Lockout, part deux. And like most sequels, this one isn’t as “good” as the year’s original.
When the NFL established its lockout in March, the owners and the players were worlds apart when discussing how to split up the league’s revenue, but there was some optimism that they would act in time to save the entire season. That optimism seems to have grown in the past few weeks.
The two sides in the NBA’s negotiations seem even further separated right now. While some say the league won’t lose games because both players and owners will start to cave under when the prospects of lost checks start looming in September and October, there is a popular belief that some hardline owners — those in smaller markets and losing the most money — are willing to lose some or all of a season to reshape the league’s financial landscape.
That is scary. And I’m not talking about that 66-word sentence.
For now, there’s no reason to pay attention to anything said by either side. No one will make concessions in July or August, when the regular season still looks like something that resides in a land far, far away. When the NBA’s calendar turns to September, much where we are now with the NFL in late June, important people will begin to think about their immediate bottom line shrinking if something isn’t hammered out soon. It’s at that time when we will see the true colors of the players and the owners.
Here’s a self-serving exercise!
It’s June 30, the midway point of the MLB season. After today, 24 of the 30 teams will have played at least 81 games. So let’s see how some of the prognostications I made back in March have turned out.
Everything in bold is what I said would happen prior to the first pitch.
Spoiler alert: It’s turning out to be a lot of all or nothing. Either I was dead right on things or I just have no business watching baseball any longer.
Sometimes, athletes get hurt during downtime. I get that.
But it was absolutely stunning to me when news of Terrell Owens’ ACL surgery found the light of day on Sunday night. We’ve all been through similar stories with Kellen Winslow and Aaron Boone and Ben Roethlisberger. But it doesn’t make such a major injury during the sport’s offseason any less surprising.
Owens will become a free agent when the lockout concludes and is almost certainly not going to line up for another play as a Bengal. However, he experienced a career resurrection of sorts with them last year.
He was flat-out awful in Buffalo, but Owens was actually one of fantasy football’s top wide receivers from weeks 4-9 last season. He ended the year with 72 catches, 983 yards and nine touchdowns, which were extremely pleasant outputs — that is, if you had him on your team; if you didn’t, you were probably waiting for your “fluke” prediction to come true and got exceedingly more upset with every big game T.O. turned in.
Don’t forget that he played in essentially just 13 games with the Bengals before a torn meniscus in the same knee that is the focus now shut him down early in week 15 and forced him to go on injured reserve.
Before there were any worries about Owens’ ACL, he was probably considered a deep WR2 or a high-end WR3 in standard leagues. Everyone had pretty much assumed that he would have to settle for another one-year contract, and his value in the fantasy world would largely hinge upon his landing spot. Now those teams that may have been interested in signing him have some serious concerns to mull over. Chief among them: Do we really want to add a 37-year-old T.O. for this season, knowing he probably won’t be useful for more than a month and has a very good chance of missing it entirely?
Drew Rosenhaus says that T.O. can be ready to play by the start of September?! Well, how convenient.
Well, outside of anything that has to do with human rights advances or the prevention of political villainy.
OK, so consider this the most important petition about sports that you will sign …
… this year.
There is an online petition going around in support of the great Vin Scully getting one last opportunity to announce a World Series. I advise you to sign it and then send it to everyone you know and make sure that they send it to everyone they know and so on.
I doubt it will make a dent anywhere. I first heard about this on Wednesday and as of right now, there are only about 6,700 electronic signatures counted. But that doesn’t mean the effort for a very awesome idea can’t be put forth.
You already know that Scully would be more entertaining in October than Joe Buck, and he makes Tim McCarver look like a nun when it comes to baseball knowledge.
Scully, 80, hasn’t called a World Series since 1988. But even as he nears a still-unknown date with retirement, he remains one of the sharpest announcers of any sport. While he doesn’t travel past Colorado these days, he is only man in the Dodgers’ TV booth when he’s on the call. It’s been that way ever since Don Drysdale’s death in 1993. And sometimes, Scully is the sole carrier of the game’s simulcast on radio, too. Again, he’s 80!
He is a true master at storytelling, and when most broadcasters depend upon the game itself to give them something to talk about during the late innings, Scully never runs out of beautiful yarns related to what you are watching.
Why can’t we have something like that one last time during the Fall Classic? It would be a proper and merited gesture.
On the same day in which their owner filed for bankruptcy and secured a $150 million loan to ensure that he would meet Thursday’s payroll deadline — please, sir … just go away. I beg you — the Los Angeles Dodgers showed that they are replete on the field. That is, at least for one night.
The Dodgers entered Monday with 297 runs this season, the fifth-lowest total in the National League. But trends be dammed! The Dodgers busted out for 15 against the Twins on the road in a shutout effort.
It was the second time in franchise history that the Dodgers scored at least 15 runs on the road while shutting out the other side. Tuesday is the 42-year anniversary of the only other time it happened. The Dodgers beat the Padres, 19-0 with Don Drysdale on the hill that day. Talk about overkill.
Say what you will about TMZ — Harvey Levin’s gossip bunch harasses public figures, even those with minimal relevance, night after night largely for the purpose of antagonizing them to the rest of the world — they don’t get it wrong often when it comes to reporting stories. Here’s a pretty sensationalistic one that contains Shaquille O’Neal.
The basic facts are there is an ongoing criminal case centering around seven men who allegedly kidnapped, beat up and robbed a man who claimed to be in possession of a sex tape.
That sex tape is allegedly of Shaq, and it shows him, well, you understand why they call it a sex tape.
The seven men have been arrested and charged with robbery, kidnapping and other crimes. They are currently in the middle of a preliminary hearing and being held in jail.
Part of the backstory is that Shaq if friends with one of the accused — Ladell Rowles, who is a member of the Main Street Mafia Crip Gang in Los Angeles. He also knows the guy who got the crap beat out of him, Robert Ross. According to TMZ, Shaq and his business manager, Mark Stevens, have a record label and allegedly told Ross they would give him a 50 percent cut in any artists he brought to them. Ross claims he delivered Ray J to Shaq, but got cut out of the deal.
Today, as expected, has been mostly about how the Miami Heat didn’t win an NBA Championship last night. LeBron and the Heat failed or choked or something like that.
In the spare moments of time left after all of that, someone points out that the Dallas Mavericks actually won and deservedly so. They were the better team; they hit more shots; they played better defense and played their best when the going got tough. Unfortunately, the U.S. majority will forget that more than they forget who Dallas beat.
The saying goes that no one ever remembers second place. That won’t be true this year, which is too bad.
With that being said, let’s talk some more about the Miami Heat!
OK, I’m not going to pile on. I don’t really care what was said last night. Let’s let it go, folks.
No, I want to be LeBron positive for a moment before I change my tune here.
The guy is going to win an NBA Championship at some point, probably more than one. He’s too good and his team is too good to keep coming up short as the years go by. What happened this week is probably just another case of how NBA stars reach the top of the mountain — there always seems to be valleys before the peaks. For the many who don’t want to see him succeed, there will come a time when they (we?) will have to deal with it and give him his due. It will happen.
But for those who want to keep fantasizing about how difficult it will be for the Heat to win an NBA title, well, you’re not wrong. Like every other team, they now have to start from square one again and set out on long road.