Tuesday, October 30, 2012

10/30 (Sandy) Quickie

Lost power, but it came back on. So there's that! Meanwhile, the photos from NYC -- especially from the Subway system -- are kind of staggering. Hope everyone in Sandy territory is doing OK...

*MLB: Not many people were paying attention, but the Giants are one of the most interesting World Series champs of the past 25 years (and longtime Quickie readers know that two titles in three years qualifies you for "micro-dynasty" status, although in this case, the lineups were very different). The Giants' title is less about "can other teams replicate it?" than it shows how hard it is to find the right formula (which is -- by the way -- why you don't punt on your big chances, like the Nats did.)

*Hot Stove: Who signs Josh Hamilton and how much do they pay him? There are enough questions that he won't get the number he wants (and possibly won't get the length of contract he wants), but it'll still be a big number. It is a lot of risk, and I'd certainly make him include a clause hedging risk around his addiction issues (including his tobacco addiction issues that seemingly sent him into a tailspin at the end of this past season, when he inexplicably decided to stop dipping mid-season).

*NFL: 49ers crush Cards. If Alex Smith is going to be that effective, install San Francisco as one of the Top 3 teams to beat in the NFL (of course, the Giants are also in that mix, and the Niners can't seem to solve New York).

*NFL: Eagles won't bench Vick. (Yet. The key word in that news is "yet.")

*NBA: The season opens tonight with a terrific Heat-Celtics match-up that centers around Ray Allen against his old teammates, and there is no love lost. Otherwise, the NBA regular season assumes its position as the least-relevant regular season in major pro sports.

In any given season, only a handful of teams have a real chance of winning a championship. This year is leaner than ever: Heat. Lakers. That's it.

(Do you really think the Spurs can beat the Heat? Do you really think the Celtics can beat the Heat? Do you really think the Thunder can beat the Heat? Hell: I don't think the Lakers can beat the Heat -- and they might not even be able to beat the Spurs or Thunder.)

And that's pretty much the story: The Heat have entered their moment. Everyone else is playing for second place, with the most notable storyline being whether the Lakers will win the West (their ceiling) or fall short (which is nothing less than failure).

But the league includes a lot more fans -- like me with my beleaguered Wizards -- where all you want to see is "Improvement." The Wizards have finally turned a corner (well, aside from the inevitable injuries to its top 2 stars) and will be better, if not quite good.

Let's go back to another Quickie staple: There is no shame in having your season be "made" by getting as far as the conference finals or conference semis or simply getting to the playoffs. As long as your team isn't winning a title -- and let's face it: unless you're a Heat fan, your team isn't -- you might as well maintain (managed) expectations commensurate with that.

Enjoy the new NBA season, everyone!

-- D.S.

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