Friday, May 31, 2013

Daily Sports Affirmation 5/31/13

“We should go forth on the shortest walk, perchance, in the spirit of undying adventure, never to return; prepared to send back our embalmed hearts only, as relics to our desolate kingdoms. If you are ready to leave father and mother, and brother and sister, and wife and child and friends, and never see them again; if you have paid your debts, and made your will, and settled all your affairs, and are a free man; then you are ready for a walk.”
Henry David Thoreau, Walking

Action Friday: I challenge everyone to talk a walk this evening! It's good for the body, mind and soul.

Rangers Pepper 5/31: Oh Randy, Clubhouse Venom, Super Joe Reboot

by Dustin Copening
#RangersThoughts” on Twitter can be seen by following me @dfwfanconnect, but those thoughts evolve everyfew days from 140 characters into what I have dubbed as  “Rangers Pepper”. Here’s a fun video that’s totally SFW and informative on the finer art of Pepper to whet your appetite:

Galloway Says What?!?!? - I call myself a P1 because my loyalties have always stayed with “The Little Ticket”. I was incredibly blessed to work for the great Norm Hitzges and Mike Sirois last summer as one of their two interns for the “Norm Hitzges Show”. Some may choose to downgrade my status though once they learn that I do station hop throughout the day. I’ll elaborate on the reason why in a later more self-serving piece, but for now let’s get to the meat.

Yesterday I read this Star Telegram piece by Randy Galloway and then tuned in on ESPN Dallas at just the precise moment that Mr. Galloway was attempting to justify his article over the air waves. What followed did little to quell my concern over three issues with his work that I continue to take issue with.

Galloway starts the article by using the Chris Davis trade as the jumping point for why the Rangers should trade Profar. If you haven’t noticed, Davis currently looks like the beast the Rangers organization thought he might become and then some. This 2012 highlight reel will be dwarfed by his 2013 work, as he’s projected to hit 57 HR, 150 RBI with a 1.195 OPS.

According to Galloway, Davis is the only hope to derail Miguel Cabrera’s run at a second consecutive Triple Crown. While he may be right about that, he mistakenly touts that Davis’s “strikeouts are way down” as a sign that he’s the next Miggy. Actually Davis is striking out at a much lower 21.6% rate when compared to his career average of 31%, but his 144 K pace would still place him in the top 30 for all of baseball based on last year’s numbers. Oh, and Cabrera’s K rate is currently sitting at 13.9%.

A perplexing Galloway assumption is that the Davis trade is “the worst MLB trade of this decade“, when in reality it still has work to do to come close to the 2005 Daniels trade of Chris Young, Adrian Gonzalez, and Terrmel Sledge to the Padres for Adam Eaton, Akinori Otsuka, and Billy Killian. There’s also that little trade of Mark Teixeira for three future All-Stars that netted the Atlanta Braves a total number of zero playoff appearances and the blockbuster return of Casey Kotchman and Stephen Marek in a trade with the LAA Angels one year later. Remember that one Randy?

My final issue with Galloway’s knee jerking is trying to tie together the situation in which Jurikson Profar currently presents the Rangers front office with the one that led them to trade Davis in 2011.  

Dealing Profar now would embody the “Go For It Now” mentality that Galloway seems to be begging Jon Daniels to take. The rookie is performing at the major league level, and there’s no clear spot for him in the Rangers lineup once Ian Kinsler is healthy. On the other hand, Chris Davis was floundering in Texas.

He whiffed at every chance to grab hold of the starting job at first base until Texas realized he would likely never succeed in their organization. Mitch Moreland’s breathing down the neck of Davis with his solid performance in OKC was the breaking point.

So they got what they could for him and Tommy Hunter, who was likewise being pushed out of a rotation spot and is now succeeding like never before as a setup man. That’s not “Go For It Now”. That’s “Cut Your Losses”, and hope who you get back does better than the guy who was dragging you down.

I realize that Galloway’s schtick is to titillate and enrage the reader/listener, but I’m just not used to his work being this sloppy. Come on Randy!

