Friday, May 18, 2012

05/18 (Friday) Quickie

*Let's not downplay D-Wade's mid-game sideline rant at coach Erik Spoelstra. That felt like a defining moment of the Heat falling short of a championship -- possibly falling short of even making the Eastern Conference Finals. (Chris Bosh: Heat MVP. Chew on that.)

*The Spurs are awesome, full stop. They have a superstar, regular stars, role players, luck, design, system, a Hall of Fame coach, a Hall of Fame GM. It is, like most championship teams, absolutely not a replicable model for other franchises. (Indiana, however....)

*SEC and Big 12 pair up for a bowl game to rival (or eclipse) the Rose Bowl on New Year's Day. Brilliant. Not as brilliant as the SEC forming its own billion-dollar 8-team playoff that doesn't include any other teams, but not bad given they don't seem willing to go that far. (The Big 12 doesn't need Florida State, but they should sign them up anyway.)

*Kerry Wood is retiring: His career was derailed with injuries, but he will always be remembered for the 20-K game, which Bill James once argued was the single-greatest pitching performance in baseball history. My old editor David Schoenfield made a compelling case that Wood's legacy is alerting teams to over-using young pitchers' arms, which has led to much better pitching (and much more hamstrung offense -- an unintended consequence, I'm sure).

*Preakness pick: the NYT's Joe Drape is picking Went The Day Well. The real questions are: (1) Will I'll Have Another pick up another leg of the Triple Crown? (No.) (2) Will Bodemeister finish what he started in the Derby and set up a rubber match at Belmont? (No.) (3) Then who will win? (Creative Cause, with Bodemeister to place and I'll Have Another to show.)

Have a great weekend. Plenty of great reads on Quickish today, with more coming this weekend. Check it out!

-- D.S.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

05/17 (Thunder) Quickie

Thunder d. Lakers: For all the offensive pyrotechnics of Durant and Westbrook and Harden, last night's comeback close-out felt like a defining moment for the Thunder.

(As for the Lakers' final shot? Kobe was supposed to get the ball, but MWP saw Blake open in the corner for an entirely reasonable shot. It was the right play to make -- but you can't disprove a negative, which is why Kobe's fans are howling this morning (the way Kobe was shooting at the end of the game, he had far less of a chance of making a contested shot as Blake had of making an uncontested one).

Celtics Take Game 3: I'm not a huge KG fan, but I am absolutely loving his renaissance as an elite talent in his late-30s.

LeBron/Heat/Bosh: Yes, it's harder for LeBron to play power forward than it is for him to play small forward on the perimeter. But it's not like he doesn't have the physique to pull it off -- he's like twice the size of Kevin Love. I'd love to see him go 20/20, but it sounds like he might not be up for the challenge.

NHL: Fantastic (arguably must-have) win for the Devils last night. Totally changes the feel of the series.

NFL: Hard to understand why the Saints aren't giving Drew Brees what he wants.

MLB: You know Pujols is having a tough season when every home run -- and he's now up to all of two of them -- is the lead MLB story of the night.

Preakness: I'll say Bodemeister wins the rematch with I'll Have Another, who won't even place.

Pop on over to Quickish to catch up on the best takes on all these stories, plus some really great other reads.

-- D.S.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

05/16 (LeBron) Quickie

Gabe turns 6 today. For those of you who have been around since the day he arrived in 2006 (announced in the Quickie, I believe), thank you.

He gets his presents tonight, but this morning we gave him his first gift -- a Cam Newton t-shirt jersey. Newton is his favorite player. He didn't even have it on before he did Cam's "Superman" move in celebration. I think it'll be impossible for me not to buy him a real Newton Panthers jersey this fall.

(He is also getting a half-dozen packs of various sport cards -- just in case you were wondering if analog sports fandom was dead. It's not -- turns out 6-year-olds are as fascinated by the facts and data on the back of a sports card as they have been for three generations.)


*Heat lose to the Pacers: Chris Bosh turns out to matter... a lot. But the story of the game was LeBron missing those free throws at the end, then standing around as Mario Chalmers took the would-be game-tying shot at the buzzer. I understand why Spoelstra would use LeBron as a decoy to get the cleanest shot possible, but it sure doesn't look good. If the Heat lose to the Pacers -- and at this point it's 50/50 (which is a lot more tenuous than it was this time yesterday) -- then at least they have the built-in excuse that Bosh wasn't playing, no different than the Bulls getting bounced without Rose.

*Spurs win, handily. It's their title to lose. Today's best read is a sneak peek of this week's SI, which has a great profile of Tim Duncan by Chris Ballard.

*Head over to Quickish for some really great reads about the biggest topics.

-- D.S.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

05/15 (Thunder) Quickie

Gabe turns 6 tomorrow (already?), and I realized too late that I should have pulled him out of kindergarten today to go to the Nats' 1:05 start (featuring Strasburg, no less). Bad parenting.

NBA: I'm not sure the Thunder are going to win the NBA title -- the Spurs are going to be a handful -- but I am sure that they are going to wallop the Lakers so badly it will end the Kobe Dynasty there.

Bosh out indefinitely: They don't need Bosh to beat the Pacers. They don't need Bosh to beat the Celtics (or Sixers). They need Bosh to beat the Spurs. So rest him until the Finals. (Bonus: If they fall short, his injury is a convenient excuse.)

NHL: So the Devils aren't as good as the Caps, is that what we're saying after last night? (Meanwhile, Dale Hunter was never going to stick around -- they'll be hard-pressed to find another coach who can get the team to the brink of the conference finals.)

MLB: Bryce Harper's first career HR. Unclear any player has had a more compelling first two weeks at the MLB level than Harper. (That said: With Kemp on the DL, the best show in the league remains, clearly, Josh Hamilton -- although Harper is a pretty close second.)

NFL: As someone trying to get back to fighting weight (via Weight Watchers, just like Charles Barkley!), I appreciate Donovan McNabb's effort to slim down and re-find his relevancy.

CFB: Would anyone miss Florida State in the ACC if they left for the Big 12? (Unclear why the Big 12 isn't galloping to sign FSU, which would bring the league Florida cachet. They might be nervous about getting crushed by the interloper -- as they should fear about Holgorsen's WVU.)

On my must-read list for the summer: Smart Football's upcoming book "The Essential Smart Football" -- Chris Brown is phenomenal, and he's self-publishing, so worth your support. Get info here.

Love that ESPN is re-upping the "30 for 30" documentary series -- and particularly that they are expanding to digital short films that work better online.

-- D.S.