Jeter’s Retirement

I don’t usually do lists, but I am today.  I am also not a New York Yankee fan, but I’m not a Yankee hater, either.  I’m not a Derek Jeter fan, nor do I dislike him.  I am still amazed by the fact that humans can get paid millions of dollars to travel around the country, bask in the applause of adoring fans, and still only be successful at their jobs less than a third of the time.

But the following list came to me in the shower this morning, as all good writing does.

Top 5 best things about Derek Jeter’s retirement:

5.  Derek Jeter’s retirement.

4.  We won’t have to see the Yankee organization’s shameless, smarmy, dog and pony “farewell tour” show.

3.  Maybe now the Yankees will be able to make the postseason next year.

2.  The Yankee manager can put someone at #2 in the lineup that can actually hit the ball.

1.  Jeter’s tiny nephew tipping his cap to his uncle at his final game at Yankee Stadium. ( It was truly adorable!)

Do They Do Everything Fast? Yes.

Apparently, the Oregon Ducks do everything fast.  Their flight from Eugene to Charlottesville for Saturday’s game against the Virginia Cavaliers normally would take about 5 hours.  The Ducks made it in 4:29.  The giant semi-truck that hauls the team’s 220,000 pounds of equipment made the 2800+ mile drive in just 44 hours.  And that’s not to mention what happens once the team takes the field!

oregon-ducks-logo

Yes, the Ducks do everything fast.  In yesterday’s 59 – 10 win against Virginia, 7 of their 9 scoring drives were accomplished in under one minute 25 seconds, one was 1:51 and one took an astonishing 3 minutes and 8 seconds (gasp!).

On their first drive, the ducks scored on just the sixth play of the game, a 71-yard TD run by Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota.  Mariota was 14 for 28 for 199 yards.  The Ducks time of possession was roughly half that of Virginia’s.  They run a play every 16 seconds.  They average 9.5 yards per play.  They score 83% of the time in the red zone.

And while they’re fast, they could use some improvement.  There were too many penalties.  They had a PAT blocked.  Mariota wasn’t as proficient as he can be.  But, no worries.  They blew out an un-ranked team on the road, which is what they were supposed to do.  They’ll improve.  They’ll hone their skills.  And yes, they will get faster.

OK, so THAT happened…

Well, it finally happened.  One of the last major sports arenas NOT to be named after an airline or an oil company has caved to corporate sponsorship.  Portland’s Rose Garden Arena is no longer the Rose Garden.

The arena, completed in 1994, serves as home court for the NBA’s Portland Trailblazers and is the main event venue for all of Oregon and SW Washington.

The Trailblazers announced recently that the arena would now be called the “Moda Center.”   Named after a health insurance company (formally ODS),  the Moda Center sounds a little odd at first, but it could be worse.  At least it stands out a bit.  It could’ve been the US Bank Center.  Or the Alaska Airlines Arena.  Or even something more bland and corporate.  The cost of the sponsorship was not disclosed.

According to the team, the corporate partnership, among other things, will allow the Blazers organization to provide a better guest experience and even make the team more competitive.   Wait, what?  More competitive?  Oh, so some guy from an insurance company is going to be deciding the starting lineup?  Will there be an underwriter at the Blazers’ draft table next June?  What does that mean?  I don’t buy it.

I’ve always been proud of the fact that Portland had one of only a few arenas that wasn’t a “corporate” center.  I guess it was inevitable.  Blazer owner Paul Allen has deep pockets, but I guess not deep enough to make the team competitive.  I hope that all works out for you, Paul.  And, by the way, we’re all still going to call it the Rose Garden.

Be Careful of What You Wish For…

A few short weeks ago, all of the talk in College Football was about a BCS Championship that featured two non-SEC teams.  The match-up pitted Kansas State against Oregon.  Folks were excited about a game that featured neither an SEC team nor a Notre Dame team.

Then came that fatefull Saturday that saw both No. 1 K-State and No. 2 Oregon lose key games, along with each team’s hopes for a national title.

Turns out, those two teams may meet up in a BCS Bowl game after all.  Just not the championship.  The Wildcats and Ducks are expected to play one another in the Fiesta Bowl on January 3rd.  While the game won’t be for all the marbles, it should still be a great game!

News & Notes

Just a few quick notes:

The LA Lakers, who lost all 8 of their pre-season games and won only 1 of their first 5 regular season games, fired coach Mike Brown yesterday.  After 5 games.  5 games.  There are NFL coaches that don’t get fired after 5 games.  Regardless of what the official line is, my guess is that Kobe wanted him fired.  Did you see the long Kobe-stare that Brown got the other night?  Wow.  Whatever the reason, it is clearly an act of desperation.  The media is saying it’s because the Lakers know they don’t have much time to mess around if they are going to win a championship.  Kobe’s getting old.  Steve Nash is about done.  The rest of the Lakers aren’t the spring chickens they used to be.

Meanwhile, the Trailblazers continue to look like the real new-look team in the west.  With a new President, General Manager and Coach, along with some exciting new players, I like what I’ve seen so far.

