Archive for February, 2011


So It hasn’t been the best week on a personal level – with the death of a beloved friend, but you know, I’ve always believed – like the Obama administration claimed “it’s all about transparency” as Cam Newton is claiming now “it’s all about transparency” and I rooted for this Carmelo deal to get done. I don’t root for teams; I root for deals to get done and things to happen to make my rants more interesting, I am happy with this deal. For the first time in professional sports, since the baseball playoffs in the early 70’s, all the glamour cities….have stars! I’m really happy and I think it’s great for the league.

I read an article on Monday – Matt Moore wrote it, not familiar with his work, but it was an interesting piece. In his piece he says “this is the ultimate empowerment of the athlete, to the degree of forcing teams and decisions into making decisions that they necessarily didn’t want to make, and doing so on their terms, gives a dangerous precedence that has been set for NBA players. That Denver managed to get some nice piece doesn’t matter. They are now re-building, welcome to the new NBA landscape of player power plays”

Umm, excuse me but, what’s wrong with stars having some power? They have it in Hollywood, in music, technology, the star surgeon has it, the star attorney has it, and the star singer has it…what scares people about that? Does every team in sports have to be Bill Belicheck? Having 100% of the power? And players having none?

In college basketball, coaches have all the power, we never email or complain about that! But players have it now…and it scares us. Take a step back, take a deep breath and have some perspective. It’s not like all NBA players have power. Ladies and gentlemen, 11 players were involved in the Carmelo deal…11 players! Exactly 1 had the power…and we’re bothered by that? The other 10 went to places…they had no interest playing.

Don’t we always have lists? “The most powerful people” don’t we love reading those? But suddenly we have a problem if the occasional star player in the NBA has got power. Excuse me, but Lou Pinella bailed on Seattle, remember that? Just bailed on them…and they haven’t been the same since. Oh they got Randy Winn in return. Brett Favre, did he or did he not hold teams hostage? 3 of them!! For 3 years. The high school football star Jadeveon Clowney, #1 high school football player in the nation, did he not hold teams hostage 2 weeks ago? Forcing the teams to keep a spot open for the high maintenance 18 year old?

Listen, the NBA is unique…even in sports. Where one employee, one star player can be worth 30 wins, so stars and their player agents know that and they – like any of us would, use that leverage. The other argument/concern is that “Andrew, all the stars are going to one place…this is bad for the league” Really? Go look at how Ohio State dominates recruiting in the Big 10. Purdue, Minnesota, Indiana, Northwestern….they don’t get the star players. The Buckeyes do every single year. Nobody in Ohio complains about that.

The NHL today has the best parity and competitive balance in sports…yet none of you (the majority of my audience) watches it. There is very little parity in sports. USC has had the best recruiting class in the PAC-10 for 7 straight years. Ohio State dominates it. In college basketball, the ACC, Duke and Carolina dominate it, Clemson doesn’t!

By the way, when Michael Jordan and Chicago went 72-10, everybody loved the NBA. There were 7 horrifically bad garbage teams at the bottom. But the top was great, and that’s all that’s ever mattered. Folks, that’s all that’s ever mattered in sports. The haters are like “oh by the bottom….” The bottom of everything is awful dude! The NFL does a slightly better job, but the bottom of the ACC is bad, the PAC-10 is bad the National League West is bad. Baseball, football, hockey…the bottom is awful and irrelevant in everything…okay?

Here’s an email “Andrew, Carmelo is a trader; the Nuggets will win a championship before the Knicks bank on it! Signed Dan Gilbert” hahaha, funny email! But ask yourself this, before you bemoan and the power of the athlete – and again, I’ll say it. We don’t have a problem with a lot of guys having power, but it’s that NBA star who has power. Before you lament on how bad this is for sports, I’m going to give you something that – and I think the NBA is now back to a Jordan level era. Listen to these numbers.

You know that All-Star game from last weekend, in the “horrible” NBA which is top-heavy. Did anyone by any chance see the ratings? Well if you didn’t, let me tell you. It was the most watched and highest rated game since Michael Jordan played in the NBA. Slam dunk contest…it was the most watched, in the 26 year history of it. Maybe some of you in some certain parts of the country are “uncomfortable” With star players having a little power for a change. But as someone so brilliantly pointed it out to me while I was buying Tim Hortons at UW campus. “Haven’t the stars always driven this league? And anybody whoh thinks the NBA is worse, with 7 great teams, instead of 3, with 10 mediocre teams…is absolutely nuts!”

