Thursday, August 01, 2013

8/1 (August Already?) Quickie

*Riley Cooper: LeSean McCoy is right.

*Alabama is No. 1: Does the rest of the poll matter? Heck yes, given that it influences who Alabama will play (hint: Anyone but Ohio State). The dominance by the SEC is the standard talking point. It is also a reminder that in this very month, we will see a match-up between two Top 10 teams, Georgia and Clemson, which is awesome.

*A-Rod: A lifetime ban is a fun, wacky idea. But let's assume they negotiate that down to the rest of this season and all of next season, which might as well be a lifetime ban, except for the Yankees, who will have to pay him all that remaining money.

*Buck Showalter: The whole "If the Yankees can dump A-Rod's salary, they will totally steal Matt Weiters from us in two years" thing was wildly refreshing in its candor. Is he wrong?

*John Wall: As a Wizards fan, I am totally comfortable giving him The Max. I think he ascends to all-NBA status within two years (standard caveats about avoiding injuries). Does a deal that big hamper the team's ability to sign other players to help him? Probably, if you're comparing it to Stephen Curry's bargain deal. And that's too bad. But the system is the system. Now go earn it, JW.

*Chip Kelly: He might downplay the "refs will slow-play the Eagles' offense" thing for now, but I'm betting that it is a huge problem. Frankly, it's a huge blow to the integrity of the league that it wouldn't ensure that refs work as quickly as any team wants to play. Why there would be a distinction between the refs having to play faster during the final two minutes than the rest of the game is ludicrous.

-- D.S.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Best Thing I Read In July: Thompson on Manziel

Best thing I read in July comes swooping in at the buzzer: Wright Thompson on Johnny Manziel. Give it a read or Pocket it and save it for a read later. But definitely worth a read.

7/30 (Tuesday) Quickie

(1) Peter Gammons is launching a site. I don't know whether it will be successful or not. I will say that:

(a) the conditions for an "indie" site like that are far tougher in 2013 than, say, if he had tried it in 2007 or 2008...

(2) it's a tough content category to crack, even with his name recogition...

and, most of all, (3) unlike Simmons or King or Silver, who have 100% backing (funding, resources, promotion, sales, etc.)

Gammons is trying to do it on his own (or even with a partner like Tru, who has managed to secure a launch sponsor, which is a pretty solid feat on its own merits).

That -- more than anything -- is the difference, what makes comps between Gammons and Simmons/King apples and oranges beyond "big name in mainstream sports media starts his own* site."

(* - "Own" is relative.)

I applaud anyone in media trying to be more entrepreneurial. But it's going to be tough sledding, however much I wish him the best. Keep an eye on his Indiegogo crowd-funding campaign as a barometer.

(2) I'm bummed about the Nats this season, but I'm down with the Rays taking it to Boston -- errant call or not.

(3) I think I haven't appreciated Adrian Peterson enough in his career, but I look forward to doing more of that going forward -- he has been on a roll with his candor (test for HGH, he'll break Emmitt's rushing record in a few years), and this photo is the best.

If you like the NBA, this is Zach Lowe at his best.

-- D.S.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

7/29 (Monday) Quickie

Been unpacking a ton of boxes -- particularly books that I have bought and carried around for close to 20 years -- and I will say that in addition to some really out-dated business books and a few dalliances with both trendy fiction and interesting-sounding-at-the-time Gladwellian books attempting to explain life (none of which I will ever read again, but still I feel compelled to hold on to), I have a ton of sports books and most have (and will) stand the test of time. Anyway...

(1) US Men's National Soccer Team: A Gold Cup title means that I think we have reached "World Cup knock-out round or bust" territory (if we weren't there before).

(2) Yasiel Puig: Yup.

(3) Derek Jeter: That he hit a HR on his first pitch back from the DL was... cliche? Obvious? No, not obvious. But definitely cliche.

(4) Johnny Manziel: With every new absurd off-field thing, I like him more and more.

Book I unpacked that gave me the biggest tug of nostalgia -- An autographed copy of "High Hopes," a book that Gary Barnett and then-St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter Vahe Gregorian wrote after Barnett led Northwestern to the Rose Bowl in 1995. Yes, Barnett is a pariah in college football coaching, and there are many reasons I should dislike him, but I can't. He got the Purple to Pasadena, a mere five years after strolling into Welsh-Ryan Arena the day he was hired and telling all the (appropriately cynical) students that he would do just that.

-- D.S.