Saturday, February 19, 2011

02/19 (Very) Quickie

It's not hard to get excited for the prospects of Blake Griffin in tonight's dunk contest...

Carmelo Update: The Nets and Nuggets have a deal put together, pending Carmelo's approval of an extension with the Nets, which he has given no indication of wanting.

Meanwhile, the Knicks appear to have a deal that the Nuggets will take -- it's better than nothing -- and Carmelo obviously wants to play in NYC.

So the question is: Will the Nuggets demand even more from the Knicks and/or force Carmelo to decide whether he wants to get paid, but play for the Nets.

(I stick with this: Why do the Nets want a player -- a star player, no less -- who doesn't want to play for them? Even if he relents, the 3-year countdown until he leaves is immediately on.)

Last night, Justin Bieber may have been the focus of attention (and, naturally, earning celeb-game MVP, given that voting was done by fans via text), but Secretary of Education Arne Duncan had the best game, doing a bit of everything and out-playing even the NBA alums.

In the Rookie-Soph game, John Wall had the best game, dishing a record 22 assists, including a ridiculous bounce-pass alley-oop to Blake Griffin. (As a huge Wall fan, it was bittersweet: He looked so happy out there; it's a shame his regular team stinks.)

MLB: Miguel Cabrera. This morning, the Tigers are finally saying the right things about Miguel Cabrera -- namely, that's he's an alcoholic who needs help, potentially a lot of help. Let's hope they follow through. It's not just in the best interests of the player; it's in the best long-term interests of the team.

CBB BracketBusters: I'm a big fan of these games, if only because it is one of your best chances to watch potential NCAA spoilers against solid competition -- other potential NCAA spoilers. As always, don't read TOO much into any one win, but you can at least say "Yes, I saw them play this season."

Ads: Nike's big flashy "Black Mamba" ad/"film" released this morning. Check it out here, if you're curious.

Enjoy your day. Give Quickish a pop-in throughout the day to keep up.

-- D.S.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

02/17 Quickie: Pujols, Lakers, Vick, Leo, More

First, a final "Jerry! HEL-LO!" for Len Lesser, who played "Uncle Leo" on Seinfeld and passed away yesterday.

Albert Pujols and Cards don't come to a deal: This a.m., Pujols said all the right things, most importantly "want to be a Cardinal for life." However! The Cards blew it by not offering him what he deserves before we got to this point.

And now the Cubs or Nationals or any number of other teams are going to have a chance to either offer him 10Y/$300M -- or force the Cards into paying it to match (which I would hope they would do.)

Lakers stunned by Cavs: I'm sticking to my general notion that among NBA contenders -- and the Lakers still qualify -- any individual win or loss in the regular season is meaningless, as it relates to the Playoffs. The Lakers are still the team to beat.

Mike Vick bails on Oprah: What a mistake. First, you don't kiss off Oprah. Second, it makes him look like he is entirely satisfied with his rehabilitation, if rumors are to be believed that the show was going to force him to meet face-to-face with people who adopted his dogs.

Here's where Vick missed it: Oprah wasn't going to "James Frey" him. The "redemption" narrative HAS to include Vick facing his dogs and facing the people who saved those dogs. He could have continued to insist how sorry he was, how bad he feels -- on the biggest stage possible. Instead, he looks petty -- even indignant. That's not the image he wants to project.

(What Team Vick -- including the Eagles -- underestimates is that even if the Oprah thing went horribly, it would have been forgotten the first week Vick got on the field for the Eagles and led them to a win with his restored football career.)

Watson wins "Jeopardy": I'm with Ken Jennings (and "The Simpsons") -- I welcome our new robot overlords. The whole thing is a triumph of science (which, by necessity, is a triumph of humanity). It's an incredible achievement.

The Auburn tree massacre: The jokes about this aren't funny. It's pretty sick, actually. Just hoping that Auburn fans recognize this is the work of one lone Bama fan nutjob and not some sort of Tide-wide initiative. (UPDATE: An arrest has been made. The guy arrested sounds like a bit of a loon.)

SI's Grant Wahl is running for the President of FIFA -- for real! It's a worthy cause to support.

