What up world? It’s Earl and I’m back with another edition of The Blog About Nothing. It’s mid October and the World Series is set. This year we’ll see the San Francisco Giants face off against the Kansas City Royals. The Giants won the World Series in 2010, and 2012, so you have to figure this is their year, but I’m rooting for the Kansas City Royals. Why? The last time they’ve been to the World Series was when they won in 1985. That was 29 years ago! I was three years old (I turned four about two months later)!! In the 29 years since they won they’ve been a woeful franchise so it’s really cool to see this resurgence.
Despite my love of Toronto, and my adopting the Blue Jays as my American League team, I’ve had a bit of a soft spot for they Royals. I love the powder blue jerseys, I’ve wanted a KC hat over the years because Brooklyn is Kings County but for some reason I haven’t gotten around to buying one. Even though I have few memories of baseball before my teenage years I know the Royals and Yankees had a heated rivalry, and any team that hates the Yankees is a team I support. So, I have my reasons for wanting to see the Kansas City Royals win. I’m the kind of sports fan that doesn’t like to see the same team win year after year. Unless it’s a team I root for, but since I really don’t have a dog in this fight: Let’s go Royals! Beat the Giants, because do we really need to see the Giants win a third World Series in five seasons? Nah. We don’t.
Moving on to the NBA, there is an interesting post up on ESPN.com that asks “Can the Clippers own the future?” The writer, Kevin Arnovitz, is asking can the Los Angeles Clippers own the future of Los Angeles basketball. Now, we here at 7Poundbag are doing our NBA previews and while we are going division by division, our last preview asks who do we think will win the NBA Championship this season? My answer, which was a bit tongue and cheek, was the Los Angeles Clippers. I brought up the rather obvious with the Clippers that they have two of the best players in the League with Chris Paul and Blake Griffin but lets go a little deeper with the Clips. Doc Rivers is a fantastic head coach, looking at the roster they can go 10 deep, and on paper they could easily win a deep Western Conference.
The issue is that games aren’t played on paper nor are they played via computer simulation. You have to physically play the game out and the Clippers do have two big issues. Their stars are injury prone. Chris Paul and Blake Griffin are hardly locks to play a full 82 game season. The second weakness this franchise has is a glaring hole at small forward. Matt Barnes is a fine defensive player, but he doesn’t bring much on offense. Also, if Barnes comes down with injury he’s backed up by a faded Hedo Turkoglu and Australian import Joe Ingles. Despite my Clippers prediction, I’m very aware of their shortcomings.
However, back to Arnovitz’ question: Can the Clippers own the future? New owner Steve Ballmer should have little issue moving this franchise away from the Donald Sterling era and as long as he trusts Doc and his basketball people the Clips do have a fine nucleus. What also helps the Clips in the immediate future is that the Los Angeles Lakers are a complete mess. New head coach Byron Scott has inherited a team that doesn’t look too much better than the 27-55 team from last season. Kobe Bryant is back, but he’s 36 and coming off of two crippling injuries. While I love the Black Mamba, and I admire his swag, facts are what they are: it will be damn near impossible for him to be the dominant player he once was. Kobe is saying the right things, as far as knowing his limitations, but I wonder when the season kicks off will his actions match his words? The rest of the roster? A work in process. Carlos Boozer, Steve Nash, Jeremy Lin and etc… are all fine names but this is a team that finished near the bottom of the West last season. If I have to be optimistic I can see the Lakers climbing a bit to the 10th spot in the West, which leaves them out of the playoff picture. Unfortunately, a finish like that leaves the Lakers out of the 2015 NBA Lottery. Assuming they don’t receive some lotto luck, their pick reverts to the Phoenix Suns thanks to the Steve Nash trade (unless the Lakers pick ends up in the top five, then the Lakers can keep it).
Which plays in to the Clippers owning the future. They definitely own the immediate future. They are better than their Staples Center counterpart, the Los Angeles Lakers. However, and this needs to be noted, the Lakers are a franchise that historically bounces back quickly. While they couldn’t keep Dwight Howard, and didn’t entice Carmelo Anthony to leave New York behind, this is a franchise that could easily acquire the next big thing at some point within the next few seasons. The Lakers have had lulls in their history, but it’s never lasted that long, so following that pattern I expect a bounce back soon. So, to answer Arnovitz’ question the Clippers do own the immediate future. Will they ever own a long lasting future? Not a chance. Too many Lakers banners to overcome that. Too much history on the Lakers side to overcome that. However, I’d like to see them win one. Just one. Just to kind of dent the Laker pride just a bit, and to accelerate the Lakers rebuilding process.
