Before I write any of this, let me first say that I am sure that Jeremy Lin is an awesome guy, and I'm sure I would love to hang out with him. And I'm all for Ivy Leaguers finding their way in the athletic world.
But, for heaven's sake, why are we all losing our minds over the Knicks letting Jeremy Lin go to Houston? The fact of the matter is he started all of 25 games before getting hurt. He never saw the floor with other teams. And when an elite team like Miami showed up, Lin disappeared. Is he really worth all this money and hype?
My gut feeling is no. He's just a flash in the pan, and will be revealed as much when/if he becomes an every day player. It's just like baseball. A lot of guys can have a great week or month. But once the scouts get the book on him, it's back to mediocrity.
Furthermore, haven't we seen this before from Mike D'Antoni? Every point guard flourishes under him. None, save for Steve Nash, have done much of anything without him. And you might remember that Nash made his name before D'Antoni, it was just a further blossoming under him. There is every chance Lin would have crashed and burned under Mike Woodrow anyway.
But, none of that stops the hype machine. Just look at Tim Tebow. Has he even spent a full season as the starter of a team? He's certainly a back up in New York. And out of the three "major" quarterbacks, he gets the most press. Even more bizarrely, the one with the two Super Bowl rings gets the least amount press. Clearly, talent does not equal hype, nor vice versa.
Again, I harbor no ill will towards Lin. I hope he goes to Houston and does great. I just don't know that I believe it will happen. This seems to be a big gamble that the Rockets are going to be able to sell tickets off their Yao Ming residual Asian fan base. In my mind, this was the best
The last few days have been pretty nice. Landed one job, interviewing for an even better one on Monday.* I landed two excellent shots from distance in disc golf today. And I peed enough in my drug screen that there was a decent amount of overflow in the toilet, which I'm pretty sure means I passed with flying colors. That's how I understand how pee tests work, anyway.
*I applied and sent out feelers months ago for the second one. They decided they wanted to interview me within the hour of accepting the first job. It's kind of a mess, but a whole lot better mess than I was in.
Between the fist-pumping baby and life in general right at the moment, I'm feeling like this video.
Updates around here are about to get pretty erratic, I'm afraid. I finally landed a new job that will start in a couple weeks. And, of course, after that offer came through, St. Joseph College in Rensselaer wants to interview, so that's coming up on Monday. And tomorrow I get to take a drug screen, so there's a good chance I won't get in front of a computer to write anything tomorrow.
And, on top of that, there were no sports on last night thanks to the All-Star Break. I would come up with something deeper to write today, but honest, yesterday was a bit of a whirlwind. So, here's a couple videos you might enjoy instead.
And, for the curious, this picture of cardinals* came up when I did a Google search for "whirlwind day." It made me smile enough to use it.
*Cardinals? I'm not sure if it's supposed to be capitalized or not. It is a title, but it's not of a particular cardinal, so I'm going with no. Maybe somebody will come along and give the rule in the comments or something.
Sorry, that last video is just way too infectious. It ought to be regulated by the government or something.
So, after all the talk on ESPN that the National League line up is good, but holy cow look at that American League line up, the National League turned in a resounding 8-0 victory last night. That makes three in a row and should silence some of NL doubters out there. Like ESPN.
Because the game was so lopsided, there isn't a whole lot else for me to talk about today. But, I do have something here. I have my scorecards from last night's game I'd like to share. This is something I've been doing for a while now. I started it in college. For those those that don't know my history, I went to Wabash College. Part of their program is a "freshman tutorial," which is a class on something, usually not terribly academic, just to get new students into the flow of a college course. Mine was on baseball, which I'm sure comes as a shock. One of the first assignments in that class was to watch a game on TV and keep score. Then you were to write a game story on it.
I think I just happened to stumble on the Expos and Braves* before they got started. But, I thought, this game is on, why not do this one? I don't remember too much about that game other than the Braves won, the Expos couldn't even draw flies, and Paul Byrd was on a tear. So that was the focus of my game story. I would join the Bachelor** staff the next semester and spend most of my time there covering/managing sports.
*This was back in the good old days when the Braves were on TBS every day, much like the Cubs were on WGN every day. The poor White Sox were mostly delegated to Fox Sports Net Chicago (now Comcast SportsNet Chicago). Funny how so much of that has changed in less than a decade.
**Wabash's school newspaper.
So, yeah, that's something I've kept up, and I would highly recommend giving a go sometime. I feel like I have a deeper connection and understanding of the game I'm watching when I do it. I've tried doing it at the stadium,* but there are too many other distractions there. So, yeah, this is a good one for the couch.
