To those who think the Los Angeles Lakers aren’t tanking (or shouldn’t tank, Magic Johnson), Kobe Bryant’s ongoing and largely hilarious and counterproductive rant at his teammates and general manager Mitch Kupchak during Thursday’s uninspiring workout convinces me that they’re about to start.
Unfortunately for them, they’ve already spotted Philadelphia 3½ games, or 3½ months of the schedule, so they’ll just have to tank more aggressively to teach Bryant that there’s 11 of them and only five or six of him.
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Yoenis Cespedes’ odyssey from Cuba to Oakland to Boston to Detroit is a valuable lesson to us all, especially those who found Cespedes the reason why the A’s face-planted right into an offseason recon job. Trades make more sense six months later than they do at the time, and then start to become befuddling again shortly thereafter.
In other words, to paraphrase (well, misquote) Billy Beane, “Talking to other general managers at the Winter Meetings is a crapshoot.” Yes, mostly because they spend their time, well, crapshooting.
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Speaking of which, who blew up his team this week? Billy Beane. Who else blew up his team this week? Andrew Friedman of the Dodgers. And who is his chief assistant? Farhan Zaidi, who worked until a couple of months ago for . . . you guessed it . . . Billy Beane.
In other words, the new market inefficiency is gelignite.
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The Great Latvian NHL All-Star Game voting fraud scandal continues on, to the great credit of all Latvians and maybe the rogue Estonian as well. At last look, Buffalo Sabres defenseman Zemgus Girgensons is still dominating the voting for defensemen, mostly because Latvia is voting en masse for their guy.
Latvia’s population is a hair over two million, essentially the equivalent of Manitoba and Saskatchewan (Saskatchoba?), and Latvians are both fiercely patriotic and easily amused, so there you go. Besides, anyone named Zemgus Girgensons (who is a worthy candidate, by the way) should get everything he wants. He is, we’ll just say it, the Z-Bo of the NHL. And if you have to ask, don’t bother going to the parties, because you’ll be the one assigned to stand next to the dip table.
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Cam Newton is on God’s fantasy team, according to Cam Newton, who is happily fortunate that the car accident he was in didn’t bring him closer to his fantasy owner.
But it makes me wonder which quarterback is God’s backup; bet it isn’t Johnny Manziel because, well, God has always been partial to the taller, bigger-armed types.
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Air Force football coach Troy Calhoun got a little American flag-gy when talking about the clearly communist four-team playoff.
“There’s no doubt that it’s all set up for five conferences, as it is,” Calhoun told Brent Briggeman of the Colorado Springs Gazette. “You’ve got to be in one of those five conferences. It’s un-American, bottom line. We live in a country where upward mobility is possible, where games should be played out on the field.”
Evidently his vision of America clashes with the version of American where the rich eat the poor, then the ones in the middle, then size each other up for dessert. But he does raise an interesting point.
“What about Texas Western in 1966, should we take that (NCAA Tournament title) away because their strength of schedule wasn’t one of the four best at that time?”
Well, that’s exactly what they’re doing, have been doing for years and will continue to do until there’s nobody left but the fattest cannibals at the table. Geez, Troy, how did you not see that coming years ago?
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I’m waiting for a freshly-traded athlete to tweet to his loyal fans from the team he’s just left, “If it wasn’t for you booing, braying bastards, I wouldn’t have been traded at all. Frankly, thanks for nothing. You totally suck. Sincerely, The Player Formerly Known As Yours.”
And no, Brandon McCarthy received no notes of congratulations from his favorite soccer team, Liverpool, after signing with the Dodgers for four years. Maybe it’s the fact that the Scousers have been knocked out of the Champions League, or that McCarthy will make almost 1½ times as much as Liverpool icon Steven Gerrard, but still, jealousy is a cruel beast.
Then again, so is Basel, if you Liverpool fans known what I mean and I think you do.
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And finally, hats off again to Kobe Bryant, whose constant demand for excellence in others will make him an excellent Ebenezer Scrooge at every elementary school play for the rest of time. Of course, Dickens never really figured out a properly lyrical 19th century version of “I’m supposed to practice and get better. These motherf---- ain’t doing s--- for me.”
And God bless us every one.