A Great NCAA Final Game…

Yes, the NCAA Championship game was decided with a buzzer-beater; and when a game ends that way, it has to be listed among the “great games” just because of the drama involved. Last night’s game was a great game from start to finish; the outcome was always in doubt; the teams played efficiently and effectively; the crowd was definitely into the game; the announcing team did not detract from the game nor did it over-dramatize an excellent contest.

When I was growing up, we had a neighbor who loved baseball and liked football. But he hated basketball. He characterized it as a bunch of guys running and jumping in their underwear. No one could change his mind on the subject. Well, my old neighbor would not have liked last night’s game between UNC and Villanova and I suspect that if you watched it and did not like it, then you too just do not like basketball.

In the NBA, the Warriors are chasing history with the potential to win 73 games this season. If they do that, they will be the winningest regular season team ever and that has created a lot of “discussion” seeking to compare this year’s Warriors with the 1995/96 Chicago Bulls who won 72 games that season. After the first such “discussion”, my interest in that topic wanes significantly. I just do not get emotionally involved in comparisons of teams or athletes from different eras because in the end there is nothing that remotely comes close to a definitive test to whatever hypothesis is offered. I did however run across one comparison between the Warriors and the Bulls that may explain the greatness of the two squads as well as anything else:

    The 1995/96 Bulls had Luc Longley at center. Longley is from Melbourne, Australia.

    The 2015/16 Warriors have Andrew Bogut at center. Bogut is from Melbourne, Australia.

So, there…

Rabid fans of teams around the world will go to great lengths to show everyone their level of fandom. They will dress up their children or pets in team gear; they will travel immense distances to see their team play; they will brave outrageous weather conditions to be “at the game”. And, sometimes, rabid fans contemplate meaningless actions/protests.

The New England Patriots have a lot of rabid fans and the team has rewarded that rabid fanbase with more than a little success over the past 15 years or so. Now according to reports, some of the rabid Patriots’ fans are contemplating an action that will take them ‘round the bend.

    To protest the NFL’s confiscation of the Pats’ first round draft pick this year stemming from the Deflategate mess a year ago, some Pats’ fans have tried to organize a boycott of the televised NFL Draft for the first round. The plan is to wait until the first round is over and then to tune into the programming for the subsequent selections.

In case anyone cares, I do not think that the Patriots should lose any draft picks here for a variety of reasons that I will not bother to list here because I do not want to resurrect the Deflategate debate yet again. I think the NFL acted in haste and I think the NFL is more concerned about saving face at the moment than it is about doing the right thing and putting the entire mess behind it. By saying that, you might imagine that I would be one with the folks planning this boycott/protest. Let me channel Lee Corso here for a moment:

      “Not so fast, my friend.”

The first two words that jumped to my mind when I heard about the planned boycott were “feckless” and “impotent”. A boycott – in order to be effective – must deny some sort of economic or social benefit to the entity that is the target of the boycott. As soon as you recognize that the NFL – and Roger Goodell as its personification in this case – is the target, you will recognize the fecklessness of such an action. The NFL will lose nothing based on this proposed action. Now that you recognize that the NFL will not suffer at all, you can see why the proposed action is impotent because it is feckless.

I read a report last week about a baseball trade rumor. Normally, you have to wait until the end of April before stories about baseball trades start to populate the Internet so I was interested to see what this one was about. Here was the rumor:

    Red Sox trade Pablo Sandoval to the Padres for James Shields.

That is an interesting deal to contemplate. Sandoval is one of the few players in MLB that would make his team happy if only he would “hit his weight”. He has $75M left on his contract (assuming a club buyout in 2020); absent that buyout, the total remaining on the deal is $87M. There are also minor incentives in the contract but none of them involve him staying under a pre-ordained weight limit. Sandoval’s contract is bloated and his physique is bloated; instead of calling him “The Panda”, Sox fans should start to refer to him as “Bloated Squared”.

James Shields is a 34-year old pitcher who will make $21M per year in 2016, 17 and 18. Then the Padres have a $2M buyout option in 2019 or they can keep Shields then at age 37 for $16M. So Shields would cost the Padres either $65M or $79M. As a point of reference, the Padres’ opening day roster will earn a total of $99.3M for 2016; James Shields accounts for 21% of the team payroll. Like Sandoval, Shields has a bloated contract; unlike Sandoval, James Shields is not fat.

As I said, that trade is worth contemplating even if it never progresses one millimeter beyond where it is right now…

Finally, here is a comment from Dwight Perry in the Seattle Times:

“Man U star Wayne Rooney, sitting in the front row at a WWE event in Manchester, floored 6-foot-7 Wade Barrett with a right-hand slap after the rassler walked up and taunted him.

“Rasslin’ judges scored the flop a 9.3, but it rated only a 3.7 in soccer circles.”

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