Saturday, October 29, 2011

Left at The NBA Altar...Again.

You have to admit, this is getting old now.

For the third or fourth time (I honestly lost count) talks between the NBA Players Union and team owners, after showing progress the day before, fell apart.

As CBS's Matt Moore nicely put it : And momentum boat sinks back to the ocean floor. Idiots

This lockout has reached the point where everyone is pissed at everyone, I'm included in this group. However the only thing that stops me from going off completely on the players is that the hard-line owners have basically lied to fans this entire time.

Now not all owners are in the 'take it or leave it' cluster. Miami Heat owner Micky Arison (who apparently had a interesting time tonight on Twitter), Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, New York Knicks owner James Dolan, and a few others want to get a deal done. It makes sense for them to do so from an economic standpoint.

Too bad for them since a group of hard-line owners have taken control of their side of negotiations and are preventing any concrete progress. The worst part about this is that these owners are punishing the fans for them not being able to run their franchise well.

Take the most batant example of this group: Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert.

This man owns a franchise that solely benefitted from drafting a young LeBron James in 2003. Since then the Cavaliers have tried to find the right superstar to compliment their phenom. Their quest has led them to Larry Hughes, Mo Williams, and an old Shaquille O'Neal...not exactly the brightest choices.

In the 2009-2010 season however they were very close to landing Amar'e Stoudemire from the Phoenix Suns via trade. They were so close that Amar'e was practically wearing a Cavs jersey, but talks fell through when the Cavs refused to include JJ Hickson in the trade. The Cavs after that aquired Antawn Jamison from the Washington Wizards (A move that would've been great if it happened three years earlier) & y'all know the rest.

Oh, & that coveted JJ Hickson? He was traded to the Sacramento Kings before the lockout started.

That's just one example of these hard-line owner group's imcompetence.

Yet somehow they have taken the wheel in these negotiations and are Hell bent of crashing the league until they get all they want.

With their mouthpiece in NBA commisioner David Stern these owners have conned us again & again. They pretended to back their desire for a hard salary cap & then propse a salary system that is essentially a hard cap without the title. They pretended to back off their desire for the players to take 10 points less in basketball related income form 57% to 47% & then proposed a '50-50' split which appears to the union as a Trojan Horse for them to really take 47%.

Now not to let the players off the hook, they have been fragmented from the start of this. This has ranged from leaks about possible union decertification, to talks of certain agents (who only care about their commisions) usurping the union, and to them not battling long held public perception about athletes. These factors have prevented the players from taking advantage of  a slow shift in public support from management back to labor.

Even if those things were fixed it's not an even battlefield. The owners, through the league, have their own cable TV channel and thus can set the narrative for the media. Thathopefully will change as a growing group within the media are gretting tired of Stern's crap.

To me though, the worst part of all this, the part has really pissed me off this time, was that these owners lied about the prospect of a full 82-game season actually being played.

Players wanted it, arena vendors and employees sure as hell wanted it, but these hard-line owners never intended it to happen. It's all psychological warfare with them. Even as some have realized when Stern announced that games were cancelled through November 30th that it was only a semantic move, the mental scarring to fans was already done. All fans really heard was more lost games. Then Stern announced that an 82-game season was impossible, 24 hours after giving people hope of a full season.

It's enough to make one not care about this anymore.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

NBA Lockout Zero Hour

To say that the NBA lockout has driven me mad is an understatement.

You see, I'n a rarity in Miami. I'm a basketball first fan in a football town.

The Miami Heat were the first local team I saw & I fell in love very quickly. That passion only grew in the Heat-Knicks playoff wars in the late 90s. That also explains my unnatural hatred for the Knicks.

As a Heat fan I also developed appreciation for the rest of the NBA. There's the Bulls dynasty, Stockton and Malone in Utah, the Lakers-Kings wars. Those are just a few...& then came the 1999 lockout.

This decade has brought in success that has healed the wounds of 1999 for the NBA. The biggest success has come from the draft class of 2003 featuring LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony, and Chris Bosh among others. Last season we saw this group command power and respect unheard of in recent league history during free agency. The playoffs that ended with the Dallas Mavericks beating the Heat were arguably the most exciting in NBA history.

You had the Memphis Grizzlies become the third 8th seed in history to beat a 1st seed when they took down the San Antonio Spurs. The Oklahoma City Thunder made their young presence felt. The Heat semifinals against the Boston Celtics was the most anctipated matchup of the playoffs. I can go on...

But then, when the NBA finally regained Jordan level popularity once more...they decide to lockout again.

It wasn't like no one saw this coming. The signs were there for years. However, for owners to pull all the stunts they have pulled so far and then bitch about losing money has taken this to sad, sad lows.

Now, as I type this and you read it the players and the owners are meeting once more after a 15 hour session last night that had the media there at one time fearing to eat a pizza and have a faceoff with hookers at the lobby of the hotel where the meeting is being held.

Last night was said to have been a night of decent progress in negotiations. Unfortunately we've seen this rope-a-dope happen at least twice since the lockout began.

