Saturday, February 22, 2014

NBC to bring back "Heroes"; as a one-season miniseries maybe it won't fall victim to the usual pitfalls?

When Heroes debuted in 2006 I thought it was one of the best ideas for a TV show I'd seen in a long time.  And at first it was awesome.  But then a little while later it wasn't.  I'm not sure exactly when the train went off the tracks, but I do remember thinking that it failed miserably to live up to its potential.

In 2015 NBC will air a 13 episode miniseries called Heroes Reborn, with different characters and a new story.  If the network is actually committed to it beginning and ending all in one season, Heroes could be much better this time around.  One of my biggest complaints with TV shows of that genre is when they keep throwing in excessive/unnecessary twists that bring up new questions, and then don't bother to answer any of the old ones (that's the main reason why I gave up on Lost halfway through the first season).  It's as if they think the audience is too stupid and lacks the attention span to actually care about following through on plot lines.

But if the writers know from the beginning that they won't have to keep the show going, maybe this common trap can be avoided.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Celtics Tankometer drops as the trade deadline passes

Boston only took the court once since the previous Tankometer reading (54%), a 100-94 loss in Phoenix on Wednesday in which they played pretty well (meter down).  Avery Bradley didn't even travel on the current west coast trip however, despite no real explanation as to why his sprained ankle isn't getting better (meter back up).

But the big thing that happened this week is that Danny Ainge didn't trade anybody.  He didn't get any offers he liked for Jeff Green, Brandon Bass, or Kris Humphries (who's contract is up and the end of the season anyway), so he kept all of them.  Hanging on to players you don't really care about because you won't get fair value in return is definitely not tanking.

On the other hand those pesky Philadelphia 76ers dealt away half their team yesterday just because they could; dumping all their talent that they didn't intend to build around in an effort to be as bad as possible right now.

The remainder of the Celtics road trip is against the three worst teams in the Western Conference (at LA Lakers, Sacramento, and Utah), all clubs competing with Boston for lottery position.  If the C's don't grab a win or two in the bunch the Tankometer needle will be back on the rise.

Complete history of the Tankometer

Thursday, February 20, 2014

USA women's hockey "wins" silver medal with disastrous loss

If I'd never happened to turn on my TV this afternoon, I'd be perfectly OK with the fact that the USA women's hockey team got the silver medal, falling to Canada 3-2.  But I did watch the game from the third period on, and now I've got this nauseous feeling in the pit of my stomach.  It's funny how sports can work like that.  And if that empty net shot from halfway across the ice slides once inch to the right, the Americans would be wearing gold medals right now.

You're really not supposed to lose a hockey game that you lead 2-0 with three and a half minutes to go; especially when a championship is on the line.  It's eerily similar to the Bruins defeat in the Stanley Cup Final last year (although Boston was up 2-1 with a minute and a half left, and even if they'd held the lead would still have needed to win Game 7); the phrase "choke of epic proportions" comes to mind.

I can't imagine there's anybody on the planet who actually enjoyed watching the US women painfully accept their silver medals.  I wrote about this in the summer of 2012, the Olympics should change the format where you "win" the silver medal with a loss:

"So here's my suggestion: Play the gold medal game, but don't give the loser the silver. Have them play again against the winner of what was previously considered the bronze medal game, for the right to truly "win" the silver. Then have those two losers play another game in order to determine the bronze. That way everybody who gets a medal earns it with a victory and goes out on a high note."

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

LeBron James whines about not getting enough time off during the All-Star "break"

New NBA commissioner Adam Silver recently spoke about a conversation he had with LeBron James at the All-Star game:

"One of the issues LeBron raised is a break during All-Star [Weekend]. A guy like LeBron, All-Star Weekend is not a break for him in any way. He's going around the clock with a combination of things the league is asking him to do, personal commitments, and I think it makes sense if we can work in the schedule a few days so the All-Stars can get a break as well."

I have two thoughts on this:

1.  It's called the "All-Star break" because it is literally a "break" in the season during which the "All-Star" game occurs.  It wasn't actually created to give you personally a break, LeBron.  However, there is in fact something called an "offseason" which is generally considered to be a pretty nice chunk of time away from the office.

2.  Silver says "a guy like LeBron," but there is nobody else like LeBron.  He's the only super-duper-mega-star the NBA has.  Even if you throw a few other guys into the mix, it's still an extreme minority amongst the league's players.  The fact that Silver is already thinking about changing something simply because "King" James said so is a little disconcerting (like when LeBron secretly had the 'no hanging on the rim" rule abolished?).  It's Lebron's league, and everybody else has to just stand by and watch.  Ugh.