Sticking with the NBA, this Sunday will see a preseason game between the Brooklyn Nets and the Boston Celtics that will be 44 minutes long. This is down from the standard 48 minutes, and instead of four 12 minute quarters, there will be four 11 minute quarters. Players and coaches involved in the game seem to be in favor, and players around the league have voiced some interest in shortening the game. Some have also moved in favor of shortening the 82 game season. Personally, I think 48 minutes per game is fine, and despite players like LeBron James being in favor of a shorter season, I like the 82 game season. However, I would make changes to the scheduling if I were involved in the process. I’d space it out some to avoid the dreaded three games in a row, and the four games in five days.
I haven’t looked this up or anything, but it’s my opinion that the schedule is too crowded in some spots, and in others too relaxed. The beginning of the season sees a lot of games being played in a tight schedule, but by the month of January you could see a team play two games in the span of seven or eight games. Then around the All-Star break you see tightly packed games again. There has to be a way to properly spread out 82 games over a time period from October to April that doesn’t create overcrowding. Spread the schedule out would also avoid those dog games you see in January. You ever notice your favorite team usually has this horrible loss in December or January? They’re burned out by then because of the fast pace of the early schedule and they drop a stinker to a team they likely wouldn’t have lost to with some rest. So, in my humblest of opinions, don’t shorten the schedule. Just space it out some. Alter the travel schedule to avoid crazy road trips. Basically, use some common sense. What a concept…
The New York Jets are 1-6 but I predicted that in our Season Previews so I won’t waste your time. They did play a solid game against the New England Patriots but the game plan was more of the same. Run the ball until you get into the red zone, and then you forget to run the ball. Quite frustrating. Things do get easier after the bye week, but the sand in the hourglass is running out on Rex Ryan, and hopefully on General Manager John Idzik. Idzik, got far too much credit for the Seattle Seahawks rebuild, seems to be in over his head here with the Jets but you have to figure Idzik will be back. Ryan? I miss the old Rex. The bombastic Rex. This dude seems neutered. Wish the organization would just put him out of his misery and can him already. Just so he can move on and rediscover that swag that he had when he took the gig.
Finally . . .
Last week I closed out the blog on the financial crisis that was facing the Soca Princesses, better known as the Trinidad & Tobago Woman’s National Team. If you do not remember, coach Randy Waldrum stated that the female soccer team was sent to Dallas for the first round of the CONCACAF Championship with nothing more than $500 and little equipment. Facing a financial dilemna, Waldrum went public with his worry, and thanks to some gracious supporters enough money was brought in to finance the team. Now, it should be noted that the Government of Trinidad and Tobago has denied that the team wasn’t properly financed, but what we do know is that the Soca Princesses were in Dallas, and on Wednesday they faced off against the United States Women’s National Team.
In seven prior meeting the United States outscored Trinidad and Tobago 54-2. Let that sink in: 54-2! Nothing much was expected from T&T, especially a T&T side that had an odyssey to even get that far, and a side that the head coach didn’t really know. Two of his starters on Wednesday night were women he only met a day or two prior. With long odds against them, Trinidad and Tobago came out of the gate with a head full of steam, disciplined defense, and they impressed the soccer world ONLY losing 1-0. Playing a disciplined 4-5-1 formation (four defensive players, five midfielders, and one forward) the Soca Princesses didn’t get many shots on Hope Solo in the U.S. goal but with their athleticism and stout play they frustrated the Americans the entire night.
The fact that the Soca Princesses came out as the story of the night, and not the disappointing performance of the United States is a wonderful thing. Regional women’s soccer can be defined by one team: the United States. The Canadians have been knocking at the door, and Canada will host the 2015 Womens World Cup, but the U.S. are the unquestionable queens of the region. However, it’s great to see teams from the Caribbean starting to break through. Trinidad and Tobago, and Haiti who won their game against Guatemala on Wednesday, is doing the region proud. It must be noted that the Caribbean have never produced a Womens World Cup team, and only have produced two Mens World Cup teams (Jamaica in 1998 and T&T in 2006). With Canada already guaranteed a spot as hosts, and with the U.S. very likely claiming a second spot, odds are strong that either T&T or Haiti can claim a spot considering there are up to five available spots for the CONCACAF region of North and Central America (One goes to Canada as hosts, three automatic spots to qualifiers and a fifth can get in via a two game play in against Ecuador). With two groups (Group A: United States, T&T, Haiti and Guatemala while Group B has: Mexico, Costa Rica, Jamaica, and Martinique) I think the Soca Princesses have a damn good shot at getting one of those births. Especially if they keep turning in spirited perfomances. We’re nine months away from the 2015 World Cup and I’ll do my best to keep you all updated on their progress.
I’m done. Thanks for reading. Thanks for supporting all we do here at www.7poundbag.com. Much love. Peace.
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