Monday, May 21, 2012

15 comments Three Articles In One for Today

I didn't have one certain article I felt like covering today, but I do have a few articles I've bookmarked that don't deserve a full post. I will on occasion stumble upon an article and bookmark it with full intentions of writing about it, then realizing it is not worthy of a long post. I thought I would cover three of these today.

-I'll start off with Frank Deford and his dislike for sporting events that end in ties. The saddest thing for me in reading an article by Frank Deford is that he used to be a great sportswriter. In fact, I read an excerpt of his latest book in Sports Illustrated recently. The excerpt was about his covering the NBA when it was just in its infancy and about his relationships with the players. It was really nice to read. It was readable, interesting and it made me want to buy his book. Then I turn my attention to his writing for and and it is hard to think the same guy wrote the excerpt also writes on those sites. On and Deford takes on some of the most bizarre topics. He takes on how the salary cap ruins baseball, he wants to get rid of field goals, he believes trick plays are child abuse, he pines for the day of "character coaches," and attributes the decline of NASCAR to how people won't fix their own car anymore. Some of those are really painful to read.

I don't like ties in sporting events either, but I won't dedicate an entire column to my dislike for sporting events that end in ties. It just doesn't seem worthy of 200 words, yet that's what Frank Deford does. Don't worry, there is one reference to gunslinging and John Wayne.

Politicians love to boast about American exceptionalism: how special we are from all the merely ordinary, everyday, run-of-the-mill countries around the globe. However, I would say that what sets us apart, more all the time, is that we Americans don't like ties.

Americans love winning. A tie isn't really winning. It is nobody winning. No one likes ties. This would have made a great Tweet and not an article.

Lots of times, in other English-speaking countries, a tie is called a draw. Well, in these United States, when we say "draw," we don't mean a namby-pamby even-steven -- we mean John Wayne a-reachin' for his six-shooter. Now that's the American way to draw, a-standin' our ground.

Yes, we Americans love John Wayne (do we still love him?), guns, and using the letter "a" in front of a word ending in "-ing" with the "g" of "-ing" being replaced with an apostrophe. That's all we love a-doin'. For sho'.

Some Americans when they hear the word "draw" they also think of drawing a picture, but I am sure the picture being drawn is of a six-shooter and people a-shootin' guns at each other.

Ice hockey was tie city. I blame that on the Canadians, who are so nice. But now, in hockey, we got shootouts. That's the all-American way.

Actually shootouts are the "all-stupid" way. The word Frank Deford was a-lookin' for was "all-stupid" because shootouts suck and hockey games should end with another sudden death overtime and not a shootout. Maybe the point of this article would have been better made with two Tweets.

Do you know they have ties in Japanese baseball? That just flat-out takes the "national" out of "pastime."

Taking the "national" out of pastime when discussing Japanese baseball makes sense because baseball is the American pastime, not the Japanese pastime. So when discussing Japanese baseball played in Japan it would theoretically not be referred to as the "national pastime" anyway.

But of course, the rest of the world loves soccer. And it is reliably calculated that 30 percent of all soccer games end tied, drawed, deadlocked, nil-nil. How does the rest of the unexceptional world tolerate this? It's exactly this kind of thinking, I believe, which is why they can't fix the bloody euro.

I'm not sure Frank Deford is going for total accuracy (of course I'm not entirely sure what he is going for with this column...maybe irony?), but soccer is hugely popular in England and they do not use the Euro.

A tie has no place in sports.

Said Roger Goodell to Mike Nolan.

(Hopes someone gets this obscure NFL-related clothing reference)

It's like not finding out who is the "who" in whodunit.

Agreed. No one likes ties. Was this really worth writing about for 200 words though? This isn't worthy of the Frank Deford material I have read in print.

-David Whitley of The Sporting News seems to enjoy the NBA playoffs, but he knows what everyone really wants and he hopes we get it. You may think you want a Thunder-Heat NBA Final matchup or a Spurs-Heat NBA Final matchup, but you really want a Lakers-Celtics NBA Final. He can read our mind,. so that is how he knows this. In fact, he says we should PRAY that we get a Lakers-Celtics NBA Final matchup. Why you ask? Well, David is glad you asked.

