Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Cooperstown hypocrisy

Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux, and Frank Thomas are in. Were they worthy? Opinions vary, but after last year when no player got inducted, the geniuses that vote on such matters probably figured they had to do something.

Maddux won 355 games. Though not over-powering, he had pin-point control. He belongs. Tom Glavine won 305, but some of us haven't forgotten the key to his success. While having pin-point control as well, Glavine would constantly throw pitches 3-4 inches outside. Over and over and over again. It's like the home plate umpires were brainwashed. If a guy can keep painting the same spot -- they must be strikes, and they would call them as such. But they weren't strikes. They were outside. Glavine knows this, but he'll never admit it. Nor will the talking heads ever raise the issue, though the videos over the years made it obvious.

Frank "the Big Hurt" Thomas likely merited induction. Over a 19 year career he had 521 home runs, 1704 RBIs, and a career batting average of .301. Nowhere near the top in any category, but taken together pretty impressive stuff. And hey -- if a guy like Al Kaline could get enshrined long ago, while only having 399 home runs, 1583 RBIs, and a .297 average over the same two decades himself -- then how could Thomas NOT get in with vastly superior numbers?

Which brings me to the hypocrisy. Guys like Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, and Pete Rose should no-brainers for the Hall of Fame. Rose is the all-time hit leader in the entire history of baseball. Ah, but he was a gambler and dared to even bet on baseball, you say. Indeed he did, on his own team to win. In hindsight -- what was so terribly wrong about that? Major League Baseball is like the Vatican, stuck in it's old ways, and always a few decades or centuries behind what's going on and has been accepted in the real world. For Charlie Hustle to be denied his rightful plaque in Cooperstown is a travesty. He will get in eventually, as the fuddy-duddy old-schoolers fade away and more objective voters take their places. But it would be nice to see it happen while he's still alive. The man earned it on the field over a stellar career. Period.

Roger Clemens chalked up 354 victories, far more than Glavine, and one shy of Maddux, over a long career himself. Barry Bonds remains the all-time home run leader. But neither came close to the induction they deserve. Why? Because they were associated with the dreaded PEDs, performance enhancing drugs. Clemens was eventually hauled before Congress to testify. Our "best and brightest" elected representatives didn't believe him. He was subsequently indicted on six felony counts, including perjury, and obstructing Congress -- as if they need obstructing. Ahem. Alas, the pesky prosecutors committed a little misconduct of their own, and a mistrial was declared. In the second go-round, Clemens was acquitted, as in not guilty, of all charges. But nobody wants to remember it that way. He remains guilty in the minds of the knee-jerkers/arm-chair prosecutors. So if he was found not guilty of PED use, why isn't he in the Hall of Fame?

Same with Barry Bonds. He went through a full-blown trial himself. The prosecution spent millions of taxpayer money trying to nail Barry on PED use. When it was all over, like the Clemens case, they came up empty. Bonds was never convicted on any PED charge whatsover. And unless things have dramatically changed in our jurisprudence system, any defendant is "presumed innocent until proven guilty". So if the juries couldn't find guilt with Clemens or Bonds, simple logic -- not to mention the law itself -- dictates they must remain innocent.

But that's not how it works -- is it? People still think they're guilty of something. They just don't know exactly what.

Maddux deserved induction. Glavine, probably, despite what he got away with over the years with all those outside pitches. Thomas? Sure. If Kaline's in with his stats, the Big Hurt belongs.

But to continue to deprive the likes of Pete Rose, Roger Clemens, and Barry Bonds their rightful place amongst the other immortals of the game, including various drunks, adulterers, racists, and even an alleged murderer in Cooperstown is just wrong.

They earned it, so give them their plaque and marble bust. The people holding this up are the BBWAA (BaseBall Writers Assoc. of America). In order to get a Hall Of Fame vote, these writers have to be members for at least 10 years. In other words, most of them are old-school, and won't even consider any player remotely connected to PEDs, though they didn't seem to have any problem inducting an admitted "spitballer", and constantly write articles why some of their home team former players should be enshrined, though everybody else around the country obviously disagrees. This makes them popular amongst their home town fans, but doesn't necessarily make them objective.

Lance Armstrong copped to cheating on the Oprah show. All the other guys, including A-Rod and a few others, are guilty of suspicion only.

There's a big difference. In the meantime all the rest can mostly be summed up in one word


Fights in baseball. Stop it.