Battlelines May Be Forming - On March 4th, Ron Washington made a few cryptic comments (listen from the 10:05 to 11:15 mark) while making an appearance on the now defunct RAGE on 105.3 The Fan. A few of the shows on The Fan began pointing to the tongue and cheek remarks made by Wash (him having limited influence in the organization and the organization’s moderate spending over the offseason) as signs that there was a break between the clubhouse and the front office.

This was also on the heels of the beginning of the Nolan Ryan drama that proceeded to consume the headlines for the better part of the spring, so the idea gained a bit more traction in my baseball brain than it normally would. Over the last three months I haven’t given those comments much more than a moment or two of thought. That was until Joe Nathan spoke up about not feeling the need for any extra rest.

The first I heard of this was reading a brief T.R. Sullivan writeup on Nathan’s comments yesterday afternoon. While I was struck by Nathan saying he doesn’t “need to be coddled”, I was a bit confused to hear Gavin Dawson and Chris Arnold using Nathan’s comments as more fodder for the idea that there is a widening gap between the front office and clubhouse. That was until I heard and later read Nathan’s peevish comment about the front office determining he needed rest. A comment that was curiously omitted from Sullivan’s piece.

I’m not ready to declare that there’s an all out war about to break out between JD and the players/managers, but I do see a little more smoke on the horizon than I once saw before. It’s starting to deserve added attention.

Hello Joe, What Do You Know - The normal spare-to-fair roster move made by a major league club goes under the radar on most days, and for good reason. The ceiling for most waiver claims and signings is what Ross Wolf has provided a little more than a year after joining the Rangers on April 27th, 2012.

There are a few moments when a player with immense talent hits a wall with a club that forces a parting of ways to take place (Chris Davis anyone?). The Twins lost Joe Benson (CF) to the Rangers on May 25th while making from on their 40-man roster for pitcher P.J. Walters. Benson was the Twins 2010 Minor League Player of the Year after hitting 27 HR, 31 2B, and 9 3B in 123 games, but injuries (knee and wrist) derailed his career’s promising start.

The Twins decided to waive Benson after he began 2013 by posting a .192/.256/.285 line in AAA, but since being sent to AA Frisco by the Rangers, Benson has gone 5-15, with 1 3B, 3 HR, and 5 RBI. The change of scenery might just be what Benson needed to regain the 5-tool form he was once touted for.

All Aboard! The SNP Express

Join us Wed Night at 8PM CDT with a jam packed 2 hour show! Dallas bias in the first segment, followed by NFL Talk, a drink at The Mick's Pub, NBA Playoffs, baseball and everything else on the sports calendar. Sprinkle in some classic GNR returns cuts and some sports updates from Darren and you've got the makings of a good show.

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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Dallas Mavericks Free Agent Targets: Point Guard

It has been a quick and graceless fall for the Dallas Mavericks since they shocked the Big Three and the world in the summer of 2011. Only Dirk Nowitzki and Shawn Marion remain from the roster that won the NBA Championship, and there is a chance that Dirk is the only holdover left standing come Opening Night 2013.

Mark Cuban has promised that he and Donnie Nelson will put a title contending team together over the next two years. It’s hard to be that optimistic considering the flop that was the Deron Williams courtship last summer, but the Mavs front office delivered the ultimate prize before when the Dirk window appeared shut.

Over the next few weeks I’ll take a look at the five free agent targets at each position that I feel the Mavericks are likely to target. I’ll also list a few names that are slightly off the radar, but could end up in Dallas if the top 5 fall through the cracks.

Point Guard:

1) Chris Paul - 1A to the overall free agency dream scenario for the Mavericks. As Mark Cuban pointed out on ESPN Dallas GameDay last weekend, the failure of both LA teams in the first round of the playoffs increased the likelihood that Paul (and target 1B, Dwight Howard) will seriously test the free agent waters.

