsider – he seems to be making it up as he goes along, not sure what he wants from his coaches, players and himself. I don’t know that there’s a lot of truculence or size or grit; he’s had almost half a decade to fix a glaring deficiency in net and hasn’t and he talks a better game than he plays so far.
Now, before you all get riled up, this is not a comparison to the basketball or the baseball but, whether you like it or not, I think the “plan” in each of those sports is being carried out like it was supposed to be and I don’t think you can say that about the pucks.
(And nice cheap shot about “well-rounded” by the way).
Q: Hi Doug. What has been the biggest surprise so far in this year's playoffs for you? What are your thoughts about this year's San Antonio Spurs versus last year's team that had a quick exit from the playoffs? They look really good so far.
Thanks as always for the great work!!
Monty M, Toronto
A: Realize, please, that I’m typing this on Saturday morning so I can’t foretell what might happen tonight but, to me, one of the biggest surprises has been the inability of the Lakers to deal with the Nuggets defence on their two big men and the lack of production they’ve been getting from Gasol and Bynum. They’ve been, for the most part, awful because they can’t shake free of JaVale McGee and Kenneth Faried.
Other than that? Things are progressing as I expected; the biggest difference between the Spurs this year and last is that everyone’s healthy and rested. Manu’s 100 per cent, Duncan is entirely fresh and the addition of Stephen Jackson and the play of Kawhi Leonard makes them deeper than they’ve ever been.
Q: Greetings, from reading the account of Steve Nash's new involvement with Canada's national basketball program I am left with a question. I would be curious as to the number of NBAer's (or any other professional sports league)who truly are able to see beyond what to some anyway, is "just a job"? My sense of the situation is that there would be more than a few who don't connect the power that the stardom brings. While it may not be fair to say that a player MUST do something for the game outside of fulfilling their contract, doing something for the game should only improve the opportunity for those that follow. Secondarily, I would guess that post playing careers could conceivably prove very satisfying for those that embrace the opportunity.
As always, thanks for what you do.
Doug T, Brantford
PS...Super Wife away I would expect extended life intervals for things like socks etc.
A: I agree wholeheartedly and wish more players, when they were done, were to work more closely with charitable foundations or causes that are close to them or their families rather than simply go into TV or coaching so they can continue to live the life. Many do, though. Jalen Rose, for instance, works tireless with his educational foundation and I’m sure he finds it rewarding. Ditto for David Robinson and his work with schools. I’m sure there are others, and will continue to be, but more should.
And socks lived forever last week but now we are paying the piper, there is a major cleanup scheduled for Super Son and I as soon as I get this done; it’s about 9 a.m. Sunday, I bet I’m cleaning countertops by 10:15.
Q: Hey Doug. I know there is a lot of love for Reggie Evans around here. And I applaud what he does that other players won't - he's made a great name for himself on that account.
I have to say though that he came down a few notches in my book after the end of season flop against Vasquez. No one really spoke about that, but it was pathetic and unprofessional. How can you be a 'good guy' and do crap like that?
Do you see the NBA cutting down on flopping with video reviews, fines, etc.?
David W, Toronto
A: You can be a good guy and have a blip every now and then quite easily, I think we all do it. That said, Reggie’s become one of the worst offenders in one of the worst aspects of the game, the incessant flopping that’s ruining some moments. I’m sure the league is taking notice – it’d be impossible for them not to be – and I would think when the competition committee next meets it will be near the top of the agenda. But other than insisting that referees crack down on it, I don’t know what they can do. This is an officiating problem; fines are so miniscule they have no impact. More fouls called on floppers is the way to make it go away, penalize players and their teams during actual games.
Q: Hey Doug: What's your opinion on whether baseball needs 'closers' or not?
Thanks again for all that you do!
Tim H, Windsor
A: It’s tough to make a blanket statement because teams with guys like Axford in Milwaukee or Valverde in Milwaukee would say they are needed. But, basically, I think more managers need to manage ninth innings by matchups and who has the hot hand rather than simply anointing one guy as the team’s closer.
Q: Doug. With basketball waiting until May 30 for anything to happen (and I don't see any Raptor trades before than,) a Smith question:
Are you considering writing a book about your life as a Raptor reporter? While I would actually spend hard cold cash on it or at least a pin controlled credit card (I am a Smith mark,) you might consider a couple of additional books.