If you're a baseball fan -- and who isn't -- somewhere along the line you've seen a fight break out. Usually, this has to do with a pitcher "plunking" an opposing batter. Or throwing behind him. Or a little "chin music". Sometimes a pitcher just glaring at a batter will set him off.

We know the drill. The batter charges the mound and everybody in both dugouts, including elderly coaches, wants to "jump in". Relief pitchers that were playing cards, napping, or sexting their girlfriends in the bullpens, over a football field away, will come running as well, though they likely have no idea what started the whole mess. Unless they were awake and saw it on the Jumbotron.

And then what happens? Pretty much nothing. Major league baseball players are pitiful when it comes to fighting. I'm guessing the ladies on the LPGA or pro tennis tours could get most of these guys to "tap out" within 20 seconds or so in hand-to-hand combat. Did I mention pitiful?

So a whole bunch of milling around goes on, insults and threats are exchanged, the umpires finally restore order, and the game goes on. No TKOs, arm bars, submission holds, and nary a drop of blood is spilled. The Campfire Girls squaring off against the Cub Scouts would offer a better fight. At least the millionaires in the bullpen wake up and get a little exercise. But it's all so futile. A colossal waste of time and energy.

There's a better way. Much like the rules the NBA, NFL, and NHL have instituted, any player coming off the bench (or bullpen) to join a fray should be banged in a big way. Make it like drug tests. First offense -- 50 game suspension -- without pay. That would stop this wimpy nonsense. But what would happen if all the wannabes charged the field anyway, you ask? After all, one can't suspend the whole team.

BS. Sure you can. Everybody in the minor leagues moves up a notch. It would take a team out of contention and potentially cost them umpteen millions and potential glory? Tough. The players should have been more disciplined and professional. It would only take one example for everybody else to fall in line. And consider the money that could be put to good use. 30-40 players making millions that violate this policy would have to forfeit some serious bucks over the course of 50 games. That could provide a lot of shelters for the homeless, feed starving children and, in a perfect world, maybe even lower ticket and concession prices for a couple months. Couldn't hurt.

Yet these days, everything is hi-tech monitored designed to keep an eye on people. Cameras everywhere, phone taps, drones, tethers, even the GPS in your car and phone works the other way as well. They know where you are.

So why not put technology to use in baseball? Most of those guys like to wear some "bling" around their necks anyway. Implant a chip in all that gold that acts like a dog collar when a canine approaches an "invisible", underground fence. If they're getting close to someplace they shouldn't be -- zap them. They'll learn. If guys attempt to come out of the dugouts or bullpens to wimp it up, a properly programmed computer could quickly immobilize them before the situation escalates. Plus, in the long run, even the players would likely be happy. It saved them a 50 game suspension and a pile of dough.

While we're at it -- let's go a step further. With the same collars, get rid of the "warning tracks" and put an underground fence all around the outer perimeter of the playing field. When players get close, they'd feel a little buzz. This would have the additional advantage of stopping them from leaning into the seats trying to catch a fly ball. Doing so would be very painful as they got seriously zapped. And good grief, why not let that poor fan that shelled out a few hundred bucks to be at the game catch the ball rather than robbing it from them at the last second, along with trashing their $10 cup of beer and $8 moldy hot dog? Seems fair enough.

Same with the managers and umpires. Put collars on them. When they get into one of their childish "rhubarbs" throwing hissy fits -- and it's hard to tell which is the more immature -- spazz them both back into adulthood. They'll learn too.

This is a game for grown-ups. You don't see any 12 year olds on the field, nor any gang colors -- though there is an abundance of tattoos and "look at me, I'm the greatest" moments. That schtick worked for Mohammed Ali and Jackie Gleason back in the day, and maybe they deserved it. But nowadays, baseball players should start acting like the highly paid professional athletes they are, rather than a busload of kids turned loose on an Easter egg hunt when something happens on the field they had nothing to do with.

Baseball players and fights are like Sumo wrestlers and 6-pack abs. Some things just aren't meant to go together. Stop it.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Weird teams, cities, and names

The San Fran 49ers are scheduled to start play in their new stadium this year. Candlestick is out. Levi's stadium is in. Evidently, they wear a lot of blue jeans in San Jose. Wait a second.... San Jose? Why is a San Francisco team playing its home games in San Jose -- some 45 miles away?