His 25.55 PER ranks second to Lebron James for active NBA players, which is why he’s at the top of the Mavs wish list. That’s also why he’ll get a max offer from the Clippers (which includes an extra year worth $20+ million that no other team can match). LA recently let go of Vinny Del Negro in a move that many believe was made to show Paul they are willing to do whatever it takes to make him happy long term.

My guess is that the “Lob City” sales pitch (enhanced by the extra boatload of cash) is enough to keep CP3 in LA, but the Mavericks will make it a tough call.

2) Jose Calderon - Calderon is a player that has been tied to the Mavericks in the past via trade rumors, and this is my pick for the most likely guy to end up as the next starting point guard in Dallas. He was dealt to the Pistons from Toronto earlier this year, and now enters free agency unrestricted.

He has the second best career PER (17.6) of the 5 players I’ve listed, and finished 2012-13 with a career high 46.1% shooting from the 3-point line (52% since going to Detroit). He’s not a high scorer though, averaging 11.3 points p/g last season (10.1 for his career), but he turns the ball over less than even Chris Paul does (2.2 vs 2.4 per 36 minutes).

The Pistons want to keep him, but it’s not impossible to imagine that he’d choose playing in Dallas if Cuban, Donnie, and Dirk come calling.

3) Brandon Jennings - When the Milwaukee Bucks played at the AAC, Jennings talked openly about the possibility of playing in Dallas as a Maverick, and now the rumblings out of “The Good Land” are that the Bucks front office prefers holding onto 27 year old Monta Ellis instead of the 23 year old Jennings.

After seeing his scoring average rise in his first three years in the NBA, Jennings appeared to trade a few points per game (from 19.1 to 17.5) in for a slightly higher assist per game average (from 5.5 to a career high 6.5). Despite playing the most minutes in his career, his turnovers stayed right at his career average of 2.5 per 36 minutes.

He’ll cost more than Calderon, but it might not take as much money as once thought if Milwaukee is indeed ready to part ways.

4) Jeff Teague - Teague is the least likely name on the list to wind up in Dallas, but Cuban may go for broke if he misses out on Paul, Jennings, Howard, or a few other players I’ll reveal later on in this project.

Teague is still raw at 24, but each of his four years in the league his PER has risen (11.0, 14.6, 15.8, 16.8) along with his playing time as a starting PG (144 starts the last two years after just 10 in his first two seasons).

Unlike Jennings, the Hawks are expected to match any offer sheet that Teague gets, and being a restricted free agent that means he stays in Atlanta. Suitors will probably have a very short window to get Teague’s signature on an offer sheet too. It’s difficult to envision the Mavericks getting into the bidding early enough if they focus on CP3 and/or D12 as expected.

5) Darren Collison - Collison ended February looking as if he would be the 2013-14 PG for the Mavs if they missed out on Paul in free agency. Then his season went sour. He started just 2 of 25 games for Dallas in March and April after starting 45 of 56 in the previous five months. His assists fell off from 74 in February to 62 in March while playing 53 more minutes.

Even with his struggles at the end of the year, Collison is still young (25). I’ve gone back and forth between Collison and Mo Williams for the 5th spot on this list, but Williams numbers have steadily declined the last several years and he’s likely to cost more. Plus, Mo is 5 years older

The key is if the organization feels Darren’s step back was growing pains or a sign that he just isn’t capable of running point for 82 games. Rest assured that Rick Carlisle knows the answer and will have a significant say in the decision.

Off The Radar:
  1. C.J. Watson
  2. Mo Williams
  3. Nate Robinson
  4. Devin Harris

Daily Sports Affirmation 5/30/13

“You get hit the hardest when trying to run or hide from a problem. Like the defense on a football field, putting all focus on evading only one defender is asking to be blindsided.”
Criss Jami

Everyone has blind spots in their life. Whether it's an awful haircut that they think looks amazing or a serious issue that they believe they can handle, blind spots are a universal truth of human existence. And while it is sometimes easy to see someone else's blind spots, our own are elusive. That's probably why they are called "blind" spots. That is true of sports franchises as well, mostly because they are made up of people. But because teams are studied intently like sports nerds like me, those blind spots are much more noticeable than in individuals.  Perhaps no franchise can better illustrate this point than the Dallas Cowboys.