If you want the best NBA Finals, your instincts should mimic Pierce’s. Drop to one knee and pray for Boston-LA.

Because nothing excites me more than seeing a Boston Celtics team that struggles putting up 85 points against a good defense go against a Lakers team that is clearly not playing at its peak either.

Romantic fools, maybe. You can even call us old farts for wanting to see Lakers-Celtics instead of Miami-Oklahoma City.

Who is "we?" Do you have a squirrel in your pocket or something? David Whitley uses "we" throughout this column as if he is using the plural form in the desperate hopes of fooling us into believing many, many people agree with him.

We have seen Lakers-Celtics play some really good series in the past, but I'm not sure these Lakers and Celtics team could provide us with any exciting games that would be enjoyed outside of Boston and Los Angeles. Sure, ESPN/ABC would hype the shit out of the series, but that doesn't make it a good series to watch. Quite the opposite in fact. If the series has to get hyped to increase interest, it may lack the substance to be a good series.

The Heat-Thunder is the trendy Finals pick, and it certainly has appeal.

Being that the Thunder are rolling right now and the Heat have two of the five best players in the NBA, I can see how this series would have a lot of appeal. In fact, this Heat-Thunder series would have three of the five best players in the NBA right now. It's not hard to get excited for this series. Even as a Celtics fan, I would have to work a bit to get excited to see the Lakers and Celtics play in the Finals.

For one thing, if LeBron James wins a title, we’d have nothing left to make fun of him with.

And apparently we (there goes that word again) want to make fun of him some more?

But the main reason we can wait for a Heat-Thunder Finals is we’re likely to get five of them in the next six years.

Wow. I didn't even know that. I wasn't aware we were going to get five Heat-Thunder Finals in the next six years. Why is this likely again? Because David Whitley claims it to be so?

Another thought...the Lakers and the Celtics became a great NBA Finals matchup in David Whitley's mind based on the matchups between these two teams in the NBA Finals from the past, right? Celtics-Lakers got their Finals history from having played each other in the Finals many times. So couldn't Thunder-Heat become the kind of dream matchup for the 2010's that Celtics-Lakers was in the 1980's? Especially if David Whitley believes these two teams could meet five times over the next six years. This series could be the next Celtics-Lakers Finals rivalry. Doesn't this sound exciting? I personally think so. So why cheer against it? A great NBA Finals rivalry has to start somewhere.

After this year, we’re not likely to see Boston-LA in Jack Nicholson’s lifetime. It’s an upset we’re even seeing them now considering the past few months.

Don't be a drama queen. The Celtics have a ton of cap room after this season and the Lakers are still the Lakers. Both teams can find a way to put quality teams on the floor after this season.

A couple of hours later at the Staples Center, Bryant’s scoring instincts produced 38 points and a 104-100 win over Denver. Since Kobe arrived in 1997, the Lakers have never lost a series they led 2-0.

They did come close to losing the Denver series after David Whitley wrote this column.

It would be like the Grateful Dead getting back together for a final concert.

Considering Jerry Garcia is dead, no thank you.

If you didn’t like the Grateful Dead, substitute Beatles or Led Zeppelin or Elvis and TCB Band.

Two of the Beatles are dead and Elvis got fat even in the 1970's. Not sure I'm interested.

These examples of bands David Whitley wants to see reunite only goes to help prove my ponit. What he fails to see is that things change. The 2012 Beatles aren't the 1968 Beatles. The 2012 Lakers are not the 2008 Lakers. The 2012 Celtics are not the 1987 Celtics. Simply because the Beatles are up on stage doesn't mean it would be a vintage 1966 performance. Things are different now. A Lakers-Celtics series (besides annoying 50% of NBA fans) wouldn't be a replay of even the 1987 NBA Finals. Circumstances have changed and nostalgia can't necessarily guarantee an exciting series.

The NBA Finals came of age when Magic threw down his baby sky hook and Kevin McHale threw down Kurt Rambis. To players like Durant, Russell and Chamberlain might as well be Lewis and Clark.

None of these players would be playing in the 2012 NBA Finals. How about Avery Bradley guarding Ramon Sessions? How about Steve Blake bouncing off the bench and taking on Keyon Dooling? Who can wait to see Devin Ebanks and Mickael Pietrus going head-to-head?