This is absolutely great for the NBA, with stars, a lot of glamour, in the big cities. Like do you realize that if the NBA playoffs were to start today – this is unbelievable, for the people who think this is bad… If the NBA  playoffs started today, did you know that every single playoff series would have a glamour team? Do you realize how amazing that is? In the East, Boston/Indiana…star studded Boston. Miami/Philly…star studded Miami. Chicago/New York…omg, wouldn’t that be unbelievable! Orlando/Atlanta! There are either stars in every series or a glamour team.

In the West, San Antonio/Utah, Dallas – glamour team against Denver. Lakers/New Orleans…3 or 4 superstars there and then Oklahoma City/Portland. That’s bad for the league? There is not a single series that wouldn’t have a star team or a star player. I will argue all day long…this is not gloom and doom. For the record, fans can be hypocrites. Ohio State Buckeye fan (yes, I’m calling out myself on this one) loves the fact that they get all the stars. But yet they are outraged that Lebron got up and left? Duke basketball and Carolina love getting their stars. Everybody that attracts them or attains them thinks it’s awesome! Everybody who thinks that they don’t thinks it’s the down fall of sports.

Advertisements

One of the themes I always try to include in my rants is this “live your life through the windshield, not the rear view mirror” Every time I sit down to write a new rant…it’s a new rant. I don’t really care what happened yesterday…move on! You can be lit up by what I wrote last time out, I don’t really care. “Live your life through the windshield, not the rear view mirror”.

A lot of things use to be cool in sports that are not cool anymore. It use to be like memorizing stuff “oh my god, Bob knows like the starting 5 for …”Now Bob’s a nerd, it’s called the internet, I can look it up in 2 seconds.

Being like a sports junkie, there use to be a cache to it. “oh my god, that guy knows everything!” Pfft, yeah so do I, it’s called the internet. I can find the starting rotation for the Oakland Athletics in 1975 just like you can. I just don’t have to memorize stuff and keep all my Sports Illustrated copies. That use to be super cool! But the internet changed it.

Something else that used to be cool was when you’d say the word limousine and you’d be like “oh my god, that guy there uses a limo” Ordinary business people now use it when travelling to the airport. Not because its elite, but since airports charge too much to park, it’s more cost efficient to rent a limo. Limos are no longer elite, they are just cost efficient. By the time a limo picks me up and takes me to the airport and charges me, it’s less than leaving my car at the airport for six days, trying to find my car at the airport, its freezing when I get off the plane….it doesn’t make any sense! For the record, I’m not getting paid by any limo companies to even say this!

I read an article this past week – and this is why I’m talk about this. Jeff Pearlman, who writes for the Wall Street Journal, wrote an interesting article on – and Fox Sports, ESPN, Sportingnews.com, are partly to blame for it and perhaps are the ones who inspired it. So Jeff Pearlman says “I was on an elliptical machine at the gym, I was riveted by the coverage of the Tennessee Titans search for a new head coach. I haven’t seen the Tennessee Titans play an entire football game in at least a decade” Continues Pearlman “I can name maybe 4 players on the roster, 3 without Vince Young. Yet for some reason when Josh Elliott, ESPN anchor mused, I was fascinated. I refused to leave the exercise machine until I knew every detail” Says Pearlman, brilliant writer for the Wall Street Journal “Watching sports is mostly boring, talking and speculating about sports is riveting” I absolutely agree with him (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703584804576144273897126128.html)

I was told by someone who is in the sports writing business – 20+ years of experience, he said “you need to mirror your audience” You don’t want to be a sports junkie in front of the TV, because your audience isn’t. For example, 9% of my audience consider themselves a diehard, 65% percent of you…casual sports fans. If I’m a nerd and you’re not a nerd, you won’t read my rants!

So what ESPN and all those big networks have done, good or bad, they’ve become a tree topping industry. Look up any talk radio personality’s bio on Wikipedia, it’s probably not 100% right, but they’re probably close enough and that’s exactly what’s happened in sports. I know it drives people crazy. When I first started ranting, I said it 2 years ago that the Red Zone Channel is the smartest thing I’ve ever seen invented in my lifetime in the television business. I don’t know why ESPN or Fox Sports don’t just copy it.

They take away all the irrelevant stuff – I don’t know why it isn’t done for college football either. Red Zone channel on a Sunday, I sit there, grab a notepad because I do consider myself a sports analyst and it’s how I bring you these rants on a weekly basis, so I have to take notes. They do all the work, I pour a soft drink, they edit out the boring stuff and yet I get 16 games. I get all the good stuff, there is no cache, there is no real reason to know all the boring stuff because I’m not going to reply back to your comment if you’re going to talk about some irrelevant play. I’ll reply to those who talk about the biggest stuff! The Red Zone channel is the smartest thing ever.

