South Carolina x 2: Regular readers know that I'm a sucker for repeat champs -- it's a common prediction for me at the start of a season or playoffs, and when it actually happens, it only serves to reinforce my bias.
And so congrats to South Carolina, which re-tooled its pitching staff after winning its first college baseball championship a year ago to win another this year, an umpteen-game CWS winning streak.
(Do I wish it didn't come at the expense of Florida? Sure. Then again, I think most fans would rather lose in the championship game than not make the championship game at all.)
Three things to think about today:
*There's going to be an NBA lockout. No, it will not impact the sport in the long-term, aside from more financial stability for the owners. That the sport has never been better only means the owners have a more stable base from which to squeeze the players.
The avid fans will come back -- they always do. The casual fans will tune in for the playoffs just like they did this spring -- particularly if the Heat make it to the Finals. (Put it this way: A long lockout would have less of an impact on fan interest in the NBA Playoffs than if the Heat got knocked out of the playoffs in the conference semifinals, and we ended up with a Spurs-Magic Finals.)
I am not rooting for a lockout -- I am as eager to get the new season going as anyone. However, if I was David Stern and I wanted serious financial concessions from the players, I wouldn't worry about an entirely theoretical short-term hit to the game's popularity -- it's a myth.
*Cliff Lee is unstoppable: That's three straight complete-game shut-outs, last night's coming against the vaunted Boston lineup. Lee is 5-0 in June with an ERA this month that is so small that it barely registers. And, as many folks have pointed out, despite his streak, he remains just the third-best pitcher on the Phillies this season. Amazing.
*Looking for a fun read today? Try this oral history of "Major League" from this week's SI, the "Where Are They Now?" issue.
Enjoy the day. Quickish will be on top of everything big (along with a few serendipitous goodies), as usual. Pop by!