Kingdome Crossover: Stern Sendoff

This is going to be short for me. I have pieces to write about more important things.

I am not the outgoing NBA commissioner’s biggest fan. I have called him biased and questioned his podium presence. (Which, if you’re commissioner, are two things you should have in check: you shouldn’t be biased and you should have good podium presence.)

David Stern comes off as snide in public, and I think he showed favoritism in a job that begs for the polar opposite. What he did for the NBA during the “Dream Team” era was good. But I grew up with a very different National Basketball Association. I grew up with a basketball league where the commissioner comes off as a dictator-like Bond villain. Where the commissioner of the league runs a team and proceeds to veto a trade between two teams. Where that trade has conceivably affected the landscape of the league today.

A picture is worth a thousand words. In this case a video is worth a million.

The Mariners Need to Stop Going After Josh Hamilton, Michael Bourn, Justin Upton and the Like

The latest news out of the Emerald City in sports besides Brandon Browner’s suspension or the ever-evident hatred of David Stern (see basketball season, team not in Seattle) is the fact that the Seattle Mariners are kicking the tires pretty heavily on multiple free agents. Those free agents not being the retired Ken Griffey Jr, Milton Bradley (the board game and the player, seriously the M’s could probably use the money) or Jamie Moyer (although that last one wouldn’t be terrible). No, the Mariners are going after the most high profile guys out there. Josh Hamilton. Michael Bourn. Nick Swisher. There are even reports that lead us to believe that the Mariners would trade for Justin Upton.

Let’s let that all set in for a moment before we move on. WHAT!?!?!?!?!

Does anyone who has even bothered to listen to the Mariners-themed section of the news remember Richie Sexson? Adrian Beltre? Carlos Silva (who then turned into Milton Bradley)? Miguel Bautista? These were ridiculous contracts that Seattle gave out. The first two to try and repair a dismal offense. Sexson had two years where his contract was probably deserved, but then he completely fell off the map and had two horrendous years. (Though I will say this, the Sexon TV commercials were pretty good.)

Beltre was solid for a couple years in Seattle and the sputtered to a dismal ’09 season. Because of that he had to go to Boston to reestablish his career and is now an MVP candidate with the Rangers.

What I’m getting at is that while Beltre and Sexson had some decent years in Seattle, the pair produced zero playoff appearances. One or two players don’t build a team. Continue reading

Miguel Cabrera Wins the AL MVP: Finally Putting the Debate to Bed

The race for the American League MVP is over. Some may find the occasion a joyous one (i.e. myself, other Tigers fans, “baseball traditionalists,” Cabrera himself) while others’ thinking tends to side with the other side of the coin (i.e. “statisticians”, “stat geeks” and probably every White Sox fan in America).

Cabrera rightfully won. That’s the big point here, but there are a few things I want to hit on before I finally put the matter to bed myself. Continue reading

David Stern’s Lasting Impression

Get ready sardines and liver, David Stern is going to leave a worse taste in people’s mouths than you.

I’ll be the first to point out that David Stern has been commissioner longer than I’ve been alive. Therefore I obviously wasn’t around for the frozen envelope stuff and what not, but in my recent years of NBA fandom you can see the wheels falling off.

Yes, Stern, Bird and Magic may be credited with saving the NBA, but the lasting impression of Stern certainly isn’t a pleasant one.

Because of my limited viewpoint, so to speak, we’ll start with the things that have occurred in my years of fandom.

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What American Sports Can Learn From European Football

I’m not going to be the stereotypical American and say, “We are the best!” because that would be… well, stereotypical American thinking.

The American Sports leagues can probably learn a thing or two from Europe’s top Football leagues. I’m not saying that this idea should be implemented, I’m just throwing it out there: regulation.

Regulation — where the bottom three teams from the top league are moved down to the second league in exchange for the top three teams in the second-tier league. This happens yearly in top leagues such as Serie A of Italy, the German Bundesliga and the Barclay’s Premier League in England. Basically almost every top European league.