Doug Smith's tour of Eateries and Drinkeries. The blog has brought this into the reader's view; it would be a fun thing for those heading south on a vacation. Do I see a Cdn Food Network show there?
A simple book on the life a reporter. I can imagine that it would be very interesting and help those with aspirations. Would fit with the modern school curriculum.
Finally Top Raptors. I watched the NBA TV (still prefer Raptor TV,) version and think Tracey gets too much credit for two developing seasons and one OK season. Maybe an article about the top 20 in the next month?
Maybe see what your readers think. Otherwise, I am waiting for the lottery.
Bruce M, Winnipeg
A: Hmm, books, eh? Well, books are hard, actually but as I get closer to my dotage it might be a fun project; now all I have to find is a publisher who thinks like you do and I don’t know that there are any of those around. But it sounds like a good idea in theory although I remember vaguely the workload with the couple I’ve done and it’s not easy.
Q: Hello Doug. Does an NBA Champion team get paid for winning it all? Mark Cuban held a party for the Mavericks in Miami after they won the championship. He also through a parade for the city of Dallas to celebrate.
I am wondering if the team actually made any money for winning the championship or did it put them in the red?
Thanks for answering my question. Great blog Doug.
Greg H, Toronto
A: They to get paid, every playoff team – and player on that team – gets money depending on how far they go. There was a total of about $12 million divided between the teams last year; the Mavs got just over $2 million to split between the players.
And I believe teams are able to leverage championships into financial windfalls.
Q: Hey Doug, at first I was quite surprised that Harden wasn't an unanimous choice but then I was shocked that he wasn't listed at all on one ballot! Do some journalists thinking really baffle you? So any series you'll soon be attending?
Scott M, Ilderton
A: I’m totally baffled by some votes this year. Derrick Rose, who missed so many games this year, got an MVP vote (which is ridiculous); and Harden being left off a ballot is a travesty. I chalk it up to (a) homerism and (b) some people perhaps rushing through their voting with little or no thought.
The PBWA has made – and will make again – a push for more transparency in the voting, like being able to find out who cast such odd ballots and we’ll see where that goes.
And I'm not sure when I'm going back out on the road; I do know I'll be in New York for the lottery after a quick trip to Montreal for some diving as part of my pre-Olympic duties but I should get to the bosses and figure that out, shouldn't I?
Q: Hello Doug! Greetings from the home of not only the NBL Champions London Lightning - but also the OHL's best team, the London Knights. Whew. It's not easy being us! :) And now, another local team to support: it's baseball season and after years of intending to follow the local IBL team, the London Majors, (and I will definitely NOT be attending games of our Frontier League team for reasons you may recall) Mother's Day is Opening Day and I'll be down at our historic Labatt Park to take in the action.
However, I need your help - if you don't mind putting on your baseball manager's hat for a moment - about the rules. I know the MLB rules fairly well, but are these the same rules for the Intercounty Baseball League? Are there significant differences in rules between the two leagues that I should know about? (And are there key subtleties I should watch for as well?) I don't want to embarrass myself - nor those with me - by cheering for that 3rd out when there are actually 4 required. (Dopey example, I know, but you get my drift!) Thanks!
Lorie P, London
A: Nah, it’s good old-fashioned hardball and I kind of miss the days from eons ago when I’d sit at Labatt Park, or the field in Brantford, or the one in Kitchener and take in a game. Should get down to Christie Pits and sit on the hill and watch one soon.
Q: Hi Doug. A couple of baseball questions for you. Why is everyone making such a big deal about Adam Lind being moved down in the Blue Jays order? He hasn't really deserved to be the cleanup hitter for a couple of seasons. And he only really had one great season. It's not like he is a multi all-star.
Second, have you noticed the number of pitches that are up at Bautista's head? I thought last night he might charge the mound after the brush back pitch and then the hit by pitch.
Richard H, Whitby
A: I don’t know that too many people are making a big deal about the Lind move other than wondering why it took so long to be made. They need someone behind Bautista to protect him a little bit more, Lind hasn’t done that in a while and if I’m Alex, I’m looking for a power hitting first baseman somewhere. Not sure you can win consistently getting that kind of pop-gun offence out of that position.
And I haven’t noticed Bautista seeing more stuff up and in; on the contrary, actually, because he seems to me to be flailing more often at stuff down and away.
