Land-o-Links – 6/16/2007

My professional obligations have been keeping me away from blogging for the past couple of weeks, but at least in the sports world, it’s been a pretty pathetic period anyway (from my perspective). The NBA Finals were a complete bomb with the Spurs simply wiping out LeBron and the Cavs while the White Sox are for all intents and purposes done for the season with a June swoon that’s normally reserved for the Cubs. Let’s get so some overdue links:

1) Twins Owner Buys Into Hip-Hop ( – The selling radio station owner didn’t think the Twin Cities area had “enough of a black population to support the station’s format”. C’mon, there’s got to be at least five or six black people that live in Minneapolis other than the members of the Timberwolves, Twins and Vikings, right? Anyone? As for Carl Pohlad getting into the hip-hop game, I’ll let Minneapolis Red Sox comment on that one.

2) Your Gripping NBA Champions (Deadspin) – I know that it’s de rigeur to consider the San Antonio Spurs to be boring and bland, but something in the back of my head tells me that if this exact same team were wearing Knicks or Lakers uniforms, the sports world would be gushing right now about a glamorous dynasty a la MJ’s Bulls. It’s like the old Jerry Seinfeld line about how “we’re cheering for laundry” in terms of watching sports.

That being said, this year’s NBA Finals were about as brutal as I’ve ever seen. As much as I fear that the next decade will consist of karmic payback of the LeBron James and the Cavs dominating the Bulls and the East the same way that Michael Jordan made Craig Ehlo his bitch for years, Cleveland simply wasn’t good.  It’s unbelievable that a Cleveland team that was so poorly constructed could get all the way to this point in the first point with essentially just LeBron. Meanwhile, the Spurs have ridden a lucky ping-pong ball bounce in 1997 that yielded the right to draft Tim Duncan all the way to four NBA titles. My general point here, which I will continue to hammer home until the Bulls make the big moves that they need to get to the proverbial next level, is that having a transcendent star with subpar surrounding pieces (i.e. the Cavs and LeBron) still trumps having solid well-balanced teams without that go-to guy (i.e. the Pistons and Bulls) in the world of the NBA. I wish that weren’t true because I’m a huge believer in those fundamental principles of teamwork and chemistry, but this has simply been the state of the NBA for a long time. Meanwhile, the Spurs have shown again that skillful building around a dominant anchor will pretty much guarantee them a legitimate shot at the title year in and year out. Of course, as I alluded to before, the best personnel move that they ever made was getting the right ping-pong balls in ’97. And you wonder why I was obsessed with this year’s NBA lottery for the last 18 months?

3) Your 2007 Bile File Recipients (Sweet Home Sports) – One of my pet peeves about baseball standings discussions among the general public: everyone gets lathered up about the division races yet completely neglect the fact that there’s also a wild card spot to get into the playoffs. Thus, I was pooh-poohing all of the doomsdayers a couple of weeks ago that said the White Sox were done by being so many games behind Cleveland in the AL Central division race. My reasoning was that they were only a couple of games behind Detroit in the wild card race at the time and with the way the AL Central is this season, getting to second place in that division will probably get a team into the postseason. Ask the Boston Red Sox, Florida Marlins and Anaheim Angels whether it matters if you get into the playoffs by winning the wild card or the division. Fact: the AL West champ hasn’t won the World Series since the wild card was instituted in 1995 (the Angels were a wild card team the year they won in 2002), while 3 of the 7 World Series this century have been won by a wild card team. Long story short – don’t ever forget about the wild card.

Of course, this no longer matters for the White Sox since they basically haven’t won since the last time I put up a blog post two weeks ago while the Tigers have surged back to be just about even with the Indians. (Is it just me, or do the Tigers score 15 runs every single night?) Thus, the Bile File has returned at Sweet Home Sports, and there is certainly a plethora of candidates in what appears to be a summer of misery on the South Side.

4) Fuzzy Numbers: A TL Statistical Plunge (The Ted Lilly Fan Club) – It’s nice to see what the three members of the Ted Lilly Fan Club think of yours truly.

And finally…

5) One of the Worst The Price is Right Players Ever (YouTube) – One more homage to Bob Barker as he heads off to his retirement party. This clip starts getting really good at the 2 minute mark, so be sure to watch it all the way through.

Have a wonderful rest of the weekend!


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