Unless you are a Cubs’ fan, Game 1 of the World Series was a good game to watch. Jon Lester pitched well; the combination of Corey Kluber and Andrew Miller pitched excellently. It was good, sound, fundamental baseball on both sides all night long.
Joe Buck said during the game last night that Francisco Lindor and Javier Baez played against each other in high school. Wow! That must have been a top-shelf high school league/conference. It is a treat to watch either or both of those guys play the game.
With the NBA season underway, let me get a few NBA comments on the record here:
1. The regular season in the NBA is always full of boring and meaningless games. This year will be even worse. The two best teams – the Cavs in the East and the Warriors in the West – are so much better than anyone else in their conferences that the season boils down to this:
They will play 1230 regular season games to figure out which other teams will be in the playoffs in order to set up a Cavs/Warriors final series. Yes, I know the Warriors got beaten badly in their opener last night; that does not make the other 1229 regular season games any the more relevant.
2. Out in Las Vegas last week, the odds on winning the NBA Championship were:
You could get plus odds” on the other 29 teams to win it all next June. Wake me when we get there…
3. Out in Las Vegas last week, the odds that the Warriors would win the Pacific Division were 1-to-50. Seriously, I have witnesses who saw it on the board …
4. The guys I feel sorry for are the beat writers and the columnists in NBA cities who will have to find ways to present some pretty obvious and tired storylines to local fans from now until sometime in April or June depending on how far in the playoffs the local side goes. In a sense, that means the writers in places like Philly or Brooklyn or Miami have it better than writers in some other cities. Their extended nightmare will be shorter.
The NBA allowed teams to sell promotion patches for the front of their uniforms this year. The Sacramento Kings will be sporting a 6.25 square inch logo for Blue Diamond Almonds. The terms of the deal were not announced, but I read one report that said it was a 3-year deal worth $5M per year to the Kings. I like Blue Diamond Almonds – particularly the smoked almonds – but I am mystified as to why anyone would think that putting that logo on a basketball jersey for a bad team is going to attract new consumers to the product. Obviously, someone in the almond marketing business thinks there is $15M of benefit to accrue from this exposure, but I don’t get it.
In another marketing/promotional deal that I do not understand at all, the NBA announced a few weeks ago that ExxonMobil is an “official marketing partner” of the NBA, the WNBA and the NBA D-League here in the US and in China. That makes Mobil 1 motor oil “the official motor oil of the NBA, the WNBA and the D-League here and in China. Pardon me, but what the Hell does that mean?
If Adam Silver punches up his Uber app to get a ride across town, does he ask the driver who shows up what kind of motor oil is in the car before he gets in?
When NBA teams fly from town to town, does the plane always use ExxonMobil aviation fuel?
It must be comforting for folks in the corner offices at NBA Hqs to realize that the Kings no longer play in ARCO Arena. Think of the conflict of interest situations this new deal would present in that town…
Whenever deals like this are announced, there is always a high-fallutin’ statement offered as to why the new deal is the best thing ever. Naturally, that happened here too. Here is what an NBA Senior VP had to say on the matter:
“We are proud to partner with ExxonMobil, a distinguished global company and proven industry leader. The Mobil 1 brand is synonymous with technology leadership and outstanding performance, and we’re looking forward to bringing these shared values to life for our fans in two of our biggest markets.”
If you immediately asked yourself, “What?” “How?” “Why?” after reading that, join the crowd…
As is traditional, someone from ExxonMobil also had a chance to put together some random words designed to make normal people scratch their heads. In this case, it was a VP for marketing:
“By partnering with the NBA, ExxonMobil can engage consumers across the United States and China, also two of our largest markets, to extend our brands’ recognition, help reinforce our leadership position, and distinguish our products in today’s competitive global marketplace.”
To which I say, “Huh? If you say so …”
Here is what I think all of this comes down to:
For the upcoming season – most of which will consist of unimportant and uninteresting games – you are going to see a lot of ExxonMobil signage and logos in NBA arenas and on NBA telecasts. Also, if you go to an Exxon gas station to fill up your car with gas, you will see NBA-themed signage. There will probably also be some sort of sweepstakes offered by ExxonMobil that will get “some lucky fan” tickets to the NBA Finals or to the NBA All-Star Game.
I’ll slow down here so you can catch your breath…
Finally, here is an NBA relevant comment from Brad Dickson in the Omaha World-Herald:
“Miami Heat guard Tyler Johnson, who played only 36 games last season and has averaged 7.4 points in his career, said he threw up after hearing the team offered him $50 million. Tyler, that makes two of us.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………