It used to be that knowing everything about sports was like really cool. But it just doesn’t work that way anymore, we live in a tree topping, cliff note society.  It’s the same thing with Wikipedia, they’re close enough, the blogs cover a story….they are close enough as well. I got into an argument with a friend on what sports source would die first, radio or newspaper. Turns out I was right; the newspaper industry is on the verge of death. Now, it’s not because they all of a sudden became dumb, it’s just that nobody has time to read as much in the morning.

My audience [snapping fingers] that’s why I give you the tree top and never a break down analysis of a game. Like last week Thursday, I get home from school. I see one of my roommates and said to him “hey, how was your day?” I don’t want to know about how he parked his car or when he opened up the garage door. This is also known as [snapping fingers] “give me the highlights” How was your day? Good mood or bad mood?

Can’t we all admit that the worst guy in the world is the guy who comes up to tell you a story; he’s 7 minutes into the story and has told you nothing! We’ve all got a friend like that and the guy just doesn’t get it…doesn’t get it! And he drives you crazy. So Jeff Pearlman over at the Wall Street Journal – and for the record, do you know why it takes courage to write what Jeff Pearlman writes? Do you know why? Let me give you a little secret that the sports writer I know said to me.  “Nobody wants to admit that they don’t sit and watch all the games because everyone wants to be an expert” Jeff Pearlman goes out and basically says “yeah, I like talking about sports and watching the highlights, but I don’t sit and watch college basketball games all day” Thank you Jeff Pearlman!! You know what? That’s me and I’ll be the first one to acknowledge it. I love being a tree topper, I’m a cliff noter, and I’m close enough and proud to be one. That’s the majority of my audience, I love you for it, it’s why I’ll always have fun writing rants that make you think and that add a little perspective as well.

By the way, if I’m ever in a situation where I need to go deeper or I need to know more, I can simply ask and will ask for clarification. If I really want to know something, I’ll ask my friends/family. But I’m officially with Jeff Pearlman of the Wall Street Journal on this. Society has evolved, blame ESPN/Fox Sports, perhaps they inspired it or created it. I am a cliff note, tree topper…not embarrassed that I don’t know, because I’ll go to the internet if I really need to know, it doesn’t bother me whatsoever!


I saw this story…listen, we all love football and you know I’ll talk about ratings from time to time on my rants because YOUR the ratings! So to disrespect ratings is to disrespect my audience, you’re the ratings, and I can’t fill out a rating book…that’s what you do. So when I talk about ratings, I’m just talking about you. You love football, there is no way of getting around it, it just unbelievably popular amongst my readers.

In case you don’t know, we are on the verge of a work stoppage, which bums everybody out. From you to me to bar owners to every fan in the country. I’ve said it before; if you’re a fan….you should be siding with the owners. And the reason you should be siding with them is because it means nothing to you if you’re running back makes more money.

It means a lot to you if your owner is more solvent financially and can get another wide receiver or another defensive end. The players basically want 60% of the revenue’s – I honestly don’t know of any industry anywhere, be it music, technology, media…anywhere, where the employee’s get 60% of the revenue, because the owners are the ones who take all the capital risks.

Now, I do believe that the owners can be greedy; I do believe that the players should NOT be forced into playing an 18 game season. But as a fan, you get nothing out of a wide receiver having more money. You get a lot more if you’re the Packers – from an ownership group, that has 60% more money or another $9 million dollars a year….you are the winner! Because Green Bay is really good team, it’s a small market, you need every penny that you can get. But I thought this was an interesting story.

Back on February 5th, the player representatives, you know…the Peyton Manning’s, Drew Breese….the big dogs, met with some of the owners. So they both sat down – and these are high profile players in many instances like Manning and Breese, it was on Feb 5th – about three weeks ago. Apparently Jerry Richardson, Carolina Panthers owner – for the record, is the only owner who was drafted in the NFL. He was drafted like 40 years ago or something. Apparently Jerry Richardson was condescending and confrontational with both Peyton Manning and Drew Breese.

At one point, when Peyton was talking about player safety, Jerry Richardson interrupted him and said “what do you know about player safety?” Now, any time you get this situation, you’re going to get some confrontation in any negotiation…people are unhappy. What is very interesting is that – according to Michael Silva of Yahoo Sports, Jerry Richardson was heard saying “ we signed a [expletive] deal last time” meaning crappy  “and were going to stick together and take back our league and [expletive] doing something about it.

