6-29-09: Notes

Hello again everybody...

Back to the mill we go. Hope your weekend was a restful one. With the holiday upcoming, I doubt next weekend will be!

My weekend was fairly mundane until I babysat my nephew for a bit yesterday. He's an active lad, which isn't really my default mode, but he's adorable, so I try. Of late, he's become a big fan of the "Rocky" movies. I suspect his father had something to do with it, since Mark's been a big Rocky fan dating back to his teenage years.

The nephew also owns a pair of Batman boxing gloves. Now, I'm as big a Batman fan as you'll find, but whomever thought it was a good idea to buy a 5-year-old boxing gloves needs to reassess their thought process. Eventually, the nephew ended up with the right-hand glove, and I ended up with the left. In case you can't already see where this is going, I'll continue. Somehow the nephew "forgot" that he only had the right-hand glove on and decided to throw a left jab. After all, Rocky punches with two hands right?

Needless to say, I caught said jab right in the mush. Now, he's only five, so it's not like I'm missing any chicklets or anything. But it certainly enough to stun me for a moment. We called it a win for him by TKO, and that was the end of our boxing for the day.

Yup, the Uncle gig is definitely the way to go for me!

So yes, it was an eventful weekend. And not just in the "nephew assaults uncle" department! So today will be another Monday Notes column about the various things that the weekend brought us.

Let's do this thing!

"If you haven't found something strange during the day, it hasn't been much of a day."
- John A. Wheeler (1911-2008), American theoretical physicist

Strange? How about the series of thoughts that lead someone to decide, "You know? I think the best thing to buy a 5-year-old is pugilistic paraphernalia!" THAT'S strange.

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Equally strange is the weird, wacky world of sports. That said, I bring you...

Monday Notes

The NBA had a draft...
I talked about it last week. It's the one time of year that the NBA threatens to capture my interest. Fortunately, the Timberwolves once again found a way to cause me to immediately lose said interest.

So thank you David Kahn for drafting 3 point guards. Thank you for trading two starters away to draft Ricky Rubio who has said quite plainly that he'd rather stay in Spain than play in Minnesota. Thank you for then drafting the guy you said you *really* wanted all along. Because there's no better way to make a guy think you want him, then to draft him after you draft the kid that's publicly spurned you. Thank you for then drafting Ty Lawson and promptly trading him to Denver for a protected first round pick that you may not get to use for 3 years.

Thank you for screwing up an already screwed-up organization. Just when you think the Wolves couldn't be any worse, ladies and gentlemen, I give you David Kahn.


As usual, the only good thing to come out of the NBA Draft was Bill Simmons' Draft Diary. Always a solid read.

The NHL had a draft... I don't think the Wild screwed themselves up. But the NHL draft is a lot like the MLB draft in that you're probably not going to see these kids for a few years, so it's hard to tell how much better your organization really got.

But the NHL proved, once again, that's it's determined to be a second-tier sport. Where do I start?

The first round was on Versus, which is a network that maybe 65% of the country actually gets on their regular cable. I know that if my folks would have wanted to see the draft in Phoenix, they'd have needed to add the extra sports tier to get Versus. The rest of the draft was on NHL Network. I know exactly one person who get the NHL Network. And he was probably watching the draft, so the NHL has that going for them.

Then there's the fact that the coverage of the draft wasn't even done by Versus. Yes, it was carried on their network, but the coverage was actually provided by Canada's TSN. Think of it as the Canadian ESPN. Now, it might be argued that TSN is better situated to cover hockey than Versus is, since hockey is Canada's national pastime. But to me, that just says that the NHL has done a putrid job developing a major US television partner.

Next on my list of complaints would be the time between picks. The NBA gave each team 5 minutes between picks in their first round. This seemed to be plenty of time for teams to make their phone calls, get their card to the podium, and produce a ball cap for David Stern to hand the lucky draftee. It kept things moving and finished the first round in a reasonable amount of time. Yes, that's me complimenting the NBA. Don't get used to it.

The NHL on the other hand, took like 10 minutes between each pick. And that was just the clock-time. Then there's the time it takes to get the 6-10 team officials up on the stage. Then at least 3 of them apparently had to make some sort of "appropriate comments" before the actual pick was announced. Then we had to sit and watch as the draftee hugged the 10-12 family members that came with them. Hard to complain about that. You only get drafted once right?

The problem is, they were situated halfway across the freaking arena. Every other major draft has a green room adjacent to the stage, so the draft picks can get up there, take their pictures and move on quickly. Not the NHL. The NHL draft picks half to walk halfway across the arena to get up on the stage, shake hands with 16 people, take pictures, and then head down to the TSN set for an interview... presuming they speak English.

The bottom line is that it took entirely too long to get through the first round, and I imagine most people bailed as soon as their team made their pick.

If you're a league struggling to make themselves relevant, wouldn't you want to make your draft as entertaining as possible? Apparently, if you're the NHL, not so much.

The Twins still own the National League... but not to the degree they did in the past.

Interleague play is in the books, and the Twins went 12-6 over those 18 games. Included in there was a 5-1 record against the Milwaukee Brewers. There's no real reason for me to point that out, other than to rub it in a bit to my good friends to the East. Trust me, they'd do the same to me!

Unfortunately for the Twins, the 1st place Detroit Tigers went 10-8 over their interleague schedule, sot he Twins remain 4 games back in the AL Central.

I can't tell you why the Twins always put up such good numbers against the NL. But it's one of the main reasons why I don't want to see interleague play end any time soon!

The Diamondbacks suck something awful... (copyright Patches O'Houlihan).

Yesterday's 12-8 loss to the LAAAGOCRCUSPE pretty much sums things up. 4 errors in the game, 3 of those coming in the 5th inning alone.

And at least 2 of those weren't close plays that didn't get made. They weren't disputable. They weren't tough hops. They were flat-out brain farts by Mark Reynolds and Justin Upton.

Reynolds isn't a natural first baseman, so I can almost forgive the ball he flat-out dropped. Except it wasn't a tough throw by any means. He simply wasn't concentrating, and took his eye off the ball.

Justin Upton is a natural outfielder, so the ball he took his eyes off of is just plain inexcusable.

But even with all that atrocious defense and bullpen work, the D'backs still made a game of it. Scoring 5 runs in the 6th inning made it a 1-run game before LAAAGOCRCUSPE added three more to win by a comfortable 4-run margin.

I'm not taking them off my "Favorite Teams" list. It takes more than one rough season to accomplish that. But I'm tempted to suggest that they blow this roster up and start over. Clearly this team's mind-set is not where it needs to be. And since firing their manager accomplished exactly nothing, the next step is to start shopping players around. There are pieces on this team that have value. And it's time to start making some phone calls to see what you can get for them.

Attendance figures be damned. This team isn't going anywhere anyway. It's time to get people excited about the future. Hopefully...

And on that down note, I'm going to put a bow on this for today.

Come back on Wednesday for the bi-weekly Peek at the Picks column.

Until then, thanks for reading!

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