And that's the thing. If a team moves out of the metropolis it was named after -- they should change their name accordingly. Why not the San Jose 49ers?

But we've seen it elsewhere for quite some time. The Dallas Cowboys don't actually play in Dallas. Their home has long been Arlington. Yet perhaps the "Big D" sounds better to Cowboys fans than the "little A", but enough about the owner of the team. Ahem.

The New York Giants and New York Jets both play in New Jersey, in a place called the Meadowlands. This is wrong every which way. If a team is playing in a different state, than they should be required to change their names accordingly. And there's no meadows around that stadium. Just a bunch of seedy neighborhoods.

At least the New Jersey Nets had the common sense and decency to change their name to Brooklyn when they moved into the borough.

The New England Patriots play in a place called Foxborough. So when they moved out of Boston a while back, how did they come up with the name "New England"? Why not the Foxborough Patriots? Besides, there's nothing "new" about York and Jersey. They're amongst the oldest European settlements in America. And New England? Didn't our forefathers fight a war to rid ourselves of English dominance back in the 1700s? The very term New England has never made sense. Why not call the entire region New America?

The Detroit Lions finally returned to Detroit, but they spent over a quarter century in a suburb 25 miles away called Pontiac. They should have been the Pontiac Lions. The Detroit Pistons remain in Auburn Hills, even further away from Motown city limits. Change the name of the community where the venue is located, or change the name of the team that plays there. But either way, they should match up. Towns have changed their names before for various reasons, and certainly teams have.

The Washington Bullets became the Wizards. Between New Orleans, Charlotte, and a hurricane called Katrina, there were Hornets, Bobcats, and now Pelicans. They can't seem to make up their minds.

A long time ago, the Minneapolis Lakers moved to Los Angeles. "Lakers" was a great name for a team from Minnesota. They rightfully boast over 10,000 of them in their pristine state. Conversely. there's no lakes in Los Angeles. Going through LA, 10,000 is roughly the number of cars you will see bumper to bumper in front of you on the interstate, at any given time. Maybe they should have renamed that team the Jams, or the Gridlocks.

The Tampa Bay Devil Rays had to drop the "devil" from their name, but the Blue Devils of Duke and Demon Deacons of Wake Forest remain. Hypocrisy, anyone? And just where exactly do you think the name Tar Heels got its origins? Pretty sure it didn't have anything to do with resurfacing roads.

Contrary to what they would have us believe, there's no "tides" in Birmingham, Alabama. It's quite far inland. Maybe an occasional tornado, frat party, or football rally, but no lunar generated ocean movements back and forth every day.

Things were must simpler back in the old days. The Yankees were the Yankees. Everybody in the Bronx loved them, and everybody else hated them.

Come to think of it -- it's still that way. Sometimes continuity is a good thing.....

Friday, July 25, 2014

Buffalo Bills vs Detroit Lions

It was interesting to note the Buffalo Bills were the first NFL team to report to training camp. Sure, all the other teams would officially come together in the next few days -- but Buffalo was the first domino to fall.

And that was a pretty smart move. Being the only NFL team in training camp meant all the cameras, microphones, and talking sports heads would be covering the Bills -- at least for one day. The 4-letter network was all over it. Publicity in a positive way, especially the free type, is always a good thing for ANY team.

Whether reporting a day or three earlier than most other teams will make a difference in how the Bills fare this season is open to debate. Some would say -- It's still only July, and what's the big deal about one team showing up for camp a little sooner than the others? Point noted.

Yet others, including studious players, and especially head coaches and their staffs, constantly tell us the more practice a team has together, the better it will be. Reps, reps, and more reps is their Holy Grail. Even a day or two might make a difference in how their team performs.

So which is it? Likely neither. Yes, every NFL team needs a serious amount of practice time together, coaching, conditioning, film study, etc, etc, to be competitive. But does a day or two really matter before the pre-season yawner games even start? They have a whole month of those to sort things out, while paring down their rosters to the best of the available. Will Buffalo win the Super Bowl this year because they were the first team to report? Of course not. They don't have a prayer.

