Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Tuesday 07/24 A.M. Quickie:
Stern on Donaghy, Vick, Lester, Longhorns, More!

Donaghy Update: David Stern faces the media today, in what is arguably his biggest crisis as NBA Commissioner. UPDATE: Here's Deadspin's live-blog, plus comments.

(Given his mastery over both his league and the media that covers it, I'll bet he never thought he'd be in this position at this stage of his career.)

He is a genius when it comes to dealing with media questions, so I expect him to mix it up with a combination of "Can't discuss because it's an ongoing FBI investigation" with "Here's what we're doing about it."

However, Stern still will have to find an acceptable answer to the impossible-to-answer question: "How did this happen?"

And then there's the ultimate question in any/all scandals: "What did you know and when did you know it?"

Tracking...

Vick Update: The NFL won't let Vick report to Falcons camp this week. That's hardly a surprise, although it's worth noting because the league finally took some action against him. I'm betting it won't be the last time the league takes action against him.

Meanwhile, Terence Moore, columnist of the Falcons' hometown Atlanta Journal-Constitution, says today that there's no way Vick can return to the Falcons. Gee, thanks for joining the rest of us, Terence. Still, there's something about the old-media local newspaper columnist applying the coup de grace we all know is coming.

Bonds Update: Nothing. Well, no home runs, at least. Perhaps a bigger story today is the news that Bonds' ex-girlfriend, Kimberly Bell, will pose nude in the November issue of Playboy.

Beckham Update: Will sit tonight. Wow, what a phenomenon!

(Does that cover sports' Big Four "Update"-worthy topics right now? Oh, right: there's NFL heating up!)

NFL Camping: Steelers. It's not the players that will be under the most scrutiny for the twice-removed Super Bowl champs. It's new head coach Mike Tomlin. All he has to do is keep a helmet on Big Ben and he'll be fine.

NFL Holdouts: Is Calvin Johnson going to hold out? Given his rep as a nice guy, it's a bit of a surprise. On the other hand, given Matt Millen's rep, it's not.

MLB Stud: Jon Lester, who allowed 2 runs and 5 hits in his return from a year-long fight with lymphoma. The Red Sox beat the Indians in what is quickly becoming a "must-win" series for Boston, given New York's surge. (A-Rod: First player to 100 RBI this season.)

MLB Stud 2: Aaron Harang, who returned from his grandfather's funeral to pitch 10 innings of a 12-inning Reds win. Wow: That's motivated.

MLB Dud: Johan Santana, in a rare "Dud" appearance after an equally rare bad second-half-of-the-season start.

College Football Media Daze: Big 12. It is Texas, then everyone else. I list Texas among the national-title contenders, if only because their combo of non-conference and conference opponents is a path of least resistance to an unbeaten season: Nebraska and Texas Tech both visit UT. The only potential spoiler? At Texas A&M in the final game of the season. (Then again, you never know: Remember last year's glorious 45-42 win by Kansas State over the Longhorns?)

If you're a Texas fan, by the way, there is a new must-buy book just published: "The Eyes of Texas 2007," a season preview edited by Peter Bean, editor of the spectacular Burnt Orange Nation. I'm no Texas fan, but it's what every top team blogger should put together for the team's fans. Here's a link.

More Donaghy: From Rob Weintraub's Slate piece on Donaghy:

"[G]amblers betting the over on all 72 of Donaghy's games would have won 43 times. That's the third-highest number out of 60 NBA refs."

First of all, I love the "over" storyline, which I believe was first broken by Darren Rovell. (It also completely debunks the high-profile theory that sprouted by Monday morning that somehow Game 3 of the Suns-Spurs game was under Donaghy's nefarious influence, rather than simply badly reffed, like so many other recent playoff games.)

But that second sentence struck me: If Donaghy has the third-highest "over" percentage out of 60 NBA refs, isn't it worth a casual look to see who is No. 1 and No. 2? I'm not accusing either of anything, but if you're running an "over" percentage higher than the gambleholic game-fixer himself, you have some explaining to do.

USA Basketball: I'm not usually a Kobe fan, but his performance in the scrimmage over the weekend really stuck with me. Absolutely, he is the difference-maker between Team USA being a crappy also-ran and Team USA being a gold-medal team. (Well, that, and not having Larry Brown as coach.) Kobe will lead Team USA to a gold medal in 2008 and it will displace everything else (including his various basketball and non-basketball summer escapades) as the defining accomplishment of Kobe's career. No wonder he's motivated.