I realize none of the aforementioned gentlemen would be playing in this year’s Finals.

Do you realize this? I'm not sure David Whitley does realize this. He seems to pine for a series and epic matchup that may not exist anymore.

But it’d be nice to see the two greatest franchises in NBA history clash one more time.

And they will play again. Just hopefully not this year.

“Too old for this,” Pierce tweeted after Tuesday’s game. “I need a bed right now!!”

I can hardly contain the excitement running through my veins at the idea of an NBA Finals matchup where the winner is whichever team gets to 80 points first and both teams' best players are slightly banged up.

Just one more time, wouldn’t you like to see Nicholson’s sideline smirk and hear “Beat LA!”

“Beat Oklahoma City!” just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

How about "Beat the Heat?" That sounds pretty good, no?

-A guy who writes for Bleacher Report says he knows the real reason the Kentucky-Indiana rivalry ended. Spoiler alert: The author says the rivalry ended because Kentucky is afraid of playing the same Indiana Hoosiers program that has two Final Four appearances since 1987. In a completely-and-utterly-related development, the author is a Indiana Hoosiers fan. Apparently making one Sweet 16 has given Hoosiers fans such confidence they now believe other teams, even those who have made two straight Final Fours and just won the national title, will be running scared from them. This is why Hoosiers fans can't have nice things.

The series is over due to Kentucky wanting a neutral court matchup every year in Indianapolis and Louisville.

The horror! A neutral court matchup! Has any other college basketball program ever been so bold as to ask for this? Why would the Kentucky-Indiana games be played on a neutral court? There's no historical precedence for this...other than the fact the Kentucky-Indiana series was played on a neutral court from 1991-2005. Nevermind there is a history of the series being played on a neutral court, playing on a neutral court in 2012 would ruin the series forever.

Last year’s game on December 10 in Bloomington wasn’t just one of the best games in this historic series, but it was one of the best college basketball games of all-time.

It was probably the greatest game in the history of basketball games. The greatest game in the history of sports. The author's opinion is in no way affected by the fact the Hoosiers won this game on a last second field goal and he is a Hoosiers fan.

That atmosphere was special.

And here I heard global warming, chlorofluorocarbons and ultraviolet rays were killing the atmosphere. Turns out this isn't true. John Calipari is the one killing the special atmosphere.

Think how pumped the students and fans that cheer on the Big Blue would have been to have Indiana coming to town with arguably the No. 1 team at that point.

(The English language and the God of Sentence Structure begins weeping violently)

You ever get the feeling Indiana Hoosiers fans are going to ride this projected preseason #1 thing hard? I am pretty sure this is all college basketball fans will hear about. Indiana is the preseason #1 team! That means they win the National Championship automatically, right?

You wouldn’t have that atmosphere if it were played in Louisville.

It would still be a ruckus environment, just a more evenly dispersed environment with fans of both teams being loud.

Coach Calipari has other motives, and I think he’s scared of what Indiana has become with everyone coming back to the team and the recruiting classes the Hoosiers have coming in.

Kentucky is coming off a national title and I'm pretty sure they aren't scared of Indiana's recruiting class since Kentucky's class is considered better than Indiana's class in every single class ranking by every single ranking system I looked up.




But no, I'm sure Kentucky and John Calipari are scared of the recruiting class Indiana has which is universally considered to be inferior to Kentucky's recruiting class.

It’s hard for one-and-done’s to gel and beat a better all around “team” that early in the season.

Even though the one-and-done's Kentucky had for 2011-2012 only lost one time before March of this Indiana. They'll never gel in time. Of course the author was just trumping how Kentucky is scared of Indiana's recruiting class. I'm guessing he believes these freshmen don't need time to gel because they aren't going to be one-and-done, but Kentucky's freshmen do need time to gel because they are one-and-done players? This makes not of sense. Not to mention, Kentucky isn't going to be a team made completely of one-and-done players next year. Jarrod Polson, Jon Hood, and Ryan Harrow should play a big role on the team too. Yes, they will be mostly freshmen led, but that doesn't mean Kentucky won't be much of a "team."