The NBA, for their economic sake, better get a deal done soon. The media & the fans are getting tired of watching this bad soap opera.

The prospect that an 82 game season can still happen was raised by oth sides last night. That's after David Stern already cancelled the first two weeks of the season earlier. You can't go from giving that much hope to having things break apart (again) and raise the specter of losing the entire season (again.)

Who knows, maybe Newsday's Alan Hahn will be able to have his Stanley Cup celebration tonight.

I sure hope so.

Really Dolphins...JP Losman!?

It's tough to be a Dolphins fan these days.

The Dolphins defense was supposed to be one of the elite in the NFL this season...& it stinks.

Brandon Marshall was supposed to be our #1 threat...& he drops passes like he has butter in his hands.

Reggie Bush was supposed to be the X factor we can exploit...& he's been used like he's Earl Campbell

Overall this season has been one for ages in Dolphins history for all the wrong reasons. It's gotten so bad that some fans have jumped on the 'Suck for Luck' campaign seeking to draft Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck that currently also includes the Indianapolis Colts. The Dolphins don't make thing better when they pull stunts like honoring the Florida Gators and not the Miami Hurricanes.

You would think that with all that crap happening this year the Dolphins front office would at least pretend to be trying to improve. Alas...NO!

The Dolphins, in their quest to piss off everyone in Miami-Dade County, have signed quarterback JP Losman and put Sage Rosenfels on the reserved non injury list on Tuesday. The team cited rib injuries to Matt Moore as reasoning for this move.

Think about that Dolphins fans...JP motherbleeping Losman...

This is the same guy who lost his staritng job in Buffalo to Trent Edwards...who wanted nothing to do with the Dolphins after Chad Henne was lost for the season.

I don't know if Jeff Ireland has just given up or if this is just a tortureous plot to land Luck at the expense of fans. Either way it makes all of Miami want to do this every Sunday.

Bittersweet times at Nassau Coleseum

On Tuesday my sportswriting class got to experience what it felt like to cover a live sporting event.

We wen t to go see the New York Islanders take on the Pittsburg Penguins. An hour before the game we were given a tour of Nassau Coleseum by Islanders staff. We saw how the team is trying to generate more revenue since they took over arena operations from Nassau County. They also showed us how the team is making a major push to gain young fans through social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter.

Even though it was an overall great experience for myself & my classmates, it also felt strangely sad for me. It wasn't because of anything involving the tour, it was because of the situation the Islanders find themselves in.

The Islanders, who lost the game to the Penguins 3-0, are stuck in a long standing guagmire with Nassau County over the possibility of a new arena to call home. The Nassau Veterans Memorial Coleseum as its formally known, will turn 40 next year. That's pretty old for an indoor sporting venue. As such the current owner of the Islanders, Charles Wang, has pushed for a new arena to be built as part of his Lighhouse Project to develop land Nassau County. Wang was been denied his wishes twice, once by the town of Hempstead and recently in a referendum vote on August 2nd.

This has put the Islanders in a tough spot. Their lease with Nassau County ends in 2015 and Wang has made it very well known that a team move to Kansas City, MO is in the cards. While it would make sense for Wang to move since it looks like he can't build an arena with his own money on Long Island, it doesn't feel right.

The Islanders are Long Island's only major pro sports claim. The community has grown tight with the team thanks to their Stanley Cup fourpeat from 1979-1983. Even as the tean hasn't been able to recapture that success since there are many diehard Isles fans. Losing the team would be a huge blow to the island, both fiscally and emotionally.

Unfortunately for both the team and the fans there is almost a perfect storm against them. The bad economy and lackluster performances all seemed to have charted a course leading to the Midwest.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

This is The Jump Off!

At times you have to say...enough waiting around.

I'm a journalist by trade but right now it's tough to be one. Trying to get a job in my chosen field is basically a mission now with the current economy. Being that as it may I fought against reality in trying to go the traditoinal route in making my bones in journalism. I've had enough though.

It's time to step my game up.

I've tried to avoid blogging mainly out of my disgust for people like Bill Simmons who I consider not to be a journalist but as a professional fan. Then I started thinking, Jorge Sedano (@SedanoShow) is a respected bl;ogger, Matt Moore (@HPBasketball) is a respected blogger, why not me?

So here it is ladies & gentlemen, I'm opening my own place: The Sports Bars

I'm a passionate sports fan, but I'm also fair about things. So expect a lot of pragmatism in my spot. I'll try to cover the most from the sporting world, but with main focus on the NBA (this lockout is killing me at the same time as the Dolphins are.) I'm going to try to bring in some collaborators but It will be mostly me starting off.

Who knows where this will lead up to, a radio spot, a YouTube show? It all depends my friends.

Expect the first real post up tonight focusing of...a New York Islanders game vs the Pittsburg Penguins. Don't start hockey haters.

That's it for now, if you want to drop me line hit me up on Twitter at @Rawkuz99!

Peace out for now!