*I've tried doing it since, but we were required to do this when our baseball class took a trip to see the Reds and Pirates on the last day of the season. This was back when both teams were terrible, and the school didn't get Cubs tickets early enough to find our way to Wrigley. I would have chosen that class anyway, but I would be lying if I didn't say the chance to go to Wrigley on the school's dollar wasn't a big factor.
The All Star Game, of course, presents a challenge when keeping score. And I mean that in a good way. All the changes make it tough to follow. Here are my attempts. As always, click for a larger version if you need it. I think they actually came through pretty clearly.
A few notes. FOX never gave an attendance number, so I could only guess. And I guessed "packed." I think I was right. Bryce Harper's rundown out unfortunately just got noted as "rundown," as Kristine called me about that time, so unfortunately I wasn't able to follow exactly how the ball was transferred. I also just realized I never put in the winning and losing pitchers. That was just simple oversight. For the curious, the starters were the pitchers of record.
In closing, poor Adam Dunn. There was no reason he shouldn't have gotten an at bat.
As the picture of Pete Rose and Ray Fosse may have tipped you off, this is not a preview column. Instead, this is a "state of the game" sort of thing. Baseball loves to tell you that it has the best, most competitive All Star game in big time sports, and that is true. Many love to point out that the game used to be even more competitive than it is now. And the example that used ten times out ten is Rose bowling over Fosse. And it is usually then pointed out that Fosse was never the same player after that injury.
While I do yearn for those days, I don't know if that is the best example. Pete Rose is, by all accounts, a jerk. And an over-competitive one at that. But, the game has lost some luster. Is it really sick, though?
Many love to point out that the ratings for the game have fallen for several years in a row. Last year's game in Phoenix was an all-time low, and this year's game in Kansas City is feared to go even lower. How much do television ratings really mean these days, though? It has been well documented that today's entertainment options are more varied and fractured than they've ever been. It seems to me ratings are a horribly outmoded, outdated method for counting how powerful your product really is on TV. Even if the ratings aren't what they used to be, it's still one of the highest rated events in the summer. Advertisers still flock to the game. It still generates buzz. It's hard to call that sick in today's entertainment world.
What has been an issue is how the game is treated, mostly through overreaction to meaningless ratings. FOX didn't see the numbers they wanted after securing the rights to the game, so they pressured MLB to "make it matter" by having home field advantage decided by the game. Then the infamous tie happened in Milwaukee, and MLB agreed. This has been roundly criticized by basically everyone. It seems that the better fix would be to severely cut down on the All-Star rosters. There are seventy-four all stars listed on the MLB.com roster. That is way too many for one game. This has been driven by the MLBPA, which is far too powerful in most cases. But, the union wants to see as many players as possible get those bonuses and the like, so they are going to push for more players. This, though, trivializes being selected and makes the players more flippant about the game. Cut those rosters back to, say, 30 a side, and you might see a more meaningful game.
In related news, interleague play is an even bigger enemy here. As has been chronicled here, there is precious little difference between the leagues. Players see each other all the time, and it has become far less rare for players to switch leagues. Ever wonder how, say, Chipper Jones would do against American League pitching? That's right, you don't have to wonder, because you've seen it done. Ever wonder how Bo Jackson would have done in the National League? Yes, because it only happened once a year, so you wanted to tune in and see it. There's no longer any mystery there, and that's only going to get worse.
MLB defends interleague to the death, this year throwing out that they saw their highest attendance numbers ever during interleague play. The problem with that argument is that attendance at baseball games has been rising for a number of years, and the bump you saw during interleague doesn't seem to be too far out of line with the general rise in attendance. Instead of defending interleague play, baseball really ought to be playing up that their attendance keeps going up while the NFL keeps losing fans in the seats. Baseball doesn't make the same kind of TV game football does, but it clearly offers a far superior in-person product. Instead of using those numbers trying to convince its own fans that interleague is a good idea, it needs to be pushing against the NFL juggernaut that it provides a better entertainment experience.
I don't think expanded playoffs are a good idea for the all star game, either, but I also think expanded playoffs are just a horrible idea in general. Just like having too big of rosters, this just seems to be another way of making professional sports feel more like little league participation trophies. These are big boys. Make them truly earn their playoff and all star spots. They make enough money, the boderline guys that would be trimmed from the roster will find a way to make due without those bonuses.
I'm still super pumped for the game tonight. And, as I've mentioned more than once on this blog, I'm National League all the way.