So it seems to me – where the players are ripping Jay Cutler on Twitter – which doesn’t feel like a very strong union to me, the owners are in this baby to win it! They are ticked off; they’re going after the players. So I will say this as a fan – the players winning this does nothing for you. Here is another reason why I tend to lean toward the league and the owners and the commissioner, but not the players – though I do think the players deserve some things.

There is a lawyer now representing some several hundred fans who went to the Superbowl and did not have a ticket when they got there because of a screw up. Now, the NFL let them on the field and has offered each one $7500 worth of Superbowl stuff at any Superbowl choice in the future. I mean the NFL has gone above and beyond what you have to do – and listen, when you travel in life, stuff happens. Bags are lost, flights are cancelled, flights are bumped, people lose tickets, and there is counterfeit stuff. As long as the people who hozed you, feel like they are earnest and genuine in meeting your needs or some resolution to the indignity or the process, I don’t think you should file a lawsuit.

In this instance, the NFL is basically offering them about 4x as much as the fans lost and yet many are still filing a class action lawsuit. Why do I side with the owners than the players? Does Peyton Manning get sued? Does Drew Breese get sued? Does a player get sued?….no!! The owners have to take all the capital risk. Mark Cuban, who was featured on the Scott Van Pelt Show on ESPN in December, the owners take all the capital risk. When you are big like the NFL is, there is always a fan in every stadium, in every Sunday that falls down and he wants to sue the team and the league.

Mark Cuban was asked “what’s the downside to being Mark Cuban the billionaire?” and he said “Extortionist! There is always someone trying to sue me for nonsense and so I never thought I’d have like…I don’t even know how many lawyers I have working for me right now, that I pay for when someone makes a ridiculous attempt to extort through the legal system. So that’s probably the only negative in being me, other than that, I’m the luckiest guy in the world. So when I die, I wanna come back as me…I wanna do it over again the same way”

But, what did he say? “Extortionist, I need a team of lawyers” You don’t think the NFL faces the same thing? Constant lawsuits…players don’t have to pay for any of those, players aren’t getting sued.

Antonio Cromartie of the Jets has 9 kids from 8 women in 6 different states and the Jets are loaning him, their giving him money to clean up his screwy social life. You wanna know why I side with the owners on this? You as a fan don’t get anything if a running back gets more money because players don’t get sued. These fans, who’ve been given 4x what they lost, still file a class action lawsuit, which requires the NFL to spend like $15 million bucks on this lawsuit. Do the players consider that? Do the players pay into that?

That’s why the owners want more money because they’ve become a huge target as has the NFL. Jerry Jones. It’s known that he has a team of lawyers and that’s from Dallas fans who love the Cowboys! He’s constantly fighting off stuff. Once you’re big like Mark Cuban or Jerry Jones, you’re a big target!


Let me just tell you something, I think this whole story on Albert Pujols…people have lost their minds! Now, the first thing to know…this is St. Louis, it’s like Boston, they sell their games out, no matter who is hitting in the 4th spot. This is not like Seattle, where one guy drives you in and if he leaves, you’re not as interesting, nor is it San Diego. It is – in my opinion, St Louis is the best baseball city in the U.S. Chicago and Boston are also up there. They don’t need Stan Musial to draw people, he left…they still sold out! McGuire left, they still sold out. Pujols leaves…they will still sell out.

From a business and economics stand point, you don’t need Albert Pujols – I mean, I’m not saying he doesn’t hurt merchandise sales, I’m not saying he’s not popular. But St. Louis is the best baseball city, in my opinion, in the U.S. They don’t need one guy….that’s what I said about Derek Jeter “bye bye Derek” What? Nobody is going to go to a Yankee game? He’s the 4th best player in the infield…where is he going to go?

I got an email from someone, who was asking me to start ranting about baseball and he says “I cannot believe that every team wouldn’t pony up $30 million dollars for Pujols” Dude, sabermetrics says… your wrong!! And I’m not a sabermetrics guy as I use to be, but it still has some value. You know what Albert Pujols is? To some degree, he’s a boat or a hot-tub. Looks great in the driveway, looks great on the deck…adds nothing to your net worth! It’s something you brag about, but doesn’t translate to anything.