The one-and-dones don’t have the time to get used to playing with each other in that type of atmosphere and will lose 90 percent of the time.

Yes, they will lose 90% of the time. It's science. It's science based on the author talking out of his ass. Apparently the author doesn't realize college basketball teams practice and the Kentucky players will probably be used to playing with each other in December. In fact, last year's one-and-done Kentucky team beat an experienced (they started the exact same starting lineup as the year before) UNC team in December 2011. Of course, don't let actual proof this 90% number is bullshit change your mind, let's just stick with the number since it is so scientific. Not to mention, the UK-Indiana game would be in Kentucky, so the crowd would be on Kentucky's side.

Calipari isn’t dumb and knows that. He doesn’t want to lose and knows in this series he will be a loser way more than a winner with the type of players he recruits.

The type of player Calipari recruits being talented, NBA-ready, and able to win the National Title?

Kentucky had way better players as six of them are off to the NBA.

I need a comma and a complete sentence transplant now! STAT!

(The God of Sentence Structure strikes down Bleacher Report in a fit of rage)

They were too young and inexperienced to win in Bloomington in that atmosphere last season.

So naturally this means a team full of completely different Kentucky players will also fail to win in a tough atmosphere. Every single basketball team is the exact same every single year. Let's call a spade a spade. Indiana won on a last second buzzer beater. Let's take down the bragging and rhetoric about how young Kentucky was down a notch or two. It isn't like Indiana handed Kentucky their ass on a silver platter. Indiana played a great game at home and won at the last second. Kentucky later beat Indiana in the 2012 NCAA Tournament on a neutral court.

Once both teams met again in Atlanta in the Sweet 16, Kentucky’s team had more time to gel and look at the result.

I'm guessing our author, who is clearly a crack college basketball analyst, believes the Indiana team did not need time to gel to incorporate Cody Zeller into the offense last year, while the Kentucky team did need time to gel to incorporate each freshmen into the offense. Kentucky just didn't have time to gel. This clearly explains why Kentucky never lost before or after the December loss to Indiana until the SEC Championship Game and beat the #1 team in the nation (UNC) and an eventual Final Four team (Louisville) during that time.

Calipari is afraid of losing to Indiana over and over again and with the game coming so early in the season, he won’t play them and that’s why this series is over.

Nail, meet the hammer that will hit you on the head. John Calipari is scared of playing Indiana. This is why he scheduled a game to be played in Indiana this year and scheduled a home-and-home series with UNC over the past two seasons. John Calipari is very, very scared. That's why he didn't want to play Indiana in Kentucky, but wanted to play on a neutral floor. He didn't want to lose to Indiana again and fear his team receiving motivation from a loss, much like the 2011-2012 team received, which eventually led to a national title. John Calipari hates national titles.

Coach Calipari has put an black eye on every program he’s coached at with asterisks next their respective seasons,

Well, I knew a comment like that would be coming at some point. A fan of the Indiana Hoosiers program run by such a completely and utterly clean coach and with no recent history of NCAA violations definitely has room to talk on this issue.

and now he’s put a black eye on this rivalry and provided a big loss to college basketball.

Thanks a lot Coach Calipari. Now there are only 122 other NCAA college basketball games I am looking forward to next year.

This rivalry has been around for years and one guy just single-handedly ended it.

I know. It's not like this rivalry has a history of playing on a neutral floor. How dare Calipari want the UK-Indiana rivalry to be played on a neutral court...except from 1991-2005 when the UK-Indiana games were played on a neutral floor. I'm guessing the author thought the rivalry was ruined then as well.


HH said...

tied, drawed, deadlocked, nil-nil

Nil-nil means scoreless, it doesn't mean tied. These are not synonyms.

I don't love ties, but I don't hate them, either. There are many games where having a winner feels unnecessary or tacked on - the teams were equal, why make it seem like one was better than the other?

In any case, soccer doesn't lend itself to overtime (it's a lot to ask players to play an extra half hour 30% of the time), and the shootout is basically random.

“Beat Oklahoma City!”

"Silence the Thunder!" is a winner though.

Bengoodfella said...

