Prepare Shef For Bad News.

 

Jheri Curl Hall of Fame? First Ballot.

 

Here’s the quote from Gary Sheffield regarding his Hall of Fame chances, “I know who is in the Hall of Fame.  A lot of them don’t belong in the Hall of Fame.  If someone wants to debate me, check the stats.”  That quote, is just another example in long line of examples why people don’t like Gary Sheffield.  If the world had never heard of a PED Sheffield might have had the hardest time among 500-HR club members of getting into Cooperstown simply because he was such a disagreeable and cocky bastard at times.  That’s like life blood to Hall of Fame voters.  The chance to stick it to someone is total catnip for them.  Considering his PED connection Sheffield can go ahead and buy a ticket for Cooperstown, because that’s the only way he’s getting in.

The new version of Monopoly is computerized.  There is no money.  No Chance cards.  No dice.  It seems like the only thing left for the actual player to do decide whether or not to buy a property.  I fear this will be a tragedy for Monopoly. They are forgetting a couple of key factors.  If you remember my board game rankings, you know I’m no Monopoly fan. It’s not a great game.  It’s an uphill battle from the start.  The only fun thing about the game is handling the money, negotiating shady deals, and possibly cheating.  None of that is possible now.  Board games are probably on their way out.  If they want a last gasp, they should start marketing to people in their thirties.  They are old enough to remember having fun playing board games, and are now at an age where maybe the X-box is too high-tech and a good old fashioned board game would be a breath of fresh air.  Marketing to kids is a nightmare.  By the time you put together interactive/3D/Blu-Ray Bieber-Opoly, he’s going to be replaced by some other YouTube fraud.

The PGA Tour is in L.A. this week.  The Northern Trust nee Nissan nee L.A. Open.  I racked my brain and came up with a reason why this tournament could possibly be interesting.  If you can watch this event, then you actually like golf on television.  There is a good field, a great historic venue, and not much competition this weekend (except dadgum Daytona).  What the field lacks, of course, is Tiger Woods.  If Tiger completes his Duval cycle and washes out, this is generally the type of field/event you will see week in and week out.  Number one, Lee Westwood, is missing but other than that you have a pretty enviable mix of “golf stars.”  Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Paddy, Mahan, Vijay, Ishikawa, there are some lovable old guys like Fred there…solid line up.  So, give it a look.  I suspect you’ll be disappointed, and golf can continue its tailspin.

Speaking of Daytona…tickets are still available.  How is this possible?  If any NASCAR race is going to sellout, isn’t this the one?  Maybe they should go back to racing on the beach.  Of course, the tickets are $279 each, so maybe that is the stumbling point.  I’d try hiding on the roof of a camper and sneaking in, or something like that.  Instead of going off on my usual why do people watch car racing bit, maybe I should pick someone to root for.  I think I’ll take Dale Jr.  There was a Sporting News article on the guy in the latest issue, and at this point, I kind of feel sorry for him.  I know you shouldn’t feel sorry for rich people, but the kid sounds like he could use a win.  Then he goes out and earns the pole, only to wreck the AMP energy drink, Penzoil, Jiffy Lube, Wendy’s, 3M, Jim Beam, Heinz Ketchup, Snickers Chevrolet…and now he has to start at the back of the line.  Total BS.  Go Little E!

Quizes of the Day:

2010 Sports Recap.  Category: Sports.  My Score: 39/44

All the headline award winners for the most recent completed seasons.  Considering the NBA is involved, I’m pretty happy with my score.

Classic Novel Protagonists.  Category:  Fancy Book Recall.  My Score: 21/36

For the non-sports crowd.  Did pretty well with books I’ve actually read, and even have heard enough Hobbit jokes to know that one without reading.  Score!

 

 

Coasting…

 

The Lakers Have Perfected It.

 

The Lakers lost to the Cavs last night.  Don’t get me wrong, that is hilarious, but I’m not really buying into the whole, “demise of the Lakers,” storyline.  Keep in mind this theory is coming from someone who doesn’t watch the NBA, but haven’t we seen this before?  The Lakers must be bored out of their minds.  Maybe the NBA needs to reposition its All-Star Break, because I think fans (and teams) are just counting down toward the playoffs at this point.  Adding any more delay to the games that really matter just ups the frustration level.  They should look into the week before the Super Bowl, give the Pro Bowl some competition, but that’s not really the point I’m trying to make.

The point is, there is something about the NBA and NHL that makes the regular season appear to be completely worthless.  The NFL season is short enough that coming out flat for more than a game or two can doom your playoff chances.  In baseball, few teams make the playoffs, but the season is so long, that maybe you don’t notice the lulls as much.  It’s part of the sport’s rhythm.  But, the NBA and NHL?  Oh, my.  Half the league makes the playoffs, it can be wide-open once you get there, how the hell are we supposed to get through February and March?  As a Flyers fan, it is great watching them pile up wins, but at this point only bad things can happen before April.  They get cold, they suffer an injury, you want to the playoffs to start right now while they are playing well.

I’m sure the teams feel some of this.  How could you not?  Especially the veteran squads out there like the Lakers.  They are, even after this recent 5-5 run, sitting with the 3rd best record in the West.  They have a 9 game lead on Phoenix in their division.  They have virtually no shot of catching San Antonio for the number one seed, so what are they really playing for these last 25-30 games?  They’ve won back-to-back NBA Titles and they’re expected to rip off 65 wins in the regular season?  What would be the point of that?  Of course they’re flat. And, we’re hearing the right things, Phil is embarrassed, but I’m thinking he’s maybe not quite as worried as the authors of the “R.I.P. Lakers” stories.  Could they be in trouble?  Sure, but you won’t really know until the playoffs start and they attempt to flip the switch.

I think some people out there are worried about the Phillies coasting.  There may have been a sense that is what was happening last year when they fell behind the Braves.  Come late July they cranked it up and won the division going away.  I think the fans would rather go wire to wire.  Especially in baseball, where the margin of making the playoffs can be razor-thin compared to the “everyone over .500 is in” NBA.  Are the Phillies going to be able to stay motivated for 162 games?  They say all the right things, but will they be able to pull it off?

I think they will.  Even though just about every sport is now about getting hot at the right time to win a championship, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Phils close faster than they start, the nature of their team dictates the motivation and wins should be there.  Three of the top-4 starters don’t have the World Series ring from ’08 to fall back on, and when a team is so deep in starting pitching like the Phillies, it is a great defense for my coasting theory.  They say speed doesn’t go into slumps, well I don’t think these pitchers will either.  Add in the fact that they have to get up for only every 5th game, and I think the team will be pulled forward by their individual intensity on a daily basis.

So, put the complacency fears to bed for the Phillies, but for the next couple of months you are going to see plenty of coasting elsewhere.  The Sixers have to wade through a couple more months before they get to play those 5 playoff games  come April.