Friday, February 16, 2007

Friday 02/16 A.M. Quickie:
NBA All-Star, Daytona 500, My Birthday

NBA All-Star Weekend! I said this the moment they announced the game would be in Las Vegas: No matter what happens on the court, this is arguably the most exciting single moment for the league since Michael Jordan's final Finals game with the Bulls.

Perhaps we all need to actually be in Vegas to fully appreciate the scope of the pending debauchery, but I think we can all do it justice with our fantasies of the party scene, plus what shapes up to be epic reportage from the scene (particularly from bloggers, who can file the GOOD scoop).

The biggest upshot of the weekend is that it will be such a huge success that the city will not only earn an NBA franchise, but an NHL and MLB franchise, too.

NBA All-Star: The Predictions

*Dunk Contest: Gerald Green. It won't be close. It's going to be a break-out moment for him.

Via Marc Stein's blog at ESPN Insider: Dwight Howard wanted to raise the rim to 12 feet(!), but the NBA nixed it. Amazing idea. Awful bungle by the league. That would have been totally innovative. (Tip: MJD at Fanhouse)

*3-point Contest: Gilbert Arenas. Runner-up a year ago to Dirk, Agent Zero lives up to his season-long hype with a stunning win.

*"Skills" Comp: Kobe. I think he wants it more than LeBron, Wade and Paul.

*Rookies-vs-Sophs: Sophs in a rout. (MVP: Danny Granger.)

*All-Star Game: East. (MVP: LeBron James.)

*Barkley-Bavetta Foot Race: Bavetta.

NBA All-Star: The Shoes. As a bit of a kick fiend, my favorite thing about NBA All-Star Weekend is the shoes. The biggest to watch for:

*LeBron IV: Special-edition gold
*Air Jordan XX2: Debut (on sale Sat.)
*Nike Air Force 25: Huge marketing push
*Converse Wade 2.0: Wade as own brand
*Kobe: Unveils Zoom Kobe 2
*Adidas: ASG editions underwhelming

Daytona 500: Should be a little more interesting, seeing how the sport is revving up its season on a foundation of cheating and recrimination.

I can appreciate the "wink-wink" legacy of "innovation," but it's cheating. And if any other sport was so blatant about it, it would ruin that credibility. That's probably why NASCAR is taking it so seriously.

But there might be a lesson from football and baseball, which have both managed to thrive despite decades of cheating endemic to the sport. (Baseball fans seem to have less tolerance for PEDs than football fans; football fans don't seem to care about PEDs in the least.)

Die-hard NASCAR fans probably don't care about the cheating. They might even be bemused. They might also find the "no-fun" crackdown by NASCAR to be tearing at the fabric of their sport, for the sake of making it more palatable for casual fans.

This balancing act between satisfying the hard-core fans who made the sport the juggernaut it is today and growing the sport with an entire new fan base ("ESPN fans," if you will) is the most fascinating part of NASCAR's growth this season.

(Please: No more debates in the comments about whether NASCAR drivers are athletes or not. You will never be convinced to change your mind – or to change other people's minds. So just let it go.)

Scottie Pippen considering a comeback? I have to say: That would be awesome. If I was him, I'd run right for the team with the combination of star wattage, Finals potential and need at his position: Say, Miami?

(Sam Smith seems to break the story, which speaks directly to my point in The Big Picture interview: Smith is valuable for the nanosecond that it takes to say, "Pippen considering unretirement." Now, bloggers will be much better at delivering the opinion. This on the heels of Smith's column yesterday ripping bloggers for their lack of insightful opinion. I find it ironic that, aside from this single news nugget, he spends the rest of the column engaging in precisely the kind of "Barstool-GM" projections that he was ripping bloggers for doing. How is Smith offering anything beyond superficial b.s. by saying, "Wouldn't it be neat if he was on Team X?" Where are your "sources" now, Sammy? He's such a self-righteous d'bag, I won't even link to his column.)

Tim Hardaway, The Day After: David Stern banned Hardaway from NBA All-Star Weekend. As he should have. Hardaway can (and does) say what he wants, but it doesn't have to be tacitly sanctioned by the NBA.

(By the way, I commend you all on a relatively civil debate in the Comments section. Please remember that no minds are being changed, especially yours.)

MLB: Yankees DUI scandal! Steinbrenner's son-in-law and heir-apparent to run the team, Steve Swindal, was arrested for DUI. Hey, he's got a long way to go before he matches the Boss. Call me when Swindal gets banned from baseball for a few seasons.

