Caveat Emptor …

According to reports late last week, the Arizona Cardinals will now entertain offers for Anquan Boldin and the bidding will open at a first and a third round draft pick. Since I have no pipeline into the Arizona Cardinals’ front office, I am going to assume – dangerously – that the reports are absolutely accurate. On that assumption, I believe that only a team who believes that they are one receiver away from playing in the Super Bowl should pick up the phone and call the Cardinals. For the record, I do not know that such a team exists…

It is not that I do not like Anquan Boldin as a receiver; he is a very good wide receiver. Nevertheless, the price for him is rather steep; and so, you have to look at Anquan Boldin in a rather harsh light to determine if he is worth that price:

    1. Anquan Boldin will be 29 years old in October. It is the rare wide receiver who gets any better once they leave 30 years old in their rear view mirror. Realistically, his performance is unlikely to sustain at current levels over the life of the new contract a team will need to sign him to.

    2. Anquan Boldin has a dash of “diva” in him. He was not going to speak to his coach last year; he had a sideline argument with the offensive coordinator in the Super Bowl; he did not join the team in celebrating the NFC Championship win. “Diva” wide receivers have been known to have a detrimental effect on team chemistry.

    3. Anquan Boldin had a very serious injury last year – from which he recovered very quickly – and he has had injury issues for his entire career. He has been in the NFL six seasons; only twice has he played all 16 games.

Therefore, if a team believes that the only missing piece of the puzzle for them to make it to the Super Bowl game – – not the playoffs and not the conference championships – – then Anquan Boldin for a first and a third is a good deal. Other than that, caveat emptor.

The NBA playoffs began last weekend; they will go on interminably. Unlike the NCAA basketball tournament, the NBA playoffs just do not develop any groundswell of interest in the first and second rounds. I believe that the suits at the NBA in conjunction with the suits at the networks have misread the situation terribly and have made decisions that put a lid on accumulating fan interest in the early rounds.

Unlike the college tournament where a team plays two games in three days – and then the student-athletes go back to class for a while [cough, cough] – the NBA series are scheduled such that there are no overlapping games. That drags out the series so that any excitement and interested generated in Game 1 between two teams in the first round is largely dissipated by the time there is a Game 2. And even if the there is some spark of enthusiasm left, it had to survive through the distraction of every other playoff match-up sequentially intervening between Game 1 and Game 2. Add to this the fact that playoff games will be carried on three different networks and fans will have to go looking for date and time and channel just to follow a series.

Greg Cote put the NBA playoffs into perspective in the Miami Herald:

“The first round of the postseason alone will last up to two full weeks. The NBA’s goal is to complete the playoffs before the start of next season.”

Here is an NBA tidbit from the final game of the regular season courtesy of Charlie Walters of the St. Paul Pioneer-Press:

“Mike Miller scored 14 points for the Timberwolves in their final game of the season against Sacramento, but the other four starters — Brian Cardinal, Jason Collins, Kevin Ollie and Mark Madsen — played a total of 51.32 minutes and scored just two points. Really.”

That is truly scary…

The NHL Stanley Cup playoffs are in the midst of their first round series. The Florida Panthers are not partaking of the Stanley Cup quest again this year prompting this comment from Greg Cote in the Miami Herald:

“Panthers players spent $21,000 throwing themselves an end-of-season party at the South Beach club B.E.D. Hey, it isn’t easy missing the playoffs eight seasons in a row. It’s a rare feat. You want to celebrate!”

The Florida Panthers hardly have a long and storied hockey history. But the Toronto Maple Leafs are one of the “Original Six”; the Maple Leafs have won the Stanley Cup 13 times – albeit the last time was in 1967 – and have participated in the Stanley Cup Final Series 21 times. While the Florida Panthers have not been in the playoffs for 8 consecutive years, it has also been 5 years since the Toronto Maple Leafs have made the playoffs.

I read a report that CC Sabathia bought a home in Alpine NJ for a cool $15M. Good for him; it is not as if he is going to be “house poor” with that purchase. Nevertheless, it is in Alpine NJ. Have you ever been to NJ? What part of NJ that you have seen might bring to mind anything associated with the Alps? And he paid $15M for that location…

    Memo to CC Sabathia: Beware of anyone offering to sell you property in Nirvana, Nebraska.

Finally, an observation from Bob Molinaro in the Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot:

“Bottom line: After overestimating the public’s tolerance for insanely overpriced tickets, the Yankees are taking out full-page ads in the New York Times to sell seats in their new stadium. It’s OK by me; I’m for anything that helps keep newspapers afloat.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports…

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  • JJC  On April 20, 2009 at 12:54 pm

    The Lions should make the deal for Boldin. Draft picks never work out for them anyways and Boldin is, at least, a proven commodity. Plus the first pick of the draft might alone be enough, or they might need to toss in a much later round such as the fifth to make the deal work.

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the NBA suffers from having too many teams in the playoffs. When more than half of the teams in the league makes the playoffs the first rounds are useless. Either go to a bye system or reduce the numbers but do something that isn’t a little league system where everyone is a winner no matter the record.

  • The Sports Curmudgeon  On April 20, 2009 at 2:26 pm


    I believe there are 336 teams that play Division 1 college basketball. If the NCAA had a tournament with the same percentage of its teams as the NBA has in the playoffs, it would have a field of 179 teams.

    In case you ever begin to think that there aren’t too many teams in the NBA playoffs…

  • Peter  On April 20, 2009 at 3:09 pm

    Alpine is a very exclusive suburb. It’s not far from the New Jersey end of the George Washington Bridge but thanks to huge lots and low density seems almost rural.

  • Rob  On April 20, 2009 at 4:01 pm

    In the short term, Boldin might be a good ivestment; he is a beast of a wide reciever, and he plays like a pass-catching running back. That said, I agree, at 29, he doesn’t project well for the long term, especially considering his style of play.

    Alpine must be next to that garden that earned New Jersey its nickname. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist).

  • Rich  On April 20, 2009 at 5:12 pm

    Alpine, NJ, elevation 509 ft.

  • The Sports Curmudgeon  On April 20, 2009 at 8:15 pm


    I actually know where Alpine NJ is – – although I could never afford to live there. As Rich noted above, the elevation is 509 feet – – not exactly “Alpine” in the literal sense.


    Boldin is a excellent WR; I don’t think there is a team in the league for whom he would not start. But it is the reported terms of the trade tht would make me very cautious were I a GM in the NFL.

    On a Washington Redskins fan site, someone suggested that the Skins offer the Cardinals Devin Thomas and Malcom Kelly (the two guys that the Skins took as WRs in last year’s draft) in exchange for Boldin. For that kind of price, I’d take Boldin in a heartbeat. But there is no way that kind of bid is going to land an opposing team the services of Anquan Boldin. He may be unhappy with his contract – – but the Cardinals do have a signed contract with his name on it.

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