Short hops

Just a couple items to lead us into a powder-filled weekend…

  • The consensus seems to be that Red Sox ownership’s call for a baseball salary cap this week was a bit odd to say the least. One day, they’re putting $180 million on the table for Mark Teixeira, and the next arguing that all clubs aren’t on a level playing field? And remind me if I’m wrong, but it was one of the game’s lowest payrolls that knocked them out of the postseason last October, right?

    Obviously, what teams like the Rays show is that it takes more than just money to field a competitive team; it takes intelligence, shrewd drafting, and deep baseball know-how to get the job done. Now, fielding said competitive team for years on end in an atmosphere where players are working toward a free agency pay check is something else entirely. But after the economic shift we saw this past offseason, one has to wonder if that balance is coming back a bit more to reality.

    Besides, there is some growing criticism of salary caps in other sports as it is. The Phoenix’s Ryan Stewart points out:

    If the goal of a salary cap is to create parity, then in the NBA and the NFL, at least, it ain’t working so hot. Were the NBA season to end today, the eight playoff teams in the Eastern Conference would be Boston, Cleveland, Orlando, Atlanta, Detroit, Philadelphia, Miami, and Milwaukee. That’s six of the eight playoff teams from last year, and one of those two won a title two seasons ago. In the Western Conference, seven of eight current playoff teams appeared last year with Portland the only new additions. And seven of eight Western teams were repeaters from the year previous as well. The NBA has only seen six seven different teams win a title since the 90s – the Bulls, Rockets, Lakers, Spurs, Pistons, Heat, and Celtics.
    Ah, but it’s the NFL with true parity, no? Well, no. ESPN’s Jayson Stark makes this argument quite a bit. The short form is this: in the last eight years 13 different teams have gone to the World Series, while only 12 have gone to the Super Bowl. 43% of teams have made the playoffs in MLB, while only 37.5% have in the NFL. What others see as parity, I personally see as small-sample-size-related aberrations. But that’s just me. The point is that for all the talk of parity in the NFL, baseball is the league that can lay a true stake to the claim.

    Interesting. But these numbers are also skewed in that they include the Lions, which really brings us back to intelligence and shrewd drafting as the keys to success more than anything. Imagine that.

  • If you haven’t caught Kevin Garnett’s “Holy Grail” spoof for “G” (apparently the Globe never trademarked that letter), it certainly is…long. Then again, it might be the most we see of the Celtics star for some time, after going down with a knee injury in last night’s game at Utah.
  • Lil’ Wayne is blogging for I’m not even sure where to go with this.
  • Humorous moment during “Jeopardy” last night. The category was “NFL” and the answer had to do with a former NFL star who went on to play a TV father in the show “Fathers and Sons.” The desperate guess from one of the contestants: “Who is Tom Bosley?”
    The correct response: “Who is Merlin Olsen?” Though I enjoyed the fleeting moment of imagining Father Dowling breaking a tackle at the one-yard line.
  • Finally, a teary-eyed goodbye to the electronics Mecca formerly known as Circuit City, in its last days of selling off its shelves. To remember the good old days, here’s a collection of commercials from the 90’s, when the chain was in its heyday. Watching them makes last decade seem like about 40 years ago. And is Jon Chaffee, former sales associate in Seekonk, really Jim the Wrestling Goon?

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