College Hoops Weekend: The three most must-see games, in order:

(1) Southern Illinois at Butler. Only the mid-major game of the year. It's the "George Mason-Wichita State of 2007," if you will. (Thanks for setting me straight, Commenters.)

(2) UNC at BC. BC was humiliated at home by Duke. Redemption comes with a win over the Heels, but I'm projecting a second straight home L.

(3) Washington at Pitt. What a random non-conference game for this time of year. UW is so far out on the bubble, it's all but must-win.

Bill Cowher joins "NFL Today" show on CBS, following the standard template for any successful coach: Resign/"retire," spend a year or so doing TV to get your visibility (and popularity) up, then hit the jackpot returning to coaching with an owner trying to make a splash.

Speaking of NFL TV analysts, the NY Post's usual Friday sports-media notes column buries a small rumor that ESPN is considering dropping Michael Irvin. Undoubtedly, this would be HUGE in both the sports-blog world and within traditional media.

And as if you haven't got enough "Cowboys receiver" news, Dallas execs expect T.O. to return to the team next year. Whee.

More MLB: Bonds signs his deal (1Y/$15.8M). Next up: Topping Aaron.

MLB Spring Training: The biggest individual-player story of Spring Training begins today: Daisuke Matsuzaka. Break out the gyroball!

CFB: Is former Arkansas QB Mitch Mustain going to transfer to... USC? Whether his coach would be Carroll or Sarkisian, that would be scary.

Oh, by the way, it's my birthday today: 34, officially kicking off the final year of my consumer relevancy in the "coveted male 18- to 34-year-old" demographic.

I'm hard-pressed to foresee the way that 34 will eclipse 33, given that it marked, personally, the birth of my first (and only) kid and, professionally, the (melo)dramatic combo of the end of the Quickie/start of the blog. But I'm sure it will.

(One last housekeeping note: I'll be traveling this morning and out of town all weekend, so posts might be light. That doesn't mean the conversation can't keep going. I'm opening up the Comments section. Should be a fun live-comment session during the NBA All-Star stuff.)

-- D.S.


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verbal97 said...

what's the over/under on comments next week when we go back to mediation?

Big D said...

@ verbal:

20. 30 if the topic is good.

Brian in Oxford said...

The real question is whether or not he's had the chance to check in on his little kingdom...

Patriots64 said...

Mediation or moderation. we need a lawyer!!

Jen said...

You guys are slap-happy today!

Happy 34th, Dan. I admit that it hit me quite hard when I fell out of the 18-34 demographic.

Can't believe another Cleveland franchise signs someone in the off-season and then they decide to hang it up! Speaking of which, did anyone ever hear about Bob Hallen's sudden retirement from the Browns? He was behind me at our alma mater's football game, but I really didn't have the heart to say: "Hey Bob, what the heck is your problem?!"

ToddTheJackass said...

Might as well enjoy it while it lasts, right?

I doubt any team will seriously take a look at Scottie. I mean, what team has enough depth that they'd cut an active player to have a 41 vet with knee problems, who hasn't been good in how many years?

Jen said...

I would never draft a Yankee for fantasy, either....not if I can possibly help it!

verbal97 said...

How many of you Yankee haters have ever won a fantasy league before?

Mediation...Moderation, whatever, it's Friday man!

Natsfan74 said...

Danielle is our lawyer. She can represent all of us.

When picking Teams, like basketball pools and weekly pick 'em challenges, you have to go head first, then heart (like putting Duke in Sweet 16 every year, no matter the loathing), but in fantasy, it's easy to avoid any Yankees. Want 3b offensive numbers -- pick Aramis Ramirez. Shortstop -- Michael Young.... etc.,

There will be no Mets on my team. I hate the Yankees more, but Mets are easy to ignore and they play in the NL East.

Now that Bonds has signed his contract, what's the over/under on the date he breaks the record. He's in DC in September, I hope he's still chasing it then....

Brian in Oxford said...

Before his legs fell apart, I was hoping Bonds might get an inside-the-parker for 756, because then the ball doesn't leave the park to be sold. Heck, an outfielder could slip on a ball down the line, the ball rolls around long enough for Bonds to circle the bases, and then the outfielder picks up the ball and pockets it.

ToddTheJackass said...

I actually won two leagues last year, and in one I did not have a Yankee, and the other, I did not draft a Yankee (traded for A-Rod, and Abreu got traded to the Yanks).