-- D.S.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

02/16 Quickie: Pujols, Heat, More

I'm on a hot streak with my birthdays.

Last year, I spent my birthday on an airplane traveling across the country to see a billionaire about a really interesting company I wanted to start.

That didn't work out -- which was fine -- but the past year has seen me found, build and launch a new company, the result of which is that I'm spending my birthday thinking about Albert Pujols.

(It also happens to be that my 2-year-old younger son had to stay home sick from daycare today, so I'm spending my birthday operating Quickish and hanging out with him -- I'll take it.)

But back to Pujols: If I'm Albert, it's not unreasonable that I want to be paid like the best baseball player in the world -- and one of the Top 20 (Top 10?) players of all time. I love St. Louis and want to spend my career there, but if the gap between the Cards and the market is big (and it probably will be, both in duration and average annual pay), I have to explore it.

And if I am the Cardinals?

I pay him.

I offer him the $30M a year for the next 8 years -- their previous offer was 7 years, for a lot less than $30 a year. If he wants 10, I think it's reasonable to ask that he take a bit of a haircut on those last two years.

I do it because Pujols IS my franchise. I do it because he is one of the greatest baseball players of all time, and I want that as part of my team. (I'll hire a bunch of savvy marketers to ensure that we are making it clear to everyone that he is a living legend, to wring every last sales dollar from him -- Pujols has to be comfortable with that. He is a Vegas show. I'm creating the Albert Pujols Channel on YouTube and turning him into a single-handed must-see phenomenon.)

But I do whatever I need to do to keep him. That's easy to say: It's not my money. (As a business owner, I'm totally empathetic to keeping an eye on the P&L statement.) But this isn't Ryan Howard or Mark Teixeira or Prince Fielder.

This is Albert Freaking Pujols -- the greatest living baseball player. (Ironic, given that Stan Musial got the Presidential Medal of Freedom yesterday.) Pujols is superlative in ways that rarely come along in sports, let alone baseball. And you pay for that. You have to.


Lance Armstrong retires: Speaking of one of the greatest athletes in history. His career will always have a cloud over it, but he is the rare athlete who has maintained a defiance, taken plenty of tests and stayed out of trouble. He's untouchable. That by itself is all-time.

Do you believe Bernie Madoff when he says the Mets owners didn't know about his Ponzi scheme? Why would you?

Hickory wins Westminster, becoming the first Scottish Deerhound to win the title: Chalk one up for novelty!

Must-see video: D-Wade to LeBron on a 90-foot alley-oop.

CBB: George Mason crushes VCU. Is GMU, winners of 12 in a row, prepping for a Cinderella run a la 2006?

More later. Please check out Quickish. Have a great day. I have children's educational TV programming to tee up on the DVR...

--- D.S.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

02/15 Quickie: Pujols, Swimsuit, More

One more day until Albert Pujols' world is turned upside-down: I'm sure he is very interested to see what he might command on the open market, but I don't think he is at all prepared for the shit show he will deal with for the next six months.

Tony LaRussa is lining up the straw men by suggesting the union wants Pujols to leave and get the maximum dollars; LaRussa is just deflecting attention from Albert.

Meanwhile, a nice moment for Cardinals fans as Stan Musial is awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom -- a nice moment for ALL fans as Bill Russell earns the same.

MLB Spring Training: Will CC Sabathia opt out? Here's a really good argument why it's inevitable.

Kansas State throttles Kansas: Well, didn't see THAT one coming. K-State may yet make the Tournament field, but it's unlikely they get past the first weekend.

SI Swimsuit: I don't judge anyone if they're really into it, but it was a lot more meaningful to me when I was 14 than now. It is the biggest day of cognitive dissonance of the year at SI offices (except to the extent that they all know (a) it pays their mortgages, and (b) about 100x the number of people visit the site today than typical days).

OJ Simpson beaten up in prison? Yikes. I am convinced that for a good proportion of the population, crimes are actively not committed for no other reason -- and it's a good one -- that you simply wouldn't survive in prison.

Westminster Dog Show: Not for me, but Jonah Keri is doing great work during the broadcasts at

Jeopardy's Jennings vs. IBM's Watson: Now THIS I can get into. I'm sort of rooting for Watson. Sorry.