Q: Hi or something Dougie. I'm hearing alot a talk of new personnel hiring all over the NBA. Ewing in Charlotte. What do you think? I say its time he got a team of his own and see what he does with it. And working for MJ, seems kinda surreal. Imagine it's 1985 and someone tells you Jordan will own a franchise in his home state and its coached by Patrick Ewing.
And where is Sam in all this? Former COY and I haven’t heard his name mentioned for any interviews? Come to think of it, I don’t think I read anything on him this time last year either? How’s he doin? And I'm missing the IGBT. Mothers day eve? Nuggets/Lakers? Whattya say?
Marcus T, Newmarket
A: I think Ewing will get interviewed for a lot of jobs that come open and since he wouldn’t command a huge salary, Charlotte might be a good fit. They’re also talking to our old friend Michael Malone and I think he’d be a better hire, teaches defence better, has had more responsibility that Patrick and would be equally inexpensive.
Sam? He’s messing around the Atlanta area quite happily, doing some business, the odd gig with NBA TV and living a nice Sam Life. He had a bit of a sniff at the Sacramento job when it came open early last season and I imagine someone will give him a call this summer, when there might be six or seven gigs open.
Q: Hi Doug. I read the article you posted about Greg Oden. I also read one of the articles linked to it about the Blazer's medical staff.
I was wondering a few things... Do you have an opinion on the Blazer's medical staff? You have to admit, that this article says some pretty damning things about them. Is the author of this article a person of note in sports medicine? It seems to me between the two articles I read that someone could and should be sued if its accurate.
Just for fun...JJ Redick seems to meet the requirements The Raptors are looking for, do you know if they have any interest?
Timothy H, Toronto
A: I don’t have any first-hand knowledge of the Portland medical staff but if you look over the years, it’s hardly a history dotted with greatness, going all the way back to Bill Walton, for goodness sake. I do know, anecdotally, the players and agents are a bit leery.
And given the great success they had signing a free-agent shooter out of a Florida franchise a few years ago, why not give Redick a call.
(I keed, a bit)
Q: Hi Doug. Just in the zone saying hi, as you requested =D. Do you think Philly has a chance against the Celtics in the next series? If Iggy could contain Paul Pierce and Jrue Holiday does his best to keep Rondo ahead of him, I think this might be a good match up for the 76ers.
Have a wonderful day,
Alex H, Toronto
A: I had Boston in seven in the paper on Saturday and my mind hasn’t changed. Not sure the offensively-challenged Sixers can score enough.
Q: Having Nash take over as GM of the National Senior Mens team feels a lot like when Gretzky took over the national pucks. The sentiment at that time was how much players wanted to play for Wayne. Do you get the sense that people have the same feeling about Nash?
Also, will the GM role be focused on signing players and coaches, or does his scope cover more?
One more. Jay has been touted as the front runner to return as coach. Any idea if he wants the job?
Terry M, Antigonish
A: I think Nash’s reputation and accomplishment and the fact he’s already reached out to some of the younger players will make it hard for anyone to say no. And while he’ll be asked to lend his name to some fund-raising initiatives, the majority of his focus will be on getting players and helping devise things like training camps and exhibition tours.
Spoke to the Jay issue yesterday; if he’s interested there will be mutual interest but I think he’s got other fish to fry first.
Q: Long time reader, first time asker. I don't know when the change occurred, but why did the NBA move away from the 1-shot bonus / 2-shot double bonus rule that is still in place in the NCAA? It's a great part of the college game as it adds an element of strategy to the end of close games. And it punishes players who can't shoot FT's (a pet peeve of mine). Is there any support for bringing it back?
Ted P, Toronto
A: I’m not entirely sure precisely when they got away from it but there is no support to make any changes now. There are many, many more significant issues to tackle.
Q: I've got nothing for mail, but I saw this, and thought, who else would appreciate a TV clip from the 60's.
So... tell me... is this what you did before video games?
Peter L, Toronto
A: Ha! No, not quite.
Q: Hey Doug. Help me out will you? A favor for a long time reader. Did send out a few questions in the past, some saw print, some did not.
Have been content to just read the past couple of months, but have fallen behind on your many acronyms.
Maybe a clickable link which would have the meanings of the acronyms available at all times?
Just a thought. Thanks.
Peter M, Toronto
A: Not sure we can set up what you’d like us to set up but, really, there are only three that get major use now (which reminds me to come up with some others)
Team Of Destiny, the Jays.
Heroes Of The Hardcourt, Raptors.
He Who Shall Not Be Names, Vince.