We've reached baseball's all-star weekend which means two things: less than 3 weeks until NFL training camps open!!! And about a month until the kiddies start showing up for college football!!! Good times are just around the bend. Until then a few musings on the world o' sports...
...I didn't watch UFC 100 and I doubt I'd watch UFC 101 or 102 or 103...well, you get the idea. I'm not an MMA fan but I did hear and did read about Brock Lesnar's antics and comments and if I'm a non-MMA fan and I'm clicking on stories to find out what happened, that can't be a bad thing, right? I agree with Dana White that this is NOT the WWE and Lesnar needs to tone it down, but at the same time White's sport is gaining more attention, and potentially a GREAT villian. And all sports are better with a great villian.
...last week Sid Hartman was banging the drum for the Twins to deal for Pirates 2B Freddy Sanchez...and for once I agree with him. Sanchez is maybe league-average defensively, and would be a drop from Brendan Harris or Matt Tolbert or Nicky Punto or whomever they're running out there now. But offensively he'd be a huge upgrade (I personally prefer Harris at short with Little Nicky Punto coming off the bench. Yes Punto has been very good defensively but he's a zero, or less than that, at the plate) as he's currently posting a .316/.356/.478 (for an OPS of .834- which would not only be 5th best on the Twins behind Mauer, Morneau, Kubel and Cuddy, but is also 4th best among all MLB second basemen), and would give them a solid #2 hitter for the first time in, well, who was the last good 2 hitter the Twinkies had? Exactly. Of course, this would cost the Twins a couple of prospects AND would mean they'd have to take on more money, so the chances of it happening are probably slim and none. Oh well. If only they had a brand new tax-payer paid cash cow of a stadium coming next year that will give the Twins budget a HUGE financial boost.
...speaking of Minnesota teams out of touch with reality, how about the Timberwolves and GM David Kahn playing hardball with Ricky Rubio and trying to convince us they don't need him? Really David? Have you looked at your team's finances from last season? Because thanks to this article on cbssports.com, I have- and the numbers do NOT look good for you. CBS and NBA writer Ken Berger got ahold of the NBA's 2008 league-wide revenue report, and the results aren't pretty, especially for the Wolves. These numbers are not the inflated ticket sales number teams try to throw at you- these are how many people actually paid AND showed up to watch games. The Wolves were second worst in ticket revenue (ahead of only Memphis) and one of just five franchises who made less than $500k per home game (the league average was just under a million). They were also second worst in fans per game at just 8,969 and what makes this even worse is that the Wolves gave out an average of 5,205 TICKETS PER GAME!!!!! Do the math on that, and you had only 3,764 people a night show up who ACTUALLY PAID FOR THEIR TICKET?!?!?!? That is...that is...yeah I don't even have words for that.
Which makes it even more mind-blowing that the Wolves didn't take Rubio and Steph Curry with their top 2 picks last month, and just start throwing the full-court press at Rubio about how great his life and career will be in Minnesota playing alongside Big Al Jefferson, Kevin Love and Curry. Hire a coach who plays uptempo small-ball like Mike D'Antoni or Don Nelson and score 120 a night. Who cares if you're giving up 130 some nights (ok a lot of nights)? They'd suddenly be a young team with tons of potential and-gasp!- THEY'D BE REALLY FUN TO WATCH!?!?!? You're telling me you wouldn't pay for Wolves tickets to watch those four run up and down all night?
Instead, Kahn treats Rubio like he doesn't need him, drafts another point guard he couldn't possibly play with as insurance on Rubio, and now is sitting saying he really doesn't care if the kid stays in Spain for two more years? Great way to treat the one player from this draft other than Blake Griffin who could get your fanbase excited. HOW IS THAT A PLAN?!?? HOW IS THAT A GOOD IDEA?!?!!?!? Instead of trying to inspire and excite your fanbase by bringing Rubio and Curry to town, you're going to piss off the 3,764 paying customers you have left? What is Kahn trying to do- find a new and even lower rock bottom? Does he want to get out-sold by the Lynx? Owner Glen Taylor was running $5 upper bowl season ticket packages, and $15 for the lower bowl- and STILL no one wants to buy them right now. Had they drafted Rubio and Curry and showered Rubio with love, adoration, and more love (and as the Sports GUy said in his Friday mailbag, they could sign Juan Carlos Navaro or even deal for Marc Gasol or something so he's got a few Spanish buddies to hang out with) Minnesota's pro basketball fans would be excited about the upcoming season and would be BUYING TICKETS! Instead, most of us are sitting here waiting for the Rubio thing to play out, and we're expecting it to end badly. Why? Because it's the Timberwolves and it's what the fans have come to expect since 1989.
...One other thing about Kahn, since apparently this is turning into an anti-Kahn Monday Musings- his rationale for why they took Johnny Flynn over Steph Curry is not only ridiculous, but it makes it look like he thinks the average basketball fan knows nothing about the game. Kahn has said in interviews, on both the Dan Patrick Show and Dan Barreiro's show (and possibly also in print with the Strib), that not only did they like Flynn better than Curry, but that since Curry was selling himself before the draft as a natural point guard, then for those questioning him taking two point guards, how would it be any different if they had taken Curry? Yep, according to Kahn, we're supposed to ignore the literally hundreds of hours of gametape we have on Curry that shows he's a lethal scorer who can also be a team's primary ballhandler (which in simpler terms we like to call a "combo guard") and instead believe his agent who says he's the next Jason Kidd. Really Kahn? You're telling us you're basing your assessment of Curry's NBA potential off of what his agent says instead of his game tape? Honestly, Kahn apparently assumes that basketball fans, and especially those in Minnesota, have an basketball IQ of less than zero, because you'd have to be really, really dumb to watch the college careers of Flynn and Curry and believe that not only are both of them true point guards, but that Flynn (who is 5'10 and can't shoot) is a much better fit for Rubio than Curry. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome once again to the David Kahn Era! And we didn't think it could get any worse than Kevin McHale.