My "all the reasons why I can't stand LeBron" compilation blog

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Rivals having the same coach kind of crushes the "Olympic spirit"

A little over a week ago it came to my attention that the USA and Canada's top ice dancing teams each employ the same coach.  My initial reaction was "Huh?  That's stupid.  Sports aren't supposed to work like that."

Marina Zoueva coached the USA team of Charlie White and Meryl Davis to gold, and Canadians Scott Moir and Tessa Virtue to silver (Zoueva also coaches the American siblings Alex and Maia Shibutani, who finished 9th).  Back in Vancouver in 2010 those results were flipped, with the Canadians winning and the Americans finishing second.

After failing in their quest to repeat as gold medalists Moir said "We sometimes felt like [Zoueva] wasn't in our corner."  Hmm, you think?

I won't presume to know anything about ice dancing, but I often find myself writing about when things go against the fundamental competitive nature of sports.  I don't care how well Zoueva handles it, it's impossible for one coach to do the best job she can simultaneously leading two opposing squads.  You'd have to think that if she'd wanted the Canadians to win instead of White and Davis they probably would have, and the fact that that question can even come into play is just dumb.

In reality the two teams may not actually even be rivals, they practice together in Detroit.  Like an alpine skier who competes for the Cayman Islands despite being a citizen of two other countries and training in a third, this situation sours me a bit on the whole idea of the "Olympic spirit."

Monday, February 17, 2014

My plan for becoming a 2018 Winter Olympian

I'm pretty sure I could be as
"Caymanian" as this guy.
Step 1:  Move to the Cayman Islands.  I've always though that looked like a pretty cool place ever since Tom Cruise and Gene Hackman hung out there in The Firm.  The Cayman Islands have one athlete representing them in Sochi (and the only winter Olympian they've ever had): a skier named Dow Travers (pictured) who trains in Aspen, Colorado.  He went to college at Brown University in Providence, and also has Canadian and British citizenship (as well as Caymanian; yes that really is the proper term).

Step 2:  Become a citizen.  Google tells me the population of the Cayman Islands is roughly 60,000.  How hard can it really be to gain citizenship?  Is anybody else even trying to do that?  I'd like to think I'd have to put in about the same level of effort that George Costanza did to convert to Latvian Orthodox.

Step 3: Round up four other guys there and start a curling team.  I realize it'd be a lot easier to pull this off on my own with an individual event.  But I'm going to be 40 years old by the time the next games role around; way past my athletic prime.  And I'm not that eager to go hurtling down an icy track at 75 miles per hour, so curling is really the only thing left.  Plus there are plenty of places to train around here when I come back north for Celtics games.

Step 4: Practice for four years.  Then it's off to PyeongChang (South Korea, 2018) as the proud captain of the Caymanian curling team.

In all honestly some super rich person (I'm thinking Mark Cuban maybe?) should try something like this, and make a documentary of the whole process.  And in case you missed it, here's the explanation for why I have my own LucidSportsFan Sochi logo.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

What's the greatest way for an athlete to retire?

Last week I discussed why I'm not a fan of Derek Jeter's season long retirement party that's going to dominate baseball's headlines in 2014.  But it's also got me wondering about what some of the coolest pro athlete retirement stories are.  I'm having trouble remembering many, and it's not an easy thing to research on the interwebs.  So if you have any in mind please let me know.

One of the best retirement moments I can come up with is the second of three from Michael Jordan -- burying this jumper to beat Utah in 1998 for his 6th championship.  He didn't actually retire however until just before the start of the following season, which because of the lockout turned out to be in January of 1999.  But then he went and came back yet again in 2001, rendering the whole thing moot.

Far and away the greatest retirement story I know of is that of Billy Chapel, a 40 year old Detroit Tigers pitcher who threw a perfect game in Yankee Stadium on the final day of his career. Not only that, but Chapel didn't even decided to call it quits until the middle of that very game; after learning earlier in the day that the Tigers had been sold and the new owners planned to trade him away from the only team he'd every played for.  To make it even more impressive Chapel actually announced his decision by signing a baseball with the inscription "Tell them I'm through," and had it delivered from the dugout to the owners box.

So for whoever is already thinking about following in Jeter's footsteps, I'd recommend Chapel's model as a much better way to go.

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