Tour de France: Surprise, surprise! The TdF leader, Michael Rasmussen, is under scrutiny and suspicion about his drug-testing methods.

New Media: I watched the YouTube presidential debate yesterday night. Is it game-changing? Only if major media companies buy into the idea that the voters (or, in our case, the fans) can do just as good of a job (or, in many cases, better) than the media itself. Mainstream media should be a platform, not its "talent" an assumed (and presumed) source of expertise.

-- D.S.

31 comments:

Matt T said...

Arthur Blank/Falcons press conference at 4pm today. Its odd seeing Terrance Moore and Furman Bisher on ESPN after reading them for many years.

Dan, I think Free Darko floated the over idea last week

jhawkjjm said...

Don't forget Oklahoma in the Big 12 Dan. True they'll have a first year QB, but the rest of the team is still very solid. But yes Texas is the team to beat. In the North, I'm hoping that KU can actually make some noise as they have Nebraska in Lawrence, play Missouri at Arrowhead, and don't have either OU or Texas on their schedule.

Matt said...

"Only if major media companies buy into the idea that the voters (or, in our case, the fans) can do just as good of a job (or, in many cases, better) than the media itself. Mainstream media should be a platform, not its "talent" an assumed (and presumed) source of expertise."

That pretty much sums up my feelings too, Dan. Not sure if I like the idea yet, but it's a start.

Oh, and Freddy Adu is leaving for Europe. What happened to the MLS becoming relevant? Why don't you bash them like you do the NHL?

RevScottDeMangeMD said...

POP CULTURE:

Drew Carey is the PERFECT fit to be the new host of the Price is Right. I can't believe you forgot to mention this Dan!

Troy said...

Stud: Maddux stole a base. A legit steal.

futurelegendvinceyoung said...

Keep wishing jhawk. Nebraska is going to surprise some people this year. I know they go to Texas and USC visits Lincoln but right now those look like the two toughest games for the Huskers and they could get a rematch against Texas in the Big 12 title game which is in KC and KC has a huge Big Red following.

Josh said...

Dan, you're killing me! Don't give Kobe all this credit for dropping the game winner in an intra squad game. Let's see how he does against a real 'team' (players that have actually played together). And as I said yesterday, if this team does succeed, it has a lot more to do with Jason Kidd, who has never lost an international game, than Kobe, who can't get his NBA team out of the first round without Shaq.

Also, MLB stud: Frank Thomas...2 jacks!

Brian in Oxford said...

I heard this morning that Vick's new attorney is some guy named Billy Martin.

ESPN must LOVE the cross-promotional possibilities with the Bronx is Burning, don't ya think?

I'm not sure about Drew Carey, but I'll give him the benefit of the doubt. He seems a little giddy-goofy for mid-day TV....but at least he won't be accused of copying Bob Barker....alhough he's welcome to deck Adam Sandler, I suppose.

GuyInTheCorner said...

josh-

I'm not quite sure that arguement made any sense. Jason Kidd has never lost an international game because he wasn't good enough to play in the last three tournaments since the rest of the world got much better. Kobe hasn't won a championship since Shaq but Jason Kidd hasn't won a championship since high school.

Josh said...

GITC-Jason Kidd was not good enough? Do you watch basketball? He is the 2nd best point guard in that league (the best one hails from Canada). The problems that have plagued USA bball for the past 6 years is that the teams have been comprised of chuckers who don't share the ball (hence my initial skepticism about Kobe being the cure). Kidd will control the tempo, get guys the ball in the right position and run the team the way it should be run.

Also, the reason why Kidd wasn't 'good enough' to make the teams was that in 2004 he had knee surgery and in 06 he was dealing with his divorce (and probably beating his wife with cookies). He has played over 40 times for the US and never lost. Check your facts.

See link below:
http://www.cbc.ca/cp/nba/070721/v072104A.html

GuyInTheCorner said...

I wouldn't say that Kidd is the second best PG in the NBA. Agent Zero, Chris Paul, Baron Davis, and maybe even Deron Williams are better.

That doesn't change my point about your championship example.

jhawkjjm said...

future- KU is tough at home and beat them bad last time in Lawrence. And last year if they had halfway decent corners they very easily could have won (gave up FOUR passing TDs of 75+) and didn't have a couple turnovers in the red zone. I'm not saying they'll beat them, but I think the days of getting blown out are over.

verbal97 said...