HH, I can't stand shootouts in hockey. I don't like ties either, but I feel like it is different in soccer. In soccer, the players are generally playing the entire game, so they are more tired. In hockey, I think they could go without a shootout since the hockey players are tired, but also play in shifts so they could probably play 3-4 OT's to determine a winner.

Good catch on the nil-nil thing. I really feel like I should caught that one. I'm not a big fan of ties, but soccer would be a sport I could deal with a tie. I can't stand the shootout in soccer. Not that it doesn't take skill, but a lot of it is the goalkeeper guessing the right way or hoping he missed the goal high.

Yes, "Silence the Thunder" or "Beat the Heat" both ring good in my ears. I can hear the "Silence the Thunder" chant going. Seems silly to not want an NFL Finals matchup based on a chant though.

rich said...

But now, in hockey, we got shootouts. That's the all-American way.

Actually shootouts are the "all-stupid" way.

And right you are Ben. The shootout is the single worst Bettman "innovation" to the game of hockey. Yes, even worse than putting a hockey team in Phoenix...

The shootout sucks because it takes a team game and turns it into a 6 one-on-one matchups to decide the third point. Brilliant. It'd be like NFL games going to a punt pass and kick competition if the score were still tied.

And here's the stupidity of the shootout: It makes some games worth three points.

If you go out and blow out your opponent 8-1 you get two points. If you win in a shooutout, you get 2 points and your opponent gets a point.

NJ was 12-4 in shootouts. That's 16 games in which they were involved in 3 point games. The Rangers were involved in 9.

The fact is that the shootout is the most insanely stupid idea hockey has implemented next to their proposed playoff format after realignment.

A tie has no place in sports.

In the playoffs? Sure, but in the regular season? If two teams are equal... why not let them tie?

You know why I like the tie? Because it makes the playoffs that much better.

If there were 4 or 5 OT hockey games in the regular season, I think it would strip away some of the magic of a 2,3 or 4 OT playoff game.

But the main reason we can wait for a Heat-Thunder Finals is we’re likely to get five of them in the next six years.

But it’d be nice to see the two greatest franchises in NBA history clash one more time.

So lets root for the Lakers and Celtics. Lord knows they'll never, ever, ever be relevant ever again.

I also have to point out that the NBA didn't see a Lakers-Celtics final for 21 years and managed to be just fine.

I will say one nice thing about LA-Boston in the finals: one of their fanbases had to lose.

KentAllard said...

"Actually shootouts are the "all-stupid" way. The word Frank Deford was a-lookin' for was "all-stupid" because shootouts suck and hockey games should end with another sudden death overtime and not a shootout."


Bengoodfella said...

Rich, don't get me wrong. Shootouts are exciting, but I think there is a better way to end a game in hockey. It just seems like the entire game then comes down to the goalie choosing the right way to block the shot and the shooter not screwing up. Maybe I'm simplifying it a lot, but I would prefer to see more OT. It is an exciting way to end a game, but it also feels cheap to me.

I didn't even know that about the points. This year I paid attention to the NHL playoffs and next year I will pay attention to the regular season. By the way year 2021 I will be a hockey fan who watches all of his favorite team's matches.

I would say the NBA did really well from 1987-2008 when they didn't have an LA-Boston Final. He acts like both teams won't ever be any good again. I'm pumped to see the Spurs/Thunder in the Finals.

Kent, I remember you are a hockey fan and hate shootouts. I didn't have an opinion on them until I started my 10 year plan to become a hockey fan. The quickest lesson I learned was shootouts are not that great.

Justin Zeth said...

I actually think shootouts are fine in hockey. Let me explain my rationale as simply as I can.

1) Ties suck. Everyone hates ties. Like a fourth of all hockey games used to be ties and it was god-awful and one of the reasons the NHL very nearly went belly-up.

2) Most casual fans like shootouts. Most hardcore or 'purist' fans dislike them, but those people are going to be fans no matter what you do. Shootouts are healthy for the sport from a business sense.