The Cowboys have one of the most unusual front office structures of any team in the NFL. One man, owner and GM Jerry Jones, is seemingly responsible for every major decision the team makes. And while the franchise itself is one of the most valued in the entire world, their disfunction on the field for the last 15 years can only be laid at the feet of the GM. No matter the coaching staff, quarterback or defensive scheme, the Cowboys have not found a way to return to the glory days since the departure of Jimmy Johnson and the team he built. But Jerry will never relinquish his position or power in the organization for fear he won't get the credit for winning. That is Jerry's blind spot. He doesn't realize that if his Dallas Cowboys win a Super Bowl, no one will care who gets the credit. His fan base will love him. In fact, the fans may love him more for being humble enough to take a step back in the interest of winning. But Jerry is an old-school wildcatter who will live and die by doing things his way. It didn't work for Al Davis in Oakland for his final 35 years of his ownership and it likely won't work for Jerry either.

Think today on where your own blind spots might be. Maybe someone or something has been trying to tell you something you just couldn't or wouldn't hear. Open yourself to different ways of looking at things and even ask your closest friends just what you might be missing in yourself. And finally, be humble enough to evaluate that feedback and make changes or have a different awareness of your life.

"Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself. Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections but instantly set about remedying them. Every day begin the task anew."
- Saint Francis de Sales

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Daily Sports Affirmation 5/29/13

“Keep your dreams alive. Understand to achieve anything requires faith and belief in yourself, vision, hard work, determination, and dedication. Remember all things are possible for those who believe.”
-Gail Devers

Come listen to me and my dream tonight at 8PM CDT at

or call in at (347) 308-8637

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Rangers Pepper 5/28: Bullpen Talk, June Looms, Wash and the NL