Obviously baseball would run into problems seeing as the second “rung” of professional baseball in the States is AAA whose teams are owned and operated by the Major League teams. But say that AAA clubs weren’t owned by MLB. This would create and promote a sense of competition and urgency.

It’s every team’s goal to win the World Series. That’s a reality for about 10 teams, an outside shot for maybe four or five more and a pipe dream for the rest. The teams at the bottom have to step it up in order to be competitive to avoid the humiliation of being demoted in favor of Scranton-Wilkes or Salt Lake City. Take the Pirates, for example. The Pirates would have been in AAA ages ago had American sports run the same way. They’d have torn up the high Minors and would have been back in the Majors with a sense of confidence, one that was probably lost after their countless losing seasons in a row.

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Seattle’s Best: The Best Night in Seattle Sports in a Long Time

If you live under a rock, or maybe you don’t watch Monday Night Football, then you missed one of the greatest games in the shows’ history. It was a classic, one that Seattle won 14-12.

The Seahawks, with the 12th Man in tow, held the All-World Offense of the Green Bay Packers to a meager 12 points. They made Aaron Rodgers look like a crash-test dummy at times. Putting him on the ground an astounding nine times. That’s nine sacks. The ridiculous part? Chris Clemons had four of them in the second quarter alone.

Yes, the game was controversial. Yes the “replacement” officials botched the entire thing, but boy was it fun to watch.

Obviously Packers fans have a different view of this, but that’s water under the bridge. Your team lost, and that’s fine.

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While You Were Out NBA Headlines- Joel Pryzbilla Signs with Milwaukee, David Stern is Still a Resident Jerk and Dwight Howard was Traded to the Lakers… Wait WHAT?!?!?!?

Let me convey my surprise again: WHAT!?!?!?!?!?!… ?!?

Here’s the skinny, Dwight Howard has changed his address, thanks to the Lakers, Magic as well as Denver and Philly. The league’s best center is going to Tinsletown.

I still can’t get over the fact that LA got Dwight Howard, defensive monster extraordinaire, for the price of Andrew Bynum, Josh McRoberts and Christian Eyenga. Continue reading

The One Fan Base the Heat Have Failed to Alienate and Enrage: Seattle

Do you live in Cleveland? How about some other market? Or are you just a normal, sympathetic sports fan? If so, you probably hate the Miami Heat!!!

It would make sense to me if you lived in Cleveland or Toronto or if you are a fan of their teams and you have somewhat of a hatred of the Heat. Why the rest of America does, I’m not sure. Is it because they took your favorite player? It can’t be that you’re mad that your team lost Shane Battier or Mike Miller. Battier was in a rental situation in Memphis. While Miller was the equivalent of a traveling homeless man in the NBA after being dealt to constant lottery players Minnesota and Washington in consecutive years.

So it’s definitely not that.

I still don’t get it. Are you mad because they are too good? Whatever the case may be, we here in Seattle, or at least I, am growing slightly more sympathetic-to-their-cause-by-default-because-some-terrible-owner-and-his-aforementioned-BFF-took stole-my-team.

It would seem a little like the Heat are trying to sway the Seattle fan base to jump on their bandwagon until we get a team here. Maybe it’s just me, but that’s what it’s starting to feel like.

First off, you have the fact that the Heat beat the Oklahoma City Raiders in the NBA Finals. They will forever be in my good graces until the day comes, probably in sixty some odd years, when they play the Sonics in the Finals. They didn’t do that to please us in Seattle. They did it so they could win a freaking ring.

Moving on. If I were to ask you to name two of the best former Sonics players still in the league, who don’t play in OKC, who would you say? Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis are probably one and two with Luke Ridnour and Reggie Evans a distant third and fourth. Coincidentally, the Heat have already agreed to terms with… Ray Allen and are supposedly setting their sights on another free agent…  Rashard Lewis.

So let’s say that Lewis joins Allen in South Beach. That’s one hell of a three-point attack and one hell of a Seattle connection.