So it can be done. But with that lineup, it's hard to prohibitively avoid them, as much as I hate them. I do find, however, that Yankee players do tend to get overvalued a little, so it goes both ways.

Unknown said...

happy birthday. I disagree with your EAST vs. WEST prediction, it's like the pro bowl for football, the NFC is so inferior to the AFC. WEST in a 9 point game. MVP: Ray Allen(I know i'm being a homer, don't complain!!)

Big D said...

@ Verbal: Im a full fledged Yankee Hater. However, I'm also a Fantasy addict. I ended up with three Yankees last season (Randy, Moose & Abreu), and finished "In the money" in that league.

I have no objections to owning them, just objections to cheering for them. If they do well and I win, fine. But I'd much prefer them to suck for 162 games, but not so much that they drag my team down with them.

@ NatsFan74: He's in Fenway for Interleague this season, though I'm certain that if he's close to 755, he'll develop some phantom leg pain to avoid playing in any road games, even if he could DH.

Andy said...

Well, folks, it's been fun posting with you again today. I have a meeting to go to so I'm done for the day. I think if Dan turns the moderation on again, my posts will go down alot. I just can't stand it. It ruins the flow of conversation. I also don;t think 200 comment days will be common if he leaves it off. I think we hit that today because we've been so restricted lately. Have a good weekend everyone!

Big D said...

And with that, I have to actually leave work for the long weekend.

It's going to be like missing an episode of 24 - I can't even imagine how much I'm going to miss in the hour and a half it will take me to get home. I'm going to be so lost by the time I get there.

Lata y'all.

Brian in Oxford said...

Don't forget, Dan...we've got a spot for you in the baseball league....

nighty night, all, I'm off to cook my children a chicken pot, chicken pot, chicken pot...pie!

Natsfan74 said...

And just like that, the East Coast bloggers head off for the day. Have a great week-end everyone.

The East wins this week-end, and Tony Stewart wins Daytona! Maybe Lefty can win again this week-end too....

CMFost said...

I ahve won my fantasy baseball league a couple of times and have never had a yankee on my team. And if I draft one I normally trade them before the season starts.

CMFost said...

One last thing before I go. I do have a Fantasy baseball league that plays for money. Last years champ took home $350, the cost to get in is $52, if you are interested email me and I will get you the details.

CMFost said...

For anyone who follows the NFL Draft has a mock draft out already.

Check it out if you are interested

Unknown said...

Just thought that people would find this interesting...

There was an article on espn about the different all-star games and it included average ticket prices.

The folllowing are the average ticket prices for the entirety of all-star weekend for each sport:

Pro Bowl: $133
NHL All-Stars: $356
MLB All-Stars: $987
NBA All-Stars: $6006

Wow. I wonder which one more people want to see.

The Pro Bowl is shockingly cheap. It includes the skill contests, and living in DC, you can't go to the Skins for $133 and there's no skill contest.

But you have to get to Hawai'i so...

Mikepcfl said...

Yes, we're staying in watching the NBA Celebrity All-star game. But it's worth it to see Reggie Bush and LT try not to get hurt. I cant believe they are even playing. Bush just rolled his ankle (not seriously) and LT immediately left the game and New Orleans is panicking. Lots of fun

DP said...

I just read the posts for the past 20 minutes and now I feel about 50 percent dumber. Damn, you people are odd, but its funny as hell. :)

kway34 said...

Gators go down to Vandy...Dan, if it were any other team I'd expect an "I don't like their chances in March" post coming ;)

pv845 said...

I think the FL loss shows how overrated/confident the Gators are. They are not the dominant force they/writers seem to think they are. When they play teams that are as athletic as they are, they will lose. And I loved seeing Noah play poorly. That kid annoys me.

Mega said...

SIU over Butler. AJ Graves had nothing out there.

Big D said...

Anybody watching NBA All Star Saturday? Poor TNT is screwed here... they already delayed the start for "traffic problems". They finally had to being everything with no more than 500 people in the seats.

Impressive work there fellas. Never would have expected a lot of traffic, in Las Vegas, on a Saturday Night, at about 5PM. Nah, never saw that coming.

Kurt said...

Florida goes down! Glad to see I'm not the only one who dislikes Noah. Vandy Coach Stallings' heated exchange with him was fantastic.

pv845 said...

At least Noah didn't try to attack the Cheerleaders this week.

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