On the other hand, the Detroit Lions were the last team to gather together, a full week after the Bills. This, despite a new head coach and his coordinators installing an entirely new system both on offense and defense. One would think the Lions would have been amongst the first to get together and start ironing out the new wrinkles -- not the last. Will a missed week matter to the Honolulu blue and silver? Likely not. After all, they've been AWOL for over half a century. One -- count it -- ONE playoff victory since Super Bowls even started back when LBJ was President and the Viet Nam war was raging? Before we put a man on the moon in '69 -- before Watergate -- before home PCs, much less the internet, and cell phones? Before the likes of Derek Jeter, Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods and the Kardashians were even born, and OMG, even before anybody had ever heard of a Clinton or a Bush? And way before dopey blogs like this one were possible. Let's just say it's been quite a while.

But in the meantime, hats off to the Bills for getting a bit of a head start. No, they won't be going to the Super Bowl, but they've been there 4 times before in their history. Alas, ala the Minnesota Vikings, they lost all four. But at least they were there.

Conversely, the Lions are one of only 4 teams that has NEVER been to the Super Bowl. And the other 3 are expansion teams -- namely the new Cleveland Browns, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Houston Texans.

It would seem logical, given the wholesale changes mentioned above, that the Lions would want every day and minute of practice they could get. Reps, reps, reps. Instead, they were the last NFL team to report to training camp. Not as many reps.

But after all, it's the Lions. Just another year......

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Why the Detroit Lions should trade Ndahmukong Suh

Ndahmukong Suh, defensive tackle for the Detroit Lions, has been in and out of the news lately. As time goes on, and the next season approaches, we'll likely hear a lot more about the "stomper".

With only one year left on his contract, the Lions want to sign him to a long term extension. Their local media and ever-koolaided fans want it as well. Pay Suh big bucks, they say. He's worth it.

Actually, no he's not, and never has been. His downsides far outweigh his upside.

Giving Suh a mega-contract would put the Lions in a salary cap bind in years to come. Sure, their bean counters can do the front-office financial two-step with such things as bonuses and deferments, but in the long run, there's only so much dough to go around, and the Lions need serious help at multiple positions.

And let's face it. Besides Detroit being Detroit, their franchise isn't exactly considered a preferred destination amongst most talented players that serious want to compete for a Super Bowl championship. One need only look at their long sordid history. From clueless ownership, to incompetent upper management, to a long string of wacky head coaches, to botched drafts, and even down to their sometimes mind-numbing boneheaded play on the field -- the Lions have developed a reputation over the decades. And it ain't good.

To boot, Suh is hardly a game changer, even when on the field. His modus operandi seems to be -- seek out and destroy -- whatever it takes. Wring neck, stomp, commit other personal foul, thump chest like crazed gorilla, then be meek and mild mannered to the press when being interviewed.

At that, during the course of most games, Suh typically makes only one or two plays that are even above average of any other defensive tackle in the league.

If the Lions were smart, and don't hold your breath (see history above), they'd trade him while he still has some value. They could get a decent player and/or future draft picks in return, and likely have some money left over to help out in other places as well. Let somebody else worry about the next not-so-good Suh incident that will likely come about while juggling their OWN salary cap to accommodate him, his merry-go-round of agents, and other antics. Like leopards never change their spots, loose cannons never seem to get bolted down either. With Suh, it just is what it is. But he's just another in a long line of example why the Lions have remained the Lions for so long.

And let's get real. Only the hard cores that are mainlining the Honolulu blue and silver opiates can possibly believe the Lions are remotely near Super Bowl caliber. Good grief, they'll be lucky to win their own division (see Green Bay) let alone compete with the likes of Seattle and San Fran once the playoffs start -- if they even qualify.

Bottom line is the Lions need serious upgrades at a lot of different positions before they'll ever be able to compete with the big boys in the playoffs. Ironically, the defensive line appears to be one of their strengths. They have depth there.

Now is the time to trade Suh. The Lions aren't going to sniff the Super Bowl this year -- so why not unload a headache, financially and otherwise, to build for the future? While they can still get something worthwhile (see badly needed high draft choices) back in return? Suh's not going to take them to the Super Bowl this year, and if nothing happens -- he'll be an unrestricted free agent after this season. He'll walk, to whatever greener and dumber pastures will have him, and the Lions will get nothing in return.

Forget the long-term extension with this guy. He's more trouble than he's worth.

Trade him -- NOW.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Doc Rivers and a poker game

After all the well-documented hoopla swirling around the Sterlings and who's going to wind up owning the LA Clippers, head coach Glenn "Doc" Rivers has made his presence known at the poker table. Not only that -- he just went "all in" with a recent remark.

