I started a new job on Monday, and while it’s better than my prior gig in pretty much every way imaginable (especially the fact that morale isn’t soul-crushingly low among nearly all employees), it’s really cutting into my sports blogging time. No longer will I have time to leave work for 3-to-5 hours in the middle of the day to interview San Francisco Giants or check out federal court cases. It’s all part of growing up, I guess, along with the fact that while BASG has provided me with a somewhat healthy addiction to pass my time, it doesn’t exactly pay the bills.
But I have to steal away some time to talk about yesterday, which was perhaps the craziest sports day in recent memory for at least five reasons.
1. The Barry Bonds verdict
Bonds is now a convicted felon, found guilty on one count of obstruction of justice. Mark Purdy wrote a great column about a court case that had no winners, that is unless some of the jurors were in desperate need of some free meals and something to do.
What does this do to Bonds’ Hall of Fame chances? Hard to say, but I’m hardly optimistic. Some feel like Bonds’ greatness will cause the writers to shrug off the all the evidence of steroid use and a court case that focused heavily on urination, testicle size and threats of domestic violence, all of which seemingly could have been avoided if Bonds had either admitted the truth in the beginning and/or given sufficient amounts of money to a few hangers-on. However, Bonds is absolutely hated by a large percentage of the baseball writers, several of home are petty enough to not vote for deserving Hall of Famers on the first ballot, just because. If he makes the Hall (and in my mind that’s a big if, especially after yesterday’s jury decision), it won’t be anytime soon.
2. Sacramento Kings’ farewell (maybe)
I didn’t see any of this because I didn’t buy the League Pass this year, but it was a pretty wild scene in Sacramento. The Kings made a furious comeback to push the game to overtime before the Lakers (who didn’t want to fall to the No. 3 seed and face the Portland Trailblazers when a much easier matchup with the No. 7 seed Hornets was on the table), then lost. Then the Kings’ TV crew cried as they signed off, the crowd refused to leave, and Sacramento was left with the prospect of losing their only major professional team.
However, as Bill Simmons explains here, this is far from a done deal. Jerry Buss doesn’t want the Kings to move to Anaheim, and if the Maloofs would be faced to pay for the right to move to Southern California they probably couldn’t afford to do so.
3. Warriors’ mediocrity celebrated once again
The next time people say the Bay Area doesn’t support college sports, tell them it’s because we have the Warriors. The fans at Oracle gave the Dubs a standing ovation last night during their meaningless blowout win over a Portland team featuring Patty Mills as their primary scoring option. A standing ovation for a team that finished under .500, just to show how much the fans appreciate how hard the players try to compete during every (home) game. Name another team in professional sports that isn’t threatening to leave town that gets that kind of love after losing more games than they win. The Warriors may earn paychecks for their trouble, but the fans act like they’re student athletes who need the encouragement.
Then, Tim Kawakami of all people went goo-goo-ga-ga over the Warriors’ hiring of Bob Myers as assistant GM, apparently because Kawakami got along with him really well back when he covered Myers when he played for the UCLA Bruins. It was the first time Kawakami has praised a Warriors front office move in years, which on any normal day would have been the most noteworthy story.
4. Kobe Bryant’s gay slur
Ever since he rapped with Tyra Banks, Kobe’s never been known as a guy who has a way with words. And after a camera caught him calling ref Bennie Adams a “f—— faggot,” the NBA stepped in and fined him $100,000.
I don’t agree with anything here. Bryant shouldn’t have said that word, and the NBA is on shaky ground when they fine players for what they say on the court (especially if the threat of physical violence isn’t attached). The only positive is that the uproar proves not that it’s okay to use a slur like this, but that the general climate of today shows that words like these are less acceptable than ever … except in hip hop, where even “conscious” rappers use the words “fag” and “faggot” without a second thought.
I guess the fact that two baseball teams with incredible pitching have .500 records isn’t too crazy, but the way they went about winning yesterday was a little strange. The guys who drove in incredibly important runs last night: Cliff Pennington (whose 2-run single that tied the game in the 9th pushed his average to .214) and Mike Fontenot (whose run-scoring double and homer into the right field arcade were his first 2 hits of the season).
After shaky starts, Brian Fuentes and Brian Wilson both have settled into their respective closer roles quite nicely. I guess the world isn’t going totally mad.