by Dustin Copening of
Every few days or so I like to send a few “#RangersThoughts” tweets out via @dfwfanconnect to share some things that have been brewing in my baseball brain. In an effort to expand on the 140 character limit that stymies to a degree the effectiveness of said thoughts, I present to you the first installment of “Rangers Pepper”. Here’s a fun video that’s totally SFW and informative on the finer art of Pepper to wet your appetite:
From Gas To Gassed - Yes, if you follow the Rangers on a day-to-day basis then you’re well aware that the bullpen is spent. Texas just played three games in a 48 hour period (including a 13 inning affair on Sunday) in which they went to the bullpen a total of 12 times. Robbie Ross, Jason Frasor, Michael Kirkman, and Ross Wolf all appeared in two of these three games. The troubling trend is not just this stretch of games though.
In April the Rangers played nine games in which their starters pitched at least seven innings. Derek Holland (4), Yu Darvish (2), Nick Tepesch, Justin Grimm and Alexi Ogando all contributed, allowing the bullpen to evenly spread out their workload. The Rangers had back-to-back 7+ inning starts thrown on the 9th/10th, and on the 26th/27th; along with a seven inning performance from Holland on the 16th, before an off day.
May has not been nearly as efficient. Only Darvish (4) and Holland (2) have gone seven innings or longer in a start this month. There have been zero times where the Rangers have gotten back-to-back 7+ inning starts, and only once (Holland on the 8th) before an off day. Technically Darvish’s start last night is the second time that Texas has gotten 7+ inning from a starter before an off day, but that’s a small consolation considering the amount of work the bullpen has been pressed into since Sunday afternoon’s first pitch.
Today’s off day couldn’t come at a better time for a unit that was once a surprising strength for Texas, but has begun to wilt before things really start heating up in June.
June Heats Up Indeed - Regardless of the outcomes from Sunday and Monday and the 5-5 mark in their last 10 games, the Rangers are still tied with Boston for the best record in the AL and the 2nd best record in the majors before tonight’s action. Texas’s 32-20 record can be thanked in large part to a soft schedule in April and May that’s about to firm up mightily in June.
After the Rangers have played their three remaining games in May, they will have faced opponents with a combined .475 winning percentage (result through 5/27) so far this year. In June they have 28 games scheduled against opponents with a combined winning percentage of .559.
Before you run off to buy more rum for Jobu, take into account that Texas is 11-7 against teams with a winning record, they get a nice long 11 game homestand (3 vs. Cleveland, 4 vs. Toronto, & 4 vs. Oakland) before going to St. Louis and New York, and even though Oakland is drawing near, the A’s opponents in June have a .545 winning percentage.
The Athletics do get nine games to beat up on the Brewers (3) and Mariners (6), however the Rangers get 9 games of their own against sub .450 competitors (Royals for 2 and Blue Jays for 7). The Angels have the weakest strength of schedule in June of the top three AL West squads. They face opponents with a combined winning percentage of .511, including 10 against the Astros (6) and M’s (4).
Wash Gets Questioned Again - I’m a Ron Washington defender. While I think he gets second guessed far too much by folks who aren’t looking at the entirety of each decision he makes (like say Darvish throwing 130 pitches to save an overworked bullpen), I do think he has at times put the Rangers at a disadvantage when playing under NL rules. Such a situation where I found it valid to question the skipper’s lineup maneuvering occurred in the top of the 9th in last night’s game in Arizona.
With one out and Leonys Martin at first following a walk, Wash decided to let Leury Garcia face Matt Reynolds instead of bringing in Jeff Baker or Jurickson Profar to bat against the lefty. Both Profar and Baker have hit lefties better, but the reality is that neither would have ended up facing Reynolds. Garcia fouled out on a 3-1 pitch and Baker came into the game for Michael Kirkman. Not surprisingly, Kirk Gibson brought in the righty Brad Ziegler to pitch to Baker.
I understand the reasoning behind Wash’s decision not to hit for Garcia. He’s always tried to keep his bench from being emptied late in close games in NL parks in case extra innings are needed. Mitch Moreland was already in for Lance Berkman, so batting Baker for Garcia would mean using him at 2B and then burning through Profar in place of Kirkman, or vice versa. Geovany Soto would be the only bench player remaining for the Rangers, leaving no one to come in for an injured player or a situational AB later in extras.
The problem here is that the game never got to extras. Baker did single, but Elvis Andrus grounded out to Ziegler to end the inning with Martin stranded at third. The DBacks scored the winning run in the bottom of the 9th, and Profar never got a chance to bat.
So, what was the right call?
Easily you can argue the wrong call was made because of how the game played out, but such is the life of the Rangers manager. The expectations are higher than ever for this club, and even in games where Texas wins Wash gets questioned incessantly.
I would have preferred to see the man go for it last night, but it’s only one of the few times I’ve felt inclined to join the peanut gallery.

Daily Sports Affirmation 5/28/13

God made me fast. And when I run, I feel His pleasure.
-Eric Liddell

Almost every little boy and girl usually has a moment where they aspire to play professional sports. "You mean I get to make millions of dollars to play a game with my friends? Sign me up!" But soon the realities of ability and desire cause that dream to fade away. But for a select few, their talents and opportunities unite into a unique form and they make to the next level of competition. Then on to high school, then college (for some) and for a very, very small fraction, the professional ranks. Be it an individual or a team sport, that athlete and his caregivers have usually put in hundreds of hours of practice and sacrifice into achieving that goal and here they are. Most of us merely dream of donning the colors of our favorite team or hearing our name announced at an historic venue. But these select few have made it. But the journey to reach that goal sometimes has costs we don't even realize until it manifests itself. Some only really know themselves on the field of competition and their lives off the field are chaotic. Maybe the sport was their respite from a life of poverty or neglect. Or maybe they were pushed so hard they never had time to learn how to grow up. Whatever the circumstances, each year we here dozens of stories about professional athletes with off-field issues and seemingly no control on their life. But is it just athletes that suffer these issues? I believe many if not most people have developmental or psychological issues that cause any number of problems. But those problems are less public unless it is something so heinous as to grab headlines. No, athletes just have an entire genre of the media dedicated to watching their every move and, under that microscope, issues emerge and money intensifies. Somewhere along the way many lose sight of who they really are and what's important in life. Athletes must be masters of living in each and every second while in competition and then turn that off to be a normal human being as well. Not an easy tack and maybe why so few are truly successful on and off the field. Perhaps if we could just bottle up the joy a little one feels the first time he plays his or her sport and release that in short bursts, maybe that would help keep things in perspective.

