Mark Cuban is an agitator. And, the good thing about him is that he aims high. I guess that is what billionaires do. But, his latest idea is something that would interest me far more than any of his NBA dealings. Seemingly over the notion of buying a Major League Baseball team (boredom/frustration?), Cuban has set his sights on college football’s lack of a playoff system. The Bowl System/BCS structure is for my money the most nonsensical way to crown a champion in all of sport. Cuban realizes this, but he also comes at it from the angle that a college football playoff would be an incredibly lucrative product. If you haven’t seen the article, you can get the details on Cuban’s idea here, but the general plan would be to lure the conferences away from the BCS with guaranteed cash and then set up the independent playoff system. Sounds good to me.
Cliff Lee had his official press conference welcoming him back to Philadelphia on Wednesday. There were several interesting bits that came to light. I think the most refreshing (surprising) is how much Lee wanted to be in Philadelphia. We’ve heard players talk about enjoying their time in cities, but this was far more than that. I don’t think I’ve ever heard an athlete praise the city or the fans more. Of course this endears Cliff to the fan base even more, is that possible? And, it puts pressure on them as well to keep bringing it every night.
Lee’s desire to come back to Philly led to an interesting contract structure. He’ll make just 11.5 million for the 2011 season, which eases the burden in a year when the Phils already have serious commitments. When Ibanez, and possibly some others come off the books after next season, the Lee money skyrockets. Also included in that guaranteed money is a 12.5 million dollar buyout for the 6th season. So, if Lee were to vest that 6th year the deal only becomes 135 million and not 147.5 million. I think there was some initial confusion there when we heard about the 27.5 million for the sixth year. At least, I was a bit confused. So, if he goes 6 years, the annual value actually drops to 22.5 million.
Lastly, the most interesting, or perhaps the most satisfying news to come from the press conference was the Jayson Werth bitterness. I guess Werth and Lee spoke a bit about ending up in the same city, but in the aftermath it looks like Werth took those conversations a bit more seriously than Cliff did. The Lee deal was a final slap in Werth’s face and if you add that to the fact that he thought Cliff was coming to Washington…well, Jayson didn’t look as happy as he should have been at his press conference. His quote, “I guess they got their boy back,” sums it up pretty nicely. It’s obvious now that Werth never thought he was properly valued here, and maybe he wasn’t. But, that’s the way it goes sometimes. For his part, Lee didn’t seem too concerned about it.
Anyone up for a monthly hockey update? The Flyers are still on fire. It’s to the point where I sent a message last night telling Dub that I wished the playoffs started today. Hockey is so prone to momentum and streaks, and injuries are always around the corner, you don’t want to waste your best play in December. In fact, Chris Pronger would leave last night’s win with a foot injury, and there’s no word on how serious that is. The good news is the Flyers appear to be so deep this season that they shouldn’t be as slump prone as they have been in the past. Already we’ve seen Claude Giroux cool a bit from his opening pace, but others have jumped in to fill the void. They just finished off back-to-back wins over Pittsburgh and Montreal, ending the Pens 12 game winning streak. They’ve got the most points in all the NHL, but of course the only headline at ESPN reads, Pens lose Crosby extends points streak. That’s the way it goes…
Last thing, I want to complain about something. I like the deli counter. I like my sliced cheese, and I occasionally like to partake in a nice homemade sandwich. In fact, I identify very closely with Kramer, who once became obsessed with a meat slicer. It would be a fascinating thing to have, if it was practical. Anyway, something is going terribly wrong at some deli counters. The little plastic ziplock bags they use are universal. But, the problem comes when the slicer technicians close the bag. The proper way to do this is to use the ziplock to close and then put the sticker on the outside of the bag. Then, there is the lazy way to do it, which is folding the bag over and using the sticker to close. Hate. Hate when that happens, because then you have to tear the sticker to open the bag, which in turn tears the bag. So, you either eat everything in one sitting, or you are left with a useless piece of packaging. So, I’m imploring all the slicers out there to use the damn ziplocking device. That’s what it is for. And, if you know a slicer, spread the word.