Friday, October 07, 2011

10/07 (Yankees Lose) Quickie

Count me among those who think it's a good day for baseball -- and for almost all sports fans -- when the Yankees are bounced from the playoffs.

But there is one thing that I will always respect about the Yankees (and their fans), and it is George Steinbrenner's greatest legacy:

Anything less than a championship is a failure.

97 wins? Beating out the Red Sox for an AL East title? Even an AL pennant? Meaningless. The only thing that matters is a World Series ring.

I love that about the Yankees. It is one of the things that lured me into die-hard fandom of Florida football. Championship or bust.

One of the most important lessons of Moneyball is that any data-driven analysis bakes in that small sample sizes are dangerous. A five-game playoff series is largely a crapshoot, especially if the teams are almost entirely evenly matched.

A one-game playoff series -- like we had last night -- is an even bigger crapshoot. Guys like Kelly have a career-best night; guys like A-Rod have a terrible one.

The result is far more indelible: The Yankees' season is over, and it is a failure. God bless 'em for that -- and god bless the rest of us for reveling in it.


*Last night was a tasty appetizer, but what a main course today: Two win-or-go-home Game 5s to decide the National League finalists. Must-must-see.

*When the Brewers-D'backs game heads into the evening -- the start of Yom Kippur, the holiest night of the Jewish year -- should Ryan Braun, who has always embraced his status as the greatest active Jewish sports star, sit out?

When it comes to religious observance, I have always deferred to personal preference, so the answer is: He should do whatever he feels is right. If that means playing, I don't think anyone should begrudge him. He might feel a twinge of guilt; that's not a terrible outcome. His heart has to be in two places at once; that's never easy.

*CFB Weekend Preview: LSU might have a bit of trouble scoring on Florida, but they are going to blank the Gators' offense. Ultimately, all those three-and-outs by the Gators' offense are going to leave the defense weary enough that LSU just punishes them into a decisive win... Oklahoma is going to throttle Texas... Most intriguing game of the week: Auburn at Arkansas (Pick: Auburn)... Upset Special: Northwestern over Michigan.

*My Favorite NFL Week 5 Storylines:
-Game of the Week: Jets at Pats (Pats will cruise)
-NFC playoffs rematch GB @ ATL: Expect more of the same.
-No-longer-Dream-Team: Must-win for the Eagles in Buffalo.
-Cam Newton Watch: At home vs. Saints
-Suck for Luck: Can Colts, Vikings afford to win at home?

The real game of the week is the Lions hosting Monday Night Football. We'll get to that next week.

Enjoy the weekend everyone. Updates here both mornings, plus great recommendations and real-time analysis all weekend long at Quickish. Give it a try! (And tell friends!)

-- D.S.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

10/06 (RIP Steve Jobs) Quickie

Steve Jobs became the most iconic business leader of the last half-century, and he did it through an exacting commitment to design, user-experience, simplicity and self-belief.

The results were technologically, culturally and personally transformative: Apple. The Mac. Pixar. The iPod. The iPad. iTunes. And, what I would argue was his greatest achievement, the iPhone.

Jobs will be missed, but -- hopefully -- his influence lives on, both inside of Apple and to the delight and inspiration of everyone who uses the products he led to creation.

-- D.S.

Monday, October 03, 2011

10/03 (Wedding) Quickie

First before anything: Happy anniversary to Mrs. Quickie -- best 7 years of my life.

NFL at the quarter-turn: The Lions (sorry: the 4-0 Lions) are THE story. Period. And, in some amazing timing, they play on Monday Night Football next week.

The Quarter MVP is Aaron Rodgers, who had about as good of a game as a QB can have -- or has ever had -- yesterday in yet another Packers win.

The Quarter Rookie of the Year is Cam Newton. And not even his biggest fans would have predicted how well he would start his career. It's been better than that.

The Quarter Coach of the Year would be Jim Schwartz, but everyone had Detroit figured for SOME kind of breakthrough. But what about Mike Munchak in Tennessee?

Week 4 Notes: Bengals over Bills was a classic "Everything you thought you understood about the NFL this season is wrong" moment... The Eagles are a mess (and, as usual, it's so much more interesting than if they were dominating)... So which of the 0-4 teams are ready to really start tanking for Andrew Luck? Because they could all use him. (I feel like the Dolphins are readiest.)... I can't get too worked up about Victor Cruz; it FELT like a fumble, but reading through the rules, it wasn't... Worth repeating: The Lions came back from being 20+ points down to win for the second straight weekend. It's a wild ride.

MLB Playoffs: Verlander vs. Sabathia tonight in what should be the pivotal game in this ALDS series? Yes, please.... Even if the Cards end up being bounced by the Phillies, they'll always have that amazing comeback on previously uncomebackable Cliff Lee... While you were watching the other games, the Brewers have been dominating... Rays-Rangers has become a must-see toss-up.

CFB: Some rare clarity in college football this season -- the winner of LSU-Alabama (and it will be Alabama, decisively) will crush whoever the rest of the country wants to run through the messy BCS process. It could be Wisconsin or Oklahoma or Stanford or Boise State. The Alabama team I saw up close on Saturday night was not just talented, but vicious. Scott Van Pelt called it "relentless" and "ruthless" -- that was totally right. No one is stopping them.

Keep an eye on Quickish today -- lots of good stuff.

-- D.S.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

This WEek's BlogPoll Top 25 Ballot: LSU, Bama

The top 2 teams in the country are LSU and Alabama -- after watching Bama in person last night, I cannot fathom that any right-minded voter thinks that if they played head-to-head, Alabama wouldn't throttle Oklahoma or Wisconsin or anyone else outside of LSU, who Alabama will probably throttle anyway, en route to a national title.

The reality is that the national championship game for college football this season is Nov. 5, when LSU plays at Alabama. LSU gets their chance; everyone else is battling for the right to get crushed by Bama in the national title game. (Then again, we said the same thing this time last year, right up until Auburn derailed Bama. I just feel like Alabama is on a mission this year.)