Friday, October 21, 2011

Happy 10th Anniversary, PTI

PTI -- celebrating its 10th anniversary on Saturday -- is the best TV show in the history of sports television. Period. The end.

(Here's what I said last year on the 9th anniversary.)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

10/21 (Weekend Watch) Quickie

First, a happy 10th anniversary to PTI, the best show in the history of sports television.

Rangers tie up World Series: After a day of glowing reviews for Tony La Russa's managerial prowess, it was only natural that he out-think himself into blowing the 9th-inning lead for the Cards.

NBA: The mediation between the players and owners imploded. It's not that I think the season will be cancelled; I do think that it's unlikely it will get started until January 2012. You're totally allowed to ignore the moment-to-moment coverage until there is a resolution.

CFB Preview: The Game of the Week is Wisconsin at Michigan State. I predict the Badgers win by 30. Can we please insert them into the discussion with Oklahoma as the Best Team Not Alabama-LSU Winner?

*Other games of note: Auburn at LSU, with LSU missing the Honey Badger and their killer of an RB, Ware. If Auburn didn't look so horrible last week beating Florida, I might give Auburn a chance here. But it won't be close.

*Upset Special: Well, Clemson is due for their mid-season implosion, aren't they? (Last week was just foreshadowing.) I'd love to have the guts to pick Washington over Stanford, but I'm firmly on the Luck bandwagon. Kansas State losing at Kansas would be hilarious.

My Favorite NFL Storylines:
*Tebow: Tebow, Tebow, Tebow. You know you're following it.
*Carson Palmer in Oakland: Good thing the Chiefs are terrible.
*Must-Win for... Atlanta in Detroit? Jets at home vs. Chargers?
*Laughable mismatch: Packers at Vikings
*Cam Newton Watch: Home vs. Redskins
*Suck for Luck Update: Easy loss for the Colts at N.O. And the biggest reason I think Tebow will have a great game vs. Miami is that the Dolphins are in full-on tank mode, especially against a team that would potentially be a "Suck for Luck" contender with a loss in Miami.

Business: The NFL is launching a VC fund. I got up to stretch my legs a bit with a brief analysis about it for Check it out here.

Have a great weekend. Great stuff all day today (and all weekend long) at Quickish.

-- D.S.

10/20 (La Russa) Quickie

So the dominant storyline this morning is that Tony La Russa's managing moves were on full display last night in the Cards' taut Game 1 win over the Rangers. (The flip side, of course, is that La Russa didn't simply do clever things, but he out-managed Ron Washington.)

To the extent that the MLB manager has substantial power over a game's result -- and, at the margins, they most certainly do -- La Russa has put on a clinic this month. When he goes into the Hall of Fame, this will be his defining display.

Theo to the Cubs is nearly done: And he's apparently taking Quickie favorite Jed Hoyer with him.

LSU going to be missing Mathieu and Ware on Saturday: If this was the Alabama game, LSU would be screwed. Against largely hapless Auburn, they'll be fine.

CBB Coaches' Top 25: UNC is No. 1, obviously. Most notable for me: Belmont -- widely considered a Cinderella favorite in the Butler mold -- didn't get a single vote for any coach, not even for the No. 25 pity slot.

Tebow mania: Whether you like it or not (and I'd argue you should like it), it is going to be THE storyline on Sunday. Really good piece on Tebow from the cover of ESPN Mag. (And I'm pretty critical of most Tebow coverage; Keown really did a good job here.)

- D.S.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

10/19 (Game 1) Quickie

*Cardinals in 7: All signs point to the Rangers winning the World Series -- that lineup! that bullpen! And yet, all signs have pointed to the Cardinals facing oblivion for months, and that hasn't stopped them from advancing. The irony is that "This Time It Counts" will actually... count.

*Raiders trade for Carson Palmer: If Palmer is healthy? OK, maybe this works out for Oakland. I give them credit for trying to win now, with the playoffs in sight, rather than simply folding up. That said: The Bengals pulled in a haul -- one 1st-round pick, possibly two? Bravo, Mike Brown.

*Suck for Luck update: Or should that be "Luck's Run Out?" I read this item yesterday that Team Luck is more sophisticated and aggressive than even Team Eli, and you remember how that went on draft day. (Actually, a whole lot of griping by the media about the Mannings, quickly forgotten, particularly when Eli led the Giants to a Super Bowl title.)