Today think on your own talents and the ways in which you can use them to make your tiny part of the world a better place. And perhaps explore some talents you didn't know you had. Because I'll bet there's more there than you think.

There has never been another you. With no effort on your part you were born to be something very special and set apart. What you are going to do in appreciation of that gift is a decision only you can make.

- Dan Zadra

Monday, May 27, 2013

Daily Sports Affirmation 5/27/13

“It doesn’t do me any good to be proud. It’s better to just force myself to be na├»ve about things, because otherwise I’ll start being happy with myself, and then I’ll stand still, and then I’m old news.”
― Pat Tillman

Memorial Day in America is a very complex holiday. Its intent is to honor those that have fallen in the act of defending our nation. Somber observances are held across the country with wreaths on graves and American flags in full display. Families that have paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom weep. It is an activity that is deserving of more than just one day a year, but should be an everyday reflection.

But Memorial Day is also the unofficial start to the summer. The school year is nearly complete and the day off of work for most Americans usually involves grilling, swimming, baseball and usually some drinking. All activities that are undoubtedly American. Activities that we only have the privilege of as Americans like no other country in the world. And perhaps even being so myopic as to forget the reason for the day off is as American activity as I can imagine. And it is in that thought that we remember the story of Pat Tillman.

Pat Tillman was a tough-as-nails safety with a loyalty as intense as his hitting. Tillman played linebacker at Arizona State University and his eye-popping hits despite his somewhat smallish size quickly gained him notoriety. He was drafted by the Arizona Cardinals and converted to safety, where his big hits had him starting before his rookie year was over. He loved playing football and he loved his team. So much so that he actually turned down more money from the St Louis Rams to stay in Arizona. But above all else, he loved his country and the events of September 11th, 2001 would change his life forever.

Like many young men in America following the attacks on September 11th, Pat Tillman felt the pull to serve his country. But unlike most, Tillman and his brother followed through on that feeling with the same intensity he brought to the football field. In May of 2002, Pat Tillman turned down a 3 year contract from the Cardinals worth 3.6 million dollars to enlist in the Army. His brother also gave up a chance to play for the Cleveland Indians. Once they completed basic training, they were off to Ranger school which they soon completed and Pat was shipped off to Afghanistan.

Back home, the NFL and many others ran with the story. The idea of a player turning down what is a dream opportunity and millions of dollars to fight for his country was almost too good to be real. Pro-war and conservative groups used Tillman as the poster child for what the war was about. And it seemed like networks were jumping all over themselves to make this into a movie overnight. But as is so often the case, the realities of war and the Hollywood imagery of it are very, very different. And perhaps no story reflected that more than Pat Tillman's. His story came to an abrupt and unfortunate end on April 22nd, 2004.

Pat Tillman died as a result of friendly-fire when two different allied groups crossed paths and became confused in the fog of war. This was no way for an American hero to die. But, as many veterans will tell you, war is not glamorous or inspiring. It's hellish and those that experience are forever changed for having experienced it. In addition, Pat Tillman was an atheist and did not believe in a higher power or that events happen for a reason. He just died in a sad and tragic accident. Not a great ending for Hollywood's movie or the NFL's PR campaign. But then war almost never has a happy ending. War is more often sad and tragic.

