Good bye Rondo

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No surprise, but it still sucks. And I don’t like it. Not just because it is not a good trade. It takes away the guy that was helping all the young players improve their game because he was getting them the ball. Jameer Nelson will do wonders with that role.

Kung Fu Panda Era is Over

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You know how even when a relationship is good and bad, and there’s a rational recognition that it’s probably best to move on, it’s still a jolt when it actually happens? That’s how I feel with Pablo Sandoval. An emotional ‘don’t leave!’ followed by friends reassuring me it’s for the best and just to let him go. But right now, I am feeling the emotional sting, remembering only the good times.

And those good times were amazing. With Lincecum and Pence, he may have best embodied the cooky spirit of the Giants. The Panda hats will be missed. His clutch playoff hitting will be missed. His mediocrity throughout the regular season, not so much. But let’s focus on the best of times–there are a handful of guys who represent the 2010-2014 Giants, and he is one of them.

I also think his best days are ahead of him. But only as a member of the Red Sox, and not if he had remained on the Giants. In Fenway, he could hit .350 going the opposite way off the Green Monster. This was the right move for him. It was the right move for the Giants. And it still hurts.

Do We Need Instant Replay?

UnknownAn observation from a weekend of sports watching: instant replay isn’t worth it. It disrupts the flow of the game, slows things down, and takes away from the excitement of a single moment, single moments that happen repeatedly. Two examples, one of which instant replay was used correctly and helped determine the outcome of the game.

Harvard-Yale: there was no instant replay for this critical Ivy League showdown in which Harvard won in a thrilling finish to end the season undefeated. And there were continual mistakes made by the referees, including on some key plays, one which helped Yale in its 4th quarter comeback. More so, the clock was often off. One play that involved a 10 yard pass took a single second off the clock.

Cowboys-Giants: instant replay determined the end of the game. Rashad Jennings was ruled to be inches short of the first down marker on a last chance drive with 20+ seconds left. Instant replay also confirmed two tremendous touchdowns–an epic catch by Odell Beckham and a great catch and run by Dez Bryant.

Watching Harvard-Yale was initially jarring. Bad calls made me yell at the tv. But it was better. The game kept going. Both teams ignored the bad calls and played on. In the Cowboys-Giants games, instant replay got in the way of great plays. It stopped the momentum of the game. Furthermore, what if Beckham’s heel was out of bounds? (It wasn’t–instant replay showed this). It was an incredible catch and moment–do we need a replay to confirm this? We all saw it, and the refs saw it. This is sports–we don’t need the specificity of a scientist to confirm a great catch or not. These are the moments where we should leave it to the refs. Even the play with Jennings. When I saw it in real time, I thought he made it. So did the ref. Giants raced to the line and we were moving forward to an exciting finish. Let’s keep it that way.

Treadmill Mindgames

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I can handle running in the cold, but ice and wind add a combination that forces me to run on what was once the dreaded treadmill. Dreaded because I’m always fearful of wiping out while changing a song (especially when iTunes decides to go into maximum shuffle mode right in the middle of a carefully and exquisitely crafted playlist designed for warmup, followed by intensity, followed by epic crescendos, followed by warmdown), and I can never run with a comfortable stride. Nor can I “relax”, something that is rare to do while running inside or out, but can happen at least occasionally when I’m not fearing that I’m going to step on the front of the machine. This is why I can’t watch sports while running on the treadmill, because I go flying off on every exciting play.

But now the treadmill is only once dreaded. I’ve not only made peace with it, I’ve become fascinated by it. In fact, whereas I once was only able to run on a treadmill if I never stared at the moving stop watch in front of me, now I stare at it the whole time, every .01 of a mile. Running on the treadmill is a constant mindgame, my brain versus my body. Because all the controls to slow down or even stop are right in front of me and it’s so easy to stop that I find it equally easy to speed up instead of slow down. It’s all about playing games with myself. I tell myself, ‘just another quarter mile; finish the mile I started.’ Then I tell myself, ‘speed up to get through this quarter mile–just speed up for 10 seconds.’ Then, 10 seconds becomes 20 and maybe even 30. While doing this, my finger will be poised just above the slow down button, ready to move at a moments notice. But what’s great is that, exactly because my finger is poised to slow things down, I don’t. I run faster just a bit longer than expected. Sometimes a lot faster and a lot longer. I’d never do this outside, I’d just panic about running too fast or too long and either stop or never start in the first place.

Of course, this makes no sense. Outside, I’m not on a machine. I’m in total control all the time. Only on a treadmill do I even have to think about hitting a button to slow down. And yet, it’s the treadmill that I feel in greater control and am better able to trick myself. Ridiculous? Probably. Insane? Most certainly. In fact, I say this to myself throughout the run. ‘Run just another quarter mile. Fuck you–you said that last time and this is a trick. No it’s not–this time I promise its just a quarter mile. (After quarter mile has been run) What’s one more quarter mile?’

This hardly works all the time, but it works more often than my rational side of the brain would like to believe. Is it because the treadmill moves forward that I find myself ‘pushed’ to do things I otherwise wouldn’t? Is it easier to go when it’s easier to stop? There’s something real happening here, and I have to say it is as exhilarating as it is stupid. I love these moments in life when I know I’m being completely irrational and yet benefiting from all the irrationality because somewhere in my head, I can’t totally convince myself I’m being irrational.

No, its not 4:20, and I’m in neither Washington nor Colorado, or even California, and I don’t see a triple rainbow.

Florida State and Kentucky are #1 in NCAAM Football and Basketball

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One team has an increasing list of players evading the law, and a coach who says such criminal activity–like rape, stealing, and hit and runs–just make the team’s character more resilient. The other team has so many McDonalds All Americans on its roster that their second team would likely be ranked #2 in the country. Such an astonishing and historically unprecedented job of recruiting is great in itself, except that the recruiter, John Caliper, left his last two jobs in the midst of wide spread recruitment violations and ultimately NCAA sanctions. Both teams are ranked #1 in their respective sports because despite all the suffocating smoke, there is technically, no fire. Yet.

So lets celebrate student athletes and their universities for their purity, educational spirit, and pursuit of fairness.

Trade Rondo for Kyrie Irving?

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Makes a lot of sense, doesn’t it? Rondo is a much better fit with LeBron and Love, and Kyrie is the perfect kind of Stephen Marbury point guard to help the Celtics continue in their goal of replacing the Hawks as yearly first round exits in the eastern conference playoffs.

In the last 28 seconds of the game tonight, both showed why their teams should make this trade. Irving went one on one and drove to the hoop, missing a wild layup, and not passing to LeBron who had been unstoppable the final 3 minutes during the Cavs comeback. With 7 seconds left, that left the Celtics to turn to Rondo for a final shot–which he failed to get off in time after trying a pump fake with less than 1 second left.

The Cavaliers need a seasoned point guard who thinks to pass to LeBron first and Love second. The Celtics need a scorer and go-to guy. The trade helps the Cavs a lot more than it helps the Celtics. They get a guy who could re-emerge as an elite point guard that could get them to the NBA finals. The Celtics don’t become elite anything with Irving. He joins a rag tag bunch of role players (The Celtics should rename themselves “the Sixth Men”), but he’s athletic, a scorer, and he’s probably the best they can get for Rondo before Rondo leaves them with nothing.

This Represents Parquet Pride?

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I’m not the one with the design skills at this site, but I still can identify an uninspiring alt-uniform. Green is such a cool color with so many possibilities. Look at what the Seahawks did. And so, the Celtics give us grey. How about something that would have better matched Avery Bradley’s shoes? Or something with Larry Bird’s face on it?