The good "doctor" said he would resign his position if the Sterlings wound up retaining ownership of the Clips. As we all know, the court battle rages on, with both sides trying to out-ludicrous the other. This is what happens when lawyers get involved and there's a couple billion dollars at stake. In the meantime, NBA Commish Adam Silver and his minions, along with the always politically correct mainstream media, continue to fan the flames of discontent. Sterling must go, they say, though to date, yours truly still fails to comprehend what he supposedly did wrong in the first place.

Last time I looked, espousing an opinion was not only protected by First Amendment freedom of speech rights, but who among us can truthfully say they have never participated in a private conversation that was meant to be just that -- private? We all say things, even tell and laugh at jokes that debase others, whether it's gender, race, religious, national origin, physical attributes or lack thereof, political, or otherwise. This has been around forever, and likely always will be. The language police have their limitations.

Sterling never intended his original remarks to be made public. That only happened because his "arm candy" at the time, one V. Stiviano, illegally recorded him and turned the tape over to the media. Ironically, Sterling is on the hot seat, but Ms. Stiviano has disappeared from the radar, though she's the one that apparently committed a crime in the first place. But logic is often skewed in today's politically correct world.

Nonetheless, Doc Rivers has pushed his pile of chips into the middle of the table. No dummy, he's gambling that the Sterlings -- one way or the other -- won't own the team when the 2014 season starts in a few months. He might be right.

Then again, it might be a colossal bluff as well. Other than New England Patriots' head coach Bill Belichick, who earns a $7.5 million yearly salary, Doc Rivers ranks second of ALL head coaches/managers in pro sports at $7 million. Belichick has won multiple Super Bowls. Rivers has won nothing since he's been with the Clips. Sure, there are many that vouch for Doc. He's a father figure to the Clips players, they respect him, and he knows how to maximize their potential. Like Sara Lee, nobody doesn't like Doc.

But what happens if the Sterlings still own the team when the 2014 NBA season starts? After all, given the legal system and the appellate process, it's entirely possible this could drag on at least that long, if not much longer. Adam Silver can thunder from on high all he wants about the NBA possibly confiscating the LA Clippers and putting them up for auction -- and the media can buy into it as well to further peddle their propaganda to a gullible public. But Adam doesn't get to make that call -- nor does the mainstream media. It's up to a judge. And regardless of that ruling, it will certainly be appealed. This could take a while, perhaps even years, before it's all over.

In a way, yours truly hopes it plays out that way, just to see what Doc Rivers would do. Would he walk away from $7 million a year as the highest paid NBA coach because Donald Sterling, his owner that has been signing those paychecks all along, made some private comments that offended him?

Or is he bluffing? Doc could probably find another head coaching job, but he'd take a paycut. Nobody else is going to pay him Belichick money because he hasn't earned it. And once the season starts, every team already has a head coach and their staff in place. It's highly unlikely any other owner/front office would kick them to the curb just because Doc became available. Very bad timing, to say the least.

Thing is, given his public statement -- if the Sterling matter remains unresolved -- then Rivers has two choices. Be a man of his word and walk away from mega-money and the team he has shaped into a contender, or stay on collecting the Sterling paychecks and try to spin the story into something the media and public will buy into.

Glenn Rivers has gone all in at the table. The only way this becomes fun to viewers is if somebody calls him, and we get to see the rest of the cards.

If the status quo remains for a few more months and the next season gets underway, one character much more famous than the Sterlings, Silver, Rivers, and all the other NBA players that have been chiming in, may have to come forward and pose the only question that really counts.

As Elmer Fudd would say -- that wascally wabbit. And, of course, Bugs Bunny would ask what he's always asked. This time of Rivers.

What's up Doc?

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Lebron and Jason

Sometimes only a first name is necessary, and everybody knows who you're talking about. Lebron qualifies, as does Barack, Oprah, Khloe, and the late Osama. Nevermind that nobody's ever heard of anybody else with these first names -- no surname need be added. We get it.

On the other hand, the name Jason doesn't exactly bring a singular individual to mind. There's been a lot of Jasons. There was the Greek mythological hero that led the Argonauts in their quest for the golden fleece. Also the dude in the horror movies. Jason Robards once did a great acting job as Al Capone, Jason Kidd could play some serious hoops, and I think there's even a modern day actor named Jason Preacherly, Pastorly, or something like that.

