Merry Christmas, everyone. I am on my Nth viewing of "A Christmas Story"...
It's your average slow Christmas morning, but there are a couple of hot-button issues on the table:
(1) Yankees spend big, the 2nd-day revisionism: Was the big spend THAT bad? In fact, was it GOOD for baseball? It depends on how you see the Yankees. Do they say:
"WE are the Yankees." Or do they say:
"We are the YANKEES."
The former implies they are spending for spending's sake; the latter implies, as team prez Randy Levine argued yesterday, that the health of the Yankees is directly tied to the health of baseball. And that spending to make them a contender is good for all of baseball.
He's got a point: The Yankees draw a crowd on the road, boosting other teams' attendance. They drive TV ratings. They actually pay other teams to spend prolifically. Do the Brewers really want a salary cap when they earn so much money directly from the Yankees' spending?
And though the Yankees make a ton of money -- they spend it on the team. Not always wisely, but they spend it on putting out a competitive product. Because it's in the best interests of baseball. Not to CURB the Yankees' spending, but to embrace it.
And I say that as someone who hates the Yankees.
Staying in New York: We can all agree that Brett Favre's latest "Am I retiring or aren't I?" crap is wearying as ever. Let's hope that this season is his last -- although those of us who are Favre-haters are enjoying his INT-fueled implosion to end the season.
But even if he does retire this season, do you actually think that would be it? Or would he take a season (or even half a season) off, then make some sort of glorified "return" to the NFL? After all, he is still a "Pro Bowler" (cough...laughter...cough...)
(3) Notre Dame wins a bowl game...finally! And they won big. And they did it with Charlie Weis in the coaching box calling plays, rather than on the sidelines. And here's what we learned: Charlie Weis should stay up in the coaching box -- not as a head coach, but in his best role...as an offensive coordinator. Unfortunately, last night's win will silence the doubters... at least until he returns to the sidelines and his ill-fitting role as college head coach. (ND is very lucky they were playing Hawaii, with that porous defense.)
(4) Christmas Day in the NBA, as I have said all week, is the NBA's biggest day of the year. They own sports on TV today. And they loaded it up with an incredible slate of games: Chris Paul vs. Dwight Howard; Shaq, Amare and Nash vs. Duncan, Parker and the Spurs; Lakers-Celtics (of course... even a casual NBA fan will likely tune in for that one, especially given the Celtics' insane winning streak); and ending with Cavs-Wiz, where LeBron Worship will reach new levels when the entire arena throws chalk up in the air before the game, in the offputtingly messianic style that LeBron showcases before every game -- here's a prediction: FAIL.
(Oh: Anyone else see the irony of Steve Francis traded from the Rockets to the Grizzlies? I wonder how Stevie Franchise's career would have gone if he had just stayed with the Grizzlies when they originally drafted him?)