Maybe that's the story to be taken from Pat Tillman's life to this Memorial Day. That all wars have costs and must be entered into with extreme prejudice. For those that we honor on this day who have perished gave of themselves willingly. And those they left behind suffer greatly. The quote that I found of Pat Tillman struck me very curious at first until I realized its intent. That the pride that we feel as Americans for our troops is different than the pride our fighting men and women feel. In the same way the pride a fan feels for his team is different than the pride a star player feels. Because those that are in the fight, be it on the battlefield or on the court, don't have the time to get the big picture. All that matters is that next moment. And winning.

So today, reflect on the ways you can improve yourself and live in the moment. Remember to give thanks to those that give you the opportunity to experience life the way you do and live a life that honors that sacrifice. It's the least you can do and, I believe, the best way to pay your respects.

No one lives on the top of the mountain. It’s fine to go there occasionally —for inspiration, for new perspectives. But you have to come down. Life is lived in the valleys. That’s where the farms and gardens and orchards are, and where the plowing and the work is done. That’s where you apply the visions you may have glimpsed from the peaks.
- Arthur Gordon

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Your Daily Sports Affirmation 5/26/13

 “Show me a guy who's afraid to look bad, and I'll show you a guy you can beat every time.”
- Lou Brock

One guy who seemingly never cares how others see him is Spurs coach Greg Popovich. Early in game 3 of the Western Conference Finals last night, his Spurs team was struggling. So Popovich decides to bench all 5 starters in the hopes of getting a spark. The plan sort of worked at the time. But the real genius seemed to come in the 4th and into the OT when the Spurs old legs (aka Duncan and Ginobili) took over and dominated. You see, all "Pop" cares about is winning. It doesn't matter how you got there, as long as you get it done. If you need to rest your guys on a marquee televised match-up against the Heat, you do it and you tell the commissioner to butt out. And maybe that's the reason he has led the Spurs to all those rings. In today's NBA where so much seems to be about sizzle rather than steak, Greg Popovich is a relic from another era. While young 7 footers learn to handle the basketball in the open floor and take 3's, Pop has a traditional back-to-the-basket guy in Duncan. While teams like the Knicks basically play 1-on-1 for 48 minutes a night with Melo and JR Smith, Pop runs a motion offense where even 2nd round picks can develop and thrive in their roll. And while the trend is to try to gather a "Big 3" of stars and fill in the cracks around, the Spurs big 3 are guys from France, Argentina and the US Virgin Islands who, while stars in their own right, gather very little attention from the MSSM (main stream sports media). But all they do is win, year after year. Popovich does it his way and he doesn't care what you think about it. You just have to respect that level of self-assurance and moxie. Like Bill Belicheck wearing ridiculous cut-off sweatshirts, it might look awful but you must respect the production. So with the Spurs up 3-0 on a young and hungry Memphis team, look for Popovich to calmly take each game as it comes and maybe even put one more pretty ring on his ugly-winning team.

So today, don't worry so much about what others think or say about you. Know that you are a beautiful collection of energy and the world is a better place with you in it.

 “I will not hide my tastes or aversions. I will so trust that what is deep is holy, that I will do strongly before the sun and moon whatever only rejoices me, and the heart appoints”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Your Daily Sports Affirmation 5/25/13

"In the end, it’s extra effort that separates a winner from second place. But winning takes a lot more that, too. It starts with complete command of the fundamentals. Then it takes desire, determination, discipline, and self-sacrifice. And finally, it takes a great deal of love, fairness and respect for your fellow man. Put all these together, and even if you don’t win, how can you lose?” - Jesse Owens

This is the first of what I hope to be a daily entry about sports, life and everything in between. Too often in the sports media our focus is on the negative. And while there will certainly be things in this blog that I go off on, my hope is that this can become a place for sports fans to visit and walk away feeling better about themselves. Please feel free to include any notes or subjects you'd like discussed or mentioned by finding me on twitter (@sportsnarrative) or via email ( I believe in an all-inclusive forum where no ideas are rejected. With that as our backdrop, let's look at the world of sports through the prism of life.