But in this case, we're referring to Jason Whitlock. He's a sports reporter/talking head. This Jason's been around. He worked for the Kansas City Star for several years, even winning an award for his journalism. It was said Whitlock had the "ability to seamlessly integrate sports commentary with social commentary and to challenge widely held assumptions along the racial divide".

In other words, as a black man, he played the race card. Things didn't work out between him and the paper, so they parted company. Then he went into TV. While at ESPN, he disparaged a couple of his colleagues and, oops, they don't care for that much in Bristol. He was fired.

On to another TV gig at Fox. In 2012, after then NY Knick guard Jeremy Lin put up 38 points against the LA Lakers, Whitlock tweeted that some lucky lady in NYC would feel a couple of inches of pain tonight -- evidently a stereotypical reference to Asian men having small "equipment" in their netheregions. Even Fox -- FOX! -- objected to one minority slighting another in this fashion. Whitlock doesn't work there anymore either.

Now it appears that Jason's bouncing around for whatever gigs he can get, and pops up on the second-tier sports channels once in a while to offer a commentary.

And just hours ago, in the opinion of yours truly, he said something stupid again. When asked about the impact Lebron's return to Cleveland would have -- Whitlock seemed to have elevated James to god-like status. Not only would he help the Cavaliers, duh, but he could also show Johnny Manzeil, recent first round draftee of the Browns, how to be successful.

First of all, Lebron knows about as much about being a star collegiate and potential NFL starting quarterback as Johnny Football knows about achieving triple-doubles in NBA games. Easy to watch and appreciate for both, but neither could do what the other does. Yet Whitlock seems to think James can step in, wave his magic wand, and turn Johnny into a "man".

Second, football is bigger than basketball, just about everywhere -- including Cleveland. While it would be a great story if Lebron were able to lead the Cavaliers to their first NBA title -- it would dwarf in comparison to Johnny leading the Browns to a Super Bowl victory somewhere down the road. Who's kidding who?

And what's next on Whitlock's King James' hero to-do list? Will he show the Cleveland Indians how to win the World Series for the first time since 1948? Single-handedly get rid of all those pesky zebra mussels in Lake Erie? Turn Cleveland -- CLEVELAND! -- into a mecca that A-listers the world over will be drawn to for fun and excitement? Not likely.

Lebron James is a basketball player. A very good one -- perhaps the best of all time -- but let's not get carried away here. Let's look at reality.

Sure, he's been given a hero's welcome back to Cleveland. The same fans that burned his jersey when he ditched them 4 years ago have done an about face in a big way. Fans of the Heat in Miami likely feel a bit differently, to say the least.

Around the country, this has become a feel good story. The prodigal son returned to his roots. But did he sacrifice fame and fortune? Hardly. He's more famous now than he was as an NBA champion -- and he'll make a whopping $20 million a year to play the game he "loves". If he loved the game and his home town so much, he'd play for a fraction of that, freeing up serious salary cap money for the Cavs to sign a couple other top-flight players in their quest for a title. Without that help, it will be like his first go-round with the Cavs. They'll be a lot better, but not win a championship. And it's not like Lebron needs the dough. The dude's making over $40 million a year in endorsements alone.

And here's the kicker. Most other NBA players and teams have said they're happy for Lebron. He looked within himself and made the right decison. Of course they're happy. Minus James, the Miami Heat just got deleted from the championship equation and the NBA eastern conference is a lot more wide open than it was a year ago.

A smiling Chris Paul of the LA Clippers recently stepped in front of the cameras and said he thought Lebron did the right thing as well. That's great, in between making his own dopey commercials (cha-ching) with his twin brother. But had James signed on with, say, the Lakers, Warriors, or Blazers, much less the Okla City Thunder out in the west, methinks Paul wouldn't be the least bit amused.

And while all the super-hype of the free agent market has been going on -- guess who you haven't heard one peep out of? The San Antonio Spurs, BTW the current NBA champs. And they just quitely signed likely the best head coach of all time Gregg Popovich to a contract extension. They don't talk -- they just do -- from within. That's class.

Lebron is well on his way to displaying such an attribute. Time will tell when the going gets tough, as it likely will in Cleveland.

As for Jason? With apologies to the great Robert Frost, Whitlock's woods might be lovely, dark, and deep, be he has miles to go before a lot of us can sleep after he's had another go-round with a microphone and/or TV camera.

Sometimes the things he says are just dumb......