Here's the upshot: If you think that just because your team tanks 0-16, you're definitely going to secure Andrew Luck, you're making a tenuous assumption. There's no reason that the Lucks won't pick their franchise and demand a draft-day trade to that franchise.

*Vikings bench McNabb, start Ponder: By all accounts, Ponder isn't ready. But McNabb has been terrible, and the Vikings might as well figure out whether the high draft pick they spent on Ponder last year is worth it. I'm all for giving the rookie some experience.

*NBA Lockout: I follow a lot of people on Twitter for Quickish, and nothing has been more wince-inducing than the coverage from the cadre of NBA reporters staking out the mediation between the owners and players. That is one bored, pathetic bunch.

*LeBron is No. 1 on ESPN's Top 400 ranking of NBA players: As he should be. (That doesn't mean that we all can't feverishly root against him.)

Lots of great stuff at Quickish. If you missed yesterday, roll on by this morning to catch up fast. Otherwise, pop by throughout the day to keep up with the best takes on the biggest topics.

-- D.S.

Monday, October 17, 2011

10/17 (Harbaugh vs. Schwartz) Quickie

NFL Week 6: The story, of course, is the Harbaugh-Schwartz handshake smackdown after the 49ers shocked the Lions in Detroit.

Here's where I net out
: Jim Harbaugh WAS over-enthusiastic, and he sure as hell earned the right to be. I don't buy that there's a handshake "protocol" -- Jim Schwartz (no stranger to what some might call "showing up" opposing teams and coaches from his sidelines) was just sore that he lost; he is entirely entitled to be a bit pissy. But in that scenario, Schwartz has got to keep his cool and not make it into a bigger deal.

If we're in the fault-assignment business, I'd give more -- way more, actually -- to Schwartz than Harbaugh. But the larger point is this: Is there even a problem here? Oh, the prudes will have a field day -- either griping about Harbaugh's enthusiasm or Schwartz's response. The fact is that it's amazing that both coaches reacted the way they did. It's human and it's endearing.

Answers to questions you didn't ask:
*Did the Eagles turn around their season?
*Is it possible the Vikings are even worse than the Colts?
*What will be the dominant NFL story of the week?
Easy: Tim Tebow.

Cardinals win the NL pennant
: The most improbable baseball pennant-winner of all time? A case could be made for the 2008 Rays, sheerly on economics, but circumstantially, these Cards are right up there. What an easy team to root for in the World Series against Texas.

BCS: As expected, it's LSU-Alabama at 1-2 -- for now. They'll play each other and one will seemingly secure a spot in the national-title game. Interestingly, Oklahoma-Oklahoma State could be a play-in game, too.

There's a lot of talk today about the logjam of quality unbeatens outside of that four, including Wisconsin, Stanford and Boise State. First, let's let the season play itself out; more often than not, these things take care of themselves in unpredictable ways.

But I can't put to fine a point on it: The quickest path to imploding the BCS isn't 4 or 5 unbeaten teams. It's a 1-loss SEC champ being left out of the national title game.

RIP Dan Wheldon: As a dad of two young kids, I couldn't stop thinking about Wheldon last night. What a sad story. And good man.

-- D.S.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

10/16 (Sunday) Quickie

*Last night, I was so miffed by Florida's performance against Auburn that I wrote a 2,000-word post all about it. I'm not going to publish it, but it was nominally cathartic. The gist was that in 11 years as a Florida fan, last night was the least enjoyable game I have watched, and I mostly blame that on offensive coordinator Charlie Weis. You don't want to read the rest.

*CFB: Apparently, Oklahoma is going to be No. 1 when the first BCS rankings come out tomorrow. Unclear how Oklahoma jumped Alabama and LSU from last week's projections, given that Oklahoma beat a terrible Kansas team and Alabama and LSU beat comparatively better SEC teams. But no matter: Does anyone really think that if/when Oklahoma plays the Alabama/LSU winner, the SEC champ won't throttle the Sooners?

*MLB: Congrats to Rangers fans on a second straight AL pennant and second straight trip to the World Series. Texas will be favored over either the Brewers or Cardinals. Manager Ron Washington might produce head-scratching moments and the starting pitching might be impressively "just OK," but there's no denying the combination of the power of the lineup and the power of the bullpen.

*NFL: All I know is that the six hours I spend in front of the Red Zone Channel every Sunday afternoon has redefined my relationship with pro football. I don't even care who is playing, because the whole experience is just so awesome.

Enjoy the day, everyone.

-- D.S.