Saturday, May 05, 2012

05/05 (Very) Quickie

Annual Derby pick, based on my favorite name: Daddy Nose Best (or Daddy Long Legs), with Creative Cause a more likely winner.

Last night's MVP: Pam McGee, JaVale's mom.

Quote of the last 24 hours: "I am coming back. Write it down in big letters. I'm not going out like this." (Mariano Rivera)

I still think the Bulls can win the series with Philly, even if they're now down 2-1. But what's the point? So they can get drilled in the East semis?

I hate the Celtics but I love big games from the ageless KG.

Heard around our house this morning: "Let's! Go! Caps!"

RIP MCA: Got more hits than Sadaharu Oh.

Your weekend longread: "The Kid Who Wasn't There" by's Wright Thompson.

Catch up with the best of Quickish this week -- just go here and scroll down.

-- D.S.

Friday, May 04, 2012

05/04 (Mariano Rivera) Quickie

There is not a more universally respected baseball player -- possibly not a more universally respected athlete, period -- than Mariano Rivera.

That's my biggest takeaway from the overnight reaction to the news his season (and possibly his career) is over, after a freak knee injury shagging BP flies in centerfield, Rivera's favorite ritual.

(Great stream of reactions to the Rivera news over at Quickish -- check it out here.)

When we look back on the generation of baseball that started with the post-strike Yankees dynasty and lasted until, say, the start of Bryce Harper's career, it will be defined by no player as much as Rivera.

Not Jeter. Not Bonds. Not Clemens. PED scandal? Maybe. "Moneyball?" Partially. Big-spending behemoths? A bit.

But all those things evoke mixed reactions. Not Rivera. There is "Enter Sandman." There is No. 42. There is that cutter. There is yet another save. There is postseason brilliance.

There is universal respect and admiration for Mariano Rivera, the finest practitioner of pitching a baseball as we have seen in generations -- one of the greatest players of all time.

Here's to his recovery and an ending to his career befitting his legendary status.

-- D.S.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

05/02 (RIP Seau) Quickie

The death of the all-time great NFL linebacker Junior Seau is a tragedy. Did his suicide have something to do with his playing career? Let me step around that:

The fact that it is a topic that is immediately coming up -- whether or not the evidence ends up bearing that out -- is further confirmation that the link between football and brain trauma is both mainstream and entirely intertwined.

The idea remains: If there was a test for CTE or other brain trauma linked to football that could happen pre-mortem, I think tackle football would be over beyond anything but for a lunatic fringe.

The idea remains: Even with the little we know now about the link between brain trauma and football, you would have to be insane to let your child play organized tackle football, at any age.

The idea remains: As powerful as the NFL is -- and it is as close to all-powerful as we get in sports -- I do not believe that in 30 years it will exist in the form that it is in now.


*I found the Saints' bounty program abhorrent, yet I think that giving Vilma a year's suspension -- same as the head coach -- is overly severe. If Vilma gets a year, Sean Payton should get five.

*As I get older, I come to appreciate Kobe's singular moments of brilliance so much more. Appreciate him, folks, because when he's gone, it's hard to see who will replace him. (Durant? Maybe, but Durant -- while relentless -- is too nice. Kobe's level of aggressive obsessiveness is the last of a bygone era.)

*The Bulls are cooked. Could be this round, could be next round. The fact is that they're done, and that even getting out of this Philly series should be viewed as overachieving.

*The Caps offer free admission to their a.m. skate-arounds, and I took my 3-year-old, who is obsessed with hockey, to practice today. He went bonkers. It was an awesome moment.

-- D.S.

Monday, April 30, 2012

04/30 (Clippers!) Quickie

My goodness: That Clippers comeback last night -- a 28-3 run to finish the game to come back from down 24 with 9:13 to play in the game. Watch highlights from the run here.

It's way too early to say it was a back-breaker for the Grizzlies. They lost home-court advantage, sure, but there's a better case it will be ultra-motivating than it will be ultra-deflating.

(Put it this way: Of the first round's 8 teams that lost in Game 1, I feel most comfortable with the Grizzlies' chances of coming back, even if they suffered the most stunning loss.)

Celtics lose Game 1 in Atlanta, and the headline is that Rondo got tossed and could miss Game 2 -- again, I'm not sure if an 0-2 hole after the first two road games is so problematic for Boston.

Is Andrew Bynum the best center in the NBA? He's certainly the best center in the playoffs. It would be fascinating to see him as the centerpiece of a team, rather than the "next-best guy behind Kobe."

The new Brooklyn Nets' look was revealed this morning, and if there is a single defining characteristic, it is the near-total emphasis on "Brooklyn," rather than "Nets." They realize that's where the cachet is.

My favorite video today: Batting Stance Guy on Bryce Harper:

Today's must-watch/must-follow sports event: Man City vs. Man U.

-- D.S.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

04/29 (Sunday) Quickie

That Derrick Rose injury is awful -- for him, for Bulls fans, for all fans. I worry about a complete, back-to-the-way-he-was recovery, but I am 100% rooting for it (as everyone is... apparently, except that Nike shoe designer who tweeted out a mocking message to Rose about wearing adidas).

This Kevin Durant game-winning floater to lead the Thunder over the Mavs in Game 1 defines "shooter's touch."

It's hard to tell whether the Heat are great or the Knicks just that over-matched. Let's table that until the Heat get past the Celtics or Bulls (even without Rose).

Bryce Harper's debut: Wow. The laser double? The equally laser throw from the outfield? The heady sac fly? His innate unfazedness about the whole thing? Say this for his being groomed for the Majors since you were 11 or 12 -- at 19, he looks entirely comfortable there.

(The best part was the fan behind home plate who mooned the camera just as Harper was slapping his first MLB hit -- TV producers need to relax and just show it. It's just a tusch, not full-frontal.)

Meanwhile: Matt Kemp. Whew. 11 HRs in April... with a day or two left.

NFL Draft: My favorite pick of the final day was the Pats (of course) taking Ohio State's Nate Ebner, a walk-on special-teams player who was on exactly zero NFL draftnik radars. (Anything that makes the draftniks look silly -- and when Belichick drafts someone they've never heard of, they look silly -- is fine with me, and you get the sense Belichick did it, in part, to tweak the so-called draft "experts.")

Lamest pick of the draft: How could the Redskins pull off making the draft's best pick -- RG3 -- and its worst one, too? The Redskins using a 4th-round pick to take Michigan State QB Kirk Cousins. How dumb was this? Let's count the ways: (1) They already drafted RG3 in the 1st; (2) it causes unnecessary "controversy" distractions; (3) they are so loaded everywhere else they can't find talent they wanted more than an extraneous rookie QB? For all those who mocked the Jaguars for taking a punter in the 3rd round or the Patriots for taking a 6th-round Illinois safety in the 2nd round, this is arguably worse.

NHL: After the exhausting series against the Bruins, you could kind of see the Caps getting drummed out of Game 1 vs. the Rangers coming -- the thing is far from over, but it was an end to the "one-goal-away" momentum that the Caps had held throughout the first round, even in losses.

Congrats to Chandler Harnish, who joins the exclusive fraternity of "Mr. Irrelevant."

Great Sunday read: The New York Times profile of Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau. It's awkward timing with the Rose injury, but Thibs' brilliance will be even more on display as Chicago tries to navigate the rest of the playoffs without Rose.

On the radar today: Flyers-Devils, Lakers-Nuggets, Bryce Harper's at-bats.

-- D.S.