Edgar Renteria, a situational hitter and clutch hitter, is more valuable in the post-season than Albert Pujols. Think I’m wrong? In 3 World Series, he’s hitting .333 with 5 doubles, 2 homers, 10 RBI’s and a World Series MVP….he’s a great situational hitter. And when you face elite pitching, that’s more important than power hitters.

Let me give you an example of all the great power hitters of our time. Barry Bonds “oh my god, that guys unbelievable”  ohh really? In 9 series in the playoffs, he won 2 series…both in the same year and he played for 20 years. How about Sammy Sosa “he’s unbelievable” ohh really? 18 years and only has 1 playoff series win. Mark McGuire, A-rod…where are all the big playoff wins?

Albert Pujols has been in 2 playoffs series and 2 World Series in his life. In one, 3 for 15 and batted .200. In the other, 3 singles, 2 doubles…no homers! He’s collectively batted .267 in 2 World Series. Edgar Renteria, So Taguchi…they got hits. Pujols is to some degree a boat, looks great in the driveway, but what does it do to your net worth? You brag to your buddies…it can be really fun for an afternoon, but it’s not worth what everybody thinks it’s worth.

You would be out of your mind to give him $300 million dollars, or even $200 million. I don’t know what it is about baseball people, but they tend to be kind of romantics with their sport. How can you look at his numbers and not acknowledge that he’s declining? Not rapidly, not overnight. But his strikeouts have gone up 3 straight years. What does that tell you? His bat speed has probably gone down a little. His average has gone down 3 straight years.

Now you can argue, whether or not you think he’s losing something. You have to acknowledge that he’s not getting better. So I’m going to pay him for the last 8 years of his performance? You’re paying him retroactively!!! It’s like you’re paying him on his prior elite years! You’re not going to get anything out of this from his last 3 years of this contract, if you give him a 7 year deal. You’re just burning money.

There was a study done a couple of years ago, I don’t recall who did it, I think it was someone over at ESPN or Fox Sports like a Keith Law or Ken Rosenthal. The study asked the question “How many wins is a player worth?” and the results out of that study were shocking, on how few they were worth. I think it was when Carlos Delgado went from Toronto to the Mets. The study found him to be worth 1 ½ wins a year for a replacement player.

So what is Pujols worth to the Cardinals’ line-up along with having the best pitching staff in the NL Central? They still finished 5 games back of the young Reds. That’s with Albert Pujols and with the best starting pitchin,g in a garbage division…they still finish 5 games back!!!  With the best baseball manager, best starting pitching in the Central, with Albert Pujols….they couldn’t beat the Reds. Who by the way, embarrassed themselves and were a fraud against the Phillies, who themselves were beaten by San Francisco.

So this idea that St. Louis is going to fall a part…it’s like Duke in college basketball. You think Duke Basketball – when two guys leave early, it’s gonna fall apart?  It’s Duke!!! I mean, when USC recruits a football player, they are not getting 4 years out of him….their getting 3 and then he’s going to the NFL.

Think about this, based on 400 at-bats, the difference between Pujols – who hits like .308 and a .283 hitter, is 10 hits….over the course of a 162 games. That’s like a hit in every 16 games. That’s worth $25- 30 million a year? At 400 at-bats, the difference between a .283 hitter and a .308 hitter is 10 hits!! We are honestly over-valuing power hitters.  Like heck, who are the 2 favourites to win the World Series this coming season? The Phillies and the Red Soxs why? Speed, pitching and defence…especially speed and pitching.


You know that if you read my rants that I love football, I’m kinda of a “9 months of the year” football guy. I like college football more than most people who consider themselves football fans. Like when I started following it intensely – almost 8 years ago, I remember finding it extremely difficult to talk about college football with people, simply because they just didn’t give a damn.

Now, over the years I’ve become more of an NFL guy because it’s just a more popular league than ever before. But everybody always laments college football “ahh they need a playoff system , that will really give them great ratings” By the way, college football ratings have been going up for 10 out of the last 11 years.

So Wisconsin and Ohio State played basketball last weekend – it was a really good hour and a half of drama and I watched some of it. I kinda had a gut feeling that this was a game that Wisconsin was gonna win because they’re great at home, Ohio State is a big target, it’s really hard to think that they will go unbeaten. But here is the thing…. great upset, an hour and a half of great television…do you know what it all meant? NOTHING!!!

Ohio State is still going to be the #1 seed – in fact, the loss may have helped them because you don’t want to go into a tournament unbeaten. I’d rather go in with a loss or two; so you never wanna go in unbeaten. I would argue then that the loss was good for Ohio State, because the win for Wisconsin means nothing to them, they are still a good program and they will still end up as a 3, 4 or 5 seed.

