Wednesday, May 04, 2011

05/04 (Heat, Whoa) Quickie

Here's a personal secret I keep:

Definitive pronouncements are the stock-and-trade of sports pundits -- all pundits, really. And I kind of hate that part of sports punditry -- the self-certainty -- particularly when backed up by nothing more than opinion or conjecture or bland qualitative evidence. These are the pundits you see self-assuredly saying "The Heat have no spine!" one day and "The Celtics are too old!" the next.

My operating philosophy has always been that in the face of new or more compelling evidence, not only will I change my mind -- but I am HAPPY to change my mind. I actually get more of an intellectual surge from being turned on to some new way of thinking about things that makes me see something differently than I do from being right, which is totally overrated -- and almost entirely meaningless in sports punditry.

Which brings us to the Heat and the Celtics.

Now, the Celtics might still win both games in Boston -- tie the series at 2-2, take back the momentum, put the Heat on their heels -- but that sure doesn't look like the case now.

What looks like the case now is that the Heat are younger, more athletic, more star-powered, faster, smarter, more hungry.

I thought they would need at least a year -- maybe more. It looks like my presumption was wrong.

I can dislike LeBron (although I like Wade) and dislike the Heat, yet still appreciate one of the most enjoyable events in sports: The Breakthrough, when potential transforms into reality.

Ideally, that comes after some struggle --it's an appealing narrative that goes back to Homer or even the origins of storytelling itself -- but maybe the Heat just condensed that struggle into nine months of more scrutiny than any team has faced in sports history.

It helps that I hate the Celtics, too -- that the Heat's breakthrough (again, presumptive) comes at the expense of Boston makes it more palatable. It makes it more dramatic, certainly, because the Celtics are the standard-bearer of championship toughness. The Heat surmounting that has always been the biggest storyline of the playoffs.

And now they are halfway there. Already.


Notes on a few other things:

*Francisco Liriano's no-hitter: That it was chock full of walks (and not many strikeouts) only makes it that much more interesting, doesn't it? It was certainly unexpected, given his (and the Twins') start to the season.

*Derrick Rose is NBA MVP: We can argue he was the best player on the most surprisingly successful team -- that LeBron and/or Chris Paul and/or Kobe and/or Dwight Howard were equally worthy. But I'm fine with Rose -- I enjoy the novelty that he is the youngest MVP in NBA history -- and found his acceptance speech homage to his mom to be particularly winning.

*Caps imploding, down 3-0 vs. Lightning: As a nominal Caps fan, beyond disappointing, particularly that they aren't even making it a series (the games are close, but not the series).

*Rashard Mendenhall: Let's distinguish between free speech -- a fundamental freedom, no matter how much you disagree with what is being spewed by someone -- and being stupid.

Keep up with Quickish all day
. Lots of smart reactions to the Heat-Celtics, Liriano, Caps and more, including recommendations to some great reads. Thanks for your support.

-- D.S.

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