Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Things I always wanted to write down for posterity

I have been far too busy/lazy over the last few months and I know I've missed a few brief posts about sports related things... I'll put it behind the fold because it's all dated now.

1. Hawks' draft. I liked it a lot. If they couldn't trade the pick for a superstar (and now I kind of wonder whether Amare was ever an option), and I don't think they'll be able to make any trades until the ownership situation is resolved, then they had to get the best two players they could. Assuming (and Billy Knight and others told us this) that the Hawks had to get a frontcourt player and a point guard with their two picks, I think they did as well as they could have. Horford and Law are a good pair, and I think Horford has a shot to be very good. Some might've argued that Conley has more upside than Horford. Perhaps. But had the Hawks picked Conley instead of Horford (and assume Memphis took Horford and the rest of the draft went to form), the best available PF/C would've been Sean Williams (talented, but major question marks and a huge reach at 11) or Jason Smith (not as talented as Williams, and an even bigger reach), and the only other frontcourt player drafted in the first round was Tiago Splitter. Basically, had the Hawks grabbed the PG first and hoped that a PF fell to them, they would've been bit in the ass (forced to reach or draft for an unneeded position). So the draft was good for the Hawks. I'm not sure they'll be great next year, but they will be better, and if they can find some money to extend Smith, the next yea they could be very good. ADDED: I forgot to mention it... yes, my analysis of the Hawks' draft is subject to attack from this angle - what if Law had gotten drafted earlier. My view is that there were a couple of other PGs available who wouldn't have been a terrible dropoff from Law (namely Belinelli and Crittendon). Also, I thought it not so likely that Law would've been drafted earlier. Perhaps if the Hawks had taken Conley, they could've gotten lucky by having someone else take Law earlier and had Spencer Hawes or Joakim Noah dropped, but I think that would've taken a lot of prayer (from memory, I don't recall Law being ahead of either of those guys on any mock draft).

2. I am oddly disturbed by the visage of Jerome Jurenovich on the Braves' post-game show. I remember his bodiless voice reading the sports highlights :19 after the hour on Headline News, way back in the day before ESPNews and the internet and constant tickers. When I needed sports news in my early teens, he provided it. And now that I see him, it's kind of like the Wizard of Oz.

3. Like I wrote in the Teixeira post, I read Baseball Between the Numbers, by the editors of Baseball Prospectus, and I recommend it highly. It's heavy math, but very much worth it. I should've been writing posts nightly on what interested me as I read it. Now I'm having trouble pointing to the right spots. The chapter on usage of relievers was fascinating to me - recalled Michael Lewis' article (can't find the direct link) on punting in ESPN the magazine from last December. Basically, it seems like every manager uses relievers inefficiently - and one just wonders when someone will actually challenge conventional wisdom and try something different. Chapter 6-2 is probably my favorite chapter of all, because I've always had an odd interest in stadia. If you don't mind challenging your brain in a sports book, read this.

4. I'm no die hard follower, but I will say that the doping scandals didn't prevent me from paying that much attention to the Tour de France this year. I watched parts of probably 5 stages (all in the mountains and on the Champs Elysees) and the whole of the final time trial - which was awesome. My personal feeling on doping is that its deplorable, but as long as usage/testing/prevention across the board (as in, if they're going to stop it, they stop everyone and if they can't they're not only stopping some) and that the competition is relatively close, I don't know if I can tell the difference. I'm a dilettante at it, so what do I care. I watch for some of the action and the interest in the way the racers exert themselves, but I probably watch more for the views and the crowds. And speaking of the crowds, on the last day in the Pyrenees, did anyone else see the dude in the last few km dressed in a massive penis costume? Hilarious drunkenness on those slopes. I need to go there some summer.

5. I love the current Braves' lineup. Love it. And for once, the Braves will be the annoying team to face late in the season in important games. You know... that team that fouls off a ton of pitches and works counts deep. Guys like Kelly Johnson, Matt Diaz, Willie Harris. And Chipper is having one hell of a year.

6. Not old, but I think Eric Byrnes' contract extension was insane. $10M a year for a 31 year old guy who is pretty much an average major leaguer over his career, and has a career year this late. Bad idea. And worse... if Eric Byrnes is worth $10M, every other decent outfielder free agent is going to get paid. Bad news for the Braves.

7. I watched a good part of the MLS match between Toronto and the Galaxy the other day. Toronto's fans are so damn cool it makes me terribly jealous. They're not very good right now, but if I had to guess what team will end up the best franchise in the league in a decade, it's them. And in my own personal battle of trying to choose an MLS team to follow/halfway support, Toronto took the lead from Houston.

8. I don't have much to say about it, but the Wimbledon mens' singles final was incredible. A special match. Federer is such a beast. And as much as I hate Nadal's fashion sense, he's a really good player.


Kyle W. said...

LD, Stewart Mandel's division this week of the BCS schools into four tiers--I believe it was kings, barons, knights and peasants--is crying out for you to break down. It uses Georgia as the baseline, but the "Montana test" alone (and no, he's not referring to Super Joe) is reason enough to get into this. We want you on that wall. We need you on that wall.

Vince said...

If you can't so it for yourself, so it for your troops.