In college football, when Wisconsin beat Ohio State – it shocked me and the nation, changed the entire alignment of the Big Ten and knocked Ohio State out of the national championship. It meant something for southern fans, for Oregon fans, for the PAC-10, to the Big 12….ramifications everywhere!

College basketball, we get a huge game that was really exciting, yet it meant squat. In fact, I’d argue it helps Ohio State…it’s actually good for them. It kinda helps to re-focus the program. Think about this – and this is interesting because everybody tells me how great a tournament it is. Look at these numbers, the ACC is averaging 9500 in attendance in college basketball. Unless they get a spike in attendance, it will be the first time in 20 years they average fewer than 10,000 a game. “How is that possible?” you might ask “This playoff system is so great! It’s just the magic solution to everything right?” Really?

What has happened in our society is that you can’t fool sports fans anymore because they have too much information. We’ve saturated the market with all these games, the only way the media can get you – the fans, to the radio or television is when there is urgency. The media can’t fool you…they can go out and tell you that this is a big game, but you know what’s a big game…and you only show up for really big games, NFL, college football and MMA….urgency!

So this “great sport” that’s got all these great tournaments…even their #1 conferences’ attendance is weak! Worst in two decades….two decades!! Think about what college football provides. I think it was a Friday night, a little school in the mountains in Reno, Nevada – the Nevada Wolfpack. So this little tiny city, that you can’t even find on a map, beats tiny Boise State in football and it reverberates around the U.S. Everybody, from the SEC to the PAC-10, Big 12 and Big 10…it changes everything! Bye bye Boise State!

It got all these major conferences…on the internet, message boards. Everybody wakes up Saturday morning and is like “What?? Boise State lost??” That means were getting into a big bowl game! The little guy is out.

So as we lament college football and we always pat college basketball on the back, for its great tournament. Lowest attendance the ACC has witnessed…probably in 20 years, for this great tournament because society has changed. Sometimes there is nothing that you can do about it, you can’t blame the newspaper industry for dying, it’s not all their fault. Some of it is arrogance, but the reality is that you can just get news more quickly from other places.

You can say it’s because the left leaning media or liberal media…baloney! They’ve been liberal forever in the newspaper industry. They didn’t suddenly lose people because of that. They lost people because society changed. A lot of smart people work in newspapers, but suddenly you can get – something close to what they give you immediately, instead of having somebody throw a big wrap of paper on your front porch 16 hours later.

So, it was so funny because I’m watching this Ohio State/Wisconsin game, it was just tremendous television…yet it meant nothing. Ohio State is a #1 seed and will continue to be. Frankly, I was more impressed with how Ohio State played…they were really good. And Wisconsin is a terrific program as well, they will still be a #3, 4 or 5 seed….but it all meant nothing!!

Carmelo Anthony…Not To The Lakers!

Posted: February 11, 2011 in NBA

So I have two things to say today – I’m all worked today, it must’ve been the fact that I had 2 midterms yesterday and had to run to Biology 2 building to hand in my assignment right at 12:30pm today, so I’m worked up about a whole bunch of stuff today.

Let me just start with the Carmelo deal, okay so you all know what I have said about this deal, I’m rooting for him to land in New York – not LA, because I think it’s better for the NBA and I like the NBA and I wish for the NBA to be even more popular, because I like talking about it. If hockey is the most popular sport in North America, I’m doing general rants on everything you could think off…haha, okay?

When the NFL, college football and the NBA are popular, my rant readership does well. So, selfishly I want the NBA to be popular and I really think New York needs to be relevant. I think the NBA ratings would instantly get a 20 – 25% ratings pop, if New York is relevant – Lakers have their stars. So I think it’s better for the league if Melo goes to New York – and that’s my gut feeling on what’s going to happen, because now, the owner of the Knicks is involved – and owners don’t get involved very often.

So when owners say “I’m going to pick up the phone and get involved”  cause since owners own lots of stuff, but James Doan of the Knicks says “I gotta make a call to that Stan guy who owns the Nuggets” stuff, usually gets done. Rich guys play golf; they have a cocktail, lot of business deals get done at the bar and on the golf course. So my gut feeling is that those guys right now, the Knicks owner wants to get it done, so that’s the first thing.