College football’s reigning champion and BCS #1 ranked team Alabama lost their bid for an un-beaten season today with a 29-24 loss to Texas A&M.  WooHoo!  GO DUCKS!  Err,  I mean…. Gosh, that’s too bad.

Oh, and I like USC’s response to the whole under-inflated football issue.  Huh? What? The balls?  Yeah, right.

 

 

Opening Night

BlazersThe New-Look Portland Trailblazers had their home opener last night at the Rose Garden against the (hapless) LA Lakers.  The Blazers won 116 – 106, but the score makes it looks closer than it was.

Look, I’m not ready to jump on the bandwagon with the Portland fans that insist the Trailblazers can win it all this year, or even those that now think they can make the playoffs.  That can’t be based on one game, especially the first game of the regular season.  But I will say I was impressed with the team.

Here’s why:

LaMarcus Aldridge:  It’s nice to see the “L Train” having the freedom to do what he does best.  In the past, Aldridge was always the 3rd or 4th option in the offense, and he seems to perform better as the team’s first option.  After all, he’s an All-Star, and probably one of the top 6 or 7 forwards in the game.  Obviously he has a nice 12 – 15 foot jump shot, but he also moves well without the ball and has some impressive post moves.  I think he makeS the All-Star team again this year.

Nicolas Batum:  I won’t go into how I felt about Batum when he demanded to be traded, or when the Blazers refused and he back-peddled to say he really did want to be in Portland, but I was impressed with his effort in last night’s game.  I saw some hustle and desire that I really didn’t know he had in him.  It was good to see.  Maybe he will earn that salary he’s getting paid.

Damian Lillard:  All I can say is “wow.”  A great performance – Only the 3rd player in NBA history with 20+ points and 10+ rebounds in their NBA debut.  The other two?  Isaiah Thomas and the great Oscar Robinson.  I like the look of this kid!  ROTY?

All of the other Blazers looked good as well, and it was an impressive performance.  Of course, they went up against a tired, whiney Kobe and “his” Laker team that clearly hasn’t figured out how to utilize all of the talent and new faces they’ve acquired.  (A Princeton-type offense – really?)

Don’t get me started on Kobe – that could completely be a blog on it’s own!  But I’ll just say a couple of things.  First , I like how he’s been saying “this is my team.”  Really?  Isn’t it Jerry Buss’ and Mike Brown’s team?  Isn’t basketball a “team” sport?  Would you want to play for a guy that keeps telling the media this is his team?  I mean, I understand that every team needs a leader.  But, if it really is his team, why does he keep having to tell everyone? Secondly, anytime Kobe airballs a three in the RG, it’s a good night!

Good night!

Ahhhh. October!

I love this time of year.  For sports, I mean.  Weather-wise it sucks.  I hate the fall.  It means colder weather, more rain, leaves to rake, gutters to clean out, etc.  But for sports, fall is awesome.  The World Series is going on.  The NFL is is full swing and getting interesting.  College football games start meaning the difference between a bowl game and well, not a bowl game.  The NBA is gearing up for the opening of the regular season.  And if the NHL owners and players weren’t a bunch of jackwagons, they’d be starting their season as well.

World Series:

You gotta love the Giants!  They’re on fire right now.  The Kung Fu Panda crushed it in Game 1.  The Tigers are good, no doubt about it, but the Giants have one guy on their team right now that is unbeatable.  His name?  Mo Mentum.

NFL:

What kind of a world do we live in where the Falcons are undefeated and the Saints are 2-4?  Nuff said.

College Football:

I’m an Oregon fan.  The BCS rankings don’t really bother me…. yet.  I know the Ducks, or the PAC-12 in general, doesn’t get enough respect.  That’s ok.  I understand that Oregon’s strength of schedule is a little lacking this year.  That’s ok, too.  But No. 4?  Come on!  They’ve decimated all of their opponents this year.  Before halftime.

There are several teams I think are overrated.  Florida.  Definitely Notre Dame.  Ohio State (always overrated!)  Kansas State is good, and they’ve creamed the teams they were supposed to cream, but they barely beat Oklahoma and almost lost to Iowa St.  They still have to play Oklahoma State, TCU, Baylor and Texas.  Of course, they were scheduled to play Oregon this year but backed out.  I’m just saying.  The reality is, all of these things will sort themselves out.  Only one team from the SEC will be undefeated.  K State can’t slip up.  Oregon has to win out.  It will all take care of itself.  I do think, however, a great match-up for the national championship would be Oregon and Alabama.

It’s funny how college football affects me, though.  I find myself rooting for the strangest teams.  I’m yelling for Georgia to capitalize on turnovers by Florida.  I really really want Texas Tech to play well against Kansas St.  I am soooo cheering for Oklahoma against ND.  Funny.

By the way, as an Oregon Duck fan, I’m probably committing an in-state felony right now, but let’s give three cheers for the Oregon State Beavers.  Undefeated and ranked #7!  Nice to see.  Mike Riley has done a phenomenal job with his team.  I hope they win all of their games. Except one.  (The Civil War game, of course!)