And once again, to reiterate on the title, we in Seattle, are the one fan base where the Heat have failed to become Villain Number One in. For us Northwesterners, Villain Number One A will always be Stern and One B will always be Bennett.

Dynasty? Nahhhh: Why OKC Won’t Win Titles

There has been speculation from all of the talking heads and what have you that this is the first of many opportunities for a basketball team in Oklahoma City to win a title.

And now I will explain why that is a load of “horse droppings” (again, trying to stay as clean as possible here).

First of all, Kevin Durant is great. And that’s amazing and all, but where is the offensive depth behind him? Russell Westbrook is also a viable point-scoring option, but after that it might get sketchy.  No, I haven’t forgotten James Harden, but he is going to demand a large paycheck when he reaches free agency. And while he is effective, where is the depth after him?

Nick Collison is a nice fourth/fifth post option, and Derek Fisher has his moments, but after that the cupboard is bare. There isn’t a whole lot behind Westbrook and Fisher at the point. While the starting two, Thabo Sefolosha, is defensive, in a word. On the front line, however, well there is a bunch of bargain bin fodder really; Cole Aldrich, Lazar Hayward and Nazr Mohammed aren’t too exciting.

So here is the “pleasant” dilemma OKC has. Shell out a bunch of dough to Harden and lose cash to go after much needed bench help, or let Harden walk and go through a tail spin of sorts. I should also mention that Serge Ibaka will warrant a whole lot of money as well.

The third thing here, and most glaring hole in OKC’s game, is that they have no scoring presence in the post. Take away KD, Westbrook and Harden with three very good defenders like say Dwayne Wade, LeBron James and Shane Battier, then you’ve won the game already.

That leads right into my Finals prediction, Heat over the Thunder in 6.

(Sorry Stern, you already handed Bennett the team, you don’t get to hand him the trophy.)

Spite: Why Again, is the Sonics’ History in OKC?

Oh yeah, spite. That’s the answer, or at least that’s my take on it. You see, not only have we (Seattle) lost our team, but in a matter of years the Raiders are in the NBA Finals. So, not only does that irk me (that’s the PG version), but I should also point out that all of the Sonics’ history is owned by Clay Bennett and his “posse”.

So, assuming you’re still following along after that painfully short lead-in, here is my perception:  spite. Yes, spite. Why else would you want to take a team’s history? When Seattle gets a team back (looking at you Stern), I don’t want that team’s history. That’s their history; they accomplished it, and they deserve to have it.

Say your team is gone along with its history. Say you’ve had some Hall of Fame worthy players as well. Now let’s say that those players’ jerseys were never retired and that the history, as stated, is owned by somebody else. Welcome to our world readers who aren’t Northwesterners and/or Sonics fans. Gary Payton’s jersey was never retired, and the ability to retire it now lies in the hands of Clay Bennett. And that’s what bugs me. Bennett isn’t going to retire the Glove’s jersey. Even if he did, GP has said he doesn’t want it retired in OKC. So basically, the jersey is useless in OKC’s hands. And that’s what bugs me. They know that they weren’t going to do anything with the jerseys of guys like Payton and Kemp, not to mention the 1979 NBA Championship Trophy. But they own the history nonetheless. Which seems spiteful to me.

You’ll notice that I don’t refer to OKC as their actual nickname, and more accurately call them the Raiders. They are in fact just that, Raiders, who took the team and the history.

A quick side slant at Bennett and Stern here. Stern named Bennett the head of the NBA Relocation Committee. That might be the worst hiring since the Knicks brought in Isaiah Thomas. Or maybe even worse.

Another  thing that is bothersome (again, being PG rated here) is that every time I watch the NBA playoffs, they throw out stats like “OKC’s first playoff (put accomplishment here) in over 15 or 20 years.” That’s also a load of bahooey (again PG), because it wasn’t OKC. It was the Sonics.

And just to clear things up, I’ve got no ill will towards the Thunder players or coaches. Most of them weren’t in Seattle, but the people I do have a problem with are Bennett and his “posse”.

 

And Stern.