3) OT until someone scores is awesome in the playoffs but entirely unworkable in the regular season for two important reasons:

(a) Playing hockey is really, really exhausting. Playing hockey for five hours is agonizing. It's worth the players' while to do it a time or two in the playoffs. There is no way the players will ever agree to play indefinite OT in regular season games, and if they were forced to they would sleepwalk through it to conserve energy. Which leads us to:

(b) Indefinite OT in the regular season would be boring. Partly because the players wouldn't push themselves nearly as hard in the regular season, partly because coaches would use their third and fourth lines a ton in OT to conserve their good players' stamina, partly because there are 82 regular season games and before April none of them are critically important, the way every playoff game is critically important.

I understand your point that shootouts are an unsatisfying way to resolve a tie hockey game because they're brief, mostly random and aren't really hockey. But they're much better than just calling it a tie, and there isn't really a better way to handle it. It's basically 'entertain the casuals, flip a coin and go home'.

You know how you could get less shootouts, though? Increase scoring. That the net should be about four inches bigger in every direction is the most obvious thing in the world to me and I don't understand why the Powers That Be refuse to see it.

Justin Zeth said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Justin Zeth said...

Since shootouts are here to stay in any case, you know what I would like to see? I would like to see shootouts be two attackers versus one defenseman and the goalie, rather than one attacker against the goalie. The rule would be that the play continues until either (a) the puck leaves the attacking zone, (b) the goalie freezes the puck, or (c) 15 seconds pass.

First, defensemen are extremely important in hockey and they should have a role.

Second, it rewards good passers instead of just good shooters.

Third, a well executed odd man rush is just a beautiful, beautiful thing. You'd get more highlight reel pass-and-scores than you do now. It would be more fun.

And that's my pipe dream for today.

Justin Zeth said...

Addendum: obviously the play stops if a goal is scored.

Bengoodfella said...

Justin, I guess what I dislike a/b the shootouts is the format of it. So if there was a way to make it somewhat more team-oriented, I think I could be talked into OT a/f one OT period. Your idea obviously is a different look at a shootout. The whole one-on-one aspect of the shootout. It leaves out defenseman and any sort of tactical way of winning the game for a one-on-one breakaway goal.

So I don't like shootouts, but would be willing to hear other ideas that aren't shootouts. I'd be interested to see how the 2-on-2 format would look on the ice. I'm guessing diehard hockey fans would hate it as well, but I could be wrong.

I get that hockey is a tiring, tough sport. Shootouts just seem like a way of saying, "Boy, we've played a lot of hockey tonight, let's just end this thing." In a perfect world, they would just keep playing. Anything but a one-on-one shootout...that's my motto.

Anonymous said...

Hockey OT at our high school level consists of 4 on 4 for 5 minutes, then 3 on 3 for 5 minutes, 2 on 2, finally 1 on 1.

Rarely does it get to 2 on 2. Lots of strategy (when do you rest your best players), and is still fundametally "real" hockey.

Soccer could work the same way.

Justin Zeth said...

Do you realize the NFL is the only major organized non-soccer sports league that still allows ties? Even college and high school football don't allow ties anymore. That strikes me as pretty odd. Granting that part of the reason why is that ties are ultra-rare in the NFL and would be much more common in the other three Major Sports if they were allowed, so the NFL hasn't felt it necessary to get rid of them.

Bengoodfella said...

Anon, That's interesting. I can only imagine how tired the soccer players would get by the time it got to 2 on 2, but I don't hate this idea. This idea has promise. I wonder what people at the HS level think of this form of hockey OT?

Justin, I did think about that. I would agree it is odd, but I think you explained perfectly why the NFL doesn't seemingly have a problem with it. Ties are so uncommon in the NFL, they don't see it as an issue.

jacktotherack said...

"Calipari isn’t dumb and knows that. He doesn’t want to lose and knows in this series he will be a loser way more than a winner with the type of players he recruits.

Kentucky had way better players as six of them are off to the NBA."

I refuse to actually click on the link and give Bleacher Report page views, but seriously, did this dumbfuck actually type these sentences consecutively? Does he not realize how contradictory those two sentences are?

Bengoodfella said...

Jack, yes he did. Not only was it grammatically horrendous, but he is basically saying the same kind of one-and-done players that won the national title last year aren't good enough to beat Indiana this year b/c they don't have time to gel.

I have a hard time getting past the grammar to be honest.