TJ Simers, a controversial columnist who writes for the LA Times – but I like reading guys like that. Wednesday morning, he comes out and says “don’t make the move” and if you read his article (http://www.latimes.com/sports/basketball/nba/lakers/la-sp-simers-20110209,0,2941174.column) I don’t disagree (double negative) with his argument. His argument – I’ll just take a couple of samples, he says listen, Phil Jackson makes mention of size and the considerable advantage of the Lakers “it has bought us championships” Jackson said by phone from Boston on Tuesday. Says Simers “that’s why I argue that Bynum is the single biggest reason why the Lakers are favourites to win it all again” Stop right there!!

They are NOT the favourites to win it right now, the Lakers are not the best team in the league – and I’m a guy who gives the Lakers, grew up watching them with my dad who is a huge Laker fan, I give them the benefit of the doubt. The Celtics to me are the best team in the league, and it’s not just about now, but it’s about the future. Kobe is getting older; I’m not in love with Carmelo Anthony… I’m seriously not. He is a soldier, not a general and generals win championships and not soldiers. What do I mean by that?

There is a big difference in the name between great leaders and great talents. Carmelo is a great talent, so is Amare Stodumire, Vince Carter and Derek Rose, so was Glen Robinson and Allan Iverson and T-Mac. They are great talents. But Magic, Bird, MJ, Kobe, Rick Barry, D-wade, Rondo and Garnett are LEADERS and great players, there is a difference. You watch Rondo on the court; he’s not half the talent of Derek Rose.

But he’s politicking, arguing with refs and convincing teammates and pointing fingers. He is authentic and real and confrontational. Derek Rose, Melo, Vince Carter, T-Mac are all passive aggressive. Great leaders, are never passive aggressive, look it up in your psychology book. Melo is an elite scorer and the NBA is becoming a wing league, not a centre league. Yes Bynum is nice, but when the Celtics – and their about ready to close that window on this team. Shaq, Jermaine O’Neil, KG….they’re not long for the NBA, and when they close that window, there are no centers on the horizon, except D-Howard

So I don’t love Melo’s, but I get Carmelo, he is 30 on the wing. And when you’ve got these young teams like Oklahoma City and the Knicks and all these other…he’s a young guy on the wings that can drop 28pts. With Gasol, with Kobe, there is real value there. So that’s where I start the ranting for the weekend today. I don’t love Carmelo, but I get the move. It’s a bigger picture, Kobe is eroding a little, Melo has got 4 prime years left, Gasol has got about 2 ½ prime years left.

You know your kinda building – your gonna get rid of Odom and Artest and you’re going to need some points! And Bynum doesn’t give you any points, he just gives you length. But you’re not even sure if he gives you length every night, because he is hurt often. So I’m going to keep pounding on this, where Melo is consistent and Bynum is not. But TJ Simers’ argument is about the length. I am the biggest advocate of length that there is, but I do believe that the league is evolving and size is wonderful, but guess what?

Your really good bigs are 6’9 ½ and they play a lot like Blake Griffin, they don’t play like Greg Odon. Jarred Sullinger over at Ohio State is the next great big in this league. He plays a lot more like Griffin than he does Greg Odon. He gets up and down the floor. So it’s a wing/guard league and that’s what I like


Whenever you get anything that is big and powerful, there is usually a downside to it, like a turning radius. You’ve got that big SUV because you have a bunch of kids, but it doesn’t have that much of a turning radius. It’s big, you can’t parallel park it. I did one of my internships for a small market analytics/research company a few years ago and the great thing about working for a company like it was that it was small, meaning you could walk upstairs to the suits and get your questions answered on the spot instead of going through the zillion channels you have to a big company. When I was at MLSE, let’s face it, they are a huge comglomerate and you have to go through layers and layers of management to get anything approved. Now, they are big and powerful but they don’t really have a very nimble turning radius. A lot of times – and you see this lot in football, this guy is big and strong and powerful, but he is actually a liability.

One of the things I noticed from fans on Monday – you know, anytime you lose a game, you always want to blame somebody. Green Bay was just a better team than Pittsburgh. I believe I had said that last week, this is not a great Pittsburgh team. There have been great Pittsburgh teams – mostly in the 70’s and 80’s, this was not a great Pittsburgh team, because the NFL is all parity driven.

But when you look back at the Superbowl – and everybody pointed at Big Ben, who was under pretty constant duress due to the injuries to his offensive line. What everybody didn’t pay attention to was really the best players the Steelers have: Troy Polamalu. He actually, more than any other player, cost them the game. Troy is a glorified linebacker who plays safety.

