Friday, July 13, 2012

07/13 (Friday) Quickie

The Paterno-Penn State-Freeh story is so sad/aggravating that I just point you to Quickish's excellent collection of the top takes and analysis.

To the extent that the "Should they take the Paterno statue down?" thing has become the only way most people can internalize the horror of the story, I'm ambivalent -- I see both sides. It seems insane to keep the statue up as tribute; if people look at it and consider the extent of the abdication of JoePa's leadership, then it is valuable. The bottom line is that if the school doesn't change the way it works -- football as king, etc. -- then it doesn't matter what sort of symbolism is out there and how it's handled.


*Dwight Howard Watch: Good for the Rockets to do whatever it takes to pry Howard from Orlando. I'd rather be in a position of trying to retain him over the next year (including financial advantage) than trying to woo him over about 48 hours -- against every other competitor, including rival Dallas -- next summer. I'd like to see Daryl Morey's creativity and obsession rewarded.

*Blake Griffin knee injury: Yikes. The downside of playing any basketball outside of your club team -- but, then again, injuries can happen anytime, so why not participate?

*USA Basketball rolls: Durant with that international 3-point-line is so amazing to watch. This team is going to be on a mission to win by 40 and make those comparisons to the 1992 team a little bit more interesting.

*Baseball is back: Let's go Nats. I'm 100% on board with pitching Strasburg past his innings limit if the team is in contention -- flags fly forever. The smarter play would be for the team to acquire a 6th starter and stretch Strasburg out a little bit.

*Just asking: Why isn't every team going after Justin Upton? I'm clearly missing something.

*Do the Phillies need to pay big to keep Hamels? Have you seen their record? (Of course, paying big for Hamels won't do anything about the aging and massively expensive lineup.)

Fun weekend of baseball and USA hoops and more ahead. Maybe we'll even get a Dwight Howard trade. After yesterday's Freeh Report release, I think we all want/need the psychological break.

-- D.S.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

07/12 (Freeh) Quickie

If you are a Penn State alum or fan, it should be impossible this morning not to be (even more) horrified at the conduct of your administration -- and your football coach -- during the terrifying Sandusky era.

I think we all knew that the school's board and its AD and Paterno knew far too much about Sandusky and chose -- chose -- not to do anything about it. It is damning to see it in this report.

It is hard to say what the "proper" punishment is -- nothing feels adequate. On the other hand, that Joe Paterno will be remembered in history as a kind of monster, rather than "one of the greatest football coaches ever" -- and that, hopefully, members of the Penn State administration go to prison -- is better than nothing.

The hope is that every school takes a hard look at the power they have conceded to the football program and their football coach -- that is one of the things at the root of this scandal.

-- D.S.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

07/10 (All-Star) Quickie

Let's be clear: Fans have an inalienable right -- an inalienable right -- to boo. It is as fundamental of a right of fandom as anything. It is damn near close to the First Amendment of fandom.

And so to the fans of Kansas City who booed Robinson Cano last night: Good for you. Cano took it in stride (as he should have -- and good for him), even if it clearly unnerved him.

KC fans are mostly genteel, but under all that is a fair amount of discontent and desperation, mostly because their team sucks and is unlikely to ever get much better.

This felt like a primal release, not just at some superficial affront by Cano in not picking a Royals slugger for the AL HR Derby team, but just as catharsis.

In that way, they weren't booing Cano. They were booing their lot in life, right there on national TV, when everyone was finally paying attention to them: Our team sucks and we're not happy about it.

The release was productive, healthy and entirely entertaining. Frankly, I don't care what their reason was; they have the right to boo whatever (or whoever) they want. Boo away, friends.

(I also hear that there's a movement for fans to turn around and cheer Cano tonight -- I'm sure they will, and hopefully it will simmer down the hysterics who hated their booing last night. Good for KC for having a little bit of nuance about the whole thing.)


*I don't blame the rest of the NBA for not wanting slop to facilitate the Nets getting Dwight Howard and creating a half-decade contender.

*I have no idea why the Magic won't take Bynum and take their chances that with a year to woo him (and the ultimate financial advantage via his Bird rights) that he will stay. Totally worth it.

*I don't watch much NBA Summer League, but I enjoy perusing the box scores for summer studs. Jared Sullinger is off to a good start, and I really like Orlando Johnson.

*Player I'm most excited to watch tonight: RA Dickey.

*Today's must-read/must-buy: "Dream Team," the new book by Jack McCallum about the fabled 1992 USA Olympic Basketball team.

*EA's NCAA Football '13 also comes out today. I'm not a huge gamer, but if I was, I would appreciate the ability to put Tim Tebow on any team in the country. I don't have to worry about that.

-- D.S.