Saturday, July 10, 2010

In defense...

Of LeBron James:  Who owns him?  No one.  Did he play out his contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers?  Yes, he did.  Did he sign a second contract with the Cavs to try to win a title there?  Yes, he did.  Did he leave for more money?  No, he didn't.  Did he promise he'd stay in Cleveland?  No, he didn't.  Did he try to persuade other key free agents to come to Cleveland?  Based on reports I've heard confirmed on ESPN, he tried to get Bosh to come to Cleveland.  It was only when those attempts failed did he ultimately make a decision based on where he felt his best chance to win a championship lied.  Did his hypocritical owner try to get other players to do what he's criticizing James for doing?  Oh yes, he did.  Did he bring seven great years to a franchise that, with the exception of a few-year blip in the '90s, was dead and no one cared about?  Absolutely.  So in all fairness, aside from that ridiculous dog and pony show announcement, what did he do wrong?

Of the soccer World Cup:  Just as with the Summer and Winter Olympic games, it is the biggest and most popular sporting event in the world; and just as with the above, the size of the stage and what's on the line create interest in this sports fan's mind for events and sports that aren't there all the time.  I still have my criticisms:  Mostly the flopping.  But I have come to appreciate aspects of the sport that I heretofore found boring.  Likely the largest reason for that new found appreciation, aside from the stage and stakes, is the quality of the play in this tournament as most of the best players in the world are present.  I will be watching the final tomorrow and will be very much entertained, even though I don't have a dog in the hunt any longer.

Of the MLB All Star Game:  No, it's not what it used to be, at least for me that's because the players don't take it as seriously as they used to.  Don't get me wrong, they each want to win and it's important to them; but I don't feel the hatred and inter-league rivalry that this game used to have.  Is interleague play the culprit?  Perhaps.  That or the freeness of the modern free agency system that's created in the players' minds no loyalty at all to team and league.  Nor should they but it does feel different.
Despite that, I've always looked forward to this game.  Go American League!  I look forward to the player announcements.  I look forward to a game where most of the best players are playing.  I look forward to the rivalry and beating the National League once again.  I look forward to seeing star players from other teams that I don't routinely see.  I watch with anticipation as the Red Sox present take their turn at bat or on the mound in key moments, and still feel pride in being a Sox fan when those players come through.  And I still enjoy the Home Run Hitting Contest.  I still feel like a kid when I watch the best big leaguers hit it a mile.  It's not great every year but I watch every year, lest I miss a performance ala Josh Hamilton's.

In defense of NASCAR:  Because I'll always love speed, cars and racing, to say nothing about the sounds and smells (I fart exhaust fumes when I watch at home).  Other than baseball, no sport makes me feel more like a kid when I watch it than racing...pure escapism to my youth.


Little Sistah said...

I don't follow basketball much anymore so I can only go on what I have read but a hour show to declare the team he picked was a bit much. The rest is business
My spanish bosses are very excited about the Weekend!

R.J. said...

The thing that bothers me about LeBron is that he quit on his team when things got tough, like when the Celtics were dancing all over the Cavs in that final game. They needed LeBron to take charge and he never did, just like in the other series in which the Cavs lost.

And he has the gall to call himself the King? If someone else gave him that nickname I'd be cool with that but as far as I know that didn't happen.

The ESPN one hour special? He didn't have to do that but he did it anyway to satisfy his own ego. He could have just called a press conference and conducted the signing like everyone else and we'd be happy. But to do this dog and pony show on prime time? That's too much for me.

Zebster said...

We're in agreement on those things, RJ. I'm just talking about this free agency decision.
Nice showing by my RPM cars in the Nascar race last night.