The Pacers-Heat series certainly lived up to the hype last night. Of course the focus for the Main Stream Sports Media (aka ESPN) is on LeBron's failure in the clutch with 2 critical turnovers. I choose to focus more on the emergence in this series of Paul George and Roy Hibbert. George had a MONSTER DUNK down the lane past LeBron and in the face of the Birdman Chris Anderson right before the half. LeBron followed it up with a 3 at the buzzer and some playful taunting to George that ended with the two slapping hands. To me that showed that LeBron has respect for George, and coming from the best player in the game right now, that's high praise. I think the entire series could come down to who gets the better of that match-up, especially in crunch time. The first 2 games certainly did, as LeBron's driving lay-up past George in Game 1 was the difference and George's defense led to LeBron's ill-fated turnovers in Game 2. But the X-factor in all of this could be the big fella for Indiana. Hibbert left from Georgetown with limited offensive skills and an aggression for shot-blocking that led to lots of foul trouble. I think the sign of a truly great player in the NBA is one who can develop and improve throughout his career at the highest level. Jordan went from a high-flying scorer to an all-around player with a lethal fall-away J and the ability to distribute too. Now Hibbert's game includes an underrated jump hook and the ability to go straight up and change shots around the rim. Despite all the amazing talent of "The Big 3," they really have no answer for a skilled 7 footer. If Hibbert and George can team up to dethrone King James, it will truly be a triumph for hard work and defense in the NBA. But I'm sure the NBA owners and TV partners would rather just have the ratings machine that is LeBron instead!

That's it for this week. Remember that all of us can find room for improvement. Confucius said "When you see a man of superior character, think on how you can be like him. When you see a man of inferior character, think on how you are like him."

Be Well and Be Good

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Sports Cannonball

Sports talk coming at you like a cannonball at an old fat guy, join the entire crew as we have 2 big meaty segments of baseball, run down all the latest in the NBA and NHL playoffs, have a drink at The Mick's Pub and sprinkle in some laughs too. Wednesday 8PM CDT

Monday, May 20, 2013

Nowitzki Salary Cut Pledge Alters Chandler Logic

By Dustin Copening of
2011-12 Salary:
  • Chandler signed for $13.1.
  • Haywood amnesty would clear up $7.6 (amnestied in 2012 offseason).
  • Lamar Odom hit cap for $8.9.
  • Leaves $3.9 remaining w/ Chandler still on team between Haywood and Odom, considering they still sign West.

2012-13 Salary:
  • Chandler signed for $13.6.
  • Jason Terry ($11.2), Jason Kidd ($10.1), and Brian Cardinal ($1.4) off the books create $22.7 in space.
  • Would have left $51 in cap hit on books.
  • Deron Williams signed for $17.2 hit in 2012-13.
  • Would put Mavs at $68.2, near luxury tax threshold of $70.
  • Would have been roster of Dirk, Chandler, Williams, Marion, Carter, Roddy B, DoJo, West (if not released).
  • That’s 7 players on roster and not a lot of cap space, but there are other ways to make it work. Must believe Mavs would have filled out roster with exceptions available to them, but would have been over the cap & nearing repeater danger zone.
  • If Williams doesn’t sign then cap issues not a concern.

2013-14 Salary:
  • W/ Williams Mavs have $58.5 in salary between Dirk, Williams, Chandler, & Carter.
  • W/o Williams they would likely be chasing after CP3 w/ $40 in salary.
  • Marion has an early termination option on the $9.3 due to him.
  • Undeniably over the cap for third straight year, which means they would have to get under in 2014 to avoid repeater.
  • Enter Dirk salary cut. No doubt he would be offering the same with or without Williams/CP3 on board.

2014-15 Salary:
  • Luxury Tax threshold is predicted to be around $75.
  • If Dirk drops to around $10, then $24.6 tied up between Dirk and Chandler.
  • W/ Williams or CP3 the total hit would be roughly $44-45. Leaving $30 to work with to fill out remaining roster.

Tyson Chandler and Dirk Nowitzki have at least one thing in common as the NBA Conference Finals get underway this week. For the second consecutive year since their unlikely run to the 2010-11 title as Mavericks, they will be sitting at home.