I went back and looked at the stats and I found something that is irrefutable and inarguable. I went back to 3 very similar teams, 2 of which Troy has faced in Superbowls. Since Tory is a big safety, 15 pounds heavier than most, he’s a glorified linebacker. The smart teams in this league, with really good QB’s have figured out a way to make Troy not only neutralized, but make him a liability…his turning radius, that he can’t guard quickly!

I went back and looked at 3 teams in particular: The Packers from this past Sunday, The Patriots – who spread you out and the Arizona Cardinals – with Kurt Warner against the Steelers. Here is what I found. Big, tough, physical Tory has been eaten alive by the Patriots. Brady is 4 and 1, 12 TD’s with 3 picks and a QB rating of 104. Brady is better against the Steelers than virtually every team, outside of Buffalo, in the NFL. I went and looked at Aaron Rogers, he went 24 for 39, 3 TD’s with no picks, 111 QB rating. And it should be noted, he had 7 dropeds. He could’ve easily finished with 420 yards in passing. I went and looked at Arizona’s Kurt Warner, similar to Green Bay, similar to the Patriots, they love to spread you out and have a smart veteran QB. Troy had 2 tackles in that game, Warner threw for almost 400 yards and 3 TD’s.

The 3 teams, with smart QB’s spread out the field, and the best player the Steelers have all of a sudden becomes their biggest liability. Even Troy noted on Monday, he acknowledged that he did not have a good Sunday. He said “Any time we lose and they put up points that way, you can point it – I would say at the secondary, but especially me in particular. You know, there is a drive there that I gave up the big play, when Jordan Nelson went across the middle…that was my fault. And the touchdown after that was my fault as well” And they were! Who does Troy do very well against? 15-2 against power running Cleveland, since he arrived in the NFL and they’ve won 6 of 8 against Baltimore. Power teams, in the box, he’s the Steelers’ best player. Spread them out, he’s their biggest liability.

You see that all the time, the greatest strength over at MLSE is their biggest liability, they are not nimble. They try to be, they are getting better, but they are so big, it’s hard to turn the battleship. So I think it’s interesting, the emails/texts/bbm’s etc. But listen, fans turn on their little box at home, they watch the television set and they see thought that television set and say “Big Ben made a terrible throw” Big Ben didn’t play well, nobody thinks he did. But if you went back and looked at film and talked to coaches and you sit and see 400 replays on ESPN, you’ll quickly notice that Troy killed their chances. Green Bay completely abused him as does Brady and as did Warner.

I’m sure you’ve already heard this but, for the 2nd year in a row the Superbowl had the most viewers of any TV program in the United States. It is now, Sunday’s game, the most viewed television product ever. 111 million people watched that game. Now here is what’s interesting, the US has a little over 300 million people. So you look at that number and you think a third of the country watched. But here is what you forget!  The ratings don’t count kids under 18, I looked it up there are 75 million in the US. They don’t count bars and casinos and restaurants. I went and looked at the total number of those in the US, I’m going to throw a rough estimate that 25 million Americans watched at a bar or restaurant of a cafe or a casino.

Nor do they count everybody in your house; they only count the one television set, which is usually a family of four. Well, no family watches the Superbowl alone (though I watched it alone for the 7th Superbowl running to bring you these SB rants) So I just basically doubled the number of people in the house, so instead of 100 million, make that 200 million. Do you know what I found? There is also 18% of Americans, 45 million, were English is not there primary language. You know if you’re a Mexican immigrant and you come over, you’re probably not going to be a Chicago Bears fan.

So I started adding up all the numbers, 111 million viewers, 75 million kids, 25 million casinos, bars and cafes, 100 million who are not counted (because nobody watched the Superbowl alone, except me). Essentially folks, there was almost 100% saturation because those numbers that I added, 111 + 75 + 25 + 100, come out to 301 million Americans and there are like 305 million.

So here is what I did, I went out and I took the 4 biggest sports – non NFL in North America. So I took MLB, NBA, College Football and College Basketball (NHL matters squat! ) and I took their big ratings or rating averages for their big event. The BCS final got an 18.5, the Duke national championship game got a 16, the Celtics/Lakers final averaged 10.6 and the average World Series rating was an 8.5. The Superbowl got a 50 rating…the others combine got about a 52 ½ rating . It should be noted, that was with Duke in the final four, Celtics/Lakers in the finals….you couldn’t ask for 3 better basketball teams. In your typical NBA season, that rating would be much lower.

So you’re looking at the Superbowl = the four other biggest sports and their biggest event combined! Haha, that is absolutely absurd!!