Please give Quickish a visit today -- and tell friends!

-- D.S.

Monday, February 14, 2011

02/14: Love, Dogs, Pujols, Heat, More

First of all, happy valentine's day to everyone. As is the annual tradition here, let's talk about love.

*I'm not a big dog person (allergies), but "Best In Show" is one of my favorite movies of all time -- if you consider "dog show" as part of the universe of "sport," "Best In Show" is arguably the greatest sports movie of all time.

And so the Westminster Dog Show -- today and tomorrow -- is amazing if only for its opportunity to flex your favorite "Best In Show" quotes, which we'll try to do all day on Quickish today.

*If you're a Cardinals fan -- or just a baseball fan -- you love Albert Pujols. Which makes this week's deadline for a deal (which may or may not have EVER had a chance, short of the Cards paying the $300M over 10 years Pujols wants... and probably deserves) all the more difficult.

Cards fans are going to have to go through an even greater cognitive dissonance than Cavs fans, who HAD to have known, down deep, LeBron was bolting. But Cards fans are a chipper, earnest group -- the betrayal will be all the more severe, especially when he goes to the Cubs, who should have no problem with giving him the $300M he wants.

My biggest problem with all this is the notion that Pujols thinks he can avoid six months -- SIX MONTHS -- of daily questions about this, simply because he insists he won't talk about it. That won't keep people from asking about it or talking about it.

(Here's the bright side, Cards fans: Maybe he gets SO sick of it that he decides to sign, just to silence the noise.)

*Celtics fans have to be loving the dominance over the Heat, who have shown no sign of being able to beat Boston this year -- which will extend into the playoffs. If Miami couldn't win yesterday, they sure won't do it in May. The good news for the Heat: The Celtics probably have one year after this before age gets them, so that still leaves three years of the 5-year-plan to contend. Unless, of course, Dwight Howard goes to the Knicks or Lakers...

*Love the nostalgia for Ronaldo, who is retiring today, at his peak -- rather than his later years.

*South Carolina fans are loving it right now: An SEC East title, followed up by landing the nation's No. 1 prospect this morning -- Jadeveon Clowney. If RB Marcus Lattimore is the most punishing offensive force East of Andrew Luck, then Clowney has the chance to match him on the defensive side.

*Have you seen the video of Justin Bieber showing off his ringtone? It's Mike Gundy's "I'm a MAN!" rant. It's not love, but it actually made me like Bieber -- how can you not like a kid who knows the Gundy rant by heart?

There is so much on Quickish this morning, I can barely keep up with all of it -- some great reads, some amazing analysis. Please check it out -- and check back throughout the day.

Otherwise, happy valentine's day to you and yours. Despite the uncertainty in the NFL, it's a good day to remember what you love about sports.

-- D.S.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

02/13 (Very) Quickie

Don't forget to check out Quickish today: Already have a bunch of good things posted.

Wisconsin beats Ohio State: Yes, Wisco was favored, but it was the way they overwhelmed OSU after being down 15 -- and seemingly out. Their comeback was, based on Wisconsin's typical deliberateness, shocking and eye-opening. Can't help but file it away for March.

(I am not picking Ohio State to win the national title, although their Big Ten regular season title, Big Ten Tourney title and NCAA No. 1 seed seem virtually assured.)

Albert Pujols Watch: I have become increasingly frustrated with St. Louis mainstream media for seeming to abstain from the Pujols situation entirely. I'm not asking for Carmelo-style forced drama, but this is a huge story and they do their readers a disservice by not projecting the fans' interest (and, yes, anxiety).

Bernie Miklasz made up for all of it with his terrific column today. It was worth the wait. (Even if his premise is that this deadline on Wednesday is fake-ish.)

NFL Labor: Read this analysis. It is damning -- but, like most economics arguments, will have no practical implications or consequences on its own. It will, however, help you understand why the owners aren't going to give an inch. (And, given the combination of irrational economics and largely ignorant media, why should they?) This isn't about player salaries; this is about the larger structure of the NFL over the past decade or so.

Today: Heat-Celtics. As repeated here often, regular-season NBA offers few if any games of consequence. There are, however, a few that are entertaining. This should be one of them.

-- D.S.