Disclaiming Interest and Other Monday Morning Considerations
Why not Washington? Why not Denver?
There's so little to count on from week-to-week in the NFL, not in terms of entertainment but in terms of bankable results, that the ultimate victor in this 2012 season is pretty difficult to imagine at this point. Even New Orleans, apparently emboldened by watching Roger Goodell get his wrist slapped by Paul Tagliabue, looked awesome on Sunday.
So the Redskins have won five straight and now don't even need RGIII to lead the way. The Broncos rolled the battered Ravens for a ninth straight win. The Packers looked good, the Super Bowl champs just awful. And what a wild one that was in Foxboro. You tell me from the last two weeks whether the Patriots are a great team or a mediocre one.
Other Monday morning considerations:
It's just damn fantastic to watch a Toronto team trying to win. Certainly, R.A. Dickey might be the player who lifts the Jays from an 85-win team to a playoff berth. But let's not sugarcoat this effort. It is coming at a frightful price. The Jays are all but stripping their farm system to try to win now, and there's a logical argument that this is exactly what they should be doing. But when you start to add up Travis Snider, Eric Thames, Asher Wojciechowski, Joe Musgrove, Jake Marisnick, Justin Nicolino, Adeiny Hecchevaria and (possibly) Travis d'Arnaud plus Noah Syndergaard, its hard to think of a team in recent memory that has moved so many good to blue-chip prospects over a period of six months. Again, this isn't to say that the Jays shouldn't be doing what they're doing. For business reasons, they may have little choice. But it's costing money and a whack of futures. . .I know the ignorant out there like to believe those of us in the media who work in press boxes for a living never pay for a ticket - it's an easy insult to lob rather than actually addressing a differing opinion - or receive freebies at every turn. It's not true, but don't let me burst your bubble. At any rate, for $204 for each of two tickets plus another $30 or so for snacks, I took in the Raptors home game against Houston on Sunday. James Harden might have been worth the price of admission on his own. How can a guy be that effective without ever getting more than six inches off the ground? The Raps delivered a spirited, team-first performance, both Ed Davis and Terrence Ross had moments and there was actual defence being played by the home team. With Jeremy Lin in town, drawing a huge response from Toronto's Asian community, and with Arvydas Sabonis on hand to honor Jonas Valanciunas, there was a terrific international flavour to the contest. The Raps' in-house entertainment package was so superior to what the Leafs produce its amazing both are run by the same company. So all in all, for the price, did I get value? It was pricey, sure, but I'm coughing up some bucks for good seats to see The Nutcracker this week as well. You pay for what you get, and I felt I got value on Sunday afternoon. . . Best quote of the weekend? "I'm going to go out there and be the guy who asks for nothing," said Raptors guard Jose Calderon. When was the last time you heard a pro athlete say that? They might throw him out of the union for such talk. . .A long, long time ago in a universe far, far away, Dave Wannstedt was a defensive genius. . .Here's another reason to imagine why it might not be so bad for the Leafs if the entire 2012-13 season were to be cancelled. It would probably keep Dallas Eakins with the Marlies for one more year. You'd have to be wilfully obtuse not to recognize what Eakins has done for the Marlies and Toronto's prospects. He might be the best farm team coach in the history of the organization. Eakins wants an NHL shot and deserves one, but it could only help the Leafs to keep him for another season. . . .I know some believe Twitter is the greatest invention since the printing press, that it carries great meaning. But reducing world tragedies to pithy 140-word messages trivializes those tragedies as much as it heightens anyone's awareness. . .Instead of wondering why the Raps play so much better without Andrea Bargnani, isn't it worth noting that they're also playing better without Kyle Lowry?. . .I'm guessing that sound you hear is Carlos Villanueva's chances of being in the starting rotation next season flying out the window. . .Thet's 21 in a row for the London Knights, with Seth Griffith leading the way. And to think this hockey achievement has occured without a single lawyer uttering a single threat. . .Marc Zanetti, you recall, was the Ottawa 67s player booted out of the OHL playoffs last year for kicking Niagara's Tomas Kuhnhackl in the head while Kuhnhackl was lying on the ice. Zanetti was remorseful, and his father reports he's in the German league and playing well, trying to keep his hockey dream alive. By coincidence, Kuhnhackl is German-born and his father was a West German star for years. . .Pumped to see the Skydiggers at The Horseshoe. Maybe Canada's most under-appreciated band?. . .This is my personal disclaimer of interest in the NHL lockout. . .Andruw Jones is taking his 434 career homers to Japan. . .Every good team needs a feel good story. J.C. Lipon might fill that role for Canada's national junior team this year. . .Sure looks like the Knicks - still unbeaten at home this season - made the right call in not matching the three-year, $25 million offer sheet for Lin, who returns to MSG tonight. The Knicks also seem to be quite fine without the talents of Landry Fields. . .It's mid-December and the Ticats don't have a head coach or GM and will be playing at a CIS venue next season. Just fantastic. If Kent Austin is the answer, he better be able to do more than just coach.