Yesterday afternoon reports surfaced that beleaguered Phoenix Suns owner, Robert Sarver, had “begun the process to sell the team.” My reaction went along these lines:
- Good. Once this is accomplished that story can be put to rest for all time. I have heard/read all I ever need to about Robert Sarver.
My grandfather – – in times of minor travail – – often said that we should ‘Thank God for small favors.” To me, Sarver’s announcement seemed like a “small favor”, and I was more than happy to tip my hat at the opportunity to move on. But that sentiment was not widely adopted by the community of sports commentators.
First, the statement issued by Sarver was parsed and of course when you parse almost any public statement related to a situation such as Sarver’s there will be atonal segments.
- Sarver says he is a “man of faith”. Maybe he is and maybe he isn’t; if he wants to stake out that position for himself, that is fine with me. That was not fine with lots of others.
- Sarver said he thought the punishment he was given was severe and that it would give him time to reflect and to put him on the “path to atonement”. Dozens of people reacted to that as if he had advocated drowning puppies; how dare he assume he could ever atone.
- The list goes on …
Second, the speculation began as to whether this was Sarver’s idea or if he was nudged in that direction behind the scenes by others in the NBA or possibly in the NBA’s “corporate partner world”. For me, the important thing is that he sells the team and moseys off to a status of “non-person” in the sports world. If that was his decision it is fine with me; if he was nudged – or even pushed – to make that decision, that is equally fine with me.
And finally, that public revelation awakened the dozing “Daniel-Snyder-is-a-slimeball” contingent leading to comments pointing out parallels in the alleged behaviors of Sarver and Snyder and the different outcomes – to date – in the two situations. I doubt that I need to explain how feckless I think all those commentaries were and are.
Take a deep breath everyone. When Robert Sarver sells the Phoenix Suns – – and the Mercury too – – he is going to make a lot of money on the deal. That fact is NOT a cue for everyone to be outraged again; it is simply a fact. Here is another simple fact. Once he sells the team, he will no longer have his plaything; it will have been taken from him. If you find Sarver’s behavior loathsome, take his loss of his plaything as the consequence of his loathsomeness, smile at such a consequence and then proceed to erase your memory banks of Robert Sarver. Why keep him in mind?
Before I leave this topic – hopefully once and for all – there was one other line of reaction that I thought was interesting but not one that could easily be put to a test. That reaction went along these lines:
- There was a behind the scenes reaction by players and agents letting Sarver know that the Suns would not be a destination for free agents and that Suns’ players would be looking to move on and play elsewhere. In other words, his team was destined to suck.
Once again, maybe that happened and maybe it didn’t. But what I found interesting with that alleged scenario is that it requires me to believe that players and agents would be willing to work against their own financial interest. If the Suns were to be “off limits” for free agents, that declaration removes one bidder for players’ services. In economic terms, that reduces the demand for the services of free agent players and when demand is reduced, so is price in a rational free market. Unfortunately, there is no way to test that assertion of applied pressure from players/agents – – but that part of the reaction to the Sarver announcement yesterday was much more interesting to me than other reactions.
Moving on … Several weeks ago, I posed the possibility here of Paul Goldschmidt winning the Triple Crown in the NL. That feat has not been accomplished in the “senior circuit” in about 90 years; it would have been a cool thing. Alas, it now appears as if that status is out of reach; Goldschmidt ranks second in the NL in batting average and in RBIs and is fourth in the NL in home runs. However, all is not lost because:
- Aaron Judge is currently leading the AL in all three categories. There may be a Triple Crown winner this year after all.
I have been overly focused on Judge’s home run status in the past month or so as he stalks Roger Maris’ record of 61 “clean home runs” – – a record that has stood for 61 years ironically. But Judge has been on a tear recently with more than just home runs; he has hit over .420 for the month of September and he now enjoys the following status as of this morning:
- He leads the AL in home runs by 23 blasts.
- He leads the AL in RBIs by 13 runs batted in.
- He leads the AL in batting average by .001.
For the next couple of weeks, Judge’s home run chase will be the stuff of headlines. I doubt one could avoid following that story without retreating to a monastery in the Himalayas. However, there is reason to focus on the agate section of your sports page too; that is where the progress – or lack thereof – toward an AL Triple Crown can be followed.
Finally, with Rosh Hashanah coming this weekend, let me close with this item from The Official Dictionary of Sarcasm:
“Kosher: Food that conforms to Jewish nutritional laws which were handed down by God in order that the Chosen People would never experience flavor.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………