With apologies to Richard Pryor, Roger Federer just beat Novak Djokovic in four relatively easy sets. After so much speculation that his era was over, that he was pushing thirty, which meant he couldn't keep up with the younger* legs of Djokovic and Rafa Nadal, Club Fed finds his way back to the finals at Wimbledon.
*And also all-time great
This is a pretty golden opportunity for Federer. He's dispatched Djokovic, which he hasn't done in some time. Nadal had a pretty huge hiccup in the second round. Most likely awaiting him in the finals is Andy Murray. I've always been a pretty big fan of Murray, but he has a history of not playing his best in the late rounds of grand slams. Put on the added pressure of trying to be a British man to win Wimbledon, and you've got a formula for Murray to be a wreck.*
*As noted on ESPN's studio show yesterday before the women got going, Murray is British when he wins, but Scottish when he loses. I'm not sure how true that actual is, but it got a chuckle out of me.
And, you know, that is assuming Murray wins. He has dominated Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the past, but Tsonga's been much improved as of late. He's climbed is way up the rankings to number five, which is nothing to sneeze at. Tsonga made his way to semis last year, and he outright choked against Djokovic in the last French Open. Murray is 0-for-3 in Wimbledon semis, which I'm sure that pressure I talked about earlier had some affect.
Either way, I'm sure Murray and Tsonga both were hoping for a harder match between Federer and Djokovic. If either were going to win a grand slam in the near future, they needed one of the big three to stub their toe early, which Nadal graciously provided. Then they needed the other two to wear each other down and leave them with little in the tank for the final. Federer spent much of that match cruising. Now they just have to hope that Federer overlooks the final, thinking he won the tournament in the semis. I don't know that Fed has that gene.
In any case, it would be awfully fun to have a Brit in the Wimbledon final.
And, for those curious, I felt better about my interview yesterday than probably any interview I've ever done. I'm sure I'll keep the world posted here.
I was stuck in Lafayette yesterday, mostly to deal with the bank. In case you hadn't already figured it out, "free" credit reports aren't quite the deal they're cracked up to be. But, fraudulent charges have been refunded, and Kristine and I now have new card numbers. So, problem solved, I suppose.
I won't be writing tomorrow, either, because it's the Fourth of July, which means you* should probably be doing something other than reading blogs, anyway. I would say go check out the Indians, but that game is officially sold out.
*"You," of course, pretty much only applies if you are American, which Google kindly informs me that not everybody who reads is. Still, it's a pretty overwhelming majority that you are American.
No, today, the stick in my craw has much more to do with one of Indiana's new laws. The new smoking ban. Basically, I want to know when did smokers become second class citizens. I've never smoke a cigarette, or anything else, for that matter, in my life. So the ban won't really affect me personally. But, you know, there is just no call for this ban. Beyond nobody being able to really prove that second hand smoke does anything beyond annoy anybody, last time I checked, tobacco is still a legal substance. Of course, private business owners can allow or disallow smoking in their establishments all they want. That has always been the case. But, as long as tobacco is considered a legal product, there should be no restrictions on where it can be used on public property. This seems to be a much bigger restriction of liberty than the upholding of Obama's health plan that has everybody all up in arms around here.
If you want to make tobacco illegal, fine. It clearly doesn't do great things for your lungs and throat, and smoking rates have gone way, way down in the last twenty years or so. But as long as it is legal, this public smoking ban just seems wrong on a lot of different levels. I haven't read the law itself, but surely this smoking ban won't extend to private businesses. If so, that seems even more misguided and illegal. If that's the case, how long before somebody brings this up to the Indiana Supreme Court?
And furthermore, why have we become a nation of babies? Really, if you don't like something, there's no reason to make a law against it. Don't like smoking? Don't do it. Don't like gay marriage? Don't marry somebody of your sex. Don't like buying alcohol on a Sunday? Don't do it.* Really, it's all that simple. Whether you're for or against "Obamacare," at least the idea behind it was noble. The idea was to open healthcare up to segments of the population who couldn't otherwise get health insurance. Maybe the execution was off, but everybody's heart was in the right place. Laws like the smoking ban and it's ilk? Nothing noble at all about that.
*Another Indiana-centric one, but I don't think Indiana is the only place with restrictive liquor laws.
Now I can head into Independence Day with a lighter chest. Happy 4th! Don't burn anything down!
UPDATE: I most likely won't be writing anything on Thursday, the 5th, either. I've got an interview in the middle of the day. Wish me luck!