I don't think Drew Carey is the right choice...he's too goofy!

Also, am I the only one that doesn't care about the Donaghy thing (because I hate the NBA).

Lastly Re: Beckham: Having your star player rest in an exhibition game when your team is not in the playoffs if the season ended today is the smart choice. I love how Dan constantly berates the "mainstream" media, but just copies their anti-soccer sentiment. You don't have to love soccer, Dan, but you should get off the mainstream high horse that is worried that enough people will care which would mean more work for them.

bkelly126 said...

As fas as Donaghy being no. 3, maybe he skewed the numbers for the other 2 if they officiated the same game.

If there was a fix in the Suns/Spurs series (which the idea taints the already flimsy Spurs "dynasty") brings up 3 things about the other refs:
1) they were in on it or at least aware of his history
2) they were forced to officiate the game like he did based on his calls
3) they are complete idiots

Josh said...

GITC-Agent Zero isn't a real PG and Paul/Williams are not quite at J-Kidd level. Check his numbers last year. He was a walking triple double. He even made Vince look good.

The championship example is not so relevant because this is international basketball (ie not the NBA). PG is the most important position by a long shot. Kidd has had unbridled success as an international PG. My point remains that Kobe's addition to the team will not be nearly as valuable as Kidd's based on the sheer fact that Kidd has the ball all the time and knows what to do with it. Everyone always talks about how international ball is a team game and Kobe is not exactly synonymous with the concept of 'team'. None of it really matters because i heard some of the international refs are in on point shaving.

futurelegendvinceyoung said...

jhawk yes Kansas did beat Nebraska Callahan's 2nd year but he is starting to get the players he needs to compete in the with Texas and OU so I think that the days of KU keeping it close are just about done.

jeff said...

Dan,

As I requested earlier - please either research TDF posts or familiarize yourself with the sport before pontificating and coloring your commentary as ignorant.

Rasmussen was disciplined for turning in his daily out of competition itinerary / diary to the oversight body past the deadline. While cycling does have a very large doping problem, the sport at least is THE most diligent in attempting to address it. Can you name another sport that demands out of competition testing at any time by the regulatory agency? No other sport allows this primarily due to strong player unions and our familiarization with ‘privacy rights’ here in the U.S. But contemplate how much testing most of the cycling athletes undergo and then attempt to correlate the positive testing rate with the mainstream popular sports (football, baseball, basketball). I’d like an honest insight into our expectations of the positive return rate if all other athletes were tested at the same rate (with the same disclosure policies and ‘conviction first’ mentality as the UCI). Throw in that the cycling regulatory body is separate from the ‘leagues’ that are the various races and then update your views on the ability of overly aggressive testing and prosecution and how it is affecting the publics view of the sport.

As previously stated, it doesn’t help at all when folks embrace the uninformed opinionating mentality that passes for journalism nowadays. I realize your blog does not purport to be actual journalism, but rather is just your quick views and takes. So for you and all your readers; I’d suggest revisiting your views on cycling as a sport and how athletics, performance enhancement, and testing & reporting vary from sport to sport.

If you must comment on the race, please take a half hour or so and record a stage of the TDF on the Versus Network – if you’re lucky enough to get it. Skip the beginning of the stage (novice watchers will get board with the first 3 hours of racing) and watch the last mountain ascent portion of the race. I highly recommend tomorrow’s stage as it is one of the most important of the tour.

Most likely these ramblings will pass by without contemplation or effect. Perhaps I can attempt to change your views or slightly expand your sporting knowledge; or in the best case sewing a small seed of interest that will cause you to further investigate a truly great sport.

jhawkjjm said...

future- you're making a big assumption that Callahan is a good coach that can recruit and develop the talent. Mangino still hasn't proven to be a good gameday coach though. We'll see what happens with a new offensive coordinator where not every other play is the WR screen.

futurelegendvinceyoung said...

I think Callahan finally gets what Nebraska football is all about and the amount of resources he has at his disposal. I was on campus last year and was amazed at how much had changed since I was there from 95-99. They have a whole new football facility that is one of the biggest in college football. The weight room I believe is the biggest in college. They have added seats to Memorial Stadium. I always thought it was funny that it took almost 3 years for the University to complete the renovations of the Union and only 6 months to complete putting in the new skyboxes and press boxes. Anything for football in Nebraska.

CycleDan said...

Jeff,
Thanks, you saved me the effort.
Professional cycling is the ONLY sport in the world where they really try to catch all dopers. Every single other pro sport league tests just for public appearances but don't really want to catch their star athletes.

If they seriously tested NFL players, the replacement players during the strike from years ago would constitute the majority of the league.

It is an exciting tour. The leader, Danish rider Rasmussen, is not much of a time trialer and will lose time in the remaining 55 km stage on Saturday. However he seems his 2:30 lead should be enough to hold on especially true since he gained even more time on the 3rd through 5th place riders who are all very good time trialers.

American Levi Leipheimer is in 4th place right now but realistically, he has more chance of finishing 5th than 3rd and on the podium.

CycleDan said...

Until it hit the news that the host was retiring, I didn't even realize the Price is Right was still on the air. I probably haven't seen the show in 30+ years. Does anyone outside of elderly women watch the show anymore?

Drew Carey will do it for a year and then it will be cancelled. Maybe they can get Arsenio Hall to do it.

CycleDan said...

With the Red Sox playing Cleveland and the Yanks playing the Royals, things are good for Yankee fans. If the Yanks win, they pick up on either Clev in the wild card or the Sox in the division.

Yanks better be sweeping or winning 3 out of 4 now since they are in the soft stretch of their schedule. Once they start playing the other contenders next month, they better be close.

CycleDan said...

It turns out that there is a doping scandal now. A Kazakstan rider, Vinokorov, who was the big pre-race favorite was reported to have tested positive. He won two stages already but lost big chunks of time on other stages after crashes to be out of contention.

chitown italian said...

So basically a lot of you are saying you watch the Price is Right? I am shocked.

The Legend of Vincent Tremblay said...

If I were Gary Bettman, among oh so many other things, I'd hold a press conference today, just to say:

"Indictments? Well, Ed Belfour did get in a barroom brawl this spring. Steroids? Sean Hill. That's all. Refs betting on hockey? No, it was football, and it was an assistant coach.

"Now explain to me again why we're the ones that get no respect?"

Melbye said...

Dude, I am disappointed in your eval of Santana. He had probably his worst start of the year yesterday, however his start before that was nothing "un-Santana" like. He gave up 3 runs over 8 innings while walking one and striking out 7 and Twins lost 3-2...leaving 743 men on base. Just revert back to what you said about a week ago: He is STILL the best pitcher in baseball.

Someone offer up a more dominant pitcher right now?

Sean (Pittsburgh) said...

Drew Carey is too funny for the Price Is Right!

Polamalu is the highest paid Steeler ever.

Kevin said...

The Red Sox beat the Indians in what is quickly becoming a "must-win" series for Boston, given New York's surge.

Why do you always make these ridiculous statements? The Sox are playing in the middle of July with a 7.5 game lead. How the hell is that "must-win"?

Kover said...

Cycledan and Jeff. Not such good timing for the defense of cycling when Vino got nabbed this very day for his time trial win. (Wonder what test results for his stage win yesterday looked like?) Whether or not cycling is more active than any sport out there, after the Landis affair and then this Vinokurov business, how can you blame fans for assuming that any amazing performance they witness is tainted by illegal methods? Moreover, don't you think you're being a little naive by assuming that not catching the athletes equates to the athletes being innocent? Half of the horror when BALCO hit mainstream sports was that they were all using drugs the tests couldn't detect. I can't imagine cycling is any different, if not worse. In the meantime, you're right, the Rasmussen thing does not prove him guilty. But it's decidedly fishy when a rider misses the maximum number of tests he can miss without being penalized--he's operating within the furthest margin of the rules. Moreover, there's a definite advantage to out-of-season doping when it comes to building endurance and recovery from intense training. Rasmussen deserves to be under suspcion--his actions are the very definition of suspicious.

Erik said...

The fact that Donaghy's over-under tendancy is now known in no way "completely debunks" any Suns-Spurs influence.

Can you chew gum and walk at the same time, Dan? Can you chew gum and walk in the same sports season?

Come on, this is not a difficult concept. Over-under considerations have zero relation to the possibility of calling another game differently.

rafael said...

Uber-Late comment:
Was at the Reds game last night. Went through the first 9 innings in just over 2 hours. Awesome to see a pitching duel in Cincy...it's a bit of a rare thing.
Then i got overruled when 3 out of the 4 